Monday, April 30, 2012

About Boundaries & Mines

Trista Pena. I am hearing now "Trista Pena" by Gipsy Kings.
And it is Sherko Fattah that I was reading those last days. A novel about a Kurdish smuggler living on the borders between Iraq and Turkey and Iran. He is much respected and valued for the risk he is taking on walking across those borders filled with mines.
His family quickly got the habit of not asking him about the mines. It seems that there was a non-spoken agreement stating that mentioning the mines might bring bad luck, a kind of a curse.
 The story is about that smuggler's strive for survival after 1991 war and the start of Kurdistan separation from Iraq and all the problems that paralleled. He lost his son and he is not sure what happed. He suspects that his son had joint an Islamic militia. The smuggler's sister lives across the border. It is not totally clear at the beginning of the novel but as you pass page 200 you start to figure out that the smuggler's house which joins him with his wife and his now "lost" son, is in Iraq, while his sister is living with her husband few kilometers away, inside Turkey. The smuggler's problems are doubled symmetrically across the borders. His troubles are multiplied by a factor named post-1991 chaos.
But let us go back a little to another border, to another conflict. The Freud Vs Jung conflict and read from Jung's autobiography one of his dreams:  
"..on one of the mountainous areas at the Swiss-Austrian borders, and near the evening time, I saw an old man wearing the uniform of the Austrian customhouse. He walked by my side. He was bent and he never looked at me. His facial expressions were closer to obstinacy, sadness, and annoyance. There were other people in the scene. One of them had told me that the old man is not really here, but it is his spirit, the spirit of the customhouse man who died since years, (he is one of those who cannot die like how it should be)… this is the first part of the dream".
Yesterday I was in Al Mutanabbee street and I liked to walk in the backstreets.

In the backstreets of it and found by accident a used book entitled: "Freud or Jung" written by Edward Glover. What is interesting is the signature of the original owner of the book: "Rose Khaddourri, NY, 1961" and Rose Khaddourri is one of the Iraqi Jewess and a pioneer in teaching method and school opening. As any other Iraqi Jew, she was forced to leave Iraq in the middle of the 20th century.

From the book I knew that Cyril Connolly had once wrote a letter to Edward Glover telling him: "I feel the Jung's reputation has grown out of proportion. [….]. His work is a distortion of Freud's ideas by the injection into them of unscientific mystical feelings which make them popular. In the work of Jung there are elements in which Jung's own desire for a religious, rather than a scientific, conception exists."
I am still hearing Trista Pena by the Gypsy Kings.
Let us go back to Sheko Fattah novel and read:
"Why I am not allowed to know a thing about my son?
Bino was surprised for a while. Then he shook his head with a stronger intensity.
-          Because it was a long time since he was lost. You are digging in the past. Don't you understand that there is no past here, at least for those people like you. The past and the future do not exist for you. For you it is only the present that exists and anything else is a taboo. That must be clear to you anyhow."
p. 212

 A wooden box of traditional Kurdish candies had reached me to Baghdad from a friend. I will leave the sad novel unfinished for now but I will keep listening to Trista Pena and think about boundaries and mines.

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