Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Reading Iraqi Newspaper (22 Oct 2013)

Well, I got to admit that now that I am writing this I still don’t know who is Charles Theron, and I don’t know if Hogu Chavez had died or not and if so, when that did happen. The article by Nazzar Abdul-Sattar entitled “Are You Okay?” in today’s issue of Al-Sabah talks about a couple, a female lying watching T.V. and a man who when brought her a glass of orange juice found her contemplating Charles Theron’s face appearing on the screen. They talked about Oscar prices. She told him that acting is difficult and he told her that asking questions is difficult too. She told him that Hugo Chafez had died just before one hour and he said he wanted to ask him a question.
The article goes well on that “they did this, they did that” narration. The woman seems ill since he put his hand on her forehead while she was lying. You get the idea that she had fever. While he was finally about to leave to the garden to smoke a cigarette she asked him about the question he had for Hugo Chafez.
The man said that he wanted to ask Chafez about where he did buy his blue shirt which he wear in February  1999. She told him that he couldn’t be ablt to remember that. He said that he knows he couldn’t remember but these are the kind of questions in Venezuela, you ask somebody about his shirt and he will curse liberalism, criticize the US foreign policy, and will declare his support for the poor. They like stupid questions, he said.

Next to the article was a picture of Witney Huston statue surrounded by a The London Gospel Factory.
A translated article from “Le Nouvel Observateur” written by Lorin Lumiere and translated by Jaudat Jali, talks about the books and journals that were read by the French soldiers in the ditches in the first World War. The newspapers were read the most, then comes Zola’s novel “The Defeat” which talks about the war of 1870 and says that that defeat will not occur again. Another novel is “Varter’s Pains” by Gothe. But when the war started American novels reached the peak like novels by Mark Twain and stories of Edgar Allen Poe.

I wouldn’t have read any political news if that picture was not there, the picture of that man making something with his hands, some traditional work that we don’t hear much about it nor see the products of it. I thought there should be some news about it and that was how I read that Iraq is making proposals of how to end the Syrian conflict.

It is night now. I will go to my room and will spend the night reading American Modern Poetry. Will read John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara. Will contemplate why O’Hara wrote “Why I am Not a Painter” in referring to Mike Goldberg’s painting “Sardine” while he was trying to write a poem named “Orange”. Sounds silly?

The life that we, ordinary Iraqi people, deserve is a life that is normal. A life that we care in for sardines and oranges. We long for a life that is so normal, that is so silly.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Reading an Iraqi Newspaper (14th October 2013)

Reading an issue of an Iraqi newspaper is good reflection on what is happening in Iraq these days. I do not care much about the political news but on the columns written by Iraqi individuals about their lives. Here is a reading in today’s issue of Azzaman Arabic Daily Newspaper.

Hadi Abbas Hussein from Baghdad wrote a short story entitled “Tiring Delusions” about an Iraqi father who lives in a rented apartment with his two married sons. The father always had dreams about leaving Iraq. Recently he decided to go to Georgia. He told two of his friends about the idea and they asked him to do them a favor in going to Georgia and asking about the possibility of them making some investment. Now the trip is becoming real he finds himself in a state of anxiety and when he starts thinking of the possibility of being away from his wife and grandchildren he cannot hide the tears. He contemplates what he had done in his life and finds that he was judged by others as a lazy and a coward. His brother had taken advantage of his laziness and cowardice and took most of the inheritance left for them by their dead father. He accepted to sell his share of the inheritance to his brother in a cheap price because he wanted to avoid violence as he said in the story. 

As the date of his trip approaches his anxiety increases and people around him tell him that he cannot start a new life there and that he is running after a tiring delusion. He is 65 and had lived in Iraq all those years of recurrent wars and economical problems. He is hesitant whether he should omit the trip or to go. The story ends by him questioning the future.

Just below the short story is a poem of about 60 lines by Abdul Razzaq Salih from Basrah entitled “When I Depart” that starts with the lines:
“When I Depart…..!
Who sends my poems for slayer?”
And after few lines:
“When I depart……..!
Who sends the butterflies after me?”
In the first 50 lines he asks what will happen after he will die. He asks questions like “Who cares for a poet’s funeral?”
The poem asks who will miss him and he starts to answer that his shadow and his lost paradise will miss him. By mentioning that he will be missed by his shadow and his lost paradise he means that while he is (was) alive all he has is his shadow, and his lost paradise. The poem also talks about Gilgamesh and his friend Enkido and their search for eternal life. The poem talks about a country being slain.  
The poem is gloomy yet after the first 50 lines it starts to have some lighter brighter words. In the last 10 lines the poem says that when he departs his poems will fly to the Danube, Sophia gardens and Istanbul. The last 10 lines seems so much lighter than the previous 50 although at the end of the poem we re-read those gloomy questions of:
“Who cries to the Farwell dance?
Who rummages the bag of time?”
And the poem ends with:
“Who warbles in the gardens, my songs?
When I depart……..! Ahead of my shadow.”
It seems that the poet is expecting the answer to be (nobody will do that.) nobody will chant his songs, nobody will send the butterflies after him when he will depart. He will be forgotten in the country which is slain as the poem said. The poem uses gloomy words except when it mentions Europe, especially Eastern Europe the part of Europe that Iraqis had been able to visit. 

You just turn the page and you find an article entitled “GeorgiaPassion”. I suspected that this issue is a special issue talking about Iraqis leaving Iraq but no, it is just a daily issue. The article talks about a book written about by an Iraqi journalist living in Georgia.

The coming 4 pages are not so attractive to my personal eye to I reached an article by Mua’atasim Al Sanawi entitled “A trip in the depth of memory” in which he talks about one of his colleagues who used to write “The balancer farted, the balance halted” - which is an ironic famous Iraqi proverb about the injustice - at the end of each demand he put in front of his bosses, a thing that resulted in a premature retirement to get rid of him.

There was an article about a recently published translation of an autobiography of Emily Ruete, a daughter of a sultan from Oman who had 40 children. The princess tried to defend the Arabs against that charge of being lazy by saying that because they don't live in a cold environment, they don't need to worry about providing thick warm clothes and well built houses to stay warm inside, so they didn't have that habit of active working. She finally was married to a German and moved to live in Germany where she converted to Christianity.    

There are many other articles for example that one about faked universities, or that one about the percentage of reading books in Arabic area. Some articles were about the world around like that article about Turkey’s Double T: Turtles and Tourism program.  

At the end page there is a picture of an Iraqi couple married, the husband is merely of 14 year old, and the wife is 17.