Saturday, May 24, 2014

Turtles Can Fly in Kerbala

Days were separating us from the elections. Politicians were doing their propaganda. Streets were filled with pictures of them. The Minster of Higher Education, who was also a nominee in the coming elections, was on his way to our university in Kerbala. He was to raise one of the biggest Iraqi flags, in a monument that was built lately in the university. We were working that day and the orders come to us to leave or job and go to welcome him. My colleague told me that we are supposed to dress formally. I felt nauseated. I told him that I will not go. I went to the market to kill the time till Hana’a Edward would reach Kerbala. 

 It is for the first time in Kerbala that I see a lady not wearing a veil. Her hair is grey and short. I liked her much. In Kerbala Book Club she talked to us about the role of non-governmental organizations in Iraq, including their role in scrutinizing the election process. When one of her colleagues, at the end of the lecture, narrated to us his memories with her when she came to Kerbala in a rainy winter in the 60s or 70s, I cannot remember precisely, his voice shivered from emotions. She came back then as a member of the forbidden communist party. She was risking her life. He harbored her in his home. He said that and his voice was so emotional. When he finished narrating, Hana’a Edward rose up and headed towards him. He rose up. They shake hands. They kissed each others’ cheeks. We applauded. Tears were withheld difficultly inside my eyes. With these people human have a value. I will keep coming here.
 I was told later that night that the Minster of Higher Education was welcomed with songs that praise him. Anyway.

The other day Shurooq Al- Abayatchi came to the Book Club. She told us about her work in water engineering. A subject that was new to me. 

 The elections came and I voted for them. Even that that Minster of Higher Education had won a seat in the Iraqi Parliament, Shurooq Al-Abayatchi had won another. I was relieved a little. I can take a breath.

We gathered again in Kerbala Book Club after the elections and this time to watch a movie entitled: “Turtles Can Fly”. 
The method used to show the film was primitive: a laptop linked to a datashow which projects to a small white board. The film was not clear. The image was not clear, nor the sound. But the idea is that we were trying to do some kind of a cinema in Kerbala. Oh yes, turtles can fly!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Labor Day

Like the tree that grows so tall
Leaves turn gold and then they fall
That same kind of music. That same kind of pictures. American movie direction. American music. American county side. Huge trees.  

Mountain streams may run and flow
Clean the sands on which they go
Yesterday was the first of May. Before yesterday was the day of Iraqi parliamentary elections. I went and chose the “Civil and Democratic Coalition”. That coalition contains some secular and liberal forces, some individuals, and the Iraqi communist party. Yesterday I started watching a DVD of a movie named “Labour Day”.

The summary of the back cover of the DVD said that it talks about coming-of-age of a teenager. I was asked before three weeks to write two medical scenarios for the second year medical students around the theme of puberty, one scenario about a girl, and the other about a boy. I felt totally lost while trying to fabricate a story. I googled and saw examples then wrote just one about a female in 9 years old and send it by email to who asked me to write it. I still didn’t write the boy scenario. I thought seeing that film might help. Especially it is about Labour Day and we are at the first of May.

 The film, based on a novel, is about a fugitive prisoner kept away from police by a divorced mom and her teenage boy. They both liked him since he filled that gap of the father. He worked at their home and fixed things. I watched the first part of the film while sitting next to my neighbors. We were talking about the elections. That was when in a particular moment the talking reached a peak of tension. At that peak I paused the movie and listened well. I may have murmured some words but can’t remember well now. Then there was a laughing. Then the talking continued more fluently and calmly. I started watching the movie again. I was having my laptop with me with a headphone.
 I must have seen some parts of that film someday. Some of the things are familiar. I don’t know if it will help me writing a scenario of a boy passing through puberty or not. I don’t know if we are able to uses the words “Iraq is passing through political puberty”, or not. I hope that civility win sooner in Iraq. I need to see Iraqis leaving those religious-sectarian-racist perspectives. Or I need to leave Iraq and go and live elsewhere. I like those American movies and they make me dream.

The 4 lines in rosy color are from a song played in the movie named “I’m going home” by Arlo Guthrie