Friday 30 May 2008

Emmenez Moi...

Every time I'm angry or sad, I listen to my favorite songs.

But when am very angry or very sad, I like watching my favorite songs live. I love observing the expressions on the face of the singer. Like this one for instance - Charles Aznavour.

Just look at the movements of his hands, his fingers. Just look at the expression of his face, his eyes... He lives the song, not just sings it...

And that is why some will remain eternal artists and...never die.

Monday 26 May 2008

Sunday 25 May 2008

Women and Football.

I have plenty of tidying up to do, I'd rather write instead - as usual.
I want to write about Football. Yes, Football. Don't get me wrong, am not referring to American Football, that senseless game with men dressed up like nasty robotic terminators. I am talking about real Football. Some call it soccer.

Tell you what, women are suckers for soccer. True, am not exaggerating here.

I love football. I love watching it. I am not into local leagues, but I make it a point to watch the World Cup, the European cup, the African and Asian cup. The big events. Local teams don't interest me whether they are Manchester United or Real Madrid.

So I was browsing through to see when the European cup is about to start, when I stumbled upon an interesting article. Some research paper on Women and Football.

According to this "study", data shows that there is an increase in baby boom or what they call the "foot baby boom" during such periods. Scientists who took interest in this subject matter, and I suppose it is interesting for Europeans since their birth rate is dwindling, concluded that women during these big Football events, are more turned on than usual.

Several explanations were put forward. One is that the sight of these hunks in shorts, with great legs and great butts, exposing so much Testosteronic virility (I agree) do trigger off any dormant lust in the female.

Other theories argue that the male who is enjoying the game in a relaxed fashion (no-they were not referring to hooligans here, more like Mr and Mrs Everybody sitting in front of their TV screen) and not being his usual self (a prick) is more attractive to his female partner during such times.

Whatever the explanation, Football seems to work.

I noticed that women in the Arab World enjoy watching football too. I saw that in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. They get all very excited and start cheering, which is quite refreshing, really. Letting down one's guards in public becomes accepted in such an all-male game.

I remember once in Cairo, I was at the hairdresser having my nails done, and in Cairo as in every other Arab capital, every hairdresser has a TV. Anyway, the manicurist was watching a game and filing away...She kept pausing, scream, and resume working on my nails. I had the worst manicure ever. Not only me but all the other women who were having their hair done came out looking like characters from Adams Family. Do avoid hairdressers during football matches. Try preferably having your nails, hair, etc...done BEFORE, for according to this study, the pay offs are just wondrous.

If football players incite so much lust in women because of their exhibited virility, I am not sure military armed men have the same effect though...specially not on the women of Iraq. Different goals, I suppose.

Anyways this European study will make the fossilized American feminists cringe in horror. I am glad. They should cringe in horror being horrific themselves.

Like everything American, American women in general and American feminists in particular are a total intellectual disaster. Intellectual is not a very good word here because America is not known for any real intellectualism. In fact, American women and their feminists remind me of their own military in Baghdad - an anti-Eros, pro-Thanatos, monstrous deviants.

No wonder REAL football never really scored in the U.S of A.

Painting: Iraqi artist, R.Al-Khafaji.

Thursday 22 May 2008

In Memory of "V"

V left us very early this morning, after a long battle with the deadly disease. She fought hard and long...She was a figthing spirit indeed. Chemo after chemo, surgery after surgery and she fought it. Fought it with smiles, with dignity, with hope and above all with faith in silence. But...
It won, taking her to more peaceful shores, ushering her to another place where there are no chekpoints and no guns, no barrages and no armed men shouting slogans, to another place with no barriers, no banners and no flags...

During her last days, it was burning in Beirut, her husband just put up tent in the hospital, he knew if he left, he would not be able to return...In the past they had stopped her and him from getting to hospital for her weekly chemo. He nearly died with anger. So did she.
He'd tell them - my wife is dying, let me go through, and they would say "mamnoo'" --forbidden.

They put up tents in the middle of town and he put up a tent by a death bed. It all amounts to the same...
Except hers was more dignified and more worthy. She fought, they just made noise.

Today she's gone, so are the tents and the checkpoints.

I was not sure what music to offer you, I finally settled for this one. In real peace you are and in real peace you shall be.

Pachelbel Canon in D Major.

Thursday 15 May 2008

Beyond Madness...

There is in old church in this city. A very old church, considered to be the oldest...

Every now and then I go and light a candle and say a few prayers to the Mother.

I am not a Christian, I am a Muslim. Sometimes, I don’t know what I am. But it doesn’t matter because Mother understands. She belongs to the Religion with no name, of which am a fervent adherent.

I speak to Mother often. At first, it felt strange. No one told me about the feminine side of God. Not in Christian school where I was brought up during my puberty years, nor in the Muslim circles I later frequented.

Both religions and I guess that applies to Judaism as well, have occulted the feminine from their books and their discourse...and I am referring to mainstream here.

Mainstream, what a despicable word. Who wants to swim with the current stream when you can swim against it ?

Today, past 40, I am claiming it back...I am claiming back the feminine side of God.
But as anyone on a quest, I must find it in myself first.

And the barriers...the psychological barriers, the injunctions, the taboos, the laws and the rules...a whole battle by itself, a jihad of an epic proportions.

And this is my epic...

Tonight, I am declaring a holy war against the madness of men. I am declaring a holy spiritual, sacred war against the futility of a senseless death.

Tonight, the Great Mother will speak to you, through me.

Quite absurd, you may think. She has gone mad, others will say. I care not.

I have stifled the voice long enough, even in so-called feminist circles.

Tonight She will roar...Tonight She will roar and She will tell you all about your own madness, your absurdity, your futility...

War is a male thing. Kind of obvious, no?

All these phallic symbols. From the bullet, to the gun, to the missile, even space shuttles look like some elongated thing. Do you also want to fuck outer space ? Like forcibly copulate with the Moon ?

I say-- Take away the toys from the boys. Enough !

I don’t really care who you belong to. What your religion is, what your color is all about, what nationality you carry...I don’t care about your ancestors, your bloodline, your family name, your parents, your tribe or your class...Just stop.

Stop, stop. Stop shedding blood of innocent ones...Stop. Just stop.

Yesterday a woman from Lebanon said “Just stop, we don’t want anymore wars.”She was not some siliconized Pam Anderson. She was no Paris Hilton and no Amy Winehouse...

She was an ordinary woman with a few wrinkles on her face and around her lips. Wrinkles around her lips from too much pursing Silence...

And you just love us when we are silent. Don’t you ?

Silence helps you continue in your lie, your impeccable lie.

So listen to us, us women who don’t want your bullets, guns and missiles...And no, we could not care less about your fucking outer space with your shuttles...Listen to us.

We’ve listened to you for too long, way too long... Listened to your hopes, wishes, disillusionments, your fears, your dreams, your ups and downs, your fantasies, your plans, your ideals, your politics...

We’ve listened alright.

Now you shut up and you listen.

I did say listen not hear. Do you know the difference between the two ? Listen and Hear ?

I don’t want you to hear me. I want you to listen to me.

Open your ears, open your brains, open your heart...

If you can’t, it will be forced opened...that’s the way of the Mother.

Open your mouth, I want to feed you. And you scream and squirm, rejecting Nourishment...Until you starved yourselves to Death. And dead you are. But you also proscribed your own death unto others...

Die with me you cry out...Die with me, so I won’t feel alone.

But you are alone and you will remain alone...No matter how many of your mates you drag away with you. You are alone, very much alone. What a lonely way to go...

Here, She is wanting to feed you, and you want to die like an a beggar hoping for morsels...begging for crumbs...

The Mother doesn’t give morsels and crumbs. She gives it whole. You can’t swallow ? That is your problem. You tightened up for too long.

Tight-- We know all about being tight.

Did they not tell us to keep it tight ? Crossed legged tight ? Virgin tight ? Bashful tight ? Innocent tight?

So you can have the illusion of “tight”...So you can be the sole one on the “battlefield”.

The legionary crusader in search of virgin lands...

How brave, how strong. They patted you on the back.

And the lush lands you could not reach, you forced open...

The king has come, the king has arrived...We dried the tears and smiled.

And we smiled some more...and silently cried some more to Mother, the absent Mother, or so we thought.

And those you couldn’t force open, you killed. It did not matter, whether they were males or females...they were a target.

Just like you targeted your virgin lands or your virgin spot on the moon where you planted your seeds, your flag.

The nation, the fatherland, the dead patriarch that you have been trying to resurrect ever since. The tribal chief that you resurrected when we thought he was long gone...

Wave those flags. You waved those flags with signs of victory. But did you know that Mother just spat on you ?

Don’t mess with Her is my advice to you. Even though I know what an “expert bunch” you supposedly are.

Aside from your little tribal chiefs and your little victories...Did you know that it takes us a fucking long time to conceive, labor, feed, nurse, educate, bring up...maybe a whole lifetime...

And it takes you a bullet, a bullet cheaper than a dollar, to finish it all off.

All our efforts gone in vain. All those years gone to waste. All the energy, patience and presence gone for less than one dollar.

You pulled the trigger and it all went...boom.

Don’t you think there is enough around ?

Tycoons, hurricanes, earthquakes, drought, poverty, disease, moral bankruptcy, addictions, broken homes, unemployment, exile, homelessness...

Don’t you think there are enough Marco Polo's and Columbus's who penetrated virgin lands ?

Don’t you think there are enough of them/it around ?

Let’s take the toys away from the boys. It has become a futile game, a senseless game...

If you really insist, I will leave you a couple of swords. Swords force you to become men and fight face to face and eye to eye...

Take swords if you really insist. But then I know you are not capable of taking up swords nor of becoming men...

You will remain pathetic, emotionally anorexic boys, waiting for Mother...
While Mother is there, becoming hysterical, mad, depressed, bipolar, overweight, addicted, shouting your way...

But am no partisan of concessions or compromises. I say -- take the toys, destroy them and fuck the boys.

Yeah that’s it.

I want to take off my black mourning clothes and wear pink and red instead...

I want to celebrate life and love with rose and lotus petals falling on me like a gracious some revived old love song, like some manna from the Sky...

I want to celebrate life like some birth, like a baptism, like a song in a choir...

I want to participate in life like in a mosque’s prayer, like a candle burning in the night, like a silent vow delivered at some altar in a small old church...

I want Life like a Mother wants her child to live...

Painting: Iraqi artist, Adeeb Makki.

Monday 12 May 2008

Strings of Sadness

Someone sent me a piece from a song by Marcel Khalifeh. He asked me to translate it for him. He also said he suffered a bad psychotic episode some months ago, and he wondered how the Iraqis must feel like in their heads...

I translated the piece for him. The song is called "ya oud" - o'luth

"ya oud, the night's companion.
you weep on velvet and you hurt,
you travel to the farthest distances of the world and return,
you write and erase borders, ya oud...
tell me about your evenings in your marble castles
tell me of the fountains and the clinking of glasses,
tell me of the hips that sway and the silk that flies...
you wander not sleeping,
and your voice is like rain...
and you voice drips of sweetness
ya oud"

I love the Oud, for many reasons.

One is that the Oud-Luth, was introduced to the West via Al-Andalus from Mosul, around the 11th Century by an Iraqi called Zeryab.

From the Oud, other string instruments were later developed.

The Oud was later taken on by the Troubadours in the Middle Ages and became a symbol for Love ballads.

And today you have the luth, the guitar-son of the luth, the violin and the cello who has its origins in the Rababa - another musical instrument from the desert.

And today you have music. Music to your ears...

It was an Iraqi who first gave it to you. He was the first one to move you and an Iraqi will be the last one to move you as well.

Hence the Oud has a strong symbolic meaning for me. It touches me beyond anything you can imagine...

I will therefore share with you, the Joubran Trio from Ramallah, the West Bank, Occupied Palestine.

I discovered them about a year ago, when I was browsing CD's. And I secretly kept this discovery to myself, selfishly so.

But today, I will reveal it to you.

I will reveal it to you for many reasons.

For the past two days, Gaza has been without electricity, fuel or bread.
Palestinian infants have already died in the only Pediatric hospital in Gaza. Infants relying on machines to live.

Today across the Rafah border, a little Palestinian girl, not more than 6 years old, was waiting to receive treatment in an Egyptian hospital, for kidney dialysis.

She spoke on TV. She looked 60 years old. Her eyes were puffed and she had huge brown bags underneath her lovely eyes. She explained to the spectator which is you, that she's been without dialysis for over 3 days, due to the embargo imposed on Gaza by the criminal called Israel. She said, it was important for any patient to have treatment otherwise he/she would die. She is only 6.

Another woman had a retina detached, and she was hoping to get some treatment as she was going blind...

A third had severe burns and wounds from Israeli jet explosives...

And so it went...

This reminded me of the sanction years, this reminded me of today's Iraq.
This reminded me of the half a million Iraqi babies in mass graves from 13 years of sanctions. A huge cemetery...little white tombs placed next to one another, thousands of them...and the Silence whistled...

the Silence whistled among the trees and the tombs...
It even composed a song,
It also played the oud,
ya Oud, ya Oud,
you weep on sand
you weep on walls
your tears water the earth
like the dusk's dew
and there grows
a thousand flowers,
a million flowers
from your tears
ya Oud...

If half a million Iraqi babies did not move you then, a million Iraqis do not move you today, Gaza does not move now, will Zeryab and his oud move you ?

I doubt it.

P.S: For those who were moved by the Joubran Trio from Ramallah-Occupied Palestine, you can check more of their oud pieces here , here and here. And do thank Zeryab from Mosul - Occupied Iraq.

Painting : Iraqi artist, Qutaiba Sheikh Nouri.

Thursday 8 May 2008

Cleaning Blues...

I've spent the whole day cleaning. I live in a small apartment, but spent the whole bloody day cleaning. Why is that? I'd wipe one surface, and take a 5 mn break. Sweep one corner, and take another 5 mn. So on and so forth. No wonder it took me the whole bloody day.
And the dust, God the dust...Where did this dust come from? And the paper clips all over the place. Well I know where the paper clips came from. Reading papers and tearing bits and pieces from them...

I've been on my feet for over 8 hours. My feet are sore. My legs hurt. My shoulders ache. My hands are dry. I feel awful. I am tired and drained. But my apartment is clean.

But why did it take me 8 hours ? The living room alone which is not spacious, took me 4 hours. OK am thorough. But still, 4 hours for a few square meters ?

I know why it took me so fucking long. I HATE domestic work.

Yesterday I programmed myself all day for the big event- Cleaning. I really programmed myself with "cleaning affirmations". Repeating them over and over until I summoned the courage to face it today. I guess the clutter I have doesn't help either. I have to remove books, papers, CD's so I can wipe behind, beneath them...And I've got hills of them. What a fucking drag.

The real reason remains the same though and all of the above are just excuses - I HATE domestic work. Hence my slowness...soooo slow.

I was getting irritated with my own pace. The endless breaks, musing over why I hate domestic work so much. A kind of brief self- analysis as to the why's and how's my hatred for domestic work has settled in and refuses to budge.

I couldn't find a particular trauma related to my "domestic work avoidance syndrome". Except maybe for the fact that housework is traditionally associated with women and I've refused such limiting associations.

But clearly that can't be the sole reason. After all, I love cooking. But cooking is a creative act, and cleaning is not. Cleaning is a purifying act. And I guess I've purged enough. And I can't afford domestic help either. So, am stuck with the cleaning blues...

But I devised means and ways to turn the whole thing into a "positive" endeavour.

So I'd clean away and imagine am sitting by some beach. That didn't work.

So I thought of my ex's and how angry they made me hoping to gather more energy so I can finish the job. That didn't work either. I was fuming and cursing and would take even more breaks...

So I switched on the radio . The local station was playing romantic slooowwwwwww songs. Nope, that doesn't do it either. I needed stamina, energy, I can finish this shitty thing called cleaning.

So this brilliant idea crossed my mind. Play some music that makes you want to dance and instead of dancing, clean know, like they do in the cartoons - sweep away and shake your butt in total joy.

I went through my CD's and found exactly what I needed. A salsa CD called "Caliente", a mix of several songs. Yes that's it, I thought to myself. Caliente- hot-energy-stamina-fire-force. That's exactly what I need.

So I put the CD on, and the Cuban tunes were blasting away...

So of course I thought of Cuba and Fidel Castro, and wondered if it was "democratic" of him to hand over his executive powers to his brother Raul. Then my thoughts took me to socialism and how can one have a truly socialistic society and democratic at the same time when the U.S. warmonger is just next door.

Of course, I had to pause again to digest all these thoughts. That was no good. I needed to change the thought register to something more "light."

So here I was mopping the floor and pretending I was dancing Salsa. Then I remembered I can't really dance Salsa.

I took two lessons, ages ago, with a Cuban teacher who was drunk all the time. He'd tell me "dance with your Corazon". And I'd say "sure but I don't know the steps and I need a partner. You're supposed to be teaching me".

But my Cuban teacher used to sit, and pop open another can of beer, leaving me alone wondering which step to take...I heard later he became a skid row bum. I was his only student.

My other attempt at Salsa was here in this tribal land pretending to be o'so modern. They have the Salsa fever here. It's so in vogue. Everyone tries to Salsa.
So some places arrange special evenings for Salsa students or for those who wish to be initiated into it.

Dancing Salsa here is like jumping up and down in a desertic wasteland.

And this is exactly what happened to me.

Upon the suggestion of a friend, I went to this Salsa evening with her. She had caught the fever. I was just bored and wanted to get away from Iraq and Iraqi woes.

So we arrived and everyone was Salsa dancing. I had put on my black dress and high heels...thinking to myself, if I am to salsa, I need to look right for the occasion. You know, like in the Salsa clips. Vamp, supple...and exuding sensuality.

The minute we arrived, my friend saw a group from her Salsa class and she joined them,dancing away. And here I was watching, hoping to try it myself...

So here comes a "local" Salsa student, but he assured me he was in the "advanced group". I assured him I was nothing but a beginner. He said " Don't worry, just let me lead " - I smiled but my heart sank...

I know from experience when a guy says "let me lead" you can be sure, you're heading towards a wall...

Anyways, I yielded and let him lead. The pace was not too fast and the first 5 minutes or so, were fine...But the beat changed, and it took on a more feverish rhythm, and boy was I in for a surprise ride...

I don't know what the fuck happened to the "advanced" Salsa student, but he was suddenly taken by a frenzy - frantic steps, abracadabra... he was all over the place and I was dragged along with him. "Let me lead ?!" - yeah sure !

I found myself propelled to the four corners of the dance stage, not knowing what had hit me...I twisted my ankle and the local "advanced" student, ended up jumping up and down, like in some bedouin folk dance, bruising my toes.

And at every twirl, I'd cry out "ouch my toes, you're stepping on my toes."

"Maa'lech - never mind, dance with your heart..."

Heart, what heart? My toes were throbbing...what heart was he on about? All I wanted was to stop. Just stop. And take my shoes off and soak my feet in ice water.

Thankfully, God has created an End to everything. And the song finished. By the grace of God, it stopped.

So where was I in my cleaning blues ? Ah yes, mopping the floor and shaking my butt just like in the mumbo jumbo cartoons...

Next cleaning session I need to devise more positive thoughts and memories to accompany me...

Any suggestions to chase away the cleaning blues ?

Painting: Iraqi artist, Jaber Alwan.

Sunday 4 May 2008

Climate & Climax...

Away from politics for a little - not really.

A curious study landed on my desktop. A study conducted by a condom manufacturer. You know, a rubber factory-- by the name of Durex.

Now, why and how did this study land in my mail box, I have no clue.
At first, I thought it was another spam/junk mail, you know the ones - drive her wild, 1 meter long, better than viagra, she wouldn't believe her eyes, make her scream all night...kind of junk mail.

But this one was no junk mail. It was a "scientific research paper." Aha, intresting I thought to myself. What stuff are they up to now, stuff we don't already know...

Now this study was about climax also known as orgasm.

I've often wondered why the word climax and climate share the same etymological root.

A culmination of some sort, I suppose...But not always and definitely not for all involved.

Tis study was made of 26'000 participants (male and female-bien entendu) from 26 countries. Unfortunately the mail didn't mention all the participant countries, but it did mention a few countries that came out in 1rst rank, or above average in their "reaching an orgasm".

But let's start with the countries below base line. France and Great Britain scored the worst and Switzerland slightly above median line.

The countries who were top of the list - Italy, Spain, Mexico and South Africa.

BUT, in ALL of the countries surveyed only 32% of women reached climax in contrast to 63% of men. Nearly double.

I am sure this study didn't include Arab countries and particularly not Iraq.
I wonder what the figures would be there, given the overall "climate"...

And did you notice something - Italy, Spain, Mexico, South Africa -- all supposedly have good weather. You know -- laid back, sunshine, less anally retentive, less emotionally constricted...etc.
But however pleasant the "climate" is, still, only 32% of the women reached an opposed to 63% of the men.

One obvious conclusion from this study is that women need to move to "warmer" climates. So do envisage a permanent move to either Italy, Spain, New Mexico or South Africa. One thing you should not do though, is move to Iraq.

(Alternatively, if you're very attached to where you're at, you may want to consider a sex change.)

However, the bad news -- there are no guarantees. Remember, in all of the countries surveyed only 32% of women reached a climax as opposed to 63% of the men.

So I guess, the old adage of "fake it until you make it" still holds true, wherever a woman happens to be...

Good luck.

Painting: Iraqi female artist, Wasma'a Al-Agha

Saturday 3 May 2008

Arab Woman Blues II

Arab Woman Blues II is up . A temporary set up, until the Censorship storm abates, if at all...

Kindly bookmark it. Alternatively, under "my other blogs" click on "Arab Woman Blues II" and you will be re-directed.

Thank you for your patience...

Friday 2 May 2008

MY BLOG :Arabwomanblues.

MY BLOG arabwomanblues.blogspot. HAS BEEN BLOCKED.

Thursday 1 May 2008