Friday 24 October 2008

The Roar of the Lambs - Part I

It took me some time to find the right noun. I first wrote Cries of the Lambs. But that struck me as too, too...resigned. Then I wrote the Scream of the Lambs. And that conjured up the image of a knife going for the jugular of a tied lamb. Then I thought of the Shout of the Lamb. And that too came across as desperate as my previous trials...

So I settled for this one - The Roar of the Lambs. I like that one best.
Of course you will think to yourself, lambs don't roar. And I say to you, yes they do...they eventually do.

Today, tonight, there is enough distance for me to write about It. That was not possible yesterday, nor the day before, not even weeks ago, nor months...But today the impossible is possible - just like a lamb roaring.

The astute reader will immediately associate the title with "Silence of the Lambs" and you are correct in your association. I congratulate your fertile imagination and your intelligence.

Let me explore the roar even though parts of me are reticent...Something pulls me back and something even stronger pushes me forth...

Like a subject that has been objectified, I am experiencing the dynamics of having been faced with Psychopathy, with Torture. Experiencing the traumatic bond, the secrecy, the shunning away...the avoidance of the memory.

I will use the terms Psychopathy and Torture interchangeably...For me they are one and the same. They both derive from the same violent impulses that strive to destroy. Gratify and then destroy. A nihilistic destruction, where the subject turned object, becomes empty,void. Hence reflecting that same void that inhabits the Torturer.

The Torturer is almost always a malignant narcissist, a sexual sadist whose inner world is fragmented and all his actions will aim at fragmenting, disintegrating the Other, so as not to disintegrate himself. For the self of the torturer hangs on by a pull it and the whole patchwork made of old rags falls away...

The torturer is a very weak persona...but he knows it not but you know it now.

The object/victim may not realize it at first, but he/she does with time...and with distance. Provided that the object/victim does not succumb and remain stuck in the traumatic bond.

The objectified victim may not realize it because psychopaths/torturers always carry a "story" with them. Sometimes it is a "Love" story, sometimes a "Freedom and Liberation" story, sometimes a "God" story... There is always a well knitted story.

One way to break away from the traumatic bond and the story is to expose it. Expose the dynamics, expose the foibles, expose the fallacious masks, expose the real motives, expose the intentions, expose the acts...expose them to Light, for secrets can only grow in Darkness...

In the darkness of a room, a cell or anything else...Secrets need pacts of silence.
Break the silence, and the pact disintegrates along with the perpetrator.

At first it might be just a hiss you emit, or maybe a furtive tear, or maybe a shout of agony, or maybe a recurrent nightmare...That is fine, don't stop. Keep at it...Keep at it, until you finally roar.

The necessary, temporary, reconstructed post-violated Self is being dismembered again...allowing Healing and a new stronger Self to emerge. Keep at it.

Torture comes under different forms. Please don't take my words in a literal way, I dislike literalists. Take it as loosely and as largely as you can, or in as far as your mind can absorb - absorb the experience.

I am absorbing the experience. I have been absorbing the experience for a long time...And some things remain undigested. Some things simply cannot be digested...
I will therefore vomit them on my screen, on my keyboard, through my words...

Each word becomes for me a healing drug, an anesthetic pill...a window allowing fresh air, a door of exit, a gate of freedom...

It is hard for a victim to tell the story. Telling is exposing and the victim has already been forcefully exposed, against his/her will, in more way than one...

I don't like the use of the word victim. It does not empower. I will use the word Subject turned Object. Because this is what torture under all its forms is all about.
The objectification of the Other. By turning the other into an object, you strip him/her of subjectivity. You rip away at all the attachments - home, family, friends, things, memories, cognition, references, anchors, values, sum all attachments to a previous Self.

The Torturer thus tries to create a new object, out of the previous Self, an object of Gratification. Objects are inert, aren't they ? And that is why you hear many torture victims repeating that sentence -- I no longer recognize myself.

They become automates, having been robbed of their own Humanness. They fall back on primary impulses...and even those are thwarted, twisted...leaving place for a disintegrated, fragmented, dissociated and depersonalized...remnant of a Self.

They regress and regress and in extreme cases they finally flirt with psychosis. And that is the aim of the torturer. Project onto the subject/object his own psychosis thus relieving himself of his own madness.

All of the above dynamic necessitates Darkness and Secrecy - Silence. This is the modus operandi of the Torturer. Secrecy and Silence.

I have mentioned on previous occasions, that for me, the personal and the political are one and the same. That the intimate and the public are flip sides of the same coin. That the private and the collective are reflections of one another...I speak as a Woman. I speak as an Iraqi. I speak as an Arab. I need you to hold on to that as you read along...

I prefer French to English when it comes to certain words. In French, Violence and Viol (rape) share the same etymological root. To violate is an act of violence, of rape...

Rape is not to be reduced to a forced sexual act alone. Rape must be understood as the prime face of Violence. All violence is a form of Rape. All violation is a form of rape. All rape is an attempt -failed or successful- at turning a subject into an object.

The word Integrity comes to mind. Violating the integrity of the Other. Violating means trespassing a boundary, a line, a frontier, a border. Integrity and its linguistic ramifications - integral, integrate, integration is the border red line. Violating means an attempt at disintegrating, fragmenting the Other. It is really as simple as that.

Something was whole and you try to break it into pieces...So you can retain the illusion of remaining a Master of your own dissociated, fragmented pieces...your own self.

A torturer will not try to fragment, destroy an already fragmented person. He will aim at someone whom he perceives as Whole. You must understand this. This is most important to understand.

A torturer by fragmenting/destroying someone that is whole - is really preparing the grounds for his/her occupation. Occupying the Other, can also be done on many levels. First he invades your territory with a story... As simple as that. Do you understand ?

Occupation of someone - be it in their person, home/family, country...necessitates first a fragmentation. A sort of waging of a civil war inside that person or home or country. This where the psychopath pits one side of self or of country against another, instating suspicion, doubt and paranoia and finally disintegration...psychosis, a psychosis reflecting his own.

The psychopath/torturer is no idiot. He studies his subject first. Studies them well and in a timely fashion. Then he plans and plots. Then approaches with stories, invented ones, fabricated ones to lull, lure or to win over...and if the previous approaches fail, he will resort to the use of sheer blind force.

This is how the psychopath/torturer operates. Be it an individual, a group, a government or a whole nation...

The weapons at his disposal are many and varied, a paraphernalia of tools.
Words, stories, illusions, promises, emotions/feelings, beliefs(your own), sex, manipulations, mind games, threats, blackmail, interrogation, coercion, force, control, domination, insults, humiliations, punches, slaps, kicks, thumps, cage, cell, chains, rods, rope, sticks, drills, bullets, bombs...and the rest.

Everything can be turned into a weapon for the psychopath/torturer. Everything. This is also something you need to understand. Another dynamic you need to be aware of.

The psychopath will go to any length and use anything, absolutely anything, to reach his objectives. The objective ranges from your psychological/emotional annihilation to its extreme variant, your physical murder, your death.

The psychopath /torturer will assail you on any level he can. Mental/psychological, emotional, spiritual/religious, sexual and the final frontier is your body, your belongings, your home, your country - i.e the physical. He can operate individually or in collectivity. He will know no limits until he reaches his final aim, his ultimate destination - your destruction.

I have personally come across psychopaths/torturers in my life time. They have occupied my country and they have also tried occupying my body and my mind.

On the outside they look like "people on a mission", "nice people doing their job", sometimes charming, sometimes tough, sometimes charismatic, sometimes well intentioned, sometimes creative, sometimes accomplished, sometimes endearing, sometimes righteous and holy, sometimes politically other words, psychopaths come in all forms and shapes and in various degrees, and take on many masks...

But all of them have common traits that you can spot, if you are diligent and vigilant enough.

They are people of the lie. They lie to themselves, to others and to the world.

Despite the "niceties", the facade and the veneer (whatever these are made of), if you dig, you will find a hard callous core that justifies and rationalizes away...and blames -- you made me do it, had you cooperated, had you not looked that way, had you replied swiftly, had you given me/us the information, had you not made me/us so angry, had you not refused me/us, had you...

If you dig deeper, you will find a sense of entitlement, of haughtiness and arrogance and a total disregard for the Other, because in his mind the Other does NOT exist.

And if you dig even deeper, you will find a disconnection and an incongruence that reveal a shallow, envious, jealous, void self...a terribly cracked object of a self, a Failed self.

And if you dig even deeper than that, you will find nothing but an abyss of bestial impulses, violence and wrath...By then you have reached Hell - His.

To be continued...(I hope)

P.S: I use "He" for matter of convenience. I am aware that "She" is also applicable, somehow to a lesser degree...

Painting : Iraqi artist, Dhia Abood.

Wednesday 22 October 2008

How Insensitive...

It's well after midgnight and I am in a terribly jazzy mood...

I dedicate this piece to all the pricks I have encountered in my life.

Wait, why should I do that if they were pricks ? Well, simple, it's thanks to pricks like these that I developed a taste for music...Music to soothe my senses, to soothe me.

How Insensitive (Insensatez) - Stan Getz - Astrud Gilberto -

Sunday 19 October 2008

Friday 17 October 2008

Tango El Caramel

Tango El Caramel - Khaled Mouzanar

The song from the movie Caramel by N.Labaki. I did mention before that I really liked this film. It is charming, smooth, heart warming and tender...Exactly what I need in my life.

And I love this piece of music, with some Arabic notes discreetly, delicately, embroidered, fused in between the tunes. Making their presence felt...Ever so powerfully...

Spent some time with R. kind and gives me space. A healing space. A space where I am allowed to trip in my tango steps. And R. keeps on reminding me that even though I may be out of step at times, they are still caramelized. What sweetness.

Sweetness as a healing touch...

I remember reading somewhere that when your baby has an upset stomach, you just give him/her some sugar stirred in warm water...that will calm the spasms of colic pain. And this is exactly what I had for a few days, sweetened water. Not too much, not too little, just the exact amount I needed...

Even though I have no sweet tooth, this caramelized feeling is not leaving me...
Thought I'd share it with you through this short melody.

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Empty Words...

OK, so what's new ? Empty, echoes, cheap aluminum, my pots make a better noise...

A classic but in Spanish this time -- Mina, the beautiful Italian singer, a new 2007version of the 1972 original.

Saturday 11 October 2008

I'm so excited !?

I was looking on youtube for one of my favorite songs - "I'm so excited." I like that song, it reminds me of the 80's.

The 80's compared to the 90's are really "cool" and compared to the "00's" are simply paradise. And as usual, whenever I am surfing for a song on youtube, I stop by related titles...

So I found another "so excited" by Janet Jackson (cringe) and by Jennifer Lopez (another cringe)

Janet Jackson is a fucking idiot, following in her brother's footsteps. As for J.Lopez, so cliché.

The Ass has to be this way. The Tits that way. The ho ho ho tone,this way. The legs 90 degrees angle - that way...

A standardized, homogenized, portrait of what it means to be sexy in the 21st century. So fucking predictable. Anyone, just about anyone can become a replica.

You get yourself one million dollars, find the best plastic surgeon in Hollywood and get your ass pumped...Then insure it for 3 million dollars. And voilà.

The standardization of beauty is akin to the Mac Finalization-Donaldization, Mickey Mickeyzation and Coca-Colazition of the world. Same package. You can always add your own dressing - Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Amy Whineyhouse, or whatever the fuck turns you on. But rest assured you are part of the package. Which makes you very, very, very standard - run of the mill type - type of Globalization.

For sexiness and beauty are also globalized. And you know it not.

You sit and swallow it all, undigested and whole, like a fucking idiot.

Here you are sitting and your senses are constantly bombarded with what is supposed to excite you and NOT what really excites you.

Mind you, you never really took the time to figure out what REALLY excites you, since you are a consumer yourself, of Excitement.

And there comes the merry-go-round, the stupidity of the average man and woman. The disasters that ensue from trying to follow that kind of a promising "excitement."

Mac Donald's, Mickey and Coca Cola and insert the picture that turns on you the most...and you become part of it. So easy.

Eat the junk, watch the junk, drink the junk and you get to fuck the junk too...but only in your head.

OK, point made. Now you think for yourselves. If you can.

Meantime, knowing am no cruel soul...having known real Westernized, homogenized, standardised, cruelty, I leave you with one of the real things from the 80's. Enabling has been disabled by request, so follow the link if you really need to.

The 80's, when life was smooth and your poison had not reached my body or soul, yet...

Oh, by the way, just like J.Lopez, I need to insure my Iraqi-Arab ass. How many Iranian Toomans ? Forget the $ Dollar, it's dwindling... And I want to keep my Arab "assets" intact, if possible...

Friday 10 October 2008

Where are all the Good Men ?

The other day I was doing some thinking about some of the men I have met in my lifetime, and I sort of drew a balance sheet if you like and I had to ask myself the following question.

Can someone please explain to me where did all the Good Men go ?

Honestly, the men I meet for the most part like 95 % of them are junk, garbage...Their behavior is junk, their attitude is junk, their speech is junk, their mentality is junk... I am starting to believe that I am living in one huge garbage can - called The Garbage Man.

What on earth is happening to men ? And what on earth is happening to women ?

You meet a guy, and a few weeks down the line, you discover he is another piece of garbage. Then you take a break and you meet another one, and bingo, it is worse than the previous one. And you take another break and meet the third one and you're flabbergasted by more hideous junk...

Mental, emotional, sexual junk...Complexes, poisonous minds, insecurities, manipulations, blackmail, deceitfulness, abusive behavior, lack of honesty, mind games, power plays, vindictiveness for issues that don't even concern you, meanness ...the whole bloody works.

People ask me why I have not remarried. Why should I remarry when all I see, notice and hear around me is Junk ?

Spoilt men acting like brats, irresponsible men, no chivalry, no gentleness, no etiquette, no savoir faire, no savoir vivre, no dignified

Just a shallow, empty, hollow ego that barks nothingness. Empty words and empty sentences. Empty men. Dull, useless and boring.

If you know the amount of garbage I have heard from men. Mountains of garbage. Their boastfulness, their sexual conquests, their conceitedness, their lack of sensitivity, their callousness, their delusions and imaginary exploits, their rationalizations and denial... And it always boils down to -- me, myself and I i.e him/them.

The belly button, the navel, the penis that has become the center of the universe - His. A universe forever shrinking into me, myself and I.

Narcissistic to the point of vomit, hypocritical beyond measure, incapable of any true intimacy, out of touch with the true self, full of clichés and jargon that are regurgitated ad infinitum, vain, covetous, lustful, greedy, always taking and totally incapable of giving, not even the basic minimum.

Empty words and empty feelings, sensationalism and high emotionalism that produce and generate nothing. A vicious circle. A cycle of nullity.

What happened to the Good Men ? Where are they ? What happened to honest, faithful, loyal, decent, engaging companions ? What happened to ethical men, principled men, respectful men, sensitive, caring men ? What happened to them ? Where did they vanish to. Where did they disappear ?

I know they have existed. I had seen a few before. So I know they are out there, or used to be out there...

What is this desolate, barren, arid, crude place called "relationship with men".

It has become so fucking ugly. Sometimes I think it is beyond repair. A hopeless case, an exercise in total futility.

Frankly I kept dumping them, one after the other and always with a good, legitimate, valid reason. Junk must be dumped. No two ways about it.

If I tell you some of the reasons here online, you will cringe with disgust. I am too ashamed to mention any of the reasons. Not because I am the one who feels shame, oh no, but because that would be shaming them even more. And I suppose I am leaving some sort of an invisible, unconscious space for them to redeem themselves. Wishful thinking on my part...

To hell with them. I still want to know what happened to the good ones and why have they gone extinct ?

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Cause Perdue...

I don't know if you have noticed, but I hardly ever write anything during the day. The day for me is not conducive, I prefer night time to get in touch with my thoughts and feelings.

However, there are always exceptions to the rule, and this morning I feel like pounding away at my keyboard.

I must admit, I am rather pissed off, and have been feeling pissed off for quite some time. This pissed off feeling sometimes metamorphoses itself into a "blah" feeling.

Oscillating between pissed off and blah, really. Every time I talk to my family I get the pissed off feeling and then as the conversation eases, the blah feeling washes over. It is always the same story, the same never ending stories from Baghdad.

And as the days pass by, I feel more and more powerless and more and more pissed off, I think we, they, I, have been shelved into oblivious forgetfulness. Placed somewhere on a shelf gathering dust.

They say to me - we need this, this is lacking, we don't have that, so and so is in dire straits. Then I receive mails of more of the same. So and so is in prison, so and so needs money, so and so is ill, so and so is this and so and so is that...

I get pissed off from my feelings of powerlessness and from the indifference that surrounds them and I. I want to help, I want to do something but I feel whatever I do is never enough. It is not because they are unappreciative, it is simply because there is so much to be done and so few people doing it.

After a while the feeling of pissed off eases and the blah feeling overtakes. It's a kind of a blah feeling derived from a resignation to what is. Really when I want to dig deeper, it is nothing but a deep sadness resulting from the realization that this is the way it has become and this is the way it is most likely to remain.

On another personal note, I am also pissed off by someone who has been playing some pretty screwed up mind games with me. Well I know how mind games work, but they tire me and once I move beyond the pissed off feeling, I get into that blah again and say to myself - fuck it - let them play on their own and I shall just pretend along... And obviously mind game players never admit to their games, it is part of their little sick perversion. They may think it's titillatingly "smart and sexy", I just think it's another cause perdue.

Basically I find myself stuck in games, political and/or personal. As if this grotesque occupation has attracted nothing but that...I need freedom asap.

I am so fucking tired of the human race and so fucking tired of people. I sometimes fantasize am some Robinson Crusoe on my own little island. I want to see, hear, touch no one. I know myself well enough. When I get to that stage, all I want to do is cocoon myself, turn into some little ball in some corner, or maybe become a hermit and cut all ties with the outside world. Maybe I too, will become another cause perdue, adding itself to all the other perditions...

Painting : Iraqi female artist, Betool Fekaiki.

Saturday 4 October 2008

Just a Pizza...

This evening, I simply could not be bothered to cook. I thought I would treat myself to a pizza instead. Am no big fan of pizzas, but it so happens that this was a convenient thing to do.

So I headed off to this pizzeria, that serves relatively good pizzas. It does not bother me to sit alone in a restaurant, I know it sometimes bothers others, some seem to think what it is this woman sitting alone doing ?

For me it is always an experience. The temporary state of aloneness is one that I find to be very conducive to knowledge. Aloneness does not frighten me, it is bad company that does.

I really do not wish to turn this post into some treatise on existentialism or the "human condition", but I can't but notice the "human condition" staring back at me.

A sad, sorry state of a human condition if you ask me.

When one is alone, one is afforded the luxury of observing and sometimes hearing others...And one by virtue of some state of aloneness is also made privy to people's minds, behavior, speech, words, interactions...

I have had this tendency since I was a small kid - that of observing. I remember one day my school teacher who prided herself on speaking bad French said to my mother
"votre fille est toujours dans la lune" - your daughter is always on the moon. At times they called me a lunatic at school, lunatic comes from lune...the moon.

Actually I was no lunatic, I was simply lucidly observing...

I have kept this "trait" in me and it kind of grew as I grew older, and took on the form of a hobby, if you wish - that of observing people.

I am quite discreet by nature, so I do it discreetly. This has also helped me to sharpen up my senses, without the need to actually look in the direction of a person, or a table... Sometimes a small irrelevant detail is sufficient, sometimes a sentence, sometimes a movement, sometimes a posture, sometimes the silence...

And from what I managed to gather from this evening's lesson, is that people overall, a great majority of them, are living in a mental la la land.

In other words, people, most people are the most unaware, unconscious thing that has ever been created. It is a miracle that we have survived so long with so little consciousness...and so little conscience.

Take for example the table at my right. About 15 individuals, mixed gender, sitting, eating and talking, and sometimes laughing at the most boring jokes ever. Age 25-30.
Pretending to be so sophisticated and so care free, yet you spot the guy who keeps straightening his tie, and the girl who keeps flicking her hair, trying to catch a glimpse of her reflection in someone's eyes, or the other who laughs louder than everyone else, trying to stand out from the crowd. Then you hear bits of a conversation, empty words that mean nothing, hollow, and each one is listening to their own echo, hoping to find some resonance somewhere in this tumult.

Or look at the table on my left, two women chatting. They were close enough so I could hear the conversation.

One says to the other

- I like your watch
- Do you know who gave it to me, have a wild guess.
- Hmmm, who can it be ?
- X gave it to me, now am trying to get him to buy the bracelet that goes with it.
- X ? I thought you stopped seeing X ? You said he has put on too much weight.
- Yes, he's gone so fat, he's not even attractive to me anymore, but still, I will ask him to bring me to this pizzeria one day...
- Yes that is a good idea, it's better than nothing.

Better than nothing.

How many people settle for better than nothing ? A lot of people do. Then they sit and complain that they have nothing in their lives...

I personally settled for a pizza. The cute waiter who is always all smiles, said

- So what shall it be ?

- Napolitana and take it easy on the anchovies, please.

And this is it, a pizza - a thin crispy bread with an obvious topping. Nothing hidden here. Mozzarella, tomatoes, black olives, anchovies, capers...

Nothing mysterious about a pizza, nothing tucked away, it's right there on your plate, totally exposed and flat...As flat as the way earth looks...

The garnish and toppings are there for all to see and the content is all too common.

A pizza does not have an existential crisis. Neither does the guy who is too worried about his tie, nor does the girl too engrossed in her looks, nor is a woman financially using a guy she no longer finds attractive...

Too simplistically predictable, too easy, too obvious -- just like a pizza.

Too bad, I could not finish my pizza. Half way through I had a strong bout of existential nausea even though it looked so appetizing...