I always like to visualize my stress. Crumbling mountains into the sea or agonizing sweaty overweight sit ups come to my mind when my mind starts to wrestle with itself. Seeing the stress allows me to think of quick and clever escape routes to tranquility, no matter how artificial or temporary these getaways may be.
In many ways, I love stress. In Do-ha, stress keeps you awake and warm under the relentless and aggressive tactics of air conditioning units and their operators. In Do-ha, stress keeps you awake and alert in the face of mind numbing innuendo spewing from loud TV sets and even louder TV pets: the viewers.
But my stress isn't limited to my immediate locale. It extends in a far reaching drain-bow that spans several cities and skips numerous time zones. For the purposes of strength and agility, I will limit my reflections to the city I hate to love: Toronto.
The most feverish news coming out of the Tee-dot (alias for Toronto) is how much I miss my other half: Saron. There are few words in the world that can describe how much I love her, and even worse, there are much less words to describe how lonely I am without her.
For anyone who has met Saron, there is little that I can say about how much of a beautiful kween she is, as I'm sure most of you are either in love, or in admiration, with her as well. For those that haven't met her, I will try to to use my virtual canvas to describe her, knowing there is no literary movment in the English language that can capture all of her essence.
Saron, or Susu, or Tumtumo, is a world of strength and dignity held together by a beauty hand crafted by Habasha gods. She is a woman who has smashed every obstacle, and, along the way, opened up spaces for the most marginalized of youth to seek their own liberation. She is a mental and spiritual mountain towering above oppression, and in return, acting as a beacon for her community and beyond to guide voiceless hordes of youth right into the halls of power.
Despite all her heavenly traits, Saron is a humble down to earth girl that has a heart bigger than all of the world and its neighbors. Her heart beats step by step with the pace of progress made by others, and when they stop moving forward, her heart pauses to resist. She is gracious and generous with her love and concern, and is universal in her appreciation for community and belonging.
I have never known a love like this. A kiss on her cheek sends me straight into the bluest and clearest seas of ecstasy, where I am content to live the rest of my life. I see Baghdad in her eyes and here the gunfire of freedom fighters with every word that she speaks. I lose myself in her hair, a crown woven from fire, perfectly nestled on the cutest of heads. I exist off her dreams and die with every one of her disappointments. She inspires me to fight, write, and light the skies on fire. She holds my head strongly against the ground, where the sounds of her footsteps sound like knocks on the gateways to life.
I have never known separation to be so agonizing. I am haunted by her absence, even when I am surrounded by dozens of friends. I ache for her touch, yearn for her voice in every waking moment of my daze. It is for her that I venture here to start this career, whatever it may bring. I want to build her a palace from Iraqi water and Ethiopian clay, and spend my days braiding her hair, and washing her feet. But, as I stare at this screen, with only me and my tears separating me from these words, I am sobered by the distance between us.
I am thankful for her patience, and all her support. But I am concious of where I may have to abort my mission. No money or status in the world could equal a minute of being lost in her love. Even if I tried, I can only survive without my heart for so long, seeing I left it with her, somewhere in her back pocket, before I left.
This is stress not made of impatience and greed. This is stress that breaks my bones and burns my eyes. I miss Saron, and hope you can tell her that Ahmed is the luckiest boy from Baghdad. Full Stop.
No matter how far I travel, I can never wander far enough to escape the day to day details of York. I graduated from the third largest university in Canada several years ago, but the stench of Zionism which is synonymous with York U keeps bringing me back. How can I disregard my priviledge as a student, or alumni, to fight against support for Israel, when I know silence means complicity in filling Palestinian graves with dead babies.
York, since I met it, has been an institutional hub for upholding the racist Apartheid criminal ways of the world's most notorious hijack state: Israel. In the weeks that I have been gone, my friends, or more accurately, my diasporic family, have continued to organize for a Boycott of Israeli Universities right in the heart of York's Zionist infestation.
I gain so much strength from their courage to face the racist mysogynistic bullying tactics of spoiled kindergarten fascists acting in the name of Hillel or the Hasbara fellowship. I know that many of these racist Zionist students have served in the Israeli army, perversely named a Defence Force, and that deep in their hearts, they wish they can physically degrade Palestinian students and their supporters.
I look forward to this year's Israeli Apartheid Week, an educational and organizing campaign, now held in 4o+ cities across the world. I am honored to know that it started in Toronto, and that it now constitutes a serious threat to the monolithic mass of lies emerging out of Israeli propogandists that their country is a democracy. Israel is only a democracy for the racist settlers that claim their home on the bodies of dead Palestinian villages, whether they are in Tel Aviv or Hebron.
My postings will bring you updates of the Week, set to take place between March 1 and March 9. Please visit their website: http://apartheidweek.org for more information.
I think it's fitting that the name of the area I live in can also mean a large abyss between two people or groups. Not only is there a gulf between me and Saron's feet, but there is a Gulf between me and the people I meet here.
I am the luckiest boy from Baghdad not only for falling in the hands of a perfect love, but also for the open ended amount of love and support I get from my beautiful family. Hadeel, my sister and soulmate, is an ocean of love and support. Aseel, my other sister and role model, despite her diasporic sentence in New Jersey, always makes me feel like I am watched over and accounted for in these heavy seas of exile. As for my parents, Kassim and Jinan, I have never seen parents more loving and caring. To them, I owe everything, and I dedicate anything that I have done, or will ever do.
Although these blog posts are supposed to be open windows into the soul of a pissed off Iraqi, I must warn my readers of filters in place. There are three kinds of censorship at play here: internal, external, and just simple absent mindedness.
Internally, I limit my outbursts at people as to not lose their friendship. There is something about people's ego that makes written criticisms even harder to accept. Maybe it is because the critique can be read over and over again, as opposed to a verbal lashing that eventually melts into the cocophony of nothingess. But, do not fear, I would rather have no friends, than be chummy with people whose attitudes and beliefs disgust me.
Externally, I am concious of my surroundings and the effect that my words could have on the futures of loved ones around the world. For all those silenced depressed and marginalized voices in the Gulf, you know what I mean.
Absent mindedness is an unavoidable symptom of stress, and so I apologize for missing out on moments that have deep impacts on my soul.
After all, these words are only descriptors for a language only understood by my heart and mind.
Tomorrow, we meet my friends in Qatar.