Today's discussion is being undressed to the sounds of Flamenco infused Sufi music, an uncomfortable musical mix slowly and eerily sifting its hands through my gray hair.
There is little room for religion in my realm of inspiration. Any structure which strives to strengthen oppressive relations in our society, between men and women or rulers and their subjects, must be actively fought against and stripped of its affluent and mystifying drapery.
However, for billions of people around the world, the oceanic feeling of belonging to something greater than the materialistic mess choking our minds, offers a personal escape to purgation, a complete cleansing, an intimacy with the beauty of the skies. To them, I offer my condolences, the death of their potential continues to serve as a reminder of the limited times we live in.
In these words, however, I wash my hands of the cold calculated lifeless secularism that most critics of religion hold with a religious fervor of their own. A refusal of the culture and presence of religion, steeped in scientific development and artistic antagonism, is white supremacy of the highest quality.
For Canadians, or any other colonial settler population, to reject the notion of religion in a wholesale fashion as a regressive and underdeveloped way of life is a farcical notion, in perfect wedlock with their superiority syndrome, serenaded by self righteous notions of democracy. Capitalism, with all its trap doors and torture chambers, offers religiousness no alternative. It is a rabid fox let loose in a farm of grounded chickens, consuming and commodifying anything and anyone in its way.
It is here, where capitalism and religion monopolize our choice, that a third alternative will be born. Whether the new road will be colored with the respect for all or be polluted with the wishes of the few, remains to be a battle waging fiercely around us, in spite of our eternal lull.
A corner stone of any religion is the symbolism assigned to the cast of characters employed in the production of stories, dramatized to encapsulate one's allegiance and energies in an oath of eternal faith and submission.
For me, the traits of many these individuals remain idealistically nestled in the stars that illuminate my night. One such figure is Sukayna, daughter of Hussein, Islam's iconic martyr, who died in the pursuit of justice, on the river banks of the Euphrates, in Karbala, one hundred kilometres southwest of Baghdad. Her perseverance in the face of oppression is a sharp contrast to the oppression in the face of perseverance, eminating from the religious elite in Kerbala today, waging war against civil society in occupied Iraq.
In tribute to her, we have named our first song, composed in the cozy confines of our living room, "The Scream of Sukayna." There are millions of Sukaynas in Iraq and throughout the world that carry their dignity and beauty with them as they fight patriarchy and violence, at times in the holiest of places. To them, I apologize for the recent signs of self pity that I have been symptomatic of. I have no right to wade in the cesspool of boredom, and present it as some major calamity, when scores of people scour the dirty floors of dirtier banks and churches for food and freedom.
The aforementioned track, a big hit in waiting, is a lively creation set to the beats of Mustafa, lifted by the guitaristic glory of Deline, and grounded by the bass lines of yours truly. Our humble ensemble is a reflection of what does truly act as an inspiration in times of great voids: being constantly surrounded by beautiful and loving people, a list topped off by my family and Saron.
At times, I feel like I have lived a million lifetimes to reach the tales of today. Memories seem to come out of every corner of my soul, like water pouring through the breached walls of an ancient dam. At times, these retro-reflections can furnish the world with heavenly highs, while in other instances, looking back pierces my eyes with hot searing rusty knives. However when it comes to missing those whom you love, memories always come in flavors of two: the joy of being enriched by their presence in your life, and the pain of longing for their physical presence in your life.
One such friend is Mina, affectionately known as Monmon by the colossal circle of friends which she courts. I first met Mina in the classrooms of York, where we both studied the science of politics at a time when the words on the board leapt at us to commemorate the destruction of our beloved Iraq.
Since then, Mina has tirelessly carved out a huge palace in my heart, fitting accommodation for a modern descendant of a royal dynasty stretching from Iraq to the rest of the world. I mostly miss Mina's stubborn stances on issues that she has taught me greatly on. Coffee and tea with Mina and me seem so far at times, and as each day passes, the distance seems to expand. But, as I type these words, her distinct laugh brings a smile to my face that I have missed for weeks.
Thank you Mina.