Friday, June 26, 2009


Dear Mama,

There is little space left on the walls. I used the last empty patch, situated squarely under the circular window, to create a stained impression of capitalism by spitting coffee over my hand. The result was a beautifully stenciled masterpiece, inspired by pre-historic art and destined for the wastelands of modernity.

Yesterday, I celebrated the end of four months, out of a seven year sentence I was handed for a crime that I did, in fact, commit. As part of the festivities, I consumed the majority of the walls of my cell in a creative feast that unleashed my most brilliant manifestation to date, a self portrait of sorts, where my eyes were neatly shaped out from the four words that have guided my life: resist, roots, ambition, and other. I was able to carefully tie in the quartet with a carefully drawn out star, placed beautifully in the middle.

I learned how to draw perfectly pointed pentagrams, only days before my arrest, on a train ride from Cairo to Baghdad, long before there was a continuous railroad connecting the two cultural giants. My sister, out of boredom and disgust at the scenes of destruction decorating our window, spent the vast majority of the voyage guiding my hand against the ceiling, carving out star after star.

An eye on each wall. I wish you could see them. Your creations recreated for much more than recreation. I am grateful for the red chalk that you managed to smuggle in during your last visit, without them, I would need to use my blood. What a monstrosity that would have been, beautifully bold blue against the pale weak aspirations of the off white walls.

I dream of seeing you in Iraq, dignified, strong, and at peace. Until then, kisses on your feet bring greetings of solidarity and respect.

Love, your son.