Last night, the European football season reached its media driven climax, with a beautiful display of total tactical domination by Barcelona FC who went on to win the 2009 Champions League by beating Manchester United FC with two goals coming at each end of an hour of play. Of significance here wasn't the pair of points unleashed by Samuel Eto and Lionel Messi, but of the social dynamics intertwined into the field of play, and weaved into the uniforms of the players themselves. Like most things that happen in the West, Arab youth are impacted in ways where decisions in their own back yards fail to achieve. From discussions digging up the death of millions of Young Arabs to the fabrication of falsely fabulous fads feeding the minds of millions of Arab youth, what happens in Europe has always impacted this part of the World, mostly in ways wrapped up in the caskets catered by colonialism. In modern football, the relationship between Europa and the Arab world, or the rest of the Global south for that matter, hasn't really moved far beyond the realm of exploitation and culture colonialism. Young players are ripped out of poorer countries, or picked up from the streets of ghettoized neighborhoods in France or Germany, and made to masquerade around madly for millions of meaningless dollars. In last night's game, another dynamic was at play, that of fan allegiance eminating from the streets of Arabland. Most affluent, elite, Iraqi youth adorned their Man U jerseys in support of a team stemming from the heart of the English industry-side, manufactured and packaged perfectly for consumption by masses of income wielding yuppies. Barca, on the other hand is the only major European outfit refusing to carry corporate sponsorhip on its jersey, and is situated in the heart of Catalonia, an autonomous region in Spain once located within the great expanses of Al-Andalus. During the War on Iraq, Barca supporters yielded anti-war slogans and waved Iraqi flags around as if they were their own. In the latest Israeli massacre of Gaza, Barcelona's basketball supporters invaded the court to disrupt a game against an Israeli club, seeing no fair play in Apartheid. However, at the end of the day, Barcelona's popularity, in the Arab world in particular, could be perpetuated by the many of the same dynamics driving desire for Manchester United: consumerism, mass media, and a yearning to identify with the all-powerful. After Barcelona's win, hundreds of youth rioted in the heart of the city, showering police with bottles and petrol bombs. Now that's something to cheer for.
Last night, I performed for the first time in the Arab world. I managed to wedge myself into a lineup of graphic and visual artists sharing their work through a series of slides. My spoken word, empowered by the fires lighting the skies of Iraq and Palestine, set a beautiful contrast to the two dimensional diatribe dictating the terms of the night. My father saw me perform for the first time. He was the first one there. Followed by mother and sister. That meant the world to me. "Who knew that the way I greets you can defeats the way you want to harm me twice already bush attacked me with a warning and yet none of us were swarming none of us left despite the theft of our existence you took soccer on the streets and turned it into christmas at the mall man you got balls making kids dream of buildings that are tall never telling them how hard they'll fall if they don't stand quietly against the wall. Who knew that the sky can turn pink and the sun can sink into the earth where things of the greatest worth give birth to every verse that I disperse and find my self inside it immersed. who knew that the soul I left in Baghdad I would search for in zig zags and bodybags would be a gift to my people, their souls are not so feeble and with every evil achiever there is born a believer who through words can conceive-a viva Iraq!!! But now that the birds are back i think i saw a dove with the whole pain of the world on its back. Who knew that by placing verbs into sentences we can disturb the sentences which we are forced to serve I must flatten the curve and swerve because I don’t deserve to live off what those choose to give from this earth and that is how a man can give birth."
Last night, I wrote and recorded news bulletins for Qatar Foundation Radio, whom I'm doing some freelance work for. I waited till the midnight hour passed, to wait and absorb, edit, and regurgurate the news of the day. When I arrived, however, the work I produced never made out of my bosses' inbox. Criticisms of QF remain muted, but not for long. In the meantime, find them on the net.
Last night, I called Saron and she never picked up. Each empty ring piercing through my existence. I miss her desperately, and can't wait to celebrate summer with her magic.
Last night, one night, of many nights gone by.