"Between my sea and another" - Karim Sultan
It has only been a few hours since the last broken pencil was surgically removed from my broken torso, and yet, I find myself immersed, head first, into another sea of liquefied amnesia. But, according to our invisible neighbor, with his tongue solidly stuck in my ear, "these are the trials and tribulations of trying to write."
It has been Manama, Cairo, and New York since we last spoke and despite the long procession of days, dilated and depressed, little has changed around me. Tall blood-covered buildings still surround me and apathy and greed continue to bound me.
In Iraq, where the lion's share of my soul rests restlessly, destruction continues to dance to the tune of American occupation. From Mosul to Basra, echoes of "elections" gone by bounce off broken dreams. Thousands of years of literary and poetic might fail to capture the incompetency of the Iraqi government. Theft, corruption, nepotism, and murder have become words that struggle and fail to describe the complete scope of criminality involved in the mis-governance of Iraq.
Over the last seven years, every single injustice carried out against Iraq, and Iraqis worldwide, has been whitewashed and swept under a carpet of carefully calculated confusion. The occupation has either been perversely compared to liberation or it has been diagnosed as the product of historic sectarian violence. Both of which are untrue.
As a result of this foggy fanfare, the guilty are allowed to perpetually elude the guilt. Bloody hands and gluttonous pockets taunt the rotten skies of Baghdad. Around the world, self proclaimed Iraqis sing the praise of the American government louder than they pathetically cheer for their favorite European soccer team. For most, the death of Iraq justifies their exile. A self preserved elite coated by their distance from the waging war zone has boasted the Iraqi government's efforts to portray itself as an outfit of subservient civil servants bogged down by unsurmountable circumstances.
The same old tune rings out like the silent hammering of rain on tin cholera infested roofs. "They are not thieves, they are protectors of Iraq's wealth. They are not murderers, they are defenders of the poor. They are not sectarian, they are the people's choice." A much anticipated Peaceful Obama Remix is to be released soon.
In Palestine, where ghosts from a past life haunt me, the peace process industry finally succumbs to its natural fate: nothingness. Desperate attempts by Mahmoud Abbas and the rusty crust of his Palestinian Authority to sell what remains of the dignity of the Arab world fall apart under the shoes of Zionist racism. Settlers settle, F16s fire, and the Wall wages war without waste.
As we approach the sixty third year of the existence of the State of Israel, synonymous with ethnic cleansing, Apartheid, and genocide, the greatest weapon in the hands of the settler colonial state is the increasing indifference of Arab youth to Palestine.
An allergic reaction to dictator dispersed nationalist mantra and a self hating fever dashed with racism and misogyny color the skin of Arab youth. This disease will naturally vary in its intensity depending on class and proximity to death, but, nonetheless, the general theme applies.
In most parts of the Arab world, minorities are forced to make the choice between marginalized progressive elements and sellout mainstream monsters. Either you suffer with the fragmented ideals of an Arab world, united by language and liberty, respectful of everyone's rights, or you take the ethnic express straight to Washington DC, where the empire eats everyone's ethnicity equally; the passport please.
The much anticipated absence of any wide reaching progressive political project in the Arab world is the life beneath the wings of corporate vultures, stripping the land of any of its weight. Resistance is readily replaced with Rolexes, and tyranny is served hot from your nearest foreign military base.
Direct flights across the Atlantic spin the illusion that exile is nearing its end. But Toronto tortures me with its towering presence, always over my shoulders, whispering voices of my forgotten family, flashing images of a life gone by. Here, my megaphone is muted, my writing looks wrong, and my activism is not-at-all. Every day, I waft through the wonders of working for people with disabilities in a society crippled by its own misconceptions.
I rarely see the light of day, despite the determined gaze of the brilliant sun. Ironically, I know no rest in a city defined by its laziness. This is the Doha Daze. But amidst the apocalyptic drama, my heart beats against the ground, stripping everyone in sight of their uneasy slumber. Love strikes again, lifting me to the limits of life and beyond. My fate rejects defeat and brings me to the arms of a woman whose might is woven by brilliance and beauty.
Sprinkled with the surreal strength of her presence, my once convoluted vision of victory is back to where it has always been: within reach.