Thursday, July 03, 2014

Football

As usual he avoids all videos of violence in his country (his country?) published in youtube.com. He starts listening to songs. In T.V. he starts watching an Arabic Lebanese series named لو (=If), which is about romantic relationships. He chooses to write a new article on an Arabic website about some old paintings about hypnosis. He opens the newspaper less often and prefers to see anything but the first three pages. The other day he liked this picture in the first page of his newspaper. 


But as he flips the first three pages to that page of culture he found this caricature.

As he sees that caricature he remembers that the World Cup of Football is running in Brasil. He turns the page to read a story. It was a new short story by Ahmed Khalaf. He remembers that he wrote once an article about Ahmed Khalaf's novel, "The Death of the Father." The new short story starts with a man feeling numb and confused after an explosion and he sees a head beheaded on the ground. The gut-feeling, the feared gut-feeling says that this head might be the protagonist's head.

That was true, as he anticipated, the protagonist's head was in front of him on the ground.

He turns the page and reads about an idea of making a center in Berlin for Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. All can pray there. He remembers that he is in Ramadan. He wonders how Ramadan look like in Berlin. Or in Algeria. Or France. Australia. L.A. Anyway.
At night he meets his neighbors. He asks his friend to bring that small T.V. so that they can watch the match. His friend doesn't respond quickly. He knows that his friend is feeling tired and doesn't want to go to bring the T.V. but he insists and the T.V. finally comes.

A neighbor opens the issue of that Uruguayan footballer who bit an Italian one. The neighbors argue if that biting is a sign of mental illness. He thinks about the goalkeeper of USA team who talked publicly about Tourette's syndrome and how he made some tatoos in his body for the sake of animal rights. (animal rights?) He remembers how he once read about psychiatrists for pet dogs.

He sighs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Putain





I was training my French language by reading La Putain Respectueuse, and Morts sans Sepulture, in French since I have also the Arabic translation by Suhail Idriss. Both are pieces of theatre written by Sartre. La Putain Respectueuse talks about a prostitute which came down to one of the southern states from New York. She was asked to give false testimony against a black man. She was bribed to do so. The man who was trying to bribe her chose first to sleep with her that night, then the next morning he offered to bribe her so that she give a false testimony. The black man visits her and asks her to give the right testimony. It is interesting piece of theatre. I remembered that a friend had lent me a D.V.D. of a new movie about slavery of black people in the USA "12 Years a Slave". He told me that the black actress, who came from Kenia, had won an Oscar for her first performance ever. I just searched her name in the google and found that she is Lupita Nyong'o, and she had won the Acadmy Award for best supporting actress.




I read La Putain Respectuese and it was delicious. Bitter sweet. Realistic. Like a having a dinner of cheese and olive, with tea and a last cigarette. I hold Al Mada Paper to read what Lutfyia Al-Dulaimy had written. She talks about Hypatia and she was murdered by Christian monks back then in Egypt in 415 AD. I let the newpaper for a while to be hanged down from my stiff grip while my eyes were fixed somewhere in the wall in front remembering that question I read once: "do you prefer to live in a period of historical turmoil? Or you prefer to live in stable situations?" the question was something like that and was supposed to measure how much you are "opened to experience".


That was a silly question to me. To an Iraqi living these days in Iraq.
I take another page from Tatoo, that supplement of Al-Mada specialized with arts and literature and all things related and saw those paintings by an Iraqi painter named Layla Kubba.







Another supplement of Al Mada talks about an Iraqi doctor who used to paint. A picture of the doctor included in the supplement, a picture of the doctor while he paints from near the river, Tigris, while he was in Baghdad Hospital. Baghdad hospital is on the bank of the river. The hospital is not anymore that good old hospital with good reputation, nor the river is that Tigris that we used to hear poets writing about, nor Baghdad is Baghdad, nor doctors are like before.


 

Yesterday I read Karen Horney talking how a "neurotic" might chose to separate himself from people around and see even marriage as some difficult commitment that he fear. A friend used to tell me that I fear commitment, and this is neurotic.


Well, my answer to that is: "Putain !"





Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Maitham Rathie Caricatures in Al-Mada

Since some time I noticed a new cartoonist publishing clever caricatures in Al Made paper. His name is Matham Rathie. I chose for you these four cartoons that I like the most, if we can use the word "like" in this context !!




Saturday, May 24, 2014

Turtles Can Fly in Kerbala

Days were separating us from the elections. Politicians were doing their propaganda. Streets were filled with pictures of them. The Minster of Higher Education, who was also a nominee in the coming elections, was on his way to our university in Kerbala. He was to raise one of the biggest Iraqi flags, in a monument that was built lately in the university. We were working that day and the orders come to us to leave or job and go to welcome him. My colleague told me that we are supposed to dress formally. I felt nauseated. I told him that I will not go. I went to the market to kill the time till Hana’a Edward would reach Kerbala. 

 It is for the first time in Kerbala that I see a lady not wearing a veil. Her hair is grey and short. I liked her much. In Kerbala Book Club she talked to us about the role of non-governmental organizations in Iraq, including their role in scrutinizing the election process. When one of her colleagues, at the end of the lecture, narrated to us his memories with her when she came to Kerbala in a rainy winter in the 60s or 70s, I cannot remember precisely, his voice shivered from emotions. She came back then as a member of the forbidden communist party. She was risking her life. He harbored her in his home. He said that and his voice was so emotional. When he finished narrating, Hana’a Edward rose up and headed towards him. He rose up. They shake hands. They kissed each others’ cheeks. We applauded. Tears were withheld difficultly inside my eyes. With these people human have a value. I will keep coming here.
 
 I was told later that night that the Minster of Higher Education was welcomed with songs that praise him. Anyway.

The other day Shurooq Al- Abayatchi came to the Book Club. She told us about her work in water engineering. A subject that was new to me. 

 The elections came and I voted for them. Even that that Minster of Higher Education had won a seat in the Iraqi Parliament, Shurooq Al-Abayatchi had won another. I was relieved a little. I can take a breath.

We gathered again in Kerbala Book Club after the elections and this time to watch a movie entitled: “Turtles Can Fly”. 
The method used to show the film was primitive: a laptop linked to a datashow which projects to a small white board. The film was not clear. The image was not clear, nor the sound. But the idea is that we were trying to do some kind of a cinema in Kerbala. Oh yes, turtles can fly!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Labor Day

Like the tree that grows so tall
Leaves turn gold and then they fall
That same kind of music. That same kind of pictures. American movie direction. American music. American county side. Huge trees.  

Mountain streams may run and flow
Clean the sands on which they go
Yesterday was the first of May. Before yesterday was the day of Iraqi parliamentary elections. I went and chose the “Civil and Democratic Coalition”. That coalition contains some secular and liberal forces, some individuals, and the Iraqi communist party. Yesterday I started watching a DVD of a movie named “Labour Day”.




The summary of the back cover of the DVD said that it talks about coming-of-age of a teenager. I was asked before three weeks to write two medical scenarios for the second year medical students around the theme of puberty, one scenario about a girl, and the other about a boy. I felt totally lost while trying to fabricate a story. I googled and saw examples then wrote just one about a female in 9 years old and send it by email to who asked me to write it. I still didn’t write the boy scenario. I thought seeing that film might help. Especially it is about Labour Day and we are at the first of May.

 The film, based on a novel, is about a fugitive prisoner kept away from police by a divorced mom and her teenage boy. They both liked him since he filled that gap of the father. He worked at their home and fixed things. I watched the first part of the film while sitting next to my neighbors. We were talking about the elections. That was when in a particular moment the talking reached a peak of tension. At that peak I paused the movie and listened well. I may have murmured some words but can’t remember well now. Then there was a laughing. Then the talking continued more fluently and calmly. I started watching the movie again. I was having my laptop with me with a headphone.
 
 I must have seen some parts of that film someday. Some of the things are familiar. I don’t know if it will help me writing a scenario of a boy passing through puberty or not. I don’t know if we are able to uses the words “Iraq is passing through political puberty”, or not. I hope that civility win sooner in Iraq. I need to see Iraqis leaving those religious-sectarian-racist perspectives. Or I need to leave Iraq and go and live elsewhere. I like those American movies and they make me dream.

The 4 lines in rosy color are from a song played in the movie named “I’m going home” by Arlo Guthrie



Monday, April 28, 2014

Stellet Licht


When the film started I remembered Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life”. Those scenes from a silent rural area. You can hear the sounds of wild animals crying the song of liberty. Man, on the other side, is bound by traditions he invented to imprison himself. Johan is the father of the family in the film “Stellet Licht” and he is leading the praying. His wife Esther is following the prayer so religiously. Their children are obeying the rules. The younger the children are, the freer they are. The youngest was yawning. Yawning was the most realistic reaction to that Mennonite tradition. Sooner in the film we got the notion that Esther is that kind of a woman upon which stands a whole family. The woman who not only is a womb to receive the fertile atoms and let them be, but also, the woman who can crop. The woman who knows that her man is loving another woman.





Esther is a name that reminds me of another woman, Asmer, in that novel of Samir Nakkash named “Shlomo the Kurdish, Me, and Time”. Shlomo was a religious Jew who was spoiled enough to let his wife Asmer brings him that young woman he had a lust to. Esther, like Asmer, is a kind of woman who sacrifices and lives like a liver do.

Juhan develops a lust to Marianne. A beautiful name. A name similar to that of Marina in “To The Wonder” of Terrence Malick. A young wife who is loved in Malick’s move by a priest. In Carlos Reygadas’s movie, “Stellet Licht”, which means “Silent Light”, and talks in a strange language for me named PLAUTDIETSCH, Marrianne is little wise and says to Juhan after they practice sex for a while that: “Peace surpasses love.”

 While Esther bears a blue umbrella under the rain next to a tree that looks like having two thighs spread apart, Marianne doesn’t like to see the eye of the sun so she puts her hand to cover the sun. Why did Yalom name that book: “Starring at the Sun”? What truth did Marrian try to avoid? Is it simply that truth that love is under our voluntary control? Or something more deep, related to our existence, and death?


What I prefer is that Esther standing strong next to her children in the field, and that dark tree getting wetter and wetter under the rain after the sun has set.
 


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Snakes

I took 89/100 in DELF A2. I want to continue studying French. I headed to the Institue Francais en Irak and inscribed for the courses that will help me prepare for the B1 examination. They were kind enough to photocopy for me the pages I need for the coming lesson, till they bring new books that I can use. I went home glad. I looked at the photo of the lesson and it was little strange. Somebody, a female body?, playing flute? in a forest, nearby a river, and there are snakes. I googled the name of the painter Henry Rousseau and see other paintings by him. I went to sleep.


 
Today I woke up early refreshed. Yesterday I avoided smoking much cigarettes. Started reading from the photocopied papers and it was about dreams, and day-dreams. I remembered that I had seen a book the last day written by Gaston Bachelard carrying a title with the word Day-Dreaming in it. Decided to buy that book. I looked for it in the internet and found the free PDF in french. I will buy the translated copy and see if I can understand what Bachelard wanted to say. I am not good in understanding philosophy. I headed out to take the bus to the Institute Francais. I bought Bachelard's book from Abu Salwan, and took also my Al-Mada (=Horizon) newspaper from him and headed to the buss.

 I just read the titles in the front pages. Read them with furrowed eye-brows. Then open the last three or four pages which I usually read with pleasure. Somebody named Sabah Atwan, an Iraqi writer, says that he used to live a bitter life and he even had drank snake poisons so that he becomes immune to the bitterness of life in Iraq. Well.

 Marquez ashes will be divided among Mexico and Columbia, a news says. But also talks about Peter Matthiessen death. I head about this Matthiessen the first time. He is a supporter of the indigenous people of America. Sounds a good man. Is he interested in snakes?

A newly published translation of a book about Baghdad written early in the 20th century by Ethel Stefanan Drower and translated by Zuhair Ahmed Al-Qaisi, the Iraqi historian. The article on the book says that one day Tigris has flooded. Baghdadies used to hold a believe that there is a big marvelous black snake that prevent the waters of the flood from destroying their houses.
Enough snakes for today.