Sunday, January 25, 2009

In the Mood for Love

She walks her walk and so does he, she walks sinuously and sensuously, and he sees her walk sinuously and sensuously. She agitates the earth as she walks, the leaves shake on the trees, water in a still lake shrugs, he watches her as he blows a smoke ring where she cannot see him, beyond the unlit staircase. He misses her just as she goes up the unlit dark staircase, she has left many things behind, a form, a sinuousness, a sensuality, a sense of time lost, time unused and bereft of dazzlement, unused and agitated by her sinuous walk up the stairs, by her sensuality that has agitated the unlit staircase.

She walks with purpose and without, she teases the indifference of the universe, and he sees her walk with purpose and without, he witnesses her teasing the indifference of his world and the universe. She lulls the unlit staircase as she climbs it into further darkness, she hypnotizes the lamps and the shade in the narrow alleys into a narcosis of will as he watches her steal the universe and his world of indifference, as he smokes, as he lingers in the corners, in the shade, as he dissolves his smile into nothingness as he just walks past her on the unlit staircase when he faintly acknowledges her with a faint smile, as she walks away with a sinuous indifference and with tragic sensuality, stealing the universe and his world of more indifference.

He will stays where the shadows stay long and grow longer, after she has walked into the room with a sinuous and sensuous melancholy, disturbing the fan and agitating the carpet, disturbing the lake and the trees and the leaves, as she sits with tragic indifference after walking sinuously and sensuously into the agitating room, as he leaves it, acknowledging her faintly with a faint smile, as he leaves and she enters. Whether this is before or after he passed her on the unlit staircase he does not know and neither do I, as I witness him pass her as she passes him past the dark corner under a melancholy lone street lamp, where he was smoking, just a little away from the unlit staircase where she passes him by as he acknowledges her faintly with a faint smile. But all this is just by the way.

( The above lines are a loose recreation, based on two scenes from In the Mood for Love. It should perhaps be read whilst listening to Yumeji's theme or after it. You can find the theme below.)

Yumejis Theme - In The Mood For Love

I waited for you since yesterday's morning

I waited for you since yesterday's morning,
that you won't come they probably guessed.
Remember what beautiful weather it was?
A holiday weather!
And I walked coatless.
Today you are here, and they have arranged
an utterly gloomy and cloudy day.
It rains, and it's getting unusually late.
The rain drops are running down the cold terrain,
unsoothable by word, unwipable by hand.

Arseny Tarkovsky ( Translator Irma Raush)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Zionist White Phosphorus

The Israeli white phosphorus that burned Palestinian earth and sky recently should not be seen as a physical act of aggression alone, a chemical intending to burn skin and bone. It goes beyond arrogance, beyond any justifiable retribution that the Palestinians had invited on themselves. It reflects a crazy insistence on the part of the Israelis in annihilating the memories of Palestine, to put to fire the script of Palestine and to burn those who fire rockets as acts of resistance. The use of white phosphorous, the incendiary fire in the skies, with carte blanche approval from its western allies, signifies a new breach, a new step towards which Israel has taken this stateless people, this land that was stolen from them, the mention of which is considered anti-Semitic by a new brand of moralizers who know sycophantic erudition alone.

The Israeli white phosphorus that crazed Gazan sky and earth recently was not an act of war, for war is fought between enemies who can hurt each other, not between a modern army and helpless women, children and men. The occupied must resist an occupation, must resist, must sings its songs, must write its history down, even when its skies are rendered afire by white phosphorous, given carte blanche to by the people who will write a new road map. Anyone who has been silent in the face of this aggression is intellectually dishonest, brutally partisan and the time has come to write about the bombed homes, hospitals and schools. Any other opinion about the atrocities inflicted on the Palestinians since being robbed of their entire historical land will be obscene, not unjust.

While the Israelis are burning Gaza, a young Palestinian boy in the West Bank has picked up a stone, his aim is the huge wall that separates his third world concentration refugee camp from the Zionist settler in his first world kibbutz camp. The settler has just finished fondling his Uzi and is taking aim at the boys head. The bullet that whizzes through the Palestinian air misses the head and pierces the heart of the boy. He is thrown and lies mangled on Palestinian earth, the stone dropping from his fist and falling near his feet. The Zionist settler, satisfied, glib with his aim, raises his head towards the sky, thanking the God of his chosen tribe. The dead Palestinian boy is now a stone himself. His wailing mother, who will be informed soon of her loss will beat her chest and the young boy will be buried under an indifferent earth.

Certain Oriental sages have written that in times past, this young boy's blood would have dug rivulets under the earth and formed rivers of blood and many such rivers would have flooded many islands of the oppressors. But in our times, oriental prophecies don't come true. However, it is hoped that the young boy will rise again from the dust and pick up another stone. And, in spite of the superiority of the settler god, it is hoped that the stone will gain speed and pierce that settler wall.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dostoevsky and the Holbein Christ

Below an extract from Ippolit's confessional monologue called "My Necessary Explanation", from The Idiot.

'Depicted in the painting is Christ, who has just been taken down from the cross. I think that painters have usually been in the habit of depicting Christ, both on the cross and when taken down from it, still with a nuance of extraordinary beauty in the face; this beauty they seek to preserve in him even during his most terrible moments. But in Roghozin's painting there was no trace of beauty; this really was the corpse of a man who had endured endless torments even before the cross, wounds, tortures, beating from the guards, beating from the mob while he carried the cross and fell beneath it, and, at last, the agony of the cross which lasted six hours. To be sure, it is the face of a man who has just been taken down from the cross, that is, retaining very much that is still alive and warm; nothing has yet had time to go stiff, so that on the face of the dead man one can even see suffering, as though he were experiencing it even now; but on the other hand, the face is not spared at all; here there is only nature, and this is truly what the corpse of a man, whoever he may be, must look like after such torments.In the painting, the face has been horribly lacerated by blows, swollen, with terrible, swollen and bloody bruises, the eyes open, the pupils narrow; the large open whites of the eyes gleam with a deathly, glassy sheen. But strangely, as one looks at the corpse of this tortured man, a peculiar and interesting question arises: if this is really what the corpse looked like when it was seen by all his disciples, his chief future apostles, by the women who followed him and stood by the cross, indeed by all who believed him and worshipped him, then how could they believe, as they looked at such a corpse, that this martyr would rise from the dead? Here one cannot help being struck by the notion that if death is so terrible and the laws of nature so powerful, then how can they be overcome? How can they be overcome when they have not been conquered even by the one who conquered nature in his own lifetime, to whom it submitted, who cried: Talitha cumi- and the damsel arose, "Lazarus, come forth", and the dead man came forth? Nature appears, as one looks at that painting, in the guise of some enormous, implacable and speechless animal, or, more nearly, far more nearly, though strangely- in the guise of some enormous machine of the most modern devising, which has senselessly seized, smashed to pieces and devoured, dully and without feeling, a great and priceless being- a being which alone was worth the whole of nature and all its laws, the whole earth, which was, perhaps created solely for the emergence of that being! It is as though this painting were the means by which this idea of a dark, brazen and senseless eternal force, to which everything is subordinate, is expressed, and is involuntarily conveyed to us. Those people who surrounded the dead man, though not one of them is visible in the painting, must have felt a terrible anguish and perturbation that evening, which had smashed all their hopes and almost all their beliefs in one go. They must have parted in the most dreadful fear, though each of them also took away within him an enormous idea that could never now be driven out of them. And if this same teacher could, on the eve of his execution, have seen what he looked like, then how could he have ascended the cross and died as he did now? This question also involuntarily presents itself as one looks at the painting'.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

First Meetings

We celebrated every moment
Of our meetings as epiphanies,
Just we two in all the world.
Bolder, lighter than a bird's wing,
You hurtled like vertigo
Down the stairs, leading
Through moist lilac to your realm
Beyond the mirror.

When night fell, grace was given me,
The sanctuary gates were opened,
Shining in the darkness
Nakedness bowed slowly;
Waking up, I said:
'God bless you!', knowing it
To be daring: you slept,
The lilac leaned towards you from the table
To touch your eyelids with its universal blue,
Those eyelids brushed with blue
Were peaceful, and your hand was warm.

And in the crystal I saw pulsing rivers,
Smoke-wreathed hills, and glimmering seas;
Holding in your palm that crystal sphere,
You slumbered on the throne,
And - God be praised! - you belonged to me.
Awaking, you transformed
The humdrum dictionary of humans
Till speech was full and running over
With resounding strength, and the word you
Revealed its new meaning: it meant king.
Everything in the world was different,
Even the simplest things - the jug, the basin -
When stratified and solid water
Stood between us, like a guard.

We were led to who knows where.
Before us opened up, in mirage,
Towns constructed out of wonder,
Mint leaves spread themselves beneath our feet,
Birds travelled by the same route as ourselves
And in the river upstream,
And the sky unrolled itself before our eyes,
When fate was following in our tracks
Like a madman with a razor in his hand.

Arseny Tarkovsky

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Parfyon Roghozin

We meet Parfyon Roghozin in the train that reaches Petersburg in the early hours of a cold morning. We meet Prince Myshkin and the lecherous Lebedev too. But this post is just an attempt to see who Roghozin is, not the Prince for he is too well known. Roghozin is swarthy and dark, his features coarse writes Dostoevsky in the beginning of The Idiot, the first part of which, many acknowledge, is Dostoevsky's best prose. Roghozin has inherited a few million roubles and belongs to the merchant class. It is quite evident that he moves in different circles compared to the Prince. But he declares that he is in love with the fantastically beautiful Nastasya Fillipovna and intends to marry her, come what may. Thus it assumes interest for us, we must know him more.

Roghozin makes a fantastic entry again, a few hours later with his gang of goons and lecherous thugs, half drunk or dissolute and throws a hundred thousand roubles at Nastasya's feet. Go burn the money, says Roghozin, I am all yours he means. And the scene, of one remarkable dramatic interest, the kind that Bakhtin calls carnavialistic parody has Lebedev call this an atrocity. Roghozin will do anything to have Nastasya, even kill, even burn money for what do the others know of passion? He fears the meekest man, the Prince himself, who by now offers to marry Nastasya. The Prince too is in love, in love with Nastasya Fillipovna, who has a face worth killing for, worth leaving this world for.

Roghozin does not figure much in parts two and three of The Idiot, though we have him possibly stalking the Prince, for the prince is followed by dark eyes. Most of these two parts, Roghozin is mentioned briefly, he exists only in shadows, he follows the Prince like a shadow. For that matter, the beautiful Nastasya Fillipovna is a shadow too. However, the Prince decides to meet Roghozin and pays him a visit, a visit to Roghozin's melancholy house. It is as dark as Roghozin and here a strange thing happens. They exchange crosses, the Prince declares him a brother, though this does not prevent Roghozin from harboring thoughts of murdering the Prince. We see Roghozin once again but only towards the end of the novel, the dramatic intensity of whose last fourteen pages or so is far better than most five hundred page tomes.

Roghozin has killed Nastasya. The perfectly murdered perfect face lies shrouded in silk. Only a corner of her feet are visible. Roghozin invites the Prince for a vigil, for after all, the loss is his too. They stand a cold vigil, a death and a love vigil, a haunting night, a murderous night, a strange night, a strange few hours. The Prince lies next to Roghozin and his tears fall on Roghozin's face. The tears are now exchanged after the crosses have been exchanged, the brothers in arm are now brothers in vigil too. Everything is finished, love killed and gone. All the characteristics of a menippean satire have been fulfilled, literature, as Bakhtin says, has been carnavalized.

Not much has been told of Roghozin, for if the Prince is meek and delicate, Roghozin is swarthy and determined to act. To the Prince's christ like love, Roghozin brings passion, a physical intensity. To the beggar prince, we have Roghozin's millions, to the Prince's charms, we have Roghozin's lecherous dissolute gang. They are opposites of each other and yet they love the same woman. One must give way, one must yield. Roghozin kills Nastasya Fillipovna, elevating this to a tragedy, but not after its many comic routes. The Prince is intense, they call him an idiot, Roghozin is a mystery, who knows him? And yet the two are linked inextricably, first by the cross and later by tears. The last pages reveal the passion of Roghozin and the Princ accepting it calmly.

Even though the scenes of drama in the first part of The Idiot are legend, the pace frenzied, the drama manic, the essays that Bakhtin has written in his Dosteoevsky's Poetics are no less brilliant. Bakhtin's exploration of carnival literature, skandal-catastrophe and satire, his elucidation of these frantic drawing rooms scenes as menippean satire allow us to understand the genre in The Idiot. But I am concerned with Roghozin, for the Prince is too open a book. Roghozin has Holbein's Christ in his melancholy house, he doesn't say much and yet he chooses murder and Siberia. Why does he kill Nastasya? Dostoevsky's world of polyphony does not allow him to exercise authorial control, Roghozin is his own master, the world is dialogic not monologic. But this passion and this murder are fantastic deeds. Dostoevsky called himself a realist not a psychologist but isn't Roghozin a dark man indeed?

Roghozin has laid Nastasya Fillipovna on the bed, covered with melancholy shrouds. Silken throws are scattered I imagine everywhere. The deed is done, the crime perpetrated. Only the vigil remains. Roghozin is somewhere in a wasteland, carrying with him the cross of the Prince and the memory of the knife that has penetrated Nastasya's heart. The melancholy love is with him too, the shroud, the silk and the hopeless ecstacy of love requited and unrequited. Only in this unrealized love is the passion fulfilled and love elevated to more than desire but dream.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What Tarkovsky offers

What Tarkovsky offers us is a return through an image, through a succession of images, a series of returns through a succession of memories. What he offers is not what he actually gives, for the giving would require a participation, a privy knowledge of his world. What we thus acquire is what we see through a series of images, for he gives us the opportunity to return, to peel the hard crust that has formed on our skin, the hard surface that is indistinguishable from the indifference that age has given or defeat has acquired. We thus see his world through a number of images and we allow them to be transposed on our skin, our minds and our memories.

We do not simply allow him to take us through the unlit corridors of his childhood but we see in the unlit mazes of his mind the unlit corridors of our childhood too; we see in the unlit mazes of his memories the long winding stuff that we thought we never had, for we were never exact enough and smart enough to think properly, for our thinking was only an attempt to prevent thinking, to prevent us from getting lost in those mazes that are suddenly lit, that blinding memory, that blinding moment.

We learn to see as we follow him, past the peeling walls or the magnificent desk, those sepia photographs, those memories in sepia, are you sure, am I sure, was that true, did it happen? The breeze, the wind, the breezy clothes line, the trees have shed their leaves, the trees are in blossom, leave them alone, those leaves too will fall. These memories are mine, this is how it happened, she turned away as I see it, that is how the preparations for her heartbreak were made, did you hear it, that is when her heart broke.

Longing, desire, regret and hope are all in the same frame, in the same moment, the moment the swing begins, the swing of memories, past the silent courtyard, the vegetable garden, the table, the desk, the cups of tea, the few spoons, her youth, his old age, your childhood, her youth. Past the peeling walls, the unlit corridors, the table, the desk, her smile united with regret, her youth anticipating decay, your boyhood waiting to leave everything behind, the garden, the trees, the leaves, the clothesline.

That breeze has shaken you, those unlit corridors are taking you to places that you have forsaken, that hedge and the green fields beyond, the wafting cigarette smoke that so troubles you. It has taken his memories to remind you of your own, as he takes you through his maze, past his clothesline to your unlit corridors past your clothesline, the place where you decided to abandon the holiest of gods, where in the middle of the night you perpetrated the silent murder, which you can see now as the clothesline billows, as she waits, as the cigarette burns to extinction.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I wish I was silent too

how desperate this silence is
how useless these words
I wish I was silent too.

how madly my heart beats
how maddening this heart
I wish it was silent too.

how slow this night how silent
how frosty everything frost everywhere
I wish I was silent too.

everything so sad so silent so desperate
how silent the night how slow
I wish it was the last day.

when will the day of reckoning come
how slow in coming how silent everything is
I wish I had no hope.

how silent this silence is and how loud too
how loud everything is the silence speaks
I wish I was silent too.

Dostoevsky's polyphony

It is known reliably that Dostoevsky dictated the last great novels he wrote, dictated them to his wife Anna Snitkina whilst pacing up and down in his room, pacing back and forth in a long and productive period of frenzied activity, the products of which had seldom been seen in the European literary tradition. The novels of this period including the Karamazov story, The Devils and The Idiot made and gave us what is now called a polyphonic novel, a literary entity that took long to recognize and to differentiate from the standard monologic narrative. The great critic Mikhail Bakhtin, in his fascinating study on Dostoevsky's poetics calls the great writer's narration as Dialogic and his work as a great polyphony, the kind of which the European novel was not acquainted with.

Dostoevsky fascinates me for on side there is the predominant nationalistic Slav, up in arms, very rhetorical, very imperial and at times narrow minded to the point of being feeble minded. And then on the other hand we have the narrator who talks of theology and society, of crimes perpetrated in the heart and in the space of the physical world, of those gruesome things that constitute life everywhere, of a great cacophony of sounds and sights that we find in his novels. He does not describe nature ever nor is he one to describe the physical environment around his characters say in contrast to Turgenev. The most important thing that hits the reader is the dense physicality of dialogue, of words, of action suspended because of the dialogue itself, of a great scene set up before the reader, of a vague terror that is about to befall the main characters. The genius of Dostoevsky lies in making the reader see the dialogue virtually with a physical force, for what happens happens to the reader too, for we end up being instruments in this narration too.

Dostoevsky is the master of the scandalous scene, scenes that make the reader cringe in disgust at times. But these are powerful scenes, scenes of great enormity and import, for what is transpiring is of phenomenal importance, for what is happening is of a physical nature, the changes that are taking place inside the minds of his characters are spilling on to the pages of the text we hold in our hands. Thus we are in the midst of drama, each scandalous scene is great drama and we can say with ease that his great novels are filled with a succession of dramatic scenes, each making us think and change along with the characters and cringe and feel the pain of the happening moment. Thus his last great novels are only great drama for the narration leads to drama, to a scene of importance followed by a whimpering end, an anti-climactic denouement, they are written with a frenzied intensity, with dialogue in abundance, with verbosity of a kind that is frankly unrivalled in literature.

There is virtually no nature description in Dostoevsky unlike most other writers. As we get used to this dense world of drama and dialogue, we realize that any nature descriptions will be perverse, will be contrary to the task in hand, will run the risk of marring the narrative. Thus such outer descriptive narration will be an antinomical antithesis of the inner world that is being described, a world that gets formal expression through speech. This world of speech is thus laid out in front of us either through a narrator who knows things at first hand or through a narrator to whom things have transpired and who is now narrating the events to us through a certain perspective. This is indeed distinctive in Dostoevsky for it gives a certain degree of participation to the reader who in the case of such ambiguous narrative is a kind of participant in this ambiguous narration.

There is formal monologue in narration, a device that reaches a pitch in The Idiot when Ippolit reads out his explanation, thirty pages of monologue that stand out in all literature as the supreme example of a scandalous scene, the kind that Bakhtin describes as a scandalous-catastrophe. The reader along with the other cast is held hostage by a major or minor character, most or all of whom are either drunk or about to get drunk; someone or the other is about to denounce the other and create a public scandal, a public outrage or even a minor or major crime and all this happens so quickly and so openly that it comes as little surprise when the events are quickly forgotten and life resumed again, as if this scandal was the very thing needed. There is an abundance of such scenes in Dostoevsky, in all his great works including the whole of The Devils ( which is a succession of scandalous catastrophes, intrigue and terror), Karamazov Brothers and the fantastically written The Idiot, whose first part is perhaps the best that Dostoevsky ever wrote. The soiree scene at Nastasya Fillipovna's house is the scandalous-catastrophe at its manic best.

Bakhtin calls Dostoevsky's world as pluralistic. This is true for in his novels, the writer stands distanced from his created characters, who hold opinions and have values that are entirely different from those of the author. The novels are thus not author-centred but are independent of the author where multiple voices jostle each other for space to launch their own tirades and speak for themselves. This characterizes the polyphonic novel and is different to the monologic novel that is usually known to us. The nature of the discourses and the fact that Dostoevsky allows a contradictory stance and flavour to permeate all of his works creates a polyphony. If we read his private diaries, Bakhtin's thesis is correct for here we have a nationalistic militant Slav and in the novels we have a multi-variegated tapestry of colours, each brighter and not less vociferous than the other. However, this novel, so advises Bakhtin is not a philosophical novel or purely a mystery play or simply a novel of ideas but an ideological novel, wherein the hero has to live with some ideas and in the end becomes an idea.

In my future post of a similar nature on Dostoevsky, I will attempt to describe what Bakhtin calls the carnival in Dostoevsky and reflect on his heroes.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Southern Dawn

It is only the rebel, the outcast, the "different" Western writer or poet who has tried to talk of a Palestinian narrative, their pain. The "great" ones have been usually blind. Below is an example of a poem by Pasolini, valid now and valid when it was written.

I was walking near the hotel in the evening
when four or five boys appeared
on the field's tiger fur,
with no cliff, ditch, vegetation
to take cover from possible bullets--for
Israel was there, on the same tiger fur
specked with cement-block houses, useless
walls, like all slums.
I happened on them at that absurd point
far from street, hotel,
border. It was one of countless such
friendships, which last an evening
then torture the rest of your life. They,
disinherited and, what's more, sons
(possessing the knowledge the disinherited
have of evil-burglary, robbery, lying--
and the naive ideal sons have
of feeling consecrated to the world),
deep in their eyes, right off, was the old
light of love, almost gratitude.
And talking, talking till
night came( already one was embracing me,
saying now he hated me, now, no, he loved me,
loved me ) they told me everything about themselves,
every simple thing. These were gods
or sons of gods, mysteriously shooting because
of a hate that would push them down from
the clay hills like bloodthirsty bridegrooms upon
the invading kibbutzim on the other side of Jerusalem ....
These ragged urchins, who sleep in open air now
at the edge of a slum field--
with elder brothers, soldiers armed with
old rifles, mustached like those
destined to die the ancient deaths of mercenaries--
These are the Jordanians, terror of Israel,
weeping before my eyes
the ancient grief of refugees. One of them,
sworn to a hate that's already almost bourgeois ( to blackmailing
moralism,, to nationalism that has paled with neurotic
fury ), sings to me the old refrain
learned from his radio, from his kings--
another, in his rags, listens, agreeing,
while puppylike he presses close to me,
not showing, in a slum field
of the Jordan's desert, in the world,
anything but love's poor simple feeling.

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Abd el-Hadi Fights a superpower

In his life
he neither wrote nor read.
In his life he
didn't cut down a single tree,
didn't slit the throat
of a single calf.
In his life he did not speak
of the New York Times
behind its back,
didn't raise
his voice to a soul
except in his saying:
" Come in please,
by God, you can't refuse".

his case is hopeless,
his situation desperate.
His God-given rights are a grain of salt
tossed into the sea.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury:
about his enemies
my client knows not a thing.
And I can assure you,
were he to encounter
the entire crew
of the aircraft carrier Enterprise,
he'd serve them eggs
sunny-side up,
and labneh
fresh from the bag.

Taha Muhammad Ali, 1973

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What the Zionists want

The outcome of the present Zionist atrocities unleashed on the Gaza strip will ultimately end in legitimizing the mass killings of Palestinian civilians that also include children and women. The fault as noted earlier lies with the Palestinians for they are nameless, stateless and thus without any rights. The stateless person does not actually exist. For the Zionists and their benefactors to actually not allow the Palestinians to resist, to fight and claim the land that was stolen from them, to besmirch their resistance and to attach to their resistance the label of terrorism is the ultimate victory of the Israeli state. From all this, the ultimate victory will only belong to Israel, for in essence, what Israel is fighting for is an extreme ideology, in which God has been given a role too. From a secular democracy to a theological ideology, everything is immersed in an identity that claims a threat to its existence from a people sandwiched between an artificially progressive Arab states, progress based on desert mirages and that of Israel, a mini America, God's promised land, sponsored by right wing ideologues and their war machines.

After the present genocide is halted, to be resumed at a further date, there will be peace initiatives followed by new maps of peace to nowhere followed by a flurry of non-activity and more frustration. The Arab states will donate their hopeless money to re-build what Israel destroys on a regular basis, the allies of the Zionist entity will call for peace initiatives while Israel will continue to rebuild settlements of extremist Jews in the West Bank, home of Abbas and his gang, the place from which not a single rocket has been fired at Israel and yet the settlements are being build. Who is sincere about peace?

The other players in the area like Iran and the rhetorically naive Hezbollah will continue to exploit the Palestinians for their own purposes and innocent Palestinians will continue to perish. The endgame will culminate in the creation of an Eretz Israel by which time the Palestinian entity will be the substance of myth, nurtured only in poetry and song, some tears and some faded old maps. There are not even many Mahmoud Darwish' around to write about this pain. The fountains of sadness are sprouting blood, the insane cries for help are falling on deaf ears, at this time poetry and Literature seem superfluous, including my naive post. The futility of resistance, the futility of memory, the futility of death and cries and blood, that is what the Zionists want, that is what they will achieve. In the annihilation of the Palestinians lies not their victory but in the annihilation of the memory of Palestine, the will to fight and dream. That is what the Zionists want, what they will achieve.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A futile protest

From the Embankment and along the river, then ending at Trafalgar, people have protested today against the insane atrocities of Zionism and its benefactors. People had also protested years ago before the Iraq occupation.

The shoes strewn on the street above, thrown in disgust by the protesters will not protect the Gazan's but it is a token of protest, of anguish against the double standards that construct our world view, the weltanshauung that modern Europe has inherited and the insane occupation that the Palestinians have to endure, year after year.


Friday, January 02, 2009

The crime of Gaza

The current atrocities unleashed on the Gaza strip must not be viewed as a crisis but as a systematic destruction of the feeble body politic of the Gaza strip. Any one viewing it as a crisis is a partisan observer. The war, unleashed by the homicidal murderers of Israel, backed by the US and UK, and supported by word and deed by all the others, including the "moderate" Arabs, is nothing but a continuation of the occupation that is eating away at any civilized remnant that Israel's Western backers might still have. There is shame in this war unleashed on Gaza, a war that pits unarmed civilians against the inheritors of the holocaust, now aided blatantly by the perpetrators of the holocaust. The French and the Germans, the new fascists in place in their capitals and the countries that civilize the uncivilized, the US and the UK, are putting the onus on the Palestinians. What a shame!

The fault lies with the Palestinians because they happen to be there, the murderer murders because he has the murder weapon, the victim should have stayed home, why rush out in the open, why not stay indoors, why ask for rights, what freedom? Isn't occupation better, isn't humiliation better, why not stay tied with civilized Israeli's than roam free as nomads, as birds? Every child, every woman, every man killed in Gaza is a terrorist because they are Palestinian. The war has not lead to any humanitarian crisis we are told because the Palestinians are not human. Listen, listen the world! The Palestinians asking for freedom! A blind man asking to see, to see colours!

The other Arabs, soaked in technicolour oil, floundering in protecting their regimes are as brutal in their silent complicity as the Western powers are blatantly one-sided. The Palestinians can only hope for anarchy, for anarchy to spread in this area so that all become one: The unjustly killed family with the brutal dictator with the modern war machine with the crusaders from the West with the dead intellectuals from everywhere. Since there is no justice in the world, the Palestinians of Gaza should not hope of it. The fascist Israeli's and their shameless backers will never cease to stop till Gaza is itself a large grave. There is no hope for them and no chance of a separate state.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

It is night and she is lonely

It is night and she is lonely
and I am lonely like her,
between her candle and me are two empty tables
in this winter restaurant.
Nothing disturbs the silence between us.

She doesn't see me when I catch her plucking a rose
from her breast and I don't see her when she catches me
sipping a kiss from my wine...
She doesn't crumble her bread and I don't spill water
on the paper tablecloth.
Nothing disturbs the serenity between us.

She is alone and I am alone with her beauty. Why doesn't frailty
bring us together? I ask myself: Why not taste
her wine? She doesn't see me as I watch her
crossing her legs and I don't see her watch me
when I remove my coat. Nothing of me disturbs her
and nothing of her disturbs me, we are in harmony
with forgetfulness.
Our supper, each of us alone, is delicious.
Night's voice is blue, I am not alone
and she is not alone as we listen together
to its crystal.
Nothing disrupts our night.

She doesn't say:
Love is born a living creature
and becomes an idea.
And I don't say:
Love has become an idea...
But it seems to be so.

Mahmoud Darwish