You know...I've hardly even mentioned this giant fucking miserable dying elephant in the collective living room. Because...well, I'll be honest. I'd gotten numb. and, I didn't want to hear about it. Lucky me, I'm able to tune it out by shutting off the news.
Too bad it's not so easy for the people actually y'know living there.
As I write this, Oprah is on Channel 4 (one of the MBC channels we get on Nilesat), showing Americans how to get out of debt. Her guest speaker is telling a studio full of American women who seem to have over-shopped that they could probably do with fewer designer products. As they talk about increasing incomes and fortunes, Sabrine Al-Janabi, a young Iraqi woman, is on Al Jazeera telling how Iraqi security forces abducted her from her home and raped her. You can only see her eyes, her voice is hoarse and it keeps breaking as she speaks. In the end she tells the reporter that she can’t talk about it anymore and she covers her eyes with shame.
She might just be the bravest Iraqi woman ever. Everyone knows American forces and Iraqi security forces are raping women (and men), but this is possibly the first woman who publicly comes out and tells about it using her actual name. Hearing her tell her story physically makes my heart ache. Some people will call her a liar. Others (including pro-war Iraqis) will call her a prostitute- shame on you in advance.
I wonder what excuse they used when they took her. It’s most likely she’s one of the thousands of people they round up under the general headline of ‘terrorist suspect’. She might have been one of those subtitles you read on CNN or BBC or Arabiya, “13 insurgents captured by Iraqi security forces.” The men who raped her are those same security forces Bush and Condi are so proud of- you know- the ones the Americans trained. It’s a chapter right out of the book that documents American occupation in Iraq: the chapter that will tell the story of 14-year-old Abeer who was raped, killed and burned with her little sister and parents.
They abducted her from her house in an area in southern Baghdad called Hai Al Amil. No- it wasn’t a gang. It was Iraqi peace keeping or security forces- the ones trained by Americans? You know them. She was brutally gang-raped and is now telling the story...
So, yeah. What momentarily jolted me out of my numb apathy about this latest headline horror?
The bloodstained pages. The fact that it was a book market. Like you know, the nice Strand one down by Central Park perhaps? A sunny day, a pleasant outing. Or an attempt at one.
Just one more way of people -trying- to live like normal amid chaos and misery and horror and--no. Not even that.
28 people dead. Blood wiping out ink, words. Stories, lost, in blood.
The rest of the story is of course written in the usually distancing tone: al-Sadr, forces moving, this, that, blahblah, it's a giant strategy game, is war. Over there. "So we don't have to fight it over here." Nodnod, what's for breakfast.
I'll tell you something. I don't ever, ever, EVER want to hear -one- more motherfucking asshole use 9/11 as a way to wring outrage and pieta as a justification for this fucking abortion of a war, ever again. And, I LIVE HERE. I was there, I saw the fucking towers on fire, I have my story of That Day just like everybody else. It was bad.
And you know what? That was ONE DAY. Where in fact we won the cosmic lottery of horror and the pleasant banal day turned into a nightmare.
Now, imagine feeling like that EVERY. SINGLE. FUCKING. DAY.
With no end in sight.
What in God's FUCKING name are people thinking? What the hell does it take?
Why can't I allow myself to feel enough to get up off my ass and singlehandedly stop this?
Oh, right. Because, I can't.
I marched in the parades I mean demonstrations. -Before- the fucking thing was launched. It was a "task force," ignore. That was a nice day, too, though. Leisurely stroll to downtown, dinner with friends afterward. Great.
People do a lot more. I could certainly be doing a lot more. It's not really about me, is the thing.
What the fuck.
I wonder if any of those books were Shakespeare, specifically the Scottish play.
I wonder how "out, out, damned spot" translates.