“Free” & Ruined Lives. By Layla Anwar

“Free” & Ruined Lives.

By Layla Anwar
An Arab Woman Blues


07/02/07 “ICH


I am “Free”. He is “Free”. She is “Free”. They are “Free”. And you are only a spectator… Free, Freedom, Democracy. I shudder at these words.

I want to burn Plato’s Republic and spit on your Constitution, on your Founding Fathers, on your Laws…

Free limbs, detached, solitary limbs, scattered to the four cardinal points and a bleeding heart in the middle, like a compass.
An arm to the West, a leg to the East, a head down South and a torso up North…And that damned bleeding heart in the Center.

Free, so free…

Free, free in Prisons. Free, so free in Detention centers…

Detention centers in the Mnistry of Interior, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Justice!

Crammed, packed, jammed… The smell of blood, urine and feces…covering the infected wounds. Wounds of torture born on transparent skins covering rib cages…
Free, so free.

Tortured and Free in American camps. Sodomized and Free – American democracy flavor. Tortured and Free, whipped by sectarianism – Iranian flavor. Oh so Free.

Free to die. Free to cry. Free to mourn. Free to flee. Free to escape. Free at the borders…jammed, packed.

Two thousand “free souls” flee a day. They amass at frontiers, waiting for a stamp on that damned Green passport…that cursed passport.

The passport with a broken winged eagle as an emblem. Clipped wings of Freedom.
It reads “Republic of Iraq.”

Republic of whom? Iraq? What Iraq?

Two thousand a day. Grave faces, desperate eyes, lost voices…

A forgotten, abandoned people. A despised, humiliated, tortured, stolen people.
A raped people.

Lost voices in the wilderness of your indifference. The Lost voices of Freedom and Democracy…

“I have 8 children. Look at how I am living. Has anyone asked me how I feed those kids. I have been without a job for 2 years. I tell you how I feed them…I can’t feed them. I spit on the U.N. I spit on the thief Bush. If I ever return to Iraq it will be to free my country from those criminals. I will either kill or be killed by them. There is no other way “ says this worn out father who looks 3 times his age.

“The Iraqi government helping us? Are you insulting me or what? The Iraqi government has not and will never do anything for us. These are the most corrupt people in power that Iraq has ever known. They are sectarians and thieves. I don’t want this passport. Take it now. I don’t want this nationality. I am even willing to go to Somalia. Just find me a solution. Take that passport. Take it.” says another father of 32.

“The Americans bombed my house. My 9 year old son was inside. Look at his face. He is burnt all over. His eyes are stuck and he cannot open them. His tongue is stuck to his palate and he cannot talk or swallow. And his head was stuck to his shoulder.

He has already undergone 9 operations and he needs another 9… He is only 9 years old. Look at him. I, myself, have 3 bullets lodged in my body. I served the Iraqi Army for 24 years. One in my thigh. One below my ribs and one in my back. I need surgery too. But I am not important. My son is. How will I manage? On my way here, highway bandits took all my money. I sold the house to come here. Now I have nothing. The boy needs treatment. No school is willing to accept him. One school did but the other students rejected him. They said he frightened them with his looks.”

The father wipes his tears and you can see the look of being stuck in “Freedom”.
Ah the look of America on his and his son’s face. The look of “Freedom”.

Another one plays the lute. A melodious tune that makes your heart quiver. A languorous tune of longing that fills the empty space like smoke. A smoke soon dissipated into that nothingness of “Freedom.”

A couple with a paralysed little girl who needs urgent treatment. They have been there, waiting since the crack of dawn, at the gates of some embassy or the UNHCR. Others take to the pavements. They sit and wait some more… Long hours of waiting in the space of “Freedom.”

Free, Freedom…

Free comments on a blog.

And the rats crawl from the gutters…Rats’ droppings, Albert Camus’s “the Plague”.

The same kind of rats that rule Baghdad with their droppings…

Rats everywhere, crawling the streets, crawling on this page, leaving behind them a trail of excrements wherever they pass.

Rats on the go. Rats exiting. Rats entering again through a different door.

The rat with the grey steel eyes. The eyes of lies and deception has exited only to re-enter again after having ruined our lives with Freedom. Now another rat has taken up his place.

The fat rat of Baghdad. The rats of Iran. The rats of America…

The plague of Freedom.

Free, Freedom, Democracy and forever Ruined lives…
Forever Ruined.


Layla Anwar, Who am I? The eternal Question. Have not figured it out fully yet. All you need to know about me is that I am a Middle Easterner, an Arab Woman – into my 40’s and old enough to know better. I have no homeland per se. I live in Iraq,Lebanon,Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Egypt simultaneously …. All the rest is icing on the cake. Visit her blog http://arabwomanblues.blogspot.com


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