She untucked the tail of my shirt, sneaked two delicate fingers down the small of my back, rubbed circuitously then whispered gently: ”Is that where it hurts?”
“I’m aching here and all over”, I winced, the sharp pain stabbing down my leg.
She wrapped her arm around me. I leaned on her and we resumed our unhurried amble on the waterfront.
Chasing her silhouette in my eyes, she despairingly called me “un-Enchanted” then held her breath and plunged deep within. We kissed till eternity, or so it seemed.
I’ve been lifeless since Israel had commenced its savage and indiscriminate decimation of Palestinians in Gaza, Palestine. How careless we are with words. It’s as if this furious warfare against humanity had been between a lawful state and a renegade “strip”. It’s not! It never was anything but a war for survival between an illegal entity and the native inhabitants of a country that is Palestine. In the short run Israel might have massacred a thousand or more Palestinians and physically and emotionally maimed an untold number of others. But even the most optimist of Israelis should be rational enough to consider that there will be consequences. Nothing goes unpaid or unaccounted for in the long run or larger scheme of events. Tears will be further shed, blood spilled, lives lost. Should I be offended and appalled when the next bomb explodes in a busy restaurant or on a crowded bus in downtown Tel Aviv killing half a dozen “innocent” Israelis? Should I join the chorus of distressed western politicians around the planet or bond with the representatives in the United Nations Security Council in condemning this barbaric act of terrorism? Don’t I have the option of counting the dead and wounded on the Israeli side and keep my peace till the balance of terror and bedlam evens out? Counting Palestinian casualities is what the rest of the “official” world did, including all of the Arab governments. Don’t expect me to be more civil and humane than them. Don’t you dare expect the Palestinians to turn the other cheek.
Un-enchanted I am.
On their way to Jerusalem in 1098 the Crusaders attacked Maa’ret Al-No’man* (معرة النعمان ) in Syria and wreaked havoc for three consecutive days and nights. When the carnage was over the few thousands dwellers were all killed. The Crusaders, blond, strong, pious, devout and secure in the knowledge that they are acting in the name of God “boiled the adult dead Muslim inhabitants in pairs in large pots and ran wooden spits through the bodies of dead children to roast them then devoured them.” In the name of Jesus they reverted to cannibalism since it was the holy thing to kill a Muslim then to eat him afterward. More munificent Western historians had another explanation, hunger. “Members of our group did not hesitate to eat the dead Turks and Arabs, they even ate the dogs.” How romantic the Crusaders were and still are in the minds of the masses of Europe and America. Shall I tell you about the reaction of the rulers of the neighboring cities? Don’t you want to learn about the ancestors of our present day Arab leaders? They sent their ambassadors laden with gifts to greet the Crusaders. The forebears of our monarchs and heads of state offered these European savages gold and silver, Arabian horses and beautiful maidens. Not only did they act so graciously with those cannibals but they betrayed each other and sacrificed their subjects to appease the beasts. How can Palestinians, descendants of sacrificed subjects, expect them, descendants of cannibals and traitors to come up to their rescue?
Un-enchanted I am.
And the 1960’s came then passed away. I have lived in the land of plenty. I have played by the sea not far from a house with blue shutters and expansive verandas overlooking an endless horizon. I have run wild with the wind and danced in the rain in rubber boots and a yellow parka. There were no poor amongst us and no rich. I had shot marbles large and small until my knuckles chipped and cracked. My knees muddied, my fingernails soiled and my heart bursting with joy I would come home with the setting sun behind a black veil of raining clouds. While the lightening ripped the chest of the sky apart and the thunder shook the earth beneath my feet my mother would hold me tight to her bosom then usher me to bathe. Oblivious to what was going on all around me, I would sit on a stubby wooden stool, the steaming hot water resting in a large tin pot eager to cascade over my dirty little body. With loofa in hand I would scrub and scrub what I can reach of my back and the whole of my chest. From an engraved copper-coated tin tassa I would pour the water over my soaped shoulders and watch it run down my genitals to the marble floor. I had no poor friends. I had no rich friends. I had friends and they are all gone. Their shoulders hunched from years of despair. Their hair thinned by the calamities of an unforgiving world. Of waves of marauders who took the smiles away. Of a compulsory equality that made us all unequal at home. Of Gaza in Palestine. Of Jerusalem, of Haifa, of Yafa and Akka.
Un-enchanted I am.
A whole generation grew up in the 70’s and 80’s in my land of plenty without bananas. The yellow fruit became a status symbol in the time of the colonels and generals who ruled the motherland. We would smuggle shortening and white bread, toilet paper and toothpaste. Everything was considered a superfluous luxury for the repressed masses. We could not breathe, we could not eat, we could not laugh or let go of our inner souls. We were in a state of war with an unpitying enemy who took our land and pride. We had to sacrifice and keep our mouths shut. We surrendered our dignity, our past, present and future to the officers who would fight for us. They possessed an insatiable appetite to rise above their humble beginnings by tramping the middle classes with army boots then to drown in self indulgence. They wore suits whose designers’ names they can’t even pronounce. They puffed at cigars which they would never learn how to smoke. They rampaged the cities and the countryside and built villas and palaces to fend the enemy away. We grew older while they ruled and we waited exasperatingly till they pass away. And they did.
Un-enchanted I am.
A decade followed and time stood still for us. No one talked, no one cared to talk. We drank tea and Matteh and watched the world go by. We said NO to everything and everyone, including those who said NO. Breadwinners chiseled their day to day existence with resilience and ingenuity. Fax machines were forbidden, cordless phones were suspect of being used for grand treason, TV remote controls, FM radios, pocket calculators. We had to think collectively and praise our failings. We were asked to sacrifice more, and yet some more. We could never liberate Palestine if we didn’t put our petty personal needs and ambitions aside. We had to eat shit and appreciate its bouquet and flavor. We had to sit down and watch while the Bedouins of the desert came to term with concrete and glass. They took flight and soared beyond the sands and touched the heavens with satellite TV. We, the sons and daughters of Hannibal, of Dagon, Ishtar and Zanoubia had to sit back while their petro-money dictated our mornings, our evenings and our afternoons. Men with brains in their testicles spoke on our behalf. Women, with eyes barely visible from behind thick veils of ignorance and oppression, elucidated on the egalitarianism of Islam in our stead. They left it to us, the fight against the Israeli oppressors while their white-robed men bedded Slavic prostitutes and their women in black screwed Pakistani and Indian chauffeurs. The dream of Palestine was laid as a burden on the shoulders of those countries on the forefront. We held it with a steady hand, folded it neatly then wiped our filthy ass with it.
Un-enchanted I am.
The Junta became a thing of the past. Just at the turn of the century, a starred officer was worth a mobile handset, no more. The businessmen arrived. A new ruthless, vampiric, parasitic and bloodsucking breed of men with no past took over. The enslaved millions were let loose or so they were told. It’s an economically free land where people can pursue happiness and riches. The intellectual elite which stood the abuse of ideology and time was sidelined. A nobody was all of a sudden somebody. Doctors, engineers, scientists, men and women of the pen packed their suitcases and flocked east and west. Those who can read and write but chose to stay behind became strangers in their own land. They were silenced by virtue of the nonsensical noise all around them. Haifa started singing and swaying her ass. Young tattooed men with metal earrings attended the concerts. Women with full makeup and colored Hijab bent their voluptuous bodies with the senseless lyrics. They wanted their Wawa kissed without showing off their hair. A mélange of Levantine narcissistic vanity tinted with Khaliji adulterated religiosity and North African despicable promiscuousness took hold of an emerging generation. They were teetotalers who lustily sucked on their narghiles. They substituted their crave for sex, the urges of their over-testosteroned loins, the hunger of their progesterone-ridden vulvas with the sucking and blowing of smoke. At least 1,033 Palestinians were killed and 4,850 injured in the span of a month when George W Shoe was the lame duck he should’ve been all of his life and while Barack Obama was busy memorizing his inauguration speech. Then it stopped and the Arabs met. A son of a bitch donated a billion dollars. Another waved his hand and reminded the descendants of sacrificed subjects that the blood of their brothers and sisters shall not go in vain. A faggot nodded, a psycho agreed then they all kissed as if nothing had happened.
Un-enchanted I am.
l'Histoire des Croisades, Michou (1817-1822, pp. 357-7)
Les Croisades Vues Par Les Arabes, Amin Maalouf (1997, p. 63)