Lettre au Ministère de l’Intérieur – La Voix de Beyrouth

Chers Messieurs du Ministère de l’Intérieur,
Je dis messieurs, car il va bien de soit que toutes les décisions d’importance capitale sont prises par vos soins, par des hommes, des vrais, pas par des bonnes femmes qui de toute façon n’ont pas le droit de transmettre leur nationalité Libanaise à leur famille, bien fait pour elles celles-là et qu’elles connaissent leur place. Mais je m’égare.
Je disais donc, cher messieurs du ministère de l’Intérieur. Il me semble que vous êtes bien occupés à policer la vie des Libanais-es, à la contrôler, à la tailler de façon à ce que toute part de rêve ou de beauté leur soit refusée. Vous trouvez qu’ils ont une vie facile, vous, Les Libanais? Pendant que vous prenez des décisions derrière vos bureaux cossus, tout pétris de votre propre importance, au Liban on torture à tout va, on censure à droite à gauche, on empêche allègrement les gens de se marier qu’elle que soit leur confession, on discrimine les femmes, on ne reconnaît pas des syndicats de travailleuses migrantes, on défigure Beyrouth à coups de pétrodollars, on tape sur les réfugiés et on opprime toute personne qui n’a pas l’heur de vouloir respecter vos stéréotypes de genre.
Mais je ne vous apprends rien, vous êtes le Ministère de l’Intérieur, la plupart de ces décisions viennent de vous, vous en êtes fiers, moi je vous dis, il n’y a pas de quoi.
Votre dernier exploit me donne envie de m’enchaîner aux murs de MA Beyrouth. Je parle bien sûr de cette nouvelle lubie qui vous a pris de vouloir effacer tous les graffitis des murs de cette ville.
Alors je vous explique. Là tout de suite, on a un problème, et ça va pas être possible votre histoire.
Je sais bien que vous n’êtes pas branchés poésie, mais les murs de Beyrouth parlent. Tous ces murs nous racontent une histoire, notre histoire, que vous le vouliez ou non: les impacts de balles nous rappellent cette violence sans nom dont nous sommes capables, ces luttes intestines (qui pourraient cesser si les gens sortaient de leurs sectes en se mariant par exemple) qui ont laissé leurs traces sur les murs de notre pauvre ville fatiguée mais qui vit, qui vit envers et contre tout. Les graffitis sont des bouffées d’air frais pour des Libanais qui étouffent et qui se confient à leur chérie, à leur Beyrouth adorée qui les accueille toujours en son giron. Ce que vous tentez d’effacer ce sont les murmures de votre pays, murmures qui vont en s’amplifiant et vois rappellent peut-être votre médiocrité.
De Jisr el Wati, aux tags inextricables de Hamra qui nous rappellent que Graffiti is not a Crime, au travail exquis de Yazan el Helwani, à le fierté d’Ici c’est Da7yieh, les murs de Beyrouth sont autant de message d’amour, d’espoir et de révolte de ses habitants. Je vous rappelle qu’un de ces messages vous informe que Beyrouth ne Meure Jamais. Nous on s’en rappelle bien hein, c’est vous qui semblez vouloir la détruire.
Et vous ne pouvez pas détruire les voix de Beyrouth, toutes ces voix qui interpellent ses habitants en leur montrant que d’autres systèmes et d’autres rêves sont possibles. Vous pouvez les ignorer, comme vous le faites si bien, vous pouvez tenter de les endiguer, mais vous ne pouvez pas les détruire.
Parce qu’enfin tout de même je vous rappelle qu’un de ces graffiti, c’est Fairouz. Et que, mais dois-je vraiment le préciser? Personne ne touche à Fairouz.

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Like You And Me

You sit and you read the lies and your blood boils.

They use their children as human shields.

They’re dead because they want to.

We’re the most advanced and moral army in the world.

There are casualties, nothing we can do about it, such is war.

We’re the victims here, we’re being threatened, we have a right to defend ourselves.

The dehumanization of Palestinians knows no boundaries in the twisted sinister minds of the Israeli propaganda machine. Carefully, with their bloodied brushes, they paint a picture of beings obsessed with death, undeserving of rights, and compassion, and humanity. Palestinians become mere threatening faceless shadows, insects that need to die, unworthy of life, because Israeli lives are so much more important.

They’re there, therefore they need to die. The logic of every good genocidal maniac.
Because make no mistake about it. This is what Israel is: a machine obsessed with ethnic cleansing, with the destruction, the humiliation of The Other. Shifting reality on its head is part of that machine: the oppressor magically becomes the oppressed. This is not an Israeli offensive, no no no, it is an operation to right the wrong that Palestinians and Arabs exist. Nevermind the constant violation of every international law rule in the book, nevermind the never ending settlers’ violence, nevermind the racist, Apartheid-like laws, never mind the daily xenophobia, never mind the lies, never mind the arbitrary arrests, never mind the torture, never mind the ticking time bomb terrorist theory, never mind the arbitrarily detained, nevermind the occupation, the wall, the checkpoints. Nevermind all of that, Israel is still the victim. Its very existence is threatened by a fifteen year old yielding a rock, probably because his house has been demolished.

You watch videos of journalists breaking down, overwhelmed by the atrocities they’re covering, and you cry with them. You protest and you share links and you tweet and you advocate and you speak out and you try to help in any way you can and yet nothing seems to make a difference, your blood still boils with the injustice of it all, nothing you do seems to fill the emptiness, the hollow feeling each death seems to leave in you. Nothing you do seems to have any sort of impact on governments, on institutions, on people, on no one.

You see picture after picture of desperate people, people like you and me, who love life, who want to live the life they’ve been given, people like you and me, i repeat, people like you and me. Not being undeserving of rights, not insects that could not care less what happens to their children, not otherworldly freaks that need to be eradicated. The people of Gaza are people like you and me. People like you and me whose children’s laughter is the sweetest music to their ears, people like you and me who fell in love with their babies the moment they clapped their eyes on them. People like you and me who want to dance, and laugh, and love and bicker with their siblings, and support football teams, and argue over politics.

And you carry on with your life, you ruffle your daughter’s curly hair, and your heart breaks into a million pieces for all the mothers who closed their daughters eyes forever, for all the people whose grief you can’t even fathom, for people like you and me trying to live on a small strip of land we call Gaza. Since when the very basic right of living has become a privilege?

Resist

Lying awake.

Rooted to the spot by the helplessness I feel. What to do? Where to run, to do something? Try to act, send something, share something, DO. SOMETHING.
But All I can do is stay rooted to my spot, watching children die, their eyes not even able to be closed by their loved ones, their bloodied little bodies, made of life, made for life, rigid with the definite stillness of death.
And something screams inside of me, the banshees of injustice, the demons of cruelty, and I want to rip out my eyes, and I want to punch and kick and scream and fight, and scream, and scream, and scream.
But yet I do nothing. Riveted to my spot, I go along with my daily life, my stomach churning with the bile of anger, my ears tired from hearing all the lies, they want to die, they say. It’s their fault, these Arabs, these savages, they teach death. It’s a self genocide, really.
But a woman once said: we teach life, sir. And they do. They teach life, and hope and the will to resist, they teach truth when you speak deceit, they teach pride, a pride you can never hope to understand.
Palestinians teach life amidst unspeakable calls for their death. Calls to kill Palestinian mothers. Calls to kill them all and replace them with Jews. Calls to kill, maim, eradicate, annihilate them, so the ‘most moral army in the world’ can clean our their dwellings, their history, their very existence.
Let’s get something straight: this is called ethnic cleansing. It is a crime against humanity. It is being perpetrated by a Zionist entity whose only religion is racism, whose only morals are oppression, and whose only project is the domination over others.
But this entity is not the only one to blame: it is the spoilt child of the powerful of this world, of the cowards of this world, who would rather look the other way when children are being brought to hospitals in pieces. After all elections ballots, arms trade, economic ties, political gains are much more important than the lives of Palestinian children.
I might not be able to prevent bombs from falling, but I can try and speak the truth. Me, and you and the hundreds of thousands of people around the world can do one thing: protest relentlessly, pounding the streets of our cities with what we know to be the truth. Resistance to death, to lies, to oppression is our only weapon.

Hear us!

Hear us! Hear us! Hear the uproar of our silence, the 2000 banshee screams of our sealed mouths!
Feel us! Feel us! Feel the strength of our empty stomachs, the blade of our emaciated figures rip through the guilty bubble of your indifference, and neglect and ignorance.
If our destiny is submission, oppression, humiliation and injustice, then we choose death over that sliver of a life. We close our lips to liberate our souls, you can lock us up and bring us down but you can’t touch what is gloriously, utterly ours, our minds, our faith, our visceral attachment for our land, the vibes and acts of solidarity going above and beyond your crimes, the love of our families and friends.
You can lock us up and bring us down, yet we escape, we are everywhere, in the prayers in churches and mosques, in the raised fist of peoples throughout the world, in the existence and lives of our children, in the olive trees of Palestine.
You can lock us up and bring us down, yet we are everywhere, in your frantic attempts at covering up the horrors you perform, in all the sugar coating you need to do to at least try and appear human in your own eyes, yet we see clearly, yet we are not fooled, our starved bodies come knocking at your doors, you can lock us up and bring us down, yet each day that passes pushes you, not us, further down the hounds of hell.
Our silence speaks louder than your bullets, our dignity reaches higher than your violence, we may have an empty stomach but our heads are held high, your blows don’t make us bow.
Hear us! Hear us! Hear the uproar of our silence, the 2000 banshee screams of our sealed mouths!
Feel us! Feel us! Feel the strength of our empty stomachs, the blade of our emaciated figures rip through the guilty bubble of your indifference, and neglect and ignorance!

It was a Strange Time

It was a strange time, a time for sorrow and fake laughter, a time for violence and greed, a time where profit ruled the world, the Lord of all small and mighty things, the God of slaves chained to it. It was a strange time, a time where life had no meaning except when it came to controlling people’s bodies, where words like peace came loaded with ugly meaning, where justice came hand in hand with security, void of their meaning, turned into weapons of corruption and discrimination.

It was a strange time, a time where a mini skirt could get you raped and a veil on your head killed, a time of lies made by wolves not even bothering to hide their teeth anymore, a time where bare feet were aplenty, pounding the soil of a spoiled soiled earth in search of something long gone, dignity.

It was a strange time, a time where culture was to be flaunted and not cultivated, a time where books needed to bring money and not knowledge, a time where the magic of words had been trapped and replaced by the nauseating prose of publicity.

It was a strange time, a time where how much you earned and where you worked were more important than the amount of blood you had on your hands, a time where elders rot in their desolated homes for weeks before the stench bothered their neighbours, a time where your life was glittery on computer and your inside putrid with loneliness.

It was a strange time, a time where sex had stopped being beautiful to become dangerous and threatening, a time where love was a quaint notion measured by the size of the ring of your finger , a time where family ties were frayed and broken by the lightings of bombs and selfishness and superficiality.

It was a strange time, a time where happiness was a dare, resistance the only means of existence, where rediscovering feelings of solidarity and equality stopped being dreamers’ luxuries to turn into necessary realities.

It was a time for standing up, it was a time for refusals, it was a time for strength and courage and drive. It was a time to replace charity by justice, it was a time to reoccupy bodies and minds, it was a time to oust tyrants and fight opportunists, it was a time for change. It was a time for a global revolution, it was a time to find back our voice, it was a time to escape manipulation and go back to the realms of reason. 

It was a strange time, my time, but I chose my side. 

Prisoner’s Mother

She stays still like a rock amidst the chaos, mineral and cold in the scorching sun. She stays and sits still, oh so still, she stays and gazes at the stars in the pitch blackness of night, searching for them, trying to find strength in their incandescence. She sits and stays and she gazes at passers by, watching the dead go by. She stopped eating and talking, she has neither time nor interest in the mundanity of her own life, people think she has gone mute with despair, they just don’t understand her whole being is focused on keeping her child alive, for the tinniest move might kill her life. Folding on and within herself, she stares at the streets, surprised that other people could still come and go while her child was well locked up in a hellish hole, enduring and suffering things she dares not name, things beyond inhumanity. Each and every day is a battle against thinking what they’re doing to people’s children. She’s like an arrow on a mission, the mission of keeping her child alive by sitting still, oh so still, only her lips slightly moving, whispering prayers and pleas with God: if you give me my child back I shall go on an endless pilgrimage, I shall speak your name and yours only, I shall spread your Word. I shall even try and believe in you. Anything, just to feel once again the honeyed warmth of the tender filial embrace, to get a whiff of her own blood: her child.
Vague murmurs among stifled sobs come to her, yet she doesn’t cry, only waking up from her trance to scold those who do: shut up, she says to the flabbergasted crowd of mourners, shut up right this minute. Freedom comes at a cost, and our child is paying its tribute to it.
She swivels back, eyes ablaze, the burning feeling inside of her building and swelling until it envelops her is a halo of electric rage.
They may have taken you, but they made a bolt of lightning out of me.
Freedom comes at a cost mama, her child had said before leaving for never coming back.
A price I m willing to pay.
A price I m paying right now.
And with that she put on her black dress and dignity, and marched down to join the pounding crowds below her.
Ever growing.
Never ending.