Feb 7, 2015

Fourteen Poems from Loneliness Spoils its Victims

Dara Abdallah

Translated by: Mona Kareem

Illustration by Shuxian Lee


This might sound crazy, but isn't war nostalgic for singularity, loneliness, purity, and solitude? Isn't killing others considered "cleansing"? War is a mechanical rubbing between groups that are fighting to translate the collectivities' desire to be composed of individuals. War is the aggressive application of an instinctual longing for a purified heavenly world where the inhabitants are pseudo-elements, and quietness is an echo of loneliness. Who among us remembers the faces of those killed in massacres: in Halabja, Karm Al-Zaytoun, and Sabra and Shatila—where the hands of hundreds and thousands got together to jump from one shore to another. Their beating hearts and united breath might redeem the tragedy of a solitary individual. During a massacre, the killer misses out on the pleasure of killing one individual at a time. In massacres, hundreds of names decay, while one victim becomes a star: loneliness spoils its victims.

Praising "Fear"

Why despise "fear"? Zealous writing that glorifies "heroism" and "sacrifices" and "blood" recharges a violent and masculine symbolic language. A text filled with heroism is a suffocating lung. Heroism kills the space of longing that exists between reader and writer; it is like two people speaking to each other with their mouths glued together. A language that speaks of killing happily and cheerfully will one day justify killing. It is necessary to both humanize emotions and take them from the infinite and immutable to the historical, in order to limit the reproduction of dictatorships.

The white sheet is a writer's confession chair, like the sea for a lover, like the priest for a guilty believer. Writing is like forgetting, a grand motherhood, so why pretend?

After a short and ungenerous experience in security cells, my "barrier of fear" is now doubled and thickened. Since then, I am now scared of opening doors, scared of whoever knocks on my door; every time I open a door, I live out a few nerve-wracking minutes. I fear state police and traffic police and soldiers and bearded men with shaved heads. I see prisons as places of humiliation, not stages of heroism. We need writings filled with defeat and evanescence.

* Continue reading at Asymptote Journal

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