It's the War


I wake up tense, the way I used to feel at the start of the war. I open my clenched fists, I don't say good morning to myself. I can't. Yusuf is asleep next to me, hasn't changed his habits, wakes up in the middle of the night and sneaks in to lie down beside me. School time, honey. As usual, he doesn't wake up. I remind him the psychologist yesterday said he doesn't suffer from any troubles. Mr. Saleh said you are a good boy, remember? He decides to get out of bed; for the first time I ask Norma the maid to get him ready for school. There has to be a first time for everything. And I find an excuse to myself, it's the war.

It's the war now which will bear all our faults. Thank god. I found a new hook for my exhaustion, my boredom, my sadness, my depression, my temper, my neglect. It's the war, and it's excuse enough.

I decide to not turn on the TV, at least not now. I turn on the internet in its place, and before my eyes can catch the news page I switch to email. Nothing new, so much junk mail, then a message from a friend with the header "The War," as if I were replacing heat with fire. I open it and find a lot of photos, oh god, photos, it would have been better had I watched TV instead, at least the images are moving, these photos are still, looking at you, hurting you more deeply, leaving deeper scars. No more jokes in the email these days, nothing but pictures of the war. I remembered the messages from friends trying to stop the war, some asking for signatures and replies, one of them sending a picture of her in London joining a demonstration against war.

Now, the war has begun and it appears that a feeling of impotence has hit everybody. No more messages asking for contributions to stop the war.

Even my mobile is receiving fewer jokes these days. Many have stopped sending jokes. Instead, so many text messages asking for prayers so that God may take revenge on Bush. Some sms asking one to read certain verses from Quran at a given time, or to fast for Iraq.

I still forward jokes whenever I receive them.

I wiped the sleepiness and laziness from my eyes, and I shook off the war pictures scarring my soul, I locked them in my chest, I said to myself I'll go to work today in a new spirit. During the day I spoke sharply In two different meetings. It's the war, perhaps. I asked for discipline from those who work with me, and asked for some of my rights in one of the meetings. I was curt, I know, it's the war.

I'm writing a paper about children and environment, WHO is asking for this, what a lie, there is no mention of Iraq, the Iraqi children and all those bombs, dropped to create a better environment for them.

Jihad Elkhazen avoids the topic of Arab weakness to write about other things; I sympathize with him because the subject is bigger than words.

The Guardian devotes pages to those resisting the war, and puts links to other sites which do the same.

I decide that while I'm writing this essay I'm not going to talk about war next time, but if I did, I’d say "it's the war".