b. 1995, Iraq
LETTERS TO HOME
I reach out in labyrinth of my mind and search for a true memory of you. However, it keeps dissipating. The more I remember, the more confused I become. The stories, pictures, laughter, sounds, and experiences grow into an overpowering cloud of abstract confusion.
I am uncertain of most of what I know of you; how much of my memories have I unknowingly changed to fit my desire of what I want you to be. The more time passes, the less authentic my memories get.
Which of my memories of you is true? I am no longer sure. You fade away, the more I pursue you. I reach out, but I can never get a real grab of you.
Home, innocence, childishness, secondhand experiences, stories, Jeddo, growing to understand Bebe, sleeping under the stars, watermelon and cheese, chai with cardamom, primary school, broken left arm, defiance, Aboudi, Kites
backpacks, world’s best goalie, tennis, Mosul, Ammo Muhammad, swimming, lakes, broken teeth, bikes, kiddie pool, Kalimiro, Maths, pink shorts, twin set, velvet, Shamandar, samovar, calligraphy, slides, stitched eyebrow, tanks,
911, tv, news,
hope, smiles, growing pains, home, school, home, school, French lessons, Oud, ballet, competition, first, win, always win, map of Iraq, Islamic history, Al-Risalah film, history, failing maths, pink shirts, grey uniform, Jeddo, Baba, Strong people
Heroes, fighters, martyrs, hope, resilience, answers
We are required to the heroes; to not only be the perpetuators of our Iraq, but to, always, be its saviours. we are required to fight on behalf of our parents, grandparents, and kids.
We are required to carry the hope needed to revive a fatigued nation, to have the answers to the questions our leaders have been unable to solve for many generations. We are required to always rebuild, reconstruct, support, organise, and resist.
We are expected to always be resilient and are allowed no other space to exist in. Weakness is a luxury we cannot afford because if we are not strong then no one is. We are not allowed the space to grieve but we are expected to heal.
We are expected a to be a million things, but are only offered death. We are always Martyrs, even before we are born. This is the only destiny home offers us, and that is why we embark on Odysseys risking everything in the midst of the darkness and coldness of the sea just to have the space to breath, to be kids, to be stupid, to be infantile, to be able to make mistakes, to have a home that offers you many things but death. To be human, to feel our humanity.