Losing a Nation Is a Horrible Feeling

From An Arab Woman Blues

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…
Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Let me ask you something.
Are you as bothered as I am by not knowing the whole Truth?

If anything, the Iraqi “experience” has managed to raise so many questions not only about politics per se but also about perceptions, resilience, sense of belonging, emotions, impulses…in short about humans.

I do not wish to engage you in some phenomenological exercise. I am simply at a point where I need to corner that reflection in the mirror, I need to corner that Truth.

Moving from the political to the personal, from the outside to the inside…
Something about losing one’s country is very hard to express in words.
I find myself constantly rummaging through concepts, phrases, trying to find accurate nouns, precise verbs and it keeps slipping through my fingers, evading me, eluding me…

The only sentence I found that is probably as close to what I need to express, came from a mail I received from a fellow Iraqi and this is what he had to say:
“Since March 19, 2003 I am a shadow of my former self. The past four years have changed me forever.”
Another mail tells me the same thing using slightly different wordings:
“I no longer recognize myself, I am beside myself…”

Simple powerful sentences that reveal something deep and true…
It sounds as if that former Self that one knows or has gotten used to has also been invaded and occupied…changed forever.
It sounds as if this is no longer my country, this is no longer my home, this is no longer my self…
I am no longer myself. I am shadow of me as if someone else or something else took over and I am standing by the sides watching it all and I no longer recognize anything…

It goes beyond bewilderment, amazement, stupefaction, or shock…It is worse.
It is estrangement from one’s self.

We have become strangers to ourselves, strangers to one another, strangers to society, strangers to the group and strangers within…beside ourselves.

Read all of it here.

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