I am in a writers' purgatory. I have not published anything in July. All my posts are sitting in coffins, condemned by my own judgment: sophomoric, pretentious, not fleshed out, repeat rants. Same bullshit over and over. And this is sad, specially after I saw Inception, and was inspired enough to write lots by this one thought: Wouldn't it be neat if all white people got connected via dream to america's war victims all over the world, and of Katrina. And the war victims projected their subconscious into the minds of others. All the multiple abject realities of the children of Fallujah who have been plagued by birth defects, the creaking sounds of their salvation army wheelchairs, womb memories of shared shoes and depleted uranium dissolved into the dreams of Americans whose only worthwhile thought is of Paris folding or basement floors sticky from beer, and the picture of the old lady and the young woman.
Wouldn't that cure the girl of her innocence? The girl with the blond ponytail with shoulders scrubbed in the sands of the Hamptons, buying a frappachino for three dollars. When her world of expensive Afghan dinners at the Helmand synchronize with the world of the child in Swat who climbed into a chicken's coop to die with shrapnel engraving her. And they both wake up, but one dead, stunned by how much they were not aware.
When white people are not saviors, missionaries, constant gardeners, or hookers with hearts of gold. Where their humanity is not singled out in the face of their state's oppressive actions. They do not rise above and defy the narcissistic impulses of their race. Life ceases to be through blue eyes, and only through interconnected minds with no aptitude for falsities or self aggrandizement. They are no longer narrating horrors in rivers in Congo as they reach into hearts of darkness. They are no longer cured of herpes through the magic of black prisoners. They forget to take their malaria pills, and stick them in lines behind their beds, but poisonwood bible does not remember- rather merges them with the hundreds who die from TB and hepatitis. Chinua and Dahr Jamail stop telling classrooms full of well meaning folk how this is wrong, and that is bad. Tariq Ali puts down his pen and takes a siesta in Sindh Club.
You see I'm drowning a little tiny in my own subconscious. And really, I don't see a way out of the quagmire of fictions we have been forced to swallow in this gigantic world war, of which Pakistani villages are the latest hapless victim. And I really don't know if any short cuts will do. Decent journalism can only make dents, and that too read in some sultry circles. But really, the deep seated racism of old people, sour with failure and a diminishing sex life is pervasive. Only a dream pill can solve this. I was standing in a bookstore at a train station browsing, amused, through a Charlie and Lola book, but paranoia aside, I felt the bookstore guy thought I was scanning the station for something. And why shouldn't he? He is only playing his part in the script, and for gods sake, Faisal went to Greenich University. Any average Karachite knows at least two people who have attended this most unremarkable institute.
We have lost our privacy and our anonymity. Respected Pakistanis in America are alarmed with this uncanny proximity with bad people, and tomorrow we will try to alert the American masses that we actually have a propensity for peace and a history of syncretic culture. That Islam is about tolerance, which it is. Bulleh shah in Union Square. New York city will celebrate a sufi festival, and together we will fight one fiction with another. And why the hell not. (Which reminds me that I should make bhang and sell it, so I can buy some more underwear from walmart.)
But a larger story looms which is not mine to tell. As any self respecting scorpion, I suffer an obsession with sex and death. And sadly, this is not my story to tell. When people die, its sad. But when people who are fighting to stay documented in America die, somehow the sadness is inexplicable. As if they must apologize, and die secretly. I went through a dead boy's back pack today, and I saw receipts from DHS, the random card from the faceless bank teller, clothes still pungent in living odor, and worse still, passport size pictures of a smiling face, so bright with hope. Despite the cold, cold days at gas stations. Who would imagine that boring jersey was capable of such cruelty. Just like labor law must protect the rights of the illegal when they act as workers - in death all becomes leveled. The doctor in the emergency ward who greeted his dying body with words of comfort, as he reclined, and worried if he would walk again.
But only because no human being is illegal, and its the system that forces you into a web of allegiance and deceit like an abusive marriage. If I were ever illegal, what would I do? Would I pluck chicken, and constantly look over my shoulder. Would I not give the blond girl from the suburbs with her sunburns, and her the three dollar coffees the false reality that makes her smile, and forget me soon after. Her insouciance is my alibi. She could not marry me, but maybe someone less choosy about morals. Will I not decorate the shelves of walmart with items that turn humans into units of consumerism? Would I not lie, even to myself, as I collect paychecks, some of which I send home, some of which will be lost in basements.
I know we should wear seat belts. I know Faisal's story is perhaps real. His criminality will be proved in a court of law, and stamped with pages of evidence. But the narrative is so dammed vulgar. Its not that many of the people who died in the twin towers were Bangladeshi janitors, whose mothers were probably jolted by something like a sharp whisper in their ear. But it wasn't until weeks later when it was revealed to them that they must now become hollow with grief. How suddenly the trees must seem arrogant. The potted plants, so ugly with life.
Like this kid. It took two days to locate his body. Its not that we must live quietly and please. It is that we must truly climb into chicken coops, and find death pleasing, a quiet pause, in which even the most penal minded would forgive us our full humanity. Because its always blue eyed narrative. Its truly that we must be silent, and speak truth seldom and in a quiet, sweet voice. Until then, can we at least dream together. And Harvard trained Carolines will write about how the British interned 1.5 million Kikuyu.