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4 Edward Said: A Contrapuntal Reading

4 You, as of now, are someone else!

     
     
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You, as of now, are someone else!

Mahmoud Darwish

Was it inevitable for us to fall from such heights, and see our blood on our hands… for us to realize that we are no angels… as we used to think? Was it also necessary for us to expose our genitals to everyone, to make sure our reality is no longer a virgin?
Such liars were we when we said: We are exceptional!

To believe yourself is much worse than lying to someone else! To be friendly with those who hate us, and ruthless to those who love us – this is the inferiority of the conceited, and the arrogance of the situation!

Oh past, do not change us… the further away we move from you! Oh future: do not ask us: who are you? And what do you want from me? We too have no clue. Oh present, bear with us a little, we are no more than dreary passers by!

Identity is our legacy and not our inheritance; our invention and not our memory. Identity

  is the ruin of the mirror that we should break as soon as we like our image! He put on a mask, put on courage, and killed his mother… because she was the easiest prey… and because a female soldier stopped him and exposed her breasts asking: Does your mother have breasts like these?

If it wasn’t for modesty and darkness, I would have visited Gaza, without knowing the road to the new house of Abu Sufian, nor the name of the new prophet. If Mohammad hadn’t been the last of the prophets, each gang would have had its own prophet, and each companion a militia! We admired June in its 40th anniversary; if we can’t fine someone to defeat us again we defeat ourselves with our own hands, lest we forget!

No matter how long you stare into my eyes, you will not find my gaze there. It has been kidnapped by a scandal! My heart is not mine… and it is no one’s. It has claimed independence, without turning into stone. Does he who chants over the body of his victim-brother: “Allahu Akbar”, know that he is an infidel, since he sees God in his own image: lesser than a well formed human being?

The prisoner, eager to inherit the prison, hid his smile of victory from the camera. But he did not succeed in restraining the happiness streaming from his eyes; perhaps because the rushed text was much stronger than the actor. Why do we need Narcissus, as long as we’re Palestinians, and as long as we don’t know the difference between the Jame’ (mosque) and the Jame’ah (university), both words having the same root. What need to we have for a state… as long as it is moving, along with the days, towards the same destiny?

A large sign at the door of a nightclub: We welcome Palestinians returning from battle. Free entry! Our alcohol… doesn’t get you drunk! I cannot defend my right to work, as a shoe polisher by the sidewalks, because my clients have the right to consider me a shoe thief – this is what a University professor told me!

“The stranger and I will join forces against my cousin. My cousin and I will join forces against my brother. My Sheikh and I will join forces against me.” This is the first lesson in the new national education curriculum. In the abyss of darkness, who will go to heaven first? He who died with enemy bullets or he who died by his brother’s bullets? Some jurisprudents say: Thou shalt have an enemy born from your mother’s womb! The fundamentalists do not annoy me; their secular supporters infuriate me, as do their atheist supporters who only believe in one religion: their images on TV! He asked me: Can a hungry guard defend a house whose owner has traveled to spend his summer vacation in the French or Italian Riviera… whichever one? I said: No he doesn’t! And he asked: does myself + myself = two? I said: you and you equal less than one!

I am not ashamed of my identity, it is still under construction. But I am ashamed of some of what is written in the Ibn Khaldoun introduction: You, as of now, are someone else!