Consolation

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[A quickie]

Consolation comes in many forms, but you must never get caught. Randa opened the newly-purchased novel, one about scissors that talk as they cut through the vital and inanimate. Next to her was a bottle of wine that would last her as long as the first four chapters, one glass for every chapter. The night was still young and she shared a relationship of indifference with the world outside her apartment. She considered herself sagacious and her isolation a sign of prudence – an elderly spirit if ever there was one. She did what she needed to do and never bothered with wants and desires; besides her daily work in the university library, time was available to be organized neatly and precisely into separate and repetitive past-times: a promenade along the coast line, a recipe from a cookbook of joy as she followed the fast hands of a chef on a cooking channel, or a visit to her mother, who, tip-toeing her way to senility, still treated Randa as a young girl, following her every step and remarking with sharp, old eyes the darkness beneath her eyes. She did all that, however, in the solitary confinement of a life trod with careful precision and all the right choices, mistaking freedom for conformity, comfort and safety. So as she gulped down the second glass of wine and closed the second chapter of the sadistic scissors, she felt secure in the empty calmness of her home. She was not in a hurry, but  it would be her mother that would wash her corpse and bury her.

The story of Randa’s death is in part my fault. Yet in the eyes of the law, partly at fault does not give you half an indictment or half an acquittal, and from where I’m writing these words, I feel closer to Randa than ever before; I feel her absence striking me and my hide hardens at this irrational proximity, and over all things tenderness spreads. I face the silence and calmness that she sought from a life trod with fatal inaccuracy and all the wrong choices, mistaking flouting for freedom, rebellion and independence. This apposite description of my life in contrast to hers may be the intentional wit of its author, yet our parallel lives makes it more the work of an undecidable nature sought to be conquered separately by Randa’s self-determining organization and the detrimental die in my fist.

“Now perforce in tears and sadness
Learn a mournful strain to raise.” The Consolation of Philosophy. Boethius 

“The proximity of things is poetry.” Levinas

[To be Continued]

Stand Up For Lebanese Women: March Against Unjust Laws Governing Rape

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The occasion of this post is to concretize words, to embody them in a March against the unjust rape laws of Lebanon.

While many marvel at the title of this blog, Non Serviam, and it’s subtitle, The Ominous Sanctity; this post will offer the most direct explanation yet.

Non Serviam [I Will Not Serve] is a shout out against any organizing structure which oppresses in the name of an invented tradition. This ominous sanctity is a threat to the age-old constructions which govern our society. Among these are the biopolitical laws which encroach upon our bodies, our sex, our mind, and our being. Non Serviam is a slogan expressing the necessity of being free; the necessity of being informed; and the necessity of always re-evaluating idea, values, and morals.

It is with such thoughts in mind that I endorse and join the march against Lebanon’s backwards rape laws on January 14 at 12pm from Ministry of Interior in Sanayeh to Parliament in Downtown. 

When the biopolitical structure of patriarchy infringes upon the basic rights of any member of society, the private becomes the political and the political becomes the private. We should no longer consider rape as done by one individual upon another. Rape is a highly regulated practice, seminal to the bulwark of patriarchy. Rape emerges as an institutional practice by which women are kept in fear of men. If the laws which govern acts of rape are lenient and ineffective, then these same laws regulate the way the populace thinks. No person is safe under such laws.

To women, that they may live lives of dignity, equality, respect, and safety.

Below is Nasawiya’s demo,  Here is the link to the Facebook event with all the demands of the demo.

We, the women who reside in Lebanon, excuse ourselves from playing the decorative role that has been imposed on us.

We take to the streets today to say that we are aware and knowledgeable about the methodical war that state and society have waged on our bodies and our safety through their political parties and leaders.

From now on, we will not accept empty promises that are heaped upon us every time we call for our rights.

We will not give in to patience. We will not bite our wounds and postpone the battles of today to tomorrow.

Our voices will be louder than the bickering between your parties and your sporadic yet connected wars.

We call on Parliament to:

1. Pass the draft law for Protection from Domestic Violence as it has been written and with no delay.

2. Intensify punitive measures against rapists and those who attempt rape, amending the respective law.

3. Treat verbal harassment as physical harassment, especially in the work place, making it a crime subject to judicial penalties.

4. Deal with complaints related to sexual violence with rigor and consistency. We call on the Interior Ministry and the Municipalities to also apply those measures. The three bodies should work to make our streets and neighborhoods safe, especially during the night-time, by ensuring proper street-lighting, and permitting us to carry tools of self-defense, like taser guns and pepper spray.

We extend this invitation to all women and girls who have been exposed to rape or attempted rape or harassment in all its forms, to all so-called ‘housewives‘ that have been subjected to beating and verbal abuse, to all those employees, teachers, activists, workers and union leaders who experience sexual abuse time and time again, and to all those who feel the injustice and lack of equality.
We call on you to join us on the streets on the 14th of January 2012.
We begin the march at 12:00 PM from the Interior Ministry near the Sanayeh Garden, and move toward Parliament at Nejmeh Square.

We women no longer possess anything but solidarity with one another. We must stand shoulder to shoulder and unite. What lies before us is the last of our battles: the defense of our rights, bodies and security.

We have nothing to lose but our chains. The time is now.

Kanz

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“Is not hospitality an interruption of the self?” Jacques Derrida, Adieu, p. 51.

ruben ireland sleep

April 5, 2009 – Beirut

The dreamy eyes had widened with ferocious excitement at the news of being accepted as a future student in the École Normale Supérieure de Paris. The family enjoyed a frenzy of jubilation. The daughter of a handicapped father and struggling mother had carved her way to one of the most prestigious universities in Europe.

“Derrida; Balibar; Foucault; Sartre; Bourdieu; Weil.” Kanz, the star daughter, screamed, her family around her in a wobbly circle, the unity of a promise fulfilled and a new promise being made bringing them together. Her mother cried; the news too strong for her to process with the same re-stricted attitude of her normal days.

“You’ll go there, you’ll be free. You be who you want to be and make us proud.”

There was no mention of what she wanted to major in. Nothing mattered except the departure with a promise; the commitment to a decision of being greater than her predecessors, of being as great as her potential allowed her to be.

April 11, 2011 – Beirut.

Kanz’s brother woke up and immediately called his sister in France. But no one answered. He woke his mother, who grudgingly told him to leave her alone. But he insisted that she should wake, so he bellowed.

“Mama! You have to wake up. It’s April 11! Mama. Kanz is in France and today is April 11.”

His mother’s eyes widened as if an ocular nerve had been pricked. Panicking, she got out of bed, at a loss and tried to call Kanz. But to no avail. No one answered.

“What do you want me to do now? Just worry? What do you want me to do?” she screamed at her young son who responded with a blank face and a shrug.

She turned on the television. There was no mention of anything happening in France, but a hysterical maternal hunch was laid heavy on her heart; Kanz is going to be in trouble. Kanz needs her. Kanz wants to be held tight.

April 11, 2011 – Paris

Dusk. Kanz, twenty-two, locked herself in the bathroom and sat in the water-full bathtub. She sat there, on her naked bottom, her feet close to her chest and hugging her knees with her thin white arms. The water submerged half her body, her breasts half floating atop the still water. This stillness permeated throughout the whole apartment. She made herself an enactment of a still-born foetus because she knew that the day would mark her as a stranger, born anew, demanding her, forcing her to obtain a new identity.

Three years ago, she had left Beirut with a baggage full of promises. The promise of a glorious and strong return.

She opened her legs and let her hair sink in the shallow depth of the bathtub. It started spreading, hair by hair, widening, opening up like a mushroom explosion under slow motion. She passed her fingers through it to see if it’s still strong, still thick, still solid enough to hide her if she needed it to do so.

The sun rose and the smell of bread emanated from the many bakeries surrounding her apartment. She gazed haplessly on the covers of the bed. The French sound of civilization slowly entered the room. The passing cars, the rapid French ranting, the high heels, the clatter of shopping carts, the music from street performers; and then the phone rang. She stared at the red light going on and off rapidly as the ringing echoed throughout the still room: another French sound which she did not want to respond to. She stared at the ceiling and imagined the course of her day: people staring at her, people thinking that she’s a criminal by birth, by indoctrination, by force, by root and stem. On the arm-chair next to the phone, she saw how the world outside finally found its way to the core of her private life.

The phone rang. Again, she did not answer.

The hour of departure had neared and she knew that she had to get dressed. Facing it will only make it go away, that monster of reality. She saw pictures which contained her now lost object of safety. A flux of memories rushed confusingly in her head, mixing with each other, all of them containing this object which she thought would be with her until the end.

The first days in university; the night-time walking and stares; the fear of losing it all. And fear made flesh. She lost her source of confidence.

April 5, 2009 – Beirut

After a lengthy time of celebration, cake eaten and pastries served, the father called his daughter from his room. He lay in bed like an old sage. Kanz sat on the tip of his bed, still smiling, and he looked at her, her big black eyes glaring at him.

“I’ve raised you the best way I could,” he began talking, his voice struggling to articulate his thoughts. “And I’ve never forced you to do anything.”

She nodded.

“And I do not want to start forcing you to do anything now. But I want you to know that if the time comes when you have to part with what you think constitutes you, you feel free to do it.”

She nodded.

“Open up and experience everything. Never hold back. The phoenix burns itself so that it’s born anew. And we should do the same. You’re going there to shine. And no doubt you’ll say a lot of goodbyes along the way, to people with lovely faces and strangers with curious gazes.”

She nodded again. He coughed.

“But the seasonal road ahead is only lit by our sight, and even though at some moments we might be blind, there’s always insight to find. The best thing I can tell you to do is to never look back. Be young and willing. Burn every bridge and don’t write back. Freedom is having nothing to lose. Don’t get attached to something that can be easily taken away from you.”

She got up and went outside.

Four months later, she packed her bags and travelled to Paris with everything to lose, the burden of a promise and the weight of a decision pushing her down to earth in a humility felt only by a slave in front of a master. But her father’s words echoed in the back of her head. Somehow, she felt safe.

And she could not, would not fail them.

April 11, 2011 – Paris

The phone rang for a third time, and this time she got up. Her dry body trotted heavily to the phone.

“Hello.”

“Hi Kanz. Are you alright?” Her mom breathed heavily.

“Yes. I’m alright. I haven’t went outside anymore.”

“How does it feel?”

“It feels like freedom.”

“Freedom?” a strong tone of confusion with a spice of betrayal marked her mother’s surprised question. “You feel free?”

“I have nothing to lose anymore.”

“What? Don’t say that. You still have everything to live for. Don’t forget what you want to do.”

“But. I can’t do it anymore.”

“It’s not the end of the world. You can do it. You can cope it.”

“I have no one here, not anymore. As of today I’m alone.” A pause, a silence fuelling an ominous feeling of suspension. “I have to go.”

“Just do what you have to do Kanz. Remain calm.”

“Ok. Bye.”

She hung up. Three years ago, it was an easy decision to go out, full of the confidence to be what she wanted to be. Now, the life outside made it impossible to do so. It has been explained to her as the price of independence.

And she looked at her burqa and found all the independence she wanted ghostly written on it.

It had been explained to her as the price of equality.

And she looked at her burqa and found all the equality she wanted emanating from it.

It had been explained to her as the price of freedom.

And she looked deep inside and knew that the freedom the world outside promised her is one that conditions her to be unaware of her origins. And she rejected freedom if it asked to be unaware of her origins, like being born from an egg thrown in the woods.

So she got up, wore the burqa and stepped out of the house. She walked down the street knowing that rapid French words are going to target her; that police whistles are going to sound at her sight. And she walked until that which was meant to happen occurred, the noose of French hospitality tightened on her neck, suffocating the spirit that had promised a family that she’ll do well; that she’ll do her best.

French words, and police whistles. Eyes glaring. She didn’t like the noose that she was hanging from. She went back to her apartment with a fine for wearing what she wanted to wear. She could not, would not accept the way she was accepted. She called her mother and told her that she’s coming back home.

Sergei Bizyaev defects

The Last Locus of the Real

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Prepare for corporate Valentine’s Day you whiny maggots.
Prepare for a day of mourning and black clothing. Valentine’s Day. Love commercialized and sold. Love unfelt yet diluting mediums of exchange. Every valentine, more alienation of man from his Self, from the other, from nature, and from love

Valentine’s Day, the multi-million dollar spendfest; the productive business. Gift Shops: readymade “love letters”; readymade “love” gifts: heart-shaped pillows, heart-shaped boxes, love cards, dildos, a pack of condoms and massage oil, heart-shaped everything, chocolate; the consumer conformist way of late capitalism.

Valentine’s Day, the day of mourning. Black clothes: a moment in time belonging to the past to which they cling to so very tightly, afraid it’ll slip away, leaving them without glory, without a fight, without a story.

Valentine’s Day: No Love. No Glory.

Do you sit on the hood of a car and map the stars and make out in Dbayyeh? Or is that too cheap for you? Are you too chic for it? Would you prefer the white teddy bear, the love sonnet, the red rose, the scented candle, the seductive, eye-popping underwear, the book, the notebook with first-draft of previous love letters; the archive of your SMS messages; a painting; a stereo; a TV; a couch; a baby?

Do you sit at home, trying to figure out a way for your Self and for you community, your society, at least only your own social circle to be better? Do you think of improvement? Of how the other side thinks and acts so you can try to understand where they come from? Or do you just hope that there will be a million people filling the streets, gaining a quantitative majority which amounts to nothing in effect? Do you feel patriotic? Do you feel worthy of living, breathing, of saying that you helped? In what? Did you hold someone between your arms as you shouted in harmony vulgar phrases and dead mottos? Did you remove a brick, a stone, a wall that was burying someone alive beneath the ground? Did you stay up all night, worrying that your effort is not enough? Did you do anything to make your life a tinge better?

Food for thought: for every deliberate death, there are a thousand indeliberate births. You can kill yourself without thinking twice.

You will meet on Valentine’s day in Martyr’s Square (or as you call it: Freedom Square [Sa7at al 7orriya]), you will cry and you will shout, not to express your freedom, but to make your enslavement official. Your faith is your oppressor; your oppressor will lead you to violence.

Love? It has died. Martyrdom? It is not real. Jihad is false, and crusades are false. No one is a martyr and the martyr does not live through you when you chant his name, hurt yourself in his name, or die in his name. Jesus is not in you and nor is any other fucking dead person. And is that love?

The “thoughtful” gift precedes the emotion and the idea. The idea of Valentine’s Day precedes the emotion of love. Do you feel pressured to be with someone? Feel it. Submit it to it blindly, ignorantly. Walk on like the one of many sheep you are; your shepherd is money; your shepherd is consumerism.

The idea of dying precedes the act of martyrdom. The idea of glory precedes the glorious act. Dreams dictate reality. The language of death cults dictate our lives. Left; Right. Heaven; Hell; Lake of Fire; Bottomless Pit; Clouds of Cigarette Smoke. Huh?

The map precedes the territory. The signified precedes the signifier.

Be weird because that is what they expect of you. Kill, be killed, and kill yourself because that is what they expect of you. That is what they sell you: false death, false love; falsity.  We live in a world where we will surely and most definitely feel fucked up, screwed over, fake like an actor, stiff like a hard impotent dick curving downwards in grief, if we open our eyes to the only truth that exists: there is no locus for the real, for authenticity, for originality. Instead, everything is dead, and death is the only reminder of that faded, unseen truth that has sunk beneath the horizon to never come up again. AIDS, Cancer, you name it. Everything is a design made especially for this age of death. Love? Martrydom? Go hide behind your broken cross and dim crescent on Valentine’s Day. Show your love and loyalty. Go spend money you worthless mindless stupid dick-smoking fucks. You will die for a flag (green, white, red, yellow, any colour you like), for a cross, for a crescent, for a six-pointed or five-pointed star, for a red cedar, for a hammer and a sickle, but you do not know that no conscious, evolved being has ever died for a flag. People die for freedom, it is that which you do not have; it is that which you think you have; it is that which you will never have because you are stupid ignorant fucks.

I’ll be waiting for the fucking thumbs of your mind to grow so that you can grasp the concept of freedom.  

Go fuck yourself in that one-day feast of love and mourning you call Valentine’s Day.