Friday, August 18, 2006


Zaki Boulos - In Parallax (musings of a son of Palestine-Lebanon)

PeacePalestine's dear friend and sometime collaborator is that peculiar kind of person we all have come to know in the years. The Wandering Cosmopolitan, perhaps? Hard to place geographically, he is a Londoner whose heart is never far from the place of his birth, and the land his family comes from, Palestine and Lebanon. His pain in this time is doubled, as there is immeasurable suffering against the people in his being on two fronts, as well as the added pain of fear for his family. His prose makes me cry, but more importantly, it fills me with thoughts and ideas.

We have reached the end of the page, the book, history now only exists in what’s left of our eroding memories. A question of existence still persists to my mind; extra sensory deception. Is this really happening?

I don’t know what’s wrong, or possibly what’s to write…

I can’t seem to stop the tears from falling. I am in danger of being declared a national treasure, a relic for acceptable voyeurism. I sat by and watched from the comfort of my living room as other cultures were gutted and strapped, got the munchies, popcorn anyone? I seem to have developed a healthy association between digesting violence and microwaving products. I wonder if I’ll feel peckish the next time I get the shit kicked out of me. Small, controlled nuclear explosions emanate from the kitchen synchronised with events beaming out of my television, bleep bleep bleep, done. I hone in to release the oven door as another bomb finds its way into someone else’s living room.

One experiment precedes the next, inexorably executed with will and whimsy. The perceived precision of each incision is left, discarded scar-tissue, another failed experiment. Bring in the next subject, alter the parameters, and tweak, tweak till it hurts, back off and sustain, don’t drain. Keep up the pressure, hold it. It’s working…I can’t believe it. OK, get a grip, still two more phases to go. On my mark, begin Operation Soul Capture, watch for lesions or blisters. We can’t afford another rupture. Running out of subjects to preach my rapture, we will prevail. I got the go from god. How we doing? Run a quick system check, make sure we’ve covered our asses.

This subject is phenomenal, stubborn, I despise it. Make sure you take in all the data, I want this fucker analysed, run diagnostics and initiate phase three. We’re running out of time. We must hit and hit hard. We can’t afford any more damage to our equipment, accounts up in head office are getting pissy. How’s the subject behaving? This could be the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for. No one has reached phase three with such comfort and infuriating ease! I hope this subject is the exception and not the rule. We need more test subjects damn it! Fucking accountants…what’s the point in having an accountant who can’t find loop holes? Wrench up the guilt, tell’em anything they need to hear, just get me my subjects! We’ve hardly made a dent. Plug the data into our model, we need to upgrade. I won’t have a subject beat this system, not on my watch. I’ll go phase ten if I have to.

What is it that I cry for? Myself? My parents? My family trapped in Beirut? Their resolution to stay gives me strength. Any chance of them leaving, like the wrath of time, has been and gone. I feel sick, sick to my stomach. Chasing events on the net has made me nauseous, trying not to fret. I must have travelled five mouse-miles today, I’m beat. Bits stream onto my screen, strings portraying seemingly serene hellish stills. I want to leave but I’m unable to move. Agoraphobia has taken its hold, must resist, break this mould. My hands are shaking, eyes glazed and cracked with bags blacked. Gripped in a trance, I begin to see through my monitor. I want to lie down, bury me, anything to feel again. I want to sleep, sinking deep. I want, me. I can’t bare to look out, beyond my self, beyond my fears. All that remains are dry traces of what once were…

A jet tears its way across the city’s skyline, little white leaflets twirl and spin, in thunderous din, making their way towards us, a home-coming parade for the unpopular, pre-emptive confetti mocking its victims in just charade. Who are they kidding? Yes you, up there, in your cockpit, in your safe haven. A spotty video-game junky, staring at a grided screen, clouded in distant objectives, performance clinical, cynical, error-prone, diabolical. It’s only till you return to base that you realise the calamity you have to face, the magnitude of your blunder, the senselessness of your actions. No, this is not a simulation, you are a disgrace. If you had any honour you’d own up. Confess, apologise, raise your pistol to your temple, salvage what’s left, your final ascension, your path to redemption, wait, I’ll get the popcorn. But, instead, you take to the sky to prey on more innocence, reap what you have sown, nothing for you to do but pray. You kneel before your squad commander, attentive at his heel. He delivers his killer sermon, sweet as bourbon, intoxicating doctrine, inebriated with rage for an enemy that’s come of age. He barely speaks, failed strategies, having rolled out the carpet on cities, towns and refugees. Executing his commands, bombs hail on buildings rearranged, their residents limp, scattered and blood stained.

Progress is being made, protests in full rage, neglecting shoes for little feet on the doorsteps of drowning street. Nothing in politics is staid as backbenchers crash front of stage, a pinstripe flurry over on Fleet poised to report, “PM’s lost his seat.”
Zaki Boulos
Saturday 12 August 2006


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