Friday, June 19, 2009



This week, shit got real. Aspects shifted. The discourse of freedom came head-to-head--publicly, transparently, nakedly--against those irrational impulses that would crush them. I am refering, of course, to the protests in Iran.

Never before have so many bullshit concerns been viciously cut from my life. The world (or, at least, the thinking and feeling world) have seen, in real-time, in intimate snippets, the arising of a human dream. Whether this ends in the death of the dream remains to be seen.

It upsets me that I cannot sway the outcome from here. I cannot set up proxy sites for dissident communication. I cannot orchestrate or participate in DDOS attacks against government servers. But I can be a keyboard jockey.

Nobody reads this, really. But I need to, viscerally, leave some testament that I was here. I saw and heard. I watched in rapt attention. My eyes welled up in tears. I shook with excitement at good rumors, I attempted to place myself in that situaton. I had to face my cowardice. What would I have done?

But this is not about me. This is for those who stood up in the face of brutal power. This is my dedicaton to the millenia-old dialectic of rationality versus idiocy. I dedicate this noth-that-polished poem, this hyperbole, these cliches to our brethren in Iran. May the events of the past week, whatever their outcome, forge bond of common humanity.

The Elegy

The first to go were the theological questions;
they're all Islamists, all our brethren,
even the ones who simply gesture,
vaguely and premonitorily towards "something more".
Those went. The questions, the
searching stares, the contours
of a human hand holding up a V-sign,
because, friends, we asked,
what Order, what Logos, what Allah
could allow this? Read the 99 names
read Marx, and tell me, where the
lumbering beasts wielding batons
come into the picture? Tell me.

We are all Islamists now. They don't matter,
the cosmetic matters. We are all of us now
struggling for space, struggling against
our own night, our own skins boiling,
drowning men rising for air. Who
would leave their family in the apartment
as they went into the street? Who
would want to wake up to beatings?

I remember you well, Cannes poster
in someone's dorm, half-torn down,
misunderstood in the mute rage of
a truncheon-man. Your flapping in the breeze
above a supernova of smashed computer screen.
And you, green crowd, watching the
concrete monument bent over you
like a protecting force of nature. The bible
says giants walked the Earth once,
and in the antideluvean torpor
llived with humans. I remember
and remember the welts on young bodies:
trapped in our bodies. And I listened
to The Arcade Fire for the first time in a while,
to pealing organs, the appropriate lyrics of
"My Body is a Cage".

Location went next, and, decentered, I wandered the streets.
In North York we had celebrations, soon to be mourning
vigils. I looked upon the world with
eyes for green. And the bullshit of
workaday concerns boiled, stirred
and spat me out days later, meditation not working,

Truth sense still clings here. Rumors send me
flying to the clouds, or falling into brooding.
Will the death of that one man, the first we saw,
be worth the spread of my ideals? When does the
celestial Idea of democracy touch the mountain peaks?

We watch and wait. Iran is a mountainous country.
Zarathustra spoke there, and Nietzsche through him.
Countless poets, the tablets of Cyrus dot this land.
And yet, here they martyred so many, as in
the birth pangs of the Baha'i, the Parsees of
Bombay. And I should stop, for I do not know
enough. At least, I'll defer to those who do,
to the people whose voices still give ring to
living poetry, echoing and revitalising the common dream
of humanity, the enlightened state, the just state,
that yields good lives. May your voices, and
arms, and footfalls, and cries echo around the world.

And may we, the supposedly saved, the supposedly safe
learn the price of carving space for flourishing.

I will end with oft-quoted words coming out of there. These are more raw than I can ever get. Another blog post. I should say, Iranians taught me about blogging.

Consider, carefully: "I will participate in the demonstrations tomorrow. Maybe they will turn violent. Maybe I will be one of the people who is going to get killed. I'm listening to all my favorite music. I even want to dance to a few songs. I always wanted to have very narrow eyebrows. Yes, maybe I will go to the salon before I go tomorrow! There are a few great movie scenes that I also have to see. I should drop by the library, too. It's worth to read the poems of Forough and Shamloo again. All family pictures have to be reviewed, too. I have to call my friends as well to say goodbye. All I have are two bookshelves which I told my family who should receive them. I'm two units away from getting my bachelors degree but who cares about that. My mind is very chaotic. I wrote these random sentences for the next generation so they know we were not just emotional and under peer pressure. So they know that we did everything we could to create a better future for them. So they know that our ancestors surrendered to Arabs and Mongols but did not surrender to despotism. This note is dedicated to tomorrow's children..."