You drain the words out of my famished mouth
when you scream,
a sun-drenched cry of dripping dates and palm-green nostalgia.
You, a thought in the womb before birth,
And all the lines of crimson of afterlife,
a bosom of Tigress-scented compassion,
thrown across a desert of aimless caravans.
You, a wan wanderer, in the pages of my history...
Did you know that,
your rains washed away my name,
minutes after baptism,
tattooed tomorrow's memories for eternity...?
But then you turned your face east...
away from me...
Do you recognize me? ...
I am the homeless child that seeks your amputated arms for refuge,
a beggar of identity amidst your grains of blood-drenched sands.
Why have you lost me
when I had hung on to the trains of your abbai,
through all the wars,
all the sores...?
Left my minarets of war-torn memories to crumble into oblivion...
my faith in humankind disemboweled.
You are the truth
-if it ever existed,
belief, when it is all I know.
I know you now
like I know God.
For you are the entity they forbade,
the remnants of the game they played,
the devastated I...

For my beloved Iraq...

Zaineb Alani
39 years old

I'm an Iraqi, living in the US, who survived two wars growing up;
the 'war of attrition' with Iran, and the first Gulf war.
I have written many 'war poems.'
I currently reside in the US.

*Some of the following images are more than uncomfortable and shocking to view.
We at Empire Burlesque are showing the painful images in order
to unveil the nature of war and it's real impact on human lives.
The war that the mainstream media will not show.
The war that the governments of the world who support
the brutal occupation of Iraq would rather you not see.
This collection over 600 images is intended to provide a window...
a montage of the human toll of war. George Bush wanted to eliminate journalists
by bombing al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar in an act against the freedom
of expression. Governments keep war hidden because it is hideous.
To allow people to see this reality -- the shattered bodies, the wounded children, the incomprehensible mayhem is to risk eroding popular support for it.
This is particularly true with wars that have less than overwhelming popular
support to begin with. In the case of Vietnam, battlefield images played
an important role in turning the tide of public opinion.
And in Iraq, a war whose official justification has turned out to be false,
and which a majority of the American people now believe to have been a mistake,
the administration would prefer that these grim images never be seen.

Salon has an excellent article on the subject here

Image gallery collected and page composed by webmaster for Empire Burlesque

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