Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16, 2004 - A terrible memory

To the millions of martyrs, two more were added that day...

My dearest sister cousin Vanya and Hagop (Jack) Hopar (uncle) were brutally murdered eight years ago today and the life was snatched out of them for good. Their physical bodies left us in the space of 30 minutes, with terrified neighbors watching, paramedics abandoning the scene taking them for dead, and commenting (as per eyewitness accounts) that they "Turned out to be just Christians!" That comment is the reflection of the hatred and sometimes indifference towards 'second class citizens' that is often planted in the hearts of people. Hopefully this revolution which turned out to be anything but, falling short of even toppling of the regime since the regime seems to be continuing well in the same steps of its predecessors, or shall we say its colleagues?
But that is not what I intended to speak about.
I want to evoke the sacred and dear memory of my kin, their absence leaves a indelible crater in my heart, ready to erupt, that only the love of humanity, deep compassion, understanding and forgiveness can calm. I don't want to fill the trough with hatred, I don't want vengeance and cursing to fill it in.
Instead, prayers of peace, of love and compassion for a better humanity, good neighborly conduct and unlimited understanding of our fellow human beings.
Maybe art and creativity are the answer.
I dedicate my artistic work and journey to their memory and their love that will keep me going until the day we meet again.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

R.I.P. Dearest cousin Vanya, Hagop Hopar (Uncle Jack) and Tanti Kohar (Auntie Kohar)

Dear Vanya, Hopar and Tanti,
You will never be forgotten! Not a day goes by when you are not in y thoughts, and I an sure in the thoughts of many who were fortunate enough to know you in this life.
Your death was so in vain. It is so unfair that for all your love and tolerance towards all people, it had to be towards you that this funda-mentalist was to direct his hatred...
How ignorant can hatred be? How blind can extremism get to not see that you two of all people were so tolerant and loving towards your fellow Egyptians regardless of differences...
Oh how I wish you were still here to see what Egypt was able to achieve between January 25 and February 11. This gives us hope that Egypt will finally redeem herself of all hatred, crime, intolerance and injustice it has committed or been subject to in the annals of history.
Violence can only be appeased through love, intolerance through acceptance, prejudice through understaning of others' positions. You both were so loving, so giving, understanding, tolerant. I am certain to think that despite what you went through and despite the painful and horrid end you met, you are also deeply forgiving. You are full of love for Egypt and I a sure you will guard her from harming herself in this critical time. Perhaps you already are.
May you both Rest in Peace till we meet again some day...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

One More Year Has Passed Without You

My darling Vanya, in a few hours it will be four years to that fateful morning when life was brutally stabbed out of you, when your ringing contagious laughter was silenced forever, when your deep expressive eyes were shut eternally.

Hand in hand like two angels you and my dear uncle, your father, left this world and its beastly humans. You left it because one of these beastly humans decided you should go, and because the others, confused and horrified were incapable of doing anything to prevent the assault or to stop the murderer. Together you left, attached throughout your last breaths; whispering words of love, talking to one another words of indignation and saying goodbye. I dedicate the following fragments to your memory and the memory of my dear Hagop Hopar (Uncle Jack). May your souls rest in peace in the Netherworld where the beastly humans cannot harm you any more.
* * * * *

The breaking of the last solid emotional link attaching me to Egypt had a painful rippling effect on my being. But ripples are what they are... Strong at first, close, concentrated, then with time they grow further and further apart until they disappear forever, leaving behind as smooth a surface as before the start. The stone that had created them, however, remains at the bottom in the depths...
It is true, theoretically, it can never rise again.... Still, knowledge of its existence is enough to make a difference in our lives along with the me
mory of the effect it had created. The last solid link emotionally attaching me to this land of eternity has been abruptly severed... Love is blind they say. What about hatred? Hatred is blind least it can render one blind. Blind hatred! Passion can be blind. Justice can see but it wears spectacles that change according to norms - they interpret reality through special lenses. At times these are dark and smoky... At others they are politically colored! But I am not blind, I want to look things straight in the guts. Faces can deceive but guts do not. Guts make us sick or flutter with joy. To look at things straight in the guts we have to look at them from the guts. We need the guts to look at the guts of things...

The Killer or the Dead

The smell of comfort of a bed
Slept in as a child
Vanished with the forty stabs
And the flow of blood.

Home became hell
Darkness fell at midday
Drawing the curtain on a scene
Not from a play.

Egypt showed a face I had not seen
Hostile, vengeful,
Inhuman, veiled with hate
Shutting forever doors
Never fully opened in a way.

Whose side is God on:
The killer or the dead?

Copyright © 2007 by Nora Armani

My Egypt

Whirling dervishes,
Sights, sounds, smells and smoke
Oh yes dust too, and horns
Blowing strong
Mix with the muazzin’s
Call for prayer or for war.

Camels cross the desert
Carts - pulled by donkeys or
bare foot men - the streets,
Half-naked children
with tanned faces
run before trucks
risking their petty lives
so cheap

Om Kalthum
And Amr Diab
Blast from radios

The president will address
A public tired
of promises,
Weary of empty smiles.

The preaching Sheikh promises
a better world,
in another life...
They follow his advice.

Deafened with the roar of bombs,
Drunk with the smell of blood,
Blinded with fury planted
In their hearts,
they destroy the little they have
And decline God
For a seat in His

Who gains in this folly?
The President? The Sheikh?
God and His Paradise?

What happened to my Egypt
It was…
God’s Eden on Earth.

Copyright © 2007 by Nora Armani

Friday, March 16, 2007

Vanya: It has been 3 years

The Prophecy

What is it that attracts us to a place; to a moment? What makes us want to come back time and again? Memories. But sometimes we feel a link to a place we have never been to before. Could it be because it evokes memories of a similar place? A previous existence? I wonder.

Can memories live through generations and across time frames? Can they be transmitted through genes? Can they prophesy the future or shape it?

Memories do attract us to a place, but they can also drive us away from it. We are but the sum total of our experiences, of the events in our lives that constantly shape us from the moment they occur, or even before; from the moment they exist. The event exists but it may not have happened to us yet, we exist, but we may not have encountered the event yet. This is our life before the event. Only after the encounter happens does an experience start, and shortly after it its memory follows. Events in our lives become experiences then turn into memories.

What is the life span of a memory? Who decides how long a memory lives? Who decides its intensity? The power of its impact? Not an independent dimension, but one that is also determined by the strength of the buffer. Same or similar experiences never have same or similar impacts on everyone. Why? Because everyone is different.

Why did that woman’s words have such a strong impact on you? For how long had you been living under their spell? The gypsy woman seemed to know. Was her knowledge alone capable of producing the event? Did your belief make it happen? Can a prophecy fulfill itself? I wonder.

I wonder whether. I wonder if. I wonder why? I wonder how? I wonder when? I wonder what if… I can do nothing but wonder. That is the only faculty I own that seems to still be functioning properly. The ability to wonder what if…

What if she hadn’t told you? What if you hadn’t believed her? What if she was lying? And now… what if you had erased it from your memory, forgotten about it. What if you hadn’t told me!

At first she had not been willing to say what she’d seen. Then when you’d insisted, she had said, “Blood, I see a lot of blood.” She had told you that an incident would happen in your early to mid-forties involving blood. Lots of blood! How could she tell you that? How could she know so much? Who was she? Who was she communicating with? Who spoke to her? And why had her messenger not given her the remedy along with the ailment? Could she not prevent it? Could anyone prevent it? I wonder…

When you told me about this prophecy adding that you were not going to be around for much longer, I became uneasy, but decided to dismiss it all by telling you not to pay too much attention to these things. But your words made me think. As the gypsy woman’s words had made you think. All these years they had made you think. It was strange that you had not mentioned this before. You only did so when I spoke to you about my own recent experiences with a psychic and her predictions. She had said to me, “Great harm will come from a woman close to you,” along with a couple of other things. Although I had no idea who it might be, there were a few women I could think of who could have at least wished me harm. At the time I did not make much of it. But now that I think back on it, I shudder at the thought that my psychic may have actually said, “Great harm will come to a woman close to you.” Not from. How big a difference a small preposition makes in how we choose to hear things! I do not know now which it was for sure… but I am tempted to think it may have been the second. She had asked me to pay her extra, a lot more, to give me details and make further predictions. I refused. I preferred not to ‘know’ the future.

And yet, the future came, whether or not I knew it. I wonder if all this may have been prevented had I known… Could anyone have prevented it? I wonder, I wonder, what if…

You tried telling me something that day, that banal everyday-like day, when that totally absurd conversation found its way into our mouths. You tried to tell me something that you yourself didn’t know and couldn’t know. Something horrible, something indefinable, something totally unpredictable, and yet, it had been predicted… as something with “a lot of blood.”

And it all happened just as the gypsy woman had prophesied.

Are we here to fulfill a prophecy? Are we here to live someone else’s dream or fantasy? If all this could be predicted then what is the purpose of our existence? Whose puppets are we? Who is the master puppeteer; the sealer of our fates?

What events are programmed into our genetic make-up? What memories do our genes carry? What pieces of predetermined information leading to inevitable events are pre-installed in our chip? Can we reboot it and replace the defective memory; can we erase it, reprogram it? Can we prevent the past? Can we change the future? Can we induce a difference? Or do we have no choice but fulfill The Prophecy?

I wonder…I will always wonder…

Maybe you know now. You are in another dimension, another intelligence level. Is there one? Is there life after death? Or should I say, is there life after life? Is death our birth into that life?

Can you hear me? See me? Can you read this? Read my mind? I wonder…

I wonder… and yet, just at this moment, I feel you do. I feel you do, because I feel you looking over my shoulder and smiling. I am smiling too because I feel your presence.

Did you have to go?

I wonder…

Nora Armani