Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The words of Nadine Touma

Nadine Touma, is a writer, artist and poet, a woman of great talent and a friend. In the last five years we have chatted many times. While I was the cultural editor of The Daily Star I conducted a comprehensive interview with Nadine. Her words have always hit home.

Below are three pieces she has written over the last few days under Israel's muderous Operation Summer Rain. Any comments you post will reach her.


A Sunday in july
I finally got my computer rescued from the office
By a mad cab driver
To be able to write and who knows if I will be able to
I am finding it very hard to write these words
I can barely see the screen because of the tears that keep rolling
Down my face
Rolling rolling rolling
They are not tears of fear they are tears of anger and sadness
Of feeling that what I am going to write has been written by thousands before me and
Yet weapons keep being produced
Wars keep being waged
Innocent people keep dying
Massacres occur
And dead bodies of children are carried in front of the TV cameras
With people screaming show this to bush show this to Israelis show this to the world
Is this how you protect your borders is this how you defend yourself?
And yet nothing changes
And wars keep reoccurring!
And they dare speak of peace.
How many years will it take to forgive?
To understand? To stop missing the ones you lost? To wipe away the images
That will haunt your nightmares forever?
The difference between this war and the one I lived from when I was three
Is the fact that I am watching my country being torn apart on television,
Now I put faces to the dead
And homes to the villages.
And when the foreign powers meet we don’t need to wait anxiously
To see their indifference we can see it and hear it live via satellite television
As I write a huge massacre has just occurred in tyre where mostly women and
Children have died.
They ran away from their villages and hid at schools or houses
That were opened to house them
And they were just bombed
Directly by a helicopter
Where the Israeli soldier was just a few meters away
Looking into his victims eyes
Knew exactly what he or she was bombing
Where he or she could even see the child running around in the apartment
Or the woman hanging the laundry from her balcony
And no there is no Hezbollah fighters in that house
Because the Israeli aggressors claim that they only bomb civilians
Because and I quote “the inhuman terrorists place their canons
In houses and buildings” which is a complete and utter lie
May I remind you that they just bombed the 12th floor of the building
So that it all falls down like a sandwich
Tyre a town I love and have the sweetest memories in.
I look for the familiar faces of the fishermen with whom I spent tender moments
I look for the faces of the children who guided me through their streets
Invited me to their homes fed me at their tables
Told me tales of love stories between fishermen and waiting mermaids.
I call them and can’t get through.
I can’t stop the tears rolling rolling rolling.
I think I have recognized the dead face of a little girl I know
That we have filmed
I am weeping
My mum wants to destroy the television to stop my inner wound
They bombard all the roads
All the electrical plants
All the bridges
All the gas stations
Then they send a warning to the inhabitants at midnight
To evacuate their villages!
Do you think the Israeli army takes people for idiots?
Are they testing people’s intelligence to see how they will solve this riddle?
The riddle ends by people running away at night
On land walking
And then…
They get bombed
And the riddle turns into a joke
Where someone in Israel is watching and laughing.


I am sleeping in a monster’s stomach.
No it is not a modern tale of Pinocchio swallowed by a whale that now turned into a monster.
Imagine this deafening hum that is buzzing at your ear incessantly
As is an airplane is flying over you all the time
First I thought I was imagining this sound
Or that I was so obsessed with air raids that I as hearing them all the time
Then I was talking to a friend who explained that
This monster is the airplane without a pilot the MK
That the Israelis use to film us monitor us watch us 24 hours
Israel is a nation so scared of being ghettoized
To a point that It ghettoizes and imprisons others and it holds the key
But what our aggressors do not understand is that
When they build a wall they ghettoize themselves even if they have the key
And when they wage a war they ghettoize themselves even If they have the key
And when they kill innocent people they ghettoize themselves even if they have the key
They are ghettoizing themselves so much that they will be left with only themselves
And their keys…
Yet more devastated than scared
We prepare the shelter room
Although we are not bombarded directly yet
Mattresses are laid on the floor
Mama and I study the best wall the safest corner we become war experts.
Spreadable cheese
Salted Pumpkin and melon seeds
Dried fruits
The television
A book that we never get to read more than one sentence over and over and over again
And the supermarket visit where spaghetti tuna cans cheese powdered milk rice sugar flour toilet paper tissue paper are brought in quantities bringing me back to all the years of war. no matter how much time passes between one war and another the same things
Are bought and the same things are needed maybe the brand changes.
My god this is my second war!!!!

A letter to my dear friend Andy.

Dear andy,
Do you remember when we were walking around in Beirut
Looking for junk yards, pieces of metal, shops of used things, things to create your instruments that will illustrate and talk about my shelter story book on my war in Beirut?
We couldn’t find any.
This was 2 months ago.
You kept saying where is the junk in this city Nadine?
Well my dearest of all Andyz the good news is that now you have as much
Junk as you want and it is war junk the real stuff the hard core authentic junk.
The sad news is that now there is no city!

Ps I promise to collect a few of my city junk for our book


Blogger a journalist writes said...

Is this Ramsay Short's blog? I'm a New York journalist, trying to reach you for a piece i'm on deadline, writing a piece about Beirut's pre-last-week renaissance (I visited last summer). I would love to interview you, particularly in connection with your book, and your assessment of the postitive changes over the last five years or so. It's almost 1 a.m. here, 8 a.m. your time. I don't have your real email, but if you email me at my pseudonymous account, larkejones (at hotmail), I will send you a note asap from my real account, and see if an interview is possible. Again, I won't be up to get my email til my 7 a.m. (your 2 pm). But I will respond immediately. Hope this works, thanks--L

7:55 AM  
Blogger SReisman said...

I've been thinking about you...and with a little bit of searching I've found your words and your thoughts once again. I miss your presence in my life my friend.
Send me a line to let me know how you are doing...
I send you my love and a big hug. Take care,

1:34 AM  
Blogger Terrelle Tynes-Wilson said...

Nadine, I read your work, often because I think it is so touching and also because you mean so much to my sisters and my family. It is not at all hard to believe that we had you, this brilliant writer, artist, poet in our midst in the spring of 1990. We saw your greatness then. We the Tynes family think and pray for you always, and hope that one day all of this chaos will end in peace. We love you and my big sisters especially long to hear from you.
take good care of yourself and know that we await your response in your time.

Much love,

2:14 PM  
Blogger naples40201 said...

i think that nadine touma is very much underestimated as a person throughout the world.i have only seen one documentary about her but I was instantly captivated by both her beauty and her talent. Thanks,Shaun White. naples40201@hotmail.com

4:42 AM  

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