Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: 9/11, Arab Fall, And A Poem For Asmaa Mahfouz

by lizard

Global Cop or National Hermit. Either shape the world for our safety and benefit, or withdraw and let the evil shadow from the East darken the earth. That is the choice, America. Or at least lots of people seem to see it that way.

I really tried to not write a 9/11 post, but three days later, here it is.

Eleven years ago we Americans had an opportunity to step back from the psychic blow we took that blue-skied Tuesday and really look at the forces that shape anti-American sentiment in other parts of the world, especially the Mideast.

Instead the shock of attack jarred us from our comfort and brought us raging onto the global stage, willing to consume whatever crudely-patched narratives were assembled to goad our blood and treasure toward feeding that dark impulse for revenge, with two wars of occupation.

That impulse still works.

As protests of varying severity spread to 11 countries (hyped by media?), the opportunity to understand the anger is of course being drowned out by the frenzy of froth spittled from Romney’s angry white man campaign. It’s sad.

And it’s infectious. Even people I usually respect get caught up in it, and say stuff like this on twitter about the unrest in Cairo:

I’m taking my time machine so I can get a first hand look at the middle ages. I’m setting the clock for yesterday in Cairo.

The Arab Spring Sprung in Egypt after Tunisia, and as it was first sputtering, the protesters were getting the corporate media framing of angry arab mobs acting savagely. For example, there were reports of protesters looting museums, which later came out as Mubarak regime thugs trying to delegitimize the popular protests. Whether US corporate media were dupes or compliant instruments of state power in how they went with those reports, you can decide for yourself.

As the first shoots of the Arab Spring were trying to spring up, I wrote this angry post in response to the waffling of a President who didn’t seem to want to lose a faithful authoritarian friend of America.

Now it’s Arab Fall, meaning autocrats have fallen (sometimes sodomized and executed), and in those power vacuums, surprise! It’s still volatile.


Weird, deja vu. I’m again watching Rachel Maddow talking about conspiracy theories.

Apparently, Paul Ryan was at a speaking event with a guy who bills himself to the religious right as a “former terrorist”, Kamal Saleem.

Saleem, whose real name is Khodor Shami, claims that he was Muslim Brotherhood operative who “came to the United States of America…to destroy this country,” saying that he crossed the Canadian border and “brought weapon caches right through cities.” Somewhere along the way he converted, got a job at Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, and became the favorite ex-Muslim of the Religious Right. As a result, he says his life is constantly in danger, and he is being pursued by foreign agents.

That seriously happened. And there’s totally video of it, somewhere, on the web.

This dovetails nicely with how lately, like in the last 48 hours, I’ve nearly come to Jesus, seeing clearly the error of my principled harping against Obama. Romney and Ryan are simply that awful, and there’s even a rash of Republicans who agree. The polls in swing states show the Muslim/Socialist/Apologist for America pulling ahead as we close in on October, November.

Damn, see how that happens? Now I’m the asshole talking domestic politics as our sovereign property is being attacked by the ubiquitous angry arab mob we’ll never be bothered enough to understand.

Let’s just kill them and call them militants until proven otherwise.

After all, when bravado meets bravado, and the embarrassment of a diplomat who played a direct role in the NATO Libya coup gets killed, it’s not even a question. Revenge.


As the campaigns and the raging world depresses everyone, it might be kind of nice to remember how Asmaa Mahfouz helped topple a dictator:

And in response, during that spring, I wrote this:



Asmaa Mahfouz

26 years old

she looks straight at the camera

the beauty of her face an insurrection in the making

the force of her words feed the spark

Asmaa Mahfouz

you are courageous

and you are dangerous

the West is scared of you

and fundamentalists are scared of you

because you have helped your brothers and sisters

abandon their fear to fill Tahrir Square

and without fear their grip on power

sputters and flashes its belly

and without fear

the iron fist trained in the dark arts of torture

can be overwhelmed

and pried free from the necks of the people

Asmaa Mahfouz

they call the flames your words are fanning a virus

as they yank the imperial fist from the rump of Mubarak

and quickly jam it in Suleiman

Asmaa Mahfouz

it is your hour

the clock of old men is winding down

their scrotums, comfortably sheathed in expensive fabrics,

are suffering sweat stains

and forced retirements—

in the emirates?

now is the time for caution

the wolves of empire won’t let their influence wane

for the wolves of empire are insane for global dominance

but for now your template of resistance has won the day

so let the empire scramble and connive

trying to figure out why

the dignity of human life they seek always to subjugate

is, today, victorious

—William Skink

  1. Obama was all for regime change in Libya and Egypt – now HIS chickens are coming home to roost, and they’re crapping all over America –

    I saw a piece over at American Thinker, calling the situation in the Middle East “Obamas Frankenstein” , meaning a monster he created, that kills you if you hurt it’s feelings.

  2. Max { } Bucks

    Welcome to Hillary’s Affirmative Action State Department, where embassy Marines are issued rubber bullets and told not to hurt anyone. This is what happens to a nation run by women and effeminate males.

    — Max Bucks

    • Steve W

      Max, I think you are a typical example of a member of a political party that’s on the brink of self destruction.

      Please keep posting so we can track your descent into madness.

      You guys really crack me up. Mitt Romney… ha ha ha ha :)

      • Max Bucks

        Political parties are for suckers. And the same goes for politics generally. The only solution is to have a large amount of money. Then none of this bothers you. In fact, it becomes rather funny.

        You can write “ha ha ha ha :)” all you want, but you are really not laughing. You are actually taking all this nonsense seriously, because you think there are good guys and bad guys. Wow, dumb.

        — Max Bucks

    • jack ruby

      HARTMAN: Do any of you people know who Charles Whitman was? None of you dumbasses knows? Private Cowboy?
      COWBOY: Sir, he was that guy who shot all those people from that tower in Austin, Texas, sir!

      HARTMAN: That’s affirmative. Charles Whitman killed twelve people from a twenty-eight-storey observation tower at the University of Texas from distances up to four hundred yards. Anybody know who Lee Harvey Oswald was? Private Snowball?

      SNOWBALL: Sir, he shot Kennedy, sir!

      HARTMAN: That’s right, and do you know how far away he was?

      SNOWBALL: Sir, it was pretty far! From that book suppository building, sir!

      HARTMAN: All right, knock it off! Two hundred and fifty feet! He was two hundred and fifty feet away and shooting at a moving target. Oswald got off three rounds with an old Italian bolt action rifle in only six seconds and scored two hits, including a head shot! Do any of you people know where these individuals learned to shoot? Private Joker?

      JOKER: Sir, in the Marines, sir!

      HARTMAN: In the Marines! Outstanding! Those individuals showed what one motivated marine and his rifle can do! And before you ladies leave my island, you will be able to do the same thing!

  1. 1 Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: Anticipating April | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] 9/11, Arab Fall, And A Poem For Asmaa Mahfouz […]

  2. 2 152 Poetry Posts to Celebrate April, National Poetry Month | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] 9/11, Arab Fall, And A Poem For Asmaa Mahfouz […]

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