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What do we need to know about the MENA region today?

Ghalya Saadawi
1 June 2011

What do we need to know about (your interest in) the MENA region today?

Two-Hundred and Thirty Three


What can I say
In order to be vigilant?
How do I organize pessimism
Into surviving fireflies?
What and where are these images,
Like germs germinating,
Gestating in the belly of some vowel
That lingers after all horizons are
Knock on an O and you get anachrOnism
And a stOrm.
Step into the O and you get
An eye
Not for an eye,
But for an O.
The O not of nOvelty or of nO
But of nOise.
Interfere with it and you sabotage
Step in front of it and you get a
Not like a meter reading,
Like a contemporary.
Not the other one,
With time,
Not, not with.
With the hole of an O like
But we are out of time,
Not as in anachronism,
As in particles in parallel lines
Sewing the last threads
As we sit on a boat in the direction
Of a firefly sunset that is bound to fall,
And us with it.
But trace, mark and tease
Stay behind
For posterity like eternity, but real,
Like a loop around my neck,
They stay because the dead's
Word is the last.
Or the first.
Like the O in surprise
In redeem, in listen.
There is no O in listen
There isn't an O in sight
I mean in sight.
There is no O in nod
Only emptiness spiralled out
By too much nodding.

Ghalya Saadawi

is an independent writer, editor and researcher. Her art writings have appeared in Bidoun, e-flux, Frieze, Nowiswere,Third Text among other publications. She was editor of the Sharjah Biennial 10 catalogue Plot for a Biennial (2011) and co-editor of Untitled Tracks: On Alternative Music in Beirut (2010). Saadawi is a PhD student at Goldsmiths University, London where she is researching the politics of witnessing, testimony and fiction in art practices in Lebanon and more broadly.

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