A short text by Iraqi short-story writer and filmmaker Hassan Blasim, translated by Jonathan Wright:
You escape death.
They hit you on the border.
They insult you in the racist newspapers.
They analyse your child’s dead body on television.
They get together and discuss your past and your future.
In their pictures they draw you drowning.
They put you in their museums and applaud.
They decide to stop hitting you and set up a military unit to confront you.
Academics get new grant money to research your body and your soul.
Politicians drink red wine after an emergency meeting to discuss your fate.
They study history in search of an answer for your daughter, who’s freezing in the forest cold.
They weep crocodile tears over your pain.
They come out in demonstrations against you and build walls.
Green activists put up pictures of you in the street.
Others sit on their sofas, comment wearily on your picture on Facebook, and go to sleep.
They strip away your humanity in debates that are clever and sharp as knives.
They write you down today and, with the eraser of selfishness, make you disappear the next morning.
They expect to come across their own humanity through your tragedy.
They take you into their paradise, then flog you night and day with their horror at your eyes, which radiate fear and hope.
The past goes to sleep, and wakes up inside you.
The present engulfs you.
You produce children and grow old.
Translated By Jonathan Wright