Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Motherland

 Individual World Poetry Slam Championship

I was walking down the street when a man stopped me and said,
Hey yo sistah, you from the motherland?
Because my skin is a shade too deep not to have come from foreign soil
Because this garment on my head screams Africa
Because my body is a beacon calling everybody to come flock to the motherland
I said, I’m Sudanese, why?
He says, ‘cause you got a little bit of flavor in you,
I’m just admiring what your mama gave you
Let me tell you something about my mama
She can reduce a man to tattered flesh without so much as blinking
Her words fester beneath your skin and the whole time,
You won’t be able to stop cradling her eyes.
My mama is a woman, flawless and formidable in the same step.
Woman walks into a warzone and has warriors cowering at her feet
My mama carries all of us in her body,
on her face, in her blood and
Blood is no good once you let it loose
So she always holds us close.
When I was 7, she cradled bullets in the billows of her robes.
That same night, she taught me how to get gunpowder out of cotton with a bar of soap.
Years later when the soldiers held her at gunpoint and asked her who she was
She said, I am a daughter of Adam, I am a woman, who the hell are you?
The last time we went home, we watched our village burn,
Soldiers pouring blood from civilian skulls
As if they too could turn water into wine.
They stole the ground beneath our feet.
The woman who raised me
turned and said, don’t be scared
I’m your mother, I’m here, I won’t let them through.
My mama gave me conviction.
Women like her
Inherit tired eyes,
Bruised wrists and titanium plated spines.
The daughters of widows wearing the wings of amputees
Carry countries between their shoulder blades.
I’m not saying dating is a first world problem, but these trifling moterfuckers seem to be.
The kind who’ll quote Rumi, but not know what he sacrificed for war.
Who’ll fawn over Lupita, but turn their racial filters on.
Who’ll take their politics with a latte when I take mine with tear gas.
Every guy I meet wants to be my introduction to the dark side,
Wants me to open up this obsidian skin and let them read every tearful page,
Because what survivor hasn’t had her struggle made spectacle?
Don’t talk about the motherland unless you know that being from Africa
means waking up an afterthought in this country.
Don’t talk about my flavor unless you know that
My flavor is insurrection, it is rebellion, resistance
my flavor is mutiny
It is burden, it is grit and it is compromise
And you don’t know compromise until you’ve rebuilt your home for the third time
Without bricks, without mortar, without any other option
I turned to the man and said,
My mother and I can’t walk the streets alone back home any more.
Back home, there are no streets to walk any more.”

Yale senior wins the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship
The stage was set for Emtithal “Emi” Mahmoud ’16 at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship (iWPS).

Newer poems



Time for Remembrance; (Re-edited, July 28, 2009)

I visited my “Motherland” once; (July 30, 2009)

Much effort to build a nest; I created my Island; (August 1, 2009)

And now, be warned, I fire; (August 3, 2009)


No matter, with a little talent… (August 20, 2009)

 Romancing the Fatherland, Motherland, and God land (Written on December 15, 2007)

The concepts of the 19th century sociologist Hans Kuhn affected the ideologies of many political parties with his theory and explanation of what constitute a Nation.  Kuhn’s main premise was that people of common origins had to form a State because their “fundamental internal reality” cannot be affected by the social environment and surroundings in foreign lands.

Hans Kuhn was a German Zionist and was implicitly building the framework for providing a rationale for inventing a State for the Jewish Diaspora.   Unfortunately, the Nazi also loved this comprehensive theory for claiming the lands wherever people of German origins had any majority concentration in Europe in the name of the Motherland.

The concept of Kuhn’s, for what can be termed a Fatherland, is very ancient and goes as far back as the State-Cities that the Kanaanean civilization built around the Mediterranean Sea, like Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, Carthage…

This mercantile and sea faring people built commercial “comptoires” or trading posts all over the Mediterranean Sea coasts to facilitate the exchange of goods with the indigents.

The trading posts were attached to their respective mother City-State, and the communities in these trading posts carried with them their Gods and traditions and ceremonies, but never ventured very much inland to spread their civilization and mingle with the indigents.

Even mighty Carthage was a vassal to the king of Tyre until Alexander the Greek completely destroyed Tyre. This behavior of keeping to themselves and attaching their trading posts to a mother City-State is commonly termed the “Kanaanean Sin” or “Phoenician Guilt”.

The same behavior was adopted by the European colonial powers; everytime they opened a trading post then the whole county belonged to their respective King or Queen.

Whenever the golden feet of the scum of their scum citizens trampled a land then the land was automatically attached as property to their King or Queen.

Recently, whenever the USA companies signed a contract to explore for oil or for exploiting an equatorial rain forest then the whole country becomes a strategic outpost for America.

The Jewish sin is almost a carbon copy of the “Kanaanean Sin” with the difference that the Jews never had trading posts, but considered that the land occupied by a branch of their twelve tribes to be the land offered to them by their God Jehovah.  Actually, the Jews were recent comers to Palestine and most of the time, except in the land surrounding Jerusalem and called Judea, they adopted the Kananean culture and tradition and even Gods.

Consequently, the Jews also carried their Gods and traditions with them as they assimilated the Phoenician traditions and kept close-knit Bedouin communities wherever they settled.

So many international wars were waged in the name of liberty, democracy, and freedom or for preserving the Western culture when the real reason was protecting their colonial outposts for their exclusive exploitation and exclusive commercial trades.  In a way, it was the European citizens’ consensus to be the subjects of divine monarchs, residing in  City-States called Capitals, that lead the colonial powers to claim lands as properties for their monarchs and then to considering the indigents as slave prisoners to be exploited and sold at will as during razzias.

I doubt very much that a common language was a major factor for European nationalism since education to read and write the central language, as practiced in the capitals, in say London or Paris, was not widespread or appreciated until a century ago and the dialects were many and very different within the districts and still are.

European nationalism was a concept forced upon the populations by intellectuals and businessmen to rally people around a pragmatic and utilitarian entity to compete among other neighboring States.

A mother language was forced under pressure, by having it required exclusively in the civil services and for teaching in public schools.

The single major factor that superimposed the concept of Fatherland was war:

Frequent wars among the European monarchs, the flood of blood shed and shared miseries against targeted enemies and millions under the flags, which united the people under a unique banner and opened the gate for colonialism.

The Napoleonic wars to unify Europe in a new ideology of liberty, freedom and equality had the contrary result of uniting the attacked people to regroup under their monarchs.

The USA kept its coherence by constant expansion wars in their continents and attaching the conquered lands to the central government; the main cause for the civil war in the USA was fundamentally to preserve the prerogatives of the central government in the City-State called Washington DC to form and lead armies, and to print the currency…

The underdeveloped countries are emulating the same process to unite by frequent wars and raising animosities with their neighboring States.

The difference between the European wars and the wars among the underdeveloped States is that wars in Europe were catalyst to developing their own industries and for inventing and producing their own instruments for waging wars and not by importing arms and ammunition from outside.

Wars among the European States were catalyst for change in education, in civil laws, and in opening opportunities that were exclusive to specific classes.

Wars in underdeveloped States are ultimately subdividing the citizens into clans, tribes and castes within the States admitted in the United Nations.

Many pundits claim that the USA has a robust sense of patriotism because they fold around their President when he goes to war; I beg to differ on this notion of patriotism.

Millions of wretched Americans that are jobless grab a war opportunity to get hired in the many jobs opening that wars generate, and essentially as fresh recruits from the underprivileged and immigrants who seek a form of naturalization.

A few months after Bush declared victory and when things started to run amuck in Iraq the Pentagon was unable to recruit anymore and the dirty job was subcontracted to Blackwater, a paramilitary organization, to recruit mercenaries from all over the world to assure security for the civil and public departments in Iraq and to perpetrate terrorist activities.

Whatever patriotism that superpowers have it cannot be but a chauvinistic and aggrandizement mythological belief.

The worst part in the USA notion of patriotism is that the governing institutions have applied the militarist methodology to paralyzing any spiritual thinking, and thus trying to eliminate the fundamental element in individuality.  The USA citizens are forced to compete relentlessly for money as a sign of success; only the educated older citizens who are comfortably on retirement might indulge in a spiritual life, in reading poetry and acquiring artistic culture and then claim their individuality.

 La Patrie, Al Watan, Al Kawmiya, Motherland, or Fatherland is certainly a piece of land with a live language; more importantly it is of active communities fairly represented with independent budgets and working for a set of ideals, preferably liberty from oppression and injustice, freedom of choices and expressions, opportunities to grow, be self sufficient to make individual decisions, behave to be happy and take responsibilities; but most importantly to have dreams and longing for a satisfying and sustainable future, ideals worth struggling and dying for.

The Motherland is the center that emanates hope, bonds of comprehension and a listening ear for all as equals in potentials, in human rights, and in the application of the golden rule “Do to others and behave accordingly as you like others to reciprocate”.

The Motherland is not about the past: the past is gone and our present status should reflect how we made use of our past heritage and how it influenced our development.

The Motherland is about how our current set of ideals is applied and what ideals we should strive for, individually and collectively.

The Motherland is fundamentally the extent of aspiration for renewal that we can entrust in our communities if we actively struggle to realize our ideals.

A basic rule for a healthy Motherland is that if we opt for the concept that the mind must reign supreme, then we also has to let mysticism be the counselor. If poetry is ultimately the guiding rod then let the mind be the controller.

The Motherland should be a beacon for the weary travelers seeking light out of ignorance and rest from irrational injustices, a shelter to all to recharge and replenish their soul with hope and expectations for a better life.

The Motherland is land, poetry, free men and spirit.

The Motherland is the vaster community that instilled its culture in the growing adolescent and provided him with the genuine social tools of his trade such as the language and its subtle meanings, rhythms, flavor, cadences and implicit emotions and the communication varieties to keeping relationships lively and enduring.

After the valiant fights to preserving the land and a modicum of self-determination and acquiring the tools for spiritual survival, then I tend to agree with Jean Genet that grown up citizens have the right to “throw the Motherland out the window” without regret, if they decide to expand their spiritual horizons; which means never succumb to apathy in the struggle for human rights and dignity no mater which environment they opted to settle in.




April 2021

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