"I refuse to be one of the living dead. Either live like a man or die as a martyr - there's no other alternative for one who wants to be free. I'm not comfortable in the role of the defeated. Ever since that night when the American soldiers burst into our house, overturning our ancestral values and the order of things, I have been waiting! I'm waiting for the moment when I'll recover my self-esteem, without which a man is nothing but a stain. . . . I'm not in Lebanon; I'm not in a hotel; I'm in a coma. And whether I emerge from it and go on or stay in it and rot is up to me." ~ thoughts of the young man from Kafr Karam, Iraq (pg. 246)
Patrick Henry's "give me liberty or give me death" quote came to mind when I read this.
"We're down to our last shot, the last cartridge in the chamber. Afterward, a new era will be born, and the West will never look at us the same way again. I'm not afraid of dying, but our deaths have to mean something. They have to change our situation. Otherwise, our martyrs aren't much use. ... I don't want our children to suffer. If our parents had taken things in hand in their day, we wouldn't be so miserable. But, alas, they waited for the miracle instead of going out and finding it, and so we're compelled to change our fate ourselves." ~ Sayed from Kafr Karam, Iraq (pg. 266)
Kind of sounds familiar.
"If you like being a doormat for worthless cretins, that's your business. But don't come and tell me how delightful it is. . . . The West doesn't love us. It will never love you, not even you. It will never carry you in its heart, because it doesn't have one, and it will never exalt you, because it looks down on you. Do you want to remain a miserable bootlicker, a servile Arab, a raghead with privileges? Do you want to keep hoping for what they're incapable of giving you? Okay. Suffer in silence and wait. Who knows? Maybe a scrap will fall out of one of their trash bags. . . . Those people must realize the wrong they do to us. They must understand that if they persist in spitting on the best we have, they'll have to make do with the worst. It's as simple as that." ~ Dr. Jalal to one of his novelist friends (pg. 279-80)
Reading this makes me kind of wish we could all just stay in our countries and not have to rely on each other for anything. *sigh* Then the heartless West wouldn't have to hurt the feelings of the people we come into contact with. For the record, I live in the West, I think I have a heart and I tend to like the "misfits" in the world. So there! :-P
"It's said that no one's a prophet in his own country. I would add, 'And no one's a master in foreign lands.' No one is honored as a prophet in his own country or as a master anywhere else. My salvation comes from that revelation: I want to be neither a master nor a prophet. I'm only a writer who tries to put some of his spirit into his novels for those who may wish to receive it." ~ the novelist's reply to Dr. Jalal (pg. 280)
I really liked this guy's attitude. He was satisfied with life. Although it wasn't easy and he wasn't given the recognition and fame some thought he might deserve, he chose to be content.
The Sirens of Baghdad by Yasmina Khadra