THE SUMMONING WOMEN

Region/Concept: Middle East, Violence
Sub-Concepts: Taunting, Provocation, Intimacy, Lyricism, Immortalization
Description: New book titled “I Am the Beggar of the World” collects the pieces of Afghani wives, mothers, and daughters of Taliban fighters and anti-Taliban rebels who compose poetry for the battle.
Selection: “Be black with gunpowder or be bloodred
But don’t come home whole and disgrace my bed.” (107)

The poetics of the taunt, the challenge, the boast, and the provocation. This feminine textuality supersedes its masculine counterparts at the level of sacrifice, vehemence, and brave loss, for it is nothing less than a direct inviting of the enemy to come kill their most intimate relations. Battle-lyricism. A speech-act of mockery and contempt that masochistically dares its opponent to come closer (angered by hostile language games) and confiscate their adored fighters; in this way, it is also a poetics of summoning and vitriolic calling-forward, one which attains its height only in the incensement/temptation of the foreigner to annihilate the woman’s lineage. There is no traumatic consciousness here (emotion is traded for tribal conviction); instead, we find a becoming-unprotected (vulnerability as armament); we find a mode of incendiary war-romanticism that bares its chest and begs the most distasteful ones to penetrate and set afire the ties of kinship. Their most prized possessions placed at risk upon the scales of combat (as they emblazon). The father; the son; the brother. All are fair game and ventured in a campaign at once cheered onward and mourned by the women who stay back in the tents, awaiting the results of the arena, and who ready their hands to wash, bury, and immortalize the torn bodies of their men as a final gift to the struggle. Do not fear the rebels; fear the reciters.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2014/03/05/eliza_griswold_and_seamus_murphy_document_afghanistan_s_landays_in_i_am.html

Jason Mohaghegh