Editor's Note: We received the following letter from Nesreen Melek, a frequent guest writer and poet for Axis of Logic. Nesreen wrote it during her current visit in China. In her letter, she compares her experiences in Beijing with that of her last visit to Baghdad, her "Wattan"*. - LMB
The Temple of Heaven in Beijing, the Forbidden City
I went today to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The temple is a work of art. The temple was used as a complex of sacrificial buildings for the Ming and Qing emperors, and it is the largest one in Beijing among several royal altars to Heaven, Earth, the Sun, the Moon and other deities or symbols of the forces of Nature.
Inside the temple, there were groups of people singing folklore songs and most of the songs were for the love of China. Women and men were singing together, praising their country and their history. Their voices were loud and their shoulders were straight. I felt a pain in my heart, thinking of how good it is to have a country you belong to and to be proud of. I don't have one for sure now. My country is occupied by terrorists who gave themselves the liberty of occupying another country by the name of democracy. You could see how the people who were singing were united by their love to their country.
I thought of the American people and wondered how could they be proud of a country which launched wars and caused death and suffering to so many innocent people. How can they love a country which is tainted by blood, a country which couldn't provide health care to its own citizens but instead spent trillions of dollars to launch ugly wars. A country which allows its own citizens to sleep on the streets and wants to spread their "democracy" in another countries.
During my last visit to Baghdad, despite their daily pain, the Iraqis were still capable of loving and giving. Iraqi doors were still opened wide for guests and they didn't call each other to get permission for visiting. They were not scared of each other. They still took care of their elderly and didn't send them to "senior homes".
Today, I stood with the Chinese crowd. They were singing to their country and I joined them, singing for the love of Iraq, the country which made me who I am, a country which is regarded around the world as the cradle of civilization, a country which will never bend to the occupiers and will be free again some day.
* Wattan: There are certain words in Arabic you can't translate into English and one of these words is Wattan. If you translate Wattan into English, it means something similar to "homeland", but in Arabic, Wattan has more intimacy than merely one's homeland. - NM
READ HER BIO AND MORE ESSAYS AND POETRY
BY NESREEN MELEK ON AXIS OF LOGIC