Abir Bazaz

From sarai.net: “Srinagar-Sarajevo

The City is the memory of massacres. I hope words grow out of Gowkadal, Hawal, Burzalla, Zakura – cancerous, as Genet’s love of the Palestinians…

Srinagar is a city in mourning. Who remembers Srinagar in winter? The winter sky is a Hiroshima sky. The city is the martyrs’ graveyard at Eidgah. The life of Srinagar is mourning.

To recover that memory, or to forget? The brightness of the sky in Srinagar is cruel.

The midnight soldiers demand forgetting… They promised us flags of Fatah, they tantalised us with Jerusalem? But where did the Palestinians go?

I am a Kashmiri Palestinian; Srinagar Sarajevan. I no longer live in Srinagar but I see

Srinagar as the absolute present of freedom. Of Srinagar’s singularities I can never forget the terrible Beauty of the Srinagar Intifada. Srinagar’s Rivers of stones. Why talk about this revolution? It too resembles a long drawn out burial, with me following the funeral procession from afar.

Naipaul writes of Srinagar that it sleeps through winter… in the winter of 1990, Srinagar is Berlin-Budapest-Bucharest, Srinagar is Sarajevo. Naipaul’s medieval city explodes the night of January 20th 1990… on the stroke of midnight. My mother and grandmother are indifferent; they go back to sleep. I put on my phiran. I cross over to my neighbour’s; the women prepare kehava for the men while they are getting dressed. The women prepared kehava for the Sarajevans before they disappeared in the Hills. My neighbour is ecstatic.

“I take no chances. I am ready. The UN is coming. Tomorrow is Independence Day”.


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