Monday, January 09, 2006

epilogue: l'agente provocateuse

Yes. This poem is terminated.

The truth: "saudigirl" was a literary experiment, an instance of rhetorical transvestism, an attempt by a young saudi guy to create a female character, in blog/poetic form.

Why? Well, it's complicated. But here's a stab at my thinking at the time:

It first started when I became livid by some of the idiotic arguments that certain public men were using to justify, or make apologies for, the dearth of women's rights in Saudi Arabia. I decided to write to these men in a public fashion. Why not write as a man you ask? Well, I thought it would be more effective (for the cause) if a woman demonstrated the total absence of logic in their arguments.

So Alia, a character created for an angry email, became my Arab Amazon, fighting for her rights, and for the rights of all downtrodden Saudi women. That was the vision... the reality, well... was a bit different as you can surmise. As literary constructs do, she developed in unforeseen ways, lodging herself in a particularly autonomous zone in my mind, reading feminist literature, and acquiring knowledge on Saudi women's issues, all the while finding that she could not do anything but verbally attack that set of glaring problems immediately pertaining to women in Saudi Arabia.

But many exceedingly important issues, she noticed, were “human” issues and therefore super-sexual. They rose above gender/ethnic/national/cultural lines. This observation, along with another in which she noticed the inordinate time and energy devoted to separating people from one another led her to conclude that this need to segregate all issues into those of women and those of men was a sign of an unhealthy society: pathologically divided and unable to harness the collective talents of its members.

Not being able to operate in the real world, she became horrified by the sublime proportions of the problem. Overcome and depressed, she followed the hermetic poets under fascism into solipsistic art, music and sound -- into the warm (and universal) embrace of the insular aesthetic.

And what of those poor oppressed women? I asked, appalled at this abandonment of her raison d'etre. She quoted Bernard Crick to me: “The person who wishes not to be troubled by politics and to be left alone finds himself the unwitting ally of those to whom politics is a troublesome obstacle to their well-meant intentions to leave nothing alone.” She then packed her bags and emigrated to a Greek island, muttering on her way out of the door: “Life's too short to waste on the likes of you...”

I'm surprised it lasted so long. Even if it did continue, I really could not see it developing further than a few months given her exceedingly demanding nature. Ultimately, I no longer wanted to spend time with my exhausted heroine. I got bored with her, and she with me. She is gone.

It is, of course, for the better.

Ali K

PS: Thank you for reading/participating; apologies if this liberal interpretation of poetic license offended anyone along the way. As one of my readers said, I'll see you all on the 'other side' (-;