secularavatar: Sidi Yahya's Nightmares
Monday, July 02, 2007
  Sidi Yahya's Nightmares
* * *

O Ward! O Norman!
From across five hundred years
I heard of your woes
It comes from having a patron you know
I had a patron
Powerful and rich, a big shot in Timbuktu
And beyond
On the payroll I wrote jurisprudence, history, poetry
Influencing society in the city
And beyond
But argent fetters bound me
(I heard you call it tenure)
And nightmares came to me, needling and buzzing
(like your tormentors)
Sleep came not
My family wearied of my affliction
“Sidi Yahya!” they cried, “What is to be done?”
But I had to feed them, provide shelter
They were so many
I strove to tame my rampant nightmares
But could not
Vorant, they grew stronger
Until fed up
I began to trade on my own account
Became a merchant
Bought and sold
Slabs of salt, dried pomegranates across the desert
To and from the Maghreb
But never ceased writing jurisprudence, history, poetry
The fetters loosened then fell away
My family fed, the nightmares vanished
I left my patron
Became a scholar-trader
Sorry boss
Centuries later the conundrum unchanged
Bread and integrity
My brothers!
I wish that you may tame your nightmares

Sidi Yahya Tadulsi was a sixteenth-century Muslim scholar in Timbuktu who banished his “apparitions” in exactly the manner described.

Published on the Palestine Chronicle website, June 29, 2007
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The willful failure of western progressives to understand Israel's role as a colonial, theocratic and apartheid entity contributes in large part to progressive inability to successfully oppose both the war in Iraq and America's push for total global domination.
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The secularavatar is a progressive activist grandmother from the Middle West who spent many years studying and travelling in the Middle East.

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