I hesitate to go alone

Author Bio: 

Born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, Lina currently lives, works and studies on Nugnnawal and Ngambri land in so-called Australia. Lina is a writer, historian and an ethnographer of social movements, protests and resistance.

Cite This: 
Lina Koleilat. "I hesitate to go alone ". Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research Vol. 8 No. 1 (24 January 2022): pp. 46-51. (Last accessed on 02 October 2022). Available at: https://kohljournal.press/i-hesitate-go-alone.
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عندي بطاقة خاصة
للذھاب إلى كوكب آخر
خلف ھذي الأرض
عالم مریح جمیل،
لا حَرّ ھناك ٌّ ولا بردٌ ولا دخانٌ كثیر

I have a special ticket
to another planet
beyond this Earth.
A comfortable world, and beautiful:
a world without much smoke,
not too hot
and not too cold.1

***

Mparntwe was too hot.
They call Mparntwe Alice Springs.
Alice Todd, wife of Sir Charles Todd, whose name the town is named after, actually has never been to Alice Springs herself.
Pine Gap is on Mparntwe.

“The top priority for the Australian-US satellite ground station at Pine Gap, near Alice Springs, has been shifted to intelligence gathering in Iraq, including target identification, ahead of a threatened US-led first strike. […] Pine Gap will also be able to directly transmit information to commanders in Iraq during a conflict. This would include directing the firing of missiles and the dropping of bombs.”2

There was no smoke in Okinawa… the smoke is in Iraq…

“the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk based at Yokosuka took part in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Combat aircraft stationed at Misawa and Kadena were also deployed in Iraq as of 2003. The bases in Okinawa in particular are crucial to force projection in the Indian Ocean and the Middle East.”3

***

We stand together to oppose the dangerous militarization of this region and the destruction of our peaceful communities and our vital ecologies:

  • We demand a stop to military exercises, which are escalating regional tensions, wasting precious resources, and leading to the mass beaching of sea mammals.
  • We demand a stop to dredging to make new artificial islands, a process that destroys marine ecologies.
  • We demand a stop to the naval base construction at Gangjeong [Jeju Island].
  • We demand a stop to the helipad construction at Takae [Okinawa].
  • We demand a stop to the radar base construction at Yonaguni [Okinawa].
  • We demand a stop to the plans for base construction at Ishigaki [Okinawa], Miyakojima (Okinawa), and Amami-Oshima [Kagoshima].
  • We demand a stop to the plans for base construction at Henoko [Okinawa].4

A list of demands issued by the Inter-Island Solidarity Network during the 2015 after the Peace for the Sea International Peace Camp that took place on Jeju Island, South Korea. The Peace Camp drew activists from Guam, the Philippines, the US, Taiwan among others. These demands show how this transnational solidarity network viewed the region as connected by struggles against militarism and war and by struggles for peace and for ecological justice. Activists in the network imagined the region as centred on the islands in East Asia and their struggles rather than the nation states. By reimagining the region, based on their concept of Peace in the Sea, this solidarity network reshaped the political and geographical spaces of the region based on solidarity.

***

الكائنات ھناك
دمثة فوق العادة
والحكومات
لا تعمل في الخفاء
لا وجود للشرطة
فلا مشاكل
ولا شجارات

The creatures
are gentler there,
and the governments
have no secrets.
The police are nonexistent:
there are no problems
and no fights.

***

Pine Gap is secret.
Government business is secret.
US business is secret.

She told me once, that Jeju Island has seen enough blood and death and suffering, this island has also been a launching pad for killings, blood and suffering elsewhere, it is enough... we do not want our land to be used again to launch more killings, neither here nor elsewhere.

***

المدارس
لا ترھق طلّابھا
بواجبات كثیرة،
فلا تاریخ بعد
ولا جغرافیا
ولا لغات أخرى

 

And the schools
don’t exhaust their students
with too much work
for history has yet to start
and there’s no geography
and no other languages.

***

Transoceanic, transborder, transcolonial…
Beyond geography, beyond language, beyond borders.

Mar and Rhook explored how counter networks “formed bonds and projects against dominant forces, and in particular, against the interests of settler colonists and imperialism.”5These counter-networks, “transoceanic, transborder or transcolonial alliances, lateral connections and solidarities”,6challenge dominant government and inter-governmental relations. Mar and Rhook further explained the dynamic transformative nature of these counter networks: “networks are not in reality two-dimensional lines, and scholars are now moving to view networks as processes of contingent assemblages of three-dimensional objects, to narrate how power moves and is moved along passages and intensifications of desire and of mobility.”7

***

وأحسن من كلّ ذلك
إنّ الحرب ھناك
تركت راءھا تتمایل وراءھا،
فنامت الأسلحة
تحت الغبار
ومضت الطائرات
بلا قصف إلى المدن،
والقواربُ
بدتْ بعض ابتسامات
في المیاه.

And even better:
the war
has left its “r” behind
and turned into love,
so the weapons sleep
beneath the dust,
and the planes pass by
without shelling the cities,
and the boats
look like smiles
on the water.

***

Leave the war behind,
Let the weapons sleep.

Uncle Chris says: “It’s not only Black Australia that has a sovereignty issue. The Arrernte people have been the custodians and peaceful protectors of their country for thousands of years. Our sovereignty is contained in our songlines, stories and dances, which have been handed down over thousands of years.”

“As the lawful custodians we are responsible for what occurs on our land and the harm it brings to the rest of the world. The activity of the facility at Pine Gap has implicated us in criminal military actions, which threatens the dignity of all people, implicates us in war crimes and generates instability and conflict around the globe as a consequence of US imperialism.”8

***

كلّ شيء
ھادىء
ولطیف
في الكوكب الآخر
خلف ھذي الأرض
ولكنّي مازلتُ متردّدة
في الذھاب لوحدي

All things
are peaceful
and kind
on the other planet
beyond this Earth.
But still I hesitate
to go alone.9

***

 

Notes: