CCA Annex is an online project space for Essays, Films, Interviews, Performances, Publications and live events


22 June 2024



dream/prayer for palestine – an exercise in historical memory

Hussein Mitha

my head tips from the highest ridge of the present’s catastrophe into sleep. i am dreaming of different times: al andalus, weimar, pre-1948 jerusalem…of the messy splendour of a shared world that reveals itself like an illustrated manuscript, or a jewel, or the layers of enchanted fashions in the street.  in dreaming my eyes are relieved from sedation caused by scrolling. images and texts once more flutter like birds. i had forgotten that eyes could tolerate such sparkle. in the quietest recesses of my mind i recall a sketch you made out of love: an old stone building in andalusia in winter at night, a room filled with neighbours, a mosaic of cinematic projections on the wall of a gathering, warm scarves, saffron-infused black tea. in the dream-setting, rosary beads turn in my fingers, each one a monad of remembrance through which we may be able to resuscitate the entire shared world of the past. the dream turns to prayer:

the way the physic and the psychic were drawn together in a combination of bodily resistance and prayer in the fervour of the struggle is the first of these remembrances;

the second bead: the lost conviencia of muslim spain;

the third bead: london, hanging over the motorway, an open wound filled with lights;

the fourth bead: your face beneath a classical greek mask made of plaster which flakes off and reveals not a face beneath but an oxygen mask, like my heart under these clothes, or my veins under this skin, or my hand under these gloves, a secret technology;

the fifth bead: a meditation on masks: masks beneath masks beneath masks, the mask of dionysus, the smiling god, the god who ‘comes from the east’ and ‘looks like a girl.’ greek culture is set up as a repression of asia, is a mask;

the sixth bead: the painful last days of al andalus, fervently reciting prayers with jews under the tree of ramon llull as we prepared for the exodus;

seventh: christ returning in the spanish inquisition, a political prisoner of the church, tortured and executed.

the eighth bead remembers the nakba as the reconquista; the expulsion of the muslims and jews in 1492, the source of all our woes;

the ninth bead encompasses some of the oldest written fragments of the qur’an inside the walls of  al aqsa, the paradise that hangs like a canopy between jerusalem and the sky;

the tenth bead, the injunction ‘read’;

the eleventh bead remembers the destroyed manuscripts, the ransacked libraries and archives, the anguish of stone, the rivers flowing with ink. pray the liquidation could turn to life.

This website collects data via Google Analytics. Click here to opt out.