The Darwinist: Diaa Jubaili

The Darwinist: Diaa Jubaili

Iraq, M - 2017

The confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates is called the Shatt al-Arab. On its banks, during a warm March day in 1950, Jamila bore her first and only son on a stinky carpet stained with blood and piss. The amniotic sac that enveloped him ruptured suddenly, bursting forth like a great expectoration that struck the midwife’s face, who then requested extra payment for enduring this filth. Stowed firmly away in the darkness of the womb, a caul of death hung over the child. A savvy midwife knows what to do in these cases, and she jerked him out at the proper moment, with the force one uses when pulling the rubber tread off a car tire. Then she reached for a knife, dirty from gutting fish, like Grenouille’s mother, and she severed the umbilical cord attached to the placenta. The midwife lifted him by the arches of his feet, presenting him like a sacrificial offering, stroking the nape of his neck until his blue colouring receded and he gave his first cry. It resembled a small raven’s cawing, one accustomed to spreading misfortune and bad news.

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