May 18, 2022

Moonship Dispatch 7 & Excerpts from the BARA Manifesto

By Barakunan

Moonship Dispatch 7

Audio from Barakunan performance at Barzakh Beirut in January 2022, performed by Sarah Huneidi and Jad Atoui

Excerpts from the BARA Manifesto


A long time ago, we set out to create something.  
In that moment, clear as day, there lay hope, and we bought it at a bargain. 
Imagine—the frontier, the horizon escaping you the further you dwell in the abyss. 
For each dawn arrives dusk, this much we’ve learned from our ancestors.  
And even they raped and pillaged and smoked!  
So, as arbiters of compromise, what do you urge from history?  

Accomplishment, that feeling, has always driven us.  
We excel at fantasy, because what can really be achieved by one man? 
Benevolence. Sustenance. Violence. 
Humanity ponders what is yet to be felt. 
Berate us, call us treasonous, unearth our mothers’ graves. 
We will console you, because it is all we are able to do—love—fools for it. 
Your judgment harms our progress. 
Are we united or at war?  

You feel the pain of searching for dialogue, and metaphor, your head burns, heavy, your shoulders perched forward, arched, a louse! 
I am scavenging loyalists and followers, embrace our message, it is yours too. 
Oh, enough with that. Parading everything. 
You find your way home. 


Deception never lasts. 
Wisdom recedes and fades. 
Her hair itches my mind. 
Her legs tickle my fancy. 
I am a stone’s throw from Jerusalem. 
The news is frightworthy. Reality, mundane.
            Hunger at the border.
            Hunger in the square.

The Cockroach is a symbol. The Acrobat, a prince. 
Lice are like family. Our vices, like food. 
The park is littered with semen and garbage. 
Crows bellow atop the minarets. 
Steroids rampant in the mosques. 
Between 14th Street and Canal; Karaköy and Cihangir.
            The Port of Ports is empty.

I trade a postcard with your name, sent from Melbourne. 
Pay for my soul in Calgary and Tennessee. 
The last swarm of bees flies over Philadelphia, headed for the hills of Anatolia. 
I left my friend at Lisinia with a note to read my will. 
From the peninsula to Edirne. 
I slept in the tank of a water truck. 
Hitchhiked for whiskey. 
Ignored the influx of anarchy. 
Violence is no longer obscene, or banal, just there. 
I am immune to caring. Blame does not exist. 
These bickerings are my waste. 
The monarchy is alive and strong. 
America poisons the well. 
The Enemy lives in denial.
The Neighbor is a quagmire.
            There is no government.

Or smaller things, like jazz notes, or school. 
People recall what rocked apartheid, civil rights, the end of occupation. 
The past always appears heroic when confronted with the present. 

The human condition is degenerate—as are we. 
I squat near the water, float along the bay.
Cameras and germs everywhere. 

Video games make killers, not poverty or depression. 
Nihilism. The fear of future pain. 
Fear of the impending. 
Gorging, rarely diving. Je suis un doux vide. Un lépreux à cœur. 
In pursuit of play. Temper. Hysteria. Diffusing the presence of Time.
After the fall of the empire, the waning of Walpurgis Night, the tracks below a minefield, 
lit in effervescent sky. 
Protest the summer in Rio, winter at Carnaval. 
Celebrate with Tumata and the whirling sage. 
Mourn our virtues at the monasteries near Baaqlin, cannabis fields in the Beqaa. 
Mugging near the gourbis, reading Tupper at the hammocks on your terrace, overlooking Bourj Hammoud, bribing scribes to travel light.
            Nostalgia for an epoch.
            Nostalgia for a word.
            Something less repeated.
            Freedom endangers lives.

Enlightenment ideals, Mayan cosmological readings, ayahuasca and DMT. 
Insignia on her arm, molecular structure behind the knees, and lower back. 
A tramp stamp of style! 
Approval ratings are at an all-time high. 
An exclamation that hurts, really, healing among the Sufi wave. 
Share with me some of your laughter,
Menemen and a plate of olives, roasted garlic dipped in basil leaves and cinnamon.

Idols swim ashore, recover artifacts from the civil war, donating to the effort in a time of humanitarian need. 
Outrage. A boy left alone goes wandering. 
The Druze descend the mountain, kneeling on the Persian’s rug.
            I lost an actor to execution.
            Another at his will.
            These days we swim with parasites.
            Scaling neck and back.
            Rhythm precedes sound. 
            Sound precedes speech. 
            Stamina prolongs my fate. 
            I will listen until I rot. 


Whoever you are, know our generation is worthless.                                                                         To appease our empathy, we are handed inconceivable consumption.                                         Everything is of value, to ensure our cooperation.                                                               Commoditized, to promise the allure of prosperity, unless it has no value and is buried in the Media.                                                                                                                                                 The Media is an incarcerating archive of arbitrary information.                                                           Our contemporaries accept this.                                                                                                              To write novels, they spend their money at global workshops with aspiring writers and successful masters.                                                                                                                                               To head banks they spend their money at institutions going to dinner parties and snorting lines and finding a match to form a power couple.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      To lead ministries they offer alliances, to sell at galleries they snap aesthetics to a canvas.                     
We are like this, but even worse.                                                                                                                   To feel excitement, we devour courses of gin, spreads of whiskey, and Danish bitters.                                 
To feel compassion we swallow little droplets of MDMA.                                                                      To express love, we draw the curtains, roll the blinds, smoke a spliff, and saturate.                                  We have no illusions. We are deformed by knowledge.   

Standards of living are improving. Standards are also disappearing. The Chicago factory has modernized, moved to Bangladesh and Vietnam. Technology advances human interaction. This knowledge is alienating. Empathy is powerless against the Machine.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
The Machine is everything that consumes in order to expand its influence.                                             Animals are not really this way, so animals are unlike machines.   

Mixed races are exotic unless they are poor.                                                                                           The aesthetic tendency is troubling and hurtful.                                                                               Dubai spits at the universe.                                                                                                                   The universe is indifferent—but is nature?                                                                                                Is it still possible to renounce social change and self-awareness for an excess of excuses?                   
We renounce suffering, they suffer.                                                                                                Archetypes are primal.                                                                                                                            The stage is a world with curtains.                                                                                                       There are refugee settlements larger than urban sprawls.                                                                 Ancient monuments selling cheeseburgers made of plastic. 

             I lost an actor to free will and suicide.             
             I lost an actor to dementia and the hospital ward.
             I lost a theater to rent and higher wages.
             I lost my principles to the fear of being relevant.
             I lost my heart at the Port of Ports.
             We are losing, if you noticed.
             I lost Mali to the news.
             Lost Cairo to autocracy.
             Lost Aleppo to proxy.
             Plato to technology.
             Rumi to Adam Smith and the consenting Caliphate!
             Humanity to Stalin.
             Liberty to the NYPD;
             police raiding the complex at night.
             I lost spelling to a computer;
             Reading to being told.
             I am a monk of no virtue.
             This ice cap is uninhabitable.

When we lose the rhinoceros to medicine and powder, what will be left to lose?                                 
We never studied Indigenous tribes.                                                                                                      We never studied Agent Orange and White Phosphorus.                                                                      We studied Ben Franklin and Tommy Jefferson, without mention of Sally Hemings and the other slaves, 
because they were not there in person, their being did not count. Let us discount it!                                                                                                                                                  

I never knew Mary MacLane, did not hear of Rothko or Jackson Pollack.  
We read Milton, never Ginsberg. Eisenhower and McCarthy, Nixon and JFK. 
Maybe that is why Fahey is dead.  
Why Kerouac drank himself dumb.  
Why Neal Cassady does not exist except in a dying James Dean.  
Because we recount a history of idols.
             We know names.
             Like Netanyahu, Nasrallah.
             What do you know of Erik Satie?
             The Rationalists want to rename New York
             the Supermall.
             I lost an actor to shame,
             an actor to deportation.
             an actor to the Wahhabis.
             I lost an actor to prestige and compromise.
             I lost movements of intellect to institutions and scholarly pension. I lost poetry to the gallery, prayer to the temple. I lost sustainable energy to a cult of personalities. 

Nothing changes with this piece. The Matador still drinks from the fountain, the Acrobat loosens his belt and dives. He lusts for pale eyes he cannot find, claws pale skin he captures. A team of hogs dart over the valley swamp.  
I am there to remind you. 


Do you know what BARA is? BARA has no soul, only memory. You are the soul of BARA. You can turn BARA into a criminal, eat BARA with a spoon, or dig BARA in the desert. This way BARA will become you, and you can do anything to BARA.
            But if you spell BARA the wrong way, you will spell a murder, a wretch, a lazy fickle louse. I am a louse, but ignore it, because now I will recount to you the prophecy of BARA. Before I forget, remember that BARA is your identity spelled backwards. Your identity is not human—BARA is.
            Enough with manifestos that have nothing new to say except what this one says which is that nothing is new—only technology advances and gives the impression of newness.
            What is true is that the world is designed by highly systemized geometric patterns and physical reactions that can never be represented in art or abstraction or insinuation. To some this may be considered beauty, to artists it is style, to a photographer it is composition and lighting, to a writer it is rhythm and cadence, to a rebel it should stop being clothes and start being ideology based on no ideology. That is why everything I say is dedicated to people who die for nothing. This is a eulogy. BARA eulogizes its polar opposite. There would be no BARA if it were not for the complete dysfunction and failure of its polar opposite. The binary of BARA is its polar opposite that predates even BARA. Let us bask in the beauty of BARA when she is unkept, unworn, struggling. Let us compose an eternal feast for BARA. Let us forgo the Ego for the sake of BARA. Let us put BARA in schools, in cars, in airplane videos, hotel lobbies, coal mines, oil rigs, shopping malls, sports bars, temples, prayer rooms, conference rooms, lecture halls, laboratories. Let us pray to BARA in scientific means and spiritual means and aesthetic means and high art and low art and middle-class art and junkie art. Let us play BARA on phones, radios, discos, funerals, weddings, graduations, initiations, open mics, vinyl stores, and conglomerate newsrooms. Let us exchange BARA at the stock exchange.
            BARA is enlightenment. BARA is a way of life. BARA is a joke between friends. BARA is boxed wine and house vodka. BARA is designer handbags and the Alps. BARA is magnificent and gray. BARA is not superstitious unless it knows the superstition beforehand. The only way to achieve BARA is through ART. ART that is new by being normal. ART that does not impress but provokes. ART that says everything is happening by saying nothing.
            There is no wisdom, only thought. Penetration destroys Love. The exchange of Capital eliminates the potential towards pure-consciousness. By existing within pure-consciousness, the individual is accepting the Grace of the Creator. The only reason for wanting to produce a work of art through a process of construction is to attain.
            There are bigger things than what we spoke about. What we are saying is only the beginning. You cannot be a prophet in your own village. There are people there who have nothing to believe. Your place in the world is among strangers. This will be the rational age. That is my hope. Have them speak truly, as it should be. Do not mimic the chosen model; illustrate the natural, the real. 
            Life is a presence of responding incidences. You have seen too much of humanity’s thought-consciousness. It is not impossible to escape. You realize what self-immolation is? There are areas of the world where thought does not exist as an impulse or a response, but as a presence of something else, an agreement.
            To be BARA one must pay NO TAXES. BARA does not pay taxes to authoritarian regimes that dismantle artistic and humanitarian freedoms. BARA does not pay taxes to regimes who stockpile indiscriminate weapons, police arbitrarily and injure the assets of knowledgeable civil rule. BARA does not pay taxes to regimes that do not allow EVERY CITIZEN to gather in the street and yell. BARA believes everyone is equal until they choose not to be. BARA dresses in clothes that tell no story. BARA is a future monopoly by the citizenry. BARA has no King. BARA does not need a Ruler. BARA replaces weapons with vocal chords and pens and brushes. BARA is now alive and so is eternal. BARA desecrates the King’s throne. BARA permeates the collective unconscious. BARA holds the ears of the government. BARA PAYS NO TAXES.
            BARA is life. BARA cannot be bought or sold. BARA cannot be exhibited or institutionalized. BARA is always the opposite of nothing. BARA changes History. BARA is Humanity. BARA is not exclusive. BARA is new. BARA does not recognize divinity except in the agreement of Myth. BARA ignores democracy as though it were a dream. BARA believes that artists and citizens are now free if they choose to be. BARA believes all conscious individuals can claim their own destiny. BARA knows fulfillment comes from a life of service and generosity. BARA knows this is displayed within the Soul. Because of BARA, you are free. Go to the streets, ask for anything, it will be given to you. Say that you are BARA. Harm does not exist, only appears, but can be ignored. 
            BARA is not organic. BARA is not Left. BARA has no symbol. BARA has no text or leader. BARA did not write this statement. BARA agrees with everything and nothing at once. BARA is what you want it to be. BARA has no possessions. BARA is your possession. BARA does not speak language. BARA is a language.
            By being BARA, one is communicating.
            BARA only communicates BARA to BARA. BARA is intuition. BARA is awareness. BARA is creativity. BARA is an island and a sea. BARA is Jupiter and Apollo. BARA is light. BARA is electricity. BARA is not modern or antimodern or premodern or postmodern. BARA knows Jah and Christ and Mohammed. BARA birthed the Olympians. BARA teaches Confucius and Lao Tzu.
            BARA knows no Human. BARA does not know Space. BARA dissolves Currency. BARA is outside Time. BARA is Eternity . . . is the only thing that is nothing.

Barakunan is an independent publisher and multimedia platform seeking to produce alternate mythologies and construct a system of transnational collaboration for narrative liberation.

The BARA Manifesto text was written by Dani Ghassan Arbid.