Saad Hadi: A Maze

Photography: Roxana Crisólogo


 S saw an old, white-bearded man sitting by the door of his house. He wore raggedy clothes and was just placing a stick next to him. “What are you doing here?” S asked. The old man did not reply. “I want to go in, you’re blocking the way,” S added. The old man remained silent, staring at the ground. An old woman appeared on the other side of the street. She paused when she saw S talking to himself. “Who are you talking to? No one on the street except you,” she said, but S did not hear or see her.

    “Why don’t you answer? Didn’t you hear what I said? Are you deaf?” she added. Another woman peeped out of some balcony overlooking the street. She saw the old woman talking to herself, so she called her: “What’s wrong, ma’am? Can I help you?” But the old woman did not see her and could not hear her voice. A younger man on a yellow Mongoose bike stopped and looked at the woman on the balcony. He thought she was crying out for help, so he jumped off the bike, which clattered against the asphalt. He ran up to the door and tried to yank it open. A man standing near a bus stop noticed what the young guy was doing.

    “What’s wrong with you? Are you a thief?” he asked. The youngster did not hear what the man said, just kept kicking the door until it opened. “I think he’s crazy,” a girl standing next to the previous man said, but he did not hear or see her. Another young man came from the far end of the street, picked up the bike, and straddled it. Another man standing near a closed storefront shouted, “Look at that guy, he’s stealing the bike.” But no one had seen or heard him, so he shouted at the boy and pulled out a gun: “Put the bike back in its place! Or I’ll shoot you!” The boy did not hear what the older dude said, nor did he hear the sound of the bullet that perforated his body. The shooter turned around and dashed away. No one saw the body of the young man falling, no one even heard it hitting the ground. The blood kept flowing abundantly, dark, sticky blood leaked from dead bodies falling at the same time or before, bodies in abundance no one had seen.

Translated by Saad Hadi and José Luis Rico

Saad Hadi
Saad Hadi

(Baghdad, 1956) is a Finland-based Iraqi writer. Saad Hadi is also visual artist with a master’s degree in Art History from the College of Fine Arts, University of Baghdad. 

    He began his career as a journalist in 1975, working as editor, editor-in-chief, or correspondent at various news outlets such asFunon Weekly Magazine(arts magazine),andthe weekly Alef Baa,the Iraqi daily Al-Sabahand theLebanese Al-Akhbar, among many others in Iraq, Lebanon, and Damascus. 

    Saad Hadi’s first collection of short stories, Still Life (1990), was published by Al-Kharef Press in Baghdad. 
    In the early 2000’s, Hadi was appointed director of the Iraqi Cinema and Theater Association’s Cinema Forum and worked as professor of art history at the Iraqi Institute of Crafts and Folklore (2005-2006). Around that time, he put out the short story collection Ancestors Elsewhere (Cultural Affairs House, 2004) in his home city and the novels Layla and the Monkey (Ninawa, 2005) and Oriental Abstract (Ninawa, 2006) in Damascus. In 2009, he moved to Jyväskylä, Finland.  

    The London-based Moment Digibooks put out his more recent novels Lame Whore Birds (2013) and The Sultans of Ash(2014). Niwana put out his latest short story collection, Blackens(2019).  As a visual artist, Saad Haadi has also participated in many art exhibitions. A sample of his watercolor and mixed-media portraits of writers such as Baudelaire, Kafka, and Tchekoff, is available on Instagram. Saad Hadi lives currently in Espoo and is completing a new novel.

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