On the Road to Reconstruction with Imprint of Hope
On the road to reconstruction in Baghdad, with volunteer teams from the Imprint of Hope organisation, who have spent over 15 days, doing up the replica Assyrian city gate and the land surrounding it.
From the early hours until late into the night, work included redeveloping the gardens surrounding the gate, trimming the palm trees, washing and removing old paint from the gate, before applying fresh layers to the structure.
This ongoing campaign, is a small but starting point, to recreate both hope and positivity in Iraqi society and Imprint of Hope will continue to reflect this bright image, which in the past has made Iraq truly great.
Since it was founded, Imprint of Hope has painted hundreds of blast walls across Baghdad. It has swelled to more than 370 volunteers from a range of backgrounds, including students, carpenters, iron-smiths, artists and doctors.
In addition to decorating the city’s walls, Imprint of Hope also paints orphanages, nurseries and public buildings, including a children’s cancer hospital.
Last December for Christmas, Imprint of Hope painted the Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church, which was heavily damaged in a 2010 terror attack. They also painted murals on the blast walls, that were set up to protect the church from further attacks.
as a former lifelong school uniform wearer, i’ve been interested in the recent discourse surrounding dress codes as tools of oppression. the “no yoga pants” mindset seems to function in a different (yet equally disturbing) way in schools where students are expected to wear highly gendered clothing.
this is definitely influenced by my own relationship w my ptsd (or trauma-induced shit, or whatever you want to call this hell) but:
there’s a bell curve to trauma, where while in celes fai compartmentalized, he coped badly and drank and ate little and punished himself for not being able to heal and only learning to destroy and everything we never see, and then - well, celes-the-return happened and he was forced to confront his trauma, and begin to truly grieve. and for a moment it was better, to allow grieving, but grieving is hard. grieving is awful. trauma, combined with grief, sometimes feels unbearable. i think post-nihon, post-series, fai deals better with his brother’s death. knowing now it was not his fault is a blessing, yes, but it’s also fundamentally hopeless to know that it meant very little at all, that death is death is death is death. and it gets worse, and a haircut gives him a panic attack when for fifty years it never occurred to him that it would be worthy of being scared of, the little things that are reminders hit him so much more. but he’s got a family. he’s learned lessons. it gets easier, and it gets harder, and he keeps on keeping on.
there’s something to be said for fai’s fighting skills as established in the very first world, in hanshin, as being primarily avoidant. yes, he compartmentalizes, he is fundamentally reactive. hypervigilant, someone projecting their own trauma onto him might say.
fai sleeps like he’s smothering himself in his sleep (which is just - well.) but i don’t think he has nightmares. he’s got insomnia, though, and the more time that passes the more nights he finds himself reliving not scenes from memory (which he can’t trust, now, which he knows aren’t true but feel so real and in some ways are and some aren’t) but flashes of things, triggering panic and paralysis, and reaches an arm to hook around kurogane’s side and holds on and still makes it til morning anyway
this is way more headcanon than canon extrapolation but i like to imagine fai having complicated feelings about religion, or at least a grander purpose and cathedral-gothic spaces that induce awe whether or not religion is attached. his guilt complex, for me as a cradle catholic accidentally turned agnostic, is very catholic in combination with everything else (not to mention the way X uses catholic liturgy as artistic prop). original sin: is it a sin, just to have been born? no, it’s not, but fai wonders. this is something he grows out of, maybe not by concious effort but by the way his self is timeless and yet also incomprehensible even to himself, having lost so much of his early life to that eternal valley.
speaking of: is it just me (i don’t think so) but isn’t it such a Trauma Thing™ to feel like you’re very young and very old simultaneously? he is many lifetimes older than kurogane, next-oldest of his newfound family, but he’s also spent most of those lifetimes in semi-permanent childhood. his growth is stunted, he is too old for his age. childhood trauma like that, it makes you grow up too fast and keeps you from ever feeling really grown-up.
most of these bullet points are very sad but i also very strongly believe fai finds happiness. it’s not perfect and in fact it is often exceptionally hard, to keep living and living and going on and loving and being hurt by life going on, but he does. he does! he learns and it never gets easier but it does get better. if that even makes sense. ptsd, trauma, it never goes away but you can find ways to keep going and things to live for. he gives me hope! fai, with all of this shit i read into him, makes me believe that if he can keep going and find happiness and i WANT him to keep going and find happiness, so can i