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In the Shadows of Men: Searching for a Man

SEARCHING FOR A MAN

 

I began searching for a man who could give me shade and comfort, a man whose comfort I could not live without. God was living inside me, silent and immobile, not providing any comfort. I was filled with distrust while a storm raged around me. I was searching for support that could shoulder me and my burdens. As soon as I felt closeness and support from someone, they would evaporate in front of me, floating away like water vapor in the cold.

I was plagued with loneliness. From all sides my ears were flooded with the words of the whole of society: “You will not be able to do it alone. You have to find a man to protect you.”

I resisted those words and tried to deflect them, but they invaded my depths. I hadn’t known life any other way but with a man to protect me, to complete me. I was nothing without the shelter provided by a man.

I also feared the men who awaited me on the other side, the predatory men looking for an opportunity. How many close male friends of mine transformed into wolves after my divorce? How terrible that image of a wolf man waiting to find a space where he can drag you and dig his claws in.

How many male idols broke in front of me, belonging to those I thought were virtuous and righteous? How many women transformed into jackals right before my eyes, laughing in my face and digging in their claws, attempting to distort me because, in an instant, I had become dangerous. I became a threat to other women because of their husbands, believed to be awaiting his wife’s absence so he could fulfill his lust for me. I was surrounded by hyenas while possible friendships and promised company fell away.

In an instant, I became like a contagious disease. Everyone tried to stay far away from me. In another sense, I was like an uncovered sweet in an open marketplace where flies, attracted by the sweetness, gather to feed… and then contaminate.

Divorce became a divorce from society, not just from the man. As if leaving the flock makes the sky smaller, no matter how spacious it seems. It remains a sky controlled by preset rules. The moment you leave your flock, you deserve only to burn at the bottom of the abyss. Those continuous cliffs plunging to the bottom of the abyss become tunnels of darkness. As soon as one ray from the sun breaks through, a new darkness prevails.

I was sent on a journey to the depths of that barren, rugged abyss—a journey that continued for years. Moments passed like hours. Days stopped moving forward, as if time were stuck in place, like a clock with broken hands. It continued to beat—tick tock, tick tock—but the hands didn’t move. Yet the time passed and passed, on me and through me, and I became lost in its mazes, not understanding or knowing what was going on. I dug within those depths, trying to find an exit, but as soon as I found a rock to hold my feet, I fell again, to an even greater depth.

How long can a human endure such difficulties? The endless attacks that come from all directions, infringing? The street dog the neighborhood boys are always kicking simply because they can. Everyone racing to assert control, as if she is chattel or a slave.

 

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In the Shadows of Men: Determination

DETERMINATION

 

With determination, I decided to get a divorce. I believed it was my right as a free Muslim woman. I was told I was free, and I decided to regain my freedom at that moment. I didn’t realize, of course, that freedom for a woman in a patriarchal society is impossible. All I aspired to do was take a breath without a man watching over me. My heart was pleading for life. It was pleading to take a breath—a breath to make me myself again. A breath to free the soul I was created to be, not the creature enslaved by another, one devoid of mercy, feelings, or piety.

I held something inside, a dream created for me by Ahlam Mosteghanemi and her trilogy’s heroine. It was as if I recalled it by force and allowed her to flow inside me, carrying her dreams within me. I wanted to raise my children the way I aspired to raise them. I wanted to save them from an inescapable hell. I wanted to save them from that future at any price.

I thought the price, giving up money and glory, would allow me my freedom. And it did. After conceding all my marriage and work entitlements, my divorce from that egoist was easy. I gave him everything we had attained in our marriage, like someone throwing a dog a bone. And he soon woke to find himself alone in that spacious house with money he thought he’d gained by himself. A servant, a cook, and his mistresses could substitute for the wife he lost, he told himself. Until he found himself overcome with a loneliness he couldn’t comprehend.

How men resemble dogs in our patriarchal societies. A dog will discover his tail and immediately begin to attack it, trying to reach and catch. He turns around and around, circling aimlessly until he forgets why he was running in the first place. He continues in circles until he becomes dizzy and faints from exhaustion, only to wake and begin again.

Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. We brought home two at my children’s instance in the years following the divorce. I feel guilty using them for such metaphors because I know dogs to be full of loyalty, dedication, sincerity, and real love. They only want a kind look, a little empathy, and access to your affection.

The moment my husband woke from the shame of his ignorance, he realized how much he had lost. He understood that money could never fulfill his yearning for the love of his son, and that  a wife cannot be replaced by a slave, a servant, or a mistress installed only to attend to a man’s wants and needs. I don’t know whether or not he understood that every woman is unique, even when he finds in her a resemblance to another woman. A woman is more than a beautiful body a man uses to fulfill his unbridled lust, and she is not an eternal fountain where the thirsty can drink. Nor is she a machine over which a man exercises his control, a simple appliance he uses to manufacture successors.

A woman is not a wife who meets demands. She is not a mistress with whom a man can extinguish his desires. A woman is not a servant created to fulfill his dreams of a sultan’s harem.

And not all women are purely feminine in their characteristics. Not all women are exuberant mothers just because they have conceived and borne children. Nor are all men the full expression of manhood.

The man continues to search for a real woman. He wants her to be real yet elusive. He doesn’t stop searching for her until he reaches despair and becomes satisfied with a woman who commends him for his exclusivity, strength, genius, and exceptional existence. How alike women are and how easy it is to read them, those women the man searches among. But…

How can a man see things any differently when everything is organized around him, when the world teaches him to see the universe in only one way—with himself at the center? His upbringing is no different than that of a girl, except he is brought up to be dominant, she submissive.

What is required of the boy is to be a man from the moment of his creation. He has to bear the responsibility of the females around him. He has to hold his father’s throne on his shoulders and carry in it his parents and his sisters and all of the responsibilities God gave him. Man must have adapted to these responsibilities over time until he became Samson the Invincible and sat on the majestic throne of the universe in all his masculinity. As boys in our society grow up, the whip of obedience and righteousness lashes at their backs. They must forge ahead in their path to return the favor, to become the deserving heirs to their parents’ fortunes.

And each bite of food we place in the mouths of our male children is an investment in the continuation of the cycle. But we feed our girls something different. The bite fed to the daughter is one of gratitude and charity. We raise her to be a gift, a donation to be given to a man one day. Whereas the investment in the boy is, by extension, an investment in a woman who will one day become his property.

The injustice of our patriarchal society is that the male receives a greater portion of the benefits as he grows older. Life throws him down its many ragged and thorny roads, while the girl is all alone or kept in the control of the man in charge of her. The man, as he comes of age, is now carried on the shoulders of his parents until they secure him in a wealthy life with a virtuous woman. Then they give their permission for him to proceed as his own man, though they never quite give up control, and, after that, he is the one who grants or denies permission, the one with the power to control.

The mother is a facilitator in this; the female is the one who helps reinforce the terms of masculinity in our societies. It’s as if the dreams she’s lost in her submission and the misery of marriage are erased by her son. Through him she fulfills herself and takes revenge for her lost dignity so that she may regain her vigor. She raises a male to become what she could not, and she is finally able to control others and make them submit to her. She reminds her son with each breath that she is the reason he is alive.

I might have realized this later in my marriage when I gave birth to my male child. I admit that my obsession with a male child came from my own family, who believed that only a boy would give meaning to life. The wife does not justify her marriage until she gives birth to a male child; he is the true validation of her existence.

I remember a moment when my boy was not yet a month old, and I felt hatred toward his future wife. I was overcome with jealousy and malevolence toward the woman who would come and take my love from me once he grew into a man. Suddenly, I understood the hatred my mother-in-law felt towards me. At that moment, I let go of my son and his future wife.

It was not easy to let go of that feeling of possessiveness that came over me so easily. I wanted my son to be everything his father was not, as a husband and as a man. At that stage, I wanted my son to appreciate me and understand me as an independent person with her own obsessions, feelings, and space. I started to turn all my energy toward my son, as if, with him, the scattered dreams could be achieved. I started seeing myself in the form of my mother.

 

 

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In the Shadows of Men: Threat of Divorce

THREAT OF DIVORCE

It was as if my divorce threatened to break apart all the marriages in society. Suddenly, I became a threat to every man and woman, and a threat to my own family—both my married and unmarried sisters. I brought disgrace when I asked for divorce.

In the midst of the aggression that came at me from all directions, my father’s was the only kind, calm voice, as he asked me, “What is it that you want?”

“I want a man who carries piety towards the God in me,” I said. “If there is a store that sells piety for such a man, please take me there.”

All I wanted and still want is this piety.

Until that moment, I had been a strong believer in marriage. Everything I knew in life revolved around marriage. I walked out of my father’s house and the abiding shade he provided, and into my husband’s house and his heavy shadow. I had even come to believe that the sadness of life gave off its own beautiful color. I genuinely believed the verse that says, “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts: verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” For the entire thirteen years of our marriage, I tried to live with my husband, believing I was created from his rib. Until he broke my rib and distorted my body, creating a scar that could not be erased, even now, many years later. His blow struck my heart. But I needed it, perhaps, to wake me from my deep, submissive slumber.

In those days, I was living life like an addict. My sedatives were religious books and advisory opinions—fatwa. For a time, I hated Amro Khalid, and yet I felt he was my painkiller. But he was never truly medicine. Everything he said was but an invitation to keep the man elevated above the woman. The woman was obligated to be obedient, patient, and enduring, and God would reward her later.

As much as I needed a man, I needed religion. In that moment, when I began living without a man who defined the boundaries of my life, I was not able to remove religion from my existence. I held to it even more tightly. I read more texts—I set aside the writings of Amro Khalid and held tightly to The Revival of Religious Sciences (al-Ghazali) and In the Shade of the Qur’an (Sayyid Qutb).

I dove into the deliverance and doom of al-Ghazali and came to rest on his customs and worship. And when I wanted something more in-depth, I would go to In the Shade of the Qur’an and consider the imprisonment and isolation of Sayyid Qutb. I didn’t understand most of what I was reading, but I continued on, as if I were part of a recital gathering of the kuttab in a previous age.

It wasn’t important whether I understood. Reading was enough to make me virtuous. I was sure there were many things my limited brain could not completely comprehend. After all, I was “inferior,” so this was to be expected. God did not create anything out of mere emptiness. What was written was beyond my comprehension, beyond what I, a limited person with limited knowledge of religious sciences and Shari’ah philosophy, could possibly grasp. Yet I continued to mutter my recitals and readings.

I don’t know how coincidental it all was. Was it just my curiosity for the books already there in my father-in-law’s library? Were they all I could reach? I wanted to constantly escape into the books, and I would not dare borrow a book from a library or even enter a library because there was not a single step I took without my husband’s permission. An obedient wife is a good wife in the eyes of God. I truly hoped to add more good deeds to my name by being obedient in the face of his oppression.

Divorce was never something that entered my mind. I didn’t know anything about life, except that I was living it, and my husband was confident I wasn’t capable of walking out. He would meet my goodness with harshness and mutiny and arrogance until, eventually, I became his private property. I became his property, and yet he never paid a penny for me. I came free, and yet he could not have afforded to pay half of my worth. It was like a slap. Each time I tried to elevate him closer to my world, he would force me to descend into his.

The difference in our status was not about competency or education or social level, nor was it a question of wealth. There was something else defining us that was more difficult to measure. It’s true I was better than him in all of the above respects, but that wasn’t the issue. The real difference was in the emptiness and inferiority a human being can endure, a self-imposed inferiority that can’t be filled with money or certificates or houses or buildings, a sense of inferiority that continued to increase until it created a friction between us that, to me, sounded like an annoying squeak. There was no resolution to his feelings of inferiority, no matter how I tried to ease them, no matter how I emptied what I had within me in order to reach out to him. I almost became that emptiness residing within him, until its rasping became too much and deafened me, and I ran away.

He tried to seduce me with jewelry. I had already sold what I owned so he could build a business, which could only be successful with my help. I would save penny after penny, collect them, and give him a pound of gold.

At one point, while I was still living in the illusion of our life together, I insisted that he buy me a wristwatch I liked. I wanted it for my birthday, an event he didn’t care much about. Later I insisted on the watch for our wedding anniversary. I was constantly fighting and testing him. The watch itself wasn’t important. What mattered was his willingness to make me happy and fulfill my wishes. In the early years of our marriage, when he had very little money, he used to tell me he wished to buy me gifts, but he worried my taste was too expensive, so he avoided buying me anything. Maybe he was right. But I would have been just as genuinely fulfilled if he picked for me a flower from the street. The intention was more important to me than the deed.

My insistence on the watch was crazy and irresponsible; it was more than we could afford at the time. Still, I didn’t give up until he took me to buy it. In that instant, I felt irresponsible and ridiculous, and I said I was satisfied with a different watch. Maybe that was the moment he realized I had a price.

A few months after I asked for a divorce, he came to me with a seductive offer, saying, “If you come back, I will buy you that Cartier watch set you liked so much.” I was tempted for less than a moment, but I enjoyed flirting with the idea. I knew that accepting the offer would mean joining the convoy of women who exchanged their happiness and dignity for a piece of jewelry. How easy it could have been to become that wife whose fingers are adorned with diamond rings and whose neck glows with gold chains and jewels, each alight with betrayal and disaster. The price would be there on my body, the glowing jewels a sign of treason that I would have chosen to ignore.

 

 

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In the Shadows of Men: The Chaos of My Senses

THE CHAOS OF MY SENSES

It must have been The Chaos of Senses. I don’t remember how the novel reached me. My husband didn’t allow me to have books or visit libraries. If only he understood: Liberation lies in reading, even in the most oppressive prison cells and behind locked doors. By reading, one can escape gloomy loneliness and the surreal isolation of a soul that longs for inner peace. I still don’t understand what happened to me as I read that novel, how it scattered chaos through me, as if my senses were released and let go. I wasn’t like the woman in the novel. I despised her. Nothing she did appealed to me, but I felt the way she did. She swiped the neatly stacked papers off the desk of my inner self, awakening memories that had been idle inside me.

For many years, Ahlam Mosteghanemi and her trilogy, Memory of the Flesh, The Chaos of Senses, and Bed Hopper, was my strange guide towards an unknown that my inner being longed for, as if the woman inside me had woken from her slumber, while all the while I had been going through this waking life. Inside me was a woman emerging from her own shell, as if a rebellion had taken place inside her and she no longer fit into her own body. Suddenly, I began to breathe as though I had a body much larger than my own.

Everyone asked about the secret to my slim figure and perfect shape, despite having had four children. I used to answer that it was a certain oatmeal bar I had discovered, that it must have expanded in my stomach and prevented me from feeling hunger. But inside, I was saying: Treachery and betrayal and oppression are enough to melt the fat from even the thickest body. My suppressed thoughts were eating away at my mind, and my body gradually eroded until it suited the demands of my husband and society.

My husband was demanding, and he complained constantly. Nothing I did ever satisfied him, and nothing ever satisfied his obsession with my weight. No matter how much weight I lost or how thin my waist became, he always demanded that I strive for a smaller size. At some point, I became obsessed with his obsession. I was lucky in one sense—I had a figure that became more beautiful with age, which is what my father always said about my mother. Yet I lived with a man whose expectations could never be met. To have four children and not lose control of my weight wasn’t easy. The body quickly fills out in ways that surprise us and get beyond our control. How easy it is to gain weight, and how difficult it is to lose it. Women become obsessive about their bodies because of the requirements men and society place on them. This is exactly like the situation outside our bodies. We long to become what is required of us, rather than what we want to be. My relationship with my body and my weight created challenges for me. Or maybe it was a continuation of the same challenge already within me: I have to be the best of what a woman can be. I am beautiful, good, and smart. But…

I struggled to be myself and not give thought to physical ideals and norms, but I could not break myself from this entirely. I had to hide who I wanted to be behind a veneer of femininity so that I could move through society without drawing attention for my rebelliousness. I did this in order to ensure that others would not feel threatened. Everyone wants a quiet female with limited intellect because, in the minds of the patriarchal clan, the rules will never change.

The chaos of my senses exploded inside me and erupted in all directions within me, and I was no longer capable of controlling it or even calming it down.

The writer’s words marched against me, or they accompanied me—I don’t know which. What they did to me was as strange as this sentence in The Chaos of Senses: “Strange is life in its contradicting logic. You run behind things, breathless, so things run away from you. And the moment you sit and convince yourself that it is not worthy of all this racing, it comes to you breathlessly.”

 

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In the Shadows of Men: My Marriage

MY MARRIAGE

My marriage of more than a decade brought me four children. This alone may seem a prize worth suffering under the roof of a man who oppressed and degraded me until my dignity was driven into the ground. During our marriage, I tried to create a family portrait filled with intricate detail until I could see it hanging in front of me, adding an aesthetic sense of beauty to my life, like valuable belongings and collectibles.

I was like a Sufi—symbols and objects of status meant nothing to me. I was looking only for what could give my life greater meaning. I was trying to find answers without a religious or ideological fight. I wanted an escape from the reality that I had to confront when I began questioning absolutes. In order not to fall into the hollowness of atheism, I tried to form a foundation of belief. Still, sometimes in choosing a more simplified and spiritual path, we are actually trying to escape the problems in our lives and avoid self-examination.

True change requires that we break from the associations and ideas formed by our parents and religion and culture, and stand naked again, as blank slates. But often, we simply replace one set of ideas with another. We fix what we can on the surface, pretending we are fixing from within, when in reality, we are nowhere close to what lies inside. True change requires reconstruction. But in order to reconstruct, we must first demolish, and demolition requires moving, shaking, cleaning, digging, burying, and bringing in new components to replace what existed before.

At times, I looked at the family portrait I had created so carefully—all the details I had included with extreme caution and care—and I saw only how false it was. I looked around to see my husband and his family—his mother, his sister, his father, his brother. I saw myself in my mother-in-law; I saw my daughter in his sister and my son in his brother.

I saw my husband in the face of his father, and myself I saw in  the decayed body of his mother. I was deeply afraid, as I could suddenly see my future with absolute clarity. There it was, walking ahead of me, without any falsehood or mystery, like a tape fast-forwarding. How could I attempt to create a portrait of my family in such an environment? I suddenly understood my mother-in-law. I understood her panic and madness, and I understood it would be only a matter of time before they would become my own. My husband, he too was bound to became like his father. I would have to accept such a bitter reality, driven by the same old admonition: “You are no better than anyone else. Everyone lives this way.” But I was living a life filled with false decorations. My entire life had been about adaptation and adjustment. I didn’t want to see my children forced into this same reality.

I was secretly raising my children to pursue dreams hidden from them by the patriarchy. I wanted them to dream of a reality in which a human can become who he truly is. I wanted my children to hear a single message from me: Become who you want to become. I didn’t want to expose them to the conflicting message my parents gave me—become who you are, so long as who you are is what we want you to be. I wanted my actions to match my words. How could I tell my daughter not to allow a man to hit her when she had seen her mother beaten by a man? How could I raise her to be strong—to safeguard her rights and her worthiness as a female—when she had seen her mother in the corner of the room writhing from a severe beating the night before? How could I raise my son to respect his wife when he lived in a house where his mother was beaten and later prepared the hookah for his father, who waited on the sofa, praising his own virility, while his mother was stricken with shame and weakness? How could I teach my children to live a life built on virtue and manner when vice decorated the throne of the patriarch we obeyed and bowed before?

I lost any desire to pursue my own pleasures, and I decided to devote my life completely to my children, believing they represented the dream and the hope. I continued to live as though I were that same modern, moderate Muslim woman, but in truth I had submitted myself completely to God. I became a Sufi without Sufism, the believer without a veil. I studied the lessons of Amro Khalid, who taught patience and endurance, and Tareq Suwaidan, and other virtuous religious men I followed along the path to God, to help me endure the pain of life. I went forward with blind obedience and righteousness. I lived according to the stricture that the woman is meant to worship the husband as though he is a God on earth. I fulfilled all of my commitments in that regard, living in total compliance, climbing higher and higher towards God. I told myself: All of your good deeds will bring you rewards in the afterlife. Don’t give up on the mercy of God. I even began to feel a perverse delight in my husband’s tyranny, and I would laugh to myself, saying: Here, you have done another good deed through submission. Be happy.

And one good deed after another piled up until my good deeds filled the skies, and I told myself: God Himself has grown tired of all these good deeds. There are others out there who need the heavens.

My mind filled with a collage of images—the heavens built on my good deeds, opposite my humiliation and compliance—and the idea that these images would one day form my children’s future.

How could I pretend to raise the next generation with better values when I could not be a good example myself? How could I aspire to raise a son who was different from his father when he absorbed what was happening in the house and saw his mother enduring it all, screaming, crying, and defeated? How could my daughters grow to be any stronger than me? How would they protect themselves in the future after seeing their mother humiliated, choosing to be silent and meek?

I imagined climbing out of myself and shattering the family portrait I had been drawing with such care and accuracy for more than ten years. I shattered it with all my power, and I removed my children from it forever.

I realized the unknown was more beautiful for its ambiguity and darkness, for its distance from the reality I had submitted to.

I gathered myself and my children and left behind a life built on glory and money and social status. I withdrew.

That was the first time I made a decision not to turn away, but to face the reality of my life.

 

 

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In the Shadows of Men: THE BEGINNING

THE BEGINNING

I was born in a patriarchal society, into a conventional family with ordinary behaviors and average education. My mother was fifteen when her family arranged for her to marry my nineteen-year-old father; marriage was one way to keep his behavior in check.

My mother gave birth to me shortly after she turned sixteen—a child giving birth to a child, I always thought. I was raised in the midst of my parents’ teenage dreams and the uncertainty of their new adult lives. Memories became lost in the flow of life. This made us forget what had been and simply carry on moment to moment.

Each of us grows, and inside are the lost dreams and thwarted wishes of our mothers. You are the origin of her dreams’ demise. You are asked to rise to the appointed challenges because, in spite of being a woman, you will face this world and prove you are worthy to exist within it.

Girl after girl after girl was born, and the dreams of our mother broke around us, their shrapnel scattered and then reshaped into another dream far away from us—the dream of the male. The boy. No matter how abundant and well-bred girls may be, they can never make up for the absence of a boy.

As I grew up, this conflict left a crack in my identity. I was the eldest daughter, the one responsible for the long line of sisters that followed. Each time my mother gave birth to another girl, faces would frown and the sky’s colors would fade. Strangely, I didn’t see this disappointment in the males of the family. But the tears of my mother, the gossip of my grandmother, and the words of my neighbors haunted me. “It’s okay. May God compensate you.” Even the word mabrouk—congratulations—went unspoken. However, we girls continued to grow, one after the other, and we were treated with compassion.

My memories of my father during my childhood are limited. He was a workaholic, too busy providing a life my mother insisted should be better. She would not accept the idea of sending us to public school, despite the fact that we were girls. Instead, we were sent to expensive private schools that only the rich and highly educated could attend.

Though my grandfather was a tyrant, he invested in our education, as he had done for our aunts before us. Perhaps he had done the same for the boys as well, but his sons were not as diligent as his daughters. One of my aunts attended college in Egypt in the 1960s, and my youngest aunt, who is not much older than me, went to a private school, the same school my sisters and I would later attend.

I can’t say whether or not the school was a fundamental turning point in the formation of my character, or if my life changed there. The school community was completely different from that of my home environment. My classmates came mostly from elite, educated families, and their religious backgrounds varied. I had a more modest upbringing. Nevertheless, the fact that my parents could afford the expensive tuition for decades made my classmates assume we were rich.

From my father, I learned modesty and self-sufficiency. From my mother, I learned to face and overcome challenges. I lived my life by these qualities—modesty and richness, contentment and ambition. Still, there was always one thing I had to remember : I am a girl.

Behave like a man but remain a female. Be responsible and never forget that your strongest weapon is your beauty. Grow tired, strive, struggle, and resist, yet, of that one thing always remain aware: You are a woman. Your horizons are limited. Your mother keeps your freedom locked up, and your father holds the key. Your actions come with great responsibility. Any misstep is a black mark that will later reflect on your sisters. Never forget that your arrival was a good omen, but only conditionally. After all, seven more girls trailed behind you.

 

Video of Israeli bulldozer bulldozes a young Palestinian

Gaza , Syria and the Israeli Elections

 

Once again, an invasion strikes Gaza after a horrific scene of an Israeli Bulldozer bulldozing a Palestinian man inside Khan Yunis.

Once again, the aggressor becomes the defender. The victim becomes the one to be blamed.

Israel with its brutal face, continue to kill. To prove yet once again that the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is systemic.

And because Israel can…. it is no Harm for election purposes to also hit Damascus.

Strikes on Gaza… Strikes on Damascus.

We make sure to busy ourselves with condemning the Palestinians for Resistance,and thus provoking. And the Syrians for living under a dictatorship regime. Needless to say, responding to the nonstoppable invasions and aggressions under a massive siege and a vicious blockade. It is always the Palestinians to be blamed…and now the Syrians- I still don’t get why.

As the world, once again is watching live killing and strikes of destruction under a devilish reality of occupation. Gazans continue to pay the price of life under occupation….and Syrians as well.

Israel real face insists on surfacing each time, a cruel reality that fulfills itself with destructions and killings of the “others” . The Bulldozed Palestinian is just another addition to the list of brutal actions of occupation.

As much as it is far from logic t find the logic that justifies hitting Damascus and Gaza. But  yet, Gaza and Damascus insist on teaching us all- those who perceive the human race as one- that resistance becomes life when life is a constant threat in living.

Resistance becomes in the simple form of living.

A final questions arise thinking if including Syria in the “scapegoating” of brutality will prepare the grounds for more Israeli expansions of invasions in a torn Arab reality?

Whatever serves Israeli elections…

from the Gaza Auschwitz with democracy greetings of peace and Justice

Sometimes, words fail us in expressing the horror we witness.

The photo of today’s Palestinian young man’s corpse in Gaza- Khan Younis,

hanging from an Israeli Occupation bulldozer, only reflects the horrific reality of Israel.

In what seems to be a historical U-turn in the so called free world perception of democracy and justice. This is the democracy and justice of Palestinians under occupation .

This is how the inside of Gaza Auschwitz is lived.

الانتخابات الإسرائيلية: كلاكيت ثالث مرة نتانياهو أو غانتس أو المرحوم رابين؟

الانتخابات الإسرائيلية: كلاكيت ثالث مرة

نتانياهو أو غانتس أو المرحوم رابين؟

 

كما في كل مرة، حمى الانتخابات تتصاعد، لدرجة تشعر بها أنك ان لم تفهم ما يدور قبل انتخاب الرجل المسيطر القادم، ستدوسك عجلات صفقة القرن هذه المرة. أعلنت صفقة القرن لتكون جزء من حملة تناصر وتخدم نتانياهو لتأكيد غلبته هذه المرة رغم قرار عزله ومحاكماته الكثيرة الجارية والمتوقعة.

من ناحية أخرى وعلى الرغم من حرب ضروس مشتعلة ما بين غانتس ونتانياهو من جهة وبينيت وليبرمان وغيرهم من جهة. هناك اتفاق هذه المرة على اتفاقهم بشأن صفقة القرن وعلى تأكيد جانتس بأنه ليس مستعدا بل لا يريد للعرب بأحزابهم ان يكونوا معه. على العكس شدد غانتس على وجوب اعلاء الصهيونية وتثبيتها في يمين واحد. وتحت وعود صفقة القرن والتطبيع القادم وعد نتانياهو الناخب العربي بتسهيلات للحج. بينما استثمر بينيت بزيادة المستعمرات وعيدا لصفقة القرن.

فذهب نتانياهو ضمن حملته هذه المرة مخاطبا العرب في لقاء قدمه عربي على شاشة عربية في الداخل المحتل، ليقدم خدمات للحاجين الى السعودية اقل تكلفة ومباشرة من بن غوريون الى مكة. وبقي تحمل تفشي العنف على ظهر المرشح العربي لإيقافه بتعهدات موعودة.

وتبقى التغييرات كما في كل مرة تثبت ضلوع أمريكا وروسيا وبعض الدول العربية بصورة مباشرة من اجل دعم نتانياهو. في محاولة الانتخابات السابقة تدخلت روسيا بهذا الشكل بدعم نتانياهو من خلال خرق سيادة سورية، بإرجاع رفات جندي إسرائيلي الى الكيان الصهيوني. هذه المرة أطلق العنان للغارات الإسرائيلية على دمشق من الجولان الذي أعلنه ترامب في الحملة السابقة للانتخابات إسرائيليا، ليسجل نتانياهو طاغوتا يمتد من خلاله شعبه الى ارجاء المنطقة بين سياحة وشراء أراضي وعقد استثمارات.

ان الرغبة الدولية بكسب نتانياهو لهذه الانتخابات واضح. هناك تغيير جوهري على وشك ان يحصل بالمنطقة، وستؤدي خسارة نتانياهو بالانتخابات الى البدء من جديد في وحل محاولة إيجاد “تصفية” مناسبة للقضية الفلسطينية ودول الجوار التي يشكل عرابها الأمير السعودي بن سلمان. فبين اعلان نتانياهو للتسهيلات والعلاقات بين الكيانين، وبين تصريح للأمير السعودي يطلب من الفلسطينيين بصيغة التهديد القبول بصفقة القرن، لم يتبق للتشكيك بالنوايا مكان.

صفقة القرن التي عقدها وخطط لها وأعلنها الإسرائيليون وقرروا فرضها وترامب على الفلسطينيين من جانب واحد، يتم اختراقها من قبل صناعها. فشرع وزير الحرب الإسرائيلي بينيت بإعلان مخططات لقرارات وإجراءات جديدة، تتضمن بناء وحدات استعمارية أخرى ومنع البناء في مناطق ب. وقد يكون اعلان الحكومة لبناء وحدات سكنية ومشاريع سياحية في منطقة المطار- قلنديا ضمن بنود صفقة القرن، تشكل صفعة مدوية لما تبقى من حدود للقدس تنتهي بهذا الى حاجز قلنديا الذي تحول رسميا الى معبر قلنديا الحدودي. ليشكل مع الترتيبات الجديدة للمنطقة من بناء لجسر مروري وتقليص لمسالك السيارات تأكيد لخطة فصل بدأ تنفيذها.

ولأن غزة بؤرة شغفهم نحو الدماء الممكن استباحتها، ينتهي مشهدنا بجرافة عسكرية تجرف فلسطينيا في خان يونس، ليتأكد ناخبيهم ان ثمن اصواتهم يذهب لهدر المزيد من دماء الفلسطينيين وتقطيع اشلائهم ان سمحت لهم الفرص.

من الناحية الأخرى تحارب السلطة الفلسطينية نتانياهو ربما، للتأكد من عدم فوزه مجددا، بكيد الفلسطينيين بتصعيد التطبيع مع الاحتلال.

وحرب في الوسط العربي مستعرة الوطيد، تستمر مع كل اعلان لانتخابات بين الكتل والأحزاب والجماعات والافراد بين مقاطعة او مشاركة في الانتخابات. بين الميل نحو محور نتانياهو او غانتس، لم يعد ير ايهم عيبا ولا حرجا بالتواجد جنبا الى جنب وسط الاعلام الإسرائيلية والترديد بالتشديد على فلسطينية هويته.

فلا لا يزال المجتمع الفلسطيني بالداخل منشق بموضوع الانتخابات. بين خلاف بشأن ثقة المنتخبين بالأحزاب، مما يشكل مشكلة حقيقية بذهاب الكثير من الأصوات علنا للأحزاب الصهيونية، كما تبين ان الأحزاب الحالية تتبنى الصهيونية كأداة مباشرة تستمد منها شرعيتها، فالمشاهد لمقابلة المحطة العربية لنتانياهو لا يجد فرقا حقيقيا بين جموع المرشحين. فإذا ما كان الامر متعلق بتقديم خدمات وتوفيرها، فلقد امن نتانياهو كذلك حجة مباشرة بتكاليف اقل للسعودية وحقق للكثيرين ركنا من اركان الإسلام الأساسية.

ويبقى موضوع تبادل الأراضي التي يخضع في مخططها “المثلث” ضمن صفقة القرن امرا لا يتم نقاشه، لأنه مرفوض جملة وتفصيلا للمعظم العربي هناك. وكأن الامر مستحيل الحصول… غير مدركين مرة أخرى ان إسرائيل بيهودية دولتها لن يكون فيها مكانا لغير اليهود عاجلا ام اجلا. وكحال القيادة الفلسطينية بالضفة، لا يتعظ قيادة الداخل بدروس الاحتلال المستمرة منذ الانتداب واوسلو وصفقة القرن.

هناك طبعا، من يدافعون بمبدئية عدم المشاركة بالانتخابات، بصفتهم الفلسطينية الطبيعية التي ترفض ان تشرعن الاحتلال والجلوس تحت قبة مجلسه التشريعي وحلفان قسم الولاء امام علم الاحتلال. هؤلاء باتوا قلة مهمشة، تسمع ما يقولونه ويرددونه من مبادئ وطنية، وتظن انهم زمرة تعيش في عالم زرادشت البعيد.

فالغالب هو الاندماج المبني على الخنوع والولاء أولا وأخيرا للحصول على بعض حقوق المواطنة السلبية او الدرجة الثالثة. اندماج صار امرا واقعا نراه في كل التفات. فإسرائيل بالنسبة لهؤلاء الأكثرية هي الواقع الوحيد المراد الاستمرار به، والهوية الفلسطينية المتمنية، واقع افتراضي يعاش به في المظاهرات السلمية وعلى صفحات التواصل وفي الجنازات واحياء أيام نكبوية موسمية.

في المحصلة، مشاركة العرب الفلسطينيين سواء ذهبت لأحزاب عربية، او ذابت ولم تستخدم، فان النتيجة واحده: فوز نتانياهو او غانتس. وفي كل الأحوال ومع أي حكومة، فلن يكون هناك حكومة يكون للعرب فيها قيمة.

ولمن يلهث لهاث المستغيث بشرعية وجوده من خلال الكنيست، مدعيا عدم وجود افاق أخرى او حلول بديلة.

هناك حلول بالمقاطعة، فوجودكم بالكنيست يعطي شرعية للاحتلال، ولا يعطيكم شرعية الوجود.

يعطيهم شرعية التبجح والعنصرية والمن عليكم، ولا يعطيكم حق كونكم أبناء الأرض الاصليون.

يعطيكم درجة دنيا من المواطنة ويأخذ منك اصالة وجودكم.

لو قاطعتم الانتخابات لأفسدتم شرعيتهم…

بالتواجد العربي تحت هذه القبة العنصرية الصهيونية الفاشية، أنتم فقط بوق لتأكيد ديمقراطيتهم.

فهل أسقط وجودكم بالكنيست قانون القومية الذي مرر امام عيونكم؟

ولكن هل لكلامي أي معنى بينما تمارس السلطة الفلسطينية التطبيع والتنسيق كطريقة وحيدة لوجودها؟

ربما يكون خبر استقالة رئيس لجنة التواصل السيد محمد المدني حقيقة نحو “وعي” قادم لانعدام الامل بهذا النوع من التواصل مع كيان هدفه تأصيل فرقتنا وقطع اوصالنا والاستمرار في احتلالنا.

 

” الويل، الويل! سيأتي الوقت الذي لن يلد المرء فيه نجما. الويل، الويل! سيأتي زمن الانسان الأكثر حقارة، ذلك الذي لم يعد قادرا على احتقار نفسه….

ها هي الأرض وقد غدت صغيرة، وفوقها ينط الانسان الأخير الذي يصغر كل شيء. نوعه غير قابل للانقراض مثل فيلة البراغيث؛ ان الانسان الأخير لهو الاطول عمرا…

لا بد من أتقدم بحذر، وأحمق هو الذي ما يزال يتعثر في حجر او في بشر!

قليلا من السم بين الحين والأخر: اذ ذلك يجعل الاحلام لذيذة.

وكثيرا من السم في النهاية من اجل موت لذيذ. …

ما من راع، وقطيع واحد! كل يريد الشيء نفسه، والكل سواء والذي يحس بطريقة مغايرة يقود نفسه الى مأوى المجانين….

الكل ذكي وعلى علم بما جرى: وهكذا فان استهزاءهم لا يعرف حدا. ما زالوا يتشاحنون، ولكنهم سرعان ما يتراضون- والا اضطربت معدتهم وتكدرت.” هكذا تكلم زرادشت- نيتشه.

 

 

 

 

What is happening in reaction to the Century’s Deal?

What is happening in reaction to the Century’s Deal?

Of course it could be all coincidental, after all, there is nothing left but coincidences within a reality of deterioration on all levels.
Are the Palestinian prospected leaders waiting for the moment after Abu Mazen’s death or the moment in implementing the Trump’s Deal of the Century? The problem here is that the coinciding historical moments are not serving anyone but Israel and Trump. Whoever attempts to become the new president knows well that the price of oppressing people should not be the ticket to leadership. Combating in the rally of endorsing the Trump’s initiative,  is a direct bullet between the eyes. Whoever is trying to gain points for becoming the next number one in the messy rally of Palestinian authority is entering a dead zone.
What happened in the last few days after the suppressing of the celebrations of the release of a prisoner in Qabatya, that resulted in killing a young man and injuring others by the PA security, not only proved the violence of the PA’s security system in oppressing their own people, it showed that it is just about oppression and totalitarian attempted rule that is awaiting us, when the governor of Nablus, Rujoub came out , again with a different scenario of incidents, not realizing that an internal fire has been just ignited.Them is Fateh, and them is also that very narrow stream of leadership that is paving its way through enslaving the rest of whoever wants to be a Fateh or considers himself to be. Fateh is the sign of the new rule and opportunities. If you are not Fateh then you are the other . and this difference is the enemy . and this enemy is of course not Israel. Israel is the occupation that feeds their existence and makes them continue to suppress…as long as they are protecting the life of Israel.
The expectations or the worries were in awaiting the moment after Abu Mazen’s death. The stateless affair, and the eruption of violence among the Fateh factions (mainly)in the race of presidency. However, what took place reflects clearly that the violent situation that can erupt is already in the launching mode.

Whatever, whoever is thinking may be holding the leadership after Abbas is doing, will only lead him and this nation to a more deteriorating reality. It is not that we will enjoy more mess.. but one thing is real, we are tired of this situation. We are losing all that makes us this nation of struggling towards its liberation and turning into this eventually fading nation that will end itself.
It is sad to see such people taking over what should be Palestine… it is not that disappointing after all, to realize that these people only represent themselves… we Palestinians are others.

Photo shooting session promoting Zoe for my upcoming novel : A memoir of a dog.

It all started when our dog brownie was abducted once again. At some point I looked into his eyes and thought; this dog is not happy with us. It cannot get more dangerous …

Zoe on the other side , learnt from the lesson of the dangerous environment out there.

At that moment I decided to write the story of living with us in jerusalem from the view of the dog.

Unfortunately, brownie disappeared again . And Zoe continues to be around , loyal and loving … and. I continue to write the story , now with Zoe’s interventions of living memories

شوفونا … حلقة الأحزاب السياسية 1

www.facebook.com/214225965275748/posts/3021887204509596/

And a reflection on the Bitterness of Reality

As we are living this massive israelization to Jerusalem as never before, we are also witnessing a colossal thump on our national identity . We are torn into a Fateh and Hamas ,and the occupation is surrounding us expanding its colonies, israelizing our homes and roads, enclaving us with additional walls and barriers .

The world continues to watch, not daring to condemn, incapable of stopping an evacuation of a family that was deported from its original home seventy years ago, to be evacuated again into another Diaspora inside its own home . Another demolition. Another annexation. Another awaiting dispossession.

One misery after another , another Nakbeh inside jerusalem, inside the neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, and the list goes on . and a Nakseh inside every Palestinian, who instead of vowing over liberation, is torn apart in a heartrending domestic warfare between brothers .

The not very long time ago,  when the Palestinian society was comprised with a mixed structure of  different parties, inside the same family ,you would find a fateh and a hamas, a jabha and tahriri… and everyone was aspiring a day where we would be liberated, seems distant and an act of disbelief in time.

I am not explicit if our cause failed us or we failed our cause .

I am not definite if this occupation has really invaded us like a chronic cancer that cannot be cured . a cancer that will only kill us , or we can still resist .

Jerusalem is trailing its sanctification , settlers are plaguing it with all their capacity . a radical racist government is overpowering it by all means . We walk through roads that  transformed to Hebrew, the rail road is jamming us into marginalized neighborhoods, demolition orders, and demolitions. Evacuations , new settlements , each day another Israeli flag flies up from what was some moments ago a Palestinian roof.

Ultra-orthodoxed settlers mingling among Palestinians neighborhoods, settlements expanding, more buildings, more posts, new roads ,and one more time more suffocating details of oppression and injustices .

Netanyahu’s government continues racing with time , one more time forcing reality on the ground .

After failing to convince the world and the U.S to declare war on Iran , one more time succeeded in employing the settlements issues to their benefit . as the Israeli radicals are also preparing themselves to demonstrate the demonstrated removal of some out posts, the government is operating on an immense campaign to pinch what is left of Jerusalem .

And one more time alluding the world outside Palestine, in attempt to procure more time in enforcing new facts on the grounds. Jerusalem is enclaved with a hollow basin of construction. a railroad, a telephrique and more.

Each Jerusalemite today is struggling unswervingly this shrewd invasion of the occupation .

And nearby , a few kilometers away , in the liberated Authority of The West Bank , as if all is well and constant ,as if the occupation is over , as if the walls are detached, as if the settlements have vanished , as if and as if life is ordinary , there is only one enemy HAMAS .

And hamas, over there on the isolated island around the desert of despair is holding over a  two million people captives.

An occupation inside an occupation .

Fateh promising  another elections of anything…. it could be the Fateh of Ramallah elections in the Muqata’a as an option!! Half  the participants deem to become the next Palestinian leadership, and the other half anticipate that they will become a challenging number in the future power . and a few good men, working hard believing that there could be hope for a reform and change.

Of course, one major consensus, HAMAS , hamas brutality, hamas radicals, hamas fundamentalists, hamas abuses, hamas tortures ,hamas violations , hamas scandals ,hamas hamas hamas… Not Israeli occupation , not the Deal of the Century, not the Arab Normalization era.

And Hamas, in its new Emirate of Gaza, enjoying incapacitating, debilitating people , detaining , controlling.

Is there any worse scenario for a nation ?

The Israeli Occupation is impounding whatever is left of the land, ongoing with its occupation without remorse within Jerusalem, and Palestinians of Fateh and Hamas skirmishing over an authority in excess of a terrain that is no longer there …..because they boomed in making our cause again and again a mislaid cause.

When creativity reaches its peak: the logo of Bethlehem’s 2020 : Capital of Culture

English Below

من الصعب استيعاب لوغو بيت لحم عاصمة الثقافة من النظرة الاولى ولا الثانية ولا الثالثة . بالنظرة الرابعة تبدأ بالسؤال عن علاق الزخارف والأشكال بالتراث والثقافة الفلسطينية . جميل يذكرنا بافريقيا . هل تلك شجرة زيتون ؟؟ ربما ، ولكنها لم تبد لي كالزيتون الذي اعرف . وكنيسة المهد المفترضة تشبه الكنائس بالأفلام الأجنبية .
. تلك الواحة لقبة ونخلة تبدو وكأنها من فيلم الرسالة
أين الشعار مما يمثلنا ؟
كنت قدسعدت للوهلة الاولى بالإنجاز الجديد ، وفكرت ان وزارة الثقافة وضعت اللوغو المحتمل قبل اعلانه رسميا.
. نعم يتم استهلاك التطريز الفلسطيني كثيرا ، ولكنه يمثل تراثنا وتندرج منه ثقافتنا بنسيج غزلنه نساء فلسطين على مر التاريخ . كنيسة المهد وبيت لحم وما تمثله من تعابير يستخدمها العالم كمهد المسيح .
كم كان من الصعب ابتكار لوغو يحاكي لوحة المدينة ؟؟؟

The logo that the ministry of culture chose for Bethlehem the Capital of Culture 2020

Has a church but not the Nativity.

Has signs and colors but not related to the Palestinian Embroidery.

Has a tree but by all means is not the olive tree..

Has an Arab house that is far built a thousand years in Arabia

In times when Israel uses the Nativity Church for sites of importance to the history of the place , for Jesus that troubled their existence. When the minister of Israel’s culture walks around with Plaestinian embroidered dress, and their fashion designers present their beauty with Palestinian artful embroideries.

When we connect our roots to that of the olive tree, with art crafts of Bethlehem’s wood and resemblance to Jesus is crafted with style and heritage.

It feels speechless to make more comments on this mess…

A rural American church, and symbols of Adinkra and Gye Nyame and other African signs and colors and an arab house from Arabia is the loud call for Bethlehem the Capital of Culture…. It is Bethlehem the universal capital of culture!!!

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