A Piece of SEAD in Seeds of Peace
( a reality of patriarchal support under gender equality )
I admit I am not a fan of seeds of peace and their agenda, however, I understand that there are some positivity in giving opportunity to youngsters in approaching life with different concepts on peace and equality. whereas , these youngsters will have their own paths in deciding their approaches towards peace in the future.
A scene that broke my heart today occurred when my friend’s daughter who is almost 15, came to me with her mother crying. As much as the tear of a youngster or a child is sensitive and heartbreaking, a tear of an adult woman is sense breaking. There is so much of resilience that is under attack through the channel of tears in a strong woman’s eyes. The girl (Malak) was accepted some months to the upcoming season of the Seeds of Peace, in which she applied for some years ago accompanied with her father, and they put on the waiting list since she was under age. She was excited to receive a call from them for taking her this year as one of their priority candidates.
The girl was excited and overwhelmed, especially in this particular period of her life where here parents are going through the rough time of divorce in which the children are being kicked in between.
The father who took her by hand to the first interviewed and aimed to have place for his daughter back then suddenly decided that he is against such “normalizing” programs. He denied the daughter the right to access he passport claiming as well that the mother is planning to run away with the kids. As things continued to take ugly encounters between the parents, in a scene where the mother made all the efforts not to break her daughter’s heart, and prove to her that their cause is just and her rights are protected. After an attempt of back and forth trials and efforts in final getting a court order after several appeals from the father to denounce the trip and refuse to give her the passports. The court finally decided to force the father to give the passports to the mother and allow the girl to travel. As usual, the system with its bureaucracy insisted to put obstacle infront of the mother when she went to renew the passport, to be slapped with a surprising email from seeds of peace un-listing the girl’s name from the summer’s trip, giving unjustifiable reasons. A decision that was probably made after the father’s convincing them that they should do that. Ironically, the administration of Seeds of Peace were aware of the conflict between the parents and were informed by the mother, in an attempt to gain their support until she gets the girls document issued.
What was disappointing, in the very words of the girl was: “ they tell us that they want us to stand for our own freedom and fight for gender equality, and they simply exclude me because my father who the court said was abusive and unjust decided that I don’t go, while the custody is with my mother”.
I couldn’t but intertwined with my own adventures of disappointments in such issues for the last ten years. The disappointment remains harsher and filled with bitterness, because for many reasons my friend and her daughter expected support in the absence of what women and children suffer from in patriarchal societies like ours, from the western powers who run projects in our countries among them seeds of peace for empowerment and the y insist on using the term of gender equality and women support all along their discourse…
It was sad to see my friend drinking from the same glass of bitterness I have endured for a decade, in the disappointment that exceeds our expectations, believing that we as women have a chance to stand up for our own issues with the support of the modern world that claims its support to women issues in patriarchal societies. It is disappointing to realize that the patriarchal Muslim judge gave the girl and the mother justice and was gender sensitive and a real supporter to the mother and her children, and the system outside the court including a respected organization like Seeds of Peace denounced the girl’s simple right in standing up for her right in making a choice for her future in a simple act as such. Well, for her, it was so many expectations for dreams and aims of a future study in a reputable university as part of her participation in such a program. Expectations that are carried on top of horizons of the dreams of youngsters as Malak. To be kicked out by the system that she strongly believed in supporting her against the patriarchal mentality that we are enslaved inside.
If the Seeds of Peace just worked on a piece of Seads. Malak could have moved on from this experience as a different person… but sadly … too early she realized that patriarchy is not just through an abusive father or a husband. But a system that claims the opposite.
I know this may be hard for the mother and the daughter to believe but if they look at this a different way, it will not hurt so much. One was the lesson learned about the organization, that we cannot expect any organization to be perfect or even to always live up to their ideals. And on a deeper level, I see that Maka was probably saved some bigger disappointment with Seeds if she had gone. I know, in my life, some things I wanted so badly and got, in retrospect I can see I would have been better without. It’s difficult to be able to not grow attached to our desires, dreams, and ambitions. But, if we can understand that loss is part of life, we can handle each one with greater strength and grace. And still keep our ideals and values of what is most important in life.
u r right … it is worse to go with them )