Livestreaming Fawda: Agitation against Yabous Cultural Center

Livestreaming Fawda: Agitation against Yabous Cultural Center

My inbox was filled with messages between Messenger and WhatsApp, with a video and comments about Yabous Cultural Center and its director, Mrs. Rania Elias.

I was hesitant in writing for more than one reason. First, the Yabous Cultural Center or Mrs. Rania Elias did not need defense from anyone. My testimony, words, and protection will not increase the value of this place and its sponsor.

The second reason, which is worrying, is linking the name of Yabous Cultural Center and Rania Elias to the issue of homosexuality and its promotion. Here, too, I paused for a while because I believe that the situation in this country can no longer tolerate any rational discussion. The last thing we need is to be drawn towards isCEDAW and its allies and enemies, so we can get out of the pitfall of women’s rights and feminism and fall into the trap of homosexuality, its acceptance, and its rejection.

What does the term promoting homosexuality mean? How does one promote homosexuality? In the circulating video streamed in Al-Aqsa Mosque, talking about the city’s honor that needs to be protected from Rania Elias and her call for homosexuality, I thought of how many errors in the expressions cannot be answered. I thought about how a person sits in the mosque and invites the public to fight a woman, stirs up strife, promotes hatred and rage against an institution, and raises serious, factional, and racist issues.

Talking about Yabous Cultural Center as if it came to existence only yesterday confirms the lack of knowledge of the city’s existing institutions for more than a quarter of a century. What does it mean that Rania is not Jerusalemite? What does it mean that she lives in Jerusalem by an Israeli permit? Who determines eligibility in the city? And who does have or does not have the right to live in it? Who is the Jerusalemite?

The truth is, I don’t know what the real problem is: Rania, being a woman, being a Christian, or being the director of an institution?

It is easy to go out in public, raise the voice, throw people into their morals, intentions, and identities, and question them. But again, I think, what was the purpose of filming the video from Al-Aqsa Mosque?

How is it correct to broadcast such a video from Al-Aqsa Mosque, for which we are all fighting to protect it from the danger of racism facing us from the occupation?

Yes, Yabous is a selective institution if the picky is the non-affiliation of the institution to a political party or faction. Yes, it is selective if the quality is selectiveness.

Yabous Center has become a cultural monument in the absence of a cultural scene from the city since everything turned into partisan or Israeli agendas.

We should not “love Rania,” nor should we always agree with the taste of the cultural establishment. The cultural scene is full of what we like and dislike, and a person is free to choose his destination. This is culture, with diversity and variety. The activities of Yabous Center may not appeal to some or perhaps too many, and this is natural and self-evident. But no one can fight and attack in this way that invites discord and encourages chaos and violence. What is needed is restraint.

Jerusalem is not for a few elite families, nor is it for families who are crushed on the heels of the elite and have found a place for themselves because they are Jerusalemites today. Jerusalem is not for the immigrant and refugee families in times of wars and successive calamities. Jerusalem is a city for those that inhabit it and love it.

This is Jerusalem… the Jerusalem in which al-Qudsi, al-Khalili, al-Nabulsi, al-Nasrawi, al-Haifawi, and al-Tibawi live with their Palestinian identity, which desires this city to withstand the endless barbarism of the occupation.

Jerusalem is for all its Palestinians, and Al-Aqsa Mosque is not the place to broadcast messages of division and rejection of the other.

Jerusalem is for those who build it and make its inhabitants an example of steadfastness, harmony, and coexistence in the face of injustice, tyranny, racism, and the miserable attempts of the occupation to obliterate our collective Palestinian identity.

It is painful and agonizing what is happening to us.. at a time when the occupation is smashing us from every direction… we continue to devour ourselves from within. Occupation is watching us end ourselves by ourselves.

Oppression, despair, violence, crises, smears, and murder are not enough…

While Israel continues to implement its plans to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque, steal and exhume graves, demolish homes and confiscate lands, displace residents and withdraw identities. Do we need more incitement to feelings of hatred and exclusion… so that the occupation can smash us more?

I felt again helpless in a state of fawda that is becoming embedded in all directions—thinking of Rania and her family. Should she go and file a complaint to the police? How could she? And if she does, would it ever make a difference? Would it protect her and her family or Yabous? 

While I have all the answers with a straight direct No, no, she wouldn’t. No, she shouldn’t. And No, she could not. I know that it is also useless to think of questions and attempts that will have no effects. We are left unprotected, threatened, exposed from all directions. There is an enemy out there that is waiting for us to perish. 

From my side of fighting helplessness, I reported the video to Facebook for spreading hatred and agitation. Facebook decided that this is a normal video that does not violate community standards. I smiled to myself with the agony I feel and I thought… it is Fawda… from Netflix to Facebook.

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