Thursday, December 16, 2004

Why can't i hate? An encounter with an 'Enemy'?

Aqabah, Jordan, December 2004.
"Peace and Reconcilliation. The role of women in Peace in the Middle East"
A Palestinian Israeli Dialogue.

Today we watched a movie called "My Terrorist".

Everyone was heading to Amman, and though i had realy wanted
to was dead beat. incredibally draining day. mentally we
emotionally we kolo.
so i crawl into the audotorium to watch the movie and slouch
and curl into a seat upfront where no one can see me. Along
with the 30 something other israelis.
the palestinians were having a meetings to take stock of the
catastrophees of the day.

the movie was by and about this woman, Uli.
she joined the israeli army at teenage (the usual time the
israeli youth are drafted) she was a sixth generation
israeli (her great grandparents moved there from algeria
over 150 years ago). she loved her 'zion' and was very proud
of it.
She has flicks and shots of all she experienced as seh
fought for her zion. it stopped at teh sabra and shatilla
war. which she shot enough of to want to make you wrench
till you're dry to the bone. with as much as i've seen of
shatilla born in mind.
after that seh quit the army, feeling sudden powerful shame
of being israeli.
she became an air stewardess. and in an incident in the 80's
was shot at by a young man who boarded the plane, aw a bus
on the way to the plane. a few people were killed, including
the person right beside her. she lost part of her finger,
testified against the guy in court, adn got on with her life.

23 years later, and at teh handshake on teh white house lawn
in 93, she decided to make peace with her enemies as well.
so she gets in touch with the guy in jail, they start
writing to each other..
seh wants to make peace with him, becuase seh said she
always felt taqht the sudden eruptures of violence, teh
suicide bombings and any other aggression men teh
palestinian side has only been a reaction to the israeli
conduct. they've accounted for no less.

She meets a woman on a talk show, that lost her daughter in
a similar incident.. on a school bus methinx. the woman
attacks her relentlessly on teh talk show and at later
events on the movie.
how cna you let him go?! how can you encourage him? make him
feel what he did was ok?! give him a chance to do this
agtain and again..

incase i didn't mention this, uli was struggling with
herself mainly becuase seh wanted to try to affect his
release men prison somehow.

sometimes she felt very adamant, feeling sure, after orking
in teh west bank and witnessing the living conditions and
listening to Fahad (her aggressors) lifestory, that it was
her fault, the israeli's faults he had turned out the way he
had. the living conditions in Gaza and teh west bank proved
they were breeding terrorists..

At around september 2001, she was almost ready to write that
final letter to tell him seh would do all she could. and
then suddenly the twin towers in new york.
she was in the middle of writing him the letter when the sep
11th event struck.
she stood before her computer trying to finish it, and
struggling with her english as usual, the only thing she
could find to say to this person she had suddenly developed
so much compassion for was;

go fuck yourself.

throughout the movie they took us through several historic
events. rabin's assassination, how the people felt, how she
felt. an argument in teh street between both sides. a
protest in the street wtih both flags, teh handshake with
all it's reactions, zionists burning the palestinian flag..
fights in arabic, fights in hebrew.
they even got sadat as he visited the kenesset. i had heard
the speech, but i had only read about the istiqbal, and the
whole event, it was the first time i saw it manifest itself
outside my imagination.
they got eh famous royal trumpet reception, and sadat's
speech running, the kenesset's welcoem and promise for a
better tomorrow, all teh time getting shots of sadat's face.
maybe it looked heroic to them. maybe mosame7. to me it
looked sad. it looked tense. i felt so much tension myself,
again teh strong inclination to throw up.
maybe i felt for him, maybe it was just a culmination of the
events of the day.

after wanting to ask fahad to fuck himself, Uli starts
talkng to more and more of her friends.. and suddenly

the dvd rumbles, fumbles, stops, skips and dies.
and before i know it uli is standing infront of me , wanting
to present teh rest of teh story to the rest of us.

she's real!!! my first reaction, was to either cry or get up
and hug her..
someoen else who can't hate!
STOP. i restrain myself again adn again. regain composure
and wear the same sober expression i've had for the last few
hours. i'm indifferent. i am only here becuase i was tired.
i'm not affected.
maybe there's some strategy behind this that i can't see.
maybe there's something abotu the way she made the movie
that's supposed to make me sympathize wtih her. will not.
don't care.

she starts taklng, very nervous, wringing her hands as she
does, her 'half a finger' catching my attention over and

the rest of the documentary talks a little about a book her
grandfather wrote about zionism, the return to zion, and how
contrary to belfour, contrary to justice and a number of
other issues, how the jews had mistreated teh original
settlers of the land.

after a few more consultations, she sent a letter to the
prisons/the government or something similar, asking for
Fahad's release.

the last she'd heard he'd been promoted. to a less intense
prison. not sure if her letter had anything to do with it.

it makes her more proud to be israeli , seh says. for the
first time in years. it's cost her alot, in terms of people
that are angry at her, teh fact that seh's become
a 'traitor'..
it doesn't matter, as long as she's prouder to be israeli,
feels a stronger bond to her 'homeland' that is HERS and not
those Zionists' she hates so much.

howwa fee homeland beta3ha aslan? howwa fee 'zionists'
bas 6 generations,....
150 years..

Today the day started with a few roundtable discussions,
starting with people introducing themselves. a good number
of the palestinian women spoke no english. which i believe
was criminal. not a fair representation AT ALL compared to
all the perfectly spoiken for israeli women.
gheyr keda ba2a, kol set we set, fee a viatnamese, or
american who spoke of how they 'felt their pain' becuase of
teh relatives they lost in Sept 11th.
wel israelies wel palestinians' speak of el ma2assi 3adi,
and dol kol ma wa7da feehom (whether she lost a sister, son,
husband, mother in law or cat) tedeeeeha se7.
wet3ayyyaaaat.. we tefdal maska el mike.
tab edee lelgambek!

one woman could also 'feel the pain' as her husband suddenly
committed suicide six years ago. but she learned how to
heal. adn they would too.
he worked at Ernst&Young you see.

At another workshop we were being taught 'dialogue skills'
in situations of conflict.
you were supposed to sit iwth someone and get them tot alk
to you abou the challenges of their everyday lives and keep
saying ' i haer you' as htey spoke. opening your heart as
you do.

i sat with an american woman.
and yup you guessed it.
she started takling, we mafeesh kelmeyteyn into teh
conversation, she was blubbering all over the place.
she says my heart's very open.
makontesh le7e2t afta7u aslan.

after we finsiehd, people were suppoed to comment on teh
the palestinians bursted one after the other about how the
israli's present were ones in teh peace movements. that
wasn't what we needed. what we need is ones from lihud
parties, from movements who opposed us who NEEDED to lsiten
and see.
the internationals kept retaliating with how they were
trying.. maybe this was a start..
although i had vowed not to speak during the conference. i
stood up at one point and said something like 'if th
ecommunication is effective enough, then it should be the
role of those present to take it up to those people taht
DON'T lsiten.. if they don't listen to us they will SURELY
listen to them.."

at dinner i was attacked severely by one of the palestinian
activitist i realy respect. she's studying law at teh
sourbone. actually i think she's taeching it kaman.
she told me the commetn itself was negligible. the tone i
had said it with was one taht seemed to inted to 'hadey el
nefus', is that why i had spoken up??

i thought about it for a while. i don't THINK so. but it did
SEEM like something i would do. without thinking 7atta.
fearing for my life, i denied it.
but what if i HAD wanted to hadi el nefoous??

we had a long conversation that stretched out in several
episodes during the day.
these were occuppied territories. everyone knew that. these
were people that came in, oppressed and mistreated the
original inhabitants of the land, and kicked a good number
of them out of their homes.
we had a situation right now that we HAD to make the best
of, true. bas we have to remember meen el ghaltan.
right now we're in a weaker position, we were weaker in
terms of economy, politics, social conditions.. the lot. the
least we could have are STRONG stances.
we have to know what we're entitled to. what our rights
were. we had to be strict about them and FIGHT for them. bas
more importantly and no matter how nice they are to us NEVER
EVER be apologetic.
1st generation, 2nd generation, 3rd or 6th generation,
doesn't realy matter. they're there, and we're here, adn
there are facts and figures and a history of violated rights.
unless we knew what our rights were and fought for them, no
matter how 'nice' our opponets were , we would never get
back what was ours.

earlier today in the openign ceremony. a lady from the
kenesset gave a presentation about all the events men 48
until that very day, all the attempts for peace adn her
analysis for why they didn't work.
why the palestinians couldn't believe in peace.. why teh
israelis had lost hope.. how the terrorist had come about
and how the israeli's reatliated with the barriers.
sounded uncomfy. bas made sesnet.
as soon as seh finished, a palestinian woman, well dressed,
well groomed, stood up and very respectuflly, very loudly
and assertively asked the memebr of the kenesset, to watch
her words and revise her facts well, seh pointed out a
number of facts adn figures taht were incorrect, some as
accurate as numbers, others as arguable as
"the barriers were NOT there to retaliate palestinian
aggression or acts of terror. they were there by default.
the palestinians 'act of terror' were the reaction to years
of crime, mistreatment, and injsutice..'"
she spoke with SUCh energy and assertiveness that i CANNOT
i know it should be normal and 3adi ya3ni, ma this is her
life she's speaking of..
bas bardo, there was so much power in it it made me shrink.
the kenesset woman said nothing.

later on teh president of a palestinian university came up
to speak and started showing pictures of every day life in
gazza adn the westbank..
the pictures ofcourse were ones of hardship, loss, sandess,
anger, pain, death, terror...

all hell broke loose.
the isralie women started satnding up to protest, to recount
what all THEIR women had to go through, and the palestinians
spared no words.

we split into teh workshops. i attended the one on
mobilizing civil society for justice.
samah the girl that was lecturing me earlier about knowing
my rights was incredible.
the workshop/discussion took place in a room very much like
the blue room, a round table keada metfaragha fel noss.
adn everytime seh got a chance to speak she would crawl
under the table and stand in that empty space adn walk
aruond and thrash her arms..
she always spoke with SUCH force and SUCH reason, that no
one could find fault with her.
fcourse some people used to snigger or make sounds to
discourage her, but no one could realy SAY anything..
she was powerful in her conviction and the clarity of her

they discussed and argued over the single/double state, the
refugees, teh settlments, 7ammass, the borders, the
wall, '67, '93, the 242 resolution, right of return, geneva
they would agree on certain points and argue on a million
although i was impressed at first at the number of issues
both sides seemed to see eye to eye on, the idsucsion would
keep going in circles like every single arab one i'd ever

the problem?
the reason i worry about our going anywhere.. is becuase i
CANNOT see the 'peace'. i cannot see them living in harmony.
i cannot develop ANY vision for a solution.
i cannot see it.
peace needs two parties on an equal level, trying to
negotiate for common grounds.. or at least common grounds
they an agree on. we ba3deyn kol wa7ed ye-sprout ma3 nafso
from it.
these are NOT two equal parties. any 'peace' now on teh part
of the palestinians means more compromise, more loss, less
land, less hope, less life.
for the israeli's the call for peace is simply their asking
for security in a land they are well settled in. they're not
going anywhere.. they just want to make sure they live wehre
they are in safety.
for the palestinians it means, securing a land to live in
aslan, it means the quesion of wehther or not they can come
back home, wehther or not they can go to work/home/school
without having to be embarassed, hurt, or humiliated..
(Some are asked to pull pants and shirts down at the check
points.. this is only a meagre example i remembered someone
And yet, i cannot see the palestinians with a single unified
vision as to what could be done. not the palestinians in
ramallah, wala those in bethlehem, wala those in gaza,
jereusalem, shatilla or jordan...
a friend of mine in lebanon, who's actually a powerful
activists, says he'll fight with all he has for the right of
return. once he has it, he's staying in lebanon. and wants
NOTHING of palestine sa3et-ha.

the israeli's always seemed to have a clear vision. they
must have. they've not only developed themselves as an
automous state with an economy to speak for itself, bas have
abbo 3ala wesh el donya in a way that comes across as spick,
span, smart and successful.
they've outdone a number of us.
they've been very pragmatic at waht needs to be done and how
it needs to be done..
we , on the other hand are still throwing stones, raising
fists, and making grand speeches.

i was talking to a guy from ramallah, and he was teling me
that everything was perfect before the intifadah..'we were
jsut another occupied country. 3adi ya3ni, it was just
normal coloniolism.. the nightmares staretd AFTER '87...
what has the intifidah brough any of us.."
i was realy upset. i kept arguing for those in Gaza, and
those in teh camps, how COULD he forget them.. the intifadah
for me, regardless of what else it signifies was RESISTANCE..
he smield at me as if i was naive. that's all great. bas
where has it gotten him.
he's a great guy. he's fighting for his palestine; bas he
just wants to live...

where does this leave me? unable to hate.
i'm trying hard.
a number of events that took place today call for nothing
less than that.
a number of events that took place around me, others that
have eben recounted to me, and others taht are linked to the
hope for any 'just' future.

i could not hate teh person who stole my shoes 2 months ago,
to punish him, even if it was just long enough to threaten
them to return it. i could not hate my colleague at work for
fabricating stories to get me fired. i couldn't even resent
her enough to adeeha kelmeteyn or undo the damage.
i can't hang on to the anger for too long.

this time ba2a, MESH 7a2ey. not at all. i either take a
strong stance, or i step COMPLETELY otu of th epicture.
i can't do the latter as this is one of the causes i have
grown with, that's grown wtih me, in me and about me. it's
always been somthing i beleived in to teh CORE of me.. on a
social level, politilca level, relgious level, humanitarian
level, and lately withe cairo to camps, and making so many
friends, a very personal level.
i treid to drench myself in enough stories adn real life
encounters and experiences to stregnthen my resolve to anger
me enough, to HARDEN me to LASH OUT!
why can't i hate??
After the long talk wtih samah today, that left me unable to
smile at a single one of these women..
i walk into the movie and emerge a complete mess.
uli seems to be the only person in teh WORLD i can relate to
at the moment.

and the one person i CANNOT speak to.
why can't i hate?
why so incompetent keda?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Fairy Dust

Fairy dust

pitter patter, splitter splatter;
rain drops skitter,
feet move faster

Star light, star bright,
brightest star i see tonite,
cast a spell and dim all lights,
take me higher,take me far,
send me swimming through the stars,
to flit and fleet between the other
duck, and crane, not touch or bother,
thru air so cold to velvent breath
and each star's teather inspires to depths.
the sky of velvet
dark and deep
will engulf,envelop,
and thru me seep

hypnotic gaze
magnetic touch
to swim, not spawn
u can't breath much
for breath; if you do
bringing life, brighter light;
all mystic will be lost,
oh starry world turnd to life!

wish, slish, hope and ponder
just keep me floating;
don't pull me under.
pull me under.

Friday, November 12, 2004

7arr ley, ya November? In Memory of Arafat

One hot summer morning (in late november)and as i came to
the realization that Salah Salem (my only yellow brick road
out of Heliopolis) had suddenly been erased off the map, i
switched on teh radio to hear teh news i'd been anticipating
for days on end, and silently waiting for months before
that, and yet still i couldn't hold back all the heaviness
that filled my heart. (that might sound corny, but it is
TRULY how it felt, heavy)

For the zillionth time this year, i felt a small sudden
rising panic, as i realized that someone or something htat
had been such a strong symbol to me, such a significant
ramz, was in no time at all, going to be reduced to a mere
memory in my own head.

A memory that might be provoked by a tv program, words in a
book, a song, a story.. bas at the end of the day something
that no longer exists, that only once was..

Now i realize that symbolas last forever, and memories
signify alot, and that there are a number of ahceivements
and events that's assert the fact that they DID exist..(as
opposed to being figments or manifestations of my

Bas it just suddenly seems like the world as we know it, as
we've always known it is being swept from under our feet!!

So many people, so strong in presence, influece and effect,
dissappearing one after the other, one way or the other..
Arafat, Sadam, Heikal,Edward Said, Sheikh Zayed, King
Hussien, Hafez Al Asad..
and all the new ones that step in, just DON'T seem to live
up, to fill in the empty gaps..
not good enough, not evil enough, not LOUD enough..

And it's not only people, bas in terms of events kaman, so
much that is 'unthinkable' has happened, so much that his
inhuman, or unfair, (at a time when SO Much effort has been
spent to create international bodies, nobel prizes, laws,
regulations, treaties have been structured to ensure
justice) keeps happening, and we've become so accustomed to
it, we can very easily get on with our lives..
el 7essar, teh wars, the invasions, teh sudden 'blood
disease' that no one can explain, the bloody 'liberations',
the rapes, the zoll... it goes on and on, and i'm not
reprimanding or anything, bas realy, unless i see it on tv,
read it in a paper, engage in a disucssion and am
momentarily affected, i can barely even remember its

'ma asl 7a3mel ey ya3ni...??'

All these events rushed through my head, flicks of Farenheit
9/11 (that i'm yet to see), sadam's crashing statue,NDP
billboard ads, Heikal's programs,crashing twin towers,Salah
salem completely blocked before me,Arafat in an ice cap, It
being 33 degrees in November...

all the way back to that hot summer day (in august this
time) over a decade ago, when my neighbour came flying into
the living room in her robe and pyjamas, waving her
newspaper and her splashing cup of tea, to tell us about
Iraq's invading kuwait..

Not realy an issue then, as it was actually fun to wear gas
masks and watch scuds and missiles explode in the sky,hear
the sirens that rush you back in the house, and point out
Sadam as a real live 'evil' person..

bas with time, the issue, the events, the implications, the
catastrophees become clearer and clearer for what htey are,
for what they represent, it was just a point in history that
i wasn't very familiar with... it' sover now though. and as
far as i'm concerned, it never REALY happened. i WAS there.
bas either i can't remember or i was never paying attention,
so as far as i know now, it's something i've read, and heard
about.. not experienced.

Is that what all this will become??
Events in history i'll be reading over my children's
shoulders and smiling as i recount 'how old i was when all
this happened..'

Can you imagine that THIS is history???
These are the events that are analyzed in text books! the
dates people have to learn by heart!!

I'm not depressed wallahi, just fascinatd at all teh sharp
turns in history that have taken place in the last ten
sometimes i want to squeeze my eyes shut to make sure i
preserve the memory, so it's MORE than just a memory.. so i
don't forget what it was 'like' when they were around.. when
it first i felt. what it mean to me.
it's REAL it's REAL, it happened, i was THERE!

At others, teh shift is exciting.. the 'world' was one thing
at one point, and is now becoming another..

A good friend of mine reminds me that all these shifts adn
changes, might mean we need to start playing a role in all
of it...speaking up and stand for what we believe in,
perhaps fight against what we don't?


Things are definately being 'shaped' now.. the world is
taking on a whole new form..
there are still lots of holes and gaps though, some that we
can fill.. others we'll sit back and watch happen..

bas if it's going to change anyway, and if so many people
are dissappaering, then maybe it is important that we start
stepping in to fill the gaps ourselves, or push those we
believe in to fill them in..

The world as we know it, or as i've known it seems to be
dissappearing, expiring, finishing..

Maybe this is an opportunity for us to start building the
world as we know it should be..

or maybe it never was that way afterall... maybe it was all
a figment of my overactive, over idealist imagination...
maybe i try to make it prettier , more dramatic as it draws
near its end.

Maybe :)

(the heat waves on the other hand, we'll have to settle for)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Did you know that Turtles breathe through their butts?

Realy they do :)

"Although basically air-breathing, many aquatic
species have developed ways to pick up oxygen even
when submerged. Of these the most remarkable, which
some turtles share with dragonfly nymphs, sea
cucumbers, and certain televangelists, is the
ability to breathe through one's butt. You've heard
the expression ‘Blow it out your after regions?’
It's no mere figure of speech. Many species have a
pair of sacs (bursae) opening off the cloaca
(combined digestive and urogenital chamber). These
are heavily vascularized to facilitate the uptake of
"..Many turtles augment gas exchange at the lungs
with gas exchange in the throat or in the cloaca."
"..For this reason, many turtles breathe
spontaneously by extending their head and neck up
and forward while thrusting their forelegs backwards
to encourage air movement into their lungs."

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


So i'm lying in bed.. it's almost 2:00 and i have to be in
el zawya el 7amra at 9:30 tommorrow to attend a mo3askar on
el mo7afza 3ala el bee2a..

I groan at the memory of my last encounter with the
around 60 kids (perfect gender balance, mind you) dressed
from head to toe in new tshirts, pants,socks and shoes, oo..
and not to mention caps and socks..
one of those situations where you can't pinpoint what's
wrong 3alaTUL bas you just wince at the manzar..
and then the discussions start.
Mawdoo3 el sa3a? Al Entema2. (said with drama, madd al "aa2")

"Ana 3ayez 2a3raf menko 7aga.."

said the tall man in the ugly beige suit as he looked into
the eyes of every one of the kids, dabbing sweat particles
off his forehead as he shifted from one group to the other..
He tried to take all of them in.. or at least seem to. All
of them, including the 11 year old mo7agabat, hair covered
severly, and comfily clad in half sleeved tshirts..

"Kan 2ey e7sasko lama shoftu 3alam masr beyrafraf fel

Baladgeee ba7ebaha kol 7etta fe baladi..

Grrooooann AGAIN..

Back in bed. WHY am i still up?!
Suddenly, a powerful memory flash. A clear picture, in full
color and perfect resolution.
The cup of coffee i had at 10 am this morning.
the picture fades away adn then another memory.

Marwa,Amr and I walking through Selim to the car, a group of
women sitting in a circle (probably enjoying el tarawa we
7abeet el hawwa, fel mal2af el odam el 3omara) they look up
at us, faces potentially welcoming, but overwhelmed with
curiousity and small tite polite smiles. They try to look
away politely, but teh curiousity keeps the gazes coming
back to us..

"Essalamo 3aleko" chirps marwa sweetly, breaking the silent
polite stares.

"salamo 3aleyko.." i murmur inaudibly as well smiling shyly
and then looking down, biting my lip as i walk a bit
faster.. wonderng what they're thinking. Feeling
umcomfortable being in THEIR neighbourhood and not
introducing myself.

"3ASSALL" i hear one say to the other. (you know emphasis on
the 3in adn the seen, teh way they would say it when they
move the head back at teh first part of the word "3aaaass"
adn then slowly bring the head back to it's position for the
shor "all"..)

My head perks up.

us? maybe Not so bad after all...

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

"Now, Breathe..." Sharm El Sheikh; Those who lived, before they died..

Every now and then something comes up that's like a complete punch in the stomach..
and el moshkella ba2a that these 'every now and then's are becoming so much more frequent, that one finds it particularly hard to breathe most of the time..
especially when one is suffocated with one's own "esteya2" and lack of pro-activity in actually doing something about, adn ofcourse the heat that seems to increase one day after the other (yet surprisingly ALWAYS remain within the 30 degree range)

So amidst all this breathlessness, i stop to contemplate el punch el abl el abl el akheera..

So sharm el sheikh was bombed one friday evening as i flicked through the channels looking for an interesting movie to wanness my insomnia.
Seeing that it was still breaking news at the time, we spent a long time before the screen watching the death toll go up adn wondering what would become of all of it..

as it started becomng clearer and clearer that it wasn't going to be a diplomatic or political crisis, the tone with which teh news was broadcasted was suddenly softening..
it wasn't an urgent, "gasp! please turn teh channel, mesh ma32ul all tehse people many more.."
situation ad ma it was "wow.. bomb in sharm.. ey dah , wareeney keda..."

at first i thought it was my own apathy given the excessive excitement we had experienced from London and Lebanon in few days that preceeded it.. bas with time and wit hthe BBC talking to one English woman (ya raby, to be fair i can't remember if it was teh BBC wala another english/american broadcasting channel, bas ta2reeban BBC), in sharm, asking her if she felt she wished she'd stayed home..
afterall, he said with a small smirk.. "not like you'd have been much safter in london.!" and i paraphrase.

My point being, that the matter was seeming slightly less serious..
The next day, the mood was more like

"Ya 3am 2e7med rabenna.." (he retorted as he rolled his dice against teh tawla)
"dol tel3u masreyeen.. dee kanet teb2a museeba... howwa a7na na2seen.."

Mubarak takes time off his agaza..
(agazet ey! ma 2olna el ragel ba2alu khamsa we 3eshreen sanna shghal men el sob7 legheyt belyl!)

men el sob7 (one hand raised, pointy finger high in teh air as face freezes 3ala 'sob7' complete with mouth in a tight little circle and eyes looking upwards)
leghayet beleyl! (arm with protruding index finger plummets downwards, as head and chin follow suit, adn also freeze there for added effect)

So anyways, he comes back from his work men el sob7 leghayet beleyl in some ghamed place, (maybe only ghamed as i have not been following up too closely) or actually 7aram, maybe he needed the time, meditation adn seclusion to take that should i atana7a, or asheel el hamm wa ashtaghalymel sob7 leghayet beleyl kam sanna kaman..)

So he goes and visits the victimes one by one..
"Wenta asmak eyh ba2a.. hmmm... esmak eyh? sheel el shash el 3ala bo2ak dah mesh same3.."

and you think to urself.. what a wonderful world..

bomb that seems to have devestated an area of 1 km in radius around it, and the injured only seem to have broken arms and leggs..
funny, though when the celebrities came to visit these people, they came out crying and barely able to speak..


A day later i discuss my little thoughts, maybe i'm becoming apathetic fe3lan, bas where's all the noise.. so ha ba2a ya3ni.. what are we going to do about it..

bas mroe and more people seem to have caught the "Phew" vibe that's going round.. there's a general sense of relief, not urgency, a sense of 2etm2enan, and not fear...

A spanish colleague of mine recounts seeing BBC that morning

"88 casualties reported thusfar, however predominantly Egyptian..." and she says

"though i had heard it before, thisis the first time i actually see that some lives are simply more than others.."

breathe now..

i've always felt taht one of our main problems here is lack of human dignity.. assigned to the other , and thus, naturally assigned to the self as well..

You see it in teh lack of beauty (in not seeing you deserve to see/live in something beautiful), you see it in teh begging, ka2enno el wa7ed mabesada2 3ando 3aha , yenzel yesh7at beeha fel share3, you see it in el nasb, when someone does a rotten job and tries to rip you off for it.. (how does it feel, HOW DOES IT FEEL to do only a THIRD of what you're capable of doing and get away with it.. intially akeed triumphant..
bas we ba3deyn ba2a.. how do you sleep at night with all that unused talent.. with that overwhelming feelinf of i am worth NOTHING), in the 3askary, or the policeman, or whoever it is who takes it upon himself and his life's mission to 'protect' and spends his days whispering obscenities, or calling or hissing them out to each passing female.. taking the careful time to get creative beyn kol wa7da wel tanya..

tab waht do they look for?? the tears in her eyes, wala the look fo eshme2zaz, wala el sheteema el 7atedawwar tedeehalu, wala el possible flying spit particles if she's brave enough..

what's teh drive? what feeds his strife?!

bas that it reaches a point where people die, in handfulls, and the whole event just dies with them is a killer!!

do you still hear about teh sharm inicident?ofcourse you do!!
because of all teh campaigns going on to save it..

today on the radio, on 104.2, there was a commercial keda..
one of those realy dramatic ones, where voices fly in statemetns keda..
washing in and over you and going back into the radio..
creep out once again to tickle ur conscience and subconscience and make you want to cry or get up and take action, or turn the channel before you puke, or ram into the car infront of you to let out some steam..
waht i could catch of it, (they tickled my conscience so strongly it was giggling or sobbing (couldn't realy tell) too loudly for em to catch on)

"did you know.... taht 11% of the egyptian economy came from tourism..."
"did you know... taht 25% o(of the 11% ya3ni, ah edrab .25 fe .11 fe el raqam el huwa mo3adal el dakhl we keda) of that number comes from sharm el sheikh.."
Sound of gust of wind, going in and out...

so neways, the 2e3lan ends sparking the responsibility of kol mowaten masry watany monatmy le baladoh wey hemmu rafrafet 3alamoh, yelbess his best shorts and head to sharm el sheikh to boost it's economy..
there are realy good offers now, both for egyptians and foreigners..
so ya3ni, you don't need to be a mowaten only... la2, ya3ni e7na benra7ab beldoyuf el gayya masr, el beyt beyt-him, we law yetbara3u begneyh bardo yeb2a 7elw..

as for teh people that died there?
don't worrrryyyyyy... they cleaned the mess up by now.. you won't even know ti happened :)

i've been excessively sacrastic, and i hate it.
bas so much has been going on lately thats' realy truly furstrating..
and the issue that's killing me abotu teh sharm incident is not only teh fact that lives were lost, LITERALLY LOST, as they're barely even being acknowledged.. adn nto the fact that as the survivors of an "it could've been me" incident we ahve a responsibility to find out WHO did it , adn how it happened, bas also make sure it doesn't happen again..
because those people that died...

They must have had mintues before their death when they were terrified because they DIDN'T want to die.. because htey had SO Much to live for.. so much they watned to do..

and they may have been on their way some where, or on their way back..
on the phone with someon they loved, rushing back to prepare something for someoen they loved, going home to sleep ebcuase they coudln't wait for tommorrow to come through, or going homt to sleep after a realy long day, rushing down teh stairs to get somehwere with a joke or story at the tip of their tongues and rushing to get to teh people they were about to tell it too..
or sitting ,or standing together in a small group laughing liek they\'ve never alughed before...

If death never scared them, then they migt have had a millio and one different scenarios for how they mgiht have died..
in aciton maybe..
taking care of someone they cared about...
risking their lives for someone...
old and grey after a long well lived life, or at home, in someone's arms..
maybe they had something to tell soemone that was never told..

worst than that , there are teh people that survived them. that are now 'less'.
without them.
nor the people who's dreams were crushed by their being crippled or blinded or wounded horribly.

it's not all that that's killing me, although all these thoughts come in suffocating whiffs, bas aktar the fact that i so easily foret about it..
sometimes i remember at night and pound my pillow and force myself to think about it..

becuase it's NOT fair...
and becuase if only ONE of those people were someone i knew, it cuold have been teh end of my world..
and the fact that the world lived on and did nothing about it, would've consumed me in bitterness...
Maybe alot IS being doen that i don't know about..

maybe people are on the search adn maybe people are gonna get caught and maybe there's a big deal happening somewhere, and all i ever do is catch a bit of radio in the mornign and some programs at night..

maybe it's me.
and maybe it's not.

i don't want to end this email on a low note, particularly seeing that it's probably morning when and if someone reads this...bas...well...

maybe it's important we start perking up our ears adn keep our eyes wide open, adn see all that is devestating for what it is.. and stand up for the fact taht it's NOT right that it happens, and that there SHOULD be ebtter..
adn taht things CAN be better , teh way we see it in our heads..
bas what's in our heads, oru ideas, our ideals and our values will probably never come through unless we bring them through...
so if we don't have time, or if we're wrapped up in building our own lives (which is ok, becuase i'm sure our own lives will somehow make thigns better), then we should at least make sure that through the process of our own lives, we do all we can, adn use all teh tools and means we are granted, including the fact taht we were lucky enough to survive a few incidents, to focus on eventually making sure....

eventually eyh ba2a... :)
making sure eyh...

it all depends on what's in ur head.. and what's up to you to bring out, to make it better.
the way you imagine it should be, and the way you , and no one else can make sure it is.
because if it's in there; then it's ur responsibility..

and a very good (possibly quite hot though well in the 30's) morro to you :)

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Pink Elephants - On being a kid

"It WILL work..
it HAS to work.."

Hissed the Ant General as he slammed his fist into his open
palms repeatedly..

The other Ants surrounded him, eyes wide with determination,
fear, anxiety, anticipation, all meddled into one comprehensive, wild look.
The way one looks just before a gasp, a shout, or a scream.

They had finally devised the ultimate plan!

After months of having their houses down-trodden, their
winter supplies of food and artillery crushed and
scattered, their friends and family squashed asunder, they
would take it no more.

The terror would have to end.
The Elephant was going to die.

Having set the plan and divided their tasks amongst
Armed with heavy artillery, and the powerful will to fight,
to survive, they climbed into their positions, waiting for
their enemy to show..

Finally, though a little later than they expected, the
elephant comes strolling into the clearing..

MASSive TREMENdously MAGNANAMOUS in size, it's every step a
clap of thunder, it's every breath a whirling hurricane,
raising dust and destruction in it's every move..
Then suddenly, when the time was JUST right..

Bellowed the Ant general with ALL his might, with ALL the
breath, ALL the energy he had to claim as his own..
And all the other ants, suddenly climbing out from hide
outs, jumping from tree branches, hopping off leaves,
crawling out of acorn shells and under blades of glass, came
storming out!!!

Screaming and roaring with all their might as they did!! As
if blending into one huge noisy storm, blocking out any
thoughts, or fears or ideas of possible consequences..
it didn't matter now. They were there to resist, they were
finally going to stop it.
To their deaths they leaped.

Once all broke out, the elephant twitched it's ears
slightly, eyes rolling upwards to the right, trunk frozen in
All the charging and screaming and running of the hundreds
and HUNDREDS of ants, a mere zanna to him.. a sound he
wasn't even sure he heard..

Sure enough though, he could feel trickles of tickle running
down his spine, up his leg, around his trunk..
tickly indeed at first.. Maybe a little dust? perhaps a few
drops of sweat trickling down his body?
In minutes however he realized it was more than that..
suddenly itchy.. suddenly little bursts of tiny pain all
the slight tail lash no longer effective.. he starts to
wiggle his ears, shake his feet a little rub his trunk in
the dust..
what WAS this?! an allergy?? was it something he ate??!

The ants on the other hand were SWAAAAAAARMING all over him!
Why, you would start climbing, hiking, running on
EEEEEEEEENDLESS scaly grey.. they couldn't see beyond it..
The very top was an unachievable summit to those that
started at the bottom.. so they just gnawed on as far as
they got..
The bottom completely unreachable to those that landed on
his back.. unless they thought to jump to their doom..
The smallest flicks resulted in the smallest and biggest
ants falling over the place.. being scattered this way and
that; some falling to their deaths, some landing elsewhere and
gnawing again..
But all gnawed, all bit, all chewed relentlessly..
they were GOING to get him..
The WHOLE world of him.. All they could see, and all they
couldn't see.. if each ant could just gnaw, could just BITE
with ALL it's might! They were going to get him..

Finally realizing, it wasn't an allergy, and with the little
itchy burning tiny little bursts of pain growing closer and
closer to together, and lapsing in shorter and shorter
periods of time, the elephant started to realize he was
getting numb all over..

So taking a deep breath, raising his trunk into the air in
all it's magnificence...
(causing the ants to stop momentarily.. For one can barely
overlook such a phenomena.. even with as much gnawing and
survival crave as they were engaged in..)

And then suddenly.. the big bang.
The elephant closed his eyes, turned his head to one side..
Trunk frozen in the air.
Feet planted firmly on the ground.
And gave his body, one STRONG , FIRM shake.
Head and body all at one.. tail and ears flapping in unison..

With that, all the ants.. all of them, were thrown into the
abyss.. All flew into the air surrounding the elephant, some
not aware of what had hit them, others anticipating the
possible shake had held on to dear life.. hands, legs and
teeth included, only to be torn away from the elephant with
just as much ease as the others, by an unseen, undetected
for it was not the repetitive shake that tore them away, it
the initiation of it.. the first flick..
this is one situation where you could really say
"Before you knew it.."
indeed no one had known.. For they had imagined.. possibly
expected, anticipated....even feared. But none was to know..

Then having fallen.. most of the ants had survived the
fall.. (Ants, like cats, have many many lives.. as long as
you don't ruthlessly squash them between your fingers, and
squeeze all 9 out of them, you never really bother to find out what happens to an ant after you flick it away..)

So anyways, having fallen, one by one , then haphazardly,
they started to rise from the ground, pushing themselves off
the ground, pulling themselves off each other, lifting their
helmets off their heads, their weapons from over their

They looked up at the elephant. Still there.. true,
suddenly pink and purple all over.. but still there in it's
magnanimous glory..

Silence prevailed. No one spoke.
And then suddenly...

a gasp.

Someone saw him.... more ants saw him..


There, dangling from the elephants neck, was one..
lone.. yet resisting ant!!

He dangled by his arm, his legs swinging as he struggled for
a tighter grip..

The ants all watched in silence, eyes wide, in definate
terror this time.. but some.. with a glimmer of hope..
Then suddenly, a single, yet strong FULL voice, echoed
through the crowd..


And all the ants rooooooared in unison!
YES! YES!! Ekhno2oo Ekhno2o!!

Stop here.

Now. Being as old as we are now, or maybe a few years back
kaman, this last part would be quite funny!
Really, now, some of you might know the's short,
and it's ridiculous, and yet something about it is just
ticklingly hillarious. At least to me.
Imaging a tiny sticky little ant, dangling by an elephant's

If you told it to a kid on the other hand, and just stopped
at the 'ekhno2o' part, then they would probably sit there,
same perplexed look of concentration on their face, waiting
for what was to come next..

"Tsk.." they would say in exasperation..
after all, the ant could have a venomous bite, and kill the
elephant by biting at the neck.. it might strangle the
elephant from where it is, pinch a jugular vein, poke a hole
in one, jump into the elephants mouth and poison it, swim to
it's heart and stop it, or quite simply, encourage all the
other ants to get back on..
the elephant was pink and raw by now, it would only take a few more bites to kill it, or at least teach it a lesson..

Isn't it ironic, that the older you get, the more you know,
the narrower the world becomes?
i mean all the possibilities lessen because you realize
you "can't really do this.." "this isn't possible"..
Shake your head with a knowing smile "it just doesn't work
that way..i know. it just doesn't!"

So you read , and you watch, you listen, and your 'taught',
and u 'broaden ur horizons' , and sometimes, that results in
teh world growing smaller and smaller.. until you trap
yourself in it..

Just wanted to share the thought. I honestly don't know
where the story came from.

Now take a deep breath in.. (DEEP DEEP LUNG EXPANDING DEEP
Now enjoy the possibilities.. :)

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Car Crash

so there i was, driving along my very merry way down batal
ahmed abdel aziz street..
the pavement was onmy left, and there was another car
speeding along side me (on my right)..
well anyways, this guy was abotu to cross the street
(obviously he never sawe the sesame street episode that
preaches; looking left and right, then left again. obviously
he hadn't seen any episodes regarding anything, as he hadn't
even looked to the right)
Anyways so suddenly, he's infront of the other car (and ana
i'm actually looking infront o fme for a change) so he looks
at the car, and gets a realy wild terrified looks on his face
keda, and stops then frantically turns to walk back to the
sidewalk apparently..
mafeesh. he barely makes a sixty degree turn, he's facing hte
car now when it
fly fly into the air, old, thin short man.. fly fly fly.
so he flies, twirls gracefully as he does, and not so
lands on to my dashboard, bounces of the side of my not so
slow vehicle (although i HAD breaked furiously) and
dissappears men 2odamy.
i stop.
the M(&*(#*&(#*&)@(*&)#(*)(*#@@ just runs..
ya3ni it's BEYOND ME, HOW..... el mohem
i stop the car. swallow. hten get out. tab3an ommet la ilaha
ella Alla gathers around us..
i start to mkae my way around the car and keda ther'es alot
of action going around me, everyone's yelling out something
and people are just hoarding ekda out of nowhere.. bas it's
all sort of muted... i make a step. then stop.
tab what are you gonna do if he's dead..
i shake my head, and take afew other steps.. tab what if he's
under my car.. waht if one of the wheels are still untop of
shake that though. another step. i see his legs.. he's curled
on one side..
one mroe step and i'll see his whole body.
what if there's a pool of blood under his head.
i take oen huge step. in time to glimpes a body curled on one
side.. all in one peice.. no blood.. no joints at teh wrong
angles.. one peice.. curled on his left.. his head also on
it's left and his left arm outstretched under it..
then befor ei know it, they pick him up.. and are screaming
at me, to open the car door..
i try to think. what am i suppoesd to do now..what ma i
supposed to do..
'Efta7ey el bab! yalla yalla 3alashan nel7a2 nes3effo!!"
ofcourse!! a hosptial.. i open the door.. he's inside.. they
lay him in hte back and two other people get in the car.. a
car stops infront of me, pakced iwth men, all offering to
lead me to the nearest hosptial.. wher'es the nearest
hosptial, should i call anyone, why are you in my car, wait
wait wait..
'look at her, she can't drive, someone drive the car for her!"
tab3an fel KOL DAH, all i heard was
'she can't drive'
my head snaps int eh direction of the voice that dared..
'ya3ni eyh mesh 7a3raf asoo2!!' i snap..
can't realy remember the rest bas i attacked him and anyone
else in the vicinty , until all stood back wide eyed, and
slightly scared..
oh-oh.. their eyes read.. 'pshychoo woman..'
i get in the car, jam key into the ignition..
fen el mostashfa..
we're to follow the car infront of me..
is there anything i should or shouldn't do i ask myself
what could possibly happen ya3ni. my bag's on my lap, so no
one could steal anything.. htey can't kidnap me, one i'm
driving, two after the little fiasco i pulled off, after
someone made for my key, i think they're sorta scared of me..
the guy starts to stir.. the guys int eh car start to tell
him.. el anessa fa3elet kheyr.. la2teak etkhabat we samememet
tewadeek el mostashfa..'
what hte hell.. they dind't even ask him if he's ok.. i give
the guy a look.. and i start asking the man what his name
is.. he's confused.. keeps murmurming inaudbily, then a
minute later.. more focused keda, he starts trying to get up
shouting defensively... 'why do you want to know?!?! who are
uppa uppa..
the guys in the care keep repeating the same 'fa3elet kehry
sentence.. and everytime they do i go ,
'LA2! someone ran you over and you LANDED On MY car, i wasn't
JUST THERE.. i bumped you too!..'
then the guy next to me, slowly at first, then after sometime
while loosing his temper..
"momken bas ya anessa tarekezzy 3al tareeq we tesebeeny ana
akalel el ragel?!?!!!"
he was trying to be nice about it, then a few times later he
was going to latashly..
i was still not conentrating awey, fa i didn't realizze he
was trying to save my bum..he was just lying.. that's all i
could think. stupid liar.
neways, so i keep loosing the car infront of me, and when i
do i just drive aimlessly untill i find them..
begad katar kheyrhom. half an hour of i dunno where hte hell
we're going later, the car infront of me stops in the MIDDLE
Of the street.. the MIDDLE of a busy street. they get out of
the car, and they tlel me to get the guy out he seems ok,
they say, let's just check.. fa htey get him out.. he walks
around shwaya , says he's ok and he just wants to go home..
fa htey go khalas just let him go..
he looks wobbly to me, and i don't want hemorraging brain
cells on my conscience, so we stand there and argue in teh
middle of a very busy, veyr angry street and i insist i'm
taking him to a dr..
your on ur own, retorts the driver of teh other car, and they
take off..
then the guy that was with me gets back in teh car, bas the
guys in the back get out adn anotherguy gets in with our run-
over-ee. i don't know wehre hte other guy came from bas he
was up to date with teh a7dath, fa i guess he might have been
from the othe rcar.
at this point i call haythem.. my trusted medical consultant,
(figuring the other two would be in lala slumber land) who
claims that if the man had fainted for more than a second, he
could have a concussion..
so the guy keeps insisting he wants to go home, the guy next
to me keeps telling him i'm fa3elet kheyr, i'm on teh phoen
with haythem, and the guy in the back realy wants to know if
i can take him home too..
i stop the car, to eliminate some of the chaos.. when a
mekharraf bum, sticks his head in teh car and starts
conversign with us and luaghing hysterically..
can you see the picture..
me withthe phone, car parked awkwardly in the street.. the
victime moaning about wanting to get out, the guy necxt to me
going on about how i'm fa3elet kheyr and teh guy in the back
asking if i can please drop him off.. please can you drop me
off, hwy arne't you answering me, will you drop me off..
and a scraggy mena3kesh head inside the car, laughing
hysterically and drooling all over teh place..
i shut the phone GAS the pedal and scream "WE'RE GOING TO THE
HOSPITAL, WEL MESH 3AGBO )(*&)(#*)(*)#{"
the guy next to me stares at me in fear shwaya (i stare him
down, trying to avoid the scar that makes it's marry way from
one corner of his chin across the other side of face, across
his cheek and to his ear)
the guy in the back staring equally hard holding up his
wrenchin defence.. or something else..
"wala yehemek.. 2e3meley El ENTY 3ayzah.. basnazeleena henna
law sama7ty..'
they explain to me, i really don't need to takteh guy to the
hospital..yo've done all you need to do..
the guy in the back goes 'yalla ya 3am e7na malna.. ye setti
e3meley el te3meley.. bas nazeleena henna'
so i let them off, the run-over-ee.. (AKA GALAL) tries to
scurry out after them, i grab for him and explain he's not
going anywhere.. after wracking my brain shwaya, i remember
borg el ateba2, in mohandiseen, the only hospital i know..
i drive over there.
i park in the middle of the street. galal refuses to get out.
he wants to go home.
i look aroundthe street, and find a guy in agallabeya holding
an afas of cherries on his head, trying to sell them to
passers by under themidday sun..
i call him, take the cherries, and ask him to drag my victim
out of the car.. him and afew others come to assist me pull
him out.
he can't stand up. i walk into the hospital get a wheel chair
and some assistance, wheel him to the hotpial..
arms outstretched, he refuses to go through teh door..refuses
refuses refuses.
hosptial attendants keep taking me 3ala gamb explaining that
if he says he's ok.. just LET HIM GO..
NO i scream!! tab3an i'm thinking they don't want to let him
in , becuase he looks scraggy...
LA LEL TABAQEYYAA!! we're a coming in!!
anyways, a while later, i call my bro, asking him to get
money and come..maybe he could help.. i make him swear not
tell anyone.
seconds later my brother, my mother, my father,and our lawyer
arrive at the hosptial threshold.
to find a alia sorrounded by hosptial attendants pulling at
her gently as she sticks her pointy finger at feeble figure
in a wheel chair
" Ya Galal ana bafham fel teb.. esma3 kalamey bas we KHOSH
i tried everything.
then teh lawyer takes me 3ala gamb and explains if i take him
in, and i say it was a car accident i would have to be held
until they found out who hit him.. being detained could also
meanbeing detained in prison..
all hopsital attendants nodd in unison, agreeing..
they ask galal what happened...
can you guess what he said?
"wala 7aga... 3arabeya khabatetney...ra7et el anessa...
fa3elet kheyr gat we akhadetney el mostashfa.. bas ana 3ayez
arawa7!! er7amooney we khalooney arawa7!!"
el mohem, we get a dr.. the dr gives him his number, incase
anything happens, and the attendants were nice enough to give
him their names incase he had any problems and my dad took
him home.
and i made my veyr merry way to work.
(oh, and guess where he lives? el moqattam.. maskaen el
zelzal.. that's where i work with FK ..hehe. talk about small
world. bas they (including him) wouldn't let me take him home)

Friday, June 04, 2004

El Watan Ghaley ya Welad

I went camping this last weekend, to a few desert spots (
that are amaaaaaazing might I add). And I was immediately
reminded of ECLA (an experience in a German University), as the way the bedouins live, are the exact stereo type some people had of how we lived. Except for the for the fact that they mostly drive wranglers... and NOT camels. :)

A very old ‘Falah’ (peasant) approached my cousin and I. We were on a
bus with the locals (by peasants I mean farmers, and
Bedouins) heading from the oasis back to Cairo.
So with our Jansport backpacks, sleeping bags, and layers and
layers of clothing, we looked, to them like 'khawagas'.Foreigeners.

So they'd crack a few jokes about us, and we'd blurt
something in Arabic, and all would go quiet.

This really old man walks up to us. Typical Egyptian, 'falah'
farmer or peasant, with you know the sort of permanent deep
tan that's pinkish brown. VERY sunny. Round small face,
wearing a 'emma' or turban around his head, the off-white in
contrast with the brown cap it's secured with. And a few
strands of short white hair, peep out of the emma, snow white
hair in strong contrast with the color of his face.
He has wrinkles, lines at the corners of his mouth and the
corners of his eyes. And is wearing a VERY white scarf in
very strong contrast with the dark grey of his 'galabiya' or
gown like attire they wear flaring at the wrists and on the
way down.
His hands are clean , his palms are very white, but have the
shape and etches of someone that's worked with his hands
alot , and probably with alot of soil and water.
He generally looks very clean, impressively so, but there's a
little soil under his hands, indicating, he probably still
lives on agricultural land.
He might be missing a few teeth as his lip has a slight
wrinkle to it. LIke there isn't enough support to keep it
stretched to it's proper size.

Poor man. But clean. Hardworking. And very very proud. As is
the nature of most 'falaheen'. Obviously also, pretty old.
His face isn't that wrinkly, but based on the conversation,
I'd give him a little over 6 decades. But bearing it well.
Good health Good shape.

He walks up to us.. shakes his head ( In disgust or
disapproval) at the conductor, who just asked us to pay a
foreigner's ticket.

"Think your foreigners.." he says throwing his chin at him.
" Just because u look clean.." he says looking at us.
By clean , he means well dressed, or decent. something like
"aaaaahhh yes.." very deep sigh.
"this is what we've amounted to in the end" looking into the
" and do you know why " he asks waving his pointy finger at
us (dangerously close.. we're sitting down , and he's
standing up in a very crowded isle)

And so he started.
he started about how our values stemmed from our religion,
and now that the values were deteriorating, which could be
amendable, the religion was being corrupted and sculpted as
well. which should be unacceptable.

And thus with a long list of examples...We were losing it. We
were losing, pride, value, and identity. We were losing
culture, and we were losing religion. the one thing that was
strongly, divinely unchangeably ours. We were a people
falling apart.

"they complained when we were colonized" he said.
"But the British were a good folk... There were the nasty
ones.. but we have worst examples of the powerful exploiting
the week even now. At least then we could say we were
colonized... Now they take the bad examples the British
showed us, and hang a huge sign untop of them
spelling "democracy".
It ISN'T EVEN AN ARABIC WORD! ITS English.. and of course, you
could translate it in French.. but it has no roots in Arabic"
Now he went into what sort of society we should have been..
socialist something, but he was completely against claiming
to be democratic. Because it was a system that a group of
people came up with as the best way to govern themselves. we
are not that group of people. The system DOES not apply to
us. Instead we claim it, making it look like we are not
capable of it, when we're really NOT trying to achieve it, and
give other people the opportunity to come in and tell us how
to do it right. Giving them the reigns, quite too often.

By now he was getting quite worked up.

" At least then there were colonizers...Now we can't see them
anymore, but they ARE there. and stronger than ever. And as
for us. WE are our worst enemy."

The frequency at which his finger was wagging was getting
faster and faster and the peaks and troughs actually smaller.
Occasionally he would even get on his tip toes to stress a point.

Then he quickly changed the subject..

" The British are a good folk. It's Tony Blair I can't stand"
At this point me and cousin had to giggle.. how'd u know
about Tony Blair old man. and with very little IF ANY
English, how can u pronounce his name so well.
he misinterpreted our giggles

" ELLA!!" (But ofcousre)

"but it were up to me... if they take me to him... I’d tear
him to peaces!" Slashing his pointy finger in the air in a
diagonal movement arm stretched out then carried in till it
hit his chest.
Then he went into how Britian had become America’s Tail. So
that even our enemies, or ... our 'threats' ( but not exactly
our colonizers) had become pathetic. even they couldn't do it
right. Making us even weaker, to see England, or the states
at that point a power at all. Even an idiot would see the
flaws when listening to them speak.
" the systems applied are all wrong to begin with! These
people have to stop. Have to think about their origin, about
how they should live, and how they ought to and what sort of
system best works for them.. for what goals.. and apply them.
no more borrowed systems'.

Silence. a far away look into the abyss...( u can add
whatever music u deems suitable)

Then he turns around and says "El watan da ghaly ya welad"

"EL WAtan" literally would mean nation. But in Arabic it also
means country. Now country is not just ' a country' but the
word has so many deeper meanings in Arabic.
When u say watan, it's such a BIG word. it means, nation and country, and belonging, and who I am, and something to fight for, and
something to die for, and something to build. It's a realy
powerful world, very political and very emotional. And it's
not synonym or alternative for any other word, it is a
concept, and not just a term.
'da' is like 'is' or 'this one is'. 'Ghaly' means, literaly
speaking, expensive. But also precious and very valuable. "
ya welad" is 'oh children'.
so it was something like "one's nation is very precious

He said it once, very strongly. then, and without taking a
breath he said it again, stressing on 'ghaly' so it was 'el
watan ghaaaaaaaaaalyy', then again, but quietly and more
sadly 'el watan gha-ly' the hyphen is where his voice broke.
So then this very little, very opinionated, very proud, hard
working man, started crying. His eyes welled up with tears,
and he looked away until he was done with him.
" I'm not blaming el 'rayess'" (which indicating president,
but literally means, captain or leader) " God knows the man
has enough on his mind.. and the welfare of a country is no
easy task... but should he just stop and think about what's
really missing.. should all his advisors and ministers think
of what these people need to be worth something again.. to
live up to the value of their religion, and to their value of
their country, so rich in culture in heritage, in land, in
minerals, in people, in kindness.. if only he could realy see
what's really falling apart"
he sniffed. and the bus stopped suddenly.
His whole face, and not just his mouth, broke into a very
sudden, very sunny smile.
"Hope I didn't 'edwesh' (to create noise in) your minds or
We shook our heads 'no' very quickly. still wide eyed, awe
stricken, dumfounded and very touched.

“Khodo Balko men nafsuku..” ("take care")
and with that he got off the bus, and didn't even
wave to us as we pulled away.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004


My life.

My life is not sad; but i find that i am.
I have failed to catch up or prove that I can,
It just seems to drag on, to pull, its own strings,
Where mine are de-strung, detached, so I sling.
My chin will not lift, my eyes will not open,
As if something inside me lies empty and broken.
No light will here shine, no fresh wind blow through,
As I sit and i lie, wading in hopes, scattered ‘skew.
Not that I don’t try, and not that I succumb,
Quite simply not able, sans energy, fully numb.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

The 'Naksha' Effect

Well, there we were in the elevator making our very merry
ways to our respective office floors;
Sherine and Dalia (two colleagues of mine, sherine newly
married and quite 'settled' and dalia around 25 and with a
lifestyle very much like ours) and another woman, maybe early
30's probably single, pretty tall, with a broad build shwaya.

So we stand.. then sherine looks at me, rolls her eyes at the
woman then back at me and nodds slowly. (as if to say, 'make
note, i'll tell you later')
Once the woman steps out, she tells us how the woman had a
car accident with her husband the other day, and how she
generally dissapproves of her stance in an argument that
ensued the accident.
Dalia interrupts going,
"that woman? ma she looks crazy man!"
Sherine is quick to nod in sudden wide-eyed realization..
It's a possibility!

i shake my head, "crazy... why crazy?!"
Dalia shrugs.." I dunno.. there is a certain air of bahdalla
about her keda.. mesh 3arfa.. she's not mazboota keda,
something's wrong.."

Suddenly i worry.. I can't say i DISagree with dalia
completely, there WAS a 'not very comfortable' air about her,
bas how could we be so quick to judge!
"Dalia, i'm quite often mebahdella myself... do you think
people assume i'm crazy as i unsuspectingly step out of

"ALIA..." She starts, looking straight at me, eyes
wide "There was a S T A I N on her L A P E L" She says
tugging at her own lapel emphatically.
I stand back shwaya looking at both her and sherine. SUCH
And though, mabda2eyan i was going to argue how maybe she
wasn't so big on hygeine, or maybe she missed it, or maybe
her mohter didn't see her leave the house or....
bas there is SOMETIMES.. something about the naksha, the
wrinkled clothes, and particulalry the stain, that brings
about, not disdain... bas..a sort of weariness keda..

And by the time we made it to the 7th floor, (the lady
stopped at the second) it was decreed, that she WAS in
fact 'mesh mazboota..'
And it's not a weird occourance, and Sherine and Dalia aren't
particulalry finicky people, or huge on gossip, obsessively
hugeinic, or fadyeen, or anything that could justify it..
Bas it reminded me of the feminists that come on tv, or
Naguib sorour or anyone else who's decided to LET the world
think they've lost it..
and just walk around mankosheen, with wrinkled clothes and
stained lapels..
and people sit back and watch them, and shake their heads tsk
tsk as they do..

We have such STRICT guidelines keda..
"Kol el ye3gebak we 2elbes el ye3geb el nas.."
"When in Rome..."
I watched a movie yesterday where someone kept saying
"You ARE what you are perceived to be.."

What, you think wearily , is she trying getting at now? hehe
I dunno.

Maybe i'm ranting about "convention" and " the Socially
acceptable" again (and again), maybe i'm warning you to
check ur lapels and glare at ur elevator compadre's, or maybe
i'm just glad i don't have to worry about the naksha anymore..