Bar Bahar/ In Between – a film by Maysaloun Hamoud

I haven’t seen this film yet, though I’ve heard it received good reviews, and for once the Arabic woman stereotype is broken. For god’s sake, people around the world think that Arab women are supposed to be of one kind, but in this film, as it appears in the trailer, Arab women can live on their own, party, be successful, and still be women, just like any other woman in the whole world.

I can’t wait to watch this movie. It sounds great, maybe you should also watch it. Plus, my good friend Shaden is in it.

In a nutshell

Jews and Arabs must admit that they’re enemies, and must find a way to live with that.

Live with the fact that they’re enemies, and then later, if that works, they can start finding a way to live with each other.

 

The same applies to anything.

Christians and Muslims must admit that they’re racists (I’m basically referring to Christians and Muslims in my society), and cannot entirely tolerate one another, and must also find a way to live with that.

 

Surely you can agree or disagree.

I won’t wish you a Ramadan Karim

A post from last year.
Ramadan Karim

Arwa

Every year I decide to write a post about Ramadan: either to wish my friends a Ramadan Karim, or just to criticize Ramadan. But each year I find no words to justify my thoughts and I keep postponing the task. It’s the middle of Ramadan now and here is what I have to say:

There are few things you should know about me. One, I’m not a racist (Or as I like to believe I am not). Two, I hate religions. Three, I hate the religion of Islam in particular. And four, I always try to justify my opinion. And I mostly know that I might lose a lot of followers after posting this.

When it comes to religions, I need to say that growing up in the Middle East in a Jewish country, among a majority of Muslims people who keep more traditions as time passes by, all that made…

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Their Independence is our Nakba

Nakba = Catastrophe in Arabic (or as I refer to it: the Palestinian Holocaust).

I don’t know how anyone would think it’s fair that we, the Palestinians living in Israel, have to acknowledge the Israeli day of Independence.

What should I feel when I see the Israeli flags hanging in every corner?

Why can’t we remember and mourn the Nakbah Day while we have to stand in the minute of silence for the Holocaust victims and their soldiers?

Why do I have to hide my distress with the state at work?

Why do I have to hide my true identity when I walk down the street?

And then I have to commemorate and mourn in silence on the Nakbah day or the Land Day.

How can all that be fair?

nakba_day_by_graphic_resistance-d3ga83r

 

قصة حيفا ترويها شواهدها

شعر كتبه صديقي العزيز الشّاعر والكاتب والصّحفي شاهين نصّار
شعر عن مدينة حيفا، لمن عرفها وسكن بها، عرف قيمتها
a poem written by m y dear friend, the poet, writer and journalist Shahin Nassar. A poem about Haifa, the city that only those who know it(her) and lived in it (her) knows how much it is worth.

مش عادي

في حيفا قصص كثيرة يحاكيها الزمان 

وروايات أخرى مخفية عن الأعيان

هناك حكايا مخبأة بين الأزقة والجدران

إنها لمدينة يعجب لها القادم من أي مكان

في حيفا، حدائق معلقة أنماها إنسان

جنة على الأرض ملأها الحنان

ويقين أنها كونية في كل زمان

لكن في مقابرها تخفي شجن

على ماضٍ كان لها مرصوص البنيان

ومجد تليدٍ يولد من قلب الدمار

  • * * * * *

شواهد حيفا تحكي أحداثا لا تعرف البدء

والنكبة لم تضع لها حدا ولا إنتهاء

تقصّ على مرآى العابرين منها افتراء

النظام السياسي الجديد الذي حطّ وسط الصحراء

بمعايير عصرنا شواهد قلّة قبل الاجتراء

ورغم شحّتهم، يزهو فيها الأبطال الشهداء

وعميدهم القسّام في بلد الشيخ يأبى الدمار

  • * * * * *

هناك لن يبكي الطفل على جد الجدِّ

ولن يعثر الباحث عن أسلافه بجدِّ

على إجابة عمّا حلّ بمصير الأعيادِ

ومع ذلك، قد يجد هناك من يشهدِ

على ازدهارٍ نما من قلب الدمار

  • * * *…

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A Toast!

On Tinder, across the boards, in the middle East, in the middle of war, two foreigners, fall in love on a dating website and manage to get married.
Amazing.

My friend, the groom, deserves the best of happiness, and I’m glad he found his other half in the most unexpected place on the planet.

Read the post I reblogged.

The Singing Martingale

I saw the other day that some (well, exactly two) friends of mine in Haifa just got married (to each other). Since I didn’t get a chance to be at their wedding, here’s my uninvited toast (the groom’s side):

One of many people’s objections to internet dating – including my own – is that it feels too contrived, that the element of fate is taken away by a machine, and so, among other things, it makes for really trite, awkward ‘how we met’ stories. Theirs, however, is an exception. He was a German living in Haifa, and she was an American living in Beirut, and they met not because internet dating works, but because it doesn’t. They met, in other words, because Tinder has a bug: it doesn’t notice international boundaries, even when they’re impenetrable. So, despite my friends’ geographic incompatibility, their images were presented to each other by the…

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I won’t wish you a Ramadan Karim

Every year I decide to write a post about Ramadan: either to wish my friends a Ramadan Karim, or just to criticize Ramadan. But each year I find no words to justify my thoughts and I keep postponing the task. It’s the middle of Ramadan now and here is what I have to say:

There are few things you should know about me. One, I’m not a racist (Or as I like to believe I am not). Two, I hate religions. Three, I hate the religion of Islam in particular. And four, I always try to justify my opinion. And I mostly know that I might lose a lot of followers after posting this.

When it comes to religions, I need to say that growing up in the Middle East in a Jewish country, among a majority of Muslims people who keep more traditions as time passes by, all that made me believe that religious traditions should be avoided, for one main reason: they make our lives a living hell.

I grew up as a Christian,  but I always wanted to learn and know about other religions. I grew up tolerant and understanding. Hell, I even used to try to fast during Ramadan. Sometimes, among everyone around  me, I used to feel Christian and Muslim at the same time. But after the age of 18, after reading too much, learning more about the real reality, the one that is not banned, the one that is meant to be visible for the eyes of the adults, I knew that I cannot live a fake life, and be ridiculous.

Like myself, I think every atheist started questioning the existence of God or the supreme being from an early age. I have to confess, while learning that there’s such a thing as atheism, I started realizing that I can no longer believe. I cannot force myself to believe in entities and matters that do no exist to me. I decided to be an Atheist, because I can’t tolerate any more bullshit, and I can’t see the word from a religious perspective.

I will dedicate another post about Atheism, now I’d like to focus on why I don’t think Ramadan is a good idea. During Ramadan, Muslims have (and must, with no excuses) fast from dawn till sunset. And now during the summer it makes it about 15 hours a day. 15 hours without water, without any kind of food. Without food that can be okay, the human body can fast for more than that, but 15 hours without water? isn’t it too much? And it’s an obligation for everyone to fast. For everyone. Unless you’re sick, travelling, pregnant or on your period. But still, it’s summer time, and it’s obligatory to drink water all the time, 5 glasses in the morning and keep drinking more than two liters during the entire day. Even when you’re not thirsty, you must drink lots of water. But no, during Ramadan, you’re not allowed to drink any drop of water until it’s time to eat.

from www.barenakedislam.com
photo from http://www.barenakedislam.com

So, okay, it’s a tradition, and Muslims are all happy during this month, they get to fast, they get used to it after two days, and then the “Ftour” – breakfast (that’s from where the word break fast came from) time comes up at 8 and they all gather around one table and have a glorious amazing feast. Not even realizing that it’s bad for their health to eat too much at once after 15 hours of an empty stomach. I think that’s insane, it loses the whole meaning of fasting. Wasn’t Ramadan an occasion to feel  solidarity with the poor, hence the fasting? But no, on Ramadan people are obliged to give charity, not because they want to, but because if they do they will go to heaven. And from all my understanding of Islam: they’re only mission is to go to heaven. And it’s all done by fasting, giving charity, praying, wearing the Hijab, avoiding any drinks and entertainment, and even killing others for that. Killing others doesn’t only refer to what ISIS are doing, but also for what other Islamic countries are doing: execution for adultery, fornication, prostitution, robbery, being homosexual, etc. And that’s all because punishing the sinner on earth while he or she is still alive will ease God’s punishment when they die. I’m sorry, but I must say that’s a complete horseshit.

Anyway, back to Ramadan. During this month in Islamic or just Muslim cities or countries it’s illegal to eat in public. The penalty differentiate from one place to another: in some places you only get to pay a fine, in other places you get God-knows how many lashes and spending time in prison. Is that fucking fair?

Now lots of Muslims will be offended by my post, they will call me ignorant for giving small and little facts about what’s going on in the world of extreme Islam. But paying a fine for eating in public during Ramadan is in almost every Muslim town. People have to admit that the Islamic religion is not a moderate religion, the rules are strict and most of the time they don’t make any sense. I know lots of secular Muslims, but by a lot I mean just a few, and maybe some of them grew up in secular families, others had to suffer a lot to become secular. And it mostly depends on the place. Maybe in places like Haifa, Yafa, Acre and some other mixed cities people can easily be secular, but in most Muslim towns and villages the notion of being secular does not exist. That’s why young people who want to actually live move to much more convenient place.

I don’t know how that works in other Arab countries, but I know that’s how it goes for the Palestinian people, especially the ones living inside Israel.

To cut a long post short, you can call me racist, or ignorant, but that won’t change my view on religions, and especially the Islamic one, and I think that Ramadan is just a month to keep the ridiculous, difficult and pointless tradition alive. Ramadan is an example of why the Muslim world will keep going backwards. Because keeping traditions comes with a good price, and everyone is stubborn to keep all stupid traditions to prove their existence and persistence.

 

While this post is getting out of hand I want to add one last thing: I want a free Palestine, but not only the freedom from occupation, but also from its own people. If Palestine will be another copy of an Islamic country, then I want none of it. If the people of Palestine will keep their mind traditional just the way it is, then please keep dreaming about a fake freedom. Freedom only comes when your mind is free, and independent.

‪#‎Who_You_R‬

I would like to share a revolutionary song from Palestine. About sexism in our Arab society, and most other societies.

Nothing to add, just the video. Click on settings and CC for English subtitles.

Click on this link too for an article about single/ hit and the campaign #Who_You_R

67 years of what?

For them, it’s 67 years of glory. 67 years of existence. 67 years of belonging.

For us, it’s 67 years of remembrance. 67 years of pain. 67 years of lost identity.

But seriously, what is those 67 years represent? what’s the actual outcome? what actually happened during these years? or before these years? or even, after them?

Will the number just increase and become something to represent our past? our living? or ambition? what will this number do to us? What will we even do to this number? it will become a larger number and then it will be too big for us, and we won’t even think about it? or try to get involved in history?

This number gets larger and larger as time passes by. After all it’s just a number, and it’s just about years. It’s about decades, yet not centuries. Still it’s older than us, and we will get old, die and our memory will be gone. Will we leave something behind? something, or someone to remember us? to remember who we are? or to remember who they are?

Maybe this number, these years, are all in illusion. An illusion time has left for us to question our being, to question who we are, and most definitely to question our enemies. Or maybe, eventually, we became the enemies of ourselves, and them, the others became the innocent people fighting for their own existence. While we’re still defending our own resistance.

After 67 years, nothing makes sense anymore. Even history, or facts, or living. Should we give up? or keep fighting for something that is already lost?

After 67 years, should we just close our eyes and rest?

It still stands, so are we

Last Monday was the second day of Easter, and we have a nice tradition.

Every year, on the second day of Easter we hold an Easter ceremony in our demolished and displaced village of Ma’alul, Palestine. The village was depopulated and demolished in the 1948 by the Israeli Army and we, my family and the other displaced inhabitants of that village, had to flee to the nearby towns, near Nazareth. The only things that still stand in Maa’lul are: two churches and half a mosque. One of the two churches was my family’s church, a beautiful church that we the displaced people innovated and cleaned. And now surrounded by nature, the church is more beautiful than ever. And it gets more beautiful in time, when we, the third and the fourth generation, still pay it a visit.

Ma’alul is part of who we are, and knowing that it’s still there and here makes it still alive, and real. For us and for our grandparents that are still alive to feel the pain of that time. I don’t have the right to speak of their pain as I wasn’t born at that time, and I have no idea what they actually went through. They went through a lot and they still smile and hold that brave look in their eyes: a brave look that says “It’s not about hope, it’s about what the generation we raised believes in.”

And yes, we believe that the village is still part of who we are. And even though we go on living our lives the way we can, we still pay a good visit to our village.

As long as we still stand, the church will still be there and more alive than before. We, the people, make this village alive. It will remain beautiful as long as we remain close by.

And here are some photos I took of the event last week:

IMG_6215 IMG_6218 IMG_6226 IMG_6277 IMG_6279-001 IMG_6282 IMG_6295

Christmas Eve – in Gaza (pt.2)

You are all having the time of your lives. Christmas is all around you all. In your lovely countries. You’re all having a blast. Maybe now, you’re worried about the Christmas shopping and the gifts you have bought or going to receive.

Oh you Christians around the world, thinking this time is joyous and everyone is celebrating this holiday like they should.

And now I’m bringing a third-world kind of problem that as it appears has nothing to do with Christmas. But seriously, what about the Christians in Gaza? Do you remember Gaza? you know… it was all over the news last summer. Well, look it up.

Yes, what about the Christians in Gaza? I mean, we’re forgetting the Muslims there for a moment, because it’s Christmas and it has nothing to do with them, right? after all wishing a merry Christmas is only for the Christians. Right? So, seriously, what about the Christians in Gaza? They are Christians, like all of you, but they are Palestinians, they have no right to leave the strip and go to Bethlehem, even though it’s not that far away. And after the traumatic incidents of the summer, this winter is turning cold for them.

Here, watch this:

But you know, that’s not your problem. Enjoy your holiday and merry Christmas.

My grandmother, my homeland.

Few days ago my grandmother passed away. It wasn’t a shock for anyone in the family, for she had Alzheimer for more than 10 years and like many of her age, she had to say goodbye to the mortal world.

I don’t want to speak about spiritualism in this post. I reached a stage in my life where I have no clue what’s going on in this spiritual realm of life and death. I just know that there are facts that concern being among the living and being dead, which no one can really know what’s going on in there. You can write poetry about that, you can speculate for years, you can talk about it forever, but then the forever becomes the end and we all go without having an idea what’s actually happening.

This post is for talking about who was my grandmother before  Alzheimer deprived her from her true strength. In her youth, being the eldest daughter, she worked in the land and worked really hard. Every season, every harvest, she was there to work as hard as ever. Back then, around 70 years ago, everything was different: men owned and worked in the land, it was everything for them (and let us not forget the era before the Israeli occupation of Palestine). My grandmother, like all young ladies of her age were to be married off to someone. My grandmother worked hard in the land that her father refused to marry her off, until she was old enough and he had to yield. She was known for her beauty, and all the men of the village wanted to rake her as a wife. Only one man was lucky to marry her – my grandfather, who was also known for his hard work and also had a stable job.

Though illiterate, my grandmother was smart and had a very strong memory, she owned a grocery store after getting married and had children and could calculate without even knowing how to write. My grandmother stopped being such a hard worker when she was first diagnosed with Alzheimer. As for my grandfather, he stopped working (in his land after retirement) a year before his death.

I will always remember the hard work and the great example both my grandmother and grandfather had. Their legacy will stay forever. And as my grandmother said in an interview: hadn’t it been for the occupation, we, and all of the generations after us, would still work in our own lands.

Check the following video (with English translation), about what my grandmother believes concerning the homeland and the land.

Start from 13:18: