One more and one last time

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The Eid clothes that won’t be worn,
The toys that won’t be bought,
The sweets that won’t be shared,
The ball that won’t be kicked,
The swing that’s no longer there,
The smiles that won’t be captured,
The walls that won’t get painted,
The crayons that won’t be used,
The bag that won’t be filled with pens and books,
The bathes that they won’t run from,
The tooth fairies that won’t come,
The school report that won’t be received,
The bed stories that won’t be read,
The beds that are emptied,
The teddies that won’t be hugged,
They are gone.

Tell her that they are gone.
Tell him that they are gone.
Tell her that they flew like birds,
Tell him that they are in a better place,
Tell her that her wails won’t bring them back,
Tell him to let it all out,
Tell her to kiss them one more time,
And one more,
And one last time,
Tell him to stroke their foreheads,
Like it’s bedtime…

Alone and petrified, she whispers
Weenak yamma, weenak yamma,
Ya habeeby yamma, ya habeeby yamma,
Alone and devastated, he sobs

Weenak yabba,
Ya habeeby yabba…
 

 

 

 

 

A mother in Gaza

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When Israel launched operation Pillars of Clouds back in 2012, I was 8 month pregnant with Yasmeen. Yet, I knew very little, about the enormous emotional complexities of loving, raising, and protecting a child.
From the anxiety of giving birth to the sleep deprivation, to the everyday tasks of keeping the well-being of a human being, motherhood is not easy and never gets easy. And that’s in normal situations where you and the safety of your child are something you can take for granted. But in Gaza, this is not the case.

As one mentioned on Twitter, children in Gaza born in 2007 are witnessing the third assault in their lives. Many were killed in the first 2008-2009, many were killed in 2012, and many are being killed these days. So being a mother in Gaza means that your and your children’s worst fears is Israel and its brutality.

When the bombs drop and booms rock their cradles and beds, the mother is the one the children go for safety, protection and comfort. Then she has to make up all sorts of stories that could make the situation more tolerable  for her children. “It’s firework’, “it’s thunder”. “It’s nothing”, “it’s going to be ok”, “a popped balloon”, and other imaginative stories that may or may not be believable.And if she was asked to stop “these big booms”, she knows that she’s as helpless as her children. The situation is bigger than both. The most unsettling thing, however, is that a mother has to provide her children with a sense of safety that she herself doesn’t feel. Masking the stress and fear in order to give hope and a sense of normality requires a miraculous effort.

 

And still a mother in Gaza is a mother who fears that her children will be killed in israel’s bombardments. Israel has been targeting civilian houses, and many of the causalities are children who were sleeping in their beds or just playing. If a normal person worries about the wellbeing of others, then a mother worries ten times more. How about if bombs were dropping on your head and your children’s’? Israel has killed many Palestinian children some were buried under rubble and some were even directly shot and killed. Israel’s occupation is a mother’s worst fear. If these children weren’t killed, they still may face detention and torture in Israel’s prisons.

A mother in Gaza is a mother who she herself is facing death and leaving her children orphans. Once you become a mother, you can’t imagine your children’s future without you crowning it with them graduated or married. You fear that if you leave the world while they are small that no one will be there for them. And you know, the mother is irreplaceable. It’s true that a mother would gladly sacrifice her life for the lives of her children. But she knows deep down that she wants to be part of their present and future. Families stay together in one room during attacks so in case they get killed they all leave together. No one is left behind to grieve. Yet that doesn’t always happen and many children are left orphaned in Gaza. And many mothers are left with  mourning the death of her children.

A mother in Gaza is a mother who is grieving the loss of her child/children, born and unborn. Many mothers in Gaza are having miscarriages as result of the stress and the impact of airstrikes. The emptiness of the house, of her child’s clothes, bed, toys, and photos fill her with memories of a child she once carried inside her, and endlessly loved.
It’s an irrevocable loss.
It’s a loss that Israel brazenly justifies as collateral damage, or a tool of pressure to bring the people’s defiance down. It’s a loss that’s overlooked in the media, because the people targeted are considered less worthy than other children.
Is there something more painful and bitterer than a mother kissing her child one last time instead of placing a goodnight kiss on her child’s forehead?

I am writing this, because my mother, my sister in laws, many of my friends, who are mothers now, are in Gaza now facing the danger of israel’s attacks.
I am writing this, because the strength they manifest is inspirational and unparalleled. And because many take this strength for granted while it takes enormous effort and incredible courage to be able to stay a figure that provides protection and love in such dire circumstances. Gaza’s mothers and fathers are my heroes, and examples to follow.

May all mothers around the world be given the strength of Palestinian mothers.
May Palestinian mothers live in a Palestine where peace prevail…
(Palestinian fathers are not less heroic than the mothers, but I was just focusing on mothers, because I can relate to them the most).

Gaza under attack again

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For the second time in 2 years Israel ferociously attacks Gaza. And for the second time, I’m not there. I follow the news on Twitter. With every tweet, and every explosion, it feels like I am deaf. My heart is there where my family and people are, but physically I am not there. I am not hearing any explosions, not feeling any shockwaves, not physically at risk of being killed by a random bomb Israel drops on my house. But my family and friends are. You sleep not knowing what kind of bad news you are going to wake up to.
The world feels giddy and insignificant.

 It’s Gaza again. And it’s bleeding again. And it’s being blamed again, ignored again, and abandoned again, for nothing other than that those who are being killed are Palestinians. Protective Edge is the name of the new Israeli assault. And it’s ongoing and doesn’t seem to be ending soon. Israel hasn’t fulfilled its ravenous appetite for destruction and death. It’s an operation that comes after some settlers burnt a Palestinian boy alive. It’s an operation that comes when Gaza is under unprecedented siege. An operation that comes in the Holy month of Ramadan where Muslims observe fasting. An operation where every 4,5 minutes there’s an explosion. The Palestinians in Gaza are the target, not Hamas. The houses of Palestinians, their institutions, their mosques, their hospitals, their societies are the target. Israel wants to inflect the maximum damage and destruction in order to bring Palestinians to succumb.
The world favors the oppressor.

113 Palestinians are now martyrs (and counting), most of whom are innocent civilians, and you still read headlines that say:”Israel is under attack”. There’s no justice for Palestinians in the news. They want to incriminate an entire population, blaming them for their own misery. They want to forge a narrative that there are two equal sides. While there’s one side that’s oppressor and another that’s oppressed.
They want to amplify the effect of a rocket that leaves very little damage, but they want to trivialize the effect of an F-16 bomb dropped on a house in densely populated area. They want to humanize Tel Aviv’s summer vacation, but they want to make entire massacred families some collateral damage, or an error, or Hamas’ fault. But never blame Israel regardless the fact that they’ve some the most sophisticated technologies and regardless of the fact that some these attacks were conducted in broad daylight.
The world is blind.

Cast Lead, Pillars of Clouds, and Protective Edge, Israel gets away with it.
Cast Lead, Pillars of Clouds, Protective Edge, people rise up and protest.
Cast Lead, Pillars of Clouds, Protective Edge, nothing is changing.
Cast Lead, Pillars of Clouds, Protective Edge, nothing changes unless there’s an end.
Cast Lead, Pillars of Clouds, Protective Edge, and many more, nothing will change unless there’s an end,
An end to israel’s impunity, an end to israel’s occupation, an end to its apartheid policies, an end to its settler freak mentality, an end to its supremacy.
Cast Lead, Pillars of Clouds, Protective Edge…and many more to come, unless an end to israel’s impunity, an end to israel’s occupation, an end to its apartheid policies, an end to its settler freak mentality, an end to its supremacy.

Until then it’s wrong to think that Palestinians will just turn the other cheek. Resistance, armed and unarmed, is our right, our duty to protect ourselves. Israel only understands the language of force. We don’t have much of it, but we have enough to preserve our dignity. It’s our undeniable right.
Gaza is bleeding. Gaza is mourning. And the bitterness of loss and injustice is colossal. But Gaza has always taught us that it rises up, it resists, it stands up for its people and its people stand up for it.

We should never forget or forgive…Palestinians are not numbers and statistics.

The Autopsy

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The autopsy doesn’t show
the horror
the screams
the laughs
the helplessness
the pain
the gloats
the fire
the grudge
the agony
the last moment
the last thought
the last breath

 The autopsy does show
the burnt flesh
the chemicals
the smell
the stillness
the innocence
the death
your name
where you rest

 The autopsy doesn’t show
the ascending
the wings
the wholeness
the holiness
the light
the solace
the sanctuary
the purity
the heavens

 The autopsy of killers is known.
burnt souls
burnt hearts
burn
and be brunt.

Never forget, never forgive…Muhammad AbuKhudair and all Palestinian children killed by Israel.

 

 

Deconstructing Tyrant

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     If Edward Said was alive and he watched Tyrant, he would have described as “orientalism in a nutshell”

A new Fox series that focuses on a fictional Middle East monarchy in post Arab-Spring couldn’t be more offensive to Arabs and Muslims.
The show is written by Israeli writer and film director Gideon Raff and developed by Gordon Howard Homeland and Criag Wright iven that Raff and Howard have something to do with the notorious Homeland, one is led to think that it’s yet another show that takes all the possible negative stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims and make a show out of it. Yet according to Howard some Muslim and Arab organizations were consulted while developing the show in order to avoid representing Arab and Muslims the Hollywood/the Homeland way.

So I watched the pilot, and here’s some deconstruction to what it’s basically, yet another show that disgustingly perpetuates that Arabs and Muslims are impulsive, violent, lusty beasts.

The setting:
The show is supposed to be taking place in Maan; A fictional kingdom in the Middle East. It seems that creators of the show don’t know that Maan is a city in Jordan. As for the kingdom itself, it’s a mix of almost every city in the Middle East, though not all ME looks the same. For example, some parts of the kingdom look like a slum in Egypt, some other look like Palestine or Jordan, but somehow it has the skyline of Dubai or Doha. That’s for the Kingdom’s landscape. It doesn’t stop there. What’s a royal despotic Arab family without its palace?! The palace has the architecture of Aladdin’s palace, the gardens of King’s Landing, the interior of a Moroccan house. And you find some Persian domes and arches.

 The plot:
Bassam “Barry” El-Fayed is a pediatrician living the American dream. He finds himself haunted by his and father’s past when he decides to go back to Maan to attend his nephew’s wedding. Barry has another brother Jamal who is the coward yet brutally violent Arab man. The father dies and while Bassam doesn’t want to be the next tyrant, somebody has to bring the civilized voice into the kingdom, so he stays.

Characters:
1-Father Tyrant: A Saddam Hussien like figure.
2-Brother Tyrant Jamal: the man who will make you feel utterly disgusted by Arab men, he isn’t only violent and impulsive but also lusty (rapes two women in one episode).
3-The once wanna-be teenage tyrant/the remorseful, shameful, civilized, self-hating, Americanized: Bassam “Barry”.
4-The white wives: Mama Fayed a British queen, aka the sound of reason nu.1 and who,by the way, looks like Queen Noor of Jordan. Holly Fayed, the American wife who is trying to get her husband to reconnect his with his past, aka the sound of reason nu,2.
5-The Arab women: Laila, married to Jamal yet loved Bassam,who gets slapped but slaps back. Samira aids terrorists. And The American teenage daughter who is forced to make the trip.
6-The military, the generals (who happen to be extended family), the police. And the American Ambassador.
7-The terrorists: the forces of destabilization, the ungrateful commoners, the suicide bombers, basically anyone wearing Palestinian kuffiyah,

I guess by now, you would feel less encouraged to watch Tyrant. But that’s not all. The show confuses fiction with reality to make things even blurrier for the average audience. Some simple examples:
1-El Fayed,which is the family’s last name in the show, is often associated with Egyptian businessmen Mohammed El-Fayed and Dodi El Fayed. It’s known that Dodi el Fayed was Princess Diana’s boyfriend and both were killed in a car accident.
2-Having two blonde/white women that are romantically involved with Arab-men insinuates the commonly-held idea that Arab-Muslim men always have a fetish for Western-White women, It’s in Shakespeare’s Othello, it’s in Lost, it’s in Tyrant. And it’s racist.

 Having a show with gross images of Arabs and Muslims isn’t a novelty. It’s not the first time that an entire region, an entire religion is painted with the same brush.
While the situation of Arabs and Muslims isn’t quite rosy, the failure to understand the complicity of a region and its people is very damaging.To be honest, sometimes you think that mainstream media will never get the narrative right, and as a result, you lose interest in keep telling people to free their minds.

But what really irritates me and offends me,as an Arab and Muslim, is that the consequences of the misrepresentation, and the arrogant and deliberate misinformation make the destruction and mass—killing of Arabs and Muslims justifiable, acceptable, and even celebratory. For instance, in episode two there’s one line that says: “Childhood in America is a different thing, terrorists are taught young here”. The line comes as some teenagers kidnap a royal princess, and Barry’s uncle wants to kill them.

 The scene struck me as it comes in a time where Israel is killing,kidnapping, and imprisoning Palestinian children. While the world decried the killing of the three settlers, not much grief was shown to Palestinian children.

Against this backdrop, you can understand the dangerous propaganda that’s being insidiously fed to people who may not bother to do a simple research about the Middle East.

 It’s disturbing that the show is still running despite objections. Yet what is even more disturbing is that show would have never made it, if people represented were Israeli Jews. The tolerance for such TV shows, that reduces Arabs and Muslims to either tyrants or terrorists, shouldn’t be condoned not just by us but also by any enlightened mind. It’s wrong, and it should stop. Some argue that the show may get canceled due to poor story and acting. But that shouldn’t be the reason. If Tyrant is to be canceled, it’s because Tyrant is a racist, xenophobic, and Islamphobic propaganda. And its creators, producers should be ashamed of themselves.

 

Hibernation

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You’re not missing anything, and you are missing everything.
No sunshine to relieve your AC-frozen bones,
No summer breeze that reminds you of the beauty of the shades.
Familiar faces are everywhere.
but to them, you can’t relate.
Hibernation is the new luxury.
An opportunity to afford
An opportunity.
And you fight for it,
Nothing makes you yield
A comfort zone.
There’s only home on hold.
A fortresses of concrete.
A window to haze.
A meal of gratefulness.
And a feast of loneliness.
And a desert that extends as far as the eyes can see,
As exile runs deep.
Existence and not living.
Missing everything and nothing.

For you

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A poem written is written many times,
First time to tell,
Second time to express,
    Third time to be felt,
      Last time to be read
by you.

A poem loved is loved many times,
First time for words,
  Second time for meaning,
    Third time for music,
      Last time because,
it’s for you.

A poem remembered is remembered many times,
First time for memories,
   Second time for the glory,
    Third time for the eternity,
      Last time for
it’s about you.