Filed under: Always in my mind!, Artwork, Linz from Gaza, LinzLines, Palestinian Linz, Real Gaza
The idea of writing about something very personal is haunting me. As a Palestinian, it’s really hard to know where to draw the line between the political and the personal. But, in Palestine, the personal is political and the political is the personal. I’ll keep the political away and dig down into the personal. This blog has been the vent for me to write some simple and humble accounts coming from a very ordinary person living under extraordinary circumstances. I can’t exclude Gaza; Palestine from anything happened-happens and will happen in my life. Simply put, being a woman from Gaza formed the person that I am today. Proudly and luckily, I consider myself born and raised in Gaza though I was actually born in Kuwait and moved to Bolivia before coming to Gaza. I feel like that I discovered my voice between the digits of these electronic pages, so it’s so much like a small note where I write a blend of the heartily minded digests of my life. I feel now that I am getting married, it’s the time to share my story, a life story, a love story, a Palestinian story.
In the past few months, I’ve been living very fast-paced events. I’d be lying if I say that I 100% fathom all of them. But all I know is that they look like everything I hushed to myself in my sleepless dreams but ironically never thought they would happen. But they did happen!
I’m a few days away from reuniting and getting married to the man that I really respect, admire, and love. Our story proves that love knows no borders, no siege, no time, and no occupation. It all started by a tweet debating whether the loud bang that was heard across Gaza was an Israeli bomb or just some thunder.
We started as friends who shared the same interests. We tweeted together as Egyptians were toppling Mubarak in Tahrir square. After a while of chatting online, Mohammed became my best friend. Long chats about Palestine, the world and the future dreams led us to feel that we can build a future together.
Mohammed is Palestinian South African working in Qatar, Allah (SWT) brought us together through , I am listing all the social media tools we used to communicate, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, and Gtalk, then later on Skype. He left Gaza just a few days before I first knew about him. The last thing I expected in my life is to be engaged and married to A Palestinian South African! Even my parents when I first told them,(yea am a Muslim woman who didn’t have arranged marriage, get over your stereotypes), they were like SOUTH AFRICA?! And I was like “CAN U BELIEVE THAT?!” But love knows no difference between South Africa and Palestine. Actually between South Africa and Palestine there’s the love of freedom and dignity.
April, we were officially engaged. But it was without meeting Mohammed in person. From April to September, our chats were often cut by the electricity outages, bad internet connection, and the Israeli siege on Gaza. Hearing the ghastly stories of Rafah crossing, the continuous closures and the difficulty of going out and in Gaza, made us more determined to meet. But there were times when I used to tell Mohamed: “being engaged to a Palestinian is a pain, isn’t?” “I love you more because you are a Palestinian” that answer was enough for me to stand the days, weeks and months of talking on Skype.
Palestinians don’t have airports, to travel anywhere, so we have to cross a 6 hour trip though Sinai to Cairo then from Cairo’s international airport to the intended destination. So, a trip to South Africa took about 6 hours in car and 8 hours in plane, but the result was totally worth it.
Finally I met my future husband. I enjoyed South Africa for the richness of its history. I just need to mention going to the Apartheid Museum where similarities between the Israeli occupation and the former Apartheid system are striking. I felt like I was home in South Africa. And indeed, now, it’s my second home.
After a 40 day trip between Gaza, Cairo, South Africa, Cairo again, Jordan then Cairo again, I came back home with my parents. Mohammed went back to Qatar. Going back to Gaza was like sending me back to the prison. We both felt the fear of not being able to go out again. But I’m from Gaza-Palestine, and our wedding must be in Palestine, too. Time flew by, very soon I’m uniting with the man that I love in the country that I love, but I’m also a few days away from leaving my family and Gaza. Though I’m moving, I know that no matter where I go, I’ll carry Gaza, Palestine and the struggle along with me. Home is where my heart is. And my heart, mind, and roots will be in the country and the city where I grew up.
As I am starting my new life in Qatar, I’ve been buying Palestinian crafts, Gaza mugs, Palestinian embroidery, Palestinian traditional dress and kufeyiahs. I am moving a part of Palestine that I really cherish into my small house. And I know that I’ll be telling stories about the sea, the war, and the contradictions of life in this part of Palestine.
The goodbye will be difficult. Leaving my family, especially my mum, will be the hardest thing I’ll do in my life. The fact that Gaza is not free makes it difficult to visit it whenever I want. Any trip would take me to cross a desert and withstand the humiliation of Rafah crossing let alone the possibility that it can be closed anytime. So, I’ll live on the hope that I’ll be seeing them again, in sha Allah.
I wrote this post to the man that I want to spend the rest of my life with, to the city that gave me so much, to the family and friends that I will aguishly miss.
I’ll leave you for love not for not loving you.
And as we met through a tweet, some of my friends will be tweeting from our wedding, and maybe Mohammed and I will be able to tweet from inside the wedding hall :D.
You can check my Twitter account :
my friend Amal
For people cut off from the rest of the world from the sea, air, and land, mobile services and internet are virtually the only proxies to communicate with the virtually “outside” world. Yesterday around seven pm, I noticed that the internet was logged on, but there was no connection. The router at my house has its moments where it stops working, so I thought to myself “the thing is having issues again”. I tried to outsmart the little device, so I rebooted it. The problem was not solved. Along with the internet outage, my brother was telling me that signals in his cellphone were down, and indeed I looked at my cellphone it was, too, out of service. Israeli bulldozers cut off Gaza from communicating with the world for almost 16 hours.
At that stage, I didn’t know that Israel was behind the blackout. I thought it was just the usual technical failure. My brother jokingly said: “they’re coming”, meaning Israel is preparing for invading Gaza. Of course, I laughed on his comment thinking I’ve a lot of dishes and pans to wash! After one hour of the blackout, still it did not seem serious. However, after the outage extended to almost 2 hours the cyber dose in my blood started going alarmed. No twitter, no Facebook, no e-mail, no G-talk, no Skype, no Google+ NOT even a cellphone network to get access to those sites. The irksome and unsettling feeling of isolation started creeping to my de-internet body.It is hard to see yourself going backward to the mid-ages, the television-ages. Ironically, the television’s signals were also down. Even watching tv was not available at that moment. And for almost 15 minutes the electricity went off. The circle was full…!
However, when the world is out of reach, something much more valuable, but often neglected is felt again. Without the noise of television and without clicking and typing, a warm laugh-full conversation made me feel how these fast-paced communications are taking away these small moments of family bonding. The internet-outage paranoia was soon alleviated. My only concern was how to tell my fiancé, who lives outside Gaza, that I am fine. It’s just an unknown and sudden internet, mobile, landline, and electricity blackout. And you don’t have to worry.
After a merry time with my family, I went to sleep. I did wake up several times to check whether we were plugged to the world or still living in cyber darkness. After twelve hours, I checked t.v searching for any news about the cut off. The PA owned television, the Palestine channel, referred to the blackout in the news banner.
Around 8 am, I went to work where the first question before “Good morning “was “do you have internet at home??” The answer was No…
However, in a fraction of a second, I saw what electrically shock my sleepy self, and swiftly opened my semi-closed eyes, MOZILAFIRE FOX IS WORKING! IT’S BACK! The internet is back! My heart was tweeting!!
And while I was giving the class, I looked at my once-was signally dead cellphone and then I jubilantly told the students: “It’s back!” the beautiful small dashes signaling that the mobile network is operating again. After 16 hours of disconnection, life is connected again! As I left work, people in streets were checking their cellphones making sure that the network is back. Many were wondering about the causes. Gaza has not experienced a major blackout where mobile networks and internet connection were down since the Israeli assault on Gaza (2008-2009)
The internet is increasingly used by Palestinians to counter the Israeli narrative and also to break, at least, the mental siege. Was Israel testing the cyber world’s response in case of a future major communication blackout? Isn’t enough for Israel to block the sea, the land, and air it blocked the internet and cellphone services, too?
As one friend wrote on Facebook :
The NO list in Gaza:
Electricity : NO
Internet : NO
Cell Phone : NO
I would love to thank everyone who reported that Gaza was drowning in a cyber-darkness.
August the 3rd of the year 2011 marks a historic day as the despotic leader Husni Mubarak along with his two sons appeared before court .Mubarak held Egypt captive under his undemocratic ruling for more than three decades. During these thirty years, Egyptians were not the only victims of his regime. Palestinians were also affected by his policies as Israel considered him the most important ally in the region.
It’s well-known that Israel depended on Mubarak and his cronies to keep Gaza under strict siege. The Mubarak’s complicity with the Zionist state cost many Palestinians their lives and their hopes. The only outlet for the Palestinians to the outside world, the Rafah border crossing, was firmly closed keeping thousands of Palestinians locked up in an open air prison. Thus, limiting the charges which Mubarak will be facing to just killing the protestors won’t be enough. As a fellow blogger,Omar Gharieb ,puts it, “Why didnt we Palestinians assign a lawyer 2 accuse Mubarak of supporting the Israeli Apartheid & #Gaza ‘s siege??? #MubarakTrial”
The reactions of Palestinians in Gaza ranged from cautious sympathy to relief. Abeer Ayoub a 24 year journalist and human rights worker says about the trail:” when I saw Mubarak first in the court, i burst into tears” She adds:”My mind says he deserves it…my heart makes me feel as if he’s my dad who’s being treated this way”. However, blogger Ola Anan, the author of “From Ghazza” ,explains that it is about Mubarak facing justice for the crimes he committed not about schadenfreude. And for those who expressed their rejection to the trial, Ola responds “If it’s not for what he did for the Egyptians, then just think about he did to us [the Palestinians]”.
Ola is not alone in her views. Mubarak’s name is directly associated with his blunt reaction to the Israeli attack on Gaza. Mohamed Suleiman, a 21 year old writer and a Masters student recalls some of Mubarak’s crimes:” he remained coldly silent and went on to tighten the siege preventing the Palestinian civilians from escaping the 18-day massacre.” Mohamed adds:” Now, until he’s put in jail, I feel court is his most befitting place for every crime he has committed against both Egyptians and Palestinians.”
The implications of the first trial of an Arab leader are many. But for Palestinians in Gaza the situation on the ground in the post-Mubarak Egypt remains quite the same. Abeer express her doubt” the trial was supposed to come with some great effect on Palestinians in Gaza, but it has been a while since he stepped down. The Rafah border was to open permanently but nothing much has changed.” But still Osama Shomar, a 25 year old English Literature student, sees some great significance in the trial. “it certainly has implication on Palestinians because let’s not forget, thart Mubarak was complicit in the siege on the Gaza strip, and seeing him in that cage, has very much fulfilled my dream and many others, who were wronged by the Egyptians at Rafah border crossing. “ Seeing Mubarak facing justice ignited Osama’s hope that someday Israeli officials will be facing the same fate. :” as a Palestinian living in Gaza, i felt for the first time that justice is being served and that ignited hope in me that one day Israeli criminals will appear before the international court of law for fair trails.”
In the costal enclave, Mubarak and regime were considered a hand for the Israel. Seeing the people’s power in Egypt bringing down the pharaoh gave the Palestinians in Gaza a glimpse of hope that their situation may eventually change. Though the road is long and difficult, for now seeing the symbol of injustice facing justice will offer the Palestinians and the Egyptians alike some relief.
Filed under: Always in my mind!, Linz from Gaza, Linz Photography, LinzLines, Palestinian Linz, Real Gaza
In that corner of the Mediterranean Gaza lays…
In the arms of a contained sea
and boundless dreams
Gaza wakes up, Gaza sleeps..
In hope that it will be free
Filed under: Linz from Gaza, Palestinian Linz, Real Gaza | Tags: Egypt, Fatah, gaza, Hamas, Lupe Fiasco, PA, Palestine, Unity, West Bank
“A unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah is reached”, this piece of news caught almost everyone off guard. After four years of bitter political division between the two factions, they came to an agreement to form a national interim government and prepare for an election. The out of the blue deal is a step that is hoped that will end the political dichotomy and end the siege on Gaza.
Officials confirm that this initial deal comes as result of secretive talks. Moreover, with the new Egyptian mediation, Hamas and Fatah say that “all their differences” are solved. As much as this step is considered a breakthrough by many, Palestinians’ reactions range from skepticism to cautious optimism.
In a press briefing organized by the Institute for Middle East Understanding , this topic was discussed with Ali Abuminah, Fadi Quran, and I. The news is still fresh, the coming days will be revealing how serious and solid this newly signed agreement is.
You can listen to the discussion here.
In some other topic still related to Palestine, American hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco released the music video of “Words I Never Said”. The track is no typical mainstream hip-hop song. Fiasco exposes mainstream politics, media, and stereotypes. One of the reasons why I loved the song is that he criticizes the American policy towards Israel and its silence regarding the situation in Gaza. With its call to reconsider politics, and media, “Words I never said” is a remarkable song since the mainstream music industry became a tool of mass ignorance.
You can watch the video below .
Filed under: Always in my mind!, gaza, Linz from Gaza, Real Gaza, Their Gaza | Tags: Palestine
This Earth Hour 2011: 8.30pm, Saturday 26 March, celebrate your action for the planet with the people of world, and add more to your Earth Hour.
From its inception as a single-city initiative — Sydney, Australia – in 2007, Earth Hour has grown into a global symbol of hope and movement for change. Earth Hour 2010 created history as the world’s largest ever voluntary action with people, businesses and governments in 128 countries across every continent coming together to celebrate an unambiguous commitment to the one thing that unites us all — the planet.
I’ve already done that, or at least it was done for me. “Earth Hour” in Gaza is something we experience on daily basis. Not a one hour, not two hours, but six and sometimes extends to twelve hours spent without electricity. The global event is very beautiful in the sense that millions across the world are united for one cause.
But in the same time, if you are taking part in this event, remember that in Gaza:
RT @mamnou3a Hundreds of thousands of Gazans will be involuntarily observing #earthhour for 12 hours today. and every day.#collectivepunishment
Filed under: Always in my mind!, Linz from Gaza, LinzLines, Palestinian Linz, Real Gaza, Their Gaza | Tags: Fatah, gaza, Hamas, Mar15, Palestine, Poetry, Unity, West Bank
I still can not fully comprehend to reflect on the protests of March 15th. I feel there are many things to be said, but nothing is able to transformed into a full account. For some odd reason I could write something that is close to what I am feeling.
beauty is smashed when it blooms
the dust blinds when eyes start seeing the truth
Roots uprooted when they give
birth to shades
and story turns from farce to charade
Imaginative safety is feared to be lost
when there’s nothing to lose
It is a lost cause
insignificant pulse of irrational thoughts
not a flower facing the gust
but a frail human, with past, present
and inevitable uncertainties ahead
Nothingness isn’t void
it’s a voice couldn’t echo
A face couldn’t be seen in the mirror
Air of shackles
Chocking the lung with despair
where I see, hear, and feel
but I can not be
Can not be
I had the honor to be hosted along with other two activists in the West Bank for a press briefing held by the Institute for Middle East Understanding.
Youth have been at the forefront of the revolutions and protests sweeping across the region and their use of new media and old fashioned organizing tactics to topple regimes long thought to be invincible has been extensively documented.
In the occupied Palestinian territories a youth-led march is being planned for March 15 in Gaza and the West Bank. The initiative is being spearheaded by a new generation of tech-savvy activists that are borrowing tactics and inventing their own in order to breathe new life into what they hope will be a movement capable of uniting and reforming their own leadership, and ending the decades-long Israeli occupation.
You can listen to the press briefing by clicking on the following link.
Filed under: Linz from Gaza, LinzLines, Palestinian Linz, Real Gaza, Their Gaza
Glued to my laptop, unable to unfix my eyes to anything but Twitter and Facebook, every bundle of tweets matters, the revolution in Egypt IS the history in the making nowadays.
Being dehumanized and terrorized on daily basis is something both Egyptians and Palestinians can relate to. Palestinians in Gaza, in particular, have been directly abused by the despotic regime of Mubarak. Overwhelmingly, support and prayers for the peaceful protests in Egypt are felt by the Palestinians, who see their freedom as an extension to the freedom of the Egyptians.
Words of support, and sharing the videos and photos of the bravery of young Egyptians against the brutal forces is all what we, the young Palestinians, can do to help the Egyptians. This reminds me in the time of the Gaza war, when the Egyptians defied to take the streets in support for their fellow Palestinians.
Amid the fast events that are hopefully changing the political landscape of the Middle East comes the “Palestine Papers”, what Al-Jazeera calls as the biggest revelation about the stillborn peace process and the complicity of the Palestinian Authority. These revelations are like knowing that one is killed, then being given a detailed anatomy on how the killing occurred.
The implications, and the aftermath of this dump of the documents are not clear yet. But the only thing I am sure of is that the first and the only victim is the everyday Palestinian. Caught between a corrupt, defragmented, useless leadership, and the bitterness of the Israeli Occupation, whatever these Palestine Papers reveal, I cannot see how the plight of the Palestinians will be alleviated by these disgraceful details.
The Palestinians are feeling betrayed and desperate. Unity between the two rivals Hamas and Fatah if it seemed farfetched, now it is almost impossible. These four days of intensive “expositions” hurt any trust left in in the PA, and Hamas alike.
Egyptians and Palestinians know very well how politicians across the region backed by the US millions of dollars care about t power more than the people. The Palestine Papers confirm that totalitarian regimes like the Mubarak and the PA will do anything to suppress any defiance the people show.
Both Palestinians and Egyptians want to live in freedom and dignity, too. The Egyptians waited 30 years to revolt; we live in times where the power is coming to back the people.
Tunisia has been a great inspiration for the people across the region whose generations almost never witnessed change, or democracy.
People across the Middle East are watching hope for change being revived by these valiant emerging revolutions. Tunisia did it, Egypt and Yemen will do it. And it’s up for the Palestinians to restore their dignity and their freedom.
Filed under: Always in my mind!, Linz from Gaza, LinzLines, Palestinian Linz, Real Gaza, Their Gaza
The 27th of December marks the 2nd anniversary of the Israeli offensive on Gaza which left more than 1400 people killed and 5000 injured.
I wrote this piece…as I tried to put some of the experience into words…
In wars, you know…
You know what is it like
that the very next moment
and your blood is a headline
a number added…to the many who died…
In wars, you feel
that a smile
is of thousands of tears
A smile becomes a need
In wars, you realize
that safety is ,
when you hug your mom
In wars, dawn is a sign
a sign of survival,
a sign that you are still alive
5 pm, sundown,
the drums of death
begins to sound…
Strangers weep through waves
then Children, women… bodies
then exploding silence…
In wars, you pray
not exactly sure what you pray for
to live…to survive
or to join the dead who saw the end of the war
or pray for hope against hope
But when You pray…
and you feel it’s echoing in heavens…
as you kneel before God,
You know that He’s the only one who’s listening…
In wars, you’re affirmed
that cowards, hypocrites,
Will always turn their backs on you
In wars, you’re affirmed, too
that when politicians fail
thousands of people would stand for you…
In wars, you wish
Wish from your very heart,
that you don’t live to witness
your family or friends die
You wish you die alone..
or you die all…
but never..to live by your own
In wars, you learn
what hate, what blindness
what arrogance, what ignorance
In wars, you are
a human with a heart and mind…
a human whose humanity is pending on decisions to be ratified
You are a human, struggling
to live in peace…to be recognized
You are a human, whose steadfastness
is tank proof, armed with olives…
In wars, you are a human…
You are Palestine…