Three – Oh

Yesterday I officially turned 30. Ironically, I had plans for the whole week except for yesterday, so I thought of attending a lecture at Shoman library about ISIS as a fact and a phenomenon, but thankfully a good friend called and said she wanted to take me out to celebrate, the saving me the trauma resulting from the shocking realization that it was my birthday and I was listening to a lecture about a militant group threatening to take over the region.

Anyway…

Shortly after my 29th birthday, I opened a document file, wrote down some thoughts and saved it on my desktop. It was a post in the making about turning thirty. Few days before my 30th birthday, I found myself smiling as I read through the things I wrote, but I had one other thought in mind: I was so preoccupied with turning thirty that I almost forgot about being 29. I put myself on the defensive, basically against my own self. Little did I know that by the time I approached my 30th birthday it would be much better than I thought, and I’ll have nothing to be depressed about and everything to be happy, excited and thankful for. It actually beats my 27th birthday for example – that was a depressing one, and for no good reason as I now realize. Apparently 27 was the age of Drama. 30 is the renaissance.

So I asked myself, what’s with all the fuss about the big three-O?

Well, let’s face it, thirty is, has always been, probably will continue to be the scariest number. You know, for a girl in an Arab society turning 30 has always been a stigma, some sort of an alarm siren that goes off signaling the end of your productive years, or should I say “reproductive” years, as it’s mainly driven by a culture built around fertility years, still functioning on the mentality of “I need to have 10 children to help me in the field”. Yes, believe it or not, this is the underlying thought behind the frenzy.

But 30 is a great and grossly underrated age. You see, there are many cool things about being 30 – mainly that you can’t stay 20 forever so it’s like the next best thing…

But seriously now…

You automatically stop giving as much crap to what others think, I call it the “crap switch”. It’s basically because people stop expecting as much from you. Ironically enough, for guys it’s when people start having expectations of you, enjoy your thirties, suckers!

You feel like a fully grown-up adult now. You’ve seen a lot, experienced a lot, and it’s time you decided what you want to do with your life, what choices to make.

You have more appreciation for time, hence you have little to no tolerance for stupid movies or people who are nothing but time thieves, those are the wh people who drain your energy, put you down and spend the best part of their days whining about their “bad luck”. Looking incredulously at how fast time goes and how you’re suddenly at the age of the people you used to look at as a kid and think they were “3ammo’s” and “Khalto’s”, you know that life is too short so you need to focus on what matters, and on those who matter most to you.

So, be thirty or be dead. That’s what it comes down to in the end of the day. Bring it on, thirties!

 

A Brief History of “Sharing”

It’s no mystery that the word “share” has been gaining increasing popularity over the past few years. In a world that’s constantly growing and closing up on itself all at once, the meaning of the word and our perception of it has been changing too, taking up new dimensions we we’ve never been so aware of.

As children, we were encouraged to share things with others, that sharing was caring, perhaps not as eloquently and romantically as children learn it today from a dancing purple dinosaur,  but I do remember a famous mantra we had when we were children as when we saw someone eating something alone we would say: “Whoever eats alone chokes on their food”.  I suppose we all at some point heard the old story about dying man who gathers his children, hold a stick and breaks it, then holds a bunch of sticks and tries to break them but can’t because they were stronger together. That story was about unity and collaboration but it’s to the same effect, because the point is that: sharing was all about cooperation and sticking together as one. All that shows that the transformation the concept of sharing has gone through in over the last decade or so is quite stunning.

Let’s put it this way. Were you ever going through your Facebook or Twitter timeline then read something and wondered: Why would they share this? Or, an alarm went off in your head with the words: Too Much Information. It’s clearly something that

A) Doesn’t concern anyone other than the person who wrote it.

B) Is not interesting at any level.

C) Is not informative or thought provoking.

It’s pure egoistic nonsense, that’s what it is. It’s sharing for the sake of sharing or for the sake of conveying certain ideas about the speaker for the benefit – or lack thereof- of a rather none-interested crowd. So you see, the word “share” has made the move from an act of cooperation to an act of seeking social validation. If you can’t have a life, just make it sound like you have one. Or, if you do have a life, why not rub it in people’s faces?

And you know what? We are all guilty of it, or most of us at last. And it’s not a crime, it’s just so universal that it has become almost compulsive. The problem however is that our perception of sharing has become so twisted that this is now a pandemic. Picture this: You’re sitting down with friends and your face is buried in your smart phone. You’re exchanging WhatsApp messages with your co-workers. The next day during lunch break you’re having a bite with your co-workers and you’re exchanging WhatsApp messages with your friends, the ones you were with yesterday. A day has come where we’re not interested in people themselves as much as we’re interested in the technology that connects us to them. We share more, but we interact less. We know more people but we’re becoming more lazy and reclusive by the day. We have more friends but we feel a lesser need to see them because we already know all their news.

The funniest part is that, basically we all share the same things. You keep receiving the same messages, seeing that same posts on facebook over and over. This is not to say that some things are not worth sharing, on the contrary, something must be shared. Others however have become so redundant it should be illegal to share them. It’s like we all live in one big small bubble.

But there is traditional good old sharing, and there’s advanced sharing with special techniques and whatnot.  A while ago we’ve started to see links with titles like: “This boy ate an apple, what happened next will blow your mind”. And you know what? My mind is yet to be blown. People and businesses are just too desperate for attention or publicity that they would go to any lengths to get you to open their links. It’s a jungle out there really, with everyone trying to get you curious and disappointing you over and over int the process. Or like the ambiguous status messages on Facebook, to get people excited about something or to get them to ask you what’s going on or if you’re feeling well. Everyone wants everyone to care, but those who really do are usually fewer than you might think, and you probably can find a better way to communicate with them than a message that would soon be lost in the cyber void.

Guilty of all the above, including exchanging texts and receiving phone calls while with friends, burying my face in a cell phone when at a social event I’m not really interested in or even sharing things with ulterior motives that go beyond caring, it still gets on my last nerve when I’m with friends I haven’t seen for a while and one of them starts talking on the phone to someone she sees every day, or when they are browsing Facebook, or when we’re at a family gathering and they start discussing things they said or read on Facebook or WhatsApp or wherever. Yes, I admit that these portals managed to bring people together, believe it or not I had cousins and distant relatives I had never held a decent conversation with before we were introduced to each other’s thoughts on social media, but it still sounds ridiculously funny when relatives come to visit and I hear a woman telling my aunt as soon as she enters the house: Oh I love your forwarded messages on WhatsApp.

Yet, that same woman would later on tell you how much she missed the old days when they all used to hang out (or in) every night, as they had no TV, so their best chance at entertainment was getting together.  They even had “mloukhiyyeh picking parties” where they all got together to pick mloukhiyyeh leaves, dry them and store them to be cooked later. Nowadays it’s different, we pick the mloukhiyyeh alone and share pictures of it with the caption: “Mloukhiyyeh time!”,  and then we meet sometime after than we discuss the activity and blame our busy life and work for not being able to take a 10 minute trip to see each other more often.

As an intrinsic introvert this could be a dream come true for me: to be able to connect with everyone without actually having to talk to them. Yet, somehow I find this is all making me more social, resenting to share important or exciting news via any kind of social media, but rather share it face to face over lunch or a cup of coffee; because there are certain reactions, a certain look in the eye, a certain tone of voice that are too priceless no emoticon can ever convey.

A Conversation with Tubby – 11

He was standing on the porch, listening intently to the birds, yearning for a life he’s never had when all that was shattered by the sound of his name being screamed from inside the house

Me: Tubby! What is wrong with you? The whole neighborhood heard me calling your name

Tubby: I’m sorry, my ears have been understandably elective these past couple of years; they don’t choose to hear the sound of people calling me to talk about themselves and rub their lives in the face of my non-existent life.

Me: Oh my God. I knew I shouldn’t let you watch too many Turkish soap operas. All the drama aside, I’ll pretend you weren’t talking about me and I’ll have you know I’m was calling you to tell you about something that actually pertains to your pathetic, pity-indulgent self.

His eyes sparkled ad he was suddenly interested.

Tubby: Really? What, who, where… Did you get me those new dentures I wanted for my birthday?

Me: Well, when was your birthday again? Never mind. No, not that. Actually someone wants to meet you.

He turned his back again with disinterest.

Tubby: Nah. Who’d want to meet me?

Me:  I am telling you someone wants to meet you.

Tubby: Well I don’t want to meet anyone.

Me: Come on, it’s time you came out of that rusty shell of yours!

Tubby: Why, I’m perfectly happy in here.

Me: Please, you won’t regret it. It’s a friend of mine, you’d like them.

Tubby: A boy or a girl?

Me: I won’t tell you, you have to meet them and see.

Tubby: But this is not fair, you know I get curious.

Me: Exactly my point.

Tubby: But why would your friend want to see me?

Me: Because I always talk about you. See, you’re important. And because you have so much influence over my actions.

Tubby: Aha, I see, so it’s all about you again.

Me: No it’s not. I mean, it is but that means it’s about you too because we’re the same person in the end.

Tubby: Well then great, if they met you then they have already met me, problem solved.

Me: Yes but they want to get to know who… what you actually are.

Tubby: Do you know?

Me: Well, I’m not sure. You’ve been quite inconsistent. One day you’re my partner in crime, tempting me to take clearly wrong decisions justifying them with all kind of nonsense, and another day you’re the voice of wisdom in my head. You’re not my ego but you’re not my superego either. You’re somewhere in between.

Tubby: Yeah. That’s what I tell my people about you too. They couldn’t understand it so I ended up accepting being called a crazy man.

Me: Your people?

Tubby: Yes. You see, you too fall somewhere between my ego and my superego but it’s not easy to tell people that you’re a hundred year-old man with an imaginary friend.

Me: Okay, I can ignore you trying to look younger than your real age but I can’t ignore an imaginary figure calling me imaginary.

Tubby: Well, imaginary figures always think they are real so there you go.

Me: You’re insane. Nobody is imaginary here but you

Tubby: If I was so imaginary and you were so real then how come you’re asking me to meet this friend of yours?

Me: Well if you were so real then how come I never met any of your “people”?

Tubby: I rest my case!

Me: No you do not! Case not rested…You know what? I don’t want you to meet my friend or anyone not only because you’re imaginary but also because you’re evil, and mean

Tubby: Well, you could’ve saved yourself all this if you listened to me in the first place when I told you to leave me alone…

Me: Jerk…

 

 

A Haunting Image

Today, watching the news. A report about children deaths in Gaza. A family lost 4 children while playing on the beach. Another family lost 3 children while playing on the roof of their house.

Could this be a nightmare?

And then there was that image.

People huddled around a hospital bed on which another child was receiving medical treatment, or perhaps was being announced dead. By the bedside stood a man holding a little girl, couldn’t be more than 2 or 3 years old, her face was smeared with blood, dotted with wounds. Her expression drooped with cluelessness. Her head swayed back and forth, her eyes were closing as if she couldn’t stay awake any longer. Was it pain or was it exhaustion? Or was she too exhausted from the pain?

Cut to the next scene. More dead children.

Perhaps she went to sleep. Perhaps she didn’t.

Who to Tell, How to Tell

I don’t know which is harder: following the news on Gaza or following the news on the news on Gaza. It wouldn’t take a keen observer to notice that the coverage by the Western media to the aggression on Gaza has been biased in favor of the aggressors and, as we have seen through the recent infamous blunder by ABC’s Diane Sawyer, it wasn’t very subtle in that regard. Sawyer mentioned rockets “showering” over Israel and misrepresented Palestinian victims as “Israeli family trying to salvage what they can”, her voice dropping to sympathetic tone. And I couldn’t help but wonder, would she have been so sympathetic had she realized she was actually talking about a Palestinian family, not an Israeli one?

But Mrs. Sawyer’s empathy is the least of our concerns. The more important question is: amid all this flow of misinformation and misrepresentation, how can you tell people, especially those who are not well-initiated about the conflict and its historical context, who the real victims are?

It’s very easy to show a footage of rockets falling over Tel Aviv with scared soldiers taking shelter and write a headline at the bottom of the screen about terrorist attacks on “Israel” who’s trying desperately to defend itself. It’s even easier when you add 3 kidnapped soldiers to the equation. Yet, there’s a whole different backstory for that scenario.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the 3 Israeli soldiers who disappeared and assumed held captive by Palestinians, but did you know there are currently over 5 thousand Palestinians detainees in Israeli jails, 200 of them are age 18 or less? Not only that, 1400 of them suffer from various illnesses due to the poor conditions of imprisonment, mistreatment and malnutrition. And, if you’re still dwelling on the word “kidnapped”, then here’s a little something to put things in perspective: There are 185 administrative detainees in Israeli jails; administrative detention being the term invented by the Zionist entity to arrest people and hold them captive on no charges, sort of a legally justified abduction.

Hence, it should be clear by now that any kidnapping of Israeli soldiers is used as leverage to pressure the Zionist authorities into releasing Palestinian prisoners, some of whom have been detained for over 20 years.

Another important thing to be noted is that the so-called state of Israel really doesn’t need an excuse to kill, bomb or destroy, as this is how they founded their state in the first place, by mass-murdering Palestinians, kicking them out of their homes and ransacking their towns and villages. Since 1948, Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces, entire families were wiped out, not to mention those who were killed before 1948 both by Zionist gangs and the collusive British forces to pave the way for the foundation of the Zionist state, in the same sense Native Americans were wiped out to make way for “the civilized people” to take over their land. thousands of homes were destroyed and razed to the ground, Palestinian lands were confiscated, Hundreds of thousands were displaced and others taken captive to suffer unspeakable atrocities in Israeli jails. Be that as it may, it should be obvious that any act done by Palestinians against Israel, or the illegal Zionist entity built on stolen land, is an act of resistance.

So get your facts right. Change the channel. Read. Log into social media, hear from those who are under fire as we speak, they can tell you what you need to know, not what the powers-that-be want you to.

 

دعاء واعتداء

عزيزي المسلم اللي طول نهارك بتشارك أدعية عالفيسبوك وغيره: عمرك سمعت عن إشي اسمه الاعتداء في الدعاء؟

خلينا نتفق على إشي، الدعاء إشي رائع ومطلوب وهو عبادة بحد ذاته. بس للتوضيح:0

الدعاء مش ضروري يكون في سجع وقافية، يعني تكلف وصنعة في إشي المفروض يكون طالع من القلب، مش زابطة، وعلى فكرة السجع مكروه في الدعاء

وبما إنه المفروض يكون طالع من القلب فمش ضروري الدعاء يكون عبارة عن نص واحد كاتبه وحاطه على صورة وردة ولا غروب شمس عشان تقعد تسمع فيه كإنه درس محفوظات، متل العدد المهولمن الأدعية المتداولة عالفيسبوك والواتساب واللي أصلا بتلاقي فيها مليان أخطاء لغوية وحتى عبارات مغلوطة أصلاً وتخالف الدين

وبمناسبة الواتساب والفيسبوك، شو بالنسبة للأدعية اللي بتكون أربع صفحات فولوسكاب عالوجهين؟ أصلاً الإطالة في الدعاء مكروهة، وقصة إنه الشيخ يقعد يدعي نص ساعة والناس تقول وراه آمين هاي الله أعلم مين اخترعها، غير عن عشرات الأدعية اللي بكون في آخرها حديث مكذوب أو هي نفسها مأخوذة من حديث مكذوب ومالوش أصل، إنه يا أخي شغل مخك، بالعقل يعني معقول الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم يحكي: “من أخبر الناس بهذا الدعاء فرج الله همه”؟ والناس بتبعت ما هب ودب. أصلاً إذا بتدوروا بتلاقوا إنه الأدعية المأثورة عن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم في أغلبيتها أدعية قصيرة مختصرة، “اللهم إنك عفو تحب العفو فاعف عنا”، “اللهم إني أسألك العفو والعافية”، أو الأدعية الواردة في القرآن مثل: “اللهم آتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الآخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار”…0

وبمناسبة الشيوخ والأدعية الطويلة، مش فاهمة من وين جابوا قصة الدعاء بالهلاك على مجموعات عامة من البشر… الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم لما طلب منه أحد الصحابة يدعي على المشركين قال: “إني لم أبعث لعاناً وإنما بعثت رحمة”، وحتى لما دعا على بعضهم بأسمائهم نزلت الآية الكريمة: “ليس لك من الأمر شيء أو يتوب عليهم أو يعذبهم” – صدق الله العظيم

بعدين الدعاء الحقيقي لازم يكون خالص لوجه الله، يعني مش رياء ولا لفت نظر، يعني مش كل ما وحدة حبت تعيش دور سندريلا العصر الحديث وضحية المجتمع تروح تكتب: “يا رب ما إلي غيرك، يا رب صبرني على هالعيشة”… يختي ماشي، حلو، ناجي ربنا بينك وبينه، ليش بدك جمهور؟

وبعدين موضة ال:0
Generic Duaa

طبعاً هاي قصة لحالها، بتشغل برنامج يدعي عنك وإنت مش عارف أصلاً شو الأدعية اللي بحطها وشو الوقت اللي بحطها فيه، وهاي الأدعية بالنسبة لمتابعينك بتصير عبارة عن سبام وشيء مبتذل حتى الناس تبطل تقرأ أصلا. حط على موبايلك برنامج يذكرك تذكر ربنا طول الوقت مثلاً مش أحسن؟

ارحمونا يرحمكم الله

ثقافة الكراهية

أتذكر عمّان قبل سنوات كثيرة من الآن. أتذكر صفة واحدة على وجه التحديد: لم تكن أخبار جرائم القتل حدثاُ شبه يومي، أو حتى أسبوعي ولا شهري. كان جريمة القتل حدثاً شاذاً، ندبة تحفر في وجه المدينة، صدمة تخيم عليها لأيام.0000

ما الذي حدث حتى أصبح القتل هيناً؟

أظنني أعرف. عرفته اليوم وأنا أقرأ خبر تشييع جثمان نتالي الربضي – عليها الرحمة ولأهلها الصبر- إذ بعد أن يدرج المقال شهادة مديرها بأنها “من أكثر الشخصيات الجديرة بالاحترام ممن قابلهم في حياته، وأنها تتمتع بذكاء عالٍ، وتتصف بالجدية في العمل” يمضي لذكر الأسباب التي دفعت قاتلها لارتكاب جريمته وهي أن نتالي رفضت تمرير شحنة أثاث له غير مطابقة للمواصفات والمقاييس، وبالتالي وجد أنه من حقه أن يسلب حياتها مقابل حرمانه من الأرباح التي كان يمكنه أن يجنيها من تلك الشحنة المهربة.0

الأمر جلي جداً، جلي بقدر بشاعته وبقدر ما هو مخيف ومنذر بالخراب. في البداية كان الفساد مصطلحاً يتعلق بالمستويات العليا في الدولة، فحين تذكر كلمة فساد يتبادر إلى ذهنك الوزير والمسؤول ذو “الكرش” المربى على قوت الشعب، ملايين وأملاك مكتسبة بشكل غير قانوني، نزاعات وجدالات واتهامات وهروب وسجن… إلخ.0

لكن الأمر الآن انحدر إلى مستوى ربما لم يتوقعه أكثر المتشائمين، الفساد الآن أصبح مسألة فردية شخصية، بل وحقاً طبيعياً يهيأ للفاسد أنه يخوله لإزهاق ما يشاء من أرواح في سبيل الوصول إلى غاياته. لقد انتشر الفساد كورم خبيث في جسد الدولة حتى تشربته أدق أنسجتها، أصبحت البلاد كلها مرتعاً للفساد وأصبح الفاسد يرى الفساد هو الممارسة العادية والفاسد هو المواطن الأول، الوصفة المثالية لدولة تريد القضاء على نفسها من الداخل بينما أهلها منشغلون بفيديوهات مكررة لأعداء يقفون على الحدود يهددون ويتوعدون وهم في النهاية “راس مالهم” غارة من طائرات أحد حلفائنا المعنيين بحماية “اولاد عمنا” قبل حمايتنا، وتهويل قوتهم وعتادهم مع العلم أن كتيبة واحدة من قوات البادية يمكنها إبادتهم بعد قيلولة العصر.0

مخيف؟ نعم، مخيف. لكن ثمة شيء يخيفني أكثر.0

تذكرت جريمة أخرى وقعت قبل فترة قصيرة وأثارت الضجة نفسها وهي جريمة قتل الشاب وسام حداد – عليه الرحمة ولأهله الصبر-  قلت لنفسي إن دوافع قتله لم تكن بعيدة عن دوافع قتل نتالي، فقد قتله شخص يعمل معه لخلافات في العمل، إلا أنها لم تبدُ قضية فساد بقدر ما هي قضية كراهية. تلك الفكرة أخافتني بقدر ما بدت حقيقية وواضحة خاصة في السنوات الأخيرة، باختصار: نحن مجتمع تربى وتغذى على الكراهية. نحن نكره بعضنا لأتفه الأسباب، لا وبل أحياناً نبحث عن أي سبب لنفعل ذلك. تربينا عليه أولاً حين كانت الفتن والكراهية – ولا زالت- تستخدم كسلاح ضدنا كأسهل وسيلة لفرض السيطرة: أنشئ مجتمعاً منقسماً على نفسه، مجتمعاً يكره ذاته، وكن أنت المخلص. لكننا تمادينا في تغذية أحقادنا وتعهدناها بالرعاية حتى أصبحت جزءاً من تركيبتنا الثقافية، أصبحت العنصرية والطائفية جزءاً لا يتجزأ من ثقافتنا حتى لا نكاد نشعر به، نمارسه بشكل طبيعي وغير واعٍ تقريباً، وإن كنت لا تصدق فتصفح أي حوار على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي على خلفية أي حدث من هذا النوع. كيف يمكن لشخص أن يتغاضى عن الموضوع الرئيس المتعلق بقتل نفس بشرية والتركيز على دينها وعشيرتها وأسباب قتلها بل والتعارك مع غيره حول ذلك لساعات لا تقدم ولا تأخر.0

أصبح الاعتداد بالذات وكراهية الآخر سبباً في استهانة أرواح الآخرين، كأنهم موجودون لتسهيل حياتنا وإن ضايقونا فلنا كل الحق بإفنائهم، إما بإفراغ مسدس عيار 9 ملم في أجسادهم، أو بقيادة سياراتنا بسرعة جنونية، أو بإطلاق العيارات النارية في المناسبات كونها الوسيلة الوحيدة لإفراغ الطاقة التي تعتمل في دواخلنا ساعة الفرح بغض النظر عن الأسى الذي قد تجلبه على غيرنا، فنحن الأهم، ونحن الأولى، وحياة إنسان لا تستحق أن تكون سبباً في إفساد متعتنا المؤقتة.0

هذا هو الأمر إذاً: مجتمع يكره نفسه، وفساد يستشري بصمت، والقانون مات برصاصة طائشة في أحد الأعراس.0

لكن ثمة شيء مهم علينا تذكره، عمّان مدينة لم تنشأ على الكراهية، لا يمكنني الادعاء أنها نشأت على الحب كما قد يحلو لشاعر حالم القول. لم يكن ذلك حباً على الأرجح بقدر ما كان تقبلاً للآخر كخيار وحيد لتكوين حياة ناجحة في مجتمع مختلط الأعراق. عمّان بدأت صغيرة وخجولة، لكنها الآن كبرت، وبناتها الأوائل لم يبق منهم أحد على الأرجح، لم يبق سوى خلف اختلف فيه الصالح بالطالح وأخذته العزة بالإثم حتى ظن طيف من سكانها الحاليون أنهم فوق القانون، وأنه يحق لهم ما لا يحق لغيرهم وأنهم لا يحتاجون ذلك الغير، وأصبحت الكراهية نهجاً والفساد حقاً مكتسباً بل وطبيعياً للبعض.0

ربما علينا أن نصل مرحلة ندرك فيها بالطريقة المؤلمة أن صلاح الفرد من صلاح المجتمع وفساده من فساده، أن ما نفعله اليوم سيعود ليطعننا في الظهر غداً لأننا شئنا ام أبينا جزء لا يتجزأ من بنية واحدة، وحين ندرك ذلك فسنعود طوعاً أو كرهاً، لا يهم، لنجبر أنفسنا على تقبل الآخر والاعتراف بقيمته كوسيلة وحيدة للخلاص الحقيقي.0


			

The Most Beautiful Girl in the World

So today at the gym there was this really beautiful baby, apparently she was the daughter or niece of one of the trainers there, and she kept moving from hand to hand, and it wasn’t only her cute face, big green eyes or lush black her, I realized as I passed by her on my way out that it was the way she smiled back at anyone who smiled at her, with such excitement and happiness as if she couldn’t believe someone is actually smiling at her, although everyone did and so much more. Actually, if smiles were earthquake this would be 7 or 8 at least on Richter’s scale.

But then my thoughts took another direction. Seeing such a beautiful baby, I thought of the women I know who, while pregnant with girls, prayed to God that they would be beautiful, and the insensitive comments from those around them when the girls didn’t turn out as beautiful as they hoped. Actually there’s an old joke people say when a baby girl is not considered beautiful enough, or even ugly (although I don’t believe there are ugly kids), and that is her parents should save money so that when she grows up they would pay it to a man in order to marry her. So, I asked myself: Why is it important for a parent to have beautiful girls?

First, let me say this: As a parent, your main concern should not be to have a beautiful girl whose looks would make people swoon whenever she walked by, or land a rich husband at an early age later in her life. As a parent, your main concern should be to raise your daughter to be strong enough to face this world and this society where being a woman is a challenge in itself. Your duty as a parent is to teach your girl that her looks will only take her so far; because it’s something she didn’t earn but rather inherited, a privilege with which she was endowed with no effort on her part. Your job is help her build up her self-confidence independently from how she looks, to teach her how to be deserving of admiration and respect because of what she’s like, not what she looks like.

As a parent, your main concern must be protecting your daughter, and part of that is understanding and making her understand that beauty often attracts the wrong kind of men, and to make sure she knows she’s not a doll or a Barbie, and that she doesn’t have to look like one for anyone’s satisfaction, because a real man wouldn’t compare her to some plastic-looking singer on TV or some anorexic cover girl, that a real man would see through to her real beauty before seeing the skin-deep one, and that her image in his eyes would actually be a reflection of her soul.

As I write this I can’t help but remember a small funny incident. A few months back my little niece, Jana, came to me while I was working and started blabbering – or continued blabbering as she lives in a constant state of blabbering- then she paused for a moment, and then said with a look I still don’t quite understand: “I’m the prettiest girl in the world”. I’m not sure what put it in her head, all I know is that once she said that my job as her aunt and her parents’ job is to make sure she keeps on believing that she is the most beautiful girl in the world, perhaps not in the sense she meant as a 3 year-old, but in a rather in a different way, one that is not related to anything she can see in a mirror.

 

كأس العالم، وقصص قديمة أخرى

طول عمري بحس كأس العالم إلو أجواء خاصة، في إشي بصير بالجو ما بصير إلا وقت كأس العالم، وزي كل شي تاني هاد الشعور بضعف مع تقدم الزمن كونه كل شي تغير. زمان كان كأس العالم مثلاً كل الناس يشوفوه على القناة الأرضية الأردنية وببلاش، أما هلأ فكأس العالم برتبط بالتفكير من وين الواحد بده يجيب حق الاشتراك ضمن كل أولويات الحياة التانية، فبتصفي كرة القدم اللي كانت وسيلة للترويح والخروج من عالم الواقع هي نفسها سبب للاصطدام بالواقع

ما علينا…0

بعيداً عن الجانب المظلم لكأس العالم وفساد الفيفا والمظاهرات في البرازيل كونه  العالم عم بكتشف إنه “عشاق السامبا” طلعوا شعب زينا زيهم عندهم اهتمامات تانية غير الرقص وكرة القدم، متل الأكل والشرب ومكان يناموا فيه تالي هالليل. بعيداً عن كل سمات البدن، في لحظة ما لمعت في بالي ذكرياتي الأولى عن كأس العالم

كان عمري عشر سنين وكانت السنة 1994. بتذكر إنه أنا وإخواني ما كنا نهتم بكرة القدم ولا بكأس العالم وكان كأس العالم شغال واحنا ولا عنا خبر، خاصة كوننا كنا أطفال طبيعيين تتمثل أولوياتنا بالدوارة بالحارات، وعلاقتنا بالإعلام والتكنولوجيا كانت محصورة في تلفزيون بجيب رسوم متحركة لساعة زمن، حتى “الأتاري” ما كانت واصليتنا لسا. فلا كأس عالم ولا بطيخ، لحد ما يوم رحنا عند بيت عمي، قبل المباراة النهائية بين البرازيل وإيطاليا بيوم، ويومها كانت الانطلاقة…0

طبعاً بنات واولاد عمامي وعمتي كلهم كانوا – ولا يزالوا- بشجعوا إيطاليا باستماتة. فقعدوا يحكولنا عن إيطاليا وروبرتو باجيو والمباراة النهائية وكذا، وهيك فجأة بين ليلة وضحاها ويا غافل إلك الله أصبحنا أنا وأختي مشجعين إيطاليين، بينما أخوي الصغير اللي كان لسا ما وصل مرحلة  محاكاة كل شي بعملوه اصحابه وقرايبه كان لسا في مرحلة تشجيع الفريق اللي بشجعه أبوه، فكان مع البرازيل كونه أبوي برازيلي كأي أب آخر في العالم العربي في ذلك الوقت. أخوي الرابع ما كانش مولود لسا وهاي بحد ذاتها حقيقة تدعو للتأمل

المهم، إجا يوم المباراة وأنا أختي زي اللي عن جد البسنا أزرق ودهنا وجوهنا أزرق ، أو بالأحرى حطينا  (آي شادو) أزرق على خدودنا، وقعدنا نستنى المباراة، بينما أبوي لبس تي شيرت أصفر، وأمي لبست أصفر كمان مع إنها عملت حالها مش مهتمة بس قال يعني مصادف – يا محاسن الصدف- وأخوي ما كان عنده إشي أصفر فلبسته إمي بيجامة برتقالية كونها أقرب إشي ممكن للأصفر (ذا نيكست بيست ثينغ)، وقد يكون ذلك هو السبب الغامض الذي جعله يصبح فيما بعد، لما كبر وعقل، مشجعاً مستميتاً لهولندا. (إنه جد يعني، مين كان يشجع هولندا قبل ال2000؟ لازم في سبب)0

طبعاُ فش داعي أحكي التفاصيل المؤلمة اللي صارت بعدين، سواء إلنا أو لروبيرتو باجيو – الله يمسيه بالخير وين ما كان- وطبعاُ أنا واختي نمنا مسموم بدنّا وتاني يوم الصبح إجا عنا جدي الله يرحمه وقمنا سلمنا عليه ووجهنا مخبص بالأزرق، وما بنسى منظره كيف ضحك إنه “إيه! إنت كمان مع إيطاليا؟”0

طبعاً جدي قصة تانية، كانت منهجيته في كرة القدم إنه يقعد يحضر المباراة وينبسط إذا أي فريق جاب جول ويعصب إذا أي لاعب ضيع جول، حتى لو مش عارف مين بلعب ولا بهمه مين بلعب

المهم، ما حصل لاحقاً إنه أنا ضليت مشجعة لإيطاليا حتى عام 2002 تقريباً، بس صراحة طوال تلك السنوات كان تشجيع إيطاليا عبارة عن شد أعصاب ووجع قلب فبطلت أشجعهم بالآخر، أو فكرت إني بطلت أشجعهم بس فعلياً انبسطت وهيصت لما فازوا بكأس العالم 2006. يعني صراحة اللي عملوه فيي بال2002 وأنا توجيهي ما بنتسى، فكان لا بد إني أتخلى عنهم وأبحث عن حب جديد. أما أخوي فزي ما حكيت صار يشجع هولندا وألمانيا، مع الميلان نحو هولندا حتى صار برتقالي بالكامل في النهاية، إضافة إلى نظرية البيجامة البرتقالية بقول إنه السبب لحبه لهولندا هو أساطيرهم مثل كرويف ورود خوليت وأسلوب الكرة الشاملة اللي خلاه يصير مشجع لبرشلونة من زمان، قبل ما تصير موضة. أما أختي فبعد هديك المباراة بطلت تشجع حدا ولا بتحب كرة القدم أصلاً، كانت مرات يعجبها شكل لاعب في فريق فتصير تشجعه بمباراة معينة، وهاي كانت حدود علاقتها بكرة القدم

عن نفسي قلت متابعتي لكرة القدم شيئاً فشيئاً كونه بطّل في وقت أصلاً وكوني زهقت من الجدالات اللي كانت تصير في الشغل عن مدريد وبرشلونة، خاصة لما تتناقش مع بنات بالنسبة إلهم اللاعب الشاطر هو اللي بحط جوال وبس (إذا كانوا بيقرؤوا فهم عارفين حالهم وعارفين إني بحبهم كتير وعارفين إنهم قززوني بالموضوع)، ففي النهاية اكتشفت إني ما بشجع حدا، يعني بس تبدأ المباراة بعرف أنا مع مين، وعادة يحدد ذلك أسباب إلها علاقة بأشياء غير الرياضة، مثلاً مين الفريق اللي شعبه مطحون أكتر، مين زمان ما فاز بإشي، مين بمثل وبياخد ضربات جزاء بالغش، وكذا

حالياً بشجع إيطاليا لأنه أخوي التوجيهي بشجع إيطاليا وممكن يتأزم نفسياً إذا خسرت ومش ناقصنا دراما، لكن ما بتمنى فريق أوروبي يفوز على أرض أمريكا اللاتينية، لأسباب تاريخية ورمزية…0

وكل كأس عالم وإنتوا سالمين، وتعيشوا وتتذكروا

Story of a Ball

2014-05-23 13.21.32

 

Like everything else, this severely worn-out ball has a story of her own.

Chewed u by one too many knocks and countless bangs against stone-solid walls, this little thing was once as colorful as bouncy as it got. Back in the days when my biggest worry was a math exam I had a thing for a rubbery bouncing balls, or “crazy balls” as we called them. I had them in different shapes and colors, and they weren’t just collector’s items for me as I would hit them down hard on the street to see how far up they would go, and maybe invent some sort of game to play with them.

That was 17 or 18 years ago or so, if not longer before that.

At first this ball was kept safe somewhere in my desk or my closet along with other balls, but as time went by and life got busy, along with other small things, this ball was thrown around the house to fend for herself.

I remember seeing it under the couch, behind the TV or somewhere in the kitchen, as if it was moving around the house following certain stories or certain people, sneaking a peak here or eavesdropping there. Year after year, this ball was kicked around and slapped by feet and hands of all sizes, and I must say, she is a survivor indeed. In a house were, like every other house, things get lost all the time even when we sometime try to keep them under lock and key, this little thing stood her ground.

The fact that she was still there amazed me when I realized that fact some time ago, but what really made me sure she was a keeper was the fact that she was still there even after we moved houses. It’s hard to imagine that somewhere amid the fuss someone cared enough to maybe throw it into one of the boxes or send it to a new home one way or another.

Today as I was passing through my brothers’ room I found her standing there, staring at me as if saying: “How much longer do you think I will hang in there?” And that was when I realized I should at least take a photo of her before it’s too late, and maybe then write a little post in homage to this neglected warrior.

So, here to my favorite crazy ball ever which, in a world where people come and go in and out of your life like a shopping mall’s gate on a Friday night, she stuck through thick and thin.