أثر الحمص

اليوم، على غير العادة وأيام الجمعة، ما كان عندي شغل. وطبعاً كما هو القانون الكوني لما تكون فاضي ببطل جاي عبالك تعمل إشي من الأشياء اللي نفسك تعملها وإنت مليان… وإنت مشغول. وفي خضم هذه الحالة قررت إني أروح مع بنات أختي على حصة السباحة تبعتهم أشوفهم وهم بسبحوا وأضحك شوي.

المهم، رحنا على الحصة وانبسطنا وخلصنا الحصة وروحنا. واحنا بالطريق وقفنا نجيب أشياء، خبز وحمص بالتحديد عشان الفطور،  مع العلم إنه من أكبر الأخطاء في رمضان تفوت على مخبز وإنت صايم، لأنه روائح الخبز حتى لو كنت متخوم وعندك أميبا بالأمعاء ومتصاوب برصاصة في المعدة رح تخليك بدك تشتري المخبز باللي فيه، بس الله ستر المخبز كانت ريحته غاز لسبب ما. بلا طول سيرة،  تركت أختي في المخبز وأخذت البنات على محل الحمص اللي جنبه. طلبنا صحن حمص ورحنا وقفنا عند الموظف المختص بتعبئة صحون الحمص. حقيقة الموظف كان مبين عليه مش طايق خياله، متجهم ومكفهر الوجه وهذا شيء مفهوم طبعاً نظراً للوضع الإقليمي. المهم، تناول الحمصاني الصحن وحط فيه كمية لا بأس بها من الحمص وصار يدوره ويلفه ويتفنن فيه، وبنات أختي واقفين براقبوا بفضول الأطفال، فمن باب كسر الصمت اللي عادة بكون awkward  بين الغرباء قلتلهم: شوفوا كيف عم بعمل صحن الحمص. فطبعاً، قامت جنى حكتلي: بدي أصير أعمل متله بس أكبر. فعدت كلامها من وراها عشان الحمصاني يسمع، وقلتلها اه ليش لأ، قام الحمصاني ابتسم لأول مرة منذ دخولنا وصار يحكيلها: “حنشغلك هنا عندنا… تاكلي حمص طول النهار… وكمان  نص ساعة حننزل الشاورما…” واندمج في الحديث معهم، وفجأة تحول لإنسان آخر، وخلص وأعطانا الصحن وهو مبتسم ومنشكح وكمل مع الزباين التانيين بنفس الروح وصار يحكي بصوت عالي، والمحل اللي كان قبل 5 دقائق ميت فجأة صار فيه حياة

طلعت من المحل وأنا بفكر كيف حوار مع بنتين صغار قلب مزاج هاد الشخص 180 درجة، وبما إنه كل إشي مرتبط ببعضه ممكن هالدقيقتين هدول يكون إلهم تأثير إيجابي على أشياء أبعد، بنظرية أثر الفراشة، أو أثر الحمص في هاي الحالة

تذكرت إشي مرة حكتلي إياه صاحبتي، كان عندها مشاكل وكانت بمزاج سيىئ، وكانت طالعة تزور ستها وبدها تاخدلها معها إشي حلو، فدخلت على محل ولما أخدت طلبها وإجت تطلع ولا هو الموظف بقولها: استني… وراح جاب إشي، شَبَر أو إشي من أشياء الزينة، وعملها على شكل وردة وحطلها إياها فوق العلبة. حكتلي القصة وعادتها مرة تانية بعد سنوات، لهلأ الموقف معلق بذاكرتها وكيف إنه قلبلها كل مودها

اللي بدي أحكيه فكرة مبتذلة ومكررة ومعلوكة لمهلوكة بس مهمة كتير: كل إنسان بخوض معركته الخاصة في حياته، كل حدا عنده همومه ومشاكله الخاصة، حاول تترك أثر لطيف على نفس أي شخص بتقابله حتى لو ما عرفت اسمه وعالأرجح مش رح تشوفه طول حياتك، أو إذا مش قادر تكون لطيف لا تنكد عليه، لأنه زي ما المسبة بتلف بتلف وبترجع لصاحبها، النكد كمان لو يلف الأرض برجع لصاحبه، والكلمة الطيبة نفس الإشي

 في إشي اسمه زكاة نعم، يعني إذا عندك نعمة تعطي من جنسها، فإذا كان ربنا منعم عليك بالسعادة (حتى لو ما كانت كاملة) فلما تنقل جزء من سعادتك لشخص ىخر بتكون شكرت النعمة وزكيتها

رمضان  مبارك وسعيد عالجميع

On Pounds and Kilos

It’s one of the things that connects us as humans all over the world, and makes an excellent small talk topic during dinner parties: We’ve all experienced and/or are likely to experience weight issues at some point of our lives.

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Having been there myself, I managed to form my own understanding of the subject, and learned a whole lot through trial and error. Although I wasn’t trying to shed a huge amount of weight, there’s has been a period of my life where I was always on some sort of a diet: Crash diet, healthy diet, heart surgery diet, you name it. I’ve tried everything from vinegar and water to the notorious cabbage soup, which I wouldn’t recommend. I spent a significant amount of time googling calories in foods and understanding how our bodies work, what makes us puff up or shrink in size, what a healthy BMI is and how much calories we need on daily basis. I walked, jogged, swam and even tried weight loss yoga. I monitored my weight with gym trainers, until I arrived at the conviction that it’s your size on clothes that tells you what you need to know, not the scales.

So, you see, I’m a little bit obsessed when it comes to this, or let’s say cautious. Hence, it’s something that’s on my mind constantly and I can’t help but make observations relating to it wherever I go. So, here are some of my thoughts which I hope that nobody would find insensitive or not quite politically correct.

– It’s a universally acknowledged facts that a fat kid is a cute kid, it’s a given, you just want to eat them. However, when I see a child who’s over 5 years old and overweight, I feel like I want to grab his parents and shout at them. I want to ask them: Do you realize that your child’s eating habits now could set him in his ways for life? More gravely, do you realize that you could be partly responsible for your teenage child’s weight and possible self-esteem issues? Even worse, you could be partly responsible for your adult child’s heart attack. What’s scary is that children’s life today is different than how it used to be for us. Yes, we used to gobble down chips and candy like the end of the world is upon us, but we were active, roaming the streets until dusk, not chained down to our iPads and PlayStations.

– It really bothers me when I see a couple where the woman is slim and the man is overweight. Not because I don’t think they look right, not at all, it’s just that it makes me think that it represents our crooked social standards: The woman must always stay in shape and watch her figure, while the man can do whatever he wants because it doesn’t matter how his wife sees him. But aside from that, it makes me wonder that, if she loves him, how could she take care of herself and her body and let him get carried away like that? Because anyone who’s overweight must have gained it gradually over time, so the question that poses itself is: how did you let yourself get there? Why didn’t you stop it in time? So, why didn’t you bring his attention to it? It even makes it easier to hug if I’m not mistaken. Of course it could be the other way around, but that doesn’t bother me much because I know that men usually can’t keep quiet about it, so if you see a slender man with an overweight woman, chances are he’s already made a few comments about how much rice she put on her plate or suggested nicely that she could take some time for herself to hit the gym.

– Newsflash: Confidence has nothing to do with your weight. Of course everyone should be confident and love themselves no matter how overweight and underweight they are, this is how it should be, because you’re essentially the same person inside underneath that skin and flesh. However, being confident and feeling beautiful doesn’t make it okay to be overweight. You might say “I’m happy like this”, well, of course you are, but you know who’s not so happy? Your spinal column. So, yes, you’re beautiful and confident and happy, why not be healthy too?

– After all these years of yo-yo dieting and calorie-counting, I discovered one thing that could be the key to staying in shape: Awareness. Make a conscious effort to be aware of everything you put into your body, don’t just sit at the dinner pilot and switch to auto-pilot mode. Make healthy, smart choices every day. Order the grilled chicken breast instead of the breaded fried scallop, no matter how tempting it might be. I remember at some point I became so conscious of this that when I was in the supermarket I would grab things from the shelves and put them back, because when I look at chocolate cake I no longer saw delicious, mouthwatering spongy goodness, I saw glucose syrup and saturated fat – That’s not to say that I don’t have chocolate cake anymore, but moderation is key, and the key to moderation is awareness.

– Another thing I learned it to keep as far away as you can from crash diets. Really, they suck. They just make you crave food even more. Opt for a healthy diet even if it means you will lose weight slowly, because from my personal experience I can say that they weight you put off slowly is what really makes the difference and gives dramatic results.

– Don’t give in for excuses, there’s usually a way around any excuse you come up with. Don’t have time? Go for interval workouts, do it at home if you don’t want to go to the gym, , 30 seconds of high intensity workout, 30 seconds slow workouts, alternately for 24 minutes, 6 minutes of stretching, and boom, you’re done in half an hour. Personally, I found that this is the best way to go and it really makes a difference. But it’s not only how many times a week you exercise, it’s your whole lifestyle that should be more active. Try to do more errands on foot and make it a habit to do more things while walking or moving, like reading, surfing the web on your phone, etc.

– Know yourself and your needs. How much calories you need? (which you can easily find out by using a calorie calculator, which you can easily find online). Don’t give into emotional eating, think of the consequences, find other ways to relieve the stress like walking or jogging, you can call it emotional workout, and the good news it actually relives the stress by increasing the production of the feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain called Dopamine, unlike emotional eating which only gives the illusion of relieving stress.

– Finally, make peace with the fact that there is no magic wand to lose weight. Don’t believe all these sensational ads about magic pills slimming gels. I made it a rule that anything promising fast results must have something essentially wrong with it, and that’s not just when it comes to diet, but life in general, because life just doesn’t work that way. It takes work, constant work and the bottom line is: you can’t have your cake and eat it. You just cannot eat whatever you want and be inactive while losing weight and being healthy. As hard it might be to swallow one should accept the fact that it all comes down to inputs and outputs: How much energy you put into your body, and how much of it you expend. Perhaps applying that into practice could make losing those last 5 kilos not so hard as it might seem, and it could dawn on you that going down from 90 Kilos to 70 kilos might be just one a matter of one less daily meal, or one healthy choice away.

Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking

What if I told you that you could make some serious life decisions based on a few initial impressions or a 3-minute conversation? What if I claimed that some endeavors of yours have a better chance of success if you listened to the voice within you, instead of following a consciously constructed thought process? Well, you’d probably think I’m one of those mindfulness gurus trying to promote a new book titled “How to Clear Your Mind and Stop Thinking Once and For All”, with a free 3-week detox diet program on the side, and then you’d very politely -or less than politely- ask me to get a grip and go find a real job.

Perhaps this could give you a glimpse of my mindset as I started reading Malcold Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. I started to have my doubts with the first few pages. Thankfully though the book consisted of a myriad of stories and examples to get its points across that I found it interesting enough not to toss it away after the first chapter.

The book starts with a story about a museum that was meaning to buy a supposedly ancient statue. The museum had conducted thorough examinations of the statue to determine whether it was authentic and the results came back that it was, and hence they acquired it for a huge sum of money. However, when experts came to take a look at the statue, several of them decided by just looking at it that it was a fake. And guess what? They were right.

So the question was: How did they know? And the basic answer was simply: Intuition. That was where I started to have doubts about what I was reading, because I had my own doubts about intuition, a word so elastic it could be used in a countless number of contexts. Who’s to say what is intuition and what is not? But above all, my distrust of is based on the fact that you cannot explain it or prove it, unlike informed and thoughtfully studied decisions.

However, it turned out there was more to intuition than I thought. The author got my undivided attention with 2 major points: 1- Intuition isn’t just that vague feeling you cannot explain, it’s actually the sum of your own experiences stored in your “adaptive unconscious”, telling you what you know before realizing that you know it. 2- Our instincts can betray us sometimes.

The book argues that sometimes less is more, meaning that the less information you have the more you are likely to make the right decision or to judge a situation correctly, because you are giving way to your adaptive unconscious to act using all the past experience of yours, and forcing too much information on it could confuse your mind and lead you to wrong decisions. One example was diagnosing heart attacks in people who complain of chest pain. ER doctors struggled with this for years, sending home people who turned out later on to be at risk of heart attacks and wasting valuable resources taking care of people who turned out to be at no risk at all. That was until a doctor called Lee Goldman developed the Goldman Algorithm which could recognize people with risk of heart attacks by using only 3 major risk factors. At first the doctors rejected it, thinking it was preposterous to depend on such little information to decide whether a person was having a heart attack as opposed to a thorough cross examination by a real doctor. However, the algorithm was tested for two years and it turned out that it guessed right 95% of the time, while the doctors guessed right between 75% and 89% of the time, hence it was adopted in ER’s, saving time and money as well as lives.

Be that as it may, Gladwell makes it clear that some matters require long and hard conscious thinking, but the value of rapid cognition is most vital in situations where time is a luxury you don’t have, and a snap judgment – based on enough training on rapid cognition – can save the day. But is that always the case?

Unfortunately, sometimes this very intuition could lead us astray. The thing is it often happens that our own fears or desires could disguise as intuition. I suppose we’ve all been there, being so afraid of doing something new that we almost quit, or when something was so unfamiliar that we it took us some time to accept. Take fashion for example. Let’s say there’s a new trend and some people are brave enough to try it, but everyone else thinks it’s ugly. A few weeks later, everyone thinks it looks good and you see people everywhere dressed in that particular fashion trend. It might seem that people are following an ugly trend just because it’s in fashion, but the truth is that it was never ugly, it was just weird and unfamiliar, and part of our brain defense-mechanisms is to resist the unfamiliar.

But there’s something else that’s equally if not more serious than that: Our unconscious biases. As you know, we are the products of our environment and experiences, and no matter how much we resist being influenced by society or the media, it all seeps into our unconscious mind one way or another and we end up with biases we are unaware of, associating certain things with negative or positive attributes.

Let me give you a personal experience as a case in point.

There was that one time when I was walking down the street alone and I saw a black guy coming from the opposite direction, and I automatically felt afraid for a moment because I could put myself in check. I was ashamed of myself, and surprised too. I never thought of myself as a racist person and I despised racism more than anything else, but what was that? Does that mean I’m a racist?

Now, years after that incident I found the answer within the pages of this book. All those years of watching black people depicted as delinquents on TV and movies and living in a fundamentally racist world must have their toll.

Now, does that mean we should just accept those biases and live with them? Not at all, for as Gladwell puts it: “Just because something is outside of awareness does not mean it’s outside of control”. Actually, identifying those unconscious biases is the first step towards putting them to rest.

Another important thing the book discussed is the Warren Harding Error. It was called that in reference to Warren Harding, one of the worst presidents in the history of the United States, who was elected mainly because of his physically imposing looks and strong rumbling voice which made him look like he would make a great leader, which proved to be a bar too high for him during his short presidency. It’s simply the act of judging people based on outer appearance, and as you probably know we have no shortage of that in our society or any society for that matter. I remember reading once that men act nicer to women who look beautiful, and I don’t think it’s always done consciously. Moreover, in my opinion, I think  many cases of “love at the first sight” could be actually big fat Warren Harding errors.

This is a book about basic human psychology. From relationships to wars, it sheds light on why we do what we do and how, and why sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Actually, it made me think how much time and effort and even lives could be saved if psychologists were given a bigger part in law enforcement or airport security for example. As I mentioned earlier, the book keeps you interested through a story after another to get the point across instead of long, rigid lectures, all the while introducing you to famous figures in the world of psychology  whose work and effort were the building blocks for this book.

 

يحدث في ملاعبنا

بمناسبة العفن “الرياضي” الذي حدث في ملاعبنا مؤخراً، محمد طمليه يحييكم من وراء القبر، وهديكم نصاً له كان قد كتبه منذ سنوات بعنوان “يحدث في ملاعبنا”، وكون التاريخ يعيد نفسه، أو كوننا لم نتغير كثيراً كشعب منذ ذلك الوقت إلى الآن ، يكون النص مناسباً للحدث كما لو كُتب اليوم

لا نريد كرة قدم، ولا أي نوع من الرياضة: يلائمنا اللهاث أكثر، وكذلك السعال والترهل وانحناء الظهر

ما هذا السخف الذي يحدث في المباريات؟ قناعتي أنه سخف مدروس، وانحطاط مع سبق الإصرار، ووسخ يحظى برعاية جهات مريبة: جهات ترى أن اللاعب الثاني عشر في الفريق هو الرعونة، وأن الحكم الحقيقي للمباراة هو حفنات من المتهورين والمرتزقة تم توظيفهم في المدرجات لإنتاج ضغائن غريبة عجيبة: أنا لا أقصد فريقاً دون فريق، ولا جمهوراً دون جمهور… كلنا حمقى، والرائحة الكريهة واحدة لكل الأنوف

مجرد “كرة قدم”، وكلنا نعرف أنها كرة قدم باهتة ورديئة ومثيرة للضحك والشفقة، ولكن “الزعران” والحمقى مصممون على تحويل اللعبة إلى مناسبات لتداول “سياسة ساذجة ومنحطة”.

لا نريد رياضة، وأعتقد أن إلغاء الملاعب بات ضرورة ملحة طالما أنها أصبحت منابر يستطيع أي مأجور أو متهور أن يستثمرها للفحيح

لا نريد كرة قدم، ولسنا في حاجة للمزيد من أسباب الاهتراء

موت جنوب النهر

لم يكن موت س.ص حدثاً عادياً في قريته النائمة في زاوية منسية جنوب النهر. نزل الخبر على قومه الذين لم يألفوا الفواجع كحمم قذفها بركان نائم ذات نهار عادي، عادي جداً. لعل تعطأشهم لفاجعة ما تضمهم معاً وتضفي بعض الإثارة على حياتهم الراكدة جعلهم يبالغون في تهويل المأساة، أو لعلهم أحبوه فعلاً كما شهدوا لبعضهم.0

قال البعض إن زوجته ما أن سمعت بالخبر حتى أغشي عليها وتطلب إيقاظها ثلاثة فحول من البصل ودلوين من ماء بارد، وحلفت ألا تغادر بيته، الذي هو بيت أهله، حتى يدركها الموت فتلحق به. وقال البعض ذاتهم أن أمه لم تذق الزاد منذ جاءها الخبر، وظلت ساهمة لا تنبس ببنت شفة سبعة أيام بلياليها، ولما نطقت طلبت أن تزور قبره الذي لم يُعرف مكانه إذ مات غريباً وحيداً في أقاصي الأرض. يروي آخرون الواقعة كما يلي: في الليلة السابعة لسكوتها استيقظت الأم المفجوعة  في آخر ساعات الليل هلعة مفزوعة وراحت تهز زوجها الذي، كما يُقال، صار ينام ست عشرة ساعة في اليوم منذ جاءه خبر ولده، وراحت تصيح وتطالبه بأخذها حالاً لترى قبر ولدها بعينها وتلمسه لمس اليد.0

أما أخوه الوحيد فأصابه ما قال مختصون أنه حالة من الاكتئاب الحاد الناتج عن الصدمة، إذ لم يعد يكلم أحداً من الناس وعزل نفسه داخل سيارة أخيه القديمة التي ما انفك يحاول إقناعه ببيعها، وغدت الآن تراثاً لا يبيعه بكل أموال الأرض.

في أول أيام العزاء توافد أهل القرية شيباً وشيباناً إلى دار الفقيد ولم يكونوا يتركونها حتى العشاء. أعلن مختار القرية تبرئة الفقيد من َدين كان له برقبته، وحذا بقية أهل القرية ممن كانت لهم أموال تجارة مع الفقيد حذوه، بينما راح أصدقاؤه يذكرون قصصاً تقشعر لها القلوب في شهامته وجسارته.

لم يلبث وكان هذا الحال حتى حلّ الشتاء، وكأنما غسل الشتاء الحزن العالق في الهواء فبدأت القرية تستعيد روح اللامبالاة شيئاً فشيئاً، والحزن الطويل يضجر الروح ويعطل سير الحياة، والحي أبقى من الميت كما يقولون، والنسيان نعمة، والعزيز يبقى حياً في القلب، وإن جاء ذكره تلين ملامح الجالسين ويقول أحدهم إن روحه قد طلبت الرحمة.

لكن الحزن ظل ضيفاُ ثقيلاً في منزل أهل الفقيد، ولما لحق أمه وأبوه به إلى ديار الحق تربّع الحزن وأعلن نفسه سيداً للبيت بلا منازع. ارتأت أرملة س.ص أنه لم يعد مناسباً بقاؤها في المنزل وحدها مع أخيه وزوجته فتصبح خادمة لهما، فما كان منها إلا أن انتزعت نفسها من منزل الزوجية الذي حلفت ألا تتركه أبداً، وغادرته بدموع عيونها. إلا أن الدمع ما لبث أن جف إذ توافدت نساء القرية لمواساتها كأنّ المرحوم، بإذن الله، قد مات مرة أخرى. وتضمنت عبارات المواساة لفتات لطيفة إلى عمرها الصغير وجمالها الذي لا يجب أن يُدفن مع مع دُفن، وأحقيتها في أن تواصل حياتها وتفتح الباب لدخول السعادة من جديد. وهكذا وبعد أشهر من الحداد والدموع وتوافد المعزيات، خلعت الأسود ووضعت الكحل واستقبلت الخاطبين، ولم تلبث أن تزوجت وصار لها من الأبناء اثنان خلال عامين.0

أما أخوه فصار له من الأبناء ثلاثة، واضطر إلى بيع سيارة أخيه التي عاهد نفسه ألا يبيعها أبداً، لكن تذمر زوجته وتكاليف الحياة أرغمته على ذلك. غرفة أخيه صارت غرفة لأكبر أبنائه بعد أن قام بطلائها من جديد بألوان زاهية لتطرد الحزن المقيم فيها منذ سنوات.0

وهذا ما كان من حال القرية والأهل بعد أربع سنوات من خبر رحيل س.ص، والذي لم يعد بعد كل ذلك الوقت أكثر من اسم يتذكرونه بشيء من الحب أو الصعوبة أحياناً كلما طلبت روحه الرحمة.0

وفي شتاء العام الخامس  حدث ما لم يخطر ببال أحد. يحلف أحدهم أنه رأى رجلاً يركض من جهة النهر كأنه رأى شبحاً، وما هو بشبح، ولما رآه رجال القرية المتعطشين لحدث جديد يكسر رتابة حياتهم ركضوا في الاتجاه المعاكس، فلما رأوا ما أفزعه أسقط في يدهم وتبعوا الشبح بصمت حتى وصل إلى منزل س.ص سابقاً وطرق الباب.0

يُقال إن شقيق س.ص عانقه ساعة كاملة قبل أن يستطيع الأهل القرية أن يفتكّوه من بين ذراعيه. تناقل السامعون الخبر الذي سمعوه على لسان العائد من الموت حتى لم يعد أحد يعرف صدقه من كذبه. البعض قالوا إن عاصفة ضربت مركبه فقذفته الأمواج إلى جزيرة عاش عليها يصارع الوحوش البرية ويأكل أوراق الشجر والحشرات حتى وجدته سفينة تجار من الهند. وفي رواية أخرى يُقال إنه سقط عن جبل أثناء ترحاله وفقد الذاكرة طوال تلك الأعوام، لكن الرواية الأقوى تقول إنه تعرض للاختطاف على يد جماعة من تجار البشر وعاش في العبودية حتى جاء فرج الله.0

لم تثر القصة فضول أهل القرية طويلاً، إذ أن أخبار الحياة لا تعدل أخبار الموت إثارة في عرفهم. وما هي إلا أسابيع حتى عاد س.ص  هو س.ص ما قبل الفاجعة، وبدأت أفواج الدائنين تتوافد إلى الدار كل منهم يطالبه بما كان يدين له به قبل رحيله وبأموال تجارتهم الضائعة، ولما لم يفلح في سدادها خسر الصديق تلو الآخر وبدأ الناقمون عليه بالتكاثر.0

تذكر سيارته القديمة فسأل أخاه عنها، إلا أنه أخبره بأن سعرها لم يكفِ حتى سعر الطلاء لغرفة ابنه البكر، التي تعب في تجهيزها كثيراُ بالطبع فطلب من س.ص النوم في الصالة مراعاة لمشاعر الولد وخصوصيته، ما لبث أن بدأ ينقل له تذمر زوجته من وجوده في البيت مما منعها من أخذ راحتها في منزلها، فما كان منه إلا أن غادر المنزل لعله يجد مأوى في منزل صديق أو قريب.0

ولما كان أصدقاؤه قد قلوا ومن بقي منهم تذرع بضيق داره ليعتذر عن استقباله، فلم يبقَ أمامه سوى ابن عم له، قصده كملجأ أخير، فما كان منه إلا أن خرّ صعقاً حين فتحت زوجته – السابقة- الباب تحمل على خاصرتها طفلاً  لا يشبهه.0

هام على وجهه ليلة أو ليلتين قبل أن يتجه ببصره إلى النهر الذي أعاده إلى هنا. اعترته رغبة في الجري حتى يصل إلى منبعه، لكن لم تكن به قوة لذلك. نهض ومشي بخطوات بطيئة، مشى طوال الليل، ومع طلوع الفجر شوهد في القرية للمرة الأخيرة، راحلاً عنها بلا عودة هذه المرة.0

Let Them Drown

Said Europe.

Europe, who contributed more than enough to the demise and destruction of Africa, this continent way richer than theirs, whose people have been oppressed, enslaved and killed so that Europe could ascend over their skulls to its present glory, and today Europe is living up to its historic role as the executioner, however there’s no guillotine this time, only a vast treacherous expanse of sea…

Europe, who thought of Syria, Palestine and Iraq as their natural right to have and to give away, and hence now it’s their right to leave them out there in the open ocean to sink to their death. Their loyal subjects, in life and in death.

“Let them drown” is the new “let them eat cake”

 

africa

The Lives of Others

Let me begin with a certified cliché: It’s not very easy to be a single woman in an Oriental society. Well, actually I tend to believe this is the case in any society, for different reasons. It’s not only about people’s expectations of you, sometimes it’s because they don’t expect that much.

Let me clear up any possible confusion by this little example: My cousin used to freelance for this company through this man. One day he called her to ask if she could take a new assignment, but she said she couldn’t because she didn’t have much time on her hands, to which he replied: “But why wouldn’t you have time? You’re not married or anything”.

You see what I’m getting at?

Sometimes people would assume that since you’re not married or you don’t have kids then you don’t have a life, and hence you should live their life. You should do their work, babysit their kids, run their errands, etc. And it’s not because they are trying to take advantage of you, it’s just the general idea, and it’s up to you to point that fallacy out.

I remember when my niece started getting serious homework at school. My sister tried somehow to get me to be the one to help her with it, so I had to stop her right there and tell her I didn’t have the time or the nerve for it, because although I love her girls to the nearest viable planet and back, they are her kids, her responsibility, not mine – although I still do it on the odd occasion, so it’s the exception not the rule.

So, get used to it. People could expect too much and too little of you. They could expect you to live their life as the natural course of things, and you owe it to yourself to set things right and make it clear that you do have a life, even if it’s not quite what they expect.

This is not a call to be a selfish witch, but rather a call not to let your selflessness make people take you for granted and finally end up living their lives, fragments of different lives, instead of being out there making a life of your own.

Theeb: A Review

theeb

 

So finally today I got to see Theeb, the Jordanian movie I’ve been waiting to see for so long. Perhaps a little longer than most people as I had the pleasure of working on it (well, not exactly on it, more like on the script for translation purposes, but I like to think I had something to do with it anyway). Of course that was almost 3 years ago, which goes to say how much work has been put into this movie, and to my delight I can safely say now after watching it that it certainly paid off – as if it wasn’t enough that it won best Arabic movie at Abu Dhabi Film Festival or best director at Venice Film Festival – well, I like to act like my opinion matters too.

The film follows the journey of 10 year-old Theeb through the treacherous terrain of the Arabian desert amid the chaos of the early 1900s. The story itself is quite deep, the kind that leaves you mesmerized in your seat when the end credits start rolling on. It excites numerous questions in your mind as it deals with themes of brotherhood, loyalty, betrayal and survival trough unimaginable circumstances, where friends could turn to foes and foes could turn to friends at the pull of a trigger. But, most of all, it’s a story of a little boy’s journey into maturity, from the comfort of his tribal home and into the real world where the strong eats the weak.

Technically speaking, the movie is a visual feast. From the breath-taking scenery of the very picturesque Wadi Rum to the great cinematography that gives the scenes a certain aura of mysticism and makes them beat with life despite the shadow of eminent death that prevails throughout the movie. The perfect complement for all that was the music and sound effects, which were of utmost importance in a movie with such little dialogue, filling in the blanks, speaking unspoken thoughts.

However, I still think the winning quality of this movie was its authenticity. Not only were the actors all local Bedouins living in Wadi Rum, everything in the movie feels so real and true to reality, which is something that has been and still severely lacking in Jordanian drama and film endeavors.  The acting, by the main characters at least, was so natural, their dialect, the way they dealt with the camels, with everyday instruments, nothing felt fake or overdone, which – I daresay- is a first in the Jordanian drama and movie scene.

All in all, I’m proud to say that this is a Jordanian movie and to recommend it to everyone I know, but I think I would’ve loved it just as much if it came from any other country because, after all is said and done, it’s a beautiful peace of art, really.

The movie is showing now in cinemas in Jordan, Lebanon and UAE, so make sure you don’t miss it if you’re in any of those countries or planning a trip there. You can check the IMDB page or the facebook page
for more info.

A Conversation with Tubby – 12

I was sitting alone at the farthest corner inside the café, sipping peacefully on my tea when he helped himself to the chair across from me.

Me: What do you want?

Tubby: Now, now! Is that anyway to greet an old friend?

Me: What’s with the pretentious language! Who do you think you are, freaking Mr. Darcy?

Tubby: Ah, classical literature references, now who’s being pretentious?

Me: What do you want? Can’t you see I’m enjoying the silence?

Tubby: Hardly so. You’ve been trying to find one good thought to write about to no avail.

Me: So?

Tubby: So I’m here to the rescue.

Me: And how exactly do you intend to help?

Tubby: Let’s see. You’ve had some interesting ideas on the way here. Like when you were stuck in traffic under that bridge

Me: And I started thinking what if the bridge collapsed. That’s not very interesting.

Tubby: Well, the interesting part is that you were wondering if you should leave your car and come to the café anyway.

Me: Your point?

Tubby: It’s funny how you start with something colossal and then forget about it and start thinking about the minor stuff.

Me: What can I say, a life of micro-planning is sure to produce some side effects.

Tubby: well, it’s not only that. You always sweat the small stuff.

Me: No I don’t!

Tubby: Yes you do. Even before going anywhere you start thinking what route you should take despite having been there a zillion times.

Me: That’s unfair, I stopped doing that. That is not to say I like to be prepared. Nothing wrong with having a plan.

Tubby: The best laid plans of mice and men…

Me: Often go astray. I know, I know. I’ve had my fair share of plans going astray. I’m not saying plans should always work, I just like to keep them handy, safety tools you might say.

Tubby: Drop the shrink talk. You’re obsessed with planning.

Me: “Obsessed” is pretty much shrink talk if you ask me.

Tubby: I didn’t ask you.

Me: Very funny.

Tubby: No, really. Think about it. The biggest problem with that bridge collapsing, for you, would be that it messed with your schedule.

Me: Would you please stop psychoanalyzing me? You said you were here to help, you didn’t give me one interesting idea to write about.

Tubby: Why write? Can you just sit here, stare at that cat out of the window and drink your tea? Why do you have to “do” something all the time?

Me: Okay, it’s getting late, I’m getting out of here…

A moment to Reflect

francois

Allow me to take a leave of my senses for a brief moment to contemplate the fact that at this very moment, while we’re busy making calculations, laying out plans, booking flights and worrying about this and that, this little fellow called Francois Langur is jumping freely between limestone caves somewhere in South-West China. He doesn’t have a wireless connection, he doesn’t know if the dress is white or blue, he couldn’t care less about exchange rates and he certainly doesn’t care what day of the week it is. 

Good for you, Francois, good for you.