Paris et al.

Person 1: It’s tragic what’s happened in Paris

Person 2: Yeah, totally insane. All these innocent people.

Person 1: Yes. I have a couple of French friends so I was up all night trying to make sure they were fine.

Person 2: Oh, I hope they were safe.

Person 1: Yes, thank God. I couldn’t know what to say except to express my deep sympathy and my apologies.

Person 2: Wait, what were you apologizing for?

Person 1: The bombings, you know.

Person 2: I’m sorry, I’m not following. What did you have to do with the bombings?

Person 1: Not me, but you know, because those were our people who did it,

Person 2: “Our people”, person 1, when did you join ISIS?

Person 1: I didn’t, it’s just that they are from here and they are Muslims

Person 2: They call themselves Muslims, that doesn’t make them our people and doesn’t make us responsible for their heinous acts.

Person 1: Well, we share something.

Person 2: Really? Tell me now because I don’t get it, as a Muslim living in the Middle East, who has never been to France, never incited against non-Muslims, never committed any discriminatory acts or promoted self-supremacy and have always spoken against terrorism, how am I supposed to be held responsible for the acts of some lunatics miles away who were created by certain powers for the sake of their own political agendas and then they were made to believe that killing people gives an express trip to Heaven? How am I supposed to be put in the same circle as these criminals just because at face value we seem to share the same beliefs?

Person 1: But people in the West don’t know that.

Person 2: Well then they need to educate themselves about it. You know what else they need to know? They need to know that ISIS kills many more Muslims that it does None-Muslims. How many people in the West know that? How many people heard about the bombings at the Mosque in Beirut one night before the Paris bombings where scores of people were killed? How about all the others slaughtered by ISIS in Syria? How about the bombings in the mosques in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait perpetrated by none other than ISIS? How about the Jordanian pilot who was burned to death by ISIS, that was a devout Muslim by the way. How can we be held accountable when we are victims ourselves?

Person 1: Well, for them those ISIS members came from amongst us

Person 2: Every society has its deluded bunch, and extremism can thrive wherever it finds fertile soil. As there are Islamic extremists there are right wing extremists in Europe and America, Jewish extremists in Israel, extremism isn’t confined to one religion or nationality. Heck, there are even extremist Buddhist killing Muslims in Burma by the hundreds, did the world know about that? No, because they only see what the media shows them.  So, instead of blaming a whole religion or people, go blame those who are funding terrorist groups and funding the war in Syria and the Middle East.

Person 1: That’s true, but perhaps they feel they have the right to demand an apology.

Person 2: Look, I understand what happened was horrendous, and they have the right to be angry, but we’re not the people they should be angry at, nor are we the ones who need to be making apologies. You don’t see Arabs going around demanding apology from every Jew in the world because of the Israeli on-slaughter of the Palestinians, and we surely didn’t demand an apology from every Christian in the world after Bush invaded Iraq killing hundreds of thousands while calling it a crusade. In fact, we Arabs, Muslims, the French people, the Latino people and everyone suffering from these wars all over the world have one common enemy. The powers that be who work in the shadows to serve their own political and fiscal agendas. Those may claim to belong to different religions, but in the end they all share the same values of greed and thirst for power. Those are the ones who pin us against each other, those are the ones whose interest lies in spreading hatred and discrimination, the ones who divide to rule. Those are the ones we should look out for, and the ones who should be making apologies.

Don’t be naïve, Person 1, this is much bigger than you and me, much bigger than all of us.

The Light From Beyond the Grave

I’ve never been a particularly depressive person. Well, for the most part at least. However, sometimes drama somehow catches up with you, be it your own life drama, the drama you make up in your head and the evening news drama. So, there were times where you’d find myself balancing at the edge of that abyss, trying hard not to fall or, sometimes not even trying hard enough.

For me, it was a couple of months ago that I was swayed that way. You know how life feels uncertain at times, and fears starts creeping into your bed at night like the stealthiest of snakes. And you realize how fast it’s all happening, that you’re now old enough to remember things from 10 years that weren’t childhood memories, and that’s when it gets challenging, when you realize that you’re a grown-up and you must own up to it.

In the midst of all that, I woke up one day to find that I was added to a closed Facebook group that brought together girls from my middle school where I spent two years, the 7th and the 8th grades. For some reason, those are the school years I’m most nostalgic for, but all that nostalgia and the cascade of memories didn’t help, especially with the numbers of girls said to have passed away young during the intervening years.

However, one story in particular drew my attention. One of the girls posted something in answer to those who were asking her about her sister, telling them that she passed away 3 and a half years ago. A friend of hers posted a few pictures of her, and the first thing I felt was this deep compassion with that girl I never knew, not only because she was young and pretty, there was something about her, a beauty that shone out of her eyes,  which didn’t seem to wane even when her illness started manifesting itself on her. You look at the picture and you can see that she is smiling from her heart, not because she has to, not because she was in any sort of denial, it was the smile of someone who’s at peace with herself, who knows it’s going to be fine one way or another.

Intrigued by that notion, I did some further looking up on Facebook, where I came upon a page dedicated for her memory, and that’s when I was totally blown away. I mean, surely death creates an aura of reverence around the dead, and hearing about someone passing away always has a humbling impact on you, even if you didn’t like that person, but you always manage to find something good to say about them in the heat of the moment. But to find all this love, all these heartfelt words by all these people years after the fact, this must tell you something about that dearly departed.

Seeing that, it was obvious to me that wasn’t an ordinary person, she must have done something right, something special, and I felt a compelling need to find out what it was, or how she was. The bittersweet surprise was when I googled her name and an abundance of links turned up. She was a fellow blogger, and after some further digging I found that she started blogging after she was diagnosed with cancer. Going through her posts, I saw no self-pity, no anger, only faith, love, joy, compassion, and all the good things that come with that. There was only light, and more light.

She was mourned by fellow bloggers who never met her but who were influenced by her beautiful soul just as I was years after her death. Looking at her eyes, so full of life, you can see that she was someone with so much to give that she didn’t just give to those she knew, but also those she didn’t. Not only during her life, but also after her death.

Her name was Ola Muath, she was born in 1983 and left this world in 2012. We never met, but she taught me that life is indeed uncertain, that’s a built-in feature of life, but it doesn’t mean you should live your life with uncertainty. She taught me that this is where you are now so try to make the best of it until your last breath, because it doesn’t matter when you leave this earth as long as you make sure to have made your mark in it, to have made it slightly a better place. She taught me not to be afraid, to embrace whatever comes your way, deal with it with grace and trust that God has a plan for you, a plan bigger than whatever you dream up. She taught me that death is not the end, and I’m sure she’s there somewhere now reaping the fruits of all the good seeds she sowed during her short but precious life.

I wish I’ve known Ola before she left, but I’m grateful to have known her at all, and I hope that one day I’ll meet her in a better place to say “thank you” from the bottom of my heart, face to face.



نصائح قبل نشر كتابك الأول

لا يمكنني إحصاء عدد المرات التي طلب مني فيها شخص ما إسداء نصيحة بخصوص نشر كتاب أول. وظراً لتجربتي المحدودة في هذا المجال، عادة ما كنت أحتار فيما يمكنني تقديمه من معلومات بشأن هذا الأمر، فأعرض تجربتي كما هي بدون تجميل أو مجاملات، محاولة تقليل مستوى الإحباط الناتج عن ذلك. كنت أشير إلى الاختيارات السيئة التي قمت بها وكيفية تفاديها، وبداخلي كنت أخشى أنها تجربة فردية ناتجة عن أخطاء شخصية، إلا أنني بعد قراءة مقالة تتحدث عن النشر في العالم العربي، وتحديداً في الأردن، رأيت أن الموضوع أعمق وأشمل من التجربة الفردية لأي كاتب.0

بناءً على ذلك، ونظراً لتكرار التساؤلات حول مسألة النشر ودور النشر في الأردن قررت كتابة بعض النصائح للكاتب الناشئ/ الكاتبة الناشئة، لعلها تكون مفيدة لانطلاقتهم في عالم الكتابة والنشر، مع التنويه إلى أن ما سيأتي قائم على تجربة شخصية قد لا تنطبق على جميع الحالات.0

اذهب إلى المطبعة مباشرة

تكون فكرة التعاون مع دار النشر عادة نابعة من رغبة الكاتب في الحصول على تشويق وتوزيع أفضل لكتابه، وبالتالي يوقع عقداً مع دار النشر تقوم الدار بموجبه بطابعة الكتاب، وكما هي العادة في دور النشر العربية – أو الأردنية تحديداً- تكون طباعة الكتاب الأول على نفقة الكاتب. ومن التجربة الشخصية واطلاعي على تجارب أصدقاء كتّاب آخرين يمكنني القول إن التسويق والتوزيع الذي تدعي دور النشر، أو معظمها، بأنها تقوم به ما هو إلا مزحة، هذا إن وُجد أصلاً. الأسوأ أن كلفة الطباعة من خلال دار النشر تكون أعلى منها عند التعامل مع المطبعة مباشرة. لذا، وفّر على نفسك المال ووجع القلب وابحث عن مطبعة جيدة ومجربة للتعامل معها، ولحفظ حقوق الكتاب توجه إلى دائرة المكتبة الوطنية لتسجيل عملك الأدبي والحصول على رقم إيداع قبل أي شيء.0

 ملاحظة: بعض دور النشر قد تعرض عليك التكفل بكلفة الطباعة كاملة، لا تقع في ذلك الفخ. ذلك يعني أنهم لا ينوون الطباعة أصلاً.0

اعرف كيف تسوّق لكتابك 

في حال اتخذت القرار الحكيم بعدم التعامل مع دار نشر، أو لو وقّعت عقداً مع دار نشر مسبقاً، سيكون عليك التسويق لكتابك بمجهودك الشخصي. والأمر ليس صعباً كما قد يبدو. التسويق يبدأ من قبل أن تكتب أو تنشر الكتاب. كوّن قاعدة من القراء عبر الإنترنت سواء من خلال مدونة أو صفحة على الفيسبوك أو غير ذلك، والنماذج على الكتّاب الذين انتقلوا من الفضاء الرقمي إلى النشر الورقي كثيرة. أعلن عن كتابك عبر شبكات التواصل الاجتماعي، اطلب من قرّاء موثوقين قراءته وكتابة مراجعات عنه، اذهب إلى المكتبات بنفسك واعرض كتابك عليهم وأعلن باستمرار عن المكتبات التي يتوفر فيها. لا تعتمد على دار النشر في ذلك، فدار النشر لن توزع كتابك ما لم يكن عليه طلب أصلاً، وكي يكون عليه طلب يجب ان يعرف الناس عنه أولاً مما يفضي إلى حلقة مفرغة تنتهي بتكدس الكتب في المخازن.0

لا تستهن بالغلاف

مرة أخرى، إن قررت الاستعانة بدار نشر فلا تترك خيار اختيار الغلاف لهم. الأرجح أنهم سيجدون أي صورة قريبة للموضوع على غوغل، فتاة تلقي بنفسها في البحر أو سكين مغروز في قلب ينزف دماً وأوراق متناثرة عل الأرض وشباك مفتوح… إلخ، ثم يلصقون عليها عنوان الكتاب بأكثر خط منفّر يمكن إيجاده ويرسلونه للمطبعة. صحيح أن الكتاب لا يُعرف من غلافه، لكن الغلاف المصمم بعناية يمكن أن يلعب دوراً كبيراً في جذب القارئ، خاصة إن كان لم يسمع بالكاتب من قبل، فإن كنت أمين معلوف أو يوسف زيدان يمكنك التغاضي عن هذا الموضوع، فعلياً يمكنك التغاضي عن المقال برمته. حاول أن تجد مصمماً غرافيكياً أو رساماً جيداً لديه حس أدبي وفني يمكنه تقديم غلاف يوصل فكرة الكتاب إلى القارئ ويلفت انتباهه.0

لا تكن عبئاً على رفوف المكتبات

احرص على كتابة ما يستحق القراءة، لا تجعل النشر هدفاً بحد ذاته، فحلمك بالشهرة قد يتحول إلى كابوس من التشهير. استعن بقرّاء أوليين محايدين لقراءة كتابة وتقييم صلاحيته للنشر وإعطاء الملاحظات. حاول الاستعانة بمحرر متخصص إن أمكن لتنقيح الكتاب فنياً ولغوياً، فقد يصنع ذلك فرقاً هائلاً. أعرف أن الكتاب قد يبدو لك كاملاً، وقد يكون من الصعب عليك تغيير أي سطر فيه، لكن التجرد في الكتابة ضروري، افصل نفسك عن النص، هناك مجال للتحسين دائماً. مجدداً، حتى لو تعاقدت مع دار نشر فلا تتوقع أن يقوموا بهذه المهمة عنك، في الواقع بعض دور النشر تنشر كتباً دون معرفة محتواها أصلاً.0

لا تجعل الربح المادي هدفك

إن كان هدفك من النشر تكوين ثروة صغيرة فعليك استثمار وقتك ومالك في شيء آخر، هذا إن لم تكن أحلام مستغانمي أو أحد الكتّاب الآخرين الذين يحققون مبيعات بالآلاف. قد تصل إلى تلك المرحلة، لكن احتمال أن تحقق ذلك من أول كتاب أمر لا يمكنك التعويل عليه، فإن كنت تبحث عن مغارة علي بابا بين الحبر والورق فقد يكون عليك فعل شيء أكثر واقعية، كالبحث عن مغارة علي بابا فعلياً.0

لا تفكّر فيما سيأتي لاحقاً

ركّز على الكتابة، لا تفكر كثيراً في مسألة النشر ونجاح الكتاب من عدمه او العوائق التي قد تعترض ذلك. اكتب ما تشعر بأنك تريد كتابته فحسب وانسَ ما سيأتي لاحقاً. اكتب بقلبك، وبعد إنهاء المسودة الأولى قم بتحريرها بعقلك ثم اتبع بقية الخطوات المذكورة سابقاً.0

One Day


The number hit her as she opened her eyes. The warm October sun filtering through the curtains gave her a sense of relief as she breathed out in anticipation of the unknown. It’s the end of an era.

From the bathroom came light noises of splashing and gurgling. She grabbed her cell phone to check the time, it was ten minutes to eight, her husband had apparently overslept.

Perhaps he’s not planning on going to work at all today. She thought.

Trying to keep her expectations in check, she shook that idea off. After all, it wasn’t the first time he ran late. No expectations, no disappointments, She reminded herself reluctantly.

The bathroom’s door flung open as her husband hurried out in a semi-panic state. “Second time this week.” He said as he went around the room with desperate attempts at multi-tasking. “Perhaps if traffic isn’t so bad I can still make it on time.”

She stared at him with half-closed eyelids as he sat on the edge of the bed fumbling with a sock. “Damn thing!” He uttered under his breath. Catching her sleepy smile with the corner of his eye.

“I’m sorry. Good morning, honey.”

“Good morning. Looks like a bad hair day already.”

Taking things too literally as he always did, he reached a hand and stroked his black mop of hair. She felt inwardly ashamed knowing she was fishing for a compliment, one that never came.

How could it be a bad day when you were born on it? She could think of a hundred other things he could say that would brighten up her day, none of them included “dandruff” and “stupid barber”, like what she got.

He mumbled on about his boss, meetings and parking spaces. A moment of silence lingered in the air as he leaned in to kiss her forehead, smelling of the cardamom scented toothpaste she hated, a fact he never fails to forget.

As he left the room, her eyes transfixed on the door, waiting for him to come back. To remember. To almost forget. The sound of his car’s ignition pulled her out of her wishful thinking.

Having your morning coffee alone on your 30th birthday must be one of the saddest things for a woman, she thought as she sat in the kitchen, half awake, sipping at a cup of Turkish coffee and scrolling down her Facebook timeline. A post about a refugee who had lost her son in the sea sent pangs of guilt through her chest. She closed the application immediately, not to be opened again for the rest of that day. Just for today, she thought, I am the center of my own universe.

She looked at the clock on her phone again. It’s still early, perhaps he will call once he has a chance to catch his breath. She reasoned. It’s just a matter of time – or timing- she was positive. He couldn’t forget her birthday, that would be preposterous; not just because it was only their second year of marriage, but also because he had forgotten it last year. As much as she resented it, and resented him for it and for not even trying to make it up for her, she cut him some slack on account of his career shift. It wasn’t an excuse, but it was at least a reason.

She pulled herself up from the chair sluggishly to wash some dishes from last night as she contemplated what to do for the rest of the day. It was her first day off in months and she felt like she earned it. No chores today, that was the number one rule, soon to be broken by the heap of laundry needing to be stuffed in the washing machine, and the aftermath of her husband’s daily shaving job on the bathroom sink.

Several calls came in from some friends, her expatriate sister and her parents. Nobody offered to take her out as they all assumed she’d have other plans. She had already hidden her birth date on Facebook to avoid the influx of birthday wishes by those who didn’t matter. She left the house at around noon, stopped by a small restaurant for a snack and a cup of tea before proceeding to her manicure appointment, and then did some window shopping. This was the height of indulgence for her.

A couple of things caught her eye, but she refrained from buying anything. A pair of running shoes were the hardest to resist, a bit too expensive but surely what she needed for her daily walk. The ones she had were too worn out, as signaled by the pain in her back. But she refrained again, thinking of the Rolex she’d been saving up to buy as his birthday was in 3 months and she wanted to get him something nice. She’s never seen a man with so much love for watches and such a lack of punctuality.

Then as if summoned by some telepathic power, his name flashed on her phone’s screen. Finally…

– Hello?

– Yes, hi. Sorry I left in so much hurry today I totally forgot to tell you I won’t be home by supper today. I’ll be late a couple of hours so I thought I’ll just grab a bite at work.

She paused for a moment.

– Hello?

– No problem, I wasn’t planning on cooking today anyway. I figured I’d make it a day off from everything.

– Oh, great then. See you tonight. Love you.

– Love you too.

She felt the blood boiling up to her face as she hung up. She didn’t know whether she was more angry he still didn’t remember it was her birthday, or because he didn’t bother to ask why she was taking the day off. How could he be so apathetic? Unless…

Her face lit up. Perhaps he’s being slick for a change. The idea appealed to her, she didn’t make any effort at suppressing it. She felt a new bolt of energy surging through her, and she found herself heading back home.

She put the laundry out to dry, watched a political talk show where guests hurled insults at each other, folded the laundry while watching a movie about a whale that needed to be rescued and sent back to the ocean and talked on the phone with her cousin who wanted to welcome her to the 30’s club.

She looked at the clock on the wall, it was around 6. He must be home soon. She opened her closet and picked out a dark blue satin dress. Admiring her figure in the mirror as she tried it on, she thought that cutting down on carbs for the past two weeks had done her good. The last thing she wanted as he started her fourth decade is a dress that didn’t fit.

She opened her jewelry box and put on a silver necklace with a butterfly pendant, which matched her silver high heels. She thought if he wanted to take her out, she’d be fresh and ready, if not, there’s no reason she shouldn’t look good on her birthday.

It was almost 8 and he hadn’t shown up yet. She leafed through a book to pass the time, and just when she was about to call him, the phone rang.

– Hey, sweetheart, I’m so sorry I got caught up at work.

– No problem. When will you be home?

– Actually I just remembered tonight is the Classico and the guys are all going to watch the game at a coffee shop near work.

She didn’t say anything.

– But of course I could just come home.

– No. She said quietly. It’s okay. I think I’ll just go to sleep early tonight anyway.

– You’re the best wife in the world! It would be two hours tops, I promise.

– Take your time.

– I love you.

– … Take care.


She changed into her pajamas, made herself a cup of tea and sat to watch an episode of some crime drama that gave her the chills. Suddenly her phone vibrated with a text message that had the same effect.


Thoughtful bag of crap. She thought as she deleted the message from her ex and tossed the phone as far away from her as possible.

She flipped through channels for what seemed like an eternity, switching between heart-wrenching global news, mind-numbing celebrity news and sitcoms that didn’t make her laugh. Sometime around 10 she heard his key turn in the lock.

– I thought you’d be asleep.

– Well, it turned out I wasn’t sleepy after all.

– Good for you. I’m exhausted. It was a long day.

She didn’t say anything.

– Real Madrid won. 2 to 1.

– Congratulations.

He nodded. She realized he wasn’t on their side anyway. Just as he was about to head to the bedroom, he turned around and faced her.

– Aren’t you coming to bed?

– I think I’ll stay up for a while. You go get some rest.

He nodded again and disappeared in the corridor. She could hear him splashing and gurgling in the bathroom as she sat in the silence of the living room, mute and motionless like a dusty sculpture in an abandoned ruin site.

The sound of his snoring pulled her back to reality. Dragging her now numb feet, she went into the bathroom to brush her teeth, but there was only the cardamom toothpaste, which she grabbed and threw in the waste basket. With a heavy head, she slipped under the blanket beside him. Normally, she wouldn’t have a problem with his snoring, but tonight she desperately wished for a pair of earplugs. She turned to the other side, facing away from him, trying to tune him out. He was getting farther and farther away, finally falling out of earshot as she drowned in her own thoughts. The last idea on her mind before she sailed away into deep sleep was that, come tomorrow, she’s going to take that money she’s been saving up, and she’ll go get herself those running shoes.

عن الإيمان والإلحاد وما بينهما

تنبيه: هذا البوست قد يجرح المشاعر الدينية أو اللادينية لدى البعض، إذا إنت حساس لا تكمل قراءة.0

المؤمنين أنواع، واحد انولد لقى حاله مؤمن فضل مؤمن لأنه هيك أهله علموه، وواحد بحث ودور وسأل وصار أو ضل مؤمن. والملحدين أنواع كمان، فيه ملحد عن علم ودراسة، يعني بتلاقيه قرأ كتب وقارن أديان وتفكر وفي الآخر عقله وصله إنه ما في إله والكون انخلق صدفة وما إلى ذلك. هذا لنوع ممكن تناقشه وممكن تتعلم منه وممكن تحترم عقله ولو اختلفت معاه في أمور جذرية، وبكون عندك أمل إنه يغير رأيه برضه عن علم ودراسة.0

وفي نوع آخر ملحد لأنه مش قادر يطلع من عقلية الصف الأول وسبيس تون. كيف يعني؟ يعني هو ملحد لأنه بشوف مصايب وكوارث فبستنتج إنه ما دام في أشياء كتير سيئة بتصير بالكون معناته ما في حدا داير باله عليه، يعني فش رب. بالنسبة لهذا النوع، الكون عبارة عن روضة والبشر أطفال والرب هو المس اللي بتراقب كل شي وبتعاقب الطفل المشاغب وبتكافئ الطفل الشاطر وبتتحاسب على أي شي بصير في الروضة لأنها المشرفة الراشدة الوحيدة على أطفال قاصرين. هاد النوع صعب تناقشه، وغالباً ما بكون ملحد أصلاً، هو مؤمن عنده غضب مش عارف كيف يتعامل معاه.0

لنواجه الحقائق، مؤمنين وملحدين. الحوادث بتصير في المساجد ةالأماكن المقدسة زي ما بتصير في المراقص وبيوت الدعارة والخمارات. الكوارث بتصير في الدول الظالمة زي ما بتصير في الدول العادلة. الأمراض بتصيب الأغنياء والفقراء، الطيبين والعاطلين، الكبار والصغار.0

هلأ إذا إنت ملحد، ما بقدر أساعدك. ممكن تفسر الموضوع زي ما بدك. ممكن تعتبر الحياة عبثية وكل شي بصير عشوائي وبدون معنى والموضوع سايب. وممكن تفسر الموضوع بطريقة أقل سوداوية، ما بعرف، إنت حر.0

أما إذا كنت مؤمن، فإنت أمام خيارين: إما إنك بتآمن برب عادل وله حكمة قد لا تراها ويمكن تموت وإنت مش عارفها، لكنك مآمن فيها، وإما إنك بتآمن إنه في إله بس هو ظالم ومتجبر وطائش، يعني شغل أساطير يونانية، إله بنكهة بشرية، يسري عليه ما يسري على البشر من مشاعر وحب للسلطة، وتسري عليه قوانين المادة والكون. وهذا، لا مؤاخذة، غباء وقصر نظر.0

أنا بعرف إنه الموضوع مش دايماً سهل. صعب تشوف ناس رايحة تحج وتعبد ربنا وتموت بهالطريقة المؤلمة. صعب تشوف أطفال غرقانين وهم ما شافوا من الدنيا إشي. صعب تشوف الظالمين والفاسدين عم بزيدوا قوة وثروة كل يوم بدون ما تنزل صاعقة تمحيهم عن بكرة أبيهم. لكن أعتقد الجواب يتلخص في جزئين من آية، الأول: “إني جاعل في الأرض خليفة: والثاني: “إني أعلم ما لا تعلمون”.0

في القرآن، قال الله للملائكة: “إني جاعل في الأرض خليفة”0

كوننا خلفاء في الأرض يعني مسؤولين. يعني ما تشوف الظلم وتقعد تدعي وتستنى ربنا يبعت طير الأبابيل على بني صهيون أو زلزال يمحو داعش عن الأرض. احنا كبشر عنا مسؤولية فردية ومسؤولية جمعية كجنس بشري، واحنا مسؤولين عن الحروب وعن الفساد وعن الظلم وعن الاحتباس الحراري وعن ضحايا كل هاي الأشياء المباشرين وغير المباشرين. نعم، مش دايماً بنقدر نعمل إشي في وجه المصايب والكوارث اللي بتصير، لكن هاد الإشي جوابه في الجزء الثاني.0

لما سمعت الملائكة بالخبر قالوا: “أتجعل فيها من يفسد فيها ويسفك الدماء”، يعني الملائكة شافوا الموضوع شر واستغربوه، وجود البشر بالنسبة إلهم كان بلاء للأرض. لكن ربنا سبحانه وتعالى قال: “إني أعلم ما لا تعلمون”. بدون شرح، بدون تفسير، فقط “إني أعلم ما لا تعلمون”.0

إذا كنت ملحد، إنت حر في إنك ما تشوف إنه في أي حكمة وتعتبر إنه الإنسان هو القوة العظمى في الكون وبيعرف كل شي، وإذا كان في إشي البشر مش شايفينه أو ما بقدروا يتصوروه فمعناته هو مش موجود ومستحيل. لكن إذا كنت مؤمن فمن مستلزمات الإيمان تآمن بالغيب، وبالحكمة الربانية ولو ما قدرت تشوفها. بس لا تقولي إنك كإنسان عقلك ممكن يستوعب كل إشي وبالتالي إنت شايف إنه ما في سبب ولا مبرر لكل اللي عم بصير ولا ممكن يكون في حكمة كونك مش قادر تفكرشو ممكن تكون. ولا تقولي إنك مؤمن بالله بس شايف إنه ظالم، لأنك ساعتها بتكون مؤمن بإله تاني، زيوس أو أوزوريس أو حورس يمكن، مش إله خالق لكون واسع احنا فيه أصغر من جزيئات في ذرة في قطرة ماء في محيط.0

Bubble Soccer

bubble 6

So yesterday I tried bubble soccer for the first time. A new concept to me personally, I have only heard about it a few weeks ago, but it sounded interesting enough to jump on the opportunity, not to mention the feeling of safety conveyed by the word “bubble”. Seriously, add “bubble” to anything and I bet anyone would be willing to try it no matter how cautious and unadventurous they were. Bubble mountain climbing, bubble sky diving, bubble shark swimming, you name it. (Actually after naming them I’m ot so sure, but bubbles are cozy, you get the idea.)

I went with a group of family and friends, we were split into two teams, the blue team and the red team – I was in the blue team. There were two sizes of bubble to choose from depending on your height and physique, so it was kind of unfair when you, wearing a small bubble and struggling to move, got hit by a bulldozer coming your way in the form of a giant red bubble. However, and the fun of it is, it doesn’t matter. Once you get the first hit and even fall down you realize: You’re inside a bubble, you can take all the knocks you have time for and fall down as many times as you have to. It’s beautiful, really.

The first game we played was good old football. Of course, being inside your bubble means you’re partially visually impaired with limited mobility. As soon as I heard the whistle I saw an army of circle shaped objects stuffed with people running everywhere. I started running aimlessly as I couldn’t see the ball anyway, and the next thing I knew I was on the ground and my shoe came off. Of course when it’s your first fall your hands are already full with the challenge of getting up, so a flying shoe is adding insult to injury. Thankfully though, the shoe was close enough that it wasn’t a problem. Anyway, we played football for 12 minutes, and we, the blue team were victorious.

For the second game each team had to choose one of the teammates as a “King”, and just like in chess, his teammates had to protect him while the other team tried to knock him down. We played 3 rounds, we won the first round, and the second, and in the third they said we had to choose a “Queen”, which means a girl must be chosen, and since our team had only me and a slender, fragile-looking 17 year-old, so it had to be me, despite not being so steady on my feet, especially after being knocked down more times that I had counted during the previous games. But, thankfully we had a good defense and our team managed to knock their queen down before they could get to ours, and we won again.

The last game was Sumo wrestling. I was up first, my opponent was a irl my height but she couldn’t have weighed much more than 40 kilos so I thought: “I can take her down.” Somehow though she pushed me out of the ring, which was pathetic, and surprising. Well, maybe she had more willpower. In my defense, I hadn’t slept in 3 days. What was even more pathetic is that she herself was eliminated next by the aforementioned fragile 17 year-old, who was her sister by the way. I guess you could ever guess how these things will turn out, but of course the final winner was one of the big tall guys, the strong eating the weak, there was little use for wits on the playground, it was all bone and muscle. The winner was one of the red team, for a change.

It was a fun experience, but thinking about it later on made me think of the other metaphorical bubbles we wrap ourselves inside in life. They are not that different. They shield you from people, they make you more resistant to life knocks which might make you think you’re stronger than you really are, and most importantly: they are exhausting. They make it hard to breathe, and you know you’re better off without them. And you know you can’t stay in your bubble forever, but you also know it’s a good resort from time to time.

For more info on bubble soccer in Amman visit:

بينك بانثر

اليوم كنت في زيارة لروضة بنت أختي لحضور احتفال، أو مسابقات، أو أياً كان اسم الفعالية. رجل يقوم بحركات طفولية ساخرة لإضحاك الأطفال، لو شفته بالشارع مستحيل تتخيل إنه شخص بهذا المظهر الرتيب ممكن يركض وينط بهاي الطريقة، وبتشوف شو ممكن يعمل الإنسان عشان لقمة العيش. وواحد تاني لابس بدلة “بينك بانثر” أنا عن نفسي خفت منها واستغربت كيف ولا واحد من الأطفال انصرع وصار يصرخ أو حاول يهرب. والأطفال مبسوطين وبزقفوا وبرقصوا مع البينك بانثر وضحكهم موصل للسما، وهاد أهم إشي

بعد شوي الرجل اللي بقدم الحفلة سأل الأطفال مين بحب يغني. طبعاً مش غريب إنه ولا طفل طلع غنى أغنية إلها دخل بالطفولة زي ما كان الوضع على أيامنا، يعني بدل “ماما وبابا بحبوني” و”أنا إبريق الشاي” مثلاً سمعنا أغاني مثل “إنت معلم” و”إنت باغية واحد”.0

لكن اللي خلاني شبه أتشنج هو طفلة متحمسة طلعت مسكت الميكروفون وصارت تغني “متل الطلقة الروسية، إذا ما قتلتي بتشلي”. سيبك من الطفولة الضائعة، الأغنية هاي عندي مشكلة معها من زمان. الأغنية هاي طلعت في عز الحرب/الأحداث/الثورة في سوريا (ضع دائرة حول المصطلح الذي يناسب توجهك السياسي). كل ما كنت أسمعها بعرس خاصة كانت تيجيني حالة اشمئزاز من المستوى اللي وصلناله فنياً وإنسانياً، تمسحنا بالمرة لدرجة إنه صرنا نتغنى بالرصاص اللي عم بنقتلوا في ناس على أرض الواقع. قلة احترام لدم الشهداء والضحايا اللي انقتلوا وانشلوا بطلقات روسية، في وضع إقليمي حساس وبيغلي أصلاً

البنت الصغيرة صارت تغني “الطلقة الروسية”، وفي بالي نطت صورة أطفال مرعوبين تحت القصف، وأطفال مسحوبين مع الموج، وقدامي أطفال بيضحكوا وبزقفوا، وفكرة وحدة: إنه هاد الإشي اللي المفروض أطفال بهالعمر يكونوا بيعملوه. وفجأة بتصيبك حالة انفصام، ورهاب من إنك تفتح الفيسبوك أو تويتر عشان ما تشوف الصورة السودا الكبيرة، وبتقرر للحظة تسكر كل حساباتك وتنقطع عن العالم الخارجي لأنه الصورة المصغرة أحلى بكتير، الصورة الصغيرة فيها أطفال ماسكين سطولة وبركضوا عشان يلموا فيها طابات، ونمر وردي عملاق بالنص، أما الصورة الكبيرة ففيها أطفال بركضوا عشان يهربوا من سطولة ضخمة نازلة من السما، وأسد مش وردي بتفرج من بعيد، وفجأة بدون سابق إنذار بشتغل صوت شاعر في راسك: “أدري بأنك لا تخاف الطفل حياً… إنما أدعوك صدقاً.. أن تخاف من الصغار الميتين”0

*** هذا البوست عبارة عن تخبط محض، سامحونا عالركاكة

My Sweet Sixteen Plus Fifteen

Birthdays: Annual occasions where you celebrate not being hit by a car or shot at a wedding by some idiot for yet another year. Congratulations, you might not be the fittest but you survived anyway.

However, after a certain age birthdays cease to be mere merry occasions, they turn into panic attacks: What have I achieved in my 30 years on earth? When am I going to save some money? I’m never going to find love! My husband forgot my birthday, 3 years of marriage down the drain. Children! I need to have children before it’s too late. Who took my charger? I made it clear I don’t want anyone taking my charger. No, I’m not overreacting, YOU are overreacting! Hand me that popcorn. What? I’m not crying, I’m just overflowing with fulfillment. Sniff. TICK-TOCK, TICK-TOCK…

But it doesn’t have to be that dramatic, and don’t pretend it’s not. There’s always some after-party drama when everyone goes home and you’re alone with your gifts and leftover cake. And you’d be totally justified in taking that plunge into the self-pity, life-loathing pool; it’s completely understandable and okay, as long as you’re avoiding people and sharp objects.

But again, it doesn’t have to be that bad, not because “age is just a number”, make no mistake, age is a number and one that makes a difference, so let’s do away with that denial-drenched mentality and say it like it is. If you’re 30, that means you’re no longer 20, and everything is not the same. However, it doesn’t have to be all that different. It’s not like when you turn 30 you’ll gain weight uncontrollably or start shedding skin. Yes, your complexion might not look as fresh as a 21 year-old – unless you’re spending a small fortune on skin care products or have a very good surgeon- but you will still look beautiful, and you will still be able to do everything you used to do in your twenties. Honestly, I couldn’t think of anything you could do in your twenties that you couldn’t do in your thirties, not even running like a lunatic down the street or crying while watching Twilight. If you can do that in your twenties then chances are you can do it at any age, because you’re probably crazy, or a moron, and you will always have a streak of that and will, hopefully, grow up to be that crazy grandma with a purple hat/scarf who everyone loves.
My point is, don’t deny age, make peace with it.

I for one have made my peace with it, mostly because my choices are limited, you know, it’s grow older or die. And it really doesn’t matter as much after you hit 30. It becomes a chance to reevaluate yourself and the important things in your life, what’s been achieved so far, what needs to be done, what’s missing. A day to be thankful for the people you have around you on this very day – not only because of the cake and gifts- but most importantly for taking the time and the effort to be there and to make you feel extra special on this one day of the year, without getting a hint from Facebook.

It’s also a time for disappointments, which are an inevitable part of the circle of life, but it’s also a time to deal with them, reconsider things, put your life in order, reset and start a new, or simply resume, whatever floats your boat.
The amount of love I felt today almost equals the amount of sugar I consumed.

Happy sweet 16 plus 15 to me, it was definitely a good one



أبو ربحي يجلس في دكانه، الراديو يصدح بموسيقى مألوفة “صحصح صحصح صحصح صح… مع روتانا”، أبو ربحي لا يأبه بالبرنامج لكنه أكسل من أن يغير المحطة. مترهلاً على كرسيه تأتيه أصوات المذيعتين “رهف” و”ناديا” تلقيان بعض الأقوال الحكيمة المحضّرة مسبقاُ على أنغام الموسيقى، والتي لا يأبه بها أبو ربحي أيضاً. يستجمع قوة كافية ويهم بتغيير المحطة، وإذا به مجرى الكلام يتغير. رهف تتحدث عن “قلة عقل النسوان” وناديا تعطي نصائح للزوجات بأهمية ألا تكون أنانية وعنيدة، بلهجة صارمة تعالمية لا يسع أبو ربحي إلا أن يهز رأسه اتفاقاً معها وثقة في مصدرها، من منطلق “وشهد شاهد من أهله”. تتبع ذلك قصص مختلفة عن رجال يعانون الأمرين من زوجاتهم وأمثلة على أنانية المرأة وإهمالها في نفسها، وأبو ربحي يتمثل صورة أم ربحي بمريول المطبخ محاولاً أن يتذكر آخر مرة “سشورت” شعرها

أم ربحي لم تسمع البرنامج. الراديو في المطبخ وهي تركض بين غرف النوم وغرفة الجلوس لتنهي الترتيب والكنس والمسح قبل عودة الأولاد من المدرسة. تتردد على المطبخ بين الحين والآخر لتفقد طنجرة ورق الدوالي التي سهرت في لفها الليلة الماضية كي تكون جاهزة وقت عودة أبو ربحي عند الغداء لتجنب نكده. تلتقط طراطيش من كلام المذيعتين “لازم المرأة تكون في أبهى حالاتها مهما كانت مشاغلها لأنه الزلمة بحب المرة اللي بتدير بالها عل حالها”. تلمح أم ربحي انعاكاسها في مرآة الحمّام وهي تسلك مصرف المغسلة وتتنهد بحسرة. تنهي أعمال البيت فتسرع إلى ماكينة الخياطة لإنهاء الأثواب التي عليها تسليمها للزبونات مساء اليوم. مع اقتراب موعد عودة أبو ربحي، تطفئ النار تحت الطبخة وتغير قميص النوم القطني الطويل الذي تعشّق رائحة البصل وشرحات اللحم، تحاول لملمة شعرها قدر المستطاع، تتذكر آخر مرة سشورته يوم خطبة بنت أختها قبل شهور، تقول ربما غداً بما أنه ما عندي طبيخ، بينما تحدق فيها أكوام الغسيل في صمت

أبو ربحي يعود إلى البيت، تستقبله أم ربحي بتعب لا تخفيه المساحيق، يتجهم متذكراً الدرر التي سمعها هذا الصباح. “أنا بشر. أحتاج إلى رؤية زوجتي في أبهى طلة. لا أعذار. ماذا كنت تفعلين طوال اليوم؟ أكيد بتطق حنك، حكي نسوان وقلة عقل”. لا يغادره تجهمه حتى حين يرتدي دشداشة البيت وينتفخ كرشه بعد الغداء فيما يلاحظ أن وزن زوجته ازداد مؤخراً، وثوبها القطني المهترئ. ويتذكر أنه بشر، ويتحسر…0

إهداء إلى مذيعتَي روتانا ناديا الزعبي ورهف صوالحة اللي قرفونا تنظير وتنميط للمرأة. فعلاً المرأة ممكن تكون عدوة نفسها، خاصة لما تلبس ثوب التحضر والانفتاح وأفكارها لسا معلقة في فترة ما قبل الحرب العالمية الأولى

The Odd Evening Walk

Just as I finished working today and as soon as I submitted the file I felt a compelling need to lie down and rest my eyes for a while. The next thing I know, I was in deep sleep. It was the first time I nap during the day in a very long time, maybe in years.

However, after I managed to get up more than an hour later, I was in a state of exhaustion, like I just wanted to go back to sleep again. So, in the spirit of my deep-rooted feeling that sleep is a waste of life and should be kept to a minimum, and to celebrate the restoration of the brisk night reeze in Amman and its suburbs, I decided to go for a walk to the supermarket after sunset.

Every time I go on such an impromptu, or even a planned walk, it hits me hard how much you miss out on when you do all your errands by car. Just as I left home I overheard a conversation between two boys on the street. One of them was telling the other that China makes crappy stuff and it’s not as great a country as he seems to think. The other replied that China makes good things but we only get the bad stuff. I couldn’t help that there was more to it than just a boyish conversation. These boys are discovering the world. Today they are discussing Chinese industries, 10 years from now they might be discussing the virtues and vices of communism versus capitalism.

Further down the road, there were 3 boys riding bicycles. Bicycles have a very special place in my heart and memory. There was a bump-up in the road and something about the way the bicycles heaved over the bump-up that made me almost want to ask them to let me take a ride. In fact, not very long ago it occurred to me to buy a bicycle for home use, to share with my brothers. However, I was discouraged by the fact that we would have to keep adjusting the height of the seat, or I’ll just have to risk falling off the bike.

I decided to go to the farthest supermarket, to prolong the distance and, to be honest, they have the best chocolates. As I exited into the main street I could feel the heat coming out from the cars, another reminder why one of my dreams has always been to retire in a farm house in the countryside. Down the road there was a watermelon tent, with dirty-looking carpets covering the ground up to the edge of the street, and that made me wonder about two things: Do watermelon tents exist outside the Middle East? And, do they ever wash these carpets when the season is over? Or do they just throw them away?

Then I reached the supermarket, and I took my sweet time moving between the aisles, picking stuff of the shelves and returning them and then picking them again. I got some cakes, chips and flavored milk for my nieces of course because it would be a total betrayal to be at the supermarket and not get them anything, that would totally create a rift in the relationship. And of course, I got myself some stuff for my stash, there must always be a stash.

I left the supermarket after what seemed like forever. I took the first turn into the neighborhood to minimize the distance I had to walk on the main road. This is the route I used to take when I came back from university; the only difference is that I used to take a shortcut, which no longer exists now as there’s a commercial complex in its place, the same one housing the supermarket I was at minutes ago. I remember there was a little girl I would meet on my way back through there sometimes, her name was Sura. There was a bunch of little girls nearby and it occurred to me to stop and ask which of them was Sura, she would be around 13 or so now, but I decided against it because it would be meaningless and possibly freaky for the girl.

I walked on, passing by a newly built building whose ground floor windows looked very appealing. They had small colorful plant pots on the windowsill and the design of the window panes along with the lighting inside made it look like something out of a movie. I couldn’t resist but take a peek inside, despite the moral conflict and feeling like a peeping Tom, but I really wasn’t trying to spy on them or anything, I just wanted to have a feel of how it was inside. It’s still wrong, I know.

Further down the road I passed by the mini market we used to go to as kids. I opened when I was in the second grade, and it was one of our daily destinations, sometimes several times a day. It was closed at the time and I thought that in our day it would be open at such an hour, and we would be going back and forth to buy cheap snacks. A few years ago I took my niece, who was 4 years old at the time, to that minimarket. I wanted her to experience something else other than the big supermarkets with expensive candy bars. Well, she wasn’t impressed at all. In fact she acted like a grossed-out Mary Antoinette. It’s funny how we used to buy a ton of things with less than 50 piasters while nowadays if you’re taking kids to the supermarket you must be armed with a fat load of cash.

Turning the corner, a few meters down the road was our old house and the street where we spent a handsome part of our childhood. There were children on the street but they didn’t seem to be having nearly as much fun as we were in those days. A group of girls had a baby stroller with them, which was something we frequently had too as there was always a baby in the neighborhood at one point or another, and apparently the neighbors were happy to dump their babies on the neighborhood kids and have some time for themselves, which is completely understandable.

So, what started off as an energizing walk turned out to be a walk down memory lane. Most interestingly, I was mentally blogging all the way, which brings back the good old days when that was a constant mental exercise. It’s amazing how many little things you could discover and rediscover when you stretch your legs and spare the air some emissions!