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
هاي الصورة ذكرتني بأشياء كتير. من واحنا صغار كنا دايما نفضل بيبسي على الكوكا كولا كمشروب غازي، وكان معروف إنه بيبسي أزكى مليون مرة وإنه كوكا كولا هي مجرد خيار ثانوي. وكنت أسمع مع هيك إنه “برا” (وهي كلمة عامة تستخدم للإشارة إلى أي مكان خارج البلد الذي يعيش فيه المتكلم ) الوضع بالعكس، يعني الناس بحبوا كوكا كولا أكتر. كنت أقول يمكن السبب إنه فعلاً برا بتكون أحسن زي أشياء تانية كتير، مش بقوللك كل شي طعمه برا غير واحنا بجيبولنا أسوأ ما في السوق؟
لكن مؤخراً قرأت مقالة أعتقد إنها بتكشف السبب الحقيقي ليش احنا بنحب البيبسي أكتر وبرا بحبوا كوكا كولا. وكعادة كل شيء في الحياة لازم يكون في الموضوع مؤامرة صهيونية
القصة وما فيها إنه بعد حرب ال1948 قامت جامعة الدول العربية بتنظيم حملة رسمية لمقاطعة إسرائيل (أيام ما كنا نقاطع رسمياً)، والمقاطعة تقتضي عدم التعامل مع أي شركة تتعامل مع إسرائيل، يعني صارت الشركات مخيرة بين أن تخسر السوق العربي أو السوق الإسرائيلي. من هاي الشركات كانت كوكا كولا، اللي فضلت الاحتفاظ بالسوق العربي لأسباب تجارية (مش حبا فينا يعني)0
نتيجة لهالحكي، اليهود (المتصهينين، وفش داعي أضل أحطها بين قوسين، عرفتوها) شنوا حملة إعلامية شعواء ضد كوكا كولا بتهموها بمعاداة السامية (يا للمفاجأة) وحرضوا الأمريكيين على مقاطعة كوكا كولا، وامتنعت المطاعم والاستراحات عن بيعها. طبعاً هاد الحكي معناته خربان بيوت لكوكا كولا، وبالتالي استسلمت ووافقت على فتح مصنع في تل أبيب. ونتيجة لذلك أضيف كوكا كولا لقائمة المقاطعة العربية عام 1968
ولما كوكا كولا طلعت من الأسواق العربية كانت بيبسي موجودة لتغطي محلها، وطبعاً بيبسي شافت إنه كوكا كولا مسيطرة على السوق الإسرائيلي وإنه ما إلها منافس يذكر في السوق العربي (ما أعتقد كان في مندرين وخلافه وقتها) فبالتالي امتنعت بيبسي عن دخول السوق الإسرائيلي (مش حباً فينا يعني، مرة أخرى). بس طبعاً اللوبي الصهيوني استغل هاد الموضوع واتهموا بيبسي بمقاطعة إسرائيل، كونه القانون الأمريكي يمنع أي شركة من مقاطعة إسرائيل، ورفعوا قضايا على شركة بيبسي لكن ما طلع بإيدهم إشي وما قدروا يثبتوا إشي عليها.
وهكذا صارت كوكا كولا في أمريكا مشروب الحرية وبيبسي مشروب معاداة السامية وكراهية اليهود وما جابوا
طبعاً في آخر الحلقة دخلت بيبسي الأسواق الإسرائيلية لأول مرة عام 1992، بس هذا لا يعني إنه علاقة “التار ولا العار” بين بيبسي واليهود انتهت، لأنه بيبسي حرفياً حرقت راسهم بأول دعاية بثتها في إسرائيل واللي بطلع فيها قرد بتحول لإنسان بعد ما يشرب بيبسي (طبعاً فش داعي نحكي إنه الدعاية لو انعرضت عنا كان حرقنا شركة بيبسي باللي فيها بس مش موضوعنا، المهم اليهود انحرق راسهم)، طبعاً هاد الإشي زاد سخط اليهود على بيبسي لأنهم اعتبروها عم بتشبه اليهود بالقرود. وعشان تزيد الطينة بلة نظمت بيبسي جولة لمايكل جاكسون فثارت حفيظة الشعب اليهودي “المتدين بطبعه” وسحبوا رخصة “الكوشر” منها، واللي هي عند اليهود مرادفة لكلمة حلال عنا، واتهموا شركة بيبسي بأنها (استعدوا للجملة التالية، اللي واقف يقعد): تحاول إفساد الشباب من خلال الموسيقى والروك أند رول والجنس. وأنا من منبري هذا بقول: شوف مين بحكي، مش إنه بعض الفضائيات اللي مالكينها يهود ضايلها شحطتين وتصنف على إنها قنوات إباحية
وهاي هي القصة باختصار، اللي بحب يطلع على رابط المقال الإنجليزي اللي أخدتها منه يروح هون http://jettandjahn.com/2012/07/the-story-of-israel-pepsi-and-coca-cola/
So I’ve finally been to Marrakech, one city I’ve always wanted to visit, a very lively city with so many contradictions, a bit chaotic but it seems to be working out for them just fine. A unique city in its own way, and I thoroughly enjoyed being in a totally different Arab culture than my own, actually I suspect that is one reason I felt I was way out of my comfort zone, for I’ve never missed home like I did this time, in addition to the fact that I was very conscious of the physical distance and how much time and jet-lag it could take to get there. Actually the trip from Jordan to Morocco was something, especially the connection flight from Rome to Casablanca, here’s the picture: imagine a plane full of Arabs and Israeli Jews, I mean, if you were allowed to carry a knife on board you could’ve cut the tension with it. Boy do we Semites make each other uncomfortable! Well, at least nobody tried to kick me out of my seat and settle on it. And the cherry on the top of it all: An Italian crew. I mean, have you ever seen a plane that starts landing with people standing and moving around? Have I gotten into a public transportation bus to Napoli by mistake?
So, the reason I was in Marrakech was to participate in the women bloggers network meeting. I’ve participated in 3 previous meetings with this network and each time I come out from it having made new friends, met inspiring beautiful people and learned a whole lot. This time was no exception as I’ve had the chance to meet amazing women, some of whom I’ve met before and was delighted to catch up with again and others who I was meeting for the first time, and no matter how much you might disagree with them on certain subjects you cannot but admire and respect their courage and dedication, whether they were developing and running their own projects, fighting for women’s rights and freedom of expression, building their careers, etc. The most beautiful thing is that you get to connect with people on a human level, regardless of everything else, which puts to rest the myth that any woman hates every other woman unless it’s Oprah. The fact is, I was inspired and encouraged to start working on something I have never ever considered doing, but being among such a diverse and amazing group of people can give you a huge push and make you explore new possibilities. So it turns out that what happens in Merrakech actually goes way beyond Marrakech…
Back to Marrakech, as I said it’s a beautiful city, I recommend that you add it to your bucket list, and if you’re from the Estern part of the Arab world you might want to take it easy on the Moroccan food, trust me, it might be nice to have it every once in a while and it’s absolutely delicious but to live on it for more than 3 days in a row would probably make you don’t want to have it again for the rest of your life, our stomachs are not conditioned not to have rice on regular basis or to sprinkle sugar on our lunch, but of course if you’re in Marrakech you have to try all that because it’s all part of experiencing the city and the culture, so suck it up and deal with the upset stomach.
A Beautiful city and an interesting culture mean lots of pictures too, enjoy
And so it was my first time in Beirut. Difficult to believe since it’s only a 50-minute flight, can hardly call it a trip, but you know what they say: better late than never. When I told people I was going to Beirut they started telling me how much they love it which made me imagine that I’d actually leave a piece of my heart there. Well, it is a beautiful city, very beautiful indeed, and I did have a great time and enjoyed my stay there, but surprisingly enough I didn’t fall in love with it, I had rather conflicting feelings, that is to say I was enchanted by some aspects of the city like the architecture, the nature up in the mountains, the sea, but at the same time there was something about it that made me feel uncomfortable and disconnected. And it wasn’t only me, other people who were with me or who have been to Beirut before had the same feeling as it turned out. The thing is, it seems like the Lebanese people have a problem accepting “the other”, I didn’t feel welcome, I felt like an intruder. Not all of the of course, there were some nice people of course but that wasn’t the case in general.
For example, out of the zillion people who had to check my passport at the airport perhaps a couple of them were nice while the rest made me feel like they wanted to kick me out of their country. That bothered Duaa, an Egyptian cartoonist who was with us during the whole trip, so much that when we were leaving she asked one of the airport officers why they were frowning, he answered: “We work around the clock, we sleep in crappy rooms, we’re underpaid, we don’t have health insurance, so what do you expect?” I’m not saying this is an excuse to be rude to other people but it makes you more understanding.
But as I said I did enjoy my time there immensely, that’s a different subject. There were some perfect moments actually like the day we went to the mountains; the scenery was breath-taking, now I know where Fayrooz was coming from when she sang جبلية النسمة جبلية, her songs sound much different now. And there was that day when I woke up early and went for a walk alone by the sea, and then there was that nice old man who sells fresh orange juice, he actually squeezes it on the spot, so I took a large cup and sat down by the sea listening to the waves and thinking of everything that’s anything. There was also this museum we visited that’s located under a church in Solidere, it was like coming face to face with history and touching it with your fingers. The church was built over the rubble of other churches and buildings that were destroyed and buried down throughout history, since Beirut itself was buried 7 times by natural disasters like earthquakes and floods. There were human bones and even a full human skeleton of a dead warrior lying down where it was discovered. That chuRch was built over 7 layers of history which can be seen in the wall of sediments that shows pieces of mosaic stones, human bones, marine sediments and other things each of which indicate a certain era in history. I knew rocks were the record of the earth but it’s different when you see it with your own eyes.
But the main purpose of the visit was participating in a workshop with the Arab Danish Women Bloggers Network, as well as Beirut Urban Arts Festival which we were taking part in. It was great to see the bloggeresses again and to do something together. Yet, some of the women bloggers that I was really hoping to see weren’t given visas to enter Lebanon, which was very frustrating. 2 Yemeni bloggers and 1 Egyptian. But the most mortifying incident was what happened with one of the Yemeni bloggers, Afrah Nasser, who currently lives in Sweden. The Lebanese embassy in Stockholm called her and said that her visa was issued and that she could pick it up at the airport once she arrives in Beirut. So, she came all the way from Sweden only to find out that there was no visa waiting for her, and although it was the embassy’s mistake or whatever authority’s mistake she was denied entry to the country and was locked up in a room without even a toilet for hours before she was put on a plane back where she came from. Actually the plane took her to Istanbul where she waited in the airport for another day for the next plane to Denmark. So not only was she humiliated for something that wasn’t even her fault, she also had to go through 2 exhausting back to back trips. Imagine spending two days between airports and airplanes.
As for our participation in the festival some of our articles and the pictures we took were printed out and put on display, as well as a video that kept playing where we talked about blogging and whatnot. It looked pretty nice actually; you can see some pictures of that in the slideshow, as well as bits and pieces from this city that reeks with history, culture, creativity and most of all: contradiction
As I’m writing these words, I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed I’m so helpless, because anything I write or do will shrink and pale in comparison to what you have to deal with day in and day out. I’m ashamed that this is what I can do for you while you’re facing death for your freedom, for our collective freedom, for with that you’re giving out a loud and clear message: Freedom is more precious than life, so think again before you count yourself one of the living or the free.
And I know you don’t care whether you’ll live or die, because you know you will live on either way, and perhaps revive some hearts in the process. But I can’t stop wondering, how can any human being put up with what you’re putting up with? Is this what willpower is? I thought I knew but turns out I didn’t. This must be someone who believes in higher values, values that transcend life and death, someone with unshakeable faith in God and in that this life is but a journey to prove that we’re worthy of the real life, and that this life has no merit at all as to sacrifice our freedom and dignity for it.
You had nothing to lose so you decided to give up your one of your basic rights as a human being for a nobler and less observed right. With your empty stomach, you did what thousands couldn’t do with their money, influence, freedom or at least what looks like it and of course stuffed stomachs.
You gave us a reason to rethink what humanity, dignity, freedom really mean.
You’re a hero the like of which are not born every day.
And all we can offer you are our thoughts and prayers.
Live free, die well.
It’s amazing how a country you’ve never been to and people you’ve known for a very short period of time would leave such a footprint in your life. I don’t know if that’s a good intro for a post about the Third Arab Bloggers Conference in Tunis, which took place between 3-6 October 2011, but honestly I couldn’t find it in my heart to start any way else. There was a reason why the conference was held in Tunisia, we all know it, but after being there I can say I felt it too, and I’m pretty sure no one can talk about the conference without talking a whole lot about Tunisia, especially those of us who visited it for the first time.
I’m not going to talk about the conference and workshops session by session because I believe the bloggers and Tweeps had it covered frame by frame so it would be redundant. This is a personal blog, redundancy is only welcome in the form of rants and personal drama… and an occasional #reformJo post. So, let me talk about it as a personal experience. I know that could be boring to you to read but it’s fun for me to write!
So, coming to Tunis I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t really know anyone from the people participating in the conference and it was my first Arab bloggers conference. What will I come out with? Will I get along with the others? I didn’t really know, but I tried to be optimistic and play it by ear. The first day of the conference when I went down to the lobby where everyone was gathered to take the bus to the conference venue, after a long night of sleep and a scare I choose not to elaborate on here. I looked around and for some reason I walked up to a group of people standing together in a circle. I introduced myself and they turned out to be Egyptian bloggers, and I must say that meeting those people made me want to visit Egypt more than ever and showed me how beautiful the Egyptian people are, that’s the word actually: beautiful people from the inside out. For the next three days I would join them in discovering some parts of the city, and I would hear their stories about the Egyptian revolution, their jokes that I understand and the ones I don’t, but I would laugh or smile anyway because the spirit they show and the vibes they send forth are just enough to make your day. Of course going around Tunis, using taxis, buses and even the train wasn’t any less important that the conference itself, and the things we learned there on the street we may not have learned sitting around indoors or huddled over our laptops and smart phones.
It was also great to meet all the other Arab bloggers and to hear from them about their respective countries. Some talks showed hope in a better future for the Arab countries after the revolutions, while others cast a pall over the hall, especially when the question is posed: Where do we go from here? The technical side was very present to say the least as there were several sessions on privacy and how to protect yourself against Big Brother’s surveillance techniques. There was a number of non-Arab participants which was a bit strange since it’s an Arab bloggers conference but they have quite valuable inputs and some of them spoke Arabic. The good thing though is that for the most part the language used in the workshops was Arabic (when the speaker is an Arab) to be true to the name and purpose of the conference.
It was particularly refreshing to meet the bloggers who could make it from Palestine. There was Irene and Saed, but the other 11 Palestinian bloggers weren’t granted the visa by the Tunisian embassy, there for their names and pictures were printed out and hung on the first two rows of chairs in the meeting room as a tribute to them and a sign of protest to the shameful act of denying them entry to Tunisia. There was also another Palestinian I was thankful to meet and become friends with, a Palestinian Tunisian actually called Nawel. Nawel and Nesma from Egypt turned out to be more like soul sisters to me actually, and I can’t be thankful enough that I have gotten to know them.
Since the meeting started every day at around 10 and ended at around 5 or 6, it was necessary to try and keep your sleeping hours to a minimum if you wanted to see as much as possible of Tunis. I would get up as early as 6:30 am and meet the aforementioned group of Egyptian bloggers and then we’d head out to a different area each day. We managed to do that twice: one morning was spent in Sidi Bou Said, a city you can’t help but fall in love with, and another morning was spent touring the ruins of Carthage as well as getting up-close and personal to the sea for a brief moment in time. We would also go out in the evening, and one very memorable trip was to downtown Tunis, which ended up with a very amusing train ride. Actually we made a point of taking the train that we had to walk for almost half an hour to get to the station!
The night before I left Tunis was a night of utter ambivalence. I wanted to go back home but my heart was ripped by the idea of leaving Tunis. How did that happen so quickly? How could I form such a mystic emotional bond with a city in 5 days? I’ve been to other places before but I never felt like I was leaving a piece of my heart there like I felt when I left Tunis. In fact, I never missed any place I’ve been to so quickly like I missed Tunis.
I left Tunis on the 7th of October with so many memories and stories to take home, having made invaluable friendships, learned a lot and experienced even more. It was a great pleasure to be a part of the Arab Bloggers Conference that was coordinated with great efforts from Heinrich Boll organization, Nawaa.org and Global Voices Online. The Arab World is changing indeed, and while some people may be a bit gloomy about the uncertain future of the region, seeing all those people who were in the conference coming together despite all their differences and diverse backgrounds, that should give you some hope, no matter how uncertain the future may be.
وفي ليلة صيفية، قرر سلمان تفقد القنوات العربية، فكما سمع من الأصحاب، كان فيها من العجب العجاب، إذ أن من سمات لسان الضاد، براعة في وصف الأضداد، وكي لا يقال افترى، قرر ألا يصدق إلا لما يرى…0
ولما فتح التلفاز، رأى فتاة تلعب الجمباز، فبات يفكر كالمحتاس، ويضرب الأخماس بالأسداس، إذ أنه وفقاً لمعلوماته البسيطة، وبعد الرجوع إلى الخريطة، هذه قناة تابعة لبلد شقيق، يحكمه رجل يقال له الرفيق، ولما ثار الشعب على الرفيق الجائر، نزلت به المجازر، لكن بدل الشجب والاستنكار، لم يرَ إلا شريط أخبار، يحكي عن مصرع قطة في البنجاب، وآخر اكتشاف عن السنجاب، ونصائح لترشيد الإنجاب، ونفي لأي احتجاج أو سباب، وخبر بالخط العريض يقول “الشعب ملتف حول الرفيق، وعلى قدر المحبة يكون العتاب”0
شعر سلمان بغضب مجحف، فأخذ يبحث عن إعلام منصف، يضع الأمور في نصابها، ويخاف يوم تلقى كل نفس حسابها، إذا ما علا الصياح والعويل، وأنكر الخليل الخليل…0
لكن مما جعله يحتار، قصة شاب اسمه مختار، كان أحد الثوار، ووصفه المذيع بالمغوار، ثم تغنى ببطولته، واثنى على رجولته، وقال بصوت يعتصره الألم، الله أكبر على من ظلم، ووصف ما تعرض له الشاب من تنكيل، وختموا البث بالترحم على القتيل، وعلى قناة أخرى قالوا إنه عميل
أحس سلمان بدموعه تنهال، وترحم على الشيوخ والأطفال، وراح يدور في خاطره سؤال: إن كان هذا الإعلام الصادق، فكيف يكون الأعور الدجال؟
1- That countries outlive men
2- That freedom is not given but rather taken
3- That unbelievably greedy villains do exist outside Hollywood movies
4- That politics is too complicated and things are not always what they seem, so it’s better to listen more and talk less
5- That being freedom-loving doesn’t necessarily mean shouting endless objections
6- That Arab leaders wouldn’t miss a chance to blame Iran for everything that is anything
7- That Iran and Israel wouldn’t miss a chance to capitalize on any change in the region
8- That oppressed and hungry people can only bear so much
9- That Arab leaders continue to underestimate their people and insult their intelligence
10- That we’re in for an ugly war in which we’ll be the weakest link
To say that Egyptians today made history is an understatement
To say that Egyptians achieved the impossible is an understatement
To say anything about what this young generation of Egyptian proved to be capable of is an understatement
It’s just beyond words
Today, the door was finally open, and may it always be…
Thank God we lived to witness history be re-written
Thank God for the hope those brave people revived in our hearts and the new-found confidence in ourselves and our generation as a whole
You made us proud to belong to this generation, and to this nation
After all, Arabs are not congenitally unfit for freedom. So sorry, or not, to burst some western bubbles
Thank God for Egypt