Editorial Note: The following was originally published on 8 March 2012. In honour of Canada Day, I am re-posting.
I was recently in Nova Scotia for work, and had a really wonderful time but for when the winds were UFC-ing my face.
There on Citizenship related stuffs, we were able to look up my original papers. Because I am an immigrant. Just like you! (*Unless you are aboriginal.) As we slowly made our way through the micro-fiche roll, I became increasingly nervous because flopping through my demented head were: ‘What if they have no record that I am a Canadian Citizen? Will I have to change the name of my site? Will they deport me? Will they rush me from behind the filing cabinets?’
These thoughts amplified when the micro-fiche flipped itself into oblivion and no “Maha” was found. My mouth became dry, I eyed my colleagues and thought: I could definitely out-run you, except for maybe the Viking.
Luckily, I didn’t need to do this because they found my photo, and application completed by my baba. My reaction was instant: I wanted to starfish face-plant on the floor and cry a combination of happiness and relief. I wouldn’t have to outrun them, wrangle the Viking, or claim clemency.
My reaction was visceral: Because these documents — which I had never before seen — represented the struggle, hard work, and commitment of my family and so many others like them. That Application for a Citizenship Certificate represents still a love letter to this country, my country.
It also addresses a reality I did not know until I later spoke with my baba, who told me that he was not allowed to submit the application with the word “Palestine” on it, and was instead instructed to write “Stateless.” But he refused, and stood firm that if the word “Stateless” was to appear on our applications, that it would not be in his handwriting, and so it was not. “Palestine” is crossed out, and replaced with the word “Stateless” in a hand-script foreign to my eyes.
The lovely folk printed the sheets and handed them to me as a keepsake. Staring down at them, I thought: Canada, you are one of the greatest loves of my life. I began to cry, and had to immediately place my sorry ass on emotional lock-down.
Because — as already mentioned — I was in the presence of a Viking and I didn’t know him very well. Had I been in the presence of the Sisters only, I would have let my tears fall. But with a Viking, I wasn’t sure with what sort of a reaction I might be met, and feared that he maybe chuck me into a snow bank and demand that I run and find a boat. Dunno.
Anyway. Point is, I was very shaky and excused myself to the washroom so that I might deal in private.
Unfortunately, I walked into the wrong washroom. Really wish I could tell you that I “stumbled” into the men’s, but I had in fact landed my busted ass in the washroom for the impaired. (Maybe I mean handicapped? What word am I supposed to use here, know-it-alls?) Rather than leave immediately, I decided to stick around and figure things out while dealing with my soppy emotions.
Only in place of facing my emotions, I instead discovered my Mount Everest: The toilet seat for the impaired, a mechanism I could not work.
I tried to ease myself onto this contraption very carefully because of the very real possibility that I might wee my leg accidentally (and if I was worried the Viking would chuck me into a snowbank for crying, I was paralyzed by the thought of what he might do were I to wet myself in public).
I am nothing if not determined. So I angled, and then angled some more, I used my yoga techniques, made like a trapeze artist in Cirque du Soleil, got on tippy toe, approached it as though it were a small horse, and even tried to unscrew half of the toilet seat so I might sit on its bare bones; I was met with nothing but the reality that there was absolutely no way I was going to pee on this toilet without risking the dunk of my bare bottom into the water itself.
After eventually accepting defeat, I made my way to the regular toilets (around the corner, down another hall) where I was able to hover like a proper debutante.
Because God works in mysterious ways, my back-alley confrontation with the toilet afforded me ten minutes to subconsciously recenter my emotional compass, and to once more control everything starting at my head, moving down to my heart, and landing squarely in my pants.
Thank you Canada, for both your warmth and your toilets that are not holes in the ground demanding I stick my bottom out like a dancer in a Fitty Cent video, and aim. Please don’t change too much.
I understand this struggle of immigration on a personal level and also the depth of joy it brings to those who cherish their new world; naturally, with recognition that leaving behind family, cultural and community ties are a heartbreak.
Lucky for I, my baba came to Canada not out of necessity, but rather to ensure that his daughter (me, dear reader) have opportunities which extend beyond “marriage at 18 or 19?” Grateful am I, and single still. A reality that surely excites both my parents every time they look at me
and try to see into my ovaries to count how many eggs are left. I still remember my dad studying for his exam, and my wanting to study alongside him until I became bored because there were no pop up pictures in the book.
As such, I am a soppy loser often moved to tears at the site of Citizenship come to life, and equally enraged when some individuals take for granted their Citizenship cards and status. That photo is my card which I cherish dearly.
When my mom and I went to vote for Canada’s 41st Government. While in line, she told me how excited her and my dad had been the first year they could vote as Canadian Citizens. After casting my ballot, I stood back watching with great pride as my (age removed under threat of duress from momma) year old mum ambled her way to vote once more, and again, I was nearly moved to tears.
Until she popped her head around and yelled from behind the voting box: “I JUST CHOOSE ONE, RIGHT?”
In related news, my mother’s turretic inclinations increase with age.
Like just recently when mama and I ran into an old friend, and my mother, bewildered, suddenly became wrapped up in an all-consuming need to remind this woman of how she really was, once a fatso. Though I tried to balance out the conversation, I failed miserably:
“I hardly can tell you lost weight”
“Oh yeahhh….I can tell. You were SO BIG.”
“I really can’t see it…”
“Oh noooo….TOO BIG!!”
“I think you look great.”
“Oh, thanks God you lost ALL THAT MUCH WEIGHT.”
“I honestly don’t really know what she’s talking about.”
On that note: Immigrants and non-immigrants alike, give your mummies a kiss today, please.
Standing by the Mediterranean’s wintered coastline at Gaza, in approximately 1980, my family had decided that pneumonia at the hand of frozen sea spray was a welcome family event. Not sure if any of us became bed-ridden after this shoot, but I can confirm that the video from which I stole this image is further proof that I was an addled child, displaying clear signs that I would later become an addled adult.
The unamused and slightly stunned expression on my face is also why I have my hands angled awkwardly; I had been ripped from my playtime in the sand so that the taller people could pose with my little self. In the video, I am waving my paws’round because they are dirty, and even then, I didn’t wish to be improper and run sand across my grandmum.
Though still very young, much of the captures are of me watching others like a true creep, and playing alone with what appealed to me only and with neither interruption nor direction from anyone else. Oddest is that I appear quiet, though momma tells me this has never been the case as always, I sat alone either chattering animatedly to myself or singing noise, like just last weekend.
Shortly after the above photo, my momma locked me between her legs to fasten a poncho around my neck; a poncho I still have today though too small to wear, but for a hat or interesting sleeve. She is struggling with me, and before she has a moment to catch her breath upon my release, I have made like an ostrich and dived head-first for the sand, while simultaneously whipping the poncho back to fashion a noose for my neck.
In vain I kept watching the video to figure out what in the f/k I was doing, the magnum opus that required so much attention and determination. Sadly, it was nothing; actually and literally nothing. Instead, it appears that I am broken-record and saucer-eyed running my hands through the sand over and over and over. Creating space in sand, lunatic petting for some elusive treasure which I had imagined. Maybe the point there is not that I am in search of something, but rather that I have always best been satiated by the journey itself.
I watched fascinated by three generations of women: grandmum standing strong, matriarch over all; mum popping up from the sand, with hair a mess, and laughing wildly; Camilia whose elegant features appear cut from a Roman bust; and then, us.
Little children staggering toward the sea, crying, pointing, arguing, falling, laughing, burying our hands into each others, completely and totally innocent to all that would displace us to February 2012.
One generation imprisoned in Libya, another in Occupied Gaza, and a third “free” but apart in Canada.
This video reminded me.
Last week, my grandmum turned 83; I remembered that I have not laid eyes on her beautiful face since she was 75. That I have not felt her soft hands since she was 75; have not tasted the almonds and cashews over which she says prayers regularly.
I remembered that since my grandmum was 75, she has not made me her sweet chai, not her bitter coffee, and I have not eaten at her table.
I remembered that since she was 75, I have not found the hidden chocolate boxes filled with her jewelery, nor have I sat at her vanity smelling her dozens of perfumes and lipsticks.
My grandmum turned 83 last week.
I have not, since her 75th, sat with my cousins in her kitchen and laughed at our own hysterical imitation of our elders, only to be set quiet by the sound of the morning call to prayer.
Vividly, I was reminded that since the age of 29, my forehead and eyelids have not felt my grandmother’s lips, telling me that I am my father’s daughter.
Telling me that I am hers.
Seated in my office, I watched repeatedly, caught by a laughter which broke a part of my heart and set it adrift until it jammed itself into my throat.
Because my body remembers how desperately it misses the fierce winter song of the Mediterranean coastline at Gaza, with little hands buried deep in the sand and coming up with nothing. Except the love of my family.
“You have to pick them before the birds do in the morning.”
“In the morning…earlier, Maha.”
“It’s the weekend, ya seedo. The birds have to sleep too because they’re flapping a lot and they’re tired.”
“Birds don’t get tired the way we do. So how early do you think?”
“One more try.”
“YA ALLAH! Fiiiiive?!”
“Around then. We have to come down here after salaat el-fajir and pick the figs that are ready or else the birds will have them for breakfast and you’ll have to wait until the next day.”
And so it was in this way that seedo convinced me to plop out of bed at the age of four, one year less than the time staring back at me from the digital clock in our room. This was the year that the tradition was born and though I became older and the small details changed, the ritual itself would remain for my summers in Gaza.
In my ruffled pink and yellow nightgown, he would carry me out of bed and sit me next to him on the green sofa in the living room while drinking his coffee. Leaning on him, I would slip my feet into my babooj and wait quietly while the aroma of his turkish coffee ran past me and we listened to the whisper of Qur’an through the tape recorder. We never spoke during this time, my grandfather leaving me to waking and I to his coffee.
Coffee he sipped from a treasured cup because it was the perfect size for my little hands. Daily, he handed it to me so that I would have the last sip; the sweetest and the thickest part of the potion were mine, a secret we never let outside of our early mornings.
I would clutch the cup in both hands while he placed his hand either on top of my head or on my shoulder to gently led me down into the garden and out to the fig tree. (I was so worried I would drop and break the cup that if it were a person, surely I would have suffocated it with my protective grip.) In his other hand, he always carried the same ornate bowl.
At the tree, he took the coffee cup I so carefully handed over and placed it on the window sill. I never saw him bring the cup inside and so believed it to be made of majic just for him. Unlike the other cups, this one sat alone, not a part of a set I could ever find no matter where I searched in the house.
Lifting me carefully to where the ready figs hid, seedo would always wait patiently as my small hands struggled to grasp and pull free each one before letting them drop on to the soft ground.
We ate the figs while seated on the front steps of the house, never sharing them with anyone. Every morning that summer, he would take me back to bed and tuck me in, kissing my forehead and letting me sleep until the house’s natural order woke me up. He never left me awake, instead sitting on the bed next to me while I held one of his hands in mine, hands that remain the softest I have ever touched; little cushions brought together for comfort and safety, kindness and protection, I would keep pressing on the insides of his hands until I fell asleep behind my own back.
When I broke the seal and went to Gaza for the first time after he was done with this world, I said hello to everyone and then immediately went to his room. I turned on his short-wave radio, tucked myself into his bed and cried myself to sleep.
When I woke up, I went looking for the coffee cup and the ornate bowl, found in a box inside of which he kept only a very small number of his most important posessions. Among them, all of the letters my mother wrote telling him about me as a baby, his eldest an eternity away with a new child of her own.
These letters I stole without the knowledge of anyone, letters it takes me hours to read because my Arabic simply isn’t good enough. But I have them in my drawer, written on soft paper made softer with the humidity of Palestine and time, serving as gentle reminders of seedo’s hands.
Allah yirhamak, ya seedo.
Originally published 10/07/08.
Teeta came from what remains one of the oldest and richest families in Jerusalem. My great grandfather was a man I never met, but about whom I still hear many great stories, both in terms of his incredible business mind and generosity to his children and community.
Apart from owning much of the farmland in Jerusalem, my great grandfather also owned much of the downtown core where the family home still stands, now a famous hotel, along with 56 shops remaining, both of which are on the same street as that of The Church of The Holy Sepulchre. Weekends and summers were spent in Ashkelon, once known by its Arabic name: Al Majdal, where teeta swam every morning in the pool surrounded by their orange groves, and rode every evening as she was a trained equestrian.
My great grandfather was a very pious man and when he died, he wanted to make certain the following two things happened: (1) That his children worked hard to ensure their own children were well taken care of; and, (2) That the community would benefit from his riches. For these reasons, his will indicated that for the duration of the lives of his children, they would receive the rental fees from the shops in the Old City, as well as any money generated by their farm lands. When the last of his children die, all of this money was to be funneled directly into the social welfare system for the needy (specifically: for orphans).
Although he spoiled his children, there was a limit to that grace and he taught them well that obligation and responsibility began with one’s family, and spread to the community.
It was a lone and particular photograph of teeta and Saa’da – meaning ‘happiness’ – which was found in her night table after her death. Saa’da, an Arabian horse, was gifted to my grandmother by her father.
A black and white picture of my 12 year old teeta with blond hair, fair skin and hazel eyes. She wore a white dress, white socks and white shoes to match the white horse, perfectly groomed they both stood. Saa’da was sideways facing, looking at my grandmother, who was staring directly into the camera, filled with mischief, happiness, pride, and a million secrets ready to burst out of her as soon as the picture was taken. The energy of her leapt out of the photograph, and one couldn’t help laugh – not just smile, but actually laugh – when they saw the beauty of her youth, which is in so many ways, one of the purest of art forms gifted us by God.
When I was younger, I didn’t much pay attention to the relationship between teeta and seedo until the summer she had to go to the hospital. Seedo hardly ate, hardly slept, would spend his entire day next to her in the hospital – and when she came home, I remember standing at the top of the stairs as he held her hand and gently and patiently walked up with her, half-way stopping and bending his head to kiss her hand and tell her that the house had been filled with darkness in her absence. After 50 years of marriage and seven children, they still liked one another.
When teeta died, seedo stopped living, and died shortly thereafter.
As deeply as teeta loved her life with seedo and her children, she would occasionally tell me about Saa’da, and about the freedom of riding her. There were no rules for her while she was with Saa’da, neither obligation, nor consequence in the endless hours she’d spent with her.
Teeta had very strong opinions and was a force to be reckoned with when she wanted something; anything she pursued, she did it with justice and not a shred of selfishness. She ran her house with equal amounts of iron and love and her children and husband worshiped her for this. Being the first grandchild, I always remained a novelty and had access to secrets and stories the others did not.
She was a free spirit, teeta, this being so obvious in that photograph with Saa’da. This spirit was dulled and fragmented by the hardship of war and occupation, that wouldn’t allow her to visit her childhood home in Ashkelon from 1948 – 1967. All of the land we still own, but the farmland is no longer workable as when Israel became, they placed a ban on the watering of farmland and so my family’s orange groves died except for the few trees that stood beside the swimming pool. These same trees still stand today, but the orange groves have never rejuvenated.
Access to water, when manipulated accordingly, is more deadly than a bullet.
More importantly was that teeta’s own brother was murdered by the Israeli Defense Forces in Khan Younis, after the nationalization of the Suez Canal. Awakened and pulled from his bed, alongside all of the men in the neighborhood, my great uncle and teeta’s brother in law were among the first to be lined up against a wall and shot dead because they were young Palestinian men and that made them a danger; pre-emptive strike the essence to the actions of the deadly bully that is the State of Israel.
Later, she would have to endure the imprisonment of her husband for nine months, as he was deemed a political threat. Worse still was that her youngest boy would be taken to jail for being a part of a protest and while in jail, beaten so badly that he walked out a man with epilepsy. Today, he would tell you that he is blessed to have walked out at all. These memories are the fabric of my mother’s family; my family.
The smile on teeta’s face as a young woman always told a story far removed from the pictures themselves and the surroundings within. Eternally, there was something happening behind her eyes, always standing out from the rest of the men and women in the pictures. Even though it was until the day she passed that she had a strange mix of innocence, pride, and humbleness, the young woman who once pulled you out of your reality and into her photograph was lost after 1948.
It is only as an adult that I understand the seduction of Saa’da. It is innocence in a distilled form, and freedom in the greatest sense. Not as entirely real as teeta or any of us ever imagine it to be, but when captured in a photograph, the feelings and representations are encapsulated, frozen and melancholy. Where we often lack perfection in every day, we find it in the stories we tell and the pictures we hold tightly.
It was no surprise to her children when they found a photo of Saa’da but none of themselves, as Saa’da was teeta’s lament for freedom in all of its varied forms.
Originally published: 07/11/13.
Oh look. I’ve gone and changed the title again.
As starting point, I would like to introduce you to the lunatic + lovely coupling which brought forth yours truly. I stood a small and already confused person between them. Yes, Arabs and Muslims often come in different shades than brown / terrorist.
This photo was taken well before these two stopped procreating forever and ever eternal and divorced, ensuring that the weight of their worlds rested squarely upon my lone and no-longer blond head. Thanks mum and dad; you’re nice.
Look at how happy and somewhat menacing these two people are; as though they’ve never had their photo taken before.** Or they were the first to procreate a small person. Upon closer inspection of the photo, I am clearly scared rather than confused. They are gorgeous, aren’t they? (**Also, I am kidding — Arabs know what a camera is.)
As those who read me on the regular already know, I have for the past while been searching for a common denominator through my writing, a place where I would comfortably park myself for time to come, a place in which this now seven year-old internets home may flourish and behave as the histrionic comedienne it was meant to be.
As I am painfully dense, this endeavor left me struggling for weeks until earlier today, when it finally sank in to just write what I know already (which is what everyone and their mother had previously advised).
A few days back, I thought I had arrived at Humour, in fact, but knew by the itch it left that something was missing still: a specificity to my writing.
Not only does the Prolific Immigrant leave no room for vague, it feeeeels 100% right.
My family came to Canada when I was aged four and still v v malleable to my parents’ will. We are Muslim, Palestinian, and I was born in Libya. Essentially, my identity is where all Axis of Evil points converge.
“Canadian” is how I have always identified. (POUTINE!! CALL ME!!) Only recently — not as begrudgingly as one might think — I accepted with open arms that though this remains the predominant character to my identity, it is by no means the only.
In reality I am all things Palestinian, Canadian, Muslim, female, liberal, and often: v v dumb.
Henceforth, predominant (not all) pieces here shall be love letters to my identity; the beauty of it, the challenges it has wrought upon my life, and the strength of character and pride which it has forced upon me even when I didn’t want it (and while I may still sometimes attempt to punch it in its hair).
Though it doesn’t take much for me to reach it, I trust that you are as excited by this new direction as I am.
In support of the Divestment campaign, Costello cancels his two scheduled concerts in Israel.
Read his full statement here and share the information, as you see fit.
If you support his stand, please let him know.
Share if you think it is worthy of dissemination.
Read and share, please.
A core group of largely Toronto-based Jewish filmmakers is accusing the festival of playing into “the Israeli propaganda machine” with its inaugural “City to City” program, which it says excludes Palestinian voices from the 10-film program.
The group is circulating a letter of protest and has drawn support from more than 50 artists around the world including American writer Alice Walker, Canadian writer and activist Naomi Klein, U.K. filmmaker Ken Loach and American actor Danny Glover.
“Looking at modern, sophisticated Tel Aviv without also considering the city’s past and the realities of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip would be like rhapsodizing about the beauty and elegant lifestyles in white-only Cape Town or Johannesburg during apartheid without acknowledging the corresponding black townships of Khayelitsha and Soweto,” the letter states.
The letter goes on to accuse the festival of being unduly influenced by the Israeli government’s year-long Brand Israel campaign, which it says is geared towards sanitizing Israel’s controversial political and military history.
“We have come and we have stolen their country…We must do everything to insure they never do return.”
- Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion
“apartheid nature of Israel state”
- UN Resolution 338/339
Forget what you think you know. And listen to the voices of the silenced majority.
Open your minds and remember Malcolm X’s famed words: “…what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions. This was not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth.”
There is still some ‘off fighting’ in the South of Lebanon, but nothing major and nothing to fear, inshallah. Quite honestly, I don’t believe that either Hizbullah or Israel anticipated or made allowances for what the last 35 days have brought; an end to this can only work in favour of the two, and maybe now the world will remember that while this has gone on in Lebanon, Gaza has been attacked with the usual amount of restraint shown by Israel.
I was speaking with someone about this, and they explained to me why it is that Israel needs to be so hard; this concept of ‘never again’, in terms of the Jewish Holocaust, was what we were discussing. I understand it, but I can not justify it. If anything, it makes me sad that this is the fate of that nation; and it also makes me sad to consider the consequences of the road on which the Palestinians have been and will be forced to travel, due to a particularly devastating history in which they had no role.
One of the important things is that the individual who explained this to me believes that the Palestinian cause is a righteous one, and so the explanation offered was met with more comfort on my part. Actually, it was met with only comfort because of this individual’s recognition of the plight of Palestinians and that of the Jewish community.
The question is simple for me: ‘what happens to you when the world thinks you’re expendable?’ And I think a part of that answer is something Israel is providing right now.
There’s a story which Amira Hass tells about her family. When they were being shipped off like cattle to the concentration camps, Germans were standing by and watching, none of whom tried to step in, none of whom yelled or screamed or challenged what was to come, what was to become of these people. When I read that story I was crying so hard I couldn’t breath. I don’t understand it and I still don’t understand where such gross cruelty and complacency comes from. Every time I think about that still, I am nauseated…it actually hurts me to think about it, and it’s the same feeling I experience when I think about how shortly after the creation of the State of Israel, my mom’s uncle was among the hundreds of Palestinian men pulled from his bed by Israeli officers and taken outside of his home in the middle of the night. Lined up along a wall with the other men from the village and shot dead. It’s the same sickness I get when I think about my own uncle who, as a young man in occupied Palestine was taken into an Israeli prison and came out with epilepsy because he was hit so often in the head.
I don’t differentiate, I refuse to see Jewish blood as opposed to Palestinian blood. I can’t, and I won’t and I don’t believe the Palestinian/Israeli nightmare will be solved until more of us believe in this with every part of who we are. That we hurt over the blood shed by anyone.
Quite honestly, I don’t know what to do with that sometimes; I don’t know how to walk out of it or deal with it or speak about it because people look at me like I’m insane. But fuck it.
You know, I don’t understand and it’s never been enough for me to think “humans are cruel”, because I have to refuse to believe that. No matter how ugly people are, I have to have faith in something bigger and greater or something, because I think I would fall apart if I didn’t.
I’m talking about this because this afternoon I’m going to the South of Lebanon to visit Sabra & Shatila. I’ll be with the one individual I trust most and who can take care of both myself and the situation should there be a need to do so. Of everyone here, they’re the one I feel most protected by and comfortable with, so for those of you reading, please don’t worry. If I’m to be in any hands, these are the best ones.
Am quite nervous about this, I don’t really know how I’ll react to visiting these two areas, knowing their history and the reality that I am one of the lucky few who – by nothing more than luck – was spared having my blood spilled. That, had I lived that Palestinian history, I too would have been shredded to death, for nothing more than being a Palestinian. How unfortunate that neither the Jewish community nor the Palestinian community recognise the similarities and the connections between their fates; that by virtue of blood, a life lost is a justifiable action.
I don’t know, I’m not really being coherent at this point because I didn’t get much sleep last night. I woke up because of bad dreams, and I was feeling a little empty and as though there was something missing. I don’t know how to explain it to you because it’s the first time I’ve experienced it. There’s something happening to me emotionally that’s taking a toll on me at the moment and it’s something I didn’t anticipate or expect or fucking want. My mind, my spirit and my heart and everything that makes me who I am is being tested to a degree I never imagined. I’m thankful for it, though…whatever it is and whatever the outcome may be.
Oh my god this is just the most exciting news and I can’t believe I’ve not mentioned it before today (my ailing mind. Perhaps ‘tis just the multitude of Gerry Butler in 300 photos.)!
I’ve totally reconnected with the first boy I ever had a crunch on. Crunches are more fun than crushes. I was all of 6 years old and he was the resident hottie in my class. He totally looked like he was 7! *Swoon*!
He disliked me because I was better at English than he was. I tease him about this now…and will eventually stop. But not yet.
He used to pick me up on his bicycle. I had my own tricycle then; that was a lot of fun. Especially in Gaza. Because you never really ride a bicycle there, you actually off-road on sand dunes. Even when you’re 6 years old and on a tricycle that has tassels. And in a dress. You, not the tricycle.
I tried to show off and race him, but always landed on my face. Not very different from my contemporary dating antics. And I think he used to have a crush (not as much fun as a crunch) on my best friend at the time: Rana. I was devastated and drowned my pain by crunching on the cafeteria dude (because he used to feed me and water me as necessary). But he was married. And had children that were older than me. But that just meant more people to feed me.
Forget about the logistics of the how we reconnected…
Point is, he’s totally cool & lives in Dubai. And probably has a licence. And maybe even owns a car. And I’m guessing looks, like, way older than 7 now.
He calls me ‘Sweetie’. And I hope he doesn’t mean ‘Sweaty’, as in “she was always sweaty after we finished off-roading on the sand dunes”.
All those who think I need help, please say “Aye”.
While volunteering with UNRWA 3 summers back in the Palestinian Territories, I managed a few days out on the Mediterranean coastline in Gaza.
I was having a completely shit day (something that happens all too often while there) and decided to haul myself down to the coast, because water has a way of calming me. Besides, it’s easier to cry when you’re alone.
I was such a mess, I used to cry myself to sleep on a nightly basis while I was volunteering, and it took me a long time to recover when I came back to Canada. Although it was an incredible experience, I came back shell-shocked and heart broken by what I saw; I was completely broken up by the fact that I was lucky enough to leave. Really. What a mess.
So. I took this photo. Through the lens, it didn’t look like this; there wasn’t that sun shining through the clouds. It’s since become one of my favourite photos and I came across it while cleaning my baby mac…thought I’d share it with you pretties.
.1. Comments section have been opened for all post sabbatical entries. Zippy, from Rafah Pundits, has encouraged me to do this, even in the face of Bob the Viagra Spammer. Shall see what transpires and will close them should Bob come back.
.2. Am writing about my perspectives on the Israeli settlers being dragged from their homes, for purposes of ‘disengagement’. A word that actually offends me, as the Israelis and Palestinians should be working toward engaging everything rather than disengaging anything (obviously: this will be the angle I take). Check back in the next couple of days for the article.
.3. Confirmed: Am a marketing rep’s dream. Against my better judgement, found I was drawn to almost all of the furniture, dinnerware and even clothes in Montreal’s Caban (777 rue Sainte-Catherine O). Was staring at a tube of water, contemplating its purchase. Water. In a tube. Thought it pretty. Nearly bought it, until the understanding dawned that “they are trying to sell me ‘a’ lifestyle, the bastards!” I stomped out shaking my fist at anyone who would dare look at me.
Well. Not quite. I actually had to force myself to leave so as to not purchase the beautiful nearly $200 Eva Zeisel teapot that serves two. As I left, I smiled at the drones of workers and said “nice stuff”. Am truly a sell-out.
Much like the ‘disengagement’ plan, it really is about the packaging, isn’t it? Having nothing to do with substance or what people actually need, the ultimate seller for all things, it seems, is presentation. How very Fight Club.
Check it out >> I just received a little note from the exceptional minds at Rafah Pundits that they have “created a whole category in your honour – - you are now listed under Damned Fine Reads ”. Scroll down their site and you will find One Female Canuck under my own little category; How totally cool!
But apart from my own ego, just read all of their stuff, all of the time. ALL of the time.
Was at the Post Traumatic Stree Disorder (& the Global Village) conference both Thursday and Friday past…searching for clues and narratives that may lead to a burning question I should take on and figure out through a PhD.
Nothing burned but my own temper, as I was left listening to the headliner >> Friedman << discuss PTSD among Israelis, without reference to or mention of Palestinians (we can never hope to live together when the ‘sides’ continue to deny the humanity of the other). After listening to his embarrassing lectures on the first day, I opted out of the morning half of the second day and waited for Gen. Dallaire to take centre stage.
Massey Beveridge is the quintessential ‘chap’. He presented a rather exquisite talk on violence / trauma and the reality that they do not exist in a vacuum, and so the actions of a surgeon such as himself, should not begin / end with surgery. On a greater scale, he was also talking about global citizenship. Have requested a copy of his lecture. Google this man and learn from him, STAT.
Gen. Romeo Dallaire also presented. He told us a story of one of his soldiers, a soldier who had come face to face, gun to gun, with children soldiers in Rwanda. He had a choice to kill or be killed, and he pulled the trigger, watching the heads of children shatter. I’d never heard Gen Dallaire speak before, and was completely mesmerised. And like the spaz that I am, I was crying throughout this particular story. Mascara was running, it was a real mess.
Alexandre Trudeau spoke about Liberia. This guy is a politically philosophical bulldog. My impression is that he spoke over the heads of about 90% of the attendees. Strange, but a random female later harassed me for posing a specific question…and I think the only reason I was told my question / comment was “rude” and “uncalled for” was because he was a Trudeau (and this I believe because much more controversial questions were posed to the other speakers, and went largely unchallenged). What I didn’t anticipate from Trudeau was that he is seriously aggressive in his politics / positions. We managed to chat for a few moments after he jumped off stage at the Macleans lecture later that evening; I would have liked to talk to him at length, but there were others interested in speaking with him and I didn’t feel proper in taking up more of his time.