Tag Archive | "Palestine"

Palestine Then, Palestine Now


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From David Anthony Hohol…

Anyone who knows me, or has been a reader here on RELATIVITY OnLine, knows this writer’s thoughts on what has happened  in the past and continues to happen now in Palestine.  How it has all unfolded since 1948, right up until today, is the ultimate example of the so called leader’s of free world picking and choosing to intervene, to blame, to define and to manipulate international affairs with only their own benefit in mind. If it were another part of the world involving different players it would be called genocide, apartheid, occupation, or even terrorism. While the international community has greatly shifted in its stance over the last decade, popular opinion does little to instill change. Perhaps, it is a start however.

I came across this photograph today. It seemed to say it all.

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Speaking Turkish


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Ignoring American attempts to negotiate better Turkish-Israeli relations, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, in his appearance before the annual General Assembly last week, rolled out a long list of grievances with Israel – formerly an important Israeli ally in the region.  He strongly spoke out against Israel and put the full blame for current issues on the Israeli government. He also called Turkish support for a Palestinian state “unconditional.”  In the end, he made his position clear.

In the one-on-one interview below, he took things a step further suggesting that the Israeli government is dishonest and cruel. He also suggests that Israel has consistently employed an ideology of victimology to justify their actions and that this has gone on for far too long.

Since the killing of 21 Turkish citizens on the Israel’s flotilla raid in May of 2010, relations between the countries have been getting worse and worse. Israel, after the fall of Mubarak in Egypt, has now lost another strategic ally and appears to be further isolating itself.

With the Arab Spring streaming through the Middle East, autocracies are being challenged and new governments will be less tolerant, less open to accepting Israel’s position on Palestine and the Arab Wold in general. Despite this, Israel once again announced it will build a new settlement of 1100 homes in Palestine only days ago. The song remains the same, but Prime Minster Erdogan’s words are representative of a growing trend of intolerance for Israeli policy amongst the international community; so the question now must be – how long can it continue to play?

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Inside Gaza – Lest We Forget


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From Palestine Corespondent Falastine M El-Ghezawi…

Time is merciless, moving forward no matter what the cost. But time is also about renewal and hope. Two years ago at this time, the people of Gaza began to slowly dig themselves out of the destruction laid upon them at the cold and pernicious hands of the Israelis. It’s hard to believe two years has passed. When I close my eyes and think back, it seems like only yesterday.

There was no warning of the war on Gaza before it happened. Things were calm and everything was going normally; at least normal for Gaza. There was a lack of the usual – medicine, milk, diapers, even electricity – but we have long suffered to simply acquire our daily needs. I certainly didn’t expect anything horrifying.

Three nights before the attacks began, I had a dream. I saw a fearful butcher with a sword in Gaza central market, his clothes covered with blood, bones and flesh. I wanted to pass through and was terrified. He pointed, blood dripping from his outstretched finger, and told me to leave the market through the opposite gate. And so I did.

When I told my mother about the dream, she explained the butcher was the angel of death and the sword and blood symbolized the massacre that was yet to come. Him asking me to leave meant I was going to pass through the horror of the Israelis ungodly attacks on Gaza alive.

In the midst of my law degree, we were sitting through a university lecture when my friends and I heard the bombing. One of my friends joked that we better escape fast before the Israelis placed a case against us. We all laughed, but left quickly. We tried to call our relatives to check on them. It was hopeless, as they had already paralyzed our communication network. All phones and computers were rendered useless immediately.

The school day was just ending and the streets were full of terrified children. The bombing intensified and soon it was chaos. I could think of nothing but my four children. I tried to calm down a little girl who was screaming in fear, but she didn’t hear me, her hands over her ears. Ambulances and police cars were everywhere, medics didn’t know where to go or who to help; dead bodies and wounded were suddenly all around me; blood soaked the streets.

Surrounded by explosions, fires and chaos, I didn’t know how to reach my home. I wondered if I would find my four children, my brothers and relatives safe. I also wondered if I were killed, how my children would manage. The smell of death was everywhere and I could think of nothing else. Amidst the chaos I eventually found a driver who would stop to pick me up. I prayed along the way for my family’s safety. It was the longest ride of my life. I thanked God when I found them alive.

I never thought the attack was going to continue beyond a raid. Raids, you see, are commonplace as bursts of gunfire and bombings to remind us we are indeed all prisoners in Palestine under the oppressive boot of Israel is simply a part of life here. I wondered what Israel hoped to achieve from this attack beyond the inhuman suffering already caused by their illegal blockade that had left Palestine almost dying. “We will put Palestinians on a diet,” Israel said. I asked myself, “Will the Israelis take pride in a victory over an imprisoned, exhausted, and malnourished populace living in near squalor?”

The people of Palestine were without any supplies whatsoever, and we couldn’t provide anything except our local vegetables. And even that couldn’t last for long. Our family managed ourselves with peas during the war. We stood in long lines just to get some bread, but food wasn’t the biggest concern, when compared to thousands of homes riddled with bullets. Within only hours many lay in ruin. We had nothing to inform us of what was going on except radios. Even at the best of times we had problems with electricity, but now we didn’t even have fuel for our generators.

Days passed heavily, planes and heavy guns never stopped, ambulances worked day and night in areas they could reach. It all drove me mad. I didn’t allow my children to leave home, because I was afraid of them being hurt, but also I didn’t want them to see parents crying for their dead children.

We have lived under Israel’s occupation for a long time. With the first and second Intifada, we thought we’d seen the worst. I didn’t forget the blockade of Palestinian refugees camps in Lebanon that still exist today either. No matter what has happened however, the Israelis always end up proving they still have even worse in store for us.

The New Year’s Eve sky looked like burning bombs. I wondered if there was anyone even thinking about Gaza in the outside world. Do we live alone with Israelis on this planet? Why has no one moved to stop her savage aggression? My heart grew weary.

People were calling for clothes and food on the radio round the clock. I thought the least I could do was share some clothes, blankets, pillows and pots. In the end, I shared everything I could. I watched people doing all they could to help others and still the onslaught continued. Schools, pharmacies, UN and Amnesty International buildings, even hospitals were attacked.  The situation at hospitals couldn’t have been worse. Simply closing their wounds as quickly as possible, most of the wounded then left the hospital immediately to call for blood donations. There weren’t even blankets to cover the dead bodies of hundreds of children, women and men and no graves in which to bury them.

Many of us were forced to both cook with and drink unhealthy water. Candles soon ran out and we had nothing to light a cold winter night’s darkness. Within hours there was no room in the hospitals. Over the radio we heard again and again how Arabic and international efforts were being made to stop the Israelis latest crimes against us, but we knew Israel would never respond except to its own racist tendencies. Their extreme desire for the killing, humiliation and destruction of all things Palestinian knows no end. This much I know to be true. This much I have lived everyday of my life.

In the last days of the attack, my family’s neighborhood was bombed while I was on the phone with my mother. I heard a missile hit the next building. My mother hung up the phone and with some of their neighbors quickly went to my uncle’s home, making it out on time. Just two days before the war ended, my children insisted on going outside. I accepted as things had calmed a little, but suddenly changed my mind. No long after, Israeli bombers dropped two missiles killing two neighborhood children playing just where my kids would have been had I let them go. I was grateful for a while, but this feeling turned soon to pain and guilt. Two mothers lost their children and I cried for them, as well as the many other mothers out there who suffered the same fate.

After the Israelis withdrawal from our beloved city, we found ourselves living in a wasteland. Many neighborhoods and roads that were once there, were now simply gone, wiped off the map. As an added insult, many of our oldest olive trees were pulled out of the ground. In the end, Gaza became one large homeless shelter. People stayed in camps, having not so much as a pot to cook in, children lost their books, toys and clothes; so much was lost.  The next day however, I witnessed a strange and wonderful thing. With the Israelis gone, markets opened in the rubble to offer people with what little supplies they had. People were shaking hands, helping each other however they could, there were smiles and tears, there were stories of bravery and tales of woe. I knew at that moment that we were still alive, that Palestine lived on and that she would never be defeated. We didn’t win the battle against the Israelis and in the end, how could we? But we didn’t bow either. Try as might they couldn’t make us kneel.

I walked home from the market that day filled with pride and I knew deep in my heart that Palestine would never give up the fight.

Looking back now, I saw two opposites unfold throughout the war – destruction and survival. It reminded me of our great poet, Mahmoud Darwish, who indeed was the essential breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent witness of exile and belonging. I can think of no better words to end this piece than his.

I BELONG THERE

I belong there. I have many memories. I was born as everyone is born.

I have a mother, a house with many windows, brothers, friends, and a prison cell

with a chilly window! I have a wave snatched by seagulls, a panorama of my own.

I have a saturated meadow. In the deep horizon of my word, I have a moon,

a bird’s sustenance, and an immortal olive tree.

I have lived on the land long before swords turned man into prey.

I belong there. When heaven mourns for her mother, I return heaven to

her mother.

And I cry so that a returning cloud might carry my tears.

To break the rules, I have learned all the words needed for a trial by blood.

I have learned and dismantled all the words in order to draw from them a

single word: Home.

-Mahmoud Darwish


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Paradise Now


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Terrorism is the nightmare of our time and the ready made fuel for political melodramas of Hollywood and beyond.  The more we see of it, however, the less we know or understand. From the simplistic inclusion of the Arab bad guys in movies like “Iron Man,” to the textured character study of Pakistani culture in a film like “A Mighty Heart,” the answer to the question why is often left unanswered.  Take  suicide bombing; who embraces it? What can lead an individual to such an action? “Paradise Now” answers these kinds of questions, but in a way that the audience might not expect. A gripping, poignant, powerful drama, the film draws its greatest strength from its unremitting determination to explain rather than justify or condemn the act itself.  For those of you who haven’t,  please track down “Paradise Now” and watch it. This Academy Award winning film is an important piece of work made by the people closest to the matter at hand. It’s the kind of film that will change you, the kind of experience that stays with you long after it is finished and most importantly, it will allow you to understand in way you never have before.

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Inside Gaza – The Contradictions of Determination


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From Palastine Correspondent Falastine M El-Ghezawi….

I was born into occupation. I was born in Palestine. My father was a member the P.L.O. (Palestinian Liberation Organization) and my mother always supported him. I was very lucky to have such rebellious father and patient mother.

When I think back to my childhood I always count myself as blessed to have had an opportunity to stay in Germany with some other children in 1990, three years after the onset of the First Intifada. The Palestinian children who went to Germany grew up under Israeli Tyranny and some of them suffered much more than I, having lost their parents, not to mention having been injured during warfare, losing their site or their arms or legs in explosions. The trip to Germany was a great chance for us to open our eyes to the world around us and escape the Ghetto that is Gaza.

In Berlin, everything was different; the language, the food, the people, even the weather.  I was always so amazed how people got to simply live their life normally.  They walked and talked, sang and danced, came and went wherever they wanted freely.  They enjoyed their time and for them it was normal. When I thought back to my life in Palestine, it was as though we lived in hell.  Living under the dictatorship of curfews, blockades, and checkpoints, our schools being shut down, being treated like prisoners in our own home.  We used to throw stones at Israeli soldiers or burn tires when I was a kid, as it was all we could do to show our occupiers that we would never just accept their oppression.

I was also astonished at the fact that the world knew almost nothing about the Israeli crimes against our people. Throughout my time in Germany I often shared stories of my life in Palestine and many were very touched and appalled by the savage nature of the occupation we endured. After we returned home, we all had so much to say to say about our experience in Berlin and will always remember the German people as peaceful and calm.

Years later, when I was 15 years old, I got married. It was very tough experience for me to suddenly find myself responsible for a family, especially when I had my first son at 16. I made a huge effort to adapt myself to this new situation and things went well. I am now the mother of four wonderful children and couldn’t be happier.

Despite being a young wife and mother, I never give up on my dream of obtaining an education. I eventually went back to school and later on to college. In terms of my studies, my choice wasn’t an easy one. I always dreamed of being a journalist, but I had a stronger urge to study law because of my natural tendency to search for justice. And here I am, soon to be a lawyer.

It wasn’t easy, but my strongest source of motivation for my long and arduous journey was that my father always wanted me to become a lawyer. Sadly, he died before he had a chance to see our dream become a reality. He also witnessed my eldest brother arrested by Israelis and sentenced for 7 years in prison. My brother and I have always shard the deepest bond, always unconditional and unlimited in his support. I came to depend on him all the time and hope he will be released soon and that everything will be all right.

Deep in my heart, I believe the happiest moments of my life have yet to come and I spend my days an extremely optimistic person. I also believe the hardest moments of my life still lay ahead of me and preparing for the great challenges of my existence is an ongoing task. This may seem to be a contradiction, but such is my life; such is the way things have always been for me.

My country is my home, my country is my prison. I was born into occupation. I was born in Palestine.

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Inside Gaza – The Heart of Palestine


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From Gaza Correspondent Falastine M El-Ghezawi….

When RELATIVITY OnLine magazine editor David Anthony Hohol asked me to write about myself as a Palestinian living in Gaza, I was confused about what to say. “Others need to hear directly from you. Don’t worry… just write about you and your experiences,” he said, “The rest will take care of itself.”

I tried to direct my feelings and emotions inward and slowly, my memories took me back many years.

I thought back to when I was just a little girl and not even in school yet. I used to hide inside and feel confused about how the Israelis treated us. To me, they were the monsters. I remember running behind an Israeli Intelligence vehicle, after they arrested my mother and took her to Gaza Central Jail. This happened on the heels of my father being arrested, accused of bombing a Gaza branch of an Israeli Bank. He was also a member of the P.L.O (People’s Liberation Organization), a crime at the time of his arrest in 1979. The United States and Israel considered them to be a terrorist organization until 1991. I was in panic and alone with my grandmother, who did her best to calm me down. Partially paralyzed, I was already old enough to know my grandmother would not be able to care for me and my 9 month old sister.

 

This tragic fact doubled my fears as we anxiously waited to see what would happen to my mother. After she was interrogated for information, my mother was eventually released, but my father’s trial continued.  In the end, he was sentenced to life in jail.

 

I didn’t know the meaning of life in jail at my age, but nevertheless was soon told I would never see my father again. I loved my father very much, even more than my mother, but she never complained. She worked hard to raise my brother, my sister and me, with my baby brother being born shortly after my father was locked up.

 

Days passed heavily. The last Friday of the month was always the most special, because it was on that day we could visit my father. It was only once a month and only for thirty minutes, but it was all the Israelis would allow. Until this very day, there is a part of me that remains that lost child staring at the prison entrance, watching the Israeli soldier slide his big iron keys into the lock to open the jail gate, listening to the speakers, waiting for our name to be called so we could visit my beloved father. I used to run to him and kiss his fingers through the iron bars. He did the same to me.

What I remember most about those early visits, was how my father somehow managed to find sweets inside the prison. He always hid them and gave them to me when I came. I took them home but never ate them because they were from my father.

 

After a while I came to understand that the Israelis were responsible for jailing my father. As I grew older I understood the Israelis were in fact the jailers of my people; the jailers of my identity. When my father was arrested in 1979, people were less political, more involved in their jobs and careers, and few followed the P.L.O. Less than ten years later, at the onset of the First Intifada in 1987, Palestinians rose up against their Israeli occupiers. Israel’s prejudiced and racist treatment of everyday people become too much to bear. They had been either killing or jailing people like my father for years, but my father had stood up to them long before others were there to stand by his side. People began referring to men like my father as a Fedayeen, and I never felt prouder.

 

One of the ways I felt I could fight back was to study hard. I learned how to read and write even before starting school. The main reason I was so motivated, was so that I could write my father letters and read his.  I always made sure to be the first in my class, so I could make my father proud.

 

No one imagined my father would be released alive again except my grandmother. She always said she would be able to see him before she died and much to everyone’s surprise and joy, that’s what exactly what happened six years later. A prisoner exchange between the P.L.O. and the Israelis in 1985 brought my father back to me. I was overcome with happiness. Finally he’d won his freedom.

 

For my family and I, it was a great victory and a step towards the freedom of my people and homeland. It was then I knew I would always have to fight what was mine.

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Living Apartheid


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“The European Union has never recognized Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. Settlements and the demolition of homes are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace, and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible,” declared Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief.

Clear and concise words. Once again, an internationl organization cites Israeli action in Palestine as being criminal. Once again, the statement results in nothing.

Watch the following report filmed in a Palestinian neighbourhood near Jerusalem’s Old City, following the Jerusalem municipality approving a controversial plan to demolish 22 Palestinian homes to make way for a park and shopping complex. The European Union has warned Israel over its plans to demolish dozens of Palestinian homes, but to no avail.

Ask yourself this – What would you do if one day someone from the government showed up at your door and told you to get out and never come back because your house was going to be demolished? It’s 2011 and this is still happening in Palestine. What will it take to put an end what is no less than a total affront to international law?  What will take to stop the Apartheid system in Palestine?

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A Contemptuous Defiance of All: Israeli Audacity at its Finest


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American Vice President Joe Biden

American Vice President Joe Biden

Plans for a settlement of 1,600 new homes for Jews only in disputed east Jerusalem were announced this past Tuesday, while Vice President Joe Biden was in Israel attempting to restart peace talks between Palestine and Tel Aviv. The plans were unveiled just as Biden was concluding a series of meetings with Israeli leaders. In an immediate response, Biden issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel. We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them. This announcement underscores the need to get negotiations under way that can resolve all the outstanding issues of the conflict. The United States recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue for Israelis and Palestinians and for Jews, Muslims and Christians. We believe that through good faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem and safeguards its status for people around the world. Unilateral action taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations on permanent status issues. As George Mitchell said in announcing the proximity talks, “we encourage the parties and all concerned to refrain from any statements or actions which may inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks.”

Relations between the Obama administration and Israel have been cold at best almost entirely because of the settlement issue. Biden’s comment may very well be an unprecedented American condemnation of Israeli actions in Palestine.

The United States and the International community as a whole believes Israeli settlements built on lands claimed by Palestinians drastically reduce any prospects of peace. Obama has been more outspoken on the settlement issue than any other President in American history.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ignored White House calls to stop all settlement activity. Saeb Erekat, Palestine’s chief negotiator, said the move was destroying chances of going forward at a meet set to take place under the mediation of U.S. envoy George Mitchell.

“With such an announcement, how can you build trust? This is destroying our efforts to work with Mr. Mitchell. It’s a really disastrous situation. I hope that this will be an eye-opener for all in the international community about the need to have the Israeli government stop such futile exercises,” Erekat said.

American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighed in on the issue this past Thursday.  She openly berated Israel when she declared,  ” The two state solution requires confidence in both sides. The announcement of these settlements the very day Vice President Biden was there (in Israel) was no less than insulting. It was a very difficult moment. I deeply regret this occurred.”

To make this announcement while the American Vice President is right in Israel shows the blatantly contemptuous nature of the Israeli government, humiliating Biden in the process. Once again, Israel is taking the eff the world approach to the settlement issue. Once again, it becomes clear Israel is not interested in peace and even less interested in Palestine ever having a state of its own. To the Israeli government, the Palestinians are worthy of little more than concentration camps, road blocks, and checkpoints, all under the absolute power of a dominating occupation that grants zero rights to those occupied.

Despite any statements from Tel Aviv to the contrary, this is Israel’s policy on Palestine – plain and simple.

From David Anthony Hohol…

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60 Minutes – Is Peace Out of Reach?


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The fact of the matter is that the average person out there doesn’t know exactly what to make of these so-called Israeli settlements being built in the Palestinian West Bank. This news footage is balanced coverage of the Palestinian / Israeli conflict by the grandaddy of all news magazines, 60 Minutes. Remove from your mind all you’ve heard and seen about this conflict and watch. The truth is there to see for all.

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Palestinian To the Bone


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ab-rapperisrael-001From Lama J. . .

 

 I decided to start my article with a phrase taken from a song that belongs to a Palestinian rapper called D.O.N.  He was born and raised in the United States, but is strongly connected to his Middle Eastern roots, especially those that stem from Palestine. His mom and dad, like many Palestinians, immigrated after the Israeli invasion and he was born as an American citizen.  I guess if he were born in this part of the world, would he really sing a song about being “Palestinian to the Bone.”?

I am a Palestinian, with a Palestinian mother and a Palestinian father. My grandmother was Turkish. I’m not sure if I can brag about my Turkish side to try and impress people, as Turkey isn’t really considered a country from the “Classy Category”.  I guess I need to look for someone else in the family to connect myself to, so people can look at me differently and think how great I am. How about my German uncle’s wife? Or my Australian cousin? Maybe my American second cousin’s wife is even better? Wouldn’t be better to say I am a Palestinian-Jordanian, but my mom is American? Or maybe my father’s family side is half German? I guess my future kids will be the happiest ever. They will be able to proudly say they are Canadians. I’m not sure if they’ll like to make a small addition, BUT my mom is a Palestinian… isn’t that what makes some Arabs classier than other fellow Arabs these days!!??

Sometimes it really annoys me when I chat with some fellow Arabs from different countries in the Middle East. It starts when I ask the question “Where are you from?” 90% of the time I hear in return, “I am Lebanese BUT half French” or “I am Palestinian, BUT my mom is American,” or sometimes “I am Syrian, BUT my dad lived in Spain for almost 10 years.“  Egyptians, Jordanian Lebanese, Syrian… we all do it and immediately put it into every sentence.  Some can’t even wait for people to ask them where are we from, so we can start talking about it. Why do so many of us strongly feel the need to add “BUT” every time we talk about ourselves? Why do the words “I am a Bedouin or a farmer” sound so heavy to us? Why do we have to justify it immediately by saying “but I’ve lived in the city all the time”? Why do we feel the need to brag about the Western side in our families, rather than our Arabic roots?

It’s like many of us are erasing our roots and replacing them with fake ones we think sound classier. Have you ever heard of a happy marriage, because the wife was half Italian or the husband was half Sweden? If everybody here is related to the West, then who was living here in the first place? Of course, I am generalizing, but it’s happening a lot. Many even push this way of thinking on our children. Many Jordanian families are teaching their kids to speak in English at home. Yes, it’s good to learn English, but using it as the primary form of communication with your children, even though the parents are both Arabs, is a little bit weird. But hey… it looks classier when our kids speak in English or French in front of the guests. This shows how educated the parents must be.

I guess I will be Canadian one day and will start saying “I am Canadian to the Bone!”  but am I?… I mean really!!

If we read Arabic history and recognize the amazing achievements made by our ancestors, it makes you want to say again and again, “I am proud to be an Arab!”  If we see how great our religion is, how wonderful our Holy Book is and how rewarding it is to be connected to Islam, this makes you want to say loudly “I am a Muslim!” So what’s the problem??

This habit of trying to class ourselves up stems from not only families or language, but even our food. If you are a shawrma fan or falafel fan, you may look little cheap, but if you dine Sushi every night with your Saki drink next to you, then your classy. You can also talk about your adventures in Japan, or how much Saki you can drink without getting drunk, but can we really talk about how many times we have made our prayers on time without missing it, or how beautiful the trip we took to Syria was last summer? If someone visited France for the first time, he will talk about it again and again to his friends and families, but would this be the case when you visit Jordan?

An Egyptian friend of mine, who is a holder of a Swedish passport but born and raised in Egypt, always talks about the Swedish experience and seems to hates admitting he’s an Egyptian. Another friend of mine always likes to talk about his French grandmother; a cousin of mine who just became a Canadian citizen finally can’t remember some words in Arabic and sometimes I need to translate things for him to refresh his memory. Seven years in Canada is a quite long and one can easily forget the Arabic he spoke for thirty years beforehand, so I’ll excuse him sometimes. On the other hand, my Canadian husband is always talking about his Ukrainian family roots, not knowing that Ukraine doesn’t go under the “Classy Category.” Maybe things are different in that part of the world, maybe people there wants to brag about their Arabic or Eastern roots. 

The question here is… are we hiding from something? Is being an ARAB embarrassing to us? If your wife is a non-Arab, will your life will be better!?? If your grandmother is Italian, would you be happier?  I’m a woman just into her thirties, who has visited almost many countries and speaks different languages, but always mention that I am a Palestinian Muslim from Jineen. I discuss religious issues with many of my friends, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. I tell them sometimes you can be both civilized, educated, sophisticated AND an Arab Muslim… and that this is the real spirit of Islam. 

When I was in Germany for almost 4 years and had many German friends, I never wanted to hide my identity. Even when people used to tell me you’re different than most Arabs, you’re more like a German, you work hard, you’re committed, sometimes I took it as an insult as it made me feel that this is what Arabs are famous for!!  Being lazy!!  Sometimes when I had visitors I would excuse myself and go to my Friday prayer. This made my German friends respect me even more, knowing that I am proud of what I am and that I am not trying to hide it to look more civilized.

I was watching a Lebanese woman on YouTube who was making a speech in front of the culture centre in New York City. She was talking about the Lebanese background and Arab heritage. I felt so sad when she kept on repeating that Lebanon is a piece of Europe and a small piece of Paris. What’s wrong of being a piece of the Middle East? She couldn’t stop bragging about the French part of the family, totally ignoring her Arab side in the process. I wish I could talk to those people who created the “Classy Category.” I’d like to make a deal with them… maybe we need to add the Arab World and make everyone relaxed about it.

Take a deep breath and think about how great our families are, how wonderful our lands are and the historical legacy we are blessed to have; think of how many prophets were here, of the beautiful pyramids, the rose city Petra, the Holy Land of Palestine, the ancient city Damascus and the modernizing Dubai. Do not forget that this is our ID people, our dignity. We are all ambassadors and responsible for how other nations see who we are and how we are proud to be Arabs. With that said, we need to start with ourselves and be proud of who we are before we expect others to respect us. So wake up ARABS!! Be who you are and be Proud!!

 

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  • CANADA: AN EXPAT HEAVEN With our ever shrinking global village, migratory work patterns are becoming more and more a part of people’s lives. Work in one country, summer in another, then try yet another. Thinking about it? Canada, Australia and Thailand are the best places to do
  • NO KIDDING, CONDOLEEZA! In a video at the recently opened George W. Bush Library, Condoleeza Rice confirms Bush was both aware and condoned torture. Guess there’s no need to lie your asses off anymore, is there Dipshit?
  • NO MATTER WHAT, IT'S WORTH IT With its Tex-Mex menu, Taco Bell is one of the most popular fat-food chains in America. No matter what happens after you eat it..
  • TURKISH AUTISTIC ATHIESTS “Autistic children do not know believing in God because they do not have a section of faith in their brains,” claims a renowned Turkish Sociologist. Gotta love nut-jobs, like this asshole! They’re so entertaining!

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Does the fact that Barack Obama is black and the son of an African Muslim contribute to the radical nature of those who oppose his policies?

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