Entre Cineastas: Arab and Latin American Women's Film Festival

Wish I were there:

بين سينيمائيات

(بين سينيمائيات) هو مهرجان القاهرة الثاني لسينما المرأة العربية واللاتينية والذي يعقد في الفترة من 8 إلى 13 يونيو 2009 بمركز الإبداع في دار الأوبرا المصرية. و المهرجان هو جزء من مشروع "بين سينمائيات، برنامج تبادل سينما المرأة العربية واللاتينية". وهو مبادرة من شركة الإنتاج المصرية كلاكيت عربي والمؤسسة الثقافية كلاكيت لاتيني (إسبانيا). (بين سينمائيات) يحاول في عامه الثاني أن يقدم إلى الجمهور أفلاماً لم نتعود على رؤيتها في صالات السينما التجارية، وهي أفلام عربية وإسبانية ومن أمريكا اللاتينية وكلها مصنوعة من قبل النساء. إن الهدف الرئيسي هو التعرف على سينما تقدم بديلاً للطريقة التقليدية في التعامل مع المرأة، سينما تحاول أن تتخلص من النظرة النمطية ومن اللغة التي تكرس في حالات كثيرة عدم المساواة والتفرقة العنصرية والدينية والجنسية والثقافية، إنها سينما تساعد على إكتشاف وجهة نظر النساء، باعتبارهن صانعات للأفلام، فيما يحيط بهن من قضايا مختلفة في البلاد العربية وفي البلاد الناطقة باللغة الإسبانية. للحصول على برنامج المهرجان http://seefoundation.org/v2/images/ME_Agenda/entre_cineastas_2009_ar.pdf

============ (Entre Cineastas/Among filmmakers) (Entre Cineastas/Among filmmakers/بين سينيمائيات) is the 2nd Arab-Hispano-American Women Film Festival of Cairo, that will take place in Cairo from the 8th to the 13th of June 2009, @ the Artistic Creativity Center (Cairo Opera House Complex). The Festival is the result of a project initiated by Egyptian production company Klaketa Arabe and the Cultural Association, Klaketa Iberoamericana (Spain). Entre Cineastas or “Among filmmakers” is a cinema exchange program between Arab and Hispano-American countries that intend to offer the public some uncommon audiovisual productions created by women. The objective is to offer an alternative to the traditional representation of the woman; a space where they can represent themselves without stereotypes and avoiding the kind of discourse that contributes to ethnic, religious, sexual and gender discrimination. Check this link for the full program for the festival (dates & synopsis) http://seefoundation.org/v2/images/ME_Agenda/entre_cineastas_2009_en.pdf *************** The festival event-page on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=93411417058 Official website for the project (Entre Cineastas) http://www.entrecineastas.com/
Thanks Zainab
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On Neighbors and Other Monsters

I couldn't find any better title than Slavoj Zizek's to describe my situation with the creature living downstairs. So what is my pointless rant about this time? Let's start from the beginning... Since I relocated to NYC I have been living in this complex of gentrified buildings that once upon a time used to be housing projects built for GIs. The residents have mostly been replaced by yuppies and well off families though a few ancient inhabitants still exist in rent controlled apartments. A lot has been modified and changed in the area but the main problem (which, according to my New Yorker friends, is symptomatic of all post-war buildings in NYC) still exists -the walls and ceilings are paper thin. They are so thin that I can tell when my upstairs neighbor is wearing a skirt because I can hear the rustle of fabric when she walks back and forth in the apartment! Apart from occasional inevitable noise by the neighbors, things have been very quiet and calm until a month ago when I realized I lived above Hades, an underground world inhabited by one angry creature who I presume is a living dead for reasons that I will mention below. For a couple of months I kept hearing screams, loud talk and knocking on walls and pipes that would take place once a week or every ten days. At the beginning I thought that the downstairs neighbors are the hot-blooded type who enjoy an occasional fight to spice up their boring life (I hear all sorts of sounds from all the apartments around me except for one type, if you know what I mean) but by the third time I realized that the noise was always produced by one woman, middle aged or older and that it is always associated with knocking sounds so I assumed that she is angry at someone for not fixing something properly. That hypothesis, unfortunately, only lasted a few minutes and from that day onwards the nature of the downstairs inhabitant was quickly revealed. It so happened that I had my high heel boots on that afternoon (normally I don't wear heels and I don't wear shoes at all when staying home) and after putting them on and just when I was about to leave the apartment I realized that I forgot a couple of things so I ran, with them on, between the bedroom, the bathroom and the living-room  only to notice that what sounds like a broom stick banging on my floor/her ceiling was literally chasing my footsteps back and forth!  A week later, as I was cleaning up my bedroom early in the morning, I moved the bed by mistake. That one short squeak of the bed legs on the wood floor made the neighbor flip so badly that her voice came to me very distinct and clear this time and for 10 to 15 minutes I was bombarded with neighborly pleasantries that only a true New Yorker can produce -a lot of F***s and B****s and other interesting linguistic combinations. Needless to say, that was follwed by me double checking that my apartment door is properly locked and that my mobile phone is where I can grap quickly if I need to call 911. The downstairs neighbor belonged to a hostile species very alien to me. A few days later loud banging followed the screech of the desk chair I was sitting on as I tried to adjust its position while I sat on my desk reading.  Another uneventful week passed by and after a fun Friday evening party I returned home at 4 am with a friend who had to crash at my place because she missed her last train to NJ. I "instinctively"  took my shoes off but the friend didn't and only after two minutes of entering the house the neighbor knocked exactly where my friend was standing with her high-heel shoes! the woman clearly had sharp ears and never slept. From all the incidents that I have mentioned and a few other very similar ones, I now have a very vivid image of what this neighbor looks like. Below in her Hades, she is perpetually sitting there on the ground on all fours with a broom in one hand and her head turned up towards the ceiling, my floor, waiting eagerly for the least bit of noise so that she can leap to the ceiling and start her sacred and clearly much cherished ritual of banging and swearing -an image not at all soothing and one that had made me so paranoid I sometimes catch myself walking on tiptoe!  If she does that because of occasional momentary noise, I don't want to think about what she would do if I was to have a party at my place. But seriously, why don't I do something about it? Go downstairs and talk to the woman? Unfortunately, I am the victim of a "genteel" upbringing that has done no good to me but disarm me from vital self-defence tactics like shouting back at people and swearing at them and since it is clear that politeness is not going to work with that woman I can do nothing but make sure I avoid meeting her, avoid her wrath and express my frustration and feelings of being unfairly oppressed through writing. But occasionally I am very curious to know what this neighbor looks like. There is a grouchy old lady that I keep running into at noon outside the building when the sun is out and there is a paranoid elderly lady who I also keep running into in the entrance of the building in the evenings on my way back home who keeps telling me that she thinks that some strange men outside are staring at the building. She must be one of the two or a third eccentric friend of theirs!
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New York Debut of Philip Rizk's Documentary

Philip Rizk 's documentary is finally out:
This Tuesday, Feb. 17, will be the New York-debut of Philip Rizk's documentary This Palestinian Life at All Angel's Church in Manhattan. Please see below for more info. This Palestinian Life shares stories of nonviolent struggle in Palestinian rural communities in the face of the Israeli occupation. Filmmaker Philip Rizk meets with villagers in the Gaza Strip, Jordan Valley, and the South Hebron Hills who have endured home demolitions, imprisonment, settler attacks, and other forms of oppression that threaten their very way of life. This film exposes the rarely told story of community-based resistance against the unjust policies of an occupying state. The film's co-creator Philip Rizk was detained by the Egyptian government for four days last week after participating in a peaceful solidarity march for Gaza just north of Cairo. [SEE NYT ARTICLE] After Rizk was released, he expressed the wish for all the attention his arrest received to be transferred to the crisis in Gaza. This film screening is one way we can carry out Rizk's requests. This event is sponsored by the New York Faith and Justice (NYF&J) and All Angel's Church in Manhattan. There will be a discussion with film co-creator Julie Norman following the screening. Please see http://philiprizk.org/ for more info on Philip's arrest. And this Facebook invite for the event. We would love to see you there. Please spread the word WHAT: New York-debut of This Palestinian Life WHERE: All Angel's Church, 251 W. 80th St. (80th at Broadway) New York, NY WHEN: 7:30 - 9:30pm
Thanks Laura!
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Overheard around NYU

Two things you should know that your history books don't teach you: Man in his early 40s approaching a small group of NYU students demonstrating against the inhumane conditions in Gaza: Excuse me, excuse me, I couldn't help but hear you shout long live Palestine.... Do you know the implications of that... Student:.... Man: Palestinians should go back to Saudi Arabia where they came from... Student:..... Man:.... Saying that Palestine should be freed and the palestinians returned to their "country" is like saying that India is British and the Indians should be kicked out of India so that the British can go back.
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Israel Declares Cease-Fire After its "Goals" have been Achieved

(Picture is from the eternally biased, pro-Israel Associated Press) From the NY Times News Alerts:
Israel announced a unilateral cease-fire on Saturday evening in the three-week-old war in Gaza that has killed at least 1,200 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israelis in a televised address: "The conditions have been created that our aims, as declared, were attained fully, and beyond."
I guess the "aims" were to see how many days it can take them to put all their new weapons to use and kill no less than 1000 Palestinians. I wonder what is next, since as we all know Israeli and American soldiers and politicians are above all international laws and treaties.   
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Zar Night in Cairo

For those in Cairo, the Egyptian Center for Culture and Art (Makan) is hosting a Zar music night performed by the Mazaher ensemble. I don't know what Zar music was used for when it first evolved but now adays Zar is known as the way through which some people in the recent past (and very very few people today) used to help get evil spirits out of somebody's soul (usually women suffering from some type of hysteria). At moments like these I wish superstition actually worked, we would have been able to drive the devils out of Gaza and Palestine altogether! Anyway, it sounds like an interesting cultural event and if I was in Cairo i would have attended, so I recommend going there, just one request, if anyone attends please take some pictures and write a couple of paragraphs about it and allow me to post it under your name on this blog. Below is the invitation:
(Zar Music & Songs)  On Wednesday 21 January, 2009 at 9:00 pm Mazaher is an ensemble in which women play a leading role. The musicians of Mazaher , Umm Sameh, Umm Hassan, Nour el Sabah are among the last remaining Zar practitioners in Egypt. The music is inspired by the three different styles musical styles of the Zar tradition practiced in Egypt. One of the African dimensions of Egypt, Zar music unfolds through rich poly-rhythmic drumming: it's songs are distinctly different from other Egyptian music traditions. The music of Mazaher is inspired by the three different styles of Zar music practiced in Egypt-the Egyptian or Upper Egyptian Zar, Abu Gheit Zar and the Sudanese, or African Zar. The ECCA is not researching or documenting the ritualistic aspects of the Zar, rather it focuses documenting and promoting this unique musical legacy. ECCA has gathered together some Zar performers and motivated them to go through lengthy sessions of rehearsing, remembering and recording. Mazaher is the result of these efforts. Doors open at 8:30pm. Tickets: 20 LE  Tea and Karkade are served To rsvp.  E-mail: makan@egyptmusic.org MakAn: 1 (Not 1a) Saad Zaghloul Street, 11461, El Dawaween, Cairo. (on the corner of across Saad Zaghloul and Mansour street)  Tel: 00202 27920878 http://www.egyptmusic.org
 
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The Gaza Diary

Via Syria Comment, a young Palestinian woman from Gaza publishes her diary entries in an Italian newspaper:  
Jalal We all sat in my brothers room this morning listening to Jalal recount his story. He is one of my brother’s close friends and colleague in the engineering faculty. For the past week my brother had lost touch with Jalal, who’s home lies in the most dangerous neighborhood in Gaza city, al Zaytoun. This neighborhood has been closed off by the Israeli military with earthen barriers, even ambulances aren’t allowed in, while houses are being demolished over the residents’ heads. Tens, if not over a hundred people have already died there, and that’s why my brother was so worried about Jalal, being unable to reach him by phone. Jalal called my brother yesterday evening to tell him he was ok, and came over to see us this morning. Let me tell you a little about this incredible young man.... ...... A taste of destruction. (Published Jan 10) Today we came close to experiencing the destruction and disposition experienced by 15 000 Palestinians in the past 13 days. As we sat down to a dinner made from scratch we heard a loud explosion that seemed to come from right above of our heads. We sprang up and didn’t know what to do. Should we go outside? If the building was being targeted that would be dangerous. In a matter of seconds tempers had flared and we proceeded to argue over the next course of action. Our argument was cut short by a banging on the door and shouts coming from outside “The building has been hit!! Evacuate the building”. It took us a few seconds to gather ourselves, and we immediately sprang to action, gathering small bags containing our official documents, pulling on jackets and shoes, grabbing cell phones and rushing to the door. We made our way downstairs along with the residents of our 14 floor building and ran across the street, gathering in front of the gate to the UNRWA headquarters. Everywhere you looked people hung on to each other, young children stared open eyed and infants wrapped in blankets began to wail. A fight arose between two men from the building and an UNRWA guard. The guard refused peoples request to open the gate and allow them to take cover inside. “If anything happens our children’s blood will be on your hands” screamed the impassioned father. “Go to the UNRWA shelters”, the guard screamed back, there’s one 10 minutes away. 48 people have already been killed in these shelters and we all new that....
   Thanks FT
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Manhattan Protesters March Against Gaza War

Yesterday's demo was ten times bigger:
Thousands poured into city streets Saturday in protest of the Israeli assault in Gaza. Even the cold temperatures couldn't turn the massive group away as their anger and frustration over the hundreds of Palestinians killed so far brought them out for another day of demonstrations. "We want the attacks to stop on gaza because gaza people are not animals," said one protester. "It's just sad, like David versus and Goliath, we throw a rock and they throw a bomb, it's not fair," said another protester. "Everyone has a right to live, not just Israelis, Palestinians also have a right to live," said another protester. The fight for that right sparked one of the largest turnout of protesters since the conflict started a week ago. After meeting in Times Square armed with signs, Palestinian flags, and bullhorns, the crowd then marched to the Israeli Consulate on 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue where masses of people stretched for blocks.
   
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قصيدة "الجسر" لمحمود درويش

 

الجسر

مشيًا على الأقدام أو زحفًا على الأيدي، نعودُ  قالوا ..  وكان الصخر يضمر  والمساء يدًا تقودُ ..  لم يعرفوا أن الطريق إلى الطريق  دم، ومصيدة، وبِيدُ  كل القوافل قبلهم غاصت،  وكان النهر يبصق ضفّتيه  قطعاً من اللحم المفتت  في وجوه العائدين  كانوا ثلاثة عائدين  شيخ، وابنته، وجندي قديم  يقفون عند الجسر ..  كان الجسر نعسانًا، وكان الليل قبعة، وبعد دقائق يصلون هل في البيت ماء ؟ وتحسَّس المِفتاح ثم تلا من القرآن آية  قال الشيخ منتعشًا: وكم من منزل في الأرض يألفه الفتى  قالت: ولكنّ المنازل يا أبي أطلال

فأجاب: تبنيها يدان ..  ولم يُتمَّ حديثه، إذ صاح صوت في الطريق: تعالَوْا  وتلته طقطقة البنادق ..  لن يمر العائدون  حرس الحدود مرابط،  يحمي الحدود من الحنين 

أمر بإطلاق الرصاص على الذي يجتاز هذا ) الجسر، هذا الجسر مقصلة الذي رفض التسول  تحت ظل وكالة الغوث الجديدة. والموت بالمجان  تحت الذل والأمطار، من يرفضه يُقتل عند  هذا الجسر، من الجسر مقصلة الذي ما زال يحلم  بالوطن )

الطلقة الأولى أزاحت عن جبين الليل  قبعة الظلام  والطلقة الأخرى ..  أصابت قلب جندي قديم ..  والشيخ يأخذ كفَّ ابنته ويتلو  همسًا من القرآن سورة  وبلهجة كالحلم قال، وعينه عند النجوم ـ عينا حبيبتي الصغيرة،  ليَ يا جنود، ووجهها القمحي لي  والفستقُ الحلبي في فمها  وطلعتها الأميرة، والضفيرة  ليَ يا جنود  ليَ كلها، هذي حبيبتي الأخيرة 

قَدِمُوا إليه .. مقهقهين  ـ لا تقتلوها.. اقتلوني  اقتلوا غدها، وخلوها بدوني  وخذوا فداها،  كلَّ الحديقة، والنقود،  وكل أكياس الطحين  وإذا أردتم، فاقتلوني 

كانت مياه النهر أغزر .. فالذين رفضوا ) هناك الموت بالمجان أعطوا النهر لونًا آخر  والجسر، حين يصير تمثالاً، سيُصبغ - دون  (ريب - بالظهيرة والدماء وخضرة الموت المفاجئ

.. وبرغم أن القتل كالتدخين..  لكنَّ الجنود الطيبين،  الطالعين على فهارس دفترٍ ..  قذفته أمعاء السنين،  لم يقتلوا الإثنين ..  كان الشيخ يسقط في مياه النهر ..  والبنت التي صارت يتيمة  كانت ممزقة الثياب،  وطار عطر الياسمين  عن صدرها العاري الذي  ملأته رائحة الجريمة  والصمت خيَّم مرة أخرى،  وعاد النهر يَبصق ضفّتيه  قطعاً من اللحم المفتت  .. في وجوه العائدين  لم يعرفوا أن الطريق إلى الطريق  دم، ومصيدة، ولم يعرف أحد  شيئاً عن النهر الذي  يمتص لحم النازحين 

الجسر مِقصلة لمن عادوا لمنزلهم، وأن الصمت مِقصلة ) الضمير. هل يسمع الكتاب،  تحت القبعات، حرير نهر من دم، أم يرقصون  الآن في نادي العراة كأن شيئًا لم يكن،  (ومغنيات الحب - كالجنرال - يشغلهن نخب الانتصار -؟

لكنَّ صوتًا، فرَّ من ليل الجريمة  طاف في كل الزوابع  ورَوَتْه أجنحة الرياح  :لكل نافذة، ومذياع، وشارع   عينا حبيبتي الصغيرة " ليَ، يا جنود، ووجهها القمحي لي  الفستقُ الحلبيُّ في فمها  وطلعتها الأميرة، والضفيرة  "لا تقتلوها .. واقتلوني

وأُضيف في ذيل الخبر : كل الذين  كتبوا عن الدم والجريمة  :في هوامش دفتر التاريخ، قالوا  ومن الحماقة أن يظن المعتدون،  المرتدون ثياب شاه،  أنهم قتلوا الحنين  أما الفتاة، فسوف تكسو صدرها العاري  وتعرف كيف تزرع ياسمين  أما أبوها الشَّهْم، فالزيتون لن يصفرَّ من دمه،  *ولن يبقى حزين  ومن الجدير بأن يسجل:  *أن للمرحوم تاريخًا، وأنَّ له بنين  

الجسر يكبر كل يوم كالطريق، وهجرة ) الدم في مياه النهر تنحت من حصى الوادي  تماثيلاً لها لون النجوم، ولسعة الذكرى،  (وطعم الحب حين يكون أكثر من عبادة

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قصيدة "لا تصالح" لأمل دنقل

مقتل كليب: الوصايا العشر

.. فنظر "كليب" حواليه وتحسَّر، وذرف دمعة وتعبَّر، ورأى عبدًا واقفًا فقال له: أريد منك يا عبد الخير، قبل أن تسلبني، أن تسحبني إلى هذه البلاطة القريبة من هذا الغدير؛ لأكتب وصيتي إلى أخي الأمير سالم الزير، فأوصيه بأولادي وفلذة كبدي..

فسحبه العبد إلى قرب البلاطة، والرمح غارس في ظهره، والدم يقطر من جنبه.. فغمس "كليب" إصبعه في الدم، وخطَّ على البلاطة وأنشأ يقول ..

(1)

 

1) لا تصالحْ! ولو منحوك الذهبْ أترى حين أفقأ عينيكَ ثم أثبت جوهرتين مكانهما.. هل ترى..؟ هي أشياء لا تشترى..: ذكريات الطفولة بين أخيك وبينك، حسُّكما - فجأةً - بالرجولةِ، هذا الحياء الذي يكبت الشوق.. حين تعانقُهُ، الصمتُ - مبتسمين - لتأنيب أمكما.. وكأنكما ما تزالان طفلين! تلك الطمأنينة الأبدية بينكما: أنَّ سيفانِ سيفَكَ.. صوتانِ صوتَكَ أنك إن متَّ: للبيت ربٌّ وللطفل أبْ هل يصير دمي -بين عينيك- ماءً؟ أتنسى ردائي الملطَّخَ بالدماء.. تلبس -فوق دمائي- ثيابًا مطرَّزَةً بالقصب؟ إنها الحربُ! قد تثقل القلبَ.. لكن خلفك عار العرب لا تصالحْ.. ولا تتوخَّ الهرب!

 (2) لا تصالح على الدم.. حتى بدم! لا تصالح! ولو قيل رأس برأسٍ أكلُّ الرؤوس سواءٌ؟ أقلب الغريب كقلب أخيك؟! أعيناه عينا أخيك؟! وهل تتساوى يدٌ.. سيفها كان لك بيدٍ سيفها أثْكَلك؟ سيقولون: جئناك كي تحقن الدم.. جئناك. كن -يا أمير- الحكم سيقولون: ها نحن أبناء عم. قل لهم: إنهم لم يراعوا العمومة فيمن هلك واغرس السيفَ في جبهة الصحراء إلى أن يجيب العدم إنني كنت لك فارسًا، وأخًا، وأبًا، ومَلِك!

 (3) لا تصالح .. ولو حرمتك الرقاد صرخاتُ الندامة وتذكَّر..  (إذا لان قلبك للنسوة اللابسات السواد ولأطفالهن الذين تخاصمهم الابتسامة) أن بنتَ أخيك "اليمامة" زهرةٌ تتسربل -في سنوات الصبا- بثياب الحداد كنتُ، إن عدتُ: تعدو على دَرَجِ القصر، تمسك ساقيَّ عند نزولي.. فأرفعها -وهي ضاحكةٌ- فوق ظهر الجواد ها هي الآن.. صامتةٌ حرمتها يدُ الغدر: من كلمات أبيها، ارتداءِ الثياب الجديدةِ من أن يكون لها -ذات يوم- أخٌ! من أبٍ يتبسَّم في عرسها.. وتعود إليه إذا الزوجُ أغضبها.. وإذا زارها.. يتسابق أحفادُه نحو أحضانه، لينالوا الهدايا.. ويلهوا بلحيته (وهو مستسلمٌ) ويشدُّوا العمامة.. لا تصالح! فما ذنب تلك اليمامة لترى العشَّ محترقًا.. فجأةً، وهي تجلس فوق الرماد؟!

 (4) لا تصالح ولو توَّجوك بتاج الإمارة كيف تخطو على جثة ابن أبيكَ..؟ وكيف تصير المليكَ.. على أوجهِ البهجة المستعارة؟ كيف تنظر في يد من صافحوك.. فلا تبصر الدم.. في كل كف؟ إن سهمًا أتاني من الخلف.. سوف يجيئك من ألف خلف فالدم -الآن- صار وسامًا وشارة لا تصالح، ولو توَّجوك بتاج الإمارة إن عرشَك: سيفٌ وسيفك: زيفٌ إذا لم تزنْ -بذؤابته- لحظاتِ الشرف واستطبت- الترف

 (5) لا تصالح ولو قال من مال عند الصدامْ ".. ما بنا طاقة لامتشاق الحسام.." عندما يملأ الحق قلبك: تندلع النار إن تتنفَّسْ ولسانُ الخيانة يخرس لا تصالح ولو قيل ما قيل من كلمات السلام كيف تستنشق الرئتان النسيم المدنَّس؟ كيف تنظر في عيني امرأة.. أنت تعرف أنك لا تستطيع حمايتها؟ كيف تصبح فارسها في الغرام؟ كيف ترجو غدًا.. لوليد ينام -كيف تحلم أو تتغنى بمست??بلٍ لغلام وهو يكبر -بين يديك- بقلب مُنكَّس؟ لا تصالح ولا تقتسم مع من قتلوك الطعام وارْوِ قلبك بالدم.. واروِ التراب المقدَّس.. واروِ أسلافَكَ الراقدين.. إلى أن تردَّ عليك العظام!

 (6) لا تصالح ولو ناشدتك القبيلة باسم حزن "الجليلة" أن تسوق الدهاءَ وتُبدي -لمن قصدوك- القبول سيقولون: ها أنت تطلب ثأرًا يطول فخذ -الآن- ما تستطيع: قليلاً من الحق.. في هذه السنوات القليلة إنه ليس ثأرك وحدك، لكنه ثأر جيلٍ فجيل وغدًا.. سوف يولد من يلبس الدرع كاملةً، يوقد النار شاملةً، يطلب الثأرَ، يستولد الحقَّ، من أَضْلُع المستحيل لا تصالح ولو قيل إن التصالح حيلة إنه الثأرُ تبهتُ شعلته في الضلوع.. إذا ما توالت عليها الفصول.. ثم تبقى يد العار مرسومة (بأصابعها الخمس) فوق الجباهِ الذليلة!

 (7) لا تصالحْ، ولو حذَّرتْك النجوم ورمى لك كهَّانُها بالنبأ.. كنت أغفر لو أنني متُّ.. ما بين خيط الصواب وخيط الخطأ. لم أكن غازيًا، لم أكن أتسلل قرب مضاربهم أو أحوم وراء التخوم لم أمد يدًا لثمار الكروم أرض بستانِهم لم أطأ لم يصح قاتلي بي: "انتبه"! كان يمشي معي.. ثم صافحني.. ثم سار قليلاً ولكنه في الغصون اختبأ! فجأةً: ثقبتني قشعريرة بين ضعلين.. واهتزَّ قلبي -كفقاعة- وانفثأ! وتحاملتُ، حتى احتملت على ساعديَّ فرأيتُ: ابن عمي الزنيم واقفًا يتشفَّى بوجه لئيم لم يكن في يدي حربةٌ أو سلاح قديم، لم يكن غير غيظي الذي يتشكَّى الظمأ

 (8) لا تصالحُ.. إلى أن يعود الوجود لدورته الدائرة: النجوم.. لميقاتها والطيور.. لأصواتها والرمال.. لذراتها والقتيل لطفلته الناظرة كل شيء تحطم في لحظة عابرة: الصبا - بهجةُ الأهل - صوتُ الحصان - التعرفُ بالضيف - همهمةُ القلب حين يرى برعماً في الحديقة يذوي - الصلاةُ لكي ينزل المطر الموسميُّ - مراوغة القلب حين يرى طائر الموتِ

 وهو يرفرف فوق المبارزة الكاسرة كلُّ شيءٍ تحطَّم في نزوةٍ فاجرة والذي اغتالني: ليس ربًا.. ليقتلني بمشيئته ليس أنبل مني.. ليقتلني بسكينته ليس أمهر مني.. ليقتلني باستدارتِهِ الماكرة لا تصالحْ فما الصلح إلا معاهدةٌ بين ندَّينْ..  (في شرف القلب) لا تُنتقَصْ والذي اغتالني مَحضُ لصْ سرق الأرض من بين عينيَّ والصمت يطلقُ ضحكته الساخرة!

 (9) لا تصالحْ

ولو وقفت ضد سيفك كل الشيوخْ

والرجال التي ملأتها الشروخْ

هؤلاء الذين يحبون طعم الثريدْ

وامتطاء العبيدْ

هؤلاء الذين تدلت عمائمهم فوق أعينهم

وسيوفهم العربية قد نسيت  سنوات الشموخْ

لا تصالحْ

فليس سوى أن تريدْ أنت فارسُ هذا الزمان الوحيدْ وسواك.. المسوخْ!

 (10) لا تصالحْ لا تصالحْ

فلماجاءت الوفود ساعية الى الصلح, قال لهم الامير سالم: أصالح اذا صالحت اليمامة.. فقصدت اليمامة امها الجليلة ومن معها من نساء سادات القبيلة, فدخلن اليها, وسلمن جميعا عليها, وقبلت الجليلة بنتها وقالت: أما كفى؟ فقد هلكت رجالنا وساءت احوالنا, وماتت فرساننا وابطالنا. فأجابتها اليمامة: أنا لا أصالح, ولو لم يبق احد يقدر ان يكافح..

نوفمبر "تشرين الثاني" 1976

 
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2009

So the new year is here and I would have loved to receive it with happiness and optimism but the Gaza events have taken away the joy that comes with new beginnings. Of course this did not stop me from wishing for a year with no wars, injustice, famine, drought or plague for anyone anywhere in the world. It also did not stop me from making new year resolutions one of which is to get back to blogging. I am now blogging from a different city in a different part of the world and with very different daily experiences so I am not sure where my blog is heading... we'll see, I'll just take it one post at a time. Below are pictures I have taken during last Monday's (29Dec) Adalah-NY demonstrations against the genocide being committed by Israelis in Gaza to this very minute. The pictures are slightly out of focus because I took them with my cell phone while walking (still learning to handle cameras) but they should give an idea of what it was like. There were around 300 people in the demo and we marched from Herald square to the Israeli consulate: I have also taken a couple of very short videos here:
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Relocating to NYC

Starting from next week I'll be moving from Cairo to New York City where I'll, hopefully, live for the next five years or so. This of course means that there will be no more posts for at least two months from today. How do I feel about the move? Right now I'm in the middle of a whirl of emotions, however that is not something I'm bothered with, it's just a natural reaction to such a big turning point in my life. What bothers me is people's reaction to the fact that I am traveling on my own. With the exception of my immediate family and some friends and colleagues who have been super supportive, everyone else, from close relatives to my credit card customer service guy whom I barely know, have reacted to the news of me leaving the country to pursue my graduate education with a half-hearted congratulations followed by a big "but": "Mabrouk but are you going alone?" "Mabrouk, but isn't that too long?" "Mabrouk, but are your parents okay with that?" after that follows the comment "well, it's good for your professional life but you'll be neglecting your personal one [which you will regret]" or, as is often the case, there would be this awkward silence with "but when will you get married?!" written all over their faces. This is finally followed with a look of pity as they gaze sadly at this poor future "spinster" (I'm only 23 years old). These comments made me angry and offended at the beginning with all their disgusting innuendos about me being alone in a "morally loose" country and their predictions of a miserably lonely future for yours truly, but now they have left me feeling very sad and very frustrated. One of my professors told me when she heard such a comment that people only say such things because they want to comfort themselves with the idea that while you might have done better than them in one aspect they are still better than you in another. However, while that might be true of some very, very few people I know, it isn't the case with the many people and relatives who were genuinely sad for me. What this is, in my opinion, is just pure social bias against women because if I was a man no one would have thought or cared to ask or worry about when will I get married (unless I was approaching my 40th birthday) because when it comes to men there isn't this crazy urge to get them married and knocked up as soon as possible. If I was a man no one would have expressed fear for my safety amid those non-believers, if I was a man no one would have told me to look for a nice Egyptian guy while I'm there and to avoid foreigners because while it's okay for an Egyptian guy to come back home and show off his pretty white western wife it isn't for Egyptian women. When I get such reactions my responses vary depending on my mood. Sometimes, I just play the sweet, traditional good girl role and answer "Mahadesh 'aref el naseeb fein" (No one knows where or when I'll find Mr. Right), while other times I enjoy shocking people with the comment that I have no intention of getting married before I'm thirty and then sit back and enjoy the look of disbelief and fear on their faces as they try to bring this crazy girl back to her right mind. Other times I just shrug my shoulders, remain silent, allow them to look at me with pity and promise myself, while looking at those sorry excuses of human beings, that I'll always do what I want and that I'll enjoy every single moment of my life and won't let such creatures confine me inside their little boxes with their dos and donts.
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Al Fataah: Feminism and Journalism in the Making

A while back I went into the Diwan bookstore in Zamalek only to find out that a book that I had spent around two weeks proof reading for publication is finally out (though as expected my name is not mentioned in it). This book is a compilation of all the issues of Al Fataah (The Young Woman), the first ever Women’s magazine in Egypt (and most probably in the Arab world) which was published from November 1892 till March 1894 by Hind Nofel.

What is impressive about this magazine is not just that it provides insight into the birth and development of women’s rights movement in the country but it also provides insight into the birth and development of journalism. Also, the hundreds of articles it contains are very representative of the age from the too ornate and flowery language that uses too many synonyms and images to the strong class consciousness that lurks behind many of the op-eds.

The magazine contains everything that is thought to be of benefit to the making of an upright and enlightened new woman. There are autobiographies of important and influential women (most of whom are European royalty or intellectuals and interestingly the very first woman portrayed in the very first issue of the magazine is Queen Victoria!). Many articles are dedicated to the art of home making, etiquette and health and every once in a while you find glossy magazine prototype articles describing the weddings of daughters of Egyptian nobility and the contents of their new houses. There are even articles summarizing some of the wacko 19th century scientific theories on race.

My favorite articles are the op-eds in every issue, reading them you learn a lot about the contradictory conservative and liberal aspects that struggled for control within the minds of these early feminists. Thus, while for instance they strongly defended their belief that gender roles in society are manmade and not natural, you find them criticizing European and American suffragettes for wanting to trespass into the world of politics which is described as solely for men!

The women writing in the magazine show strong awareness of and ties with other contemporary women’s movements not only in Europe as expected but also in the USA. In fact, one of the magazine’s contributors, Estir Azhari, was invited and went to the 1893 Congress of Women that was held during the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

You can find the book, which was compiled and reprinted by the Women and Memory Forum as part of their goal to bring to light the underestimated size of women’s contributions to the Arab social and cultural history, at Diwan Bookstores in Zamalek and Heliopolis or at the headquarters of the WMF itself (83 Shehab St. Mohandesin, third floor). This compiled book also contains an interesting introduction by Professor Hoda Elsadda. However, in it the WMF made a few alterations to how some words are spelt to make them follow today’s modern standardized spelling (eg. In the 19th century many Arabs tended to spell anything with a hamza with a ya’).

If you are in the USA, you can find the original copies of the magazine at the Yale University Library.

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Overheard in Cairo

Why Good Girls Shouldn't Travel On Their Own Girl 1: Oh! So how long will you be studying abroad? Girl 2: 5 years Girl 1: Wow! FIVE YEARS! that's too much Girl 2: Well, it's a PhD... you should apply too Girl 1: Umm, I don't know, i don't think my dad will approve of me travelling abroad on my own for so long Girl 2: why? Girl 1: You know, because of what people would say Girl 2: what would people say?!! Girl 1: You know, that "this is a girl who has been all on her own for so long"... "God knows what she has been doing out there"... you know stuff like that... Girl 2 (offended): Well only narrow and dirty minded people would think that way and i don't think any sensible person should listen to them Girl 1: I agree, but rumors of the sort can really affect one's chances of getting married and that is why my dad won't agree Girl 2: Well, you don't want to get married to a backward narrow minded retard, do you?
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Saudi Blogger Dead

Just found out (through Muslima Media Watch) about the sad sudden death of 25 year old Saudi blogger, Hadeel Alhodaif. (Hadeel in her childhood) Hadeel, owner of the blog, Heaven's Steps, was one of the leading and outspoken Saudi female bloggers.
Leading Saudi Woman Blogger Alhodaif Passes Away at 25 Ebtihal Mubarak, Arab News For 25 days supporters and friends of Saudi blogger Hadeel Alhodaif have waited anxiously, hoping that she would emerge from the coma she fell into unexpectedly. But on Friday these hopes died as the 25-year-old writer and social critic — known for fearlessly using her real name in her criticisms — passed away. ... ... ... When blogger Fouad Al-Farhan was detained late last year for openly defending a group of conservative academics that had been arrested for meeting and discussing the need for political reform, Alhodaif was the only Saudi woman who came out publicly calling for Al-Farhan’s immediate release. She started a “Free Fouad” website and created a forum on the social networking site Facebook to keep interested people up to date on the case. “She was truly courageous speaking to the BBC Arabic eloquently and bravely about Al-Farhan’s detention when most Saudi bloggers wanted only to be quoted anonymously,” said a fellow blogger, who preferred to be quoted anonymously.
To read the full Arab News article click here. If you have a facebook account you can join a group created in her memory here. An Arabic Wikipedia page of her is now also available. Rest in Peace Hadeel
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Veil Your Lollipop (Part 2)

And the mission to cover up all the women of Egypt continues... but who is behind all these disgusting ads? After Ursula posted about the lollipop, I found this candy ad via Wael Abbas It says, "A veil to protect or eyes will molest" on the top while below it has a quote from the Quran that mentions how God wants people to walk in the right path while those who are sinful/lustful want you to deviate from it.
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