7 June 2011

Yes, even Capital Letters can be Political

ok don't take this post too seriously. It's something I've been playing around in my mind with.

So I've dropped the caps from my name. This was after I've dropped all but the first letter of my family name [but that's in another post] I'm no longer Khulud Kh. I am khulud kh.

Why? No, not for the same reason that bell hooks dropped her caps.

It's for a much simpler reason - my name in its original language - Arabic - is خلود.
No caps. And since it's an Arabic name, why should it be Englishized or Anglicanized (yes, I'm making up words along the way) or Westernized?
I realize that many languages in the world use caps - and for good reasons. But there are many other languages - Arabic and Hebrew just two examples - that don't have caps, and don't see any reason for using caps.

My Arabic name doesn't have caps, and therefore, it will not have caps in English either.

I've been interviewed by a German friend for a German newspaper for a theater-festival. I've explicitly asked her to make sure that my name appears without the caps. The editors refused to drop them, claiming that "nobody would understand that this is an artist name." So I was once again Khulud Kh. But this is not my "artist name." It's MY name. And I think that one of my very basic rights is to decide how I spell my name.

No - I'm not making an issue of it - as I wrote in the beginning, no need to take it seriously. These are just my ramblings at a late hour of the night. Sometimes I laugh at this, but sometimes it does annoy me. This invasion even of my very name and my ownership of it [not to mention ways of spelling and why I spell it with a "kh" and why there are no "o"s in it].

3 June 2011

Is there still Hope? - The Hebrew Version

Photograph by Sam Contis who also owns the cactus, which is a piece of art by Naomi Safran-Hon. The text in the image is by Hannah Safran. All rights reserved.

And so tonight I received a follow-up email from my friend Hannah Safran, with the Hebrew version of the cactus this time. In Hebrew, the words are different. It says: "and when they torture him, he will multiply and he will erupt." There is use of the affirmative in the sentence, stressing the act of multiplying and erupting. Thinking about it, the language is archaic and it may be something from the Torah.

Anyway - the Hebrew text only reinforces my second interpretation about the hope. That the desire of this cactus to live is so strong that it will even break through cement.

2 June 2011

Is there still Hope?

Photograph by Sam Contis who also owns the cactus, which is a piece of art by Naomi Safran-Hon. The text in the image is by Hannah Safran. All rights reserved.

I received this photo today by email from a good friend of mine, Hannah Safran.
In the subject line, she wrote: "44 years against the occupation."
In the body of the email, she wrote: "the cactus grows inside the cement. is there still hope?"

The picture and the words can be interpreted in two contradicting ways.
When I first saw the picture and read the words, I felt sad. Something heavy settled in my stomach. Why? Because cement in this context connotes death for me - the solid end. And for a cactus to grow inside the cement - well, I thought to myself, it must have been out of desperation.

Then I closed the computer, went to bed, couldn't sleep, came back here, opened the email again, and read the words once again:
"the cactus grows inside the cement. is there still hope?"
I lingered on every word. The cactus is growing. It's growing. Yes, it's growing in the cement, but growing. Meaning that the cactus has not lost hope. On the contrary, this is one hell of a cactus! Won't give up! Life is so precious to it that it makes roots even in cement! It's rootedness - what we call SUMUD.

Then the other part of the sentence, "is there still hope?"
Well, let me tell you something! I have plans for a better tomorrow. If I didn't have dreams of a better tomorrow, then there would be no reason for me to be here.
And what is the alternative, anyway? To lose hope? Now that's the scary part. I don't even want to imagine what would happen if we do lose hope...