27 February 2013

how to tie a headscarf - Arab woman attacked by Jewish women at a train station in Jerusalem

A woman was attacked at the train station on Monday by other women.

Four pictures, taken by Dorit Yordan-Dotan, depict the incident. There is only one way to interpret the pictures. The woman was attacked because she was wearing a headscarf. But then Jewish religious women also wear the headscarf.

The woman was attacked because she was wearing the headscarf in a way Muslim women wear the headscarf. She was attacked on account of being Arab.

A Jewish friend of mine shared one of the photos on her profile picture, with the words: “when can we begin comparing?” [I assume she was referring to the way Germans treated the Jews.]

I refuse to compare.

In this country, we are judged by our clothes/skin color/accent/the way we wear the headscarf.

A Jewish friend of mine was driving through a checkpoint from Israel to the Occupied West Bank, along with a Palestinian friend of hers. I don’t remember the details, if the Palestinian woman was from the West Bank or if she was a citizen of Israel, is she had a permit or not. These are minor details. They are irrelevant to the fact that the Palestinian woman was scared she’d be arrested/investigated/humiliated at the checkpoint on account of the way she was wearing her headscarf.

Sometimes, we have to resort to humor in our small everyday tragedies. As they approached the checkpoint, the Palestinian woman took off her headscarf, and tied it back on in the way Jewish religious women do. Both friends laughed.

With one small change, a different tying of the headscarf, she was immediately changed from a “Muslim prospect terrorist” to a “Jewish religious settler.” They passed the checkpoint smoothly. The boy-soldiers smiled at them and let them pass.

Did the woman compromise her identity? No. She laughed in the face of the occupier, proving the soldiers’ stupidity.

During OperationCast Led, my daughter would go to school wearing the Kafiya [the traditional Palestinian black-and-white scarf]. I would ask her to put it in her school bag and only wear it when she arrives at school, and not on the bus. Was I compromising her identity? No. I was simply ensuring my daughter’s safety.
(c) khulud kh, 2013

25 February 2013

woman - wake up | raise your voice | reclaim your spaces

wake up
stand up


raise your voice
dream the impossible

don't listen to them who tell you to
sit quietly

the corner is not your place
reclaim your space

you are meant for greatness
and greatness is
a smile of the eyes
a barrier moved
spaces reclaimed
(c) khulud kh (2013)

23 February 2013

Dreams do come true

I have completed my first novel, "Life in Fragments" [tentative name], on 30 June, 2012. In its present form, it took me two and a half years to complete the novel. Throughout the whole period, I had my ups and downs. Ecstatic moments when I was able to complete a "perfect" sentence or paragraph, but more often, long bouts of depression when nothing seemed to work - no words were adequate to express what I thought needed to be written down. Words refusing to be formed. Jarred sentences. Annoying, uncooperative characters who just bounced off the paper and rebelled against any structure.

Struggle. sweat. blood. insomnia.

But finally, I pulled through the dark, and a novel was born. I felt my body emptying. A part of me was gone, just like after giving birth. I even experienced post-birth depression.

I let it all sink in.

After a while, I began searching for a home for the manuscript. Friends said: "it takes a while, sometimes even years." I had faith. Sent the synopsis and first two chapters for review by several publishers and agents. Negative responses in the best case, no response in the worse case.

An opening: an agent in New York agreed to read the whole manuscript.
The Director of the radical feminist Spinifex publishing house, Susan Hawthorne, asked for the first 50 pages, and then for the whole manuscript.

No response from the agent in New York.

I began to doubt my writing and my dream. I was seriously considering of giving it up, of throwing in the towel. Of searching for a new dream to chase.

I reached rock bottom. Complete darkness.

And then the email came. A contract is on the way with Spinifex. A small publisher, yet I am excited, as I feel that it is the right one to publish my book. They are a radical feminist publisher, very political. The perfect home for my first novel.

I haven't written anything in a while. Was on the verge of quitting. Now, with this news, I am again full of energies and belief in my abilities. My mind is brewing with the new characters of my second novel, "Tea at the Checkpoint."

At the same time, I am excited to be revisiting again the character of "Life in Fragments" for the purposes of editing the manuscript. To be honest, I do miss them often.

So, it is back to full-fledged writing for me again: editing "Life in Fragments" and working on "Tea at the Checkpoint." I'm not sure if I will have any spare time in the next few months to post articles here, but will try.

Until next time, dear readers and friends :)

15 February 2013

welcoming back - from the back door only

Some exquisite parts of a mythical past always find their way into the present. The way to deal with these parts is to embrace them with a smile, knowing they are what have shaped you, molded you, and made you who you are. So, my dear mythological friend from the past, I open the door for you for one evening, with a forgiving smile. Welcome to my sacred space.