30 November 2013

Against the Prawer Plan برافر لن يمر

Some photos I took from the demonstration in Haifa this evening against the Prawer Plan.

Demonstration against the Prawer Plan - photos by khulud khamis

Needless to say, the police came prepared and they got violent.

Facebook pages against the Prawer Plan:
Prawer won't Pass Campaign - International Page

More useful links: article on the US Palestinian Community Network website

Adalah website: Demolition and Eviction of Bedouin Citizens of Israel in the Naqab (Negev) - The Prawer Plan

Discriminatory Prawer Plan to evict tens of thousands of Bedouins from their communities in the Negev - article on the website of the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine.

Prawer Plan: Facts and Figures - From the Prawer Won't Pass Campaign Blog

Video: Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in the Negev

This is just a sample of the plethora of information on the web.

29 November 2013

Anood of the desert

Anood of the Desert 

Tayseer had literally stumbled upon Anood on one of his music-hasheesh trips to Al-Naqab desert. She was a fierce woman, black with sharp, pronounced features – deep wrinkles adorning her once beautiful face. What had immediately caught Tayseer’s attention were the unique – primitively made – jewellery she was wearing. She was a Bedouin, shunned by her hamula for refusing to marry the man chosen for her by her father. A story of a young woman, beautiful as the night, was carried by the sand of the desert, changing over the years. As a young girl, Anood’s hand had been promised to a much older cousin. But her father never imagined that the desert, with its vast expanses and freedoms, would settle in Anood’s heart and refuse to depart. She demanded the freedom of the desert for herself by refusing to be married. Here, the story branches into several versions. According to one, she fell in love with a Bedouin on a white horse who came to her tent at night. Another story has her father take her to the deep of the desert and leave her there with no water to die. Yet a third version has her rolled up in a carpet after she soiled her family’s honour and her brothers driving over the rolled up carpet in their jeep.

There are as many versions of the story as there are waves of sand in the desert. Anood was always on the move, surviving by selling her hand-made jewellery to tourists on their way to Eilat and Sinai. Where she got her raw materials and the Malachite Azurite Turquoise stones was a mystery.

It took Tayseer a whole week to locate her again, and a long desert evening of convincing and sand grains in the eyes until she finally agreed to meet Maisoon and teach her secrets of the desert jewellery. But it had to be done on her terms: Tayseer would drive her almost the whole length of the country to stay in Maisoon’s apartment in Haifa for five days.

At the end of the five days, during which neither Maisoon nor Anood emerged from the apartment, Tayseer made the trip of almost the whole length of the country again, to return the woman to her desert. Two days later, Anood was found dead by a young Bedouin boy; no trace of physical attack or injury on the body, no trace of jewellery in the dilapidated tent. No post-mortem was performed – Anood wasn’t important enough; however the coronary report noted the probable cause of death by dehydration. Anood must have known she was getting dehydrated; she’d been living, breathing the desert all her life.

Devastated by the news, Maisoon wouldn’t touch her work for days, the excitement of discovering an almost lost tradition of art fading in significance in the face of a tragic, lonely death. More legends would circulate through the sand dunes for years now – cruel Bedouin revenge angry lover broken heart destitution madness.

أربعون يوما من الحداد - forty days of mourning
After Anood's death, Maisoon refused to see anyone. For forty days, Maisoon was the only person who mourned the desert night beauty. Covering her worktable with a black cloth, she spent the day in bed in a blurry state of grief. For seven days, she was wholly invested in mourning, her days becoming indistinguishable from nights. On the eighth day, she was awakened at dawn by a disturbing dream. A black woman standing at the edge of water, smiling at her. A disembodied voice ran through the dream I gave you the art of the desert, now it is yours to take. Take it. Don’t let it get lost in the desert. It was an inhuman effort for her to crawl out of bed, her body not complying with her will. Uncovering her worktable, she gazed at the opened sketchbook where she drew the designs from Anood’s mind. Leafing through the pages, she saw the history of the desert spread before her and knew it couldn’t be kept on paper. Anood wanted her to take it.

- khulud خلود

Palestinian dirty laundry

Gone way underground
To meet the most courageous Palestinian women.
Not the activists, not the human rights defenders, not the feminists.
But those who are breaking the strongest taboos in our society.
Those who cannot come forward and expose themselves –
For the result will be definite and immediate murder.
But they are not voiceless.
They are everywhere around us – walking, living, breathing among us.
Living parallel lives.
I say they are not voiceless –
Although they can’t speak in first person,
There are ways to make their voices heard.
Making their voices heard is dangerous –
Because it will collapse many notions our society has about its morals and ethics.
Notions carefully constructed but which many know are false.
I am engaged in very intimate dialogue with several of these women
The issue is not an issue of “dirty laundry” – as the title may connote
The issue is an issue of telling the truth
Through the experiences of these women.
And it’s about giving them the voice they have been disenfranchised of.
- khulud خلود

25 November 2013

The recent case of the Israeli singer Eyal Golan reflects the sickening ease with which men use their power and fame to sexually exploit young girls. It is not the case of one individual, but a case of a whole patriarchal culture based on dehumanizing, oppressing, and controlling women.

24 November 2013

25 November - International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25 November - International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Because we women have the right to live in dignity
Because we have the right over our bodies
Because we have the right to chose our partner
And we have the right to walk away from a relationship without fear of being murdered
It is our duty to raise our voice,
because there are millions of women caught in the vicious cycle of violence – 
violently silenced, unable to raise their voice.
Because it is our right to live securely and safely, and not fear any kind of violence – be it physical, emotional, psychological, economic, social, political, sexual, or personal.


17 November 2013

clean a poem

17 November 2013 – clean a poem

sweep the stairs
begin from the third floor,
descend all the way to the 
ground floor.
monotonous movement of the arms.
moving backward

now the water.
a whole bucketful of –
clear water.
now climb again to –
the third floor.
and begin all over –

make up a poem
on the way –

khulud - خلود

2 November 2013

changing paradigms

Throughout my six years of experience in program and resource development in civil society organizations, I have often come across international donors who refuse funding programs that benefit Palestinian citizens of Israel. Their refusal is usually based on a conscious decision to focus their funding on projects directly working towards ending the occupation, or programs benefiting Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt).

The rationale behind the refusal to fund programs benefiting Palestinian citizens of Israel is, in my belief, false. It lies in the “either / or” paradigm and in comparing the oppression of Palestinians inside Israel with that of Palestinians in the oPt.

International donors must change their basis for decision-making in their grantmaking process, which requires a change in perceptions. I believe this change will not come unless we raise a clear voice and facilitate their understanding of the situation. Until then, we Palestinian citizens of Israel, will be further pushed into the margins, and our unique needs further ignored.

Donors who support the Palestinian cause and work towards ending the Israeli occupation must  understand that in order to build a strong and resilient Palestinian society and promote real conflict resolution, there is need to invest resources in all groups of the Palestinian society in the area: Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel. Prioritizing this or that group only further serves to fragment our already socially, economically, politically and geographically fragmented society.

It is not an issue of who is oppressed more. Comparison is irrelevant. When I discuss my oppression as a Palestinian citizen of Israel, I do not compare myself with Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank or Gaza, because this is not the point. It is not an issue of who is oppressed more or who is suffering more.

It is rather an issue of investing resources in empowering and supporting all groups of Palestinians – each group according to its unique characteristics and specific social, economic and political needs. The current trend in grantmaking only serves to marginalize the specific needs of the already disenfranchised Palestinian society inside Israel.