Category Archives: On the Margin

Good Morning, Mum

original text is in Arabic, by : Mohammad al- Sheikh Yusuf

translated by: Yasmeen Faeq


Good Morning, Mum/ Good Morning, Mohammed. A massacre has just happened a little time ago two streets away from our house!
This is how I woke up yesterday; from the nightmares that have become habitual, to the brutal truth which we lie every time we say we used to. Stand abandoning sweet taste of sleep, repeat: “Death doesn’t hurt dead people; it does hurt live ones instead- M.D.”. Follow up on the news in a mad way. I always hated that bold red line of news. I always hated the fact that once you are dead, you won’t exceed a passing story on T.V news.
After being, in those old days, the First Hero of your parents who are watching you all day and night getting happy if his/her length increased one millimeter, and, in a moment, you become a mere name that doesn’t take more than a second from news listeners to know while you remain in your people’s minds and hearts who pin your photo on the wall, everyday imagine how your new face would look like if you were there, everyday imagine your haircut that suits you in this new age, and the color of your wedding suit would you choose, after years from now, if you remained live, only if you remained live no more!

– Good night, Mum/ A new massacre has happened. A lot of children has been killed; Azzam Family!
That was what I have said to my mother who pretends to be asleep waking up every hour checking the family heads to be all safe and sound except Mohammed who is still restless and troubled counting children in their way to heaven. I Stay up all night stunned and confused, change T.V channels, listen to radio, and follow up internet all at once. But a rocket in Zaytun region has fallen down. Who hears the region’s name imagines that it is full of green peace though it was a dark black night, or let it be a red, the color doesn’t matter, it doesn’t belong to peace; this is what matters. The rocket falls tenaciously and intentionally, its eyes stare, and EPOLDE. This is its only function. If it had a heart, it would instantly change its task or it would commit a suicide before it carries it out. Then, the radio’s sound gets louder, the reporter stands in front of the hospital, waits ambulances; his voice gets louder and louder: “Now injuries arrive. I’ll count them for you. It’s a child. No, they are two. All of them are children. Three, five, nine. No, they are fifteen children. Their number is increasing.” The reporter collapses, bursts into tears, and leaves me sclerotic as an idol in an abandoned temple, as a Church belt felt a headache, as a paraplegic on a railway, and as me now while trying to write about what I can not thinking how would it be if the scene was like this: the reporter is a teacher counting the happy children who just returned from a leisure trip while they are jumping and assuring each other that his/her “head” has been successfully passed under the teacher’s hand preparing themselves to return home to tell their mothers about the journey after eating what is left from their candy at the bus!
I keep awake; don’t want to die asleep, because I want to scream a little before death comes to us, because I think of making a try to repel the rocket by my shaky body. Perhaps I would add a few seconds of survival chance to Barhoom and Asoom, my little siblings. Yet, I collapse at noon after several days sitting at my place, don’t do anything except smoking and hearing the sounds of war and resurrection. Half an hour later, I wake up to the sound of funeral of “Al-Dalou Massacre”. Is the word “massacre” really enough for martyrs to trust that language didn’t rape their right of expression?
– Mohammed, get up, get up, a new massacre
– Include children, mother?
– Get up as it is a massacre, so it includes children!
The first image I see on TV, a picture of two twins, the broadcaster confirms that one died and the other is missing, and just minutes later, it takes only a few minutes, bringing the news that the family stepped up to the Lord almost together, father and mother and two children. I sit on the chair contracted and ball-shaped, I put my hands on my head, the phone rings, I get a good news, I laugh because the one brought it wants me to laugh, tell him I am happy, hang up, and look at my mother: How could we get happy now? While they really exist these who are screaming and crying? We forget the news or postpone its joy.
My family tells me that a house one street away from us got a threat, and the square was completely evacuated, look for “Barhoum”. He does not care about me, and turns his face, and then come to me within minutes and says: “originally I am not afraid. It’s normal. I don’t get afraid.” I did not understand why he said that, and why I did not justify to him that death is worse than waiting for it, then ask “Asom” to take him to the room to play, and the truth is that I did not want him to watch the children while they are out of their burial to the morgue.

I think of those who their houses are being bombed, those homes that hold a memory in every corner of them. What do you remember to take before exiting? What was left? Their clothes? Wristwatches? Personal photos and the large photo wall that speaks the family smile? Small clothes that the mother hided to always remind her sons and daughters that, one day, their size didn’t exceed her hand’s tip, and promise them to give them to her grandchildren – their children to wear them, and did they take the window where they drank tea hundreds of times? Did they take their memories with them? How could a memory be destroyed that easy? -Having built stone by stone!

Original text by Mohammad al- Sheikh Yusuf

النص الأصلي : • – صباح الخير يا أمي / صباح النور محمد، حدثت مجزرة قبل قليل؛ عائلة الدلو، خلف المنزل بشارعين !

هكذا استيقظتُ بالأمس، من كوابيسِ النومِ التي اعتدناها فصارت أليفة، إلى الحقيقةِ الشرسة التي نكذبُ كلما قُلنا أننا اعتدناها، أقفُ من نومي وأرددُ “الموت لا يوجع الموتى؛ بل يوجعُ الأحياء – م.د”، وأتابعُ الأخبار بشكلٍ جنوني، لطالما كرهتُ شريط الأخبار الأحمر، لطالما كرهتُ فكرة أنك حين تموتُ فإنكَ لن تتجاوز مجرد خبرٍ عابرٍ في نشرةِ الأخبار، بعد أن كنتَ سابقاً بطلَ أُمِكَ وأبيكَ الأول، الذي يشاهدانه ليل نهارٍ، ويفرحانِ كُلما ازداد طوله ميليمتراً واحداً، وفي ثانيةٍ واحدٍ، تصبحُ مجرد اسمٍ لا يأخذُ من وقتِ المشاهدين أكثر من ثانيةٍ لسماع اسمهِ، وتبقى عالقاً في ذهنِ أهلكَ، الذين يعلقون صورتكَ على ما تبقى من الحائطِ، ويتخيلون كل يومٍ شكلكَ الجديد لو كنت موجوداً، وتسريحة الشعرِ المناسبة لك في هذا العمر، ولون بدلة عُرسكِ التي كنت ستختارها بعد أعوامٍ، لو بقيت حياً، فقط لو بقيت حياً لا أكثر !

– تصبحين على خيرٍ يا أمي/ حدثت مجزرة جديدة، مات الكثير من الأطفال، عائلة عزام !
هكذا قلتُ لأمي التي تصحو كل ساعةٍ من تظاهرها بالنومِ، وتتفقدُ رؤوس العائلة، كلهم بخير، إلا محمد ما زال على قيدِ القلقِ والتوترِ، ويَعُدُ الأطفال وهم في طريقهم إلى السماء.
أجلسُ طوال الليلِ مشدوهاً، ومشدوداً، أقلبُ قنوات التلفاز، وأسمع الراديو، وأتابع الإنترنت في وقتٍ واحد، إلا أن سقط صاروخ في منطقةِ الزيتون، ومن يسمع اسم المنطقة يتخيلُ أنها تنعمُ بالسلامِ الأخضر، إلا أنها كانت ليلة سوداء، أو حمراء، لا يهم اللون المهم أنها لا تمد للسلامِ بصلة، يسقطُ الصاروخ بعنادٍ شديدٍ وقصدٍ، يحدقُ بعينهِ، وينفجر، هذه مهمته الوحيدة، لو كان له قلب لغير مهنته، أو انتحر قبل أن يفعلها، ثم يعلو صوت الراديو، المذيع يقفُ أمام المستشفى، ينتظرُ سيارات الإسعاف، يعلو صوته أكثر، ” الآن تصلُ الإصابات، سأعدها لكم، إنه طفل، لا طفلان، إنهم جميعاً أطفال، ثلاثة، خمسة، تسعة أطفال، لا لا إنهم خمسة عشر طفلاً، أنهم يتزايدون، ثم ينهارُ المراسل، وينفجرُ بالبكاءِ، ويتركني متصلباً مثل صنمٍ في معبدٍ مهجور، مثل جرس كنيسةٍ شعرُ بصداعٍ، مثل مشلولٍ على سكةِ حديد، ومشوشاً مثلي الآن وأنا أحاولُ الكتابة عن ما لا أستطيع، وأفكرُ كيف أن ذلك المشهد كان يمكن أن يكون مثلاً على هذه الشاكلة، المذيع هو أستاذ، ويعد الأطفال الفرحين بعودتهم من رحلةٍ ترفيهية، والأطفال يتقافزون ويؤكدون مرور رؤوسهم تحت يدِ الأستاذ، ويستعدون للعودةِ إلى المنزلِ كي يخبروا أمهاتهم عن الرحلة، بعد أن يأكلوا في الباص ما تبقى معهم من الحلوى !
أظلُ مستيقظاً لأنني لا أريدُ الموت نائماً، لأنني أرغبُ بالصراخِ قليلاً قبل أن يسقط علينا الموت، لأنني أفكرُ في محاولةِ صدِ الصاروخِ بجسدي الهش، ربما أضيفُ بضع ثوانٍ من فرصةِ النجاةِ لبرهوم وأسوم أخوتي الصغار، إلا أنني أنهارُ عند الظهيرة بعد عدة أيامٍ الجلوسِ في مكاني، لا أفعلُ شيئاً سوى التدخين، وسماع صوت الحربِ والقيامة، ثُم أصحو بعد نصف ساعةٍ على صوتِ تشيع جنازةِ مجزرة “عائلة الدلو”، هل حقاً كلمة مجزرة كافية ليثق الشهداء أن اللُغة لم تختزل حقهم في التعبير؟
– محمد قوم قوم، مجزرة جديدة، قوم قوم / فيها أطفال يا أمزي ؟ قوم بس قوم طالما مجزرة يبقى في أطفال !

أول صورة أشاهدها على التلفاز، صورة لطفلين توأم، يؤكد المذيع أن أحدهما استشهد والآخر مفقود، وبعد دقائق فقط، لا يحتاج الأمر إلا لعدة دقائق، ليصل الخبر أن الأسرة صعدت إلى ربها شبه مجتمعة، أب وأم وطفلين، أجلسُ على الكرسي مقرفصاً ومتكوراً أضعُ يداي على رأسي، يرن الهاتف، يصلني خبر سعيد، أضحك لأن من أوصله يحتاج مني أن أضحك، أخبره أنني سعيد، أغلق السماعة، وأنظر إلى أمي: كيف نفرح الآن ؟ فيما هناك من يلطمون ويصرخون ويبكون ؟ وننسى الخبر أو نؤجل الفرح فيه.
يخبرني أهلي أن بيتاً يبعد عنا شارع واحد وصله تهديد، ومربع البيت تم إخلاءه بشكل تام، أنظر إلى “برهوم” لا يكترث لي، ويدير وجهه، ثم يأتي إلي بعد دقائق ويقول: أصلاً مش خايف، عادي، ما بخاف أنا. لم أفهم لماذا قال ذلك، ولماذا لم أبرر له أن الموت أشد من انتظاره، بعدها أطلب من “أسوم” أن تأخذه إلى الغرفة ليلعبا، وفي الحقيقةِ هو أنني لم أكن أريد له أن يشاهد الأطفال وهم يخرجون من دفئهم إلى ثلاجة الموتى.
أفكرُ في الذين تقصف منازلهم، تلك المنازل التي تحملُ في كل زاويةٍ ذكرى، ما الذي تذكروا أخذه قبل الخروج منها؟ ما الذي تركوه؟ ملابسهم ؟ ساعات اليد؟ الصور الشخصية، وصورة الحائط الكبيرة التي تجمع ابتسامة العائلة ؟ الملابس الصغيرة التي خبأتها الأم لتذكر أبناءها دائماً بنهم كانوا في يومٍ من الأيام لا يتجاوزون كفةِ يدها، وتعدهم بأنها ستلبسها لأحفادها – أولادهم، وهل أخذوا النافذة التي شربوا فيها الشاي مئات المرات، هل أخذوا ذكرياتهم معهم ؟ كيف يمكن أن تهدم الذاكرة بتلك السهولة؟، بعد أن بُنيت حجراً حجراً !

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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in On the Margin, Scenes of my life


Farewell IUG

If our life is a matter of  days and days, the day of farewell is to come sooner or later. I still remember my first step in IUG, as if it were yesterday. My schedule started at 8 am. I wore my brown jelbab, off-white headscarf, small jeans bag, and a ring my father gave me as a gift when I finished high school, and went to say welcome IUG.

I was looking in students faces as a lost child, looking for someone I know. The most difficult thing is to search people’s faces and eyes looking for something familiar, something just to spend some time with, but you don’t find. That day was too hot, and the campus was overcrowded with strange faces.

Days after days, my bag gradually became bigger, my books became more in number and smaller in font size, and I started to make some friends.

I remember: when I was still a beginner searching for words and putting them together to form a correct sentence before I speak English in front of professors and classmates. Although it was broken sometimes, I still remember my teacher when she shook her head slowly up and down and said, “excellent!”

I still remember when IUG was bombed during the Cast Lead in December 2008. The scientific laboratories building kept smoking for about 3 days, and my father kept surfing the internet looking for an undestroyed side of the building and pinning hopes that his laboratory is still alive. However, it was all in vain!

I still remember the smell of savageness coming out of damaged concrete. I still remember the dryness of tree leaves covered with white dust, and I do remember exam sheets and projects were under the debris. Every single minute I spent at IUG is unforgettable.

27th of December, 2009, the first anniversary of Cast Lead. I was a member of IUG Female Students Council. All of members were busy thinking of a strong decoration for the commemoration but we decided what happened is above all decorations! I went up the ruins of the damaged building, holding the microphone and started.

At that time, every single cell inside our hearts was telling Israeli’s: “you will never live in peace as long as we have memories”.

I think of how my life is going to be after graduation. A life away from friends I used to meet daily, a life away from assignments, presentations, and hard work , a life without exams! That has seemed a dream to me since I knew the word (teacher); it seems a nightmare to me now!

All of the details there are distinguishable: the break time, our daily falafel breakfast, the place where we daily sit, our chatting, laughing, cursing marks :S , and photocopying notes 😀 Soha’s mess, Rawand’s complaint, Shaima’s constant will to leave early to have lunch, Rania’s fun and our madness together.

If it’s to say farewell to all of this, it’s may be the time to say welcome to many other things; they will all be grown-ups’ affairs and a life of big responsibilities. If it is time to say farewell, I have too say thanks for too many people:

My parents: thank you for your care, patience, and support.

My professors: thanks for your encouragements.

Dr. Nazmi Al-Masri: thanks a million for making me love teaching and love all what I do.

Dr. Kamal Murtaja: I’m sure if you read this you’ll immediately mark many mistakes, but let me be grateful for you gave me the confidence to write on a blog J

Dr. Ayman Al-Hallaq: the most informative classes were yours. Thank you.

Mr. Jamal Sahabani , my training supervisor: thank you for your confidence and support. I’m proud of you.

All of my friends: thank you for every second you spent with me.

And IUG: thank you for granting me all of these nice people, experiences, and years.

27th May, 2012.. my last exam at IUG. I, intentionally, wore the same brown jelbab, off-white headscarf, and my small jeans bag, but this time with a wedding ring in my left hand, and went to say farewell IUG.



On the pavement…



My home is close to my university. I can walk to it every day and even enjoy wandering in the morning hours. I can easily find a taxi in my way back as the distance is somehow short, and my Shekel will be a nice chance for the driver.

Just today, I went back with my friend after having an exam finished at 4 pm. We stopped at the crossroad waiting for a taxi for her. We had to wait for about 30 minutes until she found one.

Well, this was the first time I feel the difficulty they suffer everyday’s morning and afternoon. My friend and I were looking at the coming taxis with hopeful eyes, the hope of which was chipping after the taxi passes leaving us with more than other 20 boys and girls before the pavement trying to fix our hope again.

30 minutes were enough to teach me a lot of things…

Just when we feel we are all the same, we can do what we have never done. Gaza people, those stubborn minds, were sitting in the taxis in fours in the back seat, and twos in the front one. at first, they were complaining, but once they go into the taxi, they forget about the crowded car, praising God they were lucky to find one!

My friend, who studies and woks as a special teacher at the same time, found herself forced to pay the taxi fare doubled, as she wanted to wait no more!

I looked at these long lines of people; they go into waiting same experience twice a day. I thought of  students who may miss their exams waiting for a taxi, teachers who are thinking of their classes they’ll be late for, mothers who are thinking of their kids they have to bring from their kindergarten before it closes its doors, men who are thinking of their work and their tough managers who may deduct from their salary for being late, and even the taxi drivers who are thinking of those long queues of people on both sides of the road and the best way they may find to keep the fuel they hardly got as long as possible!

30 minutes of waiting…

I thought about Gaza, where everything becomes a subject of writing, even things supposed to pass very fast! Gaza, where you can ponder in quickness, you can write with your tears, where you may smile despite of everything, where you miss clean air which is not suffocating with power engines smoke, where you find a matter of irony in every minute detail, but still where you CANNOT SEE IN DARKNESS !   




Back to life



Many changes have happened during my absence. The thing I really missed was this place.

Well, I may be an ordinary person with nothing special, but definitely I have my own way of thinking which I adore 😀


[1] In a gathering lunch of the whole family at my uncle’s home:

I was looking at their faces. How much fast days elapse. How much we have grown up without noticing, even I.  I’m going to be the bride in the next wedding party the family is about to witness  few days later!

[2] Worry:

I’m afraid to grow up. I still love my teddy bears and old memories of childhood.

[3] Bitterness:

Nothing could be bitterer for me than throwing away something I love. I’m very attached to my memories. As I have to move to a new house soon, I had to decide what to keep and what to leave behind.

After tidying up my desk, I thought to myself: if people can’t fulfill their promises, why do they promise? They are not obliged to.

If my primary school friends didn’t know me when I saw them at university, why am I still keeping their gifts?

I decided to throw many things I considered as sacred many months ago and thought: How can life mock us this way? To what extent can we keep our memories and our ways of looking at things? How many people spoil our memories so that we hope to forget them? How many others we hope to keep in our minds and hearts forever!

[4] Yesterday,

I didn’t go to my uncle’s home with my father, but with my fiance. I didn’t go back with my father, but with my fiance. I didn’t even return directly to my father’s home, but, first, to my fiance’s.

I thought for a second, who are these people? Why should I know them specifically? What am I doing at their home?

I told myself not to be silly, to think positively and let days go on in their work shaping my life in away I will never realize or know how they are going to end it up!

[5] Tomorrow,

It’s going to be the first day of my last semester at university. I can clearly remember the first day I went there. It was a completely new atmosphere I had to get accustomed to. Anyway, thinking of the last year, the last semester, and the last month (being engaged) seems to put an end for everything.

Looking deeply at each minute detail creates a feeling of grief in my heart. However, every end holds a beginning inside. It will be a new life with every thing starting from the beginning, but I will be the one who portray and color its details. It will be my own, and only my own!


Posted by on February 4, 2012 in On the Margin, Scenes of my life


May not April !

May is the cruelest month ..!

Since 20 years, May has been coming annually, resurrecting all the memories of grief and melancholy. May can not be a normal month for all of the Palestinians. It is the month when their land was stolen, when their sons and beloved ones were massacred, and when their long misty journey through darkness has started..!

It was not my choice to be born in this gloomy month, and it was the cruelest month to be a starting point of a child’s life. A child that is going to be strongly attached to that month with all what it carries of sadness till the end of his life.

There were 20 Mays in my life. 20 years of holding Palestine in my heart, and being deeply entrenched in my soul. 20 years , my age is hers, and her age is mine ! 20 years, her grief is my grief, and her sand grains are my heartbeats! I am as old as her sadness, but she is as young as my soul and hope. Palestine, by this May, you are 20, and I am 63 !

May keeps coming every year, to recolor my face with the flag colors, and to remind me that I have never seen something from Jerusalem except that flag which they are trying to uproot. It keeps coming every year to sadden me when hearing the National Anthem sung by the school kids every morning “Beladi Beladi”. It is such another kind of suffocation and bitterness; however, it is another way also of keeping hope and identity. May has come this year also, to deepen the wounding and make them 63 years. When will the counting stop?

Please May,

May you stop holding the memory of pains and blood? may you free yourself from that heavy load you have been carrying for 63 years? When will you stop counting our pains? And how many times you want to return to us with sore memories to feel that we have grown up hundreds of years?

When will I feel that you are a happy “birth month” for me? Only a birth month that brings me gifts, some candles, and a cake, not a painful memory of darkness..! When will this “Bitter Birthday” become “Better”??…! and when will I feel that it is a real “happy Birthday” ?!!!

Please May, when will you come back to me with one memory only?


Posted by on May 28, 2011 in On the Margin, Snapshots ..!