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Category Archives: Snapshots ..!

pauses to keep some moments alive , and to recall things as I thought of them.

Universal Children’s Day

I have never payed attention to the date of such a day. I was always hearing about it through school daily program, and I was always forgetting about it by the second the program ends.

This year, Google drew my attention to it. I love Google styles. Once they change the style, I click on the new one tho know what anniversary it is.

Today, Google celebrates the Universal Children’s Day while children of Gaza are being massacred with every elapsing minute.

Google celebrates the Universal Children’s Day while children of Gaza are being trapped under debris of their houses which were damaged over their heads!

Google celebrates the Universal Children’s Day while children of Gaza are being slaughtered, burned, and targeted with huge rockets for playing!

I googled the word “Universal Children’s Day” and found this:

“On December 14, 1954, the UN General Assembly recommended that all countries should introduce an annual event from 1956 known as Universal Children’s Day to encourage fraternity and understanding between children all over the world and promoting the welfare of children.”

Just please, look at the welfare of Gazan children. 25 were massacred on the day of children only, while more than hundred were slaughtered during the last 7 days!

this is the welfare of Gazan children.

I just want to say to the whole world, STOP LYING !!

 
 

Back to Death!

[1]

I’m neither writing to argue who has started, nor do I writing to plead. I just want to speak about a place on earth where people experience death every moment while they are still alive,  and where people suddenly die with no throes.

[2]

It’s Gaza

The last few days, a mother delivered her baby boy (Matar) on the same day her son (Matar, 17 years) was killed. It’s Gaza where people never die, where life goes on despite of every tragedy the city goes through, and where everything seems to grant people more strength.

[3]

I’m pregnant,

And the strangest feeling I may feel at these moments is that the little embryo inside my womb moves strongly and quickly once a strong bombing shakes everything around.

[4]

Buzzzzzzzzzzzz

The city is drowning in darkness, and the buzzing of the Zionist spy planes is getting louder and louder. My bed is shaking at the moment, and sounds of explosions are deafening.  I just cannot understand how my mother simply says, “go to bed”.

[5]

Nothing to lose!

I was reading Nothing to Lose but Your Life by Suad Amiry. I thought, it will be okay if I just lost my life. No Suad, I have many things to lose. I may lose the life of my husband, brother, father, mother, or sister. I may lose a part of my body. I may lose my eight-month embryo. I will be lucky if it is about losing my life only.

[6]

Facebook

The home page suddenly turns into a news screen on which all of my friends write the same status update: Qasef!!!, Bombing.

[7]

Irony

Despite of this rain of fire, I want people to know 15th of November is Palestine’s independence day =D

Anyway, it’s a nice opportunity to live the lie of Yasser Arafat.

this is how Gaza looked today, and is still, however; in darkness now :

[8]

I don’t care

I don’t care about what anybody on earth thinks of Gazans. I don’t care if they called us terrorists. At this moment, I want resistance to go on stronger and stronger. I want resistance to force them stay in their shelters forever. I want them to know we never go to shelters, we never make shelters, even. Shelters are for cowards, and Israel knows, very well,  we are not!

Damn you Israel,

 Long live Gaza. Long live resistance.

Ruba Monzir

15/11/2012

 
 

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.

 

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On the pavement…

 

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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 !   

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On the Edge of Death!

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What may youngsters think of when they go out with their fathers?

They may think of colorful nice birds in the sky,

Of sweets they may hide from their siblings to enjoy its taste alone

Of old men they may meet in the camp alleys, who will speak too much, and they will keep their minds alerted to memorize and repeat their words to look like adults!

What may a father think of when he goes out with his children?

He may think of life that will elapse,

Of the kids who will have the same length with him one day. He smiles once such a scene is pictured in his mind, and no body knows that he has imagined his kid walking next to him shoulder by shoulder, or even higher like a “cloud”,

Of two warm small palms held in his hands, making the air warmer than ever in his lungs,

Of the passing young men’s faces, and of his child’s face that will become a young man face one day,.That day, he will find a heavenly shadow to rest under.

Muhammad also left with his father. But the air did not visit the earth that day, and the sky was no longer able to stay high, it has to come down a little to accomplish a special mission!

Everything was ordinary. The pedestrians, passing people, cars.  Life was ordinary in spite of everything!

However, a soldier was not ordinary!

Muhammad was not aware of anything, so was his father. But the sidewalk breathed his blood in the morning, allowing no body to forget the smell of his innocent pure blood!

They were two sides: as the scene says. The first is behind a coat of concrete, the other is behind the guns muzzles.

Death had to be distributed over too many bullets, not to be restricted to one bullet only!

The soldier had to repeat the experience of murder thousands of times in order to feel his accomplishment!

He had to listen attentively to the sound of the deepest paternal heartbeat burning, fading, and finally dying in order to be joyful!

Muhammad had to cling to his father’s shirt to find some air to breathe.

He had to cower like a frightened cat in the camp’s allies,

To clench his legs to his chest to save his heart in the left side of his pierced body !

To hide his head in his father’s back who screamed till the air suffocated for his grief,

His father had to do whatever could make time pass more slowly, so that he could get one more second for that small heart clenched to him,  in a power of a shivering childhood,

To erase the long history of hatred, and pin hope on a moment when (humanity) could stop them and say: enough !

To grant his arm unique warmth ,which may never be felt again, so that Muhammad can feel life, although he was living death at those last moments,

He had to fight the time with his trembling voice under his breath, though he knew it was a lost cause, but paternity laws never understand!!

He had to scream: “the boy has died” with all the stun on earth, leaving the scene as a huge exclamation mark!

Muhammad had to die. Every thing had to be painfully over. The soldier went back safely to his house, washed of a burning father’s cries, and fell asleep!

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by: Ruba Monzir
30/9/2011

A translation of an Arabic text by the Gazan writer Alaa’ Al-Susi

On the 11th anniversary of Muhammad Al-Durrah.

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Snapshots ..!

 

the Hopeful Gaza Eids

Hello world! This is me, Ruba. I have survived and I’m here now, writing again as I pledged.

Well, I hate that habit of talking about sadness and pains all the time. I believe there is always a bright side, even if it hardly shows its light.

Gaza, despite of every thing, is a hopeful city. Ramadan has finished, and tomorrow is the first day of (Eid al Fitr). Gaza is completely a different city in the Eid. You can notice the Eid’s traditions all over the city.

To be more specific, I will tell you how the days of the Eid are spent in Gaza.

(1) Before the Beginning:

“The number you have dialed is unavailable at the moment, please try again later, thank you”.. A killing voice

message you will hear once you call some one! Or it might be “Network busy”, “connection error”!! All people are sending each other messages of “Happy Eid” the day before. If you remembered to send yours early, your messages would be delivered. But may Allah help you if you forgot. You will never be able to send unless you preferred to be late!

[It doesn’t matter, some people are always late]

(2) The Beginning:

All people rush after dawn to the mosques to pray the Eid prayer, even children [but I know children’s purpose ;)] At the mosques, and after prayer is done, people who are in charge of the mosques distribute some pockets of sweets, biscuits, lollipops, balloons, and gums for children, as a kind of spreading happiness.
[You will wish you were a child at such a moment]

(3) Breakfasts:

Wanna be surprised? Well, Most of the people in Gaza have fish as their Eid breakfast! Yes, fish! But wait, it is not the fish you know! It is too salty and prepared especially for this day! Gazans call it (fseekh)

But not all Gazans like it, since my father does not bring it for he thinks it is extremely salty to be eaten! However, every last day of Ramadan, we beg him to bring us some!

 [I bet you will like it, it’s delicious].

It seems I’m talking too much, the next point quickly before I forget myself talking about fseekh!

(4) Eid’s Sweets:

Every family prepares special sweets for its visitors. New type of chocolate must be bought and introduced to visitors with coffee, Pepsi, or juice…etc.

What is unforgotten about Eid is “the cookies”, or what they call it in Gaza (kaa’ek). It’s a kind of sweet dough filled with dates in a circle shape. [Why am I describing? I will show you a photo instead]:

Mothers start making it on the last days of Ramadan, and when their children think about touching a piece of it, they shout at them immediately!

The funniest part about this day is that my uncles challenge each other on which of their chocolates and Kaa’ek are the best!

(5) Visits:

Eids are the most suitable time for a visit in Gaza. Even if the one you want to visit was sleeping and you rang him, he would never apologize. Instead, he would get up quickly and ask his wife to prepare the sweets and coffee. He would also awaken his children and tell them to wear their new clothes to welcome that unexpected guest!

However, In Eids in Gaza, you don’t have to call someone before you visit him. You MUST expect such sudden visits, simply because “it is Eid”!

Anyway, no one is upset with such a thing, in fact, people in Gaza love exchanging visits during Eids’ days.

The most interesting thing about this is that it may be a long time no see with your relatives, but you see them more than once during only 3 days of Eid!

You may see your aunt at first when you visit her on the first day.

The second time is when you visit your grandmother; she will come to visit her also on the second day!

The third time is when your aunt herself comes to visit you at your home to say “Happy Eid” to your family! Then, you will need a month or two to see her again!!

(6) Kids:

They are the people who enjoy Eid’s days most. They are bought new clothes, given special pocket of sweets at mosques, and brought along with their parents to relatives’ visits.

They are very pleased with that type of swings which they don’t see at any other time of the year. These swings are spread everywhere, and toys sellers are roaming the streets all the time!

[I bet streets are the most attractive aspect for kids in Eids, well, after chocolate!]

(7) The most important point!

How could I forget to tell you about what is called in Gaza (Edeia)? It is some money males give to their sons, daughters, wives, mothers, and sisters to spread happiness among them. It is not fixed; it depends on their economic situations.

[Thanks God I’m a girl. Girls are lucky at Eids, they take; don’t give :D]

(8) the most popular toys:

When you look at kids playing in the streets, gathering around a toys seller, what do you expect them to buy?

In Gaza, as a rule of thumb, boys buy pistols and guns; girls buy dolls.

What may make boys buy pistols are the same reasons which may make girls buy dolls! Gaza children are different, their life is completely different, and their toys, that are controlled by the exceptional life they live, is also different.

Anyway, this is Gaza, an area of contradictions. This is the land where always a bright side is created amidst many dark sides. This is the Eid in Gaza, and these are the lovely, distinguished, perseverant people of Gaza.

Happy Eid for you all 🙂

Ruba Monzir
29/8/2011
8:06 pm

 
11 Comments

Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Being a Gazan, Snapshots ..!

 

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?

 
5 Comments

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