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It was given, yet neglected

Each and every day I scroll down the latest news to enlighten myself of what is happening in this world. As years by I taught myself never to be angry or upset about what is said about us as Palestinians, instead I would write about what I think and what is true to nullify those absurd allegations. I believed that writing and speaking loud would always drive attention to you and respect, never believed in violence due to my strong ideology that violence would only give birth to violence rather than suppressing it.

Lately, Saudi women gained the right to drive cars and that topic went viral on all social media, some were supportive and happy saying that this is the beginning of a new era in Saudi Arabia. But with that, many women came out of their silence and started to talk about how they were suppressed and thought million times to flee the kingdom. Some of them managed while others were captured and kept in jail for simply seeking their freedom. All the social network went insane about all this, arguments go on and on seemed to me that it won’t stop. In the middle of all that chaos I was scrolling down and up reading various comments from here and there and one question comes to my head “ who made us reach this level of suppression and deviation from the rights that our religion gave women?”

In Europe, women suffered from unfair rules that’s why they protested to gain all the rights which the society was ignorant enough to deprive them of. If we look closely to our Islam it truly gave women all the privileges that they seek, but with their blind compliance, they lost them all. Women had all the right to share their opinion when it comes to the state affairs, our dear prophet consulted his wives when he had a confusing matter. She had the right to get a full education, had all the right to choose whether to work or stay home and in both cases, her guardian, (father or husband) is obliged to provide her with allowance. She had all the right to choose her life partner without any forces from her family when she becomes a mother she is free to choose to breastfeed her child or not, and if she did her husband is obliged to give her the price of her breastfeeding of her child. In other words, she had it all, and of the sudden, her society came with its newfangled customs and began gradually to withdraw all these privileges. That society turned her from a symbol of pride to a symbol of disgrace and shame, from a human to a “thing” that can be owned and control. All that Islam rejected the ignorance of a deviated society has restored it and gave it to Islam.

It’s painful to call Islam a suppressive religion when I know what my religion stands for and what civilization it build. It gives me the chills to realize that all the neighboring Arab countries had chosen to mar Islam and it gets worse when the new generation out of the blue begins to question whether to remain Muslims or convert into another religion. As far as I can remember my parents always raised me on doing what’s right according to our religion not according to our customs. They never told me that you are financially responsible for yourself and we got nothing to do with that while I was in college, they supported me till I finished my studies and become a literate grown woman. They respected my choice and stood by me when I chose my life partner, blessed my marriage because they knew that he’d be a fit husband for me. I recall the day that I got engaged to my husband he told me that I will support you till the end in any choice you make. We had our ups and downs but most importantly we knew how to get out of it by following the exact rules of our true Islam.

As a woman, I stand against all those who use violence against females, all those who underestimate the power and wisdom of girls. Unfortunately, almost 75% of our Arab societies are male dominant and keep to suppress women and undermine them, when in reality women can achieve and invent a lot. They can achieve many different tasks and keep their full energy until the end. I stand against all those who disinherit their daughters only to maintain the heir and not let any foreigner take any part of it. I stand against all the women who disfigure our religion when they claim that Islam is the reason for their misery because Islam gave you many rights and with every right, there’s an obligation. Because you don’t want the obligation you lost the right, before being unfair to the founder of all the rules of the world judge your actions, thoughts, and speech. I’m confident that Islam has given it to us and we with our carelessness lost it all.

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Beneath the rubbles strength arises

As it has always been said, a need is the first step of achieving the goal, I’ve heard never realized the true meaning of it till I was hit with a different reality. For the last 11 years I’ve been trying to get a fixed job in a prestigious association and for that, I took multiple courses, training and volunteered to work fully free. All that was in hopes to get me to the place that I’ve always hoped to have, but for my misfortune, it did not. I started from scratch, literally, every time I think that this is the point where my fortune will change and I’ll start ascending the ladder of my hopes, a hammer comes to break that ladder. Again I fell on my back and each time it becomes harder and more painful than the previous one. “I give up, that’s it. I will stop being optimistic about anything in this country” even though in the back of my head I wanted to believe that I still can achieve my hopes, but the reality clashes with my ambitions and somehow sneaks to my head to erase these hopes.

On the 30th of April 2018, was the wrecking date, I gave up my job because I refused to work against my principles, despite me knowing that this action will set me back to the process of job hunting and waiting but I did not care frankly. “My principles come first” I always kept that in my head and that’s why I lose my battle against society. At that particular date, I returned home smiling but devastated from the inside, trying to convince myself that the right choice was made and no going back anymore. Needless to say, the amount of depression I’ve been through but I kept telling myself “no compromising, either all or none”

Months flew by and got the chance to register in a course that would be very beneficial for me personally and vocational. As I entered the hall, my eyes skimmed everything quickly to get a tiny glimpse of what the upcoming month would be like. At first, nothing drew my attention until she entered the hall and with a smile apologized for being late. A medium height lady with fair skin and brown eyes, clearly from the way she walked there was something wrong with her leg. The first session, the topic was about improving yourself and each one of us shared her point of view. When her turn came I focused all my senses on the words that were about to come from her mouth, mostly out of curiosity to know her more because this hall was the only place where we could meet. As she spoke I learned that she holds a B.A. in Information technology and it took her more than 4 years to gain that certificate due to health issues. I was even more curious to know the remaining details, but I wanted to be very cautious in my words when talking to her, I did not want to be an emotionless person nor did I want her to feel that I pity her. So after 5 sessions I gathered up my strength, organized my words and sat next to her and I started to chat with her and after a long general discussion I decided to get a little more personal, “Sorry if my question might seem an intrusion, but you mentioned earlier you had a health condition that delayed your study, can you explain it to me?” as those words came out my mouth for a second I wished I could take them back, I feared that she would think of me as impolite or rude, but she looked at me with a smile and said, “ my story is quite different, you see I was an intelligent student and had a bright future. When I was in college the instructor gave me a grade which I did not deserve so I was stressed out”. She goes on with a smile “I could not let it go, the more I thought of it the more it made me angry and stressed. One day while I was in college I began to lose my concentration and balance, and all that I recall me being in the hospital, later on I knew I fainted at the college campus.” With that same beautiful smile she continues, “Doctors told me that a blood vessel in my brain exploded and caused some blood clotting and that needed to be removed at once. My family took me to the occupied territories “so-called Israel” to have surgery to remove that clot. That surgery caused a temporary loss of my voice, and had to spend several months to recover.” As she spoke what overtook me was her smile, as if she finds her strength through her smile. “I was determined to overcome my collapse, so as soon as I recovered I went back to Gaza and continued my college. I graduated and I was over the moon, but as I visited my doctor that happiness faded away. He told me that I should consult the doctors who performed my surgery as soon as possible. To be honest I did not want to go through that pain again and besides I was starting my career so I just ignored his advice. As days passed by I began to feel that something wrong with me and to save a lot on myself I immediately prepared my papers and went to a hospital in Jerusalem where the doctor told me that I had a mass “which is benign” in my head and must be removed”. My eyes unconsciously got wider, I was shocked at the obstacles that she had to face yet she knew how to maintain that smile of hers. That was an awakening point to me, here I am moaning about my horrible luck and me being completely jinxed, while here in front of me sits a strong, stand-still woman who despite all never lost her bright smile. She goes on, “So I did go under the knife again and had that mass excised, but that mass had to leave with a souvenir”, she said. “It affected both my right arm and left leg, and left them semi-dysfunctional.” By that, she meant that she can’t use her hand freely because she can’t move it, and her leg became slight heavy which affected her ability of walking and made it slower. “All that never stopped me from pursuing my dreams, so I participated in various projects as me being a trainer for other children and women who may have minor “disabilities”. I ended up opening a library where all those who seek to continue their master may use the book collection that I have there.”

“Thank you,” I said, “for what?” she asked, “ for being the person who you are, for being a model that all women should look up to, for being stubborn and determined to snatch your dreams and never let them go.

Our long conversation ended and each one of us bid the other goodbye. As I walked myself home, my brain never stopped thinking of how meeting people would change millions of things in your life. A few days away I was down and completely pessimistic and now I am overthinking everything and becoming more confident and sure of what I should do. I have to BELIEVE that all dark roads have a ray of light no matter how big or small it may be, this ray will lead you to your dreams.