Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dear Mr. Israeli council leader ...

Dear readers,

Two days ago I read an article in the indepenependat news paper.
It said Israeli council leader says Arabs should be barred from israeli swimming pools.

Immediately it gripped my attention because I always swim in israeli swimming pools.
True enough the council leader says that arabs should not be in Israeli pools due to cultural and hygiene cultural differences. He pointed out that Arab women swim in their clothes instead of bathing suits.

Well, if you put it that way sure I've seen them but of course as an Arab I had to be biased to my side and completely disagree with my opponent.

That night I visited the swimming pool that I go to . Its in Naveh Yakouv (An Israeli settlement) right beside beit hanina (where I live). The swimming hours are divided into three : Men, Women and mixed.
Normally extremist religious jews live there but we go to the pool anyway.

I got to the pool around 8 pm at the girls only time. I got ready and as I was walking through the door I saw my and most other girls biggest fear a cockroach. Now dont underestimate the power of an extra large cockroach to freak me out. It was the biggest ive ever seen.
Due to hygiene differences Mr. Israeli counsel leader ?

The pool is not clean at all quite the opposite.  Its is one of the dirtiest I've ever been to. Green walls, wet floors and broken showers. I remember when I used to swim in my schools' swimming pool which is for arabs only. It's quite luxurious next to this.

I got a shock when I first walked in to the pool. It was completely filled up with girls. There was no place to fit in between them. The girls were wearing clothes instead of bathing suits and I need to point out that all the girls were jewish. They were walking around with their pajamas and underwear completely sticking to their bodies. Non of them were wearing swim caps. Why were these women wearing their clothes ? Is it due to harassment or money issues ? There were no men around. As I know, some Arab women wear clothes while swimming only when men are there.
So Mr. counsil leader even jewish girls wear clothes in swimming pools and yes even with them it looks disgusting.

No I am not implying that if jewish girls wear clothes while swimming that Arab women are allowed to do the same thing too. That would be a fallacy but I do want to show that well there is no real difference. All religious people are more or less alike at least in my eyes.

I couldn't start practicing because girls were all over my lane.They were not swimming. They were sitting on the lane lines!
They were completely oblivious to the common rules of any pool. Even when i went to the lifeguard she just shrugged and said they dont listen. They came out as uncultured ignorants a thing my people is being accused of.
I believe it was cultural differences he said.

So I spent the night being stopped mid swim because a girl just happened to pass by the lane.

Unlike what people think Israel is not just these hot women dancing in the beach in Tel Aviv. Truly I dont see these in jerusalem. It is filled up with very relgious people that have weird customs just like any other religion. I try to ignore them but some of them are just very vulgar while others are quite nice.

Mr council leader,

I would love to visit an arab only swimming pool but the closest one is in Ramallah behind a border that was built by your country. I have to wait for an hour at a checkpoint that you built. Not an option.

I'd love to find an arab only swimming pool just like your Israeli only swimming pool but your country doesnt allow us to build roofs on our heads. What about swimming pools or training centers ?

After I read that statement I went to my friends asking them about those "hygiene differences". It would sound stupid if we went personal becuase each person is different so i looked up these differences in religion.

Again Mr. council leader, arabs are not only muslims. These mistakes seem inevitable for you. So I looked up how it is for muslims and Christians.

I asked my christian friends and they told me that there is nothing hygienic they do I thats asked for in religion. I asked them about periods and religious holidays they frowned not knowing if there is anything special to do.

I've looked up Judaism and found out that all the regulations are exactly like Islam. I've studied Islam for 10 years but I am not a muslim so I am unbiased. Muslims and jews clean up the same way. As much as you wont like it Mr. council leader Judaism and islam share more similarities than christanity and Judaism.

Now about the "cultural" reasons.
I will point out that just like not all Israelis wear bathing suits in pools not all arabs wear clothes in swimming pools. Truly when I visit an arab swimming pool in the west bank I dont find girls in clothes.

This discrimination that is pointed out by you is only filled with stereotypes. Counting a whole nation as religious is like saying all cats are white. I wouldnet expect such a mistake to be done by a person with such a rank.

So Mr. council leader I hope I've clarified a few things. Ff you want we can discuss this further over mint tea while I show you my collection of swimming suits. Hint ? Yes, theres bikinis.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A class dominated by men

Dear readers,

I'm not the most popular kid in class. I'm not a popular kid.
I've told you about my beliefs which have made a barrier between me and some of my classmates. I am a person who likes to make trouble. Truly I know they dont have the same beliefs as mine but I don't shut up about it. I express my beliefs and doubt theirs as eloquently as possible.

I thought that this would trigger them. Raising debats and discussions where I could hear their thoughts on particular topics and they could hear mine. I didnt expect the real results.
They responded with offenses. Took sides against me as if my relgious beliefs made us enemies. Talking in the worst of manner about me. Judging and dodging me.

Surprised at first I saw myself hated by many people and I recoiled back.
This year I sincerely didnt care about their opinions nor mine. All I did care about is finishing these two years and getting the hell out of this situation. I saw myself saying islamic phrases to show them that im not completely against them.

Teachers noticed. They started raising their eyebrows and asking for my opinion. I in a low voice gave the most unbiased Switzerland opinion i could give.

I assumed that my beliefs caused what happend today.

I walked in to class today during break where a bunch of my classmates were playing around. One of them threw something at the other. When trying to catch it the other hit me hard on the chest. My water bottle fell on the floor. I cursed the kid. We were friends.

Another kid said something and I dissed him. He got so angry that as i was walking out of class he murmured "slut". A word that I was acquainted with. A word  I heard many men call my mother when she refused to be more than friends with them, when she acted as a feminist and when she refused to back down on something she had the complete right to.

"Did she hear it ? " One of them asked.
I turned around and looked at the guy. He was scared he wasn't man enough to say it to me in the face and now he was caught.
I walked to him.
"Did i just hear that right ?" I asked.
"I didnt say anything." He replied.
I stopped and really looked at him. I must say I pitied him. He looked small and scared as if he fell into a hole. He looked around soundlessly begging his friends to help him. I wanted to get out of there.
"I didnt expect to hear that from you." I said quietly. (which was totally a lie i did expect that especially from him)
"I'm sorry Malak i didnt mean it I was just angry."
He repeated his apology a couple of times more. I said its alright and ran away.

That would be marked the first time in many many times that i'll be called a slut. I knew it was going to happen eventually.  I thought while parking my car or crossing the street. Mostly I thought when I was mid-twenties. Truly I was disappointed having it happen while not defending the rights of a woman in front of crowds or defining the government in an interview. It is a common thing for arab men to say such curses at Arab women doubting their virginity, calling them sluts, etc ...

I dont know from where they catch that. In Islam it is completely prohibited and is a very big deal. Especially when a man doubts the virginity of a passing woman.

They could have caught it at their houses. Their father or older brother saying the same thing about other women, their sisters or even their mothers.

They could have catched that on the streets heard their friend shouting that with a filthy grin at a passing girl at night. I was put in my school because i didn't want to be in such a situation at such an early age.

I do remember my father doing the same thing to women. Sometimes his mother. As I grew up I heard my father saying many many claims about women I've never met. I didnt know what they meant until I grew up and understood them. If my life didn't go the way it did it would have become the norm for me. My not going through that doesn't mean that others don't.

I heard afterwards that the bunch didnt stop there.  They continued on and on about me in more detail saying: " Do you think she's the virgin Mary ?"

I was being verbally abused. I expected tears to come but they never did. After some years bullying stopped having that affect on me. I just wanted it to end it. So I consulted some people and I went to the principal who i think dearly of and explained the situation to.

He nodded and wrote the names of the students then he said he will look into it in a week if I remind him to.

I left his office feeling completely disappointed.
He's going to talk to them maybe bring their parents. They will say false apologies where I'm going to feel awkward. Then these guys will take me as their new permanent target intsead of moving on to the next person.

As I got out of his office I knew that I was the one who lost the most. I was cursed at. I was doubted for things i didn't do.  I was going to be hated by everybody for reporting about them. I'm going to be targeted more. In this loop I was going to lose.

So I didn't come back. I didn't remind the principal about it because in this class men were dominant. Theoretically,  I could go to the principal and report on them and he could promise me an end to this but thats just words and in action I was going to be hurt and the bunch knew it. I went back home. I recapped the day to my mother leaving that part till they end. I couldn't form my words out as
I chocked on a sob.

She didnt pity me. She didn't caress me. She told me to stand up and get used to it becuase thats how it is here .  After all my class is only an image of what my society is. That I will not be avenged. When I ask for my rights I am going to be called things far worse than a slut. Its inevitable.

But other women have it much worse. They are blamed for being too expressive, too loud, too energetic, too revealing, too friendly too flirty, too confident because when you are called a slut even by the closest of people.  When you are verbally abused you are always going to be blamed for calling attention on to yourself.  These women dont have a blog nor a nice principal to complain to.

I am just supposed to sit around while those dominating men act and blame me. Scream, whistle and curse at me. Because if I talk i'll be the slut but I'm not worried about that. I've always been a slut and I'll always be a slut as long as I've got a uterus and a mouth.

Thank you.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bounded by walls of a father

Dear reader, 

 Ive said in my last post that I found a fatherstructor. I'd like to talk more about that.

 While i was in the havoc and the loud noises of my peers in NIR school my family met together in Jordan. I sent them a message telling my relative to say hi to everybody and hug my grandfather very tightly for me. 

 While I was in my break the next day my relative sent me a video. I walked away from my friends and opened the video. 
 There i saw a figure in the far distance. The figure was standing near a green backyard. He was wearing an old thawb (Arab man dress) and was looking far away. 
 My relative called his name multiple times but he didn't hear her. She came closer and whispered to him: Malak is watching this. 
He smiled but sadness covered his face. He did not show his aging broken teeth. His eyes gleamed. He said something but i couldn't hear it. (I had already broken down at that time). The video ended with my relative hugging my grandfather. Then she switched the camera at them and said: Malak me and grandpa miss you very much.

 My knees crushed down and i fell. I opened my mouth to a silent sob. My whole existence was filled up with salty tears. I couldn't hold myself anymore. Somebody found me in that state and got worried and tried to silent me. But i wasn't around him anymore. I was thinking about all the possibilities that are gone now.

I only saw my grandfather five times throughout my whole life. In my memory they appear as flashbacks of my childhood. Just like a movie unraveling. Few seconds of myself running around his house at five, watching him making coffee at nine, crying, begging not to leave him at twelve and my fifteen year old self sitting next to him with my mother and grandmother on the ground while he talked about the time when he became a refugee. About the time when he first laid eyes on my grandmother when he couldn't blink his eyes until he had her.

My grandfather wasn't a person who was around me while growing up. But the few time that i saw him were enough to establish real connection with him as if the time we spent apart didn't really matter.  Every time i visited him i begged to stay. But there was always a person to take me away from him.
This time it was death.

My grandfather was diagnosed with cancer a few months earlier. At that time it didn't reach me because my mother is the only person that mattered to me. I tried to support her but now it hit me at once. The fear that backed everything I did in life.

The thawb, his soft hugs and his amazing smell will be forever lost from the universe. Lost from my weak reaching hands.

Friends asked me why don't i visit him? Why not check up on him?
I tried to explain my situation.
My parents are divorced. I couldn't visit my grandfather because my father wont give me the permission to. I am trapped in Palestine unable to reach granddad. I thought that when i turn eighteen I'll have the ability to stay with him as long as I want to and nobody will take me from him. That was the plan until a few months ago.

Then they asked the drastic question. Why wont your father let you go ?
How do i explain how much he hates me ? How much he doesn't care about my feelings? How when i told him about my grandfathers' state he laughed.
There i completely broke down unable to stop the tears. Reaching Hysteria. He laughed at my grandfathers death. The person who stood up with my father against the whole family. Even his daughter. The first death I will ever face.

The students called an instructor. He was a physiologist. A good one in my opinion. I sat with him. He nodded and said. Your grandfather ?
I had already told him about it. It was great having a person who knew.
We started talking. Going back further and further into my childhood. The silent pauses chocked me.
He nodded and asked which made it easier. Then he talked about his experiences with abused women. There I developed that feeling that I hear girls talk about. How they look up to someone. A father figure I guess. A figure I've never had.
He cursed at how the situation is. He really understood the situation with my father. How a domineering, cynical cunning man can ruin a life that I own. How law doesn't help at all. But only takes away even more of your rights and money. But truly now I understand that I don't own my life. Its owned by a man. Any man. Father, husband and maybe my child.

My grandfather now is at his home in Jordan. Happy. I told him to come to Palestine. Maybe he'll find better treatment but he wont leave his land again. Last time he did he couldn't come back. He addresses his illness in the best way possible. He doesn't let it affect him. When I miss him I look at the coin album he gave me when i was nine. Coins from all different places put in it. Some are 100 years old or more. He told me that he thinks I'll travel all around the world and complete what he started. I'm afraid I wont be able to do that. I'll always be bounded by walls of a father. Walls of a man.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Found a fatherstructor

Dear readers,

Im fine, thank you. I hope you are too.

I've spent the last week in a hostel with 50 students in a program called the NIR school of the heart.
The program brings Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians to teach us about everything involving the heart. There were also some unspecified lectures that were more cultural. Trying to teach the students the importance of social involvement.
I was discouraged to come to the program. Wanting to stick with my family this while. But i did leave everything to join these students.

I got in thinking that I've got it. I can study. I can relate to the students. No problem. But then when observing the instructors i saw that they acted strange. They joked all the time and had something weird about them. Now i know that NIR proudly has a knack of choosing retarded people of course this includes me.

Quickly dissing battles and private parts jokes started to rise up. Something very unnerving to me. But a couple of days later i found myself getting out of my seat spitting a lame yo mama joke and saw that people were encouraging me to continue. Which in turn increased my energy and ability to act like the weird person i am. The weird thing though is that i wasn't being judged. In fact i was applauded for my obsession with butts. No wonder we called ourselves Hard Attacks.

The week went on fast starting and ending with lectures and activities. We've built strong relationships on the first 4 days and challenged how strong they are on the other 3 days.
The instructors stimulated a family like relationship between us through insulting jokes and deep meaningful hugs. As if creating a comfort zone outside of our own comfort zone.

All the instructors were devoted passionate people. Some volunteered with their knowledge. Others with time to complete a satisfying experience within the school. One that i can now look back to and smile with gratitude.

I had one instructor though that truly had an impact on me. His tight hugs and caring words reminded me of how a father should be. I couldn't but help take him as a father figure. As the figure that is keeping me intact throughout the sessions. Running to him as soon as i see him. I feel very pathetic. I dont feel brave. I just feel stupid.

On the 5th days we started to think more political. Discussing topics that no other program dares to. The difference between the Israeli and the Palestinian was pretty obvious. We said staggering comments and unexplained statements. Barely listening to each other. But still we cared about each other which made or at least for me made my relationships stronger.

I myself made references to anne frank who is an important figure for me. I tried to show the resemblance  between her and Gazans. How both couldn't and cant sleep because of the sound of rockets. I tried to describe a picture of gazans for them. A family warned by a mini rocket to take everything of significance out of the house in half a second. I asked them what they would take? Money ? Their kids ? Pictures of their childhood ? All in half a minute.

It was obvious how big the miscommunication is when it comes to facts and dates. We both had minimal knowledge about the other. What for them is the independence day for me is the Nakba (catastrophe) the death of a prime minister for them was significant while i couldn't even pronounce his name.

Personally, the program affected me in a strong way.

It first showed me that i can have an impact on people. During the political talks i must have said something that triggered people to think.
In an activity where when asked who of the students made you think the most people looked for me. Suddenly i was surrounded by bodies touching me from all sides. I was surprised at first but then appalled. I looked up and their eyes grabbed me. They gleamed as if they are proud of their choice. Smiled as if totally sure of it.
For a first i felt like my words are not meaningless letters thrown into the void. They had a meaning and they were listened to. They might even have an effect. I touched people which makes me worry. Did i have a positive impact ? Is considering my thoughts for them something hurtful ?

The confidence and the knowledge that every part of me is there for an important reason is empowering.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

My Ramadan

A sigh of guilt hovers over me whenever i do anything I enjoy. This includes writing on my blog. This is one of the many many drawbacks of IGCSE. I'm finishing up the last of the three dreadful months of exam which were more than enough to turn me into a psycho. But now I've convinced myself to write although i feel like i dont deserve it.

My school offers options that no other school offers. When entering high school you could either enroll in the IGCSE stream (if your grades permit) or just do Tawjihi tests. These are the standardized testing over here. They are done in 11th and 12th grade. They are so hard, so nerve-racking that people actually commit suicide because of them. Afterwards marks are spat out on a local TV channel. Oh, you screwed up in ur exam and failed dont worry not just your relatives and your classmates will know about it but the whole Palestinian community too ;) good luck. 
Thus in an attempt of running away of all the baggage that comes with Tawjihi i got into that IG-thing. Now i'm starting to feel the drawbacks. This stream is much more serious than Tawjihi. We start doing officials two years before normal Palestinian students. So while my friends are out partying i'm staying in my bed studying (which i strongly prefer).

The British obviously didn't notice that June is the holy month of ramadan when they scheduled the tests. Either that or they meant it and i cant make myself believe the later. We fast from sun break till sundown. Ramadan includes exceptional ultimate laziness from before iftar (the meal we eat at sun break) and after iftar. After my first meal I am just so heavy i can barely breathe. 

Surprisingly to everyone, I fast. I enjoy fasting I've been doing it ever since i was seven. Its a way to share the same feeling with your family. A way to honor the same sick feelings of torture i had when i was a kid. I especially love the feeling I get when water moves through my oesophagus after a desert appeared there. I guess I've alway been a psycho.

I ignore the raised eyebrows and doubtful tone people shoot at me when they ask if i fast. As if fasting is only a privilege to Religious folks. I fast because i want to fast. I want to feel hungry. I want to feel unable like the unfortunate. I challenge myself in ramadan. I know how strong i am because i had real rough days while fasting. You see, ramadan is not just about food its about morals too. Its about behavior and giving back. Its obvious that i am very fond of it.

As a tradition my family and i vist the Aqsa mosque every year to have iftar right beside thousands of muslim families. All joined up together on one table on the holy ground of the Aqsa. 

I don't think this will be possible this year. Two days ago two Palestinians in two suits sat in two seats in a cafe in tel aviv pulled two guns and killed 5 Israeli civilians. I frown at this not because they were civilians but because what i know about ramadan is that it brings peace. Peace of mind and soul. How can somebody do such a foul act in Ramadan? How can they KILL in the holiest month of the year ? Don't underestimate the word kill. Its a word we've gotten used to but still the truth doesn't tarnish when it comes to the word kill. 
This act doesnt just affect all the poeple who walked or couldve walked there it also greatly affects us Palestinian people. Palestinians applying for permssion to get into jerusalem from the west bank are going to be refused as a punishment not allowig thousands of muslims from reaching the holy mosque. The mosque and the old city won't light up like every year.

I visited the old city tonight. It has always been a place of tension but this act tightened the tension hundreds nay thousands of teenagers hovered around the old city tonight provoking the Israeli soldiers and police. In any minute a fight could and probably eventually will break out. The teenagers sang provocative patriotic songs aloud. In my eyes they dont appear to do this because they are driven by the love for their country, they think the rifles that are with the 17 year soldiers and plastic toys. Nothing more fun than an angry soldier. Most markets are closed. Police are everywhere asking everybody if they are muslim. Ramadan is not the same. There are no lights. I cant feel that warm feeling inside me anymore. I dont see kids running around. There are no food kiosks. I just see men provoking everybody including me. Giving me looks asking how dare I reach the old city ?

I try hard to get that fuzzy feeling of ramadan but with these continous disappoints and attacks that is not possible but the moon is not going anywhere any time soon. Its always going to stay up and we'll always have ramadan light glowing around us i hope that one day peace will prevail the old city. Peace i've never seen there before.

Friday, May 6, 2016

An unidentified selfish 15 year old skinny rat

A friend today commented saying that she is waiting for my next post. My heart broke. I wanted to cry for help. My not writing makes me feel very guilty. I think about millions of posts and i write them but then i judge myself and i am not satisfied. They are all fake in my eyes. How can i fix something that is wrong with me ? I did what i do best. Speak truthfully from the heart.
I hope this one works out.

My family has been nagging for the past week about going to Eilat (A city in the south of palestine). I hate eilat. I've been to it so many times that i remember all of its streets by heart. We could've gone anywhere else. But going abroad for my family is prohibited because my parents are divorced.Eventually i convinced myself that it would be nice. I thought about laying in the sun reading a book. I agreed but it didn't matter they would go whether i did or not.

I've heard so much about Ben gurion airport and how badly they treat people. I wasn't surprised when i saw the long line. I wasn't surprised when they stopped every male Palestinian for a half a hour interrogation. As a matter of fact only the israelis in the back of the line were surprised. They weren't used to that treatment. They don't go through check points nor waited in a line for hours for no apparent reason. The Palestinians and i were more than used to it. Its a lifestyle. At least for me it was. I was born here i know the feeling of not understanding their language. Of being criticized integrated and checked but my mother wasn't. Shes from abroad. She still gets angry when they tell us to go to the side for personal check.

In Eilat nobody can say whether we were Palestinians or not. So we were treated with respect maybe they treated us this way to get our money. I think that some israelis hate that sometimes they need our money and that sometimes they work for us. I've noticed that we were the only arabs in the hotel. It was filled up with israelis on the first day. But then the next day was filled with arabs. A day separated each side from staying at the same hotel. As if they weren't allowed to stay together or sleep together in the same place.

The city was filled up with french jews. My brother and i tried to talk to them but they flinched away. They saw we were arabs and turned their faces away.What i saw and felt is that they couldn't stand talking to us nor being acquainted to us. They refused us. The jews that were staying in Israel had no problem with us. They didn't prefer it but yala life goes on. For them staying with arabs is a life style too. Arabs are not a strange idea. I couldn't stop asking. Are we lead by the jews from the outside ? The ones that don't want to identify us ? If so of course the peace accords wouldn't be working.
I must say. Im comfortable with israelis. Of course not all of them. But little by little we are getting accustomed to each other and our weird habits. Like a newly wed couple who only met on their wedding day although they don't want to meet they are urged by how strong headed they are. This couple also reminds me of angry teenagers. Each side is right and there is no doubt about it. I hate sitting back and watching this bloodful show. Like a parent watching her son make a mistake. But my hands are tied with barbed wires cutting into my skin and my lips are closed by fear.

The way that these french jews refused me reminded me when i once went to a jewelry shop in jerusalem. I talked to the shop keeper with a mixture of english and hebrew. While i was purchasing my item the woman asked me when i came back to the promised land. I looked at her stunned. I told her that i was born here. She asked me what school i go to. I couldnt mouth my schools name. I thought i would throw up if i did. So i responded with "i go to the anglican school" ( which is an expensive mixed school). I didnt say it because i thought my school wasnt worthy. Its because i didnt know any other school that had both arabs and israelis. I wanted her to mistake me with anybody but who i am. I did all of that scenario just because i didnt want her to flinch away from me when she learns I'm a palestinian. I didnt want her to step away and Give me a disgusted look. After all i am a 15 year old. I act as if i'm strong. As if this conflict doesnt affect me . But oh it does. I still run away from racism. I still get hurt when an israeli woman tells me to stop speaking arabic in the mall. Lik a little girl i cant stand these disgusted looks. I want to live in peace. I dont care about both sides i selfishly only care about myself and my family. I only can and want to protect them. I dont want my dead body splashed around in the media saying how an another attack killed a palestinian. I want to be an another death. I want my own death. I dont want a big funeral visited by everybody i dont know as if i am memorized by the martyr that I was not. I am only a selfish 15 year old nobody. Sending out thoughts as if they matter. I get a heart attack when i imagine my brother or my best friend in the same situation. I dont want to fight. I want to hide. But there is no where to hide. There's no where to escape. Jerusalem tricks you into falling deep whether you want it or not.

Ive been meaning to say this for a while. All palestinians should fight for the cause. Teens my age are dying proudly on the streets giving their bodies away to the great cause with smiles on their faces. They are not scared so why am i ? Why cant i feel this strong feeling of love for my country why cant i stand up to a soldier like all of them ? I am only a skinny rat who only wants to save her skin.
I cant be a Palestinian then. I am not an israeli too. I am barely a jordanian. I dont fit anywhere. I
have no identity. No i am an identity-less skinny rat. No wonder i am an outcast.

When we arrived to the air port in Eilat A woman working in the airport took us by hand and of course had to do the personal check up for the terrorists. She checked everything we had. But then wouldnt leave us. She went with us through every stage. Because she worked in the airport we didnt wait in any of the long lines. The interesting thing was the looks of the french jews who asked who are they ? Why didnt they wait in the line ? They dont have the right to do that.
I guess my potentially being a terrorist helped me get a VIP pass.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

How I became disassociated with religion

Dear readers

I've dared to release myself from the bounds of religion at a very young but critical age in my conservative community. I look back now and I'm trying to define the moment that turned me into this fearless, unapologetic girl.

Just like any muslim home mine had several quran books. I never considered them but feared them as my mother used to say that if you ruin a quran book by writing on it you will be damned. We had some quranic sayings written across the walls but i never read them. My father prayed. I laugh at how once i tried praying but failed horribly. My mother really hated everything related to religion although she was born in Saudi Arabia.

I was raised in a christian school. I didn't know christians and jews were our enemies in terms of who gets heaven. My school did not consider it their job to enhance our knowledge of the other religion. All i knew was that they didn't share the same religion classes as us and sometimes said stuff that were contradictory to what my religion teacher said. Back when i believed everything she said.

In fourth grade a new religion teacher stepped into our class. She was an overweight hijabi woman. She had a sweet voice and hid under a compassionate smile but i could still see her mean looks when nobody else was looking. She sat on a chair and started drawing mathematical diagrams of islam that nobody understood. Then started to mark lines underneath important passages in our religion book for the upcoming test. Marking every quranic passage as one to memorize. She didn't discuss anything with us. We just have to study for the test. She was practically asking for my hatred.

 This woman started my track of hating religion. She made it a subject of memorization for an impossible tests. I studied her tests more than math but still failed.
Till then i didn't know that i was studying islam without my choice.
I sensed how wrong some texts were in our religion book. When i ask about them the teacher would blow me off. I was alone in a class full of  students who would agree with the teacher without thinking twice and there i became best friends with Adam*
He was just like me. He didn't believe the teacher nor the book. We Became friends over laughing and talking about her. We would say some witty comments in class. When i argued with the teacher i had a back to protect me . We were together ON this.

Adam was like me he grew up with the possibility of asking how and why. His culture was different that is why in sixth grade Adam had to leave for London. My back was gone. I became a baby with no bones just MOLDY TISSUES. I was alone with a teacher smirking at me because she knew that now she got me. That i could either fail or just shut up and listen to her.

I listened. I didn't argue. I studied the tests and failed . I knew that if i went too far with my thoughts she would fail me. It was an unspoken agreement within us but i still thought about God and religion. Nobody could stop these thoughts not even myself.

And so one day in 8th grade my teacher was being mean to me. I was worked up because i was struggling to keep what i have to say for 4 years. I stood up in class i looked her in the eye and told her that she had no saying in this and got out of the class. I went to my principal. Sat in a chair and told him calmly that i got out of the class because i could not take her anymore. He was shocked. I was the type of girl every teacher loved. He took me to the teacher to say sorry but i still had lots to say.

I looked at her and said that because of her now i hate religion that she teaches it wrong. Its all just passages to memorize for a test that i will fail and that she is so lazy she never moves out of her chair unless the principal was called for.
My classmates were giggling to themselves. I didn't want them to giggle but support me so i finished of with: Its not just me its the whole class.
It was true all of them spoke behind her back. I was the only brave person to tell her that in front of her face.
They all looked at me in a poker face. As  if they didn't understand me.

That was the first shock i got from my community. I thought that they had my back because this is what they really thought but they didn't care about fixing things they only wanted to save their butts.
Now i was proud but screwed.

In the summer of 8th grade Adam told me what he really thought about religion. He told me that sometimes he didn't believe in God that there were so many unanswered questions in his head. That it was all so ambiguous. He tried to confine in me but i was shocked. I never expected to hear such words. I was programed to believe in God. I was afraid that listening to him would also make me question the only ground i had. That i will become a kafer (infidel) who i was supposed to  condemn. I screamed at him. Trying to convince him and myself with rubbish.
He was in london. He could be an infidel. I'm in Jerusalem if i said such a thing i'll be condemned. I was scared but the bitter truth was that eventually i was going to think the same way. I was going to figure out that my ground was light and feathery filled up with lies.

 I didn't know that there was a choice of not believing in God until a breeze swept the feathers away and i fell. Hard.

I entered 9th grade with ease. I had a new class because i changed schools. The religion teacher was a nice woman who didnt just line up passages but now all hope was gone for me. This idea of not studying relegion Was buzzing in my head. I was still the only girl who argued with the teacher about what she said . I wasn't afraid anymore. Sometimes almost on the verges of really becoming a kafer inside the class.
Im not close to my classmates because of these religious views. I'm considered weird and a disgrace because i show my controversial thoughts in the open.
I'm brave i ask the question they think but hide.( This doesn't apply on all my classmates)
Such as why does a woman stay 3 months in her house when her husband dies ?
Why cant i have half the inheritance not 1/3 ?
Why did the perfect God change his mind repeatedly and create different imperfect religions all centered in jerusalem ? Knowing that we humans are troublesome.
These unanswered questions or their silly responses made me rebel.

In 10 grade i really opened up. I was angry about all the time i lost listening to the trash the religion teachers say. I figured out i could be anything. I stopped praying in the morning with my class. Instead i go to my locker and move around between the frozen statues of my classmates.

I was able to speak up and think this way because my mother raised me differently. She got a  divorce when i was 9 so i got away from the praying father. Having no man to tell us what to do in the house made it possible for me to think about the universe and God. Also my best friend Adam who is now a real atheist didn't help much in my process of becoming religious.

Last year i posted how i hated islam and seriously was considering changing into an another religion i got 10s of comment telling me of how can i  do this and how can i say such stuff. How a disgrace i was. I even learned that i should be killed.

Now seriously, for me all religions are horrible. I was just angry.
Being muslim and not believing in islam for me was like being gay and unable to be open about it. I went to my principal asking him to stop studying islam. Asking to read instead or study christianity just for information. He completely refused and said that this would bring a bad image to the school then called on my mother but she laughed about it.

In my family I'm considered as a disgrace but i like it when they give me the you are a lost case look. Its worse when they try to convince me to stop what I'm doing and go back to my senses. I want to use the part of my brain which shuts down when i believe in God. I want common sense.

 I still partially believe in God and still consider myself muslim. I just dont do all the islamic ways of thanking him and remembering him for example i dont pray at all but enjoy fasting in ramadan as a way of bringing the family together.  There are many positive sides of islam. (although there are some bad stuff too). Yes islam is viewed wrongly by the media but I've chosen to stay away from any religion because the the circumstances didn't help me. Note that my views are still undecided.

My community is a great one and i went to emphasize on how lots of individuals in my community supported me. When i say community i mean the few people that i've met.

*  I changed the name.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fading away

Dear readers,

I just found out the cons of documenting every part of my day. Not every moment of my day is a good one. Not every thing i do I'm proud of.
I wrote a post naming it rich folks where i judgmentally wrote about people i barely spoke with calling them names and degrading them. I didn't give them a chance. I was just so into the moment i didn't think ahead. I didn't think about who i was hurting and how i wasn't hurting them with the truth because this is not who they are. I was just being cocky. I want to appoligise to them and specifically this one girl on my mind and i promise i won't hurt anybody again on this blog.

What i want to talk about is my experience being away from home in the MEET conference (read the post jungle hunger to know what MEET is).
In my eyes my year is divided into three main groups : Arabs speaking arabic together, Israelis speaking hebrew together and the neutral ones they are from both the sides and speak english together.

Coming into MEET i stayed at least two days with each group studying them. After the summer i knew for sure that i was an individual. I didn't fit in any of the groups. I didn't understand hebrew i couldn't make the arabs laugh nor understand their jokes (which I'm sure are good) and the neutral where too active and loud even for me.

So i stayed alone. Sometimes staying with the arabs but mostly i would sit with some other individuals and that is where i met Noam.
I met Noam in the summer. We connected over American TV shows and books. We used to watch Pretty Little Liars together and talk non stop about everything. Agreeing on everything.
We even planned to meet each other after the summer. I remember once when i looked at her on the bus and promised myself that i would be connected with her even without the help of MEET.
But that never happened.

After the summer i was hit with the truth. There was still an unsafe and violent situation around. An arab hanging with an Israeli wasn't the image to be seen. I ran from the dates that noam would set and never show up but i still loved her inside.
The moment i looked at her in the first session of the yearlong i knew that something changed. There was a political wall now between us . The young girls watching PLL and playing charades protected by the fake walls of a summer camp are gone.

I didn't try to reconcile. I depended on the summer to fix what was broken. The summer could bring everything i thought.
When i came to the meet conference i didn't see her around but didn't notice that until she came late at night. I didn't say hi nor hugged her. We got used to that.
The next day while i was sitting with some kids from nazareth in meet i looked at my phone and found that Noam left the meet group. I ran to my TA  Naomi asking her about Noam and where she was. She affirmed what i had feared.
A shock went through me. I thought of us smiling at each other promising to stay friends. I thought about the first time i saw her after the summer. I thought about the next summer and how i was going to fix it. I was too late and she was gone.
I dont know why i asked Naomi for Noam's number i already had it but i took it and called her. Her voice was weak and calm but sad. She told me she left because of her and that she didn't stay because  she didn't want to.

I helped her leave. I ignored her and the wall between us thinking that the summer was going to come sooner or later. I imagined us graduating together but now thats gone.
Its not just Noam that is gone now lots of Israeli girls left MEET. Its mostly arabs now.
Getting into meet, saying these tearful goodbyes in the summer. I didn't believe that anybody would want to leave. The ones i was connected to most are now fading so fast i can't stop it.
I went to the Arab girls telling them about Noam. They hit me with how it doesn't matter and how better it is that there are more arabs now.
I was losing every part of meet that i knew. I was losing the thing i thought i knew. Its like i was wrapped up in a warm blanket and was uncovered in a matter of seconds.

I thought about me staying alone last night thinking how cold i was. How depressed i felt. How hard I've been trying to connect with anybody while she was a matter of seconds away from me. I could've stopped her.

I didn't think i was going to cry. I went to Naomi to get a grip on what is happening. I was surprised that when i really needed it i went to her not to any other Palestinian TA. I found myself crying to her. I told her how i could see my year leaving in front of me and i couldn't prevent it.
I told her how lonely i am and how i wish i fitted with anybody. I wanted to tell her about Noam but i couldn't tell her what i had lost.
She held me to her and talked some sense into me. She encouraged me and showed me the bright side of not belonging. How being unattached to a group made me free to try and meet. How i have reached a higher level than them but that didn't help i cried more thinking i want to be in their same level.
I stopped crying when she told me how i remind her of herself in my age. Trying to do the same thing but also failing. I was surprised that she found something in me that was like her. I didn't expect to do that to Noami. I saw truth and trust in her blue eyes. I saw kindness and care that i didn't see in anybody but my mother and with that i was able to wipe my tears and look forward to the future although i couldn't see anything encouraging in it.

I stood up and washed my face. I hugged her like i used to hug Noam when i cried in the summer. All i thought about was to get myself working and out of this situation. I went to a computer and started working on the game i was supposed to do and this somehow helped.

If you are reading this Noam I'm sorry i didn't come to the dates we arranged. I'm sorry i didn't hug you. I'm sorry i broke my promise and I'm sorry i waited for the summer. The nice thing about it is that i can still imagine us graduating together hand in hand with our MEET diplomas.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A first

I woke up on Saturday with mom screaming "we're late" which is something I'm used to.  I got my things together and we were off to ramallah for an appointment. We spent lots of time in ramallah wether walking in the city buying KFC (not for us) or the amazing ice cream that could only be found in Ramallah named Rokab.
If you dont know Ramallah is in the west bank. The part that belongs to Palestinians and is only inhibited by Palestinians.

I looked at my phone and it was 5. I was supposed to be at home at 6 because i was going to pack my bags for a night with meet in neve shalom (wahet il salam ) which is close to tel aviv. I didn't panic Ramallah is only 15 minutes away from Jerusalem i expected the check point to be empty but that was something that no smart person should do.
As i arrived to the check point it looked like god turned against. Telling me that I'll never reach Jerusalem. The check point was filled with thousands of cars. We tried numerous check points trying to find a way through but the only thing that was to be done was to throw me into the streets. I had to walk through the check point, again expecting it be empty.

It would be the first time that i ever walk alone in a check point I thought. Having to speak to a soldier and being checked by myself. I put on a fake composed voice and a stern face and looked at my mom. We both gave instructions to each other and i flung myself out of the car taking with me some money, my mothers id to pass with as i am registered with her which is the only way i can reach Jerusalem and two iPhones ( freaking iPhones don't have battery when you need them).

I went through cars beeping at me and people screaming at each other with my brother following me. When i arrived at the check point i looked at the maze of iron in front of me and turned into a five your old. All i wanted to do now was not leave my brother. I would do anything to stay safe and sound in my mothers car but i had no time so i ran into the maze.

Looking at the people ahead of me they were 10. I looked at the women in front of me and asked "how long would this take?"
One smiled "hmm 30, 45 minutes its based on the soldiers mood" she said
Me and 70 other students in a bus depend right now on a soldiers mood.
I waited and waited shifting to sides and calling whoever i can but the line never moved. A man would be checked for 10 minutes and was asked many questions. I couldn't ask the people to go in front of them i just couldn't i had to wait and be late its because i expected.
A woman in the front of the line whispered my name and winked I've never seen her before but i moved forward and didn't think about my mother warning me not to speak to anybody.
"Are you Mirvat's daughter ?"she asked.
I smiled a giant smile and told her how late i am and wether i could go in front of her. She let me.
After 3 men i arrived to the face of the soldier that got me late. I looked at him and he was a pathetic 19 year old. I raised my chin and talked to him in english knowing that any word in arabic or hebrew or my nervous voice would let me stay there for another 5 minutes. He couldn't answer me he probably didn't speak english. I made him feel embarrassed. He didn't ask for the ID. He didn't need the ID now.
Thats the trick dont be a Palestinian and ur good to go.

For a first time i handled that well. I thought about my family there waiting behind the maze and how i didn't want to arrive home by myself but i just faced it. Trying to convince myself that I'm alright but till the next day i didn't feel alright.

Wether it matters or not i arrived 15 minutes late to the meet hub. Got into the bus but this meet conference wasn't a jubilant experience and i'll be talking about that in the my post.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A night with "rich" folks

My family and i were invited to a birthday party for a person I've never seen in my life considering it was supposed to be an intimate occasion we weren't really up to it. The party was supposed to happen at my mothers friends house, she personally invited her so my mom couldn't say no .

Its a habit of my mom to take us anywhere she goes.It brings some pros and cons but nonetheless we had to go. I was up for it really i knew that the family has a cute 10 month year old boy named sam.

It took us 50 minutes to arrive to their home it is a little bit after tel aviv in a village named Qolenswah. On the way my family and i enjoyed some arab songs. Growing up i felt embarrassed by arab songs and refused to join in with my family.  Now i take it as a chance to feel like i belong somewhere. Like it or not arab world Palestinians are still arabs. 

The people were supposed to be rich. Getting in to their village was a shock. It looked worse than a camp so we didn't expect anything. I actually expected to see a ruined home just like my grand mothers in azzeh camp. 

Ohh was i wrong. The house was fascinating with everything my family and i wish to own in a house (i have to say mashallah) it had a pool and a sauna basically it had everything. 

Living in jerusalem means that you dont own anything because everything is expansive. Its a way that israel uses to make us want to get out of the country. To own a small apartment in Jerusalem you either have to be very rich or live in debt your whole life so basically most jeruslamites live in rent which is also expensive not forgetting the arnona which is tax for living on the amazing whole soil of jerusalem. They make me feel like I'm living in Chateau de Versailles. 
What i want to deliver is how impossible it is for a family like mine to own a house so seeing a house like what i saw today was exceptional. I enjoyed it while it lasted 

For the first time ever other families brought their kids a long. There were 3 other "teens" ranging from 13 to 19. They are what we are supposed to call them "class" the ones that use english 3/4 of the time while they can deliver their sentences better in arabic and go to extremely expensive schools. I found them very shallow and uninteresting believe me i preferred the 10 month old kid at least he wasn't giving me looks and showing me how of an important rank he is. 
Some of their parents weren't even better. Some were exceptionally dull and shallow. Faking everything specially their so called american accent.

I hate being so judgmental and negative. Its true i judge a book by its cover ( i actually do that in bookstores) A great part of the evening was dull. When i talked to the english baby sitter she told me that i was more grown up than my age. Ohh i so wish you wouldn't say that thats why i feel like i can't really make conversations of meaning on the meet bus with 70 other teens. Thats why i never fit in with my age. I spent the evening with baby sam looking at his eyes while he slowly drifted to sleep. 

Tomorrow I'm spending a night in wahit il salam with meet. I hope this time that i will find a group that is a tad bit more interesting. I'm afraid i'll be cold tomorrow and its not because i dont have enough sheets to keep me warm. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Jungle Hunger

I haven't been posting much lately. Its not because I'm not committed. Its just because I'm doing finals. I really care about getting good marks. I consider it the only job i have to do and i do it pretty well.

Sometimes i stop studying to go to Ramallah and enjoy other programs. Today after 4 hours of studying i visited the meet hub.

MEET (Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow) is a program that i joined a year ago. Its an amazing program that brings promising Arab and Israeli students to study computer science and entrepreneurship. Till now i think they made a mistake by getting me in. You see i don't get the promising part.

Its a very challenging program. They make us make games from scratch using gibberish called python and present our projects to important people. Last year, in the summer i presented my 3D printing project to the manager of Facebook in Tel Aviv. It was quite exciting really.

I am always encouraged by this program. Everybody there is extremely smart. They all have strong personalities and all agreeable. I'm discouraged by CS. I always try to at least finish a line of code without an error but i mostly need help from anybody that is of 1m around me. Believe me the point that i am in in CS makes anybody able to help me.

3 sessions ago they asked us to make a breakout game. I came up with the idea of jungle hunger. A monkey (ball) is trying to eat the fruits (bricks) by bouncing off a trampoline (pedal). I worked with a team of 5 to make up the coding for the classes, collisions, borders and bouncing.
I seem to have lead a successful team. Tonight at 7:30 we presented the only finished game between 3 other groups . It took us around 9 hours to finish. Everybody was amazed by the game specially because i am in the team. I must say that my two other team mates Anan and Yaniv worked their butts off while i observed.
I find working with a team very challenging and this is an important part of meet. One of our values is to embrace teamwork for me that is quite difficult. By nature i like to lead but in meet I'm supposed to step back and let others shine and explore the great pleasure of ordering people around. In this project i discovered the perfect balance of leading and working hard. its not just bossing around now its advising and organizing.

The instructor was very proud of us and encouraged us to go even further on this game.
Just like every week i went back home completely tired and cold. Now I'm tucked in bed, a cat that my mother found on the street (thats a long story) is purring next to me and I'm enjoying how perfect chemistry is with my warm Harvard sweatshirt and a cup of anise with chamomile.

Hope everything is going well with everybody.
Good night.

Friday, April 1, 2016

An inside look at the palestine marathon from an unregistered runner

Today i woke up at 6 am on my weekend. Seriously concidered going back to sleep. Then convinced myslef to wear my running gear and get out of my grandmas house in bethlahem. 

We rode the car with my mothers photographer and arrived to the nativity church. Everything felt exactly like christmas except there wasnt a tree and it was morning. 
The square was not crowded. There were mostly forgeiners but after some time the square filled up with many people from different backgrounds and orginins. There wasnt any perosnal space. Not even to warm up.
I expected such a thing. We arabs like to try new things. At least to get a picture out of it. 
The marathon was spilt into two teams 10K team and the 21 and 42 team. 
The music was so loud we couldnt hear each other. Some warmed up and at 8:00 sharp(surprisingly) the 4th right to movement marathon began. After 15 minutes the 10K marathon started running. 
I was runing with my mother, brother and a friend. The truth is that we barely ran. We walked the running marathon like no other. 
We ran first to the wall, passed the ayda rafugee camp and continued on to the main route in Bethalhem. It was depressing knowing that we had to go back. 

It wasnt something forgein for the bethlehem people, they warmly welcomed and encouraged the runners, i thought that they would judge us but was very much mistaken. Some runners helped The handicaped by pushing them. The police also took the matter in a great way by ushering the best routes for car drivers and helping out. Planting such an undertanding on how to handle such an event is amazing. 

On some stops we were given water and fruit. I was pretty disapointed to find plastic cups thrown all over the ground. I hated the view so much. 

Many NGOs ran for great causes such as the right for women hertige. These groups ran together. They shouted, sang and raised signs. It really raised awarness for such cases. I loved how such a marthon had so much to tell. 

The whole aura of the marathon was exciting and very welcoming. No judging was involved and everybody was laughing. Some sang traditional songs on the way. I felt connected with everybody. I really felt like i was part of something special. That i completed something special. 

It took my two hours to finish the marathon. An hour longer than most of my friends. Becuase i was unregistered i wasn't  allowed to feel the moment of completing the martohn through the finish line but yala it was for free. You see i came with my mother as press. Thats one of the many perks of being the daughter of a journalist. 

When we finished we danced a bit, talked a lot and then ate hummus. 
I walked an extra 3 kilometers to my grandmothers house which felt like hell. 
At that moment the 42 kilometers runners were finishing their race. 

When i arrived. I went straight to bed. But when i woke up i heard that the soldiers threw gas at the camp. I laughed at how they didnt throw it when there were forgeiners running around.They don't want to ruin their image that badly. The wall was enough. 

All in all, it was an amazing marathon. The sights we visited were great. The feeling of being united was there. Next year i will surely do it again. Hope next time that i actually run though.

2nd of april. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Oh a Palestinian ? Bring on the complications.

I was supposed to write about something depressing but i just found out i have reached 220 page views in one week !

Do you remember my friend who applied to a program for the american embassy in tel aviv but the was transferred ?
Thats what I've been thinking about all day long. For the past 3 days we've been sending out emails trying to explain his lousy situation.

During the process i got an email from a school I've applied to.
This school is in tel aviv and is a boarding school. It is international so it combines Israelis, arabs and the whole world.
When i got the email i expected an answer to wether i was accepted or not but was surprised to find a man arranging an interview.
You see I've already did two interviews and they told me to expect an answer.

When i talked to the man explaining to him the situation (I've been doing lots of explaining lately). He told me that he knows nothing about what i should do and that i applied as an Israeli not as a Palestinian.

You say what ?? When i want discounts, not stopped at check points and a visa for Europe I'm a Palestinian but when it come to scholarships I'm an Israeli ?!!
(Palestinians get better scholarships. We have no money.)

How was i supposed to know that there is a "special" application for Palestinians ? Should i have read your mind ?
They sent me an application. I filled it out. Paid 50 bucks and was asked for an interview. I didn't know i should've said no. I was supposed to make a good impression.

You see this whole story happens daily to hundreds of Palestinians. The changing nationalities whenever they want. The your a Palestinian your different situation. They don't get that we also don't know what we are supposed to call ourselves and where to go !!

Me and my friend have lost scholarships and were refused to many programs not because we are not qualified but because of the where I'm supposed to apply question ? Am i a Palestinian, Israeli,  Jordanian or just a jerusalemite ?
We both don't care. We don't call ourselves Palestinians but then these programs define and refuse us so aggressively for no reason that we have to fight back.

When is this ever going to end ? I know that when i apply through the Palestinian team it is going to be based on who is most beneficial for the interviewer not how qualified you are.

To end this day i visted ramallah. Going back home we had to kneel down because there was shooting at Qalandia check point.
Whats ironic about it ? Its not between the Israeli soldiers and Palestinians.
Going to hug my Harvard shirt to sleep.

Good night

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Problems that me and my friends share.

As a start today i want to talk about my friends. I have been observing my friends these past few days thought about their problems.
My friends have the same agony as most teenagers. The girls cry about how much their period hurts and how much they eat.
The guys they or at least my friend is shy about his acne but is always trying to solve that problem  by not eating chocolate which didn't work out for a year (i would never do that i prefer not to be seen then prevent the sweet taste of chocolate on my tastebuds.)
But there are many problems my friends seem to have that might relate to being a Palestinian and being an Arab and i want to discuss these.

First :

The inability for their parents to take them seriously.
You know on vines where the teenager says i want to be a singer and the parents reply by ohh a doctor thats good for you.
As a matter of fact thats true when my friends say i want to use my talent if its not a doctor or an engineer then its a no go.
Their parents accept the idea of doing nothing if we are not going near the borders of "tradition" a sentence i like to recall is: How am i gonna walk the street being the father of a model ?
I dont have that problem with my mother she is pretty open minded.


Inability to do activities in public areas.
Its not just public areas but organization too. I've touched this issue of not having enough non-formal educational programs briefly. Our clubs are too precise its either basketball or football for sports and music.  Arts in general are not accepted and these groups are not founded. Gyms, pools and parks are hard to find so the teens stay at home or on the street where its not better off.

For me and my friends we don't go out much. Its either at school or in each others houses. Cinemas, parks and malls are a no go because our parents are too worried. If we talked in arabic (which i do loudly) we might face discrimination or even violence. Our parents are not ready for that they dont want to be the parents of martyrs. So we can only dream of a social life like what we see on television.

Third :

Our fear of politicalizing everything.
Just the name Palestinian can politicalize everything we do. As if everything we do is really thought through or has a meaning. We are afraid of being used to politicalize stuff. To send out messages that we dont mean. Its normal for teenagers to deliver the wrong message but here we pay for it.

For me I'm always considering boycotting but find it very difficult because I'm afraid of being fooled by smart shopkeepers but that doesn't mean that the guilt doesn't follow me around. I promise that this guilt follows all my friends.

Another example is my friend who applied to a program outside for writing. He applied to the american tel aviv embassy. He then was transferred to the one in jerusalem because he has no Israeli passport but was refused without having an interview because the Palestinian deadline is different than the Israeli one. It probably was a surprise for him when he knew he was considered as a Palestinian.
My friend really knows nothing about politics and doesn't care but he was prevented from going because well of political issues

Its funny how in other countries the teenager doesn't know who he really is but is starting to discover himself. It is expected from us to know everything about us and choose the ideology we will take on for the rest of our lives .

Fourth :

Inability to connect with anybody from outside.
We are seriously disconnected from the Arab world. I've visited two Arab countries and the difference is so definable. The walls that have been built on the west bank (the only real Arab region) are really seen when you find how much we've been missing out wether on tv shows, candy or clothes
Of course we can't really connect with the Israelis.
We are not from the foreign world. They don't really want us unless we are extremely smart.
The thing is when I'm asked for my nationality i don't know what to answer and there are millions like me.

Fifth  :
People like me and my other two best friends.
We are put aside when compared to our class. we grew up differently by saying thank you, sorry and not hurting animals.
The people who speak good english and generally don't curse.
The people who are undecided about their religion. They read and started talking about college 4 years before their classmates did.
The difference is strongly felt between us and the rest of our people.
We are looked at as weirdos for being polite and articulate. We are laughed at for speaking english. We are laughed at because we try.
We collect each other as groups and i believe each school has 5 or 6 people like us.
The people who grew up the "foreign way " as my classmates call it.
We are proud to show the difference to everybody around us. Unlike many others we don't hide. This is considered as improper.
The problem here lies in our wanting to go outside and them wanting to diminish our existence due to reasons i will discuss later.

This may only apply on me.
I sadly feel like i posses nothing here. I and my family don't own a house nor a garden not even memories. There is nothing to look back on.
Its like nothing of my existence was engraved here. As if my childhood and teenage years have been lost as if they passed in seconds.
I'm afraid that these memories that I'm making now or will be making will also be lost into the void if i stay here.

I don't want to generalize. This might only apply on me. I hope people can relate.

27th sunday

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Is my palestinain name being exploited ?

Today I want to talk to you about sunday.I didn't have a blog last sunday but now that i do and i make the laws here.I shall do what i think is right.That is talk about sunday.

I was invited to an 11am open day in a school in tel aviv that i had just applied to. it is an international boarding school and is using the IB system which isn't remote from the IGCSE that I'm doing.
After an hour and a half trying to explain to the app 'ways' where we are going and getting lost and paying for roads we are not even supposed to be on. We arrived.

The place does not look much like a school. It has an easy aura to it and doesn't have many classrooms. After seeing the other parents we were ushered to a room where we sat like students on chairs with our parents by our sides where three teachers stood in front of us.
First a tall gray haired man came forward and introduced himself in hebrew i couldn't catch his name but was able to translate what he said in my mind very slowly.
He said as we only invited Israelis today we will be speaking hebrew. Does any body have a problem with that ?
My cheeks went red i raised my hand and said that i can only understand english. He raised his eyebrows at me and studied me.
"well, then lets talk in english". He said unenthusiastically with a heavy accent. Now i know why he wanted to speak in hebrew i thought.
I think i had a bad first impression on him. Something that i didn't really care about but should have. Considering that i was supposed to impress them.
You see there are many mistakes in his sentence :
First, clearly you didn't just invite Israelis as a proof I'm here.
Second, even if you have invited "just" Israelis this is an international school.You shouldn't teach them to speak hebrew between themselves otherwise the others will feel left out.

As he continued talking i could listen to him no more. In the background i think i heard the words peace and Canada but i was shocked that they invited me as Palestinian but then chose to speak hebrew.Shouldn't they have prepared for this ?
When a new student entered the room the teacher told her to sit down but not forgetting to say: I'm sorry but we will be speaking english as a girl here doesnt know hebrew. Pointing at me.
I felt embarrassed but why should i ?  Should i be embarrassed because i want to understand ? I'm considered here as an  ignorant for not knowing hebrew ?Isn't this an international school in english ?

I despised him.He was bringing us here to humiliate us. To get more sponsors by saying see we are bringing the Palestinians in our classrooms now give us your money.

While walking i heard an Israeli girl asking her mother why did they bring us together ?
You know what ? Yes ,why did you bring the filthy palestine with the perfect amazing Israelis ?
Look at the hierarchy. Palestinians are at the bottom .In fact why should you offer them food on the table ? Throw it to them thats better.

Then when asked why did you come to this school ? The same girl raised her hand and said in a squeaky i know it all. I'm going to get into this school cos i know what you want to hear : well ... the media doesn't offer a whole picture of what is really happening and i dont get to meet the other side (they never say Palestinians ) so i thought i should get to know them better.

Of course not put in this way she couldn't put two words together minding the correct grammar but really get to know the animals better ? No darling you don't need to change your whole entire life and get into a boarding school just to get to know "them" better. Was it a required characteristic to be a hypocrite there?

The whole day my mom ignored the subject of the school knowing that when mentioned i'll lose it.

Are all programs like that ? Do they really use us as a propaganda to get money ? Why don't we have our own Palestinian programs where we do the same thing to Israelis ? But then they will be closed because the media will only show the terrorists traumatizing the poor Israelis.

I'm in many peace programs. I'm proud of it sometimes i enter to know what Israelis think and believe others to learn and most for my college CV but I'm hated for this. My classmates say that people like me are trying to show that there is no conflict but there is. I'm just trying to do something with my time and be productive otherwise i'll turn out like most jerusalemites judging people because i have nothing to do but gossip.
Simply put we have no non-formal educational programs for only Palestinians.

After i went back home i packed my stuff and went to the west ymca ( the Israeli one) to meet with my arts group.It's composed of many teenagers with many different personalities which makes it interesting all the time  the special thing here is that we both speak our languages all the time and we have translators to understand each other. It does show the culture but sometimes you feel like some people are gossiping behind your back in the other language. The funny thing is that i have a rusty hebrew where i can understand everybody but nobody can understand me. So i understand when they say here comes the Palestinian with her knives or ohh your acting like a Palestinian you are gross.

When talking to our instructors about our show we told them that we feel like nothing is ours we are only bodies that are being used to say what they want to say which is "we want peace and love and marshmallows on top" we tried to tell them that we don't want to say what they got to say we don't want our words with their agendas stamped on them. Again here i felt like I'm a body only used to deliver others ideas. Like I'm an animal with no mind or feelings.

Going back home i walked 5 stations from ymca to my moms work because there is a "suspected object" somewhere i bought an expensive ticket for nothing. Had to walk in the wind while thinking of how unproductive but eye opening today was.

Maybe the action that is always happening in jerusalem keeps it interesting but i need to clean up my bedroom because my friend is coming over tomorrow i might also catch up on some reading.

Yes we have cars !!

I hope that sounded nice enough.
My name is Malak (means angel in arabic). I'm 15 years old. And yes I'm a Palestinian jeruslemite. That means i live in the east side of jerusalem where people say terrorists come from. My opinion on that will unambiguously be shown later.

I've noticed lately that non of the people outside of jerusalem know what is really happening here. It is a closed up place. We don't produce that many authors and we don't like to believe that there is anybody but us Palestinians and our conflict in the world.

A pen friend once asked me if we have supermarkets in jerusalem. Believing that we still go to schools on donkeys and haven't witnessed the great invention of electricity. Well, hate to break it to you we have cars ! and even a train but it is shut down most days because of "suspicious objects".Thinking about it I've never really seen a donkey

When my mother heard about this panfried she nagged for weeks for me to start shooting videos of what is really like here. I would sit and talk thinking that people want to listen to me.
I know myself, I talk a lot and haven't been blessed with the gift of a fine voice but I can write. People even seem to like what I write.
So today I'm writing this blog desperately hoping that I will stay attached to it because i have a lot to say and i hope that i'll be of good use. At least today you learnt that we have cars !!