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.