Everyone’s Thoughting, So I Am Too

There’s been a lot to mull over since a racist tangerine in a wig won the presidency of the United States. 

Everything about this election was mind-boggling, and I often sat, reading, watching, listening, and thinking this has to be the zenith of absurdity. I still wonder what the 2020 election is going to be like, because it can’t get any crazier or uglier than this.

What I don’t understand is when people say, “We should compromise! We need to be peaceful, and we ought to give Orange One a chance.”

Um. No?

We’ve heard it all about the Semi-Sentient Evil Pumpkin. Throughout his entire campaign, he’s shown over and over and over again what he stands for. And you know what? I believe him. I have no reason not to. Does he not “tell it like it is”? Why am I to suddenly believe he didn’t mean all the rhetoric he spewed against immigrants, Hispanics, Muslims, and pretty much anyone else he can turn into a scapegoat? I believe him and I, along with millions of others, am rightfully angry.

I have no respect or compassion for anyone who voted for him. I don’t care what the reason was. Did they really believe Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals? Do they think Muslims are  an existential threat to the US? Do they just not care that he admitted to groping women because he thinks his star power lets him do it? Better yet, do they think that the women who spoke out against him are lying for publicity? (Never mind that they’re backing up what he said himself—under no duress, I might add). 

Or maybe it’s none of that. Many of these voters will cry that they aren’t among the ‘deplorable’. They were just worried about the economy. They just wanted a change, that’s all. Something other than the status quo. Hillary is a corrupt criminal, after all. Emails, Benghazi, scandals out the wazoo. They’re both equally bad, right?

So, they’ll tell you they threw their vote behind the squealing bucket of expired tinted moisturizer. Or went 3rd party. And with that, they went ahead and threw a bunch of vulnerable people under the bus. (I don’t care if it was a conscious decision or not). They decided they were okay with a candidate who has the full backing of the former leader of the KKK. They don’t mind that white nationalists, anti-semites, islamophobes, misogynists, and all-around terrible people call him their “god emperor”.

Read this and say that everything will be fine. That there’s nothing to worry about. These are the people Trump’s presidency has legitimized. It doesn’t matter if you’re a proud racist/misogynist or if you really just were just “worried about the economy”. People are now legitimately terrified. Hell, even our environment won’t go unscathed as Trump believes climate change is a hoax perpetrated by China. (China literally sent out a message saying that this was untrue. This is the world we live in).

I find it hilarious that those who got what they wanted are now angry about the protests, saying that it is unfair. Talk about having a selective memory. Even the half-digested Cheeto was crying for a revolution the last two elections. Observe.

I just don’t get it. I don’t think I ever will.

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Quite a Tiny but Potent Rant

We-ell,

I didn’t mean to be gone for three bloody months. I didn’t even think it was possible that three months could go by this fast.

That’s a lie. Days have been speeding by like a cheetah on crack.

(I hope no one ever actually gave a cheetah crack. That’s cruel. Don’t do that).

And now this is stuck in my head. I’m not complaining.

Anyways, this year sucked so hard. So. Hard. Not personally. Personally it was all right. Got a job in July (freaking finally) and it’s been going well. But world-wise everything is stupid and unfair and awful and I want every person with too much power and a shriveled conscience to experience severely debilitating pain that could never be cured or even relieved.

How I feel right now. Source

How I feel right now.
Source

I Have Words!

I wrote this over the last few days, and it took a while for me to feel okay with it. Although the “war” is over…for now…I still feel like it’s relevant enough. I need to say it, and so here I am:

You know, I never thought a platform where you had to condense your thoughts into a mere 140 characters could worm its way into my heart the way Twitter has. (I can be a rather verbose individual). But set up a spot in my heart it did, and it’s one of my very favorite time-killers–even though I don’t tweet much myself. There are tons of hilarious, poignant, and freakishly intelligent people out there, and it fascinates me to be open to their thoughts the way I am.

On a much more sobering note, I also treasure Twitter for the folks, both professional and amateur, who give up-to-the-minute reports about the crap happening around the world. (For example, I often know about car bombs and assassinations in Lebanon before the news has a chance to get its pants on).

These days, to no one’s surprise, it’s Palestine that’s on everybody’s minds.

Everywhere I look, I see the articles, the analyses, the casualties, the photos (lord, the photos…), and I stay up-to-date because I feel like I owe at least that much to a people who have known nothing but oppression and death for sixty years.

And, in turn, it’s slowly killing me. Why?

Because I have words. I have so. Many. Words. The more I read, the more I feel like I want to speak, to scream and yell to someone–anyone. But none of my words are good enough. They don’t fit in a status update. They don’t fit in 140 freaking characters. They won’t even fit on the infinite space that is a blog. They build up in my brain, cracking my skull, bulging behind my eyeballs, pushing at my teeth and twisting my tongue. And I can’t make them stop.

There are all the words and none of the words, and my chest is going to explode from it all.

So instead of keeping the sadness and rage inside, and instead of spilling it all over my blog in an explosive projectile puking of frustrated fury…I’ve decided to try do something about it in the best way I can right now. I can’t live my charmed life in silence as, not too far away, men and women are digging their children’s bodies out from under the rubble of what was once their home.

I realize that nothing I say hasn’t already been said by people far more eloquent and knowledgeable than I can be right now. So instead of knocking down the dam in my head, and falling short of my own expectations, I’m going to speak through the minds and tongues of people far better at tackling Palestine than I’d ever be.

So without further ado:

Jump into Mondoweiss. Pop by Hummus for Thought and follow him on Facebook too. Peruse through Electronic Intifada. Follow Dalia Al-Najjar’s blog.

Follow on Twitter (in no particular order):

Dr. Mads Gilbert
Joey Ayoub
Nalan Al Sarraj
Mohammed Omer
Lara and Leila (Unrelated to one another)
WhateverinGaza

You can donate to humanitarian aid organizations. Learn about the BDS Movement.

People all over the world, from all backgrounds, religions, nationalities, and walks of life are speaking up. People are finally, it seems, saying something that Palestinians have been screaming (mostly into the void) for decades. Listen. Understand. Know that what’s going on is Israel is not as black and white as things may seem. The more we know, the more we can help.

At the time of this writing, I’ve read that Hamas and Israel have reached a truce where Israel has agreed to some of the concessions that Hamas demanded. This quote perfectly describes the farcical foundation of the entire massacre:

Now (like I mentioned a few days ago) comes the part where Israel tries to argue that it just killed 2100 Palestinians for some reason other than that it felt like killing 2100 Palestinians:

“Ofir Gendelman, the Israeli prime minister’s spokesman for the Arab world, said operations in Gaza were a victory for Israel. “Hamas gave in and accepted the same Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire it rejected until now. The reason for the change… airstrikes,” he said.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told Al Jazeera, if Hamas had accepted the July 15 ceasefire agreement “the bloodshed could have been avoided.””

Here’s the thing: Israel just made a whole bunch of concessions to Gaza that it was clearly not willing to make before Operation Protective Edge began, so the idea that this is an Israeli “victory” is, let’s say, debatable. It’s less “debatable,” and more “ridiculous lie,” for Israel to claim that Hamas has been the only side rejecting the Egyptian proposal all this time, given that Israel showed absolutely no inclination until now to agree to any of the terms in this deal. And the thing about the July 15 ceasefire offer is equally BS; if Israel had offered an easing of the blockade and enlargement of the fishing zone, and had not openly opposed the Palestinian unity government in the first place, then there likely wouldn’t have been a July 15 ceasefire offer because there wouldn’t have been any fighting in the first place. There’s always the fact that the tunnels were destroyed, I guess. That’s surely worth 500 or so dead Palestinian children.

Source: Derek Davison – And That’s The Way It Was

We must make sure this never, ever happens again.

Gaza

Some people, or perhaps many, are angry at the lack of attention given to Gaza at this freaking awful time. Accusations that the World Cup is distracting everyone from the bloodshed is nothing new. As I’m writing this, I’ll admit that I can’t even get down all my feelings right now. It’s just too much.

However, all I’m seeing on Twitter and Facebook are links and stories and names, all bursting with the atrocities happening in what used to be right next door to me.

All I feel like I can do is watch. And read. And think. And watch some more.

Show restraint! I stand with Israel! I stand with Palestine!

How could the situation be so obvious to some people and be so damned elusive to others? To those that support Palestine, it’s obvious that Israel is taking land, harassing people (to put it very mildly), arresting children and torturing and detaining prisoners—many of whom are held without charge. They’re the Goliath…except there is almost nothing in their way, and they act with utter impunity. Those that stand with Israel stand by its right to exist, its stance as the “only democracy in the Middle East”, that it’s surrounded by enemies, that its enemies are international terrorist groups that strap bombs to teens and want to “wipe Israel off the map”. 

Of course, there’s the religious aspect as well, which I’m not even going to get into even though it’s what pisses me off the most. Especially those that believe the more bloodshed and chaos that happens in that speck of land, the better it is because it’ll hasten the coming of Judgment Day. Or something. Blah. 

I just don’t get it. Over 100 people dead, many of them children, and hundreds more injured in less than a week. To give you something more than just an emotionless number, feel free to pop by here where there is a continuously updated post of the name and age of every casualty in Gaza since the bombs started to fall. (Thanks, Joey!)

And yet, people still harp on about Israel’s “right to defend itself”?! To massacre people living in an open-air prison with nowhere to go is “defending yourself”? Against what? Rockets falling into the Iron Dome, killing all of nobody? Or is this part of their revenge for the three teenagers whom the Israelis knew were dead and who killed them almost immediately after the fact?

None of this makes sense. It’s like Orwell’s 1984, in real life. Spinning out the wazoo. The Palestinians are never right. No matter what Israel does, it’s okay. They have their reasons. And, apparently, the murder of some 120 people (and counting) obviously has some damn good reasons.

Doesn’t it?

Happy Freakin’ New Year…

It’s pretty tragic that I seem to only get inspired to write here when I watch the news…especially recently.

Unfortunately, I’m often so jaded I can’t figure out what I want to say. I want to scream and throw things and yell at people. I want to cry and hug those who would never fully heal from the atrocities they did nothing to deserve. I want to know why this always has to happen. At the same time, there’s a dull numbness, a void, a vat of emptiness where even hate or anger has no place.

To punctuate Christmas and start off the New Year, two explosions occurred in less than a week: December 27 in downtown Beirut (8 casualties and 70 injuries) and January 2nd in the South Beirut area (4 casualties and 77 injuries). Yesterday, a library in the northern city of Tripoli was torched to the ground by Islamist militants, resulting in the loss of 78,000 books and manuscripts—several of which have no duplicates.

I don’t think the madness will end anytime soon. 

Parents mourn their children as houses are cleared of charred chunks of wall and shattered glass. Two days of indignation, anger and demands for justice will roll around. Politicians will point fingers and rehash the same talking points they’ve resorted to since the dawn of time. People will cry and yell into news cameras. Bodies will be buried and prayers uttered over their graves. They will be referred to as “martyrs”, though they died in vain and for a cause in which they had no part*. People will party in the pubs a couple of days later and it will all be back to normal.

We like to call it “resilience”.

I call it (albeit regularly accepted) lunacy. It’s not normal for people to die, to lose limbs and eyes, to bleed and suffer for no reason other than being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Since when was this something you should “get used to”? Why is it so easy to gloss over horrific crimes against humanity that cause your fellow brethren to lose parents, sisters, brothers, uncles? How do you go clubbing while women mourn the loss of their children and curse the day they ever said it was okay for them to walk out the door?

Lebanon drives me crazy whether I’m living there or not. It’s enough to make me wish I could stop caring so much about it.

*I want to leave some links to a few posts by Gino Raidy, a very well-known Lebanese blogger. He wrote an awesome post about our consistent use of the word “martyr” to refer to victims of these heartless attacks. I linked to it back in August when there were two car bomb attacks within a week of each other. It is worth another read. He also wrote this, about the December 27 bombing, which is definitely worth taking a look at.

These are posts that really struck me by Elie from A Separate State of Mind:

It’s Just a Bomb (August 16, 2013)

A Lebanese Tragedy: The Devaluation of a Life (November 19, 2013)

Hopes For A Better Lebanon: I Am Not a Martyr (December 30, 2013)

Lebanon Loses 78,000 Books to Terrorism (January 4, 2013)

The dates that these posts were written are scary enough.

We Just Need a Cool Name for It

The more I watch the news (or rather, hear the news playing in the background while I sit around doing other things) the more I realize that–to use my sister’s words–the Middle East needs a new plague.

Obviously, I would want it to be a discerning plague. Like one that only infects stupid, barbaric, and backwards people. However, if you have the brains and drive to make your country better and guide its citizens to education, equality and prosperity, then the plague will somehow sense this and leave you untouched.

Because when I hear of some militant fundamentalist “Islamic” group publicizing a set of the most BS rules I’ve ever heard, well…a bit of a discerning plague is in order.

On the other hand, these same rules make great joke fodder in that, “If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry” kind of way. I’ll be happy to share some that stuck out to me. (These are, of course, right alongside the usual fundie mindset of “women-must-be-controlled-and-subjugated-at-all-times” claptrap).

  1. Men and women can’t wear jeans or put gel in their hair or style it in any way that would be deemed “western”.
  2. Women can’t go see male gynecologists
  3. If you’re caught drinking or selling liquor, you’ve earned yourself 40 lashes. (Or maybe it was 70? Either way, you clearly deserve to bleed because living on the same planet as these troglodytes isn’t punishment enough).

And lastly, this is my favorite one:

Women should not be allowed to sit on chairs.

No, I’m dead bloody serious, they actually said that. The reason is as absurd as it is headache-inducing: “Chair” in Arabic (كرسي) is a masculine word…and so women must not be in contact with them.

Why yes, I’m on a chair as I write this. I feel rebellious already.

I Swear I’m Not Always This Pissed…

I’ve been reading through my posts and it’s very clear that I’ve been dwelling too much on negativity. I can’t deny that this is a bloody obvious contributing factor to why my feelings are in a coma.

It doesn’t help that all I hear about in this country are stories that only make me want to dig a hole and live in it—two of which come to mind right now:

July 09, 2013:

Roula Yaacoub, a 33-year-old mother of five, was beaten to death by her husband in yet another case of domestic violence in Lebanon. Karam Bazzi (the said husband and another shining example of wasted carbon) had even been known to beat Roula and all five of her daughters on a regular basis. (Apparently women make great fleshy punching bags if you’re into that kind of thing?) The best part is that he was even released after his arrest by a judge, because why the hell not? (Fortunately, that decision was overturned by the prosecution after a storm of protests).

On the bright side, the tragedy that befell Yaacoub caused many people (and women’s rights groups especially) to push for new laws protecting women from domestic violence and abuse. Such a law was drafted a couple of weeks after her death, which is pretty efficient for a government that wouldn’t know “efficient” if it danced naked in front of them. Although this is a positive step in the right direction, I’m not sure how much actual good it’s going to do.

July 17, 2013:

A Muslim guy and Druze woman fell in love and got married against the wishes of her parents. Dude paid for his crime of interfaith adoration by falling victim to an ambush perpetuated by her relatives: He was severely beaten and, because that wasn’t enough, castrated. (Yeah, that actually happened). No one knows what became of the girl yet, and if this is how far they went to punish the man, I shudder to think what they could have done to her.

… … …

Then  there’s the constant talk of “instability” everywhere…the constant massacres in Syria…people dying by the tens in Egyptian protests…and the sheer abundance of stupid people saying stupid things. (That’s just one of them).

So…I just realized that when I started this blog post my intention was to change the course of the subject into something more uplifting. Obviously, the attempt failed miserably. You know, some people may find this surprising, but being optimistic was always second-nature to me. (True story!) Needless to say, it seems like it’s not like that anymore and I apologize to whoever’s reading and keeps finding downers in every post.

So I’ll take this moment to say that I’m making it a personal challenge from now on to try to find my happier “everything isn’t crappy always and forever amen” state, despite the stories that inundate me on a daily basis. Maybe my next post will be more personal and funny! Let’s see, shall we?

A Perfect Excuse for Forced Hermitry

Yesterday, a friend of mine opened up about something repulsive that happened to her during a routine cab ride in broad daylight. I’m not only completely skeeved out and angry that it ever happened, but it’s yet another reason for my eternal question: What in God’s name is wrong with some people?!

On the day in question she had, like thousands of others before her, hopped into a taxi with a friend. As usual, they went for the cheap cab (an absolute staple in every student’s life) and it wasn’t long before they had another passenger sharing the ride. Specifically, a cop–known here as darak–who plunked himself comfortably in the front seat. 

It was supposed to be nothing more or less than a normal, if not mundane, journey. That is until the darak pulled out his phone and, with calculated deliberation, began playing through his video gallery.

And not just any old vids.

They were full-out porn clips. Perhaps unsurprisingly at this juncture, he was making absolutely no attempt to hide what he was doing.

The worst of it was the fact he went so far as to stick the screen prominently between his seat and the driver’s, to give a generous view of the show to the girls. Because it was meant for them.

The driver said and did absolutely nothing the entire time.

My friend was dumbstruck, while her friend burst out laughing out of sheer nervousness.

She told us she had no idea what to do. She was overcome with disgust and shock but had no clue if she should yell at the darak, or ignore it, or make a scene, or what. In the end, they managed to get out of the cab and didn’t say a word to the scumbag.

He wore the uniform that meant he was supposed to protect girls like them from harm, and instead he was the one to dish it out with deliberate glee and abandon.

We told her she did the right thing by not reacting to his twisted game, and getting out of the cab as soon as she was able to do it. But for a long time she felt weird and shaken because of what happened. And who can blame her? Being sexually harassed and not being able to do anything about it is a jagged pill to swallow. You walk around with a torn safety bubble, and you have only your friends and family to vent to, and no one to make things right.

Do people still want to know why we need feminism?

Because of this kind of crap. A cop was able to get his rocks off in the middle of the day by traumatizing a couple of girls he didn’t even know, and could do it again–and worse–if he felt like it. Who’s going to report him? Nothing will happen, and his accuser would be under far more scrutiny than he’d ever be.

I hope he gets his head stuck in a garbage disposal. Twice.

Dear Lama: May Your Sperm-Donor Know Exactly How You Felt

I don’t understand.

I truly don’t understand.

I’m no stranger to Saudi Arabia’s rules and policies. It’s a first-degree misogynistic country that hides under the guise of being God-fearing and Islamic. (In the market for some BS? They’ve got it in spades). They twist the religion in every tortured way to make it a horrific, deformed, and malicious ideology that people can cling to under the guise of piety. 

ScumLet’s take Fayhan Al-Ghamdi: A Saudi “Muslim” preacher who has no shortage of airtime on TV. Oh he is a man of God, to be sure. According to a friend of mine, he thinks magicians are evil. So you already know he’s legit.

He also knew how to viciously beat, rape, and murder five-year-old Lama Al-Ghamdi. His own daughter.

Lama’s injuries were horrific: A crushed skull, a broken arm, a snapped back and fractured ribs. All this was topped with a generous helping of bruises and burns. He raped her so viciously that he tore her rectum and attempted to fix it by burning it shut.

I feel the need to reiterate that this isn’t some sadistic serial pedophile on the hunt for the children of strangers. This is his own flesh and blood, and he did all of this with no remorse.

His daughter died in the hospital from her injuries in October 2012 and he was arrested a month later. In Saudi Arabia, murderers are given the death penalty by means of a date with the chopping block.

So, is he dead? Nope. About to die? Well…not anytime soon.

Instead, he spent a whopping few months in jail and paid $50,000 in what is called “blood money” to compensate the girls’ relatives. (Because he is not a relative himself, apparently). The cherry on top of this crap-sundae? The fine’s half of what he would have had to cough up if Lama had been a boy. If I were to count how many things are wrong with this picture I wouldn’t get to three before giving myself a rage-aneurysm.

Saudi Arabia: Is this the example you want to give, you misshapen and loud “representative” of the Muslim world? That you will gladly cut off the hand of a thief but child rape and murder is a-okay?

Is this what Islam is? Is this what God wants? Do you not see how insane you people sound? In your own book, which you claim to know, it states that to leave a single mark on your child requires you to pay a sum to charity and sincerely seek forgiveness from God. Your actions speak for themselves.

I am Muslim, from a Muslim family and surrounded by Muslims in everyday life. You do not represent me or anyone I know. I hope that, when (and if) this story gets on the news in western media, that they don’t, once again, paint us all with the same brush. Even many in Saudi find this act absolutely reprehensible.

Whether the state chooses to truly punish this poor excuse for a human being, however, remains to be seen.

I hope they do what’s right. If not, I can only hope Fayhan and all those who set him free get the absolute worst that karma can offer.

RIP Lama Al-Ghamdi

RIP Lama Al-Ghamdi

Source

Source

This has also been mentioned on Hummus for Thought.