Honor Crimes in Palestinian Society

In traditional Palestinian society, women are treated as though they are the property of their families, in particular, of the men in their families. Furthermore, the honor of the family must be kept pure. There is no more important issue for traditional Palestinian families. When a woman is killed by a member of her family because she has acted in a way that is considered unacceptable, this is called an “honor crime”. As in other Arab societies, in Palestinian society it is taboo to talk about the triangle of sex, religion, and politics. Of these, sex is the most sensitive issue, because the standards in the society are cruel and discriminative against women. “Honor crimes”, in which women and young girls are the only victims, are the harshest reflection of these values.

Unfortunately, this ancient phenomenon is becoming more common within the context of Palestinian life. Some of these crimes are revealed to various legal institutions by women close to those who have been killed. Of course, many more such crimes are still hidden. There are two problems: usually, such crimes are simply not reported; furthermore, those that are reported are not revealed to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA). Since the year 2004, in an attempt to monitor such crimes, the Complaints Sector of the MoWA has recorded such data based on women’s complaints to police stations all over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Complaints Sector documented numbers of cases of honor crimes, and numbers unsuccessful attempts at honor crimes. While these numbers are only part of the reality, even these numbers are still horrifying. These reports should shock Palestinian society, and provoke the public leaders, the media, and national parties to change Palestinian society so that it will become safe for women.

The concept of “honor crimes” is based on an unfortunate socio-cultural heritage and a bad legal framework in which women’s body are treated as property. These facts should be taken into serious consideration when confronting this phenomenon. Based on these ideas, the MoWA has made this issue a priority, working in parallel to raise the public awareness of this issue, and also lobbying and carrying out advocacy campaigns to raise the issue of gender equality in terms of law, politics, and the economy in both the general society and the government. As a response, the cabinet of the Palestinian Authority appointed the MoWA as the main coordinator for dealing with these problems. As it exists now, the basic law does not protect women. Presently, the MoWA consults with the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of the Interior; together, they are working on creating an improved legal framework to ensure that positive amendments will be introduced into the basic law to guarantee safety for women. In particular, such legal articles will provide protection and safe shelters for women exposed to violence; in addition, these amendments are expected to lead to a decrease in such crimes, provide some social security, and create gender equality in terms of rights and duties.

The MoWA is also working on formulating clear indicators to measure the frequency and extent of such tragedies and to measure the progress achieved through the various efforts to confront them. The MoWA is emphasizing the necessity of establishing “Units to deal with Violence in the Family” in police stations both in the West Bank and in Gaza, and to train and educate police staff to deal sensitively with such issues from the point of view of human rights and gender perspectives.

School curriculum will also be revised in order to raise the awareness of gender equality among both female and male students. It is clear that teenagers living in a strongly patriarchal atmosphere, like that of the present Palestinian society, need to learn how to deal with sexual harassment and the right of every person to dignity and security.

Presently, it is the responsibility of the MoWA to write an Annual National Report focusing on Violence Against Women which will be distributed in the West Bank and in Gaza. This report will be carefully discussed by Government Organizations and also by both Palestinian and international non-profit organizations in the public sector.

Honor crimes are crimes not only against women, but crimes against humanity. The institutions and leaders of the Palestinian Authority must join efforts with the wider civil society, including political parties, to put an end to this horrifying phenomenon. Victims must be protected and the perpetrators of these crimes must be appropriately punished and re-educated.

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Oppression and Stigmatization

Everyone starts to perceive him or herself through past experiences. Education, and learning new languages, were the most dominant forces that formed my personal life, giving a shape to my values, needs, goals, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings. In addition, my experiences working as a volunteer in several situations near Palestine and Jordan taught me a great deal. Looking back at these experiences helps me to recognize how the behavior of other people may have influenced me. However, I have always thought of myself as being an open person, so I felt that learning from other’s experiences and choices could help me to change my world. As a social worker, working with individuals and communities who have been stereotyped and stigmatized, and learning about the responses of individuals and groups and their experiences and negative attitudes, has given me some insight into how people’s behaviors shape their own realities.

When I worked with low-income families (inter-groups) in Philadelphia, I helped them to find affordable housing. Most of my clients had mental health problems like depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The major problem that shaped their experiences was stigma. By stigma, I mean a situation in which an individual with a given attribute is deeply discredited by the society and thus is rejected as a result of that attribute (and see Goffman, 1963). My clients were mostly African-American and Latino immigrants to the US. Having experienced racial discrimination, they felt stigmatized, and, their resulting behavior only tended to make their situation worse.
In the middle of the nineteenth century in the United States (US), many people suffered from mental illness. Most of the psychiatrists identified the causes of these mental illnesses and deviant behaviors as related to fear of poverty, religious anxiety, loss of property, racism, prejudice, and also the fear of war (Rothman, 2006. p.111). Before the emancipation of the slaves in the south, the slave owners would burn or cut the body of the slave to indicate ownership. These are now called “stigma signs” indicating the status of a discredited individual like a slave and criminal. Such “stigma signs” created a sense that such inter-groups were marginal to the dominant group of the larger society, creating fertile grounds for stereotyping and prejudice (Goffman, 1963).

My previous and current experiences working with mentally ill clients broadened my ability to analyze the main internal impacts of stigma that revolve around expectation of rejections and stigmatization and internalized stigma. The labeling theory explains how people internalize their negative experiences of mental disease which may lead to further rejection, isolation, withdrawn behavior, anxiety, and shame. In the US, people with mental illness have internalized the negative representation of mental diseases characteristic the American culture, which leads them to feel stigmatized and increases their feeling of rejection.

In 1999, I volunteered in an organization in Ramallah called Jabal El-Nejma (Star Mountain) which attempted to rehabilitate Palestinian children with Downs Syndrome. It is well known that most people treat individuals with Downs Syndrome like animals (Radio voice of peace, 2007); the children with whom I worked were very aware of how they were treated, so they felt stigmatized. It was difficult for me to reduce their feeling of being stigmatized, and of course, it was especially difficult because I was working with handicapped, mentally retarded children. These children were primarily affected by the general oppression of the Israeli occupation experienced by Palestinian society.In particular, the blockades, the “security wall”, and other travel restrictions imposed by Israel have generally impacted Palestinian children negatively. These restrictions made it very difficult for the children to come to Jabal El-Nejma, further isolating them from their support network. Internalizing the general negative responses to the travel restrictions, has led these children to demean their sense of their own self-worth, and thus their ability to function within their society. The negative self image that these children had of themselves was further amplified by the way in which people treated them like animals. For example, there was one case in Hebron, in which the parents locked their mentally retarded son in a small room because there were ashamed, and did not want people to know about him.

In 2002, also in Ramallah, where sidewalks and municipal parks still bear the scars of the invasion by Israel, I served as a counselor for handicapped, mentally retarded children in the inner city Amari refugee camp. By facilitating cultural, sporting, and other recreational activities for the children, I helped to teach them life skills for the present and for their future. The parents of these children felt the pain of loss and the discrimination against them because of the stigma of being refugees. Working with these children helped me to better understand the phenomenon of suffering from stigma. This was perhaps my most challenging and eye-opening volunteer experience. I observed how local Palestinians perceived and treated incoming Palestinian refugees who had fled from cities (like Ramla and Lydd) within Israel.

From 2004 to 2006, I worked in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs of the Palestinian Authority on cases of “Honor Crimes.” An honor crime is the practice of killing girls and women who are perceived to have defiled a family’s honor by allegedly engaging in sexual activity or other improprieties before marriage or outside of marriage. These women are stigmatized by their society as deviant, and are then threatened by their family and society. What was called “deviant” behavior that justified killing, eventually expanded to include transgressions that are not initiated by the girl herself, including rape, incest, sexual abuse, and even rumors of such sexual behavior.

In traditional Palestinian society, as in many Arab societies, the honor of the family is strongly tied to the chastity of its daughters (Emery, 2007). A woman’s activities are closely monitored by her family. Her virginity is considered their responsibility; she is dominated by men during her entire life, first by her father and her brothers, then by her husband, and finally by her sons. When a woman’s chastity is questioned, even if she is really innocent because she was raped or the rumors prove unsubstantiated, she is shamed, and her family is shamed with her. “Her shame” is considered to compromise the whole extended family. As long as she is around, it would be difficult to arrange marriages for her unwed sisters, and her male relatives will be scorned – so they eliminate her by killing her.

My own educational experience, influenced by dramatic events, naturally awakened in me an awareness of the problems of Oppression and Stigmatization. I have realized that oppression and stigmatization lead to dehumanization, both for the oppressed and also for the oppressors.In the case of my family, ethnic discrimination, oppression, and the ills of military occupation drove my father from Palestine to Jordan in 1970. I was born in Amman, Jordan in 1979. While I was a child, I remember that my father was imprisoned several times for one to three years each time.

Although my father was weakened by the oppression that he felt both as a refugee and as a prisoner, he still maintained his ability to support his family. Though he did not want to remain a refugee in Jordan, he feared returning from Jordan to Palestine. This fear was created by his experience in prison when he was repeatedly told that he would never have his freedom again and never be able to return home. I believe that my father’s inner strength has sprung from the very oppression that he has experienced, through which he learned to his maintain his humanity. What my father learned from his experience in prison and afterwards was similar to my own educational experiences.

When I was 10 years old, I transferred to a public school closer to our refugee camp in Amman, Jordan. My experience of the educational practices in this school illustrates how Palestinian refugees experienced the stigma of being refugees in Jordan. Most of my teachers were Jordanian, who represented the policies of the host country (Jordan). In our classes, Palestinian refugee students had to follow the strict Jordanian regulations. Every morning, we had to sing the Jordanian national anthem, which reminded us daily that we were refugees not in our own land. We were not allowed to argue or criticize the materials presented in our lessons; we always had to listen to what the teachers said without offering any feedback and certainly without arguing. If we had disobeyed any of teachers’ regulations, we would have been expelled from class. Thus, we were exposed to a stigma process that lead us to feel insecure and rejected.

This experience affected both my own perception of “myself”, that is my own self-image, and also my perception of “the others,” that is the Jordanians. This process of labeling myself as a refugee and my teachers and classmates as inhospitable Jordanians, linked with the negative stereotypes that I experienced of my teachers and the Jordanian society, resulted in my feeling labeled as different from the rest of the society in which we were living (Goffman, 1963). These experiences can influence us powerfully, because such acts not only result in a loss of our social status, but also stimulate feelings deeply connected to the stigmatizing attribute within us. As a result, my parents and I felt dehumanized, disempowered, and disrespected.

At both the micro and the mezzo levels, social workers must address stigmas in their assessments and in their on-going work. They must address the process of stigma internalization, and help their clients to build skills in stigma rejection and self advocacy. Of course, they should also support and encourage individuals who have successfully overcome internalized stigma. Education is one of the most important interventions that might reduce stigma, including leading protests and increasing contacts among people while working with community. Social Workers can cooperate with community leaders to protest against and to suppress the negative attitudes towards people who are mentally ill or have been otherwise stigmatized. Education can be an effective tool for changing attitudes; indeed, targeting the fear of violence in these people has been particularly effective. These interventions could be effected by establishing community education programs for the general public as well as for targeted groups (including the media, local leaders, students, and employers). Moreover, an effort should be made to create opportunities, like structured dialogues and community service projects, to facilitate social contacts between stigmatized individuals and members of the community at large.

At the macro level, it is possible to address the problems of stigma through policy changes and through research. In terms of policy, social workers can function as partners to movements for Civil Rights, and Gay and Lesbian Rights, and so on, and to support political leaders in an effort to enhance the social capital and the political power of stigmatized people. Research could be designed to effectively assess the long term effects of the stigma on individuals and the resilience of communities. Individual resilience is the ability of stigmatized individual to regain and maintain a feeling of self-worth. Community resilience is the ability of a full community to accept people who were initially seen as stigmatized (Shih, 2004). I suggest that through research, we may find effective interventions for decreasing stigma and increasing the levels of acceptance in the community, thus fostering both individual and community resilience.

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A Palestinian like me: A Woman Gazes into the Mirror of American and Zionist Racism

“Any idea that privileges some people over others because of birth, no matter how important the idea is, is a form of racism”.

Developing an awareness of racism in the U.S. should be at the center of one’s social practices in America, yet searching deeply into the concepts that define racism remains a silent cause. Outside of the Middle Eastern constructs of racism, I am not Palestinian but “white/not-white/color, other,” which reads as a resounding “you don’t belong” by those purportedly committed to social justice. The pre-requisite of color or colorlessness makes me squirm. Colorless brings up of feelings of embarrassment, rage, and guilt from the past and present. Color is the cynical passport to American discourse that I am asked covet.

Mills suggests that the racial contract—the notion that Caucasian-European hegemony is the only pervasive authority—can explain the nature of racial oppression. It goes beyond an early historical explanation. He draws on the example of the film Birth of a Nation, which reinforced the racist portrayal of black men as beasts who lusted after innocent white women and girls. This film played to the white supremacist convictions of many Americans. The salient difference between an academic critique like Mills’, written in an American context, and the social critique I now write as a Palestinian, is that Mills writes from the standpoint of post-revolution. He exercises his thought in a space of rights that have been won, and power structures that have been defeated. We may apply his lessons to the highly imperfect legal and social framework of America today, where racism has not died, but at least we have more formal mechanisms to combat it. In Mills’ world, there is “Caucasion”, “African American”, “Hispanic”, and “Asian-Pacific.” For me there is less than black, white, or gray; for me there is “other.”

Like American slavery, the dimensions of my otherness are derived from violent past and an unforgiving present. Much of the disarray of the Arab situation in the post-colonial period can be traced back to two factors: western strategic interests (based on oil, Cold War concerns, and geopolitics) and the Zionist colonization of Palestine. For centuries, westerners have been acclimatized to a type of propaganda and vilification of the Arab people of the Middle East. This was especially so during the European colonial period, as so vividly explained by Edward Said, in his book, Orientalism. Both before and after the Ottoman Empire, this negative stereotyping has served justifications for involvement and to ensure “stability” for the powers that wanted to be involved in the region.

In this context, The Zionist movement was founded on a confluence of Jewish and Western interests in the Middle East. According to Zionist founding father Theodore Herzl, “The idea of Zionism, which is a colonial idea, should be easily and quickly understood in England.” Its most pivotal achievement was the Balfour Declaration of 1917 in which Britain lent its support for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. After an awkward 27 years of British control under the League of Nations mandate system, Palestine was partitioned by international consensus in 1947. As soon as the British flag came down in Jerusalem, Arab armies entered Palestine to defend its indigenous population. With the help of the West, Zionist militias prevailed and declared Israel’s creation in 1948, while in the process forcing about 800,000 Palestinians from their homes, never to return. Since then, Israel’s narrative has been one of a colonial settler state, breaching numerous international and humanitarian laws, and racially subjugating the indigenous population.

Among the contracts that Mills suggests is that of colonial expropriation, a pact made among white males. This notion can be applied to the Middle East, where the West has traditionally supported corrupt Arab leaders to serve their interests while aiding the overthrow of those that are not seen as favorable. This has also served to keep their populations at bay, in return for militarization, power and personal wealth of the elite. The common theme underlying it though has been the struggle to control access to important resources such as oil. Israel falls conveniently into this scheme as the U.S.’s proxy in the region. Israel’s reward is its continued annexation of Palestinian lands for an ideology that completely disregards the rights of its inhabitants.

Under this framework, my earliest memories of racism were molded. The most significant ones occurred at checkpoints, which have little to do with Israel’s perceived security and everything to do with the structural manifestations of othering. At checkpoints, you are asked for identification papers. They may be perfectly “in order”—for instance, your permission to visit Jerusalem may have been granted by the military government—but your fate rests solely in the mood of the often young soldier sitting behind the bullet proof booth. The notion of “security” is cynical at best: Some of the most diligently operated checkpoints are completely un-manned on Saturdays, allowing Palestinians to pass freely without hindrance. These lead one to wonder what purpose they serve. In the U.S., I have heard of white (usually southern) mothers telling their children never to look black people in the eye. The effect is not the child’s security, but the pathological lesson of prejudice. Moreover, one should be reminded Israel’s intricate system of road blocks and checkpoints, numbering in the hundreds throughout the West Bank today, were established years before the first suicide bombing. It is as if Israel wants to reproduce and monopolize violence on its own terms, rather than bring violence to an end (the incentive is to have a pretext to increase colonial settlements in Palestinian territories, as the Oslo years have shown).

Here, the racial contract comes into view. Or so I am reminded at checkpoints, where you are subject to the whims of those immediately in power before you. Women have given birth to stillborns, cardiac emergencies have resulted in avoidable death, elderly have lost their dignity, again and again, all at check points. At checkpoints, “Arab” has a color: If you have a European or U.S. passport—that is, if you have these documents and do not “look Arab”—you need not open them for the soldier, and sometimes you need not produce them at all. Indeed, if you are sufficiently white, you may break in front of dozens of Arab workers trying to get home.

The memory I want to share occurred late one night as I traveled with my women’s basketball team from Ramallah to a tournament in Bethlehem. Though international aid workers can make this journey in 30 minutes, our Palestinian-filled van was required to take Palestinian roads. After about 90 minutes of driving, we arrived at the checkpoint several miles east of Bethlehem, where the soldiers subject Palestinians to a personal search. Although female Israeli soldiers sometimes work at checkpoints, this one was staffed with only males. It was dark when we arrived and there were no other cars in sight. For no apparent reason, we were asked to get out of the van as the soldiers rooted through our belongings. The personal search was invasive. There were no men in our caravan, and some of us were fondled more than searched. The ordeal lasted several hours, and though I know I should feel indignant about it—any self-respecting woman would—I had already learned to internalize this. It was the order of the day.

This assignment has asked for a discussion of options. Ironically, the only that seem to apply rest in the hands of the U.S., a country with its own problems finding options for victims of racism, yet it is the only country that can effectively pressure my occupiers. There is a growing opinion in social justice movements that is calling for boycott, dis-investment, and sanctions to pressure Israel to stop its structural racism. However, the validity of this opinion is far from realization. The first step, and perhaps the only option, is for people to open their eyes and look beyond color and colorlessness, and remember that we are all humans.

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Something to Share

1. I deal with a lot of the problems in my life with apathy and brave.
2. My father is my hero.
3. My biggest fear is that one day I will die and would not have made a difference in the life of someone I care about.
4. I am really good about keeping in touch with old and new friends.
5. I always meditate every day before I leave my house.
6. I am phobic to water, so i cannot swim.
7. My friend Kasia and Karin inspired me to see the potential in myself and that my goals can be achieved.
8. I am trying to learn Italian, but i speak Spanish because my ancestor are originally from Cordoba.
9. My favorite book is the Garden of Truth.
10. Someday I would like to lead a Palestinian Olive Oil company.
11. I love the outdoors, especially hiking, camping and Yoga.
12. Moving to Philadelphia in the US and to Andalusia region in Spain was one of the best choices that I could have made, but glad that i moved back out Arab Region (Middle East).
13. I am not proud of a lot of my past, but I do not regret it and hope people will look past it.
14. I hope Palestine home will be free someday.
15. My female friends Kasia,Tahreer, Joyce, Nina, Hanna, Morgan, Kholoud, Dina, and Emily support me in my difficult timings in dealing with my previous relationship, they are great people and hopefully i could support them as they did.
16. My True love is for Palestine (Motherland). Its always in my heart and in my soul.
17. I adore my sisters Nedo, Nada, Amira, Maha, Muna and my brothers Thaier and Mohammad Darwish for being supportive and being open minded to change the society mentality related to religion and culture.
18. My mom is the dearest and precious person in my life… she is everything to me ..
19. I love my cat putshi and I miss him back home. Right now, I have a hamster and Turtle.
20. My male best friends Ahmad, Muez, Rafat, Taka, and Brother Thaier always support me to volunteer and dance for Palestine..
21. My second family Rachael, Sue, and Howard, Thank you for treating me as a part of your family in the US.
22. I hate people when they are cheating and betraying while they are in a committed relationship.
23. I love dancing in all its aspects (Tango, Salsa, Dabka, Hip Hop, Contemporary Dance, Flamenco).
24. I love to cook vegetarian meals and share my food with my friends and family.
25. I am crazy on gardening, composting, buying and making organic stuff, recycling. My dream is build an eco-dome house.
26. I have Two God sons (Gabriel and Djanguito) in oxford and adore them a lot .
27. My spirituality grown more after i met Kate, Joyce, and Rachael. I adore their kids and they are fun to hang out with …
28. I am learning to play guitar and am composing some songs..
29. Sometimes people think I am crazy but I do not care. Its good to be crazy.
30. I am a worrier and cannot resist when something happened wrong to my family and to my friends. My humanity stands for helping others.

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Who are we

Neither this body are we, nor soul
Nor these fleeting images passing by
Nor concepts and thoughts, mental images
Nor a growth baby in our womb
Who then are we? A consciousness without origin
Not born in time, nor gotten here below
We are that which were, are and ever shall be
A Jewel in the crown of the Divine Self
A star in the firmament of the luminous One
A soul in the inner illumination of spirit and real we

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Book Review: “How the Garcia girls lost their accents”

The novel is about a family from the Dominican Republic. Garcia family forced to leave to US because the father (Dr. Carlos) was activist against Dictator Trujilo in the Dominican Republic. The mother (Laura) and the four daughters (Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia) have to face the prejudice, poverty and the harsh climate in New York City. The daughters also have to face the contradictions that arise when their memories of childhood impinge on their adult realities. One the other hand, the novel contains a serious of events in the lives of the Garcia family by writing fifteen short stories, in reverse chronological order from 1965 to 1989.
As the novel progresses, in chapter one, we get to know the first daughter Yolanda who suffers a nervous mental breakdown with two men following her separation. At this point, she begins speaking English, which the men do no understand, and assents that she is indeed American. Later she decided to move to Dominican Republic to assert her Dominican identity and connect to her culture and family roots. This is ironic because during this time, she pretends not to understand the word of Spanish. She only explains herself there by remaining tightly enclosed with her American identity and sticking to the English Language. During this moment of panic, Yolanda stay in the mental hospital in chapter three, she begins to reclaim language and its meaning. Following this period, she is able to label objects and play word games and regains the ability to use language and convey meaning.
In chapter two, Carlos and Sofia attempt to reconcile their differences during his birthday party. Yet Sofia feels slighted by how her father treats her other sisters, and she decides to humiliate him during a party game. Sofia has angered her father by marrying a German. The moment when she snatched back her love letters was the moment that led to the family rift, so the fact that Sofia continues to wear her brilliant and impassive look indicates that there has been no reconciliation. This look shows her pride in displaying her sexual independence from her father, and her unwillingness to feel the shame he insists is appropriate.
Carla has troubles adjustment in US especially in her school. The American boys were prejudiced and insulted her. For this reason, she felt isolated and had trouble fitting in to her new language and cultural environment. Later in her life, she became a psychologist. Sandra the second oldest has trouble to fit in American culture as Carla’s, and she was unable to express herself personally that led her to have a serious mental breakdown, and spend more time in a private mental health hospital. Naturally, the sense of her own unique identity has been empathized to the loss of her humanity.
These four character, remind us with a similar experience. Last July, our English teacher assigned us to read the Joy luck club (Amy Tan). This novel describes the lives of four Asian women who fled China in the 1940s and their four very Americanized daughters. By comparison, the four daughters who are young and first generation have led relatively blessed lives by their mothers. Ironically, each of the daughters has great difficulty achieving happiness. Waverly divorces her first husband, and both Lena and Rose are on the verge of splitting with their husbands. Jing-mei has never married nor has she a lover. Furthermore, none of the daughters is entirely comfortable when dealing with the events of her life. In other words, Dominican daughters have the same struggling as the Chinese daughters who raised in American culture. Their stories illustrate the challenge of identity and racism. Besides, in both novels the stories increase with layers of multiple points of view and overlapping experiences, building to a sense of family myths in the making.
The most important factors that contributed to Gracia family problems is the power relationship that surrounds the issue of political exile, a greater trust on family as community, English as a second language. The novel describes the Dominican families struggling to negotiate the processes of honoring ideologies they carry from the homeland and constant pressure to acculturate or assimilate the new beliefes and customs learned in America. These are among the issues that must be considered in the difference between acculturation, which “Cultural change which results from the continued firsthand contact between two distinct cultures. It is marked by physical and psychological changes due to the adaptation required in diet, climate, housing, interactional styles, norms, and values to a new culture”, and assimilation, “the process whereby a minority group gradually adopts the customs and attitudes of the prevailing culture” Le. Garcia family describes closeness with different generation families who are influenced by the ethnicity, class and gender, and trace how these elements contribute to familial and individual struggles for identity in a new country.
During the character’s struggle to preserve the family and their native customs and beliefs while undertaking the processes of redefining their families and home as sites of experiencing the ongoing drama of trying to blend American values with their won. Laura and Carlos exhibit “anger, despair and sadness” at the dramatic changes in their children’s lives. For instance, Naturally,when Laura realizes that she and her family will leave the Dominican Republic for an indefinite period of time signals a dramatic and traumatic transition. The proximity of this turning point leads her to view her surroundings in suddenly different ways. The details of her home that previously hid in the background of her perceptions come forward to occupy her attention. The light and plants, which will be different in the United States, come to have a significance that fixes itself permanently into her consciousness. During the moment when she prepares for change, Laura focuses on the essence of what she loves most about the Dominican Republic, the light that contributes to a distinctive sense of place.

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My daily experience with Master Cleanse

Master cleanse-Day 1- finishing first day, it was pretty easy for me, surprised at how much I enjoy the lemonade drink, and had no cravings for food. I was drinking 8 cups of the lemonade and drink water in between.

Master cleanse-Day2- I started the Salt bathing (4cups water and two teaspoons of sea salt) (which you are supposed to take every morning) and awoke to waves of stomach pains, felt the contractions of my colon. Know that if you do this you will need to be very close to a toilet first couple of hours in the morning. I took the pain as an opportunity to work through it with my mind. I spoke to Spirit and meditate. Later that afternoon I attended a yoga group and upon driving home with my friend at 6:30pm I noticed how incredibly alert and alive I felt. I had so much energy, contrary to my original thoughts that I would feel weak and super hungry.

Master Cleanse-Day3- Woke up thirsty. I knew before I started this cleansing I was very dehydrated, but surprised that after two days of drinking water I am still so thirsty. My roommate made healthy pasta with fresh vegetables and I was surprised at how poignant the aroma of vegetables smell could be… I think my overall senses were improving. Mid afternoon and night waves of bliss !

Master Cleanse-Day4- Morning waves of pain still felt. Able to take the morning salt drink, which really cleanses your body system, important part of the master cleansing. The night tea is the “agitator,” the morning salt drink the “cleanser”. The past couple of days I had a heavy weight on my left chest. Now the heaviness is gone, my healer friend told me that during the cleansing process, your emotional has been released wether its anger, sadness, etc. Mid day I had my first feeling of being weak and less energy. I had not exercised the day before and I think that makes a big difference. Yesterday I took yoga class and it’s really worked well with cleansing process. I think a daily exercise program really works within the cleansing process. As well as having a spiritual practice and meditation is very inspiring .
End of day had to talk to my family and thought maybe I should be quite about my cleansing my dad and mum are concerned on my health situation. I am separating myself from those close to me, as not attending my friends iftar invitation, maybe has a stigma of being anti-social. I realized this was just old programming and as I awake on Day 5 I got the feeling to go forward I am half way though.

Master Cleanse- Day5- Still woke up thirsty almost between 6:45am-7:00am. My body is getting a great re-hydration. I am finding it interesting how the drink is putting me on a schedule. As a self-employed person I tended to eat my vegetarian meals at various times throughout the day. With this cleansing system, I am finding that every 3 hours I take the lemonade drink mixed with organic maple syrup. I like the schedule that my body is developing. My skin looks amazing and my eyes are so bright. Used to the morning cramps and they are lessening. Yesterday I had my period and its less pain. Feeling good, motivated, still lots of energy, mind clear and focused, and ready for what is to come for the following days.

Master Cleanse-Day6-I drank SO MUCH water and lemon juice yesterday because the weather in jordan was hot.. I’m getting clean inside and feeling energetic. I know that my body is so much cleaner than before. Yesterday I met 4 friends at my place and we were talking about my fasting experience … I remember when they visited me it was Iunch time and most of them were so caring that they didnt want to eat infornt of me .. But we kept talking about the food like cazpatcho (Spain’s tomato soup), maqlouba (stuffing rice with vegetables) . I felt in this moment how am strong and It’s just willpower and determination. Then I had to tell them to change the subject because my stomach looks that it miss food ;).. Anyhow, I kept reminding myself that I can do it and still left more 3 days! I would feel so proud later when I am done. Also, my tongue is getting white . Does that mean I don’t have a lot of toxins? Well, I need to just stick this thing out for my own sense of accomplishment if nothing else.

This evening was amusing – I went with my friends to watch the shooting star (shehab in arabic) close to byader .. We saw a big Shehab one, it was so beautiful and has long orange light. Then we started talking about food again and it’s becoming more tempting. Anyhow I had to remind myself to stop thinking about food. But I’ve got to stick with it. I’m hoping that the next few days will be easier and less tempting.
Going to sleep, I’ve been freezing cold all day long! I don’t know because of my period or being outside late night in the nature to watch shihab. Anyhow, I made a tea and went to sleep and I was less cold .

Master Cleanse-Day7- I got up, had a nice workout and lemonade for breakfast. I was busy getting ready the first half of the day (cleaned my plants and fill its jars with more soil then water it), so I didn’t really think about food or eating. But then a friend of mine came from Palestine and we had a conversation on my fasting experience and he was interested to learn about it so I gave him the booklet on the master cleansing and he might consider it and do it one day. I was really happy when he told me to keep going on my fasting and he said that he was amazed with my power and my strong willingness. In the afternoon, me roommate and my friend went to Jabal Elweibdeh to have some food for late lunch (salads, kebba, fried tomatoes). Obviously I wasn’t eating and could stay with them all the time , so I didn’t have to pay because I only ordered a water and I watched them nibble and double fist while I sipped my lemonade. After that I went back home and rest for a bit to meet another friend for another healing session and relationship consultation. We were sitting outside and I was enjoying the breeze of the air , in a moment i was grateful for the universe that i am on my day 7th.. I have more clear thoughts, more determinant to give and help more, and more excited to continue more fasting if i could. But i was amazed how my body is corresponding to this system positively. Later I was outside with my roommate and my friend again in the downtown in Jafra restaurant , we were sitting night ended with drinks and more food for them to eat. I had to turn down an offer for my normal night tea and have a water. Needless to say, today was rough with my friend’s food presentation . But I powered through and am headed down the homestretch. In addition to all the temptation, I did get a lot of hunger growls. I don’t know if it was because I was finally getting hungry or my eyes were tricking my tummy. Ready for my day 8

Master cleanse-Day8- This morning was rough. I had a long night staying with the Syrian refguee camps in al zataari camp at mafraq. It took me out all night to hang out with some syrian refugees and learn about their journey trip to jordan and how they left their homes in syria. Most of them they came from Dar3a then the jo government settled them between 2 refugee camps either in ramtha and mafraq cities close to the borders, but mainly most of them were staying in the mafraq borders. I am speechless of what I saw yesterday, people live in the desert where there is so much dust and its not a healthly environment for the kids to live in. I didn’t go to the bed until about 4:30am and was thinking how it’s hard to be as refugee in a strange country not as is ur living in ur original home. Staying up all night with an experience of the refugee situation blew me off. I even forgot that I was fasting for my 8th day. Anyhow I am in the toxin-release phase of the cleanse day 8 so this may be a rougher time for me that the first half. My eyes were burning and I can smell any scent no matter how small and smell the sands in the al-zaatari camp. Sometimes I get a whiff of staleness and I wonder if it is me??? Farther from my experience in the refugee camp, and now being witness of my cleansing journey had inspired me to keep this healthy thing going as the refugees keep resisting to survive for having a decent life.. Well I am hoping and praying that within the three more days (counting orange juice-only day 11) that I will continue this cleansing in my upcoming days.

Master cleanse-Day9 – I can’t believe it’s already been 9 days. Doing the Cleansing has done some amazing results so far, with the most important one being almost still energetic .I had enough waking up earlier than I normally do, which is somethings I’m going to continue after the cleanse, and I’m getting a lot more done during the day. I got a light energetic feeling that carries me through the day. And still drinking lemonade juice always helps to gain some energy and it’s felt more refreshed. This evening has been pretty nice. I have had a bout of energy and good positive feelings. Feelings of happiness, having hope and becoming more determinant. Some cravings, which amazingly the lemonade seems to promptly take care of. Had little bit of headache late night, but my roommate was awesome and he gave a tea to make and added some maple syrup hoping that it would help to release my headache. Few moments after I am done drinking my tea , I went to sleep and had some Reiki and slept peacefully and my headache was released. One more day and I am done..
Tomorrow is my 10th day and I spoke with my friend, she said that since I am starting to pass toxin solids now that I need to stay on until I just have mucous only. Way more for another additional day and almost for my fasting journey to be done.

Master cleanse-Day10- last day of my cleansing system ! finished drinking my salt water that i get used to drink every early morning . Finishing drinking my favorite drink lemonade juice mixed with maple syrup, really will miss it..

For breaking my fasting tomorrow, I am still wondering if the oranges will make things easier in that department. I spent my evening hanging out with my friends and congratulated me for finishing my last day. I just want to say how incredible it’s been being able to share in this experience with everyone who’s been following along on my Facebook, my friends, and family. Thank you for your support.. Wow I just cannt believe that I made it .. Blessings

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“فعاليات ذكرى النكبة 64 بعنوان “فلسطين راجعة The Nakba 64 Event “Falasteen Raj3a”

Check my Video and my hip hop event in Palestine


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خمسون عاماً من فلافل ابو عمر 

  عمان – عندما تمر في الشوارع الخلفية لمنطقة جبل عمان وعلى مسافة قصيرة من شارع الرينبو، تقف أمام مطعم راسخ الذي يعود بنا الى ذاكرة العصر الذهبي للعاصمة. صالح دولت (المعروف أيضاً باسم أبو عمر) سافر من مسقط رأسه يافا إلى رام الله في فلسطين عام 1948 ثم توجه الى مدينة عمان بحثاً عن فرص أفضل.
ففي سن الثانية عشر عمل أبو عمر في المطعم وأراد مواصلة مهنته الحرفية وتوسيع رأس ماله في العاصمة مقارنة مع الاسواق المحلية الكبيرة في المنطقة.
ففي عام 1960 ، كان جبل عمان منطقة غير مكتظة بالسكان. لكنها استضافت العديد من المدارس مثل مدرسة المطران والمدرسة الأهلية. فالسيد دولت وابنائه اقاموا مطعم سمي ب “أبو عمر” فموقعه على بعد مئات الامتار من تلك المدارس ، مما جعل مطعمه المكان الاول للفلافل في المنطقة (وفقا ً لشهادة رابطة سكان جبل عمان).
“لقد شاهدنا جميع المدارس والأطفال في الحي لذلك قررنا بان الموقع مهم لاقامة مطعم” على قول عدنان دولت (ابن أبو عمر).

 كل يوم عند شروق الشمس ، أسرة أبو عمر تشعل الزيت حينها يتوقف العديد من القياديين والفنانين ورجال الأعمال لتناول الشاي الحلو والمتبل والفلافل مرشوش عليه بهار السماق في طريقهم نحوالمدرسة.

تلك الأسرة قطنت في جبل عمان منذ افتتاح المطعم نحو 50 عاما ، لقد ادعى الكثيرون بان الاسرة عززت من علاقتها مع جيران المنطقة من خلال التزامهم بحرفتهم التي اطفت بكونهم الافضل في عمل الحمص والفلافل في البلاد.
“نحن نعمل كل شيء بأيدينا ؛ أنا متأكد بان فلافل ابو عمر البلدي أفضل من أي عمل شخص آخر. فجودة وجباتنا تنعكس على سمعتنا فنحن مصممون على الحفاظ على اسم عائلتنا “، على قول عدنان لمجلة جوردان تايمز.

على الرغم من أن سمعة المطعم والوجبات ظلت باقية على حالها لنصف قرن فلقد شهد المطعم الكثير من التغييرات. في الأيام الأولى ، كانت الاسرة تدفع 4 دنانير للإيجار الشهري. لكن مع مرور الوقت ، ارتقع ايجار طابق أبو عمر الى اكثر من النصف 60 دينار في الشهر.

عندما فتح المحل عام 1960 ، 25 فلس كانت كافية لشراء ما يكفي من طبق الحمص المغموس بزيت الزيتون الطازج ، في حين الفلس الواحد كافيا لشراء خمسة فلافل جديدة من المقلاة. الآن مع غلاء الأسعار ارتفع سعر طبق الحمص الى دينار واحد بينما سعر ساندويشة الفلافل ارتفع الى 350 فلسا.

فعلى مدى حقبة من الزمن شهد مطعم ابو عمر انحسارا في تدفق اعماله اهمها بسبب هجرة الكثير من العائلات والشركات الى الضواحي الغربية للعاصمة في عام 1980 و 1990 مما ادى الى تراجع الكثير من الزبائن الوافدين الى مطعم ابو عمر.

المطعم أيضا لم يستفد من الاحياء الأخير لشارع الرينبو ، فأصحاب ملاك المنطقة قالوا “ ان العديد من رواد المقهى في جبل عمان لا يكون عندهم الرغبة في استكشاف فحوة الماضي لشارع البحتري الواقع عند مطعم أبو عمر”.
وقد غاب ابو عمر الذي يناهز 90 عاما عن المطعم بسبب التهاب حاد في مفاصل ركبته فهوغير قادرعلى تحويل الحمص والفلافل ذات القوالب الرقيقة التي كانت صنعته لقرابة ثمانية عقود .
اعتبارا من هذا العام ، تم ادارة هذه الحرفة من قبل عدنان وحفيد ابو عمر محمد وذلك للحفاظ على احياء شركة العائلة.
بدون أي رأس المال المالي ، واضطر ابو عمر واولاده لمشاهدة الفلافل أخرى تقف في وضع الأسماء التجارية الكبيرة ، التي لها فروع في شتى أنحاء العاصمة والمملكة.

غير قادر على امتياز مثل منافسيها ، وأبقى أبو عمر سحر جذاب جبل عمان ، تخدم ما يصل الحمص والفلافل وفقا لصفات الأسرة للعملاء نفسه على مدى عقود.

وأشار عدنان أن اهالي جبل عمان السابقون الذين يعيشون في الخارج غالبا يرتدون الى المنطقة كنقطة توقف وذلك لطلب الفلافل لتذكرهم في طفولتهم السابقة التي لا يزال يموج بها أكثر من 1،000 شذرات ذهبية في اليوم.

واضاف “انهم يرغبون في اخذ أطفالهم الى البيئة التي نشأوا فيها. بينما في معظم أحياء لا تعرف جيرانك ، فنحن لا نزال أسرة واحدة كبيرة في جبل عمان ، “على حد قوله.

مهما تغيرت عمان على مر السنين ، سيبقى الناس دائما في جو عائلي مريح ومع وجبة هنيئة في انتظارهم عند أبو عمر.

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What I will be without your Hip Hop Drum (My Favorite poem by Suhair Hammad)

I will Dance
to your hip-hop drum. I will
lend my soul and bones to your war drum.
I will
dance to your beating. I know that beat.
It is sensible. I know
intimately that skin you are hitting. It
was alive once hunted stolen stretched. But I will dance to your drummed
up war. I will dance with you because everyone is
dancing. Life is a right not collateral or casual. I
will not forget where we came from. I
will craft my own drum. Gather my beloved
near and our chanting will be dancing. Our
humming will be drumming. I
will lend my name and my rhythem to your beat, I will dance
and resist and dance and
persist and dance. This heartbeat is louder than death. Your hip-hop drum is louder than this breath.

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