12 December 2005

Eating falafel and blogging

I really don't know how to start... Perhaps I'll just get straight to the point.

I am going home. We are returning to Sweden. There is a million things I would like to tell you about why and what has been going on in my mind. But how can I?

Here are the main reasons: I am convinced that this invironment is not healthy (in any way) for children to grow up in. My children managed by living an isolated life between family and friends during this time and got to taste the positive things of living here. Getting to know their father's family and learning arabic (all my children are more or less fluent in arabic by now). Getting to know the palestinian culture and way of life will surely be a invaluable asset as they grow up and create their own individual characters.

We were supposed to stay one year. And then see. But the other reason that we are leaving, and leaving earlier, is that my son's school is not living up to their promises. He is not happy. Staying would change him in a negative way, not in a positive way.

Do you remeber this comment:

jd said...
You are a mother. Your responsibility is to grant your children the best and brightest future possible. Right now you are floundering and failing at your sacred duty as a mother. Something has eroded your maternal instinct and common sense - just look around you! How did you convince yourself to move there?
13 November, 2005 20:28

I would like to address it again. To some extent I agree with jd. To chose Gaza is not wise. And as I said in the beginning there is a million reasons for that. And what I am about to say now is not simply to defend myself, but to show another side to it.

Each person have a destiny. I married a palestinian man from Gaza. My children are half Gazans. Our family and our childrens identity needed this stay. We have learned immensly from it and have grow as a family and as individuals. We came here to try. We tried.

At this point we are enjoying our life. However that is possible only beacuse I have learned over the months that they only way to survive here is to close your eyes and ears (and nose) to the outside world. The world outside my window and the world outside Gaza. You have to become selfish. And I don't want to live my life like that. Seemes like for each good thing there is a bad thing, but also that for each bad thing there is another way to look at it. There is understanding.

At this point I LOVE GAZA, for better or for worse. I love that when I prepare breakfast in the morning my neighbour's birds are singing happily into my kitchen from my open balcony door. I love the noise and the sandy streets. I love the farmer coming to sell fruits and vegetables with his cart and donkey outside our building. I love the busy markets (yesterday I bought jeans to my girls for 10 shekels each (around 2 dollars)!). I love all the fantastic and creative ways the women wear hijab, niqab, abaya, jilbab. I love the men in muslim clothes and beard. I love the polite taxidriver who call me "sister" when I get in the taxi (that he drives like a lunatic is something else - as I said: for each good thing is a bad thing). I love my relatives tasty food. I love going down to my kind neigbour for arabic coffea. I love eating fresh, warm falafel-sandwich with salad in the morning, that my son bought for me from our street this morning for one shekel before he went to school, and eating it while I'm writing this post.

This makes me think of a famous swedish fotball-player from the 80's, Torbjorn Nilsson. Me and my mother used to love watching fotball games on TV together and I have a vivid memory (not only of my mother screaming loudly on every goalchance, but...) of his last game. He said something that stuck with me for the rest of my life, explaining why he left the world of fotball when he was at his peak, Sweden's most famous and popular fotball-player; "You should stop while you are at your best".

PS. Of course I wont be able to give up my new addiction. I'll continue blogging living in Stockholm :-) so please follow me there. And stay tuned for my last month in Gaza.


Abu Sinan said...

That is so sad, I will miss your posts about life in Gaza. What about life in Sweden? I have been to Sweden before and love the people there.

Observations about life as a convert to Islam married to an Arab in Sweden would be as good as this blog's subject.

rosie-b said...

I admire you for wanting to try. My husband is also Palestinian and I am a convert too (in America). Returning to Palestine is his dream, but he knows that it would be too difficult. Instead he has his eyes set on the Gulf (he was raised in Dubai.
I am having a hard time with the thought of going there. Even with all the problems I face as a muslum in a very racist part of the country, I still don't want to leave home.

Free Agent said...

hi Imaan,

I've been reading your blog for only a short while, but it's been really interesting. It's been a delight coming across your blog and getting an insight into some of your life, and life in general, in Gaza.

I hope you keep blogging. In the meantime, stay tuned because I'm going to mention you in my blog soon...cheers!


Anonymous said...

I found your blog extremely interesting, I just wish that you would have posted more often. Gonna miss it. Good luck, anyway. I think its the right move.

lisoosh said...

I'm sorry it didn't work out. Hopefully as Gaza finds its feet it will be easier and easier to visit regularly and keep up the connections you have made.
The most important thing is that your family is together and you, your husband and your children are happy.
I wish you well in Sweden and will continue to follow your blog. I saw a cooking program about outdoor cooking in Sweden and they showed Gothenburg. It looked stunning and I thought of you.
All the Best.

Anonymous said...

I hope one day you will be back to Gaza- to a better, free and perhaps a much more modernized,rich Gaza. A city state that the world will die to live in.

Savtadotty said...

Whatever you do, keep blogging. This must have been a hard decision, and I admire your courage. I hope you will be able to return for regular visits, for your family's sake (and ours).

Judy said...

Your post is such a beautiful invocation of what you love about Gaza, and your blog has been helping us share that since you've been running it.

I hope you'll keep posting till you go, and then perhaps retitle or open up a new blog on coming back to Sweden. Because you'll be taking Gaza with you too, just as you've brought so much of your Swedish experience into Gaza.

And I hope you can photograph and share with us some more of those things you've talked about here-- those ways the women wear Islamic dress, what the markets and the street sellers look like.

And I also hope you keep sharing with us those wonderfully subversive things you do in your imagination....

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Imaan, for your honesty during a tough time. You have become a daily ritual for me as I open your blog hoping for a new post. Please continue your posting whether from Gaza, Sweden, or the moon. :)

Our prayers are with you.

anasalwa said...

I'm going miss your entries about Gaza, but I wish all the best in the world for you and your family.

Elizabeth said...

I'm surprised your experience with the schooling there was so negative. The family I stayed with in Gaza had three children, and the youngest just got a full scholarship to go to college in the U.S. How bad can the schooling be if it got him to that level? I guess I am also surprised because I thought kids go to school six days a week in Palestine. It seems to be a serious business there compared to the U.S. I don't know what the schooling is like in Sweden however. Maybe Sweden's educational system is vastly superior to both the educational system in Palestine and in the U.S.

MomTo5 said...

As salam aleikum
Dear Imaan!
I also admire you for trying Gaza,good luck in Sweden,i am here now and leaving for Syria soon so i dont know when we can meet again,sorry about that,i miss you.i have a lots of photos frpm Syria an the Palestian camp now at my blog and i have write in english if anyone here would like to see the photos.
i will keep on reading your blog because i looove you!

Anonymous said...

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Assalamu aleikum
åå syster,delade känslor fyller mig, ledsen för din skull för att det inte funkade fullt ur, men glaaaaaad för våran skull att ni kommer tillbaka till oss här i sverige.lycka till sista tiden och insha allah får ni en säker och bra flytt hem igen. insha allah ses vi till våren igen. kram och wa salam islamiah

Maria said...

I guess it's goood that you have lived in this part of the world and now you could do some benefit while in Sweden.

UmJannah said...

Hi Imaan, one request before you leave....more photos...I would love to see how the sisters in Palestine wear their hijab & jilbab...PLEASE...your blog is great, and I'm sure will continue on in the same very interesting fashion. Good job..at showing the world an inside peek at Gaza. Indulge your loyal readers with some more of your great pictures!!!!

Imaan On Ice said...

THANK YOU ALL so very very very much. I'll keep on blogging!

Nejma said...

Salaam Imaan!
It's a pity that your dream didn't work out for you. But at least you tried and you have given your children the oportunity to experience Gazaan life from the inside. And you have given them the chance to live in a Moslem society, and I'm sure that will help them grow up as Moslems in Sweden.

Please keep on blogging!

I also have a request - more photos. Both of what Gaza City looks like and of your apartment. I'm currently decorating my apartment here in Morocco and it would be so nice to know what houses in Gaza looks like. And I agree with UmJannah - it would be nice to see what the Hijab-fashion looks like in Gaza. *lol*