25 February 2007

A must read...

An absolute must read over at Dr Mona's. The first part of her trip to Ireland, as she was invited to give lectures about the situation for women in conflict areas, and the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which relates to women's safety and security.

Here are some parts, to attract you.

Sunday 24th of February
Permit was not approved by the Israelis so I unpacked my suitcase. Sondos was let down but not surprised because in Gaza we always expect the worst and we are always forced to accept the abnormalities as the normal pattern of life under occupation.

Monday 25th of February
I received a call from the Irish embassy telling me to be ready as the permit will be issued any minute. I was really pleased and hurried up from my work to my apartment, to pack up my suitcase again, and wait for a call from the Irish embassy. I didn’t collect Sondos from school as I didn’t want to let her down if we did not get the permit.

Sondos is back from school and is happy and excited to know that we may make it to Ireland via the Allenby Bridge crossing on the River Jordan.

The embassy phoned asking us to hurry up to the border at the Eritz checkpoint.

On the taxi to Allenby Bridge
Sondos cried with joy, disbelief and surprise to see Occupied Palestine/Israel for the 1st time in her 15 years. It is another world yet only 15 minutes drive from Gaza - two different worlds.

Seeing Isareli soldiers so close for the first time, my daughters comment was ‘some of them are nice’.

The whole post is here.

Missing Gaza?

My "sister" in Gaza
Sometimes when I'm reminiscing out loud, people ask me "Do you miss Gaza?". And actually I do. Even though it was (almost) all a big trauma for me, I actually sometimes do miss it. Strange as it may seem, to myself. But if you ask me to specify what I miss I really can't. Sure, I love my relatives and I truly do miss them. But I really don't miss living with them (meaning in the same house). We are too different. They are too conservative with traditions and too liberal with religion and I am too liberal with traditions and too conservative with religion (comparing to each other, not to bin Baz).

This year that passed I haven't almost had any contact with them, except for a few short and polite eid mubarak telephone calls. I really don't know what to say. I know they love me, but I also know they don't understand me and my choices. And when I cannot express my feelings in Arabic that well, I don't want even to try. I would only feel like a fool. I am still healing. I am still trying to get back on track. I am still not over it.

What I miss is simply that "something" in the Arabic way that just attracts me and my well-being. It has something to do with their (in some ways) very open-minded reception, and their (in some ways) very relaxed and elegant attitude towards life.

If I knew then what I know now I of course would have done a few things differently. No, really?!!. Yes, it's true. We wanted to try to settle down in an Arabic Muslim country. And even though Gaza would only be a nutcase's first choice, it still was kind of inevitable. We did first choose other countries like Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, UAE, well, all of them actually, but ended up feeling lost and my husband was just too homesick to think straight. And of course, he might have made it, but I sure didn't and none of us could know that.

Looking back, we might not have done things in the best way or in the best order, or made all the right choices, that's for sure, but still... We did it without fear (as fools usually do) and that I think is what we benefited from in the end. If we knew what laid ahead of us we would never have done it, and we would just sit here and talk about it. But today I can proudly say "I lived in Gaza" and I actually wouldn't change that for the world.

A few days ago me and my husband was on the Internet checking something out, when one of his sister's daughters (from Gaza) logged in. She is the one of them all I could actually relate to and we could talk and joke about almost everything (even in my pour Arabic, imagine her patience). She is the one I miss the most. The day I arrived to Gaza she sat down next to me and said "Now you are like my sister". Those words meant a lot to me and they still do. I think she feelt as if I let her down by leaving Gaza. As if she felt that perhaps she wasn't as important to me as she might have first thought. Anyway, when she logged on I kind of froze and my husband asked me "What's wrong?" and you know, I really don't want to remind him of anything with Gaza as it is still an open wound for him (and me). But now, one year after coming back, I could admit in tears that "I miss her so much!"...

17 February 2007

Making a memory

Preparing for a birthday party is a pleasure for me. More than anything else you are giving your child a lifelong memory and a happy feeling when remembering their party. That is if you succed, of course.

This week was my daughter Amal's 5th birthday. Can I belive that it was 5 years ago since she was born, this little active angel of mine? No, I can't. But there's proof. I have to realize.

Her friends came. We eat cake and as much candy and chips and cookies that they could possibly take. They played the "chair-game" (when you put chairs in a double row and play music, when I stop the music you have to sit on an empty chair if you find one, if not you're out) until my downstairs neighbour came knocking on the door and when 7 children opened the door she said "Oh, that's why!".

Pre-PartyStraw- and Rasberry cake with chocolate


08 February 2007

It's all good

Lisa by Amal, my 5 year old, who kidnapped the camera.
This is gonna come across as if I have no life.

But here it goes. LISA WAS HERE. LISA WAS HERE. LISA WAS HERE. To be specific: IN MY HOME!!!!!!!!!

Ok, returning to planet Earth.


Ok, ok, now... a deep breath. Another. Yes. That's it. Well, I must say, and this is not to flatter my "Jewish fanclub" as someone once put it, it is really true, that Lisa's blog is one of the best I've ever read. On top of that she is a successful journalist and a person with a great huge heart. Of course meeting her was a big deal for me, a little journalist- and even blogger-wannabe. But mostly because she have encouraged and uplifted me for some time now. By mail or by just reading her blog. I was mostly looking forward to meeting Lisa the person than the journalist and blogger.

Suddenly she stood there in the cold, outside my very own subway exit. Recognizing her from behind was really not that difficult, she kind of gave herself away with that sure-to-be-a-set-of-tulips wrapping in her hand. But even though, there was something special about her even from a distance. When she saw me she gave me a big, warm hug that squeezed the Swede out of me. We usually really don't allow ourselves to feel loved or worthy of appreciation (sick, I know, but that's another blogpost).

We sat in my kitchen. Mind you, that we have just moved and my home is not yet all that representable. Anyhow, we enjoyed our meal and spoke of things between heaven and earth. I was somewhat chocked of her experiences of Sweden so far, the only thing missing to mark "check" on the "Let's see if the prejudices on Sweden are true-list" was the ice-bear walking on the streets, but she do at this time still have a few days left, so who knows... Then, Rami, I should have a few chosen words with you on some other PREJUDICES, yes?

A few hours before Lisa arrived I spoke to one of my close friends and told her about the meeting. She said "Oh, what a great moment for the world-peace! It is the small meetings that makes a difference". I'm pretty sure she's right. Even though neither me nor Lisa needs to be "won over", I still felt that our meeting helped me and hopefully someone else too.

On a less "world-peace'y" kinda level (yes, I am aware I make up my own words as I go along), that is on a personal level, it felt like a healing moment. On what ever side you are, there is too much hate and distrust going on, so just to sit and eat and talk and laugh with, in my case, a Jew (however secular and balanced she may be) was for me simply healing.
On a Imaan & Lisa kinda level I really feel like I'v got a friend. Sending emails and commenting on eachother's blogs in all honour, but having somebodu hug you and eat your food and cookies - now that is true friendship! Thank you, miss Lisa.
Lisa Fan Club - over and out.

05 February 2007

Imaan is back

One year has passed. Yes.

For me, a very dramatic year filled with hard work and all sorts of troubles. Of course joy as well, let's not all complain.

Let me say this; I HAVE MISSED YOU ALL!!

Now I feel ready to pick up my blogging again. I've turned things in and out in my head, but I've come to some sort of conclusion about how I want my blog to be (or not to be). So here we are again, at Living in Gaza City-blogspot. This time I'm Imaan On Ice.

Oh, you will understand by time.

Dedicated bloggers will know what gave me a jumpstart. Believe it or not, I have been planning for some time to reblogg again, but this lady's calling simply made it irresistable.