May 31, 2009 § Leave a comment
They sit in the back room
Surrounded by guns in glass cases
He raises a lighter for her,
Who is rocking on his chair
Inside his legs
Between his hands,
His fingers pinch her neck
The other hand
Grasping at her skirt
Scratches her thighs with a metal tip
She is too young
Not to like it
The guns tell her
As they look down on her
With one eye cocked
& one eye closed
Chewing her upper lip
The lighter jitters
The Bible sits on a shelf
Just out of her reach
Outside dandelions have grown old
Nails tucked in plastic boxes
Like sleeping children
By fingers or flesh
May 29, 2009 § Leave a comment
internet has not been working the past couple of days so i am behind on email, blogging, and basic keeping in contact with the world. so please take no offense if i have not gotten back to you soon. i am feeling a bit swamped.
May 24, 2009 § 4 Comments
Today is Mubarak’s 81st birthday. To mark this, and to mark the fact that he’s been in power for 28 years – 1/3rd of his lifetime – here’s a list of 28 of the wonderful things which have happened under his beneficent and wise reign rule.
- Seventy killed in the Moqattam Hill rockslide in 1993.
- 37% of Egypt’s urban population live in informal housing
- Three years imprisonment for Kareem Amer
- Four years imprisonment for Ayman Nour
- A five-year battle by Bahais for the right not to have to lie about their faith.
- April 6th 2008: the death of three people in Mahalla killed by the police has not been investigated.
- 85% of rural female household heads are illiterate
- 8.7% unemployment rate
- Laila Haddad and her two kids detained in Cairo Airport for around 30 hours. Because Laila is Palestinian
- Egypt has the highest prevalence of Hepatitis C in the world (roughly 11% of the population)
- 12 – 15 million people live in slum housing
- 45% of Egypt’s female population over 15 can not read
- $50 billion in US aid received since 1979
- 60% of steel market share owned by Ahmed Ezz with government support.
- Between 16,000 – 20,000 people in administrative detention
- Seventeen people die after being tortured in 2005 (The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights http://www.eohr.org)
- Activists detained for 45 days after 2006 peaceful protests against constitutional amendments.
- A 19th century palace, house of the upper house of parliament catches fire on August 18th 2008. A month later on September 27th, a downtown theatre catches fire, the same month as the Beni Suef theatre fire which killed 45 people in 2005.
- February 20th 2002: 370 die in train blaze.
- 20% of population below poverty line
- Twenty-two people convicted in the widely-criticised Mahalla trial. Sentenced to between 3 and 5 years imprisonment.
- Thirty Sudanese asylum-seekers and refugees killed when police violently break up the Mostafa Mahmoud sit-in.
- 35% illiteracy rates
- 12,000 people live in graveyards in Egypt
- 2,000,000 cars on the streets of Cairo. 60% over ten years old.
- Seventy-nine cars in Mubarak’s flotilla
- Twenty eight years of emergency rule.
May 22, 2009 § 5 Comments
ok so i tried my hand at a short story. i have only written a couple of short stories in my lifetime. which is strange because i love to read fiction, but i dont really write it. hmmm…..
anyways any and all feedback would be appreciated and is encouraged.
i am working on illustrations for this piece…they will appear soon…inshallah…
Ellie startled awake that winter morning and sat up in her bed. She rubbed her aching shoulders, her arms, and then reached between her shoulder blades. Two large bumps were growing on either side of her upper spine. She grabbed the hand mirror off the nightstand, and raced to the full-length mirror. Dark burgundy nubs poked out the back of her camisole. She held her breath and touched them again. She was growing wings.
Last time she had seen her dad his wings were stuffed in the blue trench coat he always wore. He looked toward Ellie and smiled. He dropped his coat on the front door’s threshold. His wings popped open like a spring-loaded umbrella and he flew off the porch. Her dad flew over the world and sent nothing more than a postcard photograph of flowers every once in a while.
She was fairy too.
May 21, 2009 § Leave a comment
looking out the windows of our new apartment….
May 21, 2009 § 2 Comments
“Bloggers are at the vanguard of the information revolution and their numbers are expanding rapidly,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “But governments are quickly learning how to turn technology against bloggers by censoring and filtering the Internet, restricting online access and mining personal data. When all else fails, the authorities simply jail a few bloggers to intimidate the rest of the online community into silence or self-censorship.”
Turkmen soldiers guard an Internet cafe in Ashgabat. (Reuters)
Relying on a mix of detentions, regulations, and intimidation, authorities in Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Egypt have emerged as the leading online oppressors in the Middle East and North Africa. China and Vietnam, where burgeoning blogging cultures have encountered extensive monitoring and restriction, are among Asia’s worst blogging nations. Cuba and Turkmenistan, nations where Internet access is heavily restricted, round out the dishonor roll.
In 2008, CPJ found, bloggers and other online journalists were the single largest professional group in prison, overtaking print and broadcast journalists for the first time.
May 19, 2009 § 2 Comments
1. did i mention that i was tumblr? my tumblr site is here
2. there is a cool breeze coming through the window this evening. small mercies. boys are below on the street playing kick the can.
3. we just moved to abdeen. it is a sudanese immigrant neigborhood with a high percentage of darkskinned peoples. 10 minute walk to downtown. i love walking the streets. it is getting hotter and hotter. the windows have shutters and a glass covering but no real wire screens. some days the dust blows something fierce and i have to duck my head and cover my eyes.
4. i love this blog: hijabs high:International street style from fabulous hijabistas – “Hold your hijabs high!”
May 14, 2009 § 10 Comments
1. ha! i can blog again. for the past couple of days something funky was up and i couldnt blog here…it was becoming a desperate and depressing situation.
2. on some list serve that my partner (but thankfully not me) belongs to mainly made up of over privileged expats here in cairo, they are having one of those ridiculous over-privileged conversations about whether or not you can use derogatory words about another group of more-marginalized-than-you people in a playful carefree way. and then other over privileged folks are chiming in about how words can be reclaimed and yadda yadda yadda…
so thank god i have j smooth to keep my brain in check from exploding from the incredible amount of disrespect being thrown around.
3. cause what jay is saying is that in a healthy (key word!) relationship as the boundaries change we care more (not less) about how what we are doing effects the other person/people. so if we are going to be post-identity politics then we need to start caring more (not less) about other people’s boundaries. in other words: if someone tells you that a word hurt them or people that they love. stop using the word.
its like we have been trained that our feeling entitled to say what we want when we want how we want to who we want is not just a privilege, it is a right. and that right in a post-identity politics world will not be challenged. or not be legitimately challenged. get over it. yes it will be. because playful or carefree or whimsical or bullshit or whatever…you do not have the right to hurt other people and not be held accountable for that hurt.
4. and this is where broken borders come in. a friend keeps talking about how i make everything political. or how its not about politics its about spirituality. but you want to know why i am not on this list serve. because the last thing i want coming in my inbox every morning is a digest of expat chitchat. when i wake up and check my email i have a gorgeous list of creative, innovative, hard core, radical women of color flooding me with their ideas, critique, love letters, humor, and ways that they are actively changing the world. its not about who is most popular (i.e. can bribe refugee young boys with money the most). its not about creating one more ngo/npo that is like every other ngo/npo. its not about having all the answers but not knowing how to ask the right questions.
its not about disrespecting some one’s borders/boundaries because you feel entitled to. because you are so ‘over’ respecting other people’s boundaries. cause you know their boundaries are their issues and you shouldnt have to deal with their issues.
that is the attitude of too many of the expats here. living in egypt doesnt seem to have opened them up but increased their sense of entitlement. and i can understand why. when you as a person from the first world (esp white) live in the third world, often you are able to live with certain luxuries you would not be able to afford back home.
for instance, on this list serve a college student wrote in saying that she had talked to a woman to clean her flat and the woman had quoted her this ‘ridiculously’ high price. but it wasnt ridiculously high. it was the going rate. it cost about the same amount as going out to eat at a mid-price restaurant in cairo. in other words: not that much for a first world college student.
what does this all have to do with broken borders? a cleaning lady here can make 1200 pounds a month. 200 dollars. and in the sudanese refugee community that is a decent amount of money. not alot. but decent.
no expat college student lives on that kind of money here in cairo. not even close.
5. the thing about that conversation on that list serve about derogatory words is that the whole conversation is assuming that everyone on that list serve is ok or should be ok with waking up in the morning and reading a list of expletives. it assumes that i want to wake up and read hate speech with my hibiscus tea. it assumes that me, or my friends, or my family are not on that list serve. and if we are our borders are so broken, our boundaries are so compromised that we agree that the more privileged ought to be able to set the terms of the discussion. because they already have. because they always have. because we are tough enough. we are assimilated enough. we assume they have good intentions because they are us. because they speak for us. because they should have the power to determine what every one else’s work is worth.
6. power over corrupts. and absolute power over corrupts absolutely
May 10, 2009 § 7 Comments
aza birthday was april 19th. but something was wrong with picasa and i couldnt get this pics uploaded…anways…enjoy…
we took her to city stars mall. had lunch at rainforest cafe and then went to the amusement park inside the mall…
she loved the fish.