الآن الآن وليس غدا: في الدفاع عن عليا

Who Is Afraid of Alia’s Nudity?

What is the difference between Alia Al Mahdi’s nude picture, and the forced virginity tests that 17 Egyptian women activists were subjected to on the 9th of march 2011? What is the difference between her body standing steadfast, chest open wide, legs spread a bit showing her clitoris, and the unknown body of a female mutilated and left to rot by the pro-Assad thugs in Syria?

Why We Write? The Distance Between Experience and Expression

Is writing a desire to confess? A cry in the dark, a desire to be known, to be read? In her 1997 essay, quoting the poet Muriel Rukseyer, the American poet and social activist Adrienne Rich said, “If there were no poetry on any day in the world… poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger.” Sometimes this hunger to leave a mark of one’s existence seems like some sort of perverse willfulness. At other times, it becomes absolutely necessary.

Why Do We Write? Because We Simply Can’t Do Otherwise

The easy answer would be that we pick up our pens or switch on our computers to “give a voice to the voiceless”, to enable people to speak through our ink, but that would just be a bit too easy and above all, would lack honesty. Writing, for all the altruism giving it its letters of glory, is an eminently selfish act, for we, first and foremost, write for ourselves. As activists, we write to denounce, to highlight, to let the unknown be known, to make ourselves heard, in a word, to make us feel less helpless in the world we live in.

عائلتي تكره النساء أو ما هي المرأة؟

مات عمّي. ذهبت في الصباح الباكر إلى المستشفى لأراه للمرة الأخيرة. كان الرجال متجمّعون في ناحية، خارج المغسل، وزوجته تجلس بعيدا في الكافيتيريا.

Constant tango of goodbyes

Here again. Another trip out gets me back to this coast. But the feeling doesn’t seem to want to fly away. Coming back it seems like this “thing” is irremediable; like a current that continuously pulls you away from the coast.

I see friends I miss to eagerly share stories of what I saw, but quickly then a weird sense of dispossession and disconnection seethes seeps in..; like some dysfunctional alarm clock snooze, it is unshakable, confusing and not easily tamed.

Suddenly, I realize where it comes from suddenly.

Sawt It LOUD

So we’ve been trying to figure out why, after our brief choose-your-own-adventure in the Arab Spring, everything’s gone so quiet in Lebanon.

Writing is not Resistance, Writing is Submission

Remember the day we sat on a rock by the beach, transfixed by the waves, sipping our beers. And you made me promise the sea, out loud, that I would write more often. And so I write this, enamored as I am with your stories, your words, your knowledge.

Lately, I’ve been writing as a kind of revenge. To vengefully give a body and a life to what is not easily allowed to exist. Unrequited love, forbidden politics. Forbidden love, unrequited politics. What’s the difference anyway.


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We wouldn't have done this without you, Thank you Bassem Chit - May you rest in power.

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