Writing


Looking around me I am not sure what to make of 2011. Egypt is angry, Tunisia is angry, Algeria is angry, Lebanon is angry… need I go on? I look a bit closer and I read what I wrote on this very blog and I realize my last post was not my usual end of year reflection but a comment on harassment. I look at my first post of 2011 and it too is not a happy one. Something must change.  And so I have decided and I have resolved to write positively, at least for the next few blog posts.

 

I am going to write not a reflection of 2010 but an aspiration for 2011.

I am going to get around to writing 10 things to do in Damascus, Aleppo and Cairo… and maybe even Alexandria!

I want to write about my Cairo metro experience – which was lovely

 

I am hoping to do all that before the end of January.

 

Wish me luck and Happy 2011.

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So in my attempt to write every day, a resolution I made upon my return from Amman, I am finding it more and more difficult to find ideas and topics to talk about. Writing everyday is an exercise that is supposed to be both stimulating and therapeutic. Most of the articles I’ve read about writing have had similar advice: write, write, write… even if its crap, just write.  But my problem is even when I want to just write nothing wants to come out. When I was in Amman there seemed to be an abundance of things going on around me and thus inspiration was bountiful. I also had a lovely muse! These days the situation is a bit different. I am not as “active” in my personal life. I miss the stimulating random conversations I used to have with all sorts of folks, things that made me go hmmm. And I refuse to write about work. So to remedy the situation I either take my own advice and stop bitching and go out there or I stop writing, but as I have already made clear, that is not an option. So instead I have decided to ramble on and on as I am doing now and if it crap that comes out – oh well deal! I am determined to post something daily so I think you need to just hope for more interesting things to come up every day.

So I’ve realized that I haven’t written in a long time and I have made the decision to try and put up something no matter how big or small and get back into the habit of writing. So here is a shot at something from my new life.

Over the last few months I have been trying to acclimate in this new city I have adopted as a home for the time being. But it is a difficult place to acclimate to and I am going to be very honest and say that I have been in a funk (aka depression). I have also been very uninspired. I seem to find Beirut an uninspiring city. I know a lot of people who would disagree with me, and to the Ammani’s of them I say, try living here instead of just playing here on the weekends. To the Beirutis of them I say, please show me otherwise. To the rest of y’all tell me what you find inspiring about this city? I have been unable to write, pick up a camera or even doodle!

A blogger/ writer I know watched Lord of the Rings with subtitles on to try and unblock his writing freeze. I don’t know if it has worked for him, but I am more than willing to try something, anything, to get me back to a new state of inspiration from within this new city I call home.

I woke up yesterday to an inbox full of emails and postings about an article in one of our dailies. The article headline read something along these lines: “Campaign to counter homosexuality and the arrest of four gays”. I was appalled at the headline and was angered and disgusted by the article as I continued to read. Half way through I stopped reading. I couldn’t believe what this paper was doing. It was taking a case of prostitution and making it an anti-gay campaign all with misinformation and bigoted comments.

 

I cannot believe how irresponsible the writer is, calling him a journalist would be giving him a title that doesn’t befit him. He made it out that gay men are being rounded up, all of them are feminine and dress in drag or are taking hormone therapy and becoming transsexuals or as they are known here she-males. He cites a doctor who propagates more misinformation. Not only is story completely biased with no other opinion or side to it. It is full of misinformation and ignorance. I also think the editor-in-chief of this daily is very irresponsible for allowing such hate, such intolerance and such a piece of journalistic crap be put on the front page of his paper.

 

But am I surprised? This is the third incident I come across for this daily that has made me shake my head. There was the article about the genpets which my fellow blogger Humeid commented on extensively. There was the sexist article about women not being feminine enough because they don’t take care of their hair or cut it short, are fat or have gruff loud voices.

 

With every day this daily discredits itself in my eyes. It has proved time and time again that their articles are badly researched, biased, sexist, full of hate, misinformation, and sensationalism. I don’t understand how they think this will help them sell more papers since with each article they alienate, anger, and misinform a public that has many online and offline alternatives.

 

Back to the issue of the article, Jordan has no law against homosexuality so under what code it is rounding up gay men or women I don’t understand? Does the writer not know this? Does the writer not know that this a human rights violation and if this were the case this is truly where the story is? How the article misinforms the public that anyone who is gay has been raped as a child, and grew up with a domineering mother and a weak father figure, how every gay man wants to be a woman with a swish of hips, makeup, long hair and female names is just so ignorant of this community, laughable and sad. It is creating such hate, and misinformation that it is dangerous.

 

This daily needs to go back to school for Journalism 101 and really think about the messages they are sending out to our society and our people. Hate, sexism, ignorance, intolerance are not how you sell news, it’s how you destroy a society, it’s how you breed and perpetuate racism, sexism, homophobia, anger, intolerance and everything ugly we fight against.

 

If you want read these articles and some other responses to the postings follow these links:

 

Homophobic article:

http://www.alghad.jo/?news=370031

Sexist Article:

http://www.alghad.jo/?news=367942

 

Genpets article

http://www.alghad.jo/index.php?news=367113

 

Genpets Blog posts by Humeid

http://www.360east.com/?p=1063

http://www.360east.com/?p=1064

http://www.360east.com/?p=1066

 

Responses to Homophobic article

http://www.mohomar.com/mohomar/66323/2008/10/27/103843-

 

http://thewebsessed.com/2008/10/28/who-stole-your-cheese/

 

http://www.questler.com/explore/quest/view/1036

 

After reading these and the other comments and posting on the topic do something about it. Here is one quote I got in my inbox in relation to this article. I want to thank the friend who sent it. It is a powerful message that makes us all think about the world around us and the power we have as individuals to make a difference, even a small one.

 

First they came for the Communists, but I was not a communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me. – Pastor Martin Niemöller

Its been a little over two weeks since I’ve written. It’s a long time, or so it seems. I made the decision not to write while I was in Palestine, and since returning I have not been able to pick up. Looking back I can say the decision was made so I don’t write in anger. 

 

 

The silence has been a seething one. Anger and frustration borne out of wanting, what I can’t have, not being in control of my own destiny, denied entry into places  I want to go, guns everywhere, conversations stifled and taboo, expectations unfulfilled. Oh the anger. And so the decision was until I decompress and become a less passive aggressive human once again I will not write and subject others to the hostilities within. The words would only scald and pierce and I have done enough of that with individuals.


And so I’m back to putting pen on paper and I can say with a smile on my face… watch this space 😀

A few days ago I got a fortune cookie that said “silence is the best response”, and it got me thinking about silence and about responses. We’ve been taught that actions speak louder than words, so does this make silence an action or just a lack of words? Either way it got me thinking about my responses to different things and different situations. 

In anger I usually respond with silence the first few times, but then if you don’t get it, I let it rip. I don’t scream and shout but rather very quietly make sure to use words that are polite yet loaded for maximum hurtful impact. Its very rare that I reach such a stage. I can only think of one occasion last year, the year before that also one occasion only then my anger had been festering for a few months and the choice words were not said but written in a long long letter. I have mixed feelings about those occasions, the words made me feel better each time, but I had come to regret those actions later on. Would silence have been the best response though, I don’t know.


 

It seems that with time we learn how better to deal with our emotion, our actions and our reactions.  In the last couple of years I’ve learnt to open up and let things out. I write, talk, walk, dance, and allow the steam out in various ways. This way I may remain silent verbally, but it is not my actual response. So I guess silence is not the best response, but its how you let the words or emotions out that makes all the difference.  

I’ve thought long and hard about this and I know that somehow if I were to be a man, I would be a premature ejaculator! You may ask why and here it is. It seems I’m always ahead of myself. Whenever I am in a car and we are about to stop I am quick to take my seat belt off. I am usually ready to get out of the car before its even come to a halt. Whenever I am in a cab, I am always ready with my cab fare well before our last turn. When I pack to travel, I am always a day early with my packing. When I am sending out Xmas cards (which I didn’t do this past year), I always send them a month in advance. I am always jumping the gun, so to speak, and doing things a bit too early. I always get excited about things and get them ready, set and done well before they are due. This all leads me to believe that had I been a man in a previous life I would definitely have been a premature ejaculator and so I am very very happy that I am a woman in this one!

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