7 years passed, still a best seller – Aroos Amman (The Bride of Amman)


Yesterday, an old time friend of mine, took a photo for “Aroos Amman” (The Bride of Amman” that shows the book in the best selling section of DNA Lifestyle Store in Al Abdali Mall.

I was happy to receive the photo and rushed to share it on all of my social media channels. The fact that “Aroos Amman” keeps on appearing in best selling lists after 7 years of its release, speaks volume. This is not the first time or place for it to be a best seller, in fact it was one of the top best selling books on Jamalon in 2012, the year it got released. It continuously appears in the best selling books section in the famous Jordanian bookstore “Reader”. It has been a best seller and a “recommended to read” at Virgin megastore for months. The audio version, made it to the most listened books list on storytel and the ebook is part of Abjjad’s all time most read books!

In Virgin Megastore Amman

The book been translated and published to English in 2015, and currently is getting translated into the French language, planned to be released next year.

Jamalon best selling list 2012

It has opened so many door to me, including securing an MA scholarship from the British Council to study in the UK in 2012. Invitation to different conferences and events in global cities from London, to Berlin, Salzburg and Pune

I have always wondered about the reason behind the success of this book. Why it ticks with so many people? It was my first to write, even before doing my MA in Creative Writing and Critical Thinking. It wasn’t perfectly crafted, and critics would point out the simplicity of its language or the shortages of the plot. Yet, it keeps generating strong reactions that surprises me till today, not just from my fellow Jordanians whom I mainly address in the book, but also from Arabs and foreigners from different countries.

For me it was a work of activism and I am more than happy to see it reach such heights. I wanted the voices of my characters to be heard, and they got heard. I wanted to give our youth hope, and for many I did. I remember a gay guy once told me that he keeps the book with him all the time, and place it next to his best when he goes to sleep as he feels protected by having it close by. That’s something I am so proud to hear. I remember a young woman once sending me a long letter stating how empowered she feels after reading the book and promising to stand up for her self and her rights. That’s also something I am so proud of. Even yesterday, after posting the photo of the book in the best selling list, I received a message from a guy who said it is his favorite book ever and that he remembers how he skipped his university classes and stayed home super excited to read it.

رواية عروس عمان بين الكتب الأكثر مبيعا في مكتبة ريدرز
Readers Bookshop

I don’t know what the magic in “Aroos Amman”. Maybe it has to do with giving a voice to a gay man that hasn’t been heard of in our society before, or hearing a Jordanian woman standing up to her body rights and sexuality, or maybe its magnifying our issues of gender and heavy social heritage, and showing how they have been affecting our lives negatively. I always say, I wrote it from my heart, and maybe that’s what made it tick. And I guess, thats what others see in it, like what a friend commented yesterday on the Instagram image, stating that it is successful because it is “honest” and “different”.

Thank you for all of the honest and different people who supported me and supported this book into such success. Hopefully we will seeing it reaching more people and maybe soon we will watch it as a movies on the big screens.. fingers crossed!

London launch for The Bride of Amman

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doodle by fido and mlabbas bringing you a line of custom cute kids tshirts


Anyone been with me in a meeting or workshop or any training must have seen me doodling on a paper or a napkin. It has been a long time habit that I love. Just give me a paper and a pen and you’ll see me coming up with different weird shapes topped with dotted eyes, smily faces, chaotic hair, and lines of arms and legs.

It is something that I loved to do since school days. And in my mind, I always thought of how to make something out of this and thus I started last year an instagram account for my doodles (@doodlebyfido). But they were still paper doodles without colors. I wanted to add more life to them and for a long time was thinking about trying digital art. I never got myself to get any digital painting tool until recently when I got my ipad pro and downloaded procreate. And since then, I have been having so much fun, coming with a different colored doodle almost every day. They look livelier with colors and more attractive.. I think.

Mlabbas website
One of my doodles on a Mlabbas tshirt

And yet, I was thinking to myself, how can I turn these doodles to something of more value, since people are loving them. So in my last visit to Amman, I decided to approached Imad Al Shawwa, founder of mlabbas (a tshirt store gone wild as stated on their website). I have always been a fan of them and their work and a regular customer of their Jabal Amman branch. They offer local designer a platform to print their work on tshirts (mainly) but also a list of other items. I thought why not contacting them, and I messaged Imad asking him if we can work together on this project. Thankfully, he welcomed the idea and was very helpful in setting up a channel for doodle by fido on their website.

It is an exciting project for me and I am very happy to work with mlabbas on this. I look forward to see many kids wearing those cool doodles and be happy with the good vibes they project.

So far I am pleased with the reactions and thankful for all of your support.

To visit my channel on mlabbas website and order tshirts for your kids click on: http://doodlebyfido.mlabbas.me/

Random big thoughts


Sometimes I wish I have the time and expertise to change fields completely, study science, math and physics in depth and contribute to the human knowledge in a way or another. Unfortunately, that will remain a dream for me for the time, and maybe forever, I don’t know. But it doesn’t prevent me from reading scientific articles and wandering in thoughts of potential solutions to existential questions. And here I’d like to share with you some of them that I would explore if given the chance:

First thought:

It is big I know! and is related to our quest to send colonise Mars. And while I am not an astronomer and have little know of space beside popular science. I am wondering if there are any celestial of adequate size roaming the space between earth and Mars that we can use as stations in our future trips. We have always learnt that we have numbered planets in our solar system and that’s fine, but might it be that there are many other smaller objects orbiting the sun? objects we haven’t paid attention to and can be beneficial to us?

Can someone tell Elon Musk to explore this? It might help him achieve his dream!

Second thought:

As you know, I am very interested in the scientific advancement in biotechnology, especially those focusing in understand the ageing process and reversing it. Few months ago, a study revealed a link between gum bacteria and Alzheimer. From what I understood, it is our immune system reaction to build protective proteins shell around brain cells in order to protect it from bacteria infiltration, causing these cells to loose communication and develop the disease.

I suspect that a similar process plays a role in developing many of other age related diseases. From my read to Aubrey De Grey’s book “Ending Ageing”, I understand that the same happens to our arteries of protein accumulation over time that makes them lose their elasticity and ending in causing us strokes and heart problems. It could be like Alzheimer, an immune system reaction to protect body cells from bacteria infiltration.

I believe that Rheumatoid Arthritis is no different as well, and I think that if we focus our research in understanding the role of our microbiome in our ageing, we might be able to fix it.

Third thought:

It is about alien life! And yes, I understand the math and probability of having all those trillions planets without us detecting any form of life outside our planet. It is mind boggling and don’t make any sense. Looking at the diversity of life on our planet and the trillions of species who lived and are alive on this earth, one would wonder if that is not the case all over the universe. Having read Dan Brown’s “Origin” and the theory that states it is physical laws that predicts animate beings to pops out of inanimate objects, which very logical, then life on earth shouldn’t be that special and other celestial objects should be like microwaves with corn seeds popping life all over the space.

I think that there is something in our capabilities of seeing life on other planets. There is something that prevent us from seeing. Otherwise, life on Mars should be as diverse and common as it is here on earth.

Time will tell.

And yes my last thought is about time and space and Einstein’s theory of relativity and modern physics. I admit that I find it very difficult to understand modern physics theory and I was relieved to read the other day an article stating that maybe we are wrong trying to find a unifying theory for the universe by looking into smaller and smaller objects. And I totally agree with that. I think that we desperately need to a new model of describing the universe. We need to get out of the limitation of the time space model and think broader.

And no guys, I am not high on anything tonight!

فادي زغموت مع سهى النجار في البرنامج الإذاعي على الطريق


يمكنكم الآن مشاهدة مقابلتي الإذاعية مع المذيعة الرائعة سهى النجار في برنامج على الطريق على قناة مزاج إف إم والتي أجريتها في آذار الماضي. فرحت جداً بلقاء سهى شخصيّاً واستمتعت بالحديث معها، فهي فعلاً محاورة ممتازة وبرنامجها ممتع. تطرّقنا في اللقاء إلى أسباب منع رواية ليلى والحمل في الأردن وكذلك تحدّثنا عن رواية عروس عمان وجنة على الأرض وعملي القادم قيد الكتابة. أتمنى أن تنال اعجابكم وبانتظار تعليقاتكم وأسئلتكم.

Haya: On Netflix’s Bonding and Laila and the Lamb


Hello people!
Have you missed me? I am sure you did.
And I am talking to those who were following this blog years back
Like in 2007! (omg feels like ages ago)
Those who know that The Observer is not the only author here
And that I am the infamous “Haya” have actually contributed more engaging and exciting content to this blog.
So Observer but this is true
Whether you agree with it or not!
Yes more “exciting”!
If you don’t believe me, go back and “Google me”
Wait, don’t go and google me as you won’t find anything about me
but search this blog for my older posts.
I promise, you will enjoy reading them.

Anyway, since The Observer started blogging again two weeks ago and I have been itching
I want to blog too!
For new readers, please let me introduce myself
I am The Observer’s female alter ego
The first female voice he used in this writings
Long before those 4 “wanna be” brides in his first book
and long before that boring Janna in his second
who keeps whining and whining about how unhappy she is at a time where she is back to her youth and have all what she wishes for at her fingertips!
What the hell?! Seriously Janna? Just wake up.
If you want Kamil, just go after him and be happy! (rolling my eyes)
And yes, long before his latest dominatrix protagonist – Laila
What the fuck?! How did you get there Observer?

Don’t get me wrong guys, I am all for women empowerment
And yes, there are aspects of Laila’s character that I admire
And I did enjoy reading the book
But that intro page! OMG!
What were you thinking??!
A Jordanian woman wearing a jockstrap and fucking her boyfriend!
SERIOUSLY?
Like SERIOUSLY?
Are you NUTS? Observer?
And then you go all the way and get surprised because the book got banned in Jordan!
Duh!
Did you really expect it to pass censorship? Like really?
It is a book habibi! A printed one! Not your blog!
And you needed to get a reality check!
But hey, I admire your courage
You actually went that far into writing it!
And getting it published!
And talking (shamelessly) about it!
Bravo!
I say bravo although it is not something I would have ever agreed to
If you have consulted me
But anyway, the book is out
And it is banned in Jordan
And people are finding a hard time to find it
Happy?
Enough with berating you
As I actually understand what you were trying to do with that book
I disagree with the means but under where you are coming from
And you people, stop categorizing the book as “pornographic”
Because IT IS NOT!
Yes it has a shocking opening
And few sexual scenes
But IT IS NOT PORN
It is not more of a porn than this new mini series on Netflix called Bonding
If you read Laila and enjoyed it, then you must watch it
It builds on a similar concept
(No Observer, Hollywood is NOT stealing your ideas)
Bonding is a more of comedy series of a dominatrix sex worker with a gay assistant
Intriguing, no?
Original? Despite Observer’s opinion, I’d say yes!
Entertaining? Definitely!
And I have to admit, it feels like it originated from the same line of thinking The Observer had
As in challenging mainstream stereotypes of women’s role in bed
And that’s good – a noble cause I’d say
And while the show taps onto some “disgusting practices”
It does it in a light fun way
Far from the serious tone of Laila
And there is NO SCENE that shows Mistress May (the protagonist of the show) fucking any of her men with a dildo!
(maybe in the second season?) – I bet!
But anyway, there are two things that I want to highlight here
FIRST: I understand that The Observer introduced that scene to provide a critical read for the entire act. He does it clearly towards the end of the story. And to be honest, it is a needed thought provoking read.
SECOND: (*spoiler alter*) Bonding ends with a crime, one that Mistress May commits, and articulates that she can’t report to the police because no one would believe her. That sounds exactly like Tarek’s dilemma in Laila’s story. The same concept of how someone would react when he is doing something wrong in the eyes of the society and ends up in much worse situation. Come clean or run away?

What would you do?
Have your read Laila and the Lamb or watched Bonding?
If not, then you should.
And when you do. Come back here and let me know what you think!

Sincerely yours,
Haya






“Such a strong one of a kind novel” a new review and 5 stars rating for Laila wal Hamal


It makes me happy to get such feedback on my latest book “Laila wal Hamal”, especially when it comes from a Jordanian woman. Hiba Roza posted this new review on the book’s good reads page today.

Such a strong one of a kind novel, I personally was searching far too long for any work of Arabic literature that portraits women as the leader of the relationship, so when I first read this I was finally satisfied, thank you for that.

Sadly, this is true. And played a good part in why I wanted to write this book. Women are not fairly represented in Arabic Literature. I think that Feminist Arabic Literature has fallen to the discourse of victimizing women, ending up in emphasizing the notion that women are weaker in nature.

Now as for the characters I could find a strong connection between Laila and Tareq, so I sympathized with the two of them, however at the end I couldn’t but to feel happy for the death sentence, it can symbolize the end of the macho patriarchy era so I didn’t find any sympathy in me towards Firas.

This part has a spoiler but I like how she interpreted the event as a symbol for the end of the macho patriarchy era, which is inline of what I had in mind. I wanted to write a radical feminist novel, and made sure to challenge the notion of “The Eastern Man”. I punish men in the book, not because I want to punish men in real life, but to show how toxic masculinity is bad to both men and women.

I like the story line so much and you know you could’ve given us more flashbacks to the characters’ childhood, and more insight to the characters’ psyche, this novel could’ve been way longer if you invested more into it and you owe us that being the first author to examine such plot twist. Please write something similar soon and thank you so much!

I hear you Hiba and agree with you. Maybe I should have invested more into it and added to it. I really wish other Arabic authors would pick up the line of thought and start brining up stories with such strong lead women characters. It is about time!

A happy Palm Sunday long time ago


It is Palm Sunday today. Family celebrating in Jordan and I am here in my office in Dubai. Not complaining here. I haven’t celebrated Palm Sunday for many years now and to be honest, seeing the weather conditions in Amman today, with the heavy rain and hail, I’d rather be in Dubai – sorry folks!

But going down memory lane, maybe 30 years back. I see myself all dressed-up, in proper SHORTS and cute t-shirt, as I recall it has always been *sunny* Palm Sundays with a nice warm springy weather back in the days.

To complete the image of that little boy sitting on the balcony of our second floor apartment in Al Webdeh, and watching the crowd leaving nearby Churches after Sunday Mass while getting into their cars. I’d most probably be sitting on that swing we had, which me and my sister used to fight over with her getting the upper hand often (she was socially smarter than me and always knew how to get things her way – love you Juj).

I’d be happy on that day because mother would be off work. She used to work on Sundays whereas we had Sundays off at school. Without her Sundays were boring. But the day was special with her in house, and also because we usually had a feast on the day (if I recall correctly), with dad coming earlier for lunch and grand parents showing up.

I see that little boy extremely happy for the sight of his Sido Abo Ryad getting into the building. My favorite grandparent who left us early. He usually showed up with a bag of surprises as he used to own a nearby mini-market. And now I just realize how lucky we were to grow up in a neighborhood with grandpa’s mini-market right across the street! I know the street was an obstacle in that young age (there was a time where Juj tripped over her face and heavily bruised it – took months to heal), but hey, it was a place full of goodies, and grandpa was generous! That’s not the only reason I said he was my favorite though, but it makes realize how happy my childhood was. No wonder with such loving parents, beautiful sister, and sweet grandpa, I had it all.

Today I celebrate that Palm Sunday and relive in my memory.

Happy Palm Sunday everyone!