In the Egyptian film “Ma tege Nor’os” (Let’s dance) starring Yosra. The main character, a married mid-aged wife, who was depressed of the boredom in her life, the daily routine, and the relationship with her husband which grew dull after many years being together following the norms of a society that dictates the same behavior of everyone and punishes anyone trying to revive his life in a different unexpected way. She suddenly discovered a dance club right in the apartment at the floor below to hers. With some cautious, she first approached the club to check it out, and with time, she found herself absorbed in dancing in a way that awakened her from her long sleep, colored her life, and changed her completely.

In a different way, the same thing happened to Athena. The main character in Paulo Coelho’s latest novel “The witch of portobello”. Athena, who had a hard time dealing with her life just after her divorce, and living alone as a single mother to her baby child, directed her anger on her landlord who used to have a daily night dance sessions with a group of people at his apartment just next to hers. Neither she nor her baby was able to sleep. When she faced him, he invited her to try it by herself, and when she did, her entire life changed as well.

As usual, Paulo Coelho addresses dancing in a spiritual matter. For him, moving our bodies to the music is a part of a sacred rituals that connect our souls to the divine. Athena’s new dance discovery where reflected on her work, her changed mood and new ambition for life changed her dramatically where she didn’t only became more creative and productive, but also managed to drag her co-workers into this and lifting the entire firm she used to work for into a new level.

LBC, the popular Lebanese TV channel, broadcasts a new dance show under the name of “Hezze ya nawa’em” (shake your belly you soft woman). The name is taken from a popular old Lebanese song that became like a folklore song which is played in most wedding parties till today. The show is basically a competition of belly dancing where female belly dancers from around the world compete with each other for the title of being the best belly dancer around the world.

Dancing has been a prominent part in the eastern Arabian culture. Belly dancing is what distinguishes Arabian dance from other western dances. While being fiercely attacked in the past decade by the Arab society because it has linked to prostitution for the amount of revealed body parts famous Belly dancers in Arabia used to show.

While belly dancing got more and more rejection of the Arabian societies, it gained more and mroe respect in the west because of the fascination of the western societies of this art. What is ironic is that the only cultural heritage that we, as Arabian societies, despise the most, is our only cultural heritage that is still respected and admired by the west!

What I find fascinating as well, is how a specific culture can build two different at odd sub cultures. In Najeeb Mahfooz’s trilogy, he highlights the differences of the lives of women in Egypt at the beginning of last century era. While most women were opressed not even having the right to go out of their homes, others, practicing belly dancing and prostitution were thriving and living a wild life.

In late 60’s and 70’s, there was a huge wave of Egyptian films focusing on the lives of belly dancers. Maybe it was due to the infleuence of famous belly dancers in Egypt at that time and their strong connections with authoritive people. Most of the storylines of those movies where drawn upon polishing the image of belly dancers and showing them in a better light. Poverty and men’s dirty schemes were the main reasons to drive a woman towards this profession. Some movies tried to draw a line between belly dancing and prostitution. The famouse movie “khalli balak men zozo” (Be careful of Zozo) starring the cinderella of the Arabic screen Suad Husni focused on the life of the daughter of an old belly dancer whom was ashamed of her moether profession, and tried to hide it of her noble boyfriend. Getting invited to a party at her boyfriend mansion, Zozo was shocked to see her old mother dancing for the crowd for money. Moments later, Zozo’s love for her mother won over, she found heself taking her mother’s place and dancing instead of her in a beautiful message that meant to highlight the human side of belly dancers.

In recent years, Arabian societies, dominated by the western cultural influence, mocked the western model of night clubs and dance. A lot of western night clubs opened in the Arab world. A lot of young people spend their weekend – Thursday night usually – dancing on western music and drinking alcohol.

While dancing is always a musing practice to the body and soul, belly dancing has a unique touch with a long heritage and stronger effect. An art that is waiting to be revived and get the respect it deserves.

Tomorrow is the New Year’s Eve. Wish you all the best dancing with your loved ones. Remember, it doesn’t matter what music you move your body to, it doesn’t matter who is your dance partner. What matters is your celebration of your body and soul and the joy you bring to yourself while shaking your belly.

Happy New Year

Govenrment offices and public smoking!

Excuse me, isn’t smoking forbidden in public governmental departments in Jordan? I really have no official answer for this question, but from a personal experience, I can guarantee you that the answer is a big NO!

This is seriously pissing me off. While the Great Amman Municipality is gaining global prizes for what they present as an excellent plan for the future of Amman, I HAVE to get cancer for the dozen of times I have to visit their offices for the damn vocational license for my ice cream shop.

I have always been an optimistic person. I read the achievements, enhancements and promises of the government officials to improve things in Jordan and accept it with an open heart. I can ever see and feel how things are really improving at the high level of things. But when it comes to the government low-end employees, who are very important in the cycle of improving the lives of the Jordanian citizens, the picture is not as rosey as you read in the newspaper.

Those people are really depressed. Seriously, it is like there is “an agreed upon code” to mistreat their clients (the jordanian citizens). They put a grumpy face, a negative attitude without any intention to help explaining things out. When you ask them, they react as if you cursed them! They only stick to beraucratic rules that give them joy in tortunring people at hand! In addition to all of that, they barely let their cigarette off their hands!

The other day, I was thinking that as a tax payer, I would agree to pay those people their salaries and let them stay at home while bringing new ones to serve intead of them. For god’s sake, they don’t only do nothing, but they also help slowing down the working process.

And guess what, the e-government is just adding more hassle. When technology and beraucracy is a bad combination. When a person’s brain can’t see behind 1+1=2, technology can’t help. He would be spending more time figuring out how to work out the software rather than doing the task at hand. Today for instance they were searching for my name in their software, and instead of searching through the number of my file which is more credible, he kept of writing my name and family name and trying and trying without any result, at the end he figured out that they entered my name wrong in the first place.

I am a patient person, and can manage to keep my nerves down till whatever it takes, but can anyone do something about the smoking part?! It is really hurting our citizens!

انثى تحمل شرفها بين فخذيها

انثة, ترن الكلمة بعذوبة في اذني مصرحة بالخطوط العريضة هويتي التي احملها منذ خروجي من رحم امي. انتى, تشعرني بالغرور كما تشعرني بالاحباط. تملأ حياتي بالتناقضات, و الحيرة: ما بين تمجيد انوثتي و الاعتزاز بها و اظهارها للعالم, و بين طمسها و اخفائها وسحقها لحماية نقطة شرف على جسدي, شرف لايخصني وحدي فقط بل يتمدد ليضم شرف جميع من احب من عائلتي

انثة, تسمعها اذني فينتصب جذعي في استقامة تسمح لنهدي بالبروز. بلا وعي اختزل انوثتي في صدري, ابرزه لأعلن للناس اكتمالها. اشعر بقدسية انوثتي و اهميتها منذ نشوء العالم. يتناقض جسدي في ردة فعله لدى سماعه الكلمة. فبينما يشتد القسم الاعلى في شموخ, تتقارب فخذي في استحياء لحماية نقطة الشرف بينهما

بلا وعي اعود الى طفولتي, يظهر وجه جدتي العابس, تصرخ في وجهي كانني ارتكبت ذنب عظيم. كنت اجلس متباعدة الفخدين, طفلة بريئة لاتدري الكنز بينهما. لاتعرف انها تحمل شرفها و شرف امها و ابوها و اخوها و جدتها و ابنتها و ابنها و زوجها و و و شرف العائلة و المجتمع, مركز الكون و بئر الشيطان, اخفيه بين فخذي. اجهشت فالبكاء, لم اكن ادري مدى فظاعة فعلتي. كرهت جدتي و كرهت فخذي, كرهت جسدي و انوثتي . لم ادرك سوى بعد بضع سنين ان توبيخي لاضم فخذي كان مقدمة لسلسة من التوبيخات و الاهانات و مدعاة للتحكم و العبودية. ضم فخذي لم يعد يكفي, اصبح علي ان اغطيهم و اخفيهم , كلما زاد الغطاء, كلما ارتاحت عائلتي. امتد الغطاء ووصل الى رأسي والى وجهي. قاومت, و حاربت, لم اكن انا التي تحارب, بل الانثى في داخلي

ابت ان تموت. احتارت, لماذا يمجدون الاناث من بعيد و عند اقترابهم منهم يقتلونهم؟ ارى عيون اخي تتوسع في انبهار عند رؤية هيفا تغني, و احتار عندما اراهم تتسعان بخوف عند رؤيتي اقلل من غطاء جسدي. هيفا لا تحمل شرفه, انا احمله

تزداد حيرتي كل يوم, تنازل الرجال عن حبسي في البيت لاننهم لم يعودوا يستطيعون تحمل مصاريف العيش. طنشوا الخطر الواقع على شرفهم لاجل راحتهم. ما كانوا سيرضون بذلك لو انها من اجل راحتي. اصبح علي ان احذوا حذو الرجال, نعم الخروج للعمل و لكن, ليس قبل طمس الانوثة, و كيف لا و ان الشرف لم يزل بين فخذي, احمله معي للعمل و امشي به في الشوارع و اعرضه للخطر عند احتسائي القهوه مع حبيب في مكان عام

تنازلوا عن القيود لاجل راحتهم, فالمقابل وقعوني على عقد من طرف واحد, لي حريتي بشرط ان ابقي فخذي مغلقتان, ابقي علي شرفهم مقابل ابقاءهم على حياتي. اتمني ان انزعه من بين فخذي و اطبعه على جباههم! فليحمل كل واحد شرفه بنفسه. لماذا يحملونني العبء و يلهون هم من غير حمل؟

مع حبي,

اطفو كالريشه في نهر الحياه

اطفو كالريشه في نهر الحياه. اسلم نفسي لنسمات الهواء. تقودني الرياح بكل اتجاه في سمفونية موسيقية تؤرخ خطوات رحلتي منذ سقوطي من رحم امي و الي المجهول الذي يتراءى امامي بجرعات مدروسة تصر على ان تجعل سمفونييتي مميزة كباقي سمفونيات اخواتي الريش
اسلم نفسي للريح كما يسلم المسلم نفسه لخالقه. احب الاسلام لاسمه. اسلم من دون ذكر الشهادتين, كما اصبح مسيحيا من غير لبس الصليب. احب انسانية المسيح ولاتعنيني الوهيته, اراها في اوجه الناس
. محطات عدة تضيء دربي. احاول قراءة خارطة طريقي في خبايا الفكر الانساني. تقف الاديان تباعا, كاشارات مرور تملي علي اتجاهاتي. احيانا اتبع مسار البوذية و احيانا اليهودية و احيانا المسيحية و الوثنية و السينتوليجية و و و… لااختار دربي, هو يختارني. يعجبني التنوع و تعجبني الصور الفوتوغرافية التي احملها على كتقي. اصور قدر استطاعتي
التفت حولي و ارى اخواتي الريش يصطفون في درب واحد, يشاهدون نفس المشهد و يلتقطون نفس الصور. تفوتهم لحظات النشوة التي تصيبني عندما يقع بصري على مشهد جديد. احدث نفسي و اتامل, اتساءل لماذا تختلف رياحي عن رياحهم, لماذا ابتعد عن فرح الجماعة؟ لماذا يغمضون اعينهم عند رؤية نور بلون مختلف؟ لماذا يحافظون على نقاء لونهم بينما تعدد الالوان يدل على دراية اكبر في مجرى الحياة الذي ربما نسلكه مرة واحدة؟
اشاهدهم يسجدون في اتجاه واحد. اتمنى ان انضم لهم. اشاهدهم يرسمون علامة خشبتين متقاطعتين, ارسمها لاشعر بانتماءي اليهم. اشاهدهم يجلسون بسكون لتامل الحياة, اجلس بجانهم و ابحر في خيالي. اشاهدهم يعتمرون قلنسوة مميزة لتمييز عرقهم, اتمنى سريان بعض من دمائهم في دمي لأنتمي. اشاهدهم ينحنون امام الابقار فانحني لهيبة الخلق. اغلبهم يرون وجه الخالق المذكر, و بعضهم يفضل الوجه المؤنث, انا احب الوجهين
احب التنوع و احب الحياة, احب الرحلة و استمتع بجميع المحطات. لااعرف ما ينتظرني في الطريق ولكنني ايقن انه في انتظاري ملايين من المشاهد الجميلة و عدة ملايين من المقاطع السمفونية التي ساضيفها الى موسيقتي