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!

I am a blogger and will stay a blogger – Follow up post


During the weekend, and reflecting on my last post “I am a blogger and will stay a blogger“, I came to realize that what I said isn’t totally true. I mean, when I wrote it, I felt that yeah, this is how I feel, and it sounds good, and it is right! But then thinking about it, I guess that it was tainted by my previous post where I mentioned “aging”, and I suppose that, unconsciously, my 40 years voice took over.

You know, they tell us that in our 20s we are haste, we are energetic, and we have big dreams. We believe that we can change the world and we are fearless about it. But then in our 40s, when we reach our defined “middle age” (I don’t think 40 is my middle, but anyway), we become more mature, more reasonable, we face reality and come to realize that it is easier to change ourselves, or adapt to the world than changing it.

That’s wisdom, isn’t it? But it also spells “giving up”. Like I am frustrated enough and I no longer bother. I don’t have the energy for this anymore. And I don’t care!

This is not me. It is not going to be in my 40s and hopefully not in the following decades. I still want to change the world. It was the reason I started blogging 13 years back and will continue a major drive for me to write. And while I do enjoy blogging for the sake of blogging, I still want to talk about what I feel unjust around me. I still want to champion sexual freedoms and body rights. And I still want everyone to believe that there is hope and that science is capable of defeating aging. I want to see everyone onboard, supporting scientific advances in biotechnology. And I secretly hope to have the chance to study bio-chemistry myself and contribute to the actual research (maybe in a parallel universe).

Having said that, negating the first point in my previous post. I will go ahead and do the same for the other points. I claimed that I no longer care about blog traffic and exposure. Mmmm, of-course I’d say that since I haven’t been blogging for so long, but then again, after every post, I find myself checking the stats! Who read my blog? How many people read it? where did they come from? How many Facebook shares? Any Twitter shares? I should admit this. I want people to read what I write, and I want you guys to enjoy reading it and share it with your friends and followers.

Same applies to “the heated discussions”. I claimed that “I don’t enjoy it anymore”. Which isn’t true. I love discussing what I am passionate about. I can go on forever. And while I admit that I have been avoiding getting into such debates on Facebook, I know that this avoidance has to do with the person I discuss with, not the topic itself. You just know that the person is hopeless and no matter what you say will not get you anywhere.

And in my last point in the post, I claimed that I don’t want to be a “fashionista” or an “Instagram Influencer”. The truth is that I don’t think I have it in me what it take to be a fashionista, and I don’t know how to become an Instagram Influencer. You know how much such people make these days? It is insane, wallahi. And if it was as easy as dressing weirdly to set trends, than I wouldn’t mind exploring that path. But it is certainly no easy, and I don’t know how these people have done it. Respect and power to them!

So yes, I blog because I enjoy blogging, because it is a learning tool and a meditation to me, but it is also because I wish to change the world, to communicate my ideas and discuss them, and also to gain exposure and maybe one day get the reach of an Instagram mega influencer!

I am a blogger and will stay a blogger


I love blogging! I haven’t been doing that much in the past few years and I have always rationalized that it is due to the lack of time or ideas to talk about. But suddenly, this week, a fresh new energy popped up, and I found myself blogging, almost every day. And today is my second blog post too!

And I just realized that it is the act of blogging itself that I really enjoy. It is the act of talking to myself, and putting my thoughts into words. Yes, I can see now that contrary to what I partially used to think:

  1. I no longer blog to change the world. I have my novels for that.
  2. I don’t blog to get good traffic and exposure. I used to care about this 13 years back when I started blogging. Not anymore.
  3. I don’t blog to start heated discussions. I used to enjoy this a lot, but not sure I do anymore.
  4. I don’t want to be a fashionista or Instagram influencer. I am a blogger and will stay a blogger (slash novelist :P).

I blog because it feels good and I enjoy it. I blog because it is a learning tool, a creative act and a creation platform. It is like meditation to me. Listening to my internal voice, my honest self, brining it up and shaping it into written words.

I simply love it!

Don’t confuse this as a sign of aging


So.. every morning I wake up, I go to the toilet, have my breakfast, my shower, prepare my gym bag, get dressed and leave. That’s the regular schedule during week.

I close the door, get into the elevator, go 12 floors down, get into my car and drive to the office.

I suddenly stop.

I stop when I remember that I forgot one or more of the following items:

  1. My phone
  2. My wallet
  3. My gym bag
  4. My office laptop
  5. My food bag
  6. My eyeglasses (new item to worry about)

I pause for a moment to assess the situation, before I turn around, retract, and head back to the house. And that usually depends on the moment at which this sudden revelation comes to me. I mean, sometimes it happens when I am in the elevator, so it is easy, I tell myself “yalla Fadi press 12 and go up and get it”. But in other times, it happens when I reach my car and start driving and get out of the parking. I’d be lucky if it happens when I am still in business bay area close to my building, but it usually strikes me when I am in a good mood, enjoying Elissa’s voice coming out of the radio, and ready to do the final u-turn towards the office, 20 minutes away from home! And for a reason that is beyond my capacity to understand, this latter scenario in particular insist to happen when it is the office laptop that I forget. Maybe it hit me when I get close to the office and see the building? Probably! Bu thanks God that doesn’t happen often as I rare take my office laptop home. Nevertheless, these are a set of 6 different items, and they alternate in slipping off my memory when I leave home. And to be honest they are not all of same importance. I mean if it is the gym bag, and if I have been going regularly to the gym, then hurray, I’d be more than happy to skip it for the day and get back after work to nap! Same for the food bag, I’d tell myself, lets break the diet and enjoy the day, it is out of my hand anyway! The wallet? mmmm, I can live without it for the day. Eyeglasses, who needs them? But hold on, the phone? hell no. I think you all know me better. That is when the real panic strike and no matter how far I get, even if the office is on the moon, I drive back and get it.

Please don’t confuse the above as a sign of aging, or early Alzheimer. I am sure it happens to you too. Don’t say no. And to be honest, it doesn’t really happen often, just from time to time, I mean something like e v e r y d a y! No I am joking. Maybe once a month. But it is annoying when it happens.

I remember a good old friend of mine 20 years back. He figured it out back then and had a special technique where he gives numbers to all items and keep on counting before he leaves home. I used to find this funny and never got into the habit, but now I see it smart, isn’t it? Does anyone of you use the same technique? If not, give it a try and let me know how it works!

Reading The Bride of Amman while floating in Dead Sea


This is probably one of the coolest photos I have ever seen for someone reading The Bride of Amman. Thank you Ferran for tweeting this!