The Ever-Evolving World Through Her Eyes

This is for Saying Yes
April 15, 2009, 1:50 am
Filed under: climate justice, hope, life, politics, social change, war, women, Youth | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

What else is there to say to this, other than I feel completely inspired and full when I listen to this. I want to embody this very poem because this poem embodies so much of how I feel and what I believe in. I hope you enjoy it. I hope it rejuvinates your day, or night, or week, or year. I hope you find hope in it.


In the Name of Love

Today, as I sat next to my parents, on our living room couch, eyes peering up at the television, we listened to Singers, Actors, and prominent American Figures, including the president-elect himself, on the “We Are One, Inauguration Concert.”

To be very honest, I voted for Ralph Nader, mainly because I do not believe in a two party political system, and Ralph’s policies were much more sound to me than Obama’s. But one thing I always knew was that this man inspired hope and change in the people who mattered most- you and I. President-elect Obama is always reminding us, even today, that we must get involved and stay active, keeping him informed of what we, the American people think, what we want to see as ‘the change.’

My eyes filled with tears on many occasions as I saw, these artists come together in a manifestation of what we want to see on a larger level, on a local level, ingrained in our every day selves. It is Love. While it was in the limelight, yes, and the world always shows it’s harsher edges after the glamor has faded, it was still something truly remarkable. And let me say this, it is beauty that never fades, it only changes.

I think the moment that caught me off guard, other than when Stevie Wonder came on stage and I jumped up screaming and dancing, was when Bono from U2 sang to the President. He sang his famous song, written in 1984 for Martin Luther King Jr, Pride. As the song neared it’s close he said these words.

“This is not just an American dream, but also an Irish dream, a European dream, an African dream … an Israeli dream and a Palestinian dream,” Bono said in the middle of U2’s performance of their 1984 hit “Pride (In the Name of Love).”

This was beauty. For so long, the issue of Israel and Palestine has been taboo, especially when any positive light is shown on the Palestinians. And, especially when the issue is in congress. It is time to stand up for justice, of our people at home who live in poverty and in the face of racism, and in the middle-east, where we have financed 1000 times over ongoing massacres in Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Territories.

Tears streamed down my face as I heard, what Bono had said, and I looked over at my parents, my Lebanese mother and my European father; they too were crying. These two people who created six mixed babies, all of us trying to make this world more just, peaceful, and sustainable. I owe everything to them, and I owe everything to all of you.

2+2=4, Violence in Gaza= War Crimes

On the 22nd day of unabated violence in Gaza, with 1,203 people dead- including 360 Children, and 5,320 people injured of which are 46% Women and Children, Israel has said “The aims of our operation have been met.” Is that the sound of a ceasefire? Even after, Israel turned down Hamas’ deal on a Palestinian state of the 1967 borders, the deal that Israel said was the Palestinian people’s golden opportunity?

And, what were your aims Ehud Olmert? I’m confused because what happened over the last three weeks was not a nation protecting itself, but rather a government perpetrating fear within it’s borders, and the borders of a territory occupied and oppressed.

Frankly, I’m done with this, I am done hearing about the atrocities that you are committing, righteously, as if you were “entitled.” Entitled to violence, as if it were owed to you because of what your people have seen, and gone through. Let me say this, no one is entitled to violence, the history of people throughout this world is bloodied and conquered. When will it end?

Would the American government be so forgiving if African Americans rose up, took over New York or California, due to help from the European Union, and started perpetrating violence in the same ways that Israel does? While, the EU continued to funnel roughly 10 million dollars each day, even increasing funds while civilians were being slaughtered, as the US did a couple weeks ago. For some reason, I don’t think so. The institutions that are supposed to protect us, have been killing young black men for years. Look at the most recent cases of Oscar Grant and Adolph Grimes.

This is war crimes. In the “Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977” under Article 51, the protection of civilians Israel has committed War Crimes. According to Point 4 – the definition of Indiscriminate Attacks, section (c), Continue reading

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh
January 8, 2009, 7:25 pm
Filed under: gaza, Israel, life, palestine, politics, war | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

If You Live In DC – Gaza Memorial Service
January 7, 2009, 6:51 am
Filed under: gaza, Israel, palestine, politics, social change, war, women, Youth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,




Interfaith Candle light prayer, poetry, testimonies…
Saturday, January 10th, 2009
4:00pm – 5:30pm

All Souls Church
2835 16th St, NW, Washington, DC 20009

Funds will also be collected for the
Save the Children Gaza Relief Fund

Please RSVP by 2:30pm on Saturday at
Sponsored by
Coalition for Justice and Accountability

**Program will begin promptly at 4:00pm
For Questions and Information:

What Have You Done for Gaza Today?
Getty Images

Getty Images

As I sit in upstate New York, Palestinians in Gaza are being murdered. What do the world governments do? People from all over the world are calling for a ceasefire in Indonesia, UK, France, Australia, Canada, and the United States just to name a few. But what are our leaders doing

The US is holding Hamas accountable for the continued violence, as current Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice issued a statement about the situation.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the escalating violence in Gaza. We strongly condemn the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and hold Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence there. The ceasefire must be restored immediately and fully respected. The United States calls on all concerned to protect innocent lives and to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza.”

For more information on US statements about the crisis click here.

Although governments are calling for a ceasefire, Israel has rejected any pleas. The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, representing the European Union said, “We, Europe, want a ceasefire as soon as possible. Time is working against peace. The weapons must be silenced and there must be a temporary humanitarian truce.”

But the response from Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that they are not done, “We have hit Hamas hard, but we have not yet reached all the goals that we have set for ourselves and the operation continues,” he told a parliamentary committee.

Now what are Israel’s goals?
When we campaign on the environment or social justice, we have our internal goals and our external goals. So for example, when planning Power Shift 2007 our external goal for attendance was 2000-4000 but our internal goal was 5000 – 6000. This allows us room, to surpass our external goals and possibly our internal goals. What are Israel’s internal goals, if they have already killed nearly 700 people? When does it end, Israel?

We are all responsible. We all have a part to play in this. If you live in the US contact your congressional office and senatorial office today . Contact Obama’s transitional office as well. He needs to hear from us, we elected him on the platform of change and if he does not show us that he is different from his predecessor, than he is not fulfilling his rhetoric.

We must take lead from Israeli Youth, who are building a movement called Shminitism. They are high school seniors refusing to join the army and are going to prison instead.

There is an Avaaz petition that has over 200,000 signatures calling for a ceasefire, if you have not done this already please do so.

And finally but most importantly, click here to donate to Gaza. They are in need of food and medical supplies. More than 80 percent of Palestinians living in Gaza depend on food aid. Please donate to the United Palestinian Appeal.

Other organizations in the states that are doing good work on the issue in particular are Arab American Institute and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

To read more about the issue visit Robert Fisk’s page at

Questions and More Questions
May 12, 2008, 6:21 pm
Filed under: lebanon, war | Tags: , , , , ,

So it’s another Monday, like so many Mondays that have come before, except that my classes were cancelled again. In normal circumstances such a situation would be a gift, but I miss my friends Dua and Hannan, Mariam and Muhanad. Most of my friends have evacuated to their neighboring nationalities, while most of the local schools are closing down for the week. It does not bode well in this seemingly serene calmness.

I was able to run errands for the first time today, and yesterday for a couple of hours I spent time with my friend Mariam- she lives in my community, close to AUB, and was there when everything happened. You could still see militiamen roaming the streets last night, although, the army has mostly taken over at this point.

The interesting part about all of this to me is the why. Why is this happening and is that why an excuse? From the beginning of the established Lebanese government the structure has been set according to religion, called confessionalism– A Christian Maronite President, A Sunni Muslim Prime Minister, A Shia Speaker of Parliament, etc. The seats in parliament are also divided based on religion and like all disenfranchised groups the Shia make up the majority percentage of the population around 40%, but have the least amount of seats. They live in the poorest conditions and are constantly ignored by the government.

During the War on Lebanon in the summer of 2006, where Israel had attacked Lebanon for just over a month, killing 1,200 civilians and completely demolishing Lebanon’s infrastructure. Hezbollah was the only reason, the causalities were not higher and the reason for Israel’s defeat on the ground. Most of Lebanon was grateful for them and what they did to keep Israel from completely destroying the country. After the war had ended, Hezbollah and the Shia community thought it was the best opportunity to approach the government for more parliamentary seats and have equal representation.

To be clear Hezbollah consists of only Shia Muslims but does not represent all Shia Muslims. The two are not synonymous; I want to be careful not to create a general image, in explaining such a complicated issue.

The government did not concede, and so, many Shia took to the streets and camped out in front of Parliament for almost 18months. It continues on, this sort of ignoring and this pushing aside, until the resolution to halt Hezbollah’s telecommunications came in. At which point, they joined with the General Labor’s Union in their general strike for higher wages. And thus took over Beirut.

For me it is important to understand the why in order to fix the problem. The divisions between all the religious groups are so deep and wide here. For me, I don’t identify with any group that is fighting now. The government is still ignoring Hezbollah and their demands, which this in and of itself will only lead to more fighting. At the same time, I disagree with Hezbollah’s tactics in forcing themselves on all of Beirut, therefore intensifying the divides that already exist. The death toll has already reached 81 and the injured is now 250 since the fighting on Wednesday began. And Goddess forbid something does ensue with Israel, as a result of the Hezbollah takeover, will the rest of the country be as gracious as they were two years ago. Does Hezbollah care?

By purposefully ignoring Hezbollah and knowing they would intensify their tactics (as the whole country was predicting), was the government intentional on seeming to the international community as the peaceful ones? And, therefore, making Hezbollah also seem, to the international community, as violent terrorists? Was this an intention or just a by-product of the situation?

There seem to be more and more questions piling up on my end, with less certainty, only my heart that guides me in this. Sometimes I get so frustrated with the situation, wishing to just set things right and move everything around to serve everyone. But then how does one really know what’s best for everyone, that arrogance I leave to the politicians, as they fight and ignore one another for the sake of the country.

To find out more information about this situation a great source is Robert Fisk, life-long journalist in Lebanon