Sad for Syria

After five weeks of absence / five weeks at my new job, I was finally 100% sure I would succeed in starting to post on this blog again (at least twice a week for now – to be increased). Yay. Small victories! Hello reader 🙂

However, as per my Mission: unthinkable, Monday is “read and comment MENA news” day and, well, I suppose you know what kind of news came out in the past few days. So I’m afraid I can’t comment but rather just share my utter sadness, once more but somehow more acute than usual, for the innocent people of Syria.

Of course, I still like to try and see the good in the bad – so

Oh, thank goodness to John Oliver’s ability to make us smile on certain topics. At least, I personally appreciate it.

Things can just get better… right?

A Syrian refugee just rang my doorbell

Ok so this just happened, literally a minute ago: someone rang my doorbell and it turned out to be a young refugee woman from Syria, pointing at her blue-coloured passport to prove her identity to me before I could even think of doubting it (not that I would have, anyway; I tend to trust people‘s word). She wanted clothes, or anyway that’s what she asked for first: mlabbas.

To be completely honest, it wasn’t the first time this kind of thing took place. Since arriving in Amman, we’ve maybe had two or three Syrian kids do the same, and another woman or two- but we rarely decided to open the door, and we never gave anything to anybody that I’m aware of. The reasons for this are the same why I/we don’t give money to every single beggar we see on the street in our countries of origin or wherever else: if I gave something to everybody who asks me for it, I’d soon end up begging for other people’s help myself. Or at least that’s the idea.

I wonder if it is because I’m home alone right now, or because today I’m not feeling particularly well (though fine in spirit, don’t you worry!). Maybe it’s the unusually cloudy sky, the echo of the call to prayer in the air, the thoughts I’ve been turning over in my mind in the past few days… Fact is, today I decided to give what I could to this lady whose name I have already forgotten. And what I could, in this particular instance, translated into

– a pair of light long trousers
– a pair of light pijama trousers
– two light long-sleeved tops
I told her I was sorry but I only have the bare necessities with me here and I can’t do without my winter clothes right now. I also felt quite selfish but I didn’t want to give her the t-shirt and the dress I just recently got as presents from a friend and from my sister. To feel less guilty I told myself they weren’t going to be of much use to her anyway because they are armless. 
– approx. 950gr of sugar
– half a bag of rice
– 5 dinars
– a bar of Italian torrone my mum had sent me.

She told me she has three little kids, the oldest being 5 years old and the youngest, currently sick, just a few months old. She was also trying to tell me something else, her story I presume, but my Arabic just isn’t good enough yet and I guess it would’ve been weird to present her with a recording device so that I could study and possibly translate her words later on. We’ll never know now… What’s for sure is that giving her those things, I felt weird. Really weird. Even now I don’t know what to think or feel. Part of me is convinced this will change nothing; while another part believes that, at the very least, this changed something in myself. My mind is currently sending me pictures of St Francis, reminding me of his vow of poverty and that I always always always have something I don’t really need. The question is, once you start to give, can you stop? Should you stop? Who should you give to? Why should you give? What effect does giving or not giving have on me as a person?

Recently it seems that I can only find questions, and never answers.
I suppose it’s not a bad start for self-improvement…

Oh, nice detail: I saw my neighbour for the second time in over two months. The first time was when she asked us if she could borrow our scale to weigh a suitcase. And today we met for twenty seconds as we both brought clothes to this refugee lady. I really liked that rapid exchange of smiles across the hallway– three women of different nationalities and walks of life sharing a moment in front of an elevator.

“Good luck and have a happy day”, I said to the lady as I closed the door. “I wish you every success in life”, she replied. Masha’allah, habibti; all the best to you and your family ❤

Young Jordanian video-makers on migration, diversity and social inclusion

When my friend Elisa invited me to an event that titled

The Royal Film Commission – Jordan in cooperation with PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival on Migration, Diversity and Social Inclusion; a joint initiative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) invites you to attend 10 short award-winning films at PLURAL+ Festival, in the presence of young filmmakers

I was like “Woah, tons of my favourite words here!! I haaave to go 😀 “.
Besides, it was at the Rainbow Theatre, i.e. FREE ENTRANCE, wink wink!!!

The screening itself was much shorter than we expected and I wasn’t too pleased with the presenter and the way the evening was handled, but I enjoyed it (I also was in very good company, I should mention) and quite a few of the films gave me something to think about. Here are the ones I appreciated the most, in reverse order, with their official description:

As I want by Alaa Al Sa’di, 2:02 min, English, Jordan, 2013 – What women wear is all too often the subject of public debate. This short film sheds some light on the paradoxical ways women are judged for their clothes.

The Girl, Whose Shadow Reflects the Moon by Walaa, 5:02 min, Arabic with English subtitles, Jordan, 2015 – A young Syrian refugee explores her new challenging life in Jordan, as well as her passions and dreams

Another Kind of Girl by Khaldiya, 5 min, Arabic with English subtitles, Jordan, 2015 – A young Syrian girl explores the lives of children in a refugee camp, finding joy and educational chance amid displacement

https://vimeo.com/153018938 – not sure why this one doesn’t appear as a video here, but do follow the link and you’ll be able to see it no prob! 🙂
Exit Right by Rupert Holler & Bernhard Wenger, 4:57 min, German with English subtitles, Austria, 2015 – Look away or intervene? When a black man is a victim of racial abuse on a bus, there is only one passenger who will stand up for him

Image result for Unfinished Tales: Fool's Paradise

…and finally, my super favourite: Unfinished Tales: Fool’s Paradise by Hussam Ismail, Tao Painvin & Stephane Barrere, 5:50 min, French with English subtitles, Jordan, 2016 – Four wounded soldiers are staying in a hospital room. One soldier paints a picture to the rest of what is outside. The story he was telling is picked up by another soldier after he passes away …but nooooo I can’t find this one online 😥 Sorry! Wish I could show you how brilliant and wonderfully made it is!!!!!

Fun fact: a member of the audience found the first two films I’ve listed pretty offensive because of their portrayal of men in Jordanian society. Welllll… yeah. Sorry kid, but that stuff does exist and needs to be shown. All my respect to the authors ❤ and I wish you to become a little better at putting yourself in other people’s shoes from now on, because at times being a woman really isn’t easy and you could at least try to empathize.

 

Exile from Syria

hamadi-esilio-cover-WEB

Shady Hamadi, “Exile from Syria: a fight against indifference”
Add Editore, Italy

I have just turned the last page of this volume, the first of a long series of specifically themed books I intend to devour during my time in the Middle East and beyond.

It’s a book everybody (who can read in Italian) should read. I am convinced of this and I’m grateful to Shady Hamadi for his hard work. When I met him in June this year in Milan I could tell he was very, truly, deeply passionate about Syria and about divulging what’s really happening there, and he has certainly succeeded in this intent.

I am now much more aware, much more involved and indignant with regards to how the situation has been handled in these years of Syrian conflict. I also feel shamefully responsible for not giving more attention to it earlier; for being part of this international indifference Shady talks about. But hey- I’ll start doing my part now: instead of keeping this book all passive and useless in my room, I’ll gift it to the library of my school here in Amman. Someone will read it!

A note to the author: again, great content, really. I would very much appreciate it if maybe next time you improved your writing style, because Perfectionist Me struggled quite a bit with it in this instance 😛

See book details on Goodreads!