Friday, February 20, 2015
This post is inspired by this article (Arabic).
Like every child - I guess- I wanted to be a doctor. Then , I don't remember what exactly do I want to be. After that, dreams vanish so reality would take place. Two realities actually: First, that my family is a poor one and they need someone to help them, though being before the last shouldn't be a concern of mine.Second: that women can either be doctors -which wasn't OK for most families back then- or teachers, so I became a teacher.
I was one of those first unlucky, our salaries were way below what we should have, and I was sent to a far away village, which mean we have to leave by dawn and come back at 4 every day, out of those 12 hours we used to spend 6 on the road..an evil road.
I didn't like the job at the beginning and refused to go but was forced and hit severely to go, the only way out of that situation was through my second attempt to commit suicide and sadly that didn't work out and left me sick for a while.
The money was good - little but good- especially for someone who never have such money, and it helped us get out of situations that we couldn't otherwise.
Then I was one of the luckiest who moved back to the city in a year. Working at a school in the city is completely different , I loved it and worked hard to be something. Short story shorter things didn't work out the way I wanted or dreamed of.
I was the lone breadwinner of the family and that's tough and hard. ( Please if you are reading this and you have one breadwinner of your family don't make it harder on them by blaming or complaining.. you have no idea how shitty they feel ).
In October 2016 I will be working for 20 years. I wonder if I am qualified as being in work for 35 years cuz I never took a time off -beside the summer vacation and the Gulf War in 1990- since I first attended primary school :)
I don't know if I can or will be able to retire anytime soon, not because I will be bored to death for lack of doing things in here, but because I am still the breadwinner and I still didn't buy a house for us to settle in and because my salary isn't what it shall to be -like many- and retirement now would mean I would be back close to poverty again.
The frustrating part is that for 19 years I got no saving, I am still in debt and I didn't achieve what I was looking for, it's not my dream job, that job wasn't mine.
(let's leave it to that or else my vent would be evil)
If you asked me a few years ago "what do you want to be?" I would say a radio host or a reporter.
Now, I want to be a volunteer to save the poor and animals.Sadly, in here things aren't that easy to be done.
So until further on.. I am stuck in here and wish to be stuck here until I got what I want or find a better job emotionally and physically and with no one around :)
P.S: I am writing here to vent mostly not because I am looking for sympathy. Thank you :)
Posted by Wafa at 8:20 PM
Saturday, February 7, 2015
That's my statue about the 9 things you should be able to say about your life ..
1-I have kept an open mind to new ideas and experiences.
( let's say up to 90% )
2-I am following my heart and intuition.
(mostly the first not the last )
3-I am being honest with myself.
( 90% of the time)
4-I am making a difference.
( I don't think so anymore)
5-I don’t need anyone else to complete me.
( not to complete me but to be there for me... anyone available for love? ;) )
6-I have been brave enough to be vulnerable.
( I am always vulnerable... and that's a big problem )
7-I have forgiven those who once hurt me.
( YES.. but new ones always manage to take their places)
8-I persevered through tough times.
(95% of those rough times and I am scared to not be able to when things get tougher)
9-I have no regrets.
(My whole life is nothing but a big blackboard flashing "REGRET" )
Posted by Wafa at 8:01 PM
Friday, December 5, 2014
From the Gitmo Cookbook: Biryani at Tayyab's East London Curry House
Posted by Wafa at 1:00 AM
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
It's the time of the year when I am the only one celebrating me and trying to do something positive for me by buying things me don't need :)
I tried something different this time ..trying to do something positive for others with the help of other others
and it didn't work :(
So I will try to do it by myself :)
I am 41 and the day started beautifully with a beautiful message from a dear friend :)
Posted by Wafa at 12:04 AM
Friday, October 17, 2014
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Monday, September 22, 2014
Two articles about:
Women Abuse and Being Emotional About It
Have you ever noticed how almost every debate or conversation between groups of men and women, especially those concerning the topics of rape and/or domestic violence, almost inevitably involve a man in the conversation telling one or all of the women to ‘stop being emotional’, or accusing women of arguing emotionally while asserting that he is merely arguing facts?
First, let me say – tone policing is boring. If somebody is delivering points in a way you don’t like, it doesn’t make their points invalid. It just means you do not like the delivery. Big deal. Get over it and deal with it.
Second — why the shit should women not be emotional when talking about rape/domestic violence? Let’s recap some stats:
- 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes
- 1 in 5 Black women will be raped in their lifetimes
- 1 in 5 white women will be raped in their lifetimes
- 1 in 7 Latina women will be raped in their lifetimes
- 1 in 4 women will be the victims of domestic abuse
The overwhelming majority of these crimes, nearly 100%, will be performed by men. Even if the victim is a man, the perpetrator is usually also a man.
So I guess I just wanna know why some brilliant minds think it’s inappropriate for women to speak emotionally about a topic that so devastatingly affects so many of us?
And here is what I want to say to the women reading this:
It’s okay to get emotional. Cry. Scream. Be loud. Be aggressive. Talk how you feel. Feel your feelings and let it out. You do not have to be calm and cool and precise when discussing crimes against you, your demographic, your friends and family members. Men who insist upon this insist upon it for THEIR comfort. They want you to adapt your speech and tone to accommodate THEM. It is only and solely and entirely for THEM to feel comfortable in the conversation. To feel welcome. To exist in a discourse which caters to them.
WE DO NOT HAVE TO ALLOW MEN TO SET THE TONE FOR THESE CONVERSATIONS AND WE DO NOT HAVE TO NEGOTIATE TERMS! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT HAVING YOUR TONE POLICED BY A MAN WHO WOULD PREFER A DIFFICULT CONVERSATION BE MORE SUITED TO HIS OWN CONVERSATION STYLE!
Men commit the majority of these crimes. Women experience most of the aftermath. And then when discussing it we are also supposed to adapt our speech to make men more comfortable? Please. No. Go ahead. Subvert the existing white male dominated acceptable speech paradigm and get emotional. Get loud! Get angry! Flip the script. Why shouldn’t you? That is a lot of violence toward women. That is a lot of hurt. A lot of pain. Why on Earth would we not get emotional? You do not have to be cold, distant, calculating or use School English to discuss your pain or the pain of other women, the abuse, the violence.
Do not let men control these conversations. Stay loud. Stay angry. Stay crying. Yell if you want to. And if a dude comes around and tells you to tone it down because he can’t hear you if you don’t, kick his ass OUT of the conversation. Do not adapt to him. Have him adapt to you. Women have been adapting to the will and desire of men for far too long, and it is disgusting that even in conversations involving women and pertaining to topics that mostly affect women and include women that have been harmed in these ways, that any bro wants to just saunter in and set up the terms of what is and is not allowable in that conversation. If he cannot hear you unless you speak in a way that is agreeable to him, do not give him the power to change the tone of a conversation. Take the entitlement away. We can set the terms. We should set the terms. Let’s set the terms.
Written by Sara Luckey
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought” Quran 30:21
The video of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice punching Janay Palmer, his then girlfriend and now wife, has practically been on loop for the past few days. It is a horrifying clip, one that I accidentally saw on some sports network my husband was watching. The image of her limp body won’t leave me and is a reminder that no amount of money, fame, status, publicity can protect a victim from an abuser. The conversation on domestic violence and violence against women has taken center stage temporarily, and for me has brought back memories of my many female immigration clients who lived with much fear, and little hope, on a daily basis.
In the course of my legal practice, I’ve represented dozens of abused immigrant women, but one stood out in particular. She was in her late 30’s but looked a decade older. Her hair was thinning, her glasses smudged, her face tired. Very very tired. Her six year old daugher clutched her hand the entire time and the lady who drove her to my office sat in a corner, checking her watch every few minutes.
Her story was like many I’ve heard. She was married in Pakistan a decade earlier to a Pakistani-American who flew in for the wedding their families had arranged, and promptly returned to the U.S. He sponsored her immigration and almost a year later, when she received her visa, she flew to America by herself to be with her husband. She arrived in the country without a single blood relation here, not knowing the language, and entirely at her husband’s mercy.
They had a daughter a few years later, and shortly thereafter he disappeared. He abandoned her and the baby without a word, not leaving behind a number, a car, or any money. She managed to stay in their apartment until evicted and ended up being taken in by a woman in the local Muslim community. She had no social security card, no drivers license, no passport. Her husband had taken it all, and in the years they were together had kept the papers from her.
After close to a year of working odd jobs on cash without any proof of her status, without the means to hire an attorney, without the knowledge that free legal assistance could be retained, she knew she was stuck. Her family told her not to come back, she couldn’t afford to get her own place, and she couldn’t stay indefinitely at a strangers. She had been approached by an older divorced Pakistani man who was willing to marry her, care for her daughter, help her get a legal divorce, and adjust her immigration status. He was well-settled, had a good job, and owned a house. His grown kids no longer lived with him. It was an offer she could not refuse because it was the only offer she had.
In the years that followed her young daughter witnessed her mother being abused in every way possible. It became routine for her new husband, when angered, to pull her down the stairs of the basement by her ankles. She described how her head would hit every step on the way down. Sometimes he would drag up her up the same way. Sometimes he kept her locked down there for days. Sometimes she lost consciousness, and she often suffered headaches and eye problems. He never touched the child, but he made her watch as her mother bled, bruised, and begged. She still did not have a drivers license, was not allowed to work, and did not know her immigration status.
She was allowed to go to the mosque and there some women took notice of her condition. On the evening she came to me, she was supposed to be at a women’s Quran study group but had been smuggled out for the hour to come speak to me. In this way, over the course of months, we met a number of times and I gathered enough information to file a FOIA and eventually adjust her immigration status. But during these months I urged her again and again to leave him or to report him to the police. To put away money from the grocery spending, to have an emergency plan in place, to get out before he killed her, to call the police the next time he knocked her off her feet and dragged her into the basement. She simply could not. She wanted her greencard so she could be sure that she was not deported and separated from her daughter, as he often threatened her, but otherwise she was not going to leave him. I remember being incredibly frustrated, angry that she wouldn’t listen to me, I remember thinking I should report him, I remember looking at her daughter and wondering how it was destroying her, and then I remembered how I also, years earlier, did not leave my abuser.
For the past two days the hashtag #WhyIStayed has been trending as women take to Twitter to explain how difficult it was for them to leave an abusive relationship. For immigrant women there are additional barriers. These are some of the reasons abused immigrant women stay:
- No way to learn about available resources because of poor English language skills and no access or proficiency with computers
- Fear of being deported and separated from children, a common threat abusers use, and one that prevents reporting of violence to police
- No financial resources
- No transportation
- No relatives in the U.S.
- Cultural stigmas of being a divorcee
- Family rejection and unable to return to home country
- Religious leaders telling them to be patient, pray, be better wives
- Internalizing the idea that mothers sacrifice for the sake of their children
- Believing that it’s a man’s right to discipline his wife, or that it’s just how men act
- Manipulation and threats of retribution if she leaves
I am certainly missing many other reasons women stay with their abusers, but these are just a few I’ve heard from women over the years. In the same time, and at fairly progressive masaajid, I’ve requested khutbahs on the topic, requested DV workshops, requested resources be made available in the women’s restrooms or women’s worship areas, but was usually rebuffed. I’ve been told more than once it’s not a topic relevant to the community, or that the Imam did not want to embarrass the brothers at Jummah.
It’s obvious that women’s needs are low on the priority lists of many masaajid, but it doesn’t mean that women cannot become resources quietly for each other. This client was identified and assisted with the help of women who were self-organizing to study Quran, who knew going to the Imam was useless, and who took matters into their own hands despite having no expertise on the issue.
All these years later I don’t know what became of her. She was fearful to keep in touch, and I respected her wishes. She did get her greencard, which she made copies of and gave the original for safekeeping to a community member. But whether her personal situation changed, whether she left, whether she is still being abused today, or whether she is even alive, I don’t know. What I do know is this: even as advocacy on the issue continues, we cannot wait for society and men in charge of our communities to believe this issue is important and hold abusers accountable. We have to be our sister’s keepers.
*AN IMPORTANT NOTE: Many times I toyed with the idea of reporting my client’s abusers myself. But without their permission, I simply couldn’t. Because I knew that I could not guarantee that if the police investigated, and found the victim or the abuser to be undocumented, that they would not be reported to ICE – which could lead to arrest and removal proceedings. Is it a problem that victims are not protected from immigration consequences? Yes it is.
Posted by Wafa at 8:11 PM