Adonis Diaries

They visit, make a baby, and leave overseas to earn a living

Posted on: February 7, 2011

Akram Hanyeh is a Palestinian author who wrote a short fiction story on conditions in the Palestinian territories; not a fiction anymore, a steady trend; not just Palestinians but crossing all cultures and civilizations.

The story is valid for million of married couples:  The husband gets married, insures that the wife is pregnant, and leaves oversea to “make a living”.  The husband receives the good/bad news:  A son is born, a girl is born, the baby died in stillbirth… Depends; if a boy, the visit is imminent and the gifts outrageously expensive; maybe a big party will be thrown to celebrate the feat of delivering to the world a newborn who will barely see his father and struggle all his life in misery to get a place under the sun.  If the boy is the first one, the father will be named Abu *(first name of the boy.)

If the baby is a girl then the visit can linger to mark frustration and unhappiness.  Most probably, the gifts are lesser in number, quality, and price.  The wife is not expected to get jewelry and silk cloths…but she must be ready for an “encore”:  She will get pregnant again to generate a boy.  As long as the wife has this nasty trend of producing girls then she should expect to be pregnant immediately until a boy dignifies the family.

A stillborn baby is a calamity:  The wife is blamed for a thousand reasons, all of them of her responsibilities and making.  The husband might give his wife a second chance but he is already on the look-out for a “stronger second wife”, large-hipped, younger, with a family history among the females of generating boys…

This fiction story is applicable to many cultures, including the developed nations where competition is so strong that the bread-winner of the family is ready to take any job that is more remunerating oversea. It is becoming so easy to getting married when couples start accepting that the survival of the families transcends the tougher responsibilities of raising a family.  Getting married is even easier if mothers and grandmothers are willing to raising children as long as money is sent from overseas to sustain untenable living conditions.

Um Ismail is a wet-nurse “dayeh” of the village.  Um Ismail has delivered most of the existing youth in the village and she has competition from Um Mohammad, a younger dayeh.  This year, Um Ismail has been experiencing panic attacks:  babies refuse to come out nicely; they seem to cling to the uterus of their mothers; they don’t want to come to the world.  Um Mohammad is not faring any better.  The news spread and the wise of the village met to discuss the situation.  Many of the educated men have been detained in Israel’s prison for one reason or another : They are considered the best representatives of the village for sacrificing their comfort to preserving the dignity of the community.The people discovered that difficult pregnancies have one thing in common:  All husbands were away from their wives and children.

A few suggested that these complicated births be sent to specialized hospitals.  A few pregnant women had successful Cesarian surgeries but most babies decided to committing suicide rather to come to this wretched world.  The committee of wise men decided that all husbands be ordered to come home and shoulder their toughest responsibilities:  Raising and caring for their babies; struggling as a family against all odds with hearts and dedication.

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February 2011

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