Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 2nd, 2022

I was living in this beautiful city of San Francisco for 2 years. I figure out that you can visit every area in this city in a couple of days, all its “historical” sites, parks, monuments….

I was almost autonomous: shelter and board, 2 days off as I “promised” to serve as assistant to the manager, for an entire year, in an “elderly establishment”. I learned Never to Promise anything from now on: Asking you to “promise” is a tacit method to abuse of your naivety.

I walked every streets, memorized the buses number, destinations and schedule.

I read almost all the books of the “famous” authors who lived in San Francisco and its surrounding.

I crossed the Golden Bridge and ventured way up north, walked the Red Wood forest, tasted the wine of Napa Valley…

I visited the university of Berkeley twice and in two trips I spent a few nights at Reno casinos, for Free.

I boarded the train and walked the streets of the towns of Silicon Valley.

I drove with friends to Monterrey, Carmel, all the way to Big Sur...

It was in the last year of George Bush Sr. presidency, and unemployment was at its highest: the main streets were strewn with homeless people, drunk and beggars. It was Not a good sight to walk the streets.

It was Not a good idea to venture outside at night, even when accompanied. I was attacked once and robbed, a few feet from where I resided and desisted from going out at night.

All the houses and properties were locked by iron doors

Heck, I had this curiosity and determination to pay a visit to one of nude beaches. The beach was wide stretched with few clients, almost all singles, males and females. I sensed that their was this tacit code of Not getting too curious of your neighbors: No one looked around. If you need to rest your eyes, try contemplating the ocean horizon, when you are faking of reading or taking a nap…

Out of the blues, I receive a letter from my only sister telling me they are “stationed in Washington DC” and asking me to visit them.

My sister had 5 children and the youngest girl was barely 5 months old.

The purpose of the letter was to stay with them, on this lame excuse that the children need to be “initiated to English” for their schooling… as if children are Not best in acquiring a new language when living in the proper surrounding…. Children memorize all songs that “they don’t understand” and repeat them very confidently…

I wrote back a long letter telling my family that this is Not a good idea.

They replied that all they are asking me was to pay them a visit for a week. I didn’t see anyone of them for almost 7 years and I decided “why Not?”

They had rented a small flat in a building, a few miles from the center of Washington DC.

It was a shock. My sister looked tired and exhausted.

Worse, her daughter of 9 looked out of “luck”. She was to look after the youngest sibling and be the designated assistant to her mother in house keeping…

This niece was in a terrible shape, in a despairing condition… Kind of feeling cornered, with no way out: the designated Slave for the household.

This niece was also out of luck in body and figure: Not a single trait of beauty or physical shape.

The next day, I borrowed a map of Washington DC and carried her with me for a long tour of the Capital: Monuments, sites, parks… From buses to walking streets we covered most of DC… I took her for another tour the next day too.

It was pity, pure pity.

Something I thought was an obligation to extend to my niece a small catalyst to break out of the slaving condition.

It worked and she got used to the feeling of freedom and independence…

But it was Not easy, neither for her nor for me, since I became the designated “slave” to the family for more than 2 years, while the parents were hopping free from trip to trip, all around the USA. That is another story.

Note: I lived being the tacit designated slave for over 2 decades as a full blown adult…until my parents passed away at the advanced age of 93, with all the physical and mental ailments….

Do you think you gets any acknowledgement or recognition for your sacrifices?

Nobody in the family wants to admit they had a designated slave in the household.

January 29, 2022

By Mohammed Rafik Mhawesh

An art operetta entitled ‘When Kids Dream’ was held in the Rashad Al-Shawa Cultural Center on Saturday, with the aim of displaying the ongoing hardship and oppression young people in Gaza are experiencing, due to the crippling 15-year Israeli siege and half a dozen of preemptive wars.

The operetta starred Palestinian children and young artists from throughout the Gaza Strip and was organized by the 16th October Media Group, in partnership with Al-Thuraya Media Institute and the Palestinian Art Institute.

It was sponsored by the Malaysia-Palestine Cultural Center. 

“When Kids Dream” crowned a youth-driven art-focused training program that provided skills and knowledge to Palestinian children across Gaza, making them capable of representing and defending their homeland through art.

The play featured various artistic performances, mainly acted by teen-aged children, delivering a vital Gaza-born message: that cultural resistance – through plays, poetry, and songs – is a powerful tool, which plays a significant role in fighting the Israeli occupier. 

“One of the authentic goals of such events,” the spokesperson and an organizer of the event, Sahar Kalloub, said, “is to solidify the presence of Palestinian children, whose struggles are often ignored by mainstream media.” 

“Understanding the core of the Palestinian struggle through the lens of Gaza children is essential and explanatory to the crimes committed against them by Israel,” Kalloub added.

Nabil Al Khatib, who spoke on behalf of the Palestinian Artists Institution, explained: “This is a remarkable production where Gaza children may see their dreams come true and witness the freedom of their homeland.”

“Our sketches and plays need No translation,” and are self-explanatory, Al Khatib added, “yet resonate with our 7-decade long struggle, and reject all forms of colonization and normalization that only aim to smear the indigenous culture so that another foreign population can take over.”

In the first act, a young actress played the part of Hadeel, a 9-year-old girl who was “severely wounded” by an Israeli missile that hit her neighbor’s home. Hadeel’s father spared no effort to get a permit from Israeli authorities so that she can get the medication needed outside Gaza and treat her wounds.

Israel refused to grant them permission and the little girl succumbed to her wounds.

“I am Rasha, a Palestinian child born 13years ago. As I am growing up, I am experiencing anxiety and fear, instead of pleasure and safety,” one of the young actresses said.

In the second act, a child in a wheelchair appeared on stage, while clutching her teddy bear. She expressed the wish to die, just because she would like to join her family members and her beloved sister Hadeel, who were brutally killed by Israel.]

But another child tried to support her, saying: “No, we will all survive and one day, we will finally witness the freedom of our land”.

Even this child will die, due to the lack of life-saving medical equipment, which Israel prevented from entering Gaza.

As the operetta neared its end, the song ‘Palestine Will Be Free’, performed by Palestinian artist Mohammed Shaaban, expressed the dire need to put an end to the Israeli occupation, asserting that only the Palestinian people should have the right to control their destiny. 

(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle) 

– Mohammed Rafik Mhawesh is a Gaza-based Palestinian journalist. He is a contributor to the book ‘A Land with People’ (NYU Press 2021).


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