Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Hanane Kai

Any alternatives for rings in wedding?

A line, not a ring, on my fourth finger

Ink on skin, oh what a beautiful invention! And how did I not discover it before?
Here, meet my first –and certainly not my last– tattoo, with so much intention in it…

A representation of my values around romantic relationships, a rebellion against the dated understanding of marriage, against the “captivity” mindset that marriage puts couples in.

A line, not a ring, on my fourth finger, means that I am with my partner because I’m choosing to be with them, everyday, and no piece of paper, costly ceremony, or social construct will choose that for me/for us.
With that mindset, and that conscious choice, the relationship becomes a place for personal growth and healing.

It’s my base-camp, my safe space, from where I can wander off, experiment, and discover, and if I stumble, and I do stumble a lot, I know I can always go back to that safe place and heal.

This first permanent line on my skin is also in the name of making mistakes… see, I played my adolescence quite safely, I didn’t make a lot of mistakes that teenagers make, the type of actions that you regret as an adult. It’s because I didn’t dare experiment or do things differently. I cared (still do) so much about what people think.

When asked, old people say that they regret the things they didn’t do a lot more than the things they actually did.
Even though I might love this minimalist line now, I will probably grow to dislike it, but I will be proud that I chose to do it anyway today.

In the name of experimenting, being authentic and true to myself, in the name of not caring what people think, and to making mistakes. In the name of strong relationships that we chose to be in everyday, relationships that enrich our lives and help us become better people.

To William, my partner in life, my best friend, and my family.
I would have never imagined that after 14 years I’d still be so passionately in love.
Our relationship has been a gift.

Hard at times for sure, and we still have a long way to go.

We’re gonna face a lot more roadblocks, and I have pure excitement for that, and for the improved selves we will become.

Image may contain: one or more people and closeup

And then Thirty and Forty-somethings got politically aware of Lebanon endemic highway robberies

And utterly infuriated with the lavish events (marriage of the militia/mafia politicians‘ family members) that broke all record in wealth dilapidation.

And many were even civil servants and ministers who were totally broke before they were appointed a year before.

This anomie political structure where every deputy for the last 30 years got his hand on a monopoly on every consumer goods, energy, financial transactions, services in communication facilities, privileges of all kinds in tax-free imports…

Hanane Kai posted on Fb. November 5 at 10:22 PM

I grew up not having any political opinion, not even having any political literacy.

Talking about politics was almost a taboo in my family, and the level of corruption in the political class disgusted me that I wasn’t even curious to learn anything about politics, forget about asking for my right.

I guess that worked quite well for the politicians… a lot of us are alienated, uninterested and disconnected –that is if we’re still in the country– and a big chunk of those remaining can be bought with a couple of hundred bucks and brainwashed in seconds.


Today, at week 3 of the revolution, I have learned about Lebanese politics more than I learned my whole life!

I have felt love for the country that I never felt!

I identified with Lebanon for the first time in my life. I have seen a level of awareness, creativity, togetherness, pro-activity, and wit that I never imagined seeing in this country.

Politicians’ games haven’t changed.

Fear-mongering, threats, accusations, stalling, stalling, and some more stalling. Nothing news… BUT we have changed, and there’s no going back! 

We are coming together in beautiful ways. It’s so threatening to them, and they are trying so hard to divide us…

They are masterminds in turning us against each other, after all, they are the same warlords that lead the civil war, so let’s not forget that.

Let’s not forget the beauty of our together, let’s not fall into their accusations.

Let’s not forget that we share the same pain.

Let’s remember how many chances we gave them, and how many times they disappointed us, and let’s not forget what we are capable of doing without them, without their support, nor their money. 

Let’s stay together! Let’s hang on a little bit more, please!

(Video taken in Martyr Square, Sunday, November 3).

Note: a few comments on that piece

  • Christine Safi Well said ! I agree with the first paragraph, growing up uninterested in politics… and hurt so many times by this country, I’ve learned to move on or I’m learning to… for some reason, i don’t feel concerned with whatever is happening… I’m choking every time i had to mention where I’m from And what’s happening … sad but true…
  • Adonis Bouhatab Wonderful. It is great that this awareness is late than never. Though i did try hard to initiate you and William to mind politics, otherwise the politicians will decide for you. As this fresh new participation is flocking to the mass upheaval, I can see changes bright at the end of the tunnel.
So many essential reforms to be done in Lebanon. Where to start?
Hanane Kai posted on FB Yesterday at 7:32pm · 

I can’t wait for the new generation of artists, performers, directors to start producing work that tackle our current problems and challenges in this country.

I understand that civil war is something one cannot just forget (after 33 years), it’s traumatic, it’s loosing your loved ones, and having to kill to save them. It’s living in fear, and it’s being alive today by pure chance.

That said, we’re facing different problems and challenges today. Here’s a list of what I feel we should talk about, instead of war:

The garbage crisis to start with. (Never solved or resolved and becoming a calamity)

The fact that the whole country is becoming a city. Antelias was actually a village not long ago. My village, which is pretty far from Beirut, is now a city (and I still call it my village

How much kids are spoiled these days. How little time parents spend with their children, thanks to the underpaid domestic migrant workers.

Domestic migrant workers, oh… that’s a whole world of problems and challenges. (Suicide, assassinating family members, fleeing to bordellos…)

Political corruption. Homophobia. Patriarchy, where in our most progressive societies, women are still expected to prepare dinner to their husbands although they both have day jobs.

Christians and Muslims still referring to each other as us and them.

Syrian being still looked down upon: we have banners in some villages announcing the illegality of migrant workers to walk on the streets after 7pm.

Public transport. Sexual harassment in public transport.

Unprofessional behaviors. Mediocrity (this one should be on top of the list for me). And mendicant little kids

Homelessness, something we almost didn’t see in Beirut a couple of years back.

Overpopulation. Traffic. Pollution. The lack of urban planing.

The stigma of divorce. The stigma of mental sickness. Backwardness.

The normalization of plastic looking women. The pathetic standard of local series…

There you go. My list of subjects, other than war, that I would like to see addressed in a play, dance performance, movie, exhibition, book.

And that’s not even an exhaustive list.

Other people commented

Lebanese women not being able to travel alone with their children without the father’s permission.

Lebanese women not able to pass on their nationality to their children.

Lebanese women not getting custody for their children after divorce.

Personal status laws for different sects instead of one civil law that gives us all the same rights.

You forgot the new set of taxes that still adopt Stamps (Mireh), high level of indirect taxes, our currency linked to the $ and hampering our economy, the sustained increase of our sovereign debt in order to make banks richer at our expense by transacting T-Bills, tradition of finding someone in the village to pay allegiance to and be servile in our behaviors…
The financial banks in Lebanon want the 2 million Syrian refugees to stay for as long as it is possible: the foreign financial aids keep the currency “stable”.
This linkage to the $ is costing us an arm and a leg and hampering our economy.
Note: All our militia leaders during the civil war are in power and in charge of our “destiny”, and they claim there were no Victors.

An explorer blog: Header illustration

Hanane Kai posted
Some project are challenging, others feels like second nature to me. This one was both, and a delight!

Rafah was a client, then a friend, who like me and many others is searching for herself and trying to make sense from the things happening around her.

An “explorer”.
I had the pleasure to co-design and to illustrate the header of her blog.
Blog co-designed and developed by William.

Header illustration and blog design for an explorer’s personal blog

Rafah is a young Saudi woman who, like me and many others, is searching for herself and trying to make sense from the things that happen around her. I was commissioned by her to design and create a visual of her blog.

Rafah is an explorer, not in the physical sense, rather in the spiritual sense. Her blog is about her discoveries and realizations, as she explores life.

The quote over the illustration says: “The first step to find yourself is to allow yourself to get lost”.

The blog is co-designed, and developed by William Choukeir.

Click here to read more about/from Rafah

Searching for the self illustration
Explorer blog design and illustration
Explorer illustration

Launching Maku on Kickstarter:  Cool sandals?

Characteristics:

  1. Perfect fit: The 3 straps are individually adjustable thanks to the proprietary Maku RedLink™ fastening system
  2. Respect toe natural spacing: Custom-built straps compress between your toes without separating them
  3. Cotton feel: Gentle on the skin for all-day comfort
  4. Shock absorbent: Without introducing bulk or compromising on ground-feel
  5. Hug your heel: The deep heel-guard protects your heels and keeps them clean
  6. Four ways flexible: Respects the natural movement of the foot, decreasing foot fatigue for all-day comfort
  7. Puncture resistant sole
  8. Griping sole: Less trip-ups and more stability with a grip that’s perfectly balanced for city streets, wet surfaces, and light trails
Back in 2009, I thought that going barefoot would solve my knee pain. It didn’t, but something unexpected happened. Back then, I had made myself sandals to run in but ended up wearing them more than all my other shoes.
I wore them almost everyday until they broke.
That’s when I decided to buy something similar. This was very frustrating because what I found either felt like cardboard or was bulky or unrefined. So I made my 2nd pair, improving the design and durability. This same story repeats 37 times!
At some point I had made a pair of sandals for my partner Hanane, and we’d wear them almost everywhere. People were regularly coming up to us on the street asking us where we got them from. It was obvious that there was something special about these sandals.
We began accepting orders, and had people buying them across 4 continents. That started a long process of “get real-world feedback, improve, repeat.”
With every upgrade, we wanted the best materials so the sandals would be even more comfortable and durable.
5 years and 37 tries later, we finally had it right. So right in fact, that as soon as we sold 50 pairs, a hundred more lined up.
With each pair taking us 4 hours to make by hand, we knew we had to find a better way to bring Makus to the world.
And that’s why we’re here today, reaching out to you.
Launching a Kickstarter campaign will help us deliver the unmatched quality, comfort, and design of Maku sandals to you and to the world.
We love our Makus, and we hope that you want your own Makus as well. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us! William Choukeir

After years of pouring our hearts into designing and creating these cool sandals, we’re really excited to only be days away from launching Maku on Kickstarter.

We never intended to make a business out of them, but people have been loving them so much that we couldn’t resist (anymore). With your support, what was once limited to a very narrow circle can finally be something that people around the world can enjoy. We’ll be sure to let you know when we’re live on Kickstarter.

We’d love your help in spreading the word! Please Share this post and Like it!
The Maku team (William Choukeir, Hanane Kai, David el Achkar)
(David, Hanane, William)

See More

WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THESE SANDALS?
That’s a question we get asked often. It’s not just all the little things that make them what they are. It’s that those who try them often end up wearing them more than anything else. For us, this says a lot!– Hanane & Will
Maku's photo.
'PERFECT FIT The 3 straps are individually adjustable thanks to the proprietary Maku RedLink™ fastening system'
Maku's photo.
Nadim Sioufi. Interior Designer, Canada, was the first one to wear Maku

I have very sensitive feet and was concerned about irritation before getting my Makus. But when I started wearing them, I was extremely pleased and realized how comfortable they are.

I run, dance, sail, and exercise in them, on land, rocks, sand, and salty water. My Makus follow me everywhere.

They ‘ve been through two Wicker Park festivals, several Greek Islands, the Turkish and Italian coastline, the Montreal summer, and more! I like to experiment a lot with fashion, and have enjoyed wearing them with everything from jeans to Japanese Hakama.

Kristyan Sarkis. Award winning type designer, Amsterdam. Second person to wear Maku

Before my first pair of Makus, I had never worn sandals because I didn’t find them comfortable or good looking. And today, I use my Makus for everything: walking, biking, hiking, etc. What’s funny, is that when I used to wear ‘high tech’ shoes, my feet would get tired only after a few hours. With my Makus I can walk all day and my feet still feel fresh.

Romy Assouad. Entrepreneur & Dancer, Beirut. 22nd person to wear Maku

On a trip to Brazil, after a long day of walking, when all my friends were complaining about their feet hurting, my feet still felt fresh and free. I was surprised by how comfortable my Makus were, as opposed to the common feeling of tightness and hotness at the end of a long day.

Note: William is my nephew and living in the same building. And he didn’t make me a Maku to try out since 2009.

 

 

 

Saudis seek virtual freedoms denied in real life

Saudi at computer

When it comes to freedoms, human rights organisations will tell you Saudi Arabia doesn’t have the best track record. (No tracks whatsoever)

And perhaps because compared to elsewhere there is limited personal freedom, defiance across the region has gone digital.

In this part of the BBC’s special series Saudis on social we tell the stories of three anonymous accounts on Twitter which all tell of searching for virtual freedom in Saudi Arabia.

But what impact does this secret life have on those who live this way?

“Hussein” tells of what life is like for a religious minority in the kingdom.

You need to install Flash Player to play this content.

20-year-old “Youssef” tells of the perils of being a transsexual in Saudi Arabia.

You need to install Flash Player to play this content.

“Mazen” lost his eyesight when he was seven. Here he tells how online tools for the blind changed his world and gave him freedom of faith.

You need to install Flash Player to play this content.

To follow and join the conversation about life in Saudi Arabia, search for the hashtag #SaudisOnSocial.

Produced by Mai Noman and Hind Suleiman

Animations by Ashley Choukeir and illustrations by Hanane Kai, voiced up by actors.

Illustrated stories of women refugees from Syria

Pamela Hart posted

Stories and images of Syrian refugees from Concern Worldwide. Amazing illustrations.

Thank you Hanane Kai and Masha Hamilton.

Support Concern’s Syria Response: Donate Now.
In 2014, Concern traveled to northern Lebanon to hear the stories of Syrian women who fled their homes for…
concernusa.org

In 2014, Concern traveled to northern Lebanon to hear the stories of Syrian women who fled their homes for safety. While we conducted lengthy interviews, Lebanese artist Hanane Kai illustrated the harrowing tales of six women refugees currently receiving support from Concern.

According to the latest numbers from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 50.5 percent of refugees from Syria are women or girls. Like the men, they fled their homes under extreme pressure, having witnessed or experienced violence. Often,  they were responsible for small children, or even newborns.

The six women whose stories are below were ripped from stable families and full lives. Carrying little beyond their memories, they made unthinkably long and treacherous journeys for refuge that was neither promised nor certain.

Fedaa

Illustration of Feeda by Hanane Kai.

Fedaa is a divorced artist and mother of two girls.

While most refugees arrived in Lebanon with nothing save the clothes on her back, she brought a number of her drawings and diaries, as well as an empty package of Kent cigarettes. The pack had belonged to her brother, Mustafa.

The two were extremely close from childhood on. Together, they chased chickens and played games, and later he later taught her to smoke. He was part of a group that rescued people from buildings bombed by the regime.

He was killed in a mortar attack. She’s never been able to visit his graveside, as it is located in an area that was too dangerous for her to visit. She showed visitors the cigarette pack and said she continues to imagine he will appear one day at her door.

Amina

Illustration by Hanane Kai.

Amina had just given birth by C-section a few days earlier when it was announced from the village mosque that everyone should flee immediately because the village, thought to be a center for “rebels,” would be bombed.

Most of the men had already fled to avoid arrest. Amina watched the women trudging into the hills with their children, but she didn’t know how she could make the trip with disabled Taghrid, a newborn, and four other small ones. She began to hit herself, telling herself to think harder.

Then she realized, she had to save who she could. She had to leave Taghrid behind. She pulled her baby into her chest, told the four others to follow close, and said goodbye to Taghrid. She began to leave. And then she realized she couldn’t. She returned home, carried Taghrid onto the lawn that had once been a place of childhood games, and sank down to cry, sure she and her children would die that night.

Luckily the village was not bombed overnight, and the next morning, her brother arrived to help the family escape.

Farah

Illustration of Farah by Hanane Kai.

Farah’s husband had already fled to Lebanon but she didn’t want to leave Syria; she loved her homeland and didn’t want to be a refugee.

However, after she argued with a soldier who shot one of her cows, soldiers began routinely entering her home, turning over furniture, throwing dishes on the floor and generally harassing her. Finally, her daughter, so frozen by fear, stopped speaking at all, so she decided to make the trip.

She came from a well-to-do background; she set out at 4 a.m. one morning in low heels and a nice dress, her daughter clinging to her back and her son at her side. She didn’t realize she would have to walk all the way. She didn’t get to Lebanon until 25 hours later. She was exhausted, her shoes long gone, her dress in shreds.

Her daughter spoke her first words in a week on the trip; when they saw a soldier, the girl said, “If you are going to shoot my mama, shoot me.”

Alaa

Illustration of Alaa by Hanane Kai.

After her village began to be bombed, Alaa’s husband and the other men decided to dig caves into the mountains and move their families there: forty women and children per cave, spending most of their hours within its confines.

Even the children bit back the impulse to play in the fresh air — especially when they heard planes overhead. Her kids — all the kids, in fact — began talking about nothing save weapons and war. They screamed and threw themselves onto the ground at the mere sound of an airplane.

At first, the men brought their families cracked wheat and water for sustenance, but then the food began to run out. Alaa and her children began to eat grass to survive.

Eventually they sold everything they had and raised the $2,000 needed to pay their way across the border.

Fadwa

Illustration of Fadwa by Hanane Kai.

Fawda, born crippled, lost her leg to gangrene as a schoolgirl. But her parents taught her to never to feel sorry for herself. She never imagined she would marry so she made sure she was well educated and got a good job.

Then she did meet someone at her cousin’s wedding. They talked by Internet for a couple years as good friends, and he proposed. Now she has two children.

She decided she had to have the strength to leave Syria, leaving her beloved parents behind, after her home was shelled; her daughter’s room was hit but the girl was fine. She stressed that being disabled—like being a refugee—is more a state of mind than a physical state.

Asia

Illustration of Asia by Hanane Kai.

Asia and her husband ran a market from home, and Asia was a guiding light in her community on issues of childcare and cooking. One Friday in March, with two feet of snow on the ground, Asia was boiling ten gallons of milk to make yogurt when a loudspeaker warned villagers they would be shelled before two hours had passed.

“We didn’t even lock our front door,” Asia said. “We ran out within 15 minutes. People were like ants, walking in the snow.” That night, the family slept in a mosque about seven miles away —but not far enough to be out of the range of the shelling, which they heard.

After the fourth night in the mosque, she decided to go look once more at their home, though they’d been warned more shelling was likely. It was a difficult visit. Theirs had been a two-story home, spacious and comfortable. Now nearly everything stood destroyed.

The only item she found intact was a wall clock that a relative had given them as a wedding gift years—a lifetime—earlier. She tucked it under her arm, never looking back. Now it hangs in her refugee shelter.

*Names have been changed for the safety of those interviewed. 


adonis49

adonis49

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May 2020
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