Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Mohammad Khatib

TEDxRamallah Event in Beirut, part 3

In the previous two articles, I talked of the speakers Fadi Ghandour, Huwaida Arraf, Steve Sosebee, Julia Basha, Sheerin Al Araj, Laila Atshan, Alice Walker, and Wael Attili of the Kharabeesh enterprise.  The third part will discuss many of the remaining speakers.

The first session hosted Raja Shehadeh, Gisel Kordestani, Mohammad Khatib, Fadi Ghandour, and Huwaida Arraf.

Mohammad Khatib is a young entrepreneur that was hired by Google to join the team in Silicon Valley after developing Bazinga! a start-up catalyst and a tech hub in Ramallah. The application records and plays back the freedom slogans during the Egyptian peaceful revolution. Mohammad Khatib doesn’t tell us what his mother told him for him to advise the younger generation: “Don’t listen to your mom“.  Maybe his mom was urging him not to leave to the USA?

Raja Shehadeh is founder of Al Haq (law in the service of human rights) in the West Bank. Al Haq is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists that monitors, documents, and issue reports on human rights violations in Israel and Palestine. Raja Shehadeh wrote “The Third Way: A Journal of life in the West Bank and occupiers’ laws. Strangers in the house” and “Palestinian Walks (2008)“.  His latest book is “A Rift in time, travels with my Ottoman Uncle”

The second session hosted Amal Shehabi. Sam Bahour, Steve Sosebee, Mohammad al Dahshan, the Palestinian singer Rim Al Banna, Julia Basha (Director of the award winning movie Budrus), and Munir Fasheh.

Amal Shehabi had a harsh life in the Palestinian camp of Ain Helweh in Saida (Lebanon).  When the Israeli forces invaded Lebanon in 1982, she was taken prisoner at the age of 15 and experienced the brutality and confinement of prison: She was denied to see the sun light…She received a health-care diploma from the UNRWA Siblin training center and worked as supervisor to Palestinian woman’s organization from 1985 to 2008.

The son of Amal Shehabi suffered severe bullet head injuries and was handicapped; Amal care for him everyday and encouraged her son to become an Olympic champion in wide jump. Amal Shehabi has told her detaintion story in the documentary “Kingdom of Women” of Danah Abu Rahmeh.

The speaker Muneer Fasheh is a mathematician born in Jerusalem in 1941.  His family was expelled to Ramallah in 1948 by the nascent Israeli State.  Muneer said that we have to respect other kinds of knowledge not based on official institutions diplomas.  For example, his illiterate mother, who could not even handle numbers, was an excellent seamstress for years:  No PhD degree in any disciplines may position you to sew even a shirt.

(Apparently, institutional education is mostly politically motivated to limit the better job opportunities to the most fortunate citizens in any obvious or latent apartheid system).  Lack of schooling institutions for all is a major handicap for acceding to equal job opportunity rights.

In 1997, Muneer established the Arab Education Forum within Harvard University Center for Middle-Eastern Studies.  His fresh idea is to institute a college “Home of wisdom” in one of the Palestinian universities.

The third session welcomed Abdelrahman Katanany (the zinko artworks), the Lebanese-based Palestinian rap group Katibe 5, Alessandro Petti, Saleh Jawad, Sheerin Al Araj, and the blind psychologist Laila Atshan.

Suad Amiry is a funny architect and the founder of RIWAQ: The Center for Architectural Conservation dedicated to restoring and preserving Palestinian buildings. Her parents had to leave Jaffa in 1948 as refugees in Amman.  On her first hour at the university in Lebanon, professor Khoury let a sand clock finish the hour before saying: “Is this hour too long for you? Consider that you will spend one million of such an hour during your career.  If you are pressured to engage in architecture against your will, now is the time to decide.”  Many students never returned.

During the 40-day curfew and 10-month siege of Ramallah by Ariel Sharon, Suad Amiry had to take in her demanding mother-in-law.  As Suad is writing her diary at 4 am her mother-in-law would bug her to come out and prepare breakfast.  Thus, “Sharon and my mother-in-law: Ramallah Diary ” was born.  At the age of 55, Suad started a new career of writer.

The fourth session hosted Wael Attili (the Kharabeesh enterprise based in Amman), Khaled Seb3awi, the Mexican/US rap singer Mark Gonzales, Alice Walker, Suad Amiry, and the group of bagpipe players of Guirab. The session ended with the Fayha group of 40 young singers singing three beautiful songs and led by maestro Barkev Taslakian.

Khaled Seb3awi is a Canadian/Palestinian Computer Engineer and the first certified Geothermal Engineer in the Middle-East. He installed the first geothermal system in the West Bank and is the founder of MENA Geothermal.  This system takes advantage of the steady temperature on the ground at 17 degrees and infuse water in underground canalization to heat the homes in winter and cool them in summertime, thus, saving 70% on the energy bill.

Khaled Seb3awi invention cut down the return on investment geothermal systems from 12 to 6 years.

He had hard time with the Jordanian government before he secured the project of the 1.6MW for the University of Madaba:  He had to deal with a dozen ministries for the review and approval process.

Session One: TEDx Ramallah in Beirut (Sunflower theater)

TEDxRamallah was held in Betlehem (Beit Lahm) in the Palestinian occupied West Bank and many participated live from Beirut (Sunflower theater) and Amman (Jordan).  Many speakers were refused visa entry by the Israeli authorities, and most of the speakers had hard time reaching destination, traveling to many airports and cities, waiting in many Israeli check points before reaching Bethlehem.  For example, the US author Alice Walker (The Color Purple) had hard time crossing the Allenby Bridge.

The Israelis submitted her to four hours of silly questioning, just one of Israel harassment tactics.  The Israeli soldier had never heard of Alice or read any of her books or seen the Color Purple.  By the by, the computer search revealed information on Alice; Alice was confronted with one of her pronouncement that she will never visit Israel as long as Palestinians are under occupation.  Alice retorted: “Am I in Israel?  I am invited to Bethlehem among Palestinians.”  Alice recollected that in 1967 she asked one American politician: “Obviously, Israel will withdraw from the recent occupied lands in Sinai and the Golan Heights.” The answer was: “Israel needs all these lands”.  Alice knows that all these check points, barriers, Wall of Shame separating the West Bank from Israel proper, and apartheid policies are not sustainable and will be removed by force of the indignant Palestinians.

I attended the event in Beirut that officially started at 10 am to the end at around 8pm.  In addition to speakers, we watched performances by singles and group singers and musicians.  A large panel was exhibiting constant streams of comments arriving from over 40 cities around the world.  Food were served during the two breaks and at lunchtime around 2pm and the quantities were generous:  The event was well managed and the organizers were dedicated young entrepreneurs.

All the talks are in video on the internet.  My contribution is to extending essential summaries of the speeches so that readers may have opportunity to selecting whom and which video they want to listen to.

The Palestinian organizers are Ramzi Jaber (25 years old) and Jamil Abu Wardeh…; in Lebanon we have Joumana Jabiri and Zena Tahhan…Huwaida Arraf gave a talk and was one of the presenters.

Huwaida Arraf was under great emotional pressures because one of her best friend and activist colleague, the Italian Vittorion Arrigoni, was kidnapped and shot in Gaza the day before.  Vittorio Arrigoni refused to leave the occupied Palestinian lands since 2002 and participated in the demonstrations and peaceful activities everywhere villages needed his presence.  He was ill lately and suffered from kidney stone and was about ready to leave to Italy for health treatments. Huwaida had lost another friend activist a month ago, the assassinated young movie director Juliano Khamis.

Huwaida was born in the US and graduated a lawyer and settled in the West Bank during the first Intifada around 1990 and never left Palestine since then; Huwaida’s mother called her from Ohio asking her to return home.  Huwaidda replied: “But mother I am at home”.  Huwaida’s husband Adam Shapiro is denied entry to Israel and is living in Lebanon.

Huwaida started International Solidarity with the Palestinians and over 4,000 foreign activists have joined her peaceful struggle against Israel ignominies such as building the Wall of Shame, demolishing Palestinian private houses, rooting out ancient olive trees for colony expansions, opening newer highways to circumventing Palestinian villages, and overrunning Palestinian camps in Jenine, Jabaliya…Huwaida Arraf is currently the Chairperson of the Free Gaza Movement and has led 5 successful sea voyages to the Gaza Strip: She was on the flotilla that was savagely attacked by Israeli troops that killed a dozen peaceful Turkish activists.

In the first session we lacked focus on the speakers, but things improved after the first break.  The first session hosted Raja Shehadeh, Gisel Kordestani, Mohammad Khatib, Fadi Ghandour, and Huwaida Arraf.

The second session hosted Amal Shehabi. Sam Bahour, Steve Sosebee, Mohammad al Dahshan, the Palestinian singer Rim Al Banna, Julia Basha (Director of the award winning movie Budrus), and Munir Fasheh.

The third session welcomed  Abdelrahman Katanany (the zinko artworks), the Lebanese-based Palestinian rap group Katibe 5,  Alessandro Petti, Saleh Jawad, Sheerin Al Araj, and the blind psychologist Laila Atshan.

The fourth session hosted Wael Attili (the Kharabeesh enterprise based in Amman), Khaled Sab3awi, the Mexican/US rap singer Mark Gonzales, Alice Walker, Suad Amiry, and the group of bagpipe players of Guirab.  The session ended with the Fayha group of 40 young singers singing three beautiful songs and led by maestro Barkev Taslakian.

Part two of this series will cover in some details the content of the talks.  See you soon.

William and Hanane gave me ride to the event.  We were supposed to leave at 8:15 but we started off at 9:30.  By 9 am I thought that William had forgotten to go.  As I arrived, my name was not listed as my application was approved.  It didn’t matter, the beautiful girl with blue eyes stamped a red X on my right hand.

During the first break, I had no idea the small breakfast buffet was served outside.  I had a small mankoush and a small cup of milk, five minutes before the second session.  At lunch, I used to sneak out one sandwich at a time, while people were waiting in line to fill their plastic plate.  I was very surprised that another buffet was waiting for us at the second break, and we had sweet “maacroun”.

When the official TEDx event was over around 7pm, we had a surprise.  While listening to a speaker, a large bunch of young people sneaked in.  I thought student s from around the corner came in by order of a dedicated teacher.  This group of about 40 began a song while sitting among us; they ended up on stage and sang two other songs.

I waited for William outside, knowing that he had to hurry in order to cover the launching of a CD at a restaurant.  I waited for 20 minutes and wondered whether William left without me.  I returned and looked for William or Hanane and could not locate them anywhere.  I waited another 15 minutes thinking that pretty soon they will miss their silent passenger and make a U turn to retrieve me.  Patricia was going out and she confirmed that William is still here, meeting with someone in a corner downstairs.

We were the last persons leaving the theater and I met Joumana Jabiri and Zeina Tahhane.  Zeina claimed that she ate nothing for the day:  I have to check on Zeina reliable claim on her eating habit. I also met with Joumana parents who are originally from Aleppo.  It was way after 10:30 when we arrived home.  I felt tired even though I didn’t work in the garden today:  Most probably, I missed my nap but I focused pretty well during the entire event.

Note 1:  A TEDx Lebanon is in the planning for this September 2011.  Among the organizers are Patricia Zogheib and William Choukeir…

Note 2:  Palvoices.wordpress.com of DevlnetMedia/Hibr.me worked with a group of 10 Palestinian young media students to covering the event in Beirut.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2021
M T W T F S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,462,375 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 803 other followers

%d bloggers like this: