Photo Courtesy: ‘Soul of Palestine’ on Facebook/Instagram

Whenever the sun sets and the thoughts set in, I ration my emotions into four

like the long-awaited hours of electricity.

180 megawatts of madness,



and frustration.


Sweat trickles down my back like the weak, slow drops of water from our shower. It reminds me of the last time I had a good bath. Proper bath. Clean bath. It was in a dream I had at 13 years old after hearing one of the American journalists who had come to our school answer curious Maryam’s question on whether they REALLY have electricity and water 24/7 in America.

All the light switches around the house are on as we wait for thee moment of truth. The moment we press ‘continue’ on our paused lives.

In my room, I sit and wait. Sit and wait. Sit and wait.

Half asleep. Half weighing my will to live.

And before my eyes adjust to the new light, a young boy shouts across the street in joy, “It is LIT! OUR HOUSE IS LIT! Is it lit at your home?!” Another happy voice shouts back, “IT IS!”

In less than a minute, the water pump is on.  

The oven is on.

The fridge is on.

The blender is on.

I put all the phones and laptop at their respective chargers.

My brother irons his school clothes.

My baby sister rushes to complete her university project.

Abu Eyad, my neighbour with an amputated leg, calls out to his son to charge his electric scooter after being stuck at home for an entire day.

I think of Sameera’s mother at the hospital who’s been waiting for electricity to get dialysis.

The entire street is busy. This is the only time we are over-joyed at any kind of commotion. This is the only time we don’t really mind the madness.


My mother tells me of her brother who left home and never returned.

And of her uncle who returned and found no one left.

I imagine I will be martyred before I turn 30 because only the lucky live this long.  

At night, we huddle together in the darkness of the night; the shahada on our tongues and hijabs on our heads. Airstrikes showering the clouds, our emergency bags close to the door.

Rahaf’s smile still haunts me; delicate like her name, bright like the future she deserved. She was the kid next door until she wasn’t.

She really loved her hair; long like the history of Palestine, beautiful, like its people. Sometimes, she comes to my dreams the same way she came to me to comb her hair the morning of her death.

Who knew that her school was going to be her war field?


My other neighbour’s son, Shaker, has a daily morning routine to get angry at something, anything or everything at once and shout: “What kind of life is this?!”

And his mother, in a helpless state to make anything better for him, would always respond:
“أفلا تكون عبداً شكورا؟”
(“Wouldn’t you be a grateful servant?”)

He would then walk away; his tiny fist still clenched, his eyes still weeping, and his heart still heavy.

Like many other Palestinian children, Shaker has become the embodiment of trauma; broken limbs and broken hearts.


After 2 years, 7 months, 11 days, and 696 minutes of waiting to get married to the love of her life, my cousin Ahlam arrived home from abroad to the news of the killing of her fiancé.

All dreams of 2 years, shattered within 2 seconds of utter brutality. In total silence, she stares at her red and silver wedding gown like the monument of her despair. In over 48 hours, her lips have not moved an inch.

I guess the Zionists have stolen her speech too.


Soon enough, darkness takes over, and the nakba that is our life continues.
Silence occupies the rubbles of our hearts and everything slows down.

Whenever the sun sets and the thoughts set in, I ration my emotions into four; plus one.


Sometimes I want to mourn;

For my father who was shot 5 times at the back of his head in front of my mother

For my best friend who was found under her demolished home three days after a bomb blast,

For my classmate whose entire family of 14 people has been wiped out of this earth and the registry

For the teenage boy that I saw get arrested with his entire face full of bruises from beatings

For the young man whose extremely beautiful and dream photography studio got bombed 2 days before the official opening

For the young boy running to say goodbye to his father’s dead body during his funeral while crying out, ‘may Allah make it easy for you baba.’

For all the Palestinians still carrying keys of their stolen, occupied houses

For the 1000s of olive trees burnt down to ashes

Sometimes I want to weep;

For the constant grieving of martyrs that has literally become part of our cultural traditions. Deeply saddened by the loss of innocent souls to the oppressors, yet happy for the shuhadaa who’ve been promised Jannah by our Lord, we sing:

“Oh mother of Muhammad! Oh mother of Muhammad! Indeed you are blessed. Indeed you are blessed! I wish it was my mother in your place. I wish it was my mother in your place!”

Sometimes I want to cry;

For all the shattered dreams and tattered souls

For the millions and millions of us displaced, distressed and dispossessed

I want to cry for all those who lost their lives

But then I remember the words of Mustafa’s widow:
“We sacrifice ourselves for Al Aqsa. We sacrifice ourselves for you Ya Allah. We accept your decree, Oh Allah so be pleased with us. Take from our blood and wealth, until you are pleased.” 

So I swallow a bitter lump, raise my head to the sky, and mutter: “Indeed, sufficient for us is Allah. Indeed, sufficient for us is none but Allah!”


Please take a minute:

اللهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ أَحْوَالَ الفلسطينيين ، اللهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ أَحْوَالَ المُسْلِمِِينَ فِي فِلِسطِينَ وفي كُلِّ مَكَانٍ، يَا ذَا الجَلالِ وَالإِكْرِامِ

Allahumma aslih ahwaalal-filisteeniyin, Allahumma aslih ahwaalal-muslimeena fi filisteena wa fi kulli makaanin ya dhul-jalali wal-ikraam.

O Allah! Rectify the affairs of the Palestinians. O Allah! Rectify the affairs of the Muslims in Palestine and in every place, O Lord of Majesty and Bounty.

اللهُمَّ إِنَّهُمْ مَغْلُوبُونَ فَانْتَصِرْ لَهُمْ

Allahumma innahum maghloobuna fantasir lahum.

O Allah! They are helpless, so help them.

رَبَّنَا أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْهِمْ صَبْراً وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ وَانْصُرْهُمْ عَلَى القَوْمِ الكَافِرِينَ

Rabbana afrigh ‘alayhim sabran wa thabbit aqdamahum wansurhum ‘alal-qawmil- kafireen.

Our Lord! Pour upon them patience, make them steadfast, and grant them victory over the Disbelivers.

اللهُمَّ مَكِّرْ لَهُمْ، وَاكْفِهِمْ بِمَا شِئْتَ إِنْ تَنْصُرْهُمْ فَلا غَالِبَ لَهُمْ، وَإِنْتَخْذُلْهُمْ فَمَنْ ذَا الَّذي يَنْصُرهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِكَ

Allahumma makkir lahum, wakfihim bimaa shi’t. In tansurhum falaa ghaliba lahum, wa in takhdhulhum fa man dhal-ladh’ yansurhum min ba’dika.

O Allah! Plot for them, and suffice them with what You please, if You support them then nobody can overpower them, and if You forsake them, then who will be able to support them after You?

لا إِلاَ إِلا اللهُ العَظيمُ الحَليم، لا إِلهَ إِلا اللهُ رَبَّ العَرْشِ العَظِيمِ، لاإلهَ إِلا اللهُ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَتِ وَرَبُّ الأَرْضِ وَرَبُّ العَرْشِ الكَرِيمِ

La ilaha illAllahul adhimul-haleem. La ilaha illAllahu, rabbul-arshil- adheem. La ilaha illAllahu rabbus-samawaati wa rabbul-ardi wa rabbul-arshil- kareem.

There is no God but Allah, the Mighty the Forbearing, there is no God but Allah, Lord of the Mighty Throne, There is no God but Allah, Lord of the Heavens and Lord of the Earth and Lord of the Noble Throne

اللهُمَّ مََنْ أَرادَنَا وَبِلادَنَا وَالمُسْلِمِينَ بِسُوءٍ فَأَشْغِلْهُ فِي نَفْسِهِ، وَاجْعَلْ كَيْدَهُ فِي نَحْرِهِ، وَاجْعَلْ تَدْبِيرَهُ تَدْمِيرَه

Allahumma man aradana wa biladina bi su’in fash-ghilhu fi nafsih, waj’al kaydahu fi nahrih, waj’al tadbirahu tadmeerah.

O Allah! Whoever wants to harm us and our lands and the Muslims, then keep them busy with their own troubles, and return their plots to their own necks, and make their plans the cause of their own destruction.

Ameen thumma Ameen.

Please never stop praying for the Palestinians and for all other countries that are facing war, oppression, and injustices. May Allah save them all, ameen.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.amsvans.com/

Sometimes I wish I could be a drama queen.You know like,’You are going to listen to me. Whether you like it or not!’ and just make noise till I get what I want. This has been my thought since morning today. I decided to wake up and do something once again after I had given up on all the newspaper houses I knew of. Well life is all about trying again and again,isn’t it?

I rushed into town with a very well plotted plan on how I was going to go into Nation media and approach the receptionist as confident as ever. I would look into her eyes with such a burn that she would get scared that I am just from murdering someone.I would ask for the editor and of course she would tell me he/she is not around. She would ask me what I need from the editor and that I can leave a message. I would lean forward and tell her in a deadly whisper,’I have a hot story worth your headlines. You better not let me go away from here because I am going to sell this story to the Standard and YOU (pointing at her) will be fired for letting a person like me not meet the editor. You are going to bite your fingers with regret and your editor will hit your head to the wall for making the paper go through such a loss. No other media house will take you in because everyone would have known how you let a story worth millions go to the competitor. Woman,you are going to be miserable forever.’ I would then walk away confidently and she would quickly pick her phone behind my back and whisper something before calling me out loud. I would turn as innocently as ever and ask,’are you calling me?’ and she would quickly nod before apologizing,’Sorry, the editor asks us to not let people in. They should just leave their message here.’
‘But I am not people did you notice that?’
‘Yes I did. Sorry once again. You can go in. His office is over there.’ She would say so apologetically as she shows me the way.
I would walk confidently into the office and give the editor an enigmatic smile.
‘I was informed you have a hot story. So i’m all ears.’ He would say after the greeting.
I would sit upright and cross my legs.
‘You are very lucky I choose Nation and if you are curious to know why then let not the suspense kill you. Do you remember ‘the falling star’ fiction story published 10 years back? I was just 12 years then but your paper declared me among the youngest best writers. Do you remember? Perhaps you don’t but I very well do. Let me show you (and I would hand him the well laminated piece of newspaper),this is why and how I’ve always considered myself one of you. When you declared me among the best writers, you gave me hope and this is when my writing journey started. This is when I decided i’ll be a writer for the rest of my life. So how dare you decide that i’m not worthy your newspaper now without even having a look at my CV? How dare you shatter my dream and of many other writers by letting secretaries deal with us instead of YOU deciding and listening to us and seeing our potential before declaring’THERE IS NO SPACE FOR ANYONE??! Please make me understand why things happen the way they do. Please make me understand why you let so many people give up just because of these boundaries? Someday I’m going to be the bestselling writer and I promise to remind you of all the CV’s I sent that ended to the secretary instead of the editor or HR’ *whispers ameen to that* Then I would courteously apologize for his time. The hot story was simply about the hundreds of talented writers who are never given the opportunities. I would leave my business card and my CV, just in case you know…he might still want the story…I’d say thank you and leave him as flabbergasted as never before. I wish it was as simple as writing it. See why I started with wishing I could be a drama queen? I would have spoken for so many other people who wish to do the same. But I am an activist by pen so this is what I can do best perhaps.

Well I was planning to make the editor as guilty as possible, ruin his ego and make him feel like the worst human being ever.Then after that I was going to go do the same at Standard,Nation, Star and all these newspapers I ever submitted my CV to and never got a response not even a humble one of,’We did receive your CV but unfortunately we don’t need a writer but we will surely consider it for the future.’ Isn’t there any etiquette left?

Well,being a drama queen was never going to get me a job or anyone but I needed to explode and when you have to,then make sure you do it at the right place;to the people who can change the course of things.

So when I finally got to Nation media house and as I adjusted my confident self,I got a face palm from the kind notice on the door,we have moved to opposite Pandya hospital.’ Aarrghh, my bubble burst right then. All that planning?! I console myself,’Everything happens for a reason. Everything happens for some goodness.’I look ahead and see Coast Weekly. Let me try over there.

I go to Coast Weekly and the personal secretary to the editor explains to me that the editor is not around and that she has to deal with me first before sending me forward to the editor. I was heartbroken once again.Why do editors keep these barriers always? Why do they let secretaries decide and filter whom is worthy being listened to?I saw it in ALL offices I went to and I ended up believing that to get a job especially in media industry you need to have strong connections in the hierarchy somewhere so that they can fix you the job. I do understand that secretaries are important and that without them we would have mediocre people and jokers storming in to the editor for silly issues but haven’t people seen that so much talent keeps being kicked off? What if,just what if,this person you sent away without listening to may be the light in your dark tunnel? Just what if they push your company to grow?

Anyway,I decided I had learnt from experience and said firmly I was only going to talk to the editor and no one else. I wanted my privacy I insisted but this lady explained that these are rules for the organization and had to be followed. I understood,it is like that always.Everywhere.RULES and boundaries. She offered to help and so I spoke to her. I was really pissed then. Pissed at how editors are acting like mini gods. Even God Himself doesn’t keep such boundaries!! The lady then recognized me from when I used to write for Coast This Week and praised my work. Now that she knew am talking from experience, I told her of how secretaries keep making decisions on behalf of their bosses and she said she understood me and that in their office, all that is received is open to all the key leaders in the organization. This kind lady tried to console me before asking for my contacts, just in case you know…I calmed down a bit and left the office.

Many thoughts been clouding my thoughts since then. You talk to people about these problems and they just sympathize. But we don’t really need the pity! We; writers have worked hard,got our good certificates,have the talent required yet why do we people have to treat us like orphaned children who have nowhere to go yet we have oceans of wisdom to offer? I know this happens to many other people as well in other sectors where you have to force a connection with a superior to make it through. Do our CV’s even get past the secretary or the editor just asks’what is that? A job application? Just put it on my desk’ and it rots there forever. Or is it thrown in the dustbin? Are the emails even read after we get the automated responses? It’s really annoying and sad.

I’ve always wanted to become an editor and the more I meet these boundaries so I don’t get to talk to the editors or HR managers, the more I want to become one. I hope this dream comes true someday because I will employ these writers who have nowhere else to take their work. I will make space for them even if there is none.I will give chances to these very talented people whose work is just getting old in the yellowing books. I will look beyond the certificates because I very well know of degree holders who have zero zeal while there are some local writers with so much passion that when kept on the great wall of China,it would explode from it’s weight.. I will not let any secretary or anyone decide on my behalf whether they are worth the job or not. I will listen to them myself and help if I can. I will pay them well and not peanuts like they always get. I will give them the utmost respect because these people;these writers are the people who are making a difference,they are the people who can awaken humanity.Yes, I am going to be the best editor that ever existed. You good people keep praying for me;someday by God’s will we will all be working together and we will make the best team in the world! Ameen!