This body is an ocean with violent currents.
I am a split sea fighting to break the surface. My breath once traveled steady—my heart is now skipping rocks across the Atlantic. Trained in the art of blood letting, my veins are laced with the cracks of a pink sun and red waters.
I stand tangled in the seaweed stretchmarks patched across my skin. My hair is clinging to the bruises across my neck and the pale sand of my skin. Off shore, I see three women in a boat rocking gently in what is the calm before the storm.
Their eyes are roaming again.
Arab women, the lively ones at least, are seasoned chefs in the practice of courtesy. They are known for their biting wit and curt tongue. Their words are chaste and paralyzing, a grand variance to the melodious slip of the tongue that is Arabi. They roam their teeth on the cutting edge of an insult. A message to all who dare approach: take caution and be wary. They will eat you with a bowl of shame and pita bread. I am well versed in their culinary precision: I have attended every tasting, witnessed every spoon fed compliment and suffered in the wake of a first degree burn.
My aunts are these women.
They evaluate from the distance and this is what they see. They take me in—wide bust and staggering hips, a waist serving more as a column on a daunting and nervous foundation.
I am an ocean, large and imprecise. They say there are depths to me no man, or woman or relative will ever dare to approach.
The ocean is no longer in my name.
There is a warship occupying in the distance. My shores have been infiltrated and singed, this spirit uprooted. I am sitting on the clearing and I watch the waters become shallow. The ocean is now a fishbowl, and I sink like a pebble who mistook herself for a pearl.
Salt water is burning in my lungs. I am no longer pure with fresh water clarity. The war is salinizing my chest, spilling into my ribs.
A storm is approaching, big black clouds, coiling like my hair, against a muddy sky. Tears are trickling down my eyes and the boat is growing closer. The women’s voices rise above the crash of the waves that grow below my eyelids.
In Sudan, a woman’s body is her temple.
I have watched the women in my family groom for days on ends. Tricks to lighten skin and soften hair are exchanged in the glow of a setting African sun. Like their body fat percentage, their tolerance or respect for those who do not look like them are low.
I stand in front of a mirror with my hair curling in all directions. My arms are like seaweed tangled up in murky waters as I sift through the strands with a comb, trying to make sense of the situation at hand. My aunt walks past and allows her eyes to glance at my waist before stopping.
“You know,” she says in her soft, raspy Arabic, “you aren’t all that fat, really. If you hadn’t inherited your breasts and that butt of yours from your father’s side of the family, your body would be quite beautiful.”
I smiled thinly. She smiled one last time before walking off to attend to her own children and left me for the ocean, allowing it to suck me in and observe my surroundings from below the surface.
The storm is raging.
The ocean swirls violently and the clouds are trembling. I sit quietly in the eye of the hurricane, watching the three women fall under. They are bobbing like random buoys and the boat is upturned, breaking under pressure. Lightning cracks above their heads and their screams are drowned out by the sound of thunder.
I see silent prayers pass from between their lips and contemplate whether silencing them is truly worth it. The storm is full of conflict and I do not see a solution in the clearing or beyond the horizon. I close my eyes and find only darkness and more tears to fuel the storm clouds.
But then there is light. I see rays break across the waters and fragment the waves. The sun peeks behind my back and I welcome it’s warmth.
The women are lying on the shore fighting to catch their breath. The waters are growing calm and the clouds are clearing. I sit in the palm of the beach and breathe in the sea air.
Their eyes are roaming. I blink once at their confused expressions and stand.
The ocean calls my name and with one step into the shallow waters, I answer.
A Palestinian medic is overwhelmed by emotion as he takes a break treating wounded people by Israeli strikes, at the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya on July 19, 2014. According to the hospital, there were more than 35 wounded Palestinians from different Israeli strikes that arrived at the hospital Saturday — five with serious wounds, and three were dead on arrival. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)
#SORRY -Short Film [x]
The world stands with Palestine.
Aiya Van Kooten everyone
When Aiya Van Kooten stood face-to-face with a burglar in her bedroom, her left eye twitched, then she went into “predator mode”.
“I screamed at him… jumped off my chair, leaped over my bed and sprinted after him down the stairs,” she said.
This is the best story of my life
“Although she was the only one home, Van Kooten said she had no regard for her safety - instead, she said she was just overwhelmed with “rage“….. ummmmm Hero!!!
Haha, badass Muslim woman. Love it!!!
This lady is so awesome. She lives with her grandma and was studying and had a towel on her head and no shoes but she chased them out of her garden, kicked one up the arse as he climbed a fence, they dropped a camera and laptop, she flagged down a passing driver to help her continue the pursuit, and it turned out he was ex-military, and they finally caught one of them in a park and pinned him as the police arrived. Now she’s going to visit the burglar in prison for the next few months to help with his rehabilitation.
So in summary:
This lady doesn’t just defend her home and loved ones, she will hunt you down, team up with other skilled individuals, get you put away, and then teach you the consequences of your actions until you’re a valuable member of society once more.
Seriously she’s a frigging superhero.