A Silent North African Bride, Staring Into a Corner

It was a quiet afternoon, I was sitting with my sister and my mother in our living room. I felt frustrated about the women’s situation in the whole MENA region. This week something sorrowful happened in my town that left all families in an overwhelming grief. There was a woman in our town that had a small fight with her husband, so she decided to stay in her father’s house until  her husband comes to ask for forgiveness and to get her back to their marriage house. A tradition that is highly applied by most of Algerian women once they get into any fight with their husbands. And yes, after a few days, her husband came asking for his wife back. However the father refused that she returns to him and he threatened to kill him if he approaches her knowing that they both are still married. The husband insisted that his wife goes with him. He returned again to his step-father’s house with his own father this time insisting on the man to allow his daughter to leave. Her father entered the house and brought a gun. He shot both of the husband and his father. The woman ran away. The neighborhood was a mess. This man’s stubbornness sucked out the life from two families and made his own a huge mess.

The saddest thing about this whole thing, is that, no one asked the poor woman what she wanted. Did she want to return to her husband? Was she seeking for a divorce? Or did she only want a small break from this whole marriage thing? Nobody bothered to ask. Just like robots, women over here are programmed on these traditions. Applying them without the need to debate. It is a shame and a disrespect to argue over a tradition. It is not acceptable to say no to the elders, and mostly unforgivable to say no to the men ruling the house. They get to decide.

I know that this is not the case for all women here, but I keep hearing and seeing these domestic violence acts everywhere around me, every single day, and it just saddens me that they keep repeating themselves.

I wanted to remain strong in front of my mother because she had to go through a lot, after losing her beloved sister – my aunt- that was murdered by her  oppressive husband more than twenty years ago. Due to his wrongful doubts thinking that she was cheating on him. My aunt wasn’t even allowed to leave the house nor to visit her own family. The lady was locked in the house, no way to cheat on this man. Eventually, and fearlessly without having any second thoughts he murdered the woman. This is a past story, I never met my aunt but how everyone speaks about her makes her alive in everyone’s heart in our family.

My mother saw the frustration in my eyes. She looked at me, laughed and said:

-You know Ikram back when I was a kid, I remember going to weddings with your grandmother. The wedding starts early in the morning and ends late in the afternoon. For this whole period, you would see a woman wearing a long white scarf facing the corner of the living room as she sits on the floor. Can you guess who is that?

-I have no clue! Who is she?

– Sweety that’s the bride. Back then, the bride was forced by the traditions to remain silent, and not turn her head and look at the guests, that would be very shameful! Illustration of the algerian bride back then

-But why!!!

-Too simly because she is the bride.

-That is so oppressive mother! She couldn’t even enjoy her own wedding!

-I know. My generation seemed to be more liberal – she said sarcastically- we refused to apply this kind of traditions, and decided to go by our owns. You see darling, this tradition vanished. Today, the bride doesn’t remain silent, especially in algerian weddings, you would confuse if it’s a bride or a model.

We were more rebel, we used to make others listen to our opinions, we demonstrated what we hated, what we wanted. We refused to remain silent as those brides. I want you to keep in mind that even-though you were born in a different body than the male’s one, this shouldn’t make you feel less equal to them. Never let anyone decide in your place, never fall in love with an oppressive man. Save your life, save your dreams from these kind of sick people that suck the life out of women. Women will not be oppressed forever only if they decide to stand up for themselves and start speaking for what they really want. And most importantly, the women’s situation will be better when women stop endowing themselves to oppressive men. I would be a shamed to know one day that my daughter is a silent bride staring into a corner.

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7 Annoying, funny things about Arabs

Dear readers,

So wearing a Hijab and being Muslim doesn’t necessary mean that, that person is Arab…

For example me, I am originally Amazigh but my mother is Arab so … A
nd I was born in Arab area that made me be more Arab than Amazigh

So I thought today about posting something entirely different from my other posts about the most annoying and funny things about Arab people… 152

  1. GOLD, GOLD, it’s all about the GOLD: so basically most of Arabic women LOVE wearing gold, and it must be YELLOW GOLD, when she gets married she needs to buy a bracelet, a new necklace, new earrings ….etc whatever she can get, wearing gold is a part of our rich culture, it will be very shameful for the family of the woman has no gold on her wedding, and she must wear about 10 earrings, 10 rings, in her feet, on her forehead ” Jbeen” and a GOLDEN BELT on her wrist !!!  like seriously!!! Cleopatra should be Arab … was she even wearing any?!
  2. Cousins: Sometimes you find yourself invited to a wedding of someone you never knew in your whole life, you actually meet that person for the first time ever in there wedding, you didn’t even know that that person was your COUSIN !!! shutterstock_294153923-1024x753
  3. Bread: If you’re trying to set a table for Arabs, and it has no bread, just forget it nobody will like to eat the food no matter what you’re trying to serve them. Arabs like to eat everything with bread, fish with bread, meat with bread, pasta with bread, soups with bread, soda with bread ( secretly I saw a video that some Arab people even eat patisseries with bread)
  4. EL 3EEN”: or we can say evil eye, if someone asks you how much money you earn you don’t answer them, you just say ” as much as god decided for me and you add Mashalla ( by god’s willing)”, you never tell the real deal, otherwise someone will give you the 3een and you might fall down, or get kicked out of your work, this 3een is like a laser that goes directly toward your body and kick you to your knees, sometimes even you can give the 3een to yourself if you’re not paying attention…lol
  5. I just woke up but still need to rest more: An Arab never ever wakes up on time, furthermore once he/she wakes up they will ask for a half an hour to rest more, once they do, they will need more 10 minutes to rest a little bit more, Arabs are always tired after having a rest… No one can deny it, it’s a genetic thing ….
  6. Holidays: Arab governments are mostly Islamic states, but they are sort of sneaky and they decided that they want to benefit from Christian holidays as well -to include the minorities uhm- as the Islamic ones, so basically have a weekened later , an international day of workers, a national day of martyrs, a semi national day for a country in the borders, spring holiday, more national holidays, international ones …  And it’s mostly suggested not to work in Ramadan ….I just love my country 
  7. Sweetness Overload: When an Arab is bei20160127-zcg75m1ng nice to you and supper friendly by complementing how you look saying: ” OMG you look so great today, what’s your beauty secret?” or ” Your hands are made of honey” – which means what you do with them food/courtier is wonderful- or ” Your hair is so soft what are you using for it?” Well here you have to trust me they really want something, expect that they will ask you to do something for them in the next upcoming days… That’s only if you sense that they’re too sweet than normal, we never give compliments easily!

But after all to me Arabs are the most compassionate people I have ever met, they get attached and they hold friendships and relationships more than any other folks.

I just love being half Arab, it’s beautiful, and I always feel a little homesick when I’m far away from my community for a while, because it’s hard to replace it. ( And you cannot compare any woman to Arab women’s beauty – sorry- ) lol

The list is big, this is all what I could think of for now, I will update it once I remember more stuffs …

Sincerely,

 

Ikram

Opportunity wait for me….

Dear readers, Opportunity-Next-Exit

It has been a few months since I had posted anything here.

I have been recently wandering about what I want to do with my summer, and during the upcoming school year; should I look for another job with a higher salary? should I travel to see a friend, or should I stay home this summer do nothing and just study for my prep tests? But I want an opportunity, I want some exchange program, abroad far away from where I live, I want to explore more places, meet new people… I applied last semester to a few stuffs and didn’t get accepted to them, should I give up on doing that? 

But hey, wait… I think I have been very lucky to get many opportunities last year, starting from human rights to training on leadership and entrepreneurship to facilitating sessions with important organizations internationally… I think I had many opportunities, that I might have never thought I will have.. but still I want to explore the horizon 

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However, it has made me a little anxious, and worried, until I figured out something, it’s us who create these opportunities, as Ann Landers once said : ” Opportunities are disguised as hard work that’s why so many people don’t recognize them”

And she was right, because opportunities are all over around us, they can be a school assignment, a final exam, or the smallest responsibility that is given for you to take… I think that when we don’t figure out what is the true meaning of something as in ” opportunity” we will be less able to enjoy our lives, or people around us.

We should be more grateful for the little things we have, appreciate the fact that we have them, they are an opportunity, if you have a loving husband it’s an opportunity, if you have  a loving parent that’s another one, if you find yourself in a school with zero issue that’s an opportunity, if you have food on your table that’s another one too. so by the end of the day it’s up to you and what you want to do with this opportunity, our time is limited, and we won’t have those forever, so decide well, love more, and focus on what you have, but that doesn’t mean to stop looking for what’s far from you, do it, fearlessly and with courage, but don’t neglect what is present there for you too…

 

Fearlessly with love

 

Ikram

A year of growing up …

Dear beloved readers,

 

It has been a very long time since I have ever posted anything.

When I started this blog I was a teenager, a teenager who had low self-esteem felt depressed at many times and didn’t know what to do with her life.

But the only thing that kept that teenager going is her knowing that god has something for her to do on this earth, she believed never lost hope despite anything that happened and pushed it forward, whether this thing was big or small she knew it will change her life.

I haven’t been posting anything because I was going throughout many experiences, from failing in a course to succeeding in an opportunity and from being hated into falling in love with a bunch of amazing people.

I allowed it, I allowed the change to come into my life. Maybe it was always there and I was stopping it somehow, I didn’t see it, or I was so drawn in the past that I couldn’t realize the amount of opportunities I had around me. But this time I had an opportunity, I took it and I embraced it fearlessly. It’s scary, scary to move from a zone where almost nobody recognized you except your teachers at school, and from having one friend into becoming someone very loved by strangers from all over the middle east and north Africa that later become your family. It’s odd to move from a person that was too shy to speak in front of her parents into being a person who can deliver live presentations in front of hundred of persons. I feel very lucky, I feel that god gave me the strength to move from my comfort zone into something new, and challenge myself inside and out to change. Love, Love, love

Growing up is something that comes along with growing old, it’s true. But the question is: ” do we take those opportunities when we get them?” Are we ready to embrace the change in our lives?

If you want to challenge yourself and lead it out of that comfort zone of yours, go out, see the world, meet new people, travel, get lost in a new town, eat new dishes, dance in the streets, go crazy do the things you never dared to do and fall in love with a stranger. Then come back home, and move on with your life and concentrate on what you really want, define it, imagine it, draw it and hang that drawing on your wall so each morning you wake up you can see it right there, and raise your hope on that dream, especially if someone did it before you, that should be the biggest push forward for you to achieve it, because they could, why can’t you?

One of the best things that has ever happened to me and I am very appreciative of is having the most supportive teachers, mentors, friends and some family member. I did have lots of friends who brought some negative vibes into my life that I had to eventually move on with my life without them, but those I appreciate the most are the ones that guided me, motivated me and believed me when I couldn’t believe in myself.

I can name them, their names will be always written on my heart, they are the true love.

You who wants to conquer your fears need to surround yourself with people who can fill your heart with warmth, who will motivate you, people who see something in you most people don’t, even if it’s only one person, I didn’t have them all together, I had each one for a time. You who wants to live fearlessly need to hold on on that someone who sees in you a unique opportunity but don’t overwhelm them with the earth’s issues, just love them back and set them free.

Who ever is in your life is either a blessing or lesson that you need to embrace and learn from. Every conversation is enriching, it’s up to us to create those positive vibes of making it enriching, it’s up to us to bring that positivity into people’s lives. No man is an island, we as individuals grow up together by learning from each other and most importantly by enlarging our point of views.

Never ever ever stop learning, learn learn and learn as much as you can from those around you no matter how old you are, growing up is not growing old, no matter how old you are there must be always an opportunity for you out there, embrace it and learn from it.

Happiness is a state of mind, and so is courage, and fear, and it’s up to you always and what you want to bring into your life.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Fearless Rika

A Drained Empath

Most of the people do not believe in the fact that we all have energies within ourselves. and actually these energies can be boosted or drained. especially if you are an EMPATH. 

It happened to be that I’m a grateful living empath, this year so many great opportunities came into my life and I took the benefit of each one of them until now, but in some of those opportunities I have missed a lot, and I didn’t take all I needed to take from them, too simply because I was drained.moon-goddess

At some points during this year, like many other times before, I was surrounded by a few energy suckers, or I like to call them energy vampires, somehow by bringing all their problems at once, acting dramatic and being negative all the time makes you feel like their problems are also yours, so you began feeling the same as they do, and suddenly you’re living in negative vibes that will suck all your energy, you find yourself helping them and making them a priority but by the end of the day, all you will feel is exhaustion because they will keep draining you a day after another.

This is what being an affectionate empath is, and it’s unhealthy for a living being…. So I decided to act about it, because the situation was no longer working for me, since I am surrounded by so many people, all the time.

I just had to be a little selfish here, I had to push those who drain me away from me, avoid them or even more cut the contact gently with them. I had to keep my energy for myself, I need it to survive.

It is such a bless to feel people so deeply sometimes and to be able to help them to heal or relieve a lasting pain, but some people are really toxic, and they’re just around us for their own benefit.

We must tolerate our differences all the time, accept the people around us, because I believe that we meet these people for a reason either it’s a blessing or a lesson.

Be fearless and choose your surroundings carefully, and remember, not everyone is worth your time and energy, so save it for your own sake.

Adjust your focus…This is the AI Algerian Section

    Recently I have been to the capital city of Algeria for a formation with the AI members, our organization is nongovernmental organization that seek for protecting human rights from all over the world… one page isn’t enough to express all what I learned from this experience… 

We live in a world full of injustice and most of us are pretty aware of it, but only a few whom are reacting on that….

Each single morning I wake up with that feeling of wanting to change what’s going around me, the first thing I had to explore in the path of changing, was changing myself, who am I, how I want to be, and what I want to do not how I want to be seen.

I have to admit that I feel responsible for each violated right around the world for not moving a finger over it… The past year I have discovered this amazing association that defends our rights world-wildly with 7 million militants from all over the world and it’s absolutely the best decision I have ever made by joining them and be a part of that changing! how magnificent that feeling can ever be !! 11071597_660416104088088_4365706846434245888_n

I met these amazing people in Algiers the past week at a formation, a multicultural meeting from different regions from Algeria, honestly for the first time I felt like I am deeply connected to a group of strangers who later I felt like we are one sacred family that aims for one sacred goal which is the changing, and making from this world a better place to live at.

Amnesty is what I am, who I want to be and all I want to do…

Be fearless be worthy, be a part of a great changing, be the one that everyone needs, the world needs you, you can be a great shoulder to lean on toward the path of changing do not underestimate yourself ever !! You can be a part of us ! we empower one another we make the changing 🙂 !!!

To all my Kabyle friends: Hamlaghkoun

Ikram