#BlogAction14 #Oct16, 2014: #Inequality

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I’m taking part in the Oct. 16, 2014 Blog Action Day activities. The theme for this year is “#Inequality.” Anyone familiar with my blog will recognize that I don’t usually write about politics, but for this post I’m making an exception. Inequality is a theme I hold pretty tightly to my chest, it constricts my heart painfully and chokes off my air, leaving me speechless, angry, depressed, and torn by a whirlwind of sorrowful thoughts.

At the bottom of this post I’ve embedded a YouTube video that broke my heart with no hope of repair. I’ve never seen a better champion for the Palestinian cause. The injustice that the Palestinians are suffering is so offensive that the weight of it is too much for the whole Earth to carry. Inequality is a gross underestimation of the situation. I’m not interested in arguing politics, just sharing my broken heart. Please watch the entire video. My poem is dedicated to the little Palestinian girl you will see in the last few minutes. My loving and beloved husband, Mohamed, wrote the translation in Arabic.

She Was Born In The Respite Between Intifadas

She was born in the respite between intifadas,
كانت مولوده في الهدن بين انتفاضه واخري
Surrounded by toys, and dolls, and sunglasses.
محاطه باللعب والعرايس والنظارات الشمسيه
Adored by her family, she listened, entranced,
محاطه بحب اسرتها تسمع وتتامل
But as she learned to speak, no one spoke of the past -
ولكن عندما كانت تتعلم الكلام لم يحدثها احد عن الماضي
When the sky rained bullets from huge clouds of gas
وعندما امطرت السماء الرصاص من سحاب الفسفور الكثيف
Belching ballistic missiles, spewing blood and death.
يتجشاء الصواريخ الباليستيه يتقياالدم والموت

So she learned to walk, and then went off to school.
عندها تعلمت المشي وبعدها ذهبت للمدرسه
Oblivious to everything, she danced upon the rubble,
دون ان تعلم كل شي رقصت علي حطام الابنيه
Playing with her dolls in places full of danger.
تلعب بعرائسها في اماكن مشحونه بالخطر
She brought such beauty to the place,
اضافت مسحة الجمال علي المكان
They didn’t dream of waking her.
جعلت حلم ايقاظها مستحيل

And so the rains awakened her, when the next storm arrived.
عندئذ ايقظها المطر عندما وصلتها عاصفة المطر التاليه
It didn’t take her life, but it took a very long time,
لم تاخذ روحها ولكن اخذت الكثير من عمرها
Finding her balance, and regaining her strength,
حتى تجد توازنها و وتستعيد قوتها
After the desperate separation of school from education -
بعد ياس افتراق المدرسه من التعليم
Of childhood from race; of neighborhood from faith -
والطفل من جنسه ومجتمع من عقيدته
Of hypocrisy from hate; of fantasy from fate.
والنفاق من الكراهيه واحلام اليقظه من القدر
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© 2014 Aisha & Mohamed Abdelhamid

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◆◆◆◆◆◆◆ Here is the YouTube Video ◆◆◆◆◆◆◆

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◆◆◆◆◆◆◆ Two other recent posts I’ve written about Egypt fall under the theme of #Inequality, and you may like to see them, too:

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PhotoPoem: Doing The Dishes

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PhotoPoem: Leaving The Market

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Don’t miss out on all the great bloggers taking part in #BlogActionDay14 <– Click on the link OR join us on twitter at #inequality or @blogactionday12

(Top Image Source and Impartial Historical Palestinian-Israeli Crisis Resource: www.vox.com)
;^)

Egyptian Culture, Part 7: Eid al Adha Celebration

Butchering a Cow for Eid al Adha in Egypt by Aisha Abdelhamid

In Egypt, Eid celebrations mark the start of national week-long vacations. Most work grinds to a halt, many stores are shuttered, streets have far less traffic, and fireworks sporadically light up the night skies. More weddings are scheduled for the festive time of eid than any other time of the year, as well.

Every year during Eid al Adha in Egypt and all over the world, Muslims practice “Qurbani.” This is the ritual sacrifice of animals, in commemoration of Prophet Abraham’s willingness to obey God’s command. To non-muslims, it may seem strange to learn that this ritual is a rich and beautiful expression of God’s mercy. Can the ritual sacrifice of animals in the streets generate an environment of peace? Yet, this is exactly the case during the Muslim Eid al Adha. Whole communities become visibly enveloped in a unified outpouring of celebration and generosity.

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Photo Poem: Doing The Dishes

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Doing The Dishes

Imagine, next time you stand at your sink,
In your air conditioned home, with your hot water heater
Delivering comfort and ease to your fingers
As you complain about doing the dishes -
Imagine a life with no running water,
Windows always open to the weather,
Your big stack of dirty dishes waiting
For you to carry them down to the well.
Hurry, your neighbor is watering his field,
He won’t complain about sharing the water
As you get advantage from the gushing machine
To scrub your dirty dishes clean
As you laugh and joke with your neighbor.

© 2014 by Aisha Abdelhamid

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Aisha’s Egypt: The Olive & Pickle Vendor

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This is a busy shopping area of El Mahala, Egypt, next to the central bus station. El Mahala is a major shopping hub for all of Egypt, and actually the whole sprawling city is one big shopping extravaganza. Everywhere you turn, it is crowded and bustling with traffic, people and merchandise.

We found a great little restraunt in a chaotic corner off the bus station, and had a great lunch of pizza, pepsi, and ice cream sundaes for dessert. Those pictures didn’t come out, but happily I stopped to take a few photos from the door looking into the street overflowing with vendors and shoppers.

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Ep. 17, Joyride To Egypt: French Chocolate English

Click Here for the previous episode Or Click Here to start at the beginning of the story

Dancing the night away with Scheri and our new pet monkey seemed like the best way to avoid thinking about the next hurdle in my path to true love. The issue of bringing my children to Egypt was looming larger on the horizon. Clearly, Mr. Answer to my Prayers wasn’t thrilled to include them on the guest list, although he was far too diplomatic to come right out and say it.

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The Donkey: Egypt’s Green Machine

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Donkey Pulling Cart Loaded With People, Aga, Egypt


(This is my first article published on Edenkeeper.org:)

Possibly the “greenest” animal on Earth, the humble donkey has enjoyed a very long residence in Egypt, where it is believed that donkeys were first domesticated around 3,000 BCE. A five thousand year history of supporting humans in their daily endeavors is strong testimony to their sustainability, as well as the sustainability practices of Egyptians.

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Mosaic From The Coptic Museum, Cairo, Egypt

Donkeys figure frequently in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Scriptures. Perhaps the more famous scriptural account of a donkey in Egypt is the flight of Mary holding the baby Jesus (God’s Peace be upon him), as Joseph leads them out of Nazareth and into Egypt. They also depart Egypt in the same way, a few years later.

Currently in Egypt there is believed to be around 1.2 million working donkeys, horses and mules. The wild ancestor of the domesticated donkey is E. africanus, the African wild ass. Both the wild and the domesticated donkey are members of the horse family, Equidae. Mules are non-reproducing animals, the product of breeding female horses with male donkeys. Donkeys, as well as horses and mules, and even cattle and water buffalo, are hard working animals, created by God specifically to please and assist their human owners, capable of performing long hours of heavy labor to ease our efforts. In the Quran, the Holy Scriptures of Islam, we are enlightened about this in Book 16, verses 5-8:

And the cattle He has created for you
From them you have warm clothing
And uses and whereof you eat
And wherein is beauty for you
When you bring them home
And when you take them out to pasture
And they carry your loads unto a land you could not reach
Except with souls distressed
Behold! Your Lord is indeed Most Kind Most Merciful
And (He has created) horses and mules and donkeys
That you may ride them and for ornament
And He creates that which you know not
(Qur’an 16:5-8)

Especially in the countryside, where the agricultural way of life is more common, it often seems there are more donkeys in Egypt than cars. There is a very special relationship between a farmer’s family and their donkey. Donkeys are able to find their way into the fields, going where no car or truck can go. They feed themselves politely from the field while the farmer is loading up their backs with bundles. They are the most patient of companions, traveling daily back and forth from home to field and from field to market, and finally from market back to home. They obediently carry whatever is required, patiently pulling a cart or a piece of farm equipment, and the sound of their clip clopping hooves on the street as they pass is very quaint and charming.

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Donkey Pulling Cart Laden With Tomatoes, El Mahala, Egypt

Sustaining the environment, however, hinges upon sustaining the people and animals within it. Appreciating the importance of our dependence on work animals in the adoption of a more green lifestyle is critical. Labor performed without gas guzzling machinery, and transportation provided by sustainable energy will always require an ingenious mix of new technologies, like wind and solar power, and age old traditions, like donkeys and other working animals.

To support the health and welfare of Egypt’s working donkeys and horses, there is an incredibly helpful organization operating here. The Brooke Hospital for Animals, founded by Dorothy Brooke, has been in operation since 1934, and currently serves seven regions: Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Edfu, Alexandria, Mersa Matruh and the Nile Delta, reaching approximately 200 communities. In 2010/11 they helped 167,000 working horses, donkeys and mules in the country. According to the Brooke Organization website, they report:

“We run mobile veterinary clinics in the Nile Delta, treating working animals and educating their owners in animal welfare, parasitic infestation, grooming and hoof care, feeding and wound management. We provide quality vet services through Brooke clinics and support local health providers to increase their responsibility for treatment and prevention. We train paravets and farriers in the communities where we work. We improve animal welfare practices by providing training sessions, community meetings and best donkey and horse competitions. We conduct regional welfare assessments to provide evidence of improvements in the welfare of high-risk animals. We conduct animal-friendly research for example into eye-abnormalities, body lesions and de-worming.”

Best Donkey and Horse Competitions sound very interesting. You can be sure I’ll be reporting on those events, God Willing! In the meantime, please be sure to visit the website of The Brooke Organization, at: https://www.thebrooke.org/our-work/our-countries2/egypt

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White Donkey Grazing Peacefully, Aga, Egypt

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Photo Poem: Leaving The Market

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Leaving The Market

Unequally yoked, but equally tied to the fate of their farming owners

A horse and donkey step together, bonded as patient companions

Leaving the market with an empty cart, empty bellies and empty handed

A pair of waterbuffalos tied to the rear, starving and shuffling side by side

Their fates to the same horse and donkey are tied and the sky is as empty as their bellies

The road is as dusty and dry as their eyes, bleak as the future and bleak as behind

From where they are coming, to where they are going, there is far too much in common

© Aisha Abdelhamid 2014

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