Food for Our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists

By Joanna Kadi | Go to book overview

Peace Is Tossed to the Wind

LEILA DIAB

The reality of a situation affects you the most when you are placed dead center in the heart of a conflict.

In the course of my yearly trips to Occupied Palestine, I seldom witness any relaxation of discrimination, racism, harassment, and subhuman treatment of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. And the many Palestinians with whom I speak fear justice and peace are an elusive dream. "The Israeli government can violate Universal Human Rights laws or a series of articles under the fourth Geneva Convention of International Law, and still manages to receive billions of dollars in United States aid. So tell me, how can there be a decisive peace with justice for the Palestinians?" asked a Palestinian refugee from Gaza. Peace is tossed to the wind.

I want to describe what happened when I, a Palestinian-American, visited my relatives in Occupied Palestine in fall, 1991. At the end of my trip, at Tel Aviv Airport, I went through a security check. If you happen to be an Arab, regardless of where you were born, the odds are never in your favor. You are automatically singled out.

As I approached the ticket counter to obtain a boarding pass for my Chicago flight, an Israeli airport security guard said, "You must first pass our security check." Fine, I thought, everybody must go through this. But then I realized this racist treatment is not for everyone. It is reserved for us. There should be a sign, "For Arabs Only." But there is none.

As an Israeli Security Officer searched through my personal belongings, she wanted to know why I had two cameras. I told her I am a photographer and always carry an extra camera. She continued to drill me on why I need two cameras and what type of pictures I take. I told her I took pictures of my relatives, friends, and nature. "I want to know the names and places you visited," she responded. I explained that I grew up in Occupied Palestine and it is only natural for me to return to the land and capture its beauty on film.

-101-

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Food for Our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Related Titles from South End Press *
  • Food for Our Grandmothers - Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments x
  • A Note about Arabic Terms xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Food for Our Grandmothers *
  • I - Olives Our Roots Go Deep: Where We Came from *
  • Olives 3
  • Recognized Futures 5
  • Sittee (on Phantom Appearances of a Lebanese Grandmother) 7
  • Great-Grandma Michael 18
  • Longing for Winter 21
  • Battling Nationalisms to Salvage Her History 24
  • For My Son Shaadi 30
  • Crossing over to the Other Side 32
  • The Queen, Carcasses, and Other Things 39
  • One Room 48
  • Chalked out 50
  • Unpicked Fruits 56
  • II - Bread a Basic Desire : Going Home *
  • Bread 63
  • Boundaries: Arab/American 65
  • Wherever I Am 87
  • Homecoming 94
  • Banned Poem 97
  • Peace is Tossed to the Wind 101
  • Moroccan Steam 104
  • She Makes Me Tea in Cairo 107
  • III - Thyme Growing against the Odds: Surviving the Gulf War *
  • Thyme 111
  • Amara 113
  • A Woman's Place is in the Struggle - A Personal Viewpoint on Feminism, Pacifism, and the Gulf War 114
  • Offensive Art by Palestinian Children - Anti-Arab Racism and the Gulf War Fallout on Campus 120
  • Military Presences and Absences - Arab Women and the Persian Gulf War 125
  • Gulf War 133
  • IV - Laban Silent Victims and Belly Dancers: (mis) Representations of Arab Women *
  • Laban 147
  • Say French 149
  • Global Sisterhood - Where Do We Fit In? 151
  • Tear off Your Western Veil! 160
  • Arab-Americans - Living with Pride and Prejudice 165
  • Exotic 168
  • The Arab Woman and I 170
  • The Arab Woman in U.S. Popular Culture - Sex and Stereotype 173
  • Orientalism in Science Fiction 181
  • V - Grapeleaves Tangled Identities: Claiming Ourselves *
  • Grapeleaves 189
  • A Lunatic from Libya, One Generation Removed 190
  • Going Home 192
  • What's Not in a Name 197
  • Browner Shades of White 204
  • On Language and Ethnicity 206
  • Mocking Civilization 210
  • Pulled 211
  • Abyss 214
  • Two Women Drinking Coffee 217
  • In Search of Home 218
  • Hairless in Gaza (or Plucking the Lines of Gender Difference) 224
  • Blood 226
  • VI - Mint Moving beyond Survival: Celebrating Who We Are *
  • Mint 229
  • ABC 230
  • Five Steps to Creating Culture 231
  • Camel Girl 238
  • Artist 241
  • A Blessing 244
  • Armenian/Lesbian - Telling out Stories 246
  • Mint, Jomatoes, and the Grapevine 250
  • VII - Appendix Arab Resources and Organizations *
  • The Image of Arabs in Sources of U.S. Culture 259
  • Organizations with an Arab-American/Arab-Canadian Focus 273
  • About the Contributors 275
  • Permissions 283
  • Index 285
  • About the Editor 289
  • About South End Press 290
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