11 Feb 2020
8 Feb 2020
"السكوت علامة الرضا" عبارة يكثر ترديدها في المجتمعات الذكورية القامعة للمرأة. تم توظيف العبارة لترجمة سكوت المرأة على أنه رضا، وأن سكوتها عبارة عن خجل وخوف، حيث تعد صفات الخجل والخوف صفات مرغوبة في المرأة ولصيقة بأنوثتها، يردد الرجل أنه يفضّل المرأة الصامتة، الخائفة، الخجلة، لأنها سترضخ لما يمارسه عليها من اضطهاد وتحكّم من دون معارضة أو رفض.
تسكت المرأة خوفاً من عنف الرجل، خوفاً من تعنيفه الجسدي، النفسي أو اللفظي. بينما يسكت الرجل عن كل أنواع الظلم والاضطهاد والقمع الذي يُمارس على المرأة بحجة أنه لا دخل له في التسلّط أو العنف الذي يمارسه أصحابه، أخوه، أو والديه على الإناث، وأنه لا يملك أي حيلة أو وسيلة للتغيير. يقول أحدهم: "صديقي تزوّج من امرأة مطلّقة، وفي كل خلاف يحصل بينهما يعايرها بأنها مطلّقة ويجب عليها أن تحمد الله أنه رضي بها كزوجة، باعتبار أن المرأة المطلقة منبوذة ومحتقرة في المجتمع الكويتي". فسألته "هل واجهت صديقك بأن ما يفعله خطأ؟ بأن ما يفعله بزوجته عنف لفظي ونفسي ويجب عليه التوقف؟ ويجب عليه ألاّ يعاير زوجته بأنها مطلّقة ما دامه اختارها كزوجة". رد عليّ بكل برود ولا مبالاة "وما دخلي أنا! زوجته يفعل بها ما يشاء، لا يحق لي التدخل". انحطاط الذكر الكويتي يصل به أن يخبر أصدقاءه وبكل فخر أنه يعاير زوجته بأنها مطلّقة كلما نشب خلاف بينهما. والأغرب أن هذا الرجل (الصديق) الذي يدّعي أنه لا دخل له عندما يسمع أن صديقه يعنّف زوجته ويُحقّرها، لا يتأخر عن تسفيه وتحقير وحتى إهانة أي امرأة تعبّر عن رأيها النسوي ضد قسوة المجتمع الذكوري، هذا الذي لا يتدخل في قسوة صديقه مع زوجته، سيتدخل عندما تعبّر المرأة عن رأي لا يعجبه، وسينادي المرأة التي تعبر عن رأي لا يعجبه بأسوأ الألفاظ، ويعتبر ذلك من حقّه الطبيعي. هو يسكت عن الظلم والاضطهاد الذي يمس المرأة فقط، لأنه يستمتع بممارسته.
يرضى الأخ بالتفضيل الذي يحصل عليه من والديه، والمميزات المادية، والحرية التي يتمتع بها في حياته الشخصية، بينما يسكت تماماً عن التمييز الذي يمارسه والديه في معاملتهم له، ومعاملتهم لأخواته الإناث. يرى بوضوح الفارق بينه وبين أخواته الإناث، يرى أنه يحظى بالدلال والاهتمام والحب أكثر من أخواته الإناث، وأنه يحصل على مميزات مادية أكبر، وبأنه حر يفعل ما يشاء متى ما يشاء، لكنه يرفض مواجه والديه بالفرق بالمعاملة مدعياً أنه لا دخل له، وأن هذا هو أسلوب المجتمع الكويتي. بينما لن يسكت لحظة لو كان هذا التمييز ضده هو، أو يحد من حقوقه وحرياته الشخصية. يسكت عن الاضطهاد والظلم الذي يُمارس ضد أخواته الإناث لأنه يستمتع بهذا التمييز، ذكوريته الهشّة مبنيّة كلياً على أنه يملك حقوقاً لا تملكها نظيرته المرأة، ويرحب بالتمييز الذي يعطيه شعور مزيّف بالأفضليّة عليها.
Posted by Fatima Matar at 8.2.20
2 Feb 2020
Drove to Cleveland’s Orchestra last night. The snow was falling. Under street lamps, snowflakes looked like tiny bright stars against the blackness of night.
The opulence of Severance Hall, the concert began with the mesmerizing Symphony No. 6 by Sergei Prokofiev, endlessly rich and profoundly sad. The delight and romance of The Sea by Frank Bridge. And finally the cherry on top of the cake The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas.
Left the hall feeling light and drunken on beautiful music. The snow sugarcoated the streets and the roofs of houses. A tremendous calm came over me, a sense of feeling renewed and infinitely blessed.
Posted by Fatima Matar at 2.2.20
31 Dec 2019
I mean it’s not like I enjoy making people sick. It’s just who I am. It’s just what I do. It’s not my fault [emoji of boy walking away with hands in pocket]. If you believe in “God” then the “God made me that way” explanation would suffice. If you don’t believe in “God”, well then I don’t know what to tell you. Pigeons shit on your head sometimes. The Canadian Geese will beat the shit out of you, if you even stare at them the wrong way. Bears will eat you if they find you in the woods. And I, well I cause you to feel like shit for a few days, mostly when the weather turns cold.
Why now? You ask. Why am I opening up about it now? Well, because nobody ever considers my feelings. Nobody ever bloody sees it from my FUCKING perspective. First humans create this man made computer virus in 1982, and now whenever someone says the word “virus” there’s a panicky “Oh My God, did you backup all your files” gasp!
Then, ever since Google came into existence, the only time people even wonder what I am, or what I do, is when they catch a cold. They go on the internet with sniffly red noses, and watery eyes, to try and understand why endless slime of yellow/green mucus won’t stop running down their noses, and why revolting diarrhea won’t stop dribbling down their bums. DISGUSTING, I tell you.
Then, there are those unflattering pics of me on Google, which I did not consent to publish by the way, but in this era of “no such thing as privacy” we live in, there’s nothing I can do about it (Humph). I’m just a squiggly round green blob, and my picture is always next to the flu virus, all blue and more sophisticated looking than I am. Why? Why am I always compared to the flue? Just because he’s the more scary one, the more powerful one, the one who contrives “a fever”. The flu’s pics are all captioned “The Flu virus” while mine are captioned “The common cold”; “common”, that’s all I am to them “common”, that’s how everybody sees me.
Nobody wants to know about my hardships, about what I endure; swapped between dirty, unwashed hands, in filthy toilets, and shot from nasty noses, onto soiled door knobs, and dollar notes, and greasy sticky restaurant menus, and handles of gym equipment. Then there are the ghastly bodies I end up inside. Oh My God [shocked open-mouthed emoji]. Whenever I invade those human bodies, suddenly those slobs stop bathing, they never get out of bed, they smell, they whine, and complain, like stupid little babies, and the gas! (Urgh/Shudder), I mean I get they need to blow their noses, but blowing out their asses! Eww! Gross! And I’m not even to responsible for the gas, they just throw that in, for variety. Then they look me up on Google, and there I am, next to that bloody handsome blue flu, with all those tiny complex tubes coming out of his edges, and all those scientific looking nerves running through him, while I’m just a blob, a common snotty green blob.
Then they start texting their friends, and their family, or whatever, “it’s only a common cold” they reassure them “I know cause I got my flu shot a month ago, so it can’t be the flu [crying to death emoji] [relieved emoji] [laughing to death emoji]. Well, enough is enough. I am not just the “common cold”. I am not just a snotty green blob. And you didn’t catch me fart face, you couldn’t catch a beach ball if it hit you on the damn face, you poorly immuned twat! I am ‘Acute Viral Nasopharyngitis Rhinitis, and I have feelings too.
*The author recently recovered from the common cold.
Sometimes I almost grasp it, consumed in my art; the rare moments when I’m writing and enjoying it, or when I’m completely absorbed in a painting, and I lose track of time. I know who I am, what I want, my worth as an individual, I can see where I’m going, there’s a path, the journey is long but I am up for it. And then life. Life with its mundane laundry doing, grocery shopping, floor vacuuming nonsense, swallows me up, and I’m not a writer, an artist, or a creative. Who am I? What is any of this for? What a waste of time and energy! How silly of me to even believe in myself. I’m just another person with soiled garments, an empty fridge, and a dirty carpet. I’m ordinary, I’m boring, I’m mediocre, I’m just another tired preoccupied mind, squiggly limbs, and stretched out, exhausted muscles. I disappear, I lose my voice, my body, the very features I foolishly thought set me apart, and become one of the masses, I stand in endless cashier queues, I forget, I grumble at having to scrape snow off my windshield. I need to eat and sleep somewhere clean, this is what it comes down to. I squint, trying to remember that good line I thought of while I was driving but couldn’t note down. It’s gone.
‘Pay rent’ the neon pink sticky note says with an exclamation mark for emphasize. This is what comes down to, to survive, is to be basic, is to fear, is to forget the imaginative line, but never forget to pay rent.
19 Dec 2019
It was a day like today, fourteen years ago I gave birth to you. The white that blanketed the roads and commons, made me squint my eyes, the bitter iciness of the wind stung my face, and took my breath away. The snow came down hard, car tires made that funny crunching sound as they went. People skidded, and fell as the snow hardened into a severe sheet of ice. It was the coldest winter they’ve had in sixty years, the British had said, shaking their heads.
We lived on 37 Coniston Road, Coventry, while I did my Masters. Before moving to 67 Dugdale Road where I did my PhD. “They were horrendous, absolutely horrendous” The old Irish woman who lived next door to us on Coniston Road, liked to say of how brutal the British were to the Irish during the war. Every time we met out on the porch, I said good morning, or hello, and she’d ask me to repeat what I said “I’m a little deaf, it happens to everyone you know” she’d yell with a little mocking laugh. It’s a shame I forgot what her name was.
My due date was December 25th. My midwife was happy that I was to have a Christmas baby. And the nurse who squeezed the cold gel on my enormous stomach, and ran the transducer on my belly during the ultrasound, was happy I was going to have a Christmas baby. Due date. Everyone wanted to know when my due date was. For nine months my whole life revolved around my due date. Little did I know that you’d change my whole life, the end of those nine months was just the beginning, not the end.
But you were an early baby, eager and in a hurry to arrive, and you came on the 19th. I welcomed your early arrival, my stomach had grown so big, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, my breathing was labored, I was so tired. When I read that walking can help induce the delivery, I went up and down the stairs, it was too cold to walk outside, I could slip on the ice. Up and down the stairs I went in that little house, until my water broke and the pains came.
When you were little you used to love getting your picture taken, or at least you didn’t mind it. Now you scowl and groan each time I tell you I want to take your picture. I hope you change your mind again, and go back to loving it once more.
You’re fourteen. Happy Birthday my love. It’s been the most beautiful adventure. Thank you for all the joy you’ve brought into my life. Thank you for teaching me what enormous love and compassion I am capable of.
Posted by Fatima Matar at 19.12.19
5 Dec 2019
I fumble for the light switch.
Then I remember that when it is dark in here, it is dark.
The four-billion-year-old sun does not shine through; no lamp fixtures, no burning candle, no moon shining shyly between pulled curtains, no windows.
But when this brooding cat opens its glowing eyes, like two exploding planets, the swirls of fiery yellows, olive, and lime bursts into light, and I have to find my balance.
In these thick perplexing woods, I never know when my mind will shut like a clam. But I learned to sense the storm, the way humans - over thousands of years learned to listen for the bending blade of grass, the dancing crab, the fidgeting of a snake inside its burrow.
The worst thing about being in my head is also the best thing. The best thing is also the worst. There is no way out.
Posted by Fatima Matar at 5.12.19