It’s Complicated !

Man, motivated by his ego and lured by his apparent superiority, has always tried to distinguish himself from other beings. I was interested in this “dilemma” ,and while exploring the answers, I came across many definitions. Some said he was an animal which had the ability to think, others defined him by his ability to read, and yet others believed that man was different because he recognized the inevitability of death    .

These arguments made sense, but the last one in particular I found intriguing. In my opinion, it’s man’s understanding of this very basic fact which gives him his special qualities. When you’re aware of your own mortality and the fact that your time in this life is limited, you’ll try to make the best of this time to create, to develop, to enrich the world, to leave a clue that you were once here, and to achieve something which tells your successors that despite the fact that it’s unlikely that they’ll ever defeat death, it’s best if they die trying.

My opinion gained evidence during the first days of my service at the hospital. In there, I’ve seen many of the faces of death. I witnessed an old lady with a brain tumor taking her very last breaths. I saw a young man who suffered severe head injury which left him brain-dead, so he was basically alive without even knowing it. I saw and saw, and as I observed I couldn’t help but think about the instability of life, and how at a glimpse it could all turn upside down. At times, I would imagine suffering the same condition, and I would find myself thanking Allah for the current moments I’m living and feeling grateful for every second I have.  And there were incidences when I would drown into these thoughts and lose attachment to my surroundings only to come back to reality few minutes later when the doctor asks me a question or something.

The emotions were overwhelming; my reaction to such sights was immense. It was “Humane” and so was its impact. This affection was loading me with great well to do my best to relieve the pain for those who suffer. It seemed to me that this would be the print I’m leaving.

But as the days passed, they carried with them an unpleasant change. My strong reaction was fading; the affection is lessening! The compassion is still there, but it’s just not making the same influence. Patients were souls to be salvaged, and their complaints were stories to be told. They are now simply puzzles to be solved! I’ve come to realize this change lately, and I’ve been since confused, asking myself many questions: Does this make me any less of a human, a machine maybe? Were my concepts wrong at the first place? Or is this a normal human thing, an adaptation, a divine blessing which keeps the wheels going? If it is, is it supposed to happen this fast?! Would my fantasies about finding a cure for cancer fade eventually, too?

The first assumption was particularly irritating, and I wouldn’t even dare to consider it, but the rest weren’t any easier, too! All the questions are tough and the answers to them -once found- are disturbing. They all dig deep into my self-perception.

The quest for answers continues, but as it does, and although I know it actually may never end, part of me is now relieved because lately, I’ve come to realize that asking such questions is in itself part of being human, and this is an answer.

“Blood alone moves the wheels of history.” – Martin Luther

 

The cost of getting rid of dictatorship is far less than the cost of living under it for a long time to come. nothing speaks this louder than the french revolution (La Grande Révolution).

It took the french 3 uprisings in a 11-year span to bring down feudality, a decade during which a king was beheaded and 17000 citizens were executed under martial law, not to mention the tens of thousands killed in the disturbances that ensued.

The more difficult part was building a democratic rule out of the ruins of the dark ages, which took over a century. a period in which 5 political regimes were introduced, reaching to the 5th republic that we currently know.

This sends a message to the revolting Arabs: we may have some fuzzy days ahead, but this is certainly not an excuse to settle for darkness. With all the sacrifices suffered in the Arab Spring, you have surely earned your freedom.

Eight

Gaza is like nowhere else, living in it for a period of time allows you to discover some interesting features hardly ever found elsewhere.

In Gaza, the usual day & night cycle is replaced by another cycle, I like to call it “the 8 hours cycle”.

The power supply system in Gaza is nearly crashing with a 50% gap in supplies, do the math and you’ll soon realize that people here spend half the day powerless!

For 8 hours, the neighborhood is quiet, everyone is in their homes, trying to do their chores, catch up with their favorite T.V shows, surf the web, or they are at least trying to have some descent hours of sleep before the power goes off and the power-dependent temperature lowering precautions come to failure.

In the following 8 hours, it’s completely the opposite. Having nothing to do, men get out to the streets, gathering in groups, discussing literally everything. Children are not different; those 8 hours are spent almost totally outside, playing, running, screaming, fighting and denying everyone their peacefulness. The best thing – for them – is that no one can blame them for the chaos they create; they are both children and bored after all.

Once the power is cut, the grating noise from the power generators is something you can’t miss. In the families lucky enough to have one, there is a member assigned to the mission of running and maintaining the generator. It’s like he is the minister of generator affairs. When the clock declares that the blessed 8 hours of power presence are about to end, that minister must be all ready to perform his duty, or else, there would be a mess, and it is because of the serious responsibilities that he holds, he can’t be away from the household at the critical minutes when everyone is waiting for the power to go off, Everyone is counting on him. In my house, this person happens to be me.

For most Gazans , the social life is synchronized according to this 8 hour cycle. If you are clever enough, you’ll manage to get your visits and outside tasks done during the 8 hours of power deprivation. Or else, you can kiss goodbye to your studying, forget about computer assignments, favorite TV show, peaceful streets. Yes, you got it right… For 8 hours.

The best thing about all of this is that people have made their peace with the situation; it’s not annoying them anymore – except for internet addicts like me! I believe that soon enough, I’ll get used to it as had everyone else, until that day comes, let’s pray for the generator to stay safe and sound.