Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wedding Invitation ......Gazan Style!

Call me me biased to the Gazan creataivity genes if you will. You can also let out the secret of my  devout conviction of  the "mountain vs plain  theory"....I have always thought  that people of the plains have the ability of producing original ideas,they are more at home with creating, its like  the open space allows them to do so..In mountainous areas there is always the problem of "echo". Mountains echo what has   already  been said, but in a different sound . So an an echo echoes an echo , which echoes "that" echo creating a totally fresh ...."echo".....which could be a totally different outcome of the first ....well ,  still a creative outcome  but in a different  sence.

Ever since the Israeli military "closure" , after Hamas took over ,Gazans  have surprised us again and again    with alternatives to just about anything .Alternatives which a normal mind under normal conditions could not possibly  produce.It is the supreme kind of creativity that comes at the spur of a   moment ,out of no givens, no accumulation on past creations...,creativity from scratch if you like.

After the "Tunnels"  ,(actually ,"the veins of life"), then using Falafel* frying oil as car fuel when none was allowed in  ,then organizing an "Animal Parade where   animals wore banners arould their necks and tails condemning the "Closure .Being asked for an explaination  ,the organisers reasoned that the international society would care less for Gazan suffering  but would definitely sympathise with animals.Just as they  have expected, the parade intensly caught the eyes of the international media , and letters of support flocked through emails , mobiles and throughout chatrooms.The parade was a success !Then there was also the establishing of an art gallery.Object d'Art  were made from ruins caused by the Israeli bombardment of Gaza :  ruined walls, ruined factories,shattered glass  and  finally...."dead" trees.

Gazan families have been dispersed by the a most cruel way!Students  studying abroad prefere to stay in their study-countries .It is  only wise to stay away from home  maybe for years ,in which time a parent might die, and of course they will not be able to attend their funerals, it is only wise not to. If you are permitted into might be a trap.... because it is most likely that you will never be able to leave...when you chose to , or better still ...when you urgently need to!

But life still goes on there in a most  normal way, well normal as  people there still allow the word to mean .People still get married, organise weddings in the best possible way.Brides still spend long hours  at the hairdresser's ,and big money on white gowns, jewelry, flowers, dinners ,and  trousseaus.Well my own cousin  in Gaza  just got  married two days ago.And guess what, I -living in the Wet Bank-, attended the wedding too.And no...i did not beg for a permit, and it did not cost me the usual 600NIS ($150)  taxi fare, actualy i did not pay a nickel.

I too , like many other Gazans, once had a big family...actually it was  something  like a it's most positive sense.That was some time ago, before our elders passed away,and some of our houses were bombarded,and  a lot of orange groves were burned down to ground level.Most of our middle and younger generation left in search of education, more sustainable living resources, or even better work opportunities abroad or even in as close a place as Ramallah....the glamorous  capitol of Palestinian ecconomy.Now a few members of that tribe still reside  in Gaza by  their choice.They were all invited to attend the wedding. And of course we, ,those  not living  in  Gaza , were not  the least forgotten.

So.... a tribe has to do what a tribe has to do for maintining its bonds.Every individual counts,sharing the joy, congratulating,gossiping,and seeing people you hav'nt seen for ages .That was was not to be missed.Well our  Bride ,on the day prior to her wedding,  was not indulging in a normal bride's beauty routine.She was on the phone providing every relative and friend outside Gaza with a link, a username and a password,and inviting all to a live broadcast of the wedding.We watched  everything with a kind of a joyous pain,even the traditional car tour of the couple throughout the much missed streets of Gaza . We nostalgically  listened to the deafening sounds of the traditional Gazan Zaffah* and enjoyed the typical Awee* and Zaghareet*.We also saw relatives and friends we miss so much . On a side box of our screens , we the internet invitees,could also gossip and comment about dresses,  admiring our adorable wedding couple  and expressing our longing  and yearning.

Well our defeat may be partial , logistically speaking . But our souls, obviously are souls of concquerers , and our hearts are those of dreamers .We wake up , reach for our pappers and pen, to quickly jot down that dream. Then on a  beautiful sunny mediterranean morning, we start planning...or plotting...or conspiring, to make that dream happen.Well there was a wedding afterall , and it was cyber-attended by whoever wanted to from the "Tribe", no heartaches no resent and no feelings of being excluded or forgotten.. In fact the wedding doccuments a renaissance of a type of resistance: which i would call "creative resistence", but of course always giving credit of its revival the great great  people of Gaza!

*Gazan Zaffah:is a wedding ritual,men wearing traditional gazan outfits use drums  and kinds of flute singing old wedding songs about the bride, bridegroom and their families.They accompany the Bridal couple from the moment they leave their car ,dancing infront of them untill the entrance of the wedding hall and then untill they are seated.
*Aawee: is a  high pitched sound Aaaaaweeee! sung by the ladies at the wedding.Each Awee is followede by a loudly spoken sentence.This is repeated 5 or 3 times followed by  collective  Zaghrootah(plural form of Zaghareet.
*Zaghareet:is a sound much resembling the sound made by the red indians dancing around the fire.


  1. That is incredible!! And, yes, a very creative way to solve a problem. I understand your 'mountain v plains' theory makes sense! They say 'invention is borne from necessity' and the people of Gaza have surely proven that. You have shown how 'great' the people of Gaza really are, how joyous and how resilient they are to not lay down in adversity.

  2. yes they are my friend....unpredictably creative.
    There is an enormous art movement in Gaza now, flourishing and prospering in an unprecedented way.Maybe i should try digging this up and revealing it to everyone.This is really creativity from scratch....even from under-scratch.
    thank you Davina for your endless support to our cause.

  3. Haifa - I LOVE this - your writing is so heartfelt and it comes across. You make me hope for better days for the people of the Gaza as I would love to visit the memories you hold dear.

    I also agree with your plains vs mountains comments - and maybe it in part explains the "magic" that happens annually in Tucson, AZ each year at the Tucson Gem Show. Beautiful, creative people brought together in a desert with one cause stunning gems and jewelry!

    I would love to see photos with your stories...


  4. Robyn my friend...if only memories could be cd written,i could have sent you acd to remember, ...what shall i say.
    And i dream too of attending Tucson some year ,desert will definitely be a totally new experience to me,
    I am happy you enjoyed reading thisi know how busy you are.
    Always grateful for your friendship.