Friday, March 28, 2008

Loss of Identity (part 1 )


هلا وغلا..

هذه هي المقاله الثانيه لصديقي المقدسي بالسويد.وهي مقاله حديثه حيث تم نشرها هذا الشهر في مجله مثلييه في السويد..بالطبع باللغه السويديه ..ولكن صديقي ارسل اي النسخه الانجليزيه من المقال.. المقال طويل نوعا ما ولذلك قررت ان انشره في اجزاء حتى لا يتسرب الملل الى نفوسكم وها انا اضعها تحت ناظركم ولكم الحكم

hey all..this the 2nd article writtien by my palastinian swimmer friend in Stockholm,it is been puplished in a Swedeish Gay Magazine this Month (March 2008 ) ,i am posting it in 3 parts cause it is bit long article :)..Enjoy


Who are you? What are you? Where are you originally from? What’s your background? What do you consider yourself? How do you define yourself? Why? How come? It is these and other questions I am confronting and pondering.

Can you imagine how difficult it has become for a Palestinian no matter a Druze, a Christian or a Muslim to identify him/herself in our times?! The Palestinian society with both of its Christians and Muslims is in general, a conservative and a traditional Middle Eastern society. They are mostly Stateless people exist in a region of conflict where unfortunately, not only do people discriminate and reject each other for racial and religious reasons, but also for national and political reasons. So, imagine how more complicated and frustrating it is for me. I am a homosexual Palestinian, belonging to a traditional tribally influenced Palestinian community, with a liberal reformed approach towards my Muslim background, and towards feminist and queer Palestinian people!

As I have grown and gained more life experience, I have become increasingly aware of that one of the critical issues my Palestinian people face is the loss of identity and an exact sense of belonging. This comes as no big surprise owing to the long political, ideological and religious conflict we have suffered while taking into account that there is no Palestinian state and we are divided into categories, zones, status, refugees, etc…

Living in Jerusalem as a local Palestinian, I had my share of identity and belonging confusion. There is no doubt that my homosexuality and “unusual” thoughts, philosophy and unconventional approach toward my religion and its traditions that I could neither explain nor translate back then, created a greater challenge and complicated my confusion. During the last couple of teenage years, as I explored my thoughts, I began to achieve a deeper understanding of who I truly was. I began to consider the term “Gay.” I began to refer to myself as Gay and identify with it. I became an activist in GLBTQ work and organizations, aiming and hoping for a change that would help me and fellow Palestinian queers living within and among Palestinian society, without regard to which Palestinian community and category they affiliated believe that exploring identity and, self discovery, is an endless process. Each of us is constantly a work in progress. Once my family and community discovered my homosexuality, they reacted extremely negatively, considering me a “shame”, and threatened to kill me for “family honor.” Thus, I had to leave, in order to avoid the fate of my two female cousins. They were both murdered in so called “honor killings” some five months earlier (for reasons not related to homosexuality). I became like a fugitive trying desperately to find safety and acceptance in other parts of our region. I found it very difficult and complicated to achieve this. Could I identify with a community, a society, or a heratage that rejects and deeply hates for nothing more than who I was and how I had come to think?? Could I continue to exist in such an environment? Could it possibly be “home”?

Unfortunately, all too often one’s identity derives from outside influences and from other people. Others may categorize and stereotype based on looks, background and origins. There are assumptions about how one ought think and act. There is a presumed image that fails to allow for any deviation from the accepted norm. I felt rejected, isolated and even hated by my “own people” for being too different. Thus I ended up feeling like a minority within a minority. I experienced a personal crisis of identity loss; my sense of belonging faded.

It is our experiences, environment, and the people with whom we surround ourselves that influence our lives. They help shape and develop the inner self as we grow older. Throughout my experience as a Palestinian GLBTQ activist, together with other Palestinian GLBTQ activists with whom I worked, I sensed the extreme difficulty and frustration in our struggle to gain rights. That led me to those “unconventional” approaches toward my religion and my tradition. I began to realize that my whole struggle was, and continues to be, much deeper. It is more than simply a matter of the acceptance and toleration homosexuals. It is also the issue of a deep conservative macho culture that has a traditional approach toward various individual freedoms. This reflects upon individual independence, ways of belief and practice, feminism and homosexuality. Of course, it may be problematic to generalize; life is not black and white. We must recognize shades. Yet when it comes to the main stream of that society, in particular to the community to which I belonged, there was a culture that denied individuality because it was based on shame, reputation, and family and tribal and honor. The rights of the group carried much greater weight and were of much greater importance, than the rights of the individual.


To be continued .............

2 comments:

tunisian simbad said...

hi friend Oman lion
first, the description of ur trip to Hangaria, Czech republic is fabulous a lot of tourist detail that takes us to that part of the world, we could imagine even a little bit those exciting place, u really push me to think to visit it.
Second, the post of ur Palestinian gay had touch us cause in reality he expressed what most of us suffered and face in case we want to reveal our real identity, it's a tragedy widely spreaded it's not related to arabic nor Muslim world even here in Europe a lot of homosexual are badly threated even fired and persucuted in their life. At least he feel at ease now in Sweden but most of us still feel fear that someone will find out what is inside our heart, shall we choose to continue living in the dark corner, or make a revolution against those chains that kill us , poor life for gay people, what's bad fate we have.
just one thing. can you tell us how could you prepare all ur trip, what kind of step u follow to make it, i am really interest in that issue, causei fac a lot a pb to make it right for me, eventually go ahead, i am so patient to hear from you
simbad

OmanLion said...

Hala my Tunisian Friend;

First of all i wanna to thank u for all the nice comments in my Blog. and my Palastinian Friend thanxed u allot for your nice feelings.

i will create another post telling how do i prepare for such Trips and my advices for a good trip