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> Edmund Shehadeh, Bethlehem Arab Society for...
> Musa Sanad, Visionary Founder of the Artas...
> Falestin Naili Artas Virtual Scholar in Residence
> Hamdan Taha, archeologist
> Juan (Hanna) Michael Canahuati, entrepreneur
> Edward Said
> Diana Buttu
> Jad Isaac, biologist and agriculturalist
> Nasser Abdul Hadi, cook
> Palestinians build solar car from scratch
> Palestinian girls "Einsteins of tomorrow"
> Muayad Alayan
> Rula Halawani, photographer
> Ata Khatab: Dancer, Choreographer, and Dance Trainer
> Ghada Harami, working on disabilities
> Hani Zurob, painter
> Elias Hezeineh, Palestinian Magician
> Profiles from Palestine - NOT Desperate Housewives
> Majd Hajjaj-Rimawi, circus performer
> Samia Totah, business woman
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Profiles from Palestine - NOT Desperate Housewives
submitted by This Week In Palestine

By Carol Sansour Dabdoub

I do not necessarily find dedicating an issue of TWIP to Palestinian Women appealing. In fact, I argue that trying to categorize and frame women based on gender does not always serve the purpose of positive discrimination. Plus, what about Palestinian Men? Is TWIP planning to have a month for them? Is someone organizing a Palestinian Men Film Festival soon? Or are our universities putting together a conference on Men in the Palestinian literature this spring? I do not think so. In any case that is not the reason why I am writing today.

Dear Reader,
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to some of my friends who would probably never make it to the “Who is Who” of Palestine. Nonetheless, I believe they are the ones we need to be celebrating; for their courage to be different, their ability to continue to love and the colourful image they give to our identity as a people. I chose to give them celebrity names to shed a light on what is in store for Palestine. To me they are truly worldly beings.

Oprah Winfery was born in Nazareth. In spite of her open-minded parents, at age 18 she eloped with her European boyfriend to Germany; learned the new language; got her first and second degrees; integrated in the system; ran for local elections and won a seat in the municipality. A successful Palestinian figure in her cosmopolitan world! Married and divorced twice and now a single mom to an adopted Asian child. Whenever I check on her I find her industriously working on a new article, TV show, lecture or a book portraying Palestine and the Palestinians.

Shirin Ebadi was born in Jerusalem. A grassroots guru, with multiple degrees from world-class universities, social justice is what she works and lives for. Single and looking. I believe she will keep looking for the rest of her life as she is stereotyped for coming from a poor background where alcohol and drugs are a common place. Her community and family are her life even though they are her warder at the same time. I wish she would take care of herself once.

Jamila Bouhired was born in Dehishe refugee camp. Loves life. Young, energetic and with a big smile. Strongly believes in change. Participates in every possible youth program that is designed to bring Palestinians and Israelis closer to understanding each other. The more she attends those workshops the more she realizes her identity. Criticized for being out there, active and involved in her community. But “who cares” as she puts it. Her English terminologies are funnier by the day. She learns it from hanging out with a lot of peace-loving, Palestine-supporting hippies. No career in sight. Palestine “al qadieh” comes first. Ah! and men? I am not sure they exist in her life. Sometimes I think she is asexual.

Mother Teresa was born in the gulf. Like many her age (40 something) she was sent to a boarding school in Europe. All-girl-schools do not necessary mean great social skills. Totally entrenched in her studies and later in her career, she never experienced falling in love and being with someone. I do not think she was kissed before. Now back in the gulf, she is a successful career woman, who takes care of her elderly parents, donates generously to Palestine and prays five times a day for mercy.

Juliette Binoche was born in Ramallah. Career orientated and highly motivated. Fashion and boys are her passion. After living for a long time in the US she decided to move back to Ramallah to help build the state. She loves it there, but misses shopping, wearing short skirts (showing some skin) and openly admitting to living with a guy out of wedlock. Her political views are clear. “We need to build a state that is based on systems, rule of law and free economy.” Our arguments are countless when it comes to resistance and globalization. But I love her honesty and straightforwardness. By the way, men find her super attractive, but once they talk to her they are either intimidated by her wits or turned off by her confidence.

Yoko Ono was born in Bethlehem. At age 20 and penniless, she moved to the US to continue her studies. Worked as a waitress, a translator, a tutor, an Arabic language teacher, a house sitter and dog sitter. You name it she has done it to get her masters degree. Throughout the ten years in exile, Palestine remained the issue. “Activism galore” is what I call her. Every time I meet with her we get nostalgic about our childhoods. Her activism is getting out of hand and includes all sorts of causes. Guantanamo, The School of the Americans, US Mexican borders and many more. She tried moving back to Bethlehem, but was easily suffocated by the donors’ money, the NGO mentality and the social structure that does not allow her to be all that she is. She continues to be happily broke.

Margaret Thatcher was born in Nablus. One of my few married friends. A successful businesswoman, mother and wife. Starts her day at 5:00 am and ends it at 9:00 pm. Leads several operations and supervises over 200 employees. Can not hang out with her on weekdays, her afternoons are dedicated to her children, husband and home. Military-like regime. Hates cooking and yet cooks, hates cleaning but her house is always shining and in order. She somehow finds the time to fix her hair, put a mask and wax. On weekends and when we meet, she wakes me up from my daydreaming; she crosses the T’s and dots the I’s. Gives me an insight on the harsh reality and teaches me how to pull up my socks and face it. My smoking buddy, quitting is not on her agenda.

There are some more profiles that I would like to share with you; the crazy artist, the politician, the lesbian, the housewife, the mother, the dancer, the suicidal and the nun. But I am sure you know them all. Or at least you must have encountered some of them at some point in Palestine. They are not really different than other women in the world. Their concerns are global and their discussions vary from menstrual pains to division concerns. They long for freedom and aspire for justice, be it economic, social or political. Please do not call them Palestinian women. They are Women from Palestine.

Carol Sansour Dabdoub is an aggressive, progressive, hard-headed and soft-hearted, mother, lover and friend from Palestine. She can be reached at cdabdoub@hotmail.com

This Week in Palestine
March 2009

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