Smile On by Allam Zedan

Although this story is very short, I found it absolutely expressive and wonderfully written: so simple yet so powerful.

He was wandering around. Suddenly he stopped in front of an old woman who was sitting aside with some strawberries that she tried to sell since the early morning. He greeted her and asked if she knew a young man who was working in her place. She asked him for a description. He didn’t hesitate. He tried to give her one. He told her of the simple person that he knew several months ago. He told her of the kind and elegant young man who helped him during his research on the Israeli harassments against the Palestinians in Jerusalem. He told her about the bright eyes that he couldn’t forget and the smile that didn’t leave him once. His bad Arabic seemed to give her an idea. She stopped him and said “Do you mean Abu Saber?”, “Abu Saber, yes, that was his nickname,” he replied. The old woman smiled and said “The occupation killed him.”

The writer’s account on FB:


If You

If you, far away, look, you’ll see

What the heart keeps hidden in

Those dark little places within;

Light can be the only way to

Let all the rage go:

So come close and sing along,

“We’ll live the life we should

B’cause who knows what will

Make us feel the beauty

We wish to see.”

There is no one way to take:

Life is not about the ups and downs;

Remember there are lefts and rights too.

You choose the turn you wish;

Just remember which leads to which.

Like a beautiful rainbow shining in the night,

We can be a star brightening daysky.

So if you, far away, look, you’ll see

Everything you ever wanted to be.



Since the First World War,
A bit before that,
Few less years or so,
Mankind were kind.
But not so long after the First World War,
Man became everything else.
Since the children of Adam and Eve first fought,
Until this day,
Man fights man over silly stuff:
Stuffed stomachs are more desired than empty ones.
More riches, better life for few people;
Those left are left with awes and sorrows
Awe! Look how beautiful the queen’s dress is!
Sorrow, the heart is filled with.
“Amen! The president just said something important”
He coughed, you silly!
Truces are made, truces are broken
Truces are about to believe they and rules are related.
Lie, believe yourself; everyone else did
Why wouldn’t you?
Not so long ago, few years before man came down to earth
Man was kind
But now man is looking for something else
Manimal, mankind has become.

There Will Be Darkness in the Light

My gorgeous night, so shallow is the light;

You are always there to cover the pain;

Light exposes what the heart wishes to hide

And the night veils the secrets and the despairs.

There shall be rainbow when the night is here,

There shall be love when the hate goes with fear,

There will be a mirror to show the darkness

How it looks

When the sun is all there is.

Hear the hisses, and the whispers then you will know

How a heartbeat works:

Shining in a room full of light,

Overpowering the slightest hair of dust;

For all you know, light is the absence of the dark.

And there shall be all you need;

There you’ll know what it feels

To be the person on a purple cloud

Flying, jumping around.

You will find yourself on a rainbow in the middle of the night

Waiting for the right chance to a catch a burning star

Not knowing it will burn you alive.

But somewhere in your heart you feel

Perhaps, not always

There will be someone to say goodbye to

When the windows are closed and the door is about to be shut.

The Horizon: Where Everything Never Ends, Never Begins. (Part two)

I was never afraid of heights. Except for that one time when I was; wait, no, that’s another story. Today is the last day of school. I cannot be happier. It’s time to enjoy the sunset from my window. I had asked my mother to buy me a new chair. I needed something more beautiful to match my dreaming table. I wanted something as purple as the sky when it was about to leave but I didn’t find the right purple. Though the salesman swore to me it was the same color, I knew that it was not. I was there. I held the color of the clouds in my hands. I have seen it closely and I am pretty sure no one has ever been that close to a purple cloud. To a purple sky. I felt the color with my bare hands.


“You are a special kid,” said my grandmother while covering me with her scarf last time I saw her. “Grandma, where did you get this scarf from?” I asked as I gazed at her what was left of golden hair, and what was left of her free of wrinkles cheeks. Her wrinkles always drew a smile on her forehead and few spots of her face. One day we decided to count them. I suggested that we would give them names. But grandma laughed so hard that I wanted to pretend I never said that. I was seven years old back then. Today, I turn 16. Finally! They say when you make a wish on your sixteenth birthday, it comes true. First let me introduce myself; my name is Tiara. I was never daddy’s girl, or mommy’s spoiled kid, but I was always, always my grandma’s favorite.


You can’t really describe an intimate relationship even if you find the right words. They just won’t serve you well. It’s time to visit the Horizon one more time. I have been going there since I was five. I have always seen something hiding behind it but I was always a tap or two behind. I could never get there on time to see what was hidden. But I am alright. I know, I believe I will be able to see it when the right time comes.


“It was a successful meeting,” My mother calmly commented after my father asked. “What happened?” My father carefully looked at me anticipating any coming storm. Tornado. “She answered most of the questions correctly.” I really never understood why we had to go to that meeting but it seemed very important to both of them. I don’t know why my dad expected me to be mad at either of them. The only reason why I wanted time to pass was because I didn’t want to be late. I had promised it to be there early that day. I wasn’t, though. I got to my table late, I was three taps behind and when I got there, it was already gone. “Until tomorrow, my friend. We shall meet tomorrow, I promise. This time I will keep it. I promise.”



Is Language a Friend or an Enemy?


By: Nour O. ElBorno

In this short article, I will be talking about how language controls us and shapes our lives. I will also be talking about how language makes us racists.

All the time we think that we are free to ‘think’, free to ‘speak’ and free to ‘imagine’ whatever we want. However, who is the one in power in the following example:

A mother offers her son three candy bars: a blue one, a red one and a yellow one. The child assumes that, say a boy, he wants the blue one. He ‘thinks’ that he had the freedom of choice. However, the person who originally offered the choices is the one in charge because the child’s choice was limited; it’s either the blue, the red or the yellow. You can’t have anything else. That means: the mother is the one in charge.

The question is: how is that related to language?

Language offers us words; it offers us certain vocabulary that we can use and then we assume that we well expressed ourselves because we chose from a long list of words. BUT did we really express ourselves? Did the idea really belong to us? The source of data was the language. Therefore, the language was the one which shaped us, shaped our thinking, shaped our understanding of things.

Can we think beyond the language? No. Imagine yourself in a closed room where there are four walls. You spent your whole life in that room and you know nothing of what could be outside. You might imagine certain things but everything you imagine will, in a way or another, be linked to the room you are staying in. Your concept and perception of things will be greatly affected by the place you are in. When we imagine things, what we do is that we choose from the language certain items and put them together and come up with something. A black vase was flying around my sister’s nose. All the words I used are part of the language, the imagination was a product of the language. It was highly affected by the possibilities the language offered.

Then, let’s learn more things? Wouldn’t that make our imagination more vivid? It will only make the language have more control on us. You will start thinking about and imagining the other things that the language has added to your list of concepts.

Think of something like why we don’t understand how the beginning of the whole world began, the beginning of the beginning rely on of the words beginning and end. Our brains are programmed to only understand things with beginnings and endings. The language does not offer an explanation of what it really means not to have a beginning or an end.  There is no separate word from ‘beginning’ or ‘ending’ to describe that infinite world. “It does not have a beginning,” we might say.

When I tell you, you have a, b, c, and d. Use whatever you like from these letters. Do you have the choice? Do you really have the choice? Or haven’t I just limited your thinking and usage to only one of these four letters? Do I control you, or do you control me?

The other important thing about language is how it makes us racists. If we go back in time and spread the notion that white is the worst color, white is the color associated with evil, harshness, wickedness (still difficult to imagine right? You are probably thinking that white is innocence and white is peace) and say that black is the color of love and color of tranquility; how do you think the world would have been? How do you think the White people would have been treated? Though this part is very important, I find it absolutely enough to provide the example above.

Is the language our friend? Or our enemy?

It is worth mentioning that all of this teaches a very important thing about ourselves: we are not as great as we think we are.

سبحانك اللهم لا علم لنا إلا ما علمتنا, نشهد أنه لا إله إلا أنت وحدك لا شريك لك, لك الملك ولك الحمد وأنت على كل شيء قدير

The Horizon: Where Everything Never Ends, Never Begins. (Part 1)

It was one long evening though the clock barely moved. It felt like a whole year when the meeting was not supposed to be more than fifteen minutes. Fifteen_very long_minutes. A stretch of time, I’d call it. They would lie to you and say “sixty seconds” that’s what a minute is. Wrong. I have felt it before but could never understand or give a real definition to what a minute is. But now, in this room, surrounded by all those people and the shades of blue, the shades of orange, the shades of fear, I can finally give a proper definition: a minute is an interval of time which one can only define in a context.

It all started couple of dawns ago. I was sitting at my dreaming table. Yes I know, who has a dreaming table? But I do. It’s where I sit and sail to wherever my imagination leads. Just like the partner who leads the dance. Or the ocean which leads the fish. I saw something hiding behind the horizon. I was not sure but then one day I decided to go. To look. To see. To, to feel. I took my pen and tapped on the window three times and out of the sudden I was there. I was exactly on the horizon. It felt so beautiful to be in the middle between the sky and the earth. It was a thin line which separated two worlds. Two endless worlds. I could see the sun and where it goes to when it sets. I could see where the moon comes from. I could hear the music played by the world which was on the opposite side of the horizon. I felt so small but so big. Bigger than Jupiter.

I don’t want to go back. I don’t. I could hear the sound of my grandmother saying goodbye. She’s not dying but she’s leaving. To where? “You’ll know when we go to that meeting.” My mother insisted every time I asked. But I don’t want to go to that meeting, I thought; a lot of times.

On the thin line, I would walk like a man in the circus does but I would never fear the falling part. I did not need a net to catch me. Gravity, the sky, the world everything seemed so safe. So secured. I could never fall. I knew I was safe.

There are few things, few lessons that remain in our heads until the day we grow old enough to understand what they once stood for. You can’t be what you want unless you decide to. Simple but deep. Very, very deep. Like you won’t get up from bed unless you actually get up. Doesn’t make sense, but it is the only thing that wakes me up every morning: I have to get up if I want to get up.

I took a deep breath that day and decided to see the world from the same view I had when I was on the horizon staring at everything. Feeling everything. Sensing the breeze fluctuating, calculating, tickling. It was so ticklish that my cheeks would laugh immediately with no second thoughts. It would calculate the seconds, the minutes that I spend there. And I won’t go around and call it ‘he’ or ‘she’ because it has its own identity as an ‘it’. It is the breeze. My breeze.

I tapped three times on the horizon and went back to my room. To that table. I heard knocking on the door, “Time for school,” someone behind the door shouted. “Time for school,” I echoed.