Sunday, 8 March 2015

Women's day in Jeddah

Grammar class.
Present real conditionals.

If you heat the water, it boils.

If you don’t sleep at night, you will possibly be exhausted the day after.

If you kill someone in KSA, you die.

-Under what conditions a person who killed is punished by death, asked the class. 
( what a weird way to reinforce the idea of conditions.)
- If he intended to kill.
- If there is evidence.
- If there are witnesses. Some of my students reply.
- Great. How many witnesses are needed, I ask. 
Plenty of numbers in the air. They are given time to decide in groups.
- You need 2 to 3 men, they all agreed.
- Good, two to three men. But, what if the witnesses are women, I asked. They paused, the buzz started again, more intense.

- One woman is half a man, came from the back. I raised my eye brows.
A sea of lava, on the west side of Wabha Crader.
- Sorry, what do you mean? I asked in a blur. An explosion of Arabic. A rare after, lunch-break liveliness sparked.
- Two, said another.
- How many women are needed as witnesses? I rephrased the question.
- Three.
-  Four to six.
- Alright guys, chat with your group and come up with an answer.
- Women might not say the truth, Ahlan said hesitating. The other girls didn't seem to quite agree. 
- Interesting.
- No, no it's because women are….you know….sensitive, Abeer rushed in.
- No, Miss. It's because they might lie to help each other, Walaa said with a cheeky smile.

- I nodded with wide eyes. Then, one of the girls at the back, Asma, threw something in Arabic. 

The whole class started barking. Back and forth barking.

The girls were shooting words I could not understand. 

Passion loaded words. Her partner fired up, was pressing a 

finger on her shoulder blade. 

Whatever Asma said, the whole class rose against it.  

They wouldn’t let her get away with it. She didn’t seem to 
want to, either.

Its cause debatable, its force indisputable. 

It took a while to calm this simultaneous, untamed sharing of ideas. I was dying to know what exactly sparked it.  Reminded respect towards our self and others, no matter what.
- The reason they say a woman is half a man is because she can’t pray all the time. You know, the period.   
- We don't pray on our period, the other girls, added
- Yes, I mumbled. 

Their sparkling eyes went through me. 
Noticed my hand resting on my bloody womb. 
Observed its pain. 
Death carrying life.   

My eyes stroked the floor, 
tangled into the sunlight, 
flew outside into the shaking date tree leaves, 
then climbed down the seemingly still, straight tree trunk, onto the hot, dry earth.

Inside, the air was unsettled 
and sharp
as a tightrope.

Touched Space

"Future Conditionals” 

appeared on the whiteboard.