Walking The Concrete Jungle

I wanted to send a warm update that I am writing a book! It is incredible what I have managed to do the last two weeks as though the book was already written in my mind and I am simply just typing it out, and I have only just scratched the surface. I am writing about my new ethical system in similar vein to Henry David Thoreau when he left to find peace in the woods, but doing so while working and ultimately practicing a modern form of transcendentalism where I am in harmony with the chaos of this concrete jungle. I have learnt from my recent experience in Syria where all the horror I witnessed taught me that it was time to re-think my ethical system that allows me to be effective and helpful, but in a sustainable way and especially without losing myself in the process.

It also reminded me of the past, where I have been able to see myself in my reflections through others, both the good but especially the bad. I have spoken here of my father and my family, but also of the men who bullied and harassed me in my job that had a tremendous effect on me, so much so that I could not properly work for years from all the fear that I felt. I wanted that fear to finally end and make a decision about what long-term career I wanted to pursue. I confronted them recently to try and close that door, tired of the damage they caused to my confidence. Only one decided to respond.

Indeed, he apologised, but it was clear that his apology was rehearsed, and not practiced toward me but rather someone used to and thus comfortable with apologising. It was all coming a little too fast for me, I needed time to really think it through, but I felt something was wrong and could sense the possibility he was only apologising as a tool to reverse the situation and fault back to me, a skill those who gaslight often do to others. It then came out, the real him where he said “you are just jealous” to me, which immediately reminded me of his viciousness while at work. What exactly was I supposed to be jealous of, I thought to myself. That he sold drugs and did some decrepit activities with others? That he was a cowardly man who harassed and was cruel to kind person? That he followed the crowd and assumed that doing what was popular by the group meant some superiority over me? Read More

Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

I am troubled with one dilemma: should I be hating all the bad men, or should I be hating the women who support the bad men? When I parallel the core moral of The Handmaid’s Tale to reality today, I find myself realising that evil is in fact plural. Like the paradox of the Beast in the Book of Revelations, a monster who is both controlled by the whore of Babylon while at the same time giving her the power, are people evil only when they are together?

The Handmaid’s Tale is disturbing, disturbingly real and made me, as a woman, feel incredibly uncomfortable. It reminded me of my own experiences and that of so many women, encountering those men who threaten and insult, who made me feel the need to defend or question myself, men who saw me as a sexual object to use for one or two weeks until satisfied, men who made assumptions about me that they turned into fact, men who lie and such men defended by foolish women.

The series is more real than meets the eye.

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Film Review: Catch-22

Denial. Deep down most men are embarrassed at themselves and their condition, they know that they are unhappy, ashamed of the bad decisions that they have made that instead of admitting and changing, they continue, prolong, persevere until finally their efforts to convince others that they are happy makes them believe that they must be doing the right thing. He finally succumbs to madness.

Those of us who cling onto life, who value the goodness of justice and of righteousness, we see this madness everywhere, in everyone, the lies and falseness, the pretending, and despite the attempt to escape from the jaws of its hopelessness, the existential abyss is always ready to consume our every effort to channel moral goodness and what is right.

“Me: happy happy happy. Dead. You: worry worry worry. Dead. Don’t drag me into your shit.”

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Book Review: Metamorphosis

One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked.”

Franz Kafka is an incredible writer and one of my favourite novellas, Metamorphosis, stands out as a masterpiece in twentieth century literature. The emotional response that I felt when I completed it was similar to the anime film Grave of the Fireflies where for several days I felt a heavy melancholy, a deep ache within me at the highly imaginative manner in which Kafka was able to portray his existential pain, his isolation and the longing that he felt to connect with his loved ones. The bug both conveys the grotesque image of the impotence he felt together with how his family came to see him as vermin for failing to live up to their expectations. Read More

I Shall Not Hate

Book Review
Izzeldin Abuelaish
I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey On The Road To Peace And Human Dignity
ISBN: 978-1-4088-2209-8

I found myself in a fairly difficult situation when I initially encountered this book. That staunch determinism in the face of such horrendous circumstances came to me as being both admirable and inspirational in as much as it was frustrating and almost agitating. Could there possibly be any logic or reason that could make a man who experienced continuous mistreatment under Israeli occupation, who lost several of his daughters to indiscriminate bombings by the Israeli army and yet who remained dedicated to the concept of peaceful relations between the Palestinian and Israeli people? Surely something is wrong with him, something that has deluded him into occupying a mindset that makes no sense, that his idealism and optimism is an exposure of a failing psychological condition? Read More