Last time I blogged I was embarrassingly unemployed and somewhat happy about it. Now, I’m a teacher who hates teaching yet enjoys it. And if my boss is reading this I AM KIDDING I LOVE TEACHING, YOU CHOSE THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THE JOB, DEFINTELY. Once I started teaching I lost contact with earth, I rarely called my friends, I rarely watched movies or series, I rarely watched the news, I rarely logged on Facebook or Twitter, I occasionally had a decent conversation with my family, I never blogged and I never read a book (I’m not complaining boss, not complaining.) So this blog is basically written to my friends and relatives who think that I flat lined or in other words- died, people I’m a live AND I LOVE MY JOB. Sunday the 19th marks my safe return to earth, Eid holiday has arrived and I arrived, maaaan I arrived. I watched 4 movies in the past three days, I watched the news and it was all about the psychopath lord Basharomort, I called all of my friends, I started reading a book and snoozed after the first page, woke up again read a line then slept and started dreaming that I was reading the book! now I think I’m having hallucinations about it, which leads me to one question: should I start worrying about myself? anyway, do you see the word “instructor” down there? that’s me, hello. I mean they did misspell my last name it’s “Murtaja” without an “o,” but instructor, me.
Enough about ME, let’s talk about Gaza. Gaza, oh Gaza. Well, there is not much to say actually. I mean same old same old. No electricity, no fuel, drones are still around, the F16s still hover and they throw fly kisses every now and then, a lot of graduates are still unemployed “and I guess after this blog I will be too” and get this, they say there might be a WAR coming. Damn it, Gaza is such a cliché!
She’s probably 80 years old or more, but surely not less. Rusty, old wrinkles have hidden the features of her face. Hunchbacked and with her right hand supporting her back and the other moving carelessly forwards and backwards, she strolled into the room my mother and I were sitting in. The first words she uttered with her tender and rather shaky voice were “where is the newspaper?” The lady tailor who was fixing my mother’s Abaya answered “we didn’t receive it today.” I then offered the old lady a chair; she sat next to me then said “thank you. Why? I want the newspaper!” “I will go and check with our neighbors and see if they got one.” My mother then started talking with this old lady whom apparently she have spoken with before then said “This is my daughter” she looked at me and said “yeah, you came yesterday.” I said “no, you must have seen my sister, I’m the other daughter.” She smiled adding even more wrinkles to her calm face and said “oh, I hardly noticed.” She asked me what I study at college; and I told her in Arabic that I finished English literature (Adaab Engleeze) she pondered for a second then said “English.. eh.. English, I forgot the word, it’s been a long time. English..” “Literature?” I said fulfilling her missing word, hesitantly. “Exactly Literature, now I remember! I was an English teacher, you know.” After saying those words, it was like a waterfall of memories kept pouring on her mind. She told us how she was a teacher in Gaza, then Kuwait then Jerusalem, then Yaffa among other Palestinian cities. She shared with us some anecdotes of her life as a teacher travelling through countries and of the Israeli occupation at that time, especially in Jerusalem which occupied most of her anecdotes. The lady Tailor has come back for some time without the newspaper; the old lady asked her again about it, but the lady tailor replied “they didn’t get the newspaper too today, Hajja Myassar.” Hajja Myassar disappointed and upset said “I want to read the newspaper. I want to know what’s happening out there. The headlines at least” When I got home, I went into a coma of thoughts thinking about this lady and her obsession with the newspaper. All my life I’ve hated teaching “still do” but she inspired me somehow. The amount of passions she put while talking about teaching were inspiring; the way she was talking about the past and how wonderful it was was inspiring; even her obsession with the newspaper was inspiring. I remember she said “when we first went to Kuwait (my fellow teachers and I) the Kuwaiti students were ignorant. It was us Palestinians who taught them everything. Us Gazans taught them everything.” And I kept thinking I want to be like that. You know, make a change! Do something that I’d be so much proud of the way she was proud of teaching. I want to be obsessed with something. Even if that something was a newspaper.