My priority Ever since that first day, when the world watched in horror as the death toll ripped through the one, two and three hundreds in the span of 12 hours, I feel like my life’s been put on hold. I can’t do anything without feeling guilty. My mood is erratic – one minute I’m laughing like a lunatic and the next I’m yelling at everyone in sight to move, to do something. I spend most my time either on the TV flipping between CNN and Al Jazeera International or online, blog surfing, reading articles, some more AJI, and blogging. I’ve yet to start weeping and sobbing. Thank God for small mercies, eh? For the past two weeks, the number of times I’ve cried can be counted on one hand. The most recently was when I heard Mel Gibson’s scottish accent ring out: “Tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”

I can’t anymore though. Because fat lot of good I’m going to do anyone in my current state. I need to get myself together. And fast. My exams, which are currently in transit somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean or possibly in Europe, have yet to make it here but they’re bound to land any day. And once they do I have until the 15th to write them. Low grades are not an option. 

I need to take a breather. And I feel unbelievably guilty saying this. They can’t take a break. Even during their three hour ‘cease fire’ they can’t.I need it though. I’ll still post, inshAllah. But I’ve come to realize that I’ve become as bad as everyone else! What good will it do if I fail? If I keep acting like this? My current state is of no help to anyone.



Filed under Palestine, Personal

14 responses to “Priorities

  1. Boy do I get you on this one.

    I say, turn off the tv…. try instead to just make Qiyyam Al-Layl, and think about those people while you talk to Allah, the tears will surely come, and then you can beg Allah to help them and all the Muslim ummah.

    We do have to live our lives too… by improving our own conditions, our own Islam, and being a good example, we are helping them. If not today… for the future in sha Allah. This is the most we have power over right now.

    May Allah guide the Muslims, and all of us to the right way, and protect and give strengh, courage and eman to the people of Palestine/Gaza and all over the world in oppressive, painful situations ameen

  2. You are so wise to realize this. I understand the pull of the news, the images, the articles because you hurt so much for your people. Please don’t think I’m taking anything lightly when I say this, but … ah, I don’t want to appear insensitive … OK…just please understand where I’m coming from with this. Do you think constantly watching this mass murder of Arabs is helping them? Is it showing solidarity with them? I rather think it’s discouraging and demoralizing when I can’t do a darn thing to help! I KNOW most everyone WANTS to help, but very very few are able. So are you supposed to just sit and watch and feel .. numb, sad, angry, defeated (take your pick)? What is the answer? Is it doing as you’ve said and moving on in some ways. NOT that their plight is forgotten … not at all. But if watching them is causing you and every other person watching to slowly die (or fail in your studies as you said), what good will you ever be able to do for your people?

    I think the constant connection to the TV/articles regarding Gaza helps the Israelis win some psychological war if they can make the Arabs feel defeated. Maybe I am totally wrong and I apologize if this sounds hardhearted. It’s not intended that way at all. I am just sorry to see my Arab friends walking around in defeat. It’s like the Israelis are getting to them, too…making them feel cheap to the world or something. Do you feel that way, my friend? I hope not!

    Ah, I hope you understand what I’m trying to say here.

  3. The best you can do for anyone at this point is to prepare and strengthen yourself for whatever service you might able to provide, eventually. One never knows.

    You’re right– low grades are not an option.

  4. I just had a conversation with someone about something similar…how it is time to wake up and realize we need to plan for the next years…we need to plan for the future to save ourselves from things happening today..

    We need to stand up, face reality, and keep going with our goals…only allowing what is happening right now to strengthen us and fuel our desires to reach our final destiny…

    We need to plan for the future generations..

  5. Hit the books 🙂
    Your education will get you far inshaAllah with the right intention!

  6. supersizeme

    hi s&s! i can really empathise with you here – the guilt, the helplessness, frustration and consistently watching those images flash by on the news.

    in a way i agree with suzanne, if in turn none of our feelings are being relayed back to them, and we’re not really doing anything to help alleviate their devastation, fear and grief, then it is possibly demoralizing for them.
    as a former victim of bullying as a kid and as a divorcee who escaped a tempestuous marriage (not much of a comparison i know), i also understand how it feels to be subjected to bullying and everyone looking the other way, pretending it’s not happening, that feeling of knowing no help will ever come.

    at least in this case, we have been silent for too long, if this causes the world to atleast stand up and condemn israel’s bullying and in unison – muslims, christians, jews, hindus… no HUMAN should have to allow other humans to be subjected to such brutality in this here lifetime. and i was touched to tears seeing the jewish community alongside us waving pro-palestinian flags – all with the same desire – for a ceasfire and peace in the region.
    that is the bottom message, we SHOULD make noise, if we remain quiet, we are making it acceptable for crimes like this to forge ahead.

  7. Umm Travis – “Verily, God does not change the condition of a people until they change themselves.” That is the truth we have to face. The seven deadly sins (and then some) are in and proud of it. We need to fix ourselves and our Ummah before we can expect to change anything. Ameen to your prayers!

    Susanne – No worries, I totally understand what you’re trying to say. And you’re right. When faced with the massacre in Palestine, I think we have to really careful not to cross into harming ourselves and therefore hindering them. What good would that to? Besides, were I the one going through their situation, people inactively moping and feeling hopeless wouldn’t really do me much good, now would it? I’m not being cold and uncaring, but you’re right, that isn’t the solution. And, you’re also spot on with your other point. If we believe that Israel’s ultimate goal is to suppress the Palestinians, then feeling defeated and helpless is playing right into their hands. In answer to your question, no I don’t feel cheap. But the reality is that I am sick and tired of the ethnocentrism flying around. I don’t want to hear how oppressed I am, or how unfortunate, or how ignorant. I don’t want to see fear and hatred and misunderstanding in other people’s eyes. But it’s there, and that’s the truth of the matter. Does it affect our worth, as Arabs? No. But it does sadden me that people can be so responsive to ignorance and propaganda! So thank God for people like you Susanne. And for people like Colin Powell =)

    Marahm – Exactly. For the future and for those that survive, inshAllah. We need to be ready to provide aid in anyway possible.

    HiddenSouls – Good for you! SubhanAllah. It’s been 60 years and every once in a while it seems God gives us a little nudge to get us moving, to motivate us, and to test us. I know this may sound callous and cold to some, but I believe it’s the truth. Had we woken up earlier, this would not be happening. So it’s our choice now: how will we act for the future? What measures will we take to prevent this from ever happening again? What lengths are we willing to go to?

    Supersizeme – Of course! I’m not suggesting we look the other way at all! God gave us a voice for a reason. Staying silent and watching people, of any race, have their rights, dignities, and lives stripped away from them is not an option. But at the same time, we need to live our lives. And I don’t mean set aside all their suffering and continue merrily along our way. I mean we need to build for the future – for us and for them. For this Ummah. For the good of humanity. I don’t have the power of governments, armies, or the UN and other independent organizations. But I do have the power, walhamdulillah, to be there for them when this horror is over. To work so we can guarantee our children won’t ever face the same helpless impotency a few decades down the road. That is what I’m suggesting. But never staying silent. Ever, inshAllah =)

  8. This talk about guilt – I can totally understand you.

    You know, S&S, I could write you a fresh (ok, so that’s a relative word, but pray do not let us worry about the small details) comment, but because my middle name is Lazy, I’ll just paste a slightly edited response I have been shamelessly spreading around the Internet (blogs, deviantART, forums..) in case it would inspire someone.

    Soooo, here we go:

    Al salaamu alaykum,

    Since the latest Israeli attacks on Gaza started, I’ve been reading anything I could find that was related to it in a way or another. On Saturday (29.12.)I kept crying while reading, on Monday I felt numb and my eyes were dry while my heart continued weeping, and since Tuesday, I’ve been trying to spread the word and do all I can to help.

    La Ilaha illa Allah.

    It’s really important to remind people, that while we might feel helpless, it does not necessarily mean that we ARE helpless. Demonstrations are important. Sharing the news and forwarding photos of what is happening in Gaza is important. But do not forget that we can do more!

    I’ve been roaming the Internet reading about Gaza and seeing people’s reactions on the massacre that is happening there, and I’ve found it a little too unsettling to see how many people seem to have given up the idea of being able to help. Our leaders suck a big time, and that is certainly not making things any easier, but it also does not mean that everything is over! There are two things MOST of us can do, insha Allah;

    1) Donate. Being a mere student myself I know there is never too much money, but oftentimes it’s a matter of will – most of us can spare at least some bucks. Insha Allah some medical supplies, couple of First aid kits or some water and flour can be bought with them. So contact some humanitarian aid organazation (for example, there is Islamic Relief and Muslim Hands to mention some), and tell them you would like to help.

    Also, with the heartwrenchingly high number of wounded (+ 3600!!!) people there must be in dire need for blood. If you live close by, and if your health permits it, you can donate blood.

    Remember that every cent counts and that, God willing, even the smallest help helps.

    2) Du’a. Du’a. Du’a. If only our Ummah today realizes how important it is!

    “And your Lord says: Pray unto me: and I will hear your prayer” (Quran 40:60)

    “When My servants question thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me” (Quran 2:186)

    “Is not He (best) who listens to the (soul) distressed when it calls on Him, and who relieves its suffering.” (Quran 27:62)

    So we are promised an answer. We are practically promised anything if we just sincerely pray for it. So why in the world are we so lazy to do it? A nice article on this issue can be found here.

    It is important to spread the word. It is important to open the eyes. But that alone can achieve only so much. Why rely on others to take action? Why not we be the ones to take action?

    We can help. We just have to figure how to do so. Sitting in our homes weeping for Gaza might (as well as it might not) make us feel a little better but it won’t do much for the suffering Gazans themselves. Also, us failing our studies (I’ll be having a critical exam in couple of months, and to say the truth, I’m so scared I can’t even sleep well – haven’t been able to do so since the beginning of December. Add to that the unbearable stress/depression/anger this war has brought with it to all of us… u-huh.) won’t be of any benefit either.

    So sister, let us make du’a, and if possible help in other ways too, and surely things will get better insha Allah.

    Again, I’m adding this dua here:

    اللهم أنصر إخواننا المستضعفين في كل مكان
    اللهم اشفِ مرضاهم
    اللهم إنهم جياع فأطعمهم
    اللهم كسّر قيودهم وحرّرهم
    وانصرهم على أعدائك وأعدآئهم يآ قوي يآ عزيز يآ جبّار
    اللهم عليك باليهود الظالمين
    اللهم زلزل عليهم الأرض, وشتت شملهم
    اللهم أرنا فيهم عجآئب قدرتك
    اللهم دمرهم في كل مكان
    اللهم اجعل الدائرة عليهم

    اللهم آمين

    That is all I can say for now. Hope you had enough patience to read it all, what’s with all the spelling/grammar mistakes I seem to sport (:

    Wal salaam,

  9. Oh, I forgot!

    You might have seen this 60-Minute Action-Gaza Plan, but just in case you haven’t… I highly recommend reading it as it’s really inspiring.

    I’m still thinking about phoning Gaza, though. I’m not sure I can make any calls without crying ):

  10. Thank you, Heba, for the wonderful post (which I did read – nonexistent spelling and grammar mistakes included)! If we’re willing to look hard enough there is always something we can do. It may not be big, and it may be frustrating in that it has no immediate effect, but it’s something. Which is always better than nothing =)

    Thanks for the links!!

  11. I’m not sure if you will be able to get to this facebook link or not, but here it is:

    if you can’t get to it, let me know I will post you the info some other way, I think you will like what it says 🙂

  12. I copied and pasted a msg from the above group/event:

    Assalam alaikum

    Thank you for joining this event.

    Obviously, the most effective way to invoke Allah’s support is to repent from all sins and engage in total submission.

    However, for the purpose of Facebook event, we need something concrete that we all do to show an impact, in-sha-Allah.

    So, please help me to finalize one concrete action that all Muslims can participate to invoke Allah’s help.

    Here are some guidelines:
    1- Everyone can perform it (men, women, rich, poor)
    2- Something visible (not in the heart or abstinence/fasting)
    3- Requires some sacrifice (not too easy) but still not too hard
    4- Communal/Group activity
    5- Something part of the basics of Islam (not optional, like Qiyam)

    So, we are excluding Duas, Qiyam, fasting, donation, repentance, …

    One suggestion is doubling the number of lines for Salat Al-Fajr

    * if you already praying Fajr on time but at home, you start going to the masjid.

    * If you can’t pray or no masjid near by, you call to wake up someone to go to the masjid.

    * If you are already praying in the masjid, you start bring one more person to the masjid.

    Once we achieved this, it helps to have other activities implemented, for example, during fajr, imam can make dua, after Salah, imam can give the latest update of the crisis.

    If you like this idea or have other suggestions, please posted it on the event wall.

    May Allah reward you and may Allah help us in this crisis

  13. Thanks for this post, I feel guilty all the time too.

  14. HiddenSouls – Thanks!! Yeah, facebook’s wack these days. I can get on, but I can’t do anything =/ so thanks for taking the time to post it up!! I think it’s a great idea =)

    Mona – You’re welcome =(

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