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Fall 11. Issue 5. AUB Insight Club
tt OY at h s of ALL e u s is s previou
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Leban n i d e n ar
By Lynn Sharafeddine
rds I le o W o w T ht p.5 g i n o T 2 . p istening L f o Life p.4 t r y A M f The O vents p.8 E Day t b s lu e i C p p The Ha oughts p.7 h T t h ig n p.7 Mid … r e b m e g to Rem Somethin Researchers once asked an eight year old girl what she thought Love was. She replied that Love is blind, Stevie Wonder is blind, then Stevie Wonder is Love. I found that funny at first, a child being a child, but if you think about it, there might be something there. For this girl to be able to claim so confidently that this man was the embodiment of Love got me thinking. Stevie Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950. He is probably the most well known Jazz artist today. He has become a popular figure in music history, scoring more than thirty top ten hits and winning more than twentytwo Grammys. I can go on and on about his awards, his achievements, just how great he is. But… so is Oprah, so is Donald Trump, so is a list of other
people who achieved just as much, if not more. Then why would this little girl say Stevie Wonder? It seemed to me that it had more to do with the fact that he was blind. Shortly after his birth, Wonder lost his eyesight. We take for granted or are
We take for granted or are often unaware of the role that sight plays in shaping who we are. often unaware of the role that sight plays in shaping who we are. So to test just how much sight can affect our lives, I decided to be blind for a day. Two summers ago, I woke
up blind-folded at my best friend’s house. I can tell you without a doubt that the most frustrating thing I ever went through was not being able to see morning. I felt the sun on my skin, but I couldn’t see its glow. I felt the warm summer breeze, but I couldn’t see the leaves swaying in it. I could hear Layla move beside me, but I couldn’t see her peaceful morning face. I thought I was going to give up right then and there. But I didn’t. Have you ever filled the tub to the rim and sat in the water and closed your eyes? Did you ever just sit there and feel water? Feel wind? Warmth? Remember how immersed you were in those brief moments? Blindness is a perpetual state of that feeling. All my senses were heightened to an extreme and I felt… everything. The fabric of my shirt, I could count every weave. My jeans, my
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The Art o f Listening
B y L oj in e
Info ntact o C & Team
People who listen hurt someone’s feelings. I listen and listen, “Analyze me.” Haha, sometimes for hours in a day, until said right. are required to persons are done talking. No doubt most naturally exercise psychology majors, myself And then? I give. Except giving a certain level of included, have been requires listening, a fact that is too often tolerance, for often hearing this statement forgotten. When you give your advice or since the very moment we your opinions to a person, regardless of times the things you declared ourselves into whether you believe you are right or not, hear may challenge the major. Having been a you must always listen, but not just to their or even directly psych student for two years voice. Pay attention to body language, now, I have some sense of counter your own facial expression, even the structure of the personalities viewpoints. wording. For often what is unsaid is louder and disorders, than that which is said. but I am How many times have you come up certainly not qualified to with a snide or ignorant remark simply because you wanted to “analyze” anyone. speak? Spoken out of turn only to leave the quiet ones in your I am, however, good path forever quiet? Too often it is the silent ones who should be at listening, a trait which speaking. You might be surprised by what they have to say. I believe is the very I find this the case in daily interactions between friends foundation of being a and family. We are intolerant if we cannot bend, but too liberal good psychologist, family if we accept everything we’re told without having at least member and friend. People thought about it. Is there a medium? Perhaps, perhaps not. who listen are required to Nevertheless, there is such a thing as giving too much, or naturally exercise a certain taking too much. The passive listener versus the over-active level of tolerance, for often speaker. You can’t be both, but you can be an in-betweener. times the things you hear may It takes effort to speak up for what you believe in, but it takes challenge or even directly counter even more to listen to something you don’t. But to truly be a your own viewpoints. So, I practice listening. I sit at home and good friend you must sometimes brace yourself for the things listen to family issues, or at AUB, where I you dislike, while trying your best to do what you think is right. listen to friends’ issues. I bite my tongue and This thought rings true in a passage by Winston Churchill, who control my facial emotions, because I know once said “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; only the slightest unwanted reaction might courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
Editor in Chief:
Tala Tabbara at ca for this issue's design
Lynn Sharafeddine and Manal Moukaddem for their feedback on the design & suggestions
Design & Printing: ca s.a.r.l
Mirna Badr and Izzat el-Hajj for preparing the events page
send us your response to this issue via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Two Word sI learned in Lebanon By Hanan Hammoudeh I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. - Martin Luther King, Jr. It was my second day in Beirut, and I was sitting in the lounge of my temporary housing unit at the AUB. It was still orientation week, and I had nothing to do, so I walked to the sofa to watch TV. Some graduate students were complaining that they had been moved from one building to the next, and had just been told to move again. “What is this?! We’re not Palestinians!” one of them exclaimed. I didn’t quite understand what she meant. Why would it be any less of an offense had the girls been Palestinian? I thought long and hard about the connection she was trying
to draw. I tried to think about how it logically would make sense for Palestinians to be moved around. But I stayed quiet and walked away, knowing that no logic could explain such intolerance. Later on in the year I would learn two things. First, that people in AUB often use the words “Palestinian” and “refugee” interchangeably. The unfortunate reality is that, to many, Palestinians are just a group of people living in ‘the camps’; a burden at best. Some even go as far as to blame them for Lebanon’s civil unrest. Second, I learned of the Nahr al Bared Refugee camp, and that its residents had been relocated when
their camp was destroyed. But is that what ‘the graduate’ was referring to? Did she mean that it was alright for the refugees to be relocated, even after being displaced from their homes several times? Maybe she meant that they should be used to it. Months later, I was in the dorms one night writing a research paper, when one of the girls got into a fight with the night monitor. My friend was repeatedly asked by the night monitor to turn down the volume on the TV. She eventually got frustrated and told the night monitor that it was her right to watch television at that volume—it was, in her defense, at a very low volume. The night monitor was enraged. Her reaction, and I quote, was to claim: “Ana Manneh Sri Lankieh 3andik.” She further went on
to say that she wouldn’t be spoken to in that manner. She would not be disrespected in that way. Apparently, though, if she were Sri Lankan, it’d be okay. Apparently, Sri Lankan is another word used interchangeably to mean migrant worker from an East Asian country here in Lebanon to make a measly couple hundred dollars a month. A friend of mine once told me that she had a “Sri Lankieh” at her home. This Sri Lankieh, she told me so matter-of-factly, was from Bangladesh. I do not know if the graduate student whose name I never learned specialized in racism—I never asked. And I do not know if the night monitor thought it her duty to shield the students from humanity. But if graduate students and AUB staff members can, in all confidence, speak in such a repulsive manner towards fellow members of the human race, then antihate legislations are needed on campus.
By Hiba Itani
The Happiest Day of My Life What was the happiest moment in your life? Was it when you got rid of a problem that really annoyed you? Was it when you scored the winning shot for your team? Was it a crazy moment you shared with your close friends? I have experienced all of these things, and they felt great, but I wouldn’t label any of these moments as the happiest moment of my life. The happiest day of my life was Tuesday, August 10th, 2010. It was a few days before my Chemistry 201 Final Exam, and it was the day before the start of Ramadan. I was studying the night before, when I felt some pain in my abdomen. I tried to ignore it and decided to just go to bed, but the pain only got worse. To make a long story short, the next evening I was scheduled for a CT scan that would decide whether or not I needed an appendix surgery! My heart was shaking, I was having cramps, I was worried about surgery, I had weird machines and equipment attached to my body, and I was just plain uncomfortable. To top it all, as soon as I got out of the CT scan room, the results were out. Yes, my fear was now a reality: I had to undergo surgery, and I had to do it right away. I didn’t know what to feel. I was afraid, unprepared, and not ready. I started to cry. Why was this happening to me? Why now? Nevertheless, whether I liked it or not, I had to be in the OR in thirty minutes, before my case got much worse and more painful. I called my sister and told her what was going on. I sent regards to my brother with deep regret for all the times I annoyed him, and I saw in my parents’ eyes approval and love. I thought of my past, all the sweet and hard times I’ve had. As I was being pushed on that hospital bed with my eyes facing the ceiling, I saw what I couldn’t see when I was in my room studying chemistry a day before. All my life I had choices and options. I made my choices with much trust and little fear, though I was bound to make mistakes. Sometimes I made the right choices and felt satisfaction and gratitude, and sometimes I didn’t. I thought of all the things I didn’t have control over. I thought of the blood being pumped through my veins. I thought of my ability to breathe without difficulty. I thought of all the days I did not have this pain in my abdomen. All these things I had no control over, yet I never saw the mercy and wonder embedded in them until today. Being pushed on a bed to the OR, I realized I had no control over that either, and it was just my fate. Sometimes, fear settles in when events go beyond our ability to command, but what did I have to fear? I closed my eyes and made one last decision before the operation started; I decided to accept this situation as one of the many blessings that God has bestowed upon me. If I were to live I’d see the world with a much brighter perspective, and if anything should happen and I should be deprived of my ability to make any more choices in this life, I would be left with all my past choices, the very last of which would be trust. Whatever would happen that day, I knew it would be for the best. I closed my eyes, and felt, for once, true satisfaction and happiness. My body had always been under God’s control, but at that moment my heart was fully with God as well. I sensed a great feeling of peace overtake me. I have never felt as safe, as thankful, and as happy as I felt… the moment I entered the OR.
Tonight By Neda Eid
Today I walk in between the crowds I sit in between the desks Chin up Eyes leveled Hand raised I speak; At this very moment I’m fighting a classroom inside of my head I fight all your thoughts. Every single one of your assumptions. They pierce my heart Until it numbs Until it bleeds. Today, Of all the days, I felt nothing. She asked me: Who forced you to wear that thing? See, she read this book and knew she could find a way to save me. He told me: Don’t worry, there’s no religious police here. See, he wanted to inform me that I’m finally free. From the corner, they looked at me: I wonder why she is so weak? A woman should learn to speak To disagree, to adamantly critique. Alone: I find myself Staring into my bitter eyes, I wonder why Covering my body is so despised
I wonder how No matter how far my legs walk No matter how unaccented my speech is No matter how modernized my clothes say
And that is more important to me
Most of all the days To you: I am holding back every female in this room.
And I envision finding the man who will finally respect me, take me as I am Who will love me – not just for my eyes and long strands of hair But for the thoughts and beliefs that have shaped me.
Equality It comes down to Equality. They fought so hard, They fought with such love See, I am American And identify as female But being a Muslim does not make me frail And Islam does not destine me to fail Every Morning, I pray to God knowing Islam has kept me alive in this world Provided a path to help me strive in this world And you: You worry about the men in my life. My father has taught me patience And the beauty that connects us all My younger brother has dark and beautiful red hair A foot more tall But he appreciates what I see And we talk— about life, and disagree— about love And I disapprove of who his friends are But I understand how trapping this world can be. See, I am a sister, and a daughter
You envision my husband abusing me Treating me as worthless And breaking me,
To you: My actions contradict How can I call myself a feminist And still wear a veil For me: I am not interested in proving right my way of life to you. You will see what you want to see And narrate in various ways To others-But I will always be in that crowd And sitting in that desk Knowing your thoughts and assumptions are taking all of my energy. This is my life. And I can’t ever see this as a reason to be the end of me. See, I will never allow a society to dictate the way I live, the way I dress, the way I believe Because I know, they’ll just find another reason to disagree And this will be my life. Tonight, Of all the nights, I feel great. 5
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Blind shoes, how they wrapped around my body. I could feel them, a layer of skin on top of my own. All of the things I used to take for granted now fascinated me. I was born again and the child in me was alive with wonder. Walking down the streets of Hamra with Layla by my side, I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about the place I spent most of my time in. I measured each step, noticed all the bumps and broken tiles and the different sounds of beggars pleading, unheard, ignored. I was finally able to distinguish the smells of each saj place on Bliss Street. I heard the people, the hum of their voices coming together, the beating of their footsteps like the beating of a heart. Yes, the city was alive. I saw colors instead of
Real Stories of AUB Students By Jamila Mehio
By Lynn Sharafeddine images; yellow filled in where I smelled food, red filled in where I could feel the heat of cars, blue replaced the sea of people, there was purple and green and pink and orange and colors I never thought Iâ€™d be able to perceive. For the first time in my life, I saw Beirut. Iâ€™m sure people stared, whispered about the crazy girl walking around in a blindfold, but I could not see them, and just like that, spite and malice disappeared. Later that night when I went home, I sat on the balcony with my family. Whenever my brother or sisters walked in and out, I could feel it. A part of me walked in and out with them. Then my mom put her hands on my cheeks and asked me how long I was going to
keep this up. I put my hands over hers and I sensed the love running in the blood in her veins and I saw the most beautiful woman on Earth. Then she took my blindfold off and just like nineteen years ago, brought me into this world. I laid my head on her lap and she played with my hair, humming a lullaby. And you know what I did? I closed my eyes again. What I experienced in a day changed my entire perspective. This single day made me appreciate, forgive, and accept. Stevie Wonder has been blind for 2373 days. I cannot imagine how beautiful his heart must be. It is no longer strange to me that the little girl thought he was Love.
Something to Remember… By Izzat El-Hajj It’s very odd how quickly the human mind forgets. It’s a mercy in some sense. Imagine we couldn’t forget all the embarrassing moments we’ve had, or the times someone has done something to hurt us. We’d never be able to forgive and we’d always be haunted with regret. But that can be a double edged sword. Sometimes we forget the good things others have done for us or the sacrifices they’ve made, and may treat them with unkindness in a moment of anger or weakness. I think the people who fall most victims to this are our parents. I have a bad habit of
getting irritated every time my parents ask me detailed questions or try to interfere in my daily affairs. I arrogantly think that I am old and wise enough to know what’s good for me and how to manage my life. At that moment, I forget that if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t be going to university in the first place. I wouldn’t be eating the food that I’m eating, I wouldn’t be wearing the clothes that I’m wearing, I wouldn’t even exist! Our parents’ ultimate goal is to make sure they provide us with all that they can to ensure we grow up to become successful
and prosperous. From the minute we are born, they dedicate their lives to this and are willing to sacrifice even the clothes on their backs in order not to see us unhappy or having a hard time. Their hearts beat with unconditional love and mercy for that little helpless baby who will later grow up to become a strong rebellious adult. They continue to ask and continue to worry to make sure they have done the best job they can, because there is nothing dearer to a parent than their beloved child. So next time your parents refuse to get you something you really want,
just remember all the things they’ve provided you with that you now take for granted. And next time they ask you to skip an outing with your friends to help them out with something, just remember all the outings they’ve skipped when you were young to stay at home beside you. And next time they interrupt you while you’re doing something important to ask you about your day or tell you about theirs, just remember that a day will come when you will wish you could see their faces and hear their voices, but they will no longer be around.
By Mona Ayoub
I see people wearing masks. I see them adorned by robes. Their masks are so thick and their robes are so fancy that I can no longer see their genuineness. I can no longer see their humanity. We’re here for a day or two. I see rich people tirelessly seeking more wealth. I see poor people tirelessly complain about their destituion. I see rich people extending a hand of help, and I see poor people raising their hands thanking their Creator. I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man who had no feet. We’re here for a day or two. I see people bestowed with bountiful blessings. I see others worn out by harsh tribulations. Doesn’t gold need heat to become pure? Sometimes a tribulation is a blessing in disguise. A pure heart is what I am seeking in this world. We’re here for a day or two.
u l C t h g i s In
Eid Al-Adha Celebrations: the Insight Club, Saudi Cultural Club, South Cultural Club, and Youth Club come together to celebrate Eid El Adha. Celebrations included distribution of sweets on campus, a Knefe sale to fundraise for orphans on the holidays, and trivia night!
Shopping for Eid Clothes: members and friends take orphans shopping for new clothes on Eid Al Adha!
Women: Oppressed, Suppressed, Depressed: Dr. Lisa Killinger and Dr. Hiba Khodor discuss women between Western societies, Eastern societies, and Islam in a series of two events
Orphansâ€™ Support Project: Members volunteer weekly to reinforce orphansâ€™ academic performance and engage them in fun games
Lectures: on various topics such as the role of love in our lives, the meanings of Hijra on the Hijra New Year, and the story of Ashoura under the theme of tolerance and unity
The 5th issue of Insight Club's very own magazine, ALLOY!