A dose of 7aki mish fadi: In Search of Fatima

I recently finished reading the book In Search of Fatima by Ghada karmi .

I was not exiled from Palestine so I can’t begin to imagine how life would have been if I was but this book made me experience it , feel it and relate to it on many different levels and kind of appreciate what my grandparents had gone through to a certain extent when they were forced to leave Palestine.

You go on a journey with Ghada from 1949 when she was 8 years old and escaped the Israelis daily attacks on their Jerusalem neighborhood by going to London with her family, to her rejecting her Arab-ism and her Palestinian identity and adopting the English life style and thoughts, to her going back to her roots and realizing who she was and her fighting for the Palestinian cause.

The thing that struck a cord with me and I relate to the most is her struggle to belong.

Since living in Canada for 7 years I don’t feel 100% Canadian and I don’t feel 100% Arab or Palestinian or Jordanian . I find myself stuck in between sometimes confused or struggling to who I want to belong to, what to adopt and what to leave behind.

Living abroad does add a lot to you from your thoughts, how you see things , how you interpret things to your daily life. People who hadn’t experienced living abroad always have difficulty understanding how it changes a person.

I no longer fully belong here or there.

In Canada I am not Canadian I am Arab and in Jordan I am no longer 100% Jordanian since in the eyes of the people I am forever changed. The one who is now westernized and who is adopting western ideas and western values.

Mind you, I am still the same person I was,  the  difference now being is I am no longer shy to voice my thoughts , the same thoughts I had in Jordan that I always repressed and kept private so not to offend anyone be it about religion , sex or politics. 

That’s why I think blogs are a great blessing to people living in Jordan or any other conservative country for that matter since it provides an outlet for people to dump all the thoughts that are not acceptable to society.

But I digress….

“In Search of Fatima” makes you feel with Ghada’s struggle in finding an identity, a culture and a place to call home.

Great read!


15 Responses

  1. *adds book to list*

    We my friend belong in “no man’s land”. This is the truth everyone who left their town has to accept – we will never be able to relate to any place we go to.

    I was having this conversation with a dear friend of mine and fellow blogger a couple of days ago, about finding our soul. It amazed me that, although he is 9 years my senior, married with a child, we both have the same problem: the robotic routine and not belonging anywhere, and our endeavor to find our souls.

    I am becoming to believe we belong to this imaginary No Man’s Land. Because in all honesty we all do form our own group, like nomads.

    I think I should write a book on this.

  2. yay first reply *awards self 100 achievement points*

  3. […] the details here This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 24th, 2007 at 1:43 pm and is filed under book search. […]

  4. I saw it at the book store and it looked interesting! Goes on the list…

  5. “Mind you, I am still the same person I was the difference now being is I am no longer shy to voice my thoughts , the same thoughts I had in Jordan that I always repressed and kept private so not to offend anyone be it about religion , sex or politics.”

    So strong and true. Like it and agree with it regarding the basic principles.

    Though personally, living abroad did extend my limits and made me realize what I used to think as the ultimate equality, tolerance, and freedom fell short compared to the actual limits. It gave me the chance to deal with and to be exposed to so many ideas and to see things as is, or at least clearer than in Jordan or other conservative societies. But still your statement is absolutely right. Only those who in the first place believe in these principles gain from the experience, and those who do not can live in the freest country constrained by their own limits, and I saw many of the later in USA.

    I hope it helps to know that I feel the same, not fitting in any. Though the problem is not new but rooted to days in Jordan but with less severity. Being abroad and getting older strengthened my beliefs, lowered my skills in hide them, and partially unsynchronized me from society in Jordan. Just like your statement “I always repressed and kept private so not to offend anyone”, which is a clear indication of not really fitting in that society even at that time; just you were acting as if, and who knows what would have happened if you stayed longer?

    Good night, you already gave me a good night by this post

  6. As you know….this book has been sitting on my shelf for about a year now LOL, I have to finish 1000 splendid suns, then move on to fadia faqir’s book, then I’ll be reading this one inshallah!

    Thanks for the recap!

  7. loss of identity to all Palestinians is inevitable!
    after reading this book it made me come to terms with my lost identity and I accepted it….I am not 100% anything, i belong to many places but not to my homeland since it was disappearing little by little the map of the world.
    this is one of my all time favorite books

  8. i want to read that book..annoying coles did not have it in hamilton or mississauga…it was my planed read on the plane..uggh!
    not feeling you belong is so true..and imagine how much worse it is when your other home is lebanon..i have no iqma or anything in jordan but i feel like i belong here amillion times that i would in lebanon…o well..i guess it is ok..we have belong to three different places..:)

  9. KJ: We sure are KJ, we belong in no mans land. But you know what I also realized, no matter where you live people are EXACTLY the same, Canadians and Jordanians are the same. I think I belong on Mars maybe more. I can’t wait for us to discover other forms of life.
    Where do I pre-order the book ? You should soooo write it.

    Fadi Malian: Your comment sure made me smile fadi 🙂 and made me like warm and fuzzy inside cos I am not alone 🙂 I don’t know you but I feel we share a lot in common .

    Asoom: I actually want to read fadia faqir’s book too after I read your post about her reply to you.

    Summer: Well summer the reason I read the book is because of you 😀 , you recommended it to me that one time I asked you guys to recommend books for me so Thanks!

    Sam: I bet you that you feel you belong less in Lebanon and Egypt because the culture is different, I have to admit Jordan embraced us like no other country did we are really one people whether some people like it or not.
    Thanks for the comment Sam 🙂

  10. I think they are showing the movie version of this book in town this weekend..probably at ryerson!
    “I don’t feel 100% Canadian and I don’t feel 100% Arab or Palestinian or Jordanian . I find myself stuck in between sometimes confused or struggling to who I want to belong to, what to adopt and what to leave behind.”
    I dont know which one to call home 😦
    I kinda belong in 4 places..each one is home in its own way. Palestine would be the home I never lived in and always would want to live in..eft

  11. oops. i just realized that the movie was part of the palestinian movie festivel in london last weekend. however, there is another palestinian movie screening (about national soccer team) next week in toronto

  12. Dana: I will appoint you my events consultant; I love how you know about all these events. How do you know? is there a website I can check out for all these events?

  13. 7aki, well wait for me we can read it at the same time!

  14. Asoom: Will do. Drop me a line when you want to read it, I need to order it online anyway 😀

  15. Sounds Good! God, my reading list is growing looooooooooonger

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