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I Love

I love intimacy, and accept 
that concealment springs from it
some partition of the heart 
closing as it opens up. 
Oh we will die soon enough. 
Not enough can be said 
for a redemptive caress. 
How good it’s been to slide back 
the heart’s hood awhile, how fortunate
there’s a heart and a covering for it, 
and that whatever is still warm 
has a chance. 

Stephen Dunn, “Loves”

Poets and songwriters always express that split second emotion or that lifetime sentiment so much better than the rest of us can. We site songs and lyrics to express what we can’t or to remember what the other tried to express and even though we don’t fully get it we are still listening and still processing it years and months later.

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Our thoughts form the world

I arrived home even though Shiyara really wanted us to stay in America. She loved New York.

I would love to live in New York again for a few months at a time but as I told Shiyara, we would still need to go home to Casablanca to at least pack our things.

We returned to our friends who just had their first baby and he is as beautiful as his mother. They confessed they would be going back to America within the year. I will be losing my best friend and it hasn’t let me sleep at all but as I watch MasterChef and drink tea I noticed some words of wisdom written on the paper attached to a string, “Our thoughts are forming the world.” This is what I said to myself an hour earlier as I tossed and turned trying to sleep thinking of my friend leaving.

We can’t control the outcome of most anything in life but we can control how we see the world and it changes everything. This is what I came back to Morocco to do. Finish all that I started and sit with the discomfort of learning what I need to learn, going through the difficulties, be patient so I can move on in due time from this stage of evolution literally and metaphorically. So for tonight I pray that all the things she and I want for our families come true and that no more rest is lost worrying over what may or might arrive because of course no matter how painful or abandoned we will feel, we can handle it.

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Pessah in Casablanca

The best part of the seder is being surrounded by family, anyone’s family especially dysfunctional ones. I love the noise and the bustle of children playing and adults chattering and everyone having an opinion and where you don’t need to be polite anymore because you are with your crazy noisy big ridiculous family. I am sitting with an exes family and even though we are finished being a couple, his family to me is not finished. If we married people for their families I would have married lots of men. Families here remind me of my own big family with 5 sisters and an older brother and an aura of beautiful chaos.

 

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The Rabbi's children - Casablanca

Blog, Casablanca, children, culture, Judaism, living abroad, love, Morocco, People, Personal, Photo, Photography, Pictures, Random, reflections, relationships, Travel

The Rabbi’s children – Casablanca

The Rabbi's children - Casablanca

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Life

I enter my home and I yell out “Shiyara!!!!” and she yells back “Mama!!” The pitter patter of her running feet match my heart. I wait for her big smile to appear around the corner! I throw my purse down and jump down to kneel on the floor, like I am asking everyday to marry an angel, to open my arms and wait for her to rush in. The seconds don’t race as fast as my heart and it skips…for her. “Come come come!!!!!” She makes it to me and I can only grab on for a split second and then she’s gone.

Without her there would be no home and no where to return to. She is my home.

I went to visit a woman in a beautiful house with a beautiful husband who has done very well in his life. She wants for nothing but I would never switch a day in her shoes for all the wealth in the world. My house has Shiyara and with her all the life and love and fun and warmth that I could have prayed g-d would grant me.

Even as I break in my low moments, even when I scold myself for not being the best mother… my one honest joy no matter the state of the world outside is seeing her in it sleeping beside me…my daughter is a strong willed beauty.

She is my little sister, my little girl. May I always do right by her.

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“Don’t deny it. Let it go back to where it came from.”

“One person not in life is going to love it and the others are going to hate it. I will disappoint them and disrupt who I am supposed to be for them.”

Before she left to Kuwait she let me film her and speak to her on camera about her mother, her lover, her feelings of leaving home. In the morning I woke up at 6 and sat down stairs listening to her run around quietly. She slipped a bottle of perfume in my bag and kissed me. The rest of the family came to sit with me. The silence was unbearable that I felt only then like I had to keep myself discreet and far from crying. She instantly stood and left the room. I followed and found her in the bathroom already washing her face. She is like a bigger sister, one of my best friends and I have never seen her crying. She hugged me and told me in English that she loved me. I could only say, “One year. It will only be one year.”

She walked into the bedroom where Iklas slept. She laid her head at her feet and cried. I walked away and waited by the door.

Working, traveling ,leaving home, leaving your heart behind. Her image stays with me.

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lt’s exhausting to see the same images of Muslim men in Africa or North of it portrayed as “violent Arab men”

How is it that Christian fundamentalists in Britain and America who “fundamentally” hate “the Jews who killed Jesus” also passionately dislike Muslims many also semitic people (but please don’t get me started about the bigots claiming anti-semitism doesn’t exist because there are other semitic languages/cultures).

It’s exhausting to see the same images of Muslim men in Africa or North of it portrayed as “violent Arab men” along with their counterpart images of older women speaking ‘gibberish’ in black who are never given translation unless they are saying “Down with America” right after they lost every member of their family.

On the rare occasion when I watch the news in my friend’s apartment there is always a moment I think I am being paranoid because I don’t recognize anyone. I begin thinking that Moroccan culture and men are so drastically different from all other Muslim men in the world and perhaps yes, but perhaps no.

Just as I had that thought that something doesn’t seem right I saw the cut away shot. They shot the young skinny man beating his fists on the wagon and screaming then raising his hands to his head. Just before they cut away I saw him turning to begin the movement of reaching for his mother obviously to cry in her arms like a little boy but they didn’t show that. All that you will see is him acting ‘violent’ like a ‘savage’ who you partly are glad is on that side of the camera and that side of the world.

Maybe deep inside you don’t really have any sympathy at all. How can you? He’s waving around like a crazy person. The images I see of passion on TV sometimes look strange and are repeated and repeated and I wonder how many times you can repeat the same two or three tricks and tropes until someone catches on? I ask about these edits because the people I know are some or the biggest talkers and expressive people but avoid violence as best as they can. If it comes to blows, well…it just isn’t done that often and certainly a thousand times less then in the states.

What is beginning to surprise me for months now is how much affection, kissing of heads and hands goes on in intimate relationships. Even if I am the one who is yelling, the one I am yelling at will kiss my head and show me they are sorry not with words but by showing me. Gestures.

An angry fighting match that looks like someone is going to die will dissolve into water with a few kisses like once when a man kicked my bags in a heated fight over not moving fast enough. I was about to start a war on him and his family. After I made the whole train station stop as I yelled an English curse and my friend intervened.   Amongst on lookers he admitted he was wrong and asked for forgiveness in as many ways as he could and was ready to kiss my hand twice in two minutes.

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i need your hands

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unconditional surrender

“Exile is the only country without a geography. It has, however, a climate, a culture, an ecology, an archeology and virtually a national smell.”

“The map of the unreal, the imaginary. And it is only then that they express precisely the immeasurable experience of exile.”-Ugresic

Remembrance is possession. Memory is object(s).

Jerusalem

Writing on an author for class, I find that against my will i love these writings in The Croatian that are both scholarship and memoir, impersonal facts and personal stories in between record and invention on this feeling of being displaced.

Searching for home, being in love, loss, exile, feeling displaced…has been the subject of my poems since coming to America at ten. It’s the spirit that makes me hunt genealogy records and save all pictures and all my father’s jewelry. When asked why i am this way, why i do these things, i could never explain it well enough.

All the objects, idols, images, tangibles we’re taught to disrespect but whose importance to me all the same is wrapped up in a story i read.

A Bosnian friend remarks that there are two kinds of refugees, “those who have photographs and those who have none.”

On this particular day the Bosnian-Serb general/war criminal by the name of Ratko Mladic noticed that the Sarajevo home of an acquaintance was on his bombardment list. Mladic phoned him to tell him that he had less then five minutes to collect his photographs and leave.

“The general, who had been destroying the city for months, knew precisely how to annihilate memory. That is why he ‘generously’ bestowed on his acquaintance life, with the right to remembrance.”

All photographs are mementos mori. “To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to…relentless melt.” – Susan Sontag

Jerusalem Art Project

remembrance is possession, and i am relentlessly possessed.

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transverse unshamed, take it as a souvenir

your toothbrush is resting down the hall
I shut my eyes
entwined in your legs
aware you will be traveling soon.
I find us,
waking up in the dark with
five interwoven parts, persuaded, won over,
seduced, converted, seduced the other way.
in the night praying hands come out of
a wetness on these finger tips,
un-self consciously wandering across your back.
in the night I lay quiet
listening to you speaking in tongues
watching you sleep with me, traveler.
traveling into your dreams
tugging on to kites and hemlines
running through space
where we’re nearing the lighthouse,
I close my eyes
tighter,
you’re almost at the gate,
I smile, I want to thank you
for this…

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Post Script: broke in Rabat

the man outside of L’Belle Vie who was trying to give me directions to go to the Embassy and the Main Bank Au Marque next door couldn’t quite understand why i insisted on walking. “It’s really far Lalla. Just take a taxi it’s only maybe 20dhs.” He is distinctively calm. And unlike most young men from around this way, he has a gentle way of being that never insists that “you must…” He’s young and has the most beautiful eyes I’ve seen on a man. If there is one word I would use to describe him, I might initially say “sweet” but when you say “sweet” you smile and it’s said in the same way that something sweet is consumed–quickly. it’s not that he’s “sweet” or even cute as much as he is soft…like the way you say “soft” quietly, softly, prolonging such a small word.

he’s searching for the reason i really really just want to walk and i’m quick and in contrast to him. “Yes, I want to walk, just tell me how to get there and I’ll find the way.” He tries to explain looking outward to the roads and back to me as I look at him intensely, trying to listen to (his silences)…his directions. After a long five minutes of him slowly trying to explain he says, “but the roads are wild and you will find it hard to get there.” he looks at me with concern and i think i can actually tell this man and i think he will understand. even though we’re the same age he seems so much older than me and even though he’s a man and he’s gorgeous he doesn’t seem to know it/believe it, and even though I’m foreign he doesn’t seem to care. “It’s cheap miss, it’s only 20dhs.” He’s looking at me as if he’s asking and i think i can tell him that, “I have no money to take a taxi” I have to walk. “Not even 20dhs.” I don’t say anything. Not that I gave the last of my cash away to the girl on the bus who needed to get home, thinking i could get more for myself from the ATM later. He’s looking at me with these big eyes that are so concerned. He doesn’t take a second to think this through before he says, “it’s not a problem. here, wait right here, I’ll be back, I’ll give you the money.” “NO!” I stop him from going into the store. “Why? you need it don’t you?” “i don’t want it, i can’t take it, i’ll walk.” “no…i promise this is okay.” He waits outside in the sun with me as a store full of shoppers look on. He’s looking at me, waiting for me, just saying, “it’s okay. it’s really okay. it’s okay.” and with that I breeeeeeath, let my hands fall to my sides and warn him that I think I might cry. he’s quiet, he waits for me there, without saying a word as the tears are now streaming down my face. he’s waiting with me, witnessing me, not saying a word.

He leaves and returns, puts the money in my hand. tells me that if I have a problem with the bank to come back, that he works here as the director. I tell him this is shuumah (shame) for me to take this and he says no. if i want and if i can and only if i would feel better, than pay it back when i can, but if not, it’s not shuumah. He looks at my red cheeks and tells me to wait again. He comes back gives me a bottle of water and tells me that everything will be okay. i get in a cab and cry in silence. he made me cry, but the irony and beauty of this whole thing made me laugh.

“You might as well say goodbye to that money” for the next 2 months as apparently this has happened before to them. Charles gives me 10 bucks at the American Em. His grandmother went to Smith and he tells me, “I hear you’re losing your dining rooms.” How the hell does he know that. “How do you know that?” The Herald Tribune/New York Times and Shirley, the Smith alum who offers to take me in after the feast/holiday here that i am spending with my family. i need to get around still to film so i am resolving the problem:this one anyhow. i wait. ready to laugh that you have inherited me. yes that penguin with wings that can’t fly, flopping about, cute but useless. (a mess)

PS: there is a kid (maybe 4 years old) shouting into the phone in front of me (that he can’t quite reach up to just yet) of the teleboutique. he’s all by himself talking to the person on the phone about his zween girlfriend with all these formal introductions as the old grandfatherish man behind me grumbles into his cell phone!

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when i will reach home

life holds your hand and breaks your heart.

it tells you that a broken heart isn’t bad. each break is an opening.

so i put trust in love just as the dream ends, lying in bed touching the one i love. the dream ends and like magic it expands out anew like a sand timer opening up on the other side.

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To the girls who cannot sleep

You say you can’t sleep.  you say that you lay on your bed with your eyes open in the dark.  you replay the conversations, you think of the world, big and small, yours and mine…lonely and brillant and sweet. This is you tonight.  i don’t know how to change the night.  but i know that i care about you.  that you are too good to feel crazy like us.   I wish that I could sit up in your bed and keep my fingertips on your hair. tell you that i have your dreams and your fears in my chest. so shhhh… close your eyes. I’m here. go to bed. I’ve got you.

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Purim with Joy

The elementary school’s guardian who never speaks a word to me, hollered out when I passed by: “What are you are deeply thinking about?”On hearing this, I looked up to see him smiling. I wondered what I must have looked like to prod a shy man to speak with me out of concern. I realized later down the road that this is what Alia meant when she said Morocco was filled with love. He had made me smile and I was still smiling widely blocks down the road.

In theory I understand growth often hurts but I took the day to feel grief until I wiped my eyes and went to work which is when I met up with Jacky after my batteries died after filming for hours.

He’s a religious man who won’t touch women except his family members and has a smile on his face more often than not. I asked him casually about business and he shook his head stoically, “It’s not so great these days.”He smiled again.

I wasn’t looking for untruths but I didn’t expect the truth at the children’s Purim party. I was pleasantly surprised.

“Are you okay with that?” I asked.

“We have a lot of beauty and a lot of hardship in life. We don’t see the whole picture but we must greet even the pain with joy.” He said.

“Are you really able to greet this with joy?” I asked somewhat in disbelief.

“It’s not easy. It’s hard for me,” he said.

I shyly confessed that I had cried today.  I was embarrassed to even mention it because I don’t have three kids and a wife to take of or the obligations that he has and if he can greet his challenges with joy, what’s my excuse?

“I know it’s not easy,” he said. “But take it, whatever it is, with joy in your heart.”

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Life is imperfect and impermanent and it remains one of the most difficult things for me to comprehend.

As a kid my parents taught me to not respect material things, to be ready to pick up and move on at the drop of a hat and to be unattached to people and objects. Childhood friends? I had one, for a few months and even if I don’t know her last name or where I would ever find her again, Esther, is the best friend I ever had and the longest friend I ever got to know. I have one photo of us together and it’s my prized possession from childhood.  My mother burned the rest and I still remember suitcases filled with photos that I frantically pillaged through, rescuing as many as I could before they were destroyed.

The irony is that I now try to keep and save and preserve all that I can, be it people or memories or letters. I am sentimental for history, symbolism and objects, but probably most of all, I am sentimental for the connections I clumsily forge with people who I let (or struggle to let) into my soul.

No matter how brutal my mother was with her views, she wasn’t wrong. She was brutal because life was brutal, but she was right.

Life is imperfect and impermanent and it remains one of the most difficult things for me to comprehend. Even if we try with promises and titles and great and noble efforts, trying to hold people or a moment is like trying to hold water in ones hands.

Although we cannot hold on to anyone, sometimes who and what we love holds onto to us.

Even a memory travels as it wants in and out of consciousness anywhere in my body. It’s on vacation and returns to stick in my throat or wash out my eyes at the most inconvenient of times. Once you think it’s gone for good, a sound, a regret, a pleasure, a dream brings you back, right back in bed in Casablanca or sitting on a rooftop overlooking the city. It’s unresolved. It’s guilty and messy and dirty and beautiful and gone until it returns again without an invitation.

What do I do about that? Nothing, except accept that I don’t know what to do about that, even after all these years.

I hope I have learned somethings in the last 10 years in the lonely corners of Casablanca filled with silences and not the excitement of New York. With fire in my belly still, I say to my older and slightly wiser self, “You cannot hold on or keep or preserve or try to…this isn’t yours to keep.”

Although I won’t burn my photos I will try to do as my mother did before me and send the majority of the objects I have to the trash bins, starting with my journals. Because although they mean the world to me, they weigh me down even if they were made to preserve me…the truth is that they can’t be kept forever and I am not that girl anymore who wrote them. I am more than these things that I have collected. I am even more than what has collected me.

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“Confidences d’un Bougnoulo-Youpin” / “Confessions of a Kike-SandNi**er” by Hicham Ayouch

(Hicham Ayouch is a filmmaker and former journalist, whose film work includes Fièvres and Fissures that has been shown internationally including the MOMA. His pluralistic identities are the subject of this open letter which is both humorous and touching. Engish Version is below.)

Salam, Shalom, j’ai attendu quelques jours avant d’écrire:

Voici les “Confidences d’un Bougnoulo-Youpin”

Dans ce monde déchiré par la haine entre Musulmans et Juifs, il a fallu que mon père musulman et ma mère juive tombent amoureux, ah l’amour… Mais ils ne pouvaient pas se contenter de coucher ensemble, il leur fallait aussi avoir un môme et ce môme c’est moi ! Moitié Juif, moitié Musulman, ou inversement. Imaginez le pétrin dans laquelle mes parents m’ont fourré, sans compter qu’il m’a fallut faire deux circoncisions pour satisfaire mes deux communautés !

Je m’appelle Hicham Karim René Ayouch, je suis Juif et Musulman, je suis Musulman et Juif, je suis un Bougnoulo-Youpin !

Non, vous ne rêvez pas, je suis Musulman et Juif et les deux cohabitent à l’intérieur du même corps, j’avoue que c’est un peu compliqué, je suis parfois secoué par des crises de schizophrénie identitaire. Pas plus tard qu’hier, j’étais assis sur un banc quand ma partie juive a insulté ma partie musulmane, cette dernière l’a mal pris, au final, je me suis auto-étranglé sous le regard ahuri des passants.

Nous évitons de parler du conflit israélo-palestinien, car cela finit toujours en pugilat, d’ailleurs, nous évitons de parler géopolitique en général, on préfère se concentrer sur des choses belles et légères.
Ces derniers jours, moi et mes deux moi-même avons beaucoup de mal à trouver le sommeil, et pour une fois, nous sommes tous d’accord, quel immense bordel, quel immense gâchis. Pourtant, on a l’habitude de la judéophobie et de l’islamophobie, cela fait un bai que nos deux communautés sont insultées, chassées, stigmatisées, mais là, c’est le pompon. Des Juifs qui ont peur parce que Juifs, des Musulmans qui ont peur parce que Musulmans, les Juifs qui ont peur des Musulmans et inversement, ce n’est plus possible !

Tout ça, nous remue beaucoup, moi et mes deux moi-même, jusqu’ici, on a pas voulu l’ouvrir, car nous sommes pudiques, mais vu la diarrhée verbale qui sort par d’immondes orifices en ce moment, on s’est dit qu’on se devait de parler.

Je suis un Bougnoulo-Youpin, je suis Juif, Musulman, Africain, Arabe, Français et surtout je ne suis pas celui que vous voulez que je sois, je ne vous laisse pas le droit de me définir.
Je suis dégoûté quand j’entends qu’un cimetière Juif ou Musulman a été profané, j’ai envie de gerber quand j’entends qu’un Juif s’est fait taper parce que Juif, ou qu’un Musulman a été victime de discrimination parce que Musulman.

Je suis encore plus triste lorsque j’apprends que l’un de mes frères à tapé sur l’autre, le plus souvent à cause du conflit Israélo-Palestinien ou de problèmes sociétaux qui n’ont rien à voir.

Je n’en peux plus que des Musulmans fassent l’amalgame entre Juif, Sioniste, Israélien, je n’en peux plus que des Juifs fassent l’amalgame entre Musulman, Islamiste, Palestinien.

Mes frères, quand comprendrez-vous que vous êtes manipulés ?
Mes frères, quand comprendrez-vous que cette pseudo haine est une construction, un mythe, qu’elle repose en grande partie sur des mensonges ?
Ne voyez-vous pas que le pouvoir politico-économique fait tout pour vous diviser, ne comprenez-vous pas qu’ils ont peur de votre alliance, peur de votre unité ? Vous êtes toutes les deux des minorités dans ce pays, et vous faites le jeu du pouvoir en vous tapant sur la gueule, là haut, ils se frottent les mains, un bon cigare et un verre de bourbon à la main.

Vous devez vous unir au lieu de sauter à pieds joints dans le piège de la haine, car au final, vous ne savez même plus pourquoi vous vous haïssez.
Les véritables racailles, qu’ils soient humoristes, politiciens, journalistes ou pseudo-intellectuels, se tapent dessus, s’insultent à la télé, mais en réalité, ce sont des alliés objectifs.
Ces pyromanes jettent de l’huile sur le feu, attisent la haine, vous insultent, vous stigmatisent, mais au résultat, vous vous brûlez mutuellement.
Cette alliance est possible, j’en suis la preuve vivante, ce malgré mes troubles identitaires, même au Proche-Orient, elle est possible et c’est bien ça qui faut peur à l’occident, car cela constituerait un bloc redoutable.

Toi frère Musulman, j’entends ta colère, j’entends ton manque d’amour, j’entends ton sentiment d’injustice, j’entends ta rage d’avoir été mis dans une cage. Ils t’ont interdit d’être ce que tu es, il t’ont interdit de rêver, ils t’ont fait te sentir étranger dans ton propre pays.

Toi, frère Juif, j’entends ta colère, j’entends ton manque d’amour, j’entends le bruit des balles qui résonne dans ta tête, j’entends ta peur de marcher dans la rue, de porter ta kippa, ils t’ont interdit d’être ce que tu es, ils t’ont fait te sentir étranger dans ton propre pays.

Ne voyez-vous pas les racines qui vous unissent, ne voyez-vous pas que votre langue est proche, que vos coutumes sont proches, que votre couscous est proche, ne voyez-vous pas que vous avez tous les deux des gueules de métèque ?
Ces derniers jours, moi et mes moi mêmes, nous sommes déprimés, nous n’allumons plus la télévision, nous ne fréquentons pas les réseaux sociaux, nous restons cloîtrés chez nous. Nous avons même pensé à un suicide collectif, imaginez les gros titres: Un homme, sa partie juive et sa partie musulmane ont décidé de se suicider, ils se sont empiffré de porc jusqu’à exploser !

On a finalement laissé tomber l’idée, on s’est dit que notre mort allait être récupérée par les vautours médiatiques ou politiques. A la place, on a décidé d’écrire, écrire pour ne pas subir, écrire pour ne pas mourir, écrire car lorsque les canons se taisent, vient le temps de la pensée, de l’imaginaire, de l’Art.
Les caricatures de Mohamed ou les saillies de Dieudonné ne me font pas rire, mais je respecte la liberté d’expression, je suis un créateur et c’est une liberté fondamentale.

Ce que je ne respecte pas, c’est que sous couvert d’humour, les uns et les autres se vautrent dans une perfide islamophobie et judéophobie, ils soufflent sur des braises pour les transformer en incendie. Au final, chaque communauté se sent lésée, se sent victime d’injustice et chaque communauté reproche à l’autre son malheur. Les Juifs veulent quitter la France, les Musulmans veulent quitter la France, déconnez-pas, si tous les sémites se barrent, qui va me faire rire ? Qui va me faire mes bricks à l’oeuf sur le boulevard de Belleville ? Qui va crier à une heure du matin sous ma fenêtre ?

Sans Moshe, Mohamed, Ruth, Samira, Ali, Rebecca, Fatima et les autres, la Gaulle va me paraître bien triste. Mes frères et mes soeurs, c’est le bougnoulo-youpin qui vous le demande, cessez de croire les mensonges colportés par les médias, les extrémistes, les politiques, cessez de voir l’autre en étranger, car l’autre, c’est vous.
Quand j’étais petit, on me saoulait, on me demandait toujours, « tu te sens plus Juif ou plus Musulman ? » , le petit prince avait raison, les grands, ils posent trop de questions. Ca m’a tellement pris la tête que j’ai arrêté de dire que j’étais les deux, je choisissais en fonction de la situation et ne partageait ma véritable identité qu’avec ceux susceptibles de la comprendre. Aujourd’hui, je suis devenu un homme, je suis devenu un père, il est de ma responsabilité d’être et de transmettre entièrement tout ce que je suis.

Je n’ai pas choisi de naître Juif et Musulman, à la base, j’ai rien demandé à personne, mais en revanche, je peux choisir d’être celui que j’ai envie d’être.

Je ne suis ni moitié Juif, ni moitié Musulman, je suis les deux, ou plutôt je suis « un et indivisible » avec ces deux composantes dans la galaxie de mon identité.

Hicham Ayouch, le Bougnoulo-Youpin.

–  –  –

Salam, Shalom, I waited a few days before finally writing:

“Confessions of a Kike-Sand Ni**er”

In this world, broken by hate between Jews and Muslims, it had to happen that my Muslim father fell in love with my Jewish mother. Ah, l’amour!…But they couldn’t have just slept together, they had to have a child, and this child is me.

Half Jewish, half Muslim or in the reverse, if you like.

Imagine the mess my parents threw me in, without calculating that I would have to be circumcised twice so that both communities could be happy.

My name is Hicham Karim René Ayouch, I am Jewish and Muslim, I am Muslim and Jewish, I am a Kike-Sand Ni**er!

No, you aren’t dreaming. I am Muslim and Jewish and both cohabitate inside the same body.

I admit it’s a little bit complicated.  I am sometimes shaken by the predicament of my schizophrenic identity. Just yesterday, I was sitting on a bench when my Jewish side insulted my Muslim side. The latter took it very badly, so in the end, I strangled myself under the eye of horrified passerby’s.

We avoid talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because it always ends in a fight, moreover, we avoid talking about geopolitics in general. We prefer to focus on the beautiful and the lighter things.

In these last days, I and my two-selves have had a hard time getting to sleep at night and for the first time we all agree that it’s a mess, it’s an intolerable mess!  Yet, we are used to Judeophobia and Islamophobia, as it’s been a long time that both our communities have been insulted, chased away, stigmatized and hunted, but now finally we have “the cherry on top”. Jews are afraid simply because they are Jewish, Muslims are afraid because they are Muslim. Jews are afraid of Muslims and vice versa, and it is no longer tolerable!

All of this stirs up a lot in us, me and my two-selves. Until today, we didn’t want to open our mouths because we’re bashful, but given the verbal diarrhea that comes out of filthy holes at this time, we finally said to ourselves that we have a duty to speak.

I am a Kike-Sand Ni**er, I am Jewish, Muslim, African, Arab, Amazigh, French…but more than anything, I am not the one you want me to be and I will not give you the right to define me.

I am disgusted when I hear that Jewish or Muslim cemeteries are desecrated.

I want to puke when I hear that a Jew is beaten or raped because s/he is Jewish or that a Muslim is a victim of discrimination because s/he is Muslim.

I am even more dishearten when I learn that one of my brothers has beaten the other, usually because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or societal and geopolitical problems that have nothing to do with them.

I cannot stand it anymore that Muslims conflate Jews, Zionism and Israelis all together. I cannot stand it when Jews conflate Muslims, Islamism and Palestinians all together.

Brothers, when will you comprehend that you are being manipulated?

My dear brothers, when will you get it that this pseudo hatred is a construction, a myth, and is largely based on lies?

Don’t you see that the political and economic powers do all that they can to divide you? Do you not understand that they are afraid of your alliance and fear your unity? You are both minorities in this country and you enter into their power game, beating each other up. Upstairs, gleefully they gloat with a good cigar and a glass of Bourbon in hand.

You must unite instead of jumping with both feet into the trap of hate, because in the end you don’t even know why you hate.

The real scum— albeit comedians, politicians, journalists or pseudo- intellectuals—beat each other up, insult each other on TV,  but in reality they are allies. Those arsonists are adding fuel to the fire, stirring up hatred, insulting you, stigmatizing you, but the result is you burn each other.

This alliance is possible, I ‘m living proof, despite my identity problems. Even in the Middle East, it is possible and this is what scares the West because this would create a formidable alliance.

You, my Muslim brother, I hear your anger, I hear your lack of love, I hear your sense of injustice, I hear your rage at having been put in a cage. They have forbidden you from being what you are. They have forbidden you from dreaming. They made you feel like a foreigner in your own country.

You, my Jewish brother, I hear your anger, I hear your lack of love, I hear the sounds of the bullets echoing in your ears, I hear your fear of walking in the street with a kippa on your head. They have forbidden you from being what you are. They have made you feel like a foreigner in your own land.

Don’t you see the roots that bind you? Don’t you see that your languages are so close? Your traditions so similar? Your couscous, the same? Don’t you see that you both have the same out-of-place-foreign face?

In these last days, me and my two-selves are depressed. We don’t turn on the TV anymore. We don’t go on social networks. We stay cloistered at home. We even thought of a collective suicide. Imagine the headlines: A Man, his Jewish part and his Muslim part have decided to commit suicide, so they binge on pork and explode!

We finally dropped that idea because we know that our death will be used by the news media circus and political vultures.  So instead, we decided to write—write, in order to ease the suffering, write, so that we don’t die, write, as we wait for the time when the guns finally fall silent and there is space for thought and imagination and art.

The cartoons of Mohammed or the gross projections of Dieudonné don’t make me laugh, but I do respect freedom of expression. I am a creator and this is a fundamental freedom.

What I do not respect is that under the guise of humor, each wallows in treacherous Islamophobia and Judeophobia. They blow on the embers to turn it into fire. In the end, every community feels aggrieved, feels victimized by injustice and every community accuses the other for its misery.

The Jews want to leave France, Muslims want to leave France, no – kidding! If all the Semites leave, who is going to make me laugh? Who is going to do the dirty work on Boulevard de Belleville?  Who is going to yell at one o’clock in the morning under my window?

Without Moshe, Mohamed, Ruth, Samira, Ali, Rebecca, Fatima and the others, the Gaelic kingdom will look very sad to me. My brothers and sisters, this Kike-Sand Ni**er is asking you to stop believing the lies peddled by the media, by extremists, by politicians. This Kike-Sand Ni**er is asking you to stop seeing the other as a stranger, because the other, is you.

When I was little, they bombarded me with questions, asking me always, “Do you feel more Jewish or more Muslim?” The Little Prince was right—adults ask too many questions.  It messed with my head so much that I finally stopped telling people that I was both.  I chose depending on the situation and didn’t share my true identity except with those capable of understanding. Today I became a man. I became a father and I understand that is is my responsibility To Be and to transmit fully all that I am.

I did not choose to be born a Jew and a Muslim. At conception, I didn’t ask for this, but now, I can choose to be who I want to be.

I am neither half Jewish or half Muslim, I am both, or rather I am “one and indivisible” with these two components in the galaxy of my identity.

Hicham Ayouch, the Kike-Sand Ni**er.

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