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As a person who tends to be around people I have realized that journalism is my ultimate passion, I have learned how to write under pressure, how to makeup interview questions in limited time, how to seek information and how to present them to the reader through efficient content, I also have learned how to always consider and respect the reader’s mind. I have always enjoyed seeking the truth and eagerly waiting for answers. Conveying the human experience is the most beautiful thing on earth, or so I believe. Being able to listen, get involved, sympathize, and promise to get people’s voice to be heard by the officials has never been that painless.
It was summer of 2010, one o’clock in the afternoon when I first received my acceptance e-mail as a journalist for this feminism magazine called Maseriat.
I consider reading as the motive behind my passion; I was only 11 years old sitting on my red couch next to my 1912 lamp which belonged to my grandfather reading this 1975 novel called “Woman at zero point”. It was written by an appreciable well-known feminist, activist, and a woman rights fighter “Nawal EL Saadawi”. The novel was about a woman the author met, in the “Qanatir Prison” a few years ago, when she was doing a research on the personalities of a group of women prisoners. It’s about this woman who was named “Firdaus”, a murderess who has agreed to tell her life story before her execution, and explores the issues of the subjugation of women, female circumcision, and women’s freedom in a conservative society. And this somehow influenced me in a way or another. When I first walked in the magazine headquarter, I stood there watching everyone race the time to cover different stories, trying to get them out before the other papers would. I had this unbelievable goofy smile on my face watching everybody around me, crowd chatting and talking on the phone, fingertips clicking and pressing the space-bar was in the background. When I got my first task, I wanted to prove to them that they have chosen the right person, I suggested a subject in the meeting, and Nafisa, the chief in editor seemed very excited about it and said; “Are you going to be able to work on that all by yourself?” I responded with all the confidence in the world; “Yes”
“OK, you have three days” she added and I panicked. My idea about my first topic was about going to one of the neglected residential poor areas of the city (Khokha ghetto), and talk with its resident which are mostly women about their lives, how do they survive, and what is their biggest struggle, and dreams. When you first arrive there, you can feel everything and it’s opposite. You can feel these women suffer, and their pride, their happiness as independent women, and their very desperate need for a man who would get their back. They say “one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day” and lord how marvelous it did.
A narrow alley crammed with women from all ages. It was really smelly because of all the sewage that was running, and the trash cans that were everywhere full to the maximum. The road was all bumpy and unpaved, everything seemed very normal, except for the invader which was me. I decided I’m going to choose women randomly to interview; they all looked interesting to the point that I wished I could stay there for days listen to their stories. I came across this woman who seemed really distracted by something, she was holding her baby and two other kids were holding her ”Kaftan” from both sides. Our dialogue went as following:
-Good morning, my name is Ola and I’m a jour.. and before I finish my sentence, she interrupted me saying, with very restrict tone.
-What do you want?
-I work as a journalist for “Maseriat” magazine and I would like to interview you abou..
-About what?! With the same tone she interrupted.
-About anything you want.
She looked me up and down, and said “The room I live in is five blocks away do you want to follow me or what? “ I responded with an unsteady tone ”Yea, yea of course”. Her room was beyond simple, it has only one window, and an uncomfortable couch which we were sitting on, and a small rusty white fridge you can tell that there is nothing in it. And a ripped off mattress laying down on the floor, and three outdoor filthy cats was running over around us. Her name was Aysha, she was about 34 years old, and she has really beautiful green eyes, white skin, and light brown hair up to her shoulders. She started her talk with I barley can raise those kids, I have nothing. My husband was such an aggressive stupid abusive terrible person. She wasn’t making any eye-contact with me, the whole time she was just looking at her kids and the cats and I was listening carefully with really wide open eyes. She proceeds saying “He didn’t have a job; I had to work three jobs to support him, my kids and their needs. I don’t remember feeling like a woman since I married him.”
-How long have you been married? I asked
-“Seven years, I married him to leave my parents’ house, my father used to beat us, we tried to kill him several time because we didn’t bear seeing our mother gets beaten by him daily. Before I marry this vulgar, I knew he was a drug abusive, I knew that he didn’t have a job, and I have no clue till now how did I convince myself that he is going to be a better person!” she responded with shaky voice. I got pregnant two months after marriage; he would beat me to death if he didn’t find anything to eat or, clean clothes to wear, or even if I was tired and refused to have sex. And one day, on my way home from work, I was sitting in the subway and saw this flyer hanged on the doors, saying “Stop being silent and talk, take action, and a picture of an animated woman, taking off a strip off her mouth. When I arrived home, he was smoking weed around our children and he asked me to prepare dinner for him, I said “I am exhausted I work three jobs”, so he proceed with beating me up as usual he grabbed me by the hair and threw me on the floor and started bleeding from my head, but this time it was a little different as I stood up holding a broom in my hand as a sign of putting an end to my suffer, I started beating him up like mad, I couldn’t see where I was hitting him it felt I was taking revenge for myself and my mother for all our suffer through out those years. He left the house as soon as he felt that I am finally got the courage to stand up for him and he never came back. When I left Aysha’s place I was really devastated by her struggle, I decided to take an action and use my career for the sake of all the women who experience any kind of abuse every day in our society.