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  1. Selam! I stumbled upon a new novel by some indie author on Instagram with a Muslim protagonist. It sounded interesting and there was (is currently) a special promo so the ebook costed only $1! So I bought it with zero expectations and actually read it in one go! It was well written, bits of poetry, really suspenseful with a good story. The book offered several spiritual insights for myself, like why do I worship Allah? What's actual reason? What drives me? Where is the love? And it also motivated me to do something with my life ! There are some books with Muslim characters or Muslim settings, but the main character in this novel, his "super power" is being a believer with truthful spiritual dreams! And his name is Ali! And he fights for Imam Mahdi! I'm not aware of any other author who have mixed technology and religion in this way. Highly recommended! The realistic spiritualism reminded of Paulo Coelho in some ways, minus the sci-fi/tech of course. I'd love to discuss it if anyone read it! Available as paperback and ebook/Kindle: Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKW87M3 Apple iBooks: http://itunes.apple.com/book/id1452278832
  2. The End of Israel -Novel- Please Comment & Like Settings: Palestine, Israel, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, The United States... Period: 1990's - 2020's Themes: Occupation, Geopolitics, Armed Conflict, Religious Tension The main character through the novel is Muhammed, a Palestinian. We start with his childhood and follow him well into his adulthood. Many other characters appear and play crucial roles in his life. Some scenes contain a moderate degree of violence representative of and to be expected of the topic matter. Be warned. “If you will it, it is no dream.” –Theodor Herzl 1902 Chapter 1 Suffering “It was September 2nd, 1991. We had intended to go to Beit Hanoun Hospital, a doctor and nurse could have helped her through labor and received the infant, put him in an incubator, monitor them, and everything that normal deliveries entail in the world. Our ambulance driver sped as fast as he could, taking us flying over bumps, rattling us through potholes, throwing us on sharp turns, jolting us at sudden stops and swerving to get around traffic and pedestrians. Our driver did his best to get her into real medical care, but we were stopped at an IDF checkpoint. At first he assured us that we would be waived through, but the soldiers manning the checkpoint blared at him not to come closer. He put the ambulance in brake, got out and pleaded with them shouting that he had a pregnant woman. They blared back, told him to turn around and not to come closer or they would fire. He offered to let them search the ambulance, his passengers, and himself… again they told him to return. They shouted that if he didn’t go, they would fire and then search the van after. My sister poked her leg out of the van, readying to present herself as proof we were harmless. Just the sight of the rear of the ambulance opening provoked the Israelis into panicked shouting on their megaphones, maybe three of them at once, ‘Get back in the vehicle, don’t come out, go back!’. The driver said that he would turn around, but that he would leave his pregnant passenger with them if they would give her over to a medic, or be generous enough to take her to a doctor. Their patience was gone, ‘Go back, leave nothing behind, we’ll fire if you’re not gone in 20 seconds, final warning’. The driver hurried back into the ambulance, he drove just out of sight of the checkpoint, we didn’t have time to take her to a hospital by some other route. He thought quick, parked, ran to a stranger’s home and asked them if he could bring a woman in labor inside. They obliged but my sister wouldn’t move from the van. Instead that family we’d never met brought towels and blankets, water bottles, and then crawled into the back of the ambulance and helped her through.” - Nadirah Zaqarna, Muhammed Al Filistini’s maternal aunt “And so it was in this way that one child, in a city of children, was birthed. To an ancient land, to a holy land, torn by strife and broken by poverty. In that not so special place he was birthed, nobody renown to note it and the incomprehensible import. The world remained totally unaware who had entered it, the gravity of him, the immensity of him. In his first gasp, his first cry, the heavens were electrified, deities sang in ecstasy and in agony. Humanity did not feel his presence, but it would. With all certainty, yes, surely and most painfully, it would feel him in time.” It’s been a decade since Muhammed, once just a faceless young boy from Gaza City, reshaped the geopolitical, religious, and cultural scene of his region and the globe. In putting together our investigative piece on his legacy we’ve followed his footsteps right from his very beginning. Talking to neighbors and family in modern day Gaza, collecting old photographs, we’ve learned that Muhammed’s father, Khalil Suleiman, was in brief a short and skinny man with lean sinewy limbs. His hands were veiny and thick with discolored knuckles and rough calluses on his palms. In the heat he wore the same white tank top for days, and he kept his face shaved but for a dark mustache and the occasional stubble along his jaw and chin. His hair was always close cropped, his eyes were always tired, and his back was increasingly sore. Supporting a family and surviving through the duration of the 1st Intifada, Suleiman was the quiet man who’s normally out making connections and following leads. He’d had so many gigs since he was a small boy that even he couldn’t count or recall them fully. He was an expert at most anything requiring a screwdriver, a hammer, a saw, and he was helpful and ready to go, ready to follow instructions and work for many, many hours without break, without checking the time, without complaint and without slowing down. He worked at fishing docks, on fishing boats, in orchards. He’d driven delivery trucks and manned warehouses, he’d worn a hardhat and worked out of a toolbox. Suleiman had been dirty and worn, he had heat stroke more than once and he’d woken up many mornings too sore to move his body and too penniless to rest it through. Speaking to Muhammed’s older sister in Amman Jordan, Shiyam Wahdan, “As physically and mentally exhausted as our father was, he always had time for Muhammed. He bathed, dressed, and fed Muhammed as a baby. He carried Muhammed on his shoulders, ran with him in his arms, tickled him, played ball with him. Our father would have only a moment to rest, after long hours at back breaking work before he’d have to return to another, often more bodily taxing work. To have a precious twenty minutes with his small son roused him, removed the weariness from his face. Every boy’s hero is his father, the strongest man in the world and the smartest and the protector against all things bad. So it was in Muhammed’s eyes then." She continued, "Our father had a job were he repaired boats, mostly fishing. The business was run by a friend of his cousin’s. Israeli impositions and restrictions on the Gazan coast took their toll on the industry and he was periodically laid off, accepted reduced wages, or even accepted other means of payment in lieu of a salary; favors, supplies, fuel. He was at home by himself when the IDF made a ground incursion. A smoke grenade was hurled into our window, he ran to the door so that he could get out but just as he reached for the doorknob Israeli soldiers kicked it in, smashing his hand and his face and sending him tumbling over. They detained him while they searched our apartment, but apparently, of course, they had the wrong address. They didn’t apologize to him, they didn’t talk, they tore through everything and then they were out. Muhammed was the first to come home. He was very little then, he hadn’t been in school but for a few months perhaps. He found the door broken in, everything thrown about and tipped over, emptied drawers, clothes wadded in a great mess over displaced furniture, the rug rolled up, cushions slashed open, cabinets open and their contents spilled out. Muhammed found our father trying to get the plastic wrist binding off with a small kitchen knife but he couldn’t do it himself. Little Muhammed was the one who had to cut it. With his little hands he had to cut his papa’s restraints, telling him to be steady and careful, he freed his father like an escaped criminal. Small boys have their hero; father. Their father protects the home and he’s invincible. Then what humiliation it was to be found that way, helpless and the home ruined, violated, and all imaginings of security and guardianship dashed.” Not more than a year after that incident, “Our father was going to see an acquaintance about a job. He was walking when an Israeli Army convoy passed on the street ahead of him. When an Israeli convoy went through they went fast, they didn’t want an engagement. Sometimes going fast didn’t help. He waited for the convoy to pass, but on that day it was ambushed by resistance fighters. They called themselves that, and that’s the closest to real guerrillas there were. To be honest they weren’t really resistance fighters, they were young guys with a single Molotov cocktail. But a little fire can frighten a troop of elephants into a stampede, into a charge. That Molotov came over a low wall, or from a roof top, or from a breezeway, or from a parked car, or from somewhere… but it came and shattered all over the windshield of an Israeli military supply truck. The convoy stopped, and unable to discern the location of their attackers, the Israeli soldiers raised their rifles and fired indiscriminately, into windows, at rooftops, into breezeways, into cars. My father was shot through the upper-spine as he turned to take cover in a shop. He fell so fast and heavy he twisted his wrist and busted his chin open on the pavement. He was paralyzed where he lay. But for sowing him up, there was no surgery, nothing to remove... it flew in and it flew out. He had an x-ray, I saw it along with the whole family. Between his shoulder blades was a mess of broken spinal bone fragments, and there was nothing to be done for that. After his doctor released him from the hospital, a week maybe, he didn’t leave his bed again.” Muhammed’s father was no longer an unbending man of strength and physical activity. “He needed to be cared for like an infant throughout the day and family would take turns waking in the night to attend to him. He was an adult man who drooled, he had diapers, he had bed sores and infections, he had atrophied muscles. His face was a loose hanging and absent wreck of the gruff but handsome face in the photos about our home. Muhammed’s father had ceased to exist, and there was only this guilt ridden burden, silent and unmoving, in his place. They had once prayed and bowed together, they couldn’t have that together from then on. Muhammed did not speak to him but when prompted to by our mother, and in a short time didn’t speak to him at all but when none were around.” Mrs. Wahdan showed us her father’s medical records, including his x-ray and the conclusion by his doctor that no surgical remedy was possible. In his concluding notes there was an expression of optimism that he might live ten or twelve years more. “We couldn’t afford new clothes, we couldn’t afford adequate food, and we lived off the charity of people almost as poor as we were. Muhammed was aware as anybody that was all due to the Israeli blockade. School was often cancelled, there were frequent riots and Israeli incursions. Dozens of Muhammed’s classmates and neighbors were maimed and killed in Israeli military actions. One of his friends was buried in the rubble of his home as an Israeli bomb flattened it. Another one of his friends was hit in the brain by shrapnel and was left mentally handicapped. Some lost limbs, others bore horrific scars. Men were dragged away to prison in front of everybody, homes were demolished as families stood and watched, orphans and young widows abounded. Muhammed learned, as we all did, that nothing good in Gaza lasts for long. You enjoy it while you have it, what little you have, because the Jews can take it and will take it whenever they like. In elementary school Muhammed had a friend named Hamid. They’d hold hands, play in stair wells, attempt tricks with a soccer ball. They shared the same classroom and sat together each day. While Hamid needed to be reminded and practiced several times before he mastered a chapter assigned by their teacher, Muhammed would read his textbook once and then recite it almost word for word, and then add his own thoughts. He’d read ahead because unanswered questions in the early chapters would be immediately apparent to him and in his curiosity he would follow through to the end to have his curiosity satisfied. Hamid was clever but envied the ease with which Muhammed ingested whatever the teacher sent him home with. Muhammed tried to help Hamid but when it became clear to him that Hamid would rather get the high test scores without the mental exertion, Muhammed didn’t think twice before he devised a way for his companion to cheat during the exam. Muhammed would come to the teacher before class and ask the teacher if he could take the test then, “I’ll stress over it all morning and I won’t focus during lecture time unless I can finish it now.” His teacher agreed, and in the span of the day and before the rest of the class took the test, Muhammed would teach the answers to Hamid. The teacher suspected nothing for several months until it became apparent that on days Muhammed didn’t take the test early Hamid’s scores were considerably lower. Having been scolded and dismissed after being made to clean the classroom they returned to their homes together. Hamid didn’t apologize or promise to make it up to him, because they didn’t consider themselves separate in the way that they could wrong or right one another. After a moment all of that, the teacher’s mean tone and posture that’s so intimidating to children, it seemed so distant and they began to enjoy their walk home, kicking their soccer ball along the sidewalk and joining a round of hajlah having come upon some classmates. Through with that, they set off to a soccer field together. If he hadn’t been one step behind it would’ve been Muhammed. His school friend turned the corner and in mid-sentence his head exploded, opened from the top like a blooming bright pink flower. An Israeli sniper in a guard tower had taken the shot assuming that whoever poked out from behind that building was a militant. It wasn’t a militant, it was a modest boy in velcro-strap shoes. It was Hamid. Muhammed didn’t cry, he returned home as he had been going, but with bits of brain and skull fragments stuck to the front of his shirt, a film of blood all down to his knees.” Muhammed came home before anybody else, his sister and father napping, his other sister staying late at school to study, his mother working endless hours. “He took off his shoes and set his soccer ball down between them. He walked so silently to retrieve a change of clothes, returned out the door to the bathroom at the back of the building, and he washed himself as he’d wash himself if it were mud that had been splashed on him. And that was it. No more friend, wash him down the drain, the Jews took him, and that’s it. Our sister Mina cared for our father and Muhammed while our mother worked. We’d heard the news that Hamid had been killed but it was days before anybody realized Muhammed was with him when it happened. It was Mina who, while prodding Muhammed on the matter, discovered that. She cried, he didn’t. She promised that she’d protect him, she’d escort him to and from school, she’d talk to him each day, that he wasn’t alone anymore. And she did that for some time, a year or so. She learned his daily occurrences, checked his homework though he needed no checking, and she tended the scuffs and s[Edited Out]s he’d get from playing rough with other boys. She not only cooked for him, shopped for him, and monitored him, she spoke to him and learned him. Mina was the somebody in his family who knew who his favorite soccer players were, that he liked to play the forward position, and that he wanted to be a police chief or to be in charge of security detail for an important person when he grew up. She learned that he liked martial arts movies and that his humor was of the oddly mature sort that notes nuanced absurdities like a dentist who hates his patients or a business owner who won’t eat at his own restaurant. What happened to our sister? Our sister Mina was riding in a shuttle bus. It was taking her home after a day in school. A few cars ahead there was a motorcycle, and riding on the back of that motorcycle was a man who’d been identified for cash by an Israeli informant as a Libyan trained explosives expert they were hunting. An Israeli helicopter fired a rocket on him and it hit its target. The suddenness of the strike in fast traffic caused accidents. A farmer in his fruit truck delivering to a market rear-ended my sister’s shuttle bus. She was sitting in the back seat with her friend memorizing math formulas. She flew forward and bounced off the ceiling, landing just by the driver’s seat. Her wrist was broken, her cheekbone cracked, and she received a concussion bruising her visual cortex such that she was blinded for life. Muhammed loved and needed his father. In keeping with his character, he was full of brotherliness toward Hamid. But Mina’s suffering was a new sort. Hamid was beyond this world. Stuck between four walls, so was his father. Mina was still alive, fully, the same girl inside… but from then until forever she’d be handicapped and ruined. In Muhammed’s heart that was worse, and she made it worse for him by trying to do everything the same as she did it before. Blind, she still tended to her paralyzed father… moving and functioning by memory. She still walked him to school and back, blind. Mina still listened to his daily happenings while making meals for us. Muhammed watched her do these things as he had watched her do them before, and it was an assault on his sanity that now she did those things without eyes… staring blankly, moving clumsily, for him and the rest of us. Our mother and I pleaded with Mina to stop, day after day and week after week, we told her she was excused from those duties, that it wasn’t her fault. She persisted. One morning she was caught between cleaning our father, making a breakfast, and trying to finish her own homework. Muhammed tried to sneak out the door to school without her following. She sensed that he had gone and went out after him, calling for him to wait. He marched forward and she followed after him. She stumbled on a curb and fell into a table where a pair of old men were having their tea. Muhammed turned back, with tears in his eyes, the only time I saw tears in his eyes, and screamed at her there for everybody to witness, “Go home, I don’t need you now! Go home!” and he ran. When he was an elementary age boy he prized school and dedicated teachers because it wasn’t something he could take for granted. However, after our father’s injury and without that paternal discipline and our mother always away at work, not only could he miss school without any real immediate consequence, he didn’t have any hope for it either. After all, he told our mother when she first learned that he was absent for a whole week, “If I go to my classes or if I don’t go to them, when I’m grown we’ll still be in Gaza, Hamid will still be dead, father will still be paralyzed, and Mina will still be blind. How well I study won’t lessen what we suffer now, nor prevent what we’ll suffer later.” Our mother had no response for him then, but she remembered his words and she’d have her response." -End of Chapter 1- I'm eager for feedback. This novel is finished and has 12 Chapters. I'll add more chapters soon... Thank You!
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