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November 15, 2009, 14:20 GMT.
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The hand of fatima the charmed ones. PLAY US A TOON Robert’s Palmer’s avatar rocks out. Time Out says 3 out of 5 stars Robert Palmer was a colorful music critic for The New York Times who authored one of the seminal books about the Delta blues, Deep Blues. He was also, it turns out, a lousy father who abandoned his daughter, Augusta, when she was about one month old. “His life was music, ” Augusta reasons in her highly personal documentary that grapples with her father’s legacy. “That didn’t always include me. ” And so the director went on her father’s trail, meeting with his string of ex-wives, his mother and artists he’d covered in print. In some of the film’s sharpest passages, Palmer’s work is revisited with animation. The director’s search eventually brings her to Morocco, along with her infant daughter and one of her father’s ex-wives, where a spiritual Sufi clan plays what may prove to be the most annoying music on earth. The Master Musicians of Jajouka—the famed group behind those unstoppable whining reeds and a favored subject of Robert Palmer—have long been venerated by Western drug aficionados, most famously William Burroughs and Brian Jones. Like so many before her, Augusta Palmer treats her hosts with overstated reverence, which is a shame: Somewhere in this scenario lies a very funny, very strange indie comedy. — Jay Ruttenberg Opens Fri; Anthology. Find showtimes More new Film reviews Details Release details Cast and crew Users say.
In This Article: What is the Hamsa Hand? Origin of the Hamsa Hand? Hamsa Hand Symbology Hamsas for Peace in the Middle East Hamsa Jewelry for Sale What is the Hamsa Hand? (Also Spelled Hamesh, Chamsa, Khamsa) The Hamsa is an ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolizing the Hand of God. In all faiths it is a protective sign. It brings it's owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune. The hamsa hand is known by many names - hamsa, hamsa hand, hamesh, hamesh hand, khamsa, and chamsa. It is also called the Hand of Miriam, named for Moses and Aaron's sister. There are two main styles of a hamsa hand: the most popular is the stylized hamsa hand with two symmetrical thumbs, but there are also hamsa hands that are not symmetrical and shaped like actual hands. Either hamsa hand can be worn with the fingers pointing up or down, and both are believed to offer its owner happiness, peace, and prosperity, as well as protection from the ayin ha'ra, or the evil eye. The renewed interest in Kabbalah and mystical Judaism has brought the hamsa pendant back into vogue, and many artists are using the image of the hamsa hand in various aspects of their art including hamsa jewelry, paintings, sculptures, wall hamsas, and amulets. The wearer of the hamsa hand can wear it facing up or down and is thought to give the owner success, harmony, and also protection from the ayin ha’ra, also know as the evil eye. Today, with the rising popularity of Kabbalah and spiritual Judaism, the hamsa hand has become increasingly more widespread. It is also commonly found in a wide variety of varying aspects of art. Origin of the Hamsa Hand Although the hamsa hand has been symbolic in Islam and Judaism for centuries, archeological digs in the Middle East provide evidence that the hamsa pre-dates these religions and originated with the Phoenicians and was used as a protective symbol for an ancient Middle Eastern goddess. The hamsa hand has always been associated with a female entity offering protection from evil and misfortune. The word "hamsa" or "hamesh" means five. There are five digits on the hamsa hand, but the number five has additional symbolic meaning in the Jewish and Islamic traditions. Five (hamesh in Hebrew) represents the five books of the Torah for Jews. It also symbolizes the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, "Heh", which represents one of God's holy names. It symbolizes the Five Pillars of Islam for Sunnis, and the Five People of the Cloak for Shi'ites. In the Jewish religion, the Jewish hamsa hand also symbolizes the Hand of God. Many Jews believe the hamsa pendant symbolizes the Hand of Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron. In the Islamic faith, the hamsa hand symbolizes The Hand of Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Mohammed. Many Jews believe that the five fingers of the hamsa hand remind its wearer to use their five senses to praise God. Hamsa hands often contain an eye symbol, which is a powerful talisman against the evil eye. It is most often worn as a hamsa necklace, but can be found as a decorative element in houses, on key chains, on other jewelry items, and is quickly gaining popularity as an amulet in baby carriages. In addition to averting the gaze of the evil eye, it brings its wearer or owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune. In recent years, activists for peace in the Middle East have adopted the hamsa hand. Because hamsa hand symbology is believed to predate most modern religions, those who actively support a peaceful resolution to the ongoing Israeli conflict believe that wearing the hamsa hand highlights not only the similarities of Judaism and Islam, but also the similarities of the origins of the religions. The hamsa symbol is believed to originate from an ancient Middle Eastern religion, and some Jews and Muslims wear the hamsa as a gesture for hope, peace, and prosperity in Israel and other areas of the Middle East. Hamsa Jewelry For Sale Jewish Gift Place is proud to carry a large hamsa pendant selection including a hamsa necklace collection, a wall hamsa collection, hamsa earrings, and hamsa bracelets. They are made from sterling silver, gold, pearls, and semi-precious stones. Hamsa jewelry is a meaningful and wonderful gift for any occassion, whether it's a housewarming gift, a Bat Mitzvah gift, Hanukkah gift, anniversary or birthday gift. Each hamsa pendant sold by Jewish Gift Place comes with a card that includes the Hamsa prayer above, and a brief explanation of the meaning of the Hamsa hand. HAMSA BRACELETS HAMSA EARRINGS WALL HAMSAS HAMSA NECKLACES HAMSA KEYCHAINS If you enjoyed this article about the hamsa hand, you may also be interested in: What is the Evil Eye? Symbolism of the Pomegranate The Lion of Judah Symbolism of the Miriam's Cup.
The hand of fatima. The hand of fatima necklace with diamonds. The Hand of fatiha. We have a few ads to pay for the bills. We hope the Putlocker community understands that without ads we are unable to provide free content. Thank you so much for the support and we hope that you share the site and message with everyone. Yours 0 Rating (0) (No Ratings Yet) Loading... Fatima Fatima, a Moroccan-born woman who now lives in France with her two teenage daughters, with whom she is barely able to communicate. Views: 53 Genre: Drama, Family Director: Philippe Faucon Actors: Chawki Amari, Corinne Duchesne, Dalila Bencherif, Edith Saulnier, Emir El Guerfi, Kenza Noah Aïche, Nadia Hamied, Soria Zeroual, Zahra Addioui, Zakaria Ali-Mehidi, Zita Hanrot Duration: 79 Release: 2015 IMDb: 6. 5.
The hand of fatima story hindu. The hand of fatima cuisine. The hamsa ( Arabic: خمسة khamsah; Hebrew: חַמְסָה, also romanized khamsa; Berber languages: ⵜⴰⴼⵓⵙⵜ tafust) is a palm-shaped amulet popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa and commonly used in jewelry and wall hangings.   Depicting the open right hand, an image recognized and used as a sign of protection in many times throughout history, the hamsa is believed by some, predominantly Muslims and Jews, to provide defense against the evil eye. It has been theorized that its origins lie in Ancient Egypt or Carthage (modern-day Tunisia) and may have been associated with the Goddess Tanit.  Khamsah is an Arabic word that means "five", but also "the five fingers of the hand".    The Hamsa is also variously known as the Hand of Fatima after the daughter of the prophet Muhammad,  the Hand of Mary, the Hand of Miriam, and the Hand of the Goddess. History [ edit] Early use of the hamsa has been traced to ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) as well as ancient Carthage [ citation needed] (modern day Tunisia). The image of the open right hand is seen in Mesopotamian artifacts in the amulets of the goddess Ishtar or Inanna.  Other symbols of divine protection based around the hand include the Hand-of-Venus (or Aphrodite), the Hand-of-Mary, that was used to protect women from the evil eye and/or boost fertility and lactation, promote healthy pregnancies and strengthen the weak.  In that time, women were under immense pressure and expectation to become mothers.  The woman's upbringing was centered on becoming a mother as an exclusive role, and it indicated child bearing as necessary.  It was also thought that marriage was a sense of protection for both the man and the woman.  In Jewish culture, the hamsa is associated with the number five because of the five fingers depicted on the hand.  A drawing depicting a hamsa One theory postulates a connection between the khamsa and the Mano Pantea (or Hand-of-the-All-Goddess), an amulet known to ancient Egyptians as the Two Fingers. In this amulet, the Two Fingers represent Isis and Osiris and the thumb represents their child Horus. It was used to invoke the protective spirits of parents over their child.  Another theory traces the origins of the hamsa to Carthage ( Phoenicia, modern Tunisia) where the hand (or in some cases vulva) of the supreme deity Tanit was used to ward off the evil eye, due to her venereal disease which caused her to have continual vaginal infections which created an offensive smell.  According to Bruno Barbatti, at that time this motive was the most important sign of apotropaic magic in the Islamic world, though many modern representations continue to show an obvious origin from sex symbolism. This relates to the belief that God exists in everything. Another meaning of this symbol relates to the sky god, Horus. It refers to the Eye of Horus, which means humans cannot escape from the eye of conscience. It says that the sun and moon are the eyes of Horus. The Hand of Fatima also represents femininity, and is referred as the woman's holy hand. It is believed to have extraordinary characteristics that can protect people from evil and other dangers.  It is speculated that Jews were among the first to use this amulet due to their beliefs about the evil eye.  The symbol of the hand appears in Kabbalistic manuscripts and amulets, doubling as the Hebrew letter " Shin ", the first letter of " Shaddai ", one of the names referring to God.  The use of the hamsa in Jewish culture has been intermittent, utilized often by Jews during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,  then less and less over time into the mid-twentieth century. However, the notion of a protective hand has been present in Judaism dating all the way back to Biblical times, where it is referenced in Deuteronomy 5:15, stated in the Ten Commandments as the "strong hand" of God who led the Jews out of Egypt.  The hamsa is later seen in Jewish art as God's hand reaching down from heaven during the times of late antiquity, the Byzantine period, and even medieval Europe. Evidence has also emerged of the hamsa being used by Jews from medieval Spain, often associated with "sympathetic magic".  Historians such as Shalom Sabar believe that after the Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492, exiled Jews likely used the hamsa as protection in the foreign lands they were forced to relocate to, however this assumption has been difficult to prove.  According to Sabar, the hamsa has also been used later in Europe "as a distinctive sign of the priesthood, especially when they wished to show that a person was of priestly descent... ".  The khamsa holds recognition as a bearer of good fortune among Christians in the region as well. Levantine Christians call it the hand of Mary (Arabic: Kef Miryam, or the " Virgin Mary 's Hand").   34 years after the end of Islamic rule in Spain, its use was significant enough to prompt an episcopal committee convened by Emperor Charles V to decree a ban on the Hand of Fatima and all open right hand amulets in 1526.  Symbolism and usage [ edit] Clay hamsa with an inscription in Hebrew (translates to "good luck") Amulet with two hands of Fatimah, bearing the inscriptions "God is the guardian", "God brings consolation in all trials" The Hand ( Khamsa), particularly the open right hand, is a sign of protection that also represents blessings, power and strength, and is seen as potent in deflecting the evil eye.   One of the most common components of gold and silver jewelry in the region,  historically and traditionally, it was most commonly carved in jet or formed from silver, a metal believed to represent purity and hold magical properties.   It is also painted in red (sometimes using the blood of a sacrificed animal) on the walls of houses for protection,   or painted or hung on the doorways of rooms, such as those of an expectant mother or new baby.  The hand can be depicted with the fingers spread apart to ward off evil, or as closed together to bring good luck.  Similarly, it can be portrayed with the fingers pointing up in warding, or down to bestow blessings. Highly stylized versions may be difficult to recognize as hands, and can consist of five circles representing the fingers, situated around a central circle representing the palm.  Used to protect against evil eye, a malicious stare believed to be able to cause illness, death or just general unluckiness, hamsas often contain an eye symbol.   Depictions of the hand, the eye or the number five in Arabic (and Berber) tradition are related to warding off the evil eye, as exemplified in the saying khamsa fi ainek ("five [fingers] in your eye").  Raising one's right hand with the palm showing and the fingers slightly apart is part of this curse meant "to blind the aggressor".  Another formula uttered against the evil eye in Arabic, but without hand gestures, is khamsa wa-khamis ("five and Thursday").   As the fifth day of the week, Thursday is considered a good day for magic rites and pilgrimages to the tombs of revered saints to counteract the effects of the evil eye.  Due to its significance in both Arabic and Berber culture, the hamsa is one of the national symbols of Algeria and appears in its emblem. It is also the most popular among the different amulets (such as the Eye and the Hirz —a silver box containing verses of the Quran) for warding off the evil eye in Egypt.  Egyptian women who live in baladi ("traditional") urban quarters often make khamaysa, which are amulets made up of five ( khamsa) objects to attach to their children's hair or black aprons. The five objects can be made of peppers, hands, circles or stars hanging from hooks.  Although significant in Arabic and Berber culture, the Jewish people have long interpreted and adopted the symbol of the hand with great importance since the Ten Commandments. A portion of these commandments state that "Lord took Israel out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm".  The "strong hand" is representative of the hamsa which rooted its relevance in the community then. The helping hand exemplified God's willingness to help his people and direct them out of struggle. Around the time of the Byzantine period, artists would depict God's hand reaching from up above.  God's hand from heaven would lead the Jewish people out of struggle, and the Jews quickly made a connection with the hamsa and their culture. The hand was identified in Jewish text, and acquired as an influential icon throughout the community. Amongst the Jewish people, the hamsa is a very respected, holy, and common symbol. It is used in the Ketubah, or marriage contracts, as well as items that dress the Torah such as pointers, and the Passover Haggadah.  The use of the hand as images both in and out of the synagogue suggests the importance and relevance that the Jewish people associated with the hamsa. The hand decorated some of the most religious and divine objects and has since emerged from its uncommon phase. At the time of the establishment of the State of Israel, the hamsa became a symbol in everyday Israeli life, and to a degree, a symbol of Israel itself.  It has come to be a symbol of secularity, and a trendy talisman; a "good luck" charm appearing on necklaces, keychains, postcards, telephone and lottery cards, and in advertisements.  It is also incorporated into high-end jewellery, decorative tilework and wall decorations.  Its use by Ashkenazi Jews outside of Israel both historically and contemporaneously is intermittent but not unknown. Similar to the Western use of the phrase "knock on wood" or "touch wood", a common expression in Israel is "Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa, tfu, tfu, tfu", the sound for spitting, supposedly to spit out bad luck.  At the Mimouna, a North African Jewish celebration held after Passover, tables are laid with various symbols of luck and fertility, with an emphasis on the number "5", such as five pieces of gold jewelry or five beans arranged on a leaf of pastry. The repetition of the number five is associated with the hamsa amulet.  In Morocco, the Hamsa is called 'Khamsa' or 'Khmisa' and is widely used as a protection from bad luck and evil people. The Hamsa is incorporated in many home decor items, but still, the most common use is in jewelry. In fact, most Moroccan women have at least one jewelry piece with a Hamsa.  The Native American Southeastern Ceremonial Complex also contained images of a human hand with an eye in the palm. However, the meaning and purpose are unconfirmed. See also [ edit] Abhayamudra Nazar References [ edit] Citations [ edit] ^ Bernasek et al., 2008, p. 12. ^ a b c d e f g h Sonbol, 2005, pp. 355–359. ^ Cuthbert, Roland (2015). The Esoteric Codex: Amulets and Talismans. Raleigh, NC: p. 49. ISBN 978-1-329-50204-8. ^ Zenner, 1988, p. 284. ^ World Institute for Advanced Phenomenological Research and Learning (Belmont, Estados Unidos), 1991, p. 219. ^ Drazin, 2009, p. 268. ^ González-Wippler, Migene (1991). The Complete Book of Amulets & Talismans. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-87542-287-9. ^ "The World of Child Labor". Loretta E. Bass. Retrieved 15 September 2013. ^ Wadud, Amina (1999). Qur'an and Woman. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 64. ^ Sechzer, Jeri (2004). " " Islam and Woman: Where Tradition Meets Modernity": History and Interpretations oyt? Yt? the f Islamic Women's Status". Sex Roles. 51 (5/6): 263–272. doi: 10. 1023/B:SERS. 0000046610. 16101. e0. ^ a b c d e f Sabar, Shalom (2010). From Sacred Symbol to Key Ring: The Hamsa in Jewish and Israeli Societies. Littman Library of Jewish Civilization. ^ Silver, 2008, p. 201. ^ Lenhart, Sandy. "Hand of Fatima Meaning – Origin and Variations". Ezine Articles. N. p., n. d. Web. 29 September 2013. ^ The Encyclopedia of Jewish Symbols, page 70, Ellen Frankel, Betsy Platkin Teutsch. Rowman & Littlefield, 1992 ^ EMAIL, Jewish Magazine. "Angels and Demons".. Retrieved 2013-06-25. ^ Perennial Books, 1970, p. 186. ^ Trumball, 1896, p. 77. ^ Rajab, 1989, p. 116. ^ a b Badawi, 2004, p. 510. ^ a b Lynch and Roberts, 2010, p. 8. ^ a b Schimmel, p. 92. ^ a b Early, 1993, p. 116 ^ a b Gomez, 1996, p. 54. ^ a b Ham and Bing, 2007, p. 385. ^ Lent et al., 1996, p. 189. ^ Shinar, 2004, p. 117. ^ Houtsma, 1993, p. 897. ^ Sabar, Shalom From Sacred Symbol to Key Ring: The Hamsa in Jewish and Israeli Societies, 141 ^ Sabar, Shalom From Sacred Symbol to Key Ring, 142 ^ Sabar, Shalom From Sacred Symbol to Key Ring, 144 ^ a b c Nocke, 2009, pp. 133–134. ^ "Jewish magic and superstition in Israel". 2010-05-22. Retrieved 2013-06-25. ^ Bin-Nun, Yigal (8 April 2007). "Lady Luck". Haaretz. Retrieved 21 June 2011. ^ "Moroccan Jewelry". Moroccan Zest. 2018-08-22. Retrieved 2019-02-21. Bibliography [ edit] Badawi, Cherine (2004). Footprint Egypt (4th, illustrated ed. ). Footprint Travel Guides. ISBN 978-1-903471-77-7. Bernasek, Lisa; Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology; Burger, Hillel S. (2008). Artistry of the everyday: beauty and craftsmanship in Berber art (Illustrated ed. Peabody Museum Press, Harvard University. ISBN 9780873654050. Drazin, Israel (2009). Maimonides and the Biblical Prophets. Gefen Publishing House Ltd. ISBN 9789652294302. Evelyn A. Early (1993). Baladi women of Cairo: playing with an egg and a stone (Illustrated ed. Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 9781555872687. Gomez, Aurelia (1996). Crafts of Many Cultures: 30 Authentic Craft Projects from Around the World. Scholastic Inc. ISBN 9780590491822. "Jewish magic and superstition in Israel". Retrieved 2013-06-25. M. Th. Houtsma (1993). M. Houtsma (ed. E. J. Brill's first encyclopedia of Islam, 1913–1936 (Reprint ed. BRILL. ISBN 9789004097902. Lent, J. ; Bearman, Peri J. ; Qureshi, Hakeem-Uddeen (1997). The encyclopaedia of Islam, new edition (2nd ed. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-10795-3. Lenhart, Sandy (2011). "Hand of Fatima Meaning - Origin and Variations". February 17, 2011. Lynch, Patricia Ann; Roberts, Jeremy (2010). African Mythology A to Z (2nd, revised ed. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 9781604134155. McGuinness, Justin (2002). Footprint Tunisia Handbook (3rd, illustrated ed. ISBN 978-1-903471-28-9. Nocke, Alexandra (2009). The place of the Mediterranean in modern Israeli identity (Illustrated ed. ISBN 9789004173248. Perennial Books (1970). Studies in comparative religion, Volumes 4–5. University of California. Rajab, J. (1989). Palestinian Costume. Indiana University. ISBN 978-0-7141-2517-6. Schimmel, Annemarie (1994). Deciphering the signs of God: a phenomenological approach to Islam. SUNY Press. ISBN 9780791419823. Shadur, Joseph; Shadur, Yehudit (2002). Traditional Jewish papercuts: an inner world of art and symbol (Illustrated ed. UPNE. ISBN 9781584651659. Shinar, Pessah (2004). Modern Islam in the Maghrib. JSAI. ISBN 9789657258026. Silver, Alan (2008). Jews, Myth and History: A Critical Exploration of Contemporary Jewish Belief and Its Origins. Troubador Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84876-064-6. Sonbol, Amira El Azhary (2005). Beyond the exotic: women's histories in Islamic societies. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 9780815630555. Trumbull, Henry Clay (1896). The threshold covenant: or, The beginning of religious rites (2nd ed. C. Scribner's. World Institute for Advanced Phenomenological Research and Learning (Belmont, Estados Unidos) (1991). Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (ed. Roman Ingarden's aesthetics in a new key and the independent approaches of others: the performing arts, the fine arts, and literature, Volume 3. Springer. ISBN 9780792310143. Steinmetz, Sol (2005). Dictionary of Jewish usage: a guide to the use of Jewish terms. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780742543874. Zenner, Walter P. (1988). Persistence and flexibility: anthropological perspectives on the American Jewish experience (Illustrated ed. ISBN 9780887067488. External links [ edit] Media related to Khamsa at Wikimedia Commons.
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TWICE~made a little error yesterday so i'm posting it HOW IT'S DONE ~ made you all a little video to show you how the "8 eyes" henna design is done....
I hope you will enjoy it! I did 💕
By the is by @a_wa_official i found it a perfect match. If i understood well they are of mixed origine Jewish, Yeminite, Moroccan and Ukranian.... (correct me if I'm wrong)
I'm of mixed origine roccan and people always want to know if i consider myself Moroccan Dutch. But i refuse to choose one side.... i am both and connecting both worlds make magical things happen. Same goes for A-wa! Never hide your magic because it makes others feel uncomfortable!!!! It's their loss to not understand your magic! Enjoy!!!
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Irlam likes to pat the necks of camels. He says they are beautiful creatures.
I say camels are ugly, and smell.
Irlam loves the desert.
I say the desert is just a patch of ground there to make you burn and starve.
Irlam’s been here before. He says he knows better than me. He wants to be a hero, he wants to be an upstanding man, a guide to the helpless, the unknowing. Irlam tries to fool me with his romantic wonder and Lawrence of Arabia nonsense. I only refer to Irlam by his surname. He thinks it sounds more exotic than John.
I think Irlam is full of shit. Especially now as we stand here alone and suddenly very lost and the morning has hardly begun. And I can’t find anything to make a drink in.
When I woke this morning the first thing I noticed was Ahmed’s empty hillock. Ahmed, our guide, our man of practicalities and knowledge.
Last night, as we slept, Ahmed must have left us. We had been camping out. Irlam said we should feel the desert sky on our faces, the intense cold, the purity, the sound of the sky. Me in one sleeping bag, covered up from the cold, Irlam next to me. Ahmed was Bedouin, Irlam said, he could watch from beyond. I said he’d freeze. Irlam said he could cope with that, he’s Bedu! Ahmed just shrugged his shoulders and went away from us, away from the fire, to a hillock of sand.
Irlam brushes down his shirt and says he’s gone to cleanse himself or something. I point out that his possessions have gone, the spare flask, his chained spicy amulet and his sleeping bag.
We wait. The city is somewhere west. Irlam had been hoping to get to the centre of the desert with Ahmed’s help. The sand stretches for miles and miles. I stand, awed by the glass-like chill of the air, the infinitesimal grains of sand and the geometry of the horizon, wondering if there is a heart to it.
Tall Irlam. Thin, gangling. He stands and surveys the desert, one arm tucked at right-angles behind his back, the other hand protecting his eyes from the sun.
We’ve been going deeper into the desert, as if searching for something, but it feels like going round and round in widening circles. Will we ever come out again? Irlam says he knows what we are doing. I have to believe him. But now, without Ahmed?
Been through the desert on a horse with no name —that is what he was singing as he came towards me, looking slightly drunk, when we first met. People scattering, looking bemused. He latched onto me. I was white, young, vulnerable.
Irlam says I’ll do.
Irlam says I am pretty enough for his purposes.
I smile. He kicks the sand, turns round and round, looks up into the sky and mumbles something in Arabic, a phrase he’d picked up from the back of a chocolate bar and had got Ahmed to pronounce for him. Yet being who he is, what he is, he has no idea what it means. He just repeats it over and over like he’s saying something profound. He has charm, knowledge, wit. He has purpose. I do like him though. Poor Irlam, poor boyish Irlam.
I pack up our belongings. Irlam stares at the horizon. I miss Ahmed’s conspiratorial smiles.
We have jeeps; we can drive till we find the city or find what it is people look for in the desert. Irlam says that’s just bullshit. Nothing can be found in the desert but sores and scorpion bites and dark nights of the soul. I smile enigmatically, saying nothing, knowing that’s precisely the point. But it’s all clichés! He says he hates my Mona Lisa smile. Mona Lisa was a boy, he says, making a dervish shape, whirling, arms outstretched.
Irlam is a romantic fool.
We have water. We can survive. Aren’t you glad, I say, that I said I loathed camels? I look at the jeep. Battered, hardly salubrious, but compared to camels....
Camels are eco-friendly, Irlam replies, standing on a hillock pointing east. Sousse must be that way.
We’ve been there before. It’s where we met, outside the Medina walls. Me standing there, him singing. Sousse. On the beach where the inept tourist train stops, where André Gide lost his virginity, Irlam tells me. André who?
Sometimes he likes to wander away from me and watch me without him. I know I am being watched, so I smile enigmatically. I know what he is capable of. I go with him. I play up to him and feed his fantasies. Out here, far from help, phones, Starbucks, the Sunday papers, you have to trust someone.
At the caves of Matmata he was in his element pretending to be Luke Skywalker, pretending to be Darth Vader as a boy. He grinned at the people who live there and handed out CDs like a missionary. Play these, play these. They walked away smiling strangely, shaking their heads at his lack of understanding.
Without him here I don’t know what I would do. I’d be lost.
Lost in Sousse! He laughs at my ineptitude. Lost in Sousse. Once, he confesses, I was lost in Sousse. A guide, just after I had arrived, we are all green at that point, took me deep into the heart of the Medina, saying he would show me the Grand Mosque. I had a map but it was useless, the streets are a maze of twists and turns. I was frightened but pretended I wasn’t. After all, who am I to agree with cultural stereotypes and believe this man would lead me astray?
Cultural stereotypes, I say, like what?
That Arabs are untrustworthy, that Americans know what they are doing, that the English are snobbish.
They’re not true?
He says nothing but looks at me: Irlam unamused.
What did you do? I say finally.
I smiled a lot and watched every corner, but I’d rather not talk about it. He turns away and jumps into the jeep. Are you coming?
He can’t get the jeep started—the gearbox for a moment confuses him as if he’s forgotten how to work it.
Been through the desert on a jeep with no name.
I wonder what it’s like to be really alone out here.
He told me he would show me the real North Africa. He said he was an expert. It sounded plausible. Irlam was a student of architecture, he said. Studying was his passion. He revelled in the beauty of knowledge. He’d point things out to me, fill me in on what I had missed. He says it’s not safe for me to travel alone. With a man you are protected. Without me what would Irlam do? He is so like a boy with his pouting full lips and his frazzled dark hair and his smile that makes me want to please him. He tells me about places I have never visited. He can show me things that tourists never see. He says that if I stay with him I will be rewarded. I promise, he says, looking directly at me, to look after you.
I don’t need looking after.
It’s dangerous alone, he says. Having you with me is important. The most important thing.
We have seen oases at dawn, rotting palm trees, waterfalls and pools of Tamarza, sand dunes like mountains at Douz; markets where the sandals were made by a small beardless man whose eyes never looked at me, who handled my feet as if precious cargo—he reeked of urine and leather; we have seen villages of Sidi Bou Said—the blue, the white buildings, the hypnotic skies—and empty fishing villages as prayers were said in hillside mosques, overlooking caramel rocks. We have stood on cliff edges above villages, above the sea, just breathing in the crisp air of the continent.
We have seen horses emaciated and falling, Berber children posing for pictures, the sun rising on the desert, which quite stunned us. We have seen many things, Irlam and I. And he is still a mystery to me. I have seen him beat a boy who came to him for change. I have seen him dance at sudden parties like a wild man. I have seen him screaming in French to men who came towards us in a village, who wouldn’t leave us alone. I have seen his face red to bursting as he shouted and screamed and gesticulated until the men walked away back to the bar. He enjoys these things. I have seen him so angry at the phone system in one hotel that he hit his fist against the wall, leaving a hand-sized hole.
We get lost searching for the city. We travel in circles. I trust he will get us there. I need a bath and a good bed. We criss-cross the sand, passing our tread marks. We make our circles wider and wider, increasing our radius. He will get us there. I trust being with him.
Sometimes Irlam goes as far out into the night away from me as he can and just sits there. I have no idea what he thinks as he sits there looking out across the black horizon. He likes to be charming, but sometimes he looks morose. I still like him. I wonder if my like is more survival dependency than real affection.
We meet up with some Westerners, faces deeply tanned. They are
a party from the tourist areas, people Irlam despises but today he welcomes them. I hear him getting advice about directions. He talks in German. He says he is an expert on the nomadic tribes of North Africa, he says he comes from San Francisco. He advises them to avoid Djerba. They tell me about their hotel, about the service on little trays at poolsides, about meals delicately prepared: lemon-cooked fish and couscous and salads, how they play tennis in the mornings after wandering the harbour’s attractions, after drinking espresso surrounded by orange-sellers and hawkers desperate to get you inside their shops. Everyone wants something, they say, everyone wants something from you. They would sell their souls to make money out of you. I yearn for the tourist train to safety.
Irlam looks out for me. Irlam needs me too. I cannot leave him. I say goodbye to the tourists in the immaculate jeeps. And we travel on, to Sousse. Irlam whistles and bangs the steering wheel, cursing as the jeep hits against rocks.
Sousse is ugly in many ways. It is good to be back. I climb the Ribat to see the whole of the town. I can look down upon the forbidden Mosque. Irlam said Sousse was a place of geometry—squares upon squares, reflected patterns in buildings, heavy rectangular doorways opening into hermetic cells for warrior-monks. From here Sousse looks like a chaotic mass of beige-white and eggshell-blue doorways disappearing into the horizon. Down there is the twisty non-geometric Medina. Chaos enclosed by geometry. Then a mass of industrialization, fat oil tankers slicing through the sea.
The Grand Mosque, he says, and the Kasbah, and then this house, deep in the Medina, where someone I know lives. We will visit. You must taste his qahwa. He will be most upset if I do not visit him.
Socks, bed linen, nightwear hanging outside a shop, a front full of shoes, a shop selling leather jackets—we go inside the Medina along the straight street that runs parallel. People staring at us as we travel. Scrawled pictures of symbolic fish pinned everywhere, and the protecting Hand of Fatima. Then he makes us turn right, inwards, into the centre. Irlam in front, me trailing. He says don’t catch their eye, don’t trust them if you speak to them. We go along straight for a while, turn inwards again, then straight, then up. There are little alleyways everywhere.
Shouts of hey English? English! We push forward like combatants into the crowd. Irlam strides forward. We go deeper. He shouts. We turn corners, passing Hands of Fatima painted, mosaicked, carved on ornate doorways. Crowds thin out. We are the only white faces. The streets narrow. We pass open doorways revealing women shunting carpet weavers, the smell of dyed sheepskins, raw sheepskins. The chatter of women. The lethargy of hovering men. More corners, going left past orange tasselled banners. Deeper.
I mark the banner. I mark patterns and colours, fan-shaped palms, aromatic smells drifting from open windows, thinking left then right, right again. Keep track. Up a hill. I can see no sky. The houses reach over us. Irlam is moving so fast. As purposeful as a scorpion, for once. Or is it more bravado? Does he know where he is going? It is all so confusing.
Wait, wait, I cry. Slow down.
The street gets even narrower, fewer people. We turn into a small square with a large drain in the centre, all the streets just here seem to end and flux into the drain. Beige squares. So many streets end here. To one side is a large woman. As imposing as a Sumo wrestler. I think she is female. We are arrested for a moment by her screaming. She lifts up her layers of skirts. Not Bedu, says Irlam, shaking his head. She squats, layers of linen, tied, wrapped, hanging from her waist, gathered up into her arms. Her face is open, dark dark and filthy—but her head is similarly wrapped. She stinks. She squats silently for some time before a long river of piss runs into the drain. It is as if she is pissing into the navel of the Medina and her urine spirals to the centre. She begins to scream and shriek once more. And moves towards us. She sees me, takes a stride closer, skirts creasing. Irlam puts his arm around my shoulders and hurries me forward.
Streets straight then curved. Walls painted green. Fish symbols. Doors with black engraved patterns like the ornately hennaed hands of the market sellers. We bend right, move straight, bend left, snaking through streets, feeling as if we’re getting tighter and tighter to the heart of the Medina. Irlam stops, turns round, says this way. I ask if he’s sure. He says of course he is. We backtrack, take the right instead of the left turning.
Come on, Delise. I try to walk quicker, looking backwards, forwards, always ready to run, looking for friendly faces, white faces, tourist faces. I want Irlam to stop, I want us to turn back, not zigzag endlessly into the centre of the Medina. I don’t know if Irlam is lost as I am. I want to go back.
I wish Ahmed were here to show me what these symbols painted here mean. I wish I could see the sky and feel the chill of the desert night. Delise is tired, I say, tired. There is a beach here. Gide, I shout. Let’s stand on the beach where Gide—
Later. Nearly there. It will be worth it.
He points to something round a corner. There he is: Irlam. White shirt, black jeans, red rucksack with the words “Ascent” emblazoned in black lettering. Irlam smiling. Irlam happy. Paint is peeling from the walls, narrow doorways, no sky, an exit left, an exit right. A shape fills a doorway to the right. Beside him a black Hand of Fatima. The shape filling the alleyway to the left coughs. Irlam is chattering, telling me stuff I cannot hear. I move towards him, he backs away. I step closer, he steps back. He’s still talking and smiling, calling me forward with precise motions of his hand. There are three exits—Irlam stands in one. Behind him I can see an alleyway opening out to the sky. A man comes from behind him, startling him. At first he looks frightened, then he smiles, taps the man in a knowing way on the shoulder, and walks past him. Then I hear the sound of Irlam running up the alleyway. Where he once stood another man stands. I watch Irlam’s shape vanish as the corner takes him away. Irlam escaping. Irlam leaving me here. I can’t even shout out, I can’t think what he is doing.
The other exits are blocked by shapes that show themselves now as men. They come towards me, heads downwards, like bulls charging. I can feel them closing, just a slight breeze of light between their shapes. They encircle me, touch my hair, I can just see their teeth as I lift up to look at them. But I am too scared to really see them, to really see what Irlam has led me to, what Irlam has abandoned me to.
The alleyways close in, buildings cover me, the Hand of Fatima to the side swells. I close my eyes and then open my eyes in fear of not knowing everything, of being blind to the inevitable. All I see is the Hand of Fatima, and I taste the men’s smell in the back of my throat, their sweat and their labours, gagging on the astringency of aftershave. I can feel their touch on my face, their sweat on my skin. I can’t scream. I want to close my eyes, I want to get out of here. I daren’t look at their faces, I cannot say what sort of men they are for I close my eyes again and put up my hands to keep them away, to knock their fingers and smell away from me. I push against them. Push hard against them. Keep pushing till the smell is that of the street once more.
I find Irlam some months later, working as a guide for the tourist trade. He is alone, standing by the Matmata caves, as the tourists intermingle with the cave dwellers. He is twisting a wooden cross pendant
in his hand.
Delise, I say, Delise. He seems surprised to see me, looks up at me, shielding his eyes against the sun. We say nothing for a while. I am expecting him to ask what happened. I am expecting a logical explanation for him running away. Eventually I ask why he left me there. He says he doesn’t know.
He says nothing, looks away. Then he says I don’t know why I did it.
Money? It was deliberate.
It wasn’t arranged like that. They were people I knew.
You said you would make sure no harm came to me. You said I was important to you. What did you expect to get from it? I can’t believe you did it.
I don’t know what to say. I have no excuses. I am sorry. He is afraid to look at me. He is afraid of his own behaviour. To hurt him in return would be like hurting a child because it spat on your clothes. I don’t know what to say to him anymore. I don’t know how to explain that what he did was unforgivable.
I walk away.
Did they hurt you? he shouts, standing up. Are you okay? I worried.
The memory-smell of their cheap Western aftershave: stinging, lively; the rough snagging touch of calloused skin; musty stench of old clothes, arms wrapped round me like binds, and the memory of the bile-fear in my belly. These are my dreams.
I always see me escaping through the alleyways. My dreams are seared with the image of the Hand of Fatima and blue doors and streets and the palm tree on the right, shaped like a fan, followed by a turn to the left, into the main square, back to the Mosque, back to the main part of the city, to trains cutting through streets and men calling out from shop doorways, hey English? English!
The dreams show Irlam as he was when I first met him, singing, Been through the desert on a horse with no name. Got to get out of the rain. And drunk.
The Hand of fatima zahra.
About The Author: CGTN Africa
Biography: China Global Television Network, or CGTN, is China’s new international media organization. It was launched by China Central Television (CCTV) on Dec. 31, 2016.