A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.


Mother of the Martyr
“Mother of the Martyr” by Rula Dallal

She’s a teacher, she’s a mentor, she’s a friend. She’s an artist, she’s a philosopher, she’s a psychologist. She’s spiritual, she’s open-minded, she’s commonsensical. She’s firm, she’s loving, she’s understanding. She’s modern, she’s conservative, she’s cool.

(In every sense of every word)

She taught art at schools and teaches life skills at companies, she mentored young adults outside of schools, and she is a friend with anyone who needs a friend. She’s a selling artist, she holds a master’s degree in philosophy and a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She’s too spiritual for my liking while all the while being extremely open minded towards everything, and she holds common sense supreme. She’s firm with rights and wrongs, yet always able to understand. She’s a heck more modern than I am, yet we always manage to argue about more conservative issues that I am very much against.

(She hates the fact that I’m a feminist)

Influential. In the past months, I’ve referred to Warhol, mosques and Mondrian as some of the things that have influenced my life, but all along, I’ve been saving her, the most special and most drastic influence, for a special day. This influence is an open mindset. It’s a fervent career. It’s the greatest love I have ever known.

(Today is Mother’s Day)

Rush: Misty watercolor memories (this is how you hold a brush), the galloping dreams (you be whoever you want to be), rows upon rows of printer ink on a stock of A4 written by a 9 year old (you write beautifully, write, Ruba, write). How to play with the Atari (look Ruba, Mario saves Princess Toadstool), snap a pictures (never a take picture that doesn’t have has people in it), freedom to think(believe in whatever you have knowledge about, a fair God will not judge a person who came to their beliefs through knowledge).

(It’s all in the game and the way you play it, and you’ve got to play the game, you know)

It’s not merely an influence. It’s who I am.

She’s my mother.

Hope The Dream of a Girl Jerusalem Jahan

Note on paintings: The media used is watercolor on silk. Silk is a highly reflective material, thus accounting for the high brightness in the images. They really don’t do the paintings justice, I should have taken them during the day.


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  1. Ziad D

    Well put Roba, and extremely touching.
    I need to send mom some flowers, hope it’s not too late. :P

  2. Anonymous

    The paintings are amazing. What a talent. I particularly like “hope”

    You and your mother are lucky to have one another.

  3. Anonymous

    why do you have to tell people your mom has a master’s in philosphy and a bachelor’s in psychology? qualifications dont mean much in saying what sort of a person you are today.

  4. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful :)

  5. This post has been removed by the author.

  6. touching…..
    i wanna meet her

  7. kinzi

    Very precious…put me on the list to meet this mom of yours!

  8. Beautiful post Roba, and wonderful paintings…

  9. loved your post, I live alone in Amman and today I really miss seeing my mom. Made me want to cry reading what you wrote.

  10. She

    What a beautifully written tribute, Roba.

  11. she’s adorable :)

  12. الله يخليكم لبعض:)

  13. Now I know where Roba gets her amazing talent. What a blessing to have such a mother!

  14. Omar (brother)

    Kul 3am u inti bikair…. I too hate the fact that you’re an extreme feminist… Let it go already, you got your rights a long time ago, get real

  15. Thanks guys.

    Lulwa, my mother is actually in Riyadh at the moment… It’s so funny, I called her this morning, and she told me that since she’s not the only one with no kids in riyadh, as all her friends have children that are all over the world for college and work and stuff, so they’re treating themselves out to a mothers day lunch together. sad eh?

  16. My mother hates that I’m a feminist too.

    “Why do you call yourself that, Natalia?”

    “Because of you.”

    “What do you mean, because of me?”

    “Let’s see… You got a degree you hated, because as a WOMAN you had been convinced that your education wouldn’t matter anyway… You put up with my father’s well-meaning BS and never stood up for yourself, and you justified by being a WOMAN… Your sister was raped, but you still think it’s her fault, because she’s a WOMAN… You pretend that being a WOMAN is synonymous with being a MARTYR… You keep telling me that GOD is a MAN… Every chance you get, you complain to me about the fact that you hardly achieved anything in your professional life when you could have done a whole lot more with what you had been given, but nooo, seeing as you’re a WOMAN you just get to be the passive VICTIM… Oh, and YOUR mother is almost exactly the same… How could I not be a feminist after all that? How could I not assert my educational, professional, and reproductive rights?”

    This is a conversation that I’ve been having in my head for years. I love my mother too much to tell it to her face. She was the one who pushed me to excel at school, and hone my skills, and be diligent, because, even though she doesn’t call herself a feminist, somewhere deep inside she knows that women absolutelly have to empower themselves if they are to have any sort of standing in life.

    Sorry for the outburst. A lot of memories came flooding back.

  17. Anonymous

    I would say a person’s degrees say a lot about them,

    from reading your posts I wouldn’t qualify you as a radical or extreme feminist, quite tame by most standards I should say,

    one must attack “the hetro normative patriarchal structure”.
    I don’t know how feminists stand Islam, I think you should attack Islam more, or have some sepcial post on how islam is degrading to women

  18. Natalia, your “outburst” was very touching and very enjoyable to read. Thank you for sharing :) We should have a discussion some day. Drop me a line if you’re ever in Amman.

    Anonymous, my posts are always tamed down after requests from those I love.

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