In a month, I will be leaving my position as resource development coordinator at Isha L’Isha – Haifa Feminist Center. I started my journey with Isha L’Isha ten years ago, in 2007, when I applied for the position. I have found in Isha L’Isha my feminism and my feminist home, I met inspiring and supportive women who have become my sisters in struggle, and I found my writing voice here. I wrote my first novel, Haifa Fragments, while working at Isha L’Isha, and the political voice in the novel reflects my experiences among this community of radical feminist women. In 2013, after six years on the job, I felt that the time has come to move on. I went in search of myself in other jobs, I accumulated new experiences, and initiated the Tuskuteesh (don’t remain silent) project, a safe space for Arab women to share testimonies of sexual violence, along with a partner. In 2016, after three years, the job position of resource development became available again, and I applied for the job, because there is no other place like Isha L’Isha, both in terms of ideology and in terms of employment. Without the active support and solidarity of the women of Isha L’Isha, Tuskuteesh would not have become what it has today.
A year has passed since I started working at Isha L’Isha for the second time, and I feel that the time has come to move again. Many changes are happening in my personal life, but Isha L’Isha will always be my home. I am leaving my paid position, but I will definitely continue to be active in the community, hopefully even more, as I will have more free time on my hands.
What next? I’m currently working on my second novel, “Six Weeks: The Summer of 2006,” at the center of which there is a female character with disabilities. The novel follows the life of a mother and her daughter during the Second Lebanon War in Haifa, their dealing with the challenges facing women with disabilities, and the intersections of that with living in a conflict zone, as well as the unique challenges facing women.
As of August, I will be unemployed, and will join the more than 70% Arab women who do not participate in the employment market. However, I am joining them out of choice, and am well aware of this privilege. I will continue fighting all forms of violence against women, with special focus on sexual violence, with the hopes that I can contribute my small part towards a safe world for all of us.
For those whom I promised a meeting over coffee, please contact me after September. In August, I’ll be participating in the Greenbelt Festival in England, where I’ll be doing a book reading, and facilitating a workshop in a safe space on invisible violence against women, as well as a creative writing workshop, with focus on women’s stories and invisible voices.
If you enjoy my writing, please consider supporting my work: www.patreon.com/khulud_khamis