Do They Know?



Do they know? Do they feel? Do they wonder? Do they see? Do they expect? Do they have hope? Do they still love? These questions all surround one explicit idea, and inevitable part of our lives. The dying.

How hard it must be to come to reality that you will not get better. How terrifying it must be to know there is a chance you will one day take your last breath unexpectedly. Just that small ounce of hope they have. That look they give you that they have given up.

The most petrifying look you can see in their eyes. Would they still be here if they would have tried a little harder, or was this it? It was that last look you gave that you may not return home. The sickness that made you weaker. The sickness that took your strength. The sickness that made you doubt. The sickness that made you cry. The sickness that made you lose yourself. The sickness that left your family within darkness. The sickness that took you away. The difficulties to look before your last days. The difficulties it has been to accept, but regardless move forward. You were smart, and you didn’t kid yourself. You knew. You felt. You accepted it, without us knowing you did. You tried to be stronger, but it took over you. The last days of your life were the most difficult, because it was supposed to be the road to your recovery. But instead it was to a dark, and unsettling road. It was your destiny. It was your story coming to an end, but your memory to an eternal life.

Your eyes had darkness, your heart of gold.
Your sounds of love, your feelings of old.
You whispered in my ear, you are strong.
I looked to your eyes, and hymned your song.
The song of strength. The song of your life.
Despite your end, we still stand.
Never forget you, as we still hold your hand.
Your memories are forever ours.
As each one of us were your stars.
A father we loved together with those days.
Together as a family we made our ways.
As we still remember in our lives.
We think of you still standing by our side.

In Loving Memory of My Father July 26, 1960-June 8th, 2013

Don’t Let the “Good” Fool You

By Rhonda Nemri

I have come to realize over and over that the people you deal with will not always portray who you are as a person. That just because you are nice and considerate, does not mean they will be too. I have this conversation with people many times about genuine good people versus people who do good things, but are not always genuinely good. It is very irritating when meeting people, and always wondering are they really who they say they are. We can ask them what are some of your pet peeves, and they may respond…”rude people”, “mean people”, “liars”, “cheaters”, “inconsiderate people”, so on and so forth. Yet, they portray these types of negative characteristics on a daily basis. I’m nowhere near a perfect person, but I do believe I have a decent approach to how to treat people, even when they do not deserve to be treated well. Being a good person means not expecting people to constantly say you are good, and not constantly trying to convince others you are a good person. You can say you are nice and considerate person, but can you show for it?

I’ve met many people who tried to convince me of the person they are, yet they don’t truly fit the description they have set out for themselves. It is just a cover up to fully be accepted. Bad people exist in this world. Some know it, some don’t. I’ve come to write about this topic because it is becoming more apparent to me that people are self-centered, and tend to do things for themselves only. Now, doing something for yourself is not bad, but you have to stop and think to yourself, that there are people in your lives that deserve to be treated well.
Do not ever tell an inconsiderate person your feelings, or what hurts you in life. They do not listen to these words. They hear it, but they do not truly grasp it. This just makes you get emotionally hurt when you tell someone your feelings, when really they were not listening. You expect them to treat you differently when you tell them what you do not like. A considerate person would take what you say, and use it to their advantage to be a good person to you instead of turning things around on you.

Overall, the point is that life is not always pleasant, and it is not always on your side. We will meet people who belong in our lives, and we will meet people who will be in our lives for a short time and leave. Learning to let go the grudge of a bad person is hard, but what I always say is if you treat me bad, I won’t treat you bad, this is your ultimate choice to do so. But if you do treat me bad, I will make sure you know that I do not belong in your life, whether at all, or barely.

How The Middle Eastern Culture Can Be Toxic

By: Rhonda Nemri

Now I know some people will take this to offense, and say “how could you say this?” Or that I am not prideful of my culture. If that’s your first instinct about this, then you’ve already proven my title. However, there are many ways in the Arab culture that people depend on because it is “safe”, and a better excuse for getting away with their hostile behavior. I will explain what “culture” does to people, and how it affects our society; mainly the Arab community. The list will predominately focus on the Arab/Middle Eastern Culture, but can relate to the general idea of culture.

1. Culture is established by a group of people’s norms, and their own perceptions of life, and something that usually sticks with them for a lifetime.
2. Culture brings people together, and creates traditions that can be passed on to generations.
3. Culture allows you to identify with a group/race.
4. Culture is something good, but when taken too far, it can actually create toxicity among family, friends, co-workers, etc.
5. Saying “this is how it is supposed to be” is based off of what someone created to be the norm. Therefore basing everything you do in your life a norm that you only live by because someone else told you this is how it is supposed to be.
6. Culture makes people become hostile towards those who do not fully abide or engage in cultural norms.
7. Culture puts a timeframe for when to be married, when to have children, and requirements on whom you should be with/shouldn’t be with.
8. Culture creates an identity crisis. Arab/Middle Eastern culture versus other cultures can cause one to conflict between being authentic versus being what someone else wants.
9. Culture creates a sense of fear for living authentically. The constant thought that people are monitoring your behavior, and being worried of what other people think of you.
10. Culture makes people believe that because specific norms have been around for so long, that they are correct or acceptable.
11. Culture has created strict tendencies and traditions that have been the cause for separating family units, or has hindered the quality of life.
12. Culture has repeatedly made women to be the lesser equal. Invoking certain lifestyles, do this and don’t do that, limiting career opportunities, etc. As well as creating standards for men to be and act a certain way to appear masculine.
13. Culture for Middle Easterners has been a reciprocated understanding between several religious faiths. (Examples: Christians/Catholics and Muslims). Thus prohibiting many ideas, and new values from different men and women.
14. Culture does not allow mistakes, because your reputation is a representation of your family, and is always accounted for. If you make mistakes, then the people in your family also live through repercussions. People then bad mouth, or speak badly about each other.
15. Culture makes religious people focus more on cultural values, than religious values. This can be detrimental for those who try to live through their religion as Godly-like beings.
16. Lastly, Culture would be something great if people allowed each other to live freely, and not have to live for other people.

Final thoughts:

If we would see the negativity of our culture and become more positive we would be happy individuals. Stop paying attention to other people, and grow as an individual. Making someone suffer because of what you think is right, does not make you right. It’s bad enough we have to live to see the Middle East falling apart because of control, power, and greed. So why do this to the people who you call your family, friend, acquaintance, or someone you vaguely know. Give each other a chance to live life, and a chance to know them before you let culture dictate your every move in your life. Culture is important to have, but not to make you hostile towards humans.

A Writers Intent

By: Rhonda Nemri

A writers intent is to provide a different perspective to others. To let the reader experience another persons experiences whether fiction or non fiction. A writers need is to fully express themselves, and most times it’s done creatively. A writer hopes for many readers and commentaries on their writings. But whether one reader or a thousand readers, the writer is at ease because they have released all internal thoughts out. It helps a writer release their thought process out on paper or typed in their computer.

When writers express themselves, they are risking a part of them. Their vulnerability, sensitivity, rage, and passions are exposed, and can be ridiculed by those not agreeing with statements of the writers beliefs, attitudes, and values. But that doesn’t stop them.

A writer may not care for the amount of readers, however a writer surely hopes to reach out and be a helping hand for those who may be internally struggling. For those who may not have the courage to speak up, but to feel connected and not alone in any issues in their lives.

A writers intent is to inspire those who need inspiring, help those that need help, and create another world for those who choose to be lost in words.

A writers intent is to help themselves understand their own voice, and realize the wretchedness of their own oppressions.

I dedicate this to all the writers who inspired me to write, and allowed me to express myself with no regrets.

Destructive Power

By : Rhonda Nemri

They cut you. They cut you so deep, you bleed. But you don’t bleed to death. Just a bunch of cuts that become scars. You don’t walk away, you forgive them. Each time you forgive them, you think to yourself it will be better. When really, you’re handing them that power.

Now this power is so destructive that every time you legitimately have the right to be hurt and upset at them, they make you feel it’s your fault. Each time this happens, another scar is added. You try to walk away, but it’s that power thing that just can’t seem to go away. Whether you are with them or without them, they seem to have this power over you. You lose sleep, you don’t eat, you overly think, you lose yourself in all of this.

Each time you come back you hand them that power again. The sad thing is they know it, and they feed off of it. They need it to survive. And they will survive because you are feeding them your precious soul. You are feeding them your life that used to be yours. But something keeps you around them. Something makes you whole again when they are good. It’s this drug feeling that numbs you, that you can’t even see what’s wrong. But you enjoy it, because with it, it keeps you alive.

They say they need you and want you, but what they need is that power that someone else may not give them the way you give them. That’s real abuse. Not the physical kind, but the emotional and psychological abuse. That abuse will stay forever with you if you keep handing your self control over to the person who thrives over having you by their side only for the sole purpose to control you. This is toxic, and you know it. But you’re afraid that if you walk away, no one will want you the way you’ve laid out your life to the last person. So you stay and forever have lost yourself.

It isn’t just our intimate relationships that this applies to. Power is a necessity for some in your family, friendships, colleagues, superiors, etc. we all struggle through powerlessness in our lives. But to let someone take over our lives for their sake, we should reconsider them in our lives. Emotional and psychological abuse hurts more than physical. All abuse is harmful, but it is the words that affects us coming from the ones that say they love us.

The Fools Will Chatter


By: Rhonda Nemri
Photograph painted and photo edited By: Rhonda Nemri

I mustn’t show my tears. Or else the fools will chatter.

I mustn’t show my smile. Or else the fools will chatter.

I mustn’t grief out loud. Or else the fools will chatter.

I must show my tears. Or else the fools will chatter.

I must show my smile. Or else the fools will chatter.

I must grief out loud. Or else the fools will chatter.

Yes the fools will always chatter. With chatter they speak as fools, and fool you to believe they stand beside you as if you’re a fool. But indeed the fool will always be a fool, full of ignorance.



By: Rhonda Nemri
Photograph taken by Rhonda Nemri

Lying there with your eyes closed and your cold delicate skin, I see you but can’t feel your touch. Throwing myself at you with tears rushing down my face, dripping to the cold ground.

Catching the last moment of your presence as I press my warm face against yours and sing you a song that once was heard.

Revealing my story to you in the last moment before the doors shut. Staring in the eyes of the lost souls, feeling their pain, but nothing can be done.

Consoling one as I feel the wind knocking me down. Creating visionaries in ones mind as we lose the branch off the tree of life.

Whispering voices, crying eyes.
Look around, touch the ground. Fall in hurt, reach for support. Crazy scenes, loud full screams. Stop the ride, feeling to confide.

Moved away quick as they give one last look. Running back to just hold you in that split moment I’m shook.

Soil is moved for your rest. Feeling this urge to fall apart, as the dirt shall fall, and the grass will sprout.

Digging with my bare hands, as I visit your long stay. Feeling this pain that won’t go away. Dig, dig ,dig, but I don’t go far. As I stop the dreaming and walk to my car.

I look one last moment before I leave, and pass through the gates as I weep.

Your memory is in my mind throughout the day. As I place my hand to my broken heart, and hum this way.

As the sun shines I feel your smile. I hope this feeling will stay for a while. I rest my eyes through the night. As I wake things don’t feel right.

The final thoughts are of this life, without a moment of you things don’t feel right.

Painted Silhouettes


By: Rhonda Nemri
Photograph Taken By: Rhonda Nemri

Colors changing into the mood.
Loud as the fire bursts with creation of realism.

Layered in black cloth as it resembles the feelings of mourn.

Stripping the darkness from its root, and bringing back life.

Shameful appearances of the painted silhouettes.

Once again it shall appear to be solid, but soft as the inner core of the bodies falls to the ground in grief.

Surrounded by the cold and warm structures that create no absolute.

But to signify once again the wretchedness of this long gone chapter.

Happy International Women’s Day 2013

International Women's Day 2013

International Women’s Day 2013

Happy Women’s International Day! This is an important day for us women!. Each one of you have an ability to make a change, and inspire others. You have a voice, and you can be empowering. Do not let anyone tell you, you can’t be something, or do something, because you are a woman. Show that you are more than a pretty face, or a sexual entity. You are more than this, and you have a wonderful mind to share. I am glad to have read some of the most inspirational posts on WordPress. We have a wonderful opportunity to capture an audience that knows nothing, or a little about feminism, and women’s rights. Remember that even if someone disagrees with what you are saying, and is being irrational when debating with you about women’s issues, or anything else, just know you at least pushed them to think about the topic, and feminism. I dedicate this blog to the women, and mentors in my life that pushed me to be the best that I can be. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given, even when I had a bit of doubt in myself.

Enjoy your day,

Rhonda Nemri ❤

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Feministtalk Celebrates One Year Anniversary of Publication: Middle Eastern Women Making A Difference

By: Rhonda Nemri

Achievement is one of the things that stick with us for a very long time. We strive to be successful, and be seen as successful. Being a Middle Eastern woman who is educated with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, receiving my Master’s of Arts degree in Communication (focusing in Women’s Rhetoric and Rhetoric) in May of 2013, and Teaching Fundamentals of Speech Communication at Purdue University Calumet, has opened my insight on what it means to be successful. Teaching a communication course for the past three years, has opened my eyes to how important it is to work hard, and how easy it is to lose focus. I have dealt with many students of many different backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions. Having this diversity has helped me grow as an individual, and have an open-mind about embracing the differences around us.

Rhonda Nemri

Rhonda Nemri

I am proud to announce that I have been given the 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year Award. Which I will be thankfully receiving in April.

Being a Middle Eastern woman can be challenging at times inside the classroom, and outside of the classroom. However, I know that the obstacles that I go through as a young Middle Eastern woman, has made me want to strive to be successful, and empowering.

I have done numerous research on the treatment/mistreatment of women in many different cultures. I mainly focus on the Middle Eastern culture, and historical background to help me as a credible scholar. There are many double-standards in society that prevent women from trying to succeed. This then creates the stigma of how we should portray ourselves. Feminist theory, and research has enhanced my knowledge on feminists/cultural issues, helps open the internal, and external issues of myself, along with trying to help women like me see their strengths. It is not easy for some women to be heard, and express themselves. Articulation is one of the many things I try to achieve, and I believe education is key in a woman’s life. Many women see the difficulties of trying to become educated, or successful because of the social construction of roles. Women tend to be seen as the future wife, future mother, and future house wife. These roles are not wrong, however this is not the only thing women can do in their lives to be seen as successful. Education can be empowering, and it has empowered me. As a college educator I saw many women (in any culture) struggle with trying to stick out, or be seen as a powerful entity in the classroom. I root for those young women from all over to find their niche, and to strive to do things that makes them happy. I hope that young girls, and women see that they can do things other than being what others expect from them. My goal is to continue to teach, and empower women like myself to see their worth, and their strengths. I hope to achieve giving the voiceless a voice, and breaking the conspiracy of silence, when it comes to women who are afraid to speak up, due to family values, and morals.

I have the pleasure of knowing some of the greatest, and successful Middle Eastern women. I encourage women to be in the medical field, psychology field, communication field, teaching field, science feilds, performance arts field, etc. Women need to see that there are not limited job options for them. That they can be in male-dominated fields as well, because they do have an input, and strength to be in those field.

I would like to introduce to you the three women that have made an impact in society through their educational backgrounds, and careers. I will provide you some background information on each of these young Middle Eastern women. This also is the one year anniversary of FeministTalk. I hope to enlighten my readers with more topics to discuss. Congratulations ladies on your success, keep up your enthusiasm being successful, young Middle Eastern women. You are inspiring to me and other women.

Diana Hegazin

Diana Hegazin

Where are your from? 

I am a Chicago born native and originally of Jordanian decent.

Age? 25

What is your educational background?

I have a B.S. in Biology with a B.A. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from Lewis University.  I am currently in my last year of pharmacy school at Chicago State University

What do you do now? For how long?

I am a 4th year pharmacy student and I have been a pharmacy intern for Walgreens Pharmacy since 2008.

What are your goals for your career?

I hope to pursue a residency in clinical pharmacy and specialize in critical care. Eventually, I plan on completing my MBA and obtaining a position within the management of inpatient pharmacy.

What has been the toughest obstacle for you when trying to have a career, and being a Arab woman? Explain briefly.

The toughest obstacle has been being able to go after a long-term goal knowing the expectation that I should be married and having a family concurrently. With my goals and expectations for myself being set so high, it has been an internal battle for me as to how I can balance both while not compromising too much of my career aspirations.

What obstacles do you still face as a Middle Eastern woman?

I feel like the race has become much more accepting and progressive with education for women. However, there is always a stigma with women who don’t fit the traditional role by a certain age. It has been a struggle for me to be able to ignore those judgments and focus on what is truly important in my life.

How has education helped you shape your identity?

My education and clinical training has allowed me to grow more confident in myself as a provider to others. I am able to see my worth in the field to others and I was able to recognize my personal and professional strengths and weaknesses. I affiliate with other medical professionals and have shaped myself within that niche.

What is one thing you would tell young girls/women when it comes to education, and having a career?

My advice would be to thoroughly explore yourself first. It is crucial to make your decisions for yourself as well as take others into consideration. However, it is ultimately your mind and your career. Make sure you are knowledgeable and aware of the long-term benefits, downfalls and opportunities that you create for yourself with the completion of your training. Your hard work, persistence and dedication will definitely pay.

Where are your from? 

Chicagoland suburbs, Lansing and Jordan

Age? 24

What is your educational background?

Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of
Illinois at Chicago; with endorsements in Middle School,
English/Language Arts, and ESL/ELL Education.

What do you do now? For how long?

I am currently an ESL/ELL teacher for 2nd and 3rd graders. I have had
this position for 3 months.

What are your goals for your career?

Now that I have achieved one of my goals of getting a full-time
teaching job, I plan to gain some experience in the classroom for a
few years then go back to school to get my masters in elementary
education or ESL/ELL education.

What has been the toughest obstacle for you when trying to have a career, and being a Arab woman? Explain briefly.

The toughest obstacle now that I have started my career is the
pressure to get married and start a family. My family has been
extremely supportive and encouraging throughout my years of education
because they understand the importance of a college degree and a
career. They have also been supportive with my job search. Now that I
have begun my career, I feel that there is an automatic need for me to
start the next step in life, which is marriage. This is especially
true since I am an Arab woman. Since I have, literally, just started
my career, I would love to take time to enjoy and experience it
without needing to worry about the next big step in life so soon.
Unfortunately, in our culture, that idea is not very welcomed because
we have this imaginary expiration date which increases the pressure
even more.

How has education helped you shape your identity?

Education has definitely shaped who I am today. I have learned many
life lessons and experienced things that I know I would not have been
able to if I did not complete my education. As a college graduate, I
have been able to achieve something that many Arab woman are never
able to do and that is something I value.

What is one thing you would tell young girls/women when it comes to education, and having a career?

I tell my younger girl cousins all the time that they would be making
the biggest mistake if they decide to not continue their education
after high school. It is one thing to have a job at the mall or at a
restaurant, but when you begin your career and are working in a field
you’ve spent years studying, it makes it all worth it. There is a
sense of personal value that automatically increases. You become part
of a population that people dream of being in. No matter how hard it
may be, how long it takes, or how many obstacles come in the way, keep
your eye on the finish line because once you get there all the
struggles and stress becomes a blur. Do not let something like gender
or culture stand in your way of reaching your full potential.

Dina Nemri

Where are your from? 

I am Jordanian-American, born and raised in Chicago.

Age? 24

What is your educational background?

I have a bachelor of science in biotechnology and minor studies in psychology, from Purdue University Calumet.

What do you do now? For how long?

I work as a quality assurance analyst. Company is based on food manufacturing and I ensure safe and quality food. I’ve been doing this for about 1.5 years.

What are your goals for your career?

My goals for my career is to advance to a position that highlights my strengths and allows me to utilize my full potential. I would like to gain more experience and conduct research in my field. I hope to further my education as well, so that I may launch myself into a career that is more advanced.

What has been the toughest obstacle for you when trying to have a career, and being a Arab woman? Explain briefly.

As an Arab woman trying to have a career, I feel very limited. There are so many opportunities out there to better myself and my craft, but not being able to reach out to those places has kept me within limits. I desire the freedom to make my own decisions and not be judged for them, wherever they take me. I aspire to travel and communicate with all different types of people without thinking twice about how others will perceive me for doing so

What obstacles do you still face as a Middle Eastern woman?

I face being judged for just about anything; from the clothes that I wear to the people who I choose to be friends with. It is difficult to form bonds with people and experience new things on my own when others make decisions for me. I often become consumed with desires to be able to do things that everyone else can. It creates a caged feeling.

How has education helped you shape your identity?

Education has empowered me. It has given me an unshakeable foundation. I draw my confidence and self-esteem from countless years spent in formal schooling. It has given me the necessary tools to become the person I want to be.

What is one thing you would tell young girls/women when it comes to education, and having a career?

I would tell them that anything is possible. Anything can be achieved. Nothing is too out of reach and no one can take anything from you. I would tell them to not be afraid of taking risks and doing what it is that makes you happy.

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