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tv   Anan Ameri Discusses The Scent of Jasmine  CSPAN  July 30, 2017 10:05pm-11:04pm EDT

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win for the least among us. . >> fake you for coming rehabs c-span with us and they are recording the whole
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thing so please raise your hand. am i correct? eight you for coming really appreciated it this is a wonderful place one of my favorites when i went to university i used to come here but i will do a presentation about my book "the scent of jasmne" that just but this is almost a memoir is non-fiction so some of the dialogue gordy atmosphere of what was said at the moment but the name of the book is "the scent of jasmne" coming of age in jerusalem and damascus"
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renamed the book that because number one jasmine is indigenous to jazz -- jerusalem and the arab borrow. so there is a day home that does not have jasmine. it is a very nice cent my mother is from damascus my father was palestinian in so wherever we would live should bring the jasmine so for the every home that i lived in had jasmine. damascus is a city a spent a lot of time in in my mother has the extended family in many children of my
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generation. so they have the impact of the world. so that is what is happening in both cities today. so i was born in damascus but maya father lived in jerusalem but like the first few years i spent in damascus. the format is more short stories in their wrote them a 1.as those things would happen in my life. but then the way to reflect what was really happening in the arab world at that time.
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so i hope you buy it and read it that you get a sense of the arab world that i grew up in. as a mission born in 1944 i was only three and a half years old but it shows you how much i remember of that and really to have the most impact and i believe many of my life choices had to do with that. i was 3-1/2 years old but it was one city. so then my family became
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refugees. and then ultimately my father died of the family of a palestinian they always talk about palestine. so the of one gathering in day did not cry but it was that since the defeat that cave 1948. they were very affluent and it was interesting when i grew up because to grow
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prodigiously and ethnic feet -- ethnically so my grandfather would go to the famous mosque. and my father was agnostic at best. we never practiced any religion but i don't ever remember my grandfather but nobody ever said anything bad about my father because he did not practice but they loved him and respected him. but they enjoy each other so the neighborhood which was those three big villas and
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was named after them. with the zero lebanese and armenian and all to live in the same neighborhood. but then we never thought to us inverses them. i grew up in a muslim country. in theory it was a muslim home but i never knew if we were soon he or she a and talent to high-school. so that was not a concept i
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grew up with and so why america have their own sixties we had ours it was much different in this country there were against that vietnam's war but we were going against the male dominated society with the arab nationalism so that shapes a lot of people of my generation. so i also grew up with very strong women. i tell you is the mass. i grew up a very strong women. my family was very rich she hated housework and had
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nothing to do with it but she worked outside the house . she had a print shop. or that place and to many of her friends were professional women. to have a four word activist. but everything about them. so everything is of limited. so i knew i could be whatever i want to be. so this is the arab world i grew up in.
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but it does put it into context if you read the book. so my mother came from money my father was middle-class. he was very clean and quiet my mother was noisy. i don't think she even enjoyed being a mother. it just was not her. just to give you a sense of my parents. but they never lived happily ever after. so i came home one time i went home to have lunch that he pantomimed other were screaming at each other at each other's throats and i
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sat in the quarter not daring to come into the hallway but then my father saw me and he said the kitchen is a mess i cannot even get myself a glass of water. so then i stood at the door she had her high heels anableps -- and her lipstick and she just looked out of place. but then said that looked at me. in now we are the servants as the daughters. please mom don't cry. i will clean the kitchen.
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she said she was going to visit her family for a week but has been gone almost 10 days. did then mopping the floor but she was extremely organized in and she made my father have been hit twice year she would visit to the west bank and whenever that happens i knew something was on the way. it had only been four days. she left on thursday it is of the monday. don't worry i am sure she will come back soon.
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i hate housework i hate to be married. we always had help. please. i will help you. so with one palestinian horror jordanian so that was very different personality. i have heard so the stories so when i was about 11 it was explained this way. she was in love with somebody that she must like that is today had in mind for their daughter. i said i don't believe it
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nobody can make my mom do anything she does not want. i even know who they are talking about. shah up. use more not to tell. i will not tell you anything anymore. my father had a different story how he ended up marrying my mother. but they led me to her in was in jordan at the time. in the check-in to with other. >> when i met your father i was young and foolish. my cousin is the oldest on
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my mother's side that they claim to know deal to meant. that is why she never got married. and then set yourself up to visit more often. but i will never tell. [laughter] so the story of my parents getting married i don't know but i do know my mother would not live there.
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and then from my father's house. but then the hedy's arabic station. but compared to damascus. the people in in jerusalem were not as grand. and to have two daughters. so life was great. and then they became a refugee. so that another since me and
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my sister out of damascus because they were fighting and wanted us to be saved. and in every summer we would go to damascus to the summer house but then every time my mother wanted to deliver the baby she would go to her family. and and that is how she would regain her full power. but then she had a fight with my dad so we would spend a lot of time in damascus. so but damascus is this city
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of ritual. it is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. if they want but my grandfather his kids and every friday. and now was a particular reading at their grandfather's house. everybody knows if you come on monday but then as a refund of who was getting very gore who was getting divorced.
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so this was my grandfather's house. so my grandfather was born in the house. and then they also might three other siblings. so when the 1855 we were at my grandfather's house and gathered in the courtyard. then i also found that my ian's had come up. the last courtyard had scented flowers to make a
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few magical. but to see everything the home had to offer. but then it was the end of an era. i only remember right to a aunt's so when i asked why because she said in the old days so how come they don't live here anymore i ask? because they don't want to
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live with others. but now my to aunt's but i might other ones living with her was like at a finishing school how to dress how to walk how to set the table, how to welcome the guest and respect for elders she even wanted to teach me how to sing but gave up. [laughter] said this was no exception. but to a high have a man
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sleeping in my room. but then we would quietly get out after she would leave and go to my two cousins. i want to try it is said give me some. only to let them slide down. and then get caught in my underpants. i would say look. they said don't worry. they don't talk about sects or love or lust or none of that.
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the by the time you hit puberty you know, . some of my grandfather's house there was the housekeeper was six and then died aged 70 or 80 within the family. and she had her own brevities. but my remedy works much better but i will take your money. so my grandfather used to call the sunni and as a term of endearment.
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my great-grandmother was a turkish bond -- blond as a source of beauty and pride. that my father is so beautiful. to be blonde with blue eyes so when i was growing up with the girls the and their beauty. people used to say she looks like sophia loren. and and things to the british mother so between the beauty queens. but not until it went to college and started to interact with others.
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so one summer when i was 12 i got my period i did not know what was happening is started to cry. but then my aunt's are so excited you are a woman now. this is a good thing. and then she said listen you will be the tallest among your cousins. and said i will make you more useful than all of them. and then they used to suffer from migraines. and then when she gets the migraines to stick them on her head you going to use
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the leeches? don't worry this is between us. so she takes me downstairs so this is damascus in the summer don't worry. just listen to me. so she goes to get some hot water and said drink this. what is this? is said this will make you white. [laughter] so then she makes me drink it. net -- then she knew i would not grow up then she puts me
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against the wall and makes me swing. this will not killian that will make you tolar. it will make you taller. [laughter] so for a whole week she did this to me. she would make me do this and swing when they took their nap with the week was over i was sicker than a dog and arms were so sore i could barely move. . .
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i would look into the mirror every morning to see if i had gotten any taller but nothing changed. you made me suffer for nothing. be patient, by next summer you are going to be the tallest in all of your cousins are going to be so jealous. you will be so happy. when the next summer arrived i was a little taller that we were always later in the beginning of the summer. as i entered my grandfather's house, they held me tightly and then stepped back to examine me
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carefully. i am sorry it didn't work. give its time, i know with bill. then she hugged me and we both laughed. so now more serious. in the 50s it was you were going to play and get new clothes. in 1956. there were certain countries some people might remember.
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it was between england and people in jordan were demonstrating they did not want to go. in many of the cities until now i don't figure out how they organize. they start and march and people descended from different neighborhoods in downtown areas. so they chanted down a and joined the demonstration so we are going down with colonialism
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and imperialism, and i have a loud voice. by the time we get to the end of the big mosque there was the army on horses and of the leader of the demonstrations that we are here for a peaceful march and then they told the people do not engage in any violence and all of a sudden the army started shooting and people started screaming. i don't know when or how i got the badge but i just ran home. there was tear gas.
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where were you and why are you crying? i just fell down. she told me that morning if there is trouble you come home and i said okay. so there were the police at the door and they asked about my dad and i'm the one that opened the door to and i was so scared. so the police comes and then my father comes a little bit later. i am working with my father and so my father put his hand on my shoulder and gently pushes me ahead of time. what do you mean am i sure, of
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course i am. clearly there is a misunderstanding. do you have an older daughter, they asked my dad. please accept our apologies. the officer looked at his colleague and said we shall see. when the police officer left our home i was pleased to see them go without me tha mayan relief y lasted a few minutes when my father asked me to close the door i knew i was in big troub trouble. where were you today? i was at a demonstration. did your mother told yo tell yoe directly home in case of trouble? yes, she did. then why did you go to the demonstration? >> my father remained quiet and
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i could see he was trying to hide a smile that i was too scared to shut my eyes. who are we and what do you know about this, i don't know but i think it is a bad thing. what is it if you don't understand what it is about and he said you can go now. for once i was lucky to be short and skinny. my mother walked into the room and said are you all right? yes, i just want to sleep. tears start to swell in my eyes. she said don't be scared. the next time you better listen to what i tell you. come have dinner with us. can i just go to sleep?
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that is fine. i laid in my bed and everything came to haunt me. i covered my head and cried like never before. one final thing and this is about the general philip. i mentioned we were in jerusal jerusalem. it's like an hour drive, you
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have breakfast, go shopping. speaking of then came the 1967 so we couldn't go there anymore. i was able to go back and i became an american citizen. whenever i visit palestine i cannot wait to go to jerusalem. the only connection we still have doesn't understand why i don't want to visit other cities, she keeps telling me there are other places in
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palestine. maybe tomorrow, i replied but today i want to go to jerusalem. tomorrow comes and i go back to jerusalem to. it was planted in our front yard. with my mother and my father is a gift i've been asking for. i headed into the old city.
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there is something majestic about this game, although i was almost shocked right there. in 1989 when i came to participate it was shattered and i was very frightened. she came all the way and left with one eye. in the city [inaudible] so i can bring its beautiful colors and smells back to my home in the u.s.. with each trip though i am never
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able to bring back no matter how much i try. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. now we have time for questions and answers. if you can raise your hand and they will move the camera towards you.
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what were your favorite foods when you were growing up >> i loved eating cheese and bread and watermelon together. there was nothing better than that. who taught you how to cook? >> people think i am a good cook. i lived on my own. i don't know how i learned i think i am a good cook.
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would you tell us what motivated you to write this book and how you feel now that it's within? >> she asked me how did i decide to write a book. in 1993 i was working there for a long time and i was so tired i took a year off and figured out what i wanted to do next. when you have time, you kind of reflect on your life and in a way i was at a crossroads. i worked hard for many years and didn't see any progress in that front. i thought maybe i should stop
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working and things would get better. i left my job feeling defeated if you want. what makes us who we are and what makes us do what we do. i remembered it had an impact on my life. and i was right on these episodes or reflections and i would go back to it when they but that they did not come until maybe 20 years later when i returned from my job.
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my life when i look at it it really reflects this appears to be more political than the second part of it and i feel that it's reflected the era because that is where people from around the world would come because now it was anti-vietnam war. i brought my stories together and get a picture about what it might look like growing up in
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jerusalem and i spend some time in cairo. something very different. and i hope the reason they come to understand that from a different perspective. >> there is a question here. >> as you look back and reflect on growing up with your mom and dad, it wasn't traditional with what i grew up with. what are you thankful for and do you regret anything or wish there was anything done differently?
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>> i would do everything and i would be honest with you. it's different in a village life and city life. there is a division. they are deserving family and there's a lot of marriage happening within the extended families. in cities people come from all walks of life. as i said a few go to the village you come from and if you go to jerusalem that tends to be
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more organized. >> a couple of questions. >> when you became political did you see any similarities taking place in the united states and what you are experiencing in your country? [inaudible] fighting different things did you see any salaries.
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the similarities of what was going on. coming up in the 60s, feminism exposed the issues that looked different but in reality they were the same. here you talk about martin luther king and the civil rights movement. it was the founder and cairo. i want to read something for you, okay, anti-skeptic because
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of the time but i am going to read it. i'm going to be brief [inaudible] i wanted the transition so bad. i was fascinated so i came and i begged my dad. the transistor in the beginning the kids with. and i would go up and down with the volume up very proud.
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my radio was no more than a ploy that increased my popularity in the neighborhood. we would spend hours listening to soap operas. [inaudible] and people listened to them day and night and we were able to listen to them as well when we were in a neighbor's backyard and at no time became the most popular kid in the neighborhood. a few months later i even heard them talking about possibly vote
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the war. it belongs to the egyptian people. it had been dominated in that conversation and suddenly we were not kids anymore. we started to listen to the commentators. i bet they could defeat england and france. as i grew older there was the function to separate the good kids were the nationalists [inaudible] we come up the good kids, but gather in a room or backyard to
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listen to the radio and from that i learned about the era nationalism. and we've learned about martin luther king and malcolm x. and uniting with obese people around the globe. i hope this answers your question. for my generation and the movement is that time of the international solidarity.
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in the progression of 48, 67, 82 would you characterize it as more cynical or do you still have a degree of hope? >> sometimes i feel my heart bleed, that is how i feel. i don't watch the news. >> if you think of syria, it is a rich country, nice people, but then you think they would come back.
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i would have no doubt in my mi mind. but i know this cannot and will not be because we have given the word and we come from our culture and humanity and now we have to worry about something being stolen. i am optimistic but i know this is not our feet. it cannot be. >> [inaudible]
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as they start to evolve i make it public because as i said, people need to know. even younger people need to know that what is happening today cannot be our fate and this is not who we are. your neighbor is christian, romanian, it doesn't really matter. we are the people who gave civilization to live together. i'm hoping people will read it and know that is the great part for people to know this is not our fate. but whoever can read it, i'm
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happy to [inaudible] there is a question here. >> did you write this in your notes and things compiling in debug? did you start off in arabic first to feel more comfortable? ..
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>> let's if you want to order the book order from the people who published maya book they get profits to good causes. like to the assyrian refugees. if you pay if you dollars more of think of as a donation but he pays and he gives so interlinking is the
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publisher i really hope you buy a. so let's help people who help other people. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] i am a theow

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