Hidden Treasures

To understand the contemporary world, we need to look not only at what is presented, but also at what has been made invisible and belittled which, in my experience, is by far more telling. In other words, we need to build not on needs but on what is abundant as our foundation.

An awakening event in my life was ‘discovering’ my illiterate mother’s mathematics in 1976. Her intelligence was not connected to abstractions but manifested in her fingers, imagination, and eyes that connected her mind with reality. In addition, her maths was connected to art in the dresses she made for women, and had use-value, whereas my mathematics had exchange value.

I can summarize my life so far – in most aspects – as occupation and return. I was one of the first group of refugees in the modern Middle East: of Palestinians who became refugees in 1948 (caused by Britain). Our house and land were occupied; and the mathematics in our house was also occupied (by the mathematics I acquired in schools and universities and by Bertrand Russell whom I loved in secondary school and college). I ‘returned’ to knowledge but not yet to home and land. I was freed from the binary logic by my return to muthanna, from vertical evaluation by return to yuhsenas my source of worthiness, from institutions by my return to mujaawarahs, from critical thinking by my return to reflective thinking within context, and I was freed from citing theories by telling stories.

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