[S1, E2] Everything you have taken, give it back // Healing the disease of aloneness , going Home

In this episode, there are 2 parts.

PART ONE song: Wishing I Could Go Home

PART TWO story: Everything you have taken, give it back

PART ONE: Wishing I Could Go Home

The song was composed and recorded by me. Everything was recorded raw on garageband- no loops, extensive editing or mastering. The Cooked version is a draft created to share a concept with potential co-producers (pre-Demo). I wanted to share the vision, despite my limitations around production.

All instruments (Piano, Oud, Cajon, Beats, Vocals) were played live by me.

Lyrics are written out at the bottom of the post for your perusal.

Please use headphones for highest quality of sound.

PART TWO: Everything you have taken, give it back

You can read or listen below.

***TRIGGER WARNING: In this episode, there are some short, vivid images of war. Listen or Read below. ***

I was 10 years old when I watched the people of Qana massacred by Israeli airstrikes of a UN base in southern Lebanon on national TV. April 18th 1996: the day I came into full political consciousness.

My parents did not shelter me from the reality of war and for that I am extremely grateful. They wanted me to know my history, our story. To learn of human atrocities. The story of unimaginable greed -- the looting of our natural life forces. Our bodies and our earth. Our water.

The bodies of children lay lifeless caked with the grey dust of cracked cement blocks. Charcoal black burns mixed with red and brown blood. The flashing images of that day will never leave me. A father holds his child’s body weeping agonizing moans into the little boy’s chest, trying to breath life back into his lungs but the boy does not move. A grandmother lifts her arms to the sky praying and screaming for salvation as people dig through the rubble to find a family member. The Lebanese south and Palestine. Massacred again and again and again. Under layers and layers and layers of rubble of rocks and pain and righteous anger.

Nobody else in the region would be spared eventually.

I watched my mother’s tears sit in her eyelids halfway submerging her eyes until they could no more. They would pour out and she would catch them with a Kleenex. She would look over at me and say: “what have they done ya Mami akh, what have they done...what have they done”.

I watched and swallowed my tears into my belly like massive rocks.

After a moment of silence, I naively asked my mother: “how do we stop them? Why are they doing this Ma? What more do they want?”

No response. My mother stares thoughtless through the TV screen or maybe she was contemplating what to tell a child. So I ask again: “Ma... why are they doing this Ma?”

My Mama finally answers: “They want the land and the water Mami, it’s the oldest story there is”.

My mother helped organize many aid efforts and gatherings for Qana and Palestine. And sometimes we would dance a Dabke to remember who we are.

It starts with a stomp.

We would hold hands in lines 30 people long. Palestinians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Syrians. A circle as old as time going round and round. Immigrants of the Levantine diaspora trying to make home in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A place where the advent of big oil extraction and processing had created jobs for people whose homes were devastated by war and economic collapse.

I could feel the fire run from the ground, into my feet and up through my heart. My rib cage would expand out as if to embrace the sun. I felt invincible as I stomped harder and harder into the marble-like floor. Growing a few inches taller with every stomp.

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &


The Baladi/Masmoudi Zgheir rhythm of Dabke, which translates to “stomp dance”, is a heartbeat. It’s my heartbeat.

Now a few decades later, I cry almost every time I hear it. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, the water will show up.

Dabke has always been a dance of resistance. Immunity from the disease of aloneness.

Traditionally known to be a dance of cooperation (ta3awon), whether to call in the neighbors to flatten the roof of a new village house or to stand united in the face of erasure. It was a reminder that nothing was accomplished without collective collaboration. But there is yet still something deeper about Dabke that I will share later...

This is the rhythm I used in the song. A re-imagining of Dabke.

This song came down around the time of my Jedo’s death anniversary, through the end of October. It is a call to my Ancestors, my family. It is also a meditation on wanting to leave this earth, on wanting death when the weight of living becomes unbearable. On wanting the embrace of an Ancestor.

My music has always been my medicine. That night, I sat down and prayed for a song to get through the night.

After it came down, I was still. My heart was quiet and ready to rest.

I’m in Spanish Harlem, looking out my 3rd floor window onto the school next door where brown folk play volleyball into the night. I watch them for a good 30 minutes before I head over to bed.

And I Dream.

I’m in an caravan of Elephants. Beautiful, gigantic gentle beings. I’m wobbling from side to side, lifted by the magnificence of a fully adorned magical creature. In front of me, I see my Jedo, sitting atop a white Elephant. He turns around to check on me. We nod at each other. In front of him, there are many. A line of Ancestors beaded together with Elephants adorned with the most beautiful tapestries. Red, white and black with gold threads. All the way past the possibilities of vision.

I see them in the distance, crossing over a log stretched across an abyss onto an island. One by one, they cross. As we get closer, I watch my Jedo cross while he looks back at me through an incoming fog. I couldn’t hear what he was mouthing but I waited. He gets to the other side, onto the island. It’s my turn now. And as soon as my Elephant lifts up it’s leg to get onto the log, the log cracks in half and disappears into the abyss.

My Jedo yells over: “It’s not time yet, finish what you started”.

I wake up.

In every song there is code. If you listen close enough you will hear it.

The song ends with a Khaliji rhythm overlapping with the Dabke beat. Khaliji, a West African rooted rhythm reckoning back to the oldest origins. Thousands of years of migration.

I’m going back, all the way back to find the future truth of who I am.

A place where everything that was taken, has already been given back.

A place where the Earth does not belong to us,

But where we belong to the Earth.

Wishing I Could Go Home: Lyrics

{Now that the leaves are falling

I’m wishing, I’m wishing I could go Home

Now that the leaves are falling

I’m missing, I’m missing, I’m missing you} x2

Now that the water’s rising

I’m wishing, I’m wishing I could go Home

Now that the water’s rising

I’m missing, I’m missing, I’m missing you

Now that the old is calling me

I’m wishing I’m wishing I could go Home

Now that the old is calling me

I’m missing, I’m missing, I’m missing you

Riddouleh albeh w riddouleh’l 7ayet / Give me back my heart, give me back my life

Riddouleh sawteh w riddouleh’l kalem / Give me back my voice, give me back my words

Riddouleh ahleh w riddouleh’l zamen / Give me back my family/nation, give me back time

Riddouleh ardeh w riddouleh w riddouleh w riddouleh [repeat] / Give me back my land, give me back, give me back, give me back [repeat]

I’m wishing, I’m wishing I could go Home

I’m wishing, I’m wishing I could go Home

I’m wishing, I’m wishing I could go Home

I’m wishing, I’m wishing I could go Home

I’m wishing, I'm wishing I could go Home

I’m wishing, I’m wishing I could go Home

I’m wishing, I’m wishing I could go Home

I’m wishing, I’m wishing I could go Home

I’m wishing, I’m wishing I could go Home

I’m wishing, I’m wishing I could go Home

I’m wishing, I’m wishing I could go Home

Nawwir baytak ya Anwar, shou biddak bil kahraba (x2) / Light up your own house Anwar, what do you want with electricity?

Shouf el amar ya Abdo, kif mish ader ti’sha3o (x2) / Look at the moon Abdo, how can you not see it?

This is a Birth of a Hakim series: Healing the disease of aloneness / going Home by Samia Abou-Samra.

Thank you for witnessing Season 1, Episode 2: Everything you have taken, give it back. You can catch earlier episodes here.

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Also, you can sign up for one of our upcoming live talks/recordings with writer and activist Cherrie Moraga here: The Practice of Going Home, a Xicana Indigena Perspective [Saturday, June 22nd @ 2pm EST / 11am PST]