"Why aren't you, as an Arab lady, writing about Gaza?"
The messages started to arrive soon after Israel's bombardment of Gaza had killed close to 300 Palestinians. Implicit was the pressure to tow the party line: Hamas is good, Israel is bad. Say it, say it! Or else you're not Arab enough, you're not Muslim enough, you're not enough.
But what to say about a conflict that, for more than 60 years, has fed Arab and Israeli senses of victimhood and their demands to stop everything else we're doing and pay attention to them because what's the slaughter of anyone else - be they in Darfur or Congo - compared with their own? Hasn't it all been said before?
And then the suicide cyclist in Iraq made me snap and I had to write, to lament the moral bankruptcy that's born from the amnesia rife in the Middle East.
We honour the dead by smashing through the amnesia until we break through to the taboos and continue to smash. Talking to Hamas? Israel should do it if it will end the violence. Focusing on internal issues in each Arab country and ignoring the opium that is Israel? Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Syrians should do it before their states fail for the sake of Palestine.
Palestinians still have no state. What a shame it would be for one Arab country after another to fail in the name of Palestine....