The Paradox of Holding On – How Bahbah’s Photo Series Challenges Zoubi’s Song ‘Fi Omri Ma Hansak’

As Buddha puts it “the root of suffering is attachment,” and indeed we see that everyday.
Sarah Bahbah, a Palestinan artist, sheds light on the familiar, yet disguised experience of
intense emotions that emerge in imperfect relationships. In her series ‘Fool Me Twice,’ she
explores “the complex and often tortuous dynamic” between an “anxious” partner and an
“avoidant” one. Through her series, we come to appreciate the importance of letting go of
partners that don’t fit into who we are. We see the opposite of this in Jordanian singer and songwriter, Ahmad Zoubi’s song, ‘Fi Omri Ma Hansak,’ where he fluctuates between needing his
partner, and his frustration with that need. He holds on to emotions that trap him in a fantasy
that is not representative of the reality of his relationship. As Bahbah confronts and accepts her
“attachment style and needs within a relationship,” she is able to let go of a partner that does
not fill her needs and expresses that hurt without dwelling over it. Unlike Zoubi, the artist comes
to terms with the incompatibility of her relationship and opens herself up to a “life without love.”
In the series ‘Fool Me Twice,’ the words ‘‘I guess I imagined it all’ is featured. Here,
Bahbah breaks the cycle of destructive relationships by admitting to herself that the relationship
is no longer functional. She “[learns] that [she] can longer open [herself] up to avoidant
relationships,” that she accepts her needs and seeks someone who has the same ones,
someone who is not easily swayed by her anxiety. Unalike, Zoubi lingers over the past and
expresses his frustration with not being able to let go of his partner. He aches ‘yama tzakart el
habib..kol masha3ry betnadeek,’ expressing his painful fixation over someone who is already
gone. ‘Fi Omri Ma Hansak,’ the singer continues to sing, reinforcing his insistence on holding
on, failing to recognize the irony in that, unlike Bahbah. 
It is important to break the cycle of self-destructive relationships, which stem from forcing
and demanding  an image of our partner that does not align with them, ultimately creating a
level of pain and anxiety that Bahbah so eloquently dives into throughout her series. Through this, the
artist faces her fears of losing an incompatible partner rather than helplessly chasing over a
reality that does not exist. And this is exactly what gives value to her series, that she shows us
the cruciality of letting go, and more so, highlights the self-defeating nature that lies in holding
on. Zoubi finally accepts that his relationship is not working out, where he sings ‘ah ya alby el
3aneed..sar wa2t enak terta7.’ The artist is starting to attempt to let go by loving himself more
than his partner, by coming to the conclusion that even though his heart is stubborn, it is time
that it finds peace. 
The pursuit of an incompatible partner in Bahbah’s piece is reflective of the defeat in
chasing after something that no longer makes sense. While Zoubi stubbornly holds on to his
relationship, there is still a part of him that realizes that he must let go in order to heal. This
realization is important to us all, that in chasing unrequited love, we fail to stay true to our
partners, and more so, ourselves.

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