"Why Not" is a story that questions the reader's expectations and challenges the reader to think … why not? After the initial shock of hearing a girl Mosaher drumming and chanting, the villagers encourage their children to join Samia in her rounds. Each child brings with him/her a different musical instrument to help wake the village people up. The village people appreciate this and offer food to the singing children.
The story reflects the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan, which brings people together. It is also a story about the ability of girls to do any job they put their minds to, especially if they are well prepared and given the support they need. The dialogue between Samia and her sick Dad is symbolic of that.
The father is worried about his daughter and raises issues of concern which Samia reassuringly has an answer to; to protect herself from wild animals, she will take their dog “Barq” with her. To light up the darkness of the night, she will take a lantern with her. To find her way, she will navigate by the night stars. To know what she has to do, she reminds her father that she is well trained in what she is going to do, as she has accompanied and assisted him countless times.
The story also shows the ingenuity of children and suggests that sometimes traditions can be altered without damaging a community’s values or the spirit of an occasion. In the story, the children who join Samia do not all have drums, the instrument traditionally used by the Mosaher to wake people up. Each child in turn asks if it is possible to bring another musical instrument some even bring a pot and spoon. Samia laughingly says, “why not?” and allows a new practice. Towards the end of the story, the children end up forming an impromptu musical group and roam the streets singing and chanting.
“Why Not?” is a touching story of courage, solidarity and celebrating traditions. It will transport the reader to the enchanting village of Lifta in Palestine during the 1930s.
*(In the olden days, before clocks and alarms were commonplace, the Mosaher was the man whose job was to wake people up for the early morning meal in Ramadan called “ Suhoor”. Traditionally he did that by using a drum and chanting to coax people to wake up and eat before the fast begins.)