Monique Moussa: Italia as Text 2019

Tivoli As Text

“A Little Darkness Never Hurt Nobody” by Monique Moussa of Florida International University at Tivoli, Italy

Did you know beauty can be created from destruction?
And this waterfall is not an example of Roman seduction

Many come near but do not see it’s glory
For far bellow there holds a different story
Two floods have come and recreated the land
But people today come to Tivoli only to get a tan

It is believed that at the bottom of the waterfall is hell
And by the time you get down to see the end, your feet have already swelled
All that can be seen are large rocks and darkness
I for one found grace and tranquility

Just because it might look slightly black and scary
Does it mean that we should turn away in such a hurry?
Should we give those things that might not appeal to the eye or mind a chance?
For all we know, they might enable us to advance

Water is seen to be a symbol of rebirth or of sexuality
Yet many believe that the Villa Gregoriana waterfall represents the brutality
Judging something for only its negative qualities keeps individuals closed minded
In today’s world, we are not so different from that archaic mindset

Analysis:
The waterfall is beautiful in its structure, but its beauty is emphasized when large bushes of green trees surround the waterfall. Just simply listening to the water, the animals, and the wind is relaxing. The Temple of Vesta overlooks the waterfall, and it is almost mocking of all the deaths that the waterfall has caused. Individuals took advantage of the waters dangerous nature to harm people. It creates this negative image of something that should be seen as beautiful. The waterfall is still dangerous but the beauty it has is covered up because of what humanity has done. We tend to not give nature or people that are unattractive or “evil” a chance because that’s how we have been raised. It limits our growth as a society because we can still learn so much from the ugly and evil, and as seen from the waterfall, just because it looks scary, does not mean it’s not also beautiful.

Rome As Text

“It Happened to my People too” by Monique Moussa of Florida International University at Rome, Italy

We each see something different
Something that stands out to us
When taught about this arch it was hard not to make a fuss
Previous knowledge has lead me to be ignorant

Born and raised as a Palestinian
I always believed Jews were bad
For they took my land that my family has always had
Yet just as everything was taken away from my family
I realized Jewish people have experienced the same agony

Judge me as you might
But at first this was a hard sight
I saw this and I thought of Titus
How his actions had caused great change

I stand there and stare
While my fellow classmates did not treat it with such care
To many this is just an arch of beauty
To me this arch is my duty
Duty to understand and let go of the past

I cannot blame those Jews from the past
Nor should the Jew blame the present day Romans for their outcast

I did not expect to come to Rome and feel a connection to my culture
Yet there I stood and was taken away by this piece of architecture
Jewish people were already exiled from Jerusalem
70 years later Titus defeats the remain Jews
I sympathize for them
What is left for them?
They no longer have a home to call their own

And I again I reflect
So much was taken away from them
And I wonder
How can they do the same that has happened to them to others
How are Palestinians supposed to stand and accept their lands being taken away

I see things differently now than I did before
I do not blame a whole religion for some people’s action
But I learned that history truly does repeat itself
I just never thought I would witness how it would affect me

I need to remember
I hope I do not forget
Just because injustice has happened to my people
I should not judge those who are causing it
Because they too have suffered the same bit

The power of the art in Rome is impactful
For I am not the only one that can experience this
Many individuals of different cultures can resonate with different art pieces
And that is the true power of Rome
No matter how different
Somehow we all feel a connection

Pompeii As Text

“The Struggle of Women Through Time” by Monique Moussa of Florida International University at Pompeii, Italy

It seems like todays world is all about sex
And who you are going to sleep with next
It is not to say sex isn’t great
But it isn’t a major determinant of fate

For many people today, sex is something you choose to do
But to many in Pompeii it is something women were forced to go through
The city had about 30 brothels
And the women could have sex with men as old as fossils

Back then it was legal
It still does not justify them existing
Some of these prostitutes could acquire a bit of wealth
What about their mental health?

These women would sleep with countless men for money
And to me that seems sad for a women to have to go through
Why must her body be objectified in order for her to survive
It is amazing how far women have come and thrived

And imagine to be in their shoes
Where men could just walk in and pick and choose
They choose what position they like best
As if it isn’t degrading enough that you are just admired for your breasts
But you are also sold to have sex in a position you might not like
And these men would probably never treat you right

Women do not suffer the same struggle now
Prostitution still exists but it is not allowed
Women are still treated like objects to many
The struggle now is the difference in pennies

Women then and now get treated different then men
But now the struggle is equal pay

The women in Pompeii struggled with legal prostitution
Women today struggle with illegal prostitution and unequal pay
For a world that has advanced so far
It does not look like we progressed at all