Monthly Archives: December 2008

’09

Summer night on the 4th of July and I’m hanging outside
I take my kids downtown to watch fireworks fly
As the light flicker in my daughters eyes
I think about the flight of a war torn child
And how these same sights and sounds make them cry

2009 is officially here. I wouldn’t have noticed were it not for the deafening explosions, racket, and horns that erupted, horrendously off-key. A look out my window and a glance at my cell’s screen confirmed it. Welcome on in ’09.

You may find my reception lacking. Believe me, I’d lay out the red carpet myself, deck my halls with festive streamers and balloons, and fill the air the sounds of music and fireworks. Pay you right you may have come to feel is your due. But my heart and soul wouldn’t be in it. Not while those lyrics run through my head, not while the images of the dead littering the streets of Gaza are seared into my mind, haunting both my waking moments and my dreams, and definitely not while I reflect on the many and crippling losses the Ummah has faced this year. 

Five days ago, I had an entirely different post writing itself out in my mind. Hopes, and dreams, and plans – a list of new year resolutions. And I believe I will compose it later, when the bile in my throat settles and I can think clearly again.

Right now, though, I have to break tradition. Right now, all I have to offer is this:

I vow, with every iota of my being, to never rest until my eyes look upon a strong and unified Ummah. Until my feet are free to roam the countryside of a free, reclaimed Palestine and my hands blister from helping build hope again.
To the last breath in my body, I promise you – Gaza, Palestine, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, all muslim (not Arabic) countries – I will fight for your unity, your freedom, and your Imaan. For my unity, freedom, and imaan. 

It’s been 20 minutes into the new year. Fireworks are still exploding, their blasts rippling in the air. Only there isn’t any blood, tears, or pain for us. Only for them. For those poor, poor souls. I’m so sorry. So very, very sorry.

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Filed under islam, Palestine, Reflections

Punctuation Made Fun

I don’t usually do these, but who’d pass up finding out what punctuation mark they are?! I found it on Marahm’s blog, and it’s too out-of-the-blue to pass up. Or maybe I’m just too-out-of-touch with these quizzes?

Anyway, after the quiz (all of about 5 questions) it turns out I’m *add suspense*

The Comma. 

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.
You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.
You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.
You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.
Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.
(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)
You excel in: Inspiring people
You get along best with: The Question Mark

Oh, yay!!! Those first two lines just about sum up the outlook I strive for on life, inshAllah!!! =D

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Filed under Personal, Reflections, Tags

No Words

Tanks and Rocks

There are no words for what happened, no what is happening as I type. I’ve tried and failed over and over again to put to print the reality and images of what is happening in Palestine right now. In the end, the age-old proverb “a picture is worth a thousand words” holds true. The picture speaks for itself. The magnitude of injustice and inequality is mind boggling. 

What is happening in Gaza is nothing less than a full blown Holocaust. And anyone who dares challenge that claim needs to wake up and smell the blood flowing in Gaza’s streets, hear the lies, see the destruction. This is reality’s knocking on your door, guy. Face it.

I know, I need to say or do something. I know. But what? Somebody please tell me what in God’s good name I can do to help these people?!!? To put an end to it. You and I talk, and politicians argue, and candidates build campaigns on the the bodies of innocents. And they die, and bleed, and cry. And wonder where the world is.

A moment of silence, then, for the 200 men, women, and children dead today. For the 300 and counting injured. For the families left to mourn and pick up the bloody pieces. 

La Illah Illa Allah.

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Filed under Head-Bangers, Ignorance, islam, Israel, News, Palestine, Rant, Reflections

You Know You’re Addicted When…

…. four days feels like a lifetime!

I had to though! I made myself a promise that I wouldn’t post until I’d finished my Ethical Issues in Psychological Research assignment. Only it sort of backfired, because now I have a ton of posts to be written, and it’s going to take longer. Well it won’t really, but still: ugh!! Last time I try that for motivation.

First things first though. My mother, being the amazing, patient, and inspirational woman that she is, has been giving lessons. On parenting. To Syrians. In Syria. Bear with me here, the specifics are important. I won’t go into the dirty, painful details because that would effectively spoil another post (that may or may not be published). But, more on that later. Point of my specifying, with emphasis, the circumstances of my mum’s lessons is that she rose above. She progressed past the stages of denial, hurt, anger, and general whininess/helplessness into action. 

I’m thinking it’s about time I follow. As I constantly remind myself, it’s been two and a half years. I’ve done very little of what I’d planned to do. Culture shock being what it is, I was a little side-tracked. But no more!! InshAllah!!

And, luckily for me, for the first step another friend of mine was thinking along the same lines. Not long after I made my choice, she texts me about a discussion at her house. It was on Thursday, and it was brilliant. We were sidetracked and slightly disorganized, but we did it! We met, we discussed, and we’re (inshAllah!) going to do it again. Topics started with The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie (I thought I’d already heard it all, but apparently there’re remote control and clap control ones =|)  moved on to shoegate, Al-Zaidi, with a discussion, and then into gay or lesbian muslims with a glimpse at the nature vs nurture debate (a personal favorite of mine) and ended with a game of charades (<3).  And even though it isn’t my idea, I have a million and one topics in mind, and I’m constantly jotting down ideas on random slips of paper or on the margins of my notebooks.

So that’s the first step taken then, inshAllah.  I am feeling irrepressibly optimistic. Even though I witnessed something that would have made ye Old S&S scream, the new me shook her head and laughed it off, with an indulgent “silly rabbit!” Okay, I made up that laugh and indulgent silly rabbit part. But I did not lose my cool. I am cool, calm, collected.

Just call me Triple C.
*rolls eyes*

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Filed under Cultural Observations, Family Matters, islam, News, Only in Syria, Personal, Reflections

Shoemacking Immortalized

Were you one of those who shook their heads and wondered if they, unlike Al-Zaidi, coulda done one better and actually hit Bush?

Well, thanks to the internet and those who have nothing better to do, wonder no more! You can test those mad skillz of yours out here , here, here, here, AND here – and all from the comfort of your own home. 

Personally I liked Sock and Awe, (the first link – 18,809,675 successful shoemacks when I was there) best. Not only is the name another pun (on Shock and Awe, the military strategy to oust Saddam Hussein) and you get to shoemack Bush, you also get to hear (the now infamous words) “this is your farewell kiss” every time you chuck it. 

And, speaking of puns, thanks to the Egyptians, we now have have mock ‘headlines’

  • U.S. occupation forces comb areas throughout Iraq in search of terrorist shoe factories.
  • A man wearing a shoe-belt around his waist has been arrested by a U.S. patrol in Baghdad as a would-be shoe-icide bomber.
  • Washington adds footwear to its terror list and passes a bill allowing wire taps on shoe stores and factories.
  • Several international shoe manufacturers deny U.S. charges of aiding terrorist organizations.
  • A top U.S. intelligence official, saying Zaidi’s shoes were made in Syria and Iran, calls for their invasion.
  • Bush asks Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his accompanying delegation to remove their shoes in the White House, and provides them with soft long-haired bunny slippers.
  • An emergency Arab League meeting elects to shut down all shoe stores when Western officials visit.
  • By presidential decree, Hosni Mubarak is now to hold all his press conferences inside mosques [where shoes are taken off outside].

And, lastly, there’re fake auctions. And bids.

A Saudi man offered to pay $10 million for the pair of shoes that an Iraqi journalist lunged at U.S. President George W. Bush, saying he considers the size 10s a “medal of freedom.” 

*edit*

Just came across this. Love it. Except for the big ears – I’ve never been big on making fun at physical features.  It’s a low blow, that I don’t believe is productive – what point does it prove? None.

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Filed under Humor, News

An Israeli in Gaza

Here is an interview with one of the Free Gaza activists, Jeff Hapler. He is the author of the new book “An Israeli in Gaza” (which I can’t wait to get my hands on), one of the founders of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), and Nobel Prize nominee, year of 2006. Great guy. I think you’ll find the interview very interesting and, if you happen to be fond of stereotypes, I think you’ll find Hapler does a wonderful job of proving you wrong =)

Enjoy! Oh and, a heartwarming picture, lest we forget. 

Words of inspiration from other passengers:

Huwaida Arraf’s, regarding the purpose of the Free Gaza movement:

We do this because we are horrified that this siege of 1.5 million men, women and children is allowed to continue. We are saddened for the state of our world when decision-makers can sit back and watch an entire people being slowly and purposefully starved and humiliated.

We know that with our two small boats we cannot open all of Gaza to the outside world. We could not bring with us the freedom of movement, access to jobs, medical care, food and other critical supplies that they are denied today. But we brought with us a message to the people of Gaza: they are not alone. With our successful journey we show them that American citizens and others from around the world have been moved to advance humanitarian principles and human rights. Our efforts this week are undertaken in that spirit and with the hope that our elected representatives will one day follow our example. 

And Yvonne Ridley. I’ve quoted her saying this before, but I can’t get enough of these lines – what she said to her worrying mother before leaving:

When the Holocaust was happening a lot of people around the world knew that atrocity against the Jewish people was taking place and yet they did nothing to stop the genocide. I was not around then, but even today there are those who still feel guilty because they sat back and did nothing. Well I am damned if I am going to sit back and do nothing as the slow genocide of Palestinians takes place in the world’s largest open air concentration camp known as Gaza. I do not wield the power or influence of Tony Blair or any of the Quartet leaders. I do not have the power to order the Israeli soldiers to carry out the jack-boot policies of the Zionist State they serve without question. 

But I do have a voice and with every breath I will shout out loud about the injustices against the Palestinians and in particular the people of Gaza. One day we will all be held to account over the biggest crime against humanity of the 21st century. My only defence will be “I did what I could.”

Thank you all. I hope we benefit from your example.

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Filed under Israel, News, Palestine, Reflections

What’s in a name?

Long overdue (like most my posts these days) but I find the fact that people are still worrying about the ‘implications’ of Obama choosing to be sworn in using his full, three names – Barack Hussein Obama – very, very sad. I’ve sifted through heaps of internet junk, and managed to pick out three main threads of thought, either from articles or the comments following. 

#1) Bigotry

I personally think that the thread of bigotry doesn’t require further proof than the fact that the President-elect choosing to be sworn in under his own name is being discussed because of its relation to the other Hussein (Saddam that is), Muslims, Arabs, fundamental Islamists, or more of the like, but here it is:

Ten weeks from now, the President of the United States will be a person whose first name is a Swahili word derived from the Arabic (it means “blessing”), whose middle name is that not only of a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad but also of the original target of an ongoing American war, and whose last name rhymes nicely with “Osama.” That’s not a name, it’s a catastrophe, at least in American politics. Or ought to have been. (here)

#2) Islamophobia

Islamicists, confronted with a Hussein in the White House, will rage that the Great Satan has stolen and polluted a holy name. (But where were they when Saddam Hussein, an admirer more of Stalin than of Mohammed, was butchering millions?) (here)

Others seem to fear that the ‘infidel’ Obama’s usage of the ‘Islamic’ name Hussein is going to whip all them Islamicists? Fundamentalists? Terrorists? (whatever term it is we’re being called today) into a rage, complete with death threats, possible beheadings, and a couple of fatwas thrown in for kicks. (various comments)

#4) Personal Victory

Yet others (Muslims?) view it as a personal success. A stake, a glaring red flag of victory, a defiantly spray-painted “I WAZ HERE” on what was previously no-man’s-land for Muslims. Did I miss something? Last I heard he still wasn’t a Muslim so the fact that his middle name so happens to be Hussein doesn’t mean we, as Muslims, have gained ground. So don’t pat yourselves on the back just yet, because that would entail you having done something. And in my book, electing a man who happens to have a Muslim middle name doesn’t factor in as a personal achievement. Electing the first man of color in the White House? Yes. The first Muslim? For the last time, no.

Obama’s reason, in his own words:

“I think the tradition is that they use all three names, and I will follow the tradition,” Mr. Obama said of the swearing-in ceremony. “I’m not trying to make a statement one way or another. I’ll do what everybody else does.” (here)

It actually isn’t a strict tradition; Ronald “Wilson” Reagan and James “Earl” Carter swore in at two a piece 
So maybe he’s being politically correct by choosing not to insult/enrage all Muslims before he even gets to office.
Or maybe the Prez-elect just likes his dad.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s his name and he chooses to use it.

So what implications? Contrary to the pessimists who insist Obama is nothing more than a charismatic salesman, who blinded America with good looks, better speeches, and Change™ I believe (hopefully) that good will come of this. 

And I truly do pray that having a Barack Hussein Obama in the White House shows a new trend towards tolerance and maybe, just maybe, a step away from the bigoted views of our collective forefathers? 

But I refuse to count it as a Muslim victory.

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Filed under Ignorance, Islamophobia, News, Obamania