Monthly Archives: January 2009

DHL op. – Destruction or Detainment of Hoped for Letters [and other packages]

I, for those who are unaware, am enrolled in a distance university. I’ve recently completed two courses, so naturally said distance university mailed the final exams, via DHL, to Damascus Syria. Not to be confused with Damascus, VA. Five weeks, three emails and two voice messages – and a partridge in a pear tree – later, I find out that they’ve been here. The entire time. For over 5 weeks. Held because of a ‘bad address.’ 

To add insult to injury – that or just for the hell of it – they destroy one package and hold the other. That’s right. Destroy. Who on earth does that to a package?! And with no lurking bomb suspicion as incentive. Only a measly bad address. My mind’s picturing white suits and protective goggles, complete with air-tight containers,  spontaneous combustions, and ominous puffs of smoke. That or the paper shredder.  

I am raging. I want to rip someonething apart. I had a one, one month break before my next courses, which are piled up in one corner of my room, a seemingly innocent pile of processed tree for God’s sake, began. A threatening reminder of Hell to Come (i.e. more studying). And now it’s gone. And not because they (the exams) failed to make it over. Were they an ocean away I’d give in to the fact that I had no access to them. But no. All this time they’ve been here, less than a 15 minute drive away. And I’ve been going mad, not 10 minutes away. Err… 15. 

I want to kill. Preferably the DHL employee responsible for the destruction and detainment of my exams.

Exaggeration? Consider this the straw that broke this camel’s back.

Off note, but speaking of camels, I ran into one the other day. A Syrian exclusive, because honestly, “I ran into a camel” is something people just can’t say in all honesty. Honestly. 

Back to the point. My exam is this Saturday. The one that survived. The other is to be mailed. My university has kindly waivered the fee. Which is all around beneficial to all. I wouldn’t want to commit couriericide, after all. 

Tomorrow’s rant: “Self-righteous preaching of the sort only a Syrian male can pull off.” I’d heard of these people but up until a few days ago I hadn’t had the misfortune of actually meeting one. Revolting experience. Brace yourselves.

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10 Comments

Filed under Head-Bangers, Only in Syria, Psychology, Rant

Hark! the Winds of Change

The wind of change is blowing through this world. Whether we like it or not, this growth of global consciousness is a political fact. (adapted from Macmillan, slightly modified)

My job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world, that the language we use has to be a language of respect. I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries.

My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy.

We’re going to follow through on our commitment for me to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital. We are going to follow through on many of my commitments to do a more effective job of reaching out, listening, as well as speaking to the Muslim world.

 To the broader Muslim world what we are going to be offering is a hand of friendship. (source)

I emphasize: 

 “the language we use has to be a language of respect

That’s it. Dream fulfilled. I’ve lived to see the day respect was called for in favor of intolerance and the like (i.e. death, destruction, and debasing). And by none other than the president of the United States of America. The current one, that is. Not that oaf Bush. My point has been proven and, were it not for the multitudes who have yet to concede, I’d happily lay down my figurative pen, shut up, and call it a day. 

So admit it. Disrespect, stereotypes, and hate breed disrespect, stereotypes, and hate. 

Respect breeds resepct

*collective sounds of enlightenment*

Obama Super Awesome

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Filed under islam, Islamophobia, News, Obamania

Tip of the ice burg

I’m sure most of your have either come across this study in your studies or seen it on The Contender (2ooo). The question is, how does company policy start?

Put five apes in a cage and in the middle of a cage, place a set of steps. At the top of the steps hang a banana. When the first ape starts up the steps, shoot all five apes with ice cold water from a fire hose for five minutes. When the next ape starts up the steps, do it again. That’s all you’ll need from the fire hose.

When the third time an ape starts up the steps, just wait. The other apes will beat the sh*t out of the ape. Now, replace one of the apes. He’ll start up the steps. Wait, and the other apes will beat the sh*t out of him. Repeat the process, one by one, until you have five ‘new’ apes in the cage. They’ll never let one of the apes up the steps. And if you were to ask why, the answer would be simple:

Because that’s the way it’s always been done.

And that’s what’s happened to us. It’s like there’re invisible lines, restriciting us. And the horror stories of the past keep us firmly within our limits. I know of many families who have felt the burn of the ice cold water. And so, their descendants aren’t willing to take the risk. But I was raised in Canada. Far away from the impotent and corrupt acts of the Middle East, the ignorance of America, and the deeply rooted ethnocentrism of Europe. It was so easy to be open minded. To be the ‘peace makers.’ We were raised differently. I was wearing my hijab at the time of 9/11, yet the majority of opinions I faced were ones of sympathy. I was shocked to my core when someone spat at me at work. But the man behind him literally grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, made him apologize, and threw him out of the store – to cheers from the remaining crowd. Recently, not so much what with the strong movement towards patriotism and being best buds with (or the lap dogs of) America. 

I don’t buy into the methods of Arabs. I’ve never burnt a flag to show my displeasure with a country’s policies. And I never will, God willing. I’m above and beyond those methods. It follows that I can not call my self a Muslim, and thus a follower of the prophet Mohammed, if I don’t follow in his example. And so, I refuse to resort to their level. And I refuse to shove all the blame onto the shoulders of the governments who refuse to take actions. I am a human. I have a voice and I have a brain. And thus, I shoulder some of the responsibility. 

But, while I’m all for peaceful measures – such as protests – a blind man can see the lack of effect they’re having. This is more than wearing your keffiyeh, marching in the streets, and writing articles. While those are important – the efforts have to be on two fronts. The short term and the long term. And as I’ve noticed, and please correct me if I’m wrong, Arabs tend to focus on the one – short term. So we get all riled up and storm our streets screaming “Jews are dogs” and burning the flags of those who offend us.

I believe the problems in the Middle East are more deeply rooted than that. We are the problem. These people need to revolt against themselves. They need to believe in the power they have. I don’t blame Hossni Mubarak when he decided to play the puppet for Israel and refused to open the gates and allow aid in. I blame the Egyptians who didn’t take matters in their own hands. And the same holds true for all the people who stood by and watched Gaza burn – especially the people of the neighbouring countries: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia (the last “Islamic” government). Myself included. The situation is now winding to a close (before Obama takes charge – clever, eh?). The question remains however, do we learn from our mistakes? Or do we continue down the path that lead us here?

One thing should be realized and taken as fact. The problem is not, as some believe, the strength of our enemies. The problem is our weakness. I’m sure you’ve heard the tag line “United we stand, divided we fall.” We are the divided. The weak. 

The corruption that runs rampant in our societies has to stop. Twisting of Islamic law to suit the needs of some has to stop. Our lies, jealousy, manipulations, immorality – they all have to go. Ya Allah! Sometimes I’m dazzeled by the beauty of Islam. It’s so simple, and so sweet! Look at this line: None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself – the Prophet Mohammed. It wasn’t until they pray, or fast, or wear hijab. Islam is in your soul and your hearts. 

So you can imagine, when a few days ago I walked into the elevator in my building and was faced with this, I was literally sick to my stomach.

Flag in the elevator

And then later, in Bab Touma:

Flag in Bab Touma

Why on earth?! When I saw people burning the Quran, or ripping its pages and stepping on them I was saddened. When I saw the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in that Danish magazine I was honestly exasperated. And I pitied the cartoonist. When I saw Fitna, the movie, I laughed. That’s what you’re reverting to? How pathetic! I know this won’t sit well with some. A lot of people believe I lack patriotism or dignity because I can look at the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed and not go on a killing rampage, and see the genocide in Gaza and not condone the murder every Israeli man, woman, and child. I want to ask those people: what are we defending? What are we fighting for? If your answer is our dignity or Palestine, then you need to reorganize your priorities.

Personally, that’s not what I’m in this fight for. I’m fighting, as my brother Horseman taught me, under the flag of La Illah Illa Allah. And I fight using the methods of the Prophet I follow. I don’t stoop to their level. For those who disagree, read this article, by no2wars. I quoted the hadeeth of the Prophet and I will do so again: a neighbour of the Prophet (some say she is Jewish some say its a man) used to greet the prophet every morning by throwing her garbage at him. A few days went by and she didn’t show up so he goes and visits her to make sure she is okay. That is the prophet a follow.

If you still don’t agree, I’m really sorry. But please, bear with me for a moment When you see this

Finger Posteraren’t you filled with disgust? With hopelessness? Aren’t you struck speechless by the hatred and ignorance that went behind such an inhumane statement? Can’t you clearly see the hopelessness and redundancy of saying something like that?

So now the tables have been turned and I have to pity my own people. There are others of course, those who have posted more effective pictures such as:

january-17-09-28

january-17-09-5

january-17-09-27

but the thing is, Gaza is the tip of the ice burg. Below the murky waters lie problems and issues we’re too afraid to look directly at, for fear of being overwhelmed or having to finally owe up. And so we shy away from the responsibility, and hope it all resolves itself. Tomorrow Obama will become the president of the United States. I pray that he is a better man that Bush was, that he has the humanity not to commit Bush’s crimes. But that doesn’t mean I wait for him, and twiddle my thumbs in the meanwhile. I’ll improve myself. And you’ll improve yourself. And we’ll build for a brighter future. God willing.

Because: “Verily, God does not change the condition of a people until they change themselves.” 

If you want a quick recap of why we need to change ourselves, read these two posts that have been brought to my attention. By Desi Diva regarding Israel’s past actions (thanks to Nadia). And another article, Gaza: The Logic of Colonial Power. (Thanks to A Student’s Life)

Let’s stop being the apes that blunder blindly into the mistakes and pitfalls of our forefathers. The world needs a solution. One that requires planning for the long term rather than indulging in short term actions that gratify our need for immediate action. Don’t you agree?

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Filed under Canada, Head-Bangers, Ignorance, islam, Islamophobia, Israel, News, Palestine, Reflections, Syria

New Banner!!!

Lookie who has a new banner!! And the best part is my brother Horseman created this masterpiece. Why? Well according to our budding genius:

“It’s not that your old header wasn’t good. It was. For a beginner. For the way your blog started out. But your blog’s evolved. It’s become *pause* more mature. So you needed a banner that was more fitting.” 

-Horseman, January 16th 2009

Isn’t that so sweet? So that’s why he changed it from a city to a world. 

souvenirs-and-scars

Ye Old Banner

Now that we have the purpose cleared up, why these pictures specifically? Well, like I said, the world signifies the shift of my focus towards global matters. Nevertheless, the spot light remains on the M.E because that is where I’m centered right now – both physically and spiritually. And, in case you can’t tell or don’t notice, those are mine own two eyes floating (somewhat menacingly) over Russia, looking out over the world. The Muslimah praying (far left) is pretty self-explanatory. The contrast in color between her and the world is deliberate – it symbolizes the peace and hope to be found within prayer, as opposed to the turmoil and dreariness of the world.

Awwwww!!!! Isn’t he a sweetie? He also has a flicker, under the alias: 2paCreed. Most pictures are, you guessed it, about 2pac. Don’t hate on the kid though – this is a mandatory phase in our family. All of the elder 3, myself included, went through a Pac Obsession. He’s a good kid. I’m expecting great things out of him! ❤ ya bro =) 

And thus, S&S came to have a new banner in her life. One she treasured, because while it may look quite amateurish, it was a labor of love —> or at least that’s what she likes to believe….

25 Comments

Filed under Canada, Family Matters, islam, Personal

Anna In Palestine

Anna is a Jewish-American in Palestine reporting on the current situation. But unlike another American (whose name rhymes with Foe the Bummer) she’s actually providing some useful, thought-provoking coverage. Like her last post, Why now? …. What now?… WRITE now!:

* WRITE Now! *

In the first week of the attack on Gaza, the Washington Post ran 7-1 hawkish op-ed/editorials, the Washington Times ran 5-0 hawkish op-ed/editorials, and the Wall Street Journal ran 4-0 hawkish op-ed/editorials.

Many of us are upset by this, but we don’t feel empowered to change it. But biases in mainstream media do not come out of nowhere; they are largely (though not entirely by any means) the result of active media-monitoring by media watch-dog groups that inundate media who stray from the Zionist party line.

Why can’t we be as dedicated as those groups? Why aren’t media being inundated by people like us who want to see the truth that is reported to the rest of the world every day? We need to be the change that we seek. We need to write media–not here and there, a couple of us, but consistently, all of us, a collective voice, demanding fair coverage.

I recently discovered the WRITE! Project (www.writetruth.org), which has a team monitoring US media and sending out alerts to peace and justice activists write in response to specific pro-Zionist articles and editorials. They provide the email address to write to, the original piece to respond to, and talking points to use. It doesn’t take more than 5 minutes.

I don’t personally have the time to monitor mainstream US media, but every time I get an alert I send a quick email to let the relevant media know what I think. What if all 5,000 people on this list were to do that? We could be the influence that we wish we had!

Contact the WRITE! Team to get alerts at writealert@yahoo.com

Take a minute to write after each alert.

It only works if we do it together.

The link above is to WRITE! For Justice, Human Rights, and International Law in Palestine, whose vision is exactly what we need:

At WRITE!, our vision of success is a U.S. media that provides complete, honest, objective, balanced and responsible reporting on the Middle East on a consistent basis.

We believe that such a change will have a positive effect on official U.S. policy in the Middle East, and can ultimately result in the establishment of Peace and Justice for all the peoples of the Middle East.

Credit of discovery and my thanks go to Nadia, for the wonderful link!!

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Filed under Israel, News, Palestine

Words of “wisdom” from Joe

Y’all remember our guy, Joe? Joe the Plumber? Apparently Joe enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame so much, he’s milking it for all it’s worth. Today, Joe can be found in Israel, offering his expert advice on the situations of war and the role, or lack thereof, the media should play. 

“To be honest with you, I don’t think journalists should be anywhere allowed war [sic]. . . . I liked back in World War I and World War II, when you’d go to the theater and you’d see your troops on the screen and everyone would be real excited and happy for them. Now everyone’s got an opinion and wants to down soldiers—our American soldiers, our Israeli soldiers. I think media should be abolished from reporting.” (here)

So Joe, self-sacrificing man that he is, is risking life and limb to ensure the real world, all the average Joes out there, recieve unbiased coverage since the media is doing such an inadequate job of it. One would think then that Joe is going in with an open mind, one ready to accept the views of both sides in the conflict, in order to promote “true coverage.” And then we see this

Wurzelbacher [Joe] arrived in Israel on Sunday to start a 10-day assignment for pjtv.com, a Web site run by the conservative media outlet Pajamas Media. The plumber-turned-foreign correspondent said he wanted to cover Israel’s side of the conflict, because he thought the media was slanting the story to make it look like “Israel’s being bad. (here)

“I’m in the bunker, I’m sitting there angry, outright furious, that I’m letting this terrorist dictate what I’m going to do because they’re firing missiles,” Wurzelbacher said. “It was fear at first, then outright anger, and then me wanting some kind of retribution. I’m not a person that runs from things, but when it’s a missile, you run.” (here)

At one stop on the campaign trail, Mr Wurzelbacher agreed with a McCain supporter who asked if he believed a vote for Mr Obama was a vote for the death of Israel. (here)

Ohhh, so that’s how it’s done then, eh? It’s already poor Israel and terrorist Pali. He’s got the unbiased act down pat.

Well if an unbiased report on the crisis isn’t to be gained from Joe’s plight, what is then? Maybe the cinderella story of Joe and his 15 minutes of shame could still teach us all a valuable lesson. Like if, when people say ‘bend over’ you say ‘how far,’ you’ll get ahead. Joe would most likely have lived out his life in anomymity in Ohio, never progressing past the plumber stage of life. But, with the right moves, Joe is now an ocean away, offering his expert views on one of the most delicate, tangled, and heated situations in the world. Thanks, Joe! 

Ladies and gentlemen, Joe the *insert occupation*!!

Metamorphic Joe

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Filed under Head-Bangers, Ignorance, Israel, News, Obamania, Palestine

Links on Peace and Pain

You might want to check out:

A post by 50% Syrian: To Gaza, soul of my father. Very raw, very powerful.

Shawna’s amazing link to an artist, Rajie. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

An article by Chris Hedges. A Gaza diary: Scenes from the Palestinian uprising. Although it was initially published by Harper magazine in 2001, I’ve only just read it. Be warned though – while it doesn’t contain any pictures, there are some graphic descriptions. 

And in case you don’t read the comments, Mushu’s link to a 60 minute, action gaza, ‘walk the walk’ plan. Simple things all of us can do, inshAllah.

The Damascene Blog‘s post on an interesting dialogue of sorts from the Ynet news, in Occupation is the Monster.

The Dove

My head’s fit to explode with the thoughts swirling within. It feels like cotton’s been stuffed in my ears, nose, and mouth, leaving my face burning and aching. I have to get these thoughts out. They’re all so fleeting though; holding on to them, giving them form and verbalizing them is like trying to hold water in cupped hands. 

5 Comments

Filed under Ignorance, islam, Israel, News, Palestine, Syria