Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holocaust Survivor Goes on a Hunger Strike for Gaza, Egypt Doesn’t Care

An 85-year-old Holocaust survivor who gave a wonderful interview for Democracy Now about her planned trip to Gaza as part of the Gaza March had made it known that she is pissed at the way the Egyptian government have been treating her and follow activist who came in support of Gaza. American activist Hedy Epstein and other grandmothers taking part of the Gaza Freedom March have now began a hunger strike in Cairo Today to protest against the government of Egypt’s indifference and refusal to green light their solidarity march to head to Gaza as planned. Ms. Epstein was quoted by AFP saying:

“I’ve never done this before, I don’t know how my body will react, but I’ll do whatever it takes,” as she sat on a chair surrounded by hundreds of protesters outside the United Nations building in Cairo. There is also another protest being staged on the Street of the French Embassy in Cairo by few hundred French citizens who are part of the march.

The Egyptian foreign Ministry through its spokesperson had said they would not allow any of the 1,300 protesters who have come to Egypt from 42 countries to take part in the march to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing, the only entry that bypasses Israel. Not sure why does Egypt insist on giving themselves all bad publicity in the world, by both insulting hundreds of international activists and telling the people of Gaza to simply die quietly. The authorities of Egypt have restored to name calling games, accusing the march and its organizers of using “sick”, “cheap” tactics. But perhaps the biggest insult came to light when the Egyptian government and its newspapers have been labeling the besieged and starved people of Gaza as “drug smugglers”, and “weapon dealers” in an attempt win the support of the Egyptian people.

Turkey another non-Arab actor sent an official on Saturday to try to convince the Egyptian government to to allow Viva Palestina to go through the Red Sea port, but Egypt insisted the convoy can only enter through El-Arish, on its Mediterranean coast. The fun started with the Foreign Ministry claimed that they will never allow the people of Gaza to starve and argued that they in the government have made sure that Gazans get their medications and food. This is a whopper and most people in Egypt are not going to buy that. It’s known that the tunnels–not the Egyptian government bring most of the goods that Gazans use daily.

I want to understand Egypt’s position I honesty want to, but it is hard to see their motive. First, they are mad the the Hamas leadership in Gaza (the botched prisoner swap, and the failed unity agreement), this is something many Palestinians understand. But why punish the people of Gaza and starting a pissing match with activist who only want to support Gaza in their struggle. If Egypt really wanted to punish Hamas Perhaps a better way to punish Hamas, is to ban their leaders from coming in and out of Egypt like a Vegas Casino and not denying the populace of Gaza freedom of movement. If readers comments on Egyptian news websites were an indication of the rage the people of Egypt have over their own governments tactics, the government and its slick spokesperson have not done a good job when lying through their teeth. I How Will Egyptian historians look at this incident and justify it to their coming generations? or do we not care about what our c
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Islamofascism vs. Boobs & Penises

Josh Marshall | December 30, 2009, 1:10PM

We're willing to ethnically profile, do all sorts extra-judicial surveillance, maintain massive databases of hundreds of thousands of people who have some vague relationship to extremism, torture captives, condemn people to hours unable to go the bathroom on planes, even launch various foreign military adventures, but when it comes to submitting to a quick scan that might show a vague outline of boobs or penises (almost certainly no more than is exposed in most bathing suits), that's a bridge too far.

Something about that doesn't compute to me. And what I like about this is that there's no clear partisan division on this one. Everyone seems to agree. It just tells me that at some level we're not really serious about this.
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Arabic Singer that looks like.... Guess Who?

He is Egyptian...
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Monday, December 28, 2009

And Stupid it Was

In the history of bad ideas...cutting all my hair in the middle of the Winter is pretty insane.......I got so cold today and unusually cold, I literary had to put something on my head to keep me not do it. On the upside, I use less shampoo and I dry my hair faster...
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Guest Post: A Letter From A Palestinian Muslim to Santa

Picture1Dear Mr. Santa,

This might be unusual request coming from someone who is a Muslim, but the fact I have few things on my mind.

Could you please swing by Palestine, and in particular to a place called Gaza this year. It is not too far from Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, who is ‘the reason for the season’. There are 1.5 million people who are starving there in Gaza and have been under siege from air, sea, and ground for almost three years. You may ask what is the reason for that? Those people wanted to be free and independent just like us here in America.

Over 51% of the population is under the age of 15. Among those people are solid 3,000 Christians also. Statistically speaking, there should be about 1,500 of their Christian children who will not be having a merry Christmas this year for lack of basic necessities to survive such as food, water, fuel, and medicine. Animals are in a worse shape than humans in Gaza. There is no grass or animal feeds left in Gaza. Parents and children alike are dying daily because they are unable to get medical attention inside or outside Gaza due to the blockade. The U.N. is no longer able to deliver food anymore because of border closings, and has also warned of impending human disaster..

The children of Gaza do not need toys or video games as they do in other parts of the ‘Cristian’ world, so I suggest the following:

Baby formula

Bottled water


Vitamin supplement. I heard many suffer from severe malnutrition

Clothing and toiletry

Batteries (all sizes)

Hearing aids for children

Animal feeds. I heard that a local pet store here is having a great bargain, buy one get one free!

Meal Ready to Eat [MRE]. The same kind used by the military.

No need for desert, there is one inside the MRE package. However, if there is some ginger bread man on special, I recommend taking several boxes. I am sure the children will enjoy it and will talk about it for years to come.

Thank you in advance. Have a safe trip. May Allah [God in Arabic] be with you, and as you would say; Ho, ho, ho.


Mahmoud El-Yousseph

originally published on the Ugly Truth

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In time for the New Year

Yes, I dared to cut my hair and get rid of the whole thing...and yes it is very very cold once you do's so liberating and It feels to break free and no longer have to worry about taking care of your hair...because you are a man. The lady from El Salvador cut my hair, she was nice and earned her tip.
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemon...

A cool way to put the snow to good use...
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Guest Post: Aron Kader Live From Amman

IMG_7406Aron Kader, the Arab American comedian and a founding member of The Axis Of Evil Comedy Tour just wrote to us about his most recent trip to Amman, Jordan. In 2008 Aron became the first person to formally teach comedy in the Middle East. Aron took part of a Stand-Up Comedy festival, here is what Aaron told us:

Just got back from the 2nd annual Amman Stand-Up Comedy Festival, in where else? Amman Jordan….
It was a magical year again for seven sold out nights of comedy. Two of the nights were done completely in Arabic, I didn’t perform in those nights since my Arabic sounds completely like English.

But it shows the increase in Arabic speaking comedy since last year only had one show, this year two shows and all with minimal security. The shows had monster headliners Maysoon Zayed, and the legendary Nabil Sawalha. Anyone who knows the 8circles of Amman knows Nabil right?! Of course you do.

I was proud to attend the event sponsored by the city of Amman, a vision of the municipality led by the Mayor, the main man Mr. Mayor. Maani.

Anyone who knows the 8circles of Amman knows Mayor Maani right? Then you would also know that he loves that big sculpture that sits on the 7th circle. I mean what is that thing?! Can anyone help me with this? Looks like an giant children’s book exploded! You can see it in this link

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Un-Merry Christmas for me! What is going on?

Guest Post by Nahida Izzat, an exiled Palestinian

Un-Merry Christmas for me!
What is going on?

“Hello is this the Christmas Help Line?”

“Yes… good afternoon and merry Christmas
Angela speaking
How can I help you?
Are you feeling lonely today?”

“Absolutely, awfully lonely
And I have a serious problem
Grave one without a doubt
May be you could help… sort me out
People around me are buoyant and joyful
Oblivious to what’s happening
To the precious baby
They’re rejoicing for

Celebrating his birthday
While he’s dying
A thousand deaths a day

Feasting lavishly
Partying like mad
While he’s awaiting starvation
Persecution… torture… humiliation
And targeted assassination
Isn’t that sad

Oh little baby of Nazareth
Can they not sense your pain?
Can they not see you bleeding?
Can they not hear you weeping?
Time and time again

And you, little town of Bethlehem
Can you hear them singing your name?
Do you feel the stabbing of their feet
As they dance over your wounds with glee
While you’re drenched with hurt and shame

Oh little town of Bethlehem
Have they not noticed
The limbless forsaken petrified child
They have made you
As they dragged you into their fantasy fame

Oh wingless heartbroken Jerusalem
Tell me
How can they fail to see your tears?
Are they blissfully ignorant or pretending to be?
Would they pop up their life-bubbles
And face reality

“Dear caller
Who is speaking?
I didn’t catch your name?
Be reassured
It’s all confidential
Every thing you say?”

“Have you heard of Jesus?
I am his mother… who raised him
I am his daughter… who loved him
I am his sister… who held him
I am his friend… who embraced him
I am the fisherman… who fed him
I am the wise-man … who visited him
I am the Shepard… who believed him
I am the disciple… who followed him
I am the Palestinian … who made my heart his home”

“Oh… yes… I see”

“Dear Angela
You know what?
I’ve never had a happy Christmas
Since I was born

Dear Angela
I know that this conversation is not to be disclosed
But I am begging you not to keep it so

Dear Angela… go
Just go
Tell your colleagues
Friends and family
And everyone you know
Tell of my story
Spread every word you’ve heard

Dear Angela
The root of the problem
The cause of my pain
Is that… no body knows
What’s going on

Or do they?

I don’t know

But if they do…


I really want to know
What’s going on?

Nahida Izzat
Exiled Palestinian

(c) 2006 by Nahida Izzat, an exiled Palestinian

[Tarboush Tip: Mahmoud El-Yousseph]

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Hi Brain and-Def Ear

I love Hi Def, if you watch an movie with HD, it shows you things you have never seen details emerge and you no longer miss things that you have not paid attention to before. Here is the thing, you know how HD makes things better, it makes you see more, better details and there are few things to miss...we need something like that for the news where people can see things they have been missing in the past...maybe something about HD news...maybe people can see for the first time the whole picture, see what they have been missing. Of course me and you know that will never happen because bad news turn people of and give them depression.
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Doctor admits Israeli pathologists harvested organs without consent

They said it, and confessed it...can you defend this?

Sweden Wrote about it and investigated it, the Ukrainians also complained about it and published testimonials....the Palestinians have always known they just confessed it. Interesting report
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

DC Snow Storm

here are some raw footage of snow in DC and view of the people down in DC trying to deal with the record breaking snow storm. In one of the videos you can see a dog owner walking his dog in the snow...the dog had sort of dog shoes to protect his/her feet from the salt on the snow.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Looking for Food In the Storm

DC is insane snow and no food and then comes the snow man...might as well have fun...
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Friday, December 18, 2009

How Israel Traps Itself

My latest post on the Huffington Post about how Israel's policies make it hard for their own country's existence. Those policies do more damage to the State of Israel that the Hamas Charter does. Give it a read

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

A New Star, I am Big Fan

Omneya Soliman, Egyptian singer that does what singers used to do...give us good songs that make sense and reach us, speak to us on a level that reflects our past experiences. Egypt remains the place where great stars are born (they make them in Lebanon). Omneya saves the last 2 minutes of the music video to do a song from the Great Arab musical library...boy I wish she release an album...I wanted to be a good album, so I can wait for that. Rock On...Omneya and give us another Oghnia

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Israel, Not Hamas, Bans Music in Gaza

musicDuring my visit to Gaza this summer saw devastation, destruction and hunger on daily basis. I heard so many horror stories about the situation on the ground prior to my visit, but many of those stories came alive as I walked down the shattered streets of Gaza and spoke to people with shattered dreams and broken spirits. One effect of the Israeli embargo is to limit the goods making it into Gaza Strip to punish the government of Hamas. Items such as cement, glass, paper and steal are also banned; even NGOs commissioned with the rebuilding of Gaza in the aftermath of the Israeli offensive have yet to deliver on their promises of rebuilding.

The list of restricted items is ludicrous. Israel subjects the entry of items such as dairy products and Humus to political facts on the ground. So if the Palestinians in Gaza have been good, they give them a treat. This treat can be letting in few trucks of fresh fruits into the Strip, for example.

I came to learn this summer that Israel bans genuine music CDs and movie DVDs from making it into Gaza. As I was trying to put a list of good songs together to play at my engagement party, I was shocked to learn that no genuine music CDS are sold in Gaza. I even went to Gaza’s business district to try to find someone -anyone – who might have a few original music CDs. I had no luck. When I wanted to do a movie night in Gaza at home, all we can find is the popcorn since genuine DVDs are also banned from making it to Gaza. Arabic production companies such as Rotana, Melody Music, and Mazzika are not permitted to bring in their goods to entrain the people of Gaza. Even DVDs of Hollywood blockbusters do not make it into Gaza like they used to prior to the embargo. So those Egyptian comedies and action movies lose some of the revenue they used to generate from selling their original work in Gaza. Palestinians used to bring those items back with them as they travel back and forth from Egypt–nowadays the crossing is closed and very few people manage to get in or out.
Unfortunately, music CDs and DVDs are not an item that tunnel smugglers chose to bring into Gaza as their profit margin tends to be lower than, say, Snickers chocolate bars. I did once however find a number of original Egyptian flicks, but they were older ones and that was the only way the tunnel smuggler can make a profit. The new releases come at premium, which cuts into the tunnel’s operator’s profit.

This has turned a few venders to selling bootleg and inferior quality copies of CDs and DvDs. Very few new releases make it as it takes them time to download them off the internet and find blank CD necessary to make a bootleg. It does not help that Gaza’s internet is very slow nowadays. Prior to the embargo, it was not fast, but it was faster than it is now. As a result of the lack of new equipment and overcrowded networks the internet does not permit fast downloads and uploads. In other words, it takes an entire day to download an album–your only choice as the embargo bans legal copies form making it. The piracy problem continues as frequent power cuts make downloading from the internet a frustrating mission. You can imagine the frustration of a Palestinian young man wanting to catch an episode of Prison Break, incidentally a big hit with the Gaza youngsters. I will never forget the college girl who complained about not being able to get a good copy of Taylor Swift’s latest album in Gaza. The problem of lack of access to quality entertainment is made worse by the lack of credit cards to purchase albums off iTunes. Hulu, the popular video viewing website does not work in Palestine and that was one of my great regrets as I was looking forward to introducing my fiancé to few episodes of Family Guy and Two and a Half Men.
The irony is that while Hamas, an Islamic affiliated group, allows music and movies to be played in Gaza, the Israelis rob Gazans of any entertainment to enjoy.

As far as human struggles in Gaza, the problems of finding good music is not a major one, but it’s affecting the people the West tries to win over, the ones that actually enjoy American life and the ones who actually comprehend English. The other problem, which Americans better understand, is the lack of safeguard intellectual property rights as a foundation of the new economy. Finally, how is the Israeli ban on music and movies in Gaza isolate Hamas? It does not really do that, if anything banning entrainment in Gaza might actually be doing the exact opposite of that as we are isolating the ones who appreciate the arts. It’s odd how this embargo policy is the gift that keeps on giving to the most extreme segment of Hamas, the zealot religious base, who abhor music.

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I recommend "Poor Story"

I am currently reading a wonderful book "Poor Story" by British author Giles Bolton who lived and worked in Africa with the British aid agency. His book might as well been called "Horrifying stories" I love the fact that he addresses the issue of subsides in developed nations. He also talks about Tariffs where rich nations can get away with imposing them, poor nations would have to answer to the World Bank and the IMF if they think to impose tariffs. It's a great read, and Mr. Bolton keeps it fun with the little stories included in boxes throughout the book.

Every cow in the States is subsidized by 3 dollars a day, the same cow gets 2 dollars in Europe, and the Japaneses subsidize their cows with 7 dollars a day.

The coffee industry generates 70 billion dollars annually, Africa (where the majority of the farmers are) only gets 5 billion of those...thanks to trade policies Germany is now a world exporter of coffee even though they do not grow a single bean over there. They just process, and roast them.

Coca butter can be exported to Japan at 0 percent, coca paste is 5 percent tariff, processed coca paste is 10 percent....but chocolate bars at 250 percent, that to make sure African nations do not make too much money and the Japanese producers make the most profit.

African nations subsides the health services in Europe and the States with providing many nurses and doctors that the West is short on. About a billion dollar is what costs to educates those nurses in Africa, only to have them get jobs in Europe.

There are more engineers from Sierra Leone working in Chicago, than in Sierra Leone.
I know things are more complicated that they seem and they are diffidently not black and white.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

15 Topics Never To Bring Up

15 Things “Never” to Discuss with an Arab

So, I thought about a list of things that you should not discuss with an Arab person. I present 15 subjects you are not advised to discuss without serious drama or incident. Let’s keep this post more civil than the last list. Those on the list are either subjects that are too complicated to have an “elevator pitch” version. Every people have a closet full of subjects they would rather not address. You can always talk about sports, make fun of Canada and the latest and fret about Burger King commercial. P.S. If you are one who likes to over-intellectualize arguments…skip this list.

1. Any Arab Internal Strife
palestine story of the dayInternal Strife that is an issue that people would rather not address, in any culture, we forget the liability, we look for the assets. Here, we have the White/Black divide or something politically incorrect. Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon, Palestine, Somalia and others got them. Did they win a fair democratic election or did they not? Who sucks more? Vs. who insists on sucking? Who has a claim to a land, a region, a place of worship? Many hot issues that many Arabs and supporters of their cause would rather not address especially when Israeli settlers are uprooting olive trees in the West Bank and when American occupation is still in full swing. The joke goes , life is three days; one day for party A; another for party 2; and the third day is judgment day.

2. Anwar Sadat
sadatThe Jury is still out on Anwar, Arabs not sure what to make of him, was the genius and visionary leader the West celebrate? Or was he an agent of the Western powers? Did he do well with his peace treaty with Israel, or did he just sell out and put the Palestinians under the bus? Some might say he actually would have gotten more land for the Palestinians than they can ever take from any Israeli government. So you know he is both a war hero and a peace champion, but is he a collaborator? Go ahead and try to talk about Sadat, but make sure you know your facts straight and you have no urgent appointments in the next 48 hours.

3. Haifa Wahbe’s Moral Standing
haifa-wahbi-1Well, is she a Sharmoota or just a single mom that makes cute, funky music with occasional flaps? Yes, most Arab men make fun of her and the way she performs on the stage, but nobody has said I do not like it. Is she active in her Shi’a community and is she the true fan of Nasrallah she makes herself to be, or is she that one that appears in billboards with suggestive pictures and pauses. Yes, some will say what she does is entrainment, others will label her as slut—maybe they are jealous of her dazzling looks and her positive attitude. Others will say she used to work as a prostitute part of a ring that was busted few years in Beirut.

4. The Prices of Oil
oil-companies-campaign-against-climate-changeAlmost all Arabs pay for their oil; they do not get it for free as some might think. Some Arab countries oil costs more than what one pays here in the States. When Jack comes and whines about the prices of oil to an Arab, this is being insensitive. Jack is probably is confused by the fact that many Arabs in the States like to own gas stations. It counts as an accusation like “Ahmad, you are so greedy!” you can say we have thin skin about this subject, but c’mon none of us has an Arab discount card, the Saudis are probably laughing at both of us—laughing all the way to the bank. This is perhaps the main reason most Arabs hate the Gulf States, that and their gigantic private parts.

5. Palestine
Palestine_girl_with_flag-284x358It’s a sensitive topic, so be careful what you walk into. It’s not an Arab gathering until the question of Palestine comes up, I am pretty certain that opinion on Palestine is prerequisite for being Arab intellectual. Ask yourself, when was it last time you spoke to an Arab about Palestine only to find them indifferent? Hell, even the sleaziest kids from the Gulf have managed to form an opinion. And that’s exactly why you won’t avoid the subject; we are just grown tired of hearing you say, “I never thought about it this way!” Yes, being a full-time Arab can be demanding, so if you have a question about it, here is an idea…Google it, also you may remember an ancient tradition to gain knowledge, public libraries. The moment Glen Beck stops saying stupid stuff, Arabs might be willing to change their mind on Palestine.

6. That Award Winning Holocaust Movies
movie-compilation1Arabs sympathize with the victims of the Holocaust; we feel cheated because the Jewish tragedy seems to get extra attention at the expense of Palestinian suffering—not comparing here. Sure the Arabs might have brought on some of their own problems, but I’ve also heard of Jews who were gatekeepers for the Nazis. Palestinians just want to be treated fairly. The majority of Arabs do not deny the Holocaust; they see it morally wrong. Movies about the Holocaust are made as often as Nancy Ajram makes a delightful music video. It’s a sucker move on the studio’s part to win some nods, but Arabs do not see the needs of paying 10 bucks to see what they can watch on Aljazeera for free. Last year there were at least five Holocaust themed movies, if that’s not a commercial exploitation of a human tragedy, I do not know what else is. That is an OD on destruction of life. The only two American movies were being shown in Egypt this summer were “Inglorious Bastards” and “Defiance”—strangely the two movies deal with the Holocaust

7. Dangers of the Hookah
HookahYeah, yeah, we also read the study that says Hookah is more dangerous to the lungs, hookah gives you this, hookah gives you that…blah, blah, and blah. Yes, the tobacco used is toxic, and water is polluted, the coal makes it worse, but really you think that will stop hookah enthusiastic from enjoying its spark. Save yourself the kill buzz mode and stop raining in the Middle Eastern man’s parade and if you do not like sucking a hookah, stop sucking by believing everything you hear. As someone who does not smoke it, I like the company of hookah smokers because it makes me feel dangerous. (BTW, where does it say you have to have a goatee to be qualified to smoke hookah?

9. Crying Over Darfur and only Darfur
070526_darfur_hmed_2p_hmedium-thumb-485x330The Crying over Darfur is a tragedy, but I think the West would get a lot more Arab support against it if the West acknowledged the another Darfur of the Arab world: Palestine. Maybe because most of us lived under deceptive dictatorships, we Arabs have a talent in detecting double standards. Many of Arabs here raise money for Darfur and others volunteer there. Yes, it’s a crisis, it’s horrible what these bloody crazy tribesmen are doing to innocent civilians in Darfur, killing, torture and rape has not place in modern day of age. When I see synagogues sport banners supporting Israeli wars on the civilians’ of Gaza and Lebanon next to a banner calling to save Darfur, I cannot help by want to cry.

10. The Superiority of the Arabic Language
You know some Arabs will let you know right to your face, you can never speak Arabic as well as he/she can. You spend five years of nothing but learning Arabic and then this Iraqi kid comes and tell you, “Oh, you speak Arabic, I bet you cannot understand me” and then he talks to his buddies and gives you a look that he is watching you watching him. Learning Arabic is great, not so much trying to convince Ahmad that your Arabic is really good. Like Ahmad ran out of things to be proud of, and now he is left with pride in his mother tongue that helped give the Spaniards the world “pillow”, I do not know if I will take pride in teaching someone the Arabic word for “pillow”, a device people use when they are lazy.

10. Salma Hayek Cleavage
salma-hayek-cleavage-breastfeeding-Speaking of Arab influence on the Spaniards, here is a golden one, Salma Hayek, yes she is Mexican, and on hot scale of one to 10, she is a million. Yes, she shows too much skin and boobage, but with all due respect, you hate it when Arabs cover up, you cannot also hate it when Arab reveal too much, pick a side. You do not speak ill of her, she is one of us and whatever movies she makes, we will watch. She’s recently went to Egypt to take part of a film festival, Sandy, a Tunisian actress criticized Salma for her modest dress compared to the Tunisian actress’ own dress. Here is an idea to get Arabs and Latinos to watch movies about the Holocaust, put her on one.

11. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
king-abdullah-of-saudi-arabiaSorry world, we are also embarrassed by this country and its practices against individuals of different creed and beliefs, hell most Muslims got nothing nice to say about this very rich yet sealed country . Maybe that’s why God gave them so much money, because otherwise, no one would want anything from them. Dismal human rights record, religious moral police engaging in shameful acts and putting a showcase of abuses to Saudi’s own citizens (thanks to YouTube) Saudi Arabia deserves our silence, they bought it with their petro dollars. Saudi Arabia contribution to ruining the image of Muslims is only matched by to the contributions of Tweeter to ruining the English language.

12. Talk about Sex, not Impotency
Why? Arab have a lot more kids than almost anybody on the plant, there is no need to talk about sex in public, it’s a private matter. Judging from Egyptian films, it seems that Egyptians and Arab men are obsessed with the drug Viagra to help them rise to the occasion. In the same token there have been a number of films that deal with women sexuality, when it comes to sex, it turn out that Arabs are doers and not just talkers. It’s impotency that Arabs do not like to bring up, that’s the seven hundred pound gorilla in the room.

13. Superstitious!
fridayArabs perhaps are the most superstitious people you will know, they like to brag about things, until they feel there is jealousy or envy involved “the eye” then they start taking down. “I have a great job”, becomes “I hate it my work”, “my kids are good looking” turns into, “I hate their face” and so on to deflect jealousy. Jinx might as well be an Arab word. So if got a nice car, a sweet dig, make sure to trash it so people do not envy you. I have forgotten about this jealously and envy (حسد ) thing until I went back home this summer, only to be reminded of it every time something goes wrong. A car breaks, an accident, someone goes off, a dish breaks, a photo film goes bad, someone get sick, you fail an exam and many more things goes bad–there is always an explanation that only make sense to your mother and her mother.

14. Ralph Nader for Presidentralph nader We love him, he can pretty much do what he likes to, we cannot speak ill of the running man.

15. Gay Arab Men
What gay Arab men? Exactly!

16. Men Facial Hair

[Tarboush Tip: Will, Sterling]

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Take a Picture...

I often take part in events around DC and a digital camera find her way into my hands, so I end up taking pictures (not very good ones) of participates and attendees. A thing I often see and sort of got used to hearing form some older Arab males as I take their pictures with female participates. I wish I had a Dinar every time I heard a mid age married Arab man tell me, “Do not show these pictures to my wife”, “She will get jealous form all those gorgeous women!” they sometimes even say, let my wife see it. Well, here are the facts,

If your lack of tact is an indicator, your wife is probably your better half,

You are a moron for saying that out loud, it only reflects your dirty mind.

She totally could do better than you

The other women in the picture, might not quite appreciate that I mean your acting like a glorified jerk

Jealousy is natural, but it only applicable for individuals who are worth it, you are NOT ....that's it.
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Can you See Palestine?

This is a map of the States with flags on nations that has the same population of those States. Do you see where the Palestinian flag is? I am sure my friend Lyndsay would be glad.
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Friday, December 11, 2009

On the Spot

The Most famous dish from Palestine is Maqloobah, translates to upside down, exactly the first thought an American has in mind when the place is mentioned.

Beggars, if their pitch is so good, you need not to give them a dime, give me the ones with a lame pitch because they have not had enough practice thus more deserving.

If you are a man and have allergies to nuts, does that mean you had yours taken out?

For the first time male mosque goers where donating money generously to charity, the lady with the basket at the mosque's door was gorgeous Muslim sister.
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i9orzw10Carol Smaha, the Lebanese entertainer has released her latest album three days ago. This is her first in more than three and a half years. "Hdoudi El Samah", which translates to the sky is my limit. The thing that makes Carol unique about most other Arab singers other than her superior and powerful voice is her ability to make various songs in almost all Arabic dialects and then make sure that those songs are mega hits and do so without the backing of a major label. Carol is constantly on the move, she is always filming something, staring in a play with the Rahbani, appearing in Sea of the Stars movie. She seems to challenge herself to introduce new music to her fans, songs that will make her shine over hundreds of half baked talents that occupy in the Arab pop scene. Unlike other Arab starlets she does not prostitute her celebrity status to sell fnas beverages, jeweleries and now cellphones. I think this album is meant for those who are emotional mature, a group that Carol is best equipped to connect with.

Few days ago rivals of Carol accuse her of using foreign talented and try to score points by pointing out Carol's constant collaboration with a French director and his production company as appose to giving her business to some Arabic director. Carol came out and argued that the French production company charges fees that are a lot less than with Arab production companies charge--her rivals know this is true as making a music video in an Arab company can cost a fortune now. As a fan of Carol's and a constant follower of her collaboration with the French production company, I bless that union and wish to see more music.

As far as the songs on the new album, Carol had me at the first three single songs and the rest of the album got better and better as every song feels like a unique experience and not just made to sell CDs. This comes because Carlos has three and half years of work in this album, not 12 months the Average time stars give themselves to deliver an album. In other words, one cannot rush creativity and put forward thinking on a deadline. Here is my take on Carol's album:

01. Hdoudy El Sama
, a new style of music where the female singer tells her lover in the most affection manner that she is out of his league.

02. Khallik Behalak, the sincerity of Carol's voice and the passion she uses addressing her loved one is one of a kind.

03. Ma Bkhaf, I love the song's style and Carol's look in the video. I like the fact that in this song, she is telling her rivals and critics that she is unafraid and indeed does wants and says what's in her heart. (Video Below)

04. Ala Soutak, a sweet sincere song in which Carol flirts with her lover and how his voice that gives her comfort and truly gets her.

05. Meen Allak, using her sweeter side to talk things out with her lover whose even when he tries to be harsh, he fails.

06. A'oul Ansak, calling in your lost love to take a trip down memory lane is never easy, Carol reminds you how hard breakups can be.

07. Awel Ma Abeltak, Carol has a gift for making her fans relieve experiences they had in the bast by touching all the right notes.

08. Nadeit, Telling your loved ones that you have finally realized how great they are is never too easy or never too late. I should take notes from Carol.

09. Zabahny, a great song in the Gulf accent that not only earned her new admirers in the Gulf (they pay top dollars for concerts and by original CDs) but the average listener can also enjoy it. (Video Below)

10. Rag'alak, a song that Carol released this summer as a single, Carol's voice makes listeners wish their loved ones loved them as much as she loves her lover. (Video Below)

11. Jeet - Majnouni, a song that Carol released last winter as part of the Sea of the Stars sound track, it's a cute fun song (Video Below)

12. Yama Layali, the first single that Carol released more than a year ago, as always Carol transforms the song into a mature emotional experience that connects well with listeners across the board. (Video Below)

13. Ali, a spunky folklore song with a hint of Broadway and splashing fun times. (Video Below)

Enjoy those videos...In less than 12 months Carol has established an entire media library, check out her styles.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Engagment Video

This is the men portion of the engagement party, this is right outside my family's home in Beit Lahia, north of Gaza members and the band...this was filmed using a cellphone in Gaza, so do not expect too much! I did not take those videos, I wish I did, but I can either get engage and get busy or film my own engagement. As for my killer dance moves, do not try them at might get hurt.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Finally Published@ Divine Caroline

I am so excited to get my latest blog post published on a big and an active website...on the Divine Caroline. This is awesome as I am a big fan of this fun feels good to finally get a story there! To read the story click here

It's a fictional email exchange between two Santas, one working in Israel and the other working in Palestine. Let me know if you like it.
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Monday, December 07, 2009

Just Because!

The great thing about dating (call it what you like) an Arab or Muslim girls is that there is almost no second date unless the girl knows you and her can work out. I do not know how they do it, but because going out on a second date means the girl has to make a decision... In my humble opinion, they waste no time and know if she said Yes, the second time that means there is a revelation about that person. They do not just go out for the food (they got mom for that), they do not go out for fun (they got their cousins for that). If you get a yes from a Muslim or Arab girl for the second date, that means your are in business, make your move.

Arab and Muslim Americans might differ slightly, but the cost of being an Arab or Muslim female, it means you are held for your actions especially the bad ones--like going out with a loser on a second date. Yes, it's unfortunate, but at least the guy asking them out does not have to sit there on his coach calling up all his female friends to analyze the second date yes! situation.

**I realize the picture has nothing to do with this post, it is for my nephews and nieces in Gaza
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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Al-Qaida Kills Eight Times More Muslims Than Non-Muslims

A new Study by West point states:

Between 2004 and 2008, for example, al-Qaida claimed responsibility for 313 attacks, resulting in the deaths of 3,010 people. And even though these attacks include terrorist incidents in the West -- in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005 -- only 12 percent of those killed (371 deaths) were Westerners.

New Report Shows Many More Muslims Killed Than Non-Muslims

It is, of course, no surprise that al-Qaida kills more Muslims than non-Muslims -- particularly for people in the Islamic world. But a new report by the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at the United States' Military Academy at West Point in New York -- which has gathered together these and other relevant figures in one report ("Deadly Vanguards: A Study Of al-Qaida's Violence Against Muslims "), spells out the discrepancy in black and white.

The authors of the study admit that their report likely omits a number of Muslim victims. But that was the price of their rigorous methodology, used in an effort to avoid accusations of partisanship.
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Awsome Animation Music Video for Palestine

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Gaza Rituals? 1

I would usually wake up around 8 AM either on my own or by the smell of the great foods mom is making for breakfast. I would sleep away from my family as I like this one room that has two windows and got some winds to cool the warm Gaza nights. There is also a roof fan that I would run at night to help with the air circulation. I wake up at 8, freshen up and get ready for breakfast with mom and dad and brother Mahmoud! mother would make different things for breakfast, but the list of items are not too crazy....French fried, fried tomato salad (more like sauce), fired eggplants (Yummy), olives (the ones I hand picked), fava beans (Foul), feta cheese, yogurt and sometimes Humus. There is always a plate with chopped cucumbers and tomatoes. then comes the tea, I took mine with no sugar, so my family with make the tea, take a mug out for me and then add sugar to the pot. Funny, but both my parents started taking less and less sugar as they saw my no sugar discipline. By the end of my trip everyone knew I take no sugar in my tea. Once breakfast is over, dad would go to the market to hang out with his friends' small business; Mahmoud would go to our store and help run it.

I would do one of few things, I would either go to the back of our house and hang out with grandpa at his man crib (his residence is attached to ours, he has a 4 bedroom house) and then I would take a book with me (Thanks to Roa'a, she manged to get my some English books) If Grandpa has work for me I would help out like take out the trash, clean up the place, kick the little intruders out, and most of the time there is something fresh to be picked from the trees. If not figs, pomegranate, guava, tangerines, olives, grapes for a while. all in his farm, my grandpa is protective of his farm, but he would let me do anything I want as I came to earn his trust and enjoy our little conversation. He would tell me stories about the old country and stories with graphic details about my grandma and him having a "good time".

If grandpa is not home, then I would either work on writing a blog on my laptop (no internet in my house) or watch a movie. I did watch at least 50 Arabic movies this summer, some of them are pretty awesome. Believe it or not Arab studios now spend money to make good flicks. About twice a week my dad will call me up to go the market to pick up few things he has bought (produce, cleaning, hygiene products and groceries) My nephew Ahmad, would show up asking to get his MP3 player back, as I charge it for home during the night. My mom would joke around with him and even hide it till he does some chores for her.

Then comes the prayer time, so I get read to rush to the local mosque and do my afternoon prayer, it's about three minutes walk form my house. Once that is over, I would return home and get busy till lunch is served. Once my dad shows up we can all eat dad likes to give my mom some rest as she is now older and no one in the house to help her (Hey, I did wash the dishes) so he would order ready meals. so in Gaza your options are pretty limited. One can order kabobs, a tray of yellow rice and topped with roasted chickens, grilled chicken or turkey wings, fire grilled turkey kidneys...or baked goods such as manaqeesh. More later
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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

23 Items Every Arab Immigrant Brought in Their Luggage

23 Items Every Arab Immigrant Brought in Their Luggage

1. Marami’ah, sage for tea lovers, only to learn than tea is only one drink out of a million hot beverages and a gazillion tea blends conveniently placed at the closest supermarket.

2. Roasted Arabic coffee, only to find the local grocery store sells superior brands for less. You will end up leaving the package untouched once you find out even retarded places like 7 eleven and McDonald’s sell coffee for a dollar a pop.

3. Towels, the ones you use after you shower…one towel is fine two is fine too, but why did you Ahmad have to bring half a dozen?

4. Prayer Rug or a rosary, only to learn that you are not nearly as religious as you thought you were. Of course you will end up giving those items away to the first curious American.

5. Falafel mix shaping mold, only to find out that you really do not feel like eating falafel anymore since American kitchens are not designed to handle the Falafel odor. However when you decide to eat them, they sell them frozen molds.

6. A grandma’s Bible or Koran that she insists to send with you for protection and nice dramatic story telling.

7. Brass vintage coffee pot “Bakraj” that makes a nice decoration until your roommates start using it as a beer pitcher.

8. Vibrant Hookah with all the gear and fixings, only to find out that your new apartment has a no smoking policy and you are late to the party. Of course the local police will confuse it with the bong.

9. Bakhoor or room scents mainly brought by kids form the Gulf to use in their tantaric sex sessions with that girl from Wisconsin.
10. A black and white picture of your non-smiling grandparents in the old country wearing traditional dresses and standing a mile apart.
11. Embroidery products and small flags to give out to anyone that smiles upon you, welcomes you and compliments you on your really good English.

12. Milookhya, or Jew’s mallow, the Hash like green leave that your American roommates will know as “ that Yucky Mucus” as they scream from the top of their lung once they taste it.

13. A music record for Om Kalthom or Fayroz to beef up your music credentials and remind you of the good old times. Of course that’s when you will have your first fight with your new roommate as he/she mocks your taste.

14. A Kaffya, the traditional scarf that you take as a symbol of your heritage, but everyone in your new home seems to disagrees with you. At least not until the world went on Kaffya fad last winter.

15. A traditional national dress garb to reflect your pride in your home country. Only to find out that your country men do not appreciate your misguided efforts in clowning around their culture to crazy ethnic ladies. Also a drag queen might appreciate the gift more.

16. Zatar, thyme blend for dipping pleasure. The newly hired TSA agent will definitely give you a peculiar look as he/ she attempt to confiscate your magical blend.

17. A bucket of Hair Gel, like your new home needs any more grease.

18. Hard duty blankets; like America, a country with mostly cold weather has not discovered blankets yet, but not to worry top gun you are on your way to Texas.
19. A poster of Haifa/Nancy/Elisa until you discover Hanna Crazy Montana

20. Sajj to bake your fresh bread on…oh wait, nevermind that’s a fire hazard. We all know that the ICE agent will mistake that for a shield.

21. Boxes of dates-can’t lose your old-world virility. Might as well be the only dates they will get in their first year.

22. Gigantic egos

23. A crap load of conspiracy theories.


Battery-operated Alarm clock, never mind that most Arabs are destined to be late, but they always pack their alarm clock next to their prayer rug.

[Tarbioush Tip: Suneela, Jillian, Anas, Yousef, May ]

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

karaokeIt's amazing how progressive Arab Music videos have gotten. I am impressed whenever a Westerner sees those music videos, they are shocking by how scandalous they are. Look, I am not complaining, these ladies are good looking and know how to "work" their fans by working what they've got it. For this stuff to be shown on public TV during peak time, is a problem. So I guess I wasn't surprised to see during my my trip to Egypt and Gaza that no one watches music videos anymore. When I asked few people about their choice of boycotting music videos, the answer was similar, "they have gotten trashy"

I do not think these videos leave anything for MTV and other western entertainment outlets, in a way by replicating European music and American styles, Arabic music is in danger of losing its voice. Just in time for Thanksgiving to remind us of things we are Not Thankful for. I will let you be the judge of that by watching those steamy Arabic music videos so enough is said, let the Khazwa begin

Sandy the Playgirl

Myriam on a Bike

Elissar wants More? How about Less

Picture is taken from Yallatune
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Call it an Eid

It's not an Eid until you are wearing a brand new cannot get in the Eid spirit until you wear it.
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Halloween From He-L-L

I thought I would be back to the States by the time for Halloween, I got that wrong as I just missed it by a week. But to be honest Halloween is all about scary times, spooks and creeps...and Gaza offered just that...Gaza is the biggest haunted house you will see, so as my buddies in DC and elsewhere were looking for spooky experiences in DC, I was living them everyday...which makes it the scariest Halloween I can ever imagine. What a messed up way to look at the bright side of the dark side.
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This Thanksgiving....

It's just GREAT to be back in the thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving this year. It did also help to have a great fiance that helped me keep my sanity in Gaza during a rough patch and great friends like Mary and Carlos who always returned my phone calls as I needed their assistance with a thing or two. I had a great thanksgiving meal at a friends' home in Vienna Virgina, they had a big bird, the mashed potatoes and the pies folks. But what I really loved the great conversations about life politics and Guitar Hero.

Happy Thanksgiving to you too.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Gaza Experience

Notes from Gaza # 3

An old friend of mine invited me for his wedding party known as “Sahara”, the equivalent of a bachelor party minus the presence of any females. Essentially a street sausage fest, where the family of the bride blocks of the street with a large stage decorated with lights and flags that vary based on the political convections of the groom. Thankfully, the one I went to was more on the secular side and the only flags where used were the Palestinian national flag, not green for Hamas, not Yellow for Fatah. The local band performed some of the popular songs that make men dance all night long. Of course ladies where on the roofs of the nearby building where they can be away form the male population, but yet mange to get a view of street carnival. There were some older ladies toward the back of the chairs, still away form the partying strange men. I did run into few old friends who have now all grown up, none of those ones I saw that night had any Islamist agendas. I am certain that I know few of those, but since the party had music and dance, those acquaintances are not going to show up. There I found Tawfik an old friend who was a spokesperson for Fatah right before the Hamas takeover. Tawfik told me he has received threats of death from some groups for his visibility and his statements against Hamas. He is still alive and well, but his older brother who was a Fatah militant was assassinated in an ambush in 2007. Ahmad my nephew who is also my unofficial sidekick went along and I asked him to take the camera and take few shots of the party. Since Ahmad loves the attention my little camera gives him he always agrees to take video shots. The two things I do tell him is not to take pictures of women and not to make a scene with the camera. But this time, few of his classmates saw him taking the video and grabbed the camera form his hand. He knew that these kids want to see if he has been filming women, the ones on the roof. Ahmad told them to look at the video where they will not find any females. A minute later my other nephew Khalid who is a stand up guy grabbed the camera form the kids and scared them. They apologized to Ahmad and told him they had feared he is a security officer working for Hamas as an informant. Ahmad continued to take shots of the party and we headed home after we wished the groom a blissful marriage and once the party was over.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Smackdown @ Coffeshop

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Gaza Videos


I do have tons of videos from Gaza....and all of them are in High definition quality... I will be getting them back form Gaza in few weeks....there are plenty of things that you and my friends would appreciate like how I followed my little nephew around and just bug him all day...I did film him takeover a donkey pulled cart and drive it away...I also filmed him in the hospital as he hurt his chin form the stairs... filmed the streets of Gaza and the scene on the beach with a lot of talkative people around. I did also interview my grandpa and where he chronicle his entire journey and his take on the wars of the Middle East...this is not your average blame Israel guy...he is funny yet honest....that video would be interesting for Arabic Learners. Few more weeks inchallah and I promise to post the worthy videos.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Guess What Country?

Check out these pictures of the Israeli President touring in an Arab country to give you hints…Those were taken in a local market where the special guest mingled with the locals here are ten clues about this Arabic country that the Israeli President was visiting:99_41232780996

1-This country is tiny, but is well-endowed.
2-Natives of this country are very hospitable to Israelis as clear from the pictures.
3-This country keeps fiddling around with Palestinian and Lebanese politics. They are rooting for Hamas and they also put their money where their mouth is! There was a time this tiny country hosted top Hamas lieutenants. But not to worry President Abbas is also a citizen of that country.
4-This country has a prominent news channel that won’t shut up about “resistance” and calls out those who rush to peace.
5-Their prominent news stations has yet to utter a word about this high profile visit and other similar ones.
6-This country also happens to have the largest American military base in the Middle East.
7-Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia hate the leader of this country.
8-This country has become a one stop shop to purchase American made movies, Hamas literature, and Israeli music!
9-This country throws the most extravagant Christmas Reception here in the DC area.
10-From the looks for things when the Israelis get fed up with Shimon PERES, he might just seek asylum in that little country. They folks look genuinely excited to meet him! More excitement than a concert with Nancy Ajram.

Have you guessed what country am I talking about?

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