Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Again and again, Nader el Masri ran for us. We were filming a number of different mini-features with him. Sometimes, he just had to run a couple of hundred metres, over and over. At other points during the day, he had to put in a 20-minute stretch.
Each time, his running style appeared nothing short of perfect: a picture of symmetry, his upper body still, his eyes cast downwards in imperturbable concentration.
Monday, July 26, 2010
The young American fun guy who traveled all over the world and got the people of the world to dance one funny dance? I am sure you remember his moves and his humorous video to get people to dance with him.
He went all over the world for his quest....and now he goes to Gaza and does an amazing video to support the work of UNRWA for the Palestinians refugees. I got say props to this busy YouTube sensation filmmaker for going to Gaza.
I remember my friend Kellee telling me about how big Matt has become and now companies are sponsoring him in his quest.
This morning on my Monday morning run, I felt the need to go and when it's 6 AM, your options are limited....
I was 45 minutes into my run and spotting few construction areas with Johns, but I cannot access those....I thought to myself near the Washington Monument I remember there was always a line in this tiny little place....I thought it was a bathroom, but I was never too sure.
as I was approaching the little building, I saw on the top of it those things they put on top pf such buildings yo vent the air out and I know I am finally going to be able to use the bathroom. I rush into the building and the side I got on was the ladies bathroom, the door was open so I could not see the sign...but some crazy old man rushes to me, gives me a face and says with his hand the other way.
I almost wanted to give the guy a hug....I go into the men's bathroom and there is a black man dressed in a pimp suit, he was washing his dressy shoes.
I take care of business and continue on my run, not before I say thanks federal government and tax payers for doing something that gives us all a little relief. The tea parts can cry me a river...
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Here is the Facebook link
The previous record was held by Indiana, in September 2007 with a number half that of the Gaza one.
They had the space of the Rafah airport....it not sen so much traffic in about a decade. Congrats boys and girls of Gaza.
My little niece Fatmah, (named after my mother)
Ace her GED exams (Tawjihi), she did ace the thing.....I am a very proud uncle today....
She got 96.7%, one of the top 2o highest grades in the Gaza Strip....I had to wake up Roa and tell her the news...we both were expecting Fatmah to get in the range of lower 90s.....but she got even higher and I did lost my best to her,
In my year I got 92.4%, two years later my sister Niveen gets to 91.1%, a year later Roa beat me in her year 94.4%, now Fatham topped all of us with her 96.7%
I had promised Fathmah if she beats my score and Roa's, I will be sending her a laptop....this is the one bet I am happy to deliver on.....I got the laptop this morning and it should be at Fatmah's in a matter of 3 week.
We are very proud, her parents are especially proud, my parents are celebrating.....the good work of their first grandchild to ace that grade.
I know my dad will probably tear up....as for Fatmah I spoke to her this morning and she is happy....she asked me to deliver on my promise and I think she wants to get into English literature program in a local university.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Ever since Hamas won the 2006 election, the Palestinians have witnessed one of the greatest political divisions in their modern history. Upon my visit to Gaza a year ago, I have heard of many stories and countless accounts of divisions among Palestinians. While most of these divisions and political differences enrich the debate in the Palestinian society, those divisions can also undermine the cause. Throughout the conflict many Palestinian homes had siblings who supported different political factions without breaking up the family. But now things look different. Two recent events raise alarm;
• Two weeks ago Hamas came out and declared in order for Abbas to visit Gaza he needs to get the green light from them. Needless to say President Abbas got furious with this response, and reported to have said, “I am the President and can go where I want to see my people,” to which Hamas said, “Sorry, your term has expired!” neglecting of course that their own term has also expired.
• The latest round of accusations and pointing fingers is blaming each other for the electricity outage. Instead of providing services both sides are leaving the people of Gaza in the dark −literary and figuratively. Thousands of Palestine homes do not have power because the two parties are bickering over whose responsibility to pick up the bill for needed fuel to keep the Gaza power plant running. The PA has been paying the bill; but Hamas does not want to collect from Gaza’s consumers out of fear of being deemed the bad guy by collecting money from Gaza’s poor.
The war of words is a political zoo where those leaders spend most of time squabbling over the littlest of trivial details and find themselves engaged in political posturing after another just to prove a point that one part or the other has the legitimacy while the other lacks it. This is however is never about Palestinian people but rather about influence and power. The people seem to be the only causalities of this political gridlock.
As of now it seems that both parties are interested in preserving the status quo where Hamas gets to keep Gaza and run a government (it does not matter if this government is actually providing any services) and the Ramallah politicians get to keep the West Bank where many parts thrives and tell those who disagree with them, “If you do not like it here, try Gaza”
In Gaza Hamas dominates the great majority of mosques. Just about every neighborhood has one and as you all know, each one has a microphone for announcing prayer times. Hamas sure does make good use of those Mosque microphones and broadcasting systems to announce their messages, recently received news items, and demonstration times and dates. Due to the fact that most people live near a Mosque, Hamas is able to effectively reach all those who live near a mosque. Mosques billboards are another territory Hamas controls, using the advertising space for their activities.
Hamas is now in the movie-making business and not just in it to make cheap, lame movies either. For a long time, Palestinian movie fans have been watching American actions flicks and until Hamas got in the game, no Palestinian movie had been made about a local figure. Hamas established a movie and production studio house called Asda’a,? located on the grounds of one of the liberated settlements in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has a better TV broadcast, In the meantime Fatah has a stronger presence in the internet and the new media; Fatah is more popular on college campuses. Hamas has better relation with the common man in the Arab street; Fatah has better access to Arab and foreign politicians and media outlets.
To understand the complexity of the political gridlock, look at the recent spat over the Palestinian unity pact. The government of Egypt has mediated a reconciliation deal between the two movements since Hamas’ takeover of Gaza in 2007, but now Hamas is picking a fight with the Egyptian mediators after Hamas failed to get them to accept Hamas’ suggestions on the unity government pact. The Egyptian government said they will not be making any modifications to the unity document since Fatah signed is late last year and Hamas has yet to. Hamas politicians have accused Egypt of not being fair and placing themselves as the sole and only broker between the two factions. Hamas has nominated other brokers like Qatar and Turkey, but Egypt and Fatah both maintaining that Egypt is the only broker for the unity government. Early this week Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud El-Zahar criticized in an Egyptian newspaper interview Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit for not wanting to listen. This Sunday Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossam Zaki dismissed Hamas’ reactions as “emotional and confused.” Speaking of Hamas leaders, “some of them don’t want to understand, while others are filled with joy over what is happening and possibly want to make matters even worse”.
While there is plenty of blame to go around the Palestinians people sees that their two leadership fail to see what is at stake here. The Arab street is a tricky one, many Arabs and Muslims are sympathetic to Hamas and that is largely due to a better media strategy and sharp honed talking points Hamas puts out. The other reason for this support is an awkward one. All the popular Arab and Muslim Dictators’ support Hamas; the unpopular ones seem to root for Fatah. So when an unpopular dictators take a shot at Hamas, they are only making them more popular.
Many respectable Palestinians figures dismiss those inner divisions as trivial and call on those leaders not to forget about the bigger fish they have to fry in dealing with Israeli policies that has negative impact on the people of Palestine and their future state. I find myself in agreement with those voices, but if we do not the current Palestinian leadership does not learn to compromise, and stop regional players from fiddling in internal Palestinians politics, I and many Palestinians can hardly see a light at the end of the tunnel.
I think both Fatah and Hamas need to open up dialogue with the people and not just let few elite tell the people to shut up, claiming they know what’s good for them. They both need to listen to the pulse of the people, they rarely do, they have TV stations that spits out talking points after another, but not a single line to take feedback or comments from the people. It’s not coincident that Palestinians are fed up with both parties and looking for a third way. I am convinced that those divisions are political and reflect little of the reality of the unity of Palestinians who remain united, their politicians not so much.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
A court sentenced a resident of East Jerusalem who lied to a young woman and told her that he was Jewish in order to have sexual relations with her to a year in a half of prison time. “Protect the public from such criminals.”
By Shmuel Mittelman, 19 July 2010 14:38
full story here
So had he been a Jew this would not be considered a rape, but since he is not Jewish, making him a rapist? I have no sympathy for the guy....he gets what he deserves.....but he is no rapist, a lair he is. Does this lady's action help advance women causes?
Monday, July 19, 2010
The first company I fought back against was AT&T. I have been using AT&T wireless service for longer than 8 years now...in Fact July 4th 2002 is when I opened up my account with them. I now use their global connect program to call my family and Roa's, needless to say they have a great service and offer good prices. I did have a unique problem due to the unique situation of Palestine. There are two different area codes one can use to call Palestine, one is cheaper than the other of course. So when one area code works, you get charged the same lower rate, if they re-route you or if you dial the other area code, you get charged an arm and a leg. So I called AT&T to complain about this problem...they lady on the phone was courteous once she understood the problem (I pointed to her two different phone calls to the same number that were charged a different rate) She put me on hold for 5 minutes and after speaking to her supervisor, she was a bit mean and alluding that I am not telling the truth...so she said...."We are going from what you are saying", "In the future, we will not fix this problem" I did not like her tone, not one bit....so I told her let me stop you right there, "There won't be any future between us anymore becasue I ask you to put me through to your cancellation department...", she was in shock due to my Swift change of tone. I felt like I have poured a packet of cold water on her....she asked me to hold and she put me through to cancellation....(she took her time explaining the problem to them). As you would expect the cancellation lady was ready to give me a hug and "make it right'. My argument was this, I have been you customer for 8 years, in those years I have always had my own equipments....and I love your service. BUT your customer service lady is implying I am not telling the truth and I do not need that right now...I am not in Junior high school being called to the principle's office. The cancellation lady was apologetic, and said she will have a feedback from about this customer service person....I told her it's not her I think it was the supervisor who charged her to be feisty with me. To make a long conversation short, she fixed the problem, override what the other rep wrote in the system so if this happens again they will have to listen. And she added 200 extra minutes to my monthly plan and 2000 rollover minutes all for free. I think that was a good deal....in the light that I never spoke ill of AT&T, it's a great service all around, but I refuse to let one bad experience to leave a bad taste in my mouth.
And please remember to always be gracious!
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
We do not really know much about Rami as he is a new comer to the celebrity life, we know he has a college degree in agricultural studies. He did leave the academy with a good reputation, a respectable fan base and a strong presence. His fans still talk about his manly voice and his charming looks.
This event took a bizarre twist when LBC, the network that produces Star Academy unearthed a video of Rami describing a dream about his end in a car accident, not knowing where to go. This is a very touching story To get to the moment where Rami tells about his dream, forward to minute 3:16 and allow yourself to be amazed. I also think the songs performed during this exchange are a proper farewell for this young star.
Here is a video about the star and his short lived career to remember him. I send my thoughts and prayers to his family and his friends at those troubling events. I also pray for Mahmud’s to get well soon. You can read more here
This originally published on the Hot Arabic Music Blog
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
New York does not really care who walks around in their city....that's why they are big apple and your city is not. Notice how nobody freaks out...imagine that took place in some little town, people will be freaking out and try to interfere to save the princess.
Pomegranate Juice is marketed here as the healthiest juice in the world, it might be true. But that was not true two days ago.
My friend Meissa and I got a bottle each of Pomegranate Juice from Trader's Joe out in Maryland...you know their store brand the one you pay 3 dollars for. I actually wanted to grab their mango smoothies instead, but then I said why not for the pomegranate beverage as we both were really thirsty.
I guzzle my bottle, and so does he....right before I finished mine....I feel sick, like I wanted to throw up, and felt worse as I started feeling dizzy, the kind you feel in motion sickness. I grabbed a plastic bag and put it near me just in case.
Meissa was feeling fine and then 15 minutes later, he started feeling the same pain in his stomach and rushed home to go take care of business. We figured this batch of pomegranate must have been contaminated or something.
I had shared a sip with Roa and she did not feel too well afterwards. So there you go the irony of this of course is obvious.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Think about this....and comment to let me know what you think
"The higher the number of mattress outlets in a residential area, the higher the crime rate in that part of town"
If the demand on Mattress is great then the supply has to live up to that. In one urban area that means:
- People move around from this part very quickly as new renters move in which would require them to purchase new mattresses.
- Renters are often evacuated and the first thing the landlord throws out of the renters place the mattress (I have seen that many times in my Columbia Heights.) Being broke leads to crime.
- Home side happens to many people while they are sleep, and do not forget the break ins where violence and struggle happens near the mattress.
- Prostitution, Prostitution, and drugs (all crimes). Statistics say 1 in 20 DC residence have HIV, it would make sense to change the mattress.
- Mattress stores need space, a lot more space than retailers can afford, shady parts of town have can offer you larger space for a lot less than the safe areas
Monday, July 12, 2010
I wanted Argentina, France, or Germany to win, Germany came the closest....but it was a good World Cup 2010
I do not have to wait till 2014 to see some excitement on life TV; I do not have to wait to see men battling others to best each other; I do not have to wait any more for testosterone charged males trying to take out each other.
Welcome 2010 elections Republicans vs. Democrats....now that's really fun and I am ready for surprises and ready for some game changers. The American voter will be the referee of this battle lets hope they won't mess up....just like the World Cup, I will be watching it live.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
The score is now 1, 1 and Uruguay seems to be in control of the game as most of the attacks comes from them, making it hard on the German defense and goalkeeper
Suarez just missed a good ball....but that's his karma for being a cheater and using his hand in the Ghana game.
C'mon Germany get back in the game and deliver another 4 goals in this country's net...those 3 million residence of Uruguay should not celebrate tonight...
Ouzil, you are one heck of a player maker....do it one more time. Germany just missed a free kick and about to get corner kick 1 minute before the end of half time.
Uruguay has a corner now. Muller has a great counter attack and looked like one of those sure things and just like that first half is over.
Urugy riws the game they scored a pretty goal...but Germany is not out....
Khadira gives a great pass to his teammate and that translated to a goal...bringing the score to a tie 2 to 2.
I love how the crowd boos Suarez every time he has the ball...he does deserve it for cheating to get Ghana out. BTW, a sibling of a player in the Ghana teams plays with Germany, he should beat help defeat this team.
Auzil just missed a good opportunity to bring the third goal, I see a third coming soon...Muller c'mon.
Minute 60, Perz gets a yellow card...
Khadera is my boy...what a great header....
3 goals foooooooooooooooooools Germany is 3rd......Uruguay almost out. Can we say 4? 4 going for 4? Yes we may can! Hold the game for five more minutes and the cheaters are out...courtesy of Kahdera, the best Tunisian import!
Cacau almost had the 4th Germany goal, good save by the Uruguay goalie.
Germany just missed another shot at minute 88 to bring their booty to 4. Suarez just missed an opportunity...too bad he could not use his hand to score that one.
Additional time is on now....1 minute....Uruguay gets a free kick. Good save the Germany goalkeeper looked like he stopped them, but luckily he didn't have to the goal post did it.
and it's DONE
Germany is 3rd one more time...and the cheater are sent home...I love this new and improved Germany
Thursday, July 08, 2010
On working days
- The earlier on the bus get, the least dressed up you are...by 8:10 AM the well dressed bus riders start showing up. Yes, there are high paid people who show up to work early, those often drive and have their own parking space.
- The first one in the office is often not the highest paid employee.
- It's often true that people with upscale jobs and well dressed, they take the bus so that they can toy around with their iPhones and iPads, otherwise they get ticketed if they drove with those hard to resist gadgets.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
I left my apartment at 8:15 walked to the mall and got there 9:05....got a comfortable place to sit on the green grass, cross the street from the Washington Monument and a dozen of yards away from the White House lawn...the fireworks started 9:10 just on time....the blanket and ice cold green tea Roa and I brought came in handy. She enjoyed her first July 4th in the nation's capital. Here is the video from the fireworks showcase. We waited when the crowd evacuated, we kicked back, then walked back to our apartment. No sweat....that's a July 4th I will remember.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Roa and I met a girl at this part, let's call her Jane....
Jane is a great Palestinian girl, but she is also all American, blonde....she told us that she loves Arabic food, she can make some Arabic dishes too, but she said she never make them for Arabs....she never dares to she says. "When I make Arabic food for Arabs," "They are often critical of my skills", "For my other friends, I make them anything close to Arabic food and they are in cloud 9"
I thought about what Jane said, and I thought she is telling the truth about us and our insecurities....we hate to be seen as less than perfect in the eyes of people, or we maybe hate to deal with feedback or even people joking about our skills. Jane is not alone, I find myself often putting down certain skills of mine in order to lower the expectations of others.
So Jane makes plenty of Arabic food, but once an Arab asks her to taste her food, she says she does not know how to.
4th of July upon us once more....
The one day that dogs rule...the one day we all get to enjoy dogs....the one day not only it's nutritional, but also patriotic to consume a dog...you do it for America.
Dogs....dogs....dogs....dogs and cats get none of the attention....
Gosh it sucks to be a cat on the 4th....
Also if the amount of fireworks purchased on the 4th of July was an indication of patriotism, the founding fathers would've to be Mexicans.
This is IT,
if nothing else happens in the World Cup, this is the game to watch, arguably the best two teams in the world are meeting today Argentina and Germany.....who's it gonna be?
I say Argentina, they are the first team I root for....Germany has been great, but they got too many good things going for them...Argentina does not.
Heck, Germany got it, they just scored in minute 3 already....this is not a game, the Germans are engineers, no chances for mistakes.
Argentina will win it, I feel it, but it's minute 6 and I do not see my team yet. I do like the diversity in the German team, they got an African from Ghana, a Muslim from Turkey, a North African....and I am sure others.
Yes, Germany 4 Argentina zilch....that was a massacre! I feel Messi was betrayed, and player number 9 was horrible.
I fell bad for Maradona, he had a great start, but the Germans were from another planet.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Robert Pape of the University of Chicago studied the most recent cases: "The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign--over 95 percent of all the incidents--has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw."
Read the article here
It makes sense now to see that case while all major Muslim scholars and authorities have condemned the act of suicide bombing, that does not stop them. Which says those people blowing themselves up are not doing it for religion which makes the finding of this study valuable.