Friday, December 30, 2011

My Interview With NPR On Arabic Protest Music

Read this story on NPR, "Leaders Wanted: Protest Songs From The Arab Spring" Did this interview with Bob Siegel From All Things Considered. I helped give them an idea about the kind of key songs of the Arab Spring worthy of being featured.

We had so little time, it was a pleasure to be on the air with this iconic American voice. Listen to my interview below.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why Should A Jew Wish A Muslim A Merry Christmas?

For starter, I like to wish my Christian friends Merry Christmas, I have no problem saying it loud. In fact I enjoy saying "Merry Christmas" to the ones I know it means a lot to them more than the commercialization of it.   My rule is always on such occasions, always have yourself a good time.

Now, but I do not go around asking people what their religion is. It's tricky to assume that they are Christians who observe this season. There are those agnostic and atheists too, so it's tough to guess when to probably say it with people you do not know. I was once told by an Arab friend of mine who is Christian, that sometimes it bugs her when people assume she is Muslim and wish her a Happy Eid. I understand her plight and I can see how that would feel like erasing your identity.

When people wish me Merry Christmas, I say Merry Christmas back with a smile. I do not lecture or correct people. However, I do not know how other Muslims and Jewish people feel in this situation. I know for some of them--not all it's an identity thing to reject Christmas. Therefore, when I visited St. Louis, I was wishing people Merry Christmas, but always had doubts about it.

At the end of the day, this could be a Muslims wishing a Jewish person a Merry Christmas--a holiday of no value to neither of them.  
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

5 Things To Eat In Saint Louis

  1. Try A Pizza from Imo's, You can finish a whole one by yourself. It's very thin crust and packed with flavor. Imo's deliver awesome pizza Fast. I know I do not like the taste of dough that often gets in the way of otherwise a great tasting pizza. Imo's knows how to keep a Saint Louis original alive. 
  2. Taste gooey butter cakes, those city famous cakes will be your latest addiction. Rich in sweetness, butter and various flavors. I first came to try them at the Park Avenue Coffee in downtown St. Louis. I later picked a freshly baked whole cake from Culinaria store also in downtown.
  3. Knock yourself out on frozen custard from Ted Drewes. These guys know how to make custard as it's mean to be made. Their shakes are as thick as hell. Make sure to taste different flavors, and careful you can always order a small size.
  4. Sure, it's Tennessee style BBQ, but nobody has anything on the city of Saint Louis style when Pappy's Smokehouse. Do not take my word for it, try it for yourself. It's all in the sauces with these guys. They prepare delicious, juicy Memphis Style BBQ daily using only the best ingredients. Meat can be brought to perfection after 4 to 14 hours of slow smoke.
  5. Buffet at St' Louis Lumiere Place Casino & Hotels, I know casino buffets can be a mixed bag, but in this city that clearly knows the taste of its mouth, you cannot bluff. The food selection at this buffet keeps it fresh and nutritious. Their dessert selection is worthy of an A list Vegas casino buffet.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

10 Things to Help Muslims Survive Christmas

  1. Watch the Access of Evil Comedy Tour! Nothing can cheer you up faster than realizing that all you need is an hour or so of overdone and repetitive airport jokes to make it big in comedy. As a Muslim anyway.
  2. Watch the extended version of Kingdom of Heaven. Murderous Christian savages and Salahuddin! Two things embedded in the collective consciousness of all Muslims reminding us constantly that we can be pretty awesome.
  3. The day after Christmas, go to your closest big box store and pick up those Christmas-branded chocolates and merchandise for 30% off. But watch out for the alcohol-filled ones. They taste bitter. 
  4. Be happy you're not stuck in the mall. Looking for a parking spot is a lot harder than finding a spot to place your shoes at the Friday prayer service. 
  5. Knock yourself out watching European soccer, as the Europeans are Godless heathens and don't believe in taking time off from kicking their balls to celebrate the birth and sacrifice of our savior Steve Jobs.
  6. Join your fellow Jewish cousins at the nearest Chinese food restaurant and enjoy a serving or six of General Tsao's Chicken. This is the one time of the year you all can put aside land and ethnic cleansing disputes aside and gush over sweet and sour sauce.
  7. Deck the Halls with Kuftah Balls. And by 'Halls' we mean your big pots. 
  8. Christmas is one of the few times Christians feel they have earned the right to ask odd questions, so if you can endure the occasional "How come y'all don't b-leeve in Jaysus?" or disruptively drunk co-worker, join a Christmas Eve party. 
  9. Help reinforce negative stereotypes for future generations! Bust out your hookah and play a round of Tarneeb with your unshaven, loud-talking young buddies. If you're a lady, just sit and gossip with your equally unshaven buddies. 
  10. Santa's got nothing on you, Muslim man: you are both fat, both have beards and both draw stares from little kids and TSA screeners. Santa has his lists and you are on a no fly list. Time to re-think our differences? 
Bonus: Take a vacation in Hawaii or Arizona, the least Christmasy places of them all Spend your time at the gym, while the rest are indulging in fruitcakes and eggnog, you can do something that is quite the opposite
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Where To Find America's Thinnest Lenses

For Black Friday I got an amazing gift, I broke my glasses, the ones I paid 350 dollars for three years ago. This was devastating to me, as I am trying to wear my contact lenses less. On the bright side, my wife never likd the frames, so she was happy those glasses are no longer something I can wear.

Since I ordered my glasses from Hour Eyes, I headed to the nearest mall where they have a branch and tried to ordered them. My eye doctor has previously told me that I can get thinner, lighter plastic lenses for my glasses. Hour Eyes store employee told me he will order my the thinnest lenses he can order. I took that to be the thinnest in the market, but wrong. There's was another store A Visual Affair that had an informed associate who took the time to explain me the difference, and for that I was grateful.

I strolled down to Lens Crafter's store and I inquired there, I learned that the index for their lenses is 17.3, which is the highest in the market right now. I go back to Hour Eyes and learn their index is 1.64 and can go up to 1.67. But the 1.7 line is at least 30 percent thinner and lighter.

If you are like me, thin and light lenses is like a dream as I am near sighted and last thing I need is a heavy lenses. Then comes an idea, I head to America's Best Contacts, and learn something else. America's Best is one for the few places in the US that carried a new lens technology known as DigiMax HD lenses. This technology is supposed to be the top notch lenses, light and thin as they come. Supposedly the military and Wal-Mart have them as well.

So I ordered them from America's Best. I would have been content with Hour Eyes, had I not learned more about this matter. So when I picked my glasses, I was very pleased with this technology. My wife is also happy with the frames as well as the lens. The prices were also right for what I got, I ended up getting two eyeglasses for a sweet deal along with a free eye exam--only if you purchases two frames.

So ask around and for sure shop around and do not settle for the first line.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

7 Arabs at the Gym

Can an Arab really get to the gym? Sure, but it might kill him
Arabs do not monkey around with their time, they do not do stuff for fun if grandma cannot make sense of it. Time is precious, the only time Arabs do not watch the clock is if they are a guest at someones house who they don’t like of if they are smoking hookah. So gym doesn’t fit in that narrative.

I present the Arabs at the gym edition:

  1. My Mom’s Mansaf Is To Die For- Cannot apologize for that, most people eat once at my mother’s table and they enjoy it, I cannot maintain my weight and continue to please my mother by consuming her dishes. This is like going for confession, it’s not about being fit, but rather minimizing the damage.
  2. My Mother In Law HATES Me- You are good looking, but your husband makes a lot of money. For that his mother thinks you should suffer at her hands. She often comments on your weight and health. An hour at the gym would shut her up. Note to self--”Why Can’t Bashar’s thugs get to my mother in law?”
  3. The Honeys Won’t Come- I have a stable job, my hair is still intact, and my teeth are in their designated places, but still, I do not seem to attract the ladies. Lose that belly and brush often--now repeat. The gym would another good excuse to shower, rinse and get rid of that chronic garlic body odor.
  4. My Doctor Told Me, I Will Die- My Doctor is very persuasive, given my family history, there is no way around it. I need to get healthy or Diabetes type 1 will soon find me. This is also a great excuse to go crazy on all those sports drinks. Sugar free ones of course. Plus, I got a really good deal on my gym membership.
  5. Gay in Denial- There’s not better excuse to wear those tights than “I was at the gym.” No one will point fingers, and you can have so many pictures showing off your body. Plus, the locker room is like a buffet of muscular dudes in the nudes--i guess that dirty blond will go home alone...exercising at the gym to Haifa Wahbe and Elissa songs can do that to you.
  6. Vertically Challenged- The genes game is a bitch. Short Arab’s try to correct nature, but expanding horizontally. Never cardio, always free weights, and really long shorts. They secretly fantasies about beating up the tallest guy in the gym. Those make one of the most loyal demographics for the gym.
  7. Me, And My Cousin Special- We don’t go to clubs and bars, because they are HARAM! But it says nowhere not to go to gym to meet the future Mrs. Ahmad. If we get buff it’s a plus, and this is like a fashion show and my mom will never guess why I’m here. Plus, I can sports those Palestine and Lebanon t-shirts. They tend to be loud and obnoxious which annoys everyone else at the gym especially that reading lady on the bike
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Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Day With Lawyers And Dentists

So, I spent few hours in the courthouse yesterday, just for kicks. I did not think people should overlook the high entertainment value court offer. There are way too many stories and people from all walks of life.

I have never been in an actual courthouse, I thought it would be fun to accompany a friend of mine who has a non-jailable misdemeanor. It was cool. The judge was really nicer, it was the holiday season and it was a lot of cases asking for bail. Funniest case, was a guy caught urinating in public. His fee I think was 25 dollars. Public intoxication is 75 dollars. Few Hispanics, two Asians and one Muslim guy who did not bother to show up

The only white people to be brought in front of the judge, were half a dozen of white females on charges of fare evasion on the metro....they only said they were guilty, charged 50 dollars a pop and court's time.

After that fun day, I had to go to my dentist for my biannual cleaning....

A Dentist gets paid a lot of money to make you look good,
A lawyer gets paid a lot of money too, but he is the only one wearing a 1000 dollar suit.

Usually, the nicer the suit of the defender, usually the bigger his crime.
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Soda Stream And The Israel's Extreme

It turn out that Soda Stream, the popular gadget to make soda at home is not all innocent. They are now making claims as Earth Friendly. See, more than 3 years ago, I sworn off soda, and have so far kept away from it. So this company has no business with me. But every time I hear my favorite radio show in the DC area promoting it, I cling. People should be made aware of those things, and they should make their informed decisions about he products and the agendas they aline themselves with.

From Soda Stream website

We employ more than 1,000 people worldwide, with over 30 nationalities represented. Company headquarters are located in Israel and we have seven manufacturing facilities in Germany, Israel, Australia, South Africa and China. The SodaStream group has an intellectual property portfolio that includes 65 patents and 198 trademark registrations worldwide.

A Swedish Chain has already kicked out the company from selling there. The Israeli company has been the target of a two-year campaign by Swedish activists who seek to highlight the company’s complicity with the Israeli occupation. The main production facilities for Sodastream are located at Mishor Adumim, the industrial zone of the Israeli settlement Maaleh Adumim in the occupied West Bank.

Sodastream, whose products are sold in 41 countries, has repeatedly attempted to deflect attention from the factory in the occupied West Bank, claiming that it is just one of many around the world.

Why? They have their shop on a Palestinians land--I say Palestinian becasue even the UN recognizes it as so including the EU and the Israel friendly US congress. So next time, you sip some o that soda and thinking yourself that you have done a good deed, think again.

here's why, the story in Israeli major newspaper

This is a company that has done well by coming up with a good idea that people really need, they solve a problem for people. But all that creative juices have failed when they choose to put a factory in an illegal territory. business should make money and add value, not get caught in political controversies that mean nothing to the product and do damage to the brand.

Now the company tried to make nice with the people and now claims that their workers are Palestinians. Fine, but if the land at which your shop is Palestinian, and your workers are such, why don't they list Palestine as one of the locations where they operate? Maybe they can answer that...
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Friday, November 25, 2011

This Halal Thanksgiving I Give Pam Geller The Bird

Not sure if you heard this story here

Butterball Turkeys have been certified halal (the Muslim equivalent of kosher), this is a big brand in Turkey that want to sell more of their birds. Now, some conservative bloggers found some conspiracy and now they are making a mockery of this ordeal.

I first want to thank Butterball for their initiative to provide, Halal turkey that many Muslims appreciate--I am not keen on Halal business, but now many are. Such conservative voices won't have a paycheck unless they manufactured something about Muslims in America and went out to cry about it.

I found this is odd, here's why.
  1. Butterball is making a business decision not a religious one, they want more value and they thought doing Halal Turkey would earn them new customers. Whatever happened to conservatives being pro business? Why are the conservatives trying to stop a company from making a buck?
  2. Butterball sells their Turkeys overseas in many countries where Islam is the religion, it makes sense they would have a Halal division. Why are those conservatives trying to undermined an American company that is doing good by doing good?
  3. Muslims celebrating Turkey day, should be cheered not jeered. No one celebrating Turkey day would be a danger to you. They are part of the society and their shopping choices say as much. Why are you rejecting those Muslims who want to be part of the greater American community?

Per Butterball website:

Butterball is one of the largest global turkey providers in the world. For more than 25 years, Butterball® has been providing quality turkey to markets around the globe. Currently, exporting over 100 million pounds of turkey products annually to over 50 countries, it’s no wonder that Butterball is one of the most celebrated choices for turkey. Butterball is committed to developing the best new products to specifically cater to all international cultures. From our bilingual packaging to flavor profiles geared toward international palates, we are continually developing unique ideas that satisfy the tastes of our customers.
On another note, I do not like when a noble concept becomes a commercialized. I resent that fact that few in the community have established a labeling mechanism which they provide to certain companies if the price is right. But with all that, next time I am shopping for a bird, I would make sure to buy myself a butterball, and send Pam Geller and her loons a bird--the kind I can gesture.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

FedEx Pickup Is As Stressful As Speed Dating

there's a real reason why UPS is number 1 in package and logistics supply in North America, they are not FedEx, that's all you have to be.

first you have to find the number to call to schedule a pickup. Then you have to answer a number of stupid questions that are only meant to waste your time and make the Representative feel like they are doing something with that life of theirs.

Dude, I have a prepaid label, it has all the info they need, but no, they still wanted to ask me questions like where should we come and what time should we come? Then they would ask me where the package will be? It felt like a spped dating, where we have to cram as many impersonal questions in 4 minutes as one can muster.

And then after all that 10 minutes of irritating useless questions, they tell you a FedEx person will come by to pick it up. Here's the story, the FedEx delivery person saw the package but did not want to pick it up. It has all the right labels, he thought, "Not My Problem", a UPS person would be all over that and pock it up, no questions asked.

But that's number one shipper, not number 2 that is sworn to give you one heck of a number two experience. I know I never have anything nice to say about FedEx, even on their pickup and the way they do business. their billing is also strange. Maybe they should hire some consultants to help them figure things like not wasting people's time out.

If they had a way to just punch in few numbers, they should have all that info they needed without having to ask me questions, what's your name? But this is for my place of work...

Nobody loves UPS, but thanks to FedEx antics, you cannot help but say, those are the good old days.
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Three Most Recent Posts On Arabic Music

Every now and then I write for other blogs to get the word out about a particular subject that I like or dislike. The past 7 days, I had authored 3 blogs for the World Wide Variety News Blog The Huffington Post. I used to focuses on politics and I still do, but now I try to write more comedy and about Arabic music. While on the subject, sometimes Arabic music can be comedy as well.

Here are the thee topics with links to read the full:

  1. From Resistance to Pop: Liberating Palestine with an Auto Tune. This article is about the rise of pop music coming from Palestine and its new voices. Read here
  2. Rima Fakih, Miss USA, Quotes the Koran To Show Her American Patriotism. This is about the Lebanese American Miss USA that was in DC last week, she gave a talk about challenges she faced living in post 9/11 America Read Here
  3. Iraq and Roll Comes to a Town Near You Read. This one is about my favorite Iraqi rock band, that makes some fine music worthy of a world wide audience Here
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Saturday, November 12, 2011

UTN1 Shines Once Again In Virginia USA

From an entertainer’s perspective, a good concert happens when the performance has gone smoothly, according to plan and expectations. Attending fans are pleased and left with a warm feeling. That also means there are no hiccups or at least noticeable ones. A great concert takes it one step further. There’s nothing quite like a great live show. It's fair to say that not all concerts are the same, some go to party, others to dance. Younger concert goers look for something, older ones look for another, but they both are looking for a good time. Savvy performances mange to draw in everyone in the arena to their live show.

Living in the States for more than a decade, I have seen many cover bands for Arabic music, some were good, some left something to be desired. Such bands mange to bribe the crowd by playing classic Arabic songs that everyone knows and thus sings along to. None of those bands I saw have their own original songs that people memorize.

But all that changed last night. I attended a concert by the Iraqi pop/rock band UTN1 in Tyson Corner, Virginia and it was some experience. First and fromst, UTN1 is an Iraqi band that performs in Arab countries so they know what songs to play and when to play them. Timing is key in Arabic concerts. Kicking off their concert with their all too popular original song Jamila that was an instant hit with the Arab audience and the curios American listener. There was enrgey all over the room as people starting to get cozy and comfortable.

Following this song for half a dozen of Iraqi folklore songs that all Iraqis memorize and appreciate. This brought the best of the concert goers, they flocked to the dance stage and did not stop. Such crowd pleasers" At this post point, everyone jumped in and moved to the beat. And Iraqi group dance circles started to from and welcome all attendees. It must help Hassan to see this kind of energy because then he has to match it and so did Shant on the drum. I have seen performance before not sure what to make of it when their audience gets animated, but UTN1. The band seemed to have a plan and everything happened at their concert seems to be part of the expectations.

The offering of the concerts varied to accommodate the types of Arab concert goers, there are the mellow songs where the lyrics are the show, and there are the upbeat get up and dance ones. Frankly the band won extra credit in my book when they performed this classic Egyptian oldie (video). There are those new age listeners appreciate and there are other songs that have been around for decades and continue to be popular. This is one concert not to miss from a band that knows how to work work up a crowd.

P.S. I was hoping the band will have some CDs and merchandise to allow me and my friends to bring the concert home with us.
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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Video Proof For Gaza's High Unemployment

Gaza is my home, and I laugh when I see videos like these in Gaza, in time for the Eid, the time Muslim slaughter animals honoring the story of Abraham and his son when he was asked to sacrifice him later to be saved by a sheep.

Things got really bad when the bull got loose, droves of young Gaza men and teenagers chased the bull around town hoping to contain him. Not sure what happened, but one thing for sure, I feel bad for the poor bull. He must be terrorized.

This is the kind of video that could start the local chapter for PETA in Gaza. Had all these people had jobs, my aunt would be the one chasing down this animla not droves of youngsters.

مطاردة العجل الهارب2 بالسيارات. Chasing Bulls In Gaza 2011
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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Israel's God Law vs. Man Made Laws

Israelis illegal actions can only cause minor "discomfort" for world leaders. Just look at how soft the statements from EU, UN and the US about the bizarre Israeli decision to expand their projects in settlements.

Palestinians actions however give world leaders "nightmares" and according to those leaders such actions bring an end to the world as we know it. Go and read such comments during the Palestine Statehood bid at the UN.

To quote Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, "I demand more of Israel partly because my tax dollars supply arms and aid to Israel. I hold democratic allies like Israel to a higher standard, just as I do the United States."

When Israel does something illegal, the Palestinians and the most of the world calls it a violation of international law. Israel respond by citing some other law--say the Israeli's army code of conduct. Israel dismisses international law and it pretend one of two things:
  1. Such man made laws don't apply to country commissioned by God.
  2. The world is picking on Israel.
On short, when it comes to laws Israel is that sleazy old man with van hanging around school yards with lots of candy. While he might not be doing anything illegal at the moment, you know he is up to no good becasue he was arrested once before on the same charges.
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18 Signs of Arabic Weddings

  1. Your DJ/Singer is also your Limo driver
  2. Everyone on the invite list has creative ways of describing how they relate to you.
  3. If they are your offspring, then they are fit–everyone one else is either fat or too thin.
  4. How come all the cloth napkins end up on the dance floor?
  5. There can be only one black guy, two Latinas and no Asians.
  6. The only time all Arab men in a 20-mile radius have no five o’clock shadow.
  7. The groom can never be the best-dressed man–all other men try to outshine him.
  8. Arab weddings and nuts go hand in hand. They are your main dish, your dessert and seated to your right.
  9. Everyone finds something to complain about to the bride and the groom during the wedding. No, they do not want to hear about your fad diet.
  10. No tents at this wedding; a UNRWA tent is where my family lived before they found their way to America.
  11. Everyone is a fortuneteller.
  12. Debt is no reason not to have a 10 tier cake that will be cut with a 4 ft. knife, also commonly referred to as a ‘sword’.
  13. Americans have Halloween to channel their inner whores, we get Arab weddings.
  14. Forget Arab lounge dot com–spice up your profile at these events.
  15. Girls have all the fun and guys just stand there looking like they were just handed a detonator for an atomic bomb. Although it’s fun to mention how Arab guys do that dance with the hands up, snapping fingers and then cornering a girl in the middle of the dance floor
  16. Everyone asking for free professional advice. If you are a lawyer, then other guests ask you about immigration. “Doctor, can I show you my rash?” Dentist? They’ll all show you their cavities. Gynecologist? The bathroom is that way. Just make sure the hedges are trimmed
  17. No need for a smoke machine, just ask everyone to please Bring Your Own Hookah (BYOH).
  18. No one fornicates, instead interested parties send their mommies to audit your body at an awfully close range.

[Tarboush Tip: Sana, Kellee]

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Finally: Google Wants Your Music Action

I am happy to let you guys on a little thing, I have been doing lately, it's called Google Music Beta . This thing could be the future of music as we know it. To me, the idea is basic. Google is everywhere and so your music will be once you have uploaded it to the Google Music. You can access it anywhere in the world, it travels with you. You can also add it to your phone device namely Android now.

I do not like iTunes, never have and now I am an early user of Google music, in its beta releases. As of now you have to be extended an invitation, and yes you can request one, it takes a day or two and then they will let you know. You can also purchase music, and best yet, you can share it with others who can listen to it once before they decide to buy it or not. This is really cool becasue in this time we are all alone together.

The media player plugin gives you an option of getting about 200 free songs, they are preloaded by your permission based on your genera of preference. Not sure if you guys have an opinion on this matter, but I thought to let you know about it.
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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The So Called Palestinans By Cain's Gaffe Machine

Is Herman Cain a one state advocate? The Republican who was too busy harassing women at his job, should have used his time better if he had read a book about the Middle East. Here's where I am coming from:

Cain, the frontrunner among GOP candidates, invoked the phrase in an interview over the weekend with Israel Hayom, a mass-circulation Israeli tabloid owned by an American backer of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Asked about President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, Cain referred to the Palestinian bid for U.N. membership: “I think that the so-called Palestinian people have this urge for unilateral recognition because they see this president as weak.”

This might be Cain's way to wish the Palestinians a Happy Halloween by giving them a good scare. This guy claims to be Israeli best friend in the US. But all his statements and blunders reveal that he is the best friend Palestinians have. first he said, the right of return is subject to negotiation--he offended Israelis, but please the Palestinians. Even idiots remarks like Mr. Cains reveal that with friends like Herman, Israel does not need any enemies.

Now his latest comment about the Palestinians and how they don't exist if laughable. even the harshest and most brutal Israeli Zionist is never naive enough to deny the existence of the same people, they wish to see vanish. Cain has topped all of those pro Israeli voices, by denying a problem exists. How will he fix a problem if he denies it exists in the first place? It could be that he sees the people of Palestine as Israelis, so for the Palestinians, this might be a blessing in disguise.

This is like the President of Iran saying, "We don't have gay people". Herman Cain might be running for president in the States, but The Nile is a river in Egypt.
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Palestinian Prisoners In The Spotlight

(ouida with his wife)

Stories of two newly released Palestinian prisoners have particularity moved me:

  1. Ouida Kolab, a 48 year old Gaza man released after spending 23 years in prison--out of which 11 years were in solitary cell. Kolab got out of Israeli jail as a mess. While most of those prisoners have seen hellish days in captivity. Ouida seems to be having the hardest time adjusting back to the real world. Suffering of sever mental problems, always feeling tired and anxious insomnia, stomach ulcers and a wholesale of symptoms. Ouida's body is noticeable frail, worse he is having a hard time finishing a meal as he requires constant medical supervision. His health troubles don't stop there, he has been experiencing trouble with his nervous system with frequent shaking. Ouida is unable to set on a chair and prefers to squad as he was accustomed to in his prison cell. Gaza doctors are trying to treat him by advising his family to treat him as a baby and gradually reintroduce him to the world and a better diet. This is a result of having to spend 23 years in imprisonment that allowed him to be a guest at at least 6 different Israeli prison. (Source)
  2. Dahir Qabha, the son of the West Bank city of Jenin is one of over a 100 prisoners exiled into Gaza and not allowed to return to their homes in the West Bank. Months before he was arrested by Israeli forces, he was engaged in 1993 and soon to be married to Raeda, a girl next door love story. Long story short, he spends 18 years in prison and despite all odds and pressure from family and friends Raeda hold out and preserves the very long engagement indeed. 19 years later he is in Gaza and Raeda manged to make it to Gaza--through Jordan and Egypt. And the wedding for the ages takes place, closing a very romantic chapter of this Palestinian story. Couple of family members were able to make it to Gaza--Israel have to give travel clearance, but for a moment Gazans were happy to join the celebration and acted as surrogate family for those love birds. Dahir is the first freed prisoner to get hitched. (source) (pictures)
P.S. I do not know what crimes if any those two individuals have been accused of, All know is that they have served a considerable amount of time in confinement. I was simply touched by their very moving stories.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How Does The Rich And The Poor Votes?

Elections are about two things handouts and moral issues. I find these are the two things that get people to go vote for or against someone. In Palestine, the PA outs people on the payroll and reminds them, if they don't vote, the money won't be coming anymore. Hamas also does the same thing, but it adds the moral layer. We fear God, unlike those secular out there.

Republicans seem to use the same tactics as Hamas, issues of abortion, the gays and stem cell research bring them together. Such issues bring out the votes. the poor don't vote with their feet, they cannot afford to, so they get super charged on ethical and religious issues. Democrats on the other hands, rally up their base by telling them if you don't vote for me, your social security, welfare, and medicare/medicaid will be in jeopardy.

Same matter in Israel too, you get your right wing groups quoting the Torah and all that jazz. And the Israeli left talking about unions and better individuals rights. The right talks about with, "I am tough to stand to the Palestinians you spineless hippie"

The rich on the other hand care about one thing the most--taxes. Let me keep most of my money. Sure they care about freedom of speech and rights for minorities, but if your policy on tax is vague, they run to the other guy.

Everyone and then, somethings happen that tweak those priorities. Like Bush reelection of 2004--it was about national security and nothing else. In Tunisia for example, they just had an election, they voted for an Islamist group. Why? the guy they kicked out of office and lunched the Arab spring by doing so hated religion and took the whole country down the drain. That would be the anti-incumbent they would refer to every now and then.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

What's Wrong With You People? The Qaddafi Story

"What's Wrong With You People?" is what Jon Steward has to say when he saw the gruesome footage of Qaddafi as he was being dragged in the street bleeding and eventually dying. I am sure Jon is not the only one who faults the Libyan mob for the death of Qaddafi. God knows there are Arabs and Muslims who hated the man, but also hated the way he was treated.

Now, the trouble with the Jon Steward comments are huge to me. Here's why, the death of any one is a big deal while we mourn the crazy and bloody ones less, but something is wrong with us if we cheer the death of anyone.

I am sure had footage of the death of Osama Bin Laden and the operation itself been released Jon won't be saying those exact words, he and others feel justified in their actions. I wish we see footage of Anwar Al Waki car after the drones has struck him and sent him to his fate. I am sure all these men have done evil things and have asked for that end.

But no luck, such images will not become public, they classify those videos and even the freedom of the press cannot unlock them. Why? Such images are gruesome too and will give you the creeps. Now Qaddafi's death was filmed using cellphones and other devices, that document the moment of truth. But Jon living in his New York loft will have no problem judgment those man from Mistrata--the very city that Qaddafi promised to raze and bring death and destruction.

I am not happy either about those gruesome images, but Qaddafi wasn't trying to kill me, he has not killed anyone I know or care about. So I defer judgement to those who know him best--his people.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

12 Must Haves for Hipsters

Hipsters are having the time of their lives this year, from the streets of Cairo, the Suburbs of Tunisia, the Squares of Madrid to Occupy Wall Street protestors. It seems the world is having a hipster outbreak of great proportions. It seems to me that hipsters of the world have more than rage at bankers and politicians in common:

  1. A French Press, that's right, hipsters think they will save the world one French Press at a time. Fair Trade Coffee, if you have the French Press, you would need the coffee, here is where the fair trade people come in to sell you a feel good coffee, where you can brag about how awesome you are, thinking about those poor farmers. Making your own coffee sort of earns you the right to condemn "Corporate culture."
  2. Organic Tea and Pabst Blue ribbon bear-- not together. Hipsters might not be big on coffee that's where this comes in. Hipsters spend big bucks on their boutique tea with exotic flavors. Tea infuser is another devise hipsters flaunt in their kitchens.
  3. Skinny Jeans seems to be the national uniform of hipsters wherever you go. Nothing screams louder that you are a hipster as much as those skinny jeans. Go ahead and tell me how much you paid for them, no I won't be surprised. Messenger bags that come with a really long story.
  4. Slow food, organic food and farmers market, just a reminder that hipsters are hated by everyone including themselves. Anything labeled and marketed as made in small batches. Now, we are like to eat healthy, but we like to do it on our own terms. A farmers market brings out all those hidden hipsters in your town, like that little honey that brings in the bear. Next time you want to brag about your involvement with community sustained farming, make sure I give a damn. Grass fed beef sounds nice, I have to admit.
  5. Your reusable shopping bag just makes me want to throw up.
  6. Fixie bike and start acting like some kind of the chosen one as if God gave you this lane. They expect the world to be peaceful, try and cut them and unleash some "peace."
  7. Your collection of independent movies is kind of nice until you open your mouth and start making political statements, I lose interest in both your movies and your naturally low IQ.
  8. What the hell is an Earth friendly sole? How dare you speak on the behalf of the entire earth? It's good to know that you bought a pair of Tom's shoes so that a kid in Africa can have shoes too, but why do you need to announce it to the world?
  9. The whole T-shirt, ribbons, and wrist bands activism is getting old, no one cares about what worthy cause you support now. And do not think of sending me a Facebook invite to join a cause either.
  10. Fair trade diamonds. It's great that you saw that Leonardo DiCaprio movie about diamonds, but do not drive your spouse insane about your unreasonable demands. But now to think about it, if you found someone who would marry you with all your creepy activism, they deserve you. Thanks goodness, most hipsters are too poor to purchase diamonds.
  11. A subscription to Netflix with at least 4 documentaries in your queue, a Hulu subscription where you catch the latest episode of your all-time favorite show Modern Family/Mad Men since you are too broke to have a cable.
  12. Vintage photos and pictures of some old ethnic guy smoking a hookah, a pipe or drinking that south American mate.

Bonus underground music made by people wearing skinny jeans and look like they don't care.

Thrift Shops, if you build them, they will come.

Hat Tip: Joseph Abushawish

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Jihad For Oil: The Good Terrorist vs. The Bad Ones

When the people of Libya finally overthrew the Qaddafi regime, all you can hear is the same you would hear the "Terrorists" in Afghanistan, Iraq chant. They are calling Jihad and they are saying the regular Chant "Good is Great". If you take that scene and put it in one of those other places, the US would be probably booming those cheering gunmen.

But the US and NATO will not bomb these guys in Libya, they are their friends and in fact NATO has given those Islamists a cover to take on the Qaddafi brand that has been tainted. When they announced the death of Qaddafi, a lot of those fighters were saying, We are coming to Jerusalem to liberate and Palestine. One of the spokesman on Aljazeera has even dedicated this win to Ahmad Yaseen, the late founder of Hamas. Another quoted the late Yasir Arafat.

There are many reports about some of those leaders having ties to Al Qaeda and having lived in Afghanistan. some of them have even been abducted and tortured or sent to be tortured by the US and the UK.

I might be only stating the obvious, but what I think is happening here is this, If your Jihad going to stop one of those powerful countries from acquiring oil or gas, then you are bad and you will be taken out. But if your Jihad doesn't undermine my unlimited apatite for energy, then I will embrace you and call you a freedom fighter.

This is not about principles,. democracy and otherwise, this is about self interest and getting elected. France is milking the Libya thing for all its worth. The UK is settling an old score and the US is talking about their new thing "Leading From Behind". I am happy to see Qaddafi and his regime sent to meet their maker, but skeptical about the next step.

Qaddafi is no longer with us, and there's someone up there to judge him, I look forward to watching the new Libya and hopefully one day we will enjoy seeing it free.

P.S. Remember when the US buried Bin Laden in the sea? They made up thing and based it on some obscure bogus rule about the need to bury the body within 24 hours? Qaddafi has not been buried yet! and some have brought the idea of sea burial for him, but the religious figure opposed it.
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An Example Where I'm The Problem: Prayer Line

During the Friday Prayer, as we line up to pray. We are supposed to be all on one line straight line. So the guy to your right and to your left should be shoulder to shoulder. That means your feet also need to be standing straight next to the person next to you.

Now, I have always wondered, why is the line where I stand to my left the line is one level and to my right side, the line is on another level, making the line crooked. I try to fix it by putting my feet on one level, and the other on another to make it look like the line is straight. I thought it was always weird that I someone end up in this crooked line every time.

But then it hit me all of sudden today, I should line myself with the line from my right and not take my cue from the left line. I figured that causes the problem, I should always do what the right does becasue the left side will take their cues form me. They would think I am following the right side, when in fact I am doing what they are doing. So finally I realized the problem, it's not my luck it was me all along who does not choose the right.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Israeli Haters Met With An Arab One

It seems today is a day when haters of Palestine and Israel decided to make their presence known. I read tow news items that gave me the creeps:

  1. Israeli settlers offer a 100,000 dollars for anyone who kills on of two freed Palestinian prisoners in the city of Nabuls. This was made on an extremist and violent settlers website with recent pictures of the two freed prisoners and the reward. In their announcement "the money will be given to anyone who applies the laws of Moses and the Torah" Link in Arabic
  2. An Arab businessman saw the joy the freed prisoners to the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims all over the world and he wanted a sequel. Like a good business man he saw an opportunity. He offered to finance the next Israeli solider abduction Link

On other news Wafaa Albis, a Gaza girl--she lives in proximity to my house meets with her family after 7 years spent in Israeli jail. Watch the moment to see how "murders" show real emotions.
اللحظات الأولى بالقاء المحررة "البس" بأمها | Safa.PS

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Media Stunts And Desperate For Attention Leaders

When presidents of otherwise stable country like want to get in the news, they have to come up with stunts or some acts of nature to get their 15 minutes of fame on the world's stage. For the first time, I am reading something the President of Austria. Why did he make the news you may ask?

Heinz Fischer, Austria's President, Jumps With Parachute From Helicopter (video). Still only 500 people watched the video so far. Hugo Chavez had to get cancer to get the world talking about him again.

The issue of media attention is no problem to Arab/Muslim leaders. It can be a gaffe or some idiotic inaccurate statement and then they are all over the news with labels such as "Crazy", "Antisemitic"...make your pick. For for President Abbas he seems not to have a problem having a story about him in the news on daily basis and the same goes for any Israeli politician. Anytime one of these guys farts, the media is all over his A##.

I am thinking this is not always positive. It must be flattering to see your name and image out there being read by everyone on the globe, but again is the life of the people you are meant to lead getting any better by your presence? I hope this questions gets asked more often.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tribalism, Alive and Well In Israel and The West

Ukrainian native Ereena, hugs her girls after 9 years locked in an Israeli jail, she was arrested with her husband in Bethlehem, sentenced to 40 years.

The West and Israel love to brag about how democratic and how much they value the life of all humans...they claim their armies operate under an ethical code of conduct. But watching the media reaction of today's prisoner swap between Israeli and the Palestinians, I couldn't help but notice how biased the media reports are. While most Arab media outlets covered the Palestinian prisoners and their stories, they have also treated Shalit with humility and refrained from using dehumanizing the solider--even though he wore a uniform, carried a gun and was ready to kill. The stories in Arabic in my conclusion are a lot more fair to the other side than the Israeli ones.

Here's a sample of what many Israeli officials/politicians had to say about this swap:
  1. Those are Palestinians murderers--Israeli president
  2. Europe/White House only Welcomes the release of the Israeli solider Gilad Shalit
  3. We value the life of our own, we care less about those others--Ehud Barak
  4. Our one solider is worth more than those 1027 Palestinians--Haartez, Bibi
  5. Israeli soldiers should kill terrorists 'in their beds' following Shalit deal, former IDF rabbi
Not sure how such statements make you the enlightened one, and the other guy the "savage". One of the freed Palestinian prisoners is two years old, if this is the way you describe a two year old, then your heart and soul are dead.

I know this no one in Israel is happy that the prisoners are home with their loved ones, they all wish these people would die. But I know this, the people of Palestine and namely Gaza are genuinely happy to see the Israeli solider back with his family.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Things To Do In DC For The Halloween

There's a tradition in the DC area where most countries embassies on Halloween night give out candy from their respective countries. I want all the college kids and school children take advantage of that. I may try to take advantage of it this year. All the action is on Massachusetts Avenue where the great bulk of embassies are.

The Greek will be given German candy this time around.
How awesome would it be to have a Halloween party at the Greek Embassy. there's no better place in DC for such a fright than this Greek Embassy-Sure the embassy of Afghanistan is runner up . They are scary times for this one awesome country that gave the world democracy and now asking the world for money. The Greek Embassy Haunted House will scare you all the way, they have so many skeletons and zombies in their closets--The Germans are the guest of honors of course.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

News I Wish Was True

  1. The Israeli embassy closes shops in DC, and moves into new offices in the US State Department--they are ready writing our press releases said an unnamed State department rep.
  2. The Greek Embassy set to move DC its offices into the basement of the German Embassy in Washington, DC--they are already paying our rent said the second secretary for the Greek ambassador.
  3. Outsourcing seems to be a global political trend as well---somebody tell Thomas Friedman, Palestinians @ ATFP are advocating on behalf of Zionists. Israelis @ J Street are advocating on behalf of Palestinians now. Also known as political cross dressing.
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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Marry Them Young And Unleash The Drama

Few months ago, I wrote about a new song by the King of Arabic pop Amr Diab, a song in which he tells a young gal that he wishes she was a bit older --two years older so that he can approach her--maybe marry her or something of that nature. When I heard the sneak peak of the song, I was hoping the king of Arab pop wouldn't include it in his album, but he did. Read more about the song here

Well, it's becoming taboo to marry a person younger than 18 even in the Arab world, even here in the States some states allow those of the tender age of 16 to marry. But in all fairness, 16 year olds do get married sometimes, but in my own family, no one has gotten married younger than the age of 18 but one sister of mine. It's all about being busy and having something that keeps you busy. If one is in school or working full time, they can defer as much as they like to.

Now here's what moved me to write this blog, a relative of mine who married a young gal at the tender age of 16 is now having some domestic disturbance--four years later. What I am hearing is this, that wife whose now 21 has upset her husband because supposedly she has been talking to some of his make friends on the phone and for him that was the end of the line.

If this is true, this is sad. Sure she is at fault for doing that, but we really don't know the circumstance of those alleged phone calls. Now here,s what upsets me: if you are marrying someone at a young age, you should expect them to do things wrong. You cannot be sane in your mind and expect them to act like grownups do.

The main reason people marring younger souls quote is that they want to shape the person they are marrying. Even though, I disagree with that mentality of course, but if their purpose is to mold the their spouses personalities, then they have not done a good job shaping the characters of those they are marrying. That's all.
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Thursday, October 06, 2011

I Go To Hooters For Their Awesome Wings Defense

You know the famous American invention called Hooters, where short wearing young people serving you fast food (burgers, salads and wings) I am a general fan of chicken wings, I just cannot resist those. I have been to hooters once, and I did not know what hooters was. Here's my story:

I came to the States in August 2000, October 2000 a group of graduate students mostly Arab girls on campus told me they are going to eat. there was only one other guy--he is the guy who leads us in prayer sometimes. I went along, they drove to Hooters on the outskirts of Salt Lake City, and I was shocked.

That was only my second month in the States and here I am at this place with people serving food and revealing much skin. For me, a young Gaza boy, this was a strip club, or so it felt to me--not so much now.

The good was good, it wasn't out of this world and yes the guy who used to lead us in prayer ordered wings. "But they have good chicken wings" he argued. So yesterday, in Chinatown here in DC, I was with a group of people and passed by a Hooters, they also made the case they they go their for the wings!

This reminds me of my friend Don who is a sworn vegetarian and yet still uses that Wings line as an excuse to go visit with Hooters. Maybe he hopes for their salad.

So that got my thinking what outlandish claims I should expect these people to say next:

  1. America went to Afghanistan for their awesome Kabobs
  2. I went to Iran for some of their tasty pistachios
  3. I went to the drug dealer to break a twenty
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Won't Spread To Israel

The American movement known as Occupy Wall Street has reached many American cities, and at least one international city Ljlubljana, Slovenia !

Sure the Palestinians cannot take part of such movement but what stops Israel from developing their own version of Occupy Wall Street?

Because the only thing Israelis know how to occupy is Palestine.
Because Israelis are too busy occupying Palestine.
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Bevan Dufty: Genuinely Confuses Me

There's a candidate running for mayor in the city of San Francisco, he is openly gay. But that's why he is in the news. He is making the news becasue his ad for the mayor featured the candidate and his child having fun on the San Fransisco public transpiration.

I care not to comment on this, until I read the highlighted part where I am really genuinely confused about this whole ordeal. A gay man with a child is not the problem here:

The candidate is Bevan Dufty, one of 16 candidates running for Mayor of San Fransisco next month. If he wins, he’ll be the first openly-gay mayor of the city known for being an important home to the LGBT community and those who advocate for its civil rights.

The child is Sidney, Dufty’s daughter and a source of controversy even in the highly tolerant Bay Area. When Dufty — then a member of the board of supervisors — decided to have her with a lesbian friend with whom he had no romantic attachment back in 2006, a local reporter balked, sparking controversy.

Gay parenting, once a highly controversial subject (it still is in some parts) has seen a rise in support in public polling, just as same-sex marriage has. Even though it’s San Francisco, where strides in LGBT acceptance are somewhat dog bites man, the ad could be the first of what may become a common occurrence on the political stage: A gay candidate running openly as a family man.
To read more click here

The source of my confusion is this, he is gay and this gay man has a baby with a lesbian woman. So in essence, a gay can have sex with a woman is the purpose is child bearing. I like the part where it says they are not romantically attached. This does not mean anything, really many straight couples are not romantically attached but yet they have babies together.

For all those loud advocates who argue that being gay is natural, comes this guy and undermines the whole argument. He makes being gay as a choice or perhaps he makes child bearing a choice. Again I respect Dufty for wanting children and bringing one to this world, but that doesn't mean I am not confused.

Having said that, it's his every right to have a family and I have no doubt he makes a great father.
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Friday, September 30, 2011

Thinking Outside The Box....

What if some Arab country did a peace gesture and offered to extend citizenship to the Israelis. That could be done in a way to say, we really love those Israelis and we do not want to harm them, we just want them to become like us.

Israels will accept or refuse, but the gesture would be some PR stunt about good wills. The Israelis would then look bad, they are the ones who refuse to be part of the region, not the other way around. Most Israelis hold a second citizenship at the moment, mostly European and American citizenship.

So say now an Israeli is killed--I do not want anyone to lose their lives, the news will report a Saudi has gotten killed today and no one would lift a finger. It's just another dead Arab, it won't make the news. We know that Israel does not want to give its citizenship to the Palestinian, you can be sure of that. So the Palestinian cannot get sympathy if his/her death was reported as an "Israeli dies" headline.

Arabs believe that the death of Arab means little to super powers of the world, they frankly don't care about a dead Arab. Israel can kill a million Arab and France, UK, and the US will look the other way. Of course there people get away with killing Arabs every chance they can--sure they try not to do it, it's bad for business.

I think we should try this approach, this has nothing to do with religion, it's about changing the rules of the game without anybody eliminating the other. If you are building walls, they can keep you in as well as keep folks out. I say give the Israelis a citizenship of some other Arab country--I am sure Oman would be happy to print extra passports in an effort to get people to know that they actually exist.

P.S. this is not a call or endorsement of violence, it only begets violence.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rich Lazy Men Hate Poor Lazy Men

As a news junkie and someone who lives in DC--yet along being a Palestinian, interest in politics comes naturally. As such, I have been following those GOP Republican debates for the nominates running in the primary hoping to be the next candidate who will unseat Obama and reclaim the White House.

I stopped at something Newt Gingrich said:
"It is fundamentally wrong to give people money for 99 weeks for doing nothing,"
This is something I find Republicans tend to agree with. They made it clear they don't like to give others welfare and they certainly hate handouts. I think most sane people agree with that. America gives you an opportunity to prosper, not an opportunity ti kick back and live of the hard work of others.

What I find that almost never get that kind of attention is the lazy rich people with a lot of money who don't have to step outside their front door to get a paycheck coming from interests and earning. I find a lot wrong with that:

  1. Most people should work for their money and be able to keep what they earn, no one is entitled to those money--they are yours to keep.
  2. No one makes it in this world alone, we are connected to one another in more ways that we like to admit. Your company used the roads that Joe's tax money paid for. Your workers are educated becasue Tom paid his property tax.
  3. Islam instructs us against living on interest and not doing a real job. As far as I know no other religion asks of you to dance around hard work.
  4. For these people to make money someone has to lose something. Think about a company that wants to improve their earning so Richie can have his income. They will skimp on products, shrink the product, fire people, cut corners, or game the system and if all fails there is creative accounting.
I do not know how those lazy people who are no different than the other lazy people. Sure one has money and the other has none. But in principle they are all doing the same thing, earning money when they don't put any real work in exchange. Spending your time at cocktail parties, galas, is no different than getting a 500 dollar check in rent subsidy. They are both morally wrong. my point is this: All people have to work for their money, no handouts.
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The America That Really Scares Me!

Had those images of police officers come from a different country, America will raise hell. Can some rational person tell me what makes those police officer any different than the Mubarak and the Qaddafi thugs?

Again, I love the police, they are doing a lot of work that no body wants to do, they keep law and order and make life easier for many of us. Sometimes, they put their lives in the line. but somehow this is all missing and this all becomes trivial when those armed officers take on the protesters in New York.

I do not really Understand it, this is a free country, why are they so harsh with those who dare to raise a different opinion? Sure some might be disorderly, but the action of the police is not quite ethical. Macing young women and beating up a camera man.

I do not know if there's a happy medium either, but reach in your heart and tell me, do you feel these people had freedom of speech? Do you think those police officers are right to do what they did against unarmed coffee sipping activists?

I cannot say, it's a proud moment for anybody. My trouble is this, now any dictator or some militant person cause this material to justify their actions. Sure you think you are right and they are wrong, but see it from their side...using that logic the Syrian might be right in their action.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

How Rage Will Save Your Marriage

When I first got married, I thought to myself, I will always be cool and be in control. In my mind that means to control my anger and emotion--be cool under pressure. That's how I lived most of my life and it seemed to work out well. Getting angry never solve much and in fact it could make things worse and aggravate the situation.

I am here to confess, I was wrong. I think sometimes your spouse sees your lack of anger and rage is negative--he doesn't care enough to get upset by whatever it's bothering me. Or worse, you might be accused of not being good at showing your emotion. So I now realize, that if the situation calls for anger, I do not shy away from it, I show my anger and that communicates something about me that puts my spouse at ease.

I found it helpful to me in many circumstances when I show my anger, I end the debate and take control of the matter being discused--whether it's the land lady not replacing the fridge or the wedding photographer who ruined out pictures. Being calm doesn't give the impression that you are serious. Rage seems to be taking more seriously that the other person's concerts really do matter to you enough to make you feel angry.

The rage I am referring to you is not where you hurt other people emotionally or physically. It's the kind of person that tackles the issue not the person. The rage that sent droves of people to give Obama the presidency, and the same rage that take it away form him.

It might be something particular to my household, but something tells me, I am not alone.
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Friday, September 23, 2011

My Thoughts On The Abbas' UN Speech

I am listening to the speech by President Abbas deliver this much promised speech and I am happy to report that I found a reasonable man. He sounds a lot wiser, but he also sounds like he has been disappointed in the Israel government.

He pretty much brought out all the skeletons from the closet and debunked all those Israeli arguments and talking points, one by one. He just made the case and highlighted the peaceful intentions. He sounded like a fighter whose going to change the course. Sure, his past actions might have questionable moments.

I liked the part when he asked the assembly if they think the people of Palestine are just an "extra" or "disposable" in the Middle East. It sort of bring it back to the human rights issue. I think the part where he talked about the settlers attacking people with their dogs--should have been left out. We do not want to alienate the dog lovers. I might have added a qualifier there to make the point. He stumbled few times on words, and there was a photo op when he held the UN bid in his hand for everyone to see.

Another moment that surprised me when he mentioned Yasir Arafat Coming to this assembly in 1974, there was a standing ovation for this legendary iconic leader. in General that was well written speech that touched on emotional and real issues like the prisoners in Israeli jails and the refuges scattered around the glob.

Still there might be some backroom deal where we will have to go back to business as usual. However, the UN General Assembly seemed to love, respect and approve the speech. Quoting a famous Palestinians poet about how the people of Palestine are "not going anywhere" was a high point. I think that was the moment when my eye felt watery.

I do not think Abbas is a gifted orator, he has never managed to connect in away that inspires, but his works did just that for him today. Sure, they are words, but words have meaning too.

We really now have to wait and see how this plays out. One thing for sure, Abbas goes home where he will be greeted like a champion, while I think this would be nice, I hope that was not the end goal.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Will Abbas Fool Palestinians Once More Time?

I was one of the millions of Palestinians who thought wrongful that President Abbas has finally found his voice and decided to say enough is enough. It might be early to say that, but My president has let me and the majority of the people at home down. He talked like he was going to take us into a trip to the moon and instead, he took us to Wendy's.

Reports are coming out that Abbas is now OK with delaying the Security Council vote on Palestine bid to become a state. So he is buying more time, again. But time has never been the problem. Israel has taken all the time in the world 20 years and have delivered nothing of substance that meat the aspiration of the people in Palestine.

For months, President Abbas and leaders of his government and party have been talking like if they were the reincarnation of Saladin, and they put on a good show. People in Palestine and outside bought ate it up. Needless to say I am disappointed, and the size of my disappointment is as big as the size of my expectations.

I have always liked Abbas and thought he has the interest of the people in his mind, but his sudden change of heart tells me he is just using the populist approach to build up his support and rally the troops. He milked the UN bid and gave me and many others that he is a fighter that will stop at nothing until the dream has been realized. I guess I drank the cool aid and now the pitcher is empty.

I thought by his promise to go all the way to Security Council he was showing some leadership, but his mixed messages now once he met With the American and the French Presidents Wednesday night, tells me his is a politician. I do not think he has any more tricks in his bag, this new deadline the French worked where in a year there will be a state is yet another ploy.

Now is the chance to act or no one will take you seriously the next time you are asking for the same thing. Today, the Palestinians have the eyes and the ears of the world, let that be clear. It seems that the world is ushering a new era that will be ruled by the extremists. The Israelis have them running their government now and the Palestinians in the post Abbas era will have their turn and then no one wins.

President Abbas, if your change of heart is true and if you budge on this matter, then you are not a leader. All you need to do is to look behind you and see that no one is following, now you can go back to being a payroll service for cops who protest Israel and teachers who cannot teach their own history.

"When the wicked rules the righteous mourns," put that in your political pipe and smoke on it for a bit.
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Jesus Won't Veto The Palestine UN Bid

The Palestine bid for statehood in the UN is really about justice. For at least 7 years, the leadership of Palestine has done every single thing they have been asked to do. President Abbas went above and beyond--even imprisoning his own people at times to make the Israelis feel safe. Abbas has been there on day one since the negotiation started and he was the guy who singed Oslo.

Abbas risked everything by following orders fro the US and Israel, despite what the Israelis are saying now, they know they know they have a friend in him. However, the American and Israelis have ridden Abbas like a donkey. Now he just had enough and as promised by President Obama who said last year, he wants to see a Palestine join the UN in this time of this year.

chasing the elusive peace with Israel is like chasing the cool side of the pillow, it seems out of reach. Abbas got nothing, Bibi refused to talk to him, and worse the right wing Israeli government has been grabbing more land and yet killing more Palestinians. Violence by Palestinians toward Israelis is at all time low--even in hostile Gaza. Bibi never committed to a Palestinian state--so he is the one that took unilateral moves not the Palestinians.

And those asking the Palestinians for compromise must have just landed on planet earth from outer-space or have just woken up form a coma. Because asking the Palestinians to compromise is like asking a naked guy to reveal more.

It's sickening really. By talking for the same of talking while what you hope to score in those negotiations is shrinking by the day doesn't make for a sound future. Leaders of the world are backing Palestine with the exception for half a dozen--Germany for one. The US will veto if they have to, why because they are looking for their best interest. That's reasonable! But why are they trying to stop the Palestinians from pursing theirs?

We all know that Jesus doesn't have to get reelected. Otherwise, the mighty Jewish lobby would have to crucify him for that offense.

On second thought, I am beginning to think this, the Palestinians are seeking independence form Israel. Yet, something tells me the US is not free from Israel. If the US if free from Israel's pressure, then they would support the Palestine bid at the UN. In other words, the Americans want the Palestinians to be just like them--under the mercy of the governments of Israel.
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lupe Fiasco Takes a Bullet For Palestine

Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco doesn't play it safe, he speaks up his mind. For rappers that means talking about their "Hood", "Benjamins" and "Bi*ches". Lupe wants none to do with that, his thing is Palestine.

Lupe is a very well informed rapper who knows a thing or two about world affairs. While he knows his managers might not appreciate his tough line on Israel, the fans seem to love his stands on Justice and Palestine.

I have written before about Lupe's activism on Palestine before (here and here), but this time, a brother of my freind was attending his concert with a Palestinian flag. The rapper saw that and asked Sami to come up on the stage with to wave the flag.

Toward the end of the song Lupe took up the flag, and its only right for him to do so as the Palestinians go to the UN asking for a state. Lupe seems to be well versed on the topic and he is talking about the issue. Lupe is the man. I salute him for giving a voice for those who have none.

Lupe Fiasco - Beautiful Lasers Live (Palestine)
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Myths About Palestine's UN Bid For Recognition

  1. This is not a unilateral move, a unilateral move would be if the Palestinians declared the state on their own. There are about 124 countries that support that bid. It takes 2/3 of the UN General Assembly to make this bid a reality. So to call is a unilateral move is bizarre. There are enough votes to secure that bid. Even those holding out are either small islands or countries that would support if their support would make a difference. The UN Secretary General even declared his support tot his bid.
  2. This bid poses a threat to peace. Not sure if you have not noticed, there's no peace and there is no peace process. So the bid cannot be a threat to something that is dead. You really cannot beat that dead horse. No violence, arrogance, and getting away with violations is the true danger to peace. The Palestinian largely have denounced violence. And going to the UN is not like going to Iran asking for weapons. They are wearing suits and asking to join a country club not a terrorist training camp.
  3. Negotiation is the best route for the state. 20 years of negotiations beg to differ with that conclusion. The Palestinians have submitted to the peace process and have seen their land shrink and their condition deteriorate. More talks for the sake of talks and photo opt is not an option. That would be insanity where you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.
  4. The Israelis wants to negotiate. that's a farce. You cannot negotiate on a thing that is as we speak being made smaller by the minute. Think about it like if it's a pizza. The Israelis and the Palestinians are negotiation over the cheese pizza who gets to keep what. As the talk goes on, the Israelis are throwing in pepperoni as a topping and the peperoni free portion of the pizza shrinks. Keep on mind Palestinians do not eat that pepperoni. Would you negotiate?
  5. The road to The State of Palestine goes through Jerusalem and Ramallah--as said by Hillary Clinton. The very statement is an insult to the struggle of the Palestinians. One of the outcomes of the negotiation is to resolve the status of Jerusalem--Here Sec. Hillary gives it flat out to Israel.
  6. The Israelis want peace! Neither Bibi nor Lieberman want peace, and they refuse to recognize a Palestinian State. If you think those tow lunatics would grant the people of Palestine a state, then the moon is defiantly made out of cheese. Add to that, Egypt and Turkey have seen their relations with Israel head south due to this childish and selfish policies the current right wing Israeli government subscribes to.
  7. The US will veto, this is not a surprise for anyone. the US will always choose Israel and I am afraid they will realize their mistake when it's too late. I would like to the see the footage of Ambassador Rice saying in the Security Council NO! that video will make millions of views and it will do wonders if used. there's not enough money in the world to erase that picture.
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American Coach To Lead Egyptain National Soccer

Robert "Bob" Bradley, the famed American soccer coach who did wonders with the US soccer team last year is headed toward taking charge of Egypt's National Soccer team. This is the best of two worlds, Bob is a fine coach with a lot of games and tricks in his playbook. I like him and I think he is the right man for the job.

Bob beat Egypt in 2010 in one soccer game, it was a humiliating defeat for the Number 1 soccer team in Africa and Arabia. So you can tell Bob knows a thing or two about Egyptian soccer. Other coaches were considered, some local and some Serbian and a Colombian soccer legend. All are fine names, but I think the money and the set of ideas helped Bob get the job.

Bob was a finalist and his contracts is being reviewed right now. He will be getting 35 K a month for his services. In the world of soccer that's not a lot of money, and the Egyptian national soccer league said they can afford that salary. In addition to bringing his superior coaching skills, Bob will also bring the attention of US sport media to Egypt and its national soccer team.

Bob is a big name in soccer--sure soccer is not a big game itself, but meet me in 10 years form now. I think both Bob and Egypt will benefit form this contract. I am sure if Bob does well, he will be happy. But I hope the people of Egypt are patient enough with this fine coach. It takes time, and according to the Egypt Soccer League, Bob has a lot of fine ideas to bring back this embattled team. In 2009-2010 Egypt was the number 9 soccer team in the world, now they are doing much worse.

Bob can also build up his name again with Egyptian soccer, he no longer coaches the US soccer team, but in Egypt there's so much potential and an amazing area to build a global fame.
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