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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