Thursday, January 27, 2005

African blogroll and other places I like

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that many Africans were blogging from my beloved continent ( after all I'm African too ) check out this quite extensive list with relevant links. Hope you will enjoy another aspect of the blogging world.

On another note I made friends with a Maltese blogger ( * me waving to Robert*), since I love Malta very much, ladies and gentlemen I give you a 'window' on Malta : WIRED TEMPLES.

Many emailed me that they could not find the link to vote on the Arab Blog Awards, well obviously it was because I only linked to the site per se and not the voting section - as you probably noticed I did not canvass for votes . But if you are really interested than why not? here it is
* best Arab ( English)
* best every day life
* best politics

oh boy blogging has become an addiction, better go to sleep now.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Monday, January 24, 2005

Food for thought #2 (2005)

'We have to recognize once and for all that people do not think as we command them to think or as it would suit us for them to think; that the truth is not the monopoly of any particular group or profession; and that, when the illuminating rays of truth touch anyone in any corner of the world, the event alters the geometry of all that was known before. And the clever people are those who keep a close eye on where these rays are appearing or disapearing; who can distinguish between brightness and darkness ; and who do not lock themselves into darkness forever by shutting their eyes. '

Abdolkrim Soroush Contraction and Expansion of Religious Knowledge p.9

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Eid Adha Mabrouk Everybody

Today is the 2nd day of the Eid al-Adha. This feast is the most important one in the Islamic world. If they are not performing Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca than the majority of Muslims will sacrifice a sheep on the first day and distribute most of it to the poor people. But the Eid is also very much a family day. Muslims go in the morning to the special Eid prayer and when it ends they return home in processions chanting Allahu Akbar ( God is Great!). Every Eid that I hear this song I feel a weird flashback as if I was back in Arabia at the time of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and that I was taking part in the procession which entered Mecca victoriously. After the prayers, the families who are making a sacrifice in honour of the Jewish Prophet Abraham who was ordered to prove his faith by sacrificing his own son and who was saved from doing this at the last minute by God...This is a holiday all over the Muslim World, it usually lasts from 4 to 10 days (lucky them) depending on which country you live in. In Libya it is 4 days. It is fun also because we make barbecues and there is a general air of picnic. In the afternoon/evening families visit each other from the closest to the most remote cousins of the tribe ; no one is left out. Neighbours also visit each other and send greetings. Families lso visit the graves of their loved ones and pray for them. This season should better be spent in a Muslim country/or environment.

However the Eid is only the culmination of the period of the pilgrimage or Hajj as stated above. I was going to write about it in detail , but I found that the BBC have done an accurate story so I'll leave you to check it out step by step here and learn a little bit more about the Muslim culture, while I go talk to my family online since I'm missing the whole fun this year.
Have fun everyone with the 'glaiya', '3usban' and all the goodies.. gosh I'm salivating.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

'They' just shot her parents

18th of January - Iraq: this kid and her siblings were orphaned courtesy of the US army at a checkpoint, just in time for the Eid al-Adha (the most important Muslim feast - more on that later). I guess 'they' have made a lifelong friend...and don't let me get started on the abuse/torture photos again. Go watch the whole sequence here on BBC ..warning it is graphic for the faint of heart.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Best Arab Blogs Award nominee ? cool

I was reading Kuwait Unplugged as usual, when I noticed that he mentioned being nominated for Best Arab Blogs Awards in several categories, and he really deserves it ! Best Arab Blogs Award was set up by Mahmood a blogger from Bahrein at Mahmood's den this guy rocks. Anyway I went to the link to vote for Zaydoun of Kuwait Unplugged ( voting started yeserday) and I was pleasantly surprised to find that yours truly has been nominated as well in 3 categories for best Arabic (English) blog, best everyday life blog and best politics blogs. I wish to thank the anomymous person who nominated my blog : THANK YOU that was so sweet of you.I wish I knew who you are, didn't think people would notice my ramblings ;)

Now for anyone reading here, if you have the time go and enjoy Zaydoun , Mahmood and the Best Arab Blogs Awards websites, you will find links to lots of interesting subjects and countries.

Personaly I am going to vote for Kuwait Unplugged and Riverbend from Baghdad Burning , and if it was not too late I would have nominated O, from the Iraqispirit .

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Boots & Trains in London

Apologies to all who have sent email and to whom I have not replied :)
Haven’t been near a PC since Thursday, not that I miss it ! It’s such a relief to put away all this for a couple of days.
Anyway I was in London for a long weekend, Friday was nice and sunny but then the temperature dropped overnight. I enjoyed myself thoroughly browsing the wonderful bookshops there but also window-shopping on ‘highstreet’, where else but Oxford street?
Things are ridiculously expensive in the UK but even more so in London.
My most mundane activity was looking for a pair of black leather boots. The joke of the day was that if I could not find my dream boots in Oxford street or Harrods then, we would have to fly to Italy specifically. Well I found superb boots, unfortunately another woman was wearing them. Being me I just walked up to her and asked: “ where did you get these boots they are fabulous?” I think she must have been shocked, as this is not typical British behaviour ;).

If you have the time the underground can be great fun, just buy a day pass and off you go riding all day long from on place to another. Mind you watch out for the zones, and remember not to fold that ticket in your pocket, I had the most embarrassing moments at the gate each time.
Anyway London was ‘cool’ but I still prefer Beirut.
It’s 3:30 am now and I can’t sleep as my routine has been disrupted so might as well blog. We went out to dinner with some dear friends and they knew I had to leave on the same day. Yours truly had previously inquired about trains departing from London to ‘X’ and was informed that there was one EVERY hour, so I was cool and confident, but what the information desk staff omitted to mention was that there were no trains in the evening anymore on weekends only coaches . So what do you do at 10.00 pm at the railway station, when your friends have gone back home and you can’t find a ride to your next destination ? Honestly I felt like crying, because no matter how independent some of us are, we Libyan or Arab women are very spoiled, there will always be someone to carry your bag, if you talk to people on the street they will be friendly and protective and though the station was pretty full I started having bad scenarios in my head, not forgetting that I was going to be late for ‘X’. Well if I wanted to leave London that night there was only one way, get a coach. That’s not my cup of tea, it was something I was trying to avoid, plus Victoria Station was not near. Now the underground did not seem so friendly anymore....was getting kind of empty. To cut a story short, I got to Victoria station and managed to secure a place on a very crowded coach to X, it seems everyone was leaving London on Saturday night? Of course when I arrived at X a few hours later, sleepy and frumpy, there were no more taxis at the coach station so I had to ring my best friend to come for me after all. Well what are friends for? will post this then go giggle with her a bit about our school days.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A lesson in security studies: Frankfurt airport January 2005

The best part when you are stuck at an airport for a couple of hours and you don't feel like reading a book or eating the silly nuts at the lounge is guess what ? shopping yay :)
Well I was looking for some interesting shopping some days ago to pass the time and maybe get a few good deals ( you never know with duty free). Shopping I thought was a pretty inoffensive activity. But it seems not anymore, I was surprised that all travellers were prevented from going into section B of the airport for a restricted amout of time. Why do you think? easy , because the frontiers of the United States fight against 'terror' (the new buzz word) has moved to European airports and the restriction of the freedom of other travellers. Yes, actually because there was a flight to the US in section B it has been cordoned off and passengers were prevented from approaching that area. Now if you happen to have a flight departing from one of the gates in that area expect to be asked to come back after the US flight has taken off , unless your plane was leaving more or less at the same time, then it 's another story. However, I did not see any other signs for flights in that section all gates were empty except the flight to the US. Cool those passenger had almost quarter of the airport to themselves . I wonder how much the airport is loosing in sales in that section ?
It must be a terrible pressure that because the US had done a lax job of guarding its own airports it expext EU allies to do the job for her and everybody else to be inconvenienced. But then hey that's a very good security procedure .

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Food for thought #1 for 2005

'The " expansion" of Western society or of internatinal society was achieved through the subjugation, plunder, and in some cases massacre, of colonial societies'. Fred Halliday , 1994 (p.62)

Lest we ever forget...any thoughts?

Friday, January 07, 2005

In case you were wondering how I spent New Year’s Eve

You would be surprised to know that it had more in common with Iraq than with partying. So about 8 PM that night just as the whole family was settling in for a quiet night of watching a nice movie on Channel 2 and enjoying pancakes with honey and nice cup of green started raining. Well that’s not a problem you would say- or is it ? Actually it is, if the rain increases in intensity and is accompanied by thunder. So we had us a beautiful thunderstorm. The lightning struck the electricity pole and of course no more electricity or light etc… which means no more TV, but also no more heating and no more water since our water supply in the house depends on the automatic pump system. When the heaters are off, the temperature in our houses drops at an alarming rate ( house are not really built to cope with extreme cold). So we’re there freezing (it’s -5 degrees outside) in the dark, listening to the sound of thunder ‘explosions’ outside. Nice scenario eh? But that was not all, we had to put up with the howling wind with a gale force of I don’ know how much , but which was frightening enough to have put in my cousin’s head ( who was staying over at our house that night) the grim notion that a tsunami is coming to the Tripoli shores as well ( we live a 100 metres from the beach). She actually suggested that we go sleep on the roof ?!? what in this cold ? no way, let the tsunami come …

10:30 am January 1st 2005
Damage assessment:

2 dead telephone lines struck by lighting
2 very dead telephones
1 UPS struck by lightning (thank God it as not the PC)
1 fried scanner as well
1 fried digital satellite receiver
1 very traumatized cat :)
Me with the flu :(

Could have been worse, thank god we are all alive. No Tsunami and no War.
Let me mention that this has been an extremely cold winter in Libya and in other North African countries and in the Middle-East, just to know how cold it was it even snowed in the Gulf states !