Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Eclipse

Since I'm in Tunisia I'm of course missing this year's important event in Libya , namely the eclipse. But missing it does not mean I'm going to forget about it does it ?

There are lots of myths and urban legends about this phenomenon, and Khadijateri is telling us some of the more silly ones that ignorance breeds as well. The "point of greatest eclipse will occur in southern Libya at 1011 GMT (1111 BST) ". Which means it happened about an hour ago :).

Blogger Adam reporting from Waw elnamuss is wondering why I am in Tunisia on vacation instead of eclipse -watching.

Well first of all I'm not really on vacation but for other very important issues which cannot be put off, however to make at least something good from a bad situation I thought I'd combine it with a rest. Plus anyway my plans for going to the eclipse area fell thru because primo as Khadijateri said it here "#2 - it's a long drive out there", and no one wanted to come with me and secundo , because the tourist companies who are the official ones allowed to take you there are asking exorbitant prices of over 2600 $ which someone like me cannot afford to stay in a 5 -star tent. Some other dealers asked for 250 Dinars which is one months salary of an employee, who will spend that kind of money and stay hungry for the rest of the month? So no I can't go....

I'm comforting myself with the thought that a long time ago my family and I had the incredible luck of being in the thick of a total eclipse. My school at that time exploited the event to the full ( unlike 7mada's comment here ) and took us eclipse watching it was a great day which I will never forget. Of course I won't tell where or when this happened because this would reveal Highlander's'll have to take my word for it !

It seems there are thousands of visitors for this event and mostly Americans , I'm surprised at that, but the tours are sold out . To be honest it felt kind of weird to wander around the souk last week and in the Green Square and hear all these English speaking voices. Ah remind why am I in Tunis missing all these good looking guys lol ....

I hope people will share their photos and experiences with me here on the blog .

Monday, March 27, 2006

Rules for Palestine - Israel basketball game

A palestinian friend sent me this email today which attempts to describe ( as joke ) a game of basketball between an Israeli and a Palestinian team . This is the personal view of many of her compatriots who are currently living in the Occupied Territories. So I think it deserves to be at least looked into as it reflects what the so called 'other' thinks. Each side has a grievance against the other and maybe the international community should try and really constructively help both sides put aside these grievances in a win-win scenario which would ensure both parties will keep their 'face' aka honour intact .

My readers who enjoy controversy you will be delighted .... here you go people have a good discussion ( no flaming please ).


Rule 1: Israelis have the right to play on both sides of the court, whereas Palestinians can only play on their own side.
Rule 2: For security reasons Palestinians do not have the right to pass the ball between players, the ball could hit an Israeli player.
Rule 3: There will be no basket on the Israeli side.
Rule 4: Israel is allowed to shoot at any time even during time-outs.
Rule 5: Palestinians are not allowed to have supporters. Only Israelis should be supported.
Rule 6: Israel selects the sports press writers and what they report.
Rule 7: Israel encourages Palestinians to shoot into the Palestinian basket. Players who refuse will be nominated as terrorists and will not be allowed to play.
Rule 8: Palestinian players are allowed to leave the field, but cannot return. One exception: A Palestinian can be replaced by an Israeli!
Rule 9: Israel selects and instructs the referees, and tells them when to look away.
Rule 10: Israel is authorized to select the captain of the Palestinian team.
Rule 11: Israeli team's faults and Palestinian good plays will not be shown on TV.
Rule 12: Israel takes the money which sponsors pay to Palestinians clubs.
Rule 13: Only Israeli players get refreshments.
Rule 14: Palestinians are required to play, when and where designated by Israel.
Rule 15: Rules only apply to Palestinians; Israelis may change the rules during the game and are not required to advise the Palestinians of the changes.
Vacation in Tunis

Greetings from Tunisia , I'm on vacation here so blogging may be spotty, which does not mean you should not check my updates or send me emails or comments :)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A dangerous life ! sequels of bird flu

Can't eat beef... Mad cow
Can't eat chicken... bird flu
Can't eat eggs ... salmonella scare
Can't eat fish ... heavy metals in the waters has poisoned their meat
Can't eat fruits and veggies ... insecticides and herbicides

I'm wondering what can we eat ?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Which Tree are you ?

Find your birthday and then find your tree as per Celtic astrology (got it via email ):

Dec 23 to Jan 01 Apple Tree
Jan 01 to Jan 11 Fir Tree
Jan 12 to Jan 24 Elm Tree
Jan 25 to Feb 03 Cypress Tree
Feb 04 to Feb 08 Poplar Tree
Feb 09 to Feb 18 Cedar Tree
Feb 19 to Feb 28 Pine Tree
Mar 01 to Mar 10 Weeping Willow Tree
Mar 11 to Mar 20 Lime Tree
Mar 21 (only) Oak Tree
Mar 22 to Mar 31 Hazelnut Tree
Apr 01 to Apr 10 Rowan Tree
Apr 11 to Apr 20 Maple Tree
Apr 21 to Apr 30 Walnut Tree
May 01 to May 14 Poplar Tree
May 15 to May 24 Chestnut Tree
May 25 to June 03 Ash Tree
June 04 to June 13 Hornbeam Tree
June 14 to June 23 Fig Tree
June 24 (only) Birch Tree
June 25 to July 04 Apple Tree
July 05 to July 14 Fir Tree
July 15 to July 25 Elm Tree
July 26 to Aug 04 Cypress Tree
Aug 05 to Aug 13 Poplar Tree
Aug 14 to Aug 23 Cedar Tree
Aug 24 to Sep 02 Pine Tree
Sep 03 to Sep 12 Weeping Willow Tree
Sep 13 to Sep 22 Lime Tree
Sep 23 (only) OLIVE! Tree
Sep 24 to Oct 03 Hazelnut Tree
Oct 04 to Oct 13 Rowan Tree
Oct 14 to Oct 23 Maple Tree
Oct 24 to Nov 11 Walnut Tree
Nov 12 to Nov 21 Chestnut Tree
Nov 22 to Dec 01 Ash Tree
Dec 02 to Dec 11 Hornbeam Tree
Dec 12 to Dec 21 Fig Tree
Dec 22 (only) Beech Tree


Apple Tree (Love) -- quiet and shy at times, lots of charm, appeal and attraction, pleasant attitude, flirtatious, smile, adventurous, sensitive, loyal in love, wants to love and be loved, faithful and tender partner, very generous, many talents, loves children, needs affectionate partner.

Ash Tree (Ambition) -- extremely attractive, vivacious,impulsive,demanding, does not care for criticism, ambitious,intelligent,talented, likes to play with fate, can be very egotistic, reliable,
restless lover, sometimes money rules ! over the heart,demands attention, needs love and much emotional support.

Beech Tree (Creative) -- has good taste,concerned about its looks,materialistic, good organization of life and career,economical,good leader, takes no unnecessary risks,reasonable, splendid lifetime companion,keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.).

Birch Tree (Inspiration) -- vivacious,attractive, elegant,friendly,unpretentious, modest, does not like anything in excess,abhors the vulgar, loves life in nature and in calm, not very passionate, full of imagination, little ambition, creates a calm and content atmosphere.

Cedar Tree (Confidence) -- of rare strength,knows how to adapt,likes unexpected presents, of good health, not in the least shy,tendsto look down on others, self-confident, a great speaker, determined, often impatient, likes to impress others, has many talents,industrious,healthy optimism, waits for the one true love, able to make quick decisions.

Chestnut Tree (Honesty) -- of unusual stature, impressive,well-developed sense of justice, fun to be around,a planner, born diplomat, can be irritated easily, sensitive of others feelings,hard worker, sometimes acts superior, feels not understood at times,fiercely family oriented, very loyal in love, physically fit.

Cypress Tree (Faithfulness) -- strong,muscular, adaptable,takes what life has to give but doesn't necessarily like it, strives to be content, optimistic, wants to be financially independent, wants love and affection, hates loneliness, passionate lover which cannot be satisfied,faithful,quick -tempered at times, can be unruly and careless, loves to gain knowledge, needs to be needed.

Elm Tree (Noble-mindedness) -- pleasant shape, tasteful clothes,modest demands, tends not to forgive mistakes,cheerful, likes to Lead but not to obey, honest and faithful partner,likes making decisions for others,noble-minded, generous, good sense of humor,practical.

Fig Tree (Sensibility) -- very strong minded,a bit self-willed,honest, loyal, independent, hates contradiction or arguments, hard worker when wants to be, loves life and friends,enjoys children and animals, few sexual relationships, great sense of humor, has artistic talent and great intelligence.

Fir tree (Mysterious) -- extraordinary taste,handles stress well,loves anything beautiful, stubborn, tends to care for those close to them, hard to trust others, yet a social butterfly, likes idleness And laziness after long demanding hours at work,rather modest, talented,unselfish, many friends, very reliable.

Hazelnut Tree (Extraordinary) -- charming,sense of humor,very demanding but can also be very understanding,knows how to make a lasting impression, active fighter for social
causes and politics,popular, quite moody, sexually oriented, ! honest, a perfectionist,has a precise sense of judgment and expects complete fairness.

Hornbeam Tree (Good Taste) -- of cool beauty,cares for its looks and condition, good taste, is not egoistic, makes life as comfortable as possible, leads a reasonable and disciplined life,looks for kindness and acknowledgment in an emotional partner, dreams of unusual lovers, is seldom happy with its feelings, mistrusts most people, is never sure of its decisions, very conscientious.

Lime Tree (Doubt) - intelligent, hard working, accepts what life dishes out, but not before trying to change bad circumstances into good ones, hates fighting and stress, enjoys getaway
vacations, may Appear tough, but is actually soft and relenting, always willing to make sacrifices for family and friends, has many talents but not always enough time to use them, can become a complainer, great leadership qualities, is jealous at times but extremely loyal.

Maple Tree (Independence of Mind) -- no ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved,ambitious, proud,self-confident, hungers for new experiences,sometimes nervou! s, has Many complexities, good memory,learns easily, complicated love life, wants to impress.

Oak Tree (Brave) -- robust nature, courageous, strong,unrelenting,independent, sensible, does not like change, keeps its Feet on the ground, person of action.

Olive Tree (Wisdom) -- loves sun, warmth and kind feelings,reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression and violence, tolerant,cheerful, calm, well-developed sense of justice,sensitive, empathetic,free of jealousy,loves to read and the company of sophisticated people.

Pine Tree (Peacemaker) -- loves agreeable company, craves peace and harmony, loves to help others, active imagination,likes to write poetry, not fashion conscious, great compassion, friendly to all,falls strongly in love but will leave if betrayed or lied to, emotionally SOFT!, low self esteem, needs affection and reassurance.

Poplar Tree (Uncertainty) -- looks very decorative, talented,not very self-confident, extremely courageous if necessary, needs good will and pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity,great artistic nature, good organizer, tends to lean toward philosophy,reliable in any situation, takes partnership seriously.

Rowan Tree (Sensitivity) -- full of charm,cheerful, gifted Without egoism, likes to draw attention, loves life,motion, unrest,and even complications, is both dependent and independent, good taste,artistic, passionate, emotional, good company,does not forgive.

Walnut Tree (Passion) -- unrelenting, strange and full of contrasts,often egotistic, aggressive, noble, broad horizon,unexpected reactions,spontaneous, unlimited ambition, no flexibility,difficult and uncommon partner! , not always liked but often admired,ingenious strategist!,very jealous and passionate, no compromise.

Weeping Willow (Melancholy) - likes to be stress free, loves family life, full of hopes and dreams, attractive, very empathetic, loves anything beautiful, musically inclined, loves to travel to exotic places, restless, capricious, honest, can be influenced but is not easy to live with when pressured, sometimes demanding,good intuition,suffers in love until they find that one loyal,steadfast partner;loves to make others laugh.

So do you feel any of these trees describe you ?

Bird flu jokes...

According to official news , we are still free of bird flu in Libya even though neighbouring Egypt has discovered some cases - that in itself is a joke. Whatever .

<==== Look at how our dear Egyptian neighbours are coping with this, they always have a great sense of humour even or rather especially in the face of adversity

A bear, a lion and a chicken meet.The bear says: "if I roar in the forest, the entire forest is shivering withfear."The lion says: "if I roar in the jungle, the entire jungle is afraid of me."Then says the chicken...."Big deal. I only have to sneeze and the entireplanet shits itself."
The other cartoonish topic and in harm's way ..

First it was the Danish cartoons, and now it is the Afghani convert Abdulrahman! These are truely testing times for Muslims , or are they ?

I believe that the 21st century is going to be that of Islam, many Muslims have broken God's covenant and that is why we are in such deep trouble, but from the ashes of this destruction will rise a stronger and prosperous nation following the True Faith ( Gosh look at me I sound so pompous).

Ah but you do not have to take my word for it as I am no prophet . But Abdulrahman's plight which came into a conversation we were having my friend and I yesterday about the veracity of the injuctions for killing Muslims who leave Islam, and what happens if the West starts executing its citizens who convert to Islam as a sort if 'tit for tat' ? (sidenote if one entity is being unenlightened the others do not have to behave the same though right ?it would be like being back in kindergarten)

Hard questions at times are they not ? well I never shirk away from a lovely debate, the goal though is always to remain polite and respectful ( I hope I was :) and remain so).

So where did my thoughts wander ? my proposed theory was that although a person was born into a Muslim family it does not necessarily mean this person is Muslim. These are two different things, because he/she must possess Faith or 'Iman' in the first place, having the adjective signifies only that he/she has the 'generic' make up . Faith is in our hearts and mind our soul and not a birth right. Remember the verse I mentioned here and which I tried to translate here ? I will post it again it is Sura 28 verse 56 (thank you AT to whom I got via Sandmonkey).

"انك لا تهدي من أحببت ولكن الله يهدي من يشاء"

"It is true thou wilt not be able to guide every one, whom thou lovest; but Allah guides those whom He will and He knows best those who receive guidance. [Surah 28 - Verse 56] "

Incidently my translation was not that bad either :)

Therefore Abdulrahman is free to do what he wants with his soul and he has only God to answer to.
But in terms of does Islam call for executing converts ? I don't think so but do go and read AT 's excellent argument on this issue in his post " Can you leave Islam" ( excerpts below) :

"The problem is, there's ample evidence in the Quran (which its authenticity is not even debatable by a Muslim) that indicate otherwise! Where's is the truth? Why is the Sunnah contradicting the Quran? To most scholars, it is not. They conveniently find explanations to reconcile (out of zeal to protect Prophetic tradition). I yet to find a convincing argument in favor of the ruling that converts should be executed. [...] Obviously the Quran is not silent about the issue, and in my opinion leaves no room for interpretation. Anything said, and attributed to the Prophet (PBUH), outside of the boundaries drawn by the verses above either must have an explanation that is inline with these verses with no exception, should be considered a narration out of context, or flat out unauthentic even if its in Sahih Al-Bukhary or Sahih Muslim; otherwise we have a schizophrenic religion, which is far from the truth.
Holding Islam hostage to narration that at best constitute "probable knowledge" and neglecting the Quran is just foolish because stories and sayings are seldom narrated in context, seldom preserved in a way that ensures beyond doubt certainty, and neglecting the possibility of human error is at best completely unrealistic. Add to that the sensitivity of the subject matter! We are talking about human lives here. We are talking about killing someone! Not debating whether a Muslim should ware silk clothing or not! [sic]"

Now for the rhetorical question "if Christian's start executing Muslim converts what would the Islamic world do ?"

In my opinion they would take it as one more sign that the 'Christian West' is trying to persecute Islam and it would convince them even more of the truth of their belief. Moreover, the killed western Muslims would be considered 'shuhada' or 'martyrs' in the service of religion, and in another twist, the ambivalent ones with poor judgment might rally around the bin Ladin and Zarqawi franchises message. Oh and what is more the families of the western people whose government would have executed them may voice their opinion perhaps louder than expected ? After all they would be 'white' ( I assume that is what the question implied ) and not Arabs or Asians who have quasi no legitimacy ? Plus it would belie all the slogans we hear about the West being the beacon of freedom and democracy. It will constitute a type of Spanish inquisition similar to when [" Ferdinand and Isabella appointed Tomás de Torquemada in 1481 to investigate and punish conversos: Jews and Muslims who claimed to have converted to Christianity but continued to practice their former religion in secret. Conversos were common in Spain. Some disguised Jews had been ordained as priests and even bishops. Detractors called converted Jews Marranos, a pejorative word that can also be translated as "pigs"] . It could also be a Muslim holocaust ( although I'm aware of what the original Inquisition was about ).

On another thought the West would have no problem on their hands apart from a a moral or ethical one if they killed the converts in secret. Would that constitute state terrorism ? This spiralled me into another branch laid out below :

Nowadays when you hear the term 'terrorism', the media and other unfortunate events make you associate it with Muslims, I found Haitham's post here "Arabs and Muslims are not terrorists" eloquent and well argued, and you have to read all 256 comments, because that is where I stumbled on Rachel from the Velveteen Rabbi who has embarked on reading the Qur'an with an open mind and no hidden agenda.... She is definetely going on my blogroll.These are the types of people we need more.

Moral of the story ? Excellent conversations enrich us all in our basic humanity, we find out that we have the same fears, the same wishes and the same goals. I will do my best to keep out of harm's way and still retain my integrity.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Eclipse again , and Tunis

Well I was planning to go to Ojala for the event, my plan did not work meanwhile I will be in neighbouring Tunis . This time I'm hoping to meet the Tunisian bloggers. Ok you heard me guys and girls .
Blogging Libya ?

Well traveller Adam has created a blog specifically because he is soooooooon coming to Libya ( thank you for emailing Adam ). How soon next week inshallah ;) . The solar eclipse is really bringing a lot of visitors here. It's nice that Libya is getting this kind of hopefully good exposure. Anyway Adam's blog " a little trip to the south " ... of course why not he will be talking a lot about my favourite topic : LIBYA , no ? right !

Another eclipse tourist who is blogging is Joe Carr ( hattip Khadijateri ) .Check him out he seems to have gotten the VISA for Libya and made sound arrangements too .

Libyan blogger Zizo is also a newbie let's go and encourage him shall we ? you can't go wrong if you love football .......

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Naughty stuff

To lighten things up after all the depressing reading , why don't we take this quizz ?

Are you good in bed ? Come on take a peek don't be shy .. you can be anonymous for today if you want ;)

while you are at it you can check the Bedroom Blog ..

My best friend and I were discussing that I got pretty 'tame' readers , so no one will dare to do the test. Well we shall see who will win the bet my friend or I .
Case 44/1999 revisited : Libyan AIDS children victims 0 - Bulgarian medics 0

I have been meaning to write a 'last' post about the Aids trial in Libya for over six months now , kept saving bits and pieces here and there. By now I have forgotten what I wanted to say. But I do recall writing two posts about this before. "Because of all its lobbying and political pressure Bulgaria has managed to make a big political issue about a malpractice crime and may have alienated many people in Libya " That was part I , click on it to read all before lashing out at me. And this is part II . "If they are innocent, they will walk out, if they are not they will be punished, and if a political settlement is reached well that happens too, look at all the court cases in the West. "

Well I read yesterday an interesting article by a Bulgarian journalist called Maya Dasin ( not sure about the spelling here ) in Arabic . she is basically giving a chronological recapitulation of the story since 1998, and how in her opinion the nurses and the Palestinian doctor have been framed and a merely scapegoats.

Well I'm going to state what I said before that Libyan hospitals were/are not in tip top shape so yes the disease could have been spread from there, but then pandemics happen even in the West. For example the superbugs in the UK . So I would not be surprised at hepatitis and Aids in Libyan healthcentres , but these were healthworker s and they should have paid more attention too.

As with regards to the Libyan judicial system , well if they have been tortured , then I hope that justice is done now that they have Bush on their side . But if they have survived so far to tell about it let them remember that others have not. If they are innocent I would like to remind them that the justice system in Bulgaria has not been that fair either sometimes on foreigners. Check what happened to a British 15 year old who was sentenced for 15 years for attempted murder . "As far as the Bulgarians were concerned, a local lad had been attacked and they wanted their scapegoat. " So even when the real killer confessed nobody wanted to listen at first . Life is not fair. The Bulgarian judge did what he wanted after all, and cut the speculation and story short . If all the accused had been executed ages ago this story would not have dragged .... but then maybe they ARE innocent ?

Anyway in December 2005 a retrial has been ordered, so death sentence is no longer hanging over their head . "They have always denied intentionally infecting 426 children with contaminated blood." It could have been most probably unintentional and I'm sure they will walk out free this time. But who will remember the children ? hope the Western media looks a little into their plight too as "[t] he children who are also the victims here have not benefitted from international exposure while everyone has been sympathasing with the health workers. "
Did I understand the US ports' story ?

While the US- Dubai port imbroglio was raging I let it be..why ? because it was futile , it was not going to happen and will not happen for a long while. The US was not going to hand out its ports to 'Arabs & Muslims', the result was so to speak written on the wall. The trouble was just how to blurt it out without sounding non-politically correct. Translation: without being racist and biased - despite my thiking that they did not have to do it with kid gloves. I'm sure many bloggers and journalists handled this issue but this article explains what many Arabs think has happened. It makes it sound like another conspiracy , which I'm sure it was not, people were just being themselves here .....
As usual it is the Jews' fault , however I'm finding that the points raised do make sense, Jews or other it's simply people wanting to look out for their best interests. It's all about big bucks .

Well here is the article anyway make up your own mind :

"The US Ports and their Concerns by Abdel Wahab Badrakhan Al-Hayat - 15/03/06//

The US ports management issue winded up in the withdrawal of the "Dubai Ports World - International" (DPW.YY) and the triumph of the reactionary and fanatic within the US Congress. These were not concerned with the security of the ports but with the interests of the Zionist-Israeli lobby, in addition to the interests of some US companies. This is the rule adopted in the stances of the members of the Congress and not the legal or economic - or of course ethical - principles with respect to the legislations submitted thereto. In fact, most of the arguments seemed to express the "US first" motto, akin to what we hear in some small nations.
Henceforth, the Americans could better confine their affairs to a pure US framework; rather to a WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) pit. They should not preoccupy the world with their President who went lame early on or with Hillary Clinton who initially conveyed fierce opportunism, in addition to the rest of the politicians working at the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee "AIPAC" or any other shop for racist incitement and hatred globalization. There is no need for the Americans to pretend that they are the masters, rather the pioneers, of the open business for everyone. They better announce beforehand the list of countries, individuals, and companies excluded from dealing with their transactions. This is the lesson that can be deduced from the ports story.
The problem does not lie in the fact that the "Dubai Ports World - International" (DPW.YY) or any other company lost one or another deal, since the world of business is wide-reaching, available, and free from the US intricacies and complexities. The problem lies in the fact that the Americans want to draw all the money of the world, especially the Arab world. In fact, they are exploiting politics to blackmail transactions; they even often resort to punish countries that dare to serve their economic interests with non-US partners. Businessmen, and the investing countries, are aware that, in one (legal) way or the other, they are compelled to pay a sort of masked "backhander" to a certain US party in order to ward off its evils. Despite everything that has been said in rejecting the criticism of the arguments opposing the conclusion of the ports deal, the blackmail approach will not stop because it basically stems from the tone of the same political arrogance. This in turn stems from the colonial legacy that still considers other peoples and countries at the service of the superpower.
The issue is not particularly, or necessarily, related to what is dubbed as the post-9/11 fears. We cannot deny the repercussions of this horrendous US event and the ensuing security obsessions. No country can be criticized for its security precautions. Moreover, it is better to say that the Americans are free when it comes to who operates their ports, but to show sympathy, admiration, and appeal to a "friendly nation" and then subject it to all kinds of criticism, defamation, and accusation; this is definitely inane. The Americans authorized those who are accusing them of what they are, as well as what they are not, i.e. the Iraqi who claims they are striving to trigger a civil war in his country is not utterly wrong, and the Sudanese who is exasperated by the flare-up of Darfour war because they did not welcome the oil deal between his country and China is not wrong either, not to mention what the Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, and Egyptian may say...
The utmost irony is what we are witnessing now, following the struggle to stamp out the UAE deal, after the US representatives got what they want, is that they are trying to justify the hysteria that afflicted them since the opinion polls showed an opposition to the deal ranging between 58 to 68%. These polls were undertaken when the representatives voiced lavish statements in order to wipe out the deal, and even attempted to harm their friends and defame their security reputation. In other words, the public opinion built its stance on what it heard. Some of them were so unstable to say that "we will not hand in our ports to the devil." Notwithstanding, some stark opponents said that their stances does not reflect hostile feelings vis-à-vis the Arabs. Those have just started they journey back to reality, hoping to please US categories that consider themselves afflicted, though morally, by the insults and sham during the past three weeks. These can duly be referred to as the French adage says, "they want the butter and the price of the butter."
In any case, the issue involves a significant lesson to those who want to come acquainted with the extent of the US seclusion and its inconsistency with the lectures it gives on economic globalization."

Monday, March 20, 2006

God's Justice

Check the article below and ponder...if only Justice was always so swift:

"A Saudi died while trying to steal the entire estate of his dead father, Al-Yaum daily reported. In order to do so, the son used documents that needed his father’s fingerprints. He hid the documents in his clothes and told the family that he wanted to be alone with his father’s body for a few minutes. He closed the door behind him and when he did not come out for a long time, the family became alarmed and knocked on the door but received no answer. When they opened the door, they found the man dead on the floor beside his father’s body. He had died trying to get his father’s fingerprint on a document in order to inherit the entire estate. "

Talk about INSTANT retribution , this is scary man but the bastard deserved it !
Freedom of speech, cross cultural differences & isolationism

I recently stumbled upon this article in Arabnews and thought it made an interesting point.
check it out :

"Freedom of Speech: Whose Freedom? What Speech?Abeer Mishkhas,

IT seems that the controversy over the Danish cartoons has opened the door on a non-stop discussion about freedom of speech. No matter where you go these days, there seems to be someone discussing what has been said and published and whether it is within the bounds of “freedom of speech.”
Recently the mayor of London was sued for what he said to a reporter. His words, if looked up in a dictionary, were not themselves insulting. He unfortunately compared a Jewish reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard and that is replete with all the wrong historical connotations.
The furor which followed his remarks centered on the use of certain words and how certain words are “out of bounds.” In another incident, a teacher in the US state of Colorado was suspended for comparing George Bush’s rhetoric to Adolf Hitler’s. We in the Arab world have a similar sensitivity concerning the word “crusade.”
It is loaded with centuries of hostility and bad feeling; the major uproar the word caused in the Arab world when George Bush used it after 9/11 is a good example of how sensitive language can get. Usually in our case, however, those protests never go anywhere; they just lie there, creating bad feelings that fester over time.
In the West, on the other hand, the words are not pushed aside and ignored; instead they are often punished. The interesting thing is that the words which provoke these reactions are so different. In the West, they seem to be references to Nazism, the Holocaust and gay rights that offend the most.
In the Arab world, on the other hand, the “emotive words” are totally different; they are usually related to religion since it is the most sacred — and most sensitive — element in people’s lives.
The dialogue that is going on now, and that we hope will continue, should aim at exploring how the “emotive words” and “untouchables” differ from place to place. The whole Danish cartoon business is seen in the West as a freedom of expression issue; it can legitimately be seen as such in the West but as the Muslim world sees things, it is a direct attack on religion.
Where, I wonder, do we go from here? During a recent British Council-sponsored seminar which dealt with translating from Arabic into English and from English into Arabic, one speaker made an interesting point.
He pointed out that one reason for the few translations in the Arab world is the lack of freedom of speech — and that this is the very issue that is so ‘hot’ today because of the cartoons.
Though he is absolutely right, what I wonder about is whether we have the same definition of freedom of speech. It seems to be an area that we need to go much deeper into.
After the lecture, I asked the speaker, “Are we, in the age of globalization, going to globalize the “untouchables?” In other words, is what one part of the world feels is freedom of expression going to be imposed on the entire planet?
So far the Arabs show no sign of overlooking the “crusade” or what they see as the defamation of religious figures any more than the West is going to give up what it feels is right. Given that this is the case, what is to be done.
The speaker could not help me much as he said he was opposed to all kinds of censorship — and he included his dismay at the sentence given to David Irving by an Austrian court.
In the end, I think my question will hang unanswered in the air. We need to agree to respect each other’s differences and to understand that they do exist and must be taken account of. We do not need to go further along the way of globalizing untouchables. "

I believe that the author's message should not go unnoticed especially by those holding extremist ideas among us ( in the West and in the Muslim world ). Dialogue and reach out are the only solution apart from total isolationism and when I say that I mean it literally: i.e no interaction with the Muslim countries, no travel over their airspace, no travel to them , no diplomatic representation, no business in both direction, nothing , no military bases, no sailing in their regional waters, no employees, consultants or anything in our world and vice versa, zero zilch as if we did not exist to each other. If you think that is possible then this would be a good policy of disengagement right ? forget globalization , just make the world village with those you want and can tolerate in your group.

* end of rant
Middle East Negotiations

Courtesy of Arab News No Comment
An Exxon Mobil recruiting advertisement in Libya

(My translation + added links )

"Esso and Mobil operated in the past with our Libyan partners and discovered the first oil well in Libya.

We produced more that one million barrels per day, built the first natural liquid gas plant in Libya, provided the use of modern technology, provided education to Libyan staff overseas, granted thousands of training hours to Libyan staff, built Marsa Elbrega terminal and employed more than one thousand individuals….

Today we have merged as Exxon Mobil, so imagine how large will the next achievements be ?"

I thought it was pretty cool ! Well anyway they are back in Libya in business.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Highlander : US Secretary of State 2008 ?

Following Ms. Rice's visit recent visits to the ME , Lebanese ( some claim Syrian) journalist Jihad el Khazen who writes in Dar Al-Hayat ( a Saudi owned paper) published the following open letter urging Dr. Rice to run for President .

Excerpts "[...] I support you for president. It would be wonderful if you win; you deserve it as you have more brains than George Bush and stronger morals than Bill Clinton, without delving deep into the American presidency. In addition, the presence of a woman at the head of the only super power in the world will be a boon to women in my world who are still short-changed of their rights. My third reason is that you are better than Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld."

His letter contains a lot of advice on US foreign policy towards the ME should she get into office.

El-Khazen is accused of being a pawn of the Saudis (thanks Vox), and from his numerous articles he is obviously fixated on the neo-cons. Yet though it gets boring in the end to beat on the same topics of anti-Bush, his style is always humouristic and fun to read and I do check him regularly as he gets one to think in 'other' directions.

So this is a great letter, I love it! ...

Now Dr. Rice if you run for President in 2008 I want to be on your team and run for US Secretary of State . Trust me having me on your side will give you prime seats in the ME. It's either that or I have to go to Team Hillary .

Ok it should be feasible I have about 2 years to carry out the plan ....right?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Of stolen and destroyed heritage

Ancient 13th century Islamic coins stolen by a Florida man from a shipwreck in the Red Sea are returned to Saudi Arabia by the US DHS and US customs.

“These coins are treasured artifacts that reflect the cultural heritage of humanity as well as Saudi Arabia’s unique history as an ancient trade center and as the birthplace of Islam,” said Saudi Ambassador Prince Turki Al-Faisal. “Their recovery and return to the Kingdom is an example of the deep friendship between Saudi Arabia and the United States and the respect the U.S. has for cultural heritage.”

This is such heartening news . I just hope the Saudi government, its zealots and greedy businessmen do not 'misplace' or deliberately destroy this heritage ( thanks Aya).

She is a Saudi blogger in the US currently. Check her posts about 'Respecting our History' , she has her theory about the 'real reason' for this wanton destruction of Muslim heritage : parts 1 & 2.

Isn't it ironic that so called 'infidels' preserve it while self professed 'righteous' Muslims don't?
First peace treaty document

According to this article ( hattip Damascene), "the document of the first peace treaty in the history of mankind has been found in Aleppo. It dates back to 2,400 years ago" .

The treaty was concluded between "the Hittite and Egyptian empires after the Battle of Kadesh c. 1280 BC. The battle took place in what is now modern day Syria, [...]recorded in two versions, one in Egyptian hieroglyphs and the other in Akkadian using Cuneiform script; fortunately, both versions survive. This dual language method is common to many subsequent treaties. What is rather different from other treaties is that the two copies were differently worded. Although the majority of the text is identical, the Hittite version claims that the Egyptians came to them asking for peace whereas the Egyptian version of the same text say it was the other way round [...].It contains many elements found in more modern treaties although it is perhaps more far-reaching than the simple declaration of the end of hostilities in later treaties. It also contains a mutual assistance pact in the event that one of the empires should be attacked by a third party, or in the event of internal strife. There are articles pertaining to the forced repatriation of refugees and provisos that they should not be harmed; this might be thought of as the first extradition treaty. There are also threats of retribution if the treaty is broken". (From Wikipedia)

and finally ...

"This treaty is considered of such importance in the field of international relations that a reproduction of it hangs in the United Nations headquarters". Wow Bravo !

I have a weak spot for history, and Syria being as a repository of historical gems is one of my favourite places. For more of my thoughts on Syria check this post here - just scroll down to the relevant topic.
Libyan-French nuclear deal

You are not hallucinating. Three years ago we give up our WMDs and what happens? we start to eat the carrots. Last year France offered to help us with nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. As of yesterday Libya and France have a signed agreement.

"This accord represents a qualitative leap in relations between the two countries and proves that Libya has transformed its weapons of mass destruction into constructive weapons," Public Works Minister Maatuk Maatuk said at the signing ceremony."

I don't know who is getting the better deal and where would be the limit?
The future of US bases in Iraq

While the Bush administration has downplayed prospects for permanent US bases in Iraq, General John Abizaid told a House of Representatives subcommittee on Tuesday he could not rule that out.”

First he says : "No doubt there is a need for some presence in the region over time primarily to help people help themselves through this period of extremists versus moderates."

Very altruistic no ? Yes but….

“Abizaid also said the United States and its allies have a vital interest in the oil-rich region.

"Ultimately it comes down to the free flow of goods and resources on which the prosperity of our own nation and everybody else in the world depend,"
he said.

Resources & Vital interests – are the KEY words here folks …it was never 'solely' liberation and democracy. Which means that maybe we should not really expect the occupation/coalition bases to close that quickly in Iraq. After all they have invested a lot of money in them [the bases] did they not ? reaping the dividends is therefore expected.

Ok I’m sure many of you are pleased to see me back in my skeptical –cynical mood once more.
Arab stockmarkets woes

It is not only the Egyptian stock market which crashed this week ( thanks Sandmonkey), but also the Saudi one , and many Gulf markets are in trouble too.
However the Saudi stock market has had a good Samaritan to put it back in the green . Check out how Prince bin Talal infused Saudi stock just ‘as the Finance Ministry said it might allow foreign residents to invest directly’.

Is there someone to boost the Egyptian market too and help those whose lives are ruined.?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Camel photos - ( they increase popularity it seems )

Well if the donkey story did not make you feel good , hope this photo which I got by email today does (thanks B :)).

Bad Boss vs Good Boss or how to get even ?

Recently I've been thinking about a radical shift in career goals especially that in my place of work it looks like I've reached the highest level for that line of work, so unless there are other responsibilities which would enable to move upwards , this was the end of the road. I already got an offer from somewhere else , but I'll tell you all about it another time.

Anyway this thinking process has led me to the issue of managers. I was blessed since 2001 with a boss who can only be described as your worst nighhtmare. I mean what are your avenues if you won't sleep with guy, nor flatter him , nor be his little mouse , dorrmat or snitch ? Very very difficult situation ..threading on thin ice there.

So I used to read career advice online and collected the interesting stuff. I tested them on him at times, and finally my efforts started working. Unfortunately he has left a year ago, yet his bad legacy remains and will need a lot of patience to be got rid, because the others do not have the guts to do it. Which basically means I'm still kind of stuck in that limbo, and so I'm reading all those interesting links to strategise. he he he . Poor new boss does not know what will hit him.

"unless you’re independently wealthy, you’re probably not in a position to tell your boss to take this job and shove it. What can you do if you get a boss who’s the biggest obstacle to doing—and enjoying—your job?"

Well "survey results indicate that approximately 40% of employees have had to deal with a bad boss." There is a fantastic website which has grouped everything about your boss from hell, you can check theirr forum, comments, tips, support groups and so much more and it is appropriately named ' badbossology ' :

" provides the latest news on bad bosses along with relevant resources to assist people in:
-Understanding and analyzing their boss to develop an action plan
-Protecting themselves safely
-Reducing their boss's power over them
-chieving career success in spite of their boss.
-The site is also relevant and useful to corporate and ".

Once I was so angry at my boss that I dreamed I had sent him a fake anthrax letter. I relished in my imagination how he would open the envelope and what would he think when he saw the powder. But I never got past the stage of imagination ...

Did you ever think of taking revenge from your boss?
The policy of selectiveness

Following his visit to India & Pakistan " President George W Bush has indicated the US has dropped its staunch opposition to a proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan. "
How generous of him especially when we recall that :"The US had previously stated it was "absolutely opposed" to the gas pipeline, even indicating Pakistan and India could face sanctions if the project got under way. "
So we realise that nothing is absolute and everything is possible since the US government still needs Pakistan as an 'ally' on terror in the region therefore we cannot be surprised at this about face from the previous stance, as it [ the US] needs to keep Pakistan a little bit happy and calm India's energy fears. You get treated with respect when you are a nuclear least that is what the layman sees.

"The $6bn project for the 2,600km (1,625 mile) pipeline will bring Iran revenue, Pakistan transit fees and India energy. "

Am I the only who finds it strange that the US even has a say on this matter? This pipeline is concerned with Iran, Pakistan and India right? It will run on their soil and not on the American continent....why oh why do 3 supposedly sovereign countries need approval to carry out a project from a 4th unrelated country unless there is something I have missed ( maybe they want the US to finance it in India and Pakistan?)...Would India have a say in any project that the US wishes to undertake in Canada or Mexico or even in New York ?
Donkey Story

Thank you MA for sending me this story , we all need to be reminded of the important things at times ...

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happen.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less

NOW --------

Enough of that crap . . . :)

The donkey later came back, and bit the shit out of the farmer who had tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected, and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.


When you do something wrong, and try to cover yourself, it always comes back to bite you.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A visit to a Libyan saint or wali

It is spring, and my mother has decided to visit one of her favourite local saints : Sidi Asharef.

"Although the orthodox faith preached the unique and inimitable majesty and sanctity of God and the equality of God's believers, an important element of North African Islam for centuries has been a belief in the coalescence of special spiritual power in particular living human beings. The power is known as baraka, a transferable quality of personal blessedness and spiritual force said to lodge in certain individuals. Those whose claim to possess baraka can be substantiated--through performance of apparent miracles, exemplary human insight, or genealogical connection with a recognized possessor--are viewed as saints."

So five of us crammed into my car today and headed for the approximately 80km drive out of Tripoli. We packed lunch and outdoor games. The weather is gorgeous , sunny and not hot nor cold, such a change from last weekend's sandstorm - which was such a vision of hell that many thought was the day of judgment.

We first drove to the city of Gasr Benghashir the countryside was really worth seeing.Then we continued towards Tarhoona. I'm not good at directions but maybe the other Libyan bloggers could explain? Anyway I just wanted to enjoy the beauty of today, not give map coordinates.
So here we are driving through farmland, mountains, olive groves, arid places, since I'm going without a map or signposts (which are still very rare) it really is a feat to travel here. We stopped on the side road for a picnic and fun. I haven't done this for quite a while , why ? what is taking so much of my time that I forgot to enjoy the simple things ?

I asked twice for directions and finally 8km before Sidi Asharef's place I found a can see his mosque below where his tomb is also.There is a Qur'anic school annexed to the mosque and we interrupted some men in their learning. There were still using wooden tablets as in old times. It was so peaceful like we stepped into another era. We prayed the Asr, sat down for a bit , enjoyed the scenery , the goats and the birds.... by 5pm we started to head home.

I'm one of those people who falls asleep in any vehicle, boat, train,car, bus, plane you name, and as expected I started to drowse...BUT I'm driving and my co-travellers realised that I was asleep at the wheel only when we almost hit a truck ..still there was not much traffic , and I did not allow myself to be bothered or ruin the mood, just put the music louder and opened the windows to breath in the fresh crisp air.

I don't know what is the story of Sidi Asharef, except that he was some kind of holy man, I'm not even sure what miracles are attributed to him , but I hope I can find out and if any of you know you are welcome to tell us about it in the comment section.

Please enjoy the photos below....

Olive trees

Qur'anic tablet

Sidi Asharef signpost (yay)

His tomb

The mosque on top of the mountain

A Libyan house

mountain view


spring... farmland

Libya is so beautiful ...God bless her , sometimes we forget it sitting all day behind a computer desk .

Extra : excellent link about Libya.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Boyfriend Jokes

My old university classmates regularly hold a meetup online or try to as much as possible, we arrange to go on msn chat at a certain time ( whatever our time zones) and we exchange info and chat about what 's been going on in our life.
After our last chat , one of the girls sent us one of those forwarded jokes.. maybe it's a bit corny but I thought it was quite funny :P

Dear Help Desk,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed that the new program began making unexpected changes to the accounting modules,limiting access to flower and jewellery applications that had operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.
In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.9 but installed undesirable programs such as NFL 5.0 and NBA 3.0.
Conversation 8.0 no longer runs and House Cleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. I've tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.Please help!


Dear Desperate,

Please keep in mind that Boyfriend 5.0 is an entertainment package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system.
Try to enter the command: C:/I-THOUGHT-YOU-LOVED-ME and then install Tears 6.2. Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications: Guilty 3.0 and Flowers 7.0.
But remember, overuse can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1.
Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will create 'Snoring Loudly'WAV sound files. DO NOT install Mother-in-law 1.0 or reinstall another Boyfriend program. These are not supported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.
In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. Consider buying additional software to improve performance.
I personally recommend Hot Food 3.0 and Lingerie 5.3

Help Desk.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Being 'hit on' in Libya

For the last 2 years I've been in and out of the country too often to the extent that I have almost forgotten our charming boys and their methods of showing appreciation of the female genre.

Yesterday my memory was jolted abruptly, and along it I admit my ego too although the man in question will not know it (he he he) and will remember my angry scowling face instead.
Now how did that happen ? I was driving back home, and I must have overtaken some guy unwittingly, anyway I look in my rear view window and notice that a huge car is switching on and off its front lights, so I just moved out of the way expecting it to pass on my left side and be off . But no the car actually continues to cruise next to me at my own speed. When this happens in Libya and you are female, please know that the guy in the next car is interested in you. I ignore him totally and just drive my normal route and normal way. Well if Khadija's hubby is wondering at how will she manage to drive in Libya now that she got wheels, I can assure you that using indicators for turning right or left is used sparingly here. Therefore when I used them correctly the guy in the car following me imagines I'm giving him some morse code to follow me, but hell I'm not changing my safe drive and defense driving methods just so the Libyan guys don't get ideas in their heads. So when I indicate that I want to turn on the right and being in a remote area , the guy in the car following me and who thinks I have fallen for him because he got a BMW ( this one but white colour ), start having colourful dreams and follows me to my street and to my garage door. When he realises that this is my house and not some fancy 'hwaza' or farm were he will get to fulfill his fantasies , he tries to call to me from his car. Of course yours truely ignores him and I savour the look on his face when my teenage neighbours start walking up to him and asking him what's up man ? "Is this guy bothering you sister" .. I just smile sweetly while the BMW drives away in the bumpy track road. I lurv my neighbour guys they sensed my problem without me even looking their way. That's why I know that with lechers like that man around , I will still find a hero if I wish to play the damzel in distress. ..

For a glimpse of how a Maltese expat in Libya sees the 'boys and girls' issue, here is a teaser from Cyberdigger : "I once witnessed a blonde girl walking on the pavement being kerb-crawled by no less than three cars. The combined six or seven drivers and passengers were all shouting suggestive obscenities and wolf-whistling " .
Khadijateri keeps finding these most incredible Libyan bloggers or bloggers in Libya. Another one which I have picked up from her blog ( though off topic) is Bengazeeya , she already has 2 degrees and is now studying medicine in Libya and getting married - mashallah. So go read Cyberdigger and Benghazeeya (or the girl from Benghazi) .

Of Places in the Heart, Arab-Americans and intercultural relationships: Analysis, morale , conclusion, discussion

Wow that's a long pompous title ...

If you have just landed on this blog by mistake or by coincidence then please be aware that I have been telling the readers the story of an Egyptian TV series which caught my eye in Ramadan 2005. If on the other hand you are a regular reader and had 'skipped' it then may I suggest you go back to reading it if you wish to comment on this topic, it's not long , only 5 parts.

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

Allow me to reprint what I said two weeks ago when I started this saga: "In light of the recent events surrounding the so called Danish cartoons which have quickly evolved into a world crisis of economic, diplomatic and social proportions, this story is even more relevant, as it uncovers the tip of the iceberg of our fears (or in this case western fears) of the other, stereotypes, respect, Islamphobia and Arabphobia - but also vice versa I must admit. [...] Maybe we can brainstorm the significance of the subliminal message if any. Should I have a reason to be apprehensive?" .

I have not posted this story simply for entertainment purposes, or as a free publicity to the actors , director and producer, because I already said it was a humble production, and despite the fantasia and 'far fetched' part, I think it has a valid point and a morale. Of course every story must have a morale right ? so let's see what is the deal here ....

when the storie ends bad guy John Adams is killed in a hostage crisis and shoot out by the police. His wife Lina ( Amy) is exonerated therefore of the murder charges and especially the death sentence. This though has been at the cost of her best friend Margaret ( who had plotted against) dying, but also her best friend from jail dying at the hands of thugs influenced by the hate wave against Arabs and Muslims after 9/11. Lina herself has suffered because of that, as we have seen. We have noted how along the story Bakr and Mc Carthy gain a new respect for each other. The author wants to show us that despite Mc Carthy’s political agenda and his boss attempting to prevent him from re-opening the case, he does it because he loves the American Constitution freedom, ideals and what they stands for . Mc Carthy is impressed with Bakr ‘s endless search for Justice, not because Lina and him originated from the Arab world but because Bakr is in love with America’s ideals and believes they should be enacted and that the laws guarantee respect and a fair chance to all Americans irrespective of creed or ethnicity or when did they arrive in the US.
Bakr is finally taking his wife (Tracy) to court and is going to fight for custody of teenage Leila because first there is no use hiding from her the mess of the failed marriage but also because he believes in Justice and thinks he should not have feared Tracy in the first place, despite her threat of reporting him as a terrorist Arab Muslim, because fear breeds an unhealthy relationship which prevents justice.

The author also wants to show us how much the Arab Americans are stuck in a dilemna on one hand they are Americans and on the other they are treated as the enemy within.

"Within three days after the Oklahoma City bombing, more than 200 hate crimes were committed against Arab Americans and American Muslims. The same was true in the days following September 11."

He wants to show through this simple story how Arab Americans have been suffering following 9/11 and that this attitude and stereotyping are unjust because they are first and foremost Americans. We wonder why were not the Irish-Americans so badly treated every time the IRA made a terrorist attack in London or Belfast? WHY? Is it because the Irish are from European stock ? (Let's not forget that a large amount of the Aid money from the US people and charities went to fund the IRA also ) .
Do skin colour and religion make a difference in America despite what the Constitution states ? Are the slogans for Freedom a mere hypocrisy ? and only apply to Aryan types ( ok maybe I’m going overboard here so don’t trash me people- just explain to me and teach me) ? A lot of questions churning in the mind of Arabs from what they see and that is why I said that TV series was showing and discussing in a very simplistic and romanticized manner the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Have or have not Arab Americans (whether Muslims or Christians or atheist) been unjustly treated ? Some to the extent that they have Americanized their names ( even when they are Christians) just to have peace of mind. If my name is Jibril I’m going to change it to Gabriel it’s still the same but it is no longer Arabic . If my name is Yohana , I will make it John, Suliman will become Solomon, and so on and so forth, because I wish for peace of mind and not discrimination. Are these problems due to perceptions on both sides or is it really a clash of civilization?

"[...] We see a danger that this country, which has always been committed to the rule of law, will lose interest in preserving the rights of its minorities. We see a danger that this nation will cease to maintain the principles of freedom and justice for all—principles that it has fought half-dozen wars to uphold. If Americans—all Americans—are not vigilant to avert these evils, we may all lose what we love best about America[...]"

Maya, one of my readers said "relationships between people from different cultures are unstable. I know several such cases, and all but one ended with painful separations.I guess things are likely to be even worse when one of the partners has to convert, i.e. to abandon his self. I disliked Lina's story (if somebody is interested, I'll explain why), but one detail in it was interesting - the degradation of her husband after he renounced his self " .
I asked her to wait till the end of the story.

Maya, John supposedly stopped drinking not because he converted but because he had a problem with alcoholism this was discussed in the series but I brushed over it quickly. Before knowing Lina, John had shady dealings , he had a felony in another state but we only find about that later on, he was a gambler from the beginning . I don’t think these are good characteristics to be proud off whether as a Muslim or as a Christian or simply as a human being. So becoming a Muslim did not ‘twarth’ his style culturally speaking. Lina was wearing quite stylish revealing clothes in the series to the extent I would have thought she was a Baywatch babe. She simply made the wrong choice because she was in love. The media was hysterical and unforgiving asking for blood , not because they thought she was a guilty killer but because she was originally from a foreign land, despite having become a naturalized American. That is the problem, when do you stop being a foreigner in America, even if you are fully integrated?

This led me to think deeply and to be honest also be very afraid with regards to the following :

If an American male or female married an Arab male or female, would the American renounce his spouse and turn violent as soon as a terrorist attack (God forbid) takes place by some extremist nut at the other side of the world or even on American soil. Will the Arab spouse always have to be on guard if America declares war on the country of origin of that Arab spouse ? If the spouse is a Muslim will he /she be viewed with suspicion unless he/ she starts acting in total moral abandon and looseness? Does having conservative values hinder?
All this scares the shit out of me, I may be exaggerating , I maybe be mixing things up, but it seems no one stood by Lina except Bakr , ( Arab American) , his Jewish American assistant, the Latina secretary and the African American policeman, and even the mafia guy was Italian American, all these people look like minorities to me.There is a glaring lack of ‘white’ American. Is this true ? or just a dramatization ?

I’m gonna share a secret with you guys I had always been reluctant to marry a Libyan American or Libyan Canadian because I was not sure I would be safe as unfortunately I did not think they were capable of taking care of themselves let alone of their women abroad. At least in Libya, if the worst came to happen I’m home. I can go back to my father’s house, or my brothers and cousins could go beat the shit out of the Libyan guy in Libya if he mistreats me looooool. But abroad what would happen to me if my husband decides he can’t stand up for me if he is Arab -American? would it be safer then to marry a non-Arab.?

But after 9/11 are things really as scary as I imagine ? If you adopt a country you must be loyal to it. How would you divide your loyalties ? would your heart bleed for your adopted country when it is hurt and then bleed for your native country when your adopted country decides to erase it of the face of the earth… Am I just being melodramatic - after all the series ended on a positive note: that Justice does prevail even if it is a tortuous road. A good example from real life is this one "The US government has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by an Egyptian who was among dozens of Muslims detained after the Sept. 11 attacks"; which makes me not totally loose hope.

Should an Arab man or woman fear to marry an American? This brings us back to the discussion you readers started in the 'leap of faith' post about the relative success of intercultural marriages. I know we have NBA on the camp of intercultural marriage and Programmer_Craig too. What about the rest ? do you care to discuss ? Should political events affect a marriage?

I also have a few examples of successful marriages on the blogosphere: Leilouta, Khadijateri, Fatima, Alea, Reema ( those were the ones I could roll out on the spot ..but there are many more ).
So I believe that intercultural relationships could be a success if we want them to be, if we are honest , if we trust in our basic humanity. The focal point is to realise this. Here is a lovely example from war ravaged Sarajevo, a US soldier and an Iraqi woman, and Iraq again :"I’m Muslim and he’s a Christian. I’m Iraqi and he’s American. It just can’t happen. It did. Love can make miracles. I do believe this now.”

Finally , ‘Places in the Heart’ , refers to that special spot in our heart that we reserve for a special place or human being and which will no matter where and when make whatever or whomever we love spring to life before our eyes. It is the place which we cannot forget, where the past, the present and the future meet, the place where we take refuge and where LOVE is the sole king.

However, for those who asked what this verse meant:

"انك لا تهدي من أحببت ولكن الله يهدي من يشاء"

Here is my humble translation until I find the correct non-Arabic link for you , because the Arabs know what I'm talking about here and in which context this verse had come about.

"[oh Mohamed!] you cannot bring to the straight path those whom you love , but only God can bring those he wishes [or who wish]" If I have butchered it please lead me to the correct translation thank you.

This time I’m waiting for the participation of even the silent majority ( hattip Madcanuck) !

... don't disappoint me.

Additional link => check 'Muslim Life in America' by the US dept of state.