Sunday, December 31, 2006

Highlights 2006

My favourite posts for 2006 are :

Yoko Tsuno & Grendizer
From the Family Vacation Album
Eid El Fitr in Libya
The Pope
Five Years later
The Shebsheb series I & II
Mr. Highlander
A Leap of Faith
The Wanderer : an Anglo Saxon poem

And last but not least is my tandem attempt at story writing on Adam's blog , which has turned in to a suspense thriller ( modesty eh ? ), ladies and gentlemen check again " The day it all changed" for the finale (coming soon multitasking here ).

It was difficult to choose as I wrote so many posts this year !

But how about you tell me which ones not listed above but you liked from my 2006 posts ?

I've already wished everyone Season's greetings for Christmas, New Year , Hannukah and Eid .
On another note I want one of these chains:

So Happy 3 in 1 as Abufares says ! ..and see you in 2007.

PS off topic; dear all pls get a blogger name ASAP it will allows us to recognize each other easier . No more anonymous commenters .
The Best of the Libyan Blogosphere : December 2006

This month , OnTripoli decided to give us a review of the some fast food outlets in Libya. My favourite was Pizza Pizza. "Located on the busy bustling Gargaresh- Hay Alandalus main drag, inside the newly opened Al-Wahat shopping little mall. Kind of hidden in the back ground but not to the eyes at first, with a nice balcony that looks over the entrance of the main " [more].

Khadijateri , bless her gaves us a 101 Eid show, warning not for the faint hearted :P . But it contains a lot of Libyan traditions if you are interested. "It probably seems appalling to those living in non-Muslim countries to think that kids would all gather round to watch an animal being slaughtered, but kids in Muslim countries are used to the idea of the annual sacrifice and look forward to the excitement." [more].

Safia Speaks , is surprised and the Christmas bestseller in Denmark : "A little months ago the very first authentic Danish translation of the Holy Quran was published. Amazingly, people in Denmark are now buying editions of the Danish Quran in thousands. In fact, the publisher can hardly keep up with the demand." [more].

Trabilsia has posted a message found in the diary of the sister of her friend : " A very close friend of mine lost her only sister a couple years ago. She e-mailed me this poem /song . I found the words so beautiful in meaning and so asked her if I could share it with you all." [more].

Lebeeya share another posts from another sister " Everything here is so different. The lifestyle, the food, the people, even living with (sister) is difficult and it's not just because i have to wear hijab all the time. She's got her own family and It's just different from living at home. " [more]

A.Adam, spent the day taking photos " I am not professional to take pictures but I decided to go and take some, Actually I went to buy new Libyan cloths to be ready in Eid day.don't forget click on to enlarge picture " [more].

Imtidad, Ghazi posts about a talented Libyan gir " l "Her name is Asia Alfasi, she is 22 years old, and lives in Birmingham England. Her true passion is Manga the Japanese cartoon characters and comic books in general. She created her own Arabic manga characters, one of them is called Monir an Arabian Muslim child (and a prince although he doesn't know it) who has learned to fight to stay alive and look after his twin sister Monira.' [more].

White African , sees finds out about human kindness " human beings are amazing, just when you loose hope in people, a random act of kindness blows you away. " [more].

Piccolina reminisces about 2006 " in the year 2006 I've been through lots of things ..sad and happy and i guess it was the most important year till now coz i learned alot about life , dealing with people and about my self such as " [more].

Dania's mum wonders whether she is a good mother "Two years and ten months ago my little angel came to life, to change mine completely .. the wonder of the motherhood was overwhelming ,,i remember the first days of her life ,, the sleepless nights,, the feeding ,, changing nappies ,, the first smile .. and the guessing !!: " [more] .

Anglo Libyan ' s great post about more endangered wildlife in Libya " have been checking the status of some of Libya's wildlife, it seems most of the animals that are native to Libya are either already extinct or God forbid on their way to be extinct." [more].

Libyan Violet , influenced by too much reading of glossy magazines is wondering about the possibility of training men like dolphins " ...So anyway Michelle was speaking about some American writer who wanted to train her man to behave the the way she wants to and wrote about it to describe the procedure ." [more].

Next month we can add another feature , how about we vote for the best Libyan blogger for each month ?

Previously featured : November 2006
Best Comment for December 2006 :

From Libyan blogger BraveHeart
on the superheroes post here.

"OHHH Highlander:God bless you u bring all the old memories, for me
Grandaizer is the best ,i remember when i was in the second year in the primary
school,the teacher told us we will find every thing in aljana ,i asked her even
grandizer ,she told me yea even grandizer ,i remember i was very happy and
excited ,and told my mum and dad that i need to go to aljana as fast as possible
to meet grandizer,even before 3 years ago,we used to have break between 1pm to 2
pm,all the engineers and the management were gathered in the tv room to see
grandizer in art tv.thanks for this post
Sun Dec 24, 01:10:13 AM 2006 "

Previously featured comments :



Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam, Eid, Sacrifices and Symbolism : Another Eid Message ?

Now what has Saddam got to do with Eid al-Adha apart from being executed on it ?
Here is my 2 dirham's worth. I was not going to post about any topic except fans and such until next year, but waking up to hear Saddam has been executed does deserve a mention.

Oh there is no denying that Saddam Hussein deserves a zillion deaths for all his crimes, and I am very happy the man got his punishment. However, why should that have to ruin my holiday ? or the collective holiday in Arab countries and burden them with associating the Eid forever with Saddam's death ?

As a conspiracy theory ( which abound in my part of the world) it counts as a master stroke, and hence the mixed feelings with which the news have been greeted in the Arab world and the blogosphere. We have been denied the right to rejoice his death. It came too late, the wrong timing AND for the wrong reasons.

Most people I spoke with think it has 'Made in USA' stamped all over it (no offense , see above reference to conspiracies); especially because of the time and date. We kept hearing how the Iraqi government headed by Maliki is sovereign and so made the choice. However, when you read the following tidbits , you wonder ever so slightly who the real sovereign is in Iraq?

**Example :my comments in blue , and emphasis in bold mine :

'"We wanted him to be executed on a special day," National Security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie told state-run al-Iraqiya television. ' [ref] - yes Eid is very special , but why ?

"Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie witnessed the execution and said the procedure followed Islamic ritual and international standards "to the letter". [..] He said the former leader arrived "handcuffed and holding the Koran to his chest", as Iraqi officials took custody of him from the US-led coalition. [ref] -could be interpreted as yep his fate is sealed give him to his people now to kill him , we don't want the headache or the backlash from the Arab world.

"Najib Naimi, a former Qatar justice minister, said: "The Americans called the defence team to pick up his personal belongings. All these indications show he will probably be executed tomorrow." [..] The official dismissed a comment by a senior US official that Saddam could hang as early as tomorrow, saying it was "none of the Americans' business" to decide when the former dictator would die. [ref] - we are told and shown Maliki and the 'sovereign' Iraqi government signed Saddam's execution papers , but it looks like it was more predetermined in advance .

So if the Iraqi government was sovereign, I'm sure they would have chosen another day after the Eid and most probably not in the sanctified months, what's the hurry ? Saddam was going nowhere, and they were discussions re. executing him at a later date following the rejection of his appeal. So what happened ?

Moreover, in the Muslim calendar consisting of 12 lunar months, there are four sanctified month الاشهر الحرام : three of them are in sequence; Zul-qidah(11th), Zul-hijjah(12th), Muharram(1st), and Rajab(7th). During these sacred months specific acts are considered forbidden/restricted ( haram); prominently war fare/the shedding of blood. A terrorist can disregard that for sure, but not a head of state, the representative of a government. Especially since this person or body has the power in theory to declare war.
So the fact this special date was picked could indicate it was dictated by someone who knows the power of the symbolism of the 'special day'. A conspiracy theorist would say it is an unveiled message : ''dear Arab Muslims, just as you are slaughtering your sheep, we are slaughtering one of your presidents - and you are impotent. We can prop and remove any of you at will ! ' . This is not anti-West, these are the ideas floating around and which I thought worthy of being shown to you in order to hear there are no basis for these claims.

A sample of people's reaction here on the BBC site . Bold is mine , which emphasizes the above theory even though it may sound ridiculous to many ears.

Saddam was murdered for standing up for his country. His death in itself is a crime which has been committed by supposedly, decent and democratic cohorts. The whole thing smirks of hypocrisy. His murder should serve as a lesson to all the present allies of the United States that should they decide to challenge the hegemony of the United States, the same fate shall befall them. Saddam's death was premeditated!
ayo awoyele, peterborough, United Kingdom

He was "out of control", that's the only reason America invaded, captured, tried and executed him. He was no more a 'criminal' than those who equipped him to commit those crimes, rather, they are no less a criminal. He wouldn't do as he was told, so he had to go. Welcome to the modern world. I wonder who would be found guilty of 9/11 if they were tried in the same way? This was no trial, it was 12 months of finger pointing in the vain and arrogant hope it would justify an absolute mess.
N Kenworthy, Crewe

While the following is the reaction at the Iraqi blogosphere (hattip Salam Adil from Global Voices) , among a collective sigh at his death there are a bunch of other ideas.

Today was a 'special day' the first day of the Eid al- Adha or the Eid al Kabir , a happy occasion to meet friends and family, a culmination of the Hajj and a commemoration of the time Prophet Abraham intended to sacrifice his only son Ismael upon God's request and how God in his mercy gave him the sheep instead and so set a precedent that human sacrifice to God was no longer acceptable as in paganism. Check here for significance of this story.


"This momentous event also teaches us, through Ibrahim, that human life,
Ismail's, Ibrahim's, everyone's, acquires its meaning and value from God -- The
Source of Creation -- and not from nature. It signifies that the good things in
life, represented by Ismail, derive their value not from the mere fact that they
exist and can be valued, enjoyed and delighted in, but from God, The Source of
Creation Himself. Ibrahim was, in some sense, giving back Ismail to receive him
again on the proper basis.[...] The Ismail of Ibrahim was his son. But you, who
is your Ismail ? what is it ? Your degree? Your reputation? Your position? Your
money? Your home? Your car? Your beloved? Your family? Your knowledge? Your
title? Your dress? Your fame? Your soul? Your spirituality? Your Beauty? Your
strength? Your career?" ."

The Eid spirit has been irrevocably destroyed , leaving a bitter taste. As much as I was anticipating watching Saddam die, I did not want to see that today and not under these circumstances. Could you imagine attending an execution on Christmas :( ?

This BBC commenter has encapsulated the feelings of many in one single sentence:

" I feel saddened by the death of Saddam, not because he deserved to live
but because it is taking place under US occupation of Iraq ".

Further reading :
(1) Juan Cole ( hattip you know who you are - so if you want me to aknowledge you send me an email ) .

Friday, December 29, 2006

Eid message

I got this by email and could not resist posting it :P
عيد مروك

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Top 3 Highlander fans for December are.....

suspense .....

(1) Programmer_Craig ; he's back
(2) Redenclave : always a big fan and now she made the list
(3) and yes believe it or not our one and only Libyan Warrior ( the one with many names as Dhafer says ) - so please Libyan Warrior now that you are in the big league you have big responsibilities ! and runner up is ... surprisingly ...Shlemazl .

My top 3 fans keep changing I can't detect a pattern yet, can you ?

Other lists :

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Keyword Analysis - December 2006

15.79% ancient libyan weather
10.53% i am a girl libya ( so what )
10.53% omar mukhtar ( very popular for 3 years now)
5.26% women in morroco can do a magic for guys to make guys as slaves for them ( now that should be useful)
5.26% nice sayings for new year
5.26% محبة المسيح pps ( translation : Loving Christ)
5.26% google libya arabic
5.26% beautiful arab women ( they are indeed)
5.26% some african countries have started to ban the selling of bleaching creams ( still going on)
5.26% eugene delacroix-algerian women at home ( what is so special about that ? )
5.26% libyan people pictures
5.26% boyfriend jokes ( ever popular)
5.26% my secret dream ( do you have one ? )
5.26% nightmare feeling ( on my blog? )
5.26% micallef friendly fire ( this one is a big mystery ! )

Previous Analysis: August , September , October , November. enjoy and share your thougths and comments .
A healthy work environment

There was too much of that type of exercise going on which is why I left my previous job :)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Yoko Tsuno & Grendizer : My Superheros

Last weekend we were clearing the attic when I chanced upon some old comics in French and dusty VHS cassettes labelled Mughamarat Al-Fadaa ( Space Adventures).

The French comic strip called in French 'bande dessinees' were what was left of my collection of my favourite heroine :) Yoko Tsuno.

While 'Space Adventures' , brought back the memories of my cousins, neighbours and siblings all of us gathering in front of the TV everyday to watch the episode of the giant UFO robot superhero , Grendizer. When the theme song would come up, we would all shut up and watch raptured. I loved Grendizer, but not the robot I loved his master the 'alien' Dok Fleet who was driving him , I had a big crush on the guy . In those times we in the Arab world did not know anything about this type of Japanese cartoon and that it was called anime or manga in French, except that we enjoyed them and that many international stories had been 'animated' . Here is a non-comprehensive list of anime, many of them have been shown and re-run in the Arab world in the 80s and 90s even though some went back to the 70s:

Remi, the homless boy, Candy Candy, Gatchaman, The Princess Knight, Maya the Bee, Triton, Mazinger, ZArcadia of my Youth, Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro, Heidi, Adventures of Pepero the Andes Boy, Josephina the Whale, Chapy the magic use, rConan the future boy, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Kimba, Koncho, Monogatari Shin Minashigo Hatchi, Astroboy (60's anime), Time Bokan. Mahou no Mako-Chan, Mahou Tsukai Sally (60's anime), Arrow Emblem Grand Prix no Taka, Kerokko Demetan , Minky Momo, Ranma 1/2, Yawara!,Kimagure Orange Road, Captain Tsubasa, Princess Millenia, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Saber Rider, Maison Ikkoku Touch, Dr. Slump, Macross,Southern Cross, Mospaeda, Saint Seiya, Dragonball, Dragonball Z, Cats Toninden Teyande, Urusei Yatsura, Mermaid Forest, Laughing Target, Fire Tripper, Maris the Chojo, Hello! Sandibelle, Mahou Shojo Lalabelle, Lady Oscar,Treasure Island and many more...

Now back to Grendizer, in my opinion the Arabic dubbing of Japanese anime was the best, as I've watched them in at least English, French and Italian ( in Rai TV and Rete Quatro ) . Arabic stations have broadcast the complete Grendizer episodes , funnily enough I never to this day saw the final one. The Arabic version of Grendizer kept the original Japanese names of the characters.. But never mind if you missed some , this guy has compiled them on DVDs and I will buy a set one of these days .Here is a nice website about the whole Grendizer memorabilia and plot.

Do you recall the unforgetable Smurfs( alsanafer) which lent its name to term sanfoura to describe a cutie , Sindibad, Adnan wa Lina, Sasuki, Captain Majid :) tell me about your memories and your favourite anime . Grendizer was so populat in Libya that the children made funny rhymes about it . Unfortunately I can only remember 4 lines -

dayski dr. amoun
kuji mekahal li3oun
dambi dmegh il batata
hikaro 3itrit fi shkara

So if you have more please add them in the comment section ...

I'm here blowing a kiss to my crush the famous Dok Fleet - I will always love you.
Ps a question ? can you seriously 'love' a comic hero ?
Season's greetings to all

This year the holy days of the three main monotheist religions are coming one after the other. For some lucky people in countries that celebrate all 3 equally they will enjoy long holidays.

I'm still on time today to wish you a Happy Channukah , a Merry Christmas , an early Happy New Year 2007 , and Eid Al -Adha to my fellow Muslim as the waqfa has been officially confirmed to be a week from today . So the Eid il Kbir will be on Decembre 30th yay! overlapping with the New Year celebrations.

Additional info my previous post on Eid Al Adha.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Me wants !

A superficial topic :P

I love this piece, glad it's not within my reach otherwise I would fallen for their great marketing techniques and thought it was indispensable :P - good sale price no ? wow

Who said 'diamonds are a girl's best friend' ?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Libyan Muhajababes © & Hijab

If you asked me the ratio of veiled women in Libya to non-veiled I would confidently say that now , veiled of all types are a comfortable majority. Noticing this phenomenon, which is apparently rising in North Africa ( and probably in the Middle East as well ) the BBC had an article about it yesterday, specifically about Libya. ( Check out this hottie => courtesy of BBC lovely,stylish and fitting all the stereotypes westerners dream about )


Najat wore the veil a few years ago because her teenage daughter suddenly
decided to cover up. She has since been caught in a moral and religious battle
with herself. [..]
My husband is open-minded and we sometimes travel on
holiday, so I was thinking the next time we do that, what if I feel like going
to a nightclub with him? I can't do that with a veil - I'm seriously thinking of
removing it permanently - I feel so restricted with it." [..]

People are wearing it for all sorts of reasons and not always the right one as demonstrated above but one of them at least is simple peer pressure. i.e. in a stealthy way, just to blend in society.

Sometimes I feel discriminated against , not in an obvious way, just those tiny hints. For example last time I was chatting with some colleagues : "Highlander , you 're such a nice person, why don't wear a scarf ( only a scarf mind you ) and you will see you will get married straight away" . So with that attitude of course what do you expect? But now I'm thinking they may have a point , because I have never been much sought after more than on those days I went to the fish market or vegetable market in my uncoordinated home clothes and sports shoes and with a scarf on my head and neck for the sun/wind. I personally think I looked like a scarecrow, but that is the day that I got loveletters on my car, phone numbers thrown my way, cars stalking me to my home, marriage proposals . I never associated it with the scarf only with me being somehow sexier with my housecoat or tracksuit LOL.

Here someone offers an explanation of how the hijab came about in Libya :

"I think the beginning of the hijab trend which appeared in the 1980s in Libya
was mainly due to economic reasons like things becoming more expensive and low state wages." [..]

Whilst I agree that there could have been an economical reason yet in the 80s there was not much shopping ask anyone about it. And although it has been said and I agree with it as well that many women use some form of hijab during the times when they are just feeling too lazy to dress and so wearing a jilbab or overcoat and a scarf is quicker as Sereeb says here during a heated discussion at AngloLibyan about his post on Muslim schools in London which turned about the veil. However, I still believe that my theory of how hijab in Libya was more as a direct result of the War in Afghanistan, as expounded in my previous post on hijab still holds .

In Libya you will encounter all sorts of hijabs, even the niqab is increasing lately ( more about that later) , but the most obvious form is that which author Allegra Stratton coined for her book Muhajababes .

"Jihan demonstrates her faith with a fashionable edge. She wears tight blue jeans, a grey shirt under a tight pink vest, an olive-green veil with sequins
and matching accessories to go with it. "[BBC again]

Jihan is a typical example of a 'babe - I can't believe that the considerably less tight jeans on me and a T-shirt but with no head cover were enough to have made one male pass a judgement 3 years ago and still maintain it nowadays; talk about patronizing behaviour- bah !

Those ladies , according to Muhajababes' author are the new Middle East and are influenced by Amr Khaled as opposed to those women who veiled in the 80s as a result of the Afghan warriors. According to her they show all the contradictions of this century ; the non-stop Haifa Wahbe and others Arab pop stars quasi nude renderings on Arab satellite TV ! Which Saudi and the Gulf are exporting right into our living room and the increased covering of the flesh in real life - weird equation. But you will have to read the study for yourself. Everything is not as easy/clear as it seems . hmm I was planning to make this post sweet and short , but it turned into something else. Well anyway, basically anyone can wear what they want in my opinion as long as they don't judge me. :) Plus I stated clearly what I thought about hijab in my previous posts and here as well.

On another note I would also like to highlight the part below from the same article in light of the Jack Straw controversy :

A little-known fact about Libya is that teachers are not allowed to teach with
their entire faces covered.
It is not a Libyan law that imposes that
restriction, but rather an undeclared one that the educational community agrees
And while schools here carry lessons in Islam, teachers are not allowed
to preach and influence their students on how to implement it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"The Wanderer" : an Anglo-Saxon Poem

Often the solitary man enjoys (or awaits)
The grace and mercy of the Lord, though careworn
He has long been forced to stir by hand
The ice-cold sea on many waterways,
Travel the exile's path; fate is relentless. 5

So spoke a wanderer who called to mind
Hardships and cruel wars and deaths of lords:
"Frequently have I had to mourn alone
My cares each morning; now no living person
Exists to whom I dare reveal my heart 10
Openly; and I know it for a truth
That in a man it is a noble virtue
To hide away his thoughts, lock up
His private feelings--however he may feel.
A weary heart cannot oppose inexorable fate, 15
And anxious thoughts can bring no remedy.
Therefore those jealous of their reputations
Often bind fast their sadness in their breasts.
And so I, heartsick, deprived of my homeland,
Far from my noble kin, have often had 20
To tie in fetters my own troubled spirit,
Since long ago I wrapped my lord's remains
In darkness of the earth, and from that place
Sadly journeyed by winter over icy waves,
And suffering sought the hall of a new patron, 25
If in any land I might find one willing
To show me recognition in his mead-hall,
Comfort me, friendless--tempt me
With pleasures."

One who has experienced it
Knows how bitter sorrow is as a companion 30
To one who has few real friends; strands of
Braided gold are not for him; paths of exile are;
Coldness of heart, not the pleasures of this world.
He recalls the gifts of treasure, the hall-companions,
And remembers how his gold-friend, long ago, 35
Used to entertain him at the feast.
Now all that joy Has gone.
Therefore, one who long must do without
His beloved lord's advice understands,
When sleep and sorrow joined together
Often bind him, alone with his sadness. 40
In his mind it seems that he embraces
And kisses his liege lord, and on his knee
Lays hand and head, as he did in days gone by,
When he enjoyed gifts from the throne;
Then the joyless man then wakes up 45
And sees instead the yellow waves,
The sea-birds bathing, stretching out their wings,
While snow and hail and frost fall all together.
Then his heart becomes, for that reason, yet heavier,
Grief for the loved one gone.
Sorrow is renewed, 50
Then, when memories of kinsmen fill the mind,
He greets them gladly, gazes on them attentively.
But again and again his old friends swim away;
The floating spirits bring him all to few
Of the old well-known songs.
Care is renewed 55
For one who must continually send
His weary spirit over icy waves.

"Therefore I see no reason in the world
Why my heart does not grow dark, when I ponder
The lives of warriors, how they suddenly 60
Have left their halls, those bold and noble thanes,
Just as this middle-earth and everything on it
Declines and weakens each and every day."

Therefore no man may become wise before
He's lived his share of winters in the world. 65
A wise man must be patient, not too passionate
Or too impetuous in words; not too timid a fighter,
Nor too anxious, too carefree, nor too covetous
Of wealth; nor ever too quick to boast before fully
Understanding. A man should wait, 70
Before he makes a vow, until in pride he truly can
Assess where his heart's intentions will lead him.

The wise must know how awesome it will be
When all the wealth of the world stands desolate, 75
As now in various parts throughout this middle-earth
Stand wind-blown walls, frost-covered, ruined homes.
The wine-halls crumble; monarchs lifeless lie,
Deprived of pleasures, all the company of heroes
Dead by the wall. Some battle carried off 80
Took from this world; some the foul bird removed
Over the ocean deep; some the grey wolf
Consigned to death; some a tear-stained hero
Concealed from daylight in an earthy cave.
Just so in days long past humankind's Creator 85
Destroyed this earth until, lacking the joyous sounds
Of inhabitants, the ancient works of giants stood Desolate.
One who has wisely thought and considered
Carefully this creation and this dark life,
Experienced in spirit has often deeply pondered 90
Countless slaughters, and might say these words:

'Where is the horse now, and the hero?
Where is the generous lord, the feast-benches, the joys
Of the hall. Alas for the bright cup; alas, the armored
Hero; alas, the prince's glory.
That time is over, 95
Gone beneath night's shadow as if it had never been.

A splendid lofty wall, adorned with shapes,
Of serpents now stands as a memorial
To that beloved band.
The savage, blood-greedy spear
And mighty destiny have carried off the heroes, 100
And storms now knock against these stony slopes.
Falling sleet and snow bind the world
In winter's vice; then darkness comes
Shadowy night approaches; the north sends down
Fierce hailstorms in malice against men. 105
And all is hardship in this earthly kingdom; the work
Of fate alters the world lying beneath the heavens.
Here belongings and friends pass away;
Here man himself and kinsmen pass away;
And all this earthly structure comes to nothing." 110

Thus spoke the thoughtful sage, as he sat alone, meditating.
Happy is he who keeps his faith; a man must never be too eager
To reveal the cares of his heart, before he knows their remedy,
And pursues it eagerly.
It will be better for one who seeks grace
Comfort from our father in the heavens, where for us all security stands. 115 [source]

Translation by Richard Hamer (copyright 1970)
(much revised by Míceál F. Vaughan, 1983/1996)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Banning the term 'War on Terror'

The winds look like they are turning in Britain lately. I was pleased to read that the "Foreign Office has asked ministers to ditch the phrase invented by Bush " WoT , yay ( hattip my new Libyan friend PH ).

Excerpts :

Cabinet ministers have been told by the Foreign Office to drop the phrase 'war on terror' and other terms seen as liable to anger British Muslims and increase tensions more broadly in the Islamic world. The shift marks a turning point in British political thinking about the strategy against extremism and underlines the growing gulf between the British and American approaches to the continuing problem of radical Islamic militancy. It comes amid increasingly evident disagreements between President George Bush and Tony Blair over policy in the Middle East. [...]
'It's about time,' said Garry Hindle, terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute in London. 'Military terminology is completely counter-productive, merely contributing to isolating communities. This is a very positive move.' [

I echo that , this step to me means that the UK is finally thinking of its national interest vis-a-vis the US. Being allies does not necessarily entitle being without a personality. So good for you Britain. However, it does not mean that we in the ME should be blinded by this change of strategy because we remember history and the possibility of it repeating itself. But we should be seizing these opportunities for rapprochement and building bridges, so kudos to the Foreign Office.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ishmaël ou l’exil (for my francophone audience ) : my ode to Love

I'm currently reading a literary style novel in French by Egytian /Moroccan author Zaghloul Morsy .
"Ishmaël ou l’exil" is the love story between Hussayn and Sylvia ( respectively Arab and Jew) in 60s Morocco with the background of the cold war, Israeli -Palestinian issue and all the problems that affect the Middle East/North Africa arena, but not only politics the social too. I have not finished it yet , but so far I can say that it is deep and the prose is beautiful (sounds corny eh ? )It is filled with superimposed symbolism and parables . The novel is an internal journey within a real journey to recount what happened . Are you confused ? I am a bit as well , but see you have to undersand the legend of Quetzalcoatl and immerse yourself .

A review here :

"Et c’est là, en grande partie, la richesse de ce beau livre dont l’écriture a
nécessité plus de dix ans de travail. Orienté à la fois vers les idées et vers les personnages, se présente à la fois comme l’histoire d’un amour impossible et comme un roman de critique sociale."

This guy is talented , I wonder how I never came accross his writing ? maybe because this is his first novel ( 2003). Anyway here is my favourite excerpt , part of Hussayn's dream enjoy :

"[..] Kid, visage et corps face au ciel, et moi gravitant autor d'elle, comme une phalene aimanter, deporte et a nouveau reaimante par le ruisselant feu follet sous la lumiere d'un soleil lactescent et lointain/desormais, chacun de mes gestes etait empreint d'une lenteur compassee comme pour contenir la violence du desir ou peut-etre pour le sacraliser de sorte que le rituel de l'etreinte, s'il se realise, s'accomplirait dans une angoisse sereine et la pulsation assourdissante de tout l'etre, chaque elan, chaque mouvement portant en eux la densite, la lenteur nostalgique de tous ceux qui on precedes, s'appesantissant sur le moindre signe, moins par intention deliberee que par le pressentiment de l'imminence d'un engouffrement ou les etres reel ou chimeriques, les paysages traverses, l'aventure vecue ou revee et tout ce qui avait fait chaque partenaire du couple se qu'il etait, allaients s'abolir/nous n'etious plus que deux corps nuptiaux, immacules , suscitant dans l'eau feerique, comme deux danaides ivres, eperdues , tournoyant lentement, ailes deployees, dans le halo incandescent de leur soif de vertige [..] " ( page 12 NB I have no French keyboard).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mobiles and Cancer : Yes or NO ?

Yesterday there was supposed to be a programme broadcast on our TV at 6.30 pm regarding 'environment and health' it was a survey on radiation from the mobile relay antennas which are erected on buildings her in Libya. If anyone has seen it please let me know what conclusion they came up with as I'm really interested.

On a related topic, when I use my cell phone after a few minutes I feel a burning sensation in my ear and jaw. Since I'm nil in microwave technology (or any kind of technology for that matter) I only know it bothers me . Some people are not bothered I hear why do you think ?

Apparently some recent studies have 'cleared mobiles of cancer risk' as per this BBC article:

The researchers, from the Danish Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, looked at data on people who had been using mobile phones from as far back as 1982. More than 56,000 had been using a mobile phone for at least 10 years. They found no evidence to suggest users had a higher risk of tumours in the brain, eye, or salivary gland, or leukaemia. Professor Tricia McKinney, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Leeds, said:
"The results of this Danish cohort study are important as they have analysed data from mobile phone company records and do not rely on users remembering for up to 10 years in the past how often they used their phone. [ref]

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Middle Eastern Journalists and Visa Woes

I had this post in the pipeline before getting ill so now I’m trying to catch up with the topics I wanted to highlight.

It looks like Middle Eastern journalists are encountering ahem obstacles in getting visas to Europe. I’m wondering why? If you are going to clamour for freedom of speech it looks a bit hypocritical to me … I mean it would be understandable if it was any undemocratic country which was doing this to western journalist, but vice versa it just reflects badly on the country and on Europe as a whole. If they are no longer welcome just tell them to their face. Those are journalists not wannabe jihadis eh?

Check this article by the International Federation of Journalists, excerpts below:

‘During the 1970s and the 1980s the IFJ and other press freedom groups campaigned for an open-door policy that would allow journalists to travel freely to do their work, now they are being forced to do the same in countries that 30 years ago were vociferous critics of closed societies. “Travelling reporters are a threat to no-one,” said White, “but they do provide an opportunity for more informed and better quality journalism in an age when prejudice, stereotype and ignorance tend to dominate the headlines.”’ [read more] .

I do not know if this has been dealt with now.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Enough is enough

Do not know how Highlander puts up with the abuse displayed on this blog. If she is not going to be firm, I will be as the moderator. Unlike Highlander I have no qualms about deleting anything by anyone. I am afraid that insults or threats are NOT acceptable and if you are going to do this then kindly take it elsewhere private. May I suggest email or other forums .
If as adults you cannot keep from filthy/bullying language then you have no business commenting - at least on her blog .

This rule shall be effective as of December 2, 2006 12 Noon .You have been warned