Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The rape weapon and the long arm of justice: East or West, is it simply a man's world or judiciary and government double standards ?

A couple of weeks ago the news outlets were busy with the story of the latest Saudi rape victim filled with outrage (as everyone should) at the fact that the victim was treated as a criminal and sentenced (gasp) to prison and 200 lashes. This crime happened in 2006 but seems to have come to light now. Rape is a crime and I have no other words to describe its potential for physical and emotional trauma. Saudi Arabia's judiciary was trashed for the way it handled the case. Human rights or the lack thereof were invoked...

You can read the details here and here. The case "has aroused controversy at home and condemnation abroad. US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said the sentence was an outrage and urged President Bush to put pressure on Saudi King Abdullah." Wow even foreign governments were getting involved... which I guess is good for the girl since apparently it resulted in her 'pardon' last week.

Meanwhile I'm wondering where is the international support for Jamie Leigh Jones also gang raped by her US compatriots in Iraq (in the Green Zone mind you) two years ago [ref]. Jamie has just now been able to voice her ordeal.

" I said, 'Dad, I've been raped. I don't know what to do. I'm in this container, and I'm not able to leave,'" she said. Her father called their congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas. "We contacted the State Department first," Poe told, "and told them of the urgency of rescuing an American citizen" -- from her American employer. Poe says his office contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones' camp, where they rescued her from the container." [source] and more of these stories are coming forward see here.

I have not seen the same level of condemnation as about the Saudi case in the world - very little about this case outside US media and nothing front page.
Strange.. clearly Jamie and the Saudi girl are both victims at the hands of men from their country. Jamie is seeking justice but her coworkers apparently have immunity and cannot be prosecuted.

While the Saudi girl got more than she bargained for by being put along with the accused- she still received justice because readers and governments alike have simply skimmed through the lines that mentioned " In October, the men were convicted and sentenced to two to nine years in prison for the assault." [ref]and went for the chance to bash some Arabs and Muslims.

The Qatif girl has the support of her family and so does Jamie, why the cover up in Iraq? it makes these people no different than the men in Saudi Arabia.
Finally it brings a sinister thought to my mind- if these contractors brought to rebuild Iraq could do this to one of their own and cover it up - what have they been doing to the Iraqi women/ men or children if some of them are gay or pedophiles?
They must be getting away with murder.

December 2007 favourites from the blogosphere Updated


" I was fourteen years old when I first began to study Hebrew. The only Palestinian in a class full of American Jews, I spoke of how I believed in peace, in tolerance, and in coexistence. But deep down lay another reason I was not so candid about. To learn the language of the oppressor was crucial, I knew. You taught me this lesson at a very young age.[..]Palestine is where we learn how love is painful, justice is an abstraction, and nationalism is a crime."

Libyano's comeback post

One of my best friends came back from Greece to stay here forever so everyone is bothering him with WHY DID YOU COME BACK HERE??!! like him I faced this question so many times before, I can never think of leaving Libya forever, there are things here you wouldn't find anywhere else like not getting a speed ticket no matter how fast you drive :P and a very long list of things you find here that makes us live outside this world

Lebeeya on PH's post Iran's Nuclear Program

America is always on a lookout to identify ‘a free pass’ to enter any developing country. They don’t really care about the authenticity of the pass. If they don’t find any plausible pass, they create one.

Healing Iraq

The sheikh has the choice of accepting insurgents, or worse Al-Qaeda, to operate in his territory, risking that Americans come after him and his family, destroy his property, or kill them all in a strike against "suspected insurgents." Or, he could join forces with Americans to form an "awakening" group, and then risk that insurgents come after him for collaboration. Or, he could simply pack up and flee the country, like millions of Iraqis facing this dilemma decided to do rather than choose one or the other. The Iraqi government or Iraqi security forces are clearly not an option in this equation for well-known reasons.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My new baby

I finally found the laptop of all laptops a precious gem

is that not a beauty ? for the specifications and other details click here- unfortunately I had to accept Vista !

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Congratulations on Eid Al Adha Updated

Dear All,

I'm interrupting my now fabled itinerary to find the perfect laptop ( for my pocket and dreams) to wish you Eid Mabrouk to you and your families and loved ones.

Along with choosing a laptop which is a long process I am also working on my promised Highlander Award on which there is no voting but only my personal choice of who gets the award based on meritocracy, style, originality and a lot of other criteria but always remember that you are all unique.

For those of you who have just tuned in to my blog here is a summary about Eid Al-Adha which I posted a few years ago. Thankfully this year no one is being executed either so we shall be spared the spectacle.

Salam and enjoy the break

عيدكم مبروك


Update 25/12/07 I tried to make the round of all Libyan blogs and wish fellow blogs Happy if I missed anyone then it was not intentional but mashallah you are now so many !

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On Iraq

I haven't written about Iraq for a while... not because the novelty factor was gone, neither because the shock factor was not possible anymore but because Iraq has joined the other issues vyeing for attention. I have not read Riverbend for a while but this post brought my tears down and reminded me of a time before 2003 which many Iraqis are nostalgic about - almost another era and only 5 years ago...

"I had resigned myself to the fact that we were refugees. I read about refugees on the Internet daily… in the newspapers… hear about them on TV. I hear about the estimated 1.5 million plus Iraqi refugees in Syria and shake my head, never really considering myself or my family as one of them. After all, refugees are people who sleep in tents and have no potable water or plumbing, right? Refugees carry their belongings in bags instead of suitcases and they don’t have cell phones or Internet access, right? Grasping my passport in my hand like my life depended on it, with two extra months in Syria stamped inside, it hit me how wrong I was. We were all refugees. I was suddenly a number. No matter how wealthy or educated or comfortable, a refugee is a refugee. A refugee is someone who isn’t really welcome in any country- including their own... especially their own.[...] We live in an apartment building where two other Iraqis are renting. The people in the floor above us are a Christian family from northern Iraq who got chased out of their village by Peshmerga and the family on our floor is a Kurdish family who lost their home in Baghdad to militias and were waiting for immigration to Sweden or Switzerland or some such European refugee haven.

The first evening we arrived, exhausted, dragging suitcases behind us, morale a little bit bruised, the Kurdish family sent over their representative – a 9 year old boy missing two front teeth, holding a lopsided cake, “We’re Abu Mohammed’s house- across from you- mama says if you need anything, just ask- this is our number. Abu Dalia’s family live upstairs, this is their number. We’re all Iraqi too... Welcome to the building.”

I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003. "

Monday, November 26, 2007

Finding a laptop and Windows Vista

My current laptop is exhaling its last breath; what with its fan becoming increasingly louder, its battery hotter and its memory ultra crowded despite regular reformatting processes in addition to the letters on the keyboard merely becoming the ghosts of past shapes. Basically, I need a new laptop ....

How can this be achieved if you have budget constraints, big dreams and a strong attachment to a particular product/software.

My dream machine is light, slim, pretty, powerful and includes DVD long battery life, webcam all the works. Easy? think again, here are the narrowed down choices:
pretty , ultra portable and practical.

My second problem is that most 2007 models carry the Windows Vista software while I have just finally come to terms and made my peace to accept gasp (insert gulping sound) Windows XP, I refuse to upgrade. So I decided to check what do my blogger buddies think:

Anglo Libyan recently bought this , updated to Vista and loves it.

Safia updated to Vista, her review deserves a place in a magazine, she says: " So far (less than 24 hours) Vista has been running stable and okay. Not a great invention to ooh and ahh about, but an interesting little improvement to Windows XP. I think I´ll keep it."

Adam has actually issued a warning "Whatever you do - do not, I repeat not, buy a computer with windows Vista on it. It will be well invested money to pay extra for the good old and solid Windows XP."

So between bloggers taking the Vista to the stars and those dragging it in the gutters; Claim 2B wise's opinion is the one which made me dig in my heels and remain in the non-Vista camp.

He starts with a comparison between Mac and PC and simply tears down Mac's marketing strategy. "i never thought about a Mac computer until this crazy advertisement ofMac Books are hitting around almost everywhere trying to lower down the pc's oddsby counting and mentioning apparently nonstabilty nonreliability incompatibilitiesof a PC.but hey wait a moment ?aren't Mac is just Trying increase their selling by adopting the intel processors which arebasically created for PC and also correct me if i am wrong Mac Introduced Boot camp which allows you to use both operating system in one device.But would it be possible to fully benefit from both ?this is what i would hear from users Now why would Mac Do such a thing ?i believe that you can do almost everything with a pc with no need for having a mac on the other side you can do nothing by a mac but playing with sound video graphic editingand? what else oh yes playing chess and some really boring games".

But here comes the best part "for those who created windows Vista i ask you only one question why? if i was in bill's position i would go for trying perfecting Xp in stead of ending it's services on 2011 i would tell Microsoft one thing i have regret nothing in my life but one thing which is buying an original Vista.I'd rather call it windows disaster in stead."

Wish Bill Gates is listening... sigh

Now I know I don't want Vista; remains to decide on the laptop... your suggestions are most welcome as usual.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Patriot and the Racist: a tale of two citizens

Israel is an ally of the US and is rewarded handsomely for it. They are there holding the front in the Middle East against the barbarians (that would be the Arabs - for those who don't know their 101 of the Middle East).

The US is waging a 'war on terror' which has been kind of dragging on, I'm not going to get into the discussion that it seems to have increased terror and not reduced it because this depends from which angle one is looking at it.

However, the point is that the US is in Iraq since 2003, and it is not leaving soon ( even next year is not soon enough) . So it needed/needs to have intelligent people on the ground or at least people who use intelligence to their advantage. That translates into people who know local language and culture. Unfortunately regardless of the purported mission to liberate Iraq - after the weapons of mass destruction turned out not to be there - and with 'free Iraq' turning into THE centre for world terrorism; the Iraqis and by extension other Arabs have become the enemy numero UNO ( OK I'm not forgetting that 9/11 had a lot to do with Arabs labelled with terrorism). Basically this means that American soldiers are not feeling safe in Iraq and need to learn some etiquette of the culture in addition to Arabic because their indigenous translators are being hunted down.

You're now wondering where is this post heading? well hold on be patient.... The US government realised a bit late that Arabic is really an important language for its world operations ( I'm tempted to write dominance). Problem is it's easier for Arabs to learn English ( or any other language ) than for Anglophones to learn Arabic. It gets worse when we learn that members of the military despite the security need do not really feel motivated to learn Arabic because they cannot pick up dates.

Basically, "if American soldiers want to learn the Iraqi dialect, they're going to have to spend many long hours in cafes with Iraqi men, drinking tea, playing backgammon, arguing about soccer, and watching Al Jazeera"

So when native Arabic speakers ( including US citizens some not even Muslim - if that could be a valid reason) step in to fill this gap and show their patriotism by training the marines in Camp Pendleton for essential survival in Iraq become terror suspects because they spoke Arabic on a plane ( hattip Angry Arab) then something is definetly wrong .

" The six men were segregated and detained while the airline helped more than 100 passengers find hotel rooms".

What kind of signal does that send to Americans of Arab descent? that their patriotism and love of the country is never equal to that of non-Arab Americans? That America is not united in how it views its sons and daughters?

Is that the face of prejudice speaking? It seems that people are conditioned to believe that non-English speakers are the enemy always.

"Now a group of psychologists is suggesting that such potentially fatal language prejudice may be one of the earliest lessons we learn in life. Researchers at Harvard and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales have found that infants as young as five months old prefer speakers of their own language to speakers of other languages, even before they themselves can talk. They even prefer speakers of their native dialects (Spelke et al., “The native language of social cognition.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 24, 2007)." [source]

Apparently "language is a political issue in the U.S., and both sides in the American immigration and language war will greet this research as reinforcing their position [..] it seems pretty clear that exposure to other languages early on in American history, during colonization, through the first waves of immigration and since the post-1965 immigration boom, hasn’t produced universal tolerance in this country, linguistic or otherwise. Instead, it’s reinforced the American preference for monolingualism and magnified demands for assimilation or expulsion.
The historical American rejection of foreign languages stems not from a preference for “our own kind” but rather from a false sense that the U.S is so special, so powerful, so imbued with divine mission, that we don’t really need the rest of the world, or its Babel of languages, to get by. "

Maybe just maybe stooping to learn a foreign language could actually bread diversity and tolerance. If the woman on the plane could understand Arabic she may have learned that the other passengers maybe talking about how sexy the stewardess really is :P or that they are as great an ally as Israelis, perhaps more than she ever will be. For a country priding itself on tolerance it is painful to see such suspicion and racism, yet I stand in awe at it's justice system because the mistreated passengers are now allowed to sue the airlines!

Still I'm wondering who in this story is the real patriot and who is a waste of taxpayers money?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Future of Marriage: "I do" Mr Highlander !

Since I spend most of my time in some way or another online, whether for work or pleasure, it looks more and more like this will be how I will get married one day :P


" do you accept him as a spouse?

yes - no- cancel "

Friday, October 19, 2007

Post- Ramadan blues

Ramadan has come and gone; the Eid el Fitr followed it and warmed our hearts. Thank you friends and readers for your best wishes each one made a difference.

This year Ramadan and Eid have been very special to me. I enjoyed every bit of it and the Eid was wonderful with all the individuals who made it so. This year like every year our house was full, only this year it was even more so. I took lots of photos to try and capture the moment, with the cousins, neighbours friends and uncles and aunts, and also the pets. No none will be published – sorry!

I've written about the Eid before, so if this is your first time on my blog, please read this post to familiarize yourself with the rituals and traditions.

Meeting the immediate and extended family is the highlight of this three day celebration. The children can catch up with each other and play. I liked Khadijateri's initiative: "Bringing along a deck of Uno cards was a very good idea. It kept the older kids busy. I also brought my laptop along and filled all the boys mp3 players with music, so they were happy. And the smaller kids played with some pre-school/toddler games I put on the laptop just for the occasion.[sic]" (She probably is their heroine now! ). Moreover, it is also an occasion for the grown ups who may not meet often in these busy times to find out about each others news, the trivial and the important. However, in such a large crowd there will most probably be no time for intellectual discussions as fellow blogger Khadijateri laments: "Aside from interrogating each other about where they bought their Eid clothes and how much they paid for them, they talked about all kinds of really stupid and boring interesting things."

It does not matter what the conversation is about, we are among our people (family and tribe) so all masks are down, there is no need to compete about Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare or even climate change LOL, who cares even the best hair removal method can make for an interesting topic: P

For me the Eid "is my favourite Muslim feast, and it is one of the most important in the Muslim calendar, on a par with Christmas, it is not an orgy of food at least not in Libya. It is more of a time to put feuds and misunderstandings aside and thank God for his blessings. It is the time to forgive and be forgiven by friends and family. In brief it is a time to start a new leaf, turn the page and clean one's heart and soul in a process which started in Ramadan with the discipline of fasting. This is the real meaning of the Eid and Ramadan and this is what I strive for. My own jihad "[more].

Here's to many more happy Eids to come and kisses and hugs to those who have made my Eid so special.

More serious blogging will resume shortly!


Saturday, October 06, 2007

"The Right Kind of Wrong":

Happiness.. Now and Forever!

Which is why I will share the video here ..... and its lyrics below.

Eid Mabrouk !

I know all about,
Yea about your reputation
And now it's bound to be a heartbreak situation
But I can't help it if I'm helpless
Every time that I'm where you are
You walk in and my strength walks out the door
Say my name and I can't fight it any more
Oh I know, I should go
But I need your touch just too damn much
Lovin you, That isn't really something I should do
I shouldn't wanna spend my time with you ya
Well I should try to be strong
But baby you're the right kind of wrong
Ya, baby you're the right kind of wrong

It might be a mistake
A mistake I'm makin'
But what your givin I am happy to be takin
Cause no one's ever made me feel
The way when I'm in your arms

They say your somethin I should do without
They don't know what goes on
When the lights go out
There's no way to explain
All the pleasure is worth all the pain
Lovin you, That isn't really something I should do ya-hey
I shouldn't wanna spend my time with you ya
Well I should try to be strong
But baby you're the right kind of wrong
Ya, baby you're the right kind of wrong

I should try to run but I just can't seem to
'Cause every time I run your the one I run to
Can't do without what you do to me,
I don't care if I'm in to deep yeah

I know all about,
Yea about your reputation
And now it's bound to be a heartbreak situation
But I can't help it if I'm helpless
Every time that I'm where you are

You walk in and my strength walks out the door
Say my name and I can't fight it any more
Oh I know, I should go
But I need your touch just too damn much
Lovin you, yeah, isn't really something I should do
I shouldn't wanna spend my time with you ya
Well I should try to be strong, I should try to be strong
But baby you're the right kind of wrong (right kind of wrong)
Baby you're the right kind of wrong
Baby you're the right kind of wrong

Yeah baby you're the the right kind of wrong

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Libyan Soup: The Best dish in Ramadan

Did I mention how much I love Ramadan? It is amazing what a restful time of year it is for me as I don't have to think about lunch or any other food schedules. Having my Iftar is enough and a little snack for Souhour.

In Ramadan everything tastes so much better. I don't think it is because we are hungry but I like to think that is because of baraka ( or blessings).

My favourite dish on the evening meal is the Libyan soup and this soup only tastes special with watani lamb meat ( watani meaning local. I can never tire of eating it for 30 days in a row so delicious it is.

My Iftar usually consists of a few dates to break the fast and some milk/water then I proceed to attack my salad while the soup cools down. I then just eat some burek or rice or whatever is available to have with it as main meal.

We later have fruits and tea. Nothing wasted, not much bread eaten. Souhour can be leftovers or just yogourt and some dates and water.

If you have a recipe for our excellent Libyan soup please share it here ( I admit I can't cook it LOL )

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Best Libyan Blogs: Highlander's Award and the Ramadan Spirit

I have not done the monthly roundups of Libyan blogs for quite a while and lately it crossed my mind that instead I could do my own Libyan blogs competition and give the Highlander Award for excellence or originality once every three months or bi-annually. It's just a way to keep track of the blogger family and increase our exposure and keep us on our toes LOL.

The first one which crossed my mind was Hibo's blog about her late father . I searched and searched and could not find it anymore. It was going to be a brilliant homage to a great contemporary Libyan academic. Hibo explained that she has deleted it.

I know that it has been about a month now since a big misunderstanding took place between a few Libyan bloggers. I was advised to leave sleeping dragons alone since things might be cooling down and the waters may start to flow back again. Yet I feel that everyone is a bit on the edge now and I don't want the Libyan blogs to go the way of some others. I am extremely proud of our family and I want to see the same spirit of collaboration and jest that was there until a month ago. There has been a noticeable decrease in comments on some people's blogs and I think that affects the quality of the conversation. We are all mature people; Piccolina, Hibo and Ahmed have all made an apology, which is very generous of them and shows what pure souls they have.

In my opinion as someone who is neutral, I'd say none of you guys made any mistakes. The story if I recall was that Hibo started a lovely game, in fact her idea is so brilliant that I thought we could follow it up with more quizzes. It would have been so innovative. Piccolina picked on that and made a post from it in which she demonstrated her theory for the correct answer to the quiz. That post was so funny as well and it was absolutely flattering and great as it put Hibo in such a wonderful light. In fact is showed that Hibo is a genius at inventing games and making the Libyan blogs so interesting. The response on both posts was wonderful. Hibo and Piccolina you made such a wonderful team and Ahmed you were so nice to allow yourself to be the first in this online quiz.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure what happened then- why the misunderstanding? But it got out of hand and as the Arab proverb says "if speech is of silver then silence is golden". Things escalated and posts were deleted. What a pity, as those were some of the most beautiful posts which demonstrated the joy, fun, originality and brotherly spirit of the Libyan bloggers and how much we are all young at heart and one family.

So what is my point ? I wish those posts would go up again. If there is something unsuitable in the comment section you can make that not show. The technology is available for that. It is also a few days only to Ramadan. This is the time of the year when we should not hold any grudges anymore not feel any anger/hurt towards anyone. I wish to see the two factions have a virtual hug, kiss and forgive.
Let bygones be bygones.

ما خلقنا السماوات و الارض و ما بينهما الا بالحق وان الساعة لاتية فاصفح الصفح الجمــــيل* إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ الْخَلاَّقُ العَلِيمُ

الحجر / 85 ـ 86

وسارعوا الى مغفرة من ربكم وجنه عرضها السماوات والأرض أعدت للمتقين الذين ينفقون فى السراء والضراء والكاظمين الغيط والعافين عن الناس ان الله يحب المحسنين

ال عمران/ 134

After all is not this what Ramadan is all about?

The Highlander Award for Excellence© will be ushered in on December 2007 until then keep the Ramadan Spirit on.

May the Blessed Spirit of Ramadan guide us all.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

A tribute to online friends: Highlander 's fourth birthday. (updated)

Highlander is four years old today and I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the effect of internet on our life.

Before internet, people interested in communicating with other cultures or making friends or even keep in touch used to write letters and use what we now call snail mail. Many of us can surely remember our little pen pals from those exotic far away sounding places.

In recent months the little bug that I noticed was going around is that several bloggers were pouring their hearts out about their friends and friendship in general.

Khadijateri : "Friends are not always forever, I have discovered."

Trabilsia: "Communication is interpreted by each single individual acording to his/her frame of mind.[sic]".

Loulou: " What do you do? Give in to your sense of duty and loyalty? Reach out to her and try very hard to change your perception of her?".

Carmen even devoted two posts: (1) "You hope that you meet people throughout your life journey that'll always stick around and that no matter how bad things get, they just don't go anywhere." and (2) "I always pray that they'll tap into the friendship reserve that we filled up together and realize how much I really do love them."

This is only a sample but basically all these complaints mean friendship IS important otherwise we would not devote so much time writing about it.

I love my friends and loved my pen pals. However, with the explosion of technology that revolutionised communication during the last decade or so, communication is now instant and reaches a wider network and farther then we ever imagined.
We have email, blogs, chat forums and all sorts of other forums. We instant message (IM) each other, Skype, text and leave offline messages. In short we interact and make new friends daily and it is easier to keep up with our old ones.

Before the blogosphere, I was looking for an interface to interact with fellow Arabs online, a place where I could communicate with them in several languages, a social network of sorts where there were like minded and not so like minded people. I stumbled like many Arabs on ( does not work anymore).

By mid 2002 Planetarabia started shutting down, our emails were erased and features disappeared until one day sometime in 2003 Planetarabia was no longer.

I made so many friends on Planetarabia, Arab and non- Arab (probably a few people hated my guts lol) but I never made enemies. I fondly remember our conversations, discussions and arguments. It was the forum I used to hone in my ideas for those 3 years when I was online. I met several of the friends behind the usernames. Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Yemen, Iran, Syria, Kuwait, UK, US, Canada, Israel etc.. so many memories and so many great friends: R, M, Y, S and D I miss you so much. Their numbers are still in my cell phone and though we are no longer on Planetarabia we still are able to keep in touch.

In August 2003 I discovered the blogs and a new way to interact and my comments became long posts on my blog. Funnily enough I came across someone I knew from Planetarabia who also became a blogger, it was so hilarious when we compared notes about those we knew in common. This is just to show that the people you click with, you always will like them under whatever other name they are.

A lot of things changed since 2003 many readers have come and gone among whom I made also some great friends. Many of them who are no longer here but still read me are missed dearly. Others who have chosen to get on with their lives are missed very much.

The blogosphere has changed, the Libyan one has grown from yours truly into a big family. The Egyptian blogs are not as they used to be. The Iraqi blogosphere has a different mood. The Lebanese bloggers have kind of lost hope; the Kuwaiti blogs are not as fun as back in 2005, the Tunisian blogs are different. Yet among all these people I have many friends, brothers and sisters I would die for. I miss you all and I wish we could turn back the clock to before 9/11 and to another era.

I wanted to thank each and every reader and friend who has ever graced Highlander's blog. I learned from you very much. To those of you who know me personally don't worry sooner or later I will get in touch. I won't forget those of you who are no longer in the comment section because you all encouraged me to stay the course.

Planetarabia was a great forum and I am so sorry it closed. I have been able to find one link showing how it looked to us: here and also a piece of news about when the BBC agreed to stream the news on it.
I'm not worried though as I have saved a lot of its webpages over the years and most of the discussions on my hard disk and from time to time I can reread what we said and what we thought and it would spring back to life; the hopes and the innocence but most strikingly the human relations that formed.

In conclusion friends are not only those we find in the conventional way; let's not look a horse gift in the mouth. Also, true friends do last forever, anything else is a 'business transaction' as one of my new blogger friends said in quoting Libyan writer Sadeg Nayhooum.

PS, Has any of you ever been on Planetarabia? Do you want to share and tell me by which name you used to be known there?

Update (11.24 PM)

For the nostalgic among you, is based on the same ideas as Planetarabia but it simply does not feel the same. Planetarabia was simpler and more streamlined.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ubuntu- hunhu: Food for thought

"[...] When I dehumanise you, I inexorably dehumanise myself".

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Peacekeeping and Conflict Resolution 101

Blogger subzero blu posted some great tips which can help for maintaining peace.
I personally think they are useful both in politics and relationships, which is why I'm going to copy paste them below. For further details check the original article on this site.

"1. Slow down the action
2. Listen well
3. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt
4. Acknowledge the other person's feelings
5. Be strong without being mean
6. Try to see a conflict as a problem to be solved
7. Set your sights on a "win-win" solution
8. If you don't seem to be getting anywhere in solving a conflict, ask for help
9. Remember that conflict, handled well, can lead to personal growth and better relationships
10. The true heroes and heroes of today's world are not the Rambos.[sic]"
Keyword Analysis August 2007

I'm sure you missed that aspect of my monthly posts especially as it shows interesting searches of how people end up here :P

10.34% al-libiya satellite web site
10.34% highlander blog
10.34% ly domain dispute
6.90% libyan women
6.90% why foreign men think lebanese women are beautiful?
6.90% libyan women dress
3.45% listen to album mbc new hits last prime
3.45% second life avatar french maid ( => he he he some people are obsessed)
3.45% pastor hagee idiot
3.45% the best of arab girls 2007
3.45% alone white rock arabic deodorant
3.45% watch grendizer free
3.45% pre-marital blood checkup
3.45% catchy sermon titles
3.45% life in syria
3.45% libyan blogs
3.45% syrian girls
3.45% farse control ait delete
3.45% lybia alyoum site
3.45% common roberto iza ( => who is this guy ?)

PS can someone tell me is it Lebanese, Syrian or Libyan girls ? Basically this to me means that Arab girls in general are the prettiest LOL

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Adventures of locked blogs: another cyberterror

Yesterday I wanted to update my post about Karima, to my dismay I discover that the 'publish post' button had disapeared from my dashboard and instead there was the following messsage:

"Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive. You won't be able to publish posts to your blog until one of our humans reviews it and verifies that it is not a spam blog. Please fill out the form below to get a review. We'll take a look at your blog and unlock it in less than two business days. If we don't hear from you, though, we will remove your blog from Blog*Spot within a few weeks. We'll contact you after we review your blog."

It was the first time I realised that my 4+ years of blogging were held hostage; good and bad memories, friends, experiences, everything could be lost in one click. This event opened my eyes to the need of backing up which I've been wanting to pursue but kept postponing. Now it had become an urgent matter.

Obviously since I'm posting today, it means my blog has been unlocked. It was a good coincidence in a way to have filled out the form just when people were waking up in the US and Google offices we opening. I could see someone from Google going through my blog and by 0300 AM my time I received this email:

Your blog has been reviewed, verified, and cleared for regular use so thatit will no longer appear as potential spam. If you sign out of Blogger andsign back in again, you should be able to post as normal. Thanks for yourpatience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
The Blogger Team

I guess I was lucky but I did spend an agonising 12hrs thinking about how to save my blog. People on 3 continents at least were busy helping me, and I want to thank them from my heart.

PH who personally backed up all my blog patiently on his hard drive, thank you 3azizi. Then Chris who got me in touch with Ezou who offered several websites and solutions (for example here) Thank you gentlemen. They all walked me step-by-step (yes I'm technically challenged :P). I also want to thank all of you my friends who left comments and tips here.

Internet is amazing and you find friends all over this planet: Africa, Asia and America all connected during those precious hours.

Although, the Blogger Team did their job quite promptly, I feel slightly disappointed at being let down so quickly, what if I did not have such great friends ? Would I loose all my precious online moments in the wink of an eye?

Friday, August 17, 2007

First Libyan woman car rally pilot (updated)

Browsing through the March issue of one of my favourite Libyan glossy magazines Albayt ( click here for the online version ), I was pleasantly surprised to see a Libyan woman participating in a car race ; namely the Butterly Rally for Ladies a desert rally held in Tunisia this year.

<= this photo of Karima courtesy of Albayt.

According to jounalist Mohamed Zurgani who interviewed her for Albayt, Karima Yaacoub is a lively, spontaneous person with an adventurous nature. Karima loves speed and has always dreamt of taking part in international events since as far as she can remember.

From the official website for the event 'Rally des
Papillons' I discovered that this event has been an annual affair since 2004.
The website is rich in photos, media appearances etc... (hotties guaranteed for the 'shallow' among us he he he).
Don't go trying the above feat yourself, it's very dangerous trust me LOL.

Karima's dream has finally come true by being the first Libyan woman to participate in a car race.

Team Libya made up of her and copilote Nasser Hawas reached 4th place in the top five classification.


Did I not say before that Libyan women rock :P!
Update 23-08-2007
Thanks Braveheart for bringing to my attention that Karima came second in the recent Morocco Rallye (Casablanca). Another source here. She is getting better!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Mokusatsu : ignore OR let's weigh this before we rush in ? ( updated)

" A mistake in translation may have triggered the atom bombing of Hiroshima. There is evidence that the word 'mokusatsu' used by the Japanese government in response to the US surrender ultimatum was translated as 'ignore' instead of its correct meaning 'withhold comment until a decision has been made"
(Cutlip, Center and Broom, 1985).


(1) Postdam Declaration on July 26 1945 to define the terms of Japanese surrender.

(2) "On July 27, the Japanese government considered how to respond to the Declaration. The four military members of the Big Six wanted to reject it, but Togo persuaded the cabinet not to do so until he could get a reaction from the Soviets. In a telegram, Kase Shunichi, Japan's ambassador to Switzerland, observed that unconditional surrender applied only to the military and not to the government or the people, and he pleaded that it should be understood that the careful language of Potsdam appeared "to have occasioned a great deal of thought" on the part of the signatory governments—"they seem to have taken pains to save face for us on various points." The next day, Japanese paper reported that the Declaration, the text of which had been broadcast and dropped on leaflets into Japan, had been rejected. In an attempt to manage public perception, Prime Minister Suzuki met with the press, and stated,
"I consider the Joint Proclamation a rehash of the Declaration at the Cairo Conference. As for the Government, it does not attach any important value to it at all. The only thing to do is just kill it with silence (mokusatsu) it. We will do nothing but press on to the bitter end to bring about a successful completion of the war"[...]The meaning of the word mokusatsu, literally "kill with silence", is not precise; it can range from 'ignore' to 'treat with contempt'—which actually described fairly accurately the range of effective reactions within the government. However, Suzuki's statement, particularly its final sentence, leaves little room for misinterpretation and was taken as a rejection by the press, both in Japan and abroad, and no further statement was made in public or through diplomatic channels to alter this understanding. [...] On July 30, Ambassador Sato wrote that Stalin was probably talking to the Western Allies about his dealings with Japan.
"There is no alternative but immediate unconditional surrender if we are to prevent Russia's participation in the war. ... Your way of looking at things and the actual condition in the Soviet Union may be seen as being completely contradictory." [...]On August 2, Togo wrote to Sato, " ... However, it should not be difficult for you to realize that ... our time to proceed with arrangements of ending the war before the enemy lands on the Japanese mainland is limited, on the other hand it is difficult to decide on concrete peace conditions here at home all at once. "
At 04:00 on August 9, word reached Tokyo that the Soviet Union had broken the neutrality pact, declared war on Japan and launched an invasion of Manchuria. [wiki ref here - basically the Soviets had no intention to lobby for Japan].

But what did the Japanese statement really mean ? It seems many articles were written about this such as for example William J. Coughlin (1953) says " the statement announced that the Cabinet had taken a stance of mokusatsu, which can be translated as either “making no comment on” or “ignoring” something. According to the article, when the statement was issued, Japan’s media construed the message to mean that the Cabinet was ignoring the ultimatum, while the intended message was that comment was being withheld pending an announcement. The article investigates Japan’s rebuffed attempts to get the Soviet Union to mediate a peace, the internal debate within the Japanese government over surrender, and the intent of the Cabinet’s message. The author asserts that Suzuki’s ambiguous choice of wording led directly to the United States government’s subsequent use of the atomic bomb against Japan."

This week was the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, was this slaughter necessary to stop the war or was it an expression of a bigger ego and a chance to try the scientific feat and achieve world dominance ?

I know the Japanese were not the 'good' side here but I'm not sure about the H- bomb being so good either. (18-8-07 It is the A- bomb sorry and thanks for all those who pointed my mistake in the comment section).

If you want to read a brief chronology of the Japanese surrender please click here. If you are interested in more debate about translation of mokusatsu with which you may agree more than what is stated above click here.

I simply find this theory fascinating. If there was a time machine would events have gone differently?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A dream come true

In October 2005 I wished aloud for a Libyan blog aggregator , in December 2005 LY-Hub blog was created by Hannu, in March 2007 , I created Libyan Blogroll , and in April 2007 Libyano gave us the wonderful Libyan Bloggers A-Z directory and the cool watermelon logo.

They are all great methods to keep with the ever expanding Libyan blogosphere, but none of them updates the posts to let you see at a glance who posted recently, i.e. none of them really had the function of an aggregator :).

Today PH has realised my original wish from 2005, he actually designed it! And although the main reason is that because his sister and family have become blog addicts too :P I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart. Because the layout is perfect now, and it is useful for all the Libyan bloggers family.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Libyan Bloggregator - tada .

So we got logos, blog lists with Libyan bloggers and those blogging from Libya, we have social interaction places, a non ending selection of cool blinkies by newbie Libyan blogger Mujahada ( welcome to the blogosphere to her ) and we also have a fully working rss feed aggregator ! Yipppppppppppeeeee

What more could I ask for now...ah yes if you are not featured leave a message to be added.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Libya featured in Miss Arab World 2007

Congratulations to the Bahraini contestant for winning the pageant, Wafa is gorgeous check Mahmood for the official photo.

I once overheard a friend state that the most beautiful women in the Arab world are to be found in Syria - he in fact compared them to the fabled houriyas of Paradise.

What I did not know until Khadijateri brought it to our atttention , is that Libya took part in the competition as well. For more photos see here ( hattip Khadijateri ) .

<= Does anyone know who she is ? and who designed her dress? Both are understated beauty.

I may sound biased but I think in terms of beauty that Libya has a fair share of diversity and attractiveness rate. Libyan women are 'hot'.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

48 hrs Shengen visa for Libyans: True or False ? ( hattip you know who you are )

Interesting positive outcome from the now infamous Bulgarian nurses case.

According to the BBC :

"The BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says that as part of the deal the EU is
set to significantly ease restrictions on visas for citizens, which could see
Libyans obtain them within 48 hours."

Hey that means my plans to visit Paris could be even shorter term now :P

However a big dampener :( on this is the following from a recent article in the Tripoli Post .

"The MoU signed between Libya and the EU also contains a series of
commitments from the bloc in various areas,. [...] Other measures include
scholarships and training for Libyan students in European universities in all
subjects and the issuing of visas in exchange for
the dropping of visa requirements for EU citizens visiting
." ( emphasis mine)

What is this ? you drop visas for EU citizens while the EU reduces the minimum time for Libyans to get a visa from 15 days to 48hrs?

I don't call that a good deal at all. It smacks too much of the way Westerners are allowed in some Arab countries with no visa or with visa on arrival at the port of entry while the people from those Arab countries still need a visa to go to the Western countries. But I can't blame the West here LOL.
Blog Addiction yes, no and how far ?

57%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Free Online Dating from Mingle2

If it was last year the results I think would have been much different :P this is healthier ....

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and the Children's Helpline

Some of you may already know how much I enjoy the Harry Potter series ( movies and books). Here is a good summary of the previous six parts. The latest release is no exception and I'm hoping to receive my copy soon.

What caught my eye while I was doing the news rounds hoping to catch an early review about the story was that a helpline as been set up for the fans...

"A national children's helpline says it's ready to deal with calls from Potter fans who feel unhappy after the last book in the series goes on sale. "

I thought that was a joke until I read further ..

"the death of any big characters in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows could be very hard on younger readers. [...] Death and loss can make children upset, angry and afraid," said a Childline spokesman. [...] "The story could bring back unhappy memories for children who have lost friends, relatives or pets."

When I read this I was struck by the irony that some children are so lucky their only distress will be the death of their favourite book character yet they will need counselling for that ?
I remembered that even adults have a great difficulty coping with trauma if we take one example the conflict in Iraq we can see from testimonies here how badly the veteran military personel and their families are affected. That's when I started crying; a helpline for fans ? a helpline for grown up war veterans ? How many helplines will we need for a whole country ? or for at least one portion of it that may survive and grow up in that country ? the 'silent victims' as CNN calls it ?

"One of the studies on primary-school-age children in Baghdad found that nearly half of the 600 children surveyed had experienced a major traumatic event since the war began. Just over one in every 10 suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, the study found. Another of the studies found that older children in Mosul suffered even worse. Thirty percent of the 1,090
children surveyed showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. Nearly all of those with PTSD
symptoms, 92 percent, had not received any treatment, according to the study."

"Many Iraqi children have to pass dead bodies on the street as they walk to school in the morning, according to a separate report last week by the International Red Cross. [...] Iraqi psychiatrists worry about the long-term consequences of a generation that has been constantly exposed to explosions, gunfights, kidnappings and sectarian murders. "Some of these children are time bombs," said Said al-Hashimi, a psychiatrist who teaches at Mustansiriya Medical
School. " [more]

There have been some ideas to help the Iraqi children in 2003 but it does not amount to much as apparently 'to this day, there is not one specialized child psychiatrist in all of Iraq'. I keep contrasting that with the helpline set up for the Harry Potter fans and my blood rises.

Any helpline for this little guy ?

"There I saw a four year-old boy sitting beside his mother's body which had been decapitated by the explosion.
"He was talking to her, asking her what had happened. He had been taken out shopping by his mum."

More info here as well ...

An Iraqi psychiatrist recently said : "Most Iraqi people now deal with each other in an aggressive way; they show disturbed behaviour; they have lost their civility. "

Sadness over the end of the Potter era sounds so futile compared to the suffering of one child in Iraq.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Conspiracy theories

A commenter on my blog has been dotting several of my posts for the last few months with this single very long comment containing a lot of links:

"Speaking of the “war on terror”, let’s take a few moments and look at some of the details of the horrible event that precipitated it and around which America’s foreign policy has been inextricably wrapped ever since that awful morning.One thing that struck me as odd in the days after 9/11 was Bush saying "We will not tolerate conspiracy theories [regarding 9/11]". Sure enough there have been some wacky conspiracy theories surrounding the events of that day. The most far-fetched and patently ridiculous one that I've ever heard goes like this: [more]

Usually I skip through as it is too long, but today I went back and read it.

Many articles and books were written about 9/11 , and you and I have read more than we could ever hope to remember about it. All sorts of theories. When I read the theory exposed above to my Arab mind it seems plausible. whoaaaa wait before you explode in my face, I'm telling you it 'seems' possible that is what your average Mo would believe. So how can I explain to him that it is not true and convince him? I'm sure there were many counter theories.

So I would like you to tell me WITHOUT getting emotional or angry, without threatening me or each other and without sarcasm (because I'm asking therefore I really need an answer) your opinons and ideas on educating my peers (not necessarily Libyans ) when they bring that kind of stuff in my face what arguments could I use to make them understand especially that everything is clear?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The best comment for July 2007

My blog - my rules :P so I'm making an exception and posting the best comment for this month early!

"For so long I have been waiting for God to come into my life, but I think
I have realized that God's arm's have been open all along, its just that I have
been keeping away. Why? I dont know.... Because letting go is so hard, letting
go of the hate, letting go of the anger, to break down the walls I have set
around my heart, to get rid of my pride, to get rid of my racism, to get rid of
my biases and prejudice's, it's a struggle, its a jihad, the greatest kind. "

Lost Libyano

That was the most beautiful paragraph I have read for a while, here is the whole comment if you are interested.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Of blogging, non-blogging and other matters

Dear All,

I admit I've been extremely irregular in my updates. I've missed my own monthly round up of the Libyan blogosphere, the best comment and the top 3 readers for more than two months now. I'm not bored with blogging I'm just very tired because I have a lot going on for me in family and at work and that's keeping me superbusy.

I miss the blogs and my friends and readers, I miss the interaction but not the fights :P I will ask you to be a little bit more patiend with me and I hope to be in full form again. I'm not ill nor depressed nor in trouble :) . I just have so much to do in my career that blogging has slipped down on the priority list. It is now or never to build a strong base to go forward then I can rest a bit on my laurels LOL.

I do hope you won't abandon me because I still have many stories in my pocket for you.

In the meantime I would like to say that I have been so engrossed in work and other issues that I totally missed the news about the hurricane coming to Oman . I'm relieved to see blogger Lebeeya is well. May God bless all those who died in the ensuing floods. this is so scary because most Arab countries are not equipped for even a simply winter heavy rain. Look at Tripoli in winter we drawn.

Another important news is the car accident that Trabilsia's son was involved in. Salamtu Tarek ! I am so glad he is out of danger now ! I hope Lebeeya and Trabilsia would forgive me and don't think I was being callous I was not around that's all - sometimes in areas with no internet connection. However, today I can breath easier hamdillah... God is always so merciful in whatever he decides ..

On the other hand it is heartwarming to see the Libyan bloggers doing so well I can disappear in peace and discreetly and the blogosphere will be fine ( mission accomplished LOL - I'm so arrogant). Basically no one noticed my lack of blogging he he he...

Libyan bloggers have been having lots of fun with challenging each other to show their feet and footwear and their desktops ( hattip Safia- but please follow all her links if you are curious). Anyway here is my desktop and my footwear which was a challenge launched a year ago ....This was Safia's older contribution :P - Sorry Saf the newer Libyan bloggers have not seen this gem he he he . These posts reminded me of some happier times on my blog.. many of those readers, commenters and bloggers are no longer around .....You are all missed dearly.

Some fans are worried that other blogs have become more famous, I'm not worried because fame is not my aim - I'm very happy with the way things are :)

Well I'm back, so bear with me .

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

An interesting visit

Libya was one of the African countries slated for Blair's visit ,which is exactly what happened as the premier and his wife landed in Tripoli yesterday.
After his arrival several large business deals took place. The first being the signing of a contract with BP which has not been present on the Libyan scene for the last 30 years. The concession they obtained is immense.

"For comparison, the acreage awarded in the North Ghadames block alone is the size of Kuwait. The acreage in the offshore Sirt basin is the size of Belgium or nearly three North Sea quadrants. In total the acreage is more than ten times the size of BP-operated Block 31 in Angola where BP has announced 14 discoveries so far, or more than 2000 Gulf of Mexico deepwater blocks. " [more].

Economic investment should be good news but what I can't figure out is why does Libya need to buy weapons ? We are hailed as an ally against terror so we need to spend large sums on defence contracts ? I think that's such a waste of money, I feel we are kind of forced into it as these are the deals which are almost the most lucrative...sigh .. all this money could be used for so much other more important things like environment and health etc..

It is a good PR move that he visited the family of the Libyan AIDS children as it is not often that I see sympathy or care shown to them in the media but only to the Bulgarian nurse and without the Palestinian doctor.

"Later Mr Blair met relatives of the 400 Libyan children who were allegedly deliberately infected with the HIV virus by five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor in 1998.
The medical personnel, who say they were made scapegoats for poor hospital hygiene, face the death sentence.
Mr Blair said relatives ( I hope he means relatives of the children ? ) had suffered a great tragedy and told them there was much sympathy for them in the UK. "

So I might venture that just for that his visit has some positive points.

I wonder who the next PM will be ?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

My burkini made waves

I was a bit surprised when I read this article recently. Manal is an American Muslim currently living in the UK. One afternoon she says " my routine visit to the gym had suddenly sparked a crisis: it was all about immigration, asylum!"

How did this happen? she never had any problem with her swimsuit =>
before ( this is her photo). She traveled all over the world and wore it on various beaches and no one complained.

"[..] there had always been a sort of unspoken agreement between me and my fellow swimmers that my swimsuit didn't really matter - we were all there to swim and relax. I was not forcing my swimsuit on them, and they were not forcing their choice on me".

It took one bigot to create an issue out of it, with lies in the media and journalists writing back and forth and no one ever bothering to find out from her what was the story.

" I contacted the Oxford Mail, offering them my side of the story. I never heard back. Of course, that would have destroyed the theme of the article. Nobody in Oxford would be interested in new swimming suits with hi-tech material, but a crazy Muslim woman jumping into a pool fully clothed and potentially suffocating in the sauna was much more interesting. Since when have facts been important to journalists covering stories involving Muslims?".

Read the full article here.

I was comparing her swimwear and could not see what was wrong with it. I would probably wear the same myself without the scarf in some places. So why the hypocrisy of some people I could not understand.
It looks to me no different than a wetsuit. People wear this for sports events and all sorts of activities, and also for sun protection. OK you would say there is no sun in an indoor swimming pool but there is no harm in wearing this or is there ? It's like wearing a wetsuit and a swimming cap which is what some would do when they have allergy to the chlorinated water of a pool.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The People we call friends: of 'Morals & Behaviour'

I was fumbling through my drafts and found this very old post that I never got round to publish, so I told myself why not? today is as good as any other day...

Our ancestors left a rich heritage of proverbs, fables, stories , biographies so that we may learn from their experience and have a shortcut to wisdom. Problem is we forget and we never learn until it is too late. Or until as the Arabs say 'ilfas i'a3 fil ras ', translation : the hatchet falls on the head.

Highlander is blessed to have some people who are 'real' friends, those people who have stood the test of time- true soulmates, she has also made some more along the way whom she believed would grow to that upper echelon. But we need to remmember our wise ancestor and not be totally naive. Why ? because the friends who leave you when the good times are over .. when you really need their support have never been and will never be friends. Maybe we are better off this way. Finding out the truth late is better than never.

So why don't we ponder those pearls of wisdom:

Note : men = human beings here and not gender.

"Do not expect any help in return from anyone except God the Almighty and Great. As you go on your way always remember that the first person you help will be the first to do harm and turn against you. Indeed, because of their profound jealousy, men of bad character detest those that help them when they see that the latter are better off."

"The definition of friendship: [it is the middle point] between two extremes.What makes one friend sad makes the other sad too. What makes one happy makes the other happy too. Any relationship less than this is not friendship. Anyone who answers to this description is a friend. A man may be the friend of someone who is not his friend for a man can love someone who hates him. This is the case above all with fathers and their sons, brother and brother, husband and wife, and all those in whom friendship has become burning love. Not every friend is a counsellor although every counsellor, by giving advice shows himself to be a friend."

"If you find excuses for selfish and greedy men and shut your eyes to their faults, you are not displaying humanity or virtue. On the contrary, it is a base and feeble thing to do which encourages them to continue in their bad attitudes, it applauds and supports them in their wicked actions. Such indulgence would only be humane when displayed towards the just who are quick to pardon and to act unselfishly. In that case it is an obligation for a good man to behave in the same way towards them, above all if they have an urgent need of such tolerance, and if it is more necessary for them"

If you are interested in more check Ibn Hazm al-Andaloosee 's : Morals and Behaviour , and the whole list about friends here.

Some Arab proverbs which I like :

A foolish man may be known by six things: Anger without cause, speech without profit, change without progress, inquiry without object, putting trust in a stranger, and mistaking foes for friends.

A wise man associating with the vicious becomes an idiot; a dog traveling with good men becomes a rational being.

Arrogance diminishes wisdom.

and finally The wound of words is worse than the wound of swords.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Funny dialogues between Libyan girls

It's really untranslatable but if anyone feels like it you are welcome

Money or character ?
من طرائف الليبيات في زمن المظاهر و الماديات

سعاد: خطيبي مش مخليني محتاجة حاجة..كل مرة يفاجئني بهدية و أمه تموت فيا..
هناء: و شن عنده من شهادات؟
سعاد: عنده سيارة للشغل فولفو..و سيارة للزيارات مرسيدس و سيارة بي ام عادية للقضية..
هناء: و شن ثقافته؟
سعاد: عنده حوازتين و فيلتين وحدة للصيف و وحدة للشتي..
هناء: كيف علاقته مع ربه؟
سعاد: حاج 4 مرات و أمه كل مرة تحج تروح ادير سلامة في كورنثيا و تعزم كل الأحباب و الأصحاب و ما يخلوا مايقدموا من مأكولات و مشروبات فاخرة..
هناء: شكلك معجبة برصيده المالي أكثر من رصيده المعنوي الأخلاقي و الثقافي؟
سعاد: والله ما نبي نحكي خايفة من العين و الحسد لكن عنده أرصدة في اوربا و آسيا ماهو تاجر كبير هو.
هناء: و السعادة و الراحة و الضمانات؟
سعاد:بيكتبلي فيلا و حوازة و المتأخر شرطنا يكون ألف ليرة ..
هناء: شورني فاضية حتى أني..ربي يفتحلك عيونك و يحميك من دهاب الشيرة ..
سعاد: بنمشوا 6 شهور عسل في رحلة حول العالم..و بنغير لون عيوني باش لما نروح نكون حاجة ثانية و الناس تموت من الغيظ..
هناء: باهي إمالله عندي شغل توا بنمشي..
سعاد: و تعرفي بنديروا شغالة و صفرجي و سواق...
Fearing the evil eye :P
وحدة تحكي مع صاحبتها: تعرفي سعاد في حفلتها على قد ما دارت مسكينة ما تغيرتش بكل..جابت وحدة من برا دارتلها المكياج و فيلوها كركراته من البرازيل باش ما حداش يدير زيه ..عادية طلعت يا ناري مع أنها ما خلت ما دارت .
الثانية: بالله؟ و شنو جو مدانهم؟
الأولى: عادي بكل. وين تسمعيهم يدوا تقولي ما زيهم حد.
الثانية: وأنتي شنو امتا عرسك؟
الثانية: في الصيف.
الأولى: و شن وتيتي روحك؟
الثانية: يعني نجروا ..الفيلو بيجيبوه من اليابان..ماهو عليوة ما يبينيش نلبس حاجة عادية.. و يلي بتمكيجني وحدة فرنساوية ما تمشيش لأي حد.. و الماكلة من مطعم إيطالي..(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

وحدة خايفة من العين و الحسد تهدرز معاها بنت عمها:
شن يا هناء أمتا العرس؟
هناء: آه؟ لا ما زال..قاعدين نخمموا.
و عنده حوش محمد؟ واتي هو؟
هناء: آه؟ شنو؟ يعني ..تقريبا..
أكيدة شفتي فيلوات عاد شن عجبك واحد.
هناء؟ آه؟ يعني..مازال .
شنو خدمته محمد؟
آه؟ يعني عنده محل
لكن سمعت عنده شركة؟
هناء: آه؟ يعني ..تقريبا

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rebuilding internet ?

Today's article on Yahoo news carries an interesting headline "Researchers explore scrapping Internet"

"The idea may seem unthinkable, even absurd, but many believe a "clean
slate" approach is the only way to truly address security, mobility and other
challenges that have cropped up since UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock helped
supervise the first exchange of meaningless test data between two machines on
Sept. 2, 1969."

I am of course in awe at the technological capacities of the researchers and all the people who made internet a possible reality. So bravo to them, the fact they invented it the first time means they can do it better again. However. I'm not sure how will this be done as it is going to have a global effect now that internet is so widespread in every sector of the economy.

Why doesn't everybody simply switch to internet 2 ? It's been there for a while, it's the best NOT ketp secret :P i.e. it is not a secret but the masses are not aware of it as much ...

Russo had a good piece about it back in 2005 - that's when I first heard about while I was doing a little research on cybersecurity.

"Yes, there is another Internet. The term "Internet" simply refers to a
network of computers. The one that most of us use is Internet1, or the
"commodity Internet." Internet2 was created nearly a decade ago by academics at
research universities as a noncommercial prototype-something like what the
Internet was back when just a few university researchers were logged on
to ARPANET [...] Internet2 was built for speed-the roads are all wide and smooth, like your own private autobahn. Internet2 moves data at 10 gigabits per second and more, compared with the 4 or so megabits you'll get using a cable modem [...] More than 200 universities, 70 private companies, 45 government agencies, and 45 international organizations log on to Internet2 every day[..]There are no secret Web addresses or special browsers required to log on, no buttons saying, "Click here for Internet2." Organizations that want to join up must demonstrate a research-related purpose, pay dues, and meet minimum technical requirements so they don't slow down the rest of the Internet2 empire."

If security is a concern it can be added to this internet 2 infrastructure since it has big highways why start from scratch ? hmmm but then I'm not a computer engineer ... whatever the future has in store for us - programmers won't be out a job so soon :P

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Day it All Changed : a novel ?

Last year this post generated some interesting comments and my friend Adam decided to make his own experiment with some volunteers. He called it a Tandem Story :)

After many months of work ( since September 2006) the story has ended. I know I promised the finale in December, but I was sidetracked.

So, has the experiment failed or succeeded? is female and male writing the same or different those of you who followed it what did you expect ? and LOL can I make it as a writer :P any publishers out there for Tom and I ?

I would like to thank Adam for his brilliant idea which brought a blogger from North Africa and one residing in the Bermuda toghether. I would also like to thank TomQ for his patience when I disappeared for several months and for volunteering to participate with me.
Big hugs to the readers who expressed encouragement and took part in the parallel thread.

Ladies and gentlemen : The day it all changed - just in time for Friday the 13th :P

Excerpt from the last installment:

" I was blindfolded and tied to some type of bed. The narcotic was now fading
and I was trying to think clearly. The first thing was that he should not
discover I was awake as he is probably watching me, so I must maintain a steady
breathing rhytm. I really had to think about getting out of this alive. What are
my options? "
Islamic websites : weeding out the true from the false

Someone brought my attention to the point that some websites which aim to inform about Islam are actually fake (regardless of who is suspected of having developped them so please do not bring that into the discussion). The objective is to do something about it not point fingers, so please some constructive information ok .

Therefore you must use your judgment when reading.

If any of you knows could you please update us whether the ones listed below are reliable or not ?

In general how can we vouch for the reliability of a website ( Islamic or otherwise ? )

I recently received the following comment on a older post also pasted below :

"dear highlander, I have stumbled on your blog through the following link:
which throughly spoke about a few popular Libyan blogs, yours and ours included, and I felt very informed by your blog, (i can't believe anyone would think of such a stupid rule!), and thought to let you know.
and I would like to take this opportunity to introduce our blog for Libyan Mental TV, and I was wondering if you could give me your feedback, thank you [sic]"

So I'm acceding to their request and posting it here :P, Hannu already did a while back.

Good luck to Libyan Mental and may you make great videos!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Libyan Tortoise : encouraging news

AngloLibyan wrote several times about the Libyan tortoise testudo kleinmanni. In fact without him I would have never known it was an endangered species as it was sold for a ridiculous cheap price on the market and is common in our houses. (Photo courtesy of AngloLibyan)

But this weekend I was chattting to my uncle about this topic and he told me that there had been a crackdown on this business . Well I'm pleased to inform you that these news are true at least up to this last Saturday. I went to the Rashid street and Suq al Hut to do some shopping and look at the animals . I found lots of cages of budgies, fish tanks, a few cats but no tortoises and no deer. ....yay no idea for the cause of this awareness but it's working. Thanks AngloLibyan for doing your bit !

Hope you are happy now ?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saint or Idiot ?

"Perhaps it's a bit of arrogance- a bit of self adulation that makes me think that I have the capacity to bring happiness where there is misery; hope where there is despair and laughter where there are tears.[...]Why? Why do I do that? Why is it so important for me to do everything I possibly can, even if it means going out of my way and making myself 'unhappy', to make someone else happy? And why am I so hurt when it doesn't work?" [more]

The above extract from the latest post by The Usual Suspect is the story of my life!

In the end I don't think we make ourselves 'unhappy' really , that's why she put it in quotation marks. Witnessing the happiness that we bring into other people's lives is enough of an incentive to recharge our batteries and make us start all over again no matter how tired or drained we feel.

This life is ephemereal so making connections with the wonderful souls out there will help us all in our journey to the next level.

Do you agree or am I an idiot to think this way ?

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Limits of Humaneness

"What makes good people do bad things? How can moral people be seduced to act immorally? Where is the line separating good from evil, and who is in danger of crossing it? "

Phillip Zimbardo's book 'The Lucifer Effect " ( hattip if you want to be mentioned say so), is the latest book on my to read list.

According to the reviewers : "This is a book that dares to hold a mirror up to mankind, showing us that we might not be who we think we are. While forcing us to reexamine what we are capable of doing when caught up in the crucible of behavioral dynamics, though, Zimbardo also offers hope. We are capable of resisting evil, he argues, and can even teach ourselves to act heroically. "

Are we really bad or do we become bad due to some bad influences ? Remember when your mother would always warn you about bad influence or refgat al su'?

i.e are there 'bad apples' or 'bad basket' ?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

On the release of the 15 British sailors ( updated)

Some striking comments from Have your Say ( BBC) link here .

"I am happy that this incident has ended in a civilized way but I am also frightened that in the previous "Have Your Say" column the most popular post was something about "the British should give Iran 3 days to return the 15 sailors and if not it would be considered as an act of WAR!" Again, it was the most recommended post by the readers!Now think about what would have happened if the UK government have taken this advice.War, aggression,arrogance should NEVER BE THE ANSWER as a solution!.
Ob server
Recommended by 3 people"

"To those who think that Britain was too soft,To those who think that the Sailors should have used their guns,To those who think that the tough talking policies of the US may be a good role model-Imagine that we invade Iran. Just like the Americans did Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and Korea. Just like Israel did Lebanon.I am glad that the situation was resolved diplomatically. When the US and Israel are actively looking for war, I am proud that Britain uses peaceful means.
N Tipton, Newcastle
Recommended by 32 people "

And this is the Iranian perspective

What do you think ?

Update 6-04-07

and now the sailors speak out ....

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Best of the Libyan Blogosphere: March 2007

I'm sure you are all waiting impatiently for this monthly post LOL ..ok ok I know I'm exagerating, but here we go...

Beacon from Tripoli Nights has made me tearful with his reminder about the Prophet's last sermon, part of which I've been proudly displaying in my blog header for years now. This is more special as this week we celebrated the Mawled of Prophet Mohamed.

"In the year 632 (After christ), 9th day of Dhul al Hijjah, 10 Hijiri in the
'Uranah valley of Mount Arafat, Prophet Mohamed (PBUH), spoke one of the most
important words ever to be spoken by any human, he gave his last Sermon, and I
believe its a Universal charter of Humanity, suitable for all time."


Mani from Sands of Time has not blogged since November, however his prolific comments on the Libyan blogs are stand alone posts and we are all mighty pleased when he makes an appearance as we value his opinion. I suggest he should go right now and collect them and post them again on his blog with the link to the original. That is why I am going to highlight one such post/comment that caught my eye and which I think deserves to be featured into the best of the Libyan blogs section .

"Reconciling this disconnect between perverted institutions and societies at
large is an issue of governance. Not 'good governance' as the neo-liberal term
implies (a set of policies designed to promote greater private control over
natural resources and human capital, and the complete 'marketisation' of state
economies, that they are connected fully to international markets) but GOOD
governance, one that reflects the principles of democratic societies and one
that ensures accountability at all levels of institutional development."

I think Hafed agrees with me very much as he dedicated a post to this comment :)

If you wondered why Safia was silent for the last few weeks you can now understand what happened as she explains it on her post "Breaking the silence" guaranteed cliffhanger ...

"Finally I am able to break the imposed silence on my blog. I am supposed to
keep blog-silence until Wednesday, but hell if I am going to accept anyone
silencing me into submission.Last year I joined people in Denmark defending the
rights of artists to draw what they want, but said I did not like what they did
while drawing our Prophet (saas).The same courtesy has not been extended to me."


Sereeb our romantic Libyan writer is happy and our heart is beating cheerfully for her happiness too .

"Well, the reason I’m up this early is, hmm, I’m so excited, I’m so happy. No,
no, I haven’t won the Lottery. Neither got a book deal (which I think it will be
imminent). Hmm, so what do you think is the reason of my excitement! Can you
guess! No! Hmm. Well, the reason is I just got my first invitation to do my
first ever reading. Hooray! Yup, the Bedouin Soadina is invited to do her first
reading and please don’t ask me where as I’m not going to tell, hee-hee."


Mabrouk ya Sousou , you go girl warihum :)

Besheshentra has made a hilarious post about Libyans and Meat - in Arabic , and oh boy her message is so true. One thing ya Bashush , in Morocco they are even crazier than us with meat so don't lament :)

The following post is one of the best I have read for a long time. First of all Happy Birthday to Hannu and to the rest of the Libyan bloggers who's birthdays coincidently enough fell on March. Secondly, no I am not born in March, but there is no need for you guys to know when I was born :P. Now most importanly the post I want to feature is a touching tribute from Suliman to Hannu.

"I wouldn't say it's been an easy ride, but it has been a good ride. I generally
like to see the process of learning and personal growth around me, that's why I
like teaching. But seeing growth in the ones you love is a whole 'nother' thing
all together. I never had a shred of doubt. Hannu is an A student in a ranked,
fiercely competitive program. She has been active in and out of the classroom,
awarded one competitive scholarship, currently in the running for a Pace Setter
Award, and the Fisher School's magazine wants to run a piece on her. If you
think I'm proud, you're damn right I am, but not at all surprised! I knew from
day one, :-) and I know there is a lot more to come."


This is the stuff of love and reminded me so much of my own dad and mom , maybe that's why I have been still holding out for Mr. Highlander ? ( more news on that soon :P ) as my criteria are quite rigorous it seems ! So Mabrouk Sol and Hannu - great job !

Many bloggers wrote about Mother's Day and Children's Day in Libya which take place annually on March 21 , but Trabilsia's post is the most heart warming one . She is reporting to us on the special day we spoke about here for the terminally ill children in Tripoli Medical Center. Thank you Trabilsia!

"I asked a teenager ( Basma) the oldest of the children on the ward what
she had, to which she replied Leukemia . Such a big word for a child , I hugged
her and felt her pain and she knew it . I had tears in my eyes as I desperately
tried to comfort her to which she said it was the wish of Allah . She introduced
us to the other suffering children as she was the oldest and knew what everybody


Dima Ghariba Shwayia is not as unconventional as she likes to think :P , many of us are in your boat habibti even though we don't live abroad . I could not make up my mind which of her posts for March would go on this post but I decided to judge by my favourite bête noire, the so called search for a Libyan/Arab Muslim hubby , and then it was easy to decide . Ladies and gents here is an excerpt from her post Unhushed Whispers...

"You would think that as big as the U.S. is, there really would be no trouble
meeting someone nice who shares many of the same qualities as you. I am here to
tell you that it is absolutely impossible for an Arab American girl to find
someone like that [..] Did you know that between 60-80% of the Arab Americans
who live in the U.S. are Christian? Most Americans are completely ignorant of
this fact, but female Arab American Muslims are not. Right away, the odds are
stacked against them, at least in terms of finding a potential mate. So then you
look at what’s left. There are three types of Arabic Muslim men in the US. "

AngloLibyan's post ' can we coexist' touched a raw nerve for yours truly it simply illustrated the sheer ignorant arrogance of some people .

"I saw my Scottish friend again, he told me what had happened after I left
him and his friend that day, his friend asked him if I was a Muslim to which he
replied yes, the other guy then said that he was surprised because he thought I
was nice (i.e. not a nasty Muslim terrorist), my friend asked him why he said
that to which the other guy replied that he does not trust Muslims, my friend
asked him how many Muslims he knows, the reply was non, he never even met a
Muslim before "

Finally Lebeeya had a comic post about the reason for the attempted ban of Libyan women under 40 to travel on their own. Going back to her blog to feature it in this post, I found that it had been unfortunately removed and we shall be deprived of the good laugh she usually gives us.
I'm wondering what prompted this action and whether it was the direction the comment section regarding of that particualr post took that led to its ban. I will take this opportunity to say that although I did not get the chance to read all the comments re. that particular post, I did however manage to follow on some regretfully hurtful accusations hurtled back and forth. With all humble experience as the first Libyan blogger I have seen this negativity only once before on a different topic and I would like to urge all the big Libyan blogger family to be courteous to each other regardless of differences of opinion. There is no need to name people in order to maintain each person's privacy and 7urma. I am so sorry about the very dear person who was innocently hurt there. Hopefully this incident would remind us that words are sometimes deadlier than a sword. Leebeeya you did well in removing the offensive stuff, however there is a tool which allows you to leave a particular post but not show its comments.