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.