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.