Monday, March 31, 2008

A check list

I need to check on the following:

Mohammad Al-Durra:
Mohammad would have been twenty this year. He was killed in year 2000 by the Israeli army in cold blood. Even though the whole world knows that Al-Durra was killed by the Israeli army, no one nation with the so-called moral authority has ever attempted to bring Al-Durra's killers to justice. His killers are still at large.

Sami Al-Hajj:
Still in prison and on hunger strike for over a year now.

Still under siege. No idea on whether Fatah and Hamas are friends again. The last thing I heard is that the Palestinian negotiator Azzam Al-Ahmad was unable to reach President Abbas to get his OK for the deal proposed by the Yemenis for peace between Fatah and Hamas. Abbas was unreachable because he was meeting with US vice president Cheney. Azzam went ahead and signed only to find out later that he had no authority to act. And they expect us to believe this! Give me break!

Still under US occupation. Lost count of everything else.

latest pretext to hold the country hostage still holds: no president. I am now looking forward for the sequel showcasing the talent of the Lebanese in ruining their country. Ya haram!

The level of presentation of all the countries at the recent summit was intended to either humiliate or support Syria. I personally was glad the summit took place. It was a crash course in showing the divisions created in the Middle East by the latest version of the cold war. It clearly showed the shift from bipolar world to a multi polar one. With one polar having the lion's share in the Arab particular in countries whose leaders did not attend!

Egypt bread:
Managed to do what Israel failed to. It mobilized the army.

Fouad Al-Farhan:
112 days in prison and counting.

The latest wave of Israeli settlements in Palestine:
Still premature to check on them. Need to come back when they become a de facto matter.

Friday, March 28, 2008


My 16-year old niece was describing a bunch of boys she saw somewhere in Amman who seemed to her as a bunch of “emos". I had to stop her and ask her to explain what the hell is an “emo”?

She said you know “emotional” with a total American accent. I told her, please enough with this American bullshit accent and I asked to her to pronounce normally…she answered back “shoo…what do you want me to say “emoshanaillle”…So I said you don’t have to make fun of Arabic accent to be speaking properly. Besides I told her why are you guys (her generation) imitating everything American…? why can’t you try to be authentic? More Arab? The answer was a snicker and another “shoo….what do you mean?”

Shoo…? Shawee….to all this Americanized generation who has nothing authentic about it, and which seems to be all about imitation and pretension. Allah yirham ayyam el harra wa mughamarat elbaskalaitat wa lulu wa tabboush! We were not fluent in English then, but we sure did know how to speak life!

To dear or not to dear?

Do you ever judge formal e-mail senders by the way they start their messages?

There are those who start with “Tallouza, blah blah blah” and there are others who start with “Dear Tallouza, blah blah blah” and then there are those who go direct into the subject without even bothering to address the recipient.

I find the first kind of e-mailers to border on the arrogant in the name of professionalism. In fact I can even picture the emerging breed of Jordanian yuppies (all genders) , metrosexuals and all too well-known digital gurus (mostly men) who belong to this category. As for the second kind, I find them to be courteous and humble senders. Finally there is very little doubt in my mind that the third type is likely to be obnoxious and rude.

One small confession: I used to belong to the first kind when I used to work in the US. I never thought anything of the lack of salutation. When I started working in Amman I had difficulty adopting to the dear thing. I have now come to terms with the fact that not to dear is normal in the US while in Jordan I am finding it pretentious. Did I confuse you?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Joys of Tolerance

Imagine if everyone looked like you, thought like you, dressed like you, ate like you, smelt like you, and spoke like you…imagine how boring that would be.

Now imagine if you did not accept, hated, made fun of people because they did not look like you, did not dress like you, did not eat like you, did not smell like you, and did not speak like you...imagine how intolerant you would be.

Tolerance is a gift that only the enlightened is blessed with. Appreciating difference is the closest way to acknowledging that we are the same deep down inside. It is the only way to be in touch with our humane and empathetic sides. Learning to appreciate difference is the first step in learning to enjoy life and to love one’s self.

Today we are surrounded with countless divisions (poisons) disguised as Muslim, Christian, Sunni, Shii, Catholic, protestant, black, white, Jordanian, Palestinian, Saltee, Karakee, Nabulsee, Khaleelee, and so on and so forth. With all these choices.....what choice do we make?

One of my favorite philosophers, Michel Montaigne, wrote in one of his essays what must be the most beautiful description of what any civilized person should aspire to be:

“I am not guilty of the common error of judging another by myself. I easily believe that in another’s humor which is contrary to my own; and though I find myself engaged to one certain form, I do not oblige others to it, as many do; but believe and apprehend a thousand ways of living; and, contrary to most men, more easily admit of difference than uniformity amongst us. I as frankly as any one would have me, discharge a man from my humors and principles, and consider him according to his own particular model. Though I am not continent myself, I nevertheless sincerely approve the continence of the Feuillans and Capuchins, and highly commend their way of living. I insinuate myself by imagination into their places, and love and honor them the more for being other than I am. I very much desire that we may be judged every man by himself, and would not be drawn into the consequence of common examples”.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Whose little finger?

What if the following comment made by Rod Parsley, the spiritual guide of the American presidential candidate John McCain, were drawn in a cartoon?

“Islam: The Deception of Allah……..The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion [Islam] destroyed, and I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore."

To rephrase my question, what is so different between what the Danish cartoon portrayed and what this ignorant teleevangelist is saying? Which incident is more serious? Insulting the religion of Islam or insulting the prophet Mohammad? One is an offensive visual image and the other is an offensive mental one. If you ask me, they both attack the same thing. They both insult Islam. They both spew venom against Moslems.

McCain is now visiting the Middle East. I do not recall any talk of boycotting him, or at least boycotting American products. I do not even recall any mention of these remarks in the Arabic media.

Are we so gullible that we have become wrapped around the little finger of “some power” that is working us as it sees fit?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Thank You But No “Thank Yous”!

The wave of thank you ads that flooded the newspapers lately is somewhat sickening. These thank yous are mostly addressed to heads of companies for the annual salary increases and in some cases for bonuses as well. The ads are presented in the usual flowery designs with even more flowery language. Everytime I read such ads I quiver. If there is such a thing as a collective Freudian slip, this trend is one. It clearly shows the centralization of the decision making process when it comes to the development and wellbeing of the staff. It is also indicative of the lack of proper job evaluation and adjustment processes in the companies concerned. In addition, the fact that acknowledgments were made this year shows that salary adjustments are an exception rather than a norm indicating a serious disregard was made in the previous years. Some might say that this year the adjustment was exceptional. Well extraordinary circumstances call for exceptional measures. Regardless of how unusual this year has been, appropriate measures taken by good management practices should never be thanked. It is the duty of any self-respecting entity. It is simply fulfilling one’s end of a contract. In the same way the employees should satisfy their end of the contract by offering the best that they have to offer. I strongly believe that good managers find the best thank you in a job well done. Anything else is nothing but a mumbo jumbo of hot air.

The repeated episodes of this pretentious and at best insincere gestures show the weakness of the management processes leading employees to resort to such hypocritical tactics in an effort to please a man or woman who is running the company as his or her own show. Besides, in such an environment, who usually makes such decisions? I would not be surprised if those thanked are in one way or the other in on the fact that they are being non-discreetly thanked and shown appreciation in such public display of nonsense.

Once a thank you is meant to massage the ego of an egomaniac and once it is done in such a public manner as advertising it in an ad in the newspaper, it ceases to be genuine. It loses its essence. It then becomes a subliminal message to all readers of how retarded the thankers and the thankees are.

The wave of this breed of thank yous has permeated into other establishments within our society. We are now hearing of thank yous for the delays in hiking prices of some energy prices for few weeks. Thank yous for taking measures to temporarily overcome and remedy incompetence in government planning and execution of foreseen measures. Thank yous for delaying the inevitable. Thank yous for providing decent housing, Thank yous for properly utilizing tax payers’ money. The way I see it, as long as there are endless disasters in store, there will be endless thank yous.

Finally I must stress that I love the whole notion of gratitude and of thanking people for any good deed or any generous gesture. In fact I find it as a necessary and minimum courtesy. I love calling friends after a lunch or dinner to let them know how special it feels to be invited. If someone does something nice to me, I always like to say thank you. I especially love doing it when it is least expected. I really love doing it because I genuinely feel it.

Thank you for reading this post.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

مواطن سعودي غير صالح.....فؤاد أحمد الفرحان

اليوم تجاوزت الثلاثين من العمر بسنتين.
كم بقي من الوقت؟..متى؟.. سألت نفسي..
ألقيت نظرة سريعة على حياتي الماضية، فوجدت أن كل المؤشرات تقول بأنني متجه لكي أكون “مواطن سعودي صالح”..
“مواطن صالح” في الطريق لتحقيق طموحه..
منزل جميل، سيارة فارهة، عائلة مستقرة، أصدقاء للترفيه عنه، وحساب بنكي يقيه عواقب الدنيا..
“مواطن صالح” ليس همه إلا نفسه..
لا يهمه مصير المسجونين بلا محاكمات..
ولا بكاء الجياع من الأيتام..
ولا ظلم النساء..
ولا قلق الشباب..
ولا عبرة الفقراء..
ولا خوف الناصحين..
ولا صرخة المظلومين..
ولا قهر المنهوبين..
ولا خنقة المكلومين..
ولا رعب الآمنين..
“مواطن صالح”..
لا يهمه جاره…
ولا جار جاره..
لا يهمه كذب الوزراء..
ولا نفاق المسؤولين..
ولا تزوير الإعلام..
ولا سحت البنوك..
“مواطن سعودي صالح” لا يهمونه كل أولئك ..
يهمونه.. ولكنه يخاف..
يخاف أن يعبر عن رأيه.. لأنه يرى بأم عينيه بأن من يعبر عن رأيه يزج به خلف القضبان..
أو ربما يخاف أن يعبر عن رأيه لأنه يرى بأن رأيه لا يقدم ولا يؤخر..
أو ربما يخاف أن يعبر عن رأيه لأن الكلام في الشأن العام ليس من الإسلام كما يقول علماء السلطان..
اليوم وقد قضيت من السنين 32 عاماً قررت أن لا أكون “مواطن صالح”..
قررت أن أعبر عن رأيي بكامل إرادتي وذلك لعدة أسباب..
أولها.. لأن خالقي خلقني حراً ووهبني حرية التعبير عن رأيي..
و ثانيها.. لأن الحرية والعدل والمساواة والكرامة والشورى هي من صميم رسالة ديني..
وثالثها.. لأن هذا وطني وموطني..
ورابعها.. لأنني أهتم بكل أولئك..
وخامسها.. لأن التعبير عن رأيي يريحني نوعاً ما عندما أضع رأسي على الوسادة وأتذكر كل أولئك..
وسادسها.. لأجل مستقبل رغد وخطاب وكل أطفالنا..
قررت أن لا أكون “مواطن صالح” وأن أقف مع المسجون واليتيم والفقير والشاب والمرأة والشيخ والناصح والمظلوم والمكلوم والمرعوب..
لن أنتظر حتى أبني منزلي..
ولا حتى أن يتضخم رصيدي البنكي..
“عودة عباس” لا تخيفني..
لأجل رغد وخطاب ومستقبلهما سأعبر عن رأيي ولن أكون “مواطن سعودي صالح”..
كل عام وأنا بخير.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Attitudes Leading to Our Demise

The world is becoming absurd. I am constantly reminded by Barbara Tuchman's famous saying, which dangerously applies to where we stand today:

“Three outstanding attitudes – obliviousness to the growing disaffection of constituents, primacy of self-aggrandizement, [and the] illusion of invulnerable status – are persistent aspects of folly”

Does this remind you of the world we live in and the arrogance of power we witness today?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Turkey: A Pious Act

Turkey has embarked on a controversial project to carry out revisions of the Hadiths, the collection of sayings attributed to Prophet Mohammad.

I would highly recommend reading the entire article in order to have the full idea put into perspective. In the meantime, I would like to share with you few excerpts from the article that particularly drew my attention:

“The argument [for the revisions] is that Islamic tradition has been gradually hijacked by various – often conservative – cultures, seeking to use the religion for various forms of social control”

“Turkey is intent on sweeping away that “cultural baggage” and returning to a form of Islam it claims accords with its original values and those of the prophet”

It is interesting to see that the only secular Moslem state is the one taking such bold initiative. Would Saudi Arabia ever consider joining in with this crucial exercise that touches on the essence of Islam? Or would there be too much conflict of interest in having the support of the most religiously conservative Moslem country in the world? As Moslems, we always learnt that Islam was special because of its flexibility, agility, and ability to be the religion of all times. I hope we not only learn about it but also see this applied in action.

Assuming good will and best of intentions, this project should be backed by every Islam loving person because it has the potential to free it from the kidnappers that have sabotaged it for so long.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Holocaust in Gaza: No “Breaking News” for CNN

This morning while downloading my e-mails, I received a “CNN Breaking News” e-mail message. Given that there is a Holocaust being committed by Israel against the Palestinians, I was sure that the news was going to be about Gaza. I was wrong; it was about the President of Ecuador ordering troops to the borders with Colombia.

This got me curious so I went back to check what CNN breaking news messages I had received in the past few days. Sure enough there were few CNN breaking news alerts and sure enough none was about Gaza.

Had the situation been reversed, and had Israel been the subject of holocaust threats by a Palestinian official, and had tens of Israeli women, children and innocent civilians been slaughtered by Palestinian attacks, would this have been treated any differently by CNN?

Foresight is 20/20

I am a psychic with the sharp vision of a falcon when it comes to Palestine. What’s happening in Gaza is dumbfounding. What is more shocking is the universal silence towards what is clearly a premeditated attempt for collective punishment and massacres of innocent civilians. This is Tal el-Za3tar all over again! This is Sabra and Shatila all over again! This is Jenin all over again! This is the oppressed becoming the oppressor! This is the Nazis once again!

I can tell you with great certainty what the repercussions are going to be for Israel, the neo-Nazi predator nation of today, NOTHING. My next prediction is that the Arabs will issue a strongly worded  lukewarm condemnation. There will be an attempt aimed for media consumption to investigate the latest "disturbances" in Gaza. Some group of ministers might be lucky enough to get an unexpected vacation at Sharm E-Sheikh. The good news is that for those who are annoyed by this trouble maker called Gaza, not to worry, the whole issue will be forgotten in a matter of few days.

My bumper sticker analysis of the situation is that Hamas has not been nice to America, so now America is bringing its sanctioned version of democracy to Palestine. Luckily enough, America has plenty of agents to assist it in doing so. 

While we are at it, remember Mohammed Al-Durra? Well there are serious claims now in court by Zionists contending that "al-Durra could not have been killed by Israeli fire"!!!!!  This is but another example of Israel's audacity in dealing with its crimes and more important another version of state terrorism that Israel is getting away with.  Unfortunately, this is also the sort of vigilance that Arabs have kept over cases of terrorism aimed against them.

And.......this is the sorry state that we Arabs find ourselves in today.