Monday, February 28, 2005

On Sharon's Visit To Tunisia

As many of you already know, the Tunisian President invited Sharon to attend the World Summit on the Information Society. Sharon accepted the invitation and he will be in Tunis in November 2005.

The invitation was announced last week, I didn’t post anything about it because I was waiting for the confirmation through media. Now that it’s confirmed, let’s take a look at the very few reactions I could find as covered by media and the blogosphere:
Arabic, French & English.

That’s all I was able to find, the whole thing seems to be not very well covered, neither by press, nor TV, not even the net. Anyway, if there are any updates I could get my hands on, I will make sure to post them here.

Nothing New: Palestinians Are Responsible!

As usual, Israel goes on and on with its violations with no one condemning its acts, instead, all international committees prefer watching, and asking Palestinians, the “terrorists”, the “occupiers”, to stick to ceasefire, and to “cooperate” with “peace-seeking” Israel!
Everybody watches while more innocent people, and harmless children are being killed for no reason. They watch, give warning speeches addressed to Palestinians, while Israel is getting away with its crimes against humanity, land, and religion.
Yes, when it comes to Israel, all choose to be passive watchers, they have no reasonable excuse to justify Israeli acts against Palestinians, so they wait till a Palestinian does something to defend his 10 year old boy, to protect his home, to save his little daughter and… the list goes on.

They all know, no human soul accepts to be humiliated, tortured, lied to, killed and raped over and over without doing anything. They know the time will come when Palestinians will ask the world to be fair, to see their misery, the misery caused by Israelis despite the ceasefire agreement, which seems to be maid for only Palestinians to stick to.

And then they call Palestinians: The Terrorists!
Following the suicide bombing outside a Tel Aviv beachfront nightclub on Friday Sharon said in his regular Cabinet meeting on Sunday: "While the state of Israel is interested in advancing toward a settlement with the Palestinians, there will be no diplomatic progress, no progress, until the Palestinians take strong action to eliminate the terrorist organizations and their infrastructures in the Palestinian Authority areas”CNN
Interested in advancing toward a settlement with the Palestinians? Am I missing something here? And WHAT DIPLOMATIC PROGRESS was he talking about?! I’m afraid my English dictionary became old and useless?! Yes, maybe shooting kids and killing innocent people is what a “settlement with the Palestinians” means! Maybe Israelis killing as much Palestinians as they desire while Palestinians keep their mouths shut and their eyes “wide open” welcoming every bullet in their heads and their children’s, is what “diplomatic Progress” is all about!
What the hell is wrong with the world! So now Palestinians are the ones who violated the ceasefire that was stupid and fake –from the side of Israel- from the very start! HELLO! The ceasefire was Israel’s biggest lie!!! You don’t have the right to condemn Palestinians after the shameless acts and obvious violations Israel started!!

What goes around comes around people, please stop making fools out of yourselves, and stop condemning Palestinians.
No one ever wants military operations or suicide bombing to be the way to get rights and protect land and property, so please don’t push people who are willing to cooperate into choosing that way!
Palestinians have been always the ones willing to cooperate, they tolerated and are tolerating all the shit they’re getting just to have peace… either grant them their wish, or at least be fair to them if you’re too weak to condemn Israel, but never put the blame on them, just because it’s easier that way!

Related: Tel Aviv Explosion:A Cat-scratch

Friday, February 25, 2005

Recommended...

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Work Diaries (18): R U Drunk?!

I sent an email to one of our international branches with the subject: “URGENT: Shipment Cancelled”
And wrote: "I would like to inform you that our client CANCELLED the shipment ref. Nr……, so we no longer need you to proceed with shipping procedures.
I confirm herewith that cancellation of shipment is final, therefore you may use the goods for the benefit of other branches.
Your efforts are highly appreciated and we thank you for your cooperation.
Best regards,
Eman"

3 hours later I get the following reply:
"No problem Eman, we’ll keep the goods on hold for your client till further notice from you in which you confirm the new shipping date".

I reply: "please, CANCEL! Do not postpone".

He replies: "postponing approved!! Didn’t you read my first reply?"

I reply: "I read it, did you read MY EMAIL!! IT SAYS CANCEL SHIPMENT FOR GOOD, NO FURTHER NOTICE, NO POSTPONING, just cancel the shipment PLEASE! we DON’T NEED IT ANYMORE! Got it!"

He replies: "yes, yes, now I got it, sorry for the misunderstanding".

5 minutes later, he sends an email to the airlines with cc to me saying: "please cancel shipment ref. Nr…, and postpone till further notice!"

I call him to see what’s his damn problem and he claims that my email wasn’t clear enough, then he asks ME: are you drunk?!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

When Art Speaks For The People: Taysir Batniji

"Je ne suis pas que Palestinien, je suis aussi artiste. Je souhaite que mon travail soit compris et accepté parce que c’est un travail artistique. Les autres te regardent à travers ce préjugé, ce prisme du Palestinien que tu es".
Meaning: I am not only Palestinian, I am also an artist. I wish that my work will be understood and accepted because it’s art, I don't want to be prejudged because I'm "Palestinian"…

Born in Gaza, Palestine, in 1966. He studied fine arts in Nablus (Palestine). He continued his studies in France.
He has staged exhibitions at various venues in Europe and beyond. He held a solo presentation in Centre Culturel Français, Gaza (Palestine) in 2004, and in 2002 he exhibited among others in Belgrade, in Berlin (K&S Gallery), and in Paris (La Galerie). His work was also presented at the Havana Biennial and the Venice Biennale in 2003.

Taysir Batniji’s art confronts the reality of the land from which he comes: Palestine. He especially dedicates himself to questions of identity, exile and home. The fragmentary video images and photos, recorded on the streets and markets of his hometown Gaza show a very sharp observation of the reality of this occupied city.
Since some time now, Batniji, like all plastic artists, has been tackling the image through videos and slides. Batniji wants to give Palestinians the chance to represent themselves and to speak of themselves through images done by them. To insist, exist, resist… in the face of absence and silence.

Since the second Intifada broke out in 2001, the Rafah border has been the only way for people from the Gaza Strip to leave or enter the region. People travel via Cairo airport, men traveling alone separated from the other travelers, and under heightened Egyptian guard. All the travelers encounter each other in an open-air transit zone in Rafah, waiting for the moment when the Israelis will permit them transit to Gaza. This wait can last from a day to several weeks.
In 2004 Taysir Batniji photographed his journey to the Gaza Strip. The work Transit presents these images and reflects on the extremely difficult conditions under which Palestinians must travel.

In 1997 he put up an installation of 20 rolls of white cloth on which were imprints of keys – those that Palestinian families took along with them when they had to flee their homes in 1948…
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For details about him and samples of his work in French click here.

I really wish him more success, and hope he'll keep offering us this great quality of work that reveals the artistic as well as the patriotic side of a talented, determined and proud Palestinian.
[Sources: This Week In Palestine, ArtCrafts]

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Earthquake Hits Iran

A powerful earthquake has rocked central Iran, destroying buildings in several villages, killing hundreds of people and leaving many others injured.
The magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck near Zarand in central Iran at 5:55 a.m. local time (0225 GMT).

[Via: Subzero Blue, Sources: Eq.4eco (Arabic), CNN]

Our hearts are with you Iran!

Monday, February 21, 2005

“When Earth Quakes”

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to proudly announce the launch of the newest info gateway into earthquake science: "When Earth Quakes", which is the first consultative website by "Environment News", a Ford Environmental Preservation Program Award winning project.

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With its regular update and interactive hi-tech, "When Earth Quakes" is supposed to be the most comprehensive informative website on Earthquake in Arabic Language.

I would like to congratulate Mr. Abdulhadi Najjar for this great accomplishment, wishing him the best of luck on this project, which makes every Arab really proud.

Beautifying Amman…

The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) has recently set up a committee charged with making Amman a more beautiful city. In addition to combating illegal practices, the Amman Beautifying Committee is set to go into partnership with the private sector. GAM has also started a competition seeking to engage Amman residents in general, and the youth in particular, in efforts to make the capital a more beautiful place to live.
The award, entitled “Best Idea,” is a 14-month program where the best idea suggested each month receives a cash prize of JD500, in addition to a piece of sculpture based on various aspects of Amman's history.
More than 500 ideas were mailed to GAM during the last 3 months, offering simple ideas for improving the appearance of the capital. GAM officials in charge of the award program said the criteria for selecting winners is based on simplicity, the innovative aspect and low cost. The results of the competition were announced on Sunday.
Source: Jordan Times
I think this is a great idea that will really help Amman residents be constructive members of society and play a positive role in improving their city. I hope the competition will reach other cities in Jordan as well. And I hope all Arab countries do the same.

Worried :(

Can’t stop worrying about my dear husband. he was ok Saturday morning, then became really sick and had this annoying fever. He couldn’t go to work today and I left him asleep with a really high temperature!
I knew he’d get sick from the bad weather last week. I just hope he’ll get better soon. Can’t wait for my lunch break to come so that I'd be with him…

Friday, February 18, 2005

Lesson Of The Day:

“Others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them back- because that’s when you destroy yourself”.got it from junk mail ;)

“Looking Towards Palestine”


A powerful photographic exhibition took place recently at La Boca del Lobo, a cultural center in the Lavapies neighborhood of Madrid. Titled Mirando a Palestina: Proyecciones Fotograficas (Looking towards Palestine: Photographic Projections), the one-week exhibit brought together a diverse group of photographers from Spain, Finland, U.S., Canada, and last but not least, Palestine.
The exhibition provided a unique opportunity. Instead of the usual pictures of political leaders giving speeches and shaking hands, viewers had the chance to see Palestine in all its human fullness, from the most horrific scenes (bleeding bodies on hospital tables and floors, dead bodies being slid into morgue drawers, ordinary people overcome with grief and anger) to the most subtle and quotidian (a young boy sitting on a sofa holding a doll, old men playing cards in a room almost devoid of furnishings).

The work included in "Looking Towards Palestine" represented an impressive diversity of styles and subject matter. The show was full of images of funerals, children's games, Israeli tanks and bulldozers, living rooms, violent confrontations -- in short, the stuff of daily life under occupation and in the Diaspora.

Most striking, however, are the images produced by Rula Halawani, a Birzeit University professor and freelance photographer. In a series of photos titled "Negative Incursion," Halawani uses negative images to document the 2002 Israeli invasion. The result is ghostly and nightmarish. Halawani's decision to employ negative black-and-white images leaves the viewer wondering whether the images were shot in 2002 or 1982 or 1948. Which is precisely the point: the nightmare continues.
“The warm light still there," is another series that showcases Halawani's native Jerusalem at night, and the contrast with "Negative Incursion" couldn't be more marked. As the titled indicates, Jerusalem is a place of warmth for Halawani, who takes advantages of the few light bulbs present to cast a loving glow on the deserted streets of the Old City.
Another remarkable work of Halawani is “The Intimacy Series," in which Halawani's camera captures a series of what would otherwise be innocuous daily interactions: the exchange of identity cards between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians at Qalandia checkpoint.

Source: EI

To Whom It May Concern In Jordan’s Music Sector

The other day I read a post written by our friend Hind Sabanekh about her need to buy a new Trumpet. After exchanging some comments, I was shocked to realize the fact that music students in Jordan are required to buy instruments (professional ones) and are expected to simply get these instruments no matter how much they cost!
Another shocking fact is that many kinds of professional music instruments are not available in the Jordanian market, so the students MUST find a way to get these instruments from abroad, again, regardless of the high price.

I couldn’t actually know all this and keep my mouth shut, I had to do anything, even if I don’t succeed in solving the problem right away. But I know that one day things will be different, in a positive way, if we all want them to change.

I’m writing this post to address all responsible people in the music sector in Jordan, let them be teachers, music store owners, music instrument manufacturers, trade marks’ dealers, and most important of all, music students.
Music industry and education have grown a big deal in Jordan within the past few years, but we can’t expect talents to rise, and music to bloom more and more when the basic elements are not available, and when students and institutions are lacking support.
We have qualified people who can manufacture musical instruments locally, and therefore offer instruments for lower prices. But even if we claim Jordan lacks skilled people to manufacture instruments, why don’t we send some promising people for courses and invest in their skills to come back to Jordan ready to produce best quality of instruments! Or why don’t we hire a foreign supervisor to train them!
If there are complications I’m not aware of to locally manufacture instruments, then why don’t music institutions and universities make some kind of purchasing agreements with music stores, asking them to provide ALL the needed music instruments for some percent off specially for students, or if low prices will create problems for the sellers –although they shouldn’t coz they’ll sell more and increase their revenue- then why not facilitate the purchase by giving the students the chance to pay small amounts per month for example!!

I really hope some responsible would read this and consider helping in any way, but hoping is never enough, so I ask all music students to write an official request to their teachers and suggest the above points or any other way they think of to help them get the required instruments for affordable prices.
Just give it a try, you have nothing to lose! If nothing works, then at least the ones asking you to get extremely expensive professional instruments will stop nagging on you and will finally leave you in peace!

Actually the music instrument supplies problem is also present in other forms, like the lack of good affordable educational books, but at least in this case, photocopying a book may cut the expenses, but in the case of the instruments I guess a big step should be taken if we want the Jordanian youth to go for their music passions with no fears, we don’t want them to give up their dreams for financial problems, do we!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Pauschale Entschädigung für EU-Airlines Probleme

Verspätungen, Überbuchungen, Annullierungen. Was Fluggäste schon immer ärgert, wird jetzt kundenfreundlicher geregelt. Künftig müssen die EU-Airlines für selbst verschuldete Probleme pauschale Entschädigungen zahlen. Die Neuregelung der Fluggastrechte innerhalb der EU tritt am 17. Februar in Kraft.
"Es ist eine erhebliche Verbesserung für die Verbraucher, die jetzt keinen konkreten wirtschaftlichen Schaden mehr nachweisen müssen, sondern pauschal entschädigt werden", sagt Ronald Schmid, Präsident der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Reiserecht. Wie die neue Regelung angenommen wird, hängt von den Kunden ab. Sie haben jetzt das Recht, bei mehrstündigen Verspätungen, Überbuchungen und Annullierungen von der Fluggesellschaft entschädigt zu werden. Mit der neuen Regelung soll die bei manchen Airlines übliche Praxis bestraft werden, aus wirtschaftlichen Gründen mehr Buchungen zu verkaufen als Plätze vorhanden sind sowie nicht genügend ausgelastete Flüge zu annullieren und die gebuchten Passagiere auf spätere Flüge zu verweisen.
Für selbst verschuldete Annullierungen, beispielsweise wegen technischer Probleme, muss die Gesellschaft künftig Entschädigung zahlen. Und selbst bei unverschuldeten Ausfällen und Verspätungen liegt die Nachweispflicht ab jetzt bei der Airline.
Quelle : DeutscheWelle
  • English for the curious :)
    New EU regulations aimed at giving passengers a fair deal when flights are overbooked, delayed or cancelled come into effect today-- but the new rules are getting a turbulent reception from European airlines. Details…

If Palestinian, It’s A Threat!

As if the illegal separation wall is not enough, as if sniper towers that are given the green light to kill any Palestinian no matter how old they were and what they’re doing are not enough, as if Israeli checkpoints implanted everywhere are not already enough, Israel still needs more security procedures to protect their homes, which were once homes of Palestinians, on a land which was stolen from a hard working Palestinian who -thanks to the unconditioned and blind international support for Israel- was left with his family and many other families homeless living on the charity of others.

If children are Palestinians, they’re a threat, if homes belong to Palestinians, they’re a threat, if ambulances are driven by Palestinians, they’re a threat, if peace activists are pro Palestinians, or even only helping Palestinians, they’re also a threat! So bottom line is: anything, anyone, if Palestinian, it is a threat, that goes for everything, even trees, if they are on Palestinian land, THEY ARE A THREAT!

The Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz looks around, decides to build a home in a certain spot, and after he’s done, he finally decides to uproot the 25 m. away citrus trees of an old Palestinian widow claiming the trees "provide a hiding place for would-be attackers who can use them to carry out attacks". And Israel’s supreme court rules for the uprooting of the trees.
And just for the record, the woman herself wasn’t able to reach her own land with the trees because of the separation barrier! And still the court has no problem destroying the land and uprooting all its trees.

I just wonder, if Israelis don’t trust Palestinians and are still taking racist and unfair procedures to guarantee their own safety, why do they and the whole world expect the Palestinians to keep their mouths shut, and trust Israelis, although Israelis have already violated the ceasefire agreement reached after the Sharm Al Sheikh Summit!

This is so unfair, so unfair, SO UNFAIR!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Finally: The Kyoto Accord Is In Effect



After years of delays, the Kyoto global warming pact is now in effect, requiring dozens of industrial nations to reduce emissions of "greenhouse" gases believed linked to climate change.
The agreement, negotiated in the Japanese city of Kyoto in 1997 and ratified by 140 nations, calls on 35 industrialized countries to rein in the release of carbon dioxide and five other gases from the burning of oil and coal and other processes.
Its impact, however, will be limited by the absence of the United States, the world's leader in greenhouse gas emissions. Australia has also rejected the plan.
The gases are believed to trap heat in the atmosphere, contributing to rising global temperatures that are melting glaciers, raising ocean levels and threatening dramatic and potentially damaging climate change in the future.
Check out the Kyoto protocol here. It's available in: Arabic, English, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Russian.

[Via: 4eco.com(Arabic), Source: CNN]

I'm so excited, finally! Let's hope more countries will join and that we'll be experiencing pleasant results soon.

Lately In Tunisia



Click pic for enlargement...

The weather has been really "unfriendly" this winter. It's been so cold and the wind seems to be pretty strong to blow a whole ship into the beaches of Hergla (a place close to Sousse), as the picture of the stranded ship above shows.
I got the picture from our friend Soly, who was able to get it from his friend Hela :)
If I had the cam with me in the office the other day I would've taken a picture which would have also helped show the effects of the extremely strong wind, which was able to rip off the lake's under-water- plants and drag them up to the surface forming some kind of little islands here and there that were immediately occupied by the cute seagulls before the wind drowned them back again!

The temperatures are still very low, it reached 3 degrees many times, which is -for Tunis-really cold.
We also had heavy rain, which was able to break down trees, cutting our electricity cables for a little while.
Some locations in the southern part of Tunisia witnessed even sand storms in their deserts, and on February 7th, the region of Sousse-Nabeul was hit twice by an earthquake, the first was 4.7 on Richter's scale, while the other was 5.1. Fortunately, unlike last year, Tunis wasn't the center of the quake, so we only got to feel a light turbulence, which felt as if one was a bit dizzy rather than being hit by an earthquake.

I hope the weather will get better and that nature will get back to its friendly mood very soon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Ceasefire! BULLSHIT!

Israeli occupation soldiers have shot and killed a Palestinian boy in downtown Hebron, alleging that he tried to attack soldiers with a sharp object.
Palestinian witnesses dispute the claim, testifying that soldiers stationed outside al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron's Old Quarter murdered 13-year-old Sabri Fayiz Rajub in cold blood.
"The soldiers were shouting at the boy, and then shot him in the leg, however as he fell down and was shivering with pain, another soldier shot him in the chest, finishing him off. “It was cold-blooded murder," said Hilmi Jaabari, a witness. "I saw no knife, in fact, the boy never got that close to the soldiers. So how could he ever pose a real threat to them? But even if he had a knife, they could have dealt with him in any other way, other than killing him?"

Through the years, Israeli occupation soldiers have killed numerous Palestinian civilians, claiming the victims had tried to stab soldiers.
However, most of these claims were never independently verified and no investigations were undertaken.

Source: Aljazeera

As usual, the soldiers will get away with it with no sweat, and more crimes like this will keep taking place. And when one single Palestinian does something similar, Sharon will cancel this “so called” ceasefire and the situation will be even worse than it was before the summit!

Palestinians are being killed over and over and over, and what a coincidence, they’re all killed either by mistake or for defense! Another great coincidence is: the threat is coming from CHILDREN!

Who Killed Al-Hariri?

Christian Henderson wrote:
Analysts were reluctant to point fingers after the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri in Beirut, saying there were many parties who had an interest in killing him and stirring tensions in Lebanon.
Commentators said Syria would most likely be blamed for the killing, but many of them wondered what Damascus stood to profit from having a hand in al-Hariri's death.
"The first people who will be hurt by this is Syria. Given the chaos in Lebanon and the rising anger between the factions, analytically Syria loses a lot by this," Rime Allaf, Middle East analyst at the Royal Institute for International Affairs in London, UK, told Aljazeera.net.
Although a previously unheard of outfit calling itself al-Nasir and Jihad Group in al-Sham claimed responsibility for al-Hariri's assassination, commentators said the magnitude of the blast suggested an intelligence agency was behind the explosion rather than a small group.
Michael Young, a Lebanese political analyst and opinion editor of Lebanese newspaper the Daily Star said Damascus may be blamed for the killing and that this would have an effect on Syria's already tense relations with the US. “The Americans will hold Syria directly responsible” he said.
Despite some suggestions that al-Hariri's killing could mean a return to the dark days of Lebanon's civil war that killed more than 100,000 people and raged uninterrupted between 1975 and 1990, Young was keen to make the point that he did not think there would be a resurgence in inter-communal violence. This is a political assassination. This is not the beginning of the civil war. We are not seeing Lebanese fighting each other," he said.
Via: Je Blog

So now –although it’s considered too early to accuse anyone- most of the fingers are pointing to the Syrians!
Who really killed him? Nobody knows, for the time being that is. But as mentioned above, a U.S. accusation of Syria is very probable, and therefore, we should expect some sort of “punishment” very soon.
It’s really hard to determine who did this, but we’ll know who’s responsible sooner or later. I just hope that the ones responsible -and not some innocent people- will get their punishment…

Monday, February 14, 2005

Run AquaCool... Run !

It’s so damn cold outside, extremely windy, raining like crazy, and the great part is: I DON’T HAVE MY UMBRELLA, neither a hat, nor a big scarf to protect myself from turning into a water-sponge! :(
How would I know! The weather was amazingly beautiful in the weekend! AH!
I don’t want to get sick :(

Anyway, if you are keeping yourself warm in a romantic restaurant surrounded with candle lights, red hearts, and the smiles of your loved one, and then you suddenly spot a “headless” black jacket running in the streets shouting “I HATE MY JOB”, don’t panic, that would be your one and only AquaCool making her way back home, and guess what! She’ll be 100% Aqua, and 500% COOL!

Now it’s time to RUN…wish me luck guys… and Happy Valentine’s Day to all those who celebrate it…

Rafik Al-Hariri Killed

A massive car bomb killed Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri on Beirut's waterfront Monday, witnesses and security sources said. At least eight others, some of them his bodyguards, also died.
Hariri's motorcade was blown up as it passed along an exclusive section of the city's waterfront Corniche.
It appeared to be the biggest bomb in the city since the Lebanese civil war ended in 1990. The blast could be heard even outside Beirut's city limits and shattered windows in buildings hundreds of meters away.
Via: Subzero Blue, Source: Reuters

May His Soul Rest In Peace!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Environmental Quote:

“Man is a complex being: he makes deserts bloom - and lakes die.” ~Gil Stern

Friday, February 11, 2005

Jordanians Get Too Many Holidays!

According to economist Fahed Fanek, Jordanians enjoy too many holidays, with some taking up to 150 days a year, including weekends, which is “double the average number of holidays in more developed countries”. The economist estimates the national loss in production opportunity of each day off at JD22 million.
“If every Jordanian worker takes 16 days off on national and religious holidays, 21 days as entitled by law, 14 for sick leave, two emergency leaves, two snow holidays, and add to that 52 Fridays and 52 Saturdays, then every worker is getting up to 150 days off out of 356 days a year,” Fanek told The Jordan Times. He said Jordanians should not have so many religious holidays, which amount to approximately 10 days a year, because the religions themselves do not ask their followers to do so on all these religious occasions. “If they still need to attend to socio-religious responsibilities, they can do that on their own time,” he said.
And according to Mohammad Ismail, a Muslim scholar and expert in Islamic law, even Friday is not a “mandatory” holiday. Muslims are free to work or to rest on that day, he said. “The rule in Islam is that it is a collective duty for the Muslim nation to invest its time and money in activities that yield benefit to the community,” he said. Excessive time out, he said, is a violation of this rule. Via: Jordan Times

I understand the concern of Fahd Fanekand, he’s right, but he’s looking at it from the economical perspective only. The development of a country shouldn’t be measured by its revenues and its economical situation alone. There are many other factors that should be taken into consideration, like the well-being of the population, and the equal chances to all members of society, which are factors that affect the development and economy of a country.
In our time, people have become slaves to economy. Employees are slaves to employers, employers are slaves to country profit… country is a slave to economy.
On the other hand, and although I agree with what Mohammad Ismail said, yet this applies in an ideal Islamic society where all fields of life of Muslims are supervised by the rules of Islam. But when we live in a time where your bank account is what you equal in society, and when your last name is what qualifies you to get a job, and when employers treat employees like trash, and employees are anything but loyal to their employers (all considered violations of Islamic rules) then I guess we shouldn’t be shocked to witness the violation of the Islamic rule concerning holidays and work.

Unless people start reconsidering their way of life, their relationships with each other, and unless they stick to their religions- whatever their religions were- then the situation in their countries will continue to worsen. So the solution is in root problems, and not in the surface ones. Instead of asking for less days off, let’s know why people look for more holidays? If they were happy in their jobs, wouldn’t few days off be enough? if they felt fair treatment in society, wouldn’t they be loyal and more productive giving their best to increase the profit of their countries? If they're well motivated wouldn't they give their best? If the country is well prepared for snow and heavy rain, would schools fear the responsibility of asking children to come? If people were truly religious, would they waste their time with holidays instead of building up their communities? I think it’s about time we think of these questions… And I’m sure when we stick to the right answers, more and more people will be caring for the interest of their countries just like Fahd Fanek is.

One last point, if anyone thinks the holidays in Jordan are too many, then they don’t know Tunisia yet ;)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

New Hijri Year 1426

I would like to wish all Muslims of the world a Happy New Hijri Year :)
May it bring you all joy, happiness and good health.

Here you go a special section that provides very interesting information about the Islamic Calendar, the significance of the migration (Hijrah) of the prophet and his followers, e-cards for the occasion and much more in English and in Arabic enjoy :)

Kol Am Wa Antom Bi Khair …

The Occupier And… The Occupied

The Roadmap is back on track

[Via: Rafah Pundits, Source: The Guardian]

Ecall: Smart Alarm For EU Cars

While automotive safety continues to improve, traffic accidents still account for around 50,000 casualties every year on European roads. And one of the most frequent and scary problems is a breakdown or worse, a crash in the middle of nowhere and no immediate help at hand. Or even if aid does arrive, it could be too late.
The EU plans to cut the number of fatal traffic accidents on its roads with the help of sophisticated technology that will automatically call an emergency hotline after a car crash: Ecall. This smart alarm system won't prevent crashes but could save lives.

"With global placement systems and mobile telecommunications technology already standard in many high-end automobiles, it would seem that Ecall is an easy upgrade," said Alfredo Filippone, spokesperson from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association ACEA. "When embarked, say from a sensor in the car's airbag, Ecall will call the common European emergency number 112 automatically, and help will be on its way."

Studies estimate that when fully employed, the quick and accurate location information passed on by the Ecall system could reduce the severity of injuries and save up to 2,000 lives each year. This will add up to big savings for insurance companies.

The EU Commission has announced plans to implement Ecall by 2009. Over 20 representatives from EU member states and car and insurance industries have agreed to cooperate.
The EU action plan targets the end of 2005 for final Ecall standardisation, and 2006 for full-fledged field tests.

Source: DeutscheWelle

Palestinians’ Reaction To Sharm al-Shaikh Summit

The response of Palestinians to the Sharm al-Shaikh Summit varied from cautious optimism to hopeless disappointment. While many consider the whole summit a waste of time and a repetition of the failure of previous summits and gatherings, some consider it a step forward in putting an end to the bloodshed and believe it will bring back hope for a better peaceful future.

Here are some of the comments of both optimistic and pessimistic Palestinians:
“It's the same old same old. So many summits have come and gone. Besides, it is only security related, nothing more. And if there is no binding agenda, the summit will fail. This is just a delaying tactic being used by Sharon,” says a 38 years old lady. “We have so many decisions in the past-why doesn't the international community force Israel to abide by them instead of coming up with new summits?”

Others were guardedly optimistic about the summit, in which Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon verbally committed to an end of four years of violence.
“It's good for now. People are tired, they are poor, and they are hungry. They have truly reached the point of misery in all its meaning. This is a security-related summit, not a political one anyway, and in that regard it is a positive step, “said a store owner.
an unemployed widow said: “We need peace ... not more summits. We need the release of the prisoners, and the right of return for the refugees. At the same time, we pray for something to come out of this meeting. The situation is truly bad.”

On the other hand, families of prisoners being held in Israel, who have been demonstrating in the thousands throughout Gaza city for the past few days, said they had hoped for more tangible results on the issue, which was not so much as addressed in the speeches.
In addition, some of the most complicated and crucial issues, such as the right of return of Palestinian refugees, the status of Jerusalem, settlements in the West Bank, and the illegal separation wall, were completely absent from the speeches.
“I have no hope, and I'm not optimistic. He's only withdrawing from cities that he believes are 'calm' or neutralised. What he said to the Palestinian people - about wanting peace and wanting us to govern ourselves - was a lie.” A Palestinian citizen says, “How can we govern ourselves as he says if we can't even go from here to the south of Gaza without being stopped? If you truly want peace, and want to withdraw, then withdraw from all of our cities.”

Source: Al Jazeera

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

New "Round The World Sailing" Record

British sailor Ellen MacArthur sealed her place in sailing's pantheon by breaking the solo round-the-world record, a fantastic feat that establishes her as arguably the greatest sailor Britain has ever produced.
Ellen MacArthur will arrive back in Britain today after sailing solo around the world in record time. She crossed the finish line at 2229 GMT on Monday, completing her 27,348-mile voyage in 71 days 14 hours 18 minutes and 33 seconds. That time meant she smashed the previous mark, set in 2004 by Frenchman Francis Joyon, by nearly 33 hours. Apart from breaking the remarkable time set by Frenchman Francis Joyon last year, MacArthur is only the second person ever to sail solo non-stop around the world on a multi-hull boat.
Crowds have gathered in Falmouth and along the coast to welcome her home.
And tributes have already been pouring in from fellow sailors, fans and other public figures.
You can follow the highs and lows of Ellen MacArthur's historic round-the-world sailing record with this animated guide.
For latest updates check out Ellen’s official website.

Source: BBC

Monday, February 07, 2005

Work Diaries (17): where the hell is it?

2 weeks ago a client called and asked for an original document they claim they’ve mailed to us earlier. The document was highly important and it needed to be found as soon as possible for an urgent matter.
After the call:
Day 1: I checked all the folders in my office concerning this client, went to my boss, he checked his folders, asked me to double check his folders again, so I did, and after all the searching we ended up with one result: we didn’t have this document. I contacted the client and informed him we didn’t receive the document, their manger got upset, asked us to make sure we didn’t have it.
Day 2: I checked again, looked in all archives, nothing. I called, they insisted we got the document.
Day 3: I told my boss I’m fed up searching and searching when I’ve already searched and there was nothing. He asked me to LOOK AGAIN and make sure I find it.
Day 4: I called the client and checked if they were sure they sent it to us, they said it was us and there was no doubt about that.
Day 5: I looked in all folders, even those not related to this client in case the document was filed somewhere else by mistake… nothing, I called the client and told him to lose hope in finding it with us, he blamed our “ignorance” and got REALLY upset.
Day 6: I told my boss again that I’ve looked for the document everywhere, but I wont waste my time looking any more like an idiot when I know it’s not there. He simply said it was my responsibility (as usual) to find it, and I’ll have to find it wherever it was, and he didn't care how.
Day 7: I didn’t give a damn, kept working my usual work, didn’t look for the document.
Day 8: My boss came, asked if I found it, I told him I wasn’t looking in the first place, coz I looked enough, he got upset and asked me to look again.
Day 9: I contacted the client to make sure the address was correct, and he assured us it was correct.
Day 10, 11, 12: I worked my usual work, when my boss asked if I found it, I told him “I’m still looking” to get rid of him nagging on me all the time.
Day 13: I got really upset and called the client again to tell him there is no document with us, he replied: I’ll sue you all.
Day 14: I gave up hope, told my boss I wont keep pretending coz there is no document and I wont waste anyone’s time, so he can do whatever he wants, I was fed up of this whole story. He said nothing, gave me an upset face and went out of my office.

TODAY:
I call the client to explain that the document is not with us and the secretary of the manager tells me: Oh didn’t we call you to inform you that we made a mistake and that we sent it to another company, only your manager and the manager of the other company have the same first name?!!!

After expressing my really upset and angry feelings to her and her boss, I went to my boss, told him the story…he laughed.
I found nothing really funny, went upset to my office, found the cleaning lady there, and told her: "if I ever wonder about the unemployment percentage in our countries would you please do me a favor and throw me out of this window?!"

What Did The Palestinians & Iraqis Vote For?

Patrick Seale wrote a very interesting article in Dar Al Hayat commenting on the voting in both Palestine and Iraq, what it meant to the occupiers and for what reasons did Palestinians and Iraqis actually vote.

“What is the reality behind these elections? What did Palestinians and Iraqis actually vote for?
In both cases, the elections took place under foreign occupation. This inevitably meant that they were neither totally fair nor wholly legitimate. In Iraq, in particular, there were few polling stations or foreign observers. Many Iraqis were afraid that they would not get their monthly food rations if they did not vote. Some said that, in order to collect their rations, they had to sign the voter registration forms.
Nevertheless, those Palestinians and Iraqis who decided to cast their vote, and those who were able to get to the polling stations in spite of the difficulties and dangers, did so for one overriding reason: to get rid of the foreign occupiers.
In both societies, therefore, the elections were a vote for normality, for sanity, for an end to the traumas of war and occupation, for a way out of the economic and social crisis. This is what Palestinians and Iraqis voted for, rather than for some American-style ‘democracy’ which, in the dreadful conditions they continue to endure, is more or less meaningless.
None of these negotiations in the Palestinian territories or in Iraq are likely to succeed, nor will they bring about security and order for any length of time, unless they hold out the prospect of an Israeli and an American withdrawal.”

Via: PalestineBlogs and Sabbah's Blog

Friday, February 04, 2005

Lesson Of The Day

“ There's a cure, either psychological or medical, for every addiction except for internet-addiction. I tell my kids: get over it by practicing your hobbies, they say: but surfing the net is a hobby. I tell them: don’t waste your time, go learn something. They reply: daddy, internet is knowledge we learn everything online. I tell them: this will ruin your social life, go meet friends, talk to people, they say: but daddy, we made new friends through the net, and we can chat with millions of people forever. I tell them go buy yourself something nice and get yourself busy, they say: don’t be ridiculous dad, we can buy whatever we like online and internet is keeping us busy. I tell them: ok, I can’t keep up with bills, they say: no problem dad, we can find an online job, or we can cut expenses by going to our friends’ place! I tell them: kids, your glasses are becoming thicker and thicker, your health is getting worse, they smile and say: get us more vitamins!
Nothing beats internet-addiction. I wonder whether any caring father, or loving mother, or internet-addiction-free scientist would ever consider inventing anti-internet pills before they get me addicted as well”
– a client.

Prisoners Release Disappoints Palestinians

Palestinians have urged Israel to expand a prisoner release to ensure the success of a summit both sides hope will result in a formal declaration to end violence. Israel disappointed the Palestinian leadership by refusing to include those jailed for deadly attacks among the 900 prisoners whom Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and top cabinet ministers agreed on Thursday to release in a goodwill gesture.
Israel stuck to its criteria of not releasing those it described as having 'blood on their hands'," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said. "That means that all the prisoners who were jailed before (interim peace deals) in 1993 will not be released," he said.
On the other hand Sharon says Abbas’ efforts are insufficient, although violence has dropped sharply during Abbas's efforts to coax militants into a truce they say must be reciprocated by the Israeli army. He has also deployed Palestinian security forces in Gaza to combat militants. Sharon said that despite such moves, Abbas has still not done enough to stop anti-Israeli attacks.
Source: Reuters

Personally, I believe sticking to Israel’s old criteria by releasing only 900 and excluding “those with blood on their hands” is making this release a very ordinary prisoners’ release, not one hoped for in this summit to make the situation better. Abbas is being so cooperative in reaching a peaceful solution to stop violence, but seems to me Sharon insists on following his "they’re-not-doing-their-part" policy, as he keeps accusing the Palestinian part of not paying enough efforts while sticking to his old criterias.
If this summit is to be a success to both sides, then Abbas shouldn’t be the one getting all the international blame for “not being able to keep militants under control”, Sharon has his big role to play, and I guess it’s about time to show the potential to cooperate.
The prisoners Israel is refusing to release are ones who killed once upon a time, what about the Palestinians being killed even while negotiations are taking place?! What about the Palestinian children thrown in prison on daily basis!
The Palestinian part needs to get its rights and guarantee its freedom and security as much as the Israeli part does.

Stella Awards

Mit den "Stella Awards" werden in den USA jedes Jahr die absurdesten und sinnlosesten Gerichtsprozesse ausgezeichnet.
Die "Stella Awards" wurden von der real existierenden Stella Liebeck inspiriert. 1992 kaufte sich die damals 79-jährige Stella einen Becher Kaffee bei McDonald's, nahm ihn mit ins Auto, klemmte ihn zwischen die Beine und fuhr los. Das Heißgetränk schwappte über und verbrannte ihre “intimen” Stellen. Sie verklagte McDonald’s (sie meinte, Fastfood Restaurants müssen auf die Temperatur des Kaffees hinweisen und vor solcher unsachgemäßen Transportvariante warnen). Ein Gericht in New Mexiko sprach ihr daraufhin eine Schadensersatzsumme von 2,9 Millionen Dollar zu. Seitdem werden mit den "Stella Awards" die bizarrsten und absurdesten Gerichtsurteile ausgezeichnet.

Auf der offiziellen Homepage der True Stella Awards finden Sie neben den Originalfällen noch ein Archiv mit den 'Preisträgern' der letzen Jahre, ein Diskussionsforum sowie eine Mailingliste.
  • English for the curious :)
    The Stella Awards were inspired by Stella Liebeck. In 1992, Stella, then 79, spilled a cup of McDonald's coffee onto her lap, burning herself. A New Mexico jury awarded her $2.9 million in damages. Ever since, the name "Stella Award" has been applied to any wild, outrageous, or ridiculous lawsuits. This is the official website: True Stella Awards, where you can find the cases, and the winners of past years.
    The winners of the 2004 Stella Awards are available here. You better take a look, they’re really weird and the cases are sometimes even stupid :D

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Swimming To The Top...



Maria Asfoura, a thirteen-year-old Palestinian swimmer from Bethlehem, is an example of the Palestinian persistence in proving real talent and achieving success regardless of all difficulties.
She is a living proof that Palestinians are strong and ambitious people who will let nothing stand in their way, not even occupation.
Her dream is to raise the Palestinian flag at the 2008 Olympic Games in China.

Her journey began at the age of six when Maria's swimming instructor recognized her natural gift and encouraged her to enroll in the De La Salle sports club in Bethlehem. With the encouragement of her trainer at the club, Musa Nawawreh, and her parents she developed quickly. In her first race in Ramallah, she received a gold medal and that really encouraged her to work even harder.
Considered the best Palestinian swimmer her age, Maria specializes in the freestyle and butterfly strokes at 50 and 100 meters. She has competed well in China, Germany, Jordan and Algeria and her trophy case proves it, with her 31 gold medals and 30 some silver and bronze medals. Maria has also traveled to Greece to be with the Palestine team at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, to show her support.
And since it's sometimes hard to balance school and swimming, Maria gets a lot of support from her teachers who often visit her at home on weekends to tutor her for classes that she has missed. The Israeli occupation presents its fair share of challenges as well. Born to Palestinian parents in Colombia, Maria is able to travel on her El Salvadorian passport to leave Palestine through Jordan. Otherwise, it would be much more difficult to receive permission to leave through Jordan. "When I travel I see the difference; what it's like not to live under occupation" she notes. Maria finds comfort when other athletes at competitions abroad express their solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom. In Greece and Algeria she and other Palestinian athletes were even asked for their autographs.
Maria is now training for next summer's World Championships in Montréal, Canada. The challenge of proving herself on the world stage is something Maria looks forward to.
"Although we have to struggle for freedom, we also have to keep working and training" Maria says.

We wish you the best of luck Maria, hoping your dream will come true and we'll see Palestine's flag raised high up in the sky reaching out for millions of people in the Olympics and wherever you and other Palestinian athletes go.
We are so proud of you...
Via: This Week In Palestine.

To learn more about Maria, visit her website where you can find a photo gallery and information about her life in both Arabic and English.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

UNFAIR!

Today I went to the bank (one of the prestigious yet highly complicated in procedures) to check some work-related documents. The place was full, I had to wait for my turn. I was lucky enough to find a chair next to the cash-distributing ladies. There were two long queues, and although it’s not a habit of mine to stare at people while they withdraw money, yet my place forced me to at least overhear what’s going on.
While I was trying to keep myself busy checking some papers, I heard a guy begging the counter lady to allow him to withdraw more than the maximum limit for an emergency.

Lady: Can’t you see you’ve got only 100 Dinars left in your account? You can’t withdraw the whole amount!
Guy: Believe me it’s an emergency, I’ve been dealing with this bank for 3 years, never done anything wrong, I will put in some money as soon as possible, you should trust me.
Lady: Sorry, rules are rules, can’t do anything to help you.
Guy: Ok, let me talk to the manager and I’ll sign any kind of guarantee, I just need the money, it’s highly urgent!
Lady: Sorry, the boss does not involve himself in such issues.
Guy: Please, help me, I’m ready to do anything, anything at all…
Lady: Next please…

AT THE SAME TIME IN THE QUEUE NEXT TO IT
Man: I need to withdraw 2500 Dinars.
Lady2: your account has only 2300 Sir, you’ve been using your credit card a lot lately.
Man: Oh, I gave it to my wife to do some shopping, that explains everything.
Lady2: so how much would you like to withdraw?
Man: I guess I have no choice but withdraw the whole amount, you see I wanna buy stuff, really good quality.
Lady2: But you know our rules Sir, there should be…
Man: Seems like you don’t know who I am!
Lady2: You’ve been our client for 1 year, I know
Man: I can make you lose your job if I like, where is your manager?
(the lady calls the manager, he comes down, gets an explanation)
Manager: he wanted the whole amount you give it to him, you don’t even think twice about it.
Lady2: But the guarantees, our rules boss!!
Manager: They are not made for him. He’s a VIP. (he looks at the man) Ok Sir, you can go now, no worries about filling your account, consider this bank your own…

The guy in the next queue decided to benefit from the presence of the manager, he runs to him and explains the situation, the manager replies:if someone told you this bank is a charity institution, someone has made a BIG MISTAKE! Get out of the way son…

BABA 2004 Results

AquaCool won the award for Best Palestinian Blog in BABA 2004.

Again, my thanks go to Haitham and Mahmood who’ve put great efforts in these Awards and brought Arab bloggers together, and thanks to all who voted for AquaCool and who made me win this Award.

Congratulations to all those who won, and all those who participated :)