Tuesday, June 28, 2005

In The War Against Palestinians

I’ve just come across a great article by Preston Taran.

Here are some lines to share:

Manipulating Language in the War Against Palestinians
“Of course the fallback position of the Israeli government is that (“if you are not with us, you are an anti-Semite”). So far this has been a winning combination for the supporters of Israel.
Extending this logic, all those who condemn France should be labeled as anti-Catholic. To criticize Pakistan would automatically make the accuser anti-Muslim, if we adopt the Israeli-American method of thinking.
When Israel attacked Lebanon in 1978 and 1982, this was praised as “daring,” as all other Israeli military expeditions have been. If Palestinian or Arab military units move militarily, such as Egypt did in 1973, it is a “sneak attack.” When a Palestinian group fights for its survival through a military action, much of the West calls the action “Iranian or Syrian-backed” or sponsored.
Israeli actions are conveniently portrayed as “heroic.”No mention of “American-backed” incursions. When Israelis commandeer aircraft or ships on the high seas in international waters, it is just a “diversion.” When any nation other than Israel or the United States partakes in similar actions, the word “terrorism” or the new American word “thugs” is trotted out.
A humorous aspect of the selective use of the English language revolves around the notion of incarceration.
If an American is unjustly arrested abroad he is said to be “imprisoned.” America has no prisoners in Guantanamo Bay or in other places around the world; we just have “detainees.”
Same with the Israelis.
Israel had a “security zone” in Lebanon and continues to have “security zones,” throughout their “occupied” territories. Who would dare call them occupation zones?”
You can read the article in full Here.

3rd Tunisian Blogger Meetup

Ok, where do I start! The meetup was FANTASTIC! I loved it, loved it, loved it.
You know, it doesn’t feel like meeting bloggers, no, it’s more like meeting friends you’ve known for a long time, friends who blog :) Even the new ones felt comfortable and we had great time and very interesting discussions.

So who was there?
The old faces ;) Adib, Drako, Zizou, Karim, Chikipi, and of course MMM and moi ;)
And 5 new bloggers showed up: Tom, Yamen, Troubadour (another female blogger, FINALLY), Marouen, and Imed.

What did we talk about?
Many things; we started out by getting to know the new bloggers better, we asked them our traditional questions: how did you start blogging, and why did you choose that specific blog name.
Then Drako got really creative and started asking what the blog represents for each one of us.

Aside from that, we exchanged some technical information, talked about AIDS, language etiquette in blogging, topics most desireable to read in a blog, pre-marital relationships and their spread in the Arabic societies, who are for and against such relationships ;)

Also Adib suggested a very beautiful idea that’s kind of a cultural exchange in the blogosphere by introducing each other to bloggers we know from outside Tunisia. So I’ll do this very soon and will start by Jordan bloggers then other syrian and lebanese bloggers I know. I’ll also introduce the Tunisian bloggers I know to my readers, this way we’ll know more people from all around the globe, specially the Arab world.

The meetup started at 7 p.m., officially ended at 10 p.m., but MMM, Zizou, Yamen, Marwen, Adib and I stayed till 12:30 a.m. talking and talking :) it was so interesting although I sounded as if I came from another world and another time with my weird opinions :)

Anyway, this meetup was the best so far, and I’m sure it’s only getting better in future. I only wished the expats -for whom we set that specific date- and the female Tunisian bloggers would have shown up.
Not to forget the other Tunisian bloggers who were present only in the 1st meetup.
YOU ARE ALL MISSING A LOT! Make sure to be there next time ;)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

No Longer From There…

My husband and I have just come back from a farewell party my company organized for a dear client.
Everything went just fine until I met this man, this “very important” man.

My boss and the guest of honor introduced me to him, and then they said: hey, you’re from her region, he said: no, not any more.

What made me feel the disgust and shame is one single thing: the fact that he’s Jordanian.
Nothing is shittier than being so proud of who you are, making others respect you and you’re identity, and then someone shows the world how to disrespect you and all those from your region!

How do we expect others to respect us if we ourselves deny our real identity? How do we want others to believe in us, if we ourselves do not believe in who we are.

“No, not anymore”, he said these words because he has another foreign passport, another nationality, something I’m not against at all, as long as we don’t forget who we really are, and as long as we always show our pride of the nationalities we have!

Neither money nor social importance matter to me, the only thing that really matters is the real self: mentality, heart and action.

Musical Baton

Mo passed me this a while ago, but this whole Jordan trip thing made me postpone replying to it till now, so here are my answers :)

Total volume of music files on my computer:
Well, there are 2 computers:
At work: I can’t download or exchange songs, and there are limits to what I can upload, so now I have only: 300 MB
At home: which is basically my husband’s, and since he’s obsessed with music I don’t even want to think of what size his music files are :D
The last CD I bought was:
Hanin’s latest Album.
Song playing right now:
none ;)
Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:
1. 7ayra: Amrou Rafi.
2. Ba3dak ya hawa: Marwan Khouri.
3. I will survive.
4. Innocent Eyes: Delta Godrem
5. Leave Right now: Will Young

Five people to whom I’m passing the baton:
MMM, Eve, Roba, Rayhane, Drako.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Time For A Serious Talk

My visit to Jordan proved -again- that Jordan, Amman in particular, is a symbol of constant and rapid blooming on both the regional as well as the international levels. And although my visit came 1 year after my last visit, and lasted for only 3 weeks, I was able to notice the many changes that took place and thought I'd like share here.
Let me begin with what I considered positive:

  • Jordan is open to investment more than ever, what I found beautiful is it being the center of attraction of Arab investors. I just love it when Arabs invest in Arab countries.

  • Improvement in the general look of Amman, one can sense the beautifying efforts in many streets and corners.

  • Lower Departure Fees for Jordanians, no Departure Fees for non-Jordanians (don’t know if that Applies only for Arabs or whether it includes non-Arabs as well), which is a very smart step that gives this tourism-friendly touch.

  • Anti-violence campaigns, specially concerning women and children. Billboards and all kinds of ads fill the streets and are constantly aired on TV to spread awareness and provide info about shelters.

  • A bigger variety of brands in the market and many Arabs favoring Amman as a shopping city.

  • Unbelievable competition between service companies, always good for the consumer ;)

  • Cultural events are getting more attention than before.

Now to some constructive criticism:

  • Amman has become really really crowded and driving has become a nightmare.

  • Due to the situation in Iraq, many Iraqis came to Amman, on one hand, their presence revived the economy since the sales of houses and apartments increased, on the other hand, and as a result of the high demand on houses, prices have become too high that neither average Iraqis nor Jordanians could easily afford them.

  • Living has become VERY expensive, and taxes -specially the sale's tax- are always on the rise. This caused many Jordanians to feel depressed since the income remained stable while the expenses are becoming higher and higher. I was shocked of the amount of Jordanians who were complaining about the expensive living inside and outside Amman.

  • Year after year one can't but notice the decrease in the amount of trees in Amman. They're being cut in big numbers to provide more space for centers, homes and huge malls. Every little space is built, making the city look even more crowded. Something quick should be done to protect the few remaining green spots from vanishing.

  • Although I consider competition and investment to be good for the consumer since they offer more choices of quality and price, it must be said that they could become a disaster to the service/ product provider if the competition isn't planned well. Huge malls are being built, all of them are much the same in concept offering almost the same kind of services and products, so when a new mall is open, people rush to it and abandon the older ones, this causes many malls, or stores in malls to close once and for all leaving many unemployed people and wasted places. Not to mention the unexplainable insistence on building many branches of the same restaurant within very close areas! why!

  • The lack of affordable entertaining facilities is a huge problem for both families and unmarried individuals. With the average income a person gets, it's really hard to spend good time in the city without suffering a shortage in the budget. On the other hand, many single young men are not allowed to get in certain centers or malls, since they're regarded as a source of disturbance and harassment, which leaves them no choice but waste their time wandering in the streets.

Every country has its good sides and its bad ones, let’s just hope things change from good to better and that our development will always be on the right track.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Big, Big Girl, In A Big, Big World…

3 weeks flew by so quick that I don’t really feel I’ve ever went to Amman this year…
Just like yesterday we were all gathered in formal dresses and suits filled with joy watching our beloved brother take the first step in his new life beside his beautiful bride!
I can still hear the music, smell the white flowers, feel the warm tears, and taste the bless of being gathered in such a lovely occasion: the day my brother got married!
How can I describe the smiles on our faces, or explain the beating hearts we carried every step of the way; from the minute he got all dressed up, till the minute he said goodbye and left!
It’s weird how a simple thing like watching our brother dance with his bride, could load us all with this mixture of countless kinds of feelings!
Our happiness cannot be put into words, God Bless Him and His wife, and may He grant them joy, good health and success in their life together!

This visit to Jordan made me know how fragile my heart has become!
I remember when I was a kid I used to hear old people say: “the older you get, the stronger you become”. I’ve seen many prove them right, my mom being one of the people I admire for the strength she has to carry on with her life despite all problems and heartaches she’s been through, and is constantly experiencing.
Yet when it comes to me, I have to admit it, the older I get, the harder it becomes for me to lockup my tears when they’re about to escape. There are times when I feel I’m about to get a heart attack right where I’m standing while saying goodbye with a big fake smile on my face !

I’ve been to the airport a number of times in this visit, and I just remembered how I’ve always loved going to airports when I was a little girl. I thought of it as a lovely place where I could see many people and eat yummy things. As I grew up, my love for airports grew stronger, I still enjoyed going there to pick up or drop people, and I just loved it when I’d accidentally run into people I knew, and then say: what a small world!
Now it all changed, I don’t hate airports, but I hate what they stand for in my new dictionary of life… airport: the one place on earth that’s able to make you feel how damn big this “small world” really is…

I already miss everyone, I missed them before I said goodbye, I missed them the day I realized I’ll be away soon… I missed them since the day I arrived and said: here I am…

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Meeting Jordan Bloggers

Simply PERFECT! Yep, the Jordan Blogger Meetup was one big success, I enjoyed every moment, I didn't feel like a stranger, I felt I've already met the bloggers before and having an interesting, and a fruitful conversation with all of them couldn't be easier!
The meetup exceeded my expectations, besides the great fact that I got to see faces in real life rather than some pictures, we had a lot of fun as well as serious talks.
We discussed many issues: blogging motivation; blogging topics; positive and negative changes in Jordan; Arabic mentalities concerning certain issues such as marriage, blogging, personal judgments, and relationships. We also talked about education; movies; music; reading; equality; justice; and many other great things. Other than that, I must admit there were times when I laughed like crazy :)

The bloggers present were: Ammar Ibrahim, Deeb Dweik, Hind Sabanekh, Isam Bayazidi, Jad Madi, Lina Ejeilat, Mira Shnoudi, Nader Shnoudi, Naseem Tarawnah, Roba Assi, Samir Rawashdeh, and last but not least, my dear husband MMM(Subzero Blue), oh yes, and myself of course ;)

Ok now here are my quick impressions about each blogger I met:
  • Ammar: funny, sweet, very friendly, being my neighbor, I always feel he's someone I know for ages although we never really talked before that meetup :)
  • Deeb: nice, always smiling although you can feel his desperation away from Jordan :)
  • Hind: so funny, down to earth, and so so friendly :)
  • Isam: not as serious as I thought he'd be, friendly, and you can feel his devotion to Jordan Planet and his interest in getting us together :)
  • Jad: so quiet, so calm, very nice and a bit shy :)
  • Lina: calm, very sweet and very very modest :)
  • Mira: extremely quiet, as friendly and sensitive as I've expected :)
  • Nader: really really sweet, funny, and hates being interrupted :D
  • Naseem: totally different than how I imagined him to be, less serious as well, very very nice and we agree on many points :)
  • Roba: as sweet and friendly as I thought she'd be, she's also funny and very natural :)
  • Samir: quiet, shy and nice :)
  • My husband: I'm married to him, that says it all :)

  • I had great time at the meetup, as well as after the meetup when we grabbed some yummy Shawerma, in short, it was wonderful from A-Z. I wish we were closer to join Jordan Bloggers Meetup more often, but well,it doesn't matter, the most important thing is that these meetups will keep taking place and be always successful.

    For more pics click Here, and Here.

    Friday, June 17, 2005

    Finally Will Meet Them ;)

    So it's been a while since I've last blogged, and to be honest, I truly miss blogging, it's just that I'm trying to be with my family as much as possible, it truly sucks to realize the fact that I can see them only 3 weeks a year in best cases, it's so hard for all of our members to be in the same place at the same time...

    So tomorrow, oops, I mean today, we'll be having a Jordan Bloggers Meetup, how do I feel? can't describe it, I'm so excited, I've been waiting to meet the Jordan Bloggers for so long, and I can't still believe it's happening today! WOW!
    I really wish all of the Jordanian bloggers who are currently in Jordan would be kind enough to show up, I'm not always here and I truly hope I'll get to meet as much Jordanian bloggers as possible, so I'm counting on you guys!

    Although I've seen pics of the bloggers more than once, I still have this very weird feeling, on one hand I feel like I know each and every one of the bloggers since ages, yet on the other hand I can't help but feel the excitement and anticipation of the 1st time I'd personally meet them...

    Anyways, aside of my weird feelings that I'm not being able to express -most probably due to my exhaustion- what I'm trying to say is: Jordan Bloggers, I can't wait to meet you all! :)

    Friday, June 03, 2005

    Will Not Vote…

    Well, where do I start, I’ve been getting many many shocks ever since I arrived, will come to that later when I have the time to write. Anyway, I’ve been sick for the past few days, and couldn’t really follow up on my favorite blogs, but today I came across this Jordan Planet quality thing which was discussed a while ago, and to cut it short, it seems the final decision was to go for a general voting, something I’ve already disagreed on strongly, so I’m not voting, simply because by voting I’ll give myself the right to help keep or dismiss someone for what they blog, a right no one has, because I believe that a blog is a reflection of a person’s mentality, interests, profession and field of education, not a satisfaction for what some readers like to read.
    What I like might mean nothing to what others like, what I hate, might be something others just love, so it’s so unfair to give myself the right to vote someone in or out.

    And just one thing I thought I’d remind all those reading this post, we as Arabs will never ever improve or have real democracy if we can’t‎ implement democracy and respect for others in something as simple as blogging. Yes, democracy is to allow all to say what they wish to say as long as they mean no harm, as long as they don’t cross the lines of tolerance and politeness, and as long as they are reaching out for the world in a most peaceful and respectful way.
    But limiting the participation of some bloggers according to the opinions of some others is so unfair, and is no not democratic. Suggesting that some “low quality” posts will give a bad impression about the Planet as a whole, plays no role for me, looking at other bloggers gatherings, like Tunisie Blogs, Lebanon Bloggers Forum, Bahrain Bloggers and many others, I can’t but say they are a living example for successful bloggers gatherings, a proof that you can have good quality no matter how many the bloggers are, no matter how the posts look and no matter what people reading their blogs think of the variations. I truly respect them all, and congratulate them for their great work.

    For now, all I can say is, if members of the Jordan Planet will insist on voting some bloggers out and not allowing new Jordanians to join the Planet, then I believe that it will no longer deserve the name Jordan Planet neither its slogan: A Blog Readers’ Window To Jordan, because a window to Jordan, is a window to all kinds of thinking, all kinds of writing, a true reflection of the Jordanian community, not what some people would think are the “elite”… if the “elite” remains, then what different are we than those whom we criticize for giving themselves the right to choose for us and to control our concept of participation in society. Therefore, I have to say that I personally think it’ll become meaningless to be a member of it.

    I truly hope that what I'm saying will not be taken personally, I'm not against anyone, I'm just against the idea of discriminating between bloggers.

    Having said all that, we’re staying in Jordan till June 19th, I still wish to meet ALL Jordanian bloggers regardless of this whole voting thing, so whether you’ll still be a Jordan Planet member or not, let’s meet, taking the time to write in your blog, paying the effort to run a blog, is enough for me whether I like what you write or not. I know the period isn’t that perfect due to the university exams, but I hope I’ll get the chance to meet all who are in Jordan while I’m still here.

    Good luck to all…