Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Custody Battle

For the past few months we have witnessed the conflict between the opposition and the Lebanese government escalating to a point that lead to riots, demonstrations, and unfortunately some innocent civilian causalities.

We watched the accusations, insults and the occasional name calling between members of both groups on our televisions. We read the verbal attacks in our papers. Big catchy headlines aimed to disqualify & damage the other party.
Yes, this is a political battle... and things do tend to get ugly... but how far should this go?
If both parties claim the other is "illegitimate", where does that leave Lebanon?
Civil war is no longer the danger here... There is a larger danger that is looming.
When the parents of a child go to court to take custody of this child, they put all their effort into proving that they are the fit parent. Sometimes they do try to show that the other is less qualified by pointing out faults, or by criticizing certain behaviors.

But what if they take it a step further? What if both start accusing each other of neglect and abuse? What if they resort to demonizing each other by trying to prove that the child is in danger if left with any one of them? What if they both equally convince the judge that this child would be exploited or mistreated with either one?

Well, the judge then will have no choice but take the child from BOTH of them, and turn him/her over to the custody of child services.
This is what is happening in Lebanon. We are in danger of loosing this country because we have divided ourselves into 2 groups that never pass on an opportunity to display each others shortcomings.
We are telling the world that we can't handle Lebanon. We are telling them that we can't properly take care of this country. Especially if we fail to reach an agreement concerning something as important as the international court to try those accused of assassinating former Prime minister Rafik Hariri.

If the "dialogue" fails, the government would be forced to pass the international court under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. This would take Lebanon into the unknown. It will erase all the efforts made to create a "sovereign nation" out of this small country that had more then its share of problems. It will be up to the "rest of the world" to decide Lebanon's fate. (This, ironically, is something the opposition says they worry about.)

Everyone in the government claims they want justice to be served, but some members of the opposition question the adequacy of the U.N.-backed international tribunal, and fear that it would be politicized. Even though they have stated this publicly, they also stated that their main problem with the Saniora government is representation, and not the court.*

*However, the resignation of Hizballa parliament members coincided twice with the international court talks held in the parliament.

The Saniora government vowed this court will take place, and accused the opposition of putting their own interest ahead since they are allies to the Syrian regime.

So, in history, and now again we find ourselves, like that child, being pulled in both directions, without consideration to the dire repercussions of this tug of war.
In an effort to get "custody", politicians from both sides have taken risks with this country's fate during this critical period. They have discredited each other, they have belittled each others abilities, and some even declared the others mere existence unconstitutional.

And of course, in the end, (like all parents) they claim they fight over Lebanon because they love it…

Maybe no one deserves Lebanon, and we need that judge to save us.

No wonder so many Lebanese "children" runaway from home.

Monday, March 26, 2007

We are potatoes

"The man who has not anything to boast of but his illustrious ancestors is like a potato -- the only good belonging to him is underground." -- Sir Thomas Overbury

(Now i know where the expression: "sha3b batata" comes

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Did you smell that movie???

افلام معطرة قريبا في دور السينما اليابانية

طوكيو : سيتمكن عشاق السينما الذين ملوا التاثيرات السمعية والبصرية المتطورة، من مشاهدة الافلام وتنشق روائح مناظرها الطبيعية في قاعات السينما بعد ان اعلنت شركة لتوزيع الافلام انها ستعرض اول "افلامها المعطرة" في العالم. وذكرت شركة شوشيكو انها ستطلق فيلم الدراما التاريخية "العالم الجديد" من بطولة كولين فيرل والذي تتناول قصته الاستعمار في نيو انغلاند، في اثنتين من دور السينما السبت باستخدام نظام كمبيوتر تم تطويره مؤخرا لاطلاق الرائحة المصاحبة للفيلم.

وتم تطوير النظام من قبل شركة "ان تي تي كوميونيكيشنز" التي هي جزء من شركة "ان تي تي" العملاقة للاتصالات. وستقدم ستة انواع من الروائح اعتمادا على المشاهد التي يتم عرضها. وكانت عدة دور سينما في اليابان اطلقت العام الماضي رائحة الشوكولاته اثناء عرض فيلم "تشارلي ومصنع الشوكولاتة".

وقالت ناوكو يوشيدا المتحدثة باسم شركة شوشيكو "هذه اول تجربة في العالم لتقديم انواع مختلفة من العطور التي تناسب المشاهد السينمائية التي ستجعل المشاهدين يشعرون بانهم في غابة، على سبيل المثال، عند اطلاق رائحة الغابات". ويتم نشر الروائح الست التي تضم رائحة الغابات والحمضيات، من تحت مقاعد المشاهدين.

To read the article in English:

Oh my god! this was MY IDEA!
I always thought that visual and sound stimulation at the movies is not enough anymore. I thought that to have the FULL experience, they should come up with something that creates smells too.

Imagine movies that have crime scenes! I know this sounds kind of sick, but I was always curious when I watched a movie and someone would walk into a creepy place and then say: "Ugh, it smells horrible here."

I would be thinking: "What? How does it smell? I WANNA KNOW".

Then again, I'm not your average movie goer, I'm very much INTO the movie i watch.

Anyway, bad smells is one thing, but a chocolaty smell while watching Willi Wanka! YUM! that sounds great!

I wonder how long it will take them to do this here in Lebanon?

Then again... If you've been to a movie theater in Lebanon you would have noticed that they ALREADY HAVE "certain" smells :)

See, we are ahead!

(p.s. You know where else they need that? On cooking shows! The smell would come right out of our T.V.! Imagine that! Whenever i'm watching a cooking show i reallyyyyy want to smell and taste the food... So they can start with smell, and maybe they can invent something for us to TASTE the food. Ok people, you heard it here first! If they invent something like that make sure you tell me so i can sue!)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Quote of the day

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
- Galileo Galilei

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Thelma & Louise Vs. 3abeer & Khadija

Well, not yet, but I can see it coming!

It turns out that Majlis Al Shoura in Saudi Arabia has advised the Court of Ministers regarding women driving in Saudi Arabia. They agreed on a list of rules & regulations.
Of course this will not take effect immediately, it'll take a few years to finalize it...

I know this is a positive step, but I can't help staring in awe at these ridicules rules!

Rules and Regulations regarding women driving vehicles:

1- Must be at least 40 years of age.
2- Must have permission from her guardian (husband or father or brother...)
3- Must have a valid driving license from a womens driving school.
4- Should be modest in clothing and not have makeup on while driving.
5- Women can only drive inside the city if alone. She must have a guardian with her if driving outside the city.
6- Driving is permitted between the hours 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Saturday to Wednesday; 2 p.m. till 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.
7- Must have a cell phone with her in case of emergency.
8- In case of a car break down or an accident, she should call Women Police Service for help.
9- She will have to pay a certain amount of money (credit on her driving license) which will be used by Women Police for her tire puncture repair or other maintenance.

Government responsibilities:

1- Creation of female Police force who will be specialized in multiple fields like driving, taking calls with companies to repair cars, rent cars, and also issuing traffic citations.
2- Creation of free women police center for emergency calls.
3- Opening Islamic propagation center in the Women Police department inside the cities.
4- Renewal of driving licenses every year.

Violations in General:

1- If any driver chases a female driver, if caught or proved, will be jailed for minimum 8 months with fine.
2- For those drivers who try to stop women drivers in any way like making their way narrow will be jailed for 1 day with fine.
3- If any driver hurts the women drivers will be jailed for 1 month with fine.

(Notice that if someone "chases" a woman he's jailed 8 months, but if he actually hurts her, only one!)

For Women:

1- Those women drivers who do not follow Islamic behavior their license will be suspended for minimum 6 months with 500-1000 Riyals fine.
2- Their guardian will be notified in writing by the "Hay'et el Amr Bil-Maaroof" (religious police)

Ahhh... What can I say?
Where do I even start?

I won't... I'll say nothing (and knowing me that's very hard to do!)
I'll try to be optimistic & positive and just say that it's good they are working towards reform.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ommet el 7ommos

It's very strange to me when people in the Arab world refer to themselves (or others) as part of "Al Omma el 3arabeyya", or "Al Omma el Islameyya."
Since when where we ONE? When did we unite?
Just watch the news... Look at my previous post. We're struggling to be united, so why do we talk like we are?
And this is not new, it's been this way ever since i can remember... This is all I heard while growing up: "Us Arabs have to become one... Us Arabs need to help each other... Us Arabs can't defeat Israel if we don't unite..."
Well, us Arabs SUCK.
We don't get it, THERE IS NO US. (That goes for "us Muslims" too)
There's no such thing as Al Omma el 3arabeyya, or Al Omma el Islameyya for that matter. We should just stop referring to it like it exists... and work on CREATING IT for a change. The only way to achieve unity is if we accept our diversity. And we are very far from that.

It also can't exist until we have true LEADERS for this unity. It's true we have deep cultural & traditional divides, but so do people in every country. Why is it that we are always FIGHTING either each other, or someone else? We fight cause our leaders want us to. We fight for them. We fight for their greed.
Basically: We are incapable of properly evaluating those who are in power, or even choosing those who should replace them. We either:
1) Rally behind corrupt questionable politicians with blood on their hands, clapping & cheering for them, posting there pictures on our walls like they are heroes. We treat them like they are "above" us, instead of treating them like oridinary people who are suppose to provide a service, people who are SUPPPOSED to SERVE & PROTECT us. They tought us to fear them, and we do.
2) Or we go with a more "mystical" kind of fear. The one from the all mighty. We choose to follow religious-political figures. We deify them, and we hang on their every word, and in return all they do is give us a fatwa every now and then to keep things moving in the direction THEY want...

All this is if we're lucky enough to live in a country that give you a choice between the 2.

So you see, there is no room for "3orobeh" or "kawmeyyeh" here... This is all we have. That's our political situation.

So what do we have left? Religion? grrreat!
Depending on religion to unite us is like depending on Michael Jackson to baby sit your kids... Sure "Never Land" looks like a lot of fun, and you might get alot of feel good freebies, but somehow someone always gets screwed in the end.
No, seriously... How many sects of Islam (or Christianity) are there? Do we even know? Islam is an idea... a belief... a philosophy... It's PERSONAL. Spirituality is not meant to be used in that way... No 2 Muslims, Christians, Jews are exactly the same...
So why burden ourselves with such labels? Why hinder your spirituality so you can feel like you "belong" to something? I never get this NEED that people have to associate themselves with people they don't even know on such a deep level???
Here's a suggestion: If you really want to feel like you are part of something start looking at the simple things that unite us. Like our love of Hommos & 3abd El7aleem :)

I'm not saying we don't have alot more in common, we do, BUT our sense of you "unity" and nationalism as Arabs is just an illusion... It will always be comprised due to our racism, fanaticism, sexism and intolerance.

So, the next time you want to refer to yourself as "anything", think about this:
If you want to feel like you belong to a certain group, guess what, YOU DO. You're human. We ARE all one. That should be enough. There is no need for a subgroup.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

???ﻻﻮ ﻮﻮﺸ ﺔﻤﻮﻜﺤ

Since the opposition decided to take action here in Lebanon, our news started sounding more and more like Palestinian & Iraqi news.
Power struggle, "takhween", blood shed, well, us alot less then them, economic issues...

And if I hear ONE MORE guy saying the words: "7okomet wi7da wataneyya" I'm gonna scream. It's like the catch phrase of the year! And the irony is that politicians keep repeating it like it's something that you can just buy from the supermarket... Something they have no control over. It's this amazing great THING that the OTHER group, the "bad guys", are not letting them have!
It's like: We DEMAND a govt. that represents our UNITY DAMN IT!
You better let us have our united govt. OR ELSE!
LOL hysterical!

Popular Posts