Tuesday, 4 December 2007

I'm in a Calendar!

Well..not that kind of Calendar, maybe next year..but returnig to this one, around six or seven months ago..I came across something called The One Million Masterpiece project, which is basically one large image of a million drawings made by people around the world online, so being the Global Citizen I am, I went ahead and drew the flag of Jordan.

Yesterday, I got an email telling me that my drawing was chosen among 1800 drawings to be made into a 2008 calendar, they made up themes for each month, and the theme for March is United Nations, and yours truely secured Jordan's representation in the visual UN, with one afternoon in the office doodle.

Congratulations.

p.s: I've pointed out the drawing's position in red for your comfort.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Thirty Six..


خلاكَ الذم يا وصفي رماحي غيرُ مسنونة

ودربُ الحُر يا وصفي كَدربِك غيرُ مأمونة

Monday, 19 November 2007

A Recap of Sorts

So I've been abstaining from blogging for almost a month, and today..I decided to break the silence and speak..actually type, about the things I saw and heard in the past month or so.

First of all, I turned 32, one day before the 90th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration "Happy Anniversary", 28 days before the 60th anniversary of the partition of Palestine, again..Happy Anniversary, and 19 days before the Parliamentary Elections in Jordan..Bon Appetite and a very Merry 50JDs, or more..depending on shatartak.

Tayeb, The weather in London has been extremely bad, raining all the time..so Gene Kelly would've really relished the opportunity to really..Sing in The Rain, if it wasn't for his current disposition.

The other day, I watched a BBC documentary, -one of the signs of a healthy media- on the orphans in an Eastern European country, the programme was very disturbing, yet..to me, it was a real journey within, a journey within the human soul...or there lack of, the children were left for days, without human interaction or attention, as if their destitution and solitude weren't enough, leading them to literal insanity and short lives. Man can be a beast, I almost felt guilty watching them, and have no idea how their "care-takers" could look the reporter in the eye and claim that those children were in good care, Lying is one thing, but lying and believing it takes practice!

Hyde Park is nice these days..it always is, but this time of the year has its magic, the trees are changing their coats and preparing for the mascarade of autumn, some are red, some yellow, others are bright orange, The ever brave squirrels still venture around the green pastures, and a certain one looked at me the other day as if he knew me, but despite my vigorous attempt at recalling his acquaintance..it didn't ring a bell..or crack a nut for that matter, I might have been a squirrel in a past lifetime, or he/she was a human, who knows..we both might have been something else altogether!

I dreamt of Eve the other night, she visited me in my slumber, a more intimate setting than sobriety, she looked nice..as always, she smelt nice..as always; who knew one could dream of scents! She held my hand, and my temperature rose by 1.7 degrees or so, the best fever you can ever get is the one you get from a sublime world.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Published Confessions!


The Confessions of this Vegetarian Shark are now on Paper, thanks to the marvel of self publishing, nothing beats a book with your name on it!

you can find it here: http://www.lulu.com/content/1353756 AND http://www.lulu.com/content/1355623

Check it out, review it, rank it, toss it around..and if you have some extra cash...buy it! and yes..spread the word..lets see if this thing really works!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

The Return From Within

I have to start this post by apologizing to everyone who came..knocked and found no answer, as I've been "Internet-less" by choice for more than a month.

I've been to Amman, and when a lover meets his loved one, the whole world seizes to exist..this is probably an extremely lame comment you might think, and I might agree..to an extent, but sometimes..you tend to want to be alone with a city, a whole city..with all her details corresponding with your own details; she notices the new grey hairs you didn't have when you left her and went West, and you notice..yet again, her drought, the very same drought you thought you knew before you left, the very same drought you wanted not to find when you went back; the drought of souls is even more painful than that of minds, minds can be revived, souls..are as delicate as the strings of a harp, and the sound they make is either tender like a choir of angels or they never give more than a hollow vibration into space..an empty hiss.

There's a book called طبائع الإستبداد "The Manners of Dictatorship" by an enlightened Arab called Abdul Rahman Al Kawakibi, and if I could borrow the title..and a little bit more, I'd describe Amman as a ruthless dictator, one losing her charisma, her appeal, her tender smile, and yet..her subjects remain loyal and drunken with her love, even when her only remaining appeal is her name, even if she is made to wear a million masks upon another million masks, even if her soul is barren..her people are in transit, looking and feeling like strangers..to her, and to their own selves.

She remains the Queen, and now that she's left..East, as I left West, she is missed, and her smile; the one I didn't find when I went to see her, endures.


يمـوتُ الهــوى منــّي إذا ما لقـيتُها

ويحيا إذا فارقتـُـها فيعــودُ

Sunday, 26 August 2007

On Emotional Literacy

I've recently grown more aware of the learned aspect of emotional conduct, the one you tend to pick up as you grow older, or is put within you as a child by emotionally literate parents.

I've always been amazed by the effect of Good, but good isn't just a nice trait of character, Being nice to people is something taught, and I don't mean respect..for respect can be forced, but your own voluntary genuine feeling of compassion towards people is one of the greatest heights of Emotional Literacy, your smile in the face of people in the morning, your humility and tenderness towards children, the compassion and patience you give to the most vulnerable; children, older people, the less fortunate..the sick and weak, is learned..and taught.

Your awareness of the importance of making others happy, and your deliberate intent to make a difference, taking a minute to put a smile on someone's face..whether that someone is close or a stranger is a great sign of emotional literacy, for you reach the calculated conclusion of the importance of human interaction..positive interaction can create miracles, it might even be a healing force, it also makes you feel good..as you provide a proverbial breath of fresh air to someone who might be gasping for it, Emotional Philanthropy is the highest degree of human conduct.

Never underestimate the power of kindness, a smile..a lending hand, can go a long way, it charges the soul with a mysterious charge..one probably blessed by angels, for kindness is a divine attribute, it probably smells like lilac and tastes like cotton candy, your execution of an act of kindness is an extension to the compassion of God towards His Creation.

I have enormous respect for people who work in Humanitarian aid and charities, those people are the most emotionally literate Humans..their minds are set up in a totally different way than ours, they wake up in the morning, they make someone's life a little bit better, and go back to being unnoticed only to do it all over again and again without seeking recognition or reward other than the recognition and reward from within, those people teach me..and us all a lesson every time we run across them, and by doing so..our own emotional literacy is enriched and complimented.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Music in My Head

So here's the deal: I'm a very music oriented creature, I like listening to music..when I'm working, when I'm walking, when I'm in the shower..yes I know its weird but what can you do!

So during one of my unintentional moments of contemplation, I've reached the conclusion that most of the Arabic songs that I like..express defeat and anguish for the most part. I sat up straight so that the blood would have a smooth sail into my brains and hence get my thoughts in order, and I realized that most Arabic songs, the most "romantic" ones..express a feeling of pain for the loss of love..hmmm, why? you might ask..well, I think that we -Arabs- enjoy heartache, it's a genetic feature embedded in our DNA, our culture is one expressive of consecutive heartaches..both collective and individual, the stories of Qais and Laila, is an example of the individual, the story of Da7es wal Ghabra2 is one of the most renowned collective traditions of heartache, let alone the tragedies both we and our forefathers lived, from the loss of Al-Andalus to the invasion of Iraq.

So coming back to the present day..some of us aren't good to our hearts, some of us are intentional manipulators of others' hearts, it makes us feel better when we can decide if someone is happy or sad, some of us aren't even able to decide whether we want to be happy or sad, others are always victims, whether they really are or not. It is an embedded code in our genes..and it's reflected in our music, 7abeebi absar shoo malo..tarakni wo ra7..ma banam el leil...etc.

These lyrics sink in the deep corners of our minds, and we keep them in our psychological archives until our real lives cross the path of similarity with those hidden lyrics..and when they do, and instead of having emotional intelligence, we resort to the very silly game of emotional manipulation..we punish our loved ones..so we become the ones who leave..physically or mentally, for a short while or for good, and by doing so we create a stupid romantic tragedy where we become the heroes, and where the soundtrack is always on standby to be played, or; we are the one's who get the short end of the stick and are left..again with the soundtrack ready to be played, and by creating that romantic tragedy we convince ourselves of the virtue of pain, even if we really have no idea why we liked the person we left to begin with, or why we left them, the pain of loss cleanses us, even if loss wasn't that tragic, or was our fault..one way or another.

We enjoy heartache, and we like emotional deprivation, it makes us feel good, it makes us innocent..even if we really aren't, it proves us true to our hidden personalities, the personality of the emotionally oppressed, which might be part of a series of other kinds of oppression; political, social..etc, or the personality of the emotional dictator, which might be the only way we can really be "in control"..funny enough though, both alternate roles as days go by and neither is aware of the other's existence, but they both feed our collective feelings of defeat.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

"يوميات واحد مش فاضي "فيكشن

الساعة ستة ونص الصبح: بتقوم من النوم غصبن عنك عشان تروح عالشغل غصبن عنك

الساعة ستة ونص وتلت دقايق: بترجع تنام خمس دقايق بتصحى بعدها بتلت ارباع الساعة زي المجنون اللي طلعلو الجن الأزرق وبتنط بالشاور (لإنك بتحب النضافة) ولإنو المي بتصحي القرود، بتحلق وبتلبس اللي عالحبل وبوجهك عالدوام

الساعة تسعة وعشرة بتفوت عالشغل زحف عشان ما حدا يعرف إنك متأخر (زي كل
يوم) بس (زي كل يوم) بيشوفوك
عالكاميرا وبيخبّروا عنك وبيخصموا من راتبك وإنته زي السطل مفكر حالك ذيب

الساعة طنعش بتبلش معدتك تتظاهر لإنك (زي كل يوم) ما بتفطر ببيتكم فبتصير تدور بالجوارير على أي إشي تسلي فيه حنكك، بتلاقي حبة شكلاطة بس لإنك جنتلمان (زي ما قلنا القصة فيكشن) بتعطيها لزميلتك اللي بتشبه فلونة، بس اللي ما بتعرفو حضرة جنابك هو إنو زميلتك فلونة بتحكي إنك بتشبه عبسي فهيك بتطلعوا خالصين

الساعة وحدة بتهرّ من الجوع و بيزغللو عيونك وبتصير تتفلّت عشان تطلع تتسمم

الساعة وحدة ونص بترجع عالدوام (طبعاً زحف زي الصبح) و كأنه أبو زيد خالك لإنك ضحكت على المجتمع الدولي وطلعت أكلت..مش بس هيك..وشربت كوكتيل كمان

الساعة وحدة ونص و خمسة بتصفرن وبتوقع عالأرض وبيحملوك عالمستشفى وبتطلع متسمم من الشاورما اللي تسممتها

الساعة تلاتة وتلت بييجي مسؤول يزورك وبيصوروه بالتلفزيون وهو بيطمّن على
حضرة جنابك و إنته منسدح بالتخت

الساعة ستة ونص بييجي مديرك وزملاءك يزوروك وبيبشرك مديرك إنهم قرروا يزيدوا راتبك ويرَفعوك ويعطوك إجازة أسبوع نقاهة

الساعة سبعة بييجوا أهلك زي المصاريع بعد ما شافتك جارتكم
عالتلفزيون وفضحت سماك بالحارة لإنك كنت توبلس ومادين منك برابيش

الساعة سبعة ونص بيسمحلك الدكتور تروّح مع أهلك وبيعطيك دوا للتسمم

الساعة تمنية بتطلع مرة تانية عالتلفزيون والمسؤول عم بيزورك..وبيقرروا إنك طلعت مش متسمم و إنما معك مرض مزمن و إنته ما معك خبر...مبروك

Sunday, 29 July 2007

La Luna..La Luna

One of my most favorite pastimes, is to endlessly stare at the moon, a pointless activity to some extent, but observation of the cosmos is a very subtle way to obtain certain doses of wisdom, and like the high and low tides, humans are affected by the moon, or so I'd like to believe, besides the folkloric tales of vampires and werewolves.

This gem in the ancient sky is probably the only thing that literally unites humans, for each human, from the beginning of time, till this earth and its moon are taken off the proverbial stage, every single human..has stared at the moon for some time, at some point in their lives, and that thought in itself is a witness to the greatness of the Creator, who shows us a sign of His Eternity every single night, it is up to us mortals to seize that moment of direct contact with Heaven.

Adam might have looked up to the moon on the first night of his and Eve's life on earth, as they both explored their new world, Alexander The Great might have stared up one night as he reveled in his conquests, Moses might have done the same as he contemplated on his imminent encounter with the Pharaoh, Jesus probably sat on the outskirts of Jerusalem one night and looked up to the full moon seeking God's peace and guidance, Muhammad might have crossed the night sky with his sight, gazing at the moon from the cave of "Hira" on the very night Gabriel came onto him to announce his prophecy. Cleopatra might have had one of her milk baths under the moonlight, Elissar surely thought of the people she left behind in Tyre, when she saw their shining faces in the reflection of the moon in the calm waters of the Mediterranean..as she sailed west to Carthage, Averroes, Aristotle, all stared on a clear night into the light in the sky, thinking, meditating, praying, seeing someone's face in the silver lining of a full moon.

Poets, lovers, warriors, sinners and saints were all captivated for a fraction of a second by that silent lantern as it rose in a mid summer night, as it lit the nights of Ancient Greece, Babylon, Pheonicia, Cordoba, Jerusalem, and The ancient Mayan Kingdom, and as it did..each human, travelled in time..to their past, or their future, staring into the eyes of their loved ones, their unborn descendants, as they stared into the moon.

Tonight, look up to the moon, and think that you're looking at something all humanity saw as you are now, your own great grandchildren might sit one fine night under its light in the deep future and steal a moment of innocent intimacy with their loved ones. This thought..is enough to make you feel immortal, for a fraction of a second, Tonight..look up to the moon and speak to prophets, visionaries, artists and lovers, and tonight..look up to the moon and speak to your unborn children, and theirs, for one night..they just might look up to the moon and speak to you.

Monday, 23 July 2007

On The Mystery of Souls

Souls are supernatural entities, unearthly creations that lie between our ribs, they have their effect on our bodies, but never are burdening on our physical or mental weight, they're delicate light biengs, and their delicacy is only explained by their unexplainable, instinctive messages that make us like..or dislike someone minutes after we first meet them. First impressions last..that's what they say, but first impressions aren't actually decided by the heart or the mind, but by the soul, preceding any physical attributes' interference and subsequent manipulation of the other..the heart sometimes manipulates the mind, it tricks it into accepting the otherwise irrational decision to like..or dislike, and with age, the mind manipulates the heart into doing the same, the intellectual decision is more likely to be successful, in the earthly rule of the survival of the fittest.

Souls on the other hand aren't bound to any rules of logic, or gravity..they penetrate bodies and minds in a speed probably faster than that of light, searching for a certain code of familiarity in the deep corners of the "other's" soul, they interact independently, they talk..without actually doing so, touch, without actually touching, they might even travel without even doing so..or maybe they do, causing us to become more familiar, sometimes to the extent of telepathy, and foreseeing certain details to come; deja vu. Children are controlled by their souls, they like without rationale, they also hate without rationale, hence their instinctive innocence, and probably unearthly wisdom; a childish playfulness in our all grownup rule controlled world, we might actually be tricked into believing that we become wiser as we get older, when the fact of the matter might be the opposite; one of the mysteries of existence.

This interaction between souls, is probably the only rational explanation -although irrational in its discourse- for the noticing of physical details in someone, their scents, their pronunciation of certain words, the causes of a witty unconscious smirk, and the ways to generate it, all in their own right are subconscious attempts to synchronize the frequency between the body and the soul, an attempt of sorts to reach out..or in, and express agreement with one's soul, with its genius, its mysterious perceptions, and a way to show gratitude for its delicate Divine inspired guidance to the heart, and the mind.

Souls give their responsible guidance, when you're aware of their effect, once you reach the point of consciously consulting your soul, your soul would give you the wisest of all advice, one that comes from a place as mysterious as the entity giving it, souls are silk gowns on diamond manikins, treat them with the delicacy and care they deserve, they can lend a helping hand, if you tune to their infinite frequency.

Who knows..the ancient Silk Road just might be the highway of souls!

Thursday, 28 June 2007

The Thin Thread of Sanity

It was early evening..and the ancient sun was getting colder, as her journey across the western sky was about to end..giving way to serene darkness, and the last shy rays were teasing his face..causing him to close his eyes..not to dream, but to remain awake.

She still comes to mind..whenever light touches him. Light touches..invades without permission, often reaching the heart before the skin, and whenever light is gone, his being became possessed with a weird feeling of longing, a subdued one, he knew that night would always give way to light, and that it in turn would always give way to night..and in the short distance between the two, when the sky became washed in that distinct color of goodbye..whenever he witnessed that..his ever present sadness would mature..for he knew that the sky was expressing her own sadness..for parting with light, ironic..since that same sky would be literally glowing with that same color moments before light came back a few hours later. The color of a parting embrace..and a reuniting embrace..is the same, the only thing that sets them apart is the freshness in the air of the latter, the scent of a renewed promise, a promise that is both kept and broken every day.

He sat on the cliff, every evening..and watched the sunset, he saw the sky turn her bright blue color into a sad shade of purple..as she fought with the thought of losing light, he saw the songbirds stop their singing and return to their nests in an act of protest and solidarity with the sky that carries their wings on hers. He sat and saw off that purple color of goodbye..and witnessed the return of darkness..every single evening.

The sky still glees in that same color every dawning morning, forgiving and forgetting the earlier unwilling parting. But he remains a resident of those moments between light..and night, and his sanity..is slowly becoming purple.

Monday, 25 June 2007

On The Beauty of Arabic..

The following is an excerpt from a poem by a man who preceded Romeo by a Thousand years, and he wasn't a fictional character, you can hear more of this poetry under "My Music", and Again, I thank Noura for introducing me to Ensemble Ibn Arabi, whose Music I'm hosting.


Who said The Desert of Arabia was barren??


نهـاري نـهارُ النـاسِ حتـى إذا بــدا
لــيَ الليــلُ هزّتنــي إليــكِ المضــاجعُ

أُقَََََََََََََََضّـي نَهـاري بالحديـثِ وبالمُـنى
ويجمعُنــي بالليّــلِ والـهمُّ جامِــعُ

لقَـد ثَبَتَــتْ فـي القَلــبِ مِنــكِ مَــودّةٌ
كما ثَبَتَــتْ فـي الراحَتيــنِ الأصابــعُ


وأنــتِ التـي صَيّــرتِ جســمي زُجــاجةً
تَنُـمُّ بمـا تحتويــهِ الأضــالعُ

فلا خيّــرَ فـي الدُنيـــا إذا لـمْ تُزَرْ بـها
ليلــى ولم يَجمَـعْ لنـا الشــملُ جامِــعُ


وأفرَحُ إنْ تُمْســي بِخيّــرٍ وإنْ يَـكُنْ
بِها الحَــدَثُ العــادي تُرِعنـي الروائِــعُ

وأعمَــدُ للأرضِ التــي من ورائِــكُمْ
لتُرجِعَنــي يوماً إليـكِ الرواجِــعُ

فيـا قلـبُ صَــبراً واعتــرافاً لِـما تَــرى
ويا حُبَّــها قَـعْ بالذي أنـتَ واقِــعُ

مجنــون ليلــى

Saturday, 23 June 2007

On The Stranger You Miss

Do you ever miss somebody you've never met? It's one of the most straight forward contradiction of terms, for missing suggests the loss of familiarity in the details of a person you already know, physical and/or intellectual. But there comes a time..once in a while..when you tend to miss a complete stranger, a certain trait of character, not long for it..but miss it -longing and missing have two different sets of behavioural routes- your mind starts drawing a very detailed Mosaic, slowly..like the detailed Arabesque decorations, or a silk Persian rug, small detailed and delicate masterpieces that take forever to create..configured and conjoined to the degree of interdependence, resulting in that one big complete work of art..a masterpiece of imaginary beauty.

I guess this parallels the idea of a blind person missing light, but then again some blind people never saw light, so their interpretation of it is completely oblivious to the actual thing, they effortlessly and so eloquently explain it as a feeling..probably warmth or softness, they might even convince you of their version of "light".

How do you explain the taste of vanilla ice cream if you've never had some? You make it up, but you also make sure your interpretation is so detailed that it gives you..the satisfaction otherwise not actually known, for you can fool people into believing you speak out of knowledge, but there's something somewhere within the corners of your subconscious that makes your imagination heightened to the degree of perfection, the greatest degree of satisfaction is the one you make up..since you control its intensity.

There's a sense of instinct in the act of missing, a bird which came into existence in a cage will always look for ways to escape..it's instinctive. Missing is also an instinct, but missing something you never experienced is one of the most intriguing adventures the human mind could embark upon, I'm a very deep believer in the power of the mind, its ability to rationalize, but I'm also fascinated with its limitations, the power of compensation can never make up for the real thing, but still, your mind learns to replace..and move on.

We all miss a stranger at one point, an imaginary friend, a custom made entity, decoded and only visible to us, he speaks only to us, listens only to us, gives us complete attention, always there, on time, any time, and yet..if we see an incarnation of that imaginary person somewhere, we wouldn't know him, for he's a stranger, and no stranger is a friend, strangely enough though, friends can..in turn..be strangers.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Eve..Encore Une Fois

She's still looking into her crystal ball, as I write these lines once again, a heavenly ode is being sung by a choir of angels, with golden wings and little harps, their voices are purer than the water from melting glaciers..tiptoeing gently through a small brook, and their smiles shine like the sun in a mid-summer afternoon, children are flying kites..colorful kites, with glittering tails, running in a field of lilies shadowed by a green hill overlooking eternity.

Her smile isn't a smile of simple happiness, but that of someone who knows they're a source of great joy, comfort and content..she knows she's got that magic, the power to turn an ordinary dull day into one from the pages of novels, with those same golden winged angels in the background..she never leaves their sight.

Eve is that same mystic nomad, sitting in her tent, seeing me..seeing her, as I write these lines, and with every letter I write, Eve's heart draws nearer..by force of Gravity, nature intervenes to bring people together..people use their freedom foolishly sometimes.

The calmness in her eyes, with their narcotic..hypnotic effect makes even the most patient Buddhist monk in Tibet instantaneously withdrawn with enlightenment, the most sincere dervish drunk with ecstasy. Nirvana lies in her eyes. I'm still writing, and she's still watching, and in the time and space between us, with those golden winged angels, those children flying their kites, with the never ending sunshine..I remain.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

أحزان صحراوية

أحزان صحراوية


مِن زمــــــــانْ

مِن تجاويفِ كهوفِ الأزليّة

كانَ ينسابُ على مدِّ الصحارى العربيّة

ليَّـِناً كالحُــلمِ سِحريّاً شَجِيّا

كليــالي شهرزادْ
يتخطى قِمَمَ الكُثبانِ.. يجتازُ الوِهادْ
مِن زمـــانْ
شَرِبَتْ حسرةَ ذاكَ الصوتْ
حبّاتُ الرمـــــالْ
مَزَجَتـْـــهُ في حناياها
أعادَتهُ إليّــــا
ليِّناً كالحُلمِ سِحريّاً شَجيّــا

فكأَني.. قد تنفّسْتُ شُجونَهْ
وكأنُّ الصوتَ في طيّـــاتِ صَدري
رَجّـــَـعَ اليومَ حَنيـــــنَهْ

فَأَراهْ
بَدَويّاً.. خَطَّتِ الصِحراءُ لا جدوى خُطــــاهْ
مُوحِشاً.. يرقُبُ آثارَ الطُلـــول

مِن زمــــــــانْ

غيرَ أنـّي.. كُلّما استيقظَ في قلبي اشتياقْ
لمزيدٍ من تدانـي والتصاقْ

كُلّما ضَجَّ نِداءُ البَـوحِ
في أرجـــــاءِ ذاتي
كُلـّما بُوغِــتُّ أنـّي
أتناهى بانسرابِ اللحظات

كُلما أحسَستُ أنـّي
بعضُ دِفءِ الآخرين

خِلْتُني عُدْتُ أراه
بَدَويّاً.. خَطــّتِ الصحراءُ لا جدوى خُطاهْ

سارَ في عَينَيهِ وَهْجُ الشَمس
والرَمْلُ وعودٌ بِرِمــــــــالْ

ومدى الصحراءِ صَمتٌ
وعذاباتُ ارتحـــال

فَتَغنّـى.. وسَرى الصوتُ على مَدِّ الصحارى العربيةْ
مُوُدِعَاً في الرَمْلِ.. غَصّاتِ أغانيــــهِ الشَجيـّــةْ


1967

تيسير السبول

1973-1939

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

On Faith..Again

I've been contemplating the issue of Faith, in its abstract form for a while, I've actually already written a post on it a while back, but I haven't quite made what runs through my mind on that issue quite clear.

This is a time of extreme fragmentation of faith, denominations, sects..sub-sects, branches of sub-sects. and I'm talking across the board here, Sunnis..Shiites, and the sub-divisions among each, Catholic..Orthodox..Protestant..and the rest of denominations in Christianity, Hasidic Orthodox, Haredic Orthodox, Reformist..and the rest of those in Judaism, I'm aware of the existance of more examples, but I'm focusing this brain storm on the three great monotheistic religions, those which I'm affected by and affiliated with, by birth, history, geography and practically all aspects of life, one way or another.

We all share at least one thing in all of the above, the existence of a God, whom we all agree is The Creator of Heaven and Earth, Deliverer of Ultimate Justice, The Bestower of Mercy. Amazingly, His are blessings that are delivered to all humanity, it is us who manipulate and monopolize God's mercy, His blessings, His justice, we claim them to be ours, for us alone, and all those who seek Him in a different way are doomed, God wouldn't listen, He wouldn't answer, He's ours..and for you to be answered, you have to be one of us; by blood, or to a lesser degree of seperation, by choice, or..by force.

This of course is a very simplified version of a very versatile age old philosophical and theological debate, where blood drew more blood, and still does, but when you think of it, it actually goes down to that simplified premise; us being God's people..whether this is by divine decree..or so we think. Humans are selfish by nature, and there is no greater urge for selfishness than the urge of being The Righteous, the one whose side God will eventually defend and deliver to the promised land..in both this and the life hereafter. With this eventuality, we reach the point of a kind of collective selfishness, one that is unparalleled, a kind that reaches the point of chauvinistic predetermination of people's fates, condemnation of their lives, and afterlives.

I've been reading Ibn Khaldun's works on and off, and he argues..notice that I said argues, as arguments are the daughters of minds..and minds never perish..so anyway, he argues that when a society becomes a great civilization (and, presumably, the dominant culture in its region), its high point is followed by a period of decay. This means that the next cohesive group that conquers the diminished civilization is, by comparison, a group of barbarians. Once the barbarians solidify their control over the conquered society, they become attracted to its more refined aspects, such as literacy and arts, and either assimilate into or appropriate such cultural practices. Then, eventually, the former barbarians will be conquered by a new set of barbarians, who will repeat the process.

Almost 700 years after this analysis was made, it remains one of the most to the point diagnoses of human nature, the "other" is barbarian, in all aspects of life..social, religious..etc, an alien to civilization, enlightenment and righteousness, or what we perceive them to be.

I'm mixing oranges with apples here as I'm combining the social..non religious conduct of Man with that which is related to Faith. I know that Faith, or more to the point..Religion is a set of teachings which are supposed to result in the betterment of life, and eventually a reward of eternal bliss, this however differs with the difference in the teachings of each faith, but when you think of it in the social, anthropological sense, the thought of being civilized..groomed, as opposed to "barbarian", mirrors, or echoes..depending on your prefered medium of imagination, the idea of us..the righteous..against them; the infidels, the lost..the goyim.

We are selfish, in our manipulation of God, and despite our selfishness..among ourselves, He still saves a man from a Tsunami, a woman from an earthquake, and a child from an airplane crash..for the sole reason of Him being the supreme deliverer of Mercy, the same Mercy he bestows upon a new hatched chick when its mother gently feeds it, the same Mercy He inspires a mother elephant to move slowly so as she wouldn't crush her new born baby, that very same Mercy we are not capable of giving a fraction of to each other.

In these days of pitch black intellectual defiance and denial..among people..and between them, when we retreat to the point of having our backs against the wall..we can only look up, and seek His Infinite Mercy..the same Mercy he bestows upon ants, koala bears and whales.

Have a Good Night.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

On The Stranger Within

In each single one of us, lies a stranger, someone we don't recognize, we do not know, he steps in occasionally, says hello, sits and has coffee with us, we talk, but then we never introduce ourselves to each other. He makes decisions on our behalf sometimes, most of the times those are the one's we regret..simply because it wasn't us who made them, it was that stranger within, that which we don't know, and yet, we permit him to become us for a brief moment of time. Some people are very accommodating..they let him take over longer than he should, and as a result their lives are never normal again, or take longer to repair.

This stranger has all the time in the world, he has all the means, all the will, he knows you very well, he knows when you're vulnerable, when you're weak, he lends a shoulder, gives a hug, but in doing so..he doesn't save your life, he might even be doing the opposite.

That stranger steps aside..disappears, whenever you sit and ponder..on how you could have done something, or not have done it..regret is the awakening of you, the realization of that foreign being within you, who took control and made decisions.

Some people lose their reality, and become that stranger, hence the saying: "you've changed" which by the way is a nice song, I like the version by Eva Cassidy, check it out if you can.

I have my stranger too, and I'd like to think that I still haven't reached the point of him taking over me completely, he takes over me sometimes, and makes decisions, ones I regret, but thankfully they're not irrepairable. Strangers know when to stop, and what their limits are, and the more space you give them, they'd double it and move forward.

We all have strangers within, keep yours on a leash, because you can never lose them, or should I say they would never lose you.

One last note; strangers of the same kind also exist around you, the good thing about those is that you have the choice to lose them, even if they have all the intent not to lose you.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Happy 61st Birthday

Today, I'm Thankful, to God for His blessings, and His guidance. Today, I'm thankful for King Abdullah I, for giving my grandparents refuge back in 1948, for giving my father, my uncles and aunts the chance to study..with honour, work..with honour, and make a decent living..with honour.

Today I'm Thankful for King Talal, for the constitution that made me first among equals, regardless of background, or faith. The rule to which we all seek refuge whenever we face malice.

Today, I'm Thankful for King Hussein, for making me proud to be Jordanian, for giving me the peace of mind in knowing that whatever happens, I will always have a home and a people to go back to, I'm Thankful for giving my grandparents the opportunity to have a peaceful long and happy life, for giving them the dignity in their life, and their death.

Today I'm thankful, for King Abdullah II, for giving me the hope of a better tomorrow, for the peace of mind, the ability to walk without the fear of an air strike, a sniper's bullet, or a car bomb. Today I'm thankful for the people of Jordan..my own; the tough, the kind, the noble, the generous, the shrewed and the brave.

Today, I'm thankful for being Jordanian. Today, I'm thankful for my parents..and theirs, and today, I recite a prayer for all those among us who have passed, and for those who are passing around us. May God's Mercy be upon them..and us all.

Monday, 21 May 2007

On Time

I've noticed a couple of new grey hairs in my head, and I have to be a bit cocky and claim that they look cool..along with their predecessors! this of course is happening as spring is blooming around, interesting contrast..the rules of sunrise and sunset, time..makes its own decisions, but the idea of a certain slot of time assigned for each one of us to do whatever we like, or can..is quite intriguing. There's something weird about the thought of our "quick" appearance on this planet's proverbial film roll, some make a short appearance, some make a long one, some are in the background..in the corner of the screen, some are outside the shot, and yet have all the players in their hands as they move them like puppets.

Some people pass through our lives, and make a huge effect, parents..friends, an effect that might stay with us till the day we leave, others make an effect..one that is lost with the first wave that washes them..and their effect, and some just pass by our own time slot..as do we.

There's a tree outside my window, and so far, I've seen it lose its leaves, bloom with beautiful pink buds, get a green coat, then lose it..and now the pink buds are about to make way to the new green coat..as I watched from the same window..watching nature is an interesting way to contemplate over the thought of existence..a circle of life.

One's selfishness dissolves in minutes..when you realize that you're better off leaving something behind..for people to remember you by..a selfish thought in its core, yet in achieving it you achieve a selfless act, people would remember someone who affected their lives..affecting people's lives needs an act of giving..intellectual, or physical, an eternal fingerprint of a sort.

Time never pauses..and as we move ahead with it..we get closer to certain predestined dates..our first steps, our first day in school, our first..everything, and our last. There's a certain mystery about coming of age..an acquired sense of wisdom, a reservoir of memories..experiences, that is never filled, it is all summed up in the saying..you live, you learn!

Keep your eyes..and minds open.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

On The Delicacy of Emotions

At times, one feels transparent, like water..a see through entity, when the lightest breeze of air could penetrate your being..your bones, and reach the deepest most remote corner of your heart. when your voice becomes an echo of a distant forefather, or a distant great grandson, your eyes a capturer of memories..those of your own..and those of those walking around.

It rained today in London, and the rain washed the green landscapes, as it washed me..I deliberately walk in the rain sometimes..without an umbrella, it gives a feeling of renewal..a baptism of the soul, the water is not that of The River Jordan though, but none the less, it is one fresh from the wells of heaven, where angels and saints roam, and where eternal sunshine lies.

I saw on the news last night something about a cat adopting some chicks, they jumped on her head, poked her belly, as she laid there. Examples of Compassion never seize to amaze me, the hunter and the hunted, removing all rules of nature, renewing hope..despite everything..and proving that there is no Impossible.

I walked in the rain today, and as people hid from the divine shower..under umbrellas..coats, I embraced it..rain is a blessing, that's what they say..so why hide from a blessing?! there was a little girl holding a little umbrella..she had cute pigtails, and as she walked home from school, she skipped with happiness, children know when a blessing is being given. I kept walking, as darkness drew closer, the sky had this dark blue/purple color..The color of longing.

Monday, 30 April 2007

On Emotional Maturity

As I read my favorite blogs, I've noticed the recurrence of a certain theme, relationships, mental attraction, and intellectual intimacy, very interesting subjects indeed.

I've once wrote that to me..intellectual seduction is one I admire, it shows beyond the obvious, there's nothing more "perfect" than being taken on a trip to the stars by someone, physical beauty is the first impression, but first impressions can change..with time, to the better..or worse..once the intellect kicks in.

No two people are alike, but people who can't read their own emotional chart are more proned to mis-reading other people, mixed signals are signs of emotional ineptitude, in its innocent form, and emotional manipulation, self gratification through control of someone's feelings..in its most sinister form, some might think that they're "having fun", people are entitled to have fun as much as they like..but there comes a time when commitment is a sign of responsibility, moral..and emotional, and hopefully by the time this happens..people would've reached "Emotional Maturity", not just the age seen by society to be right for commitment, otherwise, all the past childish "fun" would result in a very rude awakening to one's personality, causing lifelong problems, and sadly..more often than ever..very short lived happy marriages, or marriages..period.

When you know that you're capable of adding something to someone's life, when your life reaches the point of wanting to give rather than take, emotionally..intellectually, you probably are on the doorstep of emotional maturity, what I'm talking about here is the intangible aspect of commitment, the one only you..and that certain other would experience, intellectual intimacy. Minds interact away from the rules of nature..and society, they can literally be together while being physically a thousand miles apart..although it would very much help to be in the same room, as vision, sound and scent increase familiarity, it doesn't matter if that same room was shared with a thousand other people..minds tune to a certain wavelength..a shared station..the remaining stations of all humanity are turned off.

I like observing people..despite the famous related proverb, you tend to learn from people..if you're not selfish to the point of not looking beyond your own nose, another sign of emotional maturity.

Random Thoughts.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Epilogue

He couldn't close his eyes to dream, he didn't need to..his whole life was a dream, he spent his waking hours watching the distant paradise as it slept like a baby in her cradle, the space between them vanished as the night grew older, he could see the lights of Andalusia, the lights which showed him the way through the darkness of estrangement, of body..and mind.

As dawn washed the hills with thin shades of divine light, he boarded the first boat to take him across this barrier, this carrier of longing for his land, where he belongs; every cell in his body identified with an identical grain of sand on the beaches of Almeria, every blink his eyes made identified with the flip of a bird's wings in the gardens of Granada, every beat his heart made sounded in the valleys and plains of Seville, this was a reunion witnessed by all creation..silently.

He reached the promised land, his promised land..where rivers of milk and honey flowed..he swiftly jumped off the boat and ran like a child into his awaiting mother's arms..his mother was called Andalusia, and she was waiting for him behind that rocky veil..Gibraltar, as it sheltered his tired body. He was looking around..reassuring himself through his drunken sobriety..he couldn't make sense of this feeling..it was as if all his past had been erased..he was born right there..as he stepped on the shore, he was a newborn child..coming home for the first time, everything he had said and done before his birth..rebirth, was deleted from his system..this was the beginning..beginning is an only child..it has no siblings.

As days went by, he walked in the tired streets of the "late" Cordoba, and saw the signs of old age on the faces of even the young people, the air wasn't the air that once filled his lungs, Cordoba..the idea..was a distant past, funny how your past catches up with you sometimes, how it drives you to a better future, it's even more intriguing how everything from your past changes and you..remain the same, or so you think.

He never found her, he never found his freedom as he never found the promise he had set out to find, but he was content with his fate, for at last, he had become victorious over his own continuous defeats of doubts, and despite the inexplicable state of mind he had reached, he was finally home, home wasn't the one he was hoping to find, freedom tasted different..freedom wasn't there to find him, but the enduring effect that old man had left on him, Metropolitan, Jaffar, and the scar she had left in his heart would keep him going..as he witnessed the new chapters of Cordovan epics being written; Esperanza.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Tangier

Every time he won..he lost soon after, and every time he lost, the colorful Mosaic called his life became more fragile, as it became more detailed. The most beautiful objects in the world are the most fragile, his sadness over Cordoba, over her, over his lost identity..was complimented by the loss of a sudden friendship, sudden in its creation, sudden in its deep effect, and sudden in its loss.

Tangier was now close, and our friend could tell that his awaited liberation was near, he was missing her..he was missing the details of her face, she was Cordoba, and Cordoba was her, his quest for her..for the reconquest of his subsequent defeats was the redemption of all his past sins, he was a deep believer in the sacred geometry of chance, chance was by which he had met her, chance was the driver of his gain, his loss, and the force that got him to set on this journey.

The sea wind was carrying a familiar scent, a scent he grew up smelling, the orange orchards of distant villages laying beside the sea were the first signs of his nearness to home, nearness to her, those orange orchards carried ripe jewels, he could almost see them shining in the distance with their teasing color, he could tell...that from now on..home was within his grasp, she was home, the streets of Cordoba where she walked were the veins in his body, and the streams running through its valleys were his blood.

The ship lowered anchor as the sun was setting in the western sky, and north of here was Andalusia..a fresh breathe of northern air away. He walked the roads of Tangier, the markets were closing for the day and merchants were gathering their goods and heading home, the scent of eastern spices mixed with the smell of Andalusian jasmin, Tangier was the younger sister of Cordoba, they both have the same eyes, the same smile, and the same noble lineage, people spoke almost the same way as they did in Cordoba, speech sounded like music, distinct to the opposite banks of Gibraltar, that rock stood there..proud like a noble Andalusian woman, announcing the nearness of beauty, defending it from prying foreign eyes, it was the veil on Andalusia's face, behind it was the face of Arabia..Iberia, united in sound, united in blood, that defending veil on the face of Andalusia was staring at him from the short distance between them, and as he stood on the beach..his feet were being washed by waves coming from Gibraltar..even the sea knew that this was a son longing for his mother, those waves touched his feet gently..they were the fingertips of Andalusia, and she was embracing him privately..away from all humanity.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

A Storm of Loyalty

Minutes turned to hours, hours to days, and days to weeks, and our friend's mind reached her time after time, his eyes could look deep into hers as he looked into the night, he could smell her distinct rosy scent, fresh..it wakes up one's conscience, her brown hair cascading like a waterfall rushing down the highest mountains. She was the last thing on his mind before he surrendered to sleep each night, her face was the warmth of the sun that woke him up every morning, she was the intoxication in his sobriety, he was drunk in her mirth, the thought of her could make his heart reach his throat.

This trip was his pilgrimage, his past sins would be forgiven when he finds her, his soul would be washed by angels as she smiles at him, when she did..back in the days..he would literally feel that his life was complete, he would not need to eat or drink..the thought of her content was enough to break all rules of physics, he would become an ultra human, one who is powered by the most noble of all human emotions.

He was heading her way, from cities of obscurity, and palaces where the balconies look onto clouds, from longings inhabited by estranged tales of love, with a kind of joy and happiness never before imagined by the layers of sadness wrapped around his neck, he was like a poem not yet written.

One evening, as the seamen finished the day's work, the skipper gathered them and said he was feeling a storm in the air, he predicted it to hit them later at night, they lowered the sail, made sure all the ropes were properly tied, and waited for their enemy to charge, the rumbling of thunder announced the close invasion, lightning was like the distant shining of swords, the crew prepared for war, what war is this? man against nature, they knew it was an unwinnable battle, their strife was to survive, to remain standing, life is a strife against all kinds of elements, and this was one of life's tests, they sailed into their enemy's territory, as it forced into theirs, and with every minute, the wind became stronger, the ship became a kite, as it swayed right and left, the first attack of waves into the ship became stronger as the waves were getting higher, rain made it worse, water was surrounding them, it fell from above, came from beneath their feet, in a united charge of nature's powers.

The crew sought refuge in the ship's belly, on the lower deck, and as they sat there..they felt that the hands of Zeus and Neptune were bound together underneath them, water rose higher as the wind grew stronger, no one could tell what had happened next, except that few had made it out of the storm, the last thing our friend remembers was Jaffar's attempt to steer the ship out of the storm, he was the strongest among the crew, and the only possible match to its might, he had remained on deck throughout the night, by the first light of dawn, it became clear that Zeus and Neptune decided to conspire with their brother Pontus to bring Jaffar among them, Jaffar had managed to save the ship with his own demise.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Sailing

His comprehension of the politics of probability could not grasp the coincidence of fate he has just witnessed, he was on a ship in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, and before him stood a man who found freedom where he had lost it, Cordoba was the uniter..it was the divider, where dreams came true and where they were lost. and now..this man..this prisoner of inhumanity was eulogizing the lost moments of freedom he had found in non other than The Grand Library of Cordoba, where his own life rocketed before plunging back down.

Jaffar turned out to be a man of wisdom, despite his ill fate, he conquered his own estrangement of land, of humanity..he compensated it with knowledge, and what better place to seek freedom..intellectual liberation..than in Cordoba, he learned to read..in Arabic, as he read the masterpieces of minds past, he cherished the few hours of freedom he could have whenever his imprisoned world reached the shores of Andalusia, where beauty of face and place, complimented the beauty of mind, where people were masters..as they were servants of enlightenment.

For the remainder of the trip, Jaffar became the companion, the nights of our friend's days, they became each other's freedom from their respective captivities. Jaffar taught our friend about Africa, the vast plains of Zanzibar, its infinite landscape, where the sun meets the moon, and the sea meets heaven as they both carry the distant mountains like a mother carries her child.

Their sailing in each other's minds as they both sailed west gave them the will to reach their own destinations, Jaffar's freedom was within his reach as our friend revealed his identity as the keeper of the grand library, the knowledge within the books in Cordoba was within our friend's chest, and with every mind trip they took together, they reached the stars above..as they reached the plains of Zanzibar, the gardens of Andalusia and the endless fortunes of Metropolitan, both men became brothers of fate, they bonded in their separation, and their countless separations were diminishing with each passing hour on board this vessel of fate..of faith, the faith in tomorrow, when Jaffar is a free man, and our friend is re-united with his land, his soul and his dream..of finding her, and in doing so..finding himself.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Jaffar

It was a hot day in Metropolitan, his longing for Cordoba matured under the midsummer afternoon sun, as he crossed the busy markets heading to the port, he couldn't bear this heavy feeling lying over his chest..he felt like an unfinished symphony, a bird shot down in flight, confused..disoriented. he has found success in the years past, but he was constantly misrepresented..misunderstood, it felt as if he spoke a different language, no one could understand him, nor could he understand.

He searched among the vessels..asking seaman after another whether any of them was heading to Andalusia, and with every "No" he heard, with every denying nod..he became more determined to reach her, even if he had to walk along the shores..following seagulls, until he reached Gibraltar. His heart skipped a beat when a man finally pointed at a white boat in the distance..it was heading to Tangier, he ran like he never ran before, he looked for the skipper, "Take me with you" he shouted, the skipper looked down from the boat at this man on the pier.."This is not a boat for leisure..I carry spices". our friend hurried up the ladder, and in one leap he was facing the skipper, in another quick move, he took out a bag of golden coins.."Take me as far as you can..and I shall give you two more of these", The skipper smiled; "What makes you think that I wouldn't take all your money and throw you in the middle of the sea?!", our friend grabbed the skipper by his shirt, "I would swim the rest of the distance".

The skipper maintained his calm as he fixed his wrinkled shirt..seamen are patient by nature, he grabbed our friend's hand and lead him to a small room below deck, "you sleep here..you rise at dawn..and you work for your meals".

The man became ecstatic with joy..his lifelong dream of returning home was coming true, he threw his small pouch in the corner and got himself ready to start working..he thought that the sooner he became part of the crew..the sooner he would arrive, he grabbed a mop..ran up to the ship's deck..and went on with cleaning his new found kingdom..he was always a philosopher of fate, he ruled a kingdom of books in Cordoba, then a kingdom of fortune in Metropolitan, and now he was the master of the mop, and his pride was greatest with this third reign, this ship was the carrier of his longings, this kingdom was different..it represented a promise, a realization of fate, bearing his heart, his dreams, his future and his past, it was heading west, where Cordoba is.

He was crossing the ship right and left..staring into the horizon..trying to unfold the distance like one unfolds a rug..wanting to see further than he could, and with every breathe he took, his estrangement became less painful, as his lungs realized that the air filling them was becoming more and more familiar.

On the evenings aboard the ship, he would have supper with the seamen, then take a corner on deck..lay his head and look up to the stars, he remembered the old man, and his lessons about the stars, "There are 88 star constellations, each month, a number of these constellations rise in the night sky", and as it was July, he knew that the 6 stars in the western sky where the stars that made up "Hercules", the bright one in the distance was the Northern star.

Few days have passed into the voyage, and still he couldn't get accustomed with the constrained life on board a small ship, the constant rocking of the ship made him uneasy..he couldn't sleep..as his thoughts took him on trips of time and space, and as the ship slowly sliced the sea, truth became more and more resident in his mind, he has finally done it..he has killed his defeat, conquered his fears..and he was now realizing the meaning of the victory he achieved over himself, he never thought that one day he would get over his expulsion from paradise, he never thought that one day..somehow, a hidden force would torpedo his being into heading in the direction of Cordoba once more, it was like The Forbidden City to him, he could never set foot there again, "the only certainty is that there is no certainty", he thought to himself as he went into a philosophical trance, nothing stays the same, kings can become peasants, peasants can become kings, the sea can turn into a desert, and foes can become friends..time makes its own decisions..and we are but players on the big board of life, we think we're successful, we think we're on top of the world, and then suddenly..we discover that we were sitting on the tip of an iceberg, below us are miles and miles of hidden truths..and the tip was melting under our own feet.

His chain of thought was broken by a fellow seaman..the shadow of a huge man of African descent stood above him, carrying a lantern, he kneeled then sat beside our friend. "I'm Jaffar" he said..our friend smiled and kept staring at the stars, Jaffar sat there, as their silence was only broken by the sound of the waves splashing against the ship, Jaffar took out an orange he had bought in the market by the bay before their departure, he pealed the skin off the orange, and presented half of it to our friend as he laid, feeling disrespectful..he sat up, took his half, thanking Jaffar, and for the next few minutes..they both ate their halves..contemplating their next moves.

"How long have you been a seaman?" our friend asked.."Twelve years and four months..ever since I was sold in Zanzibar, I was a boy". our friend sensed the pain in Jaffar's voice, his vessel for freedom was someone else's prison, his promise of victory was this man's betrayal of defeat. Jaffar started narrating his tragedy; "I was taken away from my family..sold as a slave, I've travelled the world, but in doing so, I was still a prisoner, I saw gold, silver, precious spices..but I was always the man to move it from one master to another, I could never own any of it." Jaffar had the body of a gladiator, but with every word he uttered in the broken Arabic he spoke, his tender heart as innocent as the baby elephants in Africa came undone, and with it, our friend's attention grew, he was taken by this gentle giant's ordeal.

"Have you been to Cordoba?" our friend asked, "Yes..a noble city of noble people" Jaffar exclaimed, "The only place where I felt free was in Cordoba" he went on.."I felt free as my mind felt free..I used to visit The Grand Library of Cordoba..until it was lost in a fire", our friend jumped on his feet like a possessed demon..Jaffar snapped up as well, thinking a rat had bitten our friend..they both stood there..facing each other..each not knowing what to do next..until Jaffar shouted asking if our friend was alright..bringing him back to reality, our friend sat down and held his head..trying to stop his mind from escaping through his fingers.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Esperanza

On the Morning of his rebirth, he walked out the room..where he spent the previous night in contemplation over his existence..his purpose in life, the Sword which he had hung on the wall for years has finally poked his conscious, his soul was uneasy as he realized that the man he was, was nothing more than a pawn on a chess board, he walked to the fountain in his courtyard, and submerged his head..baptizing his soul in ice cold water, he declared a revolution..promising his past, his present and his future to return to his origins..the noble man who roamed the desert, lending a helpful hand to the destitute and the poor.

His exile was now even more foreign, as his inner estrangement was more than his bearing, he gasped for the air of Cordoba..no air is like the air of Cordoba, even his lungs knew that the air filling their corners was foreign, he couldn't let go of the memory, that old man had a very enduring gaze..his eyes were those of a man who had witnessed the beginning of time.

Our friend was full of mysteries yet to be unraveled, his golden past inscribed in poetry was a prologue to his future, this was the beginning, and the best was yet to come, he remembered a free soul he had sought back in Cordoba, she had the beauty of Ancient Queens, the grace of Greek goddesses..and all the pride of Andalusia. If perfection existed, she would've been the one to prove it, she could argue with men over religious rules, then have a philosophical duel with the greatest philosophers, and with one look from those deep brown eyes..she would turn the world around, she had Cordoba at her fingertips, and when she walked under the moonlight, one would think that the moon was actually under her spell, clouds would clear..and the full moon would light her path..as she walked by the Great Mosque of Cordoba, worshipers would be taken away from their prayers..but beauty isn't a distraction, it's a fortification of faith..a sign of the greatness of to whom prayers rise.

She knew the art of Andalusian singing, her velvet voice was heard miles away..people would sit in their gardens and listen as the wind carried the tunes from afar, even foes of Cordoba laid arms as her singing penetrated hearts..united humans for a fraction of time. Madness creates genius, or vice versa, but one thing was for sure, his sanity hanged by a thread as he sat there; an exile..a king, a man who had sold his golden past for a present of silver..and a future of sand, he spoke to no human for 3 days..Silence is like being in labour..Zacharias was ordered to abstain from speech when God promised him a son, The Virgin Mary was ordered to seek asylum in silence as she carried her noble son to her people.

He thought of her, and all the words in the world came to his mind, but none were actually spoken, thoughts travel faster than light, he wondered what had become of her, he packed..walked out of his gated paradise, and headed in the direction of Cordoba..where his soul had remained, in search of her, in search of truth..he never found any truth after he had left..everything was tainted in a shade of darkness, nothing paralleled the scent of cordovan jasmin, or the purity of the flowing streams of Andalusia, he sought his past..he wanted it, he wanted her..to be his future, his fuel was Esperanza..Hope.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

The Sword

Deep in the Arabian Desert, where sand storms wage their conquests over more sand..there lived a man; each day..he rides the wind on his White Arabian horse, and roams the desert in search for nourishment..water, and knowledge. He has grown up with the beasts of the desert..he has become a seasoned man..with the shrewd sunburned hawk eyes he has mastered the talent of character judgement..he could tell if a man was honest, brave, noble..or otherwise from the first few words he utters..his demeanor and his conduct.

One day, as he crossed the plains..he came upon an old man..exhausted and thirsty, and like the noble Arab he was..our friend hurried in the old man's direction..quenched his thirst..and shaded him with his own turban..he then took him to his tent, fed him, and left him to rest..the man slept for 3 days..only waking up to drink some water.

On the fourth day, the old man woke up..and looked around, he didn't recognize his setting, as he looked in the distance, he saw his rescuer outside..building a fire..it was almost dusk, and our friend was getting ready to fix the evening meal, the old man stood up..and walked in the direction of his host.."Thank you", the host looked up at the old man, he smiled and nodded..and gestured to the old man to have a seat beside him, he pointed at some shrubs..requesting the old man to pass them on..and without saying a word..he grilled the meat..turning it every once in a while..as the old man looked on..glancing at the host every few seconds..in an attempt to unlock the mystery within this loner..who saved his life..gave him shelter in the middle of nowhere.."Who is this man?" he thought to himself, he looked at the man's hands..rough, and full of old cuts, his eyes were glowing in the fire light, "Great Night" he said..pointing at the stars above..and trying to get the host to speak.."I've always liked the night..I'm an astrologer, I read the stars".

The host became intrigued with that last statement..he looked at the old man and in a deep husky voice said: "Are you really?" as he tore a piece of meat and presented it to the old man..he asked him to read him his fortune after dinner, the old man nodded as he battled with the meat..the last time he ate was almost a week ago.

Later that night, the two men sat before the fire, exchanging stories of their pasts, but the host kept to himself one detail..how he got there..and why he was living alone in the desert, the old man..in his fortune telling manner, started reading some signs aloud: "You are a man of Honor..you save the weak, you honor the old, and you respect the desert, he who doesn't respect the desert is doomed to be buried within its dunes.."

The host didn't react, he just sat there attentively..trying to decide whether this man was true to his claim of fortune telling or if he was just another con artist.

"You have fled your land..not in fear, but in disappointment" The host's eyes flashed with un-concealable astonishment at what he just heard, "You shall return from your estrangement..to your land..and you shall be King" He then went over to his pouch, and took out a sword, an ancient golden sword revealed itself, the sword was decorated with ancient Arabic poetry, about honor..battles and victory, as the man read the inscription, it seemed as if the ancient poet was resurrected and was talking to him..and no one else, the old man had his wish..he now has the host hooked with wonder as he slowly untangled his mysterious identity.."I come from Andalusia, Cordoba..the jewel of the west, I was once the keeper of the Great library in Cordoba, until that ominous night..when the flames ate the one thousand year old sanctuary of knowledge, ancient transcripts were lost, I was punished..imprisoned, and exiled out of Paradise for my sin". The host confessed.

The old man scratched his beard as he listened on to his host..he now knew that this was no ordinary coincidence, he himself was heading to Cordoba when his ways led him to the lost paths of the desert..he was heading to seek knowledge..enlightenment, and when he was lost..he was found by the keeper of the Great Library of Cordoba, "What strange fate?" he thought to himself, but he now knows that his destination was no more. The two men made a pact, the old man asked the host to promise him that once he became king, he would make him the Grand keeper of the library in his land, in return, the old man would teach him the signs of the sky, the mystery of the stars and the hidden secrets of asteroids, the host presented his hand in a sign of agreement, and the two shook hands and spent the rest of the night conversing about their past journeys.

During the following few weeks, the old man's side of the deal was being kept, he taught our friend the names of the stars, ancient myths about the cosmos, and the art of finding direction through star reading, he told him he needed to befriend the stars..and when they're confident of his loyal friendship, they themselves will reveal more secrets, these are not taught..they're gained.

The host informed the old man of the books he used to keep, he told him of a book that discussed philosophy; "The mind is the road to salvation, people are blind not by their loss of sight, but their loss of insight", books that discussed the beauty of heaven, "Cordoba was heaven on earth..you could smell the blooming jasmine as its branches dangled from the walls of people's homes, as musicians recited songs of love and longing in the distance, where the sons of foreign kings came to seek knowledge..they learned Arabic, and spoke in the distinct cordovan dialect..they saw it as a privilege."

A few days later, the old man asked the host's permission to head on his way..thanking him for his generosity, hospitality and his nobility, reminding him of his promise..the host hugged the old man, confirmed his promise, and saw the old man off on the outskirts of the desert before returning to his world among the sands..he examined the sword the old man had given him..reciting the ancient poetry on it..before concealing it within his prized belongings..a book, an old piece of cloth belonging to his father, and now..the sword.

Years passed, and our friend has now found a new home in a new metropolitan on the edge of Arabia, a growing land..where the now exiles of the lost Andalusian cities have found home, the jasmin, the fountains and the libraries are now stories of the past, tales for books, they've been lost..forever. When man becomes arrogant, he loses his pride.

Our friend progressed in his life, reaching new heights as days passed, he now owned a grand palace on the highest hill overlooking metropolitan, his palace was reminiscent of Andalusia, the scent of jasmine saturated the air, as the sound of flowing water from the several fountains presented a relaxing effect, servants crossed the corners of the palace..you could almost hear Korsakov's "Shehrazade" playing in the background, as the man sat and pondered at his fortunes, he remembered the old man.."That man was right..I must find him, and keep the promise I made". he summoned his advisers and told them to seek an old man..a fortune teller, he gave them a description of the old man..and ordered them to find him.

A week had passed before word came that the old man he sought had passed away a few years before, as he crossed the desert, a group of thugs had attacked him..he was defenceless, and he was killed, The man wept as he heard the news, "The old man gave me his sword, his prized sword, and I left him to his fate, I wish I hadn't accepted that sword, I wish I never met that old man", he walked into his room and closed the door behind, the sword was hanging on the wall, he removed it and read the inscription once again:


كفى بك داءً أن ترى الموت شافيا وحسب المنايا أن يكنّ أمانيا
تمنيتََََََها لمّا تمنيتَ أن ترى صديقاً فأعيا أو عدوّاً مُدجيا

A man's sword..is his mind, his fortune teller, his golden future inscribed in poetry, his use of the sword is optional, defending himself is one option, and as one defends himself with this particular sword, its magical powers are revealed, it fights with you..for you. There comes a time when you have to pass the sword on , it is the responsibility of the next owner to decide what they do with it..some choose to use it, some choose to hang it on the wall..but swords are not made to be hung on walls, neither are minds.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

On The Wisdom of Silence

There's a certain charm in Silence, maybe stemmed from the idea of self restraint..Patience, replacing self expression from the outwards..to the inwards..Silence is an act of inner self expression, a dialogue within..the most honest dialogue is the one within, it might be as peaceful as a mass prayer in unison, or as brutal as a war..no war is more brutal than the war that rages within one's chest.

I'm captivated by Silence, it radiates with Mystery..it penetrates walls, sometimes silence can be louder than all the physical noises around us..we co-habitate with those as they become part of the background of our life paintings, but Silence..has its allurement, a certain promise of betterment.

Silence begets Wisdom, as it engages the mind in a series of observations..turning into a series of contemplations, it's an embedded cleansing system, Silence washes the soul; reaching the point of soul cleansing is a long journey, unearthly..as you engage ultra-human powers in the process of unintentional meditation, deep breathes are often expressions of deep thought, they result in an instantaneous physical comfort, they're also signs of soul cleansing..deep long breathes only take place when one is silent, you've just had one..you were silent.

I get into these philosophical moods, and every once in a while, I walk into my "lighthouse", and look out..and almost always, what I see is a flash of an idea, un-photographable, un-recordable, but describable in an unearthly manner, it's soft..hence comforting, light..hence comforting, and silent..hence comforting.

Silence gives a feeling of Eternity..an Immortality of Thoughts.