Thursday, 11 December 2008

On Days Past

Bil Zamanat, I used to enjoy walking around Jabal El Weibdeh, which to those not familiar with Amman, is one of the oldest neighbourhoods of the city. I had a very good reason to do so besides the beautiful old houses and narrow winding roads, as a certain blonde was living there, so every summer evening of that July was spent walking around Weibdeh with that tall girl, talking about anything; it didn't really matter what was said as being there and then was the point.

This sudden recollection came as I prepare for another pilgrimage to Amman, the place I miss more when I'm in than when I'm away from; much like the line of ancient Arabic poetry with the same sentiment:

يمـوتُ الهــوى منــّي إذا ما لقـيتُها

ويحيا إذا فارقتـُـها فيعــودُ

But I'm not going to dwell on this as this post is supposed to be as "sunny" as the mid-summer days in Weibdeh, the whole neighbourhood felt like home, even if home was a few miles away, every window in every house felt familiar as if I had actually lived there and looked through it every morning, or roamed around it in my slumber as I walked around it in my sobriety, there was a distinct scent of jasmine, and that scent still runs through me like the blood through my veins, I never smelled anything as beautiful, it was probably the scent of Love, as every emotion has a scent, the same overwhelming love I felt, and now am nostalgic to. Love ages like wine, or cheese if you prefer, it acquires more taste, more interpretations, as one grows older, but one thing remains the same; the memory of days past.

p.s: I saved the world today.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


First Came This
Then Came This

First Came This

Then Came This

First Came This

Then Came This

First Came This

Then Came This

First Came This

And Soon Comes This

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Audacity of Hope: A Reflection

There's a certain Audacity in Hope, which by the way is a great title of a book by a certain senator named Barack Obama, who just won a certain presidential election. It's the instinctive unwavering adamance in the rectitude of one's discourse in life, through trial and error; conquering one's own prejudice and bigotry before rising above others' antipathy and discouragement. This hope burns within us all, and sometimes it reaches the point of near extinguishment as it fades into subconscious hibernation, only to be woken up again as if it had never faded.

These are the moments of human conquest; they flood us all as we share a moment of overwhelming joy, a joy willed but not expected; not because it's not worthy of fulfilment but because human nature sometimes tends to believe..but doubt, so as if one or the other decides to prove us wrong as it proves us right, we're not shaken into a cocoon of apprehension and malice, as only those who believe that it's either their way..or no way, only those who are intoxicated with the illusion of their own righteousness and the corruption of their opposition, only those..are left behind as humanity moves ahead.

There's a mysterious allurement in Hope, a promise of collective return, oblivious to the rules of time and place, it crosses all boundaries, physical and intellectual, as it penetrates the hardest of walls reaching the heaviest of hearts, uniting people as it offers redemption from grudge and grievance, promising consolidation and acknowledgement. An acknowledgement of difference as a factor of diversity not one of division, it expects acceptance with dignity as it reciprocates both, uniting humans all over the world for a moment in time undeterred by their divided reality, and holding them together with that transparent thread that holds us all: Hope; in Peace, Love and Freedom. And a better, brighter Tomorrow for all humans; in Palestine, in Iraq, in Lebanon, and in all the cities and villages of this planet.

Yes We Can.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Obamaization of History

This is the point of view of a non American observer of American politics, and there sure is a lot to see these days, but what makes this election special; both for Americans and non Americans is the possibilities it promises, those remain promises and are not in any way certainties.

But with a man with so many complications; his father was a Muslim Kenyan , his mother was a white Christian American, he has a Muslim middle name but he himself is a Christian, he was accused of having attending a Madrasa or a Muslim religious school when he lived with his mother and step-father in Indonesia, despite the fact that the term Madrasa in the religious aspect of the word has a mental reference to the extremist schools in Afghanistan, and not the mainstream modern Islamic societies, and as a result, his patriotism was, and is questioned like no one's patriotism was ever questioned before, and still, he's the strongest contender to the presidency.

Obama isn't just another candidate, it certainly doesn't seem to be the case from this side of the world, and his election -if it happens- would void the Anti-American sentiment from its premise, as the mere election of a black man, with a Muslim middle name, is a clear proof of the virtue of American democracy, it see's beyond colour, name and creed -or so it would seem- despite the fact that history will always remember the fierce attacks made against him during the presidential campaign.

If he loses, on the other hand, and no matter how fair and accurate that loss is, the world will have more cause for an excuse -no matter how unfair and biased that might be- to the vice of American democracy as it didn't tolerate the election of an unconventional presidential candidate, and again the negative campaign against him would add oil on the already burning fire of doubt, and with it the rift of misrepresentation and misunderstanding would widen, with Obama becoming an embodiment of the idea of the clash of civilizations as it returns to the center stage, with all the demagogues around the world having a victory parade.

I hope Obama wins, for the sake of Ambition, and all that it stands for, The Ambition of people all around the world, and certainly my own, although I have nothing to do with US politics, but the election of Obama would have a domino effect, or a butterfly effect for the sake of a softer portrayal, I hope he wins, not because I think he's the awaited Messiah as the cynics on the opposite side of the fence describe his campaign, or because I think he'll achieve what the previous 20 presidents failed, or overlooked, but because he represents Ambition, the triumph of hard work, and the overcoming of all the odds.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

On The Convenience in Ignorance

They say that the illusion of knowledge is far more dangerous than ignorance itself.

See here's the thing: An Arab isn't necessarily a Muslim. Furthermore; a Muslim isn't necessarily an Arab, but yet again one could be both..or either, or in this case, Neither!

Here's another thing: One could be an Arab and a Muslim, or either..and be a Decent Family Man. Moreover, one could also be both, either or neither, and not be a decent family man.

Try to figure that out with your paranoid little brains!

Monday, 22 September 2008

On The Selfishness in Giving

They say that the gates of Hell are locked in Ramadan, and that Angels roam the skies and earth delivering God's mercy and His blessings. What brings my sanity that already hangs by a thread to the brink is how some among us use this "season" to promote their "Good doing" when they're shown eating with the poor or delivering groceries to a poor family with flashing cameras and fake smiles of compassion all around.

Ya 3ammi good doesn't need promotion, nor is it a fan of publicity, and if we were to put our selfishness aside for a while -the selfishness of giving on Live Television and the colored pages of newspapers- and think about the dignity of those people who's poverty is hidden with their solid pride and unwavering dignity, we'd be closer to God, Who's mercy is delivered without promotion, and salvation is bestowed without publicity.

Ramadan Kareem.

Monday, 18 August 2008

On the Olympics, Success, and National Pride

Ya Akhi why do we participate in the greatest sporting competition if we're not really planning to win anything? I can understand the degree of professionalism athletes have worldwide, but that's really the point, being a professional athlete is the road to winning in any competition, certainly the Olympic games, and it's not like you find out 20 minutes before it starts, you've got 4 freaken years to prepare! See the Olympic games are politics wearing shorts, raising national flags and playing national anthems, it's a show of force, albeit soft.

Maybe it's not fair to blame the athletes themselves, as they're just the executors, but failure is a domino effect, so is success, we're just used to failure, as we give it a fatalistic attribute, rather than the product of our mentality. Zimbabwe, one of the poorest most failed states in the world has already won 4 medals.

One last note, notice how the leading countries in the Madel count are all "nation states", national pride is the driving force for success, in politics, sports and everything in between, and it's not an achievement to waltz down the track with the flag at the opening ceremony if that's the only thing you do, once every 4 years.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


Remember Eve? She still comes to mind, less often than before, but as certain memories are triggered with scent, sound or season, Eve's memory is triggered by all Three, and today all three got together and flooded me like a sudden Tsunami, and swept me off to a distant time and place, funny how time catches up with you sometimes, even if you try to evade its border patrol! So today I was an illegal alien in the land of Eve, I wondered around and visited the Forbidden City, strolled in the narrow streets of Time, and watched people walk by, as time and place froze for a fraction of a second.

Eve is somewhere else though, and her scent is complimenting the season that sounds with birdsong wherever she goes, and where lilies bloom as she walks by. I'm still spellbound by her charm/curse, even after I've taken the antidote and thought I was healed, but some illnesses are persistent, they invade you and refuse to withdraw their forces even if you declare resistance; both armed and passive, whichever you decide to wage first.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

An Overdue Stroll With My Grandfather

I've never really noticed these dates, as they passed year after year, but today a thought went through me like it never did before, as I watched a program about the 60th anniversary of the Nakba, I suddenly remembered both my paternal grandparents, who passed away in the early 1990s, I've never really been interested in knowing their stories, how they lived before 1948, weird enough though, I knew their story after '48, and how my grandfather, walked with his small family away from Haifa on one summer day in 1948, and never went back. I know that my father was born on the beach and had his first bath in the Mediterranean, and I know that he carried his infant brother as they left their home.

I've never really sat and thought about the man who was my grandfather, but now it's only appropriate to remember the man, who despite all the troubles he lived, maintained a mysterious kind of patience, he never complained. I was in my teens when he passed away, and I wasn't really interested in asking him the questions I wanted to be answered now, How was it..having an ancestral homeland? what was it like to lose the house you were born in?

I remember my grandmother, that green-eyed woman, who despite her reaching her mid 80s, looked like a little girl, with her innocent smile, she used to comb her hair into two pigtails, and although the long dark nights made it grey, she remained the beautiful girl who lived on Mount Carmel, over looking the wide open sea, despite the time and space between them.

One of the most enduring things I remember about my grandfather was his gaze; he had that amazing gaze, one of determination..I was always amazed how this old man managed to walk for hours every day, even days before he passed away, he liked his strolls, and I was stupid enough to never walk with him even once, but he always brought me sandwiches on his way back, falafel tasted different when my grandfather brought it, it might have been blessed by God through the fingertips of that dark old man, with a white beard, and a white head-dress, I always wondered why he was dark, but later I knew that he loved to be in the sun, he was a man of open space, never liked the indoors.

I never got to say goodbye to my grandfather..I wish I did, and today, as I haphazardly mark an occasion of displacement, I remember the beautiful green eyes of Thuraya, that little girl who happened to be old enough to be my grandmother, and her Rock; Mahmoud, the kind old man, to whom both I recite a prayer, and ask for their forgiveness.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

On Solitude

Sometimes, we like to be alone, even if we're the bubbliest most sociable people in the world, solitude becomes a necessity at times, it's a self cleansing system of sorts, one's mind recharges with deep thought, and deep thought is only reached in solitude, it's quite amazing how a mental action is best executed with a physical action.

You reach great decisions in solitude, if you think a little bit about your own greatest decisions you'll be surprised to find that those most probably were taken after a day or night of solitude. Your senses are fine tuned to your own thoughts when you give all your attention to you, even if the decision is to seize your solitude; proposing to someone or accepting a proposal.

You're at your most transparent state when in solitude, so any mental attempt to play a game of strategy is void of its purpose, all the roles you play around people are removed from their element like you remove a coat when you reach home; the intellect, the considerate..etc, all the social "masks" are taken off, and you're left with the real you, the one only you know, with all your flaws, all your vices, the ones you always make sure to hide when not alone.

Its funny how when you're in love, you tend to want to be alone, away from people, and with one thought, about one person. Solitude becomes your destination, you intentionally go through that mental trip, and when you reach that certain "Nirvana", you willfully decide that your solitude is a pilgrimage for your love, a proof of your devotion, it's not a coincidence that we have only one heart and one mind! Longing too is an act of solitude, when you miss, your surroundings seize, you can't feel the people around, your soul is somewhere else, with someone else.

lovers don't finally meet somewhere, they're in each other all along.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

On Egypt

I've been reading some of the posts made about the events in Egypt in the past few days, and I have to admit that I'm impressed, people have had enough of whatever they've been fed -or not fed- for the past two decades, the corruption is reaching epic proportions, and it's very clear that people's life is getting harder by the minute. Now I don't mean for this to be a stereotype, but Egyptians are known for their patience, and for them to lose their ancient patience and declare mini-revolutions is a sign of change, a kind of change "suave" dictatorships is not used to.

Many times I find myself envious of Egyptians for their love of their land, their music, the lyrics all drip of an amazing kind of simple love, I sometimes want those songs to be for Jordan, instead of the noisy nonsense we're forced to call patriotic songs. Patriotism is Love, the deeper your love, the easier you express it, and the genius of the Egyptians makes their expression of love the simplest, most sincere of all expressions, Egypt is the woman who gets younger and more beautiful with every sunrise over the Nile.

One important lesson to us all, the suave among us and the not so suave; never take the patience of people for granted, and never underestimate the power of hunger. Moreover; change is in the air.

Friday, 21 March 2008

On Culture, Stereotypes and Misconceptions.

I've always been fascinated by culture and how it affects people's perceptions of others, the way one perceives their own identity has a great effect on the way they see others, there's a subconscious hierarchy that grows slowly in the collective mindset of people around the world in terms of where they see their culture in the pyramid of world cultures, and almost always people tend to put themselves on top of the pyramid, based on what is perceived to be theirs or their ancestors' greatest achievement whether it's religious, or technological, or any other criteria, and that makes it superior to other cultures, even if this superiority is based on a benign factor, or so we convince ourselves.

I'm drawing a line between the terms culture and tradition, as although they're intertwined to a great deal, tradition usually has more of an ethnic character, whereas culture is usually more of a progressive refinement of people through historical events, conquests, the spread of faiths, commerce. All aspects of human interaction contribute to the creation of culture, and before settling..the storm of culture-building acquires and sheds many aspects of the life of people as it takes the shape of Identity; language, Faith and even tolerance or ethnocentricity.

I'm a great fan of the late Edward Said, and his books on the thought of culture and its effect on people are a great read, one notion in his book "Covering Islam" explains that the way western journalists, who tend not to know the languages, or much about the culture of the places they report from, rely on slanted academic studies for their understanding of the Islamic world, and allow it to color almost everything they write. As a result, reporting from Islamic countries is not only shallow, but often filled with insults and ethnic slurs, Islam is represented by news gatherers, experts, and policy makers. with emphasis on violence, anti-American rhetoric, and resistance to modernization, which really belie the fact that there is not a single monolithic Islam but many Islams and that what news organizations perpetuate is an undifferentiated form of cultural stereotyping - as if it were sufficient to say about the Dutch that they all wear wooden shoes!

Now, I'm again drawing parallels between culture and tradition, Islam in Malaysia is the Islam in Senegal, in the cultural identity meaning of the term, but you will definitely find different traditional practices surrounding religious practice that are completely alien to the core of the faith itself, which only proves the diversity of the believers, the compatibility of the faith with traditions, no matter how diverse, but doesn't necessarily mean the condoning of traditional practices within the faith, one reoccurring example is the practice of female circumcision in Africa, which is not condoned by Islam, and practiced by Muslim and non Muslim populations of sub-Saharan Africa.

Another impressive academic is Azmi Bishara, who in his explanation of the notion of clash of civilizations argues that The issue at hand is not one of dialogue or conflict between Christianity and Islam, since neither religion is uniform and there are many versions of both. Christians in Jordan or Syria are different from those in Poland or Latin America, and both are different from American Protestants. Islam also changes from rural to urban areas, across social classes and over time. which according to these facts voids the inevitability of a clash of civilizations as predicted and even advocated by its main theorists Samuel Huntington and Bernard Lewis, and robs them from their prophecies of an Armageddon, where God stands with the Good against the Evil, which brings to mind the famous statement: "you're either with us, or with the terrorists" in turn based on the teachings of the neo-conservative think tanks, a clear cut black and white world, void from shades and colors. What is most worrying though is that a third color is taking prominence; Red.

One last thought: Both Said and Bishara are Christian Arabs, speaking about Islam in the first person's narrative, which only proves the virtue of the notion of cultural identity, against the notion of religious and ethnic separation advocated by antagonists both in the East and in the West.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

My -very subtle- Jordan..

Today, according to the blogo-calendar, is the Blog about Jordan day, and besides the haphazard celebration on a haphazard date, the thoughts in this post are anything but haphazard, they've been brewing in my mind for a while, and today is certainly an occasion to express them.

I know that we're not perfect, no society is, no nation is completely immune from social injustices or economic hardships, so I won't sing praise in the fashion of festive speech making and the art of celebration. Today I give credit to those who wake up every morning and go make a living, the farmers and the teachers, the simple people who make an honest little as they make, a little girl who wakes up with the sun and combs her hair into pigtails before walking to school, and in the evening, she finishes her homework, recites a short prayer she learned as she surrenders to sleep to dream of becoming a doctor or a lawyer, and live in the distant utopia called Amman.

The Jordan I'm proud of transcends the big buildings with glass facades and the Wi-Fi enabled cafés of West Amman, it's the Jordan of people who are patient, content with what they have, the ones who insist on giving their children the good education they deserve, even if that meant taking bread away from their own mouths, the people who have all the hope.. and all the patience in the world, Those are the Jordan of tomorrow, the ones who will bring Jordan forward, ethically..more than anything, as God knows we're in need for a dose of ethics, we seem to think that the dissolving of ethics is a natural result of modernity, when in fact it's a natural cause for our own dissolve..into the unknown.

Today, I'm celebrating the children living on the edges of the Jordanian desert, who probably have internet access in the white washed schools of their remote villages, but have no running water in their homes, the mothers who weave traditional dresses to feed their families, the same dresses the ladies of the velvet society wear at gala dinners at The Dunes. I'm celebrating the waiters who work evenings to pay for their university studies. The Jordan I'm proud of is one hidden in hearts, and the hearts are of people who know what Love truly means, they don't have to express it, as actions speak louder than words, and with every breath they take, their love is proven; to themselves, to each other, and to those who care to look into their eyes, it's a soft determination, coated with hope and content, and the warmth of hearts feeds it as it grows, slowly..but surely.

Painting by Jordanian artist Muhanna Al-Durra.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008


مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَكِن رَّسُولَ اللهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَكَانَ اللهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا ۞ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا
اللهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا ۞ وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلاً ۞ هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَلِّي عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَلائِكَتُهُ لِيُخْرِجَكُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَكَانَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَحِيمًا ۞ تَحِيَّتُهُمْ يَوْمَ يَلْقَوْنَهُ سَلامٌ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا كَرِيمًا

Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but (he is) the Messenger of God, and the Seal of the Prophets: and God has full knowledge of all things ۞ O ye who believe; Celebrate the praises of God, and do this often ۞ and glorify Him morning and evening ۞ He it is Who sends blessings on you, as do His angels, that He may bring you out from the depths of Darkness into Light: and He is Full of Mercy to the Believers ۞Their salutation on the Day they meet Him will be "Peace"; and He has prepared for them a generous Reward

الأحزاب 40-44

The Allies 40-44.

Sunday, 10 February 2008


There's a warm fluffy feeling that invades us every once in a while, a feeling that deletes all the mind games, all the strategies and tactics. a very simple feeling, one that removes all barriers and goes to the core, a simple feeling of certain pasts, times and places, the underlying genius of this feeling is that it sheds all the "makeup" from the past tense, and looks at people's faces with the eyes of a child, without any judgement or prior impressions, odd..since those faces are of the past, it's in our instinct to refer to our judgements and impressions, as our minds fold them away in the archives of the subconscious.

It is probably an attempt to hold a retrial for those pasts, a re-examination of events that might have led to the indictment of someone, and then found them guilty, and yet..our minds still review those judgements every once in a while, it would never allow an unfair trial, especially if the accused held..or maybe still holds a key to our hearts.

The process of this retrial is a long one, but it begins with the detailed recollection of the good, and the overlooking of the bad in the past under examination, we long for the scent of that rose we once held, but we willingly overlook the wound her thorns caused, we miss those times, they were good times, we might even remember details we thought we forgot, but our minds never let go of any good memories, it might store them somewhere safe, away from our daily thoughts, but when we ask for the file of a certain period in our past, with the intention to remember the good..we even surprise ourselves with the amount of good memories we have about something..or someone we -at one point- found guilty.

Nostalgia, a retrial of our pasts, amazingly, the retrial takes less than a second, all it takes is the memory of a smile to find those who were guilty..innocent again, an un-announced pardon to people who might not even be seeking one, but at least we were true to our own promise of justice.

I have set free many prisoners, and they're running free in the prison called my mind.

Friday, 1 February 2008

On Love..Or Thereabouts

Sometimes, we take a Leap of Faith, with all the unguarded wisdom that accompanies that jump into the unknown, and the foolishness in the act itself, as only fools jump into the dark.

There's a huge difference between infatuation, and love. The latter is a long process of actions and reactions, of trial and error, it's the process of aging of emotions, they "taste" better with time, like wine, or cheese if you prefer. The heart has its secrets, and those aren't revealed -even to the keeper of the heart- as they're secrets not meant for translation. Infatuation, on the other hand, is a strike of lightning, we get struck for a few seconds, and are filled with that electric energy that hypnotizes us, and takes us away from reality, but that hypnosis is short lived, not because it's a foreign virus and must be fought off, but because it's a natural reaction; we are all captivated by beauty: physical and intellectual, it's an act of instinctive natural selection, that goes back to the premise of the survival of the fittest, we want to be with beauty, it gives us the defence we need, the reassurance of continuity and survival.

Love, is a world of its own, it engages all senses, from sight to intellect, even scent has its share, people who are in love can distinguish their partners' scents, as their genes become familiar to each other, it is a process of unification with another human, a conscious decision that engages even the unconscious, reaching the point of telepathy, the familiarity reaches even their souls, and when souls become familiar, the un-earthly wonders of Love are revealed, not to the world, but to those two people, whose world begins with each other's presence, and ends with their parting..however temporary.

We all are infatuated with someone sometimes, but being in Love happens less often, those who consult their souls are even luckier in their leaps of faith, the soul has its own radar, it detects the hidden attractions, and sends an encrypted report to the heart, which reacts with the symptoms of labour, a birth of sorts..and keeps you awake in beautiful pain..when the world is fast asleep.

When I'm with you, we stay up all night. When you're not here, I can't go to sleep. Praise God for the two insominas..and the difference between them.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

On Mental Thirst

Sometimes, one's mind becomes thirsty, a kind of thirst never before felt or experienced; you roam around aimlessly trying to find that unknown quencher of your mental thirst, you prescribe your own medicines for your emerging malady and try them all, you go about your days and nights in an "auto pilot" mode, almost mechanically functioning around your daily duties.

You find small islands of distractions..and you entertain the idea of co-existence with that chronic thirst, but with every audible assertion of your continuity called a heartbeat, your mind's longing for that unknown grows, it is fed with the instinctive power of discovery embedded in your genes, your eyes capture pictures of the faces..and places around, your ears capture sounds, they scan the space around you for a sign of familiarity..strange how you seek familiarity in something not known.

Mental thirst might be an inner estrangement, when you question your own list of checks and balances, an attempt to overhaul your being, upgrade your system of comprehension, it is as close to winter hibernation as the human race can come, staying anticipation of change, and change is the only constant.

You know, that when the paths cross, finally..when time and place conspire with you, against you to bring you, and your mind quencher together, when you find it..or it finds you, when that last leaf finally falls off that tree, you know that your instinct was right, your mental thirst was justified, and the discovery was worth the wait.

Monday, 14 January 2008

On Things..And How They Seem

I've been away for a while, and I thank all those who checked on me, but one thing I that I'm not much of a blogger, probably a seasonal one, depending on the season in mind, rather than in setting.

One of the things I've been contemplating for a while is the way things..and sometimes people seem to be -that can be both negative and positive- and the way they really are. There's a certain wisdom in discovery, and discovery sometimes reaches surprising results..much like the surprise Columbus found when he thought he reached India when in fact he reached the new world; accidents can change destinies, or at least alter our perception of something we thought is cemented in our mind to be something else.

I might be talking in riddles, but that's probably the point; obscurity sometimes seems to be fascinating, or frustrating...depending on the journey, but within its walls..when you look closely..if you take the time to look closely..lies the clearest of all messages.