Saturday, January 26, 2008

My favorite Arab-based websites

:: iToot: is a network of Arab blogs. It saves me the time of visiting all the blogs I check by listing their latest posts and giving you a glimpse of what to expect. The bloggers featured are Arabs from all over the world. Up till now they have around 150 blogs. You can submit your blog there to be reviewed and maybe added to the network.

:: Ikbis: is the place where you go to upload your photos and videos and share them with the rest of the world. You can search and explore the shots uploaded and link or embed them inside your blog or website. You can also contact people, make your own favorites selection and comment on others videos and photos. Visually I like the look of Ikbis. Any one can sign-up and have an account there. Me there.

:: Questler: is a network where you connect with other people on an intellectual level. After you sign up you can share your discoveries, ask questions and answer others questions. It is truly a website where minds connect. People with a wide range of interests discuss issues related to them and their lives. Me there.

Another two website which I liked the idea but I'm not a user there:

:: Yamli: It is where you can put your Arabizi into use and turned it into a real Arabic text so that you can search and use on-line. Here is how it works.

:: Watwet: a social network where you connect with your friends, make new friends, upload photos and put your mobile connectivity into use. Till now is only invitation based. And here is more about it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hai

I can't remember the first time I've heard the story of Hai bi Yaqazan... it was for me like the fairytale of Cinderella... we all know the story but never read it...
The clearest version of the story of Hai came upon me when I saw an animation of it on TV... and I fell in love with the idea of this kid stranded on an island... discovering it and trying to figure out a meaning to his life...
Recently I advised a friend to read it when I realized that I never did... so I found the book, started reading it... and I finished it yesterday....
The translated version I read was titled "The Journey of The Soul, The Story of Hai bin Yaqzan", written originally by Ibn Tufail or as known in the West Abubacer.
The story of Hai is narrated through his mind and inner thoughts.... how he from his early age started thinking about everything around him... he was the only human being in an island, brought up by a doe... which he witnessed her death... and that triggered him to search and discover the world...
The story takes you through a journey of how a human can acquire knowledge through using his senses, his body, his mind and then his soul....
Hai started with the physical world and ended with the 'other' world.
The story shows you how Hai believed that there must be a Truth, a Creator... a Supreme being... and how Hai embarked to find that Truth... and then find a way to communicate and 'worship' this Divine being...
The story at some point gets very heavy on the mind and the author suggests that we try and do like Hai did and maybe then we can start to experience what he did when his soul soared in the 'other' world.
It is an interesting book to read and would recommend anyone to read it...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

They are just 935 lies!!!

According to a study done by The Center of Public Integrity and Fund For Independence in Journalism... Mr. Bush and his top administration officials had said around 935 lies in the last couple of years concerning the war on Iraq...
The lies extend from issues related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction , Iraq's connections with al-Qaida and Saddam Hussien...
So a whole nation has been wiped out... ripped out of any sign of integrity and humanity... and turned into a chaotic swamp of all sorts of evil.. based on falsehood...?!
The inhumane damage done not only to one country but to neighboring countries as well... All this was based on lies... and the rest of the world... silently and so passively watching...
And now Mr. Bush is planning to do it all over again with all his claims regarding the Iranian threat...
It's so sad... how easily people are fed with lies... and how history is being written in a cheating deceiving way...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

لأهل غزة...

لاتَسَـــل عَـن سَلامَته رُوحُـهُ فَــوقَ راحَتـِـــه

بَــدَّلتـــــــهُ هُمُـــومُـــه کَفنَــــاً مِــن وِسادَتِــه

يَرقُــبُ السَّــــاعَةَ التی بَعــدَها هَـولُ ساعَتـِه

شاغِلٌ فِکرُ مَن يَراه بإطــراقِ هــامَتـِــــه

بَيــنَ جَنبـــــــهِ خافِـقٌ يَتَـلَظَّـــی بِـغــايتِــــــه

مَن رَأی فَحمَةَ الدُّجی أُضـرمَت مِن شَرارتِــه

حَمَّـــلَتـهُ جَهَــنَّــــــــمٌ طَــرَفا مِـــن رِسالَتـــه

هُـوَ بِالبــابِ واقِـــــفٌ وَ الــرَّدی مِنـهُ خــائِف

فَاهدَأی يا عَواصِـــفُ خَجَـــلاً مِن جَراءَتِـــــه

صــامِتٌ لَو تَکَلَّــــــما لَفَــظَ النَّــارَ وَ الـــدَّمــا

قُـل لِمَن عابَ صَمتَه خُـلِقَ الحَـــزمُ أبکَـــما

وَ أخُــو الحَزمِ لَم تَزل يـَده تَسبـِــقُ الفَــــما

لاتَلــــوموه، قـَـد رَأی مَنــهَجَ الحَــقِّ مُظلــما

وَ بـِـــلادَاً أحَبـَّــــــــها رُکنـُــها قَــد تَهَــدَّمَـــــا

وَ خُصُـــوماً بِبَغيــهِم ضَجَّتِ الارضُ وَ السَّـما

مَرَّ حينٌ، فَکــادَ يقتــله اليـــأسُ، إنَّمــــا .

هُــوَ بِالبــابِ واقِــــفٌ وَ الرَّدی مِنــــهُ خـــائف

فَاهــدَأی يا عَواصِـفُ خَجـــلاً مِـن جَـراءَتِــــه
...........
الشاعر : إبراهيم طوقان



Snowing in Amman

Finally it is snowing in Amman...
The white mercy-full blanket is descending upon the needy souls...

White...




taken 9:10 am... excuse the quality of my webcam... but my good old camera is dead...

:: This is my 200th post...

Monday, January 21, 2008

I am elegantly frightened*


* from a poem by Jessica Peeples

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thin as air...



Another masterpiece by Apple Mac... iWant...

Friday, January 11, 2008

نهاية رجل شجاع | The End of a Brave Man

"The End of a Brave Man" is by far my best Arabic TV series ever watched.
The series is based on a novel written by Hanna Mena with the same title, and was directed by Najdat Anzoor in early 1990s . The TV series gathered some of the best actors and actresses from Syria.
The story takes place in Syria at the time of the French occupation maybe around 1920s or 1930s...
The work from an artistic point of view is remarkably done... the angles of the camera... the frames captured... the music which was done by our own Jordanian musician Tareq Al Nasser...

The characters grow and evolve and fade out in an emotional way... taking us back to a time long past... a time that somehow we can relate to though we never experienced...

-- Spoiler warning --


The story is about Mufeed…
Mufeed is the poor kid… who was too naughty and hyper that his parents found hard to deal with…
Mufeed is the kid who would run outside the skirts of his village to explore and discover…
Mufeed is the kid that would go and cut a mule’s tail for no rational reason expect something deep inside of him which he never shared…
Mufeed is the kid that was hit and beaten by his father because he wasn’t a normal kid and didn’t fit in the typical image of his peers…
Ever since Mufeed was called "Mufeed the monster, who cut off the mule's tail" "مفيد الوحش يللي أطع دنب الجحش "…
Mufeed is a best friend who took care of his friend… who go through so much with his friend… never betraying him… and always available for him… until one day he had to say goodbye to him…
Mufeed is the guy who explored the world freely… going from city to city…
Mufeed is the guy that fell in love… and was loyal to that one beautiful girl… and would go through so much just to be united again with her... to spend the rest of his life with her…
Mufeed is the guy who ended up in prison for many reasons… for his honor… for his bravery… for his commitment… for his pride… for his beliefs… for saying ‘No’ when everyone wanted to hear a ‘yes’…
Mufeed is the man who learned first hand the meaning of freedom, love of a country, belonging and Freedom…
Mufeed is the man that will help others in need and refuses to kiss the hands of the upper class… Mufeed is the man that wasn’t tempted by the corrupted authority… Mufeed is the man that no one can buy!!!
Mufeed is the man that nothing manage to bring him down except his illness and the loss of his two legs…
Mufeed is the monster… who didn’t till his last days surrender… or bowed down his head in front of others…
Mufeed is the man who died… with all his great expectations leading him to the endless sea… the hidden love of the monstrous sea...


Mufeed… is the end of brave men…

-- end of spoiler --


That brave man... will never be forgotten...


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Moon, Sun and Islam...


Lately I've been reflecting upon how the crescent is used to visually symbolize Islam... And how a lot of people think of Muslims as lunar-oriented...
Maybe the moon is used to indicate months in the Islamic Calendar... and thus indicating the timing of rituals and holy days like Ramadan and the Pilgrimage to Mecca. But at the same time... Muslims depend much more on the sun for indicating the timing of the 5 daily prayers... and the length of the fasting in one day... So I was thinking how come sun is not associated with the visual symbols of Islam?
Who was the first to introduce the Crescent as a symbol for Islam?! Does it have underlying meanings or associations?
And I was thinking more of the months in the lunar year and then it hit me that these months with their names are pre-Islamic and were used by Arabs before... since the date of the Birth of the Prophet was mentioned in a calendar which is not the Islamic Calendar... But had the same months names...
The Islamic calendar started almost 53 years after the Prophet's birth... starting on the day he fled Mecca to Madina or what is known as "al-Hijra al-Sharifa"...
So I dug up to find out this information that never was brought to my attention before... the lunar calendar that Arabs used before Islam was called lunisolar calendar which is a combination of both the moon phases and the sun movements... but since the moon to change phases for 12 times it needs 354 days leaving it shorter by 11 days from the solar year... every 3 years... a lunisolar year would contain 13 months!! Interesting...

Nowadays in most Islamic countries they follow the solar Gregorian calendar still they keep track of the lunar Islamic one...

Yesterday was the first day in a new Islamic year [1429 H]... so for those who celebrate it... Happy New Hijri Year...

:: on my mooniac mood, more, more, and even more...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Art onThe Apartheid Wall

One of my students who lives in Palestine has told me about a graffitti that he saw on the Apartheid Wall which caught his visual attention... it was "Ctrl+Alt+Delete" written on the wall...
In my search to find this image... I stumbled upon other images that can speak louder than I can... Amazing!...



Monday, January 07, 2008

Hallucination | makeup... make[over]

I never liked the concept of Makeup...

Maybe a little bit will enhance the 'looks'... accentuating the 'pretty' features and concealing the 'defects'...

But... it seems that everyone is wearing a lot of makeup... to mask... and create a new 'unreal' reality... a new deceiving image... a makeover...

Never mind the mask... what is under... is still there... a made[under]...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

[upon art] Television Delivers People

No doubt the introduction of TV in the daily life of humans have been one of the major turning points of the 20th century... leading to the creation or glorification of "The Consumer Society".
Artists at that time were raging against this new media... in some way even frustrated by it... Richard Serra made this Video Art where he actually mocked the TV by using the TV as his medium. Using simply scrolling text expressing his own opinion of TV, corporations, NEWS, commercialization, consumerism... accompanied by Musac... a music you are likely to here in malls and elevators.
The title of his work "Television Delivers People" is in itself a strong statement that makes TV the active agent and People the passive... or the end product.
Quoting some of the text featured in:
"Mass media means that a medium can deliver masses of people"
"It is the consumer who is consumed"
"You are the product of t.v."
"Television defines the world so as not to threaten you"

"Television Delivers People"

Thursday, January 03, 2008

No Smoking... PLEASE!!!


Smoking must be one of the worst habits ever found by a human being... it is the most destructive, individualistic, insensitive and selfish habit...
Since I'm living in Jordan getting exposed to smoke is a daily activity... and if I go home by taxi I'm sure to end up smelling like a stinky smoker...
Health wise... it is known by now the endless bad consequences of smoking and I rather spare you that... in any case if a person choose to kill himself... let it be... I can't say anything... but if someone tries to kill someone else with him [even if not intended] ... then I would say NO....
Today France banned smoking in Public spaces... a great step forward to combat this habit... something that Scotland had done a while ago... and just couple of days ago... The Highlands were announced smoking free areas!!
So... By now the number of countries to ban smoking reached 57 countries... none of which are from the Arab World...
It is a sad thing when a person becomes a slave to that tobacco stick and care not about his/her health or others ... and nothing will induce him/her to stop but to be forced to pay a fee or get a penalty for breaking a ban...
Still I wish that soon I'll be able to enjoy my mornings without turning my face or cover my nose every time a selfish being decide to blow his smokes in my face...

Jordan... let us do something!!!!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New...

New

Like the smell of new sharpened pencils

Like the touch of fluffy wool scarf

New

Like the taste of fresh lemonade

Like the color of cars washed after the rain

Like the sound of a song admired

New

And the next year will show us what those pencils will write and draw… whom the scarf will be wrapped around… how many lemons will be enough… what else the rain will wash… and who will be singing our song…

Happy New Year...