Friday, December 31, 2010
can you believe it ?!
subhan Allah time is passing by so fast ! was just at a gathering to celebrate an old university bro/mate who just had a baby boy, a lot of bros were there from when I first got in to uni, and as I was one of those very rare folks who got into deen so early, in fact I was the youngest among them mashaAllah a lot of them have kids already, some of which I been seeing every now and then others I havent seen in years, most of them were eager to know what I been up to and all the research I been doing and what not. Oh haha, all of them said I got really wider/bigger.
and what was really nice too was to see the sheikh I use to attend to, I was happy to see him as he was happy to see me.
alhamdullelah good to see a lot of the bros in good deen as there have been a few drop outs,
life goes by, you can spend it on nothing with ease or on something with difficulty, in the end when you are older you will have that self satisfaction or that regret on waste of youth.
suffer the pain of discipline for now, or suffer the pain of regret later.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
So he asked us. No one lifted my hand but me, as everyone in class turned to look at me; I said "TV, I dont have a TV". Students again surprised, "you dont have TV?!", "OMG how could you live!!?"
Yes ! I didn't have TV and I think movies in general tend to come with a twist of filth, that give a a person with the slightest feel/ of possession of eman a repulsive response. Soap Operas are even worse and they are just outright Haram. I remember all the people I use to tell that the show Friends is haram and just clearly inappropriate, of course then came later sex and the city, and even later desperate house wives and what not which are all shows that acquaint you and normalize to you illicit behavior, they gradually make you implicitly accept their underlying low morals.
This reminds me of the hadeeth; who ever sees an evil/munkar then let him change it with their hand, if they cant then with their tongue if they cant then with their hearts (aka reject it) and there is not a a grain of turmeric worth of faith behind that, (and in another narration: and this is the weakest of faith). So how bad is it to just sit and watch something that promotes that which Allah forbids ?
Going on to Wikileaks, and guess what, an ongoing conspiracy to westernize Saudis (and Arabs in general through MBC, Rotana and Al-Arabiya news channel (which is also trying to counter aljazeera as the leak shows too) , these channels basically westernize, and are mouthpieces for the Status quo in Saudi, promoting that the regime stays in place and to act against Islamist opposition.
This leak shows the American representatives to the Arab league, Gulf Cooperating Council (GCC) and "Islamic Collective" ( I guess Islamic affairs of some sort) meeting with owners of media in Saudi or those who know them or overlook their activities, assuring them that strategic interests of America are being met (through Arabic subbed friends, desperate housewives among others)
here is the leak
IDEOLOGICAL AND OWNERSHIP TRENDS IN THE SAUDI MEDIA
below some excerpts!
"In a meeting at his XXXXXX office XXXXXX with Consulate and Embassy press officers, XXXXXX because of the SAG’s concern that young Saudis were particularly vulnerable to the calls of extremists, and that the station now targets its moderate news broadcasts to the 14-18 year old demographic in short presentations of three minutes or less. He also said that the stations website, Arabiya Net, appeals to a pan-Arab audience and gets about 100,000 visitors per day. Al Arabiya and other MBC channels, he said, present programming that they hope counters the influence of al-Jazeera and fosters “moderate” perspectives among the country’s youth."
"XXXXXXXX said the American programming on channels 4 and 5 were proving the most popular among Saudis. A look at the December 17 programming menu for MBC channel 4 reveals a 24-hour solid block of such programs as CBS and ABC Evening News, David Letterman, Desperate Housewives, Friends and similar fare, all uncensored and with Arabic subtitles. Channel 5 features US films of all categories, also with Arabic subtitles. XXXXXXXX told us that this programming is also very popular in remote, conservative corners of the country, where he said “you no longer see Bedouins, but kids in western dress” who are now interested in the outside world."
"Over coffee in a Jeddah Starbucks, XXXXXXXXXXXX, and XXXXXXXXXXXX elaborated on the changes in the Saudi media environment. “The government is pushing this new openness as a means of countering the extremists,” XXXXXXXXXXXX told Riyadh press officer. “It’s still all about the War of Ideas here, and the American programming on MBC and Rotana is winning over ordinary Saudis in a way that ‘Al Hurra’ and other US propaganda never could."
"So effective has US programming been, said XXXXXXXXXXXX, that it is widely assumed that the USG (USgovernment) must be behind it. Some believe, he said, that Prince Talal’s relationship with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and its sister company Twentieth Century Fox has a clear ideological motive behind it, noting that the Fox Movie Channel on “Rotana” is available for free to anyone with a satellite dish. Both XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXX, liberal-minded supporters of US democracy and society with little use for conspiracy theory, clearly believed this was the case."
"Saudi-produced religious programming on ART and Rotana also departs from past models. Rotana’s popular religious channel “Al Risala” features a hip, clean-shaven Saudi in western clothes offering practical religious advice in a calm and friendly manner. Jeddah-based Arab Radio and Television company (ART) (owned by Saleh al-Kamel and according to our contacts being edged aside by MBC and Rotana) recently featured an MTV-style music video clip on its “Iqraa” religious channel depicting a group of dissolute young Saudi men who give up their carousing and return to observance. They are then shown succeeding in sales presentations and other interactions at work, gaining the admiration of their colleagues and supervisors. The young men continue to dress in standard attire, remain clean-shaven and are fully integrated into normal, workaday Saudi society. The message of moderation in the religious realm could not be clearer.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Yes Egypt indeed has gone a few decades back when it comes to political liberalization. I am personally not surprised at all, whatever has been given by an upper hand can also be taken by that same upper hand. “Upper” being the government/ regime, which in reality is a dysfunctional alliance between a few essential ministries run by a few security institutions (of course protecting the regime and its interests and all what keeps it surviving nothing more)
The parliamentary elections a few days ago were a complete farce, the opposition was not allowed to advertise their candidates, and the government that is represented by the (so called) National Democratic Party (NDP), Candidates that were likely to vote for opposition were prevented from entering the ballot boxes, Many of the opposition candidates were simply knocked out the list competitors and were not allowed to run – despite the administrative court ruling against this practice as unconstitutional eventually making elections in several electoral districts as illegitimate and requiring they be redone, voters for opposition were beaten up in clashed with national security forces, some died others severely injured. Ballots were stuffed with fake votes, where the opposition and NGOs have caught such incidents on camera, youtube is full of them I could estimate something like 30 of them. Judges were not allowed to monitor the elections, nor independent or national media, that were not allowed to take any live footage from the elections. In the next round of elections the opposition pulled out in protest of what happened. Finally the administrative court ruled that the entire elections were illegitimate and that they should be carried out again, the next parliament will be illegitimate and it has asked the president who has the right to dissolve it to do so and call for reelections.
Of course this was not the only thing on the plunging state freedoms; 12 Islamic channels have been shut down by the government, while threatening to shut down others, several public celebrity media persons were put out of their jobs on TV, their programs shut down, an editor on chief of one of the biggest oppositional newspapers was put out of his position. Of course as usual hundreds of the Muslim Brotherhood are in prison with for no legal reason; and this stuff all happened in the past 2/3 months. This is aside from several national scandals of police men killing regular innocent citizens with no political or religious or any significant affiliations, that has mobilized protests in thousands especially in Alexandria where its entire beach had silent mourners wearing black and praying for Khaled Said, killed by Egyptian cops, (a facebook group for him has over 350 000 members). Another incident a woman was rapped (despite that she was wearing niqab) by a police man aided by low rank security persons. And female university students beaten up by police as they wanted to enter their university and they were refused for "being affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood" (one of them beaten almost to death) which created widespread protests of disgust. The list of these atrocities is long and these are merely the ones that hit the media. And let us not forget Kamila Shehata and several other Copitc women who converted to Islam and were abducted by the church while the government stood by not doing anything, protests in Alexandria were made in at times reaching 50 000 and in Cairo with smaller numbers. ( the dynamics of sectarian politics in Egypt are becoming complicated and alarming)
Where the F is America ?
Well apart from the mere gesture of dissatisfaction the American ministry of foreign affairs has passed nothing has happened. In fact the Bush administration was way better in the way it handled this issue than Obama’s admin. America gives 1.3 billion dollars in “Military aid” to Egypt. Basically American Hawks see a weak and oppressed Egypt as in the interest of Israel. As if there is a democratic Egypt there is no way of guaranteeing that the elected government will maintain peace with Israel or remain quite on the atrocities Israel carries on the Palestinians etc. The current Egyptian government is basically acting as an Israeli agent running the country( not because it loves Israel but because it grantees its survival) . This is so true and its no conspiracy theory, you don’t need to read the wik leeeeeks on this its just enough to see Egyptian foreign policy on the way they have dealt with the siege and war on Gaza, The gas they give Israel for dirt cheap way below international prices etc. The only reason why America doesn’t protest to any domestic issues is because the government serves this vital function of perceived stability, yes in the short run it is so, but in the long run it wont be the case at all. The Egyptian government has went to lengths to please Israelis and Americans on its policy in the Middle East. That aid is basically invested in the security apparatus to keep the regime safe from domestic turbulence, the regime spends most of the national income on its security forget health care, forget education, forget infrastructure forget scientific research forget everything, this is what takes up most of the income. And America would accept anything this regime does so long as it serves its function with Israel.
A generation of youth including the educated, knowledgeable and politically conscious, including those who engaged in political reform, civil society and hoped for gradual political liberalization will give up on the idea of “peaceful reform”. What some commentators like to call “radicalizing the moderates”. Actually they are giving up on it now, and the “radicalization” is ongoing. This is not only in the younger generation but also in the counter elite aka the opposition which sees no use of engaging the political process (which was engaged only by the Muslim Brotherhood and al Wafd Party which both are rejecting it), yet its leadership is still not doing anything significant with its policies carrying on with its inertia but I suspect in the future the Muslim Brotherhood will not act in the same way. Even the reformist faction of the Muslim Brotherhood which is seen as extremely liberal by mainstream Muslim brotherhood has called for boycotting political life for 20 years and concentrate on Islamic preaching. This leaves for two options either violence or civil disobedience and in any case given the history of Egypt both are very likely to occur. In fact violence is just waiting to happen, an oppressive regime that conducts a foreign policy that negates the wishes and aspirations of its people that are very poor and mostly young and aware of their surroundings (with millions of them living in shanty unregulated towns) and a disenfranchised political counter elite you are just asking for trouble. An Iranian style revolution? maybe.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thesis! decided to give it more quality time since I am going to be doing a PhD inshaAllah, and a good thesis props up the prospects of getting into the best schools. So should be done in 2 months inshaAllah before reviewing the whole thing again, but leaves me plenty of time before the semester ends
need to look into good universities (which I already have done) but also a place with a good Muslim community, need to do a bit more research and asking around there!
So am all alone for now(sniff), my wife had to head out to Utah and inshaAllah I ll catch up with her soon. Utah! which is famous for yes the Mormons and the Mountains, never been there yet! so should be interesting to blog from there!. was keeping my self extremely busy with the thesis and extra readings for it along with 6 days a week working out leading into dieting, I was tops on, packing on muscle while loosing fat. my weights were going up till all of a sudden I am on the verge of croaking from some weird allergic reaction i got!
it started with some red patch on my right elbow then started spreading on my arm then on my left elbow then my butt and knees. I already had planned to go to a doc was told it was allergy from something. i took two shots in the bum and some meds. the next day it got worse my feet got swollen up and my hands ( Gross I know!) it was affecting my breathing too, and i got a bit feverish. I took two more shots the morning after going to a different doc who suggested that i should have taken a bigger dose since am a bigger guy. Which was exactly what I was telling myself. how could a Big huge Alpha Male like me take the dose of tiny little wiener twink. ehm no offense to the skinny guys haha anyways am good alhamdullelah now after a week, the redness on my skin is gone and am good to go hit the gym again inshaallah hopefully 12 days or so(depending on how fast i get my previous condition) before I try dieting again.
like this guy who made it is totally a hero, I am sure he is living the life of a hotshot James Bond like life on the verge of being caught or assassinated going through plenty of exciting adventures (including adventures with the opposite gender- not my cup of tea nonetheless). Anyways really, the world owes this man a lot.
Ive been reading classified and secret reports that is sent through American embassies abroad to the state department in America. The stuff is not so surprising especially when it comes to the Arab paranoid dictators. But it just makes International Relations analysis so much easier. You can browse by country and see if it has any reports. I totally recommend it ! its just fun anyways.
"Middle East" is same old same old nothing new on political levels, but on socio-political levels, a lot is going on (away from wikileaks)so aside from the jin post I need to write as I mentioned earlier, I will inshaAllah write a series of posts on Islam and Globalization since this is what this blog is all about supposedly. most of the searches that come to this blog hit those two words.
for now, peace out.