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  • Qomsa 8:35 am on December 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: have enormous number of answer. Any of which depends on your perception of life itself. You can add your own questions, middle class Egyptians and doesn’t it mean anything? Why do I work as an IT and not a doctor or a lawyer? Why is I Muslim and not Christian or something else? Why does every religious person in any, or put your answer to mine., Why is a question word that I’ve most frequently repeat. I’ve been always asking myself why almost since I had known the word when I was just little. Why am I here on this earth? Why was I born to   


    Why is a question word that I’ve most frequently repeat. I’ve been always asking myself why almost since I had known the word when I was just little.

    Why am I here on this earth?

    Why was I born to a poor, middle class Egyptians and doesn’t it mean anything?

    Why do I work as an IT and not a doctor or a lawyer?

    Why is I Muslim and not Christian or something else?

    Why does every religious person in any religion think that he and his fellow religious people are in the right pass and their dissident or on the wrong one?

    Why is life miserable for some and fantastic for other?

    Why is that the more I read the more I get confused while it’s meant to be the opposite?

    Why are there always people out there who tell us what we should and shouldn’t do?

    Why do we have people out there who preach what they can’t practice?

    Why do religions exist?

    There are endless questions in our life, have enormous number of answer. Any of which depends on your perception of life itself.

    You can add your own questions, or put your answer to mine.

  • Qomsa 7:56 pm on November 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Israeli Apartheid Week 2008 – Rafeef Ziadah on gender and apartheid 


  • Qomsa 7:06 am on September 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: elbert hubbard, , loyality, media business, titanic, writer   

    Love and loyality in the old age 

    In 1912, the famed passenger liner the Titanic was sunk after hitting an iceberg. Hubbard

    Elbert Hubbard wrote of the disaster, singling out the story of Ida Straus, who as a woman was supposed to be placed on a lifeboat in precedence to the men, but she refused to board the boat: “Not I—I will not leave my husband. All these years we’ve traveled together, and shall we part now? No, our fate is one.”

    added subsequently his own stirring commentary:

    “Mr. and Mrs. Straus, I envy you that legacy of love and loyalty left to your children and grandchildren. The calm courage that was yours all your long and useful career was your possession in death. You knew how to do three great things—you knew how to live, how to love and how to die. One thing is sure, there are just two respectable ways to die. One is of old age, and the other is by accident. All disease is indecent. Suicide is atrocious. But to pass out as did Mr. and Mrs. Isador Straus is glorious. Few have such a privilege. Happy lovers, both. In life they were never separated and in death they are not divided.”

    • Anonymous 6:00 am on September 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Old time, everything is different nowadays 🙂

  • Qomsa 4:11 pm on September 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: belief, convection, english, faith, , , , Islam I love and Muslims I don’t!, , muslims, non-muslims, , , , westerners   

    Islam I love and Muslims I don’t! 

    Well, as you may have guessed from the title, again, it’s about Islam and Muslims.
    First, let’s introduce myself, even though I don’t have to .However, I find it better giving an idea of where I come from and what I stand for before getting into the point.
    Briefly, I am someone who was born to a Muslim family, all of whom are lovely practice, religious people and so do I, practice religious but not lovely, though.

    Secondly, I am here about to rebuke Muslims not Islam, so if you don’t like to be criticized you’d better stop reading. Believing that Islam is above all criticism, I firmly believe that Muslims aren’t. They are people like any other fellow human beings bound to make mistakes and do wrongs. In another words, they are fallible as all humans, who isn’t but God?

    In Islam we taught that religion, there, in God definition is “Islam” إن الدين عن الله الاسلام .

    Though I absolutely believe so, I also believe that Judaism, Christianity are part of it, otherwise, we wouldn’t have had to believe in God’s angels, books, messengers as it says in Qura’n
    آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَمَلآئِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لاَ نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ وَقَالُواْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ(285). سورة البقرة

    “The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say, “We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination.”

    To clarify what I have just said, here an example: let’s take the number “one” in English and “waheed” in Arabic, they are both entirely different from each other, they don’t have the same spelling, pronunciation. Yet, they are synonyms. Both of which are Numbers, can be added, subtracted, divided, and multiplied. Both have absolutely the same value.

    My main concern is “Certainty”, which we, Muslims, are so sure that we all right while everybody else is not. In the main time, Westerners when they challenge Islam, which I personally believe it’s their absolute right to do so; they tend to be blind about its virtue or mistakenly denying it altogether.

    Impartially speaking, we both Muslims and Non-Muslims should come to a compromise! Neither a compromise that lead to Muslim giving up their faith, that not what I meant at all, nor not to express their conventions or to Non-Muslims be less critics about Islam. What I mean is a compromise where Muslims believe in their divine message while not rejecting or denying others from having their own expressed.

    To be as Muslims welling to admit our faults and mistakes as they happen, because the only infallible is God himself, while Non-Muslims ought to be impartial in their critics. Not to take texts out of their contexts and blame Muslim on being the reasons of the world’s misery. As well as, they must differentiate between freedom of expression and crime of abuse and misleading.


  • Qomsa 12:14 am on September 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: arab spring, http://americanreviewmag.com/stories/The-perils-of-people-power, The Perils of People Power   

    The Perils of People Power 

    Like most terrorist attacks launched by little-known underground groups, al Qaeda’s September 11 attacks were an attempt to capitalise on wide-ranging social and political frustrations. Al Qaeda’s goal was to paint itself as heroic, thereby attracting a broad following. Such endeavours can only be successful—to various degrees—where deep frustrations already exist. Examples include where there is widespread poverty, a resented, despotic regime, intolerable social inequalities or foreign occupation.

    Such conditions are heavily represented in the Arab region. In light of the ongoing upheaval there, there is hardly any need to dwell on the fraught domestic issues which have affected the Arab region for decades. Rather, I want to revisit the question that has obsessed Americans since September 11: “Why do they hate us?”

    The fact that 19 young Arab men were prepared to die on the morning of September 11 in order to inflict maximum damage on the United States was a painful wake-up call for Americans. Most Americans had never heard of al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden before then. Most had hardly any clue about how intensely Arabs hated the US and its government. And this hatred wasn’t limited to Arabs. It extended to most of the Global South (Africa, Central and Latin America, and most of Asia).

    Not that there were huge numbers of volunteers for suicide attacks in the Arab world or the Global South. Except for a tiny minority, the hatred was rather passive. The fact remains, however, that the September 11 attacks were greeted with schadenfreude, not only in the Middle East, North Africa, and other Muslim-majority countries, but around the globe.

    My own experience of this remains engraved in my memory. I happened to be visiting East Asia soon after September 11, staying for a short time in Hong Kong. Knowing I was an Arab, the warden of the building where I was staying, an old Chinese man who had been a policeman before retiring to his present job, told me in his limited English: “This man, this man from your country, great man, great man!” Initially, I didn’t realise what he meant and asked him which man he was referring to. His reply astounded me: “Bin Laden,” he said.

    Osama bin Laden had acquired global hero status almost overnight. From that fatal day, his face would even emblazon T-shirts in sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America, though not in Arab countries, where local regimes rightly perceived bin Laden as a major threat. Indeed al Qaeda’s leader would not have missed the opportunity to call for their overthrow.

    How could such a horrendous crime and causing the death of thousands have projected Osama bin Laden onto the world stage as the champion of the “wretched of the earth”? For his popularity stood upon that: peoples’ frustration at their states’ inability to counter the US superpower and their subsequent joy at bin Laden’s “representing” them in taking revenge on the global bad cop. But why would people want to exact revenge so eagerly, and in such a terrible way? Indeed, “Why do they hate us?”

    It is interesting to re-read the answer that George W. Bush gave to this same question when he delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001: “Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber—a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms—our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble, and disagree with each other.”

    The futility of this explanation is even more glaring today than it was 10 years ago. Leaving aside the obvious absurdity of asserting that a group of men would commit suicide simply because they did not like freedom in another, faraway country, how could anyone claim that the motivation for the hatred bin Laden personified was the resentment of freedom and democracy? The fact was that those who cheered for bin Laden in the Arab world were subjugated by despotic regimes, which their new hero had pledged to destroy. This was actually acknowledged in the same discourse, when Bush said: “They [al Qaeda] want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.”

    The underlying assumption George W. Bush’s speech made was that this so-called hatred of freedom and democracy had wide currency among Arabs and Muslims, and that Washington’s Arab friends, despite their lack of democratic credentials, were still more “enlightened” than their subjects. The “Orientalist” perception of Arabs or Muslims as people addicted to despotism—which represented their “culture”—lurked rather obviously behind the president’s statement. How else could one reconcile Washington’s pretension to pursue a “civilising mission” and its reliance on, and support for, despotic regimes in the region?

    The great Arab revolt of 2011 undermined to a large extent the very possibility of holding such discourses. They will not vanish, of course, but they have become much less sustainable and believable than they used to be. Indeed, the perception that Arabs are addicted to despotism has never been anything more than an optical illusion, resulting from the fact that they seemed to tolerate despotism rather well. This cultural explanation was often given as a justification for the fact that the Arab region contained an impressive collection of mummified absolutist regimes, as if it were a vast natural reserve of archaic government institutions. The same illusion was reinforced by the impression that whenever the Arab populace resented its government, it did so mostly by supporting forces advocating an even more despotic, theocratic rule.

    The crux of the illusion was to mistake positive mass support for Islamic fundamentalist movements for what was merely no more than borrowing from the only available means for expressing their discontent. Islamic forces were often the only available national opposition with a minimum of credibility. They were tolerated as such in most US-friendly regimes (Tunisia being the exception, but only after 1990) because these regimes—whether in the various Arab monarchies, or in Egypt or Yemen—often resorted to making concessions to the most reactionary religious aspirations in order to cover for their unpopular domestic and foreign policies.

    The upheaval of 2011 has seen the irruption of new players on the Arab political scene, who have regrouped along strikingly similar lines in almost all the countries of the region. They form a new generation of liberals in the American sense, that is, social liberals who are very different from the classical liberals prominent in Arab politics before the Second World War, and who vanished almost completely after the first 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the subsequent rise of nationalist forces.

    The politics of this new generation are intimately shaped by the new communication technology, both upstream and downstream. Their espousal of liberal values is influenced by access to global culture that has happened since the advent of the “information age”. Their ability to connect, interact and organise is intimately dependent on the use of the global communication network. If it is very much reductive to describe the Arab upheaval as a set of “Facebook revolutions”, it is justified on the other hand to describe this vast network of mainly young people as being largely a Facebook movement.

    This liberal current, along with a variety of leftwing groups, has been and still is instrumental in the impulsion and organisation of the upheaval. Islamic forces joined the movement only after it was initiated in the most prominent cases. Coming on a back of deep popular discontent due to a broad range of social, economic, and political factors—a discontent that found expression in the rise of various forms of social protest in several Arab countries during the previous decade—the initiatives of the liberal-left alliance unleashed a formidable chain reaction of popular revolts that is probably still only in its infancy. The main common slogan introducing the various demands of this great regional upheaval has been: “The people want …” This is the Arab equivalent of the “We, the people” that opens the preamble to the United States Constitution of 1787. It is the clearest possible indication that it is the people who are the new hero on the political scene.

    And whenever the people become the main actor on the scene—notwithstanding the individual supporting actors, the shuhada, or the martyrs, as they are called by the mass movement—all previous substitutive heroes are superseded. The British journalist Robert Fisk was right when he referred to bin Laden’s killing in The Independent (May 3, 2011), writing that “the mass revolutions in the Arab world over the past four months mean that al Qaeda was already politically dead”.

    “Bin Laden told the world—indeed, he told me personally—that he wanted to destroy the pro-Western regimes in the Arab world, the dictatorships of the Mubaraks and the Ben Alis,” wrote Fisk. “He wanted to create a new Islamic caliphate. But these past few months, millions of Arab Muslims rose up and were prepared for their own martyrdom—not for Islam but for freedom and liberty and democracy. Bin Laden didn’t get rid of the tyrants. The people did. And they didn’t want a caliph.”

    Is this new collective hero who craves freedom and democracy therefore reconciled with the United States, which sees itself as the foremost upholder of these values? Definitely not, as anyone will agree who has observed what the various popular mobilisations have had to say about US policy in the region. Even in Libya, where one might expect the popular uprising to be grateful to Washington for its military intervention, there is deep frustration at how the revolution has been hijacked by an Atlantic Alliance that refuses to deliver the weapons the insurgents have been requesting since NATO’s intervention started. The West’s distrust of the Libyan insurgents is reciprocal. There is no other explanation why the insurgents have rejected Western intervention on the ground in their country until now.

    The root cause of the resentment against the US that prevails among Arabs bears no relation to any hatred of freedom and democracy, or any “cultural” clash. The truth is that what the author of the Clash of Civilisations, the late Samuel Huntington, called “the democracy paradox”, which he defined as the fact that “adoption by non-Western societies of Western democratic institutions encourages and gives access to power to nativist and anti-Western political movements,” has nothing to do with “civilisation”, and everything to do with imperial politics.

    The reasons for Arab resentment of Washington’s policies are numerous and well known. They range from US sponsorship of Israel, which hardly wanes however arrogant and brutal the attitude of Israel’s governments can be, to the occupation of Iraq, to Washington’s support of despotic regimes, believed to safeguard US interests—oil being the crucial factor—against the “democracy paradox” enunciated by Huntington. This is why the so-called paradox will keep proving true in the Middle East.

    The ongoing democratisation in the Arab world, if it is not interrupted by a counter-revolutionary backlash, will certainly and increasingly bend regional government policies in a direction contrary to US imperial schemes and interests and to a degree that bin Laden could never have achieved. Unless we see a far-reaching change in Washington’s Middle East policy, the shifting of heroes from Osama bin Laden to “the people” will prove severely detrimental to US regional interests. Confronted with “the people” and what they want, Washington may very well come to regret the loss of the convenient foe that bin Laden represented.

    Note: This article was written in July and published in August.
    By Gilbert Achcar
    First published on American Review

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