Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another Stolen Memory

A photo of one of the high schools I went to

Checking news here and there, following different reporter to see how the story being told by someone else; I came across photos about Iraq. Viewing one photo after another and something caught my sight. "I know these words" I thought. I must have read it at least a thousand times. Very familiar in shape… and its meaning! It meaning was the high school I went to for three years. The school I used to hate. I considered it a black page in my history. But recalling my memory, for moments, a very short time, I look at things differently right now.

It said:

"Nidhal high school for girls"

"Founded on the year 1972"

That's the high school I hated. But what I hate now is the hideous pale colour of its paint. The silly posters hanged on the wall. The two silly signs saying: "Welcome Security Forces and Army" and "Carrying arms are forbidden inside election center".
The place seems dirty, stained walls and trash on the floor. I can't believe this is the same school I went to. The schoolmistress used to be a very firm lady. She used to reign with an iron fist and this is not an exaggeration. Mrs. Hinoof was one of the best principles in Baghdad. We never really liked her but she knew how to run the school. Throwing trash on the floor was never an option back then.

Schools are closed, no work and time is wasted. I heard the electricity is on 24/7 as a bribe for people to vote! It's all silly and a mockery play.

That's all for now

Let's wait and see.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Just Another Virtual World*

It never stops bugging me how some people spend hours and hours surfing the net on useless stuff. I am not against enjoying technology or sharing information publicly but at times I'm certain that some people are just killing time, time that can be invested in a different way to make the world a better place.

Years has passed and I'm receiving invitations to create accounts on Classmates, Friendster, Hi5, MySpace, Orkut, bebo, Facebook and such social networking communities. And what bugs me the most is that the same people who invite me for certain network are inviting me for another! how do they manage to keep up with their profiles on each? How do they have time to update and check friends' account? and I complain about time!

After finding my inbox full of email invitations for Facebook from friends, relatives, colleagues and fellow-bloggers as well as people I don't even know, I decided to get myself an account and see what is it all about. Clicking the link I discovered the site was Blocked in UAE just like Urkut, Flickr and some other networks. I felt it was a relief for me. Once I'm asked about my Facebook account or sent an invitation I would simply say "it's blocked in the UAE".

Months or maybe a year passed and I hear the fuzz about Facebook. We take photos in a gallery and I hear "I'll put it on FB". We go to the park and I ask for a copy of photos and the reply is "check it tonight on FB" I need a link regarding a matter and I get the reply "Will post it on FB"!

Last Ramadan I was introduced to a girl. She was studying media in AUS and she wanted me to write her some inspirational talks to publish regarding surviving a war. Insisting that I have an influential personality she said I defiantly want to add you to the group I created on Facebook to inspire the youth. I told her I don't have an account she gave me her email and begged me to create one and add her. I wrote her email somewhere and forgot her name.

Also Last year we were visiting a family friends and while talking I discovered that their daughter is in touch with people went to my school. I asked her for their emails and she said "Add me on FB"!

I never bothered and checked what Facebook was until Hana - before she left to NZ -told me we can keep in touch through Facebook and it's a really good way to be updated. I told her I don't have an account and that I tried and it was blocked and she told me it was working now and she herself created the account for me.

Automatically I found friends and relative. and I just forgot about the account until I started to get emails notifications about lost friends and grade school colleagues who found me! It was overwhelming to find most of the people we thought we lost after all these years. Some left Iraq before we were introduced to the internet so we lost contact. Others were just busy with life and someway or another just disappeared.

Sharing photos is great but still I don't want to post my photos on the net even if there's a user control thing where I can moderate who sees these photos. And with all the hackers stories we hear... No thanks.

Anyway, that's not what I want to write about..

When I started this post I was just about to release sort of anger that didn't know how to be freed! Finding a notification that "A friend" is playing with her pet in Virtual Pet Society.. or "A friend" was sold for $5000 in Friends for Sale society.. "A Friend" reached level 28 in Mafia.. on and on I'm bugged with time being wasted in an absurd way.

I'm not in a position, nor anyone in fact, to tell people how to spend their time or where to focus their energy. One can only hope that we can invest our time to make the world a better place. But lately I've been wondering "Can we? are we supposed to do so? and how?"

People seem to be funny on virtual network societies, even when they post something devilish and evil or wage wars against each others. Death threats sounds funny! Most of them has galleries to present smiling faces, others are engaged in gardening trees and virtual flowers, exchanging gifts, cards, cupcakes and other virtual stuff. Even when they yell with CAPS on they seem funny and friendly.

Maybe by deserting real life and living a virtual one is helping people to live the way they wish to live..the style and the people associated with. They can create themselves on such networks. To share what they want to share and hide whatever they wish to hid. Their profiles represent who they want to be and that way they can control how they can be seen by others.

*I was searching on the net when I found a blog with such title. I had to say that in for copy rights :)

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Monday, January 26, 2009

To All My Friends Out There

There was a boy, a very hard to please. His father gave him a bag full of nails and said: "Hit a nail onto the garden's fence whenever you lose your temper or disagree with someone".

On the first day, the boy put 37 nail on the garden fence. A week passed and the boy learned how to control his temper and the number of nails added per day was declining. The boy now knows that watching his attitude and having everything under control is easier than using the hammer and hitting nails on the fence.

Gradually, the day has come and the boy told his father he never had to add a nail that day. The father asked the boy to remove a nail from the fence for each day that passes without losing his temper. Finally, the boy was able to come to his father and tell him that he removed all the nails.

The father took his son to the fence and said: "Dear son, you did great with your good behavior, but look at these holes left on the fence. The fence will never look as it was before!"

When you disagree with someone and an argument takes place, or when differences come to surface; some harsh words are said. These words leave people with deep wounds just like these nail holes you see on the fence. You can stab someone and pull out the knife from the body but you may leave a scar of a wound.

It doesn't matter how many times you said you're sorry because that wound still exist. Injuries of harsh words are more painful than physical injuries.

Friends are rare jewels, they are there to cheer you up and be there for you whenever you need them. They are always there to listen whenever you feel to open up. Therefore, show them what you feel for them.

That's all for now
Thanks for being my friend


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Attawie, How Did a Tank Get onto your Roof!?

It's funny how we've been talking all these years and I've never mentioned this story! It all came back to me after viewing our home from Google Earth and seeing the black metal thing lay on our roof. And it hit me. Attawie, how did a tank get onto your roof!? David asked.

The war started 2003 and we were supposed to stay at home. But after two days we could take it no more and my mother's aunt called and said you'd better come now or else. Believe me her "or else" was threatening more than any bomb flying in the air. The old lady cares about us, plus, we were freaking out because the two previous nights were horrible. It felt the house was falling apart over our heads. Since our home is located close to what they call it green zoon nowadays, it was wise to leave. For certain reasons we kept going home every day.

On April 8th, we saw Iraqi tanks almost in every street in our neighborhood. An Iraqi solder asked us why we were there. He said: "Leave the area. Leave Baghdad if you can. It's a battlefield". Next time we went to our home was on April 17th. To tell you the truth, I can't remember the streets. Maybe it's bliss not to. I was praying all the way home to arrive safely and find our home still standing there.

The house was a mess. Two of our doors were broken. The neighbor blocked one of them with a chair and pushed the car to close the second. Cats and rats were playing hide and seek. Dust was everywhere. Broken glasses of shattered windows were everywhere. But thank God my room was as clean and tidy as I left it. No broken windows and the door to my garden was standing as strong as it could be. My room was the place where we slept during the later weeks.

When we were checking room after room we were shocked when we opened my sister's room. We couldn't see the carpet; instead, we saw a carpet of dust. But the weird dust looked like gray concrete dust. When we looked at the ceiling we could see the sky. That's when my father remembered his last visit to the house. When the bombing started and a strange bang shook the house and the noise was so loud that he could hardly get what was going on and had to leave in a hurry.

After a couple of hours we heard from neighbors that the other half of the tank was six houses away from us. It was an Iraqi tank that was bombed even though it was standing there in the street all abandoned.

That's how a tank ended up onto our roof
And that's all for now.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Wanna Fly

An entire week spent sick in bed! That must be a record for me in the near history. No more feeling down. No more whining. Enough is enough.

Let's refresh the page with something fun. Something I've been dreaming of since I was a child. I dreamed of flying hundreds times maybe and looking at THESE GUYS makes me long for flying even more.

Lately, I've been obsessed with GOOGLE EARTH. To stay in bed all these hours you've got to find yourself a useful way to spend your time. I flied to Baghdad and saw hour home, went to my school again, walked by the Tigris. Oh how I long to go back.

With all what's going on in Gaza, I spent time looking at the small Gaza Strip, the beach, the lands and I keep wondering how can such a huge population live in this small area! God bless them.

I flied almost everywhere, Arab countries, Europe, the Americas, historical places and beautiful lakes around the world. Such an amazing world. Forget about politics. Forget about global worming. The sea has fish to feed every hungry person on earth. The green areas, the basket of foods hanging on zillions of trees. Everything is so beautiful, so perfect, that it gives hope for years ahead.

Surprisingly, I found my self missing Jordan. I looked at Petra and how its pink soil is different from the surrounding areas.

Someday, maybe I'll live and see that day, or maybe not, but life would be much better on this planet and everything will appear as beautiful as it is and peace will be the title of this earth.

That's all for now


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It Was A Tree

It was a tree. A tree like any tree you may see in the street. You may see huge melancholy on its branches, as if it was carrying burden of the hundred years it ages. But its trunk proudly stands against stormy winds. A lot have been said about the tree in many different religions and cultures. Many myths and stories surrounds this tree and it's blesses.

It is said that its fruit was the first fruit Adam, peace be upon him, tasted on earth. The same tree has many names in many different cultures. It is known as Christ thorn Jujube, Siddir (or Annab in Arabic) which is recommended by Islamic Medicine. Traditional medicine also has a lot to say about it. Its leaves are used to cast off magic spells, the scientific name of Nabk Trees.

This tree is full of benefits whether its trunk, leaves, flowers or the fruit and its seeds. It is cultivated southern Asia, between Syria, northern India, and southern and central China, and possibly also southeastern Europe though more likely introduced there.

It is believed to alleviate stress, throat soothing, gum problems, ease the stomach, keep bugs and other insects out of the house and free of infestation. Even the honey that bees make from its flowers nectar is very expensive because of its benefits.
A funny thing, the sweet smell is said to make teenagers fall in love, and as a result, in the Himalaya and Karakoram regions, men take a stem of sweet-smelling jujube flowers with them or put it on their hats to attract women.

Although it's an evergreen tree but it tends to pour down its leaves during every single day of the year. How do you I know that? Because I used to sweep its leaves for fun in my grandparents' garage and at times in our garden.

Seeing the round yellowish round fruits on the ground made me forget all about my paranoia and hygiene issues and pick as much as I could carry in my both hands. Washing them with water and drying them with tissue papers there was nothing left but to taste them.

One bite and I literally could say I was charmed. Charmed with this holly fruit taste and what it represented to me. I was no longer there. All I could sense was the sweet honey taste on my tongue and the thousands thoughts, sensations and memories I never knew they existed.

Standing on a three step ladder, with grandma next to me, holding on to me to make sure I was standing safely, on the roof where the dove were roaming above our heads, and birds singing in their nests. Grandma holding on to me while I carry the bucket where we keep the fruits we collect.

Reaching my hand to a nabk fruit that a bird took a tiny bite, reluctant to pick it, I recalled grandma's answer when I used to tell her "but the bird took a bite!" she would reply "Yes dear, it took a small bite to taste it to tell us this one is sweet, take it. It's yummy so the bird left it to us"

During the 1991 war, when we were at my grandparents' house, we spent most of the clear shinny morning playing badminton. Whenever our feather shuttle flies high it get stuck in the branches of the two gigantic trees. We usually attempt to start throwing things, anything you name it, until we call our grandpa to help us. Thousands of tournaments took place under the shades of those two beloved trees.
At school, wars were raged between classes. You see the boys throwing stones and girls run to collect. Each student would throw his best shot and each girl runs as fast as she could to collect the magic fruit and split "fifty-lifty" as we used to call breakeven shares. At times Stones would pour down on student passing by to be sent to ER, nevertheless, that doesn't mean to stop hunting for this sinfully delicious fruit.

After 1992, we moved to a new home where there was one of those trees. It never stopped to amaze us how many pairs of shoes we found when it was time for trimming the tree. We would laugh and make stories about how those people had to leave barefooted.

A handful of fruits and I felt that was it. They are the same fruit. They are the same colour. They have the same smell But in Iraq this fruit was taster and therefore, I had no more.

Here is the second pick :) I know its not as seductive as cherries nor as funny as strawberries but I wouldn't trade them for any of those.

That's all for now

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Let's Help Gaza

What can we do for Gaza? Pray. Yes, they truly need our prayers but let's move on to the next level. We've been watching the new, talking about it, maybe more than a bit depressed, angry, yes, but that's not enough. let's proceed into action.

It's the 9th day and there's 507 people killed and 2400 injured. Last time I checked the news I saw videos of empty shelves in markets. they are suffering from shortage of food, hospitals ran out of medical supplies, no electricity, no water, and I as a result of bombing the sewage is not working and flooding in certain areas. Every single donation counts.

UNRWA is a reliable and legal organization that you can help Gaza through. See their homepage:

Stop the Killing in Gaza

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Karen AbuZayd, expressed her horror to the extensive destruction visited upon Gaza Strip today and her deep sadness to the terrible loss in human life. UNRWA, the United Nation’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, strongly urges the Israeli Government to heed calls for ceasing its bombardment on Gaza. Israel is a signatory to international conventions that protect non-combatants in times of conflict. These conventions are worthless if they are not upheld. ...more

Donate to UNRWA Special Gaza Appeal تبرعوا لنداء الاستغاثة الخاص بغزة

1. Arab Bank PLC
UNRWA USD Current account100191-4-510
El-Rimal Branch Omar El-Mukhtar St, Gaza

2. HSBC Bank
UNRWA USD Current account 002/057511-185
Swift Code: BBMEJOAX
Amman, Jordan

Or you may choose Aramex to deliver hope to Gaza.

Aramex is organizing an emergency donation campaign, with support from Majid Al Futtaim Group in the UAE, to collect and deliver aid supplies to the afflicted people in Gaza.

Needed materials: First Aid kits, medical emergency supplies, chronic illness medication, personal hygiene products, non-perishable foods, new clothes, tents and blankets.

Please ensure the validity date is at least 6 months for food and at least 1 year for medicine.

Aramex collection bins are located at the following locations:

In the UAE*: Mall of Emirates, Deira City Centre, Sharjah City Centre, and Ajman City Centre.

In Jordan, at Aramex offices at the following locations:
- Khalil El Salem Street, Khalda - Amman
- Bader Shaker Al-Sayyab, Near Social Security Building - Amman
- Ameer Mohammad Street, Zarqa
- Malik Faisal Street, Irbid
- Royal Jordanian Building, Haya Roundabout, Aqaba
Aramex Media Bookshops in:
- Thaqafa Street, Shmeisani
- Cozmo, 7th Circle
- Marhaba, Intercontinental Hotel
- Shop & Ship, 4th circle

Act now, every donation counts.

* Donations in the UAE are accepted starting January 1st until January 11th 2009.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

No more Silence

It started just like any picnic that was arranged spontaneously after the phrase "we're doing nothing too" and "so let's go to the beach". But when the car moved I thought we were taking a different road so I asked I discovered that they changed the destination and we're going to the lake.

The setting is very relaxing; green grass, hundreds of palm trees, a couple of meters deck next to Khalid Lake. Usually we sit in the area before al-Nour mosque. But our relatives were waiting for 200 meters after the mosque. They are planning to leave UAE for good and thought it would be a good chance to take a voyage in the lake. Without farther waiting we took a boat and enjoyed the cold wind which seemed a glimpse of Baghdad's winter.

Two other families joined us. One joined to drink tea and leave and the other came to stay. The place was crowded as usually but there were no signs of joy. Even the children playing here and there were not loud nor seemed funny as usual. Talks varied from news on TV and crab hunting activity to 5 –years Miriam who started to pick her clothes by herself.

A police box followed by police motorcade passed by and my father said "they must be transferring criminals" and he continued his previous subject. The number of policemen kept growing in the area. Looking at the road there were still more and more police cars. I stood up and looked around and found a gathering of people next to the mosque. I thought it was a fight or something like that but after a moment I figured it out. This must be for Gaza.

The number of people started to grow and they started marching towards us. My mother suggested pulling our seats and stuff to make way for them. My sister and I hurried spontaneously and joined the march. After a couple of minutes mom and dad were next to us. Once the march passed us we returned to our place but my sister and I were not satisfied. We left our company and joined the crowd to support Gaza.


Checking "My life list to do"

I'm not a big fan of New Year activities and such but I have to admit it does implement certain significance regarding checking "my life list to do".

Stuff I liked about 2008 (I can call them personal victories)(not in a specific order, well maybe just the first two):

First personal exhibition
Participated in two painting competitions and won third place in both.
Decided to take double majoring MBA and still working on my thesis
Co-organized a training program and delivered the icebreaker
First time to meet deaf and mute group of people and communicate with them
Took a class of Ice skiing
Tried water jet skiing for the first time
Had my eye fixed with Lasik surgery
Learned some new techniques and tricks in drawing
Was able to attend a play by kids for Refugee world day
Met khlalid jarrar and his mom faiza alaraji
Went to 4D theater
Forced a ball to rest in peace in its final destination, the pocket during playing billiard (naah that's nothing)
Impressed myself and others in the cooking field
Went to several international exhibitions which visited UAE
Went to Dubai Tennis Championship Final (Feliciano Lopez played beautifully and Roddick was rude. if it wasn't for his serve he wouldn't win.. oh and I have to say I had a VIP seat as a gift for my birthday from a friend but that I didn't occupy and moved to the public seats but still close enough to the American ambassador and heard Roddick when he said "there's so much crap is going on.. let's stop the game" So unprofessional to say that to your audience and the ambassador who came to see the game! oh I was supporting Lopez and did carry Spain flag)

Got rid of the 4th wisdom teeth
Found many of my old friends on facebook
Tasted crab for the first time among many other adventures in food

Ghada and nassir got married and they are waiting for a baby (I'm so happy for them and wish them the best) :D
N gave birth to her second child Totti (what a lovely child)
Obama won and Bush got what he deserved
Got 7aboob and ma7boob :D (my cell phone and laptop)

Not so cool stuff (there were much more but somehow they skip the mind :D )
Had to say goodbye to Rabab (teacher of History of Art who became a good friend of mine)
Got 3 fish: Kha'9ra, pinky and burtoqala, who eventually died
Adopted 7ashara and pet her for almost two weeks before she left this world

Can’t think of anything else right now
Sorry if i forgot something but if I remembered something i would update the post.

That's all for now
And for 2008

Happy New year everyone

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