Monday, February 20, 2006

Why Do I Feel So Sad?

When I am in Bahrain, a feeling of euphoria accompanies me where ever I go for the first few days. I want to embrace every person I see, tell them how much I missed them; I want to kiss every child and feed the ground beneath me my tears of joy. I want to breathe in all the scents, the good, the bad and the ugly. I want to shout of the roof tops, scream out loud that I am home, I have finally come home.
Then the reality of Bahrain, the reality of my homeland and my people set in. The rosy glasses are taken off and I see all the ugliness. I take in the hypocrisy and double standards, the unemployment and poverty, the racism and sectarianism, the obsession some people have with all things trivial and the ignorance that still prevails, the conditional freedom and acceptance, the distorted freedom bestowed upon us and the decades-long struggle of my people for what they may never experience.
I try to reason with myself and others; how can we take one step forward and so many behind? How can we struggle for our freedom and at the same time let sectarianism and racism divide us? How can we think we are better than others when we have been put down all our lives? How can so many of us be ignorant of the plight of my beloved country? To the plight of those who gave up their lives, blood, family and efforts for the dignity of a country? I get mad, I become angry, my blood boils and I get agitated. Then I get jaded. I write off the dream of my beloved being free, a warm and loving embrace that encompasses all of its children.
Now that I am far far away, I hear and read of my beloved’s news, the same old stories that just take on new faces and names. Why am I not angry, why isn’t my blood boiling? Why does my heart ache and tears overflow my eyes? Why is it so difficult to write it all of as the same old story and a dream that turned to be just that: a dream? Why do I still long for a perfect beloved and a warm embrace that exists only in my head? Why do I feel so sad?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Cleric offers reward to kill cartoonist!

Cleric offers reward for killing cartoonist Vow comes as Pakistan arrests 125, including radical Islamic leader
MSNBC News Services
Updated: 9:04 a.m. ET Feb. 17, 2006
PESHAWAR, Pakistan - A Pakistani Muslim cleric said Friday that he and supporters were offering rewards of more than $1 million for killing Danish cartoonists who drew caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Maulana Yousef Qureshi, a cleric in the northwestern city of Peshawar, said during Friday prayers that he personally had offered to pay a bounty of 500,000 rupees ($8,400), while a jewelers association was putting up $1 million, and others were offering $17,000 plus a car.
Qureshi repeated the offer at rally later in the city to protest against the cartoons.
"If the West can place a bounty on Osama bin Laden ... we can also announce reward for killing the man who has caused this sacrilege of the holy prophet," Qureshi told Reuters, referring to the $25 million U.S. bounty on the al-Qaida leader's head.

What a BRILLIANT Idea! Why din't I think of this first and put up the $100 that I have. It isn't much but I bet some Luny Bin will rise to the occasion and secure his way to paradise! Seriously though, when will we learn????? Will we ever??? We want the world to stop thinking we are terrorists, so much so that we will terrorize them into not thinking it! Hopefully, a cleric or something will do some damage control.

Yes oh West, we are all for freedom of speech and freedom of every kind, except that not one of us is free, and when we disagree with you, we will go for your throat, so you better not piss us off. SAD.

The loser of a cleric should be fired, but sadly, me thinks he will be revered. Quick someone kill him so he too can go to paradise.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Meet the Winners!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you.....

President George W. Bush:
At a closed-door meeting with lawmakers Friday at a Republican retreat in eastern Maryland, President Bush warned that "I expect this conversation we're about to have to stay in the room." He quickly added that "I know that's impossible in Washington." It was, even more so than usual. The first few minutes of his comments were being piped inadvertently through an open microphone to reporters who had just been escorted out of the event. In his supposedly off-the-record comments, he offered a defense of his National Security Agency eavesdropping program.

Vice President of the USA, Dick Cheney:
Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his friend in the face and shoulder while bird hunting on Saturday. A birdshot pellet that hit the friend has migrated to his heart, causing a "minor" heart attack, hospital representatives said on Tuesday outside the hospital where Whittington is being treated.

It would be hilarious if they both weren't so destructively dangerous.

Quote of the Day

"Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith."
- Prophet Muhammed (SAW) as reported by al-Bukhari

Cartoons Reach Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

So, here I am visiting a friend on Friday, when the tired old question came up: Did you see the cartoons? I did not have to ask what cartoons she meant, by now, all of us about THE CARTOONS. So I said yeah and changed the subject. After all, what could I do? So then I come to know through another friend that the Sun News, Myrtle Beach's most circulated (and pathetically boring) newspaper has published the Danish cartoons.

Ok, I was extremely bothered when the Danish newspapers published the offensive cartoons, but now I am past bothered. Infuriated, and surprised. Why on earth would a newspaper in Myrtle Beach publish the cartoons. Here, Muslims are referred to as Mozzlems or the Nation of Izzlam folks. People here don't even know where or even what Denmark is, yet the newspaper thought it fit to publish the cartoons.

Whom do these cartoons address in this little southern town, where most would not even know who the Prophet is, and what do they hope to inspire?

These cartoons and the violent reactions they caused around the world only serve to reaffirm the misconception that Muslims are terrorists to be feared, that I (being normal and peaceful) am the exception to the malignant and dangerous rule. I will continue to get the locks of shock and masked fear when people realize that I am not Hispanic but an Arab and worse, a Muslim.

So what should I do? This time, it hits to close to home for me to be comfortable.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Ruckus over the Danish Cartoons

When I was younger, my dad used to say that freedom is conditional. You see, with freedom comes responsibilty. You are free to do whatever you please as long as your actions or words do not hurt or limit the freedom of another. Once harm is established, then you have to face the ramifications and may even have your freedom restricted or revoked.

So in the West, people are free and democratic, something we still long for. Yet what is freedom, really, and how do you define it? Muslim girls in France are banned from wearing hijab in schools, a move unanimously backed by the french goverment. People with Muslim, Arab or African names have difficulty finding employment. In the States, there is the Partiot's Act which allows government agencies to spy on people.

On the other hand, the West has freedom of speech. So much so, that often time slander and hateful comments are regarded as the individual's inherent right to free speech. (antisemitic comments and negative remarks about the holocaust are crimes punishable by law in many western countries. These negative remarks include publicly doubting the holocaust.. but of course prophet bashing is free speech and welcomed!)

So this brings me to the Danish cartoons that slander the Prophet (PBUH). The questions that beg to be asked, is a person's freedom limited or unlimited? Shouldn't a person be held responsible for the results of his/her right to practice free speech? In this instance, my dad's words come to my mind, you are only free to do as you wish as long as no one is harmed. In the case of the Danish cartoons, clearly the sensibilities of all Muslims were offended .

So what do we do now? Do we murder him like Theo Van Gogh, the Danish filmaker was? Do we act violently and reinforce the negative image Islam seems to have? Do we act rashly with threats, hateful words and boycotts that would do Muslims more harm than good and create a backlash?

Or do we rise to the occasion? Why not sue the cartoonist for defamation and slander? Why not take the high road and settle this one and for all in courts? Why not establish a clear precedant in their courts and in their lands that makes it clear that slander of religion (whatever it maybe) is not freedom of speech and should not be tolerated? Why not be patient, resourceful and resilent until we have it established that with freedom of speech comes responsibility?

Wasn't the Prophet (PBUH) mocked and ridiculed by his opponents? For that matter, weren't most prophets (PBUT). But the Prophet never waged a war for that reason or incited violence and doled out threats. Why not mimick his actions as we struggle to right the wrong done against him?

Maybe because it is easier to make a ruckus and fuss, instead of being the bigger and better persons, instigating real and lasting change for the better.