Saturday, April 14, 2007

Is the Law failing Mahmood?

Reading Lulu Bahrain’s Minister v. Blogger thread has led me to do thinking and searching. If you don’t have a clue to what the fuss is all about, I recommended Lulu’s legal analysis of the case.

Borrowing from Lulu’s post:

Based on the Press and Publications Law (PPL) & the Penal Code (PC), a libel occurs when all of the following conditions are met:
1. The offender has published a criticism of a person holding a public office which includes slander, unless the criticism is proven to be factual and is related to the claimant's public duties (PPL 72); or

2. The offender has publicly associated a person holding public office with an occurrence that can make him subject to punishment or ridicule (PC 364); AND
3. The offense must have taken place publicly or published on a public forum (PPL 72, PC 364, 365).

Here is how libel reads in the US laws (I’m only using the US here because the information is readily available).
Defamation, Libel and Slander:
Generally speaking, defamation is the issuance of a false statement about another person, which causes that person to suffer harm. Slander involves the making of defamatory statements by a transitory (non-fixed) representation, usually an oral (spoken) representation. Libel involves the making of defamatory statements in a printed or fixed medium, such as a magazine or newspaper.
Typically, the elements of a cause of action for defamation include:
1.A false and defamatory statement concerning another;
2.The unprivileged publication of the statement to a third party (that is, somebody other than the person defamed by the statement);
3.If the defamatory matter is of public concern, fault amounting at least to negligence on the part of the publisher; and Damage to the plaintiff.

Public Figures
Under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, where a public figure attempts to bring an action for defamation, the public figure must prove an additional element: That the statement was made with "actual malice". In translation, that means that the person making the statement knew the statement to be false, or issued the statement with reckless disregard as to its truth. For example, Ariel Sharon sued Time Magazine over allegations of his conduct relating to the massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Although the jury concluded that the Time story included false allegations, they found that Time had not acted with "actual malice" and did not award any damages.

Our good old Bahraini law fails to address one important point: were the statements made in actual malice (hatred, spite)?

And another point becomes glaringly clear, while the Publication and Press Law and the Penal Code seem to protect public figures the American Laws applies to regular people and provides additional requirements to be met for public figures. Moreover, the additional requirement for public figures in the US defamation and libel law places the burden of proof on the public figure him/herself. After all the government official is a public servant with the duty to serve the society the best way he/she are able to.

So what you have here in Wonderland is a law that protects public figures from scrutiny. You cannot criticize a government official, candidate, etc for not doing their job because you will get sued!

In the case of the MP of municipalities, the criticism is valid. Having lived in Riffa this past year or so, and having relatives there, I can testify to the puddles of sewage that decorated the streets. The stream of refuse and what not that would run through the ‘ferjan’. Men walking with their thoubs hiked all the way up to their knees because they could avoid stepping in puddles only for so long. Having to change outfits a couple of times because the minute you step out of the door, you get sewage stuff on your clothes. Kids playing out with rats and cockroaches all around them. Calling the baladeeya (municipality) never helps. The trucks are too busy cleaning richer more privileged areas, making sure not a spot remains while the everyday people are left to sink in refuse. Complaining on the local programs achieves little or nothing.

So given all this, is it fair to assume that the municipality and by extension its MP are not doing their job well? Yet for some reason Mr. MP is offended at such honest criticism. Instead of doing something about the sewage situation, he runs to sue. Yet the great MP is not at all offended by the sewage and rain puddles.

My fellow readers I leave you with this gift.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Drink Tea, Skip the Milk

For all those who drink chai 7aleeb or 7aleeb ma3a chai, check out this article.

Milk can do your body good, but maybe not when it's in your tea. Women in a study who drank black tea had improved cardiovascular function -- but that protection vanished if they drank it with milk. Temper the taste of your black tea with lemons instead. Or sip it as the Chinese traditionally do: straight up.

Researchers are not sure why milk may blunt tea's heart-healthy effects, but milk proteins called caseins are possible culprits. Tea is bursting with health-boosting
polyphenols, but proteins have been shown to counteract them. In one study, when researchers added a small amount (10 percent) of milk to black tea, it reduced the tea's concentration of catechins -- polyphenols credited with giving tea its antioxidant punch as well as fighting heart disease and boosting weight loss. The study results may help explain, in part, why tea's heart benefits appear to be missing in the United Kingdom, where milk is usually added to the brew.

It's not a done deal, however. Other studies have concluded that milk has no effect on tea's antioxidant powers. But the conflicting study results may simply be due to the way the scientists measured the good stuff in tea. In this recent study, researchers measured the effects of tea -- with and without milk -- on blood vessels in the cardiovascular system. Straight black tea helped blood vessels relax and widen, allowing blood to flow more freely. Tea with milk did not produce the same effect.

Copyright(c) 2007, RealAge, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Fermented Shrimp Incident

This is the post where I gripe about my experience with Malay food. *WARNING* rant mode on*

I research Malay food and the restaurant itself. The customer reviews were great and so far everything I read seemed good. I convinced my friends to give the restaurant a try and off we went to dine there. We looked over the menu and asked the owner for advice. I settled on Belcan Okra (bamyah) with chicken. I love bamya and I eat chicken. The menu description stated that the dish is a stir-fry with a slightly spicy sauce served over white rice. Sound edible doesn't it? Well it was most definitely NOT!

While chatting with friends, munching on our lovely salad with ginger dressing, I smelled a horrendous stench right before the waiter brought my food. It took me a minute to realize the stench was coming from my table. How could such an awful smell come from food? Did they serve me something they found dead? Is there something stuck to the bottom of my plate or my shoes. I was dumbfounded. Meanwhile my friend, whose food wasn't great but certainly edible, was gloating. She told me not to try anything 'too weird.' I wondered if it was just me. Another friend of ours, one who eats absolutely anything wouldn't touch the dish. That's when I knew something was seriously wrong.

The food smelled like e77la (dried and salted fish) only 1000 times fouler! But my food wasn't seafood or was it? I ask the waiter what the red coating on my chicken was, and she said that it was coated with spices only. Surely, spices don't smell that bad??? I couldn't even eat the white rice and I finally asked that they remove it from the table and ordered something safe! Much to my surprise the owners/waiters got so offended and demanded to know why I did not enjoy the food. I couldn't exactly say 'well gee, it smells like ****!" They were genuinely offended and stunned that I did not like the dish.

When I went home, I googled my dish and whaddya know, good ol' wikipedia had an article on it. Here is what wikipedia had to say: "Belacan is a shrimp paste made from fermented ground shrimp, sun dried and then cut into fist-sized rectangular blocks. To many Westerners unfamiliar with this condiment, the smell can be extremely repulsive […] Belacan, a Malay variety of shrimp paste, is prepared from fresh tiny shrimp. These are mashed into a paste and buried for several months. Belacan is used as an ingredient in many dishes, or eaten on its own with rice […] the aroma from the frying mixture is unpalatable to most Westerner who have not become accustomed to it, but is an absolute delight to the Asian connoisseur." How could they not mention that?

They should've known that most people would not be able to eat the fermented shrimp. Serving it as part of their menu is their right and choice. However, it is very deceitful keeping this little fact from customers and misleading them. It is what makes the dish!
What if I was allergic to shellfish? I wish I knew what it was before leaving the restaurant; I would've faked a seizure and scared them all. I dropped more than 20 dinars on that awful food. Worse, I was embarrassed and felt like a criminal for not eating the food!

The next day I was relaying to my coworker about my horrible experience in the ladies room (ladies next time you engage in gossip in the WC check the stalls for legs!). One thing led to another and we start swapping our most disgusting food experiences. That definitely topped mine. Next thing I know, this girl comes out of one stalls (I didn’t even realize she was there) and says that as a Filipina she grew up eating the fermented shrimp paste and it is a delicacy. She stormed out all indignant while I stood mortified wishing the ground would open up and swallow me. I avoided that particular ladies room for days while I debated is I should apologize to her or if she should to me. I offended her that much was clear but she was the one eavesdropping. Once again, thanks to the stupid fermented shrimp I was made to feel like a culturally challenged twit!

My biggest gripe is not the food itself, but the deceit that surrounded it. Ok maybe the smell too!Ugh I feel like putting bu5oor just thinking about the smell. Ok, off I go, gotta get the stench off my mind.

A Yummy Post

Since I cannot travel as much as I would like, I am trying the next best thing: eating my way around the world! Lol (My fellow reader, are you one of the lucky ones that had to sit through my whining and groaning about my unfortunate weight gain and how NOTHING fits? Now you know why!!!) So here are the cuisines I tried along with my opinion of them:

-Saudi: Yes it can be very different from Bahraini food, surprise, surprise! I was stunned and my hosts horrified (??) when I discovered that.
-Egyptian: My favorite would have to be the mole5eya although we make it the Lebanese way!
-Levant countries: I enjoy nearly all of the food. All time favorite would be the Tabouleh and ma2ane2.
-Jordanian: LOVE the ma2loobee and the mansaf. Need I say more??
-Turkish: I love everything they make. The yoghurt meatball soup is simply awesome.
-Sri Lankan: Yes it is very different from Indian and yes it is absolutely great! My favorite would be the mutton curry, the potato stir-fry with the curry leaves and the coconut salad. YUMMO
-Indian: Very very good. I like the red meats better than the chicken and for me that's unusual. The biryani and goat curry are tasty.
-Mexican: Absolutely love the whole fish, for some reason it is always called the mojarra, does that mean fish by any chance? No matter where I am, I have to lift up my sleeves and dig in. No forks for me, thank you very much!
-Spanish: Much to my surprise and yes I was stereotyping, very different from Mexican. It is nice, love Spanish seafood and of course the paella.
-Brazilian: love their red meats and seafood.
-Japanese: I hate sushi and am not a big fan of Japanese.
-Thai: mm I generally hate peanut sauce and/or oil, so I am not a big fan of it.
-Chinese: love the fake, not so wild about the authentic.
-Puerto Rican: Absolutely awesome, a certain dish they have resembles the saloona only with green olives!
-Columbian: Din't taste much but what I ate was also good. What struck me and again with stereotypes was how different it was from Mexican.
-American food: what can I say; there is the horrendous, the ugly, the bad and the good! What surprised me (now it doesn't) is the tendency to verge on gaminess (zaffer).
-Malay food: Oh boy, where do I start? Actually I won't get into it in this post.

So what cuisines have you tried? What would you recommend?

Globe Trotter

I love to travel. Seeing new people and experiencing different places is something I find very exciting and satisfying. I am a citizen of the world and as such I want to immerse myself in as much of it as I can. Don't get me wrong, I like nothing more than just chilling at home after a hard work week. I am baytooteya as some say! Unfortunately, time, location and monetary constraints stop me from being the globe trotter I know I am at heart. Currently my travels are limited to seeing more of the United States as I can only get away on weekends. Eight states down, 42 more to go! I started writing down all places I would like to see.

Here are places I would love to visit:
Arab world:
Morocco, Kuwait and UAE (yup I must be the only 5aleeji not to go to there), Oman (I heard it has beautiful sceneries), Lebanon and Palestine.

Americas: Toronto, Oregon (I'm curious to see what folks do there!), Argentine, Brazil and Peru, maybe Chile. Mexico too!

Europe: France, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria and Russia.

Asia: China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. Australasia: Sydney, Canberra and New Zealand.
Last but not least Africa: Kenya and South Africa. Hey I told you I want to see the world!

What place in Allah's earth did you fall in love with? Where would you go and keep going to if you could? For me, I love Turkey: the scenery, the people, and the food. San Francisco and Northern California were simply breathtaking. California can actually be serene lol! Charleston, South Carolina. What are yours?

Dr. Ali Fakhro's Article

Below is an interesting article by Dr. Ali Fakhro....Enjoy! (click on each image to get a larger, easier to read version).

Thursday, April 05, 2007

تصريحات المهندس عبدالرحمن محمد النعيمي

Received these gems in an email. Enjoy!
يظهر علينا أحد النواب قائلا لقد حصلنا على مكرمة للأرامل 50 دينار ومكرمة كذا وكذا، نحن نريد أن نغير هذه العقلية ، نحن لا نريد أن
نسمع أن المواطنين متسولين ، بل مواطنين أصحاب حقــــــــوق، وبالتالي ليست هناك مكارم في بلد أنعم الله عليه بهذه الثروة النفطية
يراد أن يقال في هذا البلد أن شيعة هم المعارضة والسنة هم الموالاة، باعتقادي هذا خطأ فهناك شيعة مواليين وهناك سنة معارضين، وفي الواقع لا المعارضة ولا الموالاة تريد أن تستلم السلطة ، فكلنا مقتنعون بجلالة الملك بأنه ملك للبلاد وأن الأسرة الحاكمة هي الحاكمة بموجب القانون والأعراف

بإمكان شعب البحرين أن يعيش – يوما من الأيام – دون ديون وبالتالي يمكن أن نحل جملة من المسائل إن لم يكن هناك تصور مستمر بأن يكون الشعب دائما مديون

نحن لا نريد أن نتآمر على البلد بل نريد الخير لهذا البلد، ونريد الخير لكل أبناء هذا البلد

الحكومة خايفة من الناس، والناس خايفة من الحكومة، والناس خايفة من بعضها بعض، هذي بلد يسمونها!!، كلنا نص مليون ، أنا لم أشاهد بلد آخر يشيع ثقافة الخوف كهذا البلد !!، إذا استطعنا أن نأسس لثقافة تقول أن المواطنين متساوون في الحقوق والواجبات

من حق جميع الجمعيات أن تختار أعضاءها حسب معتقداتها ولكن يجب أن تشيع ثقافة التسامح واحترام الرأي الآخر والتعددية وأن نعمل بشكل مشترك في قضايا مشتركة، فنحن جميعا متفقين في المطالبة بزيادة الأجور، لا سني ضد ارتفاع الأجور ولا شيعي كذلك

توجد سبعين قطعة حربية أمريكية في الأراضي البحرينية، وتوجد مناطق في المطار نفسه لا يمكن الدخول إليها لأنها تحت الحماية الأمريكية، الخطر الحقيقي الذي يواجهنا هو الأمريكان

نحن نعاهدكم بأن كل امتيازات أو أموال خارج القانون نرفضها، ونقول حتى هذه الألقاب التي لا طعم لها ولا معنى "سعادة النائب" نرفضها،قوله يالاخو لازم يعني سعادة النايب

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

You Can Help!!!

Do you feel like no matter what you do, you cannot make a difference? Want to see your hard work fruit and blossom? Tired of contributing time, money, effort but find little results? Well, what if I told you there is something You can do to make a DIFFERENCE immediately?

Interested? You should be.... How about cleaning a beach?

Such a great idea by Soul Search. Click here to link to her post and contact her. Simple yet effective. You, yes you can make a difference! So will you join the efforts and make our beaches beautiful? Or will you sit back and let the filth and trash pile up? The choice is yours.

Take a stand now! Say no to trash and yes to a cleaner, more beautiful Bahrain. The time is this Friday April 06, 2007 at 9am. The place is a beach near Marina Club. If interested contact Soul Search at

Remember a clean beach is a beautiful beach accessible to all.