Thursday, March 27, 2008

Post-Midnight, Pre-Dawn Ramblings

Warning! This thread is a post-midnight, pre-dawn rambling. I am NOT a morning person, and the hour being dawn and all, I can’t guarantee that this thread would make any sense!

So I am sitting here wide awake when it is 3:53 am. Why can’t I sleep? Because I slept all day! No I din’t plan on sleeping the day away, I am lazy but not that lazy! I had a million and one things to do but unfortunately I woke up with a wicked migraine. I knew it was brought on by my sinuses. I felt them throb all night. It is the weirdest feeling like a heart beat but behind your nose. Throb, throb, throb. I should’ve known that the pitter patter of my sinus spelt trouble. Your sinuses are supposed to throb dummy, only your heart.
So I end up taking an antihistamine to calm down my sinuses, a nasal decongestant and a migraine medicine. Well, next thing I know, not only are my sinuses throbbing, my head pounding and am getting drowsy from the antihistamine, but I also got nauseous from the stupid migraine pills that were prescribed to me in Bahrain.

After taking an anti-nausea medicine I give in to the drowsiness and fall asleep. Even after a couple of hours of sleep, I was still drowsy and lethargic all day. Until bedtime of course.
Being awake with absolutely nothing on TV I got to thinking about the number of pills I take everyday.

After watching Dr. Oz I thought I better listen to his advice and get myself some Vitamin D pills. I don’t spend much time in the sun and over 60% of people tested are Vitamin D deficient. So I got me some Vitamin Ds.

Watching another episode of him on Oprah convinced me that I need me some Omega 3 and Omega 6 pills. I don’t eat much seafood nor do I eat my Flax seed cereal (sounds yum I know) cereal regularly. (Flax seed in Arabic is bethrat al kattan). So after giving my mum grief about popping Omega 3 pills (so and so told her it’s good for the brain), I now take two Omega 3 and 6 pills everyday.

I’ve always takes a multivitamin pill but after realizing how my eating habits are not optimal I got myself Vitamin C pills. I just don’t eat as much fruit as I would like.

I also take allergy pills daily thanks to all the trees and vegetation. Per my Dr. I have to take the pill daily to avoid my allergies developing into bronchitis. Great!!

So tallying everything up got me thinking that I am nuts. Normally, I take 6 pills daily. Folks I’m only adding up the vitamins and allergy pills. Now that I am sick, I take an additional 2. I’ve been told to take echinacea pill or tea and some lysine to boost the immune system. Never took them but have some in stock in case I fall desparately ill and need to help my immune system.

Plus all the doctors advicing people to take metamucil because we don't eat enough fiber (alyaf). You can take the pills (a whopping 6 pills a day) or dissolve the powder in a cup of water for a tang-like flavor. I prefer the latter.

Seriously, seriously!! America is one pill-popping society and they are dragging me to the dark side.

Researching all the things I take took a lot of time. It was also very informative. I guess I will keep taking the various vitamins, at least until I can improve my eating habits. The allergy medicine is something that I just have to live with. All the research made me tired! Nothing like honest work, huh! This has turned into an informative babble!!

Cocoa-Bean Frankie Roxy

I miss Cocoa-Bean Frankie Roxy. So much. I wonder if she remembers me. Probably not. She is happy that she is with her mummy and daddy. And her name is Lily, not Cocoa-Bean Frankie Roxy. Besides what kind of name is that for a dog. A small dog at that. I am glad her owners found her but a part of me wishes she still was with me. I found her outside a shop in West Virginia while visiting friends. She was scared and shivering with the saddest eyes. I went in the shop and when I came out she was gone. I found her in the middle of a street with cars whizzing by. She was terrified and crying, following two girls home. The girls did not know Lily, so I wound up taking her with me. I looked her up and she is a Dachshund. How can something so ugly be so cute? I couldn't pick one name so I chose 3; Cocoa-Bean because of her color, Frankie because she was shaped like a frankfurter (hotdog), Roxy because I was so stressed about what to do with her that I dreamt about her and in the dream her name was Roxy!

She latched on to me. She would follow me wherever I went. At night, she cried when I din’t let her in my bedroom. She was so sweet, licking my hands, sitting on my lap. Matching every step of mine with a step of hers. She would only sleep on my lap. We called the animal shelter, a radio show and the vet to see if someone reported her missing. I knew the best thing would be to leave her at my friends’ place in case her owners called. I can’t have pets in my apartment. Who would take care of her when I travel. And who would keep her company while I’m in college? She cried when I left. An hour after I left, I called them and told them to not to take her to the pound, that I wanted her. I asked them to keep her til I could come get her if her owners did not call. The called me back and told me her owners called and that the dog’s name is Lily. She danced when she heard her name. I am glad her family found her. She was so happy to see her owners. I din’t expect to get so attached to her but I miss her terribly. The funny thing is that I don’t even like dogs.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

BD50, Who Gets It and Why?

I wonder how the Bahraini government determines who is eligible to receive the BD 50/- a month for a year. (It is for a year right and not a measly one-time deal?) How does the government know who is needy or isn’t?

Here in the US, I received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service informing me that in May I will receive a one-time check for $600.00 if I filed a single tax return or $1,200 if I filed a joint tax return. The mailing also stated that you are still eligible to receive the amount if you din’t pay any taxes but have an earned income of $3,000, or something like that. This comes as a part of tax relief plan.

The US disbursements are clear, clearer than the Bahraini ones; the criteria for eligibility are stated and you know how the US government determined if a person should get relief or not. It determines a person’s needs, accurately or inaccurately, based on the individual’s tax returns.

When I received the mailing, I felt happy, then disgruntled and now somewhat puzzled. Happy because I am getting money, from the government no less! Disgruntled because instead of disbursing funds as a relief, the government could’ve just not collected as much taxes from me (yeah right! I know it’s a far fetched thought). Puzzled, because it got me thinking about Bahrain and the BD50/-. How is the Bahraini government determining who is eligible for the funds.

I quickly grew wary (I guess it’s the economist in me, or the libertarian thought that dominates the economic department of my college), how does the Bahraini government know who is eligible and who isn’t? Does the government keep tabs on its citizens’ earnings? The answer may not be as puzzling really, it can determine what an individual makes based on the amount that gets deducted for retirement etc. But what about the self-employed, most of whom do not make a bunch of money. The women that drive children to schools and such, it would be ridiculous to assume that they are putting any funds into retirement. How is their eligibility determined?

With the different questions popping in my mind, a final one leaves me worried, however flawed the means of determining eligibility, the government has a plan in place to do that, right? Or does it just pick names from a hat, or a favorable list???

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Witness to Discrimination: What Would You Do?

Witness to Discrimination: What Would You Do?
Bystanders Turn Away When Muslim Actor Hired By 'Primetime' Encounters Hostility

Feb. 26, 2008—

The Sept. 11 attacks, the Iraq war and suicide bombings worldwide have changed not only the way we live but the way we look at those around us, especially Muslims. "Islamophobia" has entered the American vernacular, and the anti-Muslim attitudes and prejudice it describes remain common.

But what if you witnessed "Islamophobia" in action and saw someone being victimized because of someone else's prejudices? What would you do?

ABC's production crew outfitted The Czech Stop, a bustling roadside bakery north of Waco, Texas, with hidden cameras and two actors. One played a female customer wearing a traditional Muslim head scarf, or hijab. The other acted as a sales clerk who refused to serve her and spouted common anti-Muslim and anti-Arab slurs.

The polarity of reactions was shocking, from support to seething disapproval. Never did we expect customers to be so passionate or candid.

His Place, His Right Our actor, Sabina, walked into the bakery in search of apple strudel. When she reached the counter, an actor posing as a sales clerk was quick to greet her with hateful anti-Muslim language.

"Get back on the camel and go back to wherever you came from," he said. "You got that towel on your head. I don't know what's underneath your dress. Just please take your business and go elsewhere with it."

"Sir, I am an American, I was born and raised here," she said.
The other customers seemed to hear the exchange but they barely looked toward our actors. When no one came to her defense, Sabina made a direct appeal to one customer.
"Sir, would you mind ordering me an apple strudel? That's why I am here," Sabina said.
Though visibly shaken by the hateful words, the man gave Sabina the cold shoulder, completed his purchase, and walked out of the bakery. "I really think that a person who owns his own business should be able to say who they sell to," he said after we told him about the experiment.

In fact, it is illegal for public establishments to deny service based on someone's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Regardless, this man was not the only customer to defend our sales clerk's "right" to discriminate.
A Narrowly Defined America A little while later, Sabina again entered the bakery, and again our sales clerk refused to serve her. This time, one man spoke up, but not on behalf of the Muslim woman. He was adamant that our sales clerk did the right thing. "She wasn't dressed right," he said. "If I was running the place I'd do the same thing." Once again, our sales clerk garnered customer support. After Sabina left the bakery seemingly frustrated and empty-handed, one man thanked the sales clerk for his discriminatory behavior. He then gave our actor a thumbs-up, not once, but twice. Jack Dovidio, a social psychologist at Yale University, said these men seemed to define "American" based on the way people look. They connected with the sales clerk and considered our female actor an outsider. "When we as Americans feel threatened from the outside, we're going to define ourselves in very rigid fashions," Dovidio said. "Either you're with me, and if you're not really one of me, then you must be somebody else who's against me."

A Very Different AmericaThe young woman in our experiment was an actor, but many of the hateful words she heard were based on the experiences of Chicago-born Nohayia Javed, who was watching our experiment from the control van. Javed said she has continually suffered verbal abuse and said she has even been physically attacked by fellow Americans  just because she is Muslim. "They always start off with, 'you're a terrorist, Osama-lover, towel-head, camel jockey' on and on," Javed said. "If I tell them I'm American, they're like, 'No you're not. Just because you were born here doesn't make you American.' And I'm like, 'What makes you American?'"

Javed is not alone. The number of anti-Islamic hate crime incidents in the United States has more than quadrupled from 28 incidents in 2000 to 156 incidents in 2006, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most recent figures.

Back in the bakery, the next customers had a very different answer to the question of American identity. First we met a man who angrily refused to buy anything when the sales clerk refused to serve Sabina. When our actor chastised him for being a "bad American," he begged to differ. "I believe I am a good American," he said. "My son just came back from serving in the army for over a year in Iraq and that has nothing to do with her [Sabina's] rights. I am deeply offended by this."

When we told him about the experiment, he explained why he stood up for Sabina. "I believe that people who use dress, skin color, language, heritage, financial means, education level, any of those things to say one group is better than another are using empty excuses for bigotry and hatred, and there's been enough hatred," he said.

We also met two young women who refused to let our sales clerk's hateful words go unchecked. "Sir, we are not buying our kolaches because you are really offensive and disgusting," one said. "Just because she's dressed like that doesn't mean anything," said the other, a Muslim-American woman herself. Rather than simply taking their business elsewhere, the young women demanded to speak to the manager, and they also challenged our sales clerk's definition of "American." "She's American. She's American. I'm American. You're the one that's anti-American right now," one said to the sales clerk.
When he refused to budge and our actress turned to leave, the two women walked out with her in a show of support.

The Silent Majority Even though people seemed to have strong opinions on either side, more than half of the bystanders did or said absolutely nothing. This is a familiar reaction for many Muslims such as Javed. "I was shocked because when these things happen to me in real life & I never see what happens after I walk out of that store," she said. "I would try to justify & that they probably didn't hear it & when I watched it, I realized, no, they hear it and they see it and they're okay with it." For Javed, tears of fear were mixed with tears of thanks for those she saw come forward to support Sabina. "In my lifetime, I've never ever had anybody stand up for me," Javed said. "It's very touching to see that because that's the right thing to do, I believe & as an American."

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

Kiss Kiss

Remember this song? For some reason it popped into my head..Enjoy!


Monday, March 03, 2008

It's no slur to be called a Muslim

1 Mar 1, 2008 - 6:58:57 PM
by Naomi Klein

The turban photos affair was a missed chance for Obama. If he really is to repair the world, he must tackle this Islamophobia. Hillary Clinton denied leaking the photo of Barack Obama wearing a turban, but her campaign manager says that even if she had, it would be no big deal. "Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely."

Sure she did. And George Bush put on a poncho in Santiago, while Paul Wolfowitz burned up YouTube with his anti-malarial African dance routines while World Bank president. The obvious difference is this: when white politicians go ethnic, they look funny; when a black presidential contender does it, he looks foreign - and when the ethnic apparel in question is vaguely reminiscent of the clothing worn by Iraqi and Afghan fighters (at least to many Fox viewers, who think any headdress other than a baseball cap is a declaration of war on America), the image is downright frightening.

The turban "scandal" is all part of what is being referred to as "the Muslim smear". It includes everything from exaggerated enunciations of Obama's middle name (Hussein) to the online whisper campaign that Obama attended a fundamentalist madrasa in Indonesia (a lie), was sworn in on a Qur'an (another lie), and if elected would attach speakers to the White House to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer (I made that one up).
So far Obama's campaign has responded with aggressive corrections that tout his Christian faith, attack the attackers and channel a cooperative witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee. "Barack has never been a Muslim or practised any other faith besides Christianity," states one fact sheet. "I'm not and never have been of the Muslim faith," Obama told a Christian News reporter.

Of course Obama must correct the record, but he doesn't have to stop there. What is disturbing about the campaign's response is that it leaves unchallenged the disgraceful and racist premise behind the entire "Muslim smear": that being Muslim is de facto a source of shame. Obama's supporters often say they are being "Swift-boated" (a pejorative term derived from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against the 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry), casually accepting the idea that being accused of Muslimhood is tantamount to being accused of treason.
Substitute another faith or ethnicity, and you'd expect a very different response. Consider a report from the archives of the Nation. Thirteen years ago Daniel Singer, the magazine's late Europe correspondent, went to Poland to cover a presidential election. He reported that the race had descended into an ugly debate over whether one of the candidates, Aleksander Kwasniewski, was a closet Jew. The press claimed his mother was buried in a Jewish cemetery (she was still alive), and a popular TV show aired a skit featuring the Christian candidate dressed as a Hassidic Jew. "What perturbed me," Singer said, "was that Kwasniewski's lawyers threatened to sue for slander rather than press for an indictment under the law condemning racist propaganda".

We should expect no less of the Obama campaign. When asked during the Ohio debate about Louis Farrakhan's support for his candidacy, Obama did not hesitate to call Farrakhan's antisemitic comments "unacceptable and reprehensible". When the turban photo flap came up in the same debate, he used the occasion to say nothing at all.

Farrakhan's infamous comments about Jews took place 24 years ago. The orgy of hate that is the "Muslim smear" is unfolding in real time, and it promises to greatly intensify in a general election. These attacks do not simply "smear Barack's Christian faith", as John Kerry claimed in a campaign mailing. They are an attack on all Muslims, some of whom actually do exercise their rights to cover their heads and send their kids to religious school. Thousands even have the very common name Hussein. All are watching their culture used as a crude bludgeon against Obama, while the candidate who is the symbol of racial harmony fails to defend them - this at a time when US Muslims are bearing the brunt of the Bush administration's assaults on civil liberties, including dragnet wiretapping, and are facing a documented spike in hate crimes.
Occasionally, though not nearly enough, Obama says that Muslims are "deserving of respect and dignity". What he has never done is what Singer called for in Poland: denounce the attacks themselves as racist propaganda, in this case against Muslims.

The core of Obama's candidacy is that he alone - having lived in Indonesia as a boy and with an African grandmother - can "repair the world" after the Bush wrecking ball. That repair job begins with the 1.4 billion Muslims around the world, many convinced that the US has been waging a war against their faith. This perception is based on facts, among them the fact that Muslim civilians are not counted among the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan; that Islam has been desecrated in US-run prisons; and that voting for an Islamist party resulted in collective punishment in Gaza. It is also fuelled by the rise of a virulent strain of Islamophobia in Europe and North America.

As the most visible target of this rising racism, Obama has the power to be more than its victim. He can use the attacks to begin the very process of global repair that is the most seductive promise of his campaign. The next time he's asked about his alleged Muslimness, Obama can respond not just by clarifying the facts but by turning the tables. He can state that while a liaison with a pharmaceutical lobbyist may be worthy of scandalised exposure, being a Muslim is not. Changing the terms of the debate this way is not only morally just but tactically smart - it's the one response that could defuse these hateful attacks. The best part is this: unlike ending the Iraq war and closing Guantánamo, standing up to Islamophobia doesn't need to wait until after the election. Obama can use his campaign to start now. Let the repairing begin.

Source: Guardian (UK)