Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Gov That Failed

What has the government done ever since it took hold of our lives in '52? That new revolutionary government had failed in every aspect and yet it holds on to power. It is evident then that this power is selfish and does not and will not serve the people. To all those deluded into thinking that our government is anything but a failure, they have my deepest sympathies.

The government we have is the most hateful of all governments, and if it were a true democracy, it would never have existed. I will not call our government a mafia, lest they put a contract out on my head, but I will compare their actions to a mob. They want to serve no one but themselves and in their selfishness they've contradicted the reason for their own existence.

I thought once of writing a letter to each one of them, and very sincerely, but I realize now that it was very juvenile. Their humanity has ceased to exist. When I look at a police officer I see a mafia boss not a citizen on patrol. When I look at a minister I see a thief and when I look at a congressman I see a deviant.

We're in a jungle like in that movie, The Beach. We're surrounded by the drug dealers who care for nothing but their profits. It's funny how so many people are still asleep. It's funny how they're like battered beaten wives who stick to their husbands. This country's government doesn't deserve my loyalty, it hasn't earned it. The country itself has been betrayed by its keepers.

I'm ruled by oppressors. Luckily I'm writing this in English. These bloody oppressors don’t even want people to call them what they are. Why is it that I feel this way? It's simple, I don't like bullshit and there would be too much of it if I endorsed the charade that's going on around me called government. I have always had a very good sense with who to trust or believe and I know for sure that the entire government is full of lies.

It's a government that failed, and its failure is what we must endure. I wish I could fend it off and I wish there were some way to eradicate it, but it's there to stay.

Friday, November 14, 2008


All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel.
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save.

All that is now
All that is gone
All that's to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

Eclipse by Pink Floyd

I know not how to describe great events that I happen to witness. I fail as a writer to bring anyone closer to what events around me may have inspired. This is perhaps because I myself am seldom inspired by what goes on around me. I lack the vocabulary of words to describe the material things that happen around me. I don't know all the different shades of colors nor the proper names for the types of clothing and worse yet I don't know the names of sounds and I can't describe the visuals and the imagery that surrounds me. 

Come to think of it, there's not much there is that I take pleasure in when it comes to events, books and arts. My taste is limited to a handful of writers, musicians and film makers. My tastes are simple, moderate and predictable, very much like me. I dislike naivety and I possess a bitter distaste for needless sophistication. My tastes reflect those of a normal human being somewhere within the wide range of a simpleton and an aristocrat. 

I have no tolerance for things that do not communicate to me. Mindless entertainment is not my thing. I haven't seen enough great things to want to move beyond what is objectively good and venture into the absurd and incomprehensible. I'm already overwhelmed by things I already do understand and that's why I can't appreciate as yet the things that try to go beyond. 

Like I said it might be because I haven't seen enough, but more likely than not it's because I process things too analytically with my mind. That's why things have to make sense before I can appreciate them.

I suppose I could be at a disadvantage for not being a 'feeler', but there's a plus side to my nature. To be able to take in feelings through the mind's channel is to be able to express my feelings through the same channel. 

So despite my inability to express well the events that surround me, my gift, I've often felt, was to express the feelings inside me. I possess a vocabulary of thoughts, not words, that deciphers and expresses my feelings and that's where I’m at an advantage.

Forget the plethora of lucid and decorated words that fill the pages of a paper or magazine. They are words used as pathetic fallacy to bring us closer to the hypnotic effects of an art piece or performance. They are a disguise to be objective about how art makes us feel by attributing the imagery to the art work itself rather than our inner feelings. The truth will always remain in what we feel and how we feel things.

I don't care much anymore for what I say or how I say it. There's beauty in finding our own way of saying something that's already been said. I fail to see the point of having someone write your words except if you really want to share it with the world and bring them closer to you. 

I'm told sometimes that I say so little about myself when I express my thoughts. I try to talk in general rather than talk about specifics. I'm not sure how it's possible to observe this while I pour my heart out through my thoughts. Which is better to say, that I have too much work or that I'm overwhelmed from the world to the point of breaking?

To me the latter says more, does it really matter that work is doing this to me or just plain old life? Is it important to talk about the life, the kind of work I do, the kind of subjects I studied, or is it more important to talk about what I love to do, what I've learned and what effects life has had on me.

In my thoughts are a thousand pieces of my soul, I'd rather pour out the pieces of my soul than pour out the pieces of my material body. In my thoughts are feelings around which my world revolves. 

Yet now, words fail me, thoughts fail me and I'm not fully able to describe what I best describe. I'm left with little words and little thoughts to explain my own self now and how I feel. The rhythm in my head has stopped, and the words don't flow as they once did. In my head the sentences don't form at the right beat, there's an irregular latency that spoils any harmony that used to exist. The words don't travel all at once as they did.

I'm at a loss for words, the kind of words that would best explain what I'm thinking and feeling. I know I'm thinking though, but there's a rock mingled with the thoughts inside my head as they all float together. The thoughts are thought, but then damaged by the rock, never fully making their way out of my head. 

Is that how it feels not to know what you're feeling? Like a maze with the truth at its exit, a truth about your thoughts and feelings. Only you've lost your orientation and the plan to exit the maze got jumbled up.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Moment in a Million Years

The lights are slowly fading down
There's no one else, just you and me
Nothing ever changed
I see your faces in the crowd
It seems I know each one of you
For all my life
I wish this night could last forever
But it's time to go

I saw you laugh, I saw you cry
All for one and one for all
Nothing ever changed
The way you sang just blew my mind
It gave me chills from head to toe
What a glorious night
To me it could have lasted forever
But it's time to go

A moment in a million years
Is all I've got for you
A moment in a million years
To make some dreams come true
A moment that I won't forget
Until the day I die
A moment in a million years
Called life

The bus is waiting right outside
To hit the road and once again
I leave you all behind
I chase another dream tonight
And by the time you'll be home
I'll be far away
I wish this night could last forever
It's time to go

A moment in a million years
Is all I've got for you
A moment in a million years
To make some dreams come true
A moment that I won't forget
Until the day I die
A moment in a million years
Called life

Words and Music by Klaus Meine

When someone dies whom you've known just over the internet, there's no news and no way to tell. There's just an absence that cannot be explained. Many people I know have disappeared, how many of them are still alive?

I don't know what this song is about, but it's about a certain kind of end. A moment in a million years called life, that's what we have. What do we do? Make the best of it?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Body of Lies

"So what do you prefer to eat?" Di Caprio asks two young Iranian children living in Jordan. They answer, "Burgers and Spaghetti." In the film theatre, both of my friends on either side cringe at the same time after hearing the answer; it's so like Hollywood they say when I ask them later. I didn't understand what's too Hollywood exactly, the film or our lives.

For some reason or another I was the only one who saw this as a reflection of reality. The irony is that both my friends are ardent fans of reality being represented accurately in movies; I'm not dead set on it. It really got me wondering why two of the biggest fans of reality rejected it. Did they not really think it was a real answer or was there something more to it?

In all my life around the Arab world, I've found that this statement about burgers and spaghetti almost always true. This is what young kids love; this is what I loved as a child, they just simply taste good. Obviously there's more to cringing than a matter of taste.

The disdain was most likely at America trying to force its values, its culture and its tastes down our throats, and while this may have been true in the past, what my friends may have chosen to ignore is that it has now become a reality. America is very alive in the Arab world with its burgers and its vision.

But the only real problem with America is that it's loved and hated at the same time. In the movie Body of Lies this sentiment is accurately portrayed. One of the terrorists has got a PhD and speaks five languages; he wants to go to America, that's reality.

America is a land that enables you to succeed based on your skills and hard work, that's why it is loved.  But as the terrorist tries to bargain, the CIA agent cuts him loose to see who'll kill him. To Americans we're no longer people, we're no longer the needy and poor whom they had invited to join them, they've closed their doors, and turned their backs on the world and that's why we hate them.

Our love comes from wanting to have a place like America to live in, a place that has all its virtues. Our hate comes from our anger at their ignorance and rejection of the entire world; it's at their self absorption. Russel Crowe is an epitome of what America has become, a loving father and a kind family man who takes care of his own and attends their soccer matches and tries to spend time with them in a superficially loving manner, but when dealing with families thousands of miles away he is a completely different man, both ruthless and hurtful. He has shut down his sympathy and compassion for others and everyone is a tool or a pawn in the game he plays.

Di Caprio tells him, "Be careful about calling yourself America." But he is America, in all its intelligence and splendor, in all its deceit and indifference, in all its greed and power thirst. Crowe is a charming and yet spiteful man. He's charming because he's Russel Crowe, but we have an inner desire to love him and forgive him if only his actions would meet his charm… but till that happens (and it never will) it's love and hate.

Crowe sits from his base of operations, remote and disconnected from what's going on, only understanding what his modern technology brings him. He cannot understand that sometimes you can do nothing but wait, and that sometimes you cannot buy your way, or torture your way into success.

There is some value in the movie that chose not just to make the same old statement about a useless war with very hurtful strategy, it chose to describe a piece of reality in a more updated fashion. Perhaps it will never match any reality we know of, but considering that less than 2% of Americans have ventured outside their own state, it has brought an image of the Middle East that's a little closer to reality from what the majority would see in other movies or their largely biased Fox news.

There are a few things that appealed to me about the movie and perhaps being a simple minded Arab, they appeared to be real. When portraying an Iraqi working with Di Caprio, the young man barely had an accent. That was particularly interesting considering that all Arabs in the past have were made to have an accent even if they spoke English fluently. To have an Arab working with the Americans who showed no traces of an Arabic accent was very bold and yet so accurate. Consider the multitude of Egyptians who can speak English without an accent, there are so many of them and yet, without the accent you couldn't be an Arabic speaker. This is a shift in paradigm, just like when they decided that Egyptians could be portrayed without the need for a desert, the pyramid and camels.

There were many other items of authenticity in the movie, one of which was the cyclone club in Dubai that was visited by people on their business visits and making use of its prostitutes. There was also the fact that the American's weren't necessarily always the smartest, they were surpassed by the head of Jordanian intelligence played brilliantly by Mark Strong. There was also the values of friendships and personal relationships that were highlighted, and a rejection of technology that cancelled out these inter personal relations.

The portrayal of several events seems to have been well researched and it marks a change in the way Hollywood approaches the Middle East. There's an attempt, albeit just an attempt, to find out more about what's really going on, what Arabs are like and how in-over-their-heads Americans really are.

Why then did my friends dislike this movie? The simple fact is that anything associated with America's foreign policy and operations is hateful. There's just too much American crap around us now and America is still at it, trying to keep pushing the lie till it becomes true. My friends seemed to think that the movie was pro American in some way or the other because the hero was American, but looking back there wasn't a single good point about the Americans that was portrayed. Americans were remote, ruthless and did not comprehend the world they've forced themselves into. They were in over their heads and they didn't give a damn about the Arab world. They were incompetent and outsmarted and eventually taught a thing or two.

America with all its evils does not realize that the world is waiting for a chance to love it again because of the good it had advocated in the past. In both world wars it has been important for the triumph of a good side and has preached some of the greatest values. The problem is that America falls short on implementing any of its values and all that they have preached has become a body of lies. They are fading into oblivion and even that remote desire to forgive America for all the hate it has spread is turning or has turned into an unfriendly ghost that no one wants to be haunted by.