Oh, gentlemen, perhaps I really regard myself as an intelligent man only because throughout my entire life
I’ve never been able to start or finish anything...
Every man has some reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone, but only to his friends. He has others
which he would not reveal even to his friends, but only to himself, and that in secret. But finally there
are still others which a man is even afraid to tell himself...
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Relationships Not a Destination
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The aliens were not alien in their values and their ideas, they had a deep connection with their forest and every living thing around them. Their tribes worked in harmony, the women and men equally vital to their community with deep respect for the greater force of nature that binds them all. In a way the Navis of Avatar resembled the native Americans whom the Americans slaughtered, whose lands were stolen in order to serve the great and sinister ideal of capitalism. The Americans resembled, well, hmm, Americans and even in a futuristic movie on other planets they haven’t changed their locust-like nature of devouring everything in their way. The businessmen causing wars and milking us dry won’t stop.
In this movie it’s like the true alien to the humans is humanity. We’ve become so alienated from our roots that we don’t recognize them when we see them. We destroy everything in our way for insignificant profit and we've distanced ourselves from what truly matters. We’ve severed our connections with our surroundings, our nature, our climate, our environment and what’s more with one another. As a story, even with all the repetition in the ideas presented, everything is as pertinent as ever. The natives or Navis are referred to as hostiles and the American are still using the phrase ‘fight terror with terror’ even though they’re the aggressors.
The sky people (humans) moved back to their dying planet; something along these lines was said. We have killed our planet, but worst of all we’ve let our greedy politicians and businessmen do it, but unlike the movie we don’t have the power to tell them they can’t have everything they want, we have to watch our own planet being depleted for ink on paper they call money and for luxurious polluting vehicles and machinery.
The mandatory action sequences were there, but beneath their usual shallowness, I was filled with an underlying sorrow to see that beautiful scenery that Cameron had built being destroyed by heinous gun fire and explosives. It’s sad to see something beautiful destroyed, and Cameron created something very beautiful.
Those I’ve been with hadn’t experienced 3D in the manner presented to us in the film and according to many reports, Cameron revolutionized 3D. Cameron aimed to bring people back to attending movies in the cinemas. In my view, he succeeded.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Miracles and Realism
~ The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Has it been that long?
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Weary to my Bones
Monday, December 14, 2009
First Editions can be Dangerous
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Waiting for Govot
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Please jump for Egypt's National Anthem
We sometimes have our moments
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
A Vice In Disguise
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The Niqab: A Veiling of Humanity
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Truth or Dare
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Worth an Answer?
Monday, October 05, 2009
A Prison Inside Out
I think it's the fact that rules are imposed, whatever they may be. And how is that different to the rest of the world? Maybe it's just that the values differ from place to place. I think at the end of the day it's the fact that these values are being enforced, and I find them meaningless and stupid. The difference between one country and the next is the degree of freedom to do what you wish, is it the degree of freedom to do what's wrong? Perhaps, but one man's wrong is another man's right. It's the certainty, that fake certainty that disturbs me the most. The air of unquestioning ideas and values.
I find this land skewed, different from what I see in other countries. In other countries, the outside is freedom and the in confines of walls and fences dwells imprisonment. But in Saudi Arabia, the outside is the giant prison, and if you manage to escape to the confines of an American compound then inside what you get is freedom. Maybe like peace, freedom also comes from within. Maybe you might find freedom within a prison of some sort. That might be the general explanation to explain this anomaly.
In compounds people act freely, there are women, there are drinks, there are pools, there is everything you may wish to find in a free society. Is Cairo a lot like Riyadh? I don't know, there's a prison within Cairo.. people, families, reputations and doormen.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
An Apology for the Detained
Monday, September 28, 2009
World Cup Trophy Denied Entry - Egypt Pleads Stupidity
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The Life of Promises
Monday, September 21, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I Hate Poor People
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Moments of Travel
Yes, even when the destination holds brilliant promises of great times and unforgettable experiences, I can feel that weight, for even with the splendor of a promise it remains lacking in one aspect when compared to reality, in that it remains unfulfilled. The smallest bit of reality can conquer the greatest promise by exploiting that weakness which all promises are fated with. It is this contrast that causes the dilemma predominantly for a materialist. For reality manifests itself through everything that can be seen, touched, heard or smelled but promises manifest themselves in the realm of imagination drawing their images from fragments of memories combined with many thoughts and mixed by brain churns that place them in their proper place inside that jigsaw puzzle offered by promises. The reality of parting is ever so present at moments of departure when you can see all you left behind and can only imagine what's ahead.
But despite the weakness that each promise possesses, it can offer something beyond reality. It can create a better version of something experienced, perhaps even a version that cannot be imagined. Certain promises rely only on faith; faith in something beyond creative imagination; faith in the limitations of human abilities; faith in experiences and words of others. Even when reality is at its best, promises combined with faith can overturn it, can change all of its sweetness and take away its bitterness. But even then how can you overcome the feeling of parting?
I guess that's the way it is with journeys, even death the journey of the greatest distance in perhaps the least amount of time. Parting is almost insurmountable and even the best of promises cannot change that. The promise of an afterlife can only rely on faith and fragmented memories of the happiest times magnified to trigger the imagination. While the imagination can take you far away places, it can fail to reflect what’s to come, offering far better alternatives to reality. Yet to wait a lifetime for a promise is a little too much, and some will choose this moment over a promise that might not be fulfilled.
Once you’ve made the journey, things start to change, when you're en route or in the air you can only attempt to focus on what's to come. You look to fulfill the yet unfulfilled promises relying on faith to turn these promises into reality. But once these promises are fulfilled, they disappear and the faith that brought them life dissipates.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Monday, September 07, 2009
Blogging Ain't What It Used To Be
Monday, August 24, 2009
To Confer Status
Lionel Trilling - The Middle of the Journey
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The Best Vengeance
There is a way to take revenge other than blowing up the places they work at, or ridiculing them (although both ideas sound great). The most effective way is not to let them get to you and not to let them frustrate you or annoy you and even if you want to fight them, fight them with peace, fight them with an understanding of their sick and cruel nature. Fight them as you fight a disease within a person, with abhorrence to the disease rather than the person, with knowledge that sometimes they are victims and that's why they cause these casualties. Fight them with the knowledge that if they do not get to you, it makes you better, and disables the disease.
If you can control yourself and smile upon their cruelty rather than have it get to you, and be immune to their mindless game plays even if it costs you time, even if it costs you something, then even if you've lost, they've lost as well which means you've won something at least.
One thing remains, and it is perhaps the most difficult to accept even for me, as I have been targeted by these kinds of people numerous times. Whenever you're in a position of power over people, do not be the same way they were with you, even if they themselves make way into your world and you have power over them. You must treat them with fairness and kindness and be a just god in your world unlike they've been. It is the only fair way to take revenge even if they do not understand it and even if you yourself do not understand it. By logic, it would take thousands upon thousands of words to express why this would be a victory, and even then it might not seem convincing, but there's a feeling I have within me, that words do not describe well, that tells me that this is the way to win if it were a competition, this is a way to repay their evil.
A feeling like this can be ridiculed, debated, rejected or even neglected, but the one thing going for it is that it can be felt. It can be felt by someone who doesn't understand how it all adds up, who can see a victory in retaining goodness when all others have failed to and cannot recognize it anymore. It's a feeling that's so deep that not even the greatest can reach it, not even the most evil can beat it, it's their ultimate enemy, and all their actions are determined to reach that core and tear it down, but just like the good man cannot explain it or reach it by any logical means except by feeling, so also the evil ones cannot destroy it by actions if we do not let those actions get to us.
Friday, July 03, 2009
The Right Car
After visiting a few incorrect entrances and being told to go around in other kinds of circles, I imagined I found the right one. I parked my car outside the entrance next to a few others and made my way to the gate in order to make sure.
I approached the security guy and asked him, "Is this the gate to the club?"
He answered,"Be7'soos aih?" (What's this about?)
I said, "My friends are in there and I was making sure."
He said, "You need booking in order to get in."
"Sure," I said, "my friend has already booked."
He hesitated for a while, and I wondered what was going on with him, I suspected it, but it was a little far fetched.
"Where is the club exactly?" I asked.
"It's right there," he said, pointing to a place that seemed like a minute's walk.
He then asked, "Did you come by car?"
"Yes," I answered, expecting him to tell me instructions on how to park there or something of that sort. But then he said the improbable.
"What kind of car is it?" he asked.
"What kind of car?" I asked in disbelief, "I don't see how it's any of your business."
I'm not one to get annoyed too quickly, otherwise I would have really burst at him, but I was actually marveling at the question.
"You want to know if I'm of the right class, right?"
"No," he said, "you look like you're of the right class, but I think you should just take your car and drive inside, there's a parking in there."
It was almost unbelievable really. By then I had decided not to take the car. As I walked towards the club, it appeared he was still having doubts and asked me to call my friend before going in. He wasn't worth my breath apparently and I told him he can take his comments and shove them somewhere.
Have we come to that, a car brand being part of entry criteria? The place wasn't even crowded, it was silent, and the last order was at 10 pm, and the service was abysmal and yet they care about the type of car?
Egypt is falling victim to an ever growing divide, and the irony is that the gatekeeper is of the kind that he won't personally allow to get in. Later on in the evening, we were discussing that Egypt is more than just one country, it's countries within a country, at least Cairo seems to be that way.
In the words of Batman, “It’s the car, chicks love the car.”
Friday, June 26, 2009
Death of a King - Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson caused a great deal of commotion because he was different and didn't belong anywhere. Ever since his youth, it seemed as if everyone loved him for his talent and uniqueness but rejected him for the same reasons. There is a lot of contrast between MJ and Peter Pan, effectively they're both kids who never grew up and they have their own Neverland. Jackson would visit his Neverland and bring us back the most unique, beautiful and amusing ideas, songs and dance moves. It seemed he had a bag of ideas like Sport Billy's out of which he would dig in and bring out something marvelous. Could it be that MJ will find immortality like that of Peter Pan through his music?
But what am I really trying to say? I think that many were afraid because Michael Jackson was so different. The trouble with the human race is that we want to belong and not just that, we want others to belong. Michael belonged to childhood, and the adult world could not accept that. He belonged to Neverland, but that was so inconceivable. It was as if everyone was fighting, and needing him to belong. The black people wanted him black and got angry when his skin color underwent changes. Didn't all our ideals in this modern age revolve around the insignificance of skin color?
"Dont tell me you agree with me,
When I saw you kicking dirt in my eye"
~Black or White.
When his skin color changed, he actually did prove that skin color doesn't matter, but the world would not accept what it had preached. They did not accept that it didn't matter what the skin color really was because there was the same human underneath.
"Im not going to spend
My life being a color"
Even MJ as a white man wasn't welcomed. He was much too different, he was from a different world, and quickly the controversy of child molestation started taking form. There had to be something wrong with him. I know and confess he was indeed different, his whole body structure, his face, and everything in him, but did we really have to reject him for it?
He was different, he had to be something we understood, otherwise we could not accept him. He had to fall into a mould otherwise we wouldn't know what to do with him. His creativity was marked as eccentricity, and he was ridiculed and mocked in an age that advocates freedom and equality, yet when it comes to something different, how quickly we return to being conformists. We want freedom boxed by a set of boundaries we understand.
"You talk about equality and the truth either you're wrong or you're right."
If Michael Jackson taught us anything, he taught us that we can sometimes be the biggest hypocrites, advocating one thing and doing another. He taught us that there is great music that can be created, new ideas and he taught us that people differ.
Michael Jackson was an alien, but while our tolerance might have not been enough to accept him for all that he is, our emotions were enough to love him and admire his work.
This is a tribute to the man who brought me Billie Jean, Black or White, Liberian Girl, Smooth Criminal, Little Susie and so many more; someone whose musical genius moved mountains, forced people to respect him; someone who’s dance moves inspired millions; someone who suffered the scrutiny of a world that did not want to leave him alone in peace; someone who has been grabbed by fans, harassed by reporters, crucified by the media and disdained by people. This is a tribute to a legend who despite how different he was, despite how confused he might have been and made us feel, earned our love and compassion and our best salutation.
“Neglection can kill, like a knife in the soul”
I’m sad and sorry that he’s gone, but I pray that the King of Pop receives in death the kind of peace he was never able to attain in life.
Monday, June 22, 2009
How can you expect a country to do something right when everything goes wrong? I mean with Africa, it's okay, because most of the African countries are as messed up as we are or even more, and the mentality is similar, so there's no difference between one underdog and another. But when we're playing against the USA we have to understand that it’s not the American team but the American attitude that’s difficult to defeat.
America is mostly despised but perhaps also loved for the same reasons it is despised, not the least of which is its winning attitude that is so fervidly despised in Europe. But to be honest, America is a comeback junkie, with a great thirst for winning and most of its citizen think they're in a Rocky movie, expecting a comeback at any minute. They believe anything is possible till the last minute, and while they might be wrong sometimes, this attitude enables them to do all that is possible for them to do. In the end they go down fighting. Despite their sometimes annoying positivism, I'd always want an American on my team because the general attitude is not to quit.
In Egypt however, the loss is symptomatic of a country where good things are accidents. Like all accidents that happen in Egypt, even the good ones are plentiful. Did we really think that things were doing things so right so as to actually make it to the second round? No, we’re just a first round kind of people. It's just not right that we should do something contrary to our nature, and unlike matters within the country where doing things the wrong way gives you the greatest rewards, the world does not recognize nor accept this way of life, and for this reason we lose when we don't do things right, as it should be within Egypt.
I'm not one to change my point of view overnight like most people who will suddenly see Egypt's team as having no potential; on the contrary, we played great previously, beating Italy and giving Brazil a run for their money. We have some world class players occasionally and I don’t mean that we have a good player once in a while, but rather a player that does well once in a while. The point I mean to make is that we're consistent in our inconsistency. We're too mercurial (as is evident from FIFA stats) and it’s in our nature to let go once we imagine success. Our standards are so low that we don’t care to keep giving it our best shot. Doing well is not a way of life; it's an activity that we practice once in a while albeit a very long while.
In this game the nature of the countries collided with one another and if there’s one thing we ought to know, it’s that our nature can’t win. A country with talent and history was defeated by a country with less talent and less history but so much more will and enthusiasm. A mentality of losers was aptly beaten by a mentality of winners. A country that lost its ability to resist was beaten by a country that never quits. In short an enslaved country was beaten by a free country.
Is that too much philosophy for a football game? It might be, but I think we don't have enough philosophy to win as much as a football game. If we talk about the concrete reasons, they'll be something as boring as our league is horrible and undisciplined, our players don't train properly, our education is crap and it affects our mentality, our values are screwed up and we value pleasure more than hard work that gives so much more pleasure in the long run, etc.. etc.. The concrete reasons are there, but the problem is that our hopeless philosophies in life are what lead us to these concrete reasons in every field and on every field.
I've said it before and I say it again, it's not that Egypt is so damn hopeless, it's those moments of hope that really make you realize how we could have been. We caught a glimpse, but it all faded away… In the end it appears that this is all we can ever get.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Egypt's FIFA Ranking
Monday, June 15, 2009
Monday, June 08, 2009
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Civilians started playing the role of traffic police, applying some common sense to the senseless drivers. The streets were chaotic even though the traffic flow didn't seem to be that much. How incredulous is it that on the night just before Obama's visit, a big junction would be left like this unadministered. Did the traffic cops leave because no one cared? or had headquarters ordered them somewhere else?
In any case, I want to report that the traffic was horrendous, I had never thought that the traffic seargent was of that much importance. But then again I had never thought that the traffic police would leave their posts.
I really wonder what other ills this Obama visit will bring us. It seems that when something bad happens, we the people have to suffer, and when something good happens, well, some key persons might benefit, but we the people have to suffer also.
I don't think people are as worried about what Obama's going to say, as much as they are about avoiding the hell and torture they might endure if they make a wrong move tomorrow.