share some thoughts

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A gift

yesterday I was out to a few places, and came home with 3 gifts.

I went for lunch first, where a very nice person I know had just come back from Denmark, and got me this beautiful silk scarf. All wrapped up in a fancy bag with a satin ribbon. it looks quite elegant and quite expensive.

I next went to my favorite dentist, where my sis was having her tooth done. He gave us a couple of tapes to listen to as a gift.

I then went over to visit nana's mom and kids. (Nana my best friend in Canada). they had just come back from Canada where they have been visiting her. Her mom gave me the stuff Nana sent me as a gift: Harry Potter and the Half Blooded Prince, and some vitamins :)

I was telling my sis on our way home : hey I got 3 gifts today! I wonder which one I am most thrilled about.

it came to me that the value of a gift is often more related to the giver and circumstances rather than the actual value of the gift.

I realized that I liked getting the tapes the most, even though they could be found anywhere for 5 L.E. each! The person who gave them to us is someone I greatly admire and have admired for close to 10 years. We have never been friends, but i so respect and like him. because a gift from this person was so unexpected, it was quite refreshing.

the silk scarf was really beautiful, but made me feel a bit funny, I felt obliged to get the person something back, and i didn't know if I can. Also i felt that I might not diserve it.

The Harry Potter book is indeed great, but nana is so close to me, and I have been literally nagging her to get it, it didn't feel like a gift. It is like when you tell your mom to tell you to get Icecream on her way back. It is but a fraction of our friendship that i so cherish. that is her real gift to me.

But A gift has such a beautiful meaning, esp. when given in no occasion, just for no reason. It shows that someone cares about making you a bit happier by giving you something that you might like. It shows someone was thinking about you when they got it. It shows someone wants to reach out to you without expecting anything in return (most of the time) except that you enjoy it. I remember the Hadith by the Prophet PBUH:" tahadoo ta7abbooo" meaning that if you exchange gifts, you will love each other.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Zionism and Judaism, not the same?

I just read this very interesting comment at Dalulla. It talks about non zionist Jews, and tells there is a difference between Jews and zionists.

It was good reading it from another point of view, not Muslim, but Jewish. I know from Quran that , even though alot of the people of the book are said to do great injustices, there are also those who are adherent to their true faith, that are just, good and believe in God. the verses I recall are in sooret Al 3emran, 3rd chapter in Quran.

In no means should we generalize. labelling a whole ethinic group with something that some of them do is not fair. interesting link at Dalulla's.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Social Segregation

I was reading a while ago the novel "3omaret Ya3kobian" Yakobian's Building. In it, the author describes tenants of this famous building that exists in down town Cairo. He tried to give us a small display of all different types of people in the society, the rich, the poor, the ladies' man, the politician, the merchant.. Etc. I did not like the fact that almost all of these portraits are not really the normal, or at least accepted, the average Joes were not here at all. I guess he thought they would not make interesting stories, but this one guy Taha, the only one who seemed like a hard working ethical religious character in the story, he turned him into a terrorist at the end! Didn't like the implication, but that is not what grabs me here.

The story talked about how he is so proud, and maintains his dignity, even though he is the son of the doorman. In its own, the doorman job is honorable and there is nothing shameful about it, but the society unfortunately imposes a social segregation, as if making them into different people. This is not Islamic in any sort.

The guy Taha talks about how when he went to college for the first time, was in awe of all the different people, and how people were almost immediately divided into different groups according to social or financial standards. A metaphor he used that I liked: Like oil and water so clearly separate, so did the different social standards. They do not intermingle at all.

When I read this, I remembered my days in college, and yes this so did happen. But I don't recall consciously deciding not to mingle with this or that, it just happened naturally somehow, did not think of it as segregation, but now that I am working, it is much less pronounced, people mature a bit I guess, and realize we are all the same more or less, I can mingle with anyone as long as they are decent and polite.

But I had never looked at it from the point of view of the others, the ones of a less prestigious standard may I call it? It was described that Taha was terrified of talking to anyone lest they would ask him what his father does, and he has to lie, or appear inadequate. Insecurity led him to stay away from the social life. Then he found solace in this guy whose socks he noticed was full of patches and holes. That is who he could be friends with.

I felt bad for him, I wouldn’t want to think that anyone would not talk to others because he is of a lower social or financial standard out of shame. I would like to think that talking to one’s same standard is because they would have more in common, have similar interests, backgrounds and so can have more fun together, but not for feeling inadequate for any reason.

And yet, I know this segregation is true. The society is a harsh and cruel critic and judge. And Is so unfair. What makes one better than another is their deeds and heart, not their worldly possessions. What we have in life is often out of luck and fate rather than us being superior or inferior to anyone else. And it does not make us superior or inferior either.

Wish people would take the time to talk to one another, even those that they feel are “not their type”, just for the sake of lessening this segregation thing. We are all brothers and sisters after all.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Deaf, Dumb and Blind

My sister was telling me the other day how she was so surprised, more than frustrated, that she had been trying to convince someone of something that is so clear! What she was trying to convince the other girl of made so much sense and yet the girl could not or would not see it. My sister said : " it is so wierd, deaf, dumb and blind is right".

I know she was referring to a verse in Quran (2:18), where God was describing disbelievers that choose to purchase the error for guidance. their commerce was not profitable and they were not guided. ""they are deaf, dumb, and blind, so they return not (to the right path).

The thing is, although she was not discussing a matter of belief or faith with the girl, yet she felt it applied. It symbolizes someone that would not see what is infront of them, would not hear what is said to them, and can not say true. These almost have no good use of their senses that in the end they are like someone who has no senes at all. if you do not listen, you are like the deaf, if you do not see, then you are like the blind. It is a powerful simili indeed. if you are deaf, blind and dumb, then you would be so easily misled.

In another part of the quran, this simili is more explained in words that mean: it is not the sights that go blind, but it is the hearts in the chests that do.

i can not remember the verse's place, and the translation is my own, I apologize if it is in accurrate.

But the point is, the hearts are the most important,they are the parts that feel and believe. and these are the ones that sometimes harden, and become un responsive.

another verse about the people who choose not to see or understand:
"Do they not think deeply in the Quran or are their hearts locked up (from undestanding it)." (47:24)

Hearts are the key to the matter, open them up, softent them and you will be able to see, hear and actually sense and understand.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Arghh, I just was discussing this today, and I was almost going to lose my temper with a half American half Egyptian Muslim friend of mine!!!

I was so angry that every time I turn on the news there is coverage of the Gaza withdrawal and sad photos of a poor poor Israeli being "thrown and dragged" out of "his" ??? home.. and they keep on playing and replaying it all the time. and we are supposed to be sympathetic with them?!!!!

These people came to "Settle” in a land that they know came to them by throwing someone else out of their home, they know! They are accomplice as far as I am concerned. They went to a land that they know their precious government has conveniently evacuated by knocking down the houses of some Palestinians (but I guess they did not think it was wrong, do the Palestinians count as people? is probably on their minds). And they lived happily on this grabbed land. And of course their precious government did not drag anyone out of their houses, oh no... The Palestinians ran out on their own for fear of dying under the rubble when the bulldozers started knocking their houses down!

And then when they get out (after months of knowing about it and being promised compensation (for what!!?) they just cry and throw a fit like a spoilt kid that has been told to stop kicking the neighbor’s kid.

this friend of mine was telling me, “but it is of course so dramatic, this is their home... imagine if your own government throws you out of your home to build a highway, oh think of then as human beings!!!”
What? Excuse me? I almost yelled at her, I think I kind of did.

How could you, this is not theirs to be thrown out of. What the hell logic are you talking with?

These people were sympathetic with whom when they wrongfully took the land of the Palestinians?

And she is a Muslim and Egyptian, then again she is half American, born and raised there, on their values, and brain wash that ... actually I can't even think of what the hell values make them able to think this way.

And people are sympathetic why? Because the media keeps on playing and replaying this as a tragedy! And when Israel came into Palestinian houses dozens of time a year, it is but a foot note on the news bar at the bottom of the screen. No photos, no coverage, nothing.

So are Palestinian’s lives and homes of less worth and value to be mentioned? And these are not even Israeli homes and houses. What is built on wrong is wrong.

I didn't know who to be angrier at, the media or my friend. My friend I think, because it felt so like a betrayal.

Maybe will develop some more lately when I calm down.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Skills, how do you use them?

Which is more important? Your skills , or how you use them?

Skills are important, and valuable, yes, and one would like very much to be skilled at what he does. So are certain traits. Some traits are very rare and needed. But when using these skills badly, one would wish they had none.

Make myself clearer:

Examples of a skill or trait and how they can be misused:

1. Being charming, expressive, eloquent and attractive:

Could be used
a. to win people over for good causes, or,
b. could also be used to win people over to evil causes, or to emotionally manipulate people, deceive them etc.

2. Being Very smart

Could be used for:
a. Inventing a cure for cancer or,
b. Inventing biological weapons

3. Being a perfectionist:

could be used for:
a. Constructing a factory or machine perfectly, or,
b. Being an assassin, thief, killer

4. Being a good writer with good command of language:

could be used for:
a. reaching out to people with beautiful meaningful writing, also help those who are not so good with their language, or
b. writing absolute rubbish, or disturbing things, or mocking those who can’t.

millions of examples really, but the thing is, when having skills, if you use them improperly, you are worse than someone who doesn’t have them but at least if has them; would use them properly.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Brain Wash

ok, this is the second time i write this post. i wrote it yesterday, it was wierdly enough posted twice, then i tried to delete one, it deleted both. i'll see if i can remember what i said

"I have been reading a few interesting posts at haal's blog. A word that repeatedly came up was "brainwashed". What does the word Brain wash mean anyway?

I guess it can mean being excessively influneced by an outside factor to the extent that you can not think for yourself, you believe other people ideas with out really thinking about them, and even think that they are yours!

The big problem is, if you are brainwashed, how would you know it? that is part of what being "brainwashed" is about. your brain is being washed of all coherent and rational thinking.

I guess what helps is exposing yourself to more than one source of influence, read (or listen to ) more than one side's point of view, and in general address the matter objectively and not defensively, and put the possibiltiy in your mind that you might be wrong. If after this, you still come out believing what you do, then you can feel comfortable feeling that these are indeed your ideas, whether right or wrong, they are yours.

I know it is easier said than done. No body likes to think they are wrong. It is scary and destabilizing, but what other way to move forward? and if approached properly, the position you got to at the end would be even more reassuring and comforting. So who are the mastermind brainwashers in the world? they do have great power:

1. The media
2. The media
3. The media
4. Society and its rules
5. your immediate family sometimes
6. sometimes your significant other
7. Anyone with the power to influence you could be a source

Beware of Ego, it is a serious obstacle in the path of seeing the light and moving forward.

NB. this post has nothing to do with the content of haal's posts

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Virgin Heart

In the heart of every woman there is place for one special love. usually this is the first love, but not a rule. A love that one calls "the love of my life". A love that invades you completely, makes you live for it and by it. An all consuming feeling that you are complete only when with him. Before this love, your heart is practically a virgin. It is usually taken back by the intenisity of the feelings, and then gives in completely, with little space for anything else. You can sacrafice anything, go to great lengths, climb the highest mountain as they say.

Some women sadly never experience this. They may love someone and marry them yes, but not everybody tries this pure abstract form of love. And sadder yet, are the much more common cases, of women who do indeed experience it, then get their once virgin hearts broken, and then go through life looking for something similar, never to find it again. Their hearts are simply not virgin any more.

A lot of my friends have experienced this, then maried someone else in the end. Someone they love, and whom they could be happy with, but they all say the same thing: it is not the same.

Having known a much more powerful feeling, they would always feel that they were somehow deprived of something. And it is very difficult to experience the same emotions with someone else. They are truly blessed the ones who marry "their loves of their lives". Althought I know there are unhealthy sides of this all consuming love; rationale is usually thrown out the window and when heartache comes, it is a killer.

Just a request for all those out there, don't go playing with virgin hearts. I know this sounds like a cliche', but I am serious, it is not a game. You would be depriving them of their chance of being able to love again that way. And you could be a shadow in their life for the rest of their lives.

Blog Ads

has anyone noticed the invasion of the ads?!!!

I guess advertisers have found it cheaper to put a link through comments rathar than pay for the ads. They start out by flatterring you and complimenting your blog! As if you would get all up and excited about it and run to check the link. I did open a laptop site though, so it might actually be working. Is the complement the going rate these days to place an ad on your blog?

I think this phenomenon could be related to this article that i have found through Shirazi's blog. It shows that bloggers are of a higher income level than regular internet users, and more likely to buy stuff on the net. And it also says that advertisers are not to ignore blogs as an advertising board. wouldn't it be cute if ads can be placed on personal blogs for money, given to the blogger? The more popular the blog, the higher the fee? It sure would motivate alot of bloggers to keep their blogs updated and interesting, and capitalism would invade the blog world!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

left overs?

I just read this post at roora's blog. Talking about waste and throwing away left over food when so many people are starving all over the world.

Of course, giving them to the needy would be great, but also in the interest of helping our economy, not being just a consumer society, we eat and eat and then eat some more than throw away what we don't like, maybe we could recycle our food!

At the risk of sounding like Martha Stweart, here are some tips i learnt from my mom about reducing your waste, and recycling what you have:

1. Buy just enough fresh fruit and vegetables, don't over buy.
2. If some fruit is about to go bad, you can incorporate them in a smoothie or jello. ("incorporate" does not sound right with kitchen advice:) )
3. Stale bread can be dried or toasted to be later ground into crumbs for different breaded food. Or cut into cubes for ceasar's salad.
4. 1 or 2 day chicken can be cut into small pieces and disguised into a vegetable casserole and soya sauce to make chinese food. Same with beef.
5. Don't add dressing to your salad till right before serving to make it fresher at the table
6. Old white cheese, (which has not gone bad) can be great with tomatoes and olive oil and cumin
7. Can't find a good recycling method for rice or macaroni. Wait till it dries and give it to someone who raises chicken for them to feed.
8. Cook the correct portions in the first place!!!

These are especially useful in ramadan, when no one wants to see leftovers on the table at fitar time.

P.S. giving away to the needy is still the best option.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

small pleasures in life

we all have basic needs to survive; food, clothing, shelter... etc. But we also need other things to make us happy, a mental vitamin if you will. things that cheer up your day, these are other than those that make you psychologically healthy and sane, those i list under the basic needs. the small pleasures i mean are like icing on top of a cake. the cherry in your icecream, the anchovies in your pizza (if you like anchovies). they just make you smile. stuff that you really enjoy. here are some of the things that i enjoy

1. having coffee and chocolate with my friends
2. a good book
3. jigsaw puzzles
4. shopping at flea markets
5. playing with my nephews
6. the smell of grass when freshly cut
7. playing video games
8. buying nice smelling things
9. talking to new people (not just on the net)
10.chinese food

these are a few of my favorite things. thank you God for them and all others.

did i mention i love chocolate? and icecream?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The myth of having it all

In relation to my house wife mentality blog, where working and staying home are too different things, with their pros and cons, I just realized that sometimes our options are very limited by our circumstances. Having it all is apparently very hard to find. I just read this article about the issue, showing how difficult it can be for us. We have 2 jobs, balancing them is almost a magician trick. And ones who do it, really really diserve a trophy. (or at least more appreciation!).

Actually here in Egypt, if you work in the government, you would get great family support for being a mom; you can take leave for years for child care, and have your job waiting for you at the end. The first 2 years of a baby's life, the mother is allowed an hour off (called nursing hour!) So moms can actually hold on to their jobs and have families at the same time. but of course governemt jobs have their drawbacks (don't need to list them, anybody in Egypt would know what they are).

It is the private sector that is merciless on women. You know that in a lot of resumes, being a married woman is a disadvanage? A married man is a better bet for them, "he would work harder for his family" is the theory. I guess for them it's a man's world phrase goes just fine.

Monday, August 01, 2005

i just stumbled on this blog called 100 reasons why i hate my husband. it is really wierd. i didn't know to laugh or cry. this woman is literally listing 100 reasons that she hates (and yes i very much believe she does) her husband. she says it is for the sake of their daughter, but come on, your daughter would probably be better off if you two are happily married, or happily divorced. growing up in a house where the parents hate each other can be very damaging to the child psychology.

and i felt so sorry for her (even though i don't approve of talking ill of your partner). being stuck in a marriage with someone you hate... much worse than being alone. hope she finds her peace before she kills him!