Monthly Archives: December 2009

What’s in a name?

The comparison between books and people is the same as the difference between physically being in a place (whatever city or place you can imagine) and seeing it on TV only. Yes, books give you knowledge but they don’t provide you with experience. I like reading a lot but my best learning moments are always when I mingle and chat with people. Here are two of my recent conversations with THE PEOPLE.

Following is a conversation I had with a new international Muslim student who was registered in an English course at one of those English Language Centers in the U.S. to prepare for the TOEFL. He was complaining to me about his English teacher:

He: She hates Muslims.

I: How did you know that?

He: You can tell from the way she treats Muslim students.

I: Give me an example.

He: One time when we were waiting in the bus preparing for departure to our destination, she said “Where is Muhammad? He always make us wait for him. Muhammad is naughty!”

I: mm…..

He: Yes, she said “Muhammad is naughty” and she meant something.

I: [speechless because my mind was so busy trying to push away what “something” means.]


Another conversation took place during one of our Muslim Students Organization (MSO) board meetings. Every year the MSO invites a speaker to talk about Islam for the general audience on our campus:

Female 1: Yes, last year the event was very successful, the auditorium was full. The speaker was very good; he knows a lot about Islamic science history.

Male student: What is his name?

Female student: George [something].  [I and the male student never heard of this person before]

Male student: Is he a Muslim?

I [very confident of my answer]: No. He has a Christian name.

Male student: Not necessarily. My name is Phillip and I am a Muslim!

I: [Speechless out of embarrassment. Also while being speechless, I reminded myself for the millionth time to think before I talk and to assume NOTHING.]

Avatar – an epic movie

avatar “We will send them a message that this is our land”

This James Cameron guy got to be out of this world to write and direct a movie like this one. The technology used to make this movie is unbelievable. In the movie, the Colonel tells his soldiers “You are not in Kansas anymore, you are in Pandora” and it is true the world you see in this movie is an experience that you will never forget. The movie is in 3D which makes it even more entertaining.

Everything in this movie is a top notch. The details are beyond humans’ normal imagination. That is why I think James Cameron is out of this world. For a man to have this magnitude of imagination is something not normal.

The movie is a must see in cinema. Go watch the movie and be part of the future making.

A farewell to a memory

She recently informed me that she is moving out and leaving me for good. She started packing already, taking with her every, physical, moment we shared; good and bad, fun and sad, and leaving me with memories only. Not once she stopped to hear me begging her to stay. Not once she looked back. So cold and cruel she was, as if we never knew each other, as if she was just passing by. She was leaving for good, yet she didn’t have mercy on me. The shock kept me out of words not knowing what to say. Yet, I wanted to cry out loud and tell her “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”* But, I doubt I will ever revenge. I doubt she even cares. Revenge is not what I want; I just want her to stay a little bit longer. I need to prove to her that I can do what I promised her to do. She judged me so impatiently and she is leaving so soon.

“I don’t have time to explain. I have to leave soon. One day you will understand” I imagined her telling me. Will I? Will I understand, one day, why she left me? May be I will. But now, all what I want is for her to stay. We had good times and bad times, together. But the truth is I am not sure whether I should be sad or happy for her leaving me. Our relationship was so short and did not start well anyway. Still, I don’t want her to leave me. I know I can prove to her that I can be a better person. I know I can succeed. I asked her to give me some more time but she refused. Why the cruelty? I did not understand.

Her departure is all set. On December thirty first, two thousand and nine, ironically that is also her name, at eleven fifty nine pm she will leave me for good. She will leave me wondering when it all started and how it ended. Her presence will only be remembered. No longer will she make me happy, no longer will she make me sad because for sure she will cease to exist. Nevertheless, a new sun will rise announcing the beginning of a new life; a life that I am so excited to meet, a life that I want to live at its fullest. A life that I for sure know it will once be a memory.

*The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

There is crush and there is admiration

I had few crushes before. So, I know how one feels when he has a crush. But recently there is this girl that I am not sure if it is a crush situation or just an admiration. What is the difference between having a crush on someone and admiring someone?

p.s. For some technical difficulties in life, love is not considered in this post because the author, foolishly, believes that love could be suppressed when it leads to a complex relationship.

First Amendment versus national security

Everyone has his own opinion about this issue but I will quote what Mr. Burside said in the U.S. Supreme court in the movie Nothing But the Truth (2008).

Mr. Burnside (the journalist’s lawyer): And then how will we know if a president has covered up crimes? Or if an army officer has condoned torture? We, as a nation, will no longer be able to hold those in power accountable to those whom they have power over. And what is then the nature of government when it has no fear of accountability? We should shudder at the thought. Imprisoning journalists? That’s for other countries. That’s for countries who fear their citizens, not countries that cherish and protect them.

Children are the same, parents are not

I know discussion involving kids’ behavior is a very sensitive issue to parents. No parent likes to be told that his/her kid is misbehaving. One thing I noticed here in the US is that you don’t see kids everywhere and anytime as in the Arab world. In my neighborhood back in Jordan, during Summer, it is normal to see kids playing soccer in the middle of the street at 11pm or going out with family at 11:30pm.

Kids are never been the problem, they are two young to evaluate what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, the problem is their parents. Even if it is safe for kids to play outside their houses very late at night it still does not make sense to me.

Anyway, here is a sign that I found yesterday at one of the coffee shops. As you can see the punishment is for the parent not for the kid. I found it very funny and smart.

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