Category Archives: Arab

Comrade Nadia

Part I – Why Russia was never the enemy but the USA is?
Part II – From Russia with Love
Part III – Moscow and Um Khalid’s dream

Part IV – Comrade Nadia

Many changes had happened in Khalid’s life since He came to Moscow. Couple of years had passed since the last time Khalid’s forehead touched his prayer rug. His mother made sure not to forget to place the most important item in his suitcase. As much as it was important to see her son succeed in life, it was not easy for her sending him off to a country far away. She believes God never forget his slaves especially the good ones. Her only request to Khalid before he left was not to forget his prayer.  When packing his suitcase, she placed the prayer rug on top of his other stuffs. She thought placing her son’s undergarments and shoes on top of the rug would be inappropriate.

In his first year in Moscow, Khalid used to place the rug either on his bed if he is not sleeping or on his study chair if he is not sitting on it. Somewhere he can easily spot when he wants to pray one of his five daily prayers.

After three years in Moscow, it was not just the absent of the prayer rug that you will notice if you enter his tiny one bedroom apartment. His Jordanian friend, Ahmad, was no longer his roommate. There were few pictures of him and Nadia placed on the vanity mirror and on the nightstand near his bed. They both looked so happy in these pictures. You can see different places on these pictures all taken on different occasions. There is one during his 19th birthday. Nadia is kissing him on the cheek and he is having a blast among his other friends. On another one, she is on his lap in front of a lake.

Where is Khalid’s prayer rug?

Khalid like the majority of Jordanians came from a conservative Muslim family. He would never throw away his prayer rug. He thought since two sins were committed regularly in his apartment, drinking alcohol and fornication, it would be better to keep the prayer rug in his suitcase. The one he brought with him from Jordan.

Nadia was Khalid’s age. They meet at a friend’s house. Nadia and Khalid found in each other something missing in them. He treats her like a princess and she gives him romance. It was not just her beauty or their love that lured Khalid away from his culture and religion.

Khalid transformed from a Hamel (astray or tramp), as his father used to call him, to a Comrade. A title that made all the difference in his life and had huge effect on him.

So, how did this transformation happen?

To be continued …

Moscow and Um Khalid’s dream

Part I – Why Russia was never the enemy but the USA is?

Part II – From Russia with Love

Part III – Moscow and Um Khalid’s dream

Like any parents, Abu Khalid and Um Khalid wanted the best for their children. Although, they both did not attend universities but they learned it is very important for their children’s future. Fatmeh, the eldest child, did not attend a university as well because of her low grades in Tawjihi (the General Secondary Examination). Luckily, she was able to attend a college in Irbid, 20 minutes by bus from their village.

The second child, Khalid, received 57% in his Tawjihi, a much lower score than his sister. Yet, Khalid’s low score was not a big issue because he is a boy and so he can go study somewhere else outside Jordan. Back then (circa 1950 to 1990) it was more common to invest in the sons’ education more than the daughters’ education because boys will become the breadwinners. And daughters will marry.

The parents wanted Khalid to become an Engineer, at least that is what Um Khalid wanted more than anyone else in the family did. Her neighbor Um Abdel Baset has an Engineer son so why cannot her son be an Engineer as well. Through Abdel Baset’s father connections he managed to admit his son to Damascus University, one of the oldest and toughest universities in the region. Abu Abdel Baset knows someone who knows someone in the Baath Party in Syria.

Back to Khalid’s family. Khalid’s grades were not enough to let him study Engineering at Damascus University nor Aleppo University. Besides, they do not have the connection Abu Abdel Bast has in Syria.

Khalid’s family heard of boys going to Moscow to study. Backed by his mother, Khalid managed to confess his father that he should go to Moscow. He told his father how when he becomes an Engineer he would get a good job in Irbid with a very good salary. The father agreed although that meant selling couple of lands that were with the family for three generations.

Khalid travels to Moscow.

To be continued …

From Russia with Love?

Part I – Why Russia was never the enemy but the USA is?

Part II – From Russia with Love

During the 50s, most or maybe all Arab countries became independent. Arab governments wanted to build their countries so they started sponsoring their best students to study abroad. North African countries sent their talented students, even Muslim scholars, to France and the Levant countries sent theirs to Russia. For this reason, there are plethora of French and Russian literature translated into Arabic.

In Jordan for example, we read a few of Maxim Gorky’s novels while in high school. At that time, I could even name few prominent Russian novelists. If that was not enough, I actually read few of their short stories that were outside of the school curriculum. Unlike English literature, were sisters living in big nice houses in the countryside tricking charming men for marriage, Russian literature felt more realistic to Arabs. Russians lived a harsh life. Russian writers describe a life full of misery and disappointment. Their stories do not end with the protagonists getting married or achieving their goal. You can hardly find an educated Arab who has not read Russian short stories or novels. We got used to the tragedy in their novels.

This type of literature found a new reader based in the Arab land and supported by The Arab Nationalist Movement. Arab nationalists became heroes. Until this time, there are group of Arabs who call themselves Nasseri (i.e., a follower of the ideology of the former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser.) Nasser was in office between 1950 to 1970. He was for many Arabs a hero who was a socialist and anti-imperialist.

Egypt was not alone in its Nasserisim against imperialism and pro-socialism. Iraq and Syria adapted an Arab nationalist socialist movement called Al-Ba’ath party. This party was in full throttle supporting The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO.)

These movements were very popular among Arabs. It was time for Arabs to stand up for themselves after being silenced by the European colonization and the Turks before that. The mood then was the unity of Arabs against the imperialism. However, why it was the USA only that was and still been hated more than any Western Country?

Enter Israel.

To be continued …

Why Russia was never the enemy but the USA is?

Some young Arab men discovered that they did not have to believe in God to go or see heaven. They found it on earth without any effort from their side. It was right in front of their eyes. They actually lived in it. Maybe, it would be a better description if we said they lived it; they lived the heaven life. No hot dusty desert but cold and beautiful green sceneries. There, they saw breathtaking women they have never seen anything like them. Women who were very similar to how some Imams described during Jumu’ah (Friday) prayer. Gorgeous women with milky and pearls-like skin. However, it would have not been heaven if they could not touch these angelic women. In this place so called heaven, touching these women was not an issue. In the promised heaven, a man can have more than one woman. In this new discovered land, these young Arab men satisfied their fantasies. The more women they wanted the more they got.

The paragraph above is not an introduction to a short story but a period of time some young Arab men experienced. Between some times in 1950 to 1990, this newfound land although felt like being in heaven was actually known as The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Also known as Russia.

So, beside the breathtaking women what else happened in Russia?

Everything exciting happened.

to be continued…

Like farting on a tile floor

The status of Arabs these days observing from a far the Syrian children been annihilated by the Syrian regime (by using Chemical weapons) under the support of the Russian government reminded me of an Arab proverb. The proverb is “like farting on a tile floor.” Example, Arabs these days are like farting on a tile floor. Meaning they all about talk but no action. p.s, farting on a tile floor produces loud noise.

All Arabs need to have one goal now. SAVE THE SYRIAN CHILDREN!

Al Jazeera America is not Al Jazeera English?

It seems Al Jazeera America is not the same as Al Jazeera English [source].

Fox news has its agenda and loyal audience. MSNBC has its agenda and loyal audience. I wonder what Al Jazeera America (different from Al Jazeera English) agenda and who will be its audience?

Thick dough with lots of tomato sauce topped with lots of meat and veggies doesn’t taste like the Italian Pizza. Also, there is a reason we don’t see Asians in Chinese buffets in the USA. Because the food there is not really very Chinese.

To attract audience and most importantly advertisers what new taste Al Jazeera America is going to serve?

I am happy for them and their success but I doubt it will last here in the U.S.

The business of name calling in the Arab world

The trend of “name calling” in the Arab countries became very dangerous. And with every Muslim Scholar having his own YouTube channel and a show on TV it became a profitable business. Not to forget journalists who have their TV shows and who are benefiting from spreading hate. It works as follows:

1. You choose a side,
2. Find a TV show that agrees with your views,
3. You take everything said in the show as facts,
4. Start hating others and calling them names.

“The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, which allows political organizations great latitude in expressing Nazi, racist, anti-Semitic, and Neo-Confederate views.” Therefore, the Neo-Nazi group exist in the US and it is not considered a terrorist group. On the other hand, Arab governments are calling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group just because they can define whoever what they want. These same Arab governments can execute a 22-years-old kid because they decided he is a Kafir (non-believer) over something he tweeted (kid you not).

My point is, calling someone a Kafir or a terrorist just because it suits us is seriously dangerous.

When do Americans read newspapers?

An Arab friend of mine delivers one of the local daily newspapers. Here is a conversation that took a place one day around 5:30 pm after he was done with his route.

Me: I still don’t understand your business. Did you just deliver today’s newspapers or tomorrow’s?
Him: Today.
Me: Who reads newspapers after 5 pm?
Him: You still think of the Arab culture. There employees buy newspapers in the morning and read it at work.
Me: I see. I have never seen an American reads newspaper at work. And this makes sense now since you deliver newspapers after midnight during the weekends.

Of course not all American newspapers are delivered after noon but at least I know of one and I know why now.

American employees, in general, work from 8 am to 5 pm. If their productivity level is measured in hours, the majority of them have a productivity level of 8 hours a day. That is, from 8 am to 5 pm, except the lunch hour, they work very hard. Because they know they may lose their job any day if they slack. America is no place for slackers or lazy people.

In Jordan and many other Arab countries, the productivity of many employees is definitely way less than 8 hours a day. Unless, we make sure that we all work as hard as possible and do our best no Arab Spring or whatnot can help us advance and be among the industrial countries.

Early Happy International Workers’ Day!

p.s. International Workers’ Day or Labors’ Day as know in the U.S. is celebrated on May 1st. In the USA it is observed on the first Monday in September.

Balls vs Eggs

In America, they say “she/he got balls”  when referring to a person as being bold or brave. In some Arab countries they refer to these same balls as eggs. Although, it used to mean the same thing by the time it lost its meaning. Now, “he got big eggs” for example doesn’t mean the person is brave instead it means he is in power. Because some Arab countries are plagued by corruption and nepotism politicians, CEOs, and people alike in power are referred to, including their acquaintances of course, as having “big eggs.” So, it is no longer about being brave rather it is about having “Wasta” (nepotism).

Unfortunately, this new meaning of balls, or eggs, brought shame and disgrace to the Arabs. Decades ago the Arabs were castrated and lost their balls. Maybe, this is why we call them eggs. Americans on the other hand have the biggest balls.

The U.S. changed the course of the world after September 11, 2001. It created new laws, regulations and policies after that day. And that was not enough for them because they forced the entire world to take new measures even against some of these countries’ well. They went to war hunting their enemies everywhere on the planet. Why? Because 3,000 of its citizens lost their lives in that attack.

Did Americans lose their mind after September 11? Yes. Did they overreact? Yes. Did they oppress some innocent people in their “war on terror”? Yes. But at least they go to bed not feeling guilty for doing nothing. They are satisfied that they did their best for their fellow lost citizens.

Almost every Arab country lost tens or hundreds of thousands of its citizens; Lebanon, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, and Kuwait. But no one did anything. Now, while the daily killing of civilians takes place by the Asad’s regime in Syria, Arabs are looking to the U.S. to do something. Besides the Arabs, I doubt any nation or race would keep silent while their people are being massacred. How about Gaza? Two millions have been imprisoned by Israel for years.

So, what keeps Arabs from having dignity? Maybe because of these three things:

  1. To compensate for our castration or lack of balls that is, we are erecting very long towers. And of course we are depending on others to erect these very long things.
  2. A large number of Muslim scholars are busy collecting money from Arab TV stations to act stupid. These gold diggers will say the stupidest most appalling thing to guarantee themselves more hours on TV. From breastfeed your male co-worker day to fully cover female infants from their fathers to it is okay to rape non-Muslim women, to what Arab actresses should wear and whatever nonsense there is.
  3. Although the Arabic governments through the years did their best to deprive the citizens of their freedom of speech and dignity, they are not the only ones to be blamed. Arab countries are among the top nations with the least number of readerships. In addition, we are the worst when it comes to doing our work with honesty.

So, what is the purpose of life for a man who doesn’t read and doesn’t work hard?

A castrated man lives an apathetic life!

Who is supposed to give the Dowry?

One of my lab mates is going back to his country in Africa to get married. Me and him are the only non Americans in the group. Our all male group members were shocked to know that the dowry system works different than in the USA. I always thought that the dowry is paid by the groom (or the groom’s parents) to the bride (or the bride’s parents) except in India.

One of the Americans noted that giving money to the bride’s parents is like selling your daughter. According to my American friends the bride’s parents should pay for the wedding.

It is a very interesting subject that I was hoping to learn more about from the Americans. I want to know what is their perspective about the dowry system and why they believe that the bride should pay the groom not the other way. Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish our discussion so hopefully I can hear your perspective about the subject.

Who should give the dowry? And why you think he/she should do that not the other way around?

Is there a contract between American Christians between the bride and the groom like Muslims do? In Islam, the contract should specify what the bride is offering and the responsibilities of both sides. In addition, it includes the amount of Nafaqa in case a divorce happens.

I wish also to hear what Christians in the Middle East do. Who give the dowry?