Friday, October 27

Two days ago was Khalid's birthday!

And today ... *drums* ... is my birthday (0:

To be honest, birthdays do not mean parties and cakes for me, I don't find them very amusing since I can't convince myself that I'm but one day older than yesterday. To me, a birthday rather means a checkpoint in life...

Throughout the day of my birthday, I reflect on what have I done during the past year; I see birthdays as alarms, telling me that years are not moving-forward any slower. I evaluate how close have I got to achieve my goals in life, I consider how much have I modifiyed my goals.

I think that everyone should have that evaluation as the first thing in their to-do list when they first wake up, every morning. The Prophet Mohammed taught us "account yourselves (for the actions you do), before you are accounted (before the Lord in the final day)."

Today, I passed the first score of my life.

I'm not looking back now, but I'm very glad of where I currently am, and I am very optimistic with the soon to come.

Wednesday, October 25

Comment Section... open!

I'm definitely gonna regret this, hahaha.

I removed the comment moderation from Me vs. Myself, now ANYONE can comment on my posts, I'm sure this is gonna spice things up a little bit, although I hope I don't get my ulcers back because of it.

Tuesday, October 24

Today, a friend in Iraq replied to my Eid greetings with "We shall celebrate Eid only after the withdrawal of the last American soldier in Iraq."

On a side, yet related, note,

dad came back from China today, he showed me some of their currency... They have six languages written on their money notes!!
it's funny how they have all these different nationalities and ethnic groups living together, it's more strange how these groups are not fighting or on the sheer of a civil war, maybe because they don't have an illegal occupation, maybe because they don't have a sectarian government.

Iraqis want their country back. Iraqis want their sovereignty back. Iraqis want their life back.
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Sadly, the holy days of Ramadan are over.

But it should not be sad since Muslims celebrate in joy and happiness the three days of Eid il Fitr, wishing to each other the acceptance of their good deeds and what they offered to God during the holy days of Ramadan...

It should not be sad because Muslims are happy to have had the honor from God to live long enough to witness another Ramadan, a month in which God forgives all previous mistakes and sins, completely everything to absolutely anyone with no conditions but only repentance.

It should not be sad because Islam cancelled all festivals and holidays that Arabs had, and substituted them with two feasts, one announcing the end of fasting of Ramadan, and the other is announcing the Pilgrimage to the House of God in Mecca...

Truly, it should not be sad.

But, how come Eid is back this year, and I am so sad? Depressed? Frustrated?

It is not because of you, Eid.

It is because Ramadan was the bloodiest month Iraq ever witnessed, with an average of 41 Iraqi civilian deaths a day.

It is because Ramadan recorded high crimes in corruption. The holy month did not prevent, albeit morally, anyone of the collapsing government from stealing over 800 MILLION US DOLLARS, claiming they were to be spent on military equipment.

It is because the month of mercy did not mean anything to the Mehdi gangs who tortured and butchered the four Ubaidi brothers after attempting to rape their sisters.

Today was the first day of Eid in Iraq, people had to end their celebration before it began, with first morning soaked with blood of a score of Iraqi bodies.

If you could stop reading for one moment, and are capable of imagining that in your next Christmas, Yom Kappur, you name it... you will be spending the day in hospital, morgue or a graveyard, visiting remains of a friend or a relative...

If you could sense a tad of that pain you would have, then you will understand how life is going in Iraq.

Crimes in Iraq have become countless; numbers of victims are far beyond imagination, whenever it seems that the situation can'’t be more miserable, it keeps going worse. I still cannot believe that an Iraqi, who has lived through at least three bloody wars, a decade of economic sanctions, and several decades of a miserable life under a dictator regime would, after surviving all that, commit suicide.

It is not because of you, my dear Eid, I have become sad. It is because of what they have done to you.

I send a deep sigh from a wounded heart when recalling,

عيدٌ بأيِّ حالٍ عدتَ يا عيدُ بما مضى أم لأمـرٍفيكَ تجديدُ

O Eid, in what state did you return, O Eid?

As the previous times?

Or did you bring something new?

Eid did not return with anything new. It returned with the same illegal US occupation; it returned with the same redundant lies of Bush. It only came back with more misery in Iraq.

Hope that we, soon, witness the Eid which comes with peace and security on all Iraqis, Muslims and peoples of the world.

p.s: I am in Amman this week; at least I could achieve some temporary unity on a family-scale, since unity on any larger scale in Iraq is an increasing challenge approaching the impossible.

Wednesday, October 11

Riding the rollercoaster again…

For some God-only-knows-why reason, I received a dozen of emails these past three days asking if I were to blog again. Strangely, less than a dozen of people asked me that question during the entire past … oh my God, it’s been 7 months already!

Since March, I graduated from Cambridge Schools in Jordan with an IB diploma (you can a picture of me in their website giving the graduation speech). I applied to several universities in Canada, the US and across the Middle East. And I had some 4 months of no goals or duties at all. I wasted the first several weeks in eating and staying up for days and sleeping for some other days… then, for the first time in my life, I decided to do something productive in my summer. And I started reading…

And reading…

And reading…

I could build strong muscles with the weight of the books I’ve read this summer!

At first I was reading random things from here and there, I got a chance to read 1984 by George Orwell again; I had read it in Arabic when I was 11, and I couldn’t understand the symbolism; it actually puzzled me to think how Orwell knew so much about life in Iraq at that time ha ha.). I read On the Road by Jack Kerouac, and I suggest Americans should write his name on their flag. In philosophy I read The Ethics of Authenticity by Charles Taylor and I and Thou by Martin Buber, I found an online copy of Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder and I skimmed throughout the novel. I read History of Arab Intellect (mom’s recommendation) by Dr. Omar Farookh, if this book is still not translated, then it’s certainly a loss for anyone who doesn’t read Arabic.

Then, I started reading in Islam…

I read dozens of books, in creed, Islamic jurisprudence (a.k.a. Fiqh) which is the knowledge of the laws and orders of Islam in worshipping, personal affairs as well as social affairs. I also read in the biography of the prophet (a.k.a. Seerah) which included history and sociology of Arabia before his birth, going in brief summary in his growing up and youthhood, then focusing in depth on his prophethood from age of 40 until his death at 63. The book illustrates the personal life of the prophet, his social life and the events he witnessed or participated in during his life. I wrote a post when the cartoon issue happened, and I put a link to the Seera of the prophet online with translations to most popular languages of the world.

Books can be very addictive; I couldn’t stop myself at only reading books, so I started going to scholars and attend classes; mostly held in mosques and sometimes in offices or even houses. The scholar – an Imam or a Sheikh- discusses a certain book with by reading it to the students and explaining it, then giving examples and asking questions. I attended many classes on Fiqh, Hadeeth [the sayings and habits of the prophet, they are the second source of Fiqh after the holy Quran], the study of validation of Hadeeth, etc… I started learning how to recite Quran properly, and I started to memorize it. I started to realize that we are made of a body and a soul, and they are two independent beings, each with its own necessities and desires. I started to discover what faith means.

Summer was in its peak, my life has dramatically changed direction, and just then I went through a life-changing experience; Omrah. I went with Khalid, along with some 40 engineering students from the University of Jordan [Khalid, however, went again couple of months later after I had left Jordan… He talked about what it means to go to Omrah, and he talks about his experience as well]

Medina, June 28th,

I definitely want to live here for the rest of my life…

I could not possibly explain the intensive level of spirituality in that city; I could almost feel the fluttering of wings of thousands of angels surrounding the hundreds of thousands of people praying in this place. Here, peace has a color, a texture, a smell…

Mecca was different, it was a place so prestigious that makes you feel so powerless, so dependent and in humiliating need for God. The spirituality that descends on you as you see hordes of people – wearing nothing but their coffins-, circumnutate around the Sacred House of God.

I came back from Omrah with a new identity, I began to see life through new lenses, I realized the purpose of my being. I have new definitions for words like Home, Peace and Prayer which resonate with deep meanings inside my heart.

It was mid July, I start to review on my life about to come; university was starting soon, which means having to tolerate social hypocrisy and a sole-materialistic life for several years. I was forcing myself to accept going back to the material world after a summer in heaven. I had to learn to live, and prove that I can live in this world.

I chose to go to The American University in Cairo. AUC should be my excellent choice, providing me with the level of academics I would get if I went to the US, while offering me a life in Cairo free from cultural shocks, and saves me from suffering life as a targeted minority.

I entered the campus with maximum level of defenses; an American University in the Middle East gives a norm of spoiled Arab and American Gucci kids. And I was preparing for a lot of suffering in order to establish myself in the highly-competitive community. I was surprised to discover that the spoiled American slice is a minority. There is a widely-spread diversity in students’ nationalities and classes. It was incredibly wonderful to meet several students like me; not as great and amazing and smart and humble as I am (since it’s certain that no one is ^_^), but at least in terms of spirituality and faith (most of them are engineers too!)

The arrival of Ramadan has greatly helped me settle in here. This is the first Ramadan I interact with alone, and its giving me a great chance to increase faith and enhance spirituality without having to be attached with family or lots of dinner parties. Socially, Ramadan has become a month of food for how much dinner parties occur in it. But I’m away from all this, and I am very glad to have become ascetic during this month; it’s cool when you live off your day with few dates and a glass of milk only...

I still need Ramadan to be over, and life to go a little less spiritually intense for me so I can figure out how should I stay active in politics and media, I was thinking of joining the AUC political newspaper, or I might minor in political science…

Iraq still posses a piece of mind, and Baghdad remains a deep-hearted wound, the present distances the thought of going back soon; it focuses instead on getting me well prepared to go.

I will go pray now…