Monday, 27 April 2015

Memories from visiting Saddam's Iraq part 4

As we were standing in front of the museum hesitating to enter, i heard somebody calling my name, hey Nael is that you my friend, i had a stare at him then realized it is Thaer my friend from school years back whose father was working in Kuwait for a few years before they went back home to Iraq. He changed a bit he looks darker and aged twice the years since i last saw him. Come walk with me he said holding a plastic bag in his hands,OK i said what is this bag for? well i want to buy some tomato he said i laughed i thought the place you are buying from should give you one!! suddenly we stopped and a long queue was ahead of us, this will take some time he said, i was astonished you are queuing for tomato i said, he just nodded , Iraq the land of Mesopotamia, the fertile crescent, my goodness Thaer your soil is black exploding with fertility i said with surprise, he replied well my mum wants to make a salad and my other brothers went queuing for cucumbers and lettuce, well i wish you luck shall we meet tonight i said? yes he replied there is a good restaurant called restaurant the restaurant it is famous, OK i said but what a strange name , and left him amazed and as we were walking near the place selling tomato i noticed a university degree hanging on the outside of the shop, a Bachelor of science, so i was reading it and the tomato sales person said angrily yes it is mine and i am not the only one, so i kept walking thinking what a waste.

  
So at night we all dressed up and went out the hotel and as soon as i lifted my arm calling a taxi , the same car stopped again with this guy smiling hello friends it looks like we bump into each other more often, , i just raised my arm i was not calling a taxi i said angrily and walked away, he drove his car right beside us and still smiling nobody except me will pick you up he said,so come on, so we had no choice.
So we met in that restaurant and the first thing my friend told us do not talk to the waiter otherwise you have to pay in dollars, OK i said ,now tell me why are you darker,did you go to the beach or something, he laughed and said no, i just participated in the popular labor  project, it is for all students to help in building new cities, oh so you made some money i said, what money he replied it is participation,so you could have said no i asked , he laughed again and said then they will not give me the end of year certificate. i turned to my cousin who's look was full of disgust , did you hear that? my cousin replied with a low tone ' i want to go home '
  

Saturday, 25 April 2015

RELIGIONS COEXISTENCE

It is always a sensitive issue when talking about religions especially the monotheist ones, and this sensitivity i wish to talk about, why are we so sensitive? why is it always that we have to attack other religions to defend ours?did we bother to read their holly books ,did we understand it, if yes according to which scholar? so many questions that drove me to write this article, and probably we should start by defining RELIGION.

Religion is: the belief and worship of GOD almighty ( i will use it as the Creator , G-D and ALLAH) it is a particular system of acts and obedience to faith and worship.

This is a brief definition but good enough for the purpose of this article, and it is best to start with the similarities and semi-similar text in all 3 religions, they all believe that this world was created in 6 days, Adam and Eve story, Abraham story with little difference, Jesus story with a little difference , Mosses story, the Exodus, and the 12 tribes of Israel. i have selected those stories because they are all written with details or referred to in the prophets speeches.
First , regardless which religion you belong to, we all believe in this supreme power called GOD,G-D or ALLAH, and all of our obedience and faith goes to him .So the name he revealed himself in each holy books is of his choosing and we should obey and accept it. Secondly Abraham was neither a Jew,Christian nor a Muslim yet we all believe in him as the father of all the prophets and he was called upon and chosen by GOD to lead his people and convey the massage of GOD , he was a faithful servant whom GOD loved for his righteousness.Third the story of Mosses with every detail up to the Exodus is mentioned in the holly books almost word for word and in the Koran ALLAH says to Mosses ' And I have produced you for myself ' to show the greatness of Mosses.

So why we cannot leave at that point? why would 14 million Jews challenge the faith of 2.2 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims over the existence Jesus Son of Mary, or why would the Christians challenge the faith of Muslims over the authenticity of the Koran , or why would the Muslims challenge the faith of Christians over the crucifying of Jesus? They all defend their points through their holy books, but why do i need to defend my faith against others that believe in one creator, Abraham and Mosses?
History tells us that the Jews were expelled from 109 places from 250 AD onward out of which 107 were Christian countries, so can we really blame Christianity, ignorance in the Christian faith from them leaders or is it a political decision? obviously it is the latter 2 are the real cause, since Christianity is all about peace, love and tolerance, yet one could argue that in the middle ages the church had all the control !!! True, but the church then were following the leaders ambitions and they would bend the faith to the satisfaction of the kings to keep their control over the masses and their positions in the state.
The same happened during the Islamic history when 3 out of 4 Caliphates were assassinated, and the rise of the Amawey state which used scholars to defend the positions of the leaders ambitions approving the likes of allowing the killing of the prophet's grandson whom tried to return the Islamic faith to what it was in the days of the prophet, so do we blame the religion? certainly not since it was about power and influence.
Also can we justify all the crimes that is happening in Palestine to Judaism? definitely not since we see Jews condemning the acts of the Israeli government .

We should learn from history, and the religion should be a guide for the seekers for the truth and people can read and research and follow ones heart and belief , and if one wants to know more about religion one should check different scholars and you will find the huge difference in interpretations of the holy books verses, and finally do not follow men you think are righteous to lead you to religion as Imam ALI said:  Whom enters the religion because of men, the same men will make him exit it.

Coexistence should be a target for all the believers because it will generate peace and harmony.


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Memories of visiting Saddam's Iraq part 3

Finally that night we reached Baghdad, and it was as if we are entering a new country, the difference between Baghdad and the southern states is so evident in comparison ,while the southern states roads were full of pits and the garbage was every where ,Baghdad was so beautiful with wide roads huge bridges and the sight of the river was simply breath taking. So we got off the bus terminal and grabbed a taxi to hotel Gilgamesh named after the Assyrian king and poet, the hotel was very nice and comfortable so things are getting better and better,i rested my cousin whom was really in severe pain by now and went looking for a pharmacy which was near by. I want a medicine for stomach ache i said, he looked at me for a while after listening to my accent , did you drink any thing on the way Kuwaiti? i said yes , then he started laughing and said the problem is that you have stomachs made out of plastic while ours is made of stainless steel, i smiled thinking what do they teach these guys in pharmaceutical college. OK he said do you want domestic or imported medicine, i told him are you serious of course imported! Here he said , and i remember it was made in East Germany , that will be 20 Dinars , waw that is cheap i thought 20 Iraqi Dinars may be equal to less than 10 cents , AH he said but you are not an Iraqi citizen so you pay 30 U.S dollars or 10 Kuwaiti dinars, say what!! he replied what do you think, this is how we get even you have to pay in hard currency.

Next morning my cousin was feeling much better after that socialist medicine, so we decided to walk , you can smell history in every corner , here were the Babylonians , Assyrians, Akkadians ,Persians and Arabs ,it was exciting and behold there were this nice book shop and i thought yes time for books, so we entered looking for a book about these civilizations but to our surprise most of the books were under the title of Saddam. like speeches of the leader president, thoughts of Saddam Hussein etc..so i asked for a history books, yes he said i have a few and these are popular, Saddam son of Babel, another was, Akkad, socialism and Saddam, i heard of brain wash but this was brain wash with a hard scrub,so i left empty handed and disappointed . Hey lets go to the history museum my cousin suggested,surly they cannot manipulate that,unless they would exchange Sargon the Great head statue with Saddam's and write Sargon reborn ,nah can  they?So we grabbed a taxi and the driver was the same guy whom took us last night from the bus terminal,you my friends again what a coincidence the driver said, this is more than a coincidence i thought and immediately told my cousin to keep his mouth shut and let me do the talking, obviously he was a secret police.As we reached the museum our earlier thought was very close because there was this great poster with Saddam standing next to the statue of Sargon with a sentence in the bottom which amazed me and reads " THIS CUB IS FROM THIS LION"

Friday, 17 April 2015

Memories from visiting Saddam's Iraq part 2

We left that horrible restaurant and had an hour before the bus moves to Baghdad, so we thought we will go for a walk and the first thing you would notice the ridiculous number of Saddam's posters and between every 2 posters there is a Saddam statue, so my cousin amazed with the sight said what is this he thinks he is GOD, i replied i do not have to remind you to shut your mouth any more i will hit you on the head the next time, i cannot control my tongue it just pops out words he said. So we sat by the river and this old man was smiling so we said hi he replied which Arabs are you from ,we said Kuwait he said welcome then are you happy here? just before my cousin would open his mouth i said said yes we are so happy, but could you explain this sir ,  above us was a huge sign written on it ' ONE ARABIC NATION WITH AN IMMORTAL MASSAGE '  what is that massage? the old man wiped the smile from his face and shouted you ignorant non-progressive people and left, leaving me telling my cousin what did i say? never mind he said and pointed to another sign which said ' WHOM DO NOT WORK SHOULD NOT EAT ' now this is funny he said as we laughed and headed back to the bus.
As we were getting close to Baghdad you can see the beautiful lights from the distance, my cousin started having a pulse of stomach ace like every 5 minutes he would hold his stomach with pain, i knew right away that it is because of those black things swimming in the water we drank in that horrible restaurant , nothing i could do but to wait till we reach Baghdad. The bus suddenly stopped and the driver said OK everybody out, we did not dare ask why, but soon found out that there were military police checking ID's for military run away's, (Iraq had compulsory military a minimum of 3 years service and no maximum)  .the military police immediately pointed at my cousin , you come here,he said so i walked along with him since i had the passports, and to our  surprise the military police had a shaving machine in his hand, and told my cousin to sit down on a wooden chair in front of him , i figured out what the police man was trying to do but my cousin had no clue, i shouted we are Kuwaitis he then stopped the machine had a look at our passports and said go back to the bus,My cousin still did not figure out what was happening, so we sat in the bus then i told him that long hair is forbidden for boys in Iraq and he was ready to shave your hair off, his eyes widely opened with surprise, then looked towards the lights and said are ever going to reach Baghdad  

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Memories from visiting Saddam's Iraq part 1

It was late August when my cousin and i decided to visit Iraq ruled at the time by Saddam Hussein, It was my idea since i have visited Iraq with my father but my cousin never been there. So we decided to make it as an adventure and use the public transport ( such a bad idea).From Kuwait we were off in an air-conditioned Mercedes bus up to the Iraqi boarders, were we saw this huge sign Unity..Freedom..Socialism, not knowing what it means my cousin asked what the hell is socialism, told him we will soon find out i guess. I entered  the passport control office and the people were so quiet and 2 officers staring at everybody and one of them shouted you come here i could barely walk from fear he had such a huge moustache and said Kuwaiti huh i thought this is it i am in trouble then i had to answer a 100 questions some of which were strange for us like : what do you think of imperialist USA never new what imperialist means but knew the second part sweating hard and my knees shivering, my answer was they make nice cars like Trans-Am, GTO he shouted enough and turned to his friend ' did you hear what the Kuwaiti just said? i was so scared i thought surely they will not execute me for this answer, can they? (i have heard some scary stories about these BAATHISTS) The officer then turned around and said you go now and when you reach Baghdad you pick up some of the president speech books and educate yourself, i said yes yes yes i will thank you thank you, i was so happy staying away from the rope. As i left that horrible office my cousin was outside smoking, he said you are late lets go. i told him when we leave Iraq it is your turn to stamp the passports(did not tell him what happened , he is in for a surprise lol).
We waited for an hour for the bus and could see it coming with all the dust behind it , then surprise!! the bus is made from wood on the outside, i remember we laughed so hard but as we got inside the smile was turned off, there is no air-condition and it was 125 deg. and the seats were a wooden too, my cousin was upset so i told him look this an adventure right? let us experience socialism, he looked at me with disgust and said i will sleep now wake me up when we reach, oh OK i replied.
Midway to Baghdad we stopped at a place called AL-OMARAH ,and it was lunch time i was starving, so as we were walking to the restaurant my cousin was mumbling how could you sleep on a wooden plank?this country... i immediately put my hands on his mouth and had to shout at him this is not Kuwait, then whispered there are secret police every where are you stupid? so he whispered back what kind of shit are we in? i replied the worst type if you know what i mean, so he said i will keep my mouth shut, i knew he could not he just cannot put the lid on it type of a person.
So we entered the doorless, air-conditionless restaurant  and of course my cousin went to the manager and complained i did not join him because i knew the answer will not be nice, so he came and sat down and the expression on his face made me laugh,so what did he tell you i asked? he said believe it or not he said,' tell your masters the imperialist Americans to fix one', what is this imperialist every so often used and who told him that we are the Americans slaves,, he said, i was trying to shut him up and surprised by the waiter who  is putting food on the table, so i asked the waiter we did not order yet, he looked at me with a half eye and said: look Kuwaiti this is the only meal eat it or starve, thanks a lot Mr waiter i said i will eat it( of course they new we are Kuwaitis from the accent and the pair of jeans which was forbidden there at the time) , and please do not forget Pepsi or 7-up he gave me that look again and said we do not have imperialist soda, i thought not again, then asked for water, he said OK as he picked an empty jug and went to the other side of the restaurant were the Euphrates is flowing by and he filled the jug from there, i stood up with surprise almost shouted at him then i remembered where i am and sat down looking at the water in the jug looking hazy with black tiny things what is it i was wondering ??, OMG those black things are moving and floating, my cousin mean while just poured him a glass and drank it so quickly, i kept looking at him thinking rest in peace dear cousin, so my cousin said with a smile  that was not bad, in fact it is good
in my opinion it was shit and thought how long that smile will stay on his face

Saturday, 11 April 2015

SEN. TED CRUZ FROM A NON-AMERICAN VIEW

A friend told me ' if Ted Cruz would run for presidency in the middle east he will win without the need for elections ' he said that with reference to the senator conservative views . Well in the USA the politics is complicated much more complicated than we are used to in the middle east and i am still trying to learn and understand it.
So how do we view Mr. Cruz?

We see him as a man with principles rather than a man with policies, he dares to discuss issues that the others will not because of what he is, and that is important abroad because it makes his foreign policies more predictable and just by discussing the main principles we can reach faster conclusions.He described himself as between an isolationist and interventionism that is between Rand and McCain , and as we say in Arabic ' good things comes in the middle ' he even stated in 2013 about the Syrian war ' America has no dog in this fight and the American armed forces should not serve as AL-Qaeda air force( ref. the Economist Sept. 7 2013) which to us is totally true. As for supporting Israel , we know all American presidents stood by them and he will not be an exception. So things are good , not really !! because after reading the American newspapers analysis  and the comments in Google, i reached the conclusion that he stands no chance in winning the coming elections, not because he is young with little experience (he just got elected in 2012) since one could argue that he was in the Bush campaign since 1999 and was advising the ex president on government reform , immigration ,civil justice and constitutional laws , so he is not short of experience if compared to president Obama in office now. So what is it ?

It is the issues that he is fighting for and even criticizing his fellow republicans for not addressing  that is going to be his main problem of gaining votes, that is gay rights, gay equality and originalism . So if these liberties as per the U.S laws will hamper his chances of even winning the candidate representing the republicans (as he came third in CPAC 13% behind Paul Rand and 9% behind Scott Walker which was conducted 28 Feb. 2015), why did he announce that he is running for presidency 3 weeks later?

In my opinion he has a message to deliver to both the people and the politicians and with the media following every step he is making , it will be the best opportunity to discuss the social issues without hesitation in fact he is active in conferences and meetings for the same purpose. He is a man of belief and we respect that.




Friday, 10 April 2015

RELIGION AND POLITICS JUST DO NOT MIX

If we would define politics as the way people living in groups making decisions and forming an agreement among themselves so that they can live together in the same country or tribe. So it is an art of the possible to govern the people of different backgrounds and beliefs while trying to keep them happy.On the other hand we could define religion as a set of beliefs stated by GOD  all mighty for the human to follow for their good in both life and after life, it also contains rules governing us in how to deal with other people from our own family to the state.

An observer will immediately jump to the conclusion that religion ruling is better since it is made by God and the proof of such a rule is evident in history, the kingdom of DAVID and SOLOMON peace be upon both of them and also the ISLAMIC empire. There are two questions that will follow this, first if they were so great why did they fade away? and second in today's trials of such states why do they look so inhumane and unfair to the minorities? there are a multiple answers to those questions  but the best would be,

1- the founders of these kingdoms were prophets of GOD all mighty, and according to our teaching they were supported by the Holy Ghost with wisdom,faith and courage they were infallible.( could be a slight difference between in belief between Jews Christians and Muslims,nevertheless they all agree that they were prophets)

2- Upon their deaths when one would have thought that all understood the message, human nature of seeking power and wealth prevailed and the kingdom was divided into Judah and Israel which made differences between them and made them vulnerable to outside enemies which came to their destruction in 586 BC on the hands of the Babylonians this is in the case of  the Jewish kingdom, and in the Islamic empire was all the same,the end of the caliphates announced  the beginning  of the Amawytes whom their first action was to kill the grandson of the prophet MOHAMMAD peace be upon him and put his head on a spear all the way from Karbala to Damascus some 600 miles later followed by the Abassayds whom killed every living soul belonging to the Amawy family.

3 - The  different interpretations of the holy books text led to different understanding of the word and that is why we have religious sects and these sects would not tolerate each other in some cases which led to wars and catastrophes.

In conclusion, in politics we can argue about the laws governing us and sometimes you would add annexes or modify them according to the new needs of technology , increasing population or incoming immigration or or ....but you cannot argue,modify or add an annex to the word of GOD  and if you would enforce your interpretation you would make a lot of unhappy people around you believing in different interpretation of the word  .
Some politicians nowadays in all over the world would use the word not in order to implement it but to steal the people's passion to religion and transfer it into votes,they are very dangerous because they will use any interpretation available that would serve their purpose or to create a new one by a popular clergy whom will set a complete explanation of the word in a very new way. Here we have to be very careful in that politics and religion do not mix.    

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

THE ARAB-ISRAELI BRIDGE OF TRUST

The Arab- Israeli peace process has gone through years of intensive negotiations last of which was back in January 2012 without a real solution that would end the long conflict .These negotiations concentrated at the establishment of the Palestinian state boarders,lands swap, settlements and money transfers to the Palestinian authority. Those precise elements are the main reason of failure for any negotiations at any given time,they are so vast and includes a lot of sub issues that needs to be tackled first and the process should start from the base going upwards and not the other way around, for example the boarder issue has been discussed even before building trust bridges between the two sides, you only have to listen to the press releases after these negotiations to reach the conclusion that they will never agree since every party accuses the other of bad intentions and deliberately putting obstacles to the peace process progress  .
So what should be done?
In order to build a trust bridge you will need links between the two, such as friendship societies part of the civil society that lays the foundation for future committees which includes Arabs and Israelis working together in a non-political environment but rather in a professional environment, giving the priority to the real needs of the people instead of the politicians.politicians. They will co-ordinate with their own governments to elect professional people with experience and knowledge not only in their field but also in the field of building trust.
 Such a committee will be the Gaza committee which includes doctors, engineers, judges,lawyers and bankers with equal numbers on each side, their purpose is to concentrate on Gaza needs and set a list of procedures such as
1 - Money transfers will be done through the committee which will show transparency and the projects which consumed it.(5.4 B$ was authorized October 2014)
2-  opening Gaza sea port with procedures for ships docking ,inspection and customs
3- Allowing medical aid through all crossings
4 - complaints between  the government of Gaza and that of Israel will go through the committee to prevent aggression from any side
5 - crossings security procedures which will allow Gazans to cross with dignity and ease if their security cards are valid .

the committee will be supported by the UN  and the countries involved whom could be the likes of Jordan,Morocco,Egypt,UAE,Qatar and Palestinians,. These Arabic countries have sort of ties with Israel which will make it easier to work with and will have fast communications with their homeland to assert the priorities in aid materials and to fill the fields of professions that the Palestinian lack.
Such committee if proved to be successful will allow the start of others and could be the core of something really big discussing the very issues that were the reasons of all the negotiations failures,and in any case these committees will set the standards of building bridges of trust and team work for the benefit of the citizens and the peace in the region , we have to initiate,start small, grow and then discuss the main issues.
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waw what time is it?
what a wonderful dream !!!!!