Life Style

You Maybe an ADD If…

In an article this week, the New York Times declares, “Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites like Twitter” using some recent surveys that appear to show that most young people (specially under the age of 18) are drifting away from blogging or reading blogs in favor of Facebook and Twitter. In other words, these young people’s attention span can be summed up in 140 characters or less, or one sentence FB update. I don’t know anything about these surveys or how accurate they are, but they do suggest a trend in how young people spend their social interaction on the Internet. Does it mean that most young people have an ADD to bother reading or writing blogs? Rather than read a 800-word article or a 2,500-word essay in the New Yorker, young people are happy with, “I’m going to shopping!” tweet or FB update. Then again, who can blame them to read or write blogs when their lives are already full of such obligatory assignments from school?

The whole point of a blog is to express one’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes and opinions on everything that matters to the individual. Whether they do it in a long form style such as a blog entry or in a 140-character or a couple of sentence on Twitter/Facebook update is beside the point. Perhaps the only difference is that unlike a blog where virtually everyone on the planet can read and comment on what you write (anonymously or otherwise), Twitter and Facebook let you control this environment – the people who can access it. Every ologist wants to define people’s behavior on the Internet but that’s precisely the problem. The Internet is an evolutionary space. It is how people use it that continues to evolve – as it should. Chatrooms, IMs, personal webpages, etc all used to be big. They’re still very much around; it is only how the Internet has evolved to allow people to use them in an slightly different way or for different purpose. I use these three different platforms – blog, Facebook, and Twitter – for different purposes. Rather seeing them as competing platforms, people ought to see these services as complementary to each other on an individual’s social life on the Internet.

 

Categories: Life Style | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

The Side Effects of Love

As anyone who has had the misfortune of heartbreak knows there are some nasty side effects that cupid doesn’t tell his victims before they fall in love. I’m no expert on this topic but few side effects of love’s end I’ve noticed include:

  • Absent-mindedly deleting your entire school work from your computer’s hard-drive (or other comparable important data)
  • Many of those people who you curse at for crossing the red-light are not after all drunk or running away from a crime scene. They’re a victim of cupid; so give them a pass, will ya!
  • Really cheesy one-hit wonder love songs from the 1980s all the suddenly become Shakespearean poetry to you
  • You take a nap at 11:30am, only to realize sleep has also abandoned you as well
  • Short-fusing and loss of appetite are a “collateral damages”

Now I wonder why anyone would choose a medicine that has these side effects.

Categories: Life Style | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Studying Women

As I watched the early NewsHour on Aljazeera this morning, I learned about the Palestinian women who are subjected to the humiliating and degrading internal body search at the hands of Israeli prison guards, suspected to be males. Also I learned about mothers in the Central African Republic who are struggling to save their malnourished children. An illness caused mainly by the loss of income as a result of the disturbed diamond mining operations in the region by the current global economic crisis. Also on previous news headlines, we come to learn of Afghans women’s role on the election. The Sudanese journalist arrested and jailed over wearing trousers. And the list go on about women struggling with diseases, such as breast cancer and HIV. Others who are struggling with domestic abuse, Female Genital multination, and drugs. Also we find great achievements of women holding higher governmental offices, women breaking a world record on sports, or conducting a highly valued scientific research. And fortunately we also find a headline story of a woman over the age of 100 who feels lonely and fearful that her 30 something years old husband would leave her (true story).

So with all of this in mind, I came to the following conclusion:

I found out that nothing would be more fascinating, at least to me, than to devote ones academic career to closely examine WOMEN. These complex, weak yet powerful creatures who shape almost every aspect of humans life. And to be brutally honest from the start, anyone who would argue against this fact is an idiot (just a personal opinion that does not represent the views of this blog owner). If one make the argument that women are not as influential as men, I simply say to you that a child’s character and behavior is fashioned by their mothers as early as the first trimester.

Every aspect of women life could seriously serve as an independent field of study (no joke). For example, their excessive concern with trends, fashion and cosmetics. Their unquestionable devotion to love. Their compassionate views. Their religious, political, economical, and social contributions. Their struggle for survival through wars, poverty, and the historically persisting unjust gender inequalities. Their obsession with soap operas and gossip. Their tender feelings and strong will. Their weakness which is itself a powerful strength. And most importantly is the indescribable mystery of motherhood.

would there be a more interesting earthly science worth pursuing in life than this? It is life itself.

Categories: Africa Related, Education, Health, Life Style, politics, Women | 3 Comments

Observing Nature

I was feeling tired and worn out today, So I did something that I haven’t done for a very long time. After the sun was down, I took a chair and sat in the backyard. The weather was indescribable, but I will try. It was beautiful, sweet, and was densely full of memories. Memories of home and of the good old days. The sky was full of clouds, but the moon shined through. It lit up my heart and eased my weariness. How can we ever abandon such beauty . I think observing nature and the greatness of god’s creation is the best therapy and medicine to all wounds. Oh, I forgot to mention the little flies that lights up. I really do not know what they are called in English, but they are brilliant. These little delightful creatures presented me with the best light dances on earth. Then came a frog and scared me away. I have not see one in ages. Frogs are not my favorite creatures, but this one made me laugh. It just stood there staring at me for a while and changed its direction away from my chair.

Well, now I feel good. I will go back inside, drink some tea with the family, and watch the world through the television set.

Categories: Health, Life Style, Weather | Tags: | 4 Comments

“What Men Don’t Know”

I have abandoned this blog for quite some time and I just pray that I have not been forgotten. So as a reconciliation of our friendship, I decided to write this short and a quick post today. For some reason, my brain just went blank after exams were over. I believe that I am taking the summer vacation too seriously. So as a reminder that I am still here, I will tell you this short true story.

****

          In a hot summer afternoon, a little wrecked car pulled in front of a shopping mall. The parking lot seemed almost deserted at that hour. Two ladies then stepped out of the car. They were engaged in a useless discussion. One was complaining about the heat and the other was in her own world talking about a total different subject. They walked into the mall and were welcomed by the cool air pumped through as the doors slide open. The lady nagging about the heat was then satisfied and busied herself with merchandises. The other one was already complaining about the high prices of the store and preferred to find a place to sit.

          Later, the two ladies met their male friend of whom they will help pick a gift. Poor fellow didn’t know what he got himself into. I am sure now you could easily complete the story. Two women and a man going shopping to buy one simple gift.

          They dragged him to each store in the mall. In each store, they pick few items and decide they were not suitable. Interestingly, the man seemed to like and approve of almost every item that was considered. Anyway…

          Three hours later, the three of them walked out of the mall partially satisfied.  

****

I think a single shopping trip could easily and explicitly define gender differences!

Categories: Funny/Odd, Life Style, Women | 3 Comments

Misperception of Independence

By A Muslim-African Woman in the ‘Diaspora’

***

I write this as a conclusion of my own experience and the experience of many women I personally came to know

Through my high school and college education, I was taught and reminded constantly of the inequality that women suffered for centuries. In the literature classes, I read about women inferiority which is portrayed in almost all of the classic writings. In sociology, I learned about the studies that document the gender differences and oppression of women. In psychology, I learn about Freud’s theories belittling woman to nothing but little envies creature of the man’s far better equipment. In Religion class, I learned how almost all religions of the world favor the superiority of men while treating women as a second class citizen. Most importantly, in history, I learned of the few great women who made it through the pens and into books of male historians. In the Art class, I learned of the notorious Artists who saw in a woman nothing but a magnificent sculpture and a piece of Art. And in many other classes, many young women including myself were daily reminded of the weak creature we once were and will always be under the domination of the almighty Man.

Now, growing up with that ideology, many young women come to aggressively fight against all these cultural and religious believes to gain their power and absolute independence. And that is what I personally did. I became a working woman at a very young age. I supported myself to the best I could. I allowed no one to help me, but few family members. Also, I had to live with the family, because it is a cultural must. Yet I was able to declare my independence from the domination of the “man.” Thus, I was powerful in my own world. I built a strong shield, a weakness-free zone that I imprisoned myself in. I armed myself with my job, education, and rights and fought against every feminine behavior that presented any signs of a weak and a needy female. And still today, our text books, the media, and society keep on boosting or fueling this understanding. They remind us how Women must abandon their femininity and fight endlessly to earn respect and survive in the man’s world.

As a consequence of this war, women became too independent, that a man’s presence on earth is almost useless. We can cook, we can clean, we can drive, we can cut the grass, we can earn a living, we can take the trash out, we can travel, and we can surely just buy a gun for protection or get an alarm system set up in the house, or even hire a body guard “who might be a man, but paid of course.” A need for “Adam” is just a need for a person to interfere and control one’s life.

Lately, and after years of fighting, I have come to learn that our perception of independence and the theories of power of men vs. weakness of women are false. Sadly, our teachers have betrayed us. So did our families who themselves misunderstood the religion and blindingly imposed on us cultural believes that striped away our rights, chocked our dreams, and left us wandering on the scriptures of modern western writers who so inaccurately claim to know all the rights of women and the way to claim these lost rights.

Categories: Africa Related, Education, Life Style, Religion, Women | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

Talking to an Anarchist, Vegan

Walking around on a thirty thousand plus campus will more than likely result in some strange encounters with few idealist, outcasts, and rebels. The other day I had a conversation with an Anarchist promoter and a Vegan activist- on the same day. Both were interesting and idealists.

The Anarchist

They say first impression is crucial and if this Anarchist is a representative of the larger Anarchist movement, which I doubt it is, then no wonder why the movement is near extinction. The young man must have forgotten to shower, brush his teeth, put on deodorant, and wear clean clothe before representing his Anarchist club/movement/ideas. The whole time I was speaking to him I could not breathe properly because I’m one of those people who almost exclusively breathe through their nose and when I’m cornered, the discomfort is evident on my face. Despite these turnoffs, I had a productive discourse with the young Anarchist.

As a product of anarchy, my first question undoubtedly dealt with Anarchy as a theory and anarchy in practice i.e. Somalia. The young Anarchist distinguished “Anarchy” and “anarchy” – the difference, as he explained, is that Anarchy with capital “A” is not the same as the lower-cased anarchy. Somalia, he said, is in a state of anarchy not Anarchy. But I pressed him to differentiate between Somalia and the Anarchism theories imagined by Russian Anarchist – no comprehendible answer, at least in laymen’s term because, as he believed, true Anarchy does not result in a situation like that of Somalia.

I pressed again to make him understand that once Anarchy is enacted, there is no mechanism to keep it organized or peaceful – especially in a capitalistic society that believes the only thing one needs is more and more of material and acquire such material by any means possible. To him though, Anarchy is like Utopian but without the hassle of organized government or state protocols. So I wanted to find out what crime and punishment looks like in Anarchistic society. Again, it was incomprehensible because his answer was that when someone commits a crime – I mean a crime like murder or rape – then the person should be brought before a group of people, including the victim and their family, who listen and decide what to do with the perpetuator. So I asked, then “what”? No response.

The problem with Anarchism, like any other theory, is that it is just an idealist theory that cannot be practiced in its purest sense just as socialism and capitalism cannot be practiced in their purest form, at least in our modern world. Imagine Adam Smith’s capitalism put into practice in its purest form.

The Vegan

Although I have long been aware of this concept, I never really understood why people think enslaving dogs and cats are ok, but eating any animal meat is a crime against nature. Waiting for my bus, a young man who happens to be in my International Development class approaches me with a brochure showing terrible pictures of animals being abused at livestock factories. I declined to take the brochure at first but then I thought what the hell, it doesn’t hurt to learn more. Yet what I saw, albeit terrible, did not change my believe that animals and humans depend on each other not for emotional reasons but for resources and a balance to nature. Let me explain this. My understanding is that the world’s resources are not enough for both humans and animals to share because there is less than 30% land and billions of people and animals of all kinds compete to survive in that tiny space of productive resources.

So instead of enslaving (I use this term purposefully to make the connection that animals do not choose to be pets, people force them) animals for our entertainment and service (like hunting dogs), we ought to leave them alone and let them be the wild animals that they are. Why should dogs, cats, fish, etc. be forced to live in an environment that is not natural to them? Why should a middle-aged woman fulfill her emotional vacuum through the domestication of a dog when she could get that from a human being only if she tried? 

It is strange how pet owners never think about how animals do not choose to become a pet but are only forced to; yet when I eat a goat or a chicken meat, I’m being cruel to animals? Imagine in a world where chickens, camels, cows, goats, and sheep out number humans 100 times more? I don’t think vegetarians ever think about that. I really believe vegetarians do not think critically about their choice based on practicality but only as an emotional reaction.

When I saw those pictures in the brochure, I was disgusted and appalled but when my emotions came down and I thought critically, I realized that pet owners are forgetting how too many of them pay to go to a zoo in order to watch poor animals caged and humiliated for their entertainment but instead too often focus how very bad people treat animals awfully, which I categorically condemn in the strongest terms. Indeed I came to the conclusion that many people who claim to be animal lovers are more often than not are being cruel to animals because they are forcing animals to unnatural behaviors and environments. 

Still, I maintain that for one to be a true animal lover, one has to leave animals alone – don’t keep them as pets, don’t pay to watch them race for their lives on TV (dog and horse racing), don’t pay to keep them caged and humiliated in zoos, and don’t support animals being paraded about on pageants but simply leave them alone. If you really love animals and want to help them, focus your effort on fighting to save their habitat instead of solely focusing on industrial abuse. As for me, I do eat them for food and food alone. Does that make me a cruel person to animals? I think not. 

Categories: Life Style | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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