Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Empty hands

Bonsai-Mark once told me about a saying they have over in New England. They say "idle hands are the devil's workshop." Very true indeed. The fiercest riots and demonstrations we've had lately are in one form or another related to the unemployed. Now why wouldn't you find someone like me burning a trash bin or throwing rocks at policemen with big guns? Because I kinda have to show up at work tomorrow morning... and I better be shaved. On the other hand, someone my age or younger.. with no job or education to attend to... doesnt really need to give a flying fuck about most of anything... In fact.. he's already pissed.. so someone yelling over his head and charging him ahead definetely has his ear. If we're too dis-organized of a community and a government to sell oil and hire 30% of our labor from abroad but have 20% unemployment.. this is a serious problem that certainly will get some people mad. If we can't find them jobs, can't we at least put them to use? I've seen community programs in the United States organize all-nighter programs. They have a basket ball tournament ( 3 on 3) all night long in urban minority neighborhoods, to keep deprived young men off of drugs. Can't we at least take a big portion of these people to fish during day time or make wooden crafts to sell to tourists? Sounds stupid and simple.. but it beats taking the country back to the infamous mid 90's.
Please do not think that you are above or better than any of these people out there tonight. You were just lucky enough to get nurtured and set up for a more fullfilling life, and something to do all day long.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Parochialism

*Mailed in by profoundity ferret

History of dissention between people and the government has taken several shapes ranging from the severe repression to cold feet attempts of reform. The common factor between the two eras is that they all took shape from people’s pursuit of their interests.

Scrutinizing those interests, some observers arguably concluded that whatever people consider and identify, as being their interest and act accordingly toward them must be regarded as such and an attempt to postulate that people are pursuing objectives and interest that might turn out to be contrary to their ultimate goals is improper.

Well, the above postulate has based its conclusion on unreasonable idealistic view of what impels people, build their belief and consciousness and form their values and principles. People consciousness of all matters are formed and shaped immensely by external powers and how flexible and exposed are people toward them. So people tend to zealously defend their interest when they see that some powers are exposed to jeopardy (religion) or when some become so rigorous (poverty and unevenness).

People might, however, erroneously define and prioritize their interests, which jeopardize other interests and their existence. For instance, people in Bahrain are so fervent to political involvements through endless demonstrations and forums in respect to the domestic issues and show full support and passion to the external events such as Iraq and Palestine, and they put their wrath on hold, or in rapt silence for economical matters (except for unemployment issues of course, and they deal with it from political perspective rather than economical). Did any one of us witness demonstration asking for justifications and explanation to grim report on Bahrain’s competitiveness issued by BNCC? Did any of the cleric, scholars and “elites” mount the platform or through web forums and gave speech on environment issues, health issues, Recent Audit Bureau Report, Labor market, reform of labor market, increasing unemployment, school drops, birth restriction, educational requirements for labor market, educational standards (especially university of Bahrain standards), charity funds, need I go on? No words mouthed due to both misinformation and disinformation.

To disavow misinformation and disinformation is to disavow indoctrination and manufacturing the consent among various classes in the society. People stance is product of social, political and religious controls and people’s goals and actions to achieve goals would be considered legitimate if they are free to choose and decide.

Do you think that parochialism does exist in our society?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Arab world.. Persian gulf

lately, I've read an article calling for arabs not to refer to these great plains as the Middle East, but stress on calling it the Arab World. The article is uncovering a massive conspiracy from the west (where else) to inject a foreign object "Israel" into pure Arabia. It said that the west is attempting to ease the integration of Israel into the region by referring to us and them in a mutually inclusive region. Thank you sir for bringing to my attention this cunning masterplan. Can you beleive what would be the outcome if I succumbed to that lethal play on words? While we're at it, one must note that the term cross-check is also a deceitful term that might turn into checking each other to see if we were wearing a holy cross or not, and Toyota and Motorola are old hebrew insults to our mothers, just like pokemon, that promotes zionism and gambling.
Iranians are funding a big movement to prevent the name "Arabian Gulf" and spread the name "Persian Gulf" after a stupid dispute. The activists sent threat letters to National Geographic for publishing that name on their map, boycotted the publication, even started selling wrist bands to finance this worthy cause, just like the yellow "live strong's." They try to explain this stupidity as "preserving the persian empire." Well... you could try to preserve the empire by not voting a nut-job into office, that wants Israel wiped out but swears on his mother's soul that he doesnt attempt getting a nuclear bomb.... You can also try spending money on school books and computers rather than bombs and tanks.... You know what else I bet would preserve the persian empire? I bet letting journalists and bloggers out of jail to speak their mind sure would help too.
Now back to the idiot that wants to draw the line between the arab world and the middle east.. You can dress a pig in a tuxedo, but its still a pig. No matter what you call it... If I, for example, call the area I live in Jokerland... does it change the reality of where I live? Not one bit... You know what would? If I planted more trees and less land mines... It sure would make it a more pleasant place to stay in.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

HTTP 403 (Forbidden)

For a month now, when I try to long onto my favorite website in arabic, I get this message in bold : "You are not authorized to view this page." I need some information. Can you help me get the latest posts in that website Minister, Doctor, Preacher A. Ghaffar?
There was an old book.. came out in the first half of last century called 1984.. the whole idea was a dysfunctional authoritarian system could only function when everything was completely the opposite. The main character, Winston Smith, worked for the ministry of truth* which was responsible for spreading lies and manipulating the public in a fictional country called oceania... sounds painfully familiar to me! If George Orwell, the Author, heard about what we have here (MOI)... he would pull back the books from the shelves.. republish them again.. and called it the ministry of information, for ease of reference.
At times when you CLAIM that your heart is broken in half that the religious fanatics are taking over the country, and that its bad for business, and they're chasing all the investments away.. and yada yada yada... why do you close down the most liberal website in arabic in the world wide web? Is that terribly wise to counter and absorb the fundamentalism brewing in the street?
Do you really need someone to dumb it down for you and explain that when you take channels and outlets away, and stop people from expressing themselves, they get upset? And when they get upset and can't express themselves, they get more upset! And when they get really upset, and the only thing they get to listen to,(after you shot down and shut up every other opinion) asks them to go on a killing rampage, because god wants it that way, THEY WILL FUCKING DO IT!
Is that what you want? You want the people to get frustrated? Well congradulations! You did a wonderful job!
* I highly recommend you to read/ or read about the Novel 1984. " The novel was written by George Orwell under the title of The Last Man in Europe. However, the book's publishers in both the United Kingdom and the United States, where it was simultaneously released, moved to change its title for marketing purposes to Nineteen Eighty-Four. First published on June 8, 1949, The book begins approximately on April 4th, 1984 (the first entry in Winston Smith's diary) at 13:00 ("It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen...")."
George Orwell is the best political satarical writer in the world. His most famous book was Animal Farm.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Window dressing



It says right here, "To underscore the friendship, the Saudi foreign minister presented Rice with a chocolate birthday cake inscribed to her and with the flags of both nations. The Saudi delegation then sang "Happy Birthday" to her, U.S. officials said. Rice turns 51 on Monday."

Excuse me... I think I need to get my geography straight. Isn't this the same country that doesn't celebrate Prophet Mohammed's birthday? Here they are sharing cake with an infedel, thats also a WOMAN, and singing happy birthday? Whats wrong with my compass?

If celebrations, birthdays, valentines, and new year's eve go against pure Islamic teachings, then why do these politicians tend to forget them when Ms. Rice is in town? If they're more like loose guidelines left for personal interpretation, then why are they being enforced on us?

If you're going to enforce your demented views of religion, and shove your own convictions down my throat, I guess I'm out of luck...thats my problem.. but why didn't you stay consistent when Ms. Rice showed up at your doorstep? Why did you run to the window and paint it with peaches and cream? You should've made her wear a decent Hijab, bring a male relative or (perferrably) a husband to the meeting, and dismissed the satanic cult called "birthday", like everyone else! Why did you cater to her enjoyment and personal satisfaction, when I can't go to a Mall in Saudi with male friends any day of the week? By the way, there was an MP that even asked that Seef Mall had a weekly "Ladies only" day too!

The reason I raise these questions is this little party clearly goes against the Fatwa about buying flowers. I quote “It is not the habit of Muslims to offer flowers to the sick in hospital. This is a custom imported from the land of the infidels by those whose faith is weak. Therefore it is not permitted to deal with flowers in this way, neither to sell, to buy nor to offer them as gifts,” the fatwa said.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Selective Justice

A week or more ago, I was late for work.. so in order to cut time, I drove into the yellow lane on the side of the flyover in Manama, next to the Pearl roundabout. Soon enough, police lights were beaming, and I started singing "Bad boys bad boys.. watchu gonna do.. watchu gonna do when we come for you!" in my head. The Police officer walked that condisending walk we all know, put his hands around his wrist, and smirked that old "what do you think you're doing this morning, son!" He started looking for other offences he can come up with to nail me... that car badge looks old to me.. did you renew your car registration? Why yes I did, sir... can I just leave now?
Like a good citizen, I took my traffic ticket and promised not to do it again. I said to myself I fucked up.. I have to face the consequences like an adult and drove off....
This afternoon... I was walking around the old souq, I saw a police officer ticketing the cars in the off-limits space.. just walking around and signing his autograph one after the other... he got to a fancy Benz, and as sure as the day is long, I saw that little fuck swiftly glide around that car and ticket the ones behind it! Now that didn't send warm fuzzies over my body... I could swear it was the same jack ass from a week ago... if it wasn't him I'm sure he would've done the same thing.. from that condisending attitude..
Harsh laws are nice... apply them on everybody so they become laws... sticking it to the poor is just bullying them around and nothing else!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Preparing to fail

I got home after I watched Bahrain's best and finest footballers grass-roll and fake injury thier way out of some get-together footballers have every four years. I am writing and behind me on TV switzerland and Turkey are fighting with every tissue of muscle to knock each other out. Switzerland came in with a 2 nil lead. They got in and scored another... but did the Turks hang their boots already? They were mentally prepared to get back in there... and surprise surprise they tied 3 - 3 at the hour mark! It doesn't matter if they do qualify or not... at least they gave this day what it deserved.
How about we compare that to us? Basically, fans, players, politicians, and everyone were divided in two halves. The first half was so sure we were going to qualify and prepared for the celebrations days before the game (and I was part of that), and the other half was preparing to lose. They voiced subdeud low self esteem before the game, and sure enough, our boys put on red shirts and rear-guarded their penalty box like a 2 foot wall in front of a 9 foot tsunami!
Now, to the people that are supposed to manage the team. Did you ever entertain the posibility of T&T scoring one goal throughout your trip from the carribian to the gulf? Certainly a possibility when their forward got a golden boot award after he won the champions league in 1999! Its not fair to get off on them hard from my side, because we were all along until we got here.. its just a shame we got this close.
Now let me change this sour subject into something else I wanted to blog about when I was wondering which in-road to take to watch the "after-qualification-celebrations." Before the game started, I could swear I saw advertisements on the sports channel for 2 new newspapers and 4 different colleges. In a decent society, colleges and newspapers are the most intellectual institutions harboring the elite, and producing mind and management. Introducing a publication is fine, but whats up with these double door universities? Do they actually certify doctors and bankers and lawyers? Do they fail weak students? I mean you ran an ad on TV and I signed up for class.. the customer is always right..so if I answered Shakespear died in World War 2, by God he died in WW2! Now print out my certificate!
Does anyone see the implications of allowing these classrooms-on-wheels taking in University of Bahrain rejects and telling them "its ok to cry.." ? I guess this gets back to my original point.. we are not preparing the coming generations to take on the world. We are cutting corners, blinded by the all mighty dinar. Rather than license the dozen universities we have, why don't we do it right the first time? Pool in all those resources, fund a proper research programs in all kinds of discipline, and cough up a proper budget to bring in top school professors, and a little shed of self-respect of admitting the competent rather than the wealthy? I would hate to get gray and old, rolled into an operation room, and the doctor's certificate looks like it was faxed to him!
PS: Turkey just lost the tie.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Transparency Bridges

Our favorite reporter in the world, Tariq Khonji, covered an attempt to propose a commission that watches over tenders and government transactions, to make sure no side agreements or funneling is going on anymore, after the local media published the transparency report. Apparently the government was approving castles in the sky, or as I like to call them Chinese city lights.

That report made our human rights record blush. Good job government. Just when we think we can't do any worse, somehow you rise to the occassion.

This reminds me of an old joke. A Bahraini minister went on a friendly visit to Italy. The italian minister took him around the city and then to his mansion. So the Bahraini minister asks "how can you afford a mansion when everyone else lives in apartments?" So the Italian minister says "Go to that window and move the curtain. See that bridge over there?" Bahraini minister says "yes, its beautiful." Italian minister says "The budget was set for 3 million and I built it with 2. Now you know how I can afford this mansion."

A year later the Italian minister comes down here. Sure enough, the Bahraini minister takes him around, and then back to his Palace in Saar or wherever. The Italian minister now asks "If you don't mind me asking, how can you afford this big palace and everyone else here is living in shacks?" So the Bahraini minister says " Go to that window and move the curtain. Do you see a bridge there?" "No" he replies. Bahraini minister yells "EXACTLY!"

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Polygyny

* Profoundity Ferret is back again where the discussion ended last time.

Why Islam Permits Polygyny

Let us take this example. Man and woman are married, the woman after some quite long time is discovered to be barren and the husband needs a kid so badly (that is his natural right I guess), so the only viable solution is to have kids from another sexual relationship, either adultery or legal marriage. Legal marriage to a second wife in non-Islamic societies is not possible; a man has to divorce the first (barren) woman in order to marry the second, a case in which this barren woman will be left a lone and the possibility of her to get into legal relationship is rather low. While in Muslim societies a man need not to divorce the first woman in order to get into another legal sexual relationship, a case in which the first woman can still be married to him and eligible to all her rights.

By the same talking, what would be a case of a woman is turned out to be permanently ill and that illness prevents her from satisfying her husband needs ( as part of her natural duties to him as partner, nothing more nothing less), which one is fairer to her, divorcing her keeping her married to him and enjoy his full support and security?

We Willy-nilly know that gender ratio in almost all societies to be around 3 women more per man, thus, the question that remains how could this excess ratio, get husband, security and fulfillment? Let us keep an answer to this question for open discussion.

Reality VS theory

Before any of the readers who disagree on the issue of Polygyny starts hitting their keyboards furiously , let me say this: I know that all of the benefit above besides others are just in theory for us Muslim to brag about how great and universal our religion while in practice, it is totally grim situation. Polygyny is more attached to

Some rich people who think that with the adequacy of his wealth he can financially support more than one house.
Villagers, need I explain why?
Turbaned and scholars: what surprise me is that the majority of turbaned I know of in our society has more than one wife, knowing that fact that he is not even financially secured as the majority of his financial resources come from mounting the platforms in religious occasions. Such people who make speech to their congregations about politics, Islamic laws, inciting them to demonstrate for their rights, etc. how much time do they spend with their wives and kids every day if he has two- three families? How much time can he allocate to take care of his two –three families, read, search, study, prepare to mount the platform, etc.? How can he stand to their needs?

Conclusion:

While it is permitted in the religion and I can neither defend nor justify it because it is God permission, I ask to restrict Polygyny through the judicial system as it's attached with problems and harmful consequences on the societies by irresponsible applications.
I hope government legislates a law soon, which restricts number of children per family. Why? Because situations of ALL villages are catastrophic and the consequences are far from explanation, villagers do not want to understand that they complain all the time that their salaries are not enough for their survival and yet they produces kids every other year. !

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Empiror's New York

In the 1930's, a Chinese Empiror went to New York City for a visit. He was taken to the top of the Empire State Building (ironic,) and he was very much bewildered with the sight of little lights all over the city. He decided he wanted his city in China to look the same.

As soon as he got back to the orient, he called for the Prime Minister, and gave him one million yuans to finance the street lamps project. The Prime Minister gathered the Ministers and informed them that the Empiror has set aside the grand total of half a million yuans, and gave them his blessings. The ministers called on the municipal representatives and passed along the 100,000 yuans to go ahead with the project. That week, the municipal representatives beat their drums and declared "Good people of this city, the Empiror has ordered each and every one of you to hang an oil lamp on your houses."

That night, the Empiror stood at his balcony, and was very happy to see his city glowing with little lights like New York.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Winds of Change

This is not a scene from the twilight zone. This is the honest-to-god truth. Tomorrow at 5 pm, I will hop on an airplane to go to a Scorpion's concert, in Doha, Qatar. While I'm chanting "Rock you like a Hurricane" and "Send me an Angel" with the german rock legends, guess who's in Bahrain? Who's old and sad enough to remember The Human League? I can't believe this!
How did this happen? The highlight of the weekend is an 80's one-hit-wonder that disappeared into the backshelves of a record store?

Does anyone other than myself see a problem with going from BAHRAIN to QATAR to get your groove on? All do respect to our pleasant neighbor, but weren't we the ones priding ourselves for being hip? This is wrong... this is wrong...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Family Law

* These are Profoundity Ferret's thoughts and opinions about the family law. I disagree with alot of what he is saying, but the issue is well thought-out.

What is Family law?

It is a group of law stipulates handling of marriage, divorce, children custody, inheritance, alimony, and etc. cases. These laws jump to the surface recently due to several factors among which:

· Increased awareness among women in particular of their capability to change their current unjust treatment of their (women) cases with regard to divorces, marriages, alimony and guardianship through some communities and societies which started to take shape recently,

· Continued family violence and ignominy especially against women,

· Lack of last resort to most of the women in family disputes due to the masculinity of our society that women should always be a follower to the man since he has the last word in marriage, divorce and guardianship.

· Corruption in the court system that any of the abovementioned cases might take very long time to be resolved during which most of the women has to continue suffering with their collapsed marriages, or thrown on the street waiting for some charities to provide them with their basic needs

All of the abovementioned reasons plus more lead women to raise their voices asking for laws to protect their status disregarding who legislates that, religion or the government, they had enough of humiliation and disrespect.

Now I answered briefly " what is the need to legislate family law?" question. But let us underline proponents' statement:" legislate law". Do our court systems lack laws that govern the above cases so that proponents are recommending to come-up with new ones? The answer is no, the official religion of the kingdom is Islam and it explicitly stated in the constitution that Islamic sources of laws in respect to the above matters are the holy book and the prophet hadiths.

But if the Islamic laws that protect the women's rights and their social status are there, why family cases have to wait for ages to be resolved?


The problem is not with the absence of laws, rather, it is with the judicial systems and the application of laws among people. One proof to the last point is: are we suffering from lack of legislated commercial and banking laws? Resounding NO, then why do we have conflicts, violations, and legal suits against employers, banks, companies in addition to the fact that some of those cases wait for years to be resolved. So the problem is not ascribed to the absence of laws, it is with the judicial system and the applications of laws among people involved.

Why most of the turbaned and ayatollahs opposing this law? i.e. what is their take on the subject? The turbaned concerns are on delegating the parliament or any government's agencies to legislate the family law. Their argument is that laws pertaining to marriage, divorce, alimony, etc. should governed by Islamic laws not by codified law legislated by people who lack expertise in Islamic laws and principles such as seculars, communist and socialist (there are actually some communists among the proponent of the law). But you turbaned what are you going to say if we tell you that we would give you positive assertions that the law would be in line with the Shari'a Directives? Ayatollahs have taken one step further to reply that even if we are given assertions that law will be in line, who guarantee that it will remain so given the fact that the law has taken its legitimacy through the parliament, and what is approved by the current parliament might be rejected in the next one. So turbaned wants constitutional guarantee that family law once legislated by Islamic expertise should be given a constitutional guarantee to keep those laws unchanged

Let me now tackle the turbaned argument, you want Islamic law to proceed any other laws. Ok, are we going to have unified law for both Sunni and Shia or two separate law for each? If your reply is unified, then how long do we have to wait until you reach on an agreement and compromise to your everlasting differences? And if your reply is separate law then are you ready to the sub difference among shia themselves and sunni themselves because as you know there are significant variations in fatwas (religious opinion) between one ayatollahs to the other and between Wahabi and Sunni? Both parties are silent to these crucial questions.

I do no think that scholars who are so into opposition sexually insecure or they are against women rights, instead, it is quite evident from their speeches and books that they are totally with women rights and equality. Then why they are so freaked-out because of the law? They are freaked out because of similar proposition in other countries for family law that disregarded and violated fundamental Islamic principles, which totally not accepted by all Muslim people (I suppose). For instance, in Tunisia, the current family laws contains sheer variation from the Islamic laws as follows:

· Forbids polygamy, which is explicitly allowed in the holy book
· Women can divorce men
· Equality of women to men in inheritance
· Allowed abortions


In sum, I would like to make the following conclusions on my take on the issue:

Islamic laws should supercedes other laws.
Any community and committee that is involved in legislating any laws to govern social status and any other issues directly related to religion should be formed with Islamic expertise, not seculars or people of any doctrines.
There is no lack of Islamic laws that stipulates the social status, every thing is there in the religion, rather, we lack judicial system and proper &conscientious applications of the laws.
Turbaned should not take the issue to the streets through demonstrations; the issue should be discussed through civilized ways.
scholars should stress on the reform of judicial system as much as they do in opposing the law because most of the corruptions In the judicial system is because of turbaned as well.
Seculars and other proponents of the law should stop accusing the scholars of any wrongdoing, they have their rational concerns.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I Hate F.R.I.E.N.D.S.


I hate this show! I can't stand this feminist agenda that ruled the broadcast for more than a decade. The reasons why I hate this show is:
  1. 6 people living in New York, and all of them are white caucasian. Not a single black or puerto rican? In NYC?!? I think thats racist.
  2. Whats funny about a couple of dumb guys that aren't comfortable with their masculinity? And why are men portraid as dumb? I bet not many people noticed that sitcoms lately show men as dumb slow-thinkers that can't take care of themselves (Raymond, the men in Friends, Homer Simpson..etc.)
  3. 3 gorgious, very thin women. Most people don't look like that. I think it pressures young ladies in that pre-teen part of their lives and puts wrong ideas in their heads about how they should look like.
  4. A friend of mine pronounced something in a funny way, and I kindly reiterated it correctly. She's like "Thank you, ROSS!"
  5. We get it. Sex Sells. But the sexual tension in that show is way over exploited! Everyone is trying to screw everybody else. 6 horney people.. ha ha very funny.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Who's idea was this?

The latest law in the land is all the 5 star hotels have to be closed for the Eid holiday. Why is that? another Arab leader died this week? Or are they being inspected for weapons of mass destruction? This is some serious bullshit!
I've had it with these beards and turbans going talibani on our ass! You know, now that you did a good job chasing tourism out of this country, there is another similar sounding word you have to think about, Terrorism! Now that we are going ahead in banning 5 star functions and restaurants, whats next? Shopping malls for families only? Have big signs on entrances saying "NO BACHELORS!" like the one I've seen years ago in Alrashid Mall?
Now tourism and terrorism kind of sound the same. With no tourism, first there is no outlet to relax and enjoy some simple pleasures of life. Second, tourism is the fastest growing service sector in the world for a while now. Finally, and I believe this point is overlooked, tourism gives us the exposure to other people and cultures. The more you do see that, the more you respect our differences and appreciate the meaning of being humans.
Now, after this thunderbolt of a decision, we will have a young generation that 1. Do not have much of a choice to enjoy themselves 2. Don't have a job 3. Don't appreciate people that are different.
You can guess where this new path we're taking is going to lead us!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Justice

This piece was mailed in by my friend, yippy yo yippy yay, which will be known from now and evermore as "profoundity ferret."

Recently I have been going through Omar Shareef biography and I stopped at his answer to a question " do you believe in God", " I believe in every thing and nothing!, since I born, I was told that believing in God is believing in justice, and I did not and will not see justice in this world", he replied.

I am not intending to conclude anything from his statement about his belief, rather, what I would like to stress upon in his statement is the word justice. I can see his point pretty well. Where can we find this justice in here? Your boss is such an airhead, with no proper education and personality, not mentioning his sick attitude while you holding your qualifications and educations, striving to develop and improve, and he is your boss.

Where is that justice, if you apply for a job, with everything it takes to assume that position, and you see that your chances is voided, some one knows someone in the same place and he/she let him in.

Does justice mean one gets what he deserves, or is rewarded as much as he puts?
Where is that justice, any one?

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