Archive for February, 2009

Random Encounters

Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. –Albert Einstein

I’ve been working for a small law office in Brooklyn for about 3 weeks now and have come across some interesting people. This morning a man (Caucasian, probably in his 40s) came in who had come in once before during my week of training. The first time he came in, he asked if he could have a poster that was up on our office window. He was really taken by the artwork and knew nothing else of the subject matter, neither did he especially care for it at the time. The poster is an advertisement for the National Popular Conference for Palestinians in the U.S.

The guy came by today just to let me know he actually looked up the artist and he was very impressed by what he found. He then picked up another poster for an upcoming event that had a photo of a little girl from Gaza with rubble in the background, and asked how can people not be moved by such an image? I said well, apparently the world doesn’t find it that moving based on the state of events. He replied how people just don’t care and it’s sad.

As disappointed as I am in people sometimes, I also find it hard to believe that most people simply don’t care, and we began to talk about the impact of the media on the public mind and how I’d rather give the world the benefit of doubt because people are probably just ignorant and unaware of the full story. He looked at me and chuckled and said “God bless you kiddo, but as you get older you become more and more cynical. The world is just selfish.” He then talked about his grandson and how he’s trying to keep him on the right track and prevent him from becoming one of those selfish types.

Despite his jaded views, talking to this man was incredibly reaffirming and just refreshing. I mean the man didn’t know much about the issue before and he did some research on his own based on a poster he happened to pass by that really spoke to him– and now he’s trying to cultivate the same beautiful spirit in his grandson. For me that’s all the reassurance I need, despite his contrary view, that there is hope for humanity yet in this troubled world.

This experience definitely makes up for another encounter I had with some crazy Daily News photojournalist, also white and in his 40s or so, who went on and on about the evil nature of Jews. He also praised Saddam Hussein and kept calling him a hero, and said how unlike the American government, the man never killed women and children. Umm, really??! He also let me in on a “secret” about how we would spiral into a deep depression and Obama would be assassinated for the purpose of inciting a race war that would distract people from the economic collapse and keep them from blaming the real culprits, who are naturally, the Jews.

What hurt me about this encounter was that he acted, and even mentioned, that he was letting me in on his thoughts because he trusted me and knew I would understand. In other words, because I am Arab, I would naturally agree with his views and what he apparently perceives to be the typical views of Arabs and Muslims. I don’t know what disturbs me more though, his views, or the possibility that he’s right in his assumptions?

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Why I hate Muslims…Why I hate men

Bridges TV

First I will preface this post with sympathy to Aasiya’s friends relatives.  It is hard enough to lose a loved one, but to lose them in such a horrific manner and at the hands of the person who should be her protector, and the source of compassion and love makes it so much harder to handle. Allah yarhmha, and may she rest in peace.

In case you’re wondering where I’m coming from, Aasiya Hassan is the wife of Muzzammil Hassan, a Muslim-American television executive and creator of Bridges TV, a Muslim television network.  Last week Aasiya was beheaded by her husband. The reason why, it is being reported, is because she had filed for a divorce. There are many reasons i am angry at this, and i will express it in list form to save time and perhaps I’ll fill in the dots later when i can type faster (burned my hand, it’s not important).

1) Husband was the executive of a Muslim network that promoted MODERATE ISLAM. If this is the best example of moderate Islam, George Bush Jr. is the best example of a Republican. And the executive of Bridges TV, a network created to dispel the very stereotype this murder serves to spread. 

2) The media coverage was atrocious. On a simple google search, the most common hits came from independent blogs or conservative news sites (, michelle malkin, and foxnews), with one bit on CNN. Where’s the media? And more importantly, where’s the the MUSLIM uproar??? 

Only ISNA can be found responding in the appropriate way:

But more should be done locally. This violence exists in Muslim neighborhoods WORLDWIDE, and it’s not mentioned. How can that be? How does it get to the point where a man can beat his wife without cause for question? This type of man should be shunned, ridiculed, and removed from Muslim circles. PERIOD.

3) Don’t try to cover this up as a Muslim crime either. It was domestic violence written all over it. Though honor killings are popular in the Muslim world (probably because of the pressures on the purity/chastity of women taken to an extreme level), the problem of domestic abuse in general is what needs to be addressed. Just because this reached the point of murder, it’s gotten all the press, but among the reasons why Aasiya filed for divorce was domestic abuse. We, not just as Muslims, but as people need to address this, not just by writing letters, but by demanding accountability and education. How can we be doing this to each other, let alone our spouses, the mothers of our children? Why are we not marching in the streets for this? 

4) Stuff I hate about the murderer: He turned himself in, supposedly, with the thought that he did the right thing. He was married previously TWICE. How the hell can this man be allowed to be married? Probably an arranged marriage, I’m sure, but even then isn’t there a guideline of some sort? Why?? WHY does he deserve the honor of being married???   

This is a tragedy. An absolute tragedy.

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Foxhole Manifesto



A poem by Jeffrey McDaniels (my new favorite poet). 

Animation by Nick Fox-Gieg


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ESQUIRE – I still lovin’ ya, baby!

“And it’s unlikely that all the pseudo-hipsters who buy their Che T-shirts at Urban Outfitters will stop wearing them. No. These T-shirts send a message, which effectively boils down to this: I have vague left-wing sympathies but don’t read history. I am educated enough to want nonconformity but not intelligent enough to avoid conformity. I believe in supporting the wretched of the earth but happily purchase products from multinational corporations.

It’s all part of a long history of reducing the genuine struggles of peoples around the world for social justice to pretty baubles.”

                  —Stephen Marche

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Oh, ESQUIRE, how I love you.

“And it’s this: We — Americans — have a price. There is nothing and nobody we won’t sell out, whether it’s our principles or our children…what wasn’t sold on the cheap during the last eight years? What line wasn’t crossed? What company was too esteemed to be sold off, what governmental function too sacred to be privatized? The fact is, we don’t know. We have no idea. We can’t keep track. We don’t know who owns us anymore or what the payback is supposed to be, any more than we know exactly how much we owe or how much of us exists on some distant server, as a result of agreements entered into with passwords long forgotten.”

                         – Tom Junod

This essay is an example of why I love reading Esquire. 

Read the full article here:

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