A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: August 2006 (Page 1 of 4)

And the Arab world loses some more…

[via The Black Iris]”

Naguib Mahfouz, arguably the Arab world’s greatest novelist, and the only Arab to be awarded a Nobel prize in literature, at 1988, died yesterday at a hospital in Cairo. He was 94. May his soul rest in peace.
Mahfouz was buried at Al-Hussein mosque near his birthplace in Cairo, according to his will. His funeral was attended by a few friends and relatives and a score of Egyptian officials, but the people of Cairo who made the characters of Mahfouz’s novels were absent.
It is regrettable that funerals of great men, such as Mahfouz, in our Arab world are not attended by the Arab masses that were the main body of their work. Our people prefer to march in thousands at the funerals of their oppressors and dictators.”
[Via Healing Iraq]

“The story of Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz is the story of modern Egypt itself. Born in 1911 in the Gamaliya district of Cairo, Mahfouz witnessed the last days of British colonial rule and Ottoman influence, the nationalist struggle of Saad Zaghloul, the reigns of King Fuad and King Farouq, the military coup of 1952, the establishment of the republic, Gamal Abdel Nasser’s takeover in 1954, the Suez Canal crisis, the rule of Anwar al-Sadat, the Camp David accords of 1978 and finally the brutal dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism…”
[Via Moorish Girl, where you can read the rest of the article]

More from the Arab blogosphere;

Healing Iraq

Kabob Fest
Big Pharoah
The Sandmonkey
Jar Il Qamar

[via tootlog]


My two weeks are almost over and I feel the wave of appreciation ebbing away.

(The television shows an old black and white Egyptian movie, the man is wearing a fez. Their voices are horribly squeeky, but they’re both dressed so gorgeously, and they’re totally making out. Why are modern day Egyptian dramas filled with kitchy gold for both rich and poor and men with a million wives? So much for the days when half naked didn’t refer to a pair of shorts rather than women seriously scantily dressed. Not that I have a problem with people being scantily dressed, I don’t see why everyone tries to control everyone else. Arabs should seriously learn to mind their own business.)

It’s really hot, and it’s almost September. When does it start getting cool again? I always try to remember to blog something when the weather starts cooling down (or heating up when I’m freezing and waiting for the summer sun) as a mental note for a time like this, but for some reason, I never get to doing it.

(I’m reading this really good book that talks about a Greek family, a lot more on that later, for now, I’ll just mention that that I find it amusing how Greek culture is so much closer to the Levantine culture than the other Arab cultures like those of the Gulf, Egypt, and North Africa. A Greek salad is the salad we make for lunch everyday and baklawa, baklava if you will, will always be a delicious local variety to me, one you can buy from Zalatimo.)

With the summer winding down, the crowds are finally starting to thin. The Jordanian license plates are appearing to be on the increase (although its really all the other varities of plates that are actually decreasing), but the crowd is still a killer most of the day.

(An old Fayrouz play is now showing, I think its “Baya3 il Khawatem”. I adore Fayrouz to bits. A3teeni il naya wa ghani. Pass me the flute then and sing, the best of prayer is song, and even when life perishes, the flute continues to lament. Have you spent an evening as I have done among vines, abstaining from all that will come forgetful of all that has passed? Forget illness and its cure people are nothing but lines which are scribbled on water.)

I’m also in a particularly homely mood, trying to finish all the stuff I need to do and trying to redesign this blog, which I’ve decided has too many bugs to fix, so I might as well start from scratch. I’m dreaming of pixels these days, and I mean that quite literally.

(Abdel Haleem brings a perfect end to my night on the television along with the call for prayer that I hear outside, gana el hawa, gana. I think what’s showing on tv is also out of a movie, set in Beirut. Ah, Lebanon, picking up her pieces, healing her wounds. Ya rameeny be seihr eneik el etnein, matooly wakhidny we raieh fein. Why not tell me where we are headed? To a new wound? Or nowhere at all? Walla alla fahr mewadeeny? The poor Arab world, I just read that 25% of the Palestinian Parliament is held by Israeli forces. Ramana il hawa, ramana.)

Off to more pixel dreams on a hot summer night.


You’d think that when people rebrand they’ll skip sexist and stereotypical notions that are becoming taboo in this day and age, but I suppose not in the Arab world, where we keep insisting on sexist, stereotypical branding of women-related products. The most recent company to do that is Maktoob Group, who re-branded their Maktoob Women section to Helwa, which literally means “pretty”, and the site slogan says ‘be pretty on the inside and the outside (h/t AdBlogArabia).


Meh. Why do we give a woman’s beauty more than its worth? And why are companies giving this notion more strength with their branding? I love the internet because I find it a space for change and reform, and it’s so unfortunate that it is turning into a space that furtherly helps Arab women into Stepford Housewives.

Helwa seems to concentrate a lot on cooking, which is perfectly fine and quite expected as it is sponsered by Nestle. They have other sections such as “Life and Health”, “Beauty and Elegance”, “Your Wedding”, and “Your Home and Kitchen”, and they have some sections that sound interesting such as “Women under Lights”, “Women’s Issues”, and “Family and Society”. Browsing through the last three sections mentioned, they are not exactly my cup of tea but they’re not too bad considering. “Women under Light” seems to be mostly on uber-Muslim women from the time of the Prophet Mohammad, and “Family and Society” actually has a few quite interesting-sounding articles on matters such as female circumsision in Sudan, human rights in Tunisia, and sexual abuse of children. I read an article entitled “The Success of Women”, which wasn’t bad at all at first, but then they ended it with the following, “The successful wife needs to be smart in the treatment of her husband. She needs to show him her need of him and always ask for his opinion, and she needs to always make him feel the importance of his role in her success story. Finally, she also must not be too proud of her success in front of him and always try to make him feel that he is better than her.


I personally think that that paragraph is offensive to both Arab women and Arab men, the fiirst being encouraged to fool the latter into happiness.

I really have no problem with sites dedicated to cooking and nail-care tips, but it’s just that the overall package is extremely demeaning to women. There is nothing in Helwaa about politics, technology, science, or art, and yet, the site is for “Arab women”, not Arab housewives or something. It’s as if the only things Arab women are interested in are what they’re cooking for lunch tomorrow and how they’re going to wear their hair tonight.

The problem is that such a package sells so well. Does that make it true? Is that all what the majority of Arab women are interested in?

Yeah, pictures

– “I’m not exactly dying on going to grad school but if I end up deciding I want to get a Master’s degree or something, there’s no way I’d do it in the US, I’d definitely go to Europe.”
– “But at the US you’ll get the best of what Europe has to offer with their centralized education. You’ll get the best of Italian professors, the best of French professors, and the best of everything.”
– “Who cares about education. They don’t have the Louvre do they?”
– “No, but they have really good pictures of the Lourve.”

(pasted from a conversation with the Sandmonkey)

Pictures! Hear that? PICTURES!

Admittedly, the MoMA sounds a lot more appealing to me than the Louvre, and I’m so stupid with foreign languages that the US of A sounds so fantastic in terms of not having to worry about Mazen’s Italian or Margerie’s mix of French, Dutch, and English, but whatever, eh?
15 more credit hours left for me to get my Bachelors degree, and quite honestly, aside from a few classes over the past few years, I learned everything I know now from books I bought myself and from the internet, so why should I go waste more credit hours watching the seconds handle of my watch spin around? Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

On other thoughts, do you think I can write a book? Some people have accused me of being too random. Then I said, so what if I’m too random, I can still write a book. Then they said, “Yeah, but who will want to read it?” So question is, if I’m ever to write a book, about whatever topic in the universe, will you read my book?

Finally, moving on to the completely random fact of the day, but a fact that’s so vital that I’ll dedicate a post to it and it alone sometime soon- I HATE PEOPLE WHO USE A LOT OF EXCLAMATION MARKS AND QUESTION MARKS AT THE END OF THEIR SENTENCES.

Sort of like this?!!?!!!

Seriously, dude, one is enough. One is plenty. I GET THE POINT. It’s even ruder than yelling in caps. Get the point?!!?!!?!!

Quoting Hala, effft!

Beirutis Respond : Resilience

Giant billboard on a major Beirut Highway.

+ Beirut Spring


Roba passed Oloom Askareyeh :)

So long Batelco!

I just switched to TE Data.
What can I say?
In my most authentic Jordanian accent, ma3 il gal3a!!!

Regular blogging and hopefully a faster email reply service should resume shortly. Online life is hard when you’re under 40kb/s of speed.

The Room (Representing Movement)

Shoe Therapy

Nothing feels as good as going shopping and emerging with three pairs of shoes.

hmm 008
Although the reaction to these shoes was “Yeah, you should go demonstrate against the war in Vietnam”, they are most definitely my favorite buy out of the three. I absolutely adore flat boots, especially when they come with a tag that says 75% off! Bargain.
Now all I need is a pair of skinny-leg jeans for the winter and I’m set to go. Yay.

hmm 014
This pair is the most “me”, especially as I already have several pairs that have a similar look. I like their color, it goes with everything, and they’re cool for daily hustle and bustle, although they’re not as comfortable as they look.

hmm 002
Finally, the shoes that are the least “me”, but they’re the closest to what I had in mind without an overpriced price tag. I only bought them cause I need a pair of heels… I actually was looking for something more like this:

Bas yalla, summer is almost over.

… but words can never hurt you

but words can never hurt you

(sticks and stones can break your bones)

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