Archive for Arabisms

Samer and His Mother

Oh, joy. Oh, joy.

Samer is free.

Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi underwent an eight-month-long hunger strike against his administrative detention.

His mother’s face during his hunger strike:

Today, his mother Leila is dancing:

Mabrook Leila. Mabrook Palestine.

May victory touch every Palestinian man, woman, and child held in the prisons of the occupation, and put the smiles of joy on the faces of their mothers, fathers, spouses, and children.

May we see you smile.


Dubai is a nerd, and nerds are awesome

Today I realized that if Dubai were a person, it would be the nerd. The little kid in elementary school that no one noticed, but that worked really, really hard and did really, really well and then you know, became Bill Gates.

All the cool people go to Dubai-the-person’s parties, because even though he might not be inherently cool, the parties are awesome. They’re all about rubbing shoulders with the rich people in style, and if you have a great idea (or enough charisma), you might just make the right friends.

The campaign for the Dubai Expo was freaking awesome. Did you see the campaigns for the other countries bidding? They put no effort. But Dubai, being the nerd he is, turned his bidding project into something gorgeous.

Ahh… You know what I’ve been saying for years. Nerds make better lovers.

Hats off to Dubai.

Now that I’ve realized you’re a nerd… I might just start to understand you better… And then – gasp – perhaps even like you.

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I wish you are unharmed every year

In Levantine Arabic, we say “kol saneh o inta salem” for “happy birthday”, and “happy holidays”. The phrase can be translated into “May you be unharmed every year”, where “salem” means “unharmed”.

Amusingly, I never thought of the irony of this phrase until this moment.

In a historically screwed-up region, it’s funny that our greeting is about the concept of lack of harm, as opposed to happiness.

Happiness, I suppose, is too lofty a goal. We have never lived in long periods of peace. Ever. Not since the Roman times. Or since Jesus was here. Or the Crusades. Or the Ottomans. Or WWII. Or the Zionist occupation.

Who needs happiness when you just want to ensure not coming to harm, quite literally?

I wish you lack of harm every year. Kol saneh o inta salem.

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Hilarious Histories of Arab Countries in Six Words

I was looking at the Telegraph’s Olympic special, and I couldn’t help but go through all of the countries to go through their “History in Six Words” section.

Brilliant. Unfortunately, not all countries have these histories, but here are the ones that do:

Ancient. Made famous by Terry Waite.

Saint Augustine,Camus, Zizou; easily-remembered capital.

Pearl farmers find oil – chaos ensues.

Separation with Iran; meeting with money.

Babylon, Saddam, Bush, Blair, imaginary WMDs.

Sold oil, bought arms. Gaddafi out.

Crippling identity crisis softened by couscous.

Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. Oil! World Cup.

Bedouins, Brits, Burjes, Beckhams, bling, boiling.

Pyramids; Mubarak sent down the river.

Middle East peacemaker; not glamour model.

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The footballer and his mother

Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak (b. 1987) finally holds his mother after being held for three years in an Israeli prison with no charges.

Sarsak was a member of the Palestine national football team, and went on a three-months hunger strike that finally got him released.

This is too all the mothers in Palestine.

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