Archive for Seriously

Isaac Asimov on Zionism

Isaac Asimov was born in Russia to an Orthodox Jewish family in 1920.

In his autobiography, he says: “When Israel was founded in 1948 and all my Jewish friends were jubilant, I was the skeleton at the feast. I said, “We are building ourselves a ghetto. We will be surrounded by tens of millions of Muslims who will never forgive, never forget and never go away. I was laughed at, but I was right. I can’t help but feel that the Jews didn’t really have the right to appropriate a territory only because 2000 years ago, people they consider their ancestors, were living there. History moves on and you can’t really turn it back. … But don’t Jews deserve a homeland? Actually, I feel that no human group deserves a “homeland” in the usual sense of the word…. I am not a Zionist, then, because I don’t believe in nations, and Zionism merely sets up one more nation to trouble the world.”

Asimov, Isaac (1994). I, Asimov: A Memoir. New York: Doubleday. p. 380.

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Behind Every Man Alive

Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth.

Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star.

But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many–perhaps most–of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven–or hell.

How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars.

Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become reality. Increasing numbers, however are asking; ‘Why have such meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into space?’

― Qyote from Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


In Times Like These

Déjà vu.
It’s always déjà vu.
The constant sense of foreboding. The constant drums of war.

The Gulf War: 1990
Sirens outside. The cartoons on TV turning into a red screen with a banshee-like wail. My dad checking the taped windows. My uncle showing my parents gas masks. Sitting in the backseat of the car for hours, watching the desert go by, as my father drove us from Riyadh to Amman, which was safer.
I was five years old. I don’t remember feeling fear. I was too young to understand war, after all. Too young to understand death. The fear translated to adrenaline. I remember the adrenaline.

The Second Intifada: 2000
Dead children on Al-Jazeera. More dead children on Al-Jazeera. More and more dead children on Al-Jazeera.
My dad calling his family in Palestine. The bad news, the bad news, the bad news from everywhere.
I was 15. I think that’s when I started becoming desensitized. That’s when death started feeling like déjà vu.

Riyadh Compound Bombings: 2003
It was my last year in highschool. It was past 11:00PM. I was trying to sleep. My dad receives a call. Bombing in Al-Hamra Compound! Al-Hamra compound, where we know so many people. It isn’t just death on TV anymore. It’s death of people we know.
The Palestinian community in Riyadh grieved. My mother’s face was yellow, when she came back from the funeral. Even the “Americans” in the statistics and in the news were actually Palestinians. Palestinians we knew, or Palestinians who knew someone we knew. The Palestinian community of Riyadh is tight-knit. The Palestinian community of Riyadh grieved.
My highschool was across the street from Al-Hamra compound. The windows of the school were broken. That’s how I finished my last year of highschool. Amidst cracked windows.

America’s Invasion of Iraq: 2003
My highschool graduation was 3 days away. My friends and I were happily planning for what was then the most exciting day of our lives. Then America invaded Iraq, and nothing was happy anymore.
I had Iraqi friends graduating with me, after all. We watched the news with sadness. We watched the news with pain.

Terrorism in Nablus: 2003
My father packed a bag and went to Nablus, and that wasn’t something he did often. A good friend of his was murdered, Baraa Al-Shakaa, in a booty-trapped car targeting his brother the mayor, Ghassan.
My brother was called Ghassan after a Ghassan Al-Shakaa. Not the mayor. His uncle, I believe.
I never saw my father as sad as he was that month.

Terrorism Strikes Amman: 2005
It was horrifying. Amman! Peaceful Amman. My city. My home. Three places, all within three kilometers of my house. Places I’ve been to so many times. In someone’s wedding. Fuck them.
Life changed after that.

Israel’s War on Lebanon: 2006
Misery. So many friends in Beirut. All panicking. All trying to escape. Fear. Misery. Hatred.

Israel’s War on Gaza: 2008
My father was dying in the hospital. I was sitting next to his bed, watching the news of Gaza on Al-Jazeera.
So. Many. Deaths.
I wondered what was easier. Knowing that your dad will be dead from cancer in a few days, or losing him suddenly in a bomb.
My dad died before the massacre was over.

Civil War in Syria: 2011
You know, your heart freezes. I guess it’s self-defense mechanism. But of course no mechanism is fail-proof. Especially when you’re talking about something that is SO CLOSE TO HOME. Too close to home. It’s painful. It rots your heart. Rots your soul.

This list doesn’t even include the revolutions of the Arab Spring, that have also claimed hundreds of innocent lives. Yemen. Bahrain. Egypt. Sudan. Libya. Tunisia. This is just the non-revolutionary list. The list that I witnessed with my own eyes, with my own friends, with my own family, and not the list that was always there on TV, still close to home.

Strange being Arab in these times.

I was a child once. An Arab child.

I was an Arab child who was told that there were Arab children, like me, dying. My Arab brothers and sisters.

I am not a child anymore. I’m still Arab though.

The Arab children still die by the hundreds. Arab children young enough to be my Arab children.

In times like these, I want to be here:

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Gangs of the World

Of course, I think that Latin American countries are awesome for standing up to the big bully that is the USA, but the writing of the piece above is hilarious.

In Snowden going to start World War 3?


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Don’t Condition Your Daughters to Be Princesses Instead of Engineers

Here’s a really awesome ad for a really awesome toystore. They make engineering toys for girls, instead of the regular gross “Ooh, why don’t you be a princess when you grow up” bullshit.

If you have daughters, make sure you don’t condition them to become future housewives with zero intellect and no passions. Women are the future of our backward nation.

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5 Skills that will get you Hired in 2013

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