The Struggle to Write

Since I left Portland, I have been struggling to write anything in my blog. I felt the loss of the most important thing in my life, which is the ability to express my feeling.  Sometimes, I feel attempting to write  is like giving birth to words, painful in the beginning and may require Caesarean surgery.

I met a lot of people here in Saudi who have never been into writing experience in their whole life. They feel that they have nothing to write about! nothing to share! nothing to express! They misunderstood the main purpose of writing. You don’t have to have a good story in order to write. Good writers don’t write because they want other people to appraise them. They write because it is their passionate and they want to experience this unique way of self reflection.

It is indeed sad that some people have never felt the joy of writing until now. Their moments, feelings, ideas and most importantly their self reflection, went by with no record. I have read somwhere that we write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

I think we should all have the courage to write our stories, regardless of how insignificant and senseless they might be.  The struggle to write is only in the first step, once you pass it, you will see your hands moving passionately to write your story and then, your whole life will change.

So, let’s write and write and write until the last breath of our life.

13 Comments

Filed under blogging

Doubt and Life

The French philosopher, Voltaire, has once said that “Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one.” And I have never been so doubtful and confused of who I am as now. Life is somehow like a cycle. We move from one doubt to another, from one confusion, to less or maybe more confusion. There is no clear final destination that I know of. Everyone creates or presumes the ending of his story. Some may get the good ending; other may start again from where they end and I happen to be in the middle of between.

Sometimes, I envy kids for the way they look at things. They live the moments as they are, and when they go to bed at night, they have this incredible feeling of excitement for tomorrow. We begin to lose this excitement as we grow. Some people get consumed by work and routine, other by family and friends. The fact is I get consumed alittle by both.

I am so blessed with my family. We are so connected, and so close to the extent that you can’t imagine. I get a minimum of two calls each day from one of my family asking me how I am and update me with all the family news! In cases when I have good news or bad news, my cell phone wouldn’t stop ringing!

This is beautiful some of the time but not all the time! Sometimes I feel the need to keep myself in distance from my family. I care about my privacy and having my own space therefore I started to draw a line that I feel my family shouldn’t cross.

Work is good so far. I joined the professional development program in Saudi Franci Bank after 8 months of intense tests and several interviews. I am happy with the work environment although, I have the anxiety of thinking and planning for my career path. Now, I realize that I need to be more relax and less stressfull about the future. I believe in the law of nature which is to do your best and let the universe do its part!

There is really nothing in this life that worth  stressing out if we all at the end, will be left alone in blank area called a cemetery. Some of us acknowledges this fact in the mid of their life, other acknowledge it one day before the end of their life. What is the point of being the richest man in the cemetery? My friend asked me after the death of Prince Sultan. Now, I paraphrase his question; what is the point of the stressing out  if we are all going to die? Life moves on, and time is counting down! Those who want to enjoy will enjoy, and those who want to complain and get depressed will die with their depression. I try most of the time to enjoy the beauty of nature, the smile of the strangers and the incredible taste of coniencidences in my life and I hope you do.

I doubt myself therefore I know and learn more, therefore I am happy.

P.S I miss you all so much

* All the pictures are taken by me using my Iphone and Instagram applicaion 

10 Comments

Filed under personal, psychology, Uncategorized

June Panorama 2011

  • My beloved, you know how weak I am, you know for certainty how insignificant I am, I can o nothing to help you, I am a lonely woman, I cannot reclaim your rights, I cannot support you, or take your revenge, but I will do everything I can for you… I will cry for you” translated letter from the mother of the prisoner “Fahad Al-Saeed” to his royal highness, The Prince
  • He suddenly recalled from Plato’s Symposium: People were hermaphrodites until God split then in two, and now all the halves wander the world over seeking one another. Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost. By Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
  • This dopamine effect explains why pornography tends to become more and more extreme over time: ordinary sexual images eventually lose their power, leading consumers to need images that break other taboos in other kinds of ways, in order to feel as good. Moreover, some men (and women) have a “dopamine hole” – their brains’ reward systems are less efficient – making them more likely to become addicted to more extreme porn more easily. Said Naomi Wolf  in her article Is pornography driving men crazy?
  • There’s always people wondering, or sometimes questioning, either with pity or curiously: Why aren’t you married until now? Like you’re missing an arm or a leg. And then there are two teams: Team “you’re not getting any younger” and Team “You’re still young”. Although you’re not even showing the slightest sign of being worried about the issue. Said  Ola Eliwat in her blog’s post, Single Not-Very-White Female
  • I had been traveling around the world for ten years and while doing so I observed women, how they dressed, and how men reacted. The conclusion I always came to was that women all over the world were wearing what they wanted to wear and for the most part were not treated inappropriately because of how they dressed but rather how certain people reacted to dress based on their own convictions. Said Nadia El-Awady  in her blog’s post, I’ve Gone and Done It Now: What It’s Like Without the Muslim Headscarf.
  •  I wondered once about the meaning of a homeland, about its mercy, its compassion for his children, Is it possible for a country to torture its children, to squash them, to steal the flower of their youth?  Can a true country throw its children in the prison with indifference? Another part of a translated letter from the mother of the prisoner “Fahad Al-Saeed” to his royal highness, The Prince
  • When you get married, you will remember my advise, woman don’t necessarily want you to solve her  problem, she wants you to listen to what she wanna say. One of my friend, talking about his marriage life experience. 
  • Al-Dossary says it is “laughable” that anyone would take Twitter seriously when there is only 115,000 Saudi users of the service. However, when you consider that many of these users have more followers than the daily circulation of his paper, you wonder who should be laughing. Said Ahmed Al-Omran in his blog’s post On Being Hashtagged 

2 Comments

Filed under Panorama

To Drive or Not to Drive!

Rights aren’t given, they are taken and if you aren’t willing to stand up and make a sacrifice for those rights, then just forget it.  Black people would never gotten their rights, if Rose Parks had chosen to give up her seat  to the white man in the bus, and let’s imagine the history of black people, if Marten luther King had chosen to remain silent and hadn’t given his revolutionary speech.   Every movement in the world, regardless of how peaceful it appears, hasn’t succeeded without sacrifices.

Saudi women have been dreaming for more than twenty years to get their basic civil rights, to be like every woman in the world: to drive their cars, to travel without a permission or restriction, to be treated as a citizen like men, to have their voices heard, to be ministers and decision makers and to have equal opportunities in education and work.  None of these has been achieved so far. What has been achieved recently is that Saudi women are now allowed to sell lingerie, instead of men in Malls!

Many Saudi women have spoken about their struggles in newspapers and public media, but very few of them have taken action in the ground to actually change the society. Words are powerful, but not enough to change the reality.

Today, Saudi women are planning to make a history and challenge the society by driving their cars in public. I believe that this step, if they make it, is a significant turning point in women struggle in Saudi. If women were able to enforce their rights to drive, they will then realize that they are also capable of enforcing their rights to work, to travel without permission and to vote.

Now the question that everyone keeps asking is that will Saudi women break the fear barriers and drive their cars today?

 To Drive or Not to Drive, that is the question!

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

May Panorama 2011

  • “What do women want?” The only thing I have learned in fifty-two years is that women want men to stop asking dumb questions like that. An interesting quote by Sigmund Freud 
  • May I suggest a Tahrir Square alternative? Announce that every Friday from today forward will be “Peace Day,” and have thousands of West Bank Palestinians march nonviolently to Jerusalem, carrying two things — an olive branch in one hand and a sign in Hebrew and Arabic in the other. The sign should say: “Two states for two peoples. We, the Palestinian people, offer the Jewish people a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders — with mutually agreed adjustments — including Jerusalem, where the Arabs will control their neighborhoods and the Jews theirs.” Said Thomas L. Friedman in his NYT article Lessons From Tahrir Sq.
  • We must promote a culture of critical thinking in our society so people depend on themselves in thinking instead of letting Others do the thinking for them! Said Mansour in one of his tweets.
  • In a situation like ours, this isn’t enough, you either become a participant in (driving) and face the same consequences, or better not to urge (the saudi women) to expose themselves to danger. Maram Meccawy in a discussion with Aysha Alksayer in twitter.
  • “Remembering our past, carrying it around with us always, may be the necessary requirement for maintaining, as they say, the wholeness of the self. To ensure that the self doesn’t shrink, to see that it holds on to its volume, memories have to be watered like potted flowers, and the watering calls for regular contact with the witnesses of the past, that is to say, with friends. They are our mirror; our memory; we ask nothing of them but that they polish the mirror from time to time so we can look at ourselves in it.” Reading from Identity novel by Milan Kundera
  • You know! psychological torture is much more painful than physical torture. This is basically what her family has done to her. They tried to isolate her and not talk to her and all because  she has been in love relationship with a stranger like me. One of my friend is talking about his love experience in Saudi
  • Your defense against any false accusation directed at you, is just another way of confirming it. So When you have been accused falsely, just simply let the accusation die with whoever make it. Telling one of my friend in a conversation about people making a false accession on each other.
  • In the state of siege, time becomes space
    transfixed in its eternity
    In the state of siege, space becomes time
    that has missed its yesterday and its tomorrow.
    Part of (Under the Siege) poem for Palestine by Mahmoud Darwish
  • The greatest degree of arrogance and hypocrisy is the exaggeration in modesty. Interesting tweet by Sultan AlAmer
  • campaign deleted from FB, public confessions& apologies made in her name, &last night her Twitter account disappeared, today she’s released. Said Eman AlNafjan in twitter moments after the release of Manal. 
  • When I demur, he eagerly shows me a frilly lace concoction in yellow and tells me that it matches a bra that is also on sale. Quickly he jets a look at my figure, enveloped in a voluminous black abaya and ventures a guess. “D cup?” He asks, and without waiting for an answer, trots over to a rack where bras and matching panties line the wall in a rainbow array of lace, satin and cleavage-enhancing padding. The push-up bras are especially popular, he informs me. And the matching panties are three for the price of two. Said  in her TIME article In Saudi Arabia, Lingerie Reveals All
  • We (Saudi) suffer from many psychological disorders, and the greatest of all, is that we never think. Ever since we were born, we were literally taught what to think about, how to accuse, how to enter heaven, how to enter hell, and even how to pee. Writing a post in my Arabic blog in regard the issue of women driving.

4 Comments

Filed under Panorama

Top Five Fallacies about Women Driving in Saudi

Here are the common five fallacies about not allowing Saudi women driving with my respond to each one of them:

  1. Women driving will increase the traffic:
    Many saudi fear that streets and highways would be extremely crowded when women are allowed to drive and this isn’t true. In fact, allowing women to drive will decrease the traffic.
    In Saudi, Traffic occurs in the peak time especially in the early morning when employees go to work and in the beginning of the night when many Saudi go with their families to supermarket and other things. Now, if women were allowed to drive, they  would have flexible time to go to supermarket and finish home needs instead of just being confined on one specific time (like until their father or husband get back from work). This would decrease the traffic in the peak time.
  2. Women driving will increase the pollution:
    You may wonder since when Saudi began to care about environment and pollution! Ironically, Saudi began to think about being environmental only in the issue of women driving.  This country has no recycling programs, no public transportation to help decrease cars pollution, and no social awareness at all about the environment and yet when it comes to women driving, everyone is beginning to react as if the environment was the center of his attention.
  3. Flirting and sexual harassment:
    Saudi who have been outside of KSA respect fully the law of the country. I rarely heard a Saudi harassing an American woman or a Kuwait woman just because he sees her driving.   A lot of Saudi guys go to Bahrain in the weekend, some for the sake of enjoyment like watching movie, other for getting drunk and having fun with women in night clubs and yet they don’t have any problem with women driving there. So, what is the magic thing that drive Saudi crazy when they see Saudi women driving? I don’t know!
    By the way, many Saudi women get sexually harassed from Taxi drivers so allowing them to drive will really decrease this problem.
  4. Women driving will increase the rate of accidents
    I don’t understand how people sometimes make a conclusion on argument without having a sound and rational premiss like saying that “women are very emanational and not physically strong to drive therefore, allowing them to drive would lead to more accidents”. Sounds stupid, right? but honestly many people have this mentality of thinking. Now, Saudi is ranked among the top countries in car accidents and so if we follow the same mentality of thinking, we can make exactly the same conclusion and say:  Saudi men shouldn’t be allowed to drive because of their irresponsible driving skills!
  5.  Women driving is prohibited in Islam:
    It is either Saudi think they are the only one in the world who follow Islam and consider all other Islamic countries as sinners for allowing women to drive, or we have really stupid religious group who invent Fatwa as they wish and like. We are sick and tired of people telling us what is sinful and what is not, and how we should live our life or shouldn’t! If you think women driving is sinful and Haram, that is great! you can enforce your belief on your family, but not on the whole country.

22 Comments

Filed under discussion, Gender, Politics

The Inevitable Change in Saudi

Tomorrow is Friday and unlike all other days, the Saudi government is having a hard time sleeping tonight. Will people really protest tomorrow despite all the warning and fatwa of banning it? and will Saudi government uses the voilience against the protesters? We will know after 12 hours from now. So stay tuned!

We are in a time when military weapon are useless. If you shoot a gun fire on  a person, you get shot by hundreds of tweets that are capable of destroying your existence. Everyone knows that Saudi Arabis is ranked among the top spenders on defense military. According to IISS, Saudi government spends more than 10% of its GDP on defense, an amount that is considered to be double the proportion spent by USA. Saudi has never been in war, and doesn’t receive any big threats from our close neighbors, so why all this huge spending? We don’t know!

I have heard that in psychology, if desperation gets higher than fear, then people will do anything, steal! kill! and even protest! “When there is nothing to lose, you have everything” and Saudi young men and women aren’t just frustrated, they are miserably despair. Everyone I have talked with here is complaining. They complain about the bad infrastructure of the cities and the roads, the absent of civil society and freedom, the bad education system, women rights and finally the corruption.

Now every rational person who has  taken a basic math in his elementary school will know that Saudi Arabia considering its rich oil resources can be the top country in education, cities’ infrastructure, tourism, and almost everything else. We can build huge industrial cities like Dubai and New York, build metros and trains and create million of jobs by attracting Saudi investors to invest in their country instead of taking their investment abroad.

Change is inevitable whether now or five years from now and I hope that my government would hear from its people before it is too late! There is no guarantee in the future. The past events in Middle East have already proven that.

15 Comments

Filed under Politics