Two days ago, I met a stranger in London underground as I was exploring the city. The conversation started small as I was asking about the underground map. Then, we found ourselves talking about everything from work to traveling to culture. He is from Canada working in UK and I am from Saudi coming here for a short visit. He is atheistic and I am a Muslim and despite so many differences between us, I realized that I have more in common with this total stranger than with the friends who speak my language or practice my faith. So, for those who confine the scope of their life solely on one religion, one language or one race, and fight everyone who is different, will eventually realize how pathetic they are, because they simply failed to understand the most important aspect of life and it is diversity.
- “Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves.” Part of Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”
- “I was gonna tell him: You can ask the dogs why they want to get married” A Saudi friend telling me his story, as he was asked by the interior ministry for why he want to get married from foreign woman!
- “What is on earth that can be more magnificent than a couch, a book and a cup of coffee!” This was written on a cup of coffee, which my wife bought for me last week.
- “And the road to a man’s heart starts from his penis “ said one of my friend after I told him that: “The road to a woman’s heart starts from her mother”
- Walking home, light is sighing, the sun is slipping through the air, a mother is lifting a baby, his jacket gets caught in her hands, his belly peaks so soft and bare, it sounds so beautiful, I cannot hear my own silence, it repeats like a thought so happy, it is afraid to forget itself. Said the blogger, Aysha Alkusayer on her facebook.
- “The real Chris Kyle, a navy SEAL who wrote an autobiography, took more pleasure in the killing than his on-screen character does. “I’m not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun,” he wrote. A more faithful film would have been more unsettling and probably less popular.” Reading from The Economist’s article “Bleeding red and blue”
- “There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope” my favorite quote from the move “The Theory of Everything”
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.
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
- 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” A 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
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!
- “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 ARYN BAKER 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.