culture, discussion, Gender, philosophy, Politics, psychology

the evil side of collectivism

Before you read, 
“The following writing represent only me and my thoughts. It doesn’t represent any specific society or religion as a whole. So please, don’t make any generalization based on what you read. my thoughts are open to discussion and disagreement and i am willing to change anything you find it wrong”. 
There is a good side and evil side for everything. 
but for collectivism!!, 
It seems to me that the evil side appears more frequently than the good side.
Why? … well, because of the following :
1) Losing the identity of one’s self
The problem with a collective system is that it forces a person to lose his conscience of one self.
in a collective society like mine, a person make an account for the group more than him self. We behave in this way because the group behave in this way.
We talk, think, dream, love, smile, sleep and believe in specific way because the group ( that we belong to ) want us to be like that. This exactly illustrate the slavery by its true meaning. We are basically slave to our group. It is as simple as that. 
2) Judging a person by the group:
Another problem that a collective society generate is that it judges the person by the group
and the group by the person. 
For example, if a girl in a collective society committed adultery, she and her family would be held accountable for that. No one would marry any of her sisters just because of what she has done. This in fact against the teaching of Alquran since god judge individuals based on what they do,, not based on what their relatives do!!
3) Being identical in thoughts, beliefs and practice:
One common thing that all collective societies share is that they don’t accept easily disagreements. So basically, in order to survive, you need to follow what the group believes and practice without questioning its wrongness !
This means that you need to sacrifice your rationality and logic !!!
Now, since you can’t question or disagree with anyone of your group, all people becomes identical to the degree that you can’t differentiate one from another. 
4) You and Me working for the desire of OTHERS : 
Many people think of a collectivism as a good system since it emphasizes the importance of community’s needs more than individuals’ needs. They think that would leads to eliminate the selfishness of individuals. 
I wish it does but unfortunately what the collective society does is, , as Jarret Wollstein said, ” sacrificing you  and me to the desire of others”
5) The impossibilities of changes:
Don’t think about change in the collective society! Because you aren’t dealing with individuals, you are dealing with groups whose values and principles inherited a long time ago from past generations. 
Take women’s driving as an example, 
Why it is so difficult for women to drive in Saudi Arabia? Why the government hasn’t been able to force a law that can allow women to drive? Why didn’t women make a step forward and drive since they think it is their individual freedom!
Well, that is all because they are waiting for approval from something superpower called (a society).
My conclusion is that :
No major changes can happen in our society unless we transform it from the collectivism to the individualism!!
Something i realize and learn after reading khuled’s comment :
 we don’t want to be individualistic to the degree that make us selfish and think only of our self nor collective to the degree that makes us ” a product of someone else”
culture, friends, philosophy, psychology

9 attendants to PSY lecture

to live with  an old dream of yours
and then suddenly ,without any expectation, you see part of your dream reflected on the reality
this is what i call miracle

yesterday, i invited Dr.baher to come to PSU and give (  an introduction to psychology ) to saudi students .
in fact, i have an old perception about my soceity (saudi), it is that we don’t value reading and knowledge as much as soccer and video games

anyway, when the Dr.baher came to the room, he saw me alone waiting for him and then he look at my face asking.. is there anybody coming!!
“i never count on any body,,but helpfully there will be
more than two listening to your lecture” i said

before he started the lecture, two saudi entered the room

then we became 4

then we reached the number 9

no place in the earth could carry my happiness at that moment
i used to see maximum of 4 saudi attending the lectures that announced in the past

i checked hand everyone of them saying thank you
thank you

it is just wonderful to see people coming to you with hopes and dreams that are similar to yours

at the end of the lecture, everyone of them  were totally astonished and suprised by how wonerfull the psychology is.
they eagrily asked me to prepare for an upcoming event like this one

helpfully, we keep the number growing :))

i will post soon a summery of this lecture in my blog… 
friends, personal

bloggers,, sharing the pain with Hadeel

Love, dreams and hopes.. got all the bloggers together into one family.

bloggers, that came from all around the country to present their questions and thoughts..
and to tell their unique stories..
today, after hearing the sad news about the condition of Hadeel in the hospital from Aysha’s blog, i felt deeply sad to hear that.
Hadeel is an intelligent woman that writes thoughtfully and bravely.. anyone who gets the chance to read her blog, will really know how smart she is..
Now, Hadeel,, her thoughts ,, her ideas,, her hopes and dreams,, got all of us together to share her pain and her family’s prayers
please,, please join her family and friends in prayer

updates from Aysha’s blog:
April 21, 8 pm pacific, arwa, “hadeel is breathing on her own, she was given water and accepted it.”
April 22, 1 am pacific, father, “hadeel is not breathing on her own, she is still in a coma, and soon to be assessed by a medical group.”

May 16, 2 am pacific, Hadeel has passed away.

culture, Panorama, personal, philosophy, poetry, psychology

Different Panorama!

Panorama is an attempt  of combining series of real stories together at one page. It is basically my daily observation of people’s life.I was hesitated in the beginning  of taking this step but later on i realized that in our world there is nothing that deserve to be invisible!

I.”I have been hoping that one day i can meet a person who can listen to my life’s story without emotion or judgment.  A listener that can take everything inside me and leave with no coming back!!” (an anonymous girl responding to me when i said that i trust strangers more than my friends)

II. you don’t see my tears when i cry. you don’t feel my pain when i suffer
( that was what a depressed man said to his face in the mirror)

III.”Whenever i search for myself i find the others, and when i search for them i only find my self.. so am i the individual crowd” ( from reading Mohammed Darwish’s poem last night)
IV. For the first time, I feel like I own my self !!!
( saudi student telling his mom about his experience in individualistic society (US)
IV.”When I feel that the reality doesn’t belong to me anymore, I try to build a new one in my imagination”
( my respond to my roommate when he asked me why do I think so much!)

VI.”Playing video game is better than drinking beers or going to the night club”
( A saudi guy at PSU responding to my question; why do you waste your life’s time in playing video game?)
Politics, religions

With chelsea clinton

I have been watching carefully and closely what is going on in US election of 2008. I am trying to understand what  American people think about their politicians. Why do they vote for this one instead of that one? What do they like about republican or democratic ! What are their priorities? Does U.S government reflect what the American people think and believe ! Questions that kept digging my mind for so long!
Chelsea Clinton came to PSU last week to campaigned for her mother and i got the chance to listen to her speech and answers
Here is my thoughts of her answers:
Chelsea in her answers to the students repeated continually ” my mom has done this … my mom has done that” I think that weaken her credibility.
There was a really good question about the size of the individual rights. Chelsea believes that abortion as well as homosexuality are individual’s right and that government shouldn’t interfere that .
Conservative people in other side, think the opposite. The same sex marriage would threaten the (humanity) because it is against  the nature of human being and the teaching of the Bible,,,
as for Abortion, they believe that Mothers don’t have the right to do the abortion 
The argument goes back and forth about this but do you think that American people should be concern about ( homosexuality and abortion issues) more than the Economy issue and Iraq war… I don’t know?? 

a letter from your self!

What if you get a letter and realized that the sender is your self. 
What if you read that letter and think that the letter isn’t  yours! because it talks about who you were five years ago not who you are now. 
There is a a great site that enable you to send an email to your self and select the day and year you want to receive it. it is 
Email your self, talk about what you plan to be after five years from now. and then see whether you truly become what you wanted to be in the past!
Gender, Politics, psychology, religions

Discussion with High School Students

Last week, we had a meeting with a high school students about the culture, the religion and the society of Saudi Arabia.
We started our programs by playing a movie that gives an exploration of Saudi Arabia. To be honest, I watch the movie as I am watching something that is totally new to me. I didn’t recognize some of the places. I saw women exposing their face without any distraction of any body. That is so beautiful but ,, is that real? i don’t really know what would happen to my sister if she walks in the Riyadh’s streets without covering her face fully!!
Anyway, i sat with students in the table and they started shooting me questions.
Tough questions that i have never thought about before !!
i don’t remember their questions literally but it goes around this

Q: Do you recognize all the places in the Movie?
not really, my country is big and i haven’t travelled that much.

Q: where do you live?
I live in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. My city is close to Daharan. the main city of Oil. also, i wanna add that each part of Saudi Arabia has a different culture and life style.

Q: what about Sunni and Shiia in Saudi Arabia? are they in fight with each other like Iraqi?
Not really, i am Shia and i have so many sunni friends, i have never gotten in fight with any of them because of what they believe.
The difference between Sunni and Shiia is much smaller than the difference between Catholic and protestants Christian. Our problem doesn’t come from religion. It comes from not listening to each other. as you know, when we don’t listen to each other, we become more likely to misunderstand and misconceive each other.
Anyway, I am very optimistic with the change that comes out from King Abduallah. Both group are getting in dialogue to resolve their misunderstanding.

Q: can you talk a little bit about women in Saudi Arabia? are they forced to wear the Abaya?
We have a a great respect for women in our society. There are so many women who got scholarship to come and study here. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any incidents where women are treated unequal. yes, they are forced to wear the Abaya. yes, they can’t work without a permission of their parents or husband. yes, they can’t drive cars. and yes i agree with you that these things have to be changed but how, this is the question. Saudi Arabia is in process of change. These things can’t be changed at once. we are living in a society where tradition is greatly valued. i think we need to change gradually and from the down to up so we minimize any damage of that change

Q: Is saudi Arabia %100 muslims? and what would happen if someone convert to another religion?
they said that it is %100 muslims but i don’t think that is true. It is impossible for any country be all muslims or all christen. There has to be people who has a different belief than we are and that is the nature of life. Even in the time of prophet Mohammed, there were christena and jews. i think there are Christian and Jews minorities at some part of my country. However, i don’t think that they practice their believe in public.
as for converting, if any muslims convert to any of other religion, he would be killed according to my country law. I am totally against that. I believe strongly that everyone has a right to believe in whatever they want and that they should not be forced to believe in Islam.
by the way, you need to differentiate between Islam and muslims. Muslims in many times do things that are totally against the teaching of islam and the problem is that they justify what the do by covering it under islamic law!

Q: i have read an article that talks about homosexuality in Saudi Arabia! It said that there are many guys who practice sex with each other and that is because they don’t get an opportunity to have a sex with women unless they married?
i didn’t give a good answer for the students at that time. all i say is that yes, homosexuality exist in everywhere!
but when i came back and thought of the question again, i found a different answer.
it is the following:

any body who doesn’t fulfill his sexual needs, will try to find any possible alternatives to do so.
It is like if you were starving, you would eat whatever around you. ant, dog, cat, anything! you wouldn’t care, would you?
psychologically speaking, the desire for sex become so strong and devastated when our emotional needs aren’t fulfilled enough.
you need to know that people don’t practice sex just for the orgasm of 11 minutes. Some people, feel that sex is a temporary solution for some of their problems. The guy who lost his job, want something that can give him the security. The girls who lost all her beloved one wants something can make her forget all of her pains.
i think ( and that is my opinion) our problems in Saudi Arabia is that our emotional needs aren’t fulfilled well enough. What i see is that people are really shy of saying I love you. You don’t hear these 3 words very often in family !

Q: Do you guys drink Alcoholic in back home?
no, we don’t drink because drinking would affect and damage our brain.

I re-post this again due to  the request one of my friend. 
Please, understand that i am not trying to damage the image of my country. All i am trying to do is to be honest about our problems. we can’t solved our problems unless we admit that it exist. 

church in Qatar,,,

i got more than one email from unknown persons saying that Muslims today are losing their main values and principles. WHY?? because they allow Christian people to build churches in muslim countries like Qatar and Kuwait…
but what is wrong with that? Muslims in a Christian countries are allowed to build as many mosques as they want. They even get the same advantages that Christian get. free electricity for their mosque and all other benefits that church get!
why it is OK and good for us to build hundred of mosques in Christian countries while it isn’t OK for christian to build even one Church in Islamic countries?
question that many muslims try to avoid and pass ! but i am not that person who let it goes without questioning why and why not!!
anyway, i am so happy for Christian in Qatar, UAE and Kwuite that they got a place where they can worships and practices their faith..
i am looking forward for the day when we have a Church for Christian in Saudi Arabia !
books, culture, reading

feeling frustrated in the MAX

Before i left my room today, i picked quickly Hawthorne’s short stories. I thought that this book would be an easy one to read in the max.
i went to Pioneer Square and waited few minutes in the max station until the max arrived.
with a deep breath and big smile, i start reading the book.
i read the introduction and didn’t understand anything.. not even a single word.
i moved from one chapter to another trying to find a story that i can easily understand but i found nothing. At this moment, i began to feel like crazy. two and a half years in America and yet couldn’t understand even a complete sentence of this book.
Two american guys behind me in the max notice my frustration and knew that my frustration come from this book.
One of them asked me : ” Excuse me, are you reading the Hawthorne’s book for a class?”
” no, i am reading it for fun, i got it from one of my best friend” i replied.
” Really!! i am surprised. Hawthorne books aren’t easy to understand even for english speaker! Hawthorne use the language of 18th century. anyway,i am glad that you gave the book a chance. ” he said
His words were a huge relieve to me. He made me feel that all my work in these last two years didn’t go away.
There are many thing that i love in American society. one of them is that American people always give you new hope, different encouragement, big support and motivation. They give it you regardless of who you were and who you are. They give it you with a smile regardless of your religion and ethnicity. It wouldn’t make a difference to them if they knew that you a muslim or christen, conservative or liberal, unlike the people in my country where small differences in religion divides us into hated groups.

i closed my eyes and then opened the book again with a new attitude. the first paragraph that came out to me is the following :

” How often is it the case that, when impossibilities have come to pass and dreams have condensed their misty substance into tangible realities, we find ourselves calm, and even coldly self-possessed, amid circumstances which it would have been a delirium of joy and agony to anticipate! Fate delights to thwart us thus. Passion will choose his own time to rush upon the scene…” page 194

what a surprise!!, this paragraph came in a time when i really need it 🙂

Especial thanks for the one who gave me this book