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.

Back to Blogging, Back to Life

Before I start writing anything, I must say first that I miss you, my readers, a lot. I have been away from blogging for more than three months and ever since then, I felt that I am missing something important in my life, something that gives me joy, happiness, knowledge and inspiration. Blogging was a revolution in my life. It gave me a new vision, and new ways of looking at reality. I have never thought that I would be able to express my thoughts and feeling freely here before and I have never thought that I would make really amazing friends like you through my blog.

I have never wanted to be happy, or rich, or famous more than to be understood. To understand and to be understood are the ultimate goals of my life. I feel somehow warm here, I feel that I was able to understand you more and you were able to understand me better, so thank you.

P.S  I am 23 years old now 🙂 and oh! my blog is 4 years old.

Saudi Women and The World

“(Saudi) Young women bloggers are fabulous” said Kirsten Powers in talking about her trip to Saudi Arabia. I have to say that I am so proud of Saudi women who blog, who speak up, who expose their identity, who show their disagreement or agreement about global, political and social issues, who show their feminism, their faiths, their thoughts and creativities so openly. I am so proud of Saudi women who hold a camera and take  photographic pictures and share it with the world in Flickr. I am so proud of Saudi women who hold a pen and write about philosophy, literature, psychology in the newspaper. I am so proud of Saudi women who tweet in Twitter about the lovely voice of their mothers, the romance of their husbands, the funny stories of their children and about everything concern their lives.

And that is why I believe that Saudi women aren’t in anyway less intelligent, creative, caring, beautiful than the rest of world’s women. I wrote this post as a respond to one of my American friend’s question  about why do so many Saudi guys, whom she met here in US, find American women are more attractive, beautiful and intelligence than Saudi women. Well, the answer is that I can’t speak on their behalf, I think they have the right to speak about their personal opinions and preferences. But I also would like to speak about my personal opinion, I find Saudi women are very attractive, beautiful, intelligent, intellectual and creative. and that is why I think I am going to marry a Saudi woman.

By the way, just so that you don’t confuse my personal opinion with my stand on foreign marriage. I strongly believe that Saudi men should have the freedom to  marry whoever they like from wherever they like, but I also believe that Saudi women should have that freedom too. There are so many handsome, romantic and intelligent  foreigners out there who want to marry Saudi women. So, let’s be fair on that.

Saudi Alchemist in 2010

2010 is going to be a different and a crucial year of my life because of many things (finishing up with my university, going back home to visit my family after five years of being away, maybe finding a job, and so many other things)

As for my blog, there will be also few changes in the way I am blogging  and they are:

  • Presenting two sides of the story:

I will try to represent two sides of any story I discuss in my blog. This way, I can be less bias and the readers will get to hear from both sides.

  • Being more positive:

I realize that many of my views are pessimistic so I will try to have some positivity in my writing.

  • Interviews:

I will interview people from different background and experience and share their stories in my blog.

  • Offering Analysis and Solution to the problem:

So instead of just blaming this and that for any problem, I will try my best to provide an analytical view and possible solutions.

Finally, as another way to improve my blog, I would like to hear from you and see your feedback. What are the things you didn’t like in my blog and what are the things that you think I need to improve? What are the topics that you wish I have talked about? and do you think my blog was helpful to you?. Harsh criticism are highly preferred 🙂 so please criticize me please

you can write a comment below and do this quick survey about my blog. It is very short.

Open Panorama

My monthly panorama is the most important section of my blog. It is a collection of observations and saying from people around me, illustrated on short sentences. My goal is to represent others’ views of different topics on their own words.

This month, I would like to make the panorama open for my readers: so basically, think of a saying you have said on specific topic  or think of anything you have heard from your friends, or from person in the street and write it down here. When you write it down as a comment in this post, I will add it directly to my original post under your name so that everyone can read it. I will start first one

  • “Dear Murtadha, you and many Saudi bloggers have the abilities to write and criticize the society and that is good but we don’t need that anymore. Everyone can write and everyone can criticize. It is easy to criticize but It takes courage to go, do change and offer solutions.That is what we need. We need someone who offers us a solution, a path or a correction rather than continuously saying we are wrong” Said anonymous in his email to me.
  • “We live in a “Culture of Silence” and generations of our people (Muslims) here have suffered so much because of it. What’s even more sickening, outsiders get a distorted image of Muslims because of this. Because of our silence, we let selfish people rule over us, and because they know we don’t speak up, they think they can scare us forever. Don’t be like us. Change the order of things. Stand up and show to the world that we don’t like what’s happening and we’re willing to change it. Let’s not wait for the next time that another large group of people will be shot, crushed by bulldozers and then thrown and buried in a pit” A professor’s statement while discussing the gruesome killings of 57 people, mosly women, in my country. via coralbead
  • “In America, I see Islam, but not many Muslims. In Saudi, I see many Muslims and not a lot of Islam.” Said to me by a Saudi student studying in America. via Baker
  • “We are alive Alhamdillah. We are not among the 77 [now 113] who died in Jeddah as a result of 3 hours of non-stop rain. Shame on us!! Shame! No plans, no engineers, no brains in our beloved KSA?! I hope the number of casualties will not rise.” from a Jeddan friend, in reply to my email asking if his family were affected. via Chiara
  • “When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight” One of my favorite quote of the poet Kahlil Gibran.
  • “But more and more I believe it’s our impact on individuals that matters most. I want to use my wealth and my life for that purpose, not to add to my personal comforts. I’ve got too much of everything as it is. Every single thing we own actually owns us in some way or another — they all have to be cleaned, or maintained, or fixed, or appraised, or insured, or some such thing. It all takes time and that, I’ve realized, is an absolute finite commodity. Wasted time can’t be redeemed. And a wasted life? Well, that’s a tragedy.” From “A Thread of Truth” by Marie Bostwick. via Susanne
  • “It is possible for one never to transgress a single law and still be a bastard” Hermann Hesse
  • “When someone does you a big favor, don’t pay it back… Pay It Forward” from the movie Pay it forward

If you wanna see my previous panoramas so that you can have an idea of what is all about, click on the following: October 09 Panorama , Aug/Sept 09 panorama, July 09 Panorama, Bloggers Panorama, Dec panorama, the 6th panorama, 3rd panorama, 2rd panorama, Different panorama.

I am 22!

I was supposed to post this yesterday but because I got very ill and I couldn’t write anything about my birthday. I don’t celebrate my birthday very often, but I always like to look at myself again, to reevaluate  and think of all my weakness and strengths. I have always tried to develop a friendship  with myself. There were bad times when I felt that I don’t wanna be me. There were also good times when I felt that I am happy with who I am.  The struggle to move from who I am to who I want to be isn’t easy and always painful.

However, I am happy with who I am, I am happy with all the struggles I have been through,  I am happy with all the mistakes I made because it taught me a lot. I don’t want to be same person as last year. I want to be different. I want to have new experience, encounter new friends, make new mistakes, listen to new stories, think of life differently, read different books, and have new struggle and challenges.

At the end, I would like to thank  all the people who come by my blog, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your stories with me in the blog. I am always grateful for your help, your kindness, your understanding and your honesty with me.

Saudi Women in US

Throughout my life here in Portland, I have met many Saudi girls who are incredibly genius, creative and talented. In every discussion I have with each one of them, I always feel sorry for my society for never recognizing this treasure, for never giving enough space for women to show their ideas and thoughts.

Saudi Arabia was always represented by men and never by women and I can say this: If we change just a little bit in this formulae, in this representation, and make it more balanced to give more space for women to represent this country, I can assure you that the we would a have a different society, more modern and civilized one.

When I listen to Saudi women when they talk, When I see their dreams as they walk around university buildings, When I see their ideas as it reflects freely in the reality without restriction , I realized that it is true that you just need one woman in order to change the direction of a whole society.

I remember one time I decided to give a workshop about ( exchanging ideas, blogging & open discussion) and I knew from past experience that Saudi guys will never show up because they never care! I went the class and I found most of the attendance are mostly Saudi women (and only two Saudi guys came to the workshop)

In general I can summary my observation and my interaction with Saudi women in following:

  • Saudi women in US don’t have that much interaction with American men but they do have a great interaction with a whole society.
  • I feel that Saudi women are better off when they aren’t that much socialized with each other because first, each one of them get to have a unique experience, and second, getting socialized with each other sometimes creates tension and sensitivity among them. That is true for Saudi guys too.
  • Saudi women are doing better job in the university than Saudi guys. They have a higher grade than Saudi guys most importantly, they never cheated or plagiarized while many saudi guys do.
  • Most of Saudi women feel that Saudi guys here in US are chaotic and gives a bad representation of Saudi Culture.(I agree with them in that)

At the end of my post, I would like to thank Saudi women whom I have met, worked or studied with: They are

  • Aysha Alkusayer, She is philosopher and psychologist, Intellectual and knowledgeable in any area. I met her when she gave a presentation in one of Saudi event at PSU. She encouraged me  a lot to start blogging. In fact, the name SaudiAlchemist was picked from her blog post.
  • Hanan AlSaif: I always seeks her advise whenever I have any new idea or project. She has a great perspective in every fields. She looks at things differently and I think that is the secret of her creativity.
  • Fatima Alkhars: I have worked with her in PSU Volunteer group. She astonished me by her organized and hard work in the club. She has done a lot volunteer work ( cooking for homeless communities, cleaning school garden, writing letter for ill children, etc) Everyone in the school is proud and amused of her work.
  • Fatima Al-Mousa: She has done several great events in our university. She is creative and makes something from nothing. From the first time you meet her, you can tell that she will have a great future a head of her.
  • Alia Kabbani: She works in a way that would surprise everyone. She transform her dreams into her reality in artistic way. She learn from everything and everyone and she leaves her footstep behind every journey.
  • Fatima Albar:  She is pursing her master in double major (engineering and something else) She is such aspiration person to many of us.
  • Kholud Alsaif: She inherited her dad’s dreams as well as his amazing thinking.
  • Soha Alsharifa: I refer to her as a woman who is stronger than 10 men. She came to US to study journalism. She is kind, brave and funny in the same time.
  • Leena Neyaz: She has done a lot for the Saudi Club and I always see her as an example of women who never gives up. She recently moved to Florida to complete her master degree.
  • Byan Daker: She works part time job at PSU international office and whenever I come by, I always feel proud of her because she represent a great image of Saudi women in her workplace.