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 

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.

November Panorama

  • “He was buried there or maybe under my feet…or somewhere else! suddenly, I thought, why all the reading on my brother’s tomb, he hadn’t sinned. He just lived for his sickness and then my father killed him. I remembered the words of the Imam who buried him, “your brother is now with angels”, he said. My brother became an angel, and I will become the devil, that is most certain. children become angels when they die young, and adults become devils. I have missed being angel! Part of Mohamed Chouckri’s autobiography, For Bread Alone.
  • “What! I spend half of my day working under the heat of the sun to pay for gas, water and other home expenses, while my wife enjoys her time watching TV under the air condition. In addition, the total of my expenses are no more than 500 S.R while my wife’s make up for the wedding of her sister costs me more than 700 S.R.” one of my Saudi friend commenting on how women are living a better life than men in Saudi.
  • “Saudi women are very respective, kind and wonderful compare to men here. They always treat me with respect and kindness.” Said an indian taxi driver when I asked him to compare between saudi men and women in term of how they treat him as a taxi driver.
  • “Did delivery guy just say “love u, bye” on the phone after I said “thank u, bye”?”  Diana’s tweet about the funny incident that happened to her.
  • “It is always unclear to me how the society function here, if you talk about the problem here, they say “you are westernized”, if you don’t, oh, they say: “why didn’t you make an effort to solve it” God damn it, how could someone solve a problem without talking about? tell me how?” a Saudi friend talking about his frustration of Saudi society.
  • “And with the passing years, what had once seemed like a miracle or the luckiest of chances and which he had always promised himself he would never become enslaved by, has gradually become his sole reason to go on living.” A quote from Paulo Coelho’s last novel, the Winner Stands Alone.
  • “I really think that everyone who drives a car here in Saudi, should go and see a psychologist at least once a month!” I, telling my friend about the horrible driving experience I have here in Saudi.
  • “Getting married is very much like going to a restaurant with friends. You order what you want then, When you see what the other person has, You wish you had ordered that.” A very funny status that I read on Abdulaziz Alyabes‘s facebook.
  • “Depression is not sadness, it is an absence of feeling. My world feels flat, like a grassy field in Illinois” Said Fatima in her Blog Mushroom Mellow
  • “The increased conservatism of our society over these past years has only moved social interaction to the inside of people’s homes.” reading part of WikiLeaks document on Saudi from CNN.
  • “No, no, no comparison! Pakistani women are more beautiful than Saudi women. Here, Saudi women are like decoration, too much make up!” said Pakistani’s taxi driver after I asked him whether saudi women are more beautiful than Pakistani women.
  • “As a 26-year-old woman living in Manhattan, I have zero tolerance for couples who exhibit very private affections in very public places. Although I try to look elsewhere, these amorous displays are hard to avoid. Everywhere I go, people are fondling each other as if the entire city were a cheap motel room” Said NYT editors Nicole Ferraro in her article Complaint Box, Public Smooching
  • “I don’t want this indepencey, not even the responsibility that I dream of. I want to come back to my father and mother.” Said a female Saudi student in USA, Najla Barasain in her Blog’s post, America, I am sorry, but I don’t like you

Saudi Panorama

Here is my first Picture’s Panorama in Saudi. It should gives you an overview of my life here in the first two months. Beginning from next month, I will post a monthly panorama. My goal from these panorama is to give you a 360 view on people’s lives and expose you to a different people, different thoughts and different realities in a short sentences or in a collection of pictures. During my time in USA, I was able to meet people from all different faiths, races, sexes and countries. Here in Saudi, all people are Saudi. They are all Muslims. Men don’t encounter or talk with women freely and openly. However, I will try to my best to meet different people and share their stories and thoughts here.

  • I ,in a discussion with my brother about my life in USA, my impression of life here in Saudi, and my plan for the future.


  • I normally upload many Arabic poems in my IPhone so I can read them and try to memorize while I am waiting or walking.

  • In the first week, I went to renew my governmental ID and I was shocked with this mess. You have to wait on long line to get an application first, then on another line to get your application reviewed, then in another line to take a picture, then you are good to go. This process normally takes 4 hours or even more.


  • I took this picture while I was in the car. My city is known for being the city of farms. However, in this picture, some of the dates palms have been cut down.

  • Here is the picture of my nephew while he was trying to drink his tea 🙂 he is the funnest kid in my family 🙂

  • I went to mosque in Ramadan. Mosques are the place to promote a spirituality and understanding. Unfortunately, some mosques became a place for promoting hate and political propaganda.

  • You know me, I can’t survive without a coffee! Finally I found a Seattle’s Best Coffee in a Dammam Mall.

  • My brother, Mustafa, in a Thoab store to make his thab for Al-Eid.

  • A picture of a random street in Alhassa while I was in a car.

  • I went to Jarir Bookstore to buy some books. I am trying to increase my reading rate as possibly as I can. Please let me know if you have any book that you think I should put in my reading list.

  • In a juice’s shop. Everything here is natural 100%

  • In Ramdan, I was invited by many of my friends  for Iftar (breakfast). A lot of food to eat, and I have small stomach for it, but I am gaining more weights which is really good 🙂

  • In Alrashid’s mall, it is the only mall that allows single men to enter along with women. A lot of flirting and love stories happens there!

  • My nephews dancing together. I love kids and I never got bored of playing with them.

  • Rice and meat are the main meal of the day in Saudi.

  • My nephew, Hadi. He was a child when I came to USA in 2005 and look at how fast he grew up.

  • In Aljawazat, to renew my passport. It is a complete chaos. It made me question whether or not we live in 21st century.

  • Reading a magazine about sport’s fanaticism

  • In Alhassa’s train station, waiting for my train to Riyadh. Men and women are separated in the waiting area. The sign says (waiting for men)

  • I met some of my old friends with whom I have studied in Portland.

  • My father has a small farm and all my family during a special occasion like Al-Eid gets together in the farm. Here is the picture of my nephews (Ahmed and Hussain) in the farm.

  • In Al-Eid, people wear the best clothes they have, to go, meet and hug each other. The Eid gives you a feeling of brotherhood and love.

  • Here is my favorite breakfast meal, Alosho. I have been dreaming about eating this for five years and finally the dream became true 🙂

  • A car accident with a gas track. The firemen who always comes late, were trying to save lives. I normally don’t like taking picture of car accidents but I took this picture very quickly for the sake of this post.

  • In the first week of Al-Eid, I read this headline in the Alyom newspaper. It says  ” In the first days of Al-Eid, a husband congratulate his wife for Al-Eid with (You are divorced!)” !!!

  • I went to cemetery to visit the grave of my cousin. He died in a car accident when I was in USA. The view of the cemetery is kind of sad and scary. Some people comes to cemetery from time to time to remind themselves of the fact that one day, they will be here alone forever, with no family, no money, no fame!

  • Here is the Saudi side of me. I wore the Qatra with the Thoab in the Eid. I am very bad in wearing the Qatra, I can’t hold it on my head for a long time!


May 2010 Panorama

  • “The identity is: what we bequeath not what we inherit, what we invent and not what we remember”  I repeatedly say this famous saying of the poet Mahmoud Darwish to any one who asks me about identity of my culture.
  • “The major similarity between media news and pornography is that both influence negatively people’ perception and expectation of others.” Writing my thoughts about Media influence on people.
  • “Questions are the eternal truth, answers are merely a distraction…” said Aysha Alkusayer in her facebook status.
  • “Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself.”a quote from the movie Good Will Hunting that really fascinated me and got my attention.
  • “Do we have to fall from high altitude, and then see our blood on our hands, to realize that we aren’t angels as we used to think?” Said the poet mahmoud darwish
  • “I am allergic to dust, smoking and religion” Said one of my friend when I asked him about the things that he allergic to.
  • ” I never regret any moments of true sadness but I regret indeed  every moments of fake happiness” Said one of my friend in a personal discussion about her struggle to be happy.
  • “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life” One of Mark Twain’s famous quotes
  • “Don’t worry too much about not having the entire story told. someone else will pick up the untold parts, and make another movie out of it” Said Alia Makki on her comment on my post Saudi Arabia with No Makeup
  • “I think it is impossible to dehumanize others and remain a human” That is what I said to my friend in a discussion about (We, They, and the Others)
  • “It is so sad that nobody understands me, but it is even miserable to realize that nobody has ever tried” a young girl speaking to her friend on the phone while walking.
Panorama, personal

April Panorama 2010

It has been known that pictures can speak better than words, so I decided to do Pictures Panorama for April month. I hope you like it!

  • My lunch from Chipotle restaurant. I highly recommend place for healthy fast food!

  • People waiting on lines to buy the apple’s new product, IPad!

  • Trying to follow up with my piano lessons. Piano lessons were not easy as I thought.

  • Portland is the city of art and music. In every corner, you find people playing beautiful music or displaying beautiful arts.

  • Two guys debating the existence of god on our university’s campus. The first guy believe that god exist and that the none-believer will go to hell, the other guys believes that religion is silly and none-sense!

  • A guy with his girlfriend setting and studying together. Isn’t that so lovely! I love people when they express their love in creative way, like setting together and reading something!

  • Eating some Italian food at the Pioneer-Square Mall. I miss my mother’s homemade food. I miss the smell and the taste of her cook.

  • I attended a philosophy conference at Pacific University. I learned how little I know about Philosophy!

  • I babysitt my nephew Mohammed twice a week! It is indeed a very good experience, do not you think that I should add it to my resume? 🙂

  • Here is why I drink coffee a lot: 20% because of the taste of the coffee, 80% because of the thoughts, ideas and emotions that flow continuously into my mind  while I am drinking coffee!

  • This is an interesting book I found while I was walking around in PSU bookstore. I didn’t buy the book because I have a lot of books in my shelfs that I haven’t read yet.

  • I finished two of my midterms so I finally had enough time to write posts in my Arabic blog, Murtadha Diaries. I will think of translating some of what I have written there!

  • I love to contemplate nature! I love to look at the perfect beauty of birds!


March 2010 Panorama

  • “You know, I have this awful paranoid thought that feminism was mostly invented by men so that they could like, fool around a little more. You know, women, free your minds, free your bodies, sleep with me. We’re all happy and free as long as I can fuck as much as I want”. Said Celine to Jesse in the movie Before Sunrise (1995)
  • “Fanaticism is the source of impurity in this world and that I feel that I need to wash my hands whenever I shake hand with a fanatic person!” That is what I said in my Arabic blog, in explaining how much I hate fanaticism of all kinds.
  • “Life is not a solid reality, it is a state of mind, however simple you want your life to be…it will!” Said Mohammed Al Saif in commenting at my Facebook status: what if life turn out to be way simpler than we thought it is?
  • “Your worst enemy, he reflected, was your nervous system. At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom.”- reading 1984 novel by George Orwell, Chapter 6.
  • “One of my decisions that made me psychologically and spiritually happy is that I no longer gossip” Said Nawal Saad in her blog’s post Day 36
  • “If many people think that the “Abaya” hinders Muslim women’s development and dreams, they should have a broader vision and a closer look at Muslim women in general, and at Saudi women in specific. Safeya Binzagr, a Saudi female artist, is a live proof of the fallacy of such a belief.” Said Maha Noor Elahi in her blog’s post A Saudi Woman; A Saudi Pioneer
  • “I realize in my life, the importance of telling people how much they shape my way of thinking, it isn’t that because they care, it is more because I care, I mean I feel I appreciate myself more that way” That is what I said to one of my friend in a conversation in Skype.
  • “I think people can live without religion  but not without sex” Said one of my friend in a discussion about the influence of religion, and sex on human behavior.
  • “I learned that it is totally stupid to spend 25 seconds on thinking about what other people would think of us.” I said that day 74 of 365 days journey
  • “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” One part that really got my attention when I was reading George Orwell’s novel, 1984, Chapter 7.
blogging, Panorama

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.


October 09 Panorama

  • “Becoming a Muslim has not stopped me from questioning. I still ask God what life is all about. No, I’m not defying God. But I have a mind and it can’t help itself but question. If God had created us for the purpose of worshipping him, what does all this hardship mean? Where does all the effort of our sincerity in everything we say and do go?” Said S.L in the email
  • “Our new mission is to shut up and represent your self in very different way, my idea is to represent our civilization not through boring lecture and movies, but rather through volunteer work in various portland communities. People are no longer interested in listening about how nice and modern saudi is, they are more interested on what impact saudi can contribute here and there” Me, giving an overview about creating a saudi group dedicated  for volunteer work in Portland.
  • “There are people who have suffered, but at least their lives appear in books. Their hardship has not gone unappreciated by the world. Sad are those millions who had passed us by and gone through even worse trials in life without having their lives and achievements recorded down. Sad are those who are suffering and have no one to turn to. Are their lives less precious than those lucky ones?” Said one of my friend
  • “I need to get married soon, otherwise, I will commit adultery fornication” one saudi guy studying in US talking about how he persuaded his parent to support him financial to get married
  • ” I love you, I love you”  an american drunk girl screaming inside the elevator!
  • “Do you know when someone should start saving money for his/her kids’ college and future! most of you don’t! You must start saving for your kids before they are actually born” My finance professor talking about investment and the future value!
  • “I think you are wasting your time on writing in your blog. Murtadha, you need to be practical and stop living in your imaginary world. You are a finance student , not an art or literature student” said one of my friend after reading my blog
  • “Folks, Believe me, you have time now more than you will ever have in the future!” said my professor after we complained that school is keeping us very busy to the extend that we don’t have time to follow up the international news and market.
  • “I think we should stop lying and be ourselves. Do we have social problem in our country? Yes, we have. so why do we fear of saying yes! every country in the world has social, political, and religious problems. You can’t hide anything anymore in this world, people would think that we are stupid if we try to present our country as ideal, rich, perfect country! ” my discussion with my fellow students in Saudi Student Club at PSU
  • “I don’t know why people kill themselves and yet it is a small step to empathize, to say, because we all experience a moment of despair that it would be much easier not to do this anymore but for most of us the sun comes out and then, well, tomorrow is another day” quote from the movie “The Bridge” the movie talks about a one year observation of the those who jumped off the Golden Bridge and committed suicide. Very shocking movie!

Note: Dear readers, I apologize for not being able to reply to your comment quickly due to a heavy load assignments and exams from the school.

culture, panaroma, Panorama, philosophy, Politics, psychology

December Panorama


  • “Homesickness to me is an attempt to be stable in an unstable world”
    my niece ,talking to me about homesickness after her arrival to US.
  • “I think what that iraqi journalist did to Bush is very foolish and stupid. Bravery and honor doesn’t come from throwing shoes , it comes from standing against the chaos that is in Iraq.”
    talking to my friend after watching the video in the news.
  • You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star” Friedrich Nietzsche
  • “Do you know how does love start! love starts first with small emotion, then it get bigger and bigger!”
    Kuwait girl explaining to me the love process!
  • “It is impossible to prove the existence of god speculatively, yet impossible to prove his nonexistence!”
    A French professor lecturing in a movie
  • Most of us talk about happiness as we already have it, while nobody has it, it is our infinite journey to happiness what makes us happy. A guy talking to me about the finite happiness
  • ” This beauty, i mean the beauty you see in this world, is relatively small compare to the great beauty of god, how come people leave the real beauty and run for the fake ones!’
    a Muslim teacher speaking to the students.
  • Philosophy to me is basically simplifying the simple ,, this is why it is complicated ”
    me, defining Philosophy to my friend.
  • When you burn a flag of any country, you don’t burn a president or the government ,, you burn a history and great civilization” my comments over some Muslim who burned US flag because of the US support to Israel