culture, discussion, Gender, Observation From Inside, Politics, reflection

Saudi Arabia With No Makeup

I watched recently the MTV episode “Resist the Power! Saudi Arabia.” The episode represents an inside story of young Saudi: Fatima who fights to change the traditional clothing of Saudi women,  Ahmed who fights for women rights, Aziz who wants to date and see his girlfriend with no fear, and finally the music’s group who want the freedom to play their music and songs in public.

My thoughts of the episode:

  • First of all, the episode is more for an entertainment than for a documentary purpose.
  • I think the young Saudi in the episode represent their individual perceptions and observations of Saudi society which is open for a discussion and debate.
  • It is impossible to make a realistic judgment about any society or religion based on small selective groups of people, or blogs or news.
  • There is no diversity in the participants of the episode. They are all from Jeddah. They are all against the tradition or the society.
  • I think there is a mixed understanding between what is religious and what is traditional in Saudi society. I think the presenters themselves weren’t sure about where to drew the line between religion and tradition.
  • I think it is very good and healthy to have people showing their opposition or agreement on social and cultural issues especially in Saudi Arabia.

My opinion on Fatima part:

  • Her story was very interesting. I thought she did a good a job in presenting her own observation of the Saudi society.
  • I don’t think she represent a large number of Saudi women. She is from rich family. She has her own driver which many Saudi women don’t. She can uncover her face outside while many saudi women get  in trouble for uncovering part of their face in many cities of Saudi.
  • I really like her colorful abaya’s business. I really wish that these beautiful colorful Abaya will replace the black ones in KSA.

My opinion on Ahmed role:

  • I really like his part the most. He was very confidence in speaking about his thoughts and ideas. He stated clearly his vision of change in Saudi society.
  • I think his story possibly represent a specific group of young Saudi who are well-educated and concerned about women rights along with the civil issues of Saudi society.
  • I think he did a good job overall.

My opinion on Aziz role:

  • I thought he was so funny.
  • His story is very common among Saudi teenagers, talking and having fun with girls in the chat rooms or in the messengers then, falling in love and then arrange for a meeting and then one of them may not show up, or maybe both of them show up but they end up getting in trouble or maybe they decide to get married but then their family will oppose the whole thing! You know, happy ending are rarely predicted on this type of stories 🙂

My opinion on the devil music group*:

  • I think the guys were confusing. I have never heard or saw music group similar to theirs in Saudi Arabia before. It was very interesting for me to watch and listen to their stories.
  • Their music and their clothes are unaccepted by the majority of Saudi society.

How do Saudi viewers react to the episode:

Many Saudi (men and women) felt upset and offended by this episode for many reasons. Some think that the episode focuses only on the negative sides of Saudi society and ignore all the positive sides.  Many Saudi don’t like to see any criticism on their culture exposed to the outsiders. Part of that comes from the old belief that the west are conspiring against Saudi culture or that some religions will try to destroy Islam by presenting a bad picture of muslim society.

Other Saudi think that it is perfectly fine to let people share their individual understanding and observation to the world even if it disagree with our observation. In the time of internet, the world has become a very small village and things can’t be hidden anymore.

I personally think that it is better that we become open and honest about our problems. The mask strategy is no longer practical and Saudi should appear to the world with no makeup. We aren’t the best country in the world and certainly not the worst. There are many Saudi who view life and society differently. I think everyone of them should have the right to speak up his/her mind. We may agree or disagree with what they say and think, we may think that they are completely right or wrong but none of us can deny their right to share their own observation about the world around them.

* Clarification: I am not referring to the music group as the devil. I am referring to how the music group is called and perceived in Saudi society. In the episode  summary, they made the same reference as to explain why Saudi society oppose such type of music. Thanks for Hammad for asking me to clarify this point.

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culture, Politics, reflection

Saudi Dreams

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.

I have a dream that one day this country will rise up and live out the true meaning of Islam: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.”

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day women will be able to travel everywhere without the need for a permission or a Mahram.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day a son from a Sunni family and  a son from a Shia family will sit together  in the table of brotherhood, not to argue over who is right or wrong but to think about the future of this country.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, a saudi employer will treat his Indian or Asian employee with respect and love.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, the Imam in each mosque of this country, will talk about love and respect for all other religions.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, the rich people in this country, will realize the sorrow and the suffering of the poor people who live in broken houses without food.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, the religious policy will realize that the moral values can’t be obtained with force but rather with love and tolerance.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, no one can be above the law and no Wasta will provide privilege for someone over others.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, our government will stand up and prosecute those who permit and allow the child marriage in this country.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day everyone has the freedom to speak his mind, to live his life the way he want, to be what he want to be without the fear of  society and traditions.

“This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to my city with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

And if Saudi is to be a great nation this must become true.So let love ring from the mountains of Mecca to the farms of Alhassa. Let love ring from the land Ar’ar to the desert of Rub Al-khali. Let love ring from building of Riyadh.

And when this happens, when we allow love, freedom and tolerance to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every town and every city, we will be able to live the true teaching of the prophet Mohammed. Then we will all repeatedly remember the saying of the prophet, that “the believers, in their love, mercy and kindness to one another are like a body: if any part of it is ill, the whole body shares its sleeplessness and fever”

Thank you and god bless you.

God bless Saudi Arabia.

Note:

The main speech is from I have a dream speech by Martin Luther King.. I made some changes on it so that It becomes about Saudi Dreams.

books, culture, discussion, history, literature, philosophy, reading, reflection, religions

Edward Said lecture

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I am devoting more time this term for studying and reading Edward Said’s books. I found this person  to be the most intellectual professor in the earth. He has an amazing understanding of cultures, religions, politics and even music. I am feeling so attached to him. Last night, I slept while listening to his voice talking about his book Orientalism. His pictures are in everywhere of my room. Please do me a favor and take part of your time to watch his lecture in the video below. It absolutely worth watching

 

culture, discussion, personal, philosophy, psychology, quotes, reflection

My Twitteries

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Twitter is a website that is build up by answering a very simple question: What are you doing right now? I didn’t like the idea of it in the beginning but then i thought that it would cool if I use it to illustrate my thoughts from one moment to another. I write some of my twitters in Arabic and so I decided to translate some of them to share it with you.


  • “The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.” (Seneca)

  • Once again, I woke up and faced the shock. I didn’t imagine that our sleeping dreams would just vanish so quickly in a moment

  • Most of my friends look at happiness as an emotion while it’s in fact a philosophy!

  • “True, Kant had a taste for celibacy equal to his love of thought” She said

  • Do you believe me if I say that the blind person has the ability to see  the beauty of the world better than us,,what You and I  see here is either an invented illusion or a manipulated reality.
  • “Plato admits desire in Knowledge. How can we live this Paradox? She said

  • “Since Zeus cut men in two, each is seeking his missing half! (from a French movie)
  • It is impossible to prove the existence of god speculatively, yet impossible to prove his nonexistence! (from a French movie)
  • Humans were both male and female but Zeus split them as punishment” she said
  • When we don’t push ourselves to be conscious enough, we live in somewhere between illusion and reality
  • Passion is an illusion entailing a loss of autonomy and freedom! she said!
  • How can we stimulate something we don’t see, and how do we measure the scope of our vision! especially in vague world like ours
  • How can we leave the sensible world for the intelligible one? ( Plato )
  • Anyone who believed that he is a perfect person,, he is very much assuming that he is a god
  • Whenever I hear voices that come out from the wall, i cry,, and sometimes I laugh ,,, these walls remind me of the wall between my first ego and my second one.
  • It looks like that we unconsciously engage in an emotional relationship with everything around us.
  • Do we have the ability to explain ourselves clear enough? Do our voices or our writing really represent what we feel? of course not.
  • Reaching the self-satisfaction is a relative issue,, it change as the circumstances change,, this is why we never reach the complete self satisfaction as we move on our life
  • The real pain is the source of spiritual, emotional and intellectual revolution,, but the fake pain,, it is just a process of humiliating ourselves
  • When I say that I have a pain,, that doesn’t mean I am suffering ,,of course not, That mean i am smiling, adoring, and finding the real beauty of my world
  • The gap between man and woman in my society is big and it gets even bigger after marriage.

discussion, literature, philosophy, poetry, psychology, quotes, reading, reflection, religions

Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse is a German novelist and nobel prize winner. He is actually one of my favorite novelist. Most of his novel explores the search for one’s self and the discovery of individual’s spirit. I have read his novel “Demian” more than once and then i decided that i should select the sentences that gained my attention the most. I highly recommend reading his novel. I hope my selection would give you a motivation to read more of his novels.
Please read my selections of Hesse’s book and let me which one did you like the most?and why?
“It is the story of a man, not for an invented, or possible, or idealized, or otherwise absent figure, but for a unique being of flesh and blood. Yet, what a real living human being is made of seems to be less understood today than at any time before”
“If we were not something more than unique human beings, if each one of us could really be done away with once and for all by a single bullet, storytelling would lost all purpose”
“But every man is more than himself; he also represent the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world’s phenomena intersect, only once in tis way and never again” p1
“I don’t consider myself less ignorant than most people. I have been and still am a seeker, but i have ceased to question stars and books. I have begun to listen to the teachings my blood whispers to me. My story is not a pleasant one; it is neither sweet nor harmonious, as invented stories are; it has the taste of nonsense and chaos, of madness and dreams- like the lives of all men who stop deceiving themselves.” p2
“Each man’s life represent a road toward himself, an attempt as such a road, the intimation of a path, No man has ever been entirely and completely himself. Yet each one strives to become that- one in an awkward, the other in a more intelligent way, each as best he can. Each man carries the vestiges of his birth- the slime and eggshells of this primeval past- with him to the end of his days. some never become human, remaining frog, lizard, ant. some are human above the waist, fish below. Each represents a gamble on the part of nature in creation of the human. we all share the same origin, our mothers; all of us come in at the same door. but each os us- experiments of the depths- strives toward his own destiny. We can understand one another, but each of us is able to interpret himself to himself alone.” p2
“People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest. It was scandal that a breed of fearless and sinister people ran about freely, so they attached a nickname and myth to these people to get even with them, to make up for the many times they had felt afraid.” p24
“I realize today that nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself.” p38
“Many people experience the dying and rebirth- which is our fate- only this once during their entire life.” p41
“Their childhood becomes hollow and gradually collapse, everything they love abandons them and they suddenly feel surrounded by the loneliness and mortal cold of the universe.” p41
“You knew all along that your sanctioned world was only half the world and you tried to suppress the second half the same way the priests and teachers do. You won’t succeed. No one succeeds in this once he has begun to think.” p.53
“What is forbidden, in other words, isn’t something eternal; it can change.” p54
“It’s good to realize that within us there is someone who knows everything, wills everything, does everything better than we ourselves.” p74
“There’s an immense difference between simply carrying the world within us and being aware of it. A madman can spout ideas that remind you of Plato, and a pious little seminary student rethinks deep mythological correspondences found among the Gnostics or in Zoroaster. But he isn’t aware of them. He is a tree or stone, at best an animal, as long as he isn’t conscious. but as soon as the first spark of recognition dawns within him he is a human being.” p92
“You wouldn’t consider all the bipeds you pass on the street human beings simply because they walk upright and carry their young in their bellies nine months! It is obvious how many of them are fish or sheep, worms or angels, how many are ants, how many are fish or sheep, worms or angels, how contains the possibility of becoming human, partially even by learning to make himself conscious of them; only in this respect are these possibilities his.” p92
“Oh, yes, each and every religion is beautiful; religion is soul, no matter whether you take part of Christian communion or make a pilgrimage to Mecca.” p95
“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” p97
“Sooner or later each of us must take the step that separates him from his father, from his mentors; each of us must have some cruelly lonely experience- even if most people can’t take much of this and soon crawl back.” p 106
“Someone who seeks nothing but his own fate no longer has any companions, he stands quite alone and has only cold universal space around him.” p112
“People like you and me are quite lonely really but we still have each other, we have the secret satisfaction of being different, of rebelling, of desiring the unusual.”p112
“You are only afraid if you are not in harmony with yourself. People are afraid because they have never owned up themselves. A while society composed of men afraid of the unknown within them! they all sense that the rules they live by are no longer valid, that they live according to archaic laws- neither their religion  nor their mortality is in any way suited to the needs of the present.” p118
“one never reaches home” she said. ” but where paths that have affinity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home, for a time”p122
“Whatever might happen to me now, i was filled with ecstasy: that this woman existed in the world, that i could drink in her voice and breath her presence. No matter whether she would become my mother, my beloved or a goddess- if she could just be here! if only my path would be close to hers!” p123
“It is always difficult to be born. you know the chick does not find it easy to break his way out of the shell.”p123
“Yes, you must find your dream, then the way becomes easy. But there is no dream that lasts forever, each dream is followed by another, and one shouldn’t cling to any particular one.”p124
“You should, however, either be capable of renouncing these desire or feel wholly justified in having them.”p129
“The world wants to renew itself. there’s a smell of death in the air. nothing can be born without first dying.” p136
Thanks for Aysha Akusayer for introducing the Author to me
books, philosophy, psychology, reading, reflection

my reflection on the book into the wild

Some people feel like they don’t deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past
ALEX – CRIS


The summary of the book

i have read somewhere… that if you don’t make your own life,,, you have to accept the life that is given to you. this story illustrate this saying more in the reality.
the story of this odd guy named Cristopher is that he didn’t like at all the world that is created to him so he decided to run away,,, far away from his family,, his friend ,,, from the civilization as the whole to created his own world..

he chose the wild as the best place to live in.. the simplicity,,, the beauty and harmony of the wild motivate him to leave all what he has.
when he decided to go to the wild, he changed his name to Alex. he also burned all his identification papers and papers. he didn’t tell anybody (include his closest sister ) about his unique journey.
Two years he walks the Earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate
freedom. the road was his home and the wild was his passionate.
he end up in Alaska where the harsh weather and simplicity exist in harmony
he found that magic bus where he spent most of his time in it
he scratched on every side of the bus to leave great memories and significant messages to every generation.
many people think what Alex has done is completely insane
but me ,, i think what he has done is uniquely significant and he died for a purposed
that however, doesn’t mean that i agree with most of his ideologies about the solitariness and autonomy.
Alex died inside that bus in Alaska and three weeks later,, people found his body inside that magic bus

Some parts of the book with my reflection

1) running away from TIME and PLACE

i don’t want to know what time it is. i don’t want to know what day it is or where i am. none of these matter. Alex, page7

our life in this world is limited by two things… time and place.. we are living in this world with deadline. the more we live the closer we become to our ending point.we can’t be living in the infinity.
we normally try to pretend that this fact isn’t true but at some point of our life we get to believe what we were trying to avoid so long
we are also limited by a place. i can’t be in two place in the same moment. i can’t have my feet in USA and my eyes in Saudi Arabia and still can walk.. i don’t wanna get physics involved here 🙂
because of the complexity of the time and the place,, the religion becomes the most important factor in our life.
anyway, i don’t want to talk about religions and their core understanding of time and place.

anyway,, I think Alex was trying to go to the place where allow him to ignore the the limitation of place and time. the place where he can live in his own imagination and in his perception
i don’t think he really found that place in the reality level because you can’t live in nowhere or anywhere without the existence of TIME

i think Alex was trying to run from him self to him self and that the most difficult thing we may ever face in our life.. running from our selves to our selves is like running from none point to another none point

2) Making a radical change in our life

i think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never thought of doing, or been to hesitant to attempt. so many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditional to a life of security, conformity and conservatism. all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. page57

i totally agree with Alex in this point,,, we don’t really live our life,, we live the life that is constructed to us.
so all of us have no choice other than to accept that choices that are given to us.
i think this is the baggiest mistake that we make in our life..
i think we should make our own choices .. our life.. our world..our own society.
i know sometimes that ,,, we have to risk something ,,, to gain something else..
i think sometimes,, we need to lose the security,,, conformity in order to free ourselves…
Alex in his journey made an enormous sacrifice… he risked his security.. his money..
but he gain something baggier than all that… he gained him self and i consider this as a big achievement.
if i know my self at any point,, i would be the happiest one in the world…
but the journey of knowing my self is so long and complicated.. and it is full with obstacles and confusion
the most difficult question that i have ever heard is WHO ARE YOU?
and what make me crazy that people answer it innocently simple.. the answer doesn’t start with I AM blah
it is who i am !!

3) our life within human relationship:

you are wrong if you think joy emanates only or principally from human relationship. god has placed it all around us. it is in everything and anything we might experience. we just have to have a courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living. page57

i don’t want comment so much in this point because i don’t want you to think that i am psychologically ill
but i wanna say one thing.. i believe that people who have a good communication with society while they are having troubles in communicating with themselves are loosing both of society and themselves.
study all the psychological background of criminal people… they are all misunderstand them selves so they looked for revenge.. they think the society stole it from them

4) the existence of loneness in our life:

i have been thinking more and more that i should always be alone wanderer of the wilderness. god, how the trail lures me. you cannot comprehend its resistless fascination for me. after all the lone trail is the best… i will never stop wandering and when the time comes to dies, i will find the wildest, loneliest, most desolate spot there is.page 91

i don’t understand people when they talk about loneness..
they think that the lonely person is the one who isn’t social or always being away of human relationship
but in fact that isn’t true… i can sit in my room for a whole month without communicating with any ourside human being and still become very social.. because i can make my own society…
the walls that around me… the air… the sky … the trees …all these things are part of our society

4) The significance of adventure in our life:

the very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. the joy of life comes from our encounters with new experience. page57

i think our life as a whole is an adventure… and only trough obstacles and difficulties, we can know who we are and where we are going…

4) The importance of Truth:

rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth
from the book that Alex was reading … page 117

this is my best quotation i read so far…
there is no meaning for our love,, our money,, our fame,,, if we are living in fake ….
i think if you lose the truth,, you lose everything,,, your happiness,, your future,,, your dream and even your love…

so i don’t need your love,, your money,, your help if you aren’t giving me the truth

4) some of sentences that i highlight from the book:

everything had changed suddenly– the tone, the moral climate; you didn’t know what to think, whom to listen to. as if all your life you had been led by the hand like a small child and suddenly you were on your own, you had to learn to walk by yourself. there was no one around, neither family nor people whose judgment you respected. at such a time you felt the need of committing your self to something absolute-life or truth of beauty of being ruled by it in place of the man-made rules such ultimate purpose more fully, more unreservedly than you had ever done in the old familiar, peaceful days, in the old life that was now abolished and gone for good
for the book that Alex was reading … the need for purpose page 103

the season of snows was preferred, that i might experience the pleasure of suffering and the novelty of danger page 157
from the book that Alex was reading

it is nearly impossible for modern man to imagine what it is like to live by hunting. the life of a hunter is one of hard,seemingly continuous overland travel… a life of frequent concerns that the next interception may not work, that tramp or drive will fail, or that the herds will not appear this season, above all, the life of a hunter carries with it the threat of deprivation and death by starvation. page 187

Now what is history? it is the centuries of systematic explorations of the riddle of death, the view to overcoming death. that ‘s why people discover mathematical infinity and electromagnetic waves, that’s why they write symphonies. Now, you can’t advance in this direction without a certain faith. you can’t make the discoveries of this equipment are in the Gospels. what are they? to begin with, love of one’s neigbor, which is supreme form of vital energy. once it fills the heart of man it has to overflow and spend itself. and then the two basic ideals of modern man– without them he is unthinkable — th idea of free personality and the idea of life as sacrifice page 187
Boris Pasternak the passage that Alex remark

the beauty of this country is becoming part of me. i feel more detached from life and somehow gentler.. i have some good friends here, but no one who really understands why i am here or what i do. i don’t know of anyone, though, who would have more than a partial understanding; i have gone too far alone.page 91

in may after all, be the bad habit of creative talents to invest themselves in pathological extremes that yield remarkable insights but no durable way of life for those who can’t translate psychic wounds into significant art or thought
from in search of miraculous the book that Alex was reading during his journey. page70

thanks for reading this so long reflection.. and i tried so hard to illustrate what i think of this great novel in simple way