We Are Responsible!

“Whoever kills a soul…., it is as if he had killed the entire mankind” Qurain

Whenever I watch the american news coverage of every terrorist attack on American soil, I hear media asking this question: Where are the moderate muslim? why don’t they speak up against Redial muslims who are killing on the name of Islam.

I used to think that it is absolutely ridicules to blame all people of an act committed by a few who are brainwashed and radicalized. Now, after the recent terriorst attack on my hometown AlHassa, which left at least 4 people killed and many others injured, I changed my view. I think we are fully responsible for every single terrorist attack committed on the name of Islam. Do you know why? because when an unpopular news paper made a cartoon of our prophet, we turned the whole world upside down, we protested, screamed, and threatened because the news paper insulted our prophet. But when the radical terrorists committed greater insult to our prophet by killing innocent people under his name, we simply walk away and say that it isn’t our problem. It is our PROBLEM! You may not admitted this now, but when these terrorists attack your own community, when the victim became your friend or brother, you will realize then this isn’t a story which you easily pass by without being furious and angry.

I am angry and sad. Angry because I feel that these terrorist attacks don’t shock us any more. It became part of our life. It became a reality in our region. I am sad because we don’t take enough actions to fight it and we don’t feel the responsibility to stand up and speak up against it.

Time is running and we need take a collective actions immediately. We have to end the so called Sunni-Shia fight and focus on one common objective. We have to start from our families and communities. We should condemn every act of hate, whether in twitter or in mosque. We need to stand up to the Imam in the mosque and tell him on his face that you can’t use us for your propaganda and if you continue your hate speech about any sect, religion, or country, we will kick you out of our mosque. We need to embrace logic and rationality and fight ignorance and hate. We need to teach our children not to be a followers of anyone but their own reasoning and logic. This can’t be done by running away from the problem and claiming that someone else is responsible for it. It starts by first admitting the problem. Unfortunately, we have not reached this stage yet.

Diversity

Two days ago, I met a stranger in London underground as I was exploring the city. The conversation started small as I was asking about the underground map. Then, we found ourselves talking about everything from work to traveling to culture. He is from Canada working in UK and I am from Saudi coming here for a short visit. He is Atheist and I am a Muslim and despite so many differences between us, I realized that I have more in common with this total stranger than with the friends who speak my language or practice my faith. So, for those who confine the scope of their life  solely on one religion, one language or one race, and fight everyone who is different, will eventually realize how pathetic they are, because they simply failed to understand the most important aspect of life and it is diversity.

January Panorama

  •  “Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves.” Part of Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”
  • “I was gonna tell him: You can ask the dogs why they want to get married”  A Saudi friend telling me his story, as he was asked by the interior ministry for why he want to get married from foreign woman!
  • “What is on earth that can be more magnificent than a couch, a book and a cup of coffee!” This was written on a cup of coffee, which my wife bought for me last week.
  • “And the road to a man’s heart starts  from his penis “ said one of my friend after I told him that: “The road to a woman’s heart starts from her mother”
  • Walking home, light is sighing, the sun is slipping through the air, a mother is lifting a baby, his jacket gets caught in her hands, his belly peaks so soft and bare, it sounds so beautiful, I cannot hear my own silence, it repeats like a thought so happy, it is afraid to forget itself. Said the blogger, Aysha Alkusayer on her facebook.
  • “The real Chris Kyle, a navy SEAL who wrote an autobiography, took more pleasure in the killing than his on-screen character does. “I’m not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun,” he wrote. A more faithful film would have been more unsettling and probably less popular.” Reading from The Economist’s article “Bleeding red and blue”
  • “There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope” my favorite quote from the move “The Theory of Everything”

Doubt and Life

The French philosopher, Voltaire, has once said that “Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one.” And I have never been so doubtful and confused of who I am as now. Life is somehow like a cycle. We move from one doubt to another, from one confusion, to less or maybe more confusion. There is no clear final destination that I know of. Everyone creates or presumes the ending of his story. Some may get the good ending; other may start again from where they end and I happen to be in the middle of between.

Sometimes, I envy kids for the way they look at things. They live the moments as they are, and when they go to bed at night, they have this incredible feeling of excitement for tomorrow. We begin to lose this excitement as we grow. Some people get consumed by work and routine, other by family and friends. The fact is I get consumed alittle by both.

I am so blessed with my family. We are so connected, and so close to the extent that you can’t imagine. I get a minimum of two calls each day from one of my family asking me how I am and update me with all the family news! In cases when I have good news or bad news, my cell phone wouldn’t stop ringing!

This is beautiful some of the time but not all the time! Sometimes I feel the need to keep myself in distance from my family. I care about my privacy and having my own space therefore I started to draw a line that I feel my family shouldn’t cross.

Work is good so far. I joined the professional development program in Saudi Franci Bank after 8 months of intense tests and several interviews. I am happy with the work environment although, I have the anxiety of thinking and planning for my career path. Now, I realize that I need to be more relax and less stressfull about the future. I believe in the law of nature which is to do your best and let the universe do its part!

There is really nothing in this life that worth  stressing out if we all at the end, will be left alone in blank area called a cemetery. Some of us acknowledges this fact in the mid of their life, other acknowledge it one day before the end of their life. What is the point of being the richest man in the cemetery? My friend asked me after the death of Prince Sultan. Now, I paraphrase his question; what is the point of the stressing out  if we are all going to die? Life moves on, and time is counting down! Those who want to enjoy will enjoy, and those who want to complain and get depressed will die with their depression. I try most of the time to enjoy the beauty of nature, the smile of the strangers and the incredible taste of coniencidences in my life and I hope you do.

I doubt myself therefore I know and learn more, therefore I am happy.

P.S I miss you all so much

* All the pictures are taken by me using my Iphone and Instagram applicaion 

To Drive or Not to Drive!

Rights aren’t given, they are taken and if you aren’t willing to stand up and make a sacrifice for those rights, then just forget it.  Black people would never gotten their rights, if Rose Parks had chosen to give up her seat  to the white man in the bus, and let’s imagine the history of black people, if Marten luther King had chosen to remain silent and hadn’t given his revolutionary speech.   Every movement in the world, regardless of how peaceful it appears, hasn’t succeeded without sacrifices.

Saudi women have been dreaming for more than twenty years to get their basic civil rights, to be like every woman in the world: to drive their cars, to travel without a permission or restriction, to be treated as a citizen like men, to have their voices heard, to be ministers and decision makers and to have equal opportunities in education and work.  None of these has been achieved so far. What has been achieved recently is that Saudi women are now allowed to sell lingerie, instead of men in Malls!

Many Saudi women have spoken about their struggles in newspapers and public media, but very few of them have taken action in the ground to actually change the society. Words are powerful, but not enough to change the reality.

Today, Saudi women are planning to make a history and challenge the society by driving their cars in public. I believe that this step, if they make it, is a significant turning point in women struggle in Saudi. If women were able to enforce their rights to drive, they will then realize that they are also capable of enforcing their rights to work, to travel without permission and to vote.

Now the question that everyone keeps asking is that will Saudi women break the fear barriers and drive their cars today?

 To Drive or Not to Drive, that is the question!

Climbing The Songs

Climbing the Songs تسلق الأغاني is a short movie directed by Nawaf Alsabhan, voice-over written and narrated by my friend Ahmed Alsihayih. The main actor in the movie is my best friend Malik Falatah.  The movie was presented during a Saudi Night at my university. Please make me happy and watch the movie. I really think that these talented Saudi should get a lot of supports and popularity for the great work they have done.

It happens sometimes, that happiness quits you. It happens too, that you become saturated with defeats and it happens that you stand up straight but on crooked ground, and in turn look slanted. Nevertheless, the warm of hope are vast, like the arms of the city (Climbing The Songs Movie)

Thank You So Much For Listening

The following conversation was in Arabic between me and the manager of SACM financial dept. I translated to English to share it with you.

Murtadha: Hello Dr  Saad Asswailim ( Many of SACM employees are obsessed with being called a doctor, I even call the reception employee doctor too)

Mr. Asswailim smiled: Doctor? I am not a doctor

Murtadha: Oh, but doctorate isn’t all about the degree 🙂 . Many people became doctor because of their understanding and respect to others. It is life experience, I think.

Mr. Asswailim laughed: That is true

Murtadha: anyway, I am calling you in regard my problem. I have sent an email to Dr. Al-essa (director of SACM) in regard my problem and few days later, my advisor told me that I will be reimbursed for the GMAT course.

Mr. Asswailim: I read your email, but I don’t think we can reimburse you.

Murtadha: Ok. why?

Mr. Asswailim: Because we don’t reimburse students for GMAT courses, and I can’t treat you different than the rest of the students.

Murtadha: I totally agree with you, every students should be treated the same, but the problem is that I am not asking to be treated different.

Mr. Asswailim: So, what is your problem then?

Murtadha: My problem is that I asked my SACM advisor before I take the course about whether or not, the SACM cover the cost of the course and she told me Yes. Of course, that isn’t enough, so I asked her for financial guarantee stating that SACM cover the cost of the GMAT and they issued me one. So based on the information I got, there is nothing that disprove the fact that SACM cover the cost of the GMAT.

Mr. Asswailim: Ok, but that isn’t my problem. I am not the one who issued the financial guarantee for the GMAT course and I didn’t tell you that SACM covers the cost. I have policies that I follow here and I can’t break them.

Murtadha: I totally agree with you. I actually respect that. Can I ask you a question?

Mr. Asswailim: Of course you can

Murtadha: If you were in my situation and your advisor had told you that that SACM cover the cost of that course and she issued you a financial guarantee as a confirmation for that , and after you took the course, and paid the cost, you sent your paper for reimbursement, then you the employee tells you: ” no, we can’t reimburse you” what would you do then:

Mr. Asswailim: Mmmmm, I totally understand your situation, I think you should call Dr. Alissa (director of SACM) again to open an investigation on this.

Murtadha: I will call Al=essa again. I think I find a new journey in life now. I would call it ” Murtadha’s Journey in getting his reimbursement”

Mr. Asswailim: Laughing

Murtadha: by the way, I have to say that you are too kind, because you listened to what I wanted to say. You didn’t only listen, you also respected me and allowed me to discuss the issue with me. That is something I really really appreciate.  So, thank you so much for that.

Mr. Asswailim: You are most welcome. It is my job to listen and talk with you and other students so please don’t hesitate to call back if there is anything else I can help you with.

Murtadha: I will , thank you again so much for listening to me. Listening something is so important and from my experience with Saudi governmental agencies, I found that people who work there like only to talk or give commands. It is rare to find someone who would listen. That is why I want to tell you how much I appreciate that. Thank you for simply listening to me.

End of the conversation.

Mr. Asswaili was very surprised on how something very small such as listening, is so important and valuable for someone else like me.