Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cable Cut and Great Morning Song

Update (27th Dec. 5:30AM):

One of the cables was supposed to get fixed last night, but it got cut again (on the ship, not somewhere else along the cable) and will need 2 more days for reparations. I know this sounds funny, but the fibers are very fragile.

We however are running at 75% as of last night.

Update (23rd Dec. 7:50AM):

BBC published this update on the cable cut. They say the cut was probably caused by an anchor dropped by a ship somewhere between Sicily and Tunis. They arrived at the damage site on Sunday afternoon and said they'll have SEMEWE4 fixed by the 25th. and SEMEWE3 by the end of the year.

But FLAG (the 3rd cable) is owned by someone else and isn't being fixed by this ship. talk about bad service.
Update (22nd Dec. 8:00AM):

Our total usage last night reached a maximum of 71% of its usual peak. And the repair ship is said to be expected to finish the repairs on the cable by the 26th. Alla y3een.

Update on the Bandwidth (21st Dec. 1:00AM):

As promised, the 3rd provider gave us more bandwidth from South East Asia and now we're running at 54% of our usual peak usage.


Original post:

Yesterday morning about 10:15 AM 3 of the 4 main internet cables linking our region with Europe and the US have been cut, so far they think it might be due to seismic activity near Malta. Here's the story on BBC.

At my ISP we use three international providers and 1 is completely down, the 2nd is running at about 30%, and the 3rd rerouted us toward the eastern side of the cables to Singapore and are giving us about 50%.

So on the whole, we're running at about 40% of our usual traffic. Congested to the gills :P

Our 50% provider is expected to give us more bandwidth very soon, also to the east. Which should make things better, albeit with higher latency than usual (like 600-700 millisec compared to the usual 200-300 millisec).

Twice in 1 year... :(

So here's a bandwidth consuming Video to cheer you up! my sister sent it to me and it's awesome in the morning.

Note: I guess the previous post is not relevant now. Thank you for your encouragement :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Until further notice...

This blog is inactive starting today inshalla.

Thanks for reading :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Regret is a Useful Emotion?

My friend used to tell me about a teacher he had in grade school. There was one kid who's habit was to do things in class that annoy the teacher and distract everybody, and as soon as she zooms her anger on him he immediately says "I'm sorry miss, I'm sorry." and sits still for not a very long time before the cycle begins again.

Through this cycle the teacher is being wound up toward an inevitable explosion. So one day the boy is whimpering as usual:

"Sorry miss, walla sorry." and sits. And then the Miss has had enough.....


The story is a bit funny and me and my friend laugh about it whenever someone says "sorry" quoting her last line as an inside joke. "YOU'RE NOT SORRY!"

But what's funny about it? usually things are funny because there's some profound truth hidden inside. And in this case I think what she says about him not really being sorry is very true.

Which brings me to Regret. Being "Sorry" and being "Regretful" are almost the same thing. And recently I was reading about Hajj and Tawba and came across the 3 conditions for Tawba:

1- Intention to not go back to the sin. Future
2- Stop doing the sin. Present
3- Regretting the sin. Past

And when you think about these 3 conditions for true repentance, you can see that if one of them is not available, then: "YOU'RE NOT REALLY SORRY!"

The boy for example only fulfilled the 2nd condition, but not the 1st or 3rd. He did not resolve to stop doing it in the future, nor did he regret doing it in the past.

Same goes with most people who have a certain vice which has become habit and a normal and accepted part of their life. Like the woman who knows il7ejab wajeb but doesn't wear it and says she feels sorry for that, o inna inshalla Allah yahdeha. (assuming she admits inna wajeb, if she argues inna mo wajeb that's a totally different post :P). Like the guy who uses usurous (Reba) banking to gain interest on his savings (those guys usually never even admit they're wrong, and just avoid the discussion). Or the guy who smokes knowing that there are pretty valid arguments supporting that smoking is 7aram based on its a slow form of killing yourself, and that it has no real benefit.

My point of this post is this:
Let's say you actually stop smoking, or that you start wearing 7ejab, or whatever thing you felt was wrong, and actually DO stop doing it in the future (1st and 2nd condition fulfilled), is it really necessary for you to also REGRET doing it in the past?

What if you stop doing it, but you remember the times in which you did with nothing but fondness and joy, almost wishing to go back to doing it all over again? certainly no regret there. Yes ofcourse you're not doing it now, but if you love the times when you did, is this really a true tawba? I mean, Allah doesn't only want you to stop doing the bad thing, because all the sins of the whole world don't affect Him negatively one bit. Allah wants you mainly to feel that what you did was to the contrary to His command, and therefor you did not place His command above your own human whim. And Allah wants you to repent from THAT. He wants you to be sorry from THAT. The sinful deed is nothing but a byproduct of an arrogant feeling really.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is:
Regret being a useless emotion is not only wrong (in my humble opinion), but actually a mandatory and necessary emotion. Required for all sinners who attempt to repent (and we're all sinners in one form or another).
حدثنا أحمد بن منيع قال : حدثنا زيد بن حباب قال : حدثنا علي بن مسعدة الباهلي قال : حدثنا قتادة ، عن أنس ، أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : " " كل ابن آدم خطاء وخير الخطائين التوابون "
سنن الترمذي
Because if you don't regret it, you're NOT REALLY SORRY :P
If you don't resolve to never do it in the future, you're... NOT REALLY SORRY :P
and lastly... if you're still doing it, you're NOT REALLY SORRY :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Human Suffering Overload

A couple of weeks back I hear of this boy "Baby P" in England who died only 17 months old.

"After 17 months enduring abuse of an almost unimaginable cruelty, the boy had been reduced to a nervous wreck, his hair shaved to the scalp and his body covered in bruises and scabs. Physical injuries included eight broken ribs, a broken back and the missing top of a finger, while the emotional damage was almost incalculable. Despite it all, Baby P was said to have still attempted a smile."

And all of this was done to him by his own mother, and the two boyfriends she took after splitting with the boy's father.

And yesterday I went to this movie "TV's Promised Land" at the Film Week in KUniv in Khaldiya. And its filled with western depictions of Arabs/Muslims as demons, rats, snakes, mosquitoes and many other sub-human beings. And in the middle of that film, a pretty long scene of 4 Israeli soldiers who barbarically kick and torture 2 sitting palestinians. Midway through that scene one of the soldiers picks up a rock the size of 2 fists and starts hitting on of the men on the shoulders, ribs and head til he passes out. And then another soldier holds the arm of the 2nd palestinian and stretches it out so the other soldier holding the rock can hammer his arm to break it.

The whole auditorium were watching this horror on the verge of walking out... it was very literally "unbearable". After the scene mercifully stops we see the Israeli soldier being interviewed saying that "this" happens "everyday".

This morning I learn from a Palestinian colleague at work that the same two victims were actually born and raised in Kuwait and that he knows the video and knows the two men personally. He told me how they all visited them in the hospital when they arrived back in Kuwait. That just brought my anger and loathing of the soldiers' inhumanity to a much more personal level. These men survived thankfully, and I can go meet them if I wished. The injustice demanded retribution. Allah ilmusta3an. La qowata illa billah.

Then this afternoon I hear on the news about the 100+ victims of the terrorist attack in Mumbay. How the attackers unloaded automatic weapons into civilians indiscriminantly, men, women, children, it didn't make a difference. The buzzing bustling city is in crisis as I am typing away. By some group that calls itself "Mojahideen Decan", Decan being an area. And no one ever heard of the group before.

The whole world is in shock. Real, attention-demanding, bleeding throbbing shock and pain of completely senseless murder and killing.

I arrive to see a movie with my wife, "Taken", and I'm touched by the father's feelings for his daughter. Her guardian angel. Safety and protection guaranteed. Then by the end of the movie (I don't really care if I'm spoiling the movie, coz this bit has pissed me off) you see the ugly, old, bald arab holding the "virgin" daughter as a human shield with a "knife" at her throat. And guess what he's wearing... a bisht.

Where? on an oppulent yacht on the Siene river in Paris. With half a dozen world-class body guards with machine guns on board. And the pictures on the sides of his bedroom door are of hunting falcons and arabian horses.

Demonize me more if you please.

As I'm driving back home my radio's on BBC as usual. My mistake.

She starts talking about more dead people and more evil.

And I just flick it off in a reflex move of pure self-defense. I couldn't take any more.

My mind was filled to the brim with way too much human suffering and injustice and lying. I need a breather. Some time off from it. I need to stop listening to news for a few days at the least.

I gave like a 100kd to my dad because he was collecting aid to help some old expat who needed an operation. Just to try and relieve myself. And it worked a little.

And I thought that I should share this, and spill it out. And thought that, what use is it to listen and absorb sooooo much human tragedy and bad news?

Yes ofcourse it is necessary to be aware. otherwise you can't do any good. You can't help people you don't know are suffering.

But to what extent?? It just crystalized in my head that, I should just hang on to the first bit of bad news I hear, and if I can help with it, just do that and block other bad news until I do.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Insurance is Gambling

Ok, so everyone's panicking about the global economy..

It's clear that Capitalism as the West defines it is flawed. The West is saying this. Not communists or islamists or any kind of people who would be interested in gloating and pointing fingers saying "We told you so!".

The obviousness is so blinding that opponents of pure hardcore globalized capitalism are not even making an effort to Yteshammetoon.

So what is the west doing wrong?

Me for one, take my right and wrong primarily from Allah and his messenger Mohammad PBUH, and here are 2 main ways in which the "west" is doing business the "wrong" way:

1- Interest Loans. Reba in arabic. Which is how any loan is given out these days, and this is the most dangerous one, and I'll skip it for now and dedicate a future post about it inshalla.

2- Buying and Selling the Unknown. Bay3 gharar in arabic.

And I want to talk about this 2nd form in this post.

Gambling is 7aram because it involves buying an unknown. A yet undefined object. You pay 1 dollar, and you get a lottery ticket, and on the day of the draw, you MAY win (0.00-add appropriate number of zeroes-001 chance) and get millions of dollars, or you MAY lose (0.999-add appropriate number of 9's-999 chance) and get Zero. Nothing.

You can say any business proposition carries ambiguity, which is true, and Islamic economists acknowledge that, but they also differentiate between situations where the ambiguity is either:
A- Unavoidable. or..
B- Intentional

So lets take cases:
- Gambling? Risk is obviously engineered and designed, therefor VERY intentional. hence, 7aram.
- Opening a restaurant on top of Abraj liKuwait? Risk is still there that no one will eat there, or that the tower will collapse or whatever, but the risk is not intentional and largely unavoidable, and in most cases low anyway. hence, obviously and inarguably 7alal.
- So what about Insurance?
You pay X amount per year, and your car MAY get damaged, and MAY not.
The risk gets calculated and crunched endlessly and insurance companies work very hard to make their risk analysis as accurate as possible, putting all sorts of inputs into the equation like car make, car age, driver age, driver traffic history, regional norms of recklessness .. and on and on. They try to predict the future basically. And based on the probability that you'll crash this year, they put their insurance payment and their markup.

Can the insurance buyer (You) get access to all this information? they own multi-million dollar computers and software to do all that calculation, while poor you don't have the feintest idea. What if the odds were in reality on your side? but you buy the insurance anyway out of what?
what do you get out of it? simply assuaging and comforting your fear.

It's an industry based on Paranoia and Fear mongering.

They make you pay money simply so they can remove your fear of a crash.

But there's no limit to one's fear right? they can sell you insurance for ANYthing.

You start with a car's crash, but then you go into maintenance, then you go into REALLY crazy stuff like losing baggage while travelling, they even insured Jennifer Lopez's rear body part. because they made her fear getting fat and losing its attractiveness.

To sell more insurance and make more money they only have to foster FEAR inside you.

Islam deals with this nonsense swiftly. Islam calls it "Bay3 Gharar" which means literally "Trade in the Unknown". Fear is NOT quantifiable.

I faced this problem in my own work, regarding buying hardware support contracts, where simply put, if a server goes bust, the supplier is obliged to replace it. and I pay X KDs a year for this contract.

When I calculated the actual history of servers going KAPUT and which actual parts (usually the harddisks and maybe the fans) are more likely to fry, and the cost of buying a couple of spare parts to keep in the store for the case of an emergency, I found that we were paying atleast 10 times as much. Simply because we chose not to deal with our fear ourselves, and let someone else handle it for us.

Now.. PLEASE argue with me :)

My brother sent me this hilarious poster this morning. Take special notice of the blue box

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Embryonic Stem Cells can become Cancerous

First here's what I know about Embryonic Stem Cells from Wikipedia

The gist is that you can either get them from a newly formed embryo, which will then be destroyed after the cells are taken. This is obviously extremely controversial.

How moral is it to make a new embryo and then destroy (kill) it in order to save yourself? they say the embryo is only 4-5 days old when it's ready to be harvested for stem cells. But who can say when do you start seeing a fertilized human egg as a "child-in-development"?

We invent names to call each stage: Egg => Zygote => Blastocyst => Embryo => Fetus => Child

And then at which point do we give the "right of life"? which protects it/him/her from being killed?

In Wikipedia the Fetal Rights page mentiones:
The 1978 American Convention on Human Rights states, in Article 4.1, "Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception."

Muslims sometimes use a 7adeeth by irrasool PBUH when they bring up this issue, that a fetus receives a "soul" after the 40th day of conception. ya3ne approx. 5-6 weeks. Is that an appropriate marker to use? would that make it OK to exploit embryos younger than 40 days?

Very dodgy stuff.

More than this, I consulted with a close Dr friend who happens to specialize in genetics and he sent me these links about Uncontrollable Growth of some Embryonic Stem Cell treated patients:

Embryo Stem Cells Genetically Unstable after Long Cultivation

Embryonic stem lines unstable

Ten Problems with Embryonic Stem Cell Research

pay attention to point number 9

9- The promises of ESCR are right now nothing more than hoped for possibilities. Successful clinical trials for people are years away at best. Why? The reality is that the scientific evidence so far does not support public statements.

First, one minor complication is that use of human embryonic stem cells requires lifelong use of drugs to prevent rejection of the tissue. Second, another more serious disadvantage is that using embryonic stem cells can produce tumors from rapid growth when injected into adult patients. A third disadvantage reported in the March 8, 2001, New England Journal of Medicine was of tragic side effects from an experiment involving the insertion of fetal brain cells into the brains of Parkinson's disease patients. Results included uncontrollable movements: writhing, twisting, head jerking, arm-flailing, and constant chewing. Fourth, a recent report in the Journal Science reported that mice cloned from ESC were genetically defective. If human ESC are also genetically unstable, that could materially compromise efforts to transform cells extracted from embryos into successful medical therapies. Finally, the research may be hampered because many of the existing stem cell lines were grown with the necessary help of mouse cells. If any of this research is to turn into treatments, it will need approval from the FDA, which requires special safeguards to prevent transmission of animal diseases to people. It is unclear how many of these cell lines were developed with the safeguards in place. This leads to a host of problems related to transgenic issues.

Ya3ne they can cause cancer.

But Adult Stem Cells avoid all this controversy, as well as the cell rejection problem by only taking cells from your own bone marrow. But.. since I'm not in a hurry, and since both methods are not yet approved by major medical centers.. and since my MS Dr. also urged me not to go..

I decided to cancel my trip to Costa Rica and not go ahead with the Stem Cell treatment. Maybe if I wait a year or two, more solid research will get published. Allah a3lam.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bob Dylan's Prophetic Song

I'm not a Bob Dylan fan and I never really listened to any of his songs, but one day on the BBC I heard about this Picture Show made by Mark Edwards, a photographer who put together a series of images of human strife and misery around the world, which go along with Dylan's song "Hard Rain", try listening to it with the lyrics and you'll be stunned how it fortells how the end of the 20'th century as well as the 21st. is unfolding, it's pretty creepy how accurate it can get. Famine, War, Deforestation, Floods, Tsunamis:


Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways,
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin',
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin',
I saw a white ladder all covered with water,
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin',
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world,
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin',
Heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin',
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin',
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter,
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony,
I met a white man who walked a black dog,
I met a young woman whose body was burning,
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow,
I met one man who was wounded in love,
I met another man who was wounded with hatred,
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin',
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Funny British Controversial Racism

First for the sketch from the show Harry and Paul which caused Philipino UK citizens to be offended:

Then for another funny sketch about a elderly american tourist couple and a veiled woman:

Did the 2nd sketch offend you like the 1st one offended the philipino community?

I found both to be very funny.

The 1st obviously portrays philipino women as house help sex objects. But it also makes more fun of the english northerner who think of people as livestock, and it makes even more fun of him for being oblivious to his appalling treatment of the maid.

I mean, a stereotype is offensive if:
1- It is false. therefor is a blatant lie and needs to be corrected in people's mind. Or..
2- It is true. But we get offended because the truth is unjust and should be corrected. that philipino ARE being forced into domestic jobs which put them in a disadvantagous position where they easily get abused physically and sexually.

Which do you think it is?

If you think it's 1, then why would it be funny at all? I mean, a lie is not funny, it's silly and irrelevant right?

So if it's 2, why do we object to it? shouldn't the producers of the show be applauded for revealing a "truth" which needs to be corrected?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Got Multiple Sclerosis? La Tghabbi

I got diagnosed with MS early this year. It's a mystery disease and has no cure, but in most cases it's also not life threatening, or disabling right away. In most cases disabilities only start showing after 10+ years and usually only if it's left without treatment. My point for this post is that the best weapon I found yet was information and knowledge. When you know more about it, you fear it less and your plans for your future are less uncertain. Having MS is not the end of the world.

Which brings us to the issue of "teghebbi" or "hiding the info" from your friends and not-so-close family. When I first got my diagnosis I instantly became more sensitive to stories about other people who have similar symptoms, and I started asking if it was possible to call these people and ask them about MS and how it affected them so I can learn for myself. But I immediately started getting resistence and not very subtle hints that these people did not wish for others to know about their MS.

Seems to me that since MS has the possibility of disability, it becomes a taboo, sort of like cancer. Cancer is called "ilmarath ishain", as if naming it out loud is bad luck. "He Who Must Not Be Named", like Voldemort or something.

Respecting people's wishes and privacy in this matter is fine, but I found out that hiding can be harmful to you. I personally benefitted alot from being gradually more and more open about my MS. I'll tell you how.

Two weeks ago I got a call from a close friend who knew about my MS. He told me that someone who works with his brother took his niece who has MS to a clinic in Costa Rica (Institute for Cell Medicine) which does "Adult Stem Cell" treatment for multiple diseases:
1- Multiple Sclerosis
2- Diabetes Type 2 (mid-aged people who's pancreas stopped working)
3- Autism
4- Cerebral Palsy
5- Osteoarthiritis & Degenerative Joint Disease
6- Rheumatoid Arthiritis
7- Heart Failure & Stroke
8- Parkinson's Disease

I know that it sounds fishy and too good to be true. and I know that if it does sound too good to be true, then it probably is. So I took the lead and started doing my own research and found many examples of people who went there personally and had treatment and did get better. The first one being the one I talked to in person, who was a friend of a brother of a friend, who if I hadn't told about my MS, would never have occured to him to relay the information to me in the 1st place.

I even have a 2nd cousin who had MS for 6-7 years and I didn't know if it was MS or not until very recently, mainly because his Dad didn't want others in the family to ask about his condition. And only last month after me and my Dad ignored his Dad's wishes and visited him did I know for sure it was a particularly aggressive and rare type of MS where he can barely walk now. So I tell him about this new stem cell treatment and I'm surprised when he tells me that infact he knows about it and already booked a flight to try "Embryonic stem cell" treatment. There's a whole controversy around that one so I didn't press the issue with him, seeing that you create a human emryo then have it get destroyed. But I guess he was desperate.

Here's a few links of people's blogs who did go to the clinic:
Autistic child
MS cop

Here's the summary of my own case so anyone who wanted information can compare:

I'm 35yo, married with 3 children, not obese, don't smoke, don't drink alcohol.

Symptoms & History:
May 2007 - I started feeling numbness and tingling in both my feet, legs, up to my lower torso. The sensation was of hyper-sensitivity as well as less sensitivity to light touches (e.g. a cotton). with slight pain when touched. I also had some problems with balance, and fell a few times. this lasted until Nov-Dec 2007.

Dec 2007 - I developed double-vision when looking sideways to the left, this lasted for a month or so, and the tingling and numbness in my feet subsided slowly and is now almost completely gone. and no balance issues remain. But in the same time I developed the same tingling and numb sensation in the outer 3 fingers of my left hand only. slightly so in my index finger. no other symptoms remained and this sensation in my left hand remains until today.

My first MRI was done in Nov 2007 and it showed multiple hyper-intense lesions in the brain's gray matter as well as the cervical section of the spine. After that a Lumbar Puncture (spinal fluid taken) was done to test for Oligoclonal bands and it was positive. So I was diagnosed with MS in January 2008 and immediately was started on treatment using Betaferon shots every other day. I do these shots myself at home.

My neurologist suggested doing an MRI every 6 months because Kuwait was proving to be having an epidemic of MS and also because my sister (31yo) was also diagnosed with MS 2 weeks after I was, using the exact same method of LP+MRI. so my latest MRI was done 27 May 2008 and showed recession in the old lesions along with development of newer lesions. My symptoms remain the same with my left hand only. My youngest sister (24yo) also did an MRI and an LP and had small lesions and was also positive for Oligoclonal bands, but never had any symptoms, and the reason for doing the tests was my own MS and my other sister, so her neorologist was unsure if she should be treated or not, and decided to wait and do another MRI in 6 months or a year then decide. My other 2 brothers don't have any brain white spots.

I hope this was helpful. I have other information but the post is already way too long

Monday, September 29, 2008

On Blocking Youtube Day 9

Please Help Us

This afternoon I got called for a meeting about a new official paper from MoC dated yesterday asking us to "block certain specific links within". And then it goes on through 5 full pages siting URLs and "search key words" which produce objectionable material mostly about sexual content,
- some about "slandering local arabic/kuwaiti women's reputation"
- some were deemed "offensive to Gulf heads of state"
- the singer Maraam.
- kuwaiti whores running away from school
- kuwaiti girl from "al-Awaazim" tribe.
- then multiple links about gay/lesbian content.
- again siting some URLs offending Islam
- then a couple of Youtube links of a shiite cleric insulting Abu-Baker
- then more links of "western lisbianism" written in arabic "سحاق غربي" and "arab sex films".
- then more suggestions of search key words, like "لواط" "سحاق" فضائح" "كويتيات" ..etc
- followed by a mention of "" and how it allows you to bypass ISP's blocking mechanisms and that it should be blocked too.

All the links seemed to be compiled from multiple documents, scanned in very poor quality that is barely readable, one list was signed by a certain:
Khaled Jasem al-Mjaibel
tel: 7930342

and another signed by:
Abdel-Rahman Ibrahim al-Shemmeri
tel: 97906069

Both seem to be addressed to the Dept. Head of Survailance and Control of Phones:
Mr. Jasem Mohammad al-Kanderi (infamous from the previous paper)

We have not yet applied any blocking mechanism, mainly because we're worried that such a long list of URLs might overload the CPU usage on our caches. And we're not sure what to do honestly. And the decision seems to be definitely delayed until after Eid holiday.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Rules of the Game p.5

This is a continuation of a past series P1, P2, P3 and P4 about secular morality. or morality without God, can it happen? and what would it look like.

The Prisoner's Dilemma:

Two suspects are arrested by the police. The police have insufficient evidence for a conviction, and, having separated both prisoners, visit each of them to offer the same deal. If one testifies ("defects") for the prosecution against the other and the other remains silent, the betrayer goes free and the silent accomplice receives the full 20-year sentence. If both remain silent, both prisoners are sentenced to only 1 year in jail for a minor charge. If each betrays the other, each receives a five-year sentence. Each prisoner must choose to betray the other or to remain silent. Each one is assured that the other would not know about the betrayal before the end of the investigation. How should the prisoners act?

To summarize:
If both are good and loyal to each other, Both win modestly.
If one is good and the other is bad and stabs his friend in the back, good loses MUCH, bad wins MUCH.
If both are bad and each to his own (nafsee nafsee), both lose modestly.

If it was you and your best friend in this example, what would you do? ok, what if it wasn't your best friend, a perfect stranger?

I'm assuming that the crime doesn't matter here, you're only concern is to get the minimum sentence and minimize your jail time. Ya3ne assume that you know for certain that neither you or the other person actually did it. But the police don't care about your testimony.

Now assume that this will happen to both of you many times, over and over, every year, they pull both of you to the police station and accuse you of a different crime. (maybe the Police 7a6een 3alaikom, who knows :) deal with it.

Assuming that both of you cooperate the initial few times, and get the small jail time of 1 year, would one of you get tired of it eventually and betray the other in order to go free?

Which of the Rules of the Game will you use (mentioned in the previous parts)?


Monday, September 22, 2008

On Blocking Youtube Day 2

Thanks to you all and the amazing response, it seems the Ministry people are realizing their blunder.

Us the ISP's have communicated on the top levels to decide what to do and to try to do it together at once. The 1st plan yesterday was that of incredulity, and we wanted to all block Youtube last night at 12:00 midnight, the move was intended to basically "force the MoC in the spot light" and hopefully the public's backlash would become a lot bigger, since whoever did not know would definitely KNOW.

But around 10:30pm we got information that the MoC people said they will sit together tomorrow morning (this morning) to "discuss the issue further". Ya3ne in simpler terms "find out the extent of the stink they got themselves into", to decide what to do next.

Which also meant they were indirectly asking us NOT to block. In other words, if we have done what THEY asked us to do, THEY would have been the most negatively affected, and they KNEW that, and were asking us to hold our horses. that to me is just too funny.

====================Update Correction (23rd Sep. 4:20pm)==================
And now I got confirmation that the Minister himself has convened with his department heads and rescinded the order.
concerning the above statement:
I called people close to the Minister and it seems that the Minister was not aware of the official memo in the 1st place, so if I'm implying that he was aware of it or produced, it then I apologize and correct myself and it was not my intention to imply that. What I understand now is that the Minister spent the next day (22nd) trying to find out who was responsible and as you read on alJarida, clearly states that neither he nor any of his deputies uphold the memo.

I thank the Minister al-Ghnaim personally as well as his deputy al-Osaimy for their quick and decisive voice of reason and understanding.

Thank you al-Jarida and thank you bloggers of Kuwait :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

On Blocking Youtube

Inshalla tomorrow you'll be able to read about this on al-Jarida 1st page.

But I wanted to share my excitement I felt today in how sometimes journalism can make our world better.

This morning at the ISP I work for we received an order from one of the department heads in MoC (Ministry of Communication) asking us quite simply and blatantly, to block

The reason stated in the official paper was that if you do a search on youtube for something like "qur'an mula77an" or something like that you'll get some videos that offend Islam mock ilQur'an and our prophet Mohammad PBUH. I tried to search for the same to check what it was, but couldn't find it, but that's not the issue really because I'm positive that there are, undoubtedly tons more offensive things to be found.

Where to start?!

The issue is very revealing of how our government works. Actually most governments work this way if not enough checks and balances are installed. They say that Power corrupts, I say even if it didn't, in the very least it can be misused.

1- al-Islam, al-Qur'an and irrasool Mohammad PBUH are strong and shining beacons of the right path, and the ammunition you need to defend them is abundant and can be easily found within their pure message and rightous and impecable history. Any of us can argue with these offenders to no end and you'll never be stumped or run out of a reasonable argument to support you, assuming you did your research properly. And who knows maybe the open argument will be more effective in educating others about your plight, definitely much more than if the subject is CENSORED and BANNED. in other words:
banning something usually only succeeds in giving it more credibility, because it implies weakness in what's criticized.

2- Youtube contains EVERY possible point of view. not just the ones you dislike. but also the ones that support yours and perhaps do a better job than you in defending your point of view.

3- These offenses existed long long ago. mo tawhom. Always have, and always will.

So for the above reasons I was shaking my head at the rediculous piece of paper from MoC.

Almost 15-20% of our internet traffic these days is in fact Youtube traffic. To suddenly turn that off would be nothing less than a public relations disaster for the Ministry. But they simply did not do their homework and ask us ISP's about these figures.

Also, Youtube is greatly involved with its users in trying to calibrate itself to their sensitivities, take this story for example: YouTube Bans Gun and Knife Videos In the UK

So we live in a reasonable world, with reasonable people who LOVE to communicate and talk and reason with you. This MOC guy simply chose to BLOCK. wouldn't it have been simpler to just go to Youtube's "contact us" page and file a complaint?

The time of "Freedom of Speech above all else" is slowly being rethought in the world and big internet corporations are now more willing to listen and understand what their users want.

The MOC doesn't really need to mention any reason for the blocking, because if we don't comply and do what they ask, they simply make our life hell by hampering our requests for installations of new fiber connections, new customers and hooking up Kuwait in general.

So they always have been using strong-arm tactics to force us to block stuff they don't like, including What good justification is there really for the MoC to force Kuwaity citizens to use it's own international phone lines with rates easily reaching 250-500 fils a minute (1-2 dollar)? while Skype lets me call the US for 0.017$ a minute (less than 2 measly cents)? that's 50-100 times as much!!

How can they say we want you to pay more, and it will be in Kuwait's best interest??

they're either:
1- crooked and think that WE're too stupid or ignorant to do the math.
2- too stupid or ignorant to do the math themselves.

I don't think it's 1. I think it's 2. because I don't think they're crooked. But in either case they obviously feel that they can do whatever they want with impunity. That no one will tell them they're wrong.

Well today I was asked by al-Jarida's chief editor if I can supply him with a copy of that silly MoC order so he can publish it on 1st page tomorrow morning, and I gladly gave it to him. And may it "tet6arba2 foq dmagh" whoever was stupid enough to think he lives in a single voice country.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Rockband Ghabga

So last night, me on bass guitar (on easy, easiest thing ever), Bojacob on drums (hard, he does amazing guitar on expert too! bs marrat mwahhegna, 3ade), and fad on medium guitar (he doesn't have a blog, that I know of atleast :P), and MJKout bailed on us (must be from the prospect of doing vocals!), we got together for our newly established weekly Rockband night.

We came across this piece and really loved it, here's a Youtube video of a MUCH better band:

They're called COHEED and CAMBRIA, weird name I know.. and I checked some of their other songs, didn't like their extreme hardrock muscle flexing, but a "few" of their songs did catch my eye:

like this one: A Favor House Atlantic (the embed was diabled here :P)

What's weird is their lyrics all tell one continuous story written by their lead singer Claudio Sanchez, in the form of a comic book:
Most of the songs we get to play on Rockband aren't on the same wavelength to what I like, but sometimes I get pleasantly surprised! Now I have to check their albums ^^... ok.. right in between the time I spend between Rmuthan schedule, reading some daily Qur'an, playing with Zayona, playing some SPORE , playing my weekly Dungeons & Dragons session... and so on :P

Monday, September 1, 2008

My Friend the Athiest

..Who I'm finding it difficult to care for again.

Except ofcourse, in the sense that I wish if he would surrender to Allah, and save his eternal self from eternal hellfire.

If my friend reads this he'd most probably feel hurt by my cold feelings. Maybe it is best to let sleeping dogs lie and simply pretend to like him like before, but every now and again, the moral dilemma gets replayed in my conscience.

Would it be more faithful and loyal as a friend for me to do the exact opposite and bring out all the glaring things that he's doing wrong? to tell him time and again without relent that if he dies as he is right now, claiming that there is no God that he'll be committing the most calamitous disaster upon himself, and never ever feel any joy or happiness again? that he will NOT be void and finished, that he'll be brought to Allah and thrown as a worthless heap of corrupt flesh in Jahannam where he'll rightly belong, never dying, never living, forever receiving searing pain and suffering, and I won't say "endure", because no one will be able to endure any of it.

To hide all of this terrible fate and to stop telling him about it would mean that him and I can resume having amusing 15-minute phone talks about humorous nonsense in the time being. That we can go out and have longer chats over dinner with lots of fun and laughs.

But it would all be in bad faith from me. I'd be buying my own amusement for the price of lying to him, as if I'm "fine" and "unphased" by the horrific fate he's threatened of ending up in every minute of his life that passes carrying the possibility of sudden death.

I tried to ignore his calls and avoiding him so to distance myself from the dilemma. But it never really left me. And as he kept on reaching out for me tentatively as his old friend, I found myself again in his company.

I fear something else as well.

What if by keeping the issue in frozen ice and avoiding it as much as possible in order to maintain mirth and laughter, what if by doing that, I start eroding my own faith and love for Allah. It has been said that "man 3aashar ilqawm 40 yawm.."

If you stop protesting the evil long enough, you slowly start accepting it.

Your soul can NOT exist in an undetermined state. If you don't work to decide it, it will get decided for you. decided how? without you actually actively doing something to accept the evil? well by not rejecting the evil yourself. that's how.

The sa7aaba who were riding back with irrasool PBUH from Tabouk simply wanted to engage in "harmless" fun and they said a joke about the other sa7aaba who were "readers" of ilQur'an. that they were cowards in time of war, and big bellied in time feast. And what was the result of that?

Qur'anic verses came down about them proclaiming for all to hear, that they have committed "kofr". "la ta3tathero faqad kafartom ba3d eemaanikom." so they were NOT munafiqeen, they used to be faithful. but they neglected their faith, and let themselves slide back out of it. la 7ola wala qowa illa billah.

Being faithful is a full-time job is what I conclude. mainly conclude it for myself. And I am left with both intense fear, and also, intense hope that Allah will help me do it. as it is He who made me think these thoughts, and it will be only Him who'll help me execute them in my reality.

o Mbaarak 3alaikom eshahar :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Love This Man

I came across this video on Youtube and it really touched me. His honesty about his personal suffering and his journey from being born into a Roman Catholic family, then Athiesm, and finally into Islam just made me tear up. His name is Dr. Jeffrey Lang:

He's a math professor in Kansas State University, he became muslim when he was 28 back in the 80's. He wrote 3 books:

Losing My Religion: A Call for Help
Even Angels Ask: A Journey to Islam in America
Struggling to Surrender: Some Impressions of an American Convert to Islam

And seems to give regular speeches about Islam all over the US. Allah ebarek feh mashallah. It's 17 10-minute parts, and in this particular part he talks about his first encounter with the Qur'an. I ended up watching all the parts and becoming deeply intimate with his inner struggle and journey towards faith. I hope this fondness I feel for him right now is what is called "al-7ob fellah" or "love in God". To love another person for no other reason than that he loves God.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Grandma's Song

This is a clip from a West End show in London based on the movie Billy Elliot. I saw it last year and really loved the whole thing. I've already seen the movie, and the song writing and stage production were top-rate.

But I especially loved this song. Made me really feel for the old woman. Her anger mixed with longing and mourning for her long dead husband. Plus it's pretty funny.

And these are the lyrics:

I hated the sod - for thirty-three year
We should never have married of that I'm quite clear

He spent the housekeeping money on whisky and beer

And never lifted a finger
Times were hard, but the swine rolled back pissed

So we'd fight and he'd swing and he rarely missed

So I'd clobber the sod when he couldn't resist
Asleep, you can't lift a finger.

But we'd go dancing.., and he'd hold me tight

He was air, He was water, He was breath, He was light

And he would hold me there, with all his might.

And it was bliss for an hour or so

But then they called time to go

And in the morning we were sober.

O he'd drink and he'd talk just like a fool
Lie like a bairn and snore like a mule

Rarely was sober, pretty much was the rule

And he never lifted a finger

I suppose times were hard, things were different then

Women were women and men, they were men

Seventeen, that was it, your life ended when
You had a ring around your finger.

But we'd go dancing, he was me own Brando

And for a moment there my heart was a-glow

We had dust in our hair and nowhere to go

But we were free for an hour or three

From the people we had to be

But in the morning we were sober.

But if I went through my time again,

Oh I'd do it without the help of men

Or at least your Grandad

But then again, you know

Best not to linger

What is the use of dreaming now?

I had my chance, well anyhow,

If I'd only known then what I know now

I'd've given them all the finger

And gone dancing, and not give a shit

And spin around and reel and love every bit

And I'd dance alone and enjoy it

And I'd be me for an entire life.

Instead of somebody's wife

And I never would be sober.

And I never would be sober.

[Thanks to for lyrics]

I liked the repeated use of "..lift a finger", each time with a different meaning. Similar to arabic "Zhairiyat", I think these have a name in english too. Great writing no doubt.

I advise anyone who passes by London anytime soon to get tickets for it, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Rules of the Game p.4 + 3laiwi

Thank you all who prayed for Ali, his operation went well last Monday and just now I got the message that he's being moved from the ICU to the observation room. Yippeee!

May Allah reward your prayers with Jannat inna3eem ya rab, and save you in your direst of needs inshalla.


The Rules of the Game, featuring:

The Iron Rule: Do Unto Others As You Like, Before They Do It Unto You.

Here, the rule goes back to the basics, which is to fulfill your own needs, period. The application of this rule is widespread and very appealing, simply because it offers immediate gratification. You don't have to wait for judgment day or wait for the social system to go through its cycle and reward you God knows when.

You like something, you take it, you are happy, now.

This doesn't mean that followers of this rule are savages, they can be cunning snakes as well, waiting to make sure that they can get away with their crimes before committing them. Which is simply another form of following the same rule, because if they get caught, they will get punished, they will be unhappy, also now.

So its the rule of the jungle, so to speak. And here its also interesting to note that low morality is again associated with stupidity (jungle rules = animal rules).

To expect society to reward you for following the Golden or Silver rules can be misleading, you simply may wait and wait and never get rewarded.

So I claim that only by expecting your reward to come in the form of eternal bliss in heaven can you truly be able to follow the good rules. And if you don't think that heaven is real, or even hell, then I can't imagine why you'd follow anything other than the Iron rule.

I believe that "being good" can only be realized by the fear and love of God.

No amount of democratization, no amount of "secular application of the law" (the law mostly coming from God anyway) can ever make sure that we will be moral people. If you expect your reward for being a "good man/woman" to come from anyone other than Allah, then you'll be disappointed.

Next in this series: The Tin Rule. <= really good one, don't miss it :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

منا و فينا

أول شي سلامات للكل بعد الإنتخابات أخيرا افتكينا. أنا عن نفسي وجدت ان قدرتي على منع نفسي من الخوض بأعراض الناس و نقل إشاعات عنهم مالي فيها علم موثق تضعف ضعفا شديدا أيام الإنتخابات. و كما قال الرسول الكريم صلى الله عليه و سلم: كفى بالمرء كذبا أن يحدث بكل ما سمع

و ثاني شيء هو أننا إذا كنا نتوقع من نوابنا الكرام أن يكونوا مثال العقل الراجح و الحوار الهادئ فعلينا أن نتذكر انهم منا و فينا

يعني طباعهم من طباعنا. و هم خير من يمثلنا. لم انا واثق من هذا؟ ببساطة لأننا نحن الذين اخترناهم. محاسنهم هي التي اعجبتنا و مساوئهم لدينا منها المزيد. ليسوا بالملائكة و نحن منا الشياطين. فاحمد ربك هذا أفضل الموجود.

اذا هم لا يعجبونك بالجملة فهذا معناه
1- لا يعجبك اختيارك. أو
2- أنك في الأقلية و يجب عليك احترام الأغلبية التي حواليك

صحيح ان حتى الأقليات يجب اعطائها حقها. ولكن حق الأغلبية أولى و أكبر. و النائب اللذي لا تحبه تذكر ان هناك الألاف التي ارتضته فاحترم هالألاف من اخوانك الكويتيين. و عيب ان تقول انهم منومون مغناطيسيا. ففقدان العقل مدعاة للشفقة أو الازدراء بحسب قدرتك للرأفة. يعني أن تصفني بالتبعية و عدم التفكير هو أن تسبني سبا شديدا و هذا هو انعدام الاحترام. فعيب

و إياك أن تقول الأغلبية خاطئة و ما تفهم و غوغاء. فإذا قلت هذا فإنك تسب الكويتيين. و عيب تسب ولو شخص واحد فما بالك بسب شعب كامل؟

مو عاجبك تفكير الكويتيين؟ فكنا و هاجر رجاءا
بس تريد الأفضل من ذلك؟
خلك معانا و حاور بهدوء و افتح عقلك. و لا تزعل اذا خسرت. و حاول مرة أخرى

بس المهم ان نحترم بعضنا بعض و أولى من هذا ان نحترم ولاة الأمر و هم الحكومة و المجلس

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Your Prayers Can Help

Dear Everyone,

My close friend is currently on a plane to the UK with his wife and 3 year old only son.

This afternoon or tomorrow they'll operate on 3ali his son inshalla. This will be his 2nd open chest operation to fix irregularities in the ways his arteries are connected to his heart. The 1st was a success il7amdella, and now this 2nd operation inshalla ya Rab will be just as good.

Ya Rab, I beg of You to save this little rascal. Coz I love how when you ask him "how are you?" he replies "jeen amdella".

Please pray for his safety and quick recovery, o likum il'ajer min Allah sib7ana.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Rules of the Game p.3

"Repay kindness with kindness," said Confucius, "but evil with justice."

This might be called the Brass or Brazen Rule:

Do unto others as they do unto you.

It's the lex talionis, "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," plus "one good turn deserves

In actual human (and chimpanzee) behavior it's a familiar standard. "If the enemy inclines toward peace, do you also incline toward peace," President Bill Clinton quoted from the Qur'an at the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.

وَإِنْ جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
الأنفال 61

Without having to appeal to anyone's better nature, we institute a kind of operant conditioning, rewarding them when they're nice to us and punishing them when they're not. We're not pushovers, but we're not unforgiving either. It sounds promising. Or is it true that "two wrongs don't make a right?".

-- Carl Sagan, The Rules of the Game.

The above Bronze Rule feels "just" and to me atleast feels more applicable. I have no problems subscribing to it. But does it help societies as a whole become better? let's examine that, other people will start learning that we HIT BACK, but also, that we are GOOD NEIGHBORS. This in theory should encourage all of us to refrain from bad acts, and do good.

The only snag here is CYCLES. What if someone kills someone else on the pretext that it was preceded by a previous killing. I.E. the claim is that its justified, while the victim's family don't recognize the past offense. Some offenses are so hard on our psyche that we tend not to be able to think rationally. So we can slip into a cycle of revenge (THAR) with no end in sight.

Not only that, but our response will never be accurately equal to the original kindness or offense. We tend to easily "overreact" when we are wronged.
And also "underreact" when we are done a good deed.

This is precisely how World War One escalated. A very silly and shameful affair.

So which of the Rules do YOU think is better (and more applicable) now?

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Rules of the Game p.2

The previous part was entirely dedicated to the Golden Rule. Its the most famous of the moral rules. Why? I think because its the most "weird" to us. Its the one the goes against our grain the most. In short, its the most noble.

But if you think its too much for you, you can try the Silver Rule instead:

Do Not Do Unto Others What You Would Not Have Them Do Unto You.

I know it sounds a bit convoluted, but it simply means: Don't hurt others.

It doesn't say go and be nice to others, but atleast you're not allowed to cause them harm. But what if the other person slaps me a good slap on the cheek? You don't take revenge, you simply refrain, abstain and be passive.

Its essentially the "Ghandi-way". Passive resistance. il7egran yga6e3 ilmesraan taken to the extreme (ignoring someone cuts up their intestines, don't you love literal translations?).

It is less noble than the Golden Rule to be sure, but its still good.

Is it effective in making us better people? I mean atleast its more accessible and easier to comply with. So we're more likely to stick to it. But we become essentially doormats. 6ofa habee6a (low wall.. :P). Sure it served Ghandi well and shamed the english into leaving India, but it also failed the South Africans and eventually they said "to hell with it" and took up arms in the end. Tibetan buddhist monks are reaching their own limits and getting all riled up against the chinese oppressors.

It doesn't take.. it feels weak. At least the Golden Rule shows the offender that you're shaming him with your good deed. At least you're doing SOMEthing. It doesn't even handle the case of if the other person did not offend you at all, but was good to you, how do you treat them then?

Verdict: Silver Rule is too Passive. bleh.. mo shai.

But more importantly, What do YOU think?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thank You God for Saving Zaina p.2

So 1 week old they started giving her heart medicines to lower the amount of fluids in her body in order to ease the stress on her heart. Lower the risk of congestive heart failure they called it. And you can imagine how the words "heart failure" came down on our heads. bs il7amdella 3ala kil 7al.

So three months old little Zaina had to go into the hospital for a lung infection. They said it was common for her case. She stayed there for 5 days and did another sonar and that's when the dr. said that the hole in her heart was too big and needs to be patched. And on top of that news, he said that although most cases are done using an inserted wire through the vein "Qas6ara" and insert a sort of round mesh that expands and clamps on the walls of the hole, Zaina's hole was different and required open chest, open heart surgery.

I couldn't imagine the idea of my cute little peaceful girl having her chest opened. There was a moment when I actually found it hard to pull breath.

The Dr. wrote his report and gave it to me to start the whole "3elaj bel5arej" (treatment abroad) procedure. I had to get 4 signatures on it, 2 surgeons and 2 cardiologists, take it to the 3elaj bel5arej dept., make a passport for Zaina, get visas made for her, me, my wife, my mother, the escorting dr. and nurse at the British Embassy, get flight dates from Kuwait Airways, get permission from KWA to put an oxygen tank on board, have the visas get delayed, cancel the flights and get new dates and so on...

Let me just say.. to all the people who helped all the above go faster and the un-used was6at:
Thank you deeply from the bottom of our hearts.

The whole process took 20 days from report to flight lillah il7amd. and the only was6a she needed was her little heart :)

So it was the beginning of il3asher il'awa5er of Ramadan, we just arrived at Harley Street Clinic in the evening straight from the airport by ambulance and the surgeon's assistants came to talk to us and examine her, and the cardiologist did another sonar to confirm the case. They told us they're going to operate the next day in the afternoon. My wife slept with her that night as I went with my mother to the hotel.

The next day they did one more sonar, and said they'll come for her at 1 o'clock. They came at 3, and I carried her with my wife behind me with the doctors. I almost felt like walking on air and all my surroundings didn't matter apart from me carefully shielding Zaina's head from everything. I put her on the anesthetic's table and felt near outrage at how I was surrendering my girl into the care of these kind but strange men. Only remembering the total power and dominion of Allah over her life and everyone else's was what calmed me. Me and my wife kissed her forehead and shed involuntary tears and left.

My wise mother took my wife to Oxford St. to take her mind occupied and her feet moving. While I stayed in the hospital room waiting for any news. I couldn't think of anything to do other than to just start praying. So I prayed a while, reading all of the little Qur'an I knew. Then I took out my mini-Qur'an and read from it. Then standing up after rokoo3 I lifted up my hands and just started praying and asking God to save her with such hot and fervent pleading that I only felt in my darkest hours. I only knew how humble and helpless I was with nothing to offer my little girl but my pleading for Allah to save her. So I did with abandon. I cried and I felt then that this total helplessness was correct, not only for me, but for all people. But we just tend to be oblivious to it most of the time.

I asked Allah to save her and to make her a good and pious servant of His throughout her life.

Later I broke my fast on some chips and water from the hallway and then the nurse came for me and took me to see her in the intensive care unit, and told me that the operation couldn't have gone better, and that she's sedated and sleeping, and recovering.

Alf il7emdella ya Rab. Allah said, ask me truthfully, and you shall receive. That moment I had no doubt in that. Inshalla God help us all to never have such doubt, and help us let our selves go and ask for everything. Because only when you do ask, are you truly subservient.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Thank You God for Saving Zaina p.1

Zayoona was born 17th of June last year.

She kicked and kicked and kicked so often that my poor wife was usually both happy and queasy at the same time. I knew by seeing her face smile and also holding her breath to control her upset stomach being relentlessly kicked and probed by little Zaina.

The Dr. while she did the pregnancy echo squinted at the screen and then turned to look at me, and then back at the screen, then back at me, then back at the screen and said:

"teshbah obooha" with matter-of-fact finality. (she looks like her father) as if she's jokingly giving disappointing news to my wife. Me and her just exchanged funny looks.

Three days after she was born, just as we were getting ready to leave the hospital room to go home, the pediatrician dr. came to the room and started telling me in a hushed voice:

"This is most probably something not to be worried about, but I suggest you get it looked at after a week or so just to be sure. Your daughter's heart has a faint but clear wooshing sound, we usually call it a Murmur"

It was still too little information for me to process and I didn't know what to make of what he was telling me so I ask him what does that mean.

"This is very common, don't worry about it too much, most likely its the result of a hole in her heart".

When I heard that I thought (how can there be a hole in my baby's heart and she's still breathing??)

"I can't tell how big of a hole it is until you get a chest echo done to your baby. So I suggest you have one within the week at al-Sabah." (I thought to myself, typical, when the going gets tough, private hospitals get cold feet everytime. Alla y3afe il7okooma)

He then explained to me how its common for babies to have tiny holes in the wall that separates the left and right ventricles. VSD they call them, Ventricular Septic Defects. And most babies with these holes don't require any treatment because the hole just gets smaller with time and closes up on its own as the baby grows up. And I start hearing from friends and family how THEY had holes in THEIR hearts when they were small and how it wasn't a big deal at all.

I get relieved somewhat and try to comfort my wife with the statistics and that the odds are unlikely that any treatment will be needed at all.

We go to the chest sonar appointment and even though the place is brand new and clean, but its still a bit crowded and seeing so many other families carrying small babies just like little Zayoona I get a sense of how this issue is larger than just my little family.

The sonar dr is so swamped with cases that to smooth the process they tell us they'll have to put a mild sedative in her milk so she sleeps while the sonar is on her chest. We were apprehensive about giving her a sedative being such a small baby, but I manage to convince my wife that it'll be fine, and it tastes bitter so Zaina started crying when we gave it to her, the whole thing just fried our nerves even more, being already fried from the fear of what the sonar might show.

She finally sleeps a bit but they didn't call us to the sonar room until the sedative started to slowly wear off anyway.. so as we finally are in the room and the dr. is trying to do his sonar, Zaina started to wake up and cry, and he couldn't do his job properly, and I just had to sit near her holding her tiny tiny arms away from her chest and shush her to calm down and sleep as the dr. did his work. He was a little amateurish and took longer than needed and it was getting harder to keep Zaina still and peaceful, and my wife's shot nerves were getting more and more stressed, so when the dr. said any remarks about the baby not being still enough we both snapped at him to just do what he can because we're not giving her any more sedative and waiting for another 30 minutes outside for her to sleep, which she won't because she's already cried too much and too upset.

Anyhow, il7emdella we were done and went and occupied an empty room without permission to feed poor Zayoon and calm her down. But we were too anxious and stressed waiting for the dr. to tell us what the sonar showed.

When he finally came around to talking to us he told us that it was a "Large" hole, and that its location near the aortic valve raised the pressure going towards the lungs, which caused her to breath shallow and fast. This fast breathing later proved to burn alot of her calories and caused her to become a very small and light baby. We tried to offset this by using a high-calorie special type of milk given by the government pharmacy called "Infatrini" which over the next 3 months did help keep her weight up, but still she was thinner than the thinnest 5% of babies.

We were told that after 4 months it would be clear whether an "operation" would be needed.

Hearing the word operation even as a remote possibility hit me like heavy brick in my chest. What kind of operation could be done to an infant's 3 month old tiny heart??

( be continued inshalla)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

God is talking to you

روى مسلم في صحيحه و ذكر أربع طرق لنفس الحديث
حدثنا عبد الله بن عبد الرحمن بن بهرام الدارمي، حدثنا مروان، - يعني ابن محمد الدمشقي - حدثنا سعيد بن عبد العزيز، عن ربيعة بن يزيد، عن أبي إدريس الخولاني، عن أبي ذر، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فيما روى عن الله، تبارك وتعالى أنه قال

‏"‏ يا عبادي إني حرمت الظلم على نفسي وجعلته بينكم محرما فلا تظالموا
يا عبادي كلكم ضال إلا من هديته فاستهدوني أهدكم
يا عبادي كلكم جائع إلا من أطعمته فاستطعموني أطعمكم
يا عبادي كلكم عار إلا من كسوته فاستكسوني أكسكم
يا عبادي إنكم تخطئون بالليل والنهار وأنا أغفر الذنوب جميعا فاستغفروني أغفر لكم
يا عبادي إنكم لن تبلغوا ضري فتضروني ولن تبلغوا نفعي فتنفعوني
يا عبادي لو أن أولكم وآخركم وإنسكم وجنكم كانوا على أتقى قلب رجل واحد منكم ما زاد ذلك في ملكي شيئا
يا عبادي لو أن أولكم وآخركم وإنسكم وجنكم كانوا على أفجر قلب رجل واحد ما نقص ذلك من ملكي شيئا
يا عبادي لو أن أولكم وآخركم وإنسكم وجنكم قاموا في صعيد واحد فسألوني فأعطيت كل إنسان مسألته ما نقص ذلك مما عندي إلا كما ينقص المخيط إذا أدخل البحر
يا عبادي إنما هي أعمالكم أحصيها لكم ثم أوفيكم إياها فمن وجد خيرا فليحمد الله ومن وجد غير ذلك فلا يلومن إلا نفسه ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قال سعيد كان أبو إدريس الخولاني إذا حدث بهذا الحديث جثا على ركبتيه ‏.

I found this translation online:

O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another.
O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you,
O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you.
O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you.
O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you.
O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and will not attain benefiting Me so as to benefit Me.
O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My kingdom in anything.
O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that would not decrease My kingdom in anything.
O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more that a needle decreases the sea if put into it.
O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him who finds good praise Allah, and let him who finds otherwise blame no one but himself.


The sheer audacity with which God talks to us in this 7adeeth, just humbles me. I could not find a single figure throughout history who speaks with such unlimited power and grandeur. Even the ones who claimed to be Gods. They lacked the imagination to describe themselves in a correctly infinite way. Yet with the simple parable of a needle poking an ocean and coming out with nothing.... No human has this powerful poetry.

What do YOU think?

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Rules of the Game p.1

The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you.

In its most basic meaning, it means to treat others the way you prefer them to treat you, regardless of how they actually DO treat you.

Ya3ne: They treat you good or bad, doesn't matter, you treat them good.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10 verses 25-37.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn in Jericho and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

Unconditional mercy. Not preceded by reciprocation. People who do this infront of us command our admiration and awe. We can't help it. It feels alien to us to be like so generous. To follow the Golden Rule feels like going against my very nature. More like ascendance from clay to light. From base humanity to angelic nobility.

It gets even harder when the act of goodness is preceded by offense.

In the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

WARNING: The following story is very disturbing. Don't read if you don't want to feel very bad.

This is Zawadi Mongane from east Congo. I heard of her on the BBC, here's her story.

She and 50 of her village were abducted by the Interhamwe "Those who fight together". They were the same people who were the tools in Rwanda's massacres.

They took them to a rebel camp, asked all related to the village chief to stand up, then hacked them to death with knives and machetes.

Her brother was forced to rape her, and when he refused, they decapitated him infront of her.

Then 19 of them raped her.

Then they killed 2 of her children infront of her, one of them only a baby on her back. They put a noose of rope around the baby's neck and forced Zawadi to pull and strangle her own baby to death. Here I just got so disturbed by the story I teared up.

That all happened more than a year ago. Not very long. The reporter returned to her a year later to see how she was doing and although physically she had slightly recovered, but mentally she says she "Has nothing to live or look forward to in the future".

She says she still has nightmares of her pulling the rope around her baby's neck. When asked why she pulled the rope, she said that her 3rd child, her only currently surviving family, would need her help to survive. And that she realized at that moment that they'd kill her baby anyway. So she tried to stay alive so she could have a chance to go back to her living daughter to take care of her.

When asked if she wished these men to be punished or killed, she replied:
"No I don't. I still feel that I don't want those people to be killed. I know that God will judge them."

She says "still feel.." because she was asked the same question while in hospitalization shortly after her incident 1 year ago, and she replied the same way.

Now I don't know whether she's truly of such a noble spirit, or if she's simply too traumatized and afraid of her offenders to even express her "wish" for revenge aloud.

If its the 2nd possibility, then I don't blame her one bit. I've had long and elaborate fantasies of going into these Congo jungles, wearing black ninja robes, tracking down and killing these men one by one. I feel tremendous and powerful need for vengeance against them. So you can try to imagine how SHE must feel. They do not make the world a better place, they make it a worse place, hence they should be removed.

But if it is really the 1st possibility, and that she truly can forgive them, then she's a rare saint on this earth. I would wish to only meet her and try to be like her.