Friday, March 28, 2008

Banning Election Primaries is WRONG

Yes. I think that the law is wrong, unfair and Unconstitutional.

Which law am I talking about? I'll explain a bit 1st. It is currently illegal in Kuwait to hold Primaries before an election (i.e. inte5abaat far3iya).

I think banning them violates our right to freedom of speech and our right to freedom of assembly.

If you think the US democracy is a good model, then isn't what Obama and Clinton doing nothing other than "inte5abaat far3iya"?

If you tell me that it should be banned to prevent tribal voting and sectarian voting, I say to you, who do you think you are to tell people how to vote?

If people want to vote to a tribes-man. LET THEM BE.

If they want to vote to an extremist sectarian cleric, LET THEM BE.

Trying to control other people's ideas is called "Wesaya Fikriyah". The voters are dumb? so what, we already know that. mo sheghlek what they vote for or why. The "Masses are Asses" its been said before. This is Democracy. Is Democracy wrong? I don't necessarily love it, but I'm giving it a chance. I believe that: "innama yowalla 3alaikom minkom". Regardless of the method of selection. be it democracy or hereditary rule.

Whatever your "perfect" candidate should look/think like, if you had the choice to choose between 3-4 of these "perfect" candidates, wouldn't you rather hold primaries (your own far3iya) within your circles who share your ideology to make sure that all of "your people" concentrate your votes to back only a certain few to make sure they WIN?

This activity is being done ANYWAY since we first started having elections. Before election day we go around the dowaween to ask the guys who are they going to vote for, and get news from the other diwaniyat and try to figure out which of "our" candidates has the wider support, so we can all back him and insure his victory.

Primaries are:
- Unstoppable (its silly to lay a law that is un-enforcable)
- Useful
- A pretty Sophisticated form of organization that we should be proud of, not ban.

They also ruin the plans of some candidates who only put out their names for nomination in hopes that the other "strong" ones will give them a monetary "bail-out" offer. Sleaze bags.

The LAW in this case is WRONG. agolha belfam ilmalyan.

Don't succumb to the mentality of "we like democracy as long as it produces people we like".

I'm not a bdewe, and it is not in my best interest to have a higher presentation % of tribal MPs belmajles. but.. what's wrong is wrong. and what's right is right.

Ma yse7 illa essa7ee7.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Challenge to Empathize

Empathy is the ability to feel what the other person is feeling.

Beautiful meaning. Some even choose this quality to measure how "civilized" we are. The true yardstick of civilization. Not Technology, not cleanliness, not punctuality, but something broader that is inclusive of all of these things.

We clean our McDonalds messes only because we care how others coming after us to sit on the same table will feel. We care not to disgust them.

We choose to be punctual and On-time because we think to ourselves how annoyed and frustrated they would feel to be waiting for our late selves.

Even technology is a form of caring about others. The scientist or inventor goes through long and arduous efforts to come up with a new idea, and then implement it in the real world and make it commercially viable. What drives him/her to do it? to use the invention himself? to make his own life a tiny bit easier he would spend years of his life? doesn't make sense. Curiosity? Recognition? nowadays most pioneering inventions are only possible through large collaborative groups rather than individuals. The time of Great Singular Inventors is long gone with the 1800's and early 1900's. What drives technology these days in my opinion is the desire to do good. pure and simple. You hear it often said by innovators as "The gift to the future". Which is very apt because most likely the fruits of such advancements will not be felt in the present, but in the future. So Technology is also a form of Empathy.

Almost every form of Good-doing has to involve in its core the ability to "feel what the other person is feeling". Put yourself in their shoes. Feel their pain and misery. Once you do feel it, you'll start to act, not before. The action comes almost as a way of saving yourself from the pain you're feeling through others, through Empathy.

But again, why do we Empathize? true, lots of people DO know that when they empathize they will be inclined to do the right thing. But, people can learn from that experience and later choose NOT to empathize. They can choose to say "to hell with it, I don't want other people's headaches, I've got enough of my own.". Often I hear women (because I think they have a lesser defense against empathy) say "please don't tell me about that painful story.", or how my wife gets seriously troubled when she sees someone getting beaten or shot in a movie, because she can't help but "feel too much" for them. It disturbs her. Really gets to her.

Often you hear lawyers talking in a movie about a person on trial, about how it would be wise for the defense to mention the defendant's name, or bring his mother to the trial. They say this tactic helps force the jury to think of him as a "person", which causes them to empathize with him, and this way they'll be more capable of understanding the circumstances through his eyes, and therefor may be able to excuse him of ill intent.

Is Empathy "always" a good thing to do? I think so. yes. Even if it was a murderer or a rapist? yes I believe so. I do think that usually we can't over-do it. We have our limits. Up to a certain point where we refuse to subject ourselves to other people's pains anymore. We refuse to suffer emotionally as they suffer. And ofcourse we have every right to shield ourselves. Mo malzomeen.

I can go on and on about this.. it is perhaps one of the things that affect me the most when I think about my own sense of morality. And I am VERY lacking in my ability to empathize. But its already a very long post.

So what do YOU think?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Movies This Week & What's Usury?

Update (21st March):

Since Rotten Tomatoes only had 2 reviews of this movie (both fresh), I decided to go check it out for myself. And I'm glad I did, so I can review it for you with my own experience.
Result: It's a damn good creature movie! If you loved the old Jaws (part1, none of the other ones) then you'll like this one. It stays true to the ways of creature movies while still trying to be smart and surprising, which ends up being truly mesmerizing and scary. It uses actors that are not superstars, which makes it less distracting and easier to think of them as normal people, and therefor relate to them more and be more scared for their safety. The low-key nature of the film made me enjoy it all the better.

Ok here's what's new this week in Kuwait from Cinescape:

Horton Hears a Who!: Rotten Tomatoes rating 80% out of 104 reviews.
The lovely kids story comes to the cinema screen with Jim Carrey's voice on top. And with such a high rating it's bound to be atleast Entertaining as heck.
(Take your younger sibling and Go!)

The Spiderwick Chronicles: Rotten Tomatoes rating 80% as well!
OMG! 2 movies over 75% in 1 week from KNCC? mdal3enna 7ail sara7a.
oh wait, they're both kids movies, so it's ok.
(Take both your younger sibling and the 2nd younger too!)
o 3ayed ya s3ayed


So.. What's Usury?

That's what I set out to find out last week. I first heard of the term while watching "The Merchant of Venice" when a boat full of christians passes under a bridge in the Jewish ghetto and one of them yells up at the Jews:

Then again last week I looked up "interest" in Wikipedea and in the end one of the "See Also" links was "Usury". So I followed the link.

To put it shortly, it means what we muslims know as Reba.

So I'm highly intrigued because I've always been curious about this specific Sin. Why? well because as far as I've seen, the similarities between the main 3 Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) were always clear and prevalent:

- We stone adulterers, but Jews stoned adulterers way before we did.
- Muslim women wear 7ejab, Jewish women (the orthodox old ladies atleast) wear hear pieces to cover their "real" hair. One jewish friend told me its a religious thing. His grandmother and old aunts have to cover their hair so they get fake hair. (typical law dodging in my opinion, just like the story of beni Israel who set up their fish nets on Friday and collected the fish on Sunday so they could circumvent the law that they shouldn't catch the fish on Saturday) ilmohem.
- Irrasool tells muslim men to let go their beards, and so do Jewish men are also directed to have beards.

and on and on.. the similarities in the laws of 7aram and 7alal are very similar between us muslims and jews. My only guess explanation of why the similarities are not shared with christianity to that level is, I think that Jesus came to "lift" some of the restrictions that were on the Jews, and not to replace the religion entirely. So Judaism survives with lots and lots of Do's and Don'ts, while Christianity is a more spiritual message in general that complements what the Jews had at the time.

But anyway, I was always curious why is Reba such a grave sin in Islam, but modern day Christians and Jews do it freely. This was my ignorance I was bound to discover. For in that simple Wiki page, it shows passages from the Old Testament (Torah) as well as from the New Testament (Enjeel, well atleast what survived untouched from them). Passages that clearly condemn Usury and very clearly: Interest

If thou lend money to any of My people, even to the poor with thee, thou shalt not be to him as a creditor; neither shall ye lay upon him interest. Exodus 22:24

The list of passages goes long and as I read and read, it was very clear that even among normal people and the common culture it IS considered a grave sin. In Dante's Divine Comedy for example he describes the Userers as being in a level of Hell so low its even bellow the suiciders (the gravest of sins according to all the 3 faiths) in the 7th and lowest circle.

I'm not writing this post to preach how bad Riba is by evidence of old religions and history. I'm writing it because for the longest time when I discuss Riba with some ignorant muslims who deal with Riba on a daily basis, they argue with me as if Islam came with something new and alien to human nature. That charging interest is a necessity for the modern economy. I will discuss that in a future post inshalla. But evidently the issue is ALOT older than Irrasool Mo7ammad PBUH. How could he have known the history of it all?

The first time it became legal was in the time of Henry the 8th (ilmaynoon) who instead of divorcing his wives (because it was 7aram), he beheaded them (ya3ne killing them is better yal Ahbal??). He was the 1st to legalize it, against the huge protest of the churches of the time.

Even to this day, alot of the current "interest rate" laws are rooted in a "moral" foundation. In the state of New York, if you give a loan to someone with an interest rate higher than the Federally approved rate at the time, the borrower can sue you and the loan would be void and illegal and he won't have to pay you a cent. Which is why loan-sharks don't depend on the law to collect but on the threat of breaking your legs. i.e. Muscle.

So my question is, does any of this shock you guys? wella bs ana was too naiive and ignorant about history?

And do you think that interest is fine? and if you do, what's your definition of the 7aram interest?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Harvard Association Project: Implicit

My cousin showed this to me "Implicit Association Test" and tried it himself with the "Race" test and it concluded that he "slightly" preferred white people to black people.

It has many tests concerning many subjects which "americans" are considered to be biased on, such as:
- Weight (fat or slim)
- Sexuality (gay or straight)
- Religion (Judaism or Others)
- Ethnicity (Arab-Muslims or Others)
and so on... even:
- 2008 Presidential Candidates.

So I took the Religion one and it basically was trying to see how anti-semetic I was. The method is simple and effective, it tells you to place two fingers on the keys E and I. and asks you to press E(left) for example if you see a word associated with Good (pleasure, beautiful,etc.), and I(right) if you see a word associated with Bad (Hate, Agony..etc.). So it trains you to use a certain finger for a certain part of your brain that "likes" stuff, and the other finger for the "hated" stuff.

It later assigns pictures of the star of david, the Torah, and other Judaic symbols to one finger, and other images resembling other religions to the other finger, and measures the speed with which your brain responds. It then switches the fingers and measures again. To be fair.

So by seeing how readily your brain accepts each configuration, it gives you a rating of how "biased" are you towards or against that specific symbolism. I thought it was smart. It IS an academic project after all.

In the end it told me I had a "slight" inclination against Judaism as opposed to other religions, which I guess isn't too far from the truth.

After that I took another test about Arab/Muslims, and the result was that I was "moderately" biased "towards" Arab/Muslims compared to "other people". Which is ofcourse not surprising. But also it showed me the overall results they got from other people who took that test:

Which clearly shows that there's a very significant tendency to prefer Other People to Arab/Muslims among those who took the test (I'm assuming most of them were Harvard students and their friends and families .etc).

I guess it shows that Everyone's a Little Bit Racist:

Please try out some of the tests and share your results!

(my wife's sister has been noticed to judge people and couples based on how "pretty" they are, and she denies this strongly. I also know that when she was little, she used to pinch the girls in her class which she thought were ugly! hah. amazing, I'll see what she gets on one of these tests if I can find one related to looks...)

Update: My wife just took the age preference test and she said to me clearly before she took it that she strongly preferred Old people to Young. Her result was "Moderate automatic preference for Young compared to Old"! and this is the overall:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Movies Guide & 4 year old Painter

Lollipop House

Zane's Dance (her 2 year old brother is named Zane)

This post will be a brief rating from Rotten Tomatoes of this week's new movies at KNCC, and also it will be about this little girl Marla Olmstead.

I watched this documentary "My Kid Could Paint That" about her and her family and how real is her phenomenon. The girl herself is so amazing and innocent, its such a captivating and wondrous story. Please checkout her paintings through her website and google and tell me what you think.

Is she a genius Pollack? or is modern art nothing more than "child's play"?
fascinating question.

Now here's what we have this week:

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 06% from 91 reviews (la y7oshek)

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 54% from 150 reviews
(Not Bad, Watchable)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Shaking 2500 Hands

Sib7aaan Allaaaaaaaaah.

I'm completely and utterly overwhelmed by the sheer size of the response from every ordinary Kuwaiti to the death of Dr. A7mad.

I was only 1 hour out of the hospital before salat li3sha when he died. The news spread so fast that I actually got the call from a friend of mine who wanted me to confirm. My heart sank and told him I'd have to call my mother who was there when I left. So I did and she told me with a shaky voice "irrayal tewaffa". Ofcourse I was half expecting to hear the same words, and also half-expecting it was just a rumor, one of many that always circulated around him and his sickness. She couldn't say more than these two words. There was an air of defeat as she said them.

il7amdella I was relieved later to see that his sons were all calm and ready for the expected event. The eldest gave me the time of the burial, which was fast enough to honor issinna of a fast burial, yet gave enough time for the essential relatives to arrive from eS3oodiya. The 3 sons all participated in his washing that night in Sulaibekhaat. 3asa Alla yajerhom.

As we carried him to the front of the microphone, there were two other bodies being carried behind us, one male, the other female. Three in total. We quickly tried to circle the front rows and find a spot to stand before il'Emam began.

Hopefully inshalla there would be 40 people among us whose prayers Allah would accept for the deceased three. And there were many hundreds mashallah.

What really overwhelmed me however was il3aza at the cemetery itself.

I stood towards the back of the line, and the procession started. I saw so many faces and shook so many hands.. and they didn't stop. They kept on coming.
There were people who I recognized from newspapers, and others were my beloved kin and relatives.
Some were young, clean-shaven and capable, while others were blind old men being guided by an indian servant, and they were so slow they held up the entire line behind them.
The able young ones had opulent soft hands, while the old blind ones had grips of hardened Nowa5tha (sea captains).
Some were known wealthy merchants who owned large tracts of apartment buildings with incomes of hundreds of 1000's of KDs a month, while others were egyptian tea boys with no ghetra on their heads.
Some were famous and known for some reason or another, be it being a singer, an actor or even an old football player known for certain and specific goals against specific rival gulf teams in specific years from the long gone 80's.
Some were kids with wide-eyes full of innocense. Barely concentrating on saying the words "3athem Allah ajerkom" correctly and not embarrass himself or his father infront of him. Barely able to comprehend the concept of death, which encompassed the whole area for 100's of meters in every direction.
Some were long-bearded and without 3egel, equal portions of white and black hairs, the breadth of it royally draping their chests, most of their faces are so familiar to me because I see them almost each and every time I come to the cemetery. Nothing brings them every day other than their faith in iRasool's promise of qeraa6 of ajer for whoever prayed on a funeral, and another qeraa6 if he witnessed its burial til it was done. In contrast with that picture, one person, whose face I thankfully did not see, as he passed by me, reeked of the VERY strong and unmistakable smell of alcohol. Ya3ne en6er lay bacher? la tfashel 3omrek?! anyhow.. the line of men pressed on and others came in his place to shake my hand.
Some were serious men and respectable fathers of families, and some others wore pink spring shirts open to the mid chest with jelled hair, who you wouldn't trust with buying the groceries.

As the afternoon wore on, it came close to 5:30 and the line was still moving, and from my vantage point I couldn't tell how many more remained. But by that time, the emotional toll of all of these people's gracious generosity was starting to weigh very heavily on me. The 2.5 second repetition of "Ajerna wajrek, yzak Allah 5air" over 2,500 times so far, became materialized into a touchable and tangible feeling of gratitude inside my chest towards all of these people. I felt so tiny and unworthy of all of their kindness.

Thank you All and yzakom Allah alf alf 5air.

3asa Allah yej3al gabrek rotha min roth iljanna ya 3amme A7mad o yej3al mathwak iljanna.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

عظم الله اجركم

A7mad iRub3y (Bu Qutaiba) passed away tonight o 3asalla ysabber ahala o ahal ilKuwait.

He'll be buried inshalla tomorrow Thursday il3aser.

He needs your prayers now. Thank you all.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My 4year old Son's Mischief (Updated 11th Mar)

Update (11th Mar): This is an attempt to translate some of the Kuwaiti expressions so the non-arabic speakers don't miss 3abood's punchlines.

Story 1:

After he scattered all his toys and puzzle pieces all over the floor, finished playing with them, and got up quickly to vacate the area...

Me: 3abood, wain raye7 (where are you going?) ? ta3al (come) yalla pick up your things and put them back in the box.

3abood keeps walking straight as if he didn't hear me

Me: 3abdAlla!! la tsawe ro7ek matesma3. 3aib. (don't act like you didn't hear, its impolite)

3abood: inzaaaain... bs ana ta3baaan. Abe cake.

Story 2:

My 7 year old daughter is sitting on the sofa watching cartoons. She and 3abood always have this fight over the middle spot of the sofa that is directly infront of the screen. Even though the 2 other spots on its left and right are equally good. And being 3 years older, she usually gets her way.

3abood bursts into the room : 6ayooba! Pony tabeech! (Pony wants you)

6ayoba being the good obedient girl that she is, never ignores a summons, runs out the door to see what the maid wants in order to run back quickly so she misses the least amount possible of the show.

3abood (il'Ahbal) runs to the favorite sofa spot AS SOON AS his sister leaves it. Ya3ne en6er shway until she's out the door? nope, he didn't think that far ahead. He saw, he ran he grabbed.

6ab3an she saw that and immediately bumped him out of the sofa. You live, you learn.


Story 3:

6ayooba is changing her clothes in her room which she shares with her brother, and as she enters it calls out loudly:

6ayooba: Tara ana al7een ra7 abaddel! maabe a77ad yed5al o yshoof! (I'm going to change my clothes now, I don't want anyone to enter and see)

3abood who was totally oblivious in the living room and busy playing with something, immediately perks up his ears and is now alerted, RUNs to the door, which 6ayooba quickly tries to close... but too late, 3abood is now pushing it in, and she was pushing it out. A battle of the muscles, but 3abood being smaller just sits down and pushes with his legs.

3abood: Abe Ashoof!! (I want to See!)

Ya3ne lo sakta chan ma dara 3an hawa darha.. (literally) (if she had been silent, he wouldn't have been alerted)


Story 4:

3abood is sitting in the favorite sofa middle spot watching Thelvethter on MBC3. Metsammet o frowning, I'm not sure if he's enjoying it, but he sure is concentrating.

My wife: 3abood, wanna come with me awadeek Barroue in Avenues? (he pronounces it Ava.Noes) (wanna come with me to a playground at the mall?)

3abood keeps watching and 3aged innoona (furrowed brows) ignoring her. And an anvil falls on Sylvester (owww! Thuffren Thackatash)

My wife: 3aboooood, matabe tye ma3ai??? (don't you want to come with me?)

3abood: Inzaaaaaaaaaaaaain.. bs intai tsogeen. (fiiine, but you drive)

Me and my wife look at each other and then at him: E7lef!!!
Maskeen shakla he's too tired of 12 hours cross country driving.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Google Reader For The Win

Whew.. I finally got all the old posts out of there and in a presentable form. They are all minus the wonderful comments and encouragements of all of you readers. So again I'm sorry for losing those.

Anyhow, here's something you might find useful. If you have too many blogs and sites that you want to check every day and you want an easier way than Blogroll for example, then Google Reader is your answer.

You just login to it with your google id and just add subscriptions to any site or blog you like. It will automatically track the RSS feeds and show you any new content as (unread).

I hope it makes your lives easier :)

What to do with your 120kd?

Without helping cause more inflationary prices?

Here's a few questions you can try to answer:

1- Is this 120kd monthly going to save you from a financial crisis?
2- Do you want it to go straight to whoever exports
secondary/discretionary goods to Kuwait?
3- Do you enjoy seeing the prices of almost everything just simply take a uni-lateral step forward?

If you answered NO to the above questions, then here's what you can do:

1- Go to your bank.
2- Ask them to create a 2nd account for you.
3- Create a monthly automatic transfer of 120KD to it.

If you're young, then in 5 years you'll find 7,200 KD in this little account plus whatever extra the bank adds (I advise you that fawa'ed/interest is 7aram so stay away from those). A pretty good hunk of change to help you get a car or buy furniture for your dream house to start in a married life or whatever. So from now til then, I give you my best "good luck wishes" :)

If you're a bit older and past that then it can be a good amount for you to start a small business or if you're too busy simply invest it in some hot fund (you got 5 years to do your research, so start early ;)

My point is, this is something extra you didn't need before today. If you change your consumption habits next month to accommodate it, then you would have done yourself nothing but more dependence and you'll be causing the rest of us more inflation. So please don't. and Thank you.

Get Yourself One of These

I heard before that these existed, but I never really bothered to give it much thought. until..

I heard on the radio the other day about Zell Kravinsky, the brief is that he's a very smart and successful man who made alot of money quickly. But he also:

Created a $6.2 million Adria Kravinsky Endowment for Public Health at the CDC Foundation, to support the work of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kravinsky didn't have a suit to wear at the announcement. He purchased one for $20 at a thrift shop.

Donated a million square feet of Ohio commercial real estate worth $30 million to the Ohio State University school of public health.

Ofcourse generosity is very relative, the woman who gave the remaining tamra to her two hungry daughters by splitting it in half was complimented by iRasool (PBUH) when he saw her do that. And on the other hand, is a billionaire giving away a million dollars considered generous? It's all relative, and every little bit helps, and all that. But Zell interested me because he was very middle class, made some good money, then felt compelled to donate it. To him it was a moral obligation.

"In an effort to save his marriage and family, Kravinsky has put a bunch of equity into a private retirement account for Emily and bought his wife a new house." after he was living in an apartment with his wife and 4 children.

He gave away almost all of the $45 million which he made to charities. but WAIT. he went further.

After his wife threatened to divorce him, he gave away one of his kidneys to a total stranger. who he asked to be given to someone "poor and black".

He studied the statistics and found out that the probability of one of his children needing him to donate his kidney to one of them was very very small. Because the odds of getting kidney failure for someone who does not have a family history with the disease was indeed pretty remote.

He felt it was his moral obligation to give it to someone sick and fighting for his/her life than to keep it and die with it, JUST in case one of his close family might need it.

Call me crazy, but I got so moved by this man that I went to the center for Organ Donation in Rotha (you can see their sign over the house on the corner on eSefar highway and 4th ringroad) and this is their number 2520230.

I went there to ask about how the process goes, the man there greeted me with a warm smile and explained to me they can only take down my name and give me one of these donation cards for me to carry around incase I die in an accident, basically that I'm giving them permission to use any organs in the few hours remaining after brain death.

So I got the card and the man was so pleasant that he said to me: "I'm happy to tell you that since we started the program until today, not a single volunteer died." smiling, and I just laughed at that, because, even though he was trying to encourage me, it also means the program has been so far, useless. Because the program is for getting organs from "dying" people. But he meant well :)

Then I went to Hamad al-Eesa center for kidney transplants and asked around. They told me to start the process of becoming a donor I had to be evaluated Psychologically 1st:

Me: Salam, I'm here to ask about donating?

Tea-Sipping Kuwaiti: to a relative?

Me: No.. to whoever.

TSK: *pause* so you don't have someone you want to give it to?

Me: No, I'm thinking just someone who needs it *then I realized the stupidity of that statement*

TSK: What's your financial situation?

Me: *bewilderment* what does that have to do with anything?

TSK: Its part of the process, *wink wink trying to make me understand* are you employed? how's your salary?

Me: My salary's good il7emdella I'm more than satisfied, why is this required to know?

TSK: well.. some donors ask for money from the recipients' family, and we try to curb that. Usually if the patient is Kuwaiti, the family would put an ad in the paper, and then a desperate expat would contact them and they'd arrange for payment, but in some cases the donor keeps on extorting them long after the transplant. It gets ugly sometimes.

Me: Oh I see.. well I'm not after any compensation..

TSK: why are you doing this? most Kuwaitis get their needs using the ads like I said.

Me: Well I don't know, don't you get poor people who can't pay?? (at this point I'm really surprised by where the conversation is going, I expected encouragment from this guy)

TSK: I see.. so do you have any conditions for the person you want to donate to?

Me: Well, poor I guess, and maybe priority to a young person? shrayek? what do you think?

TSK: hmmm... I'll take your contact information and call if you if I get a candidate.

I left his office and went back to the doctors to ask about what are the real dangers for myself here. Because I'm hoping that I'm thinking clearly at this stage. And if not, someone would tell me I'm wrong.

The information I get is that it IS more likely to succeed if the donated kidney comes from a live and willing person as opposed to one from a brain-dead accident victim, mainly because the window for the latter is much smaller and fluctuating blood pressure can damage the kidneys and make them unusable. I asked about patients who need it and the Dr assured me he has lots of cases.

At home, I have to discuss it with my father now, to get his advice... turns out not only is he outraged, but he calls me depressed, unreasonable, and that it would be 7aram to do it, because I'd be endangering myself. I pacify him. "Malek illa irretha yuba."

Then I go to 2 different famous and knowledgeable A'emma that I know and ask them both about if its 7aram or not. They both tell me if I make sure from doctors that it wouldn't be a danger to me, then it would be Ajer, and not 7aram.

So I call this Dr. Fawzy Al-Khawari who works in Hamad al-Eesa's center himself and does the operations. And he assured me they've been doing it for 30 years now, and that Kuwait has excellent experience in the procedure, and that 95% of the time they don't even open you up. But they do it with minthaar and then the freed kidney is taken out through a small cut.

So now my question is, how hard should I press my father about this?

And am I being crazy and unreasonable here?

Greed Is Good?

Economic theory dating back to Adam Smith always assures us that the best way to run markets is through competition. Less regulation means more sellers, which means lower prices, better products and more satisfied customers. Survival of the fittest. plain and simple. Sounds all cut-throat and dismally greedy? don't worry, Michael Douglas here says it very clearly (skip to 2:35 etha malek 5ulg :)

And the modern World Economy shows us that as a model its really not that bad in driving Wealth creation and growth. Capitalism does work beautifully.

We as muslims however add a non-secular element to the capitalist equation which is Zakat and sadaqa and so on. Rewards that you receive in the afterlife, in heaven, after you die.

But even for non-religious people, I contest that even though greed is good, absolute greed is not always the best way to go. Here's an example that I saw on the way to Bin-Khaldoun St. (Kuwait's Silicon Valley :P)

I was the Red car, and my lane was standing still. Now the classic Adam Smith theory tells me I should strive to get ahead as much as possible towards my destination, full stop. I shouldn't care where other cars want to go, I should only pour all my thinking into finding new and better ways to reach where I want to go. And the theory is, that if we all do the same, then it would serve the greater good. Just worry about yourself and by not being a liability to others and asking for their help, you'd be doing the rest of the community (the street in this matter) a big favor.

So the car behind me Blue decides to obey Adam Smith and does this:

Creating yet another congestion.

Obviously the road width and design are insufficient for the amount of traffic in that area, and obviously not following the traffic laws can cause more bad than good. But my point is that I in the red car only backed up about 2 meters like so, and the congestion in the road from the right was gone.

Thing is, I was not overly charitable when I did this. I was just as bored and frustrated by the traffic jam as everyone else. So by not sacrificing much at all (only 2 meters of forward advancement) a whole problem of congestion on the right side (who are not related to me in anyway, and I couldn't care less whether they wait or not) got solved.

But if you try to put yourself in other people's shoes and "Empathize" with their problems, then you can find ways to solve their problems at very little cost to yourself if not completely nill. And this goes against Adam Smith and Capitalism.

So yes Greed drives progress and makes a great and better world, but also:
a tiny bit of consideration to other people can go a long way

Sitting Next To a Dying Man

Last night I went to visit a man, a great man who's widely loved and respected by everyone who knows him.

He was surrounded by close family, watching TV, and he was asking me how "I" was doing, with great detail and interest. I had to strain to make out his words, and fill in the gaps of what I couldn't hear. And it struck me very clearly why he was so loved.

He cared about others more than he did for himself.

He spent most of his life asking people how they were doing, spent it trying to make a difference for other people's betterment.

He was pre-occupied with other people's needs. He was useful to them.

خيركم خيركم لأهله

So you can imagine how much more that is if your concern touched a wider circle of people. I mean, il-Ahl is a flexible term..

All I could do to return his favor of concern was to pray for him the usual sickness prayers and may his pain (which he NEVER showed, and infact was cracking jokes and made US laugh) be 6uhoor and cleansing to whatever sins he had.

أجر و عافية

Anonymous or Not

Welcome Friends,

I started this post with the title "This Cave is Mine" as a familiar form of announcing a new blog's birth.

But now I'm scratching my head, thinking what this small corner of the world should be dedicated to, what would it's purpose be, and whether or not it would bore you (the guest) by being purely selfish and narrating events that happen to me and thoughts that storm through my head and leave them strewn all over the floor? or..

Should it be about something that you could find interesting. After all you ARE the guest, and I already know what's in my own head.

Now I'll put down this challenge that most things that we find to be interesting have some truth in them. You would argue "but fiction is widely popular!" but I assure you it is not because of how fictional it is, but because how we try ever so hard to find the link between these fictional events and the real events around us.

Each novel is a puzzle for our minds to rationalize and in the end one of the main characteristics we use for its evaluation is? How realistic it was!

So the catch is, the more interesting I try to make this, by being more true and realistic to myself, the less anonymous I'll become.

This dillema I'm sure faces any blogger wishing to stay unknown. The more you share, the more the possibility of someone close to you can complete the puzzle and jump to the conclusion that its you!

You can keep your musings average, unoriginal and uninspired, in order to "blend in" the general public, but then, that would defeat the whole purpose of blogging as a means of Self-expression?

More to that problem, the sheer challenge of trying to STAY anonymous is pretty daunting! who needs the headache of falsifying a whole new identity. Trying to sound and act differently. It can be exciting at first and the warmth of anonymity's cloak gives you the Freedom to do so many things that you normally wouldn't do if you knew others would recognize you. But later on, you begin to feel increasingly ISOLATED by the same cloak that shields you from the rest of the world.

Lets examine the 3 different paths the figure above offers:
a) No identifiable information:
This begs to ask what information is to be considered identifiable, and who's trying to identify you. If the person you need to hide from knows you well enough, your blog would end up being a blank page! that's depressing. Not very good.

b & c) False Identity & Stolen Identity:
Here you have to tell lies to sound like you're someone else. Which also works against your need for self-expression. instead of expressing your own thoughts you're getting busy weaving lies. Very counter-productive.

So, are we saying that Anonymity only enables your Self-expression in the Short-term? and that on the long run it actually works against it??!

Mo3thela wella mo mo3thela?