Saturday, April 26, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
This is one song I used to listen to as a child and I think that has a huge part to play in me loving this song. It reminds me of my childhood. Plus, it's super catchy.
Song: Mehbooba O Mehbooba (Beloved oh Beloved)
Film: Sholay (1975)
Monday, April 21, 2008
And then not to mention the guys who expect a little something for "free" from you. Jerks!
Seriously, there are very few good men out there. My apologies to the good ones. I don't hate you. I don't know very many of you. Other than the men in my family I can only think of 3 guys who I would say are good guys. And all three are off limits for me.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Fear can stop your love, what about your God-consciousness?
One of the first steps one takes when Getting Things Done is the process of capturing/collecting the thoughts floating around in your head, everything that has your attention. After that harder-than-it-sounds task, you file it into your system (whether that consists of folders or electronic means). Now, If you are really good about keeping that system up-to-date and flowing well, a trust with that system naturally develops. Ideally, if you trust that system, you no longer need to actively think about everything you need to do or every thought in your head.*
I’m not even close to completely emptying my head of the multitude of crap that is plaguing my brain, but I’ve definitely gotten better. But the fact that I’ve even emptied my head of just a fraction of that crap has reduced my stress level dramatically.
While thinking (hah!) about this process, a thought occurred to me that connected this idea with spirituality. What about emptying ourselves of the various forms of fear that plague us? Wouldn’t that enable us as believers to be more God-conscious and free us? Imagine your life without insecurity, worry, and even procrastination. They can all be forms of fear.
Procrastination is fear? What?
In fact, it is the most consuming fear I have! Think about it. We tend to avoid those things that we are afraid of. As many personal-productivity gurus explain, one of the reasons (or is it the only reason?) we procrastinate, is because we are afraid of what comes “next.” The future. If we busy ourselves with not-so-productive tasks, we delay impending decisions and new projects.
My current slip-up (one of a few) has to do with delaying a simple phone call, a phone call that would lead to my decision to go back to school. I was afraid of something without a name. It was one of those down-deep fears. On the surface, it may have been fear of failure, debt, and well, just school in general. Am I disciplined enough for it? I delay these big decisions by putting off tasks like paying bills, cleaning, dishes. Do you see where I’m going now?
I let the gravel gather up, so that all that I’m concerned about is sweeping away that gravel. And because I am so consumed by sweeping those little rocks away I don’t have time to think about the big rocks** I have to move. And I’m so worried about the gravel and the big rocks combined that I don’t have any time to reflect and realize that the biggest rocks I need to move are these deep-down-I-don’t-even-know-what-they-are fears. And dealing with those means I have to ask some really hard questions of myself. Those questions I don’t want to ask, if you know what I mean. In my experience, the process of going to those “scary” places leads to one place: If I am aware that God is in control, and that I should just strive, the idea of fearing something so silly, you know, like future, would be laughable. Indeed, I often laugh at my irrational fears (after the fact, of course ;)
What do you think? Does this have merit? That one would be have a clearer path to God-consciousness by doing some kind of mental sweep of [all of the forms] of fear?
*I’m simplifying the GTD process, if you are interested, go buy the book.
**I got the concept of the Big Rocks/Gravel from ZenHabits’ Big Rocks First article.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Yay! I'm done my paper. Happy!
But I lost sleep to do it and am quite sleepy now. Not so happy.
And it's hot outside. Happy!
But I don't have much in terms of summer clothes. Not so happy.
I need to go shopping which I enjoy. Happy!
But I don't have much money. Not so happy.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
So I can't write any intelligent post. Therefore, I'm posting pictures of beautiful men. Not objectification, but rather as a Cheerful Bird once told me, simply admiring God's creation.
I present - Men I think are beautiful:
Oh so cute! Seriously, him and Kareena Kapoor make a stunning couple.
I think this guy is hot BUT he's married to Ashwariya Rai (sorry I mean Bachchan) who I really am not impressed with. Plus he's Amitabh Bachchan's son who I have heard is not too fond of Muslims. And the beard is the magic for me. Don't know what I think of him without that facial hair. What can I say? I'm a sucker for beards. Maybe the Muslim in me...
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
And the new Pampers commercial didn't help. I guess they have a new campaign where if you buy a specially marked bag of Pampers diapers, Pampers will donate one tetanus vaccine to UNICEF to be used on mothers and their newborns in needy places in the world. A large part of me finds it so annoying when corporations use social issues to sell their products. Exploiting people's problems. Why not just donate anyways? But I guess they need to make the money to donate it. Ugh! Capitalism! Anyhow.....
In the commercial we see a White woman with a stroller who has bought such a bag. As she is walking down the street she sees a what I presume to be a South Asian baby with his mother(who I believe is Muslim as his mother is wearing a dupatta on her head). She then sees a little Mexican baby in a poncho run up to her. Oh so cute but oh so cliched. The baby's mother comes to get it - she's dressed in traditional, native Mexican garb. Finally, a Japanese baby comes to her and gives her a kiss as she lifts him just before it's mother, dressed in a kimono, comes for it.
The baby's were adorable and pulled at my heart strings. But I couldn't help but laugh at the very obvious attempt at differentiating the ethnicities of the baby's and their mothers. I understood the South Asian mother. Many women in that part of the world do indeed dress like that. But from my understanding very few women in Japan wear the kimono on a daily basis. Additionally, the Mexican native woman's child was wearing pants underneath the poncho. If it's mother is wearing such traditional garb then wouldn't the child too?
Anyhow, this commercial did not help my situation. I want a baby more than ever now. I'll dress her/him up in traditional Pakistani clothes - just because they look so cute in it.
Side note: I have the TV on and A Baby Story just came on with the scene of a woman in labour pains. I had to switch the channel. Nothing will deter me from wanting a baby. Not even her moans of pain.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Now don't get me wrong. God has given me so much and I will be eternally grateful for all that He has given me. I am truly blessed. But I think and hope God will understand if I complain every now and then. After all I am human and it is human nature. I cannot be happy all the time. So....
Yet ANOTHER friend of mine is getting married. Sorry, another TWO friends. And here I am, almost 30 and not a proposal on the horizon. But, you might say, a lot can happen in a short amount of time girl. You never know. And I will respond with, yes, I know. But that's what I thought two and half years ago when I moved away from my hometown which is small with a non-existent young, Muslim, male population.
However, this is not a rant because I am alone. I am fine with being alone. My complaint is about the looks of pity I get from others. My complaint is about the pressure my parents feel to get me married off. My complaint is about the culture that tells us that women are nothing without a male companion. My complaint is about the culture that tells us that marriage is about companionship and not love.
I know that when I get married I will most likely be getting married because it will be the right thing to do. I think my match is someone with whom I will be compatible and get along with - not someone I will love. I do not even know if I am capable of loving someone. I think my heart is too tired to love. I think my mind is too tired. Or maybe love really is overrated. I often see myself as one of those desi women who gets married because that is what she is supposed to do. I will devote myself to my husband because that is what a good desi wife does.
Or maybe I'm scared to get married. Maybe because there is no one in my life right now who I want to marry it seems unnatural and unrealistic. At this point getting married does seem like a terrifying prospect because getting married at this point would mean marrying someone I don't know or love.
Yet, despite all this I crave being in a relationship. I crave having someone. I crave the conversations, the excitement, the passion, the weak knees, the butterflies in my stomach, the comfort. I do feel that as a heterosexual woman I do need that special someone.
I don't know if writing this will have negative repercussions for me. There are walls around me which I'd like to take down but the risk is too high. Who knows what will happen with me. Who knows what God's plan is.
I know things will get better. Insha'Allah. But for now I'm feeling a lot of confusion. We'll see where things go in my life.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
It's no slur to be called a Muslim
The Guardian, Saturday March 1 2008
The turban photos affair was a missed chance for Obama. If he really is to repair the world, he must tackle this Islamophobia.
Hillary Clinton denied leaking the photo of Barack Obama wearing a turban, but her campaign manager says that even if she had, it would be no big deal. "Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely."
Sure she did. And George Bush put on a poncho in Santiago, while Paul Wolfowitz burned up YouTube with his anti-malarial African dance routines while World Bank president. The obvious difference is this: when white politicians go ethnic, they look funny; when a black presidential contender does it, he looks foreign - and when the ethnic apparel in question is vaguely reminiscent of the clothing worn by Iraqi and Afghan fighters (at least to many Fox viewers, who think any headdress other than a baseball cap is a declaration of war on America), the image is downright frightening.
The turban "scandal" is all part of what is being referred to as "the Muslim smear". It includes everything from exaggerated enunciations of Obama's middle name (Hussein) to the online whisper campaign that Obama attended a fundamentalist madrasa in Indonesia (a lie), was sworn in on a Qur'an (another lie), and if elected would attach speakers to the White House to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer (I made that one up).
So far Obama's campaign has responded with aggressive corrections that tout his Christian faith, attack the attackers and channel a cooperative witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee. "Barack has never been a Muslim or practised any other faith besides Christianity," states one fact sheet. "I'm not and never have been of the Muslim faith," Obama told a Christian News reporter.
Of course Obama must correct the record, but he doesn't have to stop there. What is disturbing about the campaign's response is that it leaves unchallenged the disgraceful and racist premise behind the entire "Muslim smear": that being Muslim is de facto a source of shame. Obama's supporters often say they are being "Swift-boated" (a pejorative term derived from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against the 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry), casually accepting the idea that being accused of Muslimhood is tantamount to being accused of treason.
Substitute another faith or ethnicity, and you'd expect a very different response. Consider a report from the archives of the Nation. Thirteen years ago Daniel Singer, the magazine's late Europe correspondent, went to Poland to cover a presidential election. He reported that the race had descended into an ugly debate over whether one of the candidates, Aleksander Kwasniewski, was a closet Jew. The press claimed his mother was buried in a Jewish cemetery (she was still alive), and a popular TV show aired a skit featuring the Christian candidate dressed as a Hassidic Jew. "What perturbed me," Singer said, "was that Kwasniewski's lawyers threatened to sue for slander rather than press for an indictment under the law condemning racist propaganda".
We should expect no less of the Obama campaign. When asked during the Ohio debate about Louis Farrakhan's support for his candidacy, Obama did not hesitate to call Farrakhan's antisemitic comments "unacceptable and reprehensible". When the turban photo flap came up in the same debate, he used the occasion to say nothing at all.
Farrakhan's infamous comments about Jews took place 24 years ago. The orgy of hate that is the "Muslim smear" is unfolding in real time, and it promises to greatly intensify in a general election. These attacks do not simply "smear Barack's Christian faith", as John Kerry claimed in a campaign mailing. They are an attack on all Muslims, some of whom actually do exercise their rights to cover their heads and send their kids to religious school. Thousands even have the very common name Hussein. All are watching their culture used as a crude bludgeon against Obama, while the candidate who is the symbol of racial harmony fails to defend them - this at a time when US Muslims are bearing the brunt of the Bush administration's assaults on civil liberties, including dragnet wiretapping, and are facing a documented spike in hate crimes.
Occasionally, though not nearly enough, Obama says that Muslims are "deserving of respect and dignity". What he has never done is what Singer called for in Poland: denounce the attacks themselves as racist propaganda, in this case against Muslims.
The core of Obama's candidacy is that he alone - having lived in Indonesia as a boy and with an African grandmother - can "repair the world" after the Bush wrecking ball. That repair job begins with the 1.4 billion Muslims around the world, many convinced that the US has been waging a war against their faith. This perception is based on facts, among them the fact that Muslim civilians are not counted among the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan; that Islam has been desecrated in US-run prisons; and that voting for an Islamist party resulted in collective punishment in Gaza. It is also fuelled by the rise of a virulent strain of Islamophobia in Europe and North America.
As the most visible target of this rising racism, Obama has the power to be more than its victim. He can use the attacks to begin the very process of global repair that is the most seductive promise of his campaign. The next time he's asked about his alleged Muslimness, Obama can respond not just by clarifying the facts but by turning the tables. He can state that while a liaison with a pharmaceutical lobbyist may be worthy of scandalised exposure, being a Muslim is not. Changing the terms of the debate this way is not only morally just but tactically smart - it's the one response that could defuse these hateful attacks. The best part is this: unlike ending the Iraq war and closing Guantánamo, standing up to Islamophobia doesn't need to wait until after the election. Obama can use his campaign to start now. Let the repairing begin.
A version of this article appears in the Nation.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Canadian journalist (formerly of the CBC), Avi Lewis, who is now working for Al-Jazeera English as a US correspondent, was one of the guests. He was all praises for Al-Jazeera English. This was not surprising. As I have heard before, Lewis re-iterated that the journalism standards of Al-Jazeera were very high. Not stooping to the hi-jinks of CNN and others American news organizations Al-Jazeera has been able to maintain the integrity that journalism is supposed to have.
During the course of the show they discussed an interview Avi Lewis did with the ignoramus Islamophobe Ayaan Hirsi Ali. (For an excellent critique of her work which exposes her as the fraud she is see this The Nation article.) While listening to the clip I was infuriated and very impressed. Infuriated because of what Hirsi Ali was saying. And impressed because Lewis criticized and challenged her. Something people never seem to do. They always seem to fall for her cons. The closest I saw to an American critique was on the Colbert Report when Stephen Colbert expressed surprise when she said Christianity was obsolete.
Check out the CBC interview:
In his radio interview this morning, Lewis expressed his disbelief at her assertions and at her popularity. To hear that radio interview click on the link for Sounds Like Canada podcasts, and scroll down to The Best of Sounds Like Canada April 8: Avi Lewis.
Monday, April 7, 2008
I have this video on my Facebook and have emailed it to numerous friends. But I thought I'd post it here just because I LOVE this short film and LOVE these guys. In comedy they've shown the ludicrousness of religious fanaticism and extreme conservatism. Plus, the Afghan/African American guy is hot.
* I know they have 50 states. I was just doing a Canadianized imitation of our neighbours to the south. And Khan is in California.