January 21, 2014

Lizzie Velasquez Is Beautiful

Filed under: Media, International,Women — Tags: — Eman @ 1:34 pm

I came across this article: “Labeled ‘World’s Ugliest Woman,’ Motivational Speaker Turns Hate Into Love”, and honestly, I can’t get over the fact that we’re in year 2014 and there are people who have the guts not only to label other people negatively, but to make things worse, they label them according to looks.
There’s nothing, and I mean NOTHING, more unfair than judging a person by their looks. I hear -and personally know- of individuals, mainly women, whose looks are the no. 1 factor in deciding their lives, whether on the personal, social or career level; which I find absolutely crazy.

“Beautiful” women, depend on their beauty to be hired, and the shocking truth is that they do get exactly what they want, if not even more than what they want in so many cases, simply because they’re attractive! They generate more “revenue” because they’re appealing and get the attention of buyers, customers, clients or whatever the targeted group is called depending on their place of work. And “ugly” women, get deprived of so many jobs and titles just because they don’t look good enough and would “reflect” a negative impression of their workplace.

No one should be given credit for looking beautiful, they didn’t work hard for it, they didn’t earn it, they were just given it, as simple as that. And no one should be punished for being “ugly”, because they didn’t create themselves this way, they’re just the victim of shallow societies that set their own standards for what’s beautiful and what’s not.

That said, not all beautiful women are stupid, not all “ugly” women are smart, and vice versa.  Looks are just something additional on the surface of a very deep and precious thing many people tend to forget about: the soul.
If you want to judge someone, judge them by their actions, way of thinking, talents, skills, and respect for others. Do not judge someone by something they have no control over and no choice in. Don’t push people to change how they look just to please the crowds, and fit what is defined as acceptable by the majority.

It’s people like Lizzie Velasquez who should be on the cover of every magazine, be the role model to look up to, not the fake porcelain dolls that we see everywhere these days.

October 2, 2013

Regret Not

Filed under: General — Eman @ 12:40 pm

Two things I really  hate:
1. People blaming someone for something he/she did, and of course the famous: “if only you did/ didn’t do this,” would be the prologue to a very long preaching process.

2. Someone blaming him/herself for something they did in the past, and in this case: “what if I did/didn’t do this” would usually be the prologue to a self-torturing scenario that will play in that person’s head over and over again.

Everything happens for a reason, our lives are a series of nonstop lessons, we are meant to make mistakes, and no body is perfect. Life is too short to waste on regretting what’s already been done. Look forward to a brighter tomorrow without fearing to make a new mistake, and carry nothing from your past but a lesson that’ll help strengthen your vision and make your steps a lot  firmer.

inspirational-motivational-photos-1

 

September 29, 2013

International Translation Day 2013

So it’s September 30th again, every translator is reminded to be proud today, to cherish the gift of knowing more than just one language, to be able to put this knowledge into something as helpful and as important as translation.

While almost everyone nowadays is bilingual by default, it takes a lot more than just speaking another language to be a translator. Skills aside, the most important thing I do believe is key to being a translator, is passion. You need to love everything about a language, be driven by this unstoppable desire to break the codes of languages just for the love of conveying a message, to help people around the world communicate, to bridge cultures, and be the link between two so different parties, or maybe two very similar ones that just happen to speak very different languages.

Translation is not just a profession, it’s power, it’s responsibility, it’s dedication, it’s energy, it’s art, it’s science, it’s logic, it’s creativity… it’s the determination to make this world a bit more beautiful, more colorful, a bit clearer, easier, and a lot more fun.
And as Paul Auster puts it:
“Translators are the shadow heroes of literature, the often forgotten instruments that make it possible for different cultures to talk to one another, who have enabled us to understand that we all, from every part of the world, live in one world.”

And since it’s a special occasion, I would like to remind all translators that nothing compares to the joy of helping someone in need. This year, try to be a more generous and more thoughtful translator. Volunteer to do some translation work for a charity in your community, reach out to poor individuals who need a translator so bad but can’t afford one, make the life of a sick person more hopeful by translating their documents for free… do anything to invest in this incredible gift of yours, and brighten the world one task at a time.

Happy International Translation Day to all the hard-working translators out there!

September 2, 2013

War on Syria: To strike, or not to strike

My one and only answer now, tomorrow and forever is NOT TO STRIKE.

I know I’m not Syrian, and that the only ones who should make such a life-changing decision are Syrians, but since there are some Syrians who are calling for the US military strike, and those who are against it, and since almost all nationalities on planet Earth are giving themselves the right to interfere, I thought I’d share my two cents as well.

To be honest I’m in such a shock to hear that some people are actually pro the war on Syria! But then I look more carefully and see that most of them are living outside Syria, encouraging war and justifying their stand with: “it’s a strike on the government, the corrupt regime, on Assad, and not on Syria.”
Nothing good ever comes from war. War = violence, and violence is terror, you can’t eliminate terror with terror, it will only make things worse. And if the war on Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere did ever result in something other than more destruction and more loss of innocent lives, then this war on Syria would.

First it was boycott and now a military strike; decision-makers seem to turn a blind eye to the fact that the only ones who are paying the high price are the innocent Syrians. Since the Syrian revolution started, it’s always been them. And I don’t see how a military strike will improve things for them!
Obama said, this military strike is to ensure a violence-free, and a safe world for our children. The same children we teach every single day not to bully, and to never encourage violence no matter what. The same children we preach about the importance of peace, and how authority and power can never serve humanity without responsibility. While decision-makers are arguing what lesson they should be teaching dictators (who, as proven by history never hesitate to destroy everything till they get what they want, even if it meant having all their people bombarded and burnt to the bone), why don’t decision-makers focus on teaching their people how not to raise dictators and violence-thirsty generations. Why is it so easy to launch a missile, wage a war, but so hard to save lives and maintain peace?

I’m not a politician, nor a decision-maker, but I don’t see any reason why all these people and governments who are sparing no effort to support a war on Assad (which is just a way to paraphrase ‘war on Syria’), can’t all come together and unite, pay the same effort to get in there and protect Syrians until matters are solved. All I see are people looking from a far and safe distance, judging, condemning and supporting chaos, financially, how about a planned support targeting only who needs to be targeted, saving the real victims?

So please people, don’t go calling for a military strike, it’s not a ride to enjoy, it’s not something you do for fun, this is an expensive action, I couldn’t care less about the financial angle (although come to think of it, the money to be spent on war is better spent on feeding the poor and saving starving nations), what I meant is the lives that will be lost in the middle of this nonsense. Not to mention the side-effects that neighboring countries will be suffering from.

So, yes, I say Hands Off Syria. There must be an other way to solve this.

May 30, 2013

Long Live the Book

Filed under: Books — Tags: , — Eman @ 9:50 pm

Today in the library while scanning the bookshelves in search of some interesting children books to get for my son to read, a cutely illustrated cover caught my attention, as did its title: It’s a Book.
To be honest it got me curious… what would be inside a book titled ‘It’s a Book’? I flipped it over -as I always do with books of interest- hoping to find some kind of a summary to give me a hint. This is what I found:

itsabook

And that’s when I decided to give it a quick read. I must say I very much liked what I read. How do I put it? it’s a very simplified way of reflecting our very complicated lives today. Now that communication -the cool type- is done online, briefly, socializing with hundreds of people at the same moment, and still managing to be entirely isolated from our surroundings. Our complicated lives in places where one can only smell electric wires, see shiny screens, tap keyboards, touchscreens, click a mouse here, plug in an earphone there, surrounded with all kinds of noises and radiation there is.  Today, where books belong in a museum, or the facade of an antique store, or in an article about extinct inventions.

The author and illustrator Lane Smith has beautifully addressed one of the most irritating problems of our time: forgetting about the simple pleasure of reading a book, just a book, the music you play when you turn its pages, the unbeatable scent of its printed paper… forgetting about books, their simplicity.
How did it become so hard for parents to indulge their little ones with the pleasures of reading, just reading, away from passwords, screens, videos, games, and all that jazz. I’m not against “all that jazz”, but I hate how many parents, and even teachers, are encouraging the online activities more and more to the point where they’re subconsciously -or consciously- keeping them away from books, forgetting that books too can develop their skills just as good, and that books too can be interactive instruments that enrich knowledge, improve behavior, and spread awareness.

I’ll leave you with the book’s awesome trailer. As for me, it’s time for Adam’s bedtime story, guess which one that would be? ;)  

May 21, 2013

Palestinian Raed Zidan Reaches The Top of The World

zidan

[Source: MondoWeiss]

Raed Zidan, a PALESTINIAN- American, plants the Palestinian flag on top of Mount Everest, to be the first Palestinian to ever reach the summit of Everest.

Zidan dedicated his climb to Palestinians, especially political prisoners.

Way to go Zidan, not only did you make your family proud, but you made all Palestinians and pro-Palestinians extremely proud.
With this historical accomplishment, you’ll be forever remembered as the first Palestinian who marked the existence of Palestine on the highest Mountain on the face of this planet.

It is to be mentioned that Raed Zidan  is a member of the “Arabs with Altitude” group, consisting of 4 members, that include Raha Moharrak, the first Saudi woman to reach the top of Everest, Qatari Shaikh Mohammad Al-Thani, aka Moe Al Thani, and Iranian Masoud Mohammad. The group’s main goal is to raise a million dollars for the funding of Reach Out To Asia‘s educational projects in Nepal.

May 18, 2013

If You think a Watch Can Only Tell Time, Then Meet 1:Face Watch

Filed under: Charity & Human Aid,Cool Stuff — Eman @ 8:25 pm

There’s nothing I love more than a project with a purpose, a humanitarian one I mean. I’ve heard only recently about the 1:Face Watch, and immediately fell in love with everything about it: the high quality product, the cool fashionable design, and most importantly the idea of “changing the world, 1:Face at a time”.

So how does the 1:Face Watch change the world? it’s entirely up to the buyer; you choose the design, color and quantity of the watch(es) you wish to buy, and then decide how you prefer your money be spent. You can support breast cancer, or any other kind of cancer, fight hunger, provide drinking water, help preserve the environment, treat AIDS, or spread education. And the coolest thing is that through social media you can actually track the accomplishments being made in all mentioned fields, and see for yourself what’s being done with the money 1:Face Watch is receiving.

April 22, 2013

An Interesting Twist in Reactions to the Capture of Dzhokhar: Did They Catch the Real Bomber?

Filed under: Media, International — Eman Abukhadra @ 1:10 pm

Ok, as most of you know by now there’s a trending Twitter hashtag  #FreeJahar, which means that there are many people who believe that the suspect is actually innocent, and that the stories, details, evidence or whatever you may call them, don’t actually add up!

It comes to no surprise that the suspect’s parents believe he and his brother were actually framed, and that their sons could never do such a thing, nor plan it in the first place, is it the truth? or is just their instincts and emotions speaking? But away from the parents, most of the suspect’s friends repeatedly say that Dzhokhar was just an average college guy, he was actually named student of the month, he was studying after he got a scholarship, there was nothing fishy or freaky or suspicious about the boy… And according to many people, who are not even the suspect’s friend, details about the scene of the bombing, and the videos released tend to contradict each other and seem more like a fabricated story with really good edited images, tailored scenes and cut out recordings, than a real life story! Like the fact that many are arguing the changed color of Dzhokhar’s backpack, once it’s white, then it’s black; some are actually wondering how would a pressure-cooker-bomb fit in his backpack in the first place. Some shared a photo showing discrepancies in the face features & cap number between that of Dzhokhar and the actual suspect that was caught on tape. Another photo-analysis of the bombing scene is circulating stressing that the whole thing was “staged”. Not to mention the fact that no one is convinced he’d “run over” his brother, who is supposed to be the mastermind behind the whole thing, to save his own life and then try to kill himself when captured to “escape later execution”.
What I found also interesting is the argument of some people that if Dzhokhar’s motives were purely radical religious, then -like what radical terrorists usually do- he’d pride himself, and show off his ill-doings, brag about his accomplishments and spit out his intentions in the face of “evil”, not hide or escape or even try to kill himself.

The lack of proper proof backing up the story that he’s actually one of the bombers, made  a lot of people research the whole thing from point 0, and some people who were greatly upset by the #FreeJahar campaign at first, are starting to put things together and are joining in, believing in the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ principle.

What do I think? I think that anyone of us or our families or friends could have been there, and might have been in the news headlines, therefore I truly believe that neither I nor any of the families of the victims would feel justice is served if the wrong guy was captured and the real sick person is out enjoying his freedom, and who knows, maybe planning another deadly attack! I hope truth is revealed and the real bomber, let it be Dzhokhar or someone else, pays the price no matter who he is, what his name, color, religion or origin.

 

Related:

A poem for Dzhokhar by Amanda Palmer.

Alleged bomber’s aunt: Tamerlan was religious, but not radical.

 

 

April 20, 2013

Israel Violating Geneva Conventions AGAIN!

Filed under: Arab Societies,Media, International,Palestine — Eman Abukhadra @ 5:40 pm

15- year-old Palestinian boy, Ahmad, was arrested  in the middle of the night, by Israeli soldiers. Nothing new, it always happens, I know, but the boy’s begging and his reasons for not going along on that particular day is the heart-breaking bit, and I just wonder when will this inhumanity end! Watch the video of the boy’s arrest, and below it you’ll find my translation in English.

http://youtu.be/oj7W0B363GU

English translation of the video:

Mother: (talking to the soldier) have mercy, he’s just a child! do you want something like that to happen to your young son?
Boy: (to his mom) wait a moment! (to the soldier) I have a test tomorrow, the school wont postpone, if I don’t show up they’ll expel me, if it was any other day I will come with you.
Soldier interrupts…
Boy: just listen to me, please,  they will kick me out of school, please, I beg you, I BEG YOU!

No one listens. The soldier cuffs the boy’s hands,  ties a band around his eyes, tells him that he’s a “hero” and promises to return him back to school the next morning.
What’s the crime that made the Israeli authorities arrest him, just a 15 year old student, in the middle of the night? he threw a few rocks at some soldiers…

The chief officer of the arresting “raids”  says -with a proud arrogant smile on his face-  that they have absolutely no problem whom they arrest, even if it was a little boy, whoever takes part in riots will be arrested.

As it is the case with all Israeli “promises”, the boy was NOT released the next morning, instead, he was sent to ‘Ofer’ prison, where he’s being trialed with a list of accusations for throwing rocks, which is of course against the Geneva Conventions.

Ahmad is not the first, and wont be the last boy to go through this and suffer from the Israeli occupation and its oppression, this happens over and over, to all Palestinian families, “almost every Palestinian family has a member or relative thrown in Israeli prison”, comments Political Analyst  Amnon Abramovich.

Helllooo, anyone watching?? anyone listening?? Human rights? political leaders? the Geneva Conventions are being, yet again, violated by Israel, human rights are being violated every day… ANY ONE AT ALL?!

Bravo World, keep watching, enjoy your frickin’ show!

April 17, 2013

The Boston Attack & Islamophobia

Afters reporting that a “Saudi National” was a suspect in the Boston Marathon Bombings, and that he was taken into custody, the New York Post lost a lot of its credibility and was criticized for reporting, with no evidence, something as serious as that; not only did it give the Saudi student a really hard time -although he was just another victim of the bombings- but the false reporting of the New York Post fed the fire that’s burning  the Muslim communities in general, the fire called Islamophobia.

I came across an article written by Vladimir Chituc, titled: “Even If It Was a Muslim, So What?” , and I  believe that, so far, I haven’t read any better article tackling the issue of Islamophobia in relation to the Boston Marathon Bombings than this one.
I do encourage readers to read the article in full, but below are the paragraphs that I believe summarize the main points and do certainly hit the nail right on the head.

What would have happened, though, if the perpetrator was this 20-year-old Saudi, who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time looking the wrong color and maybe calling out to the name of the wrong-sounding God? What if it was some other Muslim, instead? Why should that even matter?

“They use extraordinary examples as an excuse to rub in our faces how violent and harmful a religion Islam is… But what about the Gallup poll that shows that 93 percent of Muslims in the world aren’t radical, and that the radicals give political, not religious, justifications for their violence? What about the study out of Duke and UNC Chapel Hill showing that only 6 percent of terrorist attacks in the U.S. have been by Muslims? What about the studies by Robert Pape showing that nearly all suicide bombings have the secular goal of resisting Western occupation, rather than any religious aim? What about the secular and nationalist group, the Tamil Tigers, which pioneered the modern suicide attack, accounting for the majority in the latter end of the 20th century? …

We don’t see Muslims in Minnesotta blowing themselves up because of Islam, so why should we even take seriously the idea that religion is involved when the effect is entirely explained by other factors? Stalin may very well have said “religion is a poison” as he was ordering the massacre of clergymen in Soviet Russia, but I think most of us are happy to chalk this up to economics, politics and nationalism. I see no reason we should treat Islam any differently. …

“… More than that, though, this topic is important because of how we treat people like the 20-year-old Saudi, a visiting student who looks, to many, more like a killer than a victim.
If we find out tomorrow that the bomber was a right-wing radical protesting tax day, then no one will look at their Republican friends any differently, and no Republicans will feel the need to be careful about how they respond in a tragedy. But if we find out tomorrow that the bomber was a Muslim, then I don’t think we can say the same. And that’s a problem.”
[Article in full]

What happened in the Boston Marathon was tragic, inhumane, heart-breaking and I don’t think that any culture, or religion,  justifies or encourages such terrorism. I hope they catch the one(s) behind this tragedy and that they get what they deserve no matter where they come from, or what they believe in.

Related:

Sign this petition to demand an apology from the New York Post for racial profiling and the harm it caused to the Saudi student.

* Another very well written article on the same issue, this time by Andreas Rekdal, titled: ‘The bomber isn’t one of “us” – and probably not one of “them”, either‘.

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