September 11, 2015

Bullying Parents into Accepting Ontario’s Updated Sex-Ed Curriculum

Filed under: Books,Canada,Media, International — Tags: — Eman @ 12:32 pm

Latest update with regards to Ontario’s “new & improved” sex-ed curriculum is that the government will allow schools to force sex-ed on kids, according to Ontario’s Minister of Education that is.
Parents opposing the updated sex-ed took this as a stab in the back, after being promised to have the option of withdrawing their children from the sex-ed lessons. We were hoping that we’ll all agree to disagree and there will be some middle ground that will leave every one happy. Now not only don’t we have the right to say no, but we have a great chance of being forced to have our children learn what we’re opposing. Wynne’s reflecting the very “liberal” views of her party, and showing the world that parents’ rights, if they happen to disagree with her, are not applicable… so much for the “inclusion” she’s trying to force on our children, and a very strong lesson in “anti-bullying” and “accepting differences”!

This announcement came at the same time the news of the Polish government backing down on the explicit sex-ed as a response to the massive parent protests went viral, having people  around the world admire and respect the Polish government for listening to its citizens and caring about what they think and how they feel more than anything else.

And since parents against the new curriculum are being called all kinds of things, I believe I need to make a few things straight here:

  • Parents opposing the new sex-ed curriculum are very well educated, open minded & responsible, and have in fact read the whole curriculum, not just the manipulative parental guides to it.
  • Religion is not the only reason for the objection, many atheists and non-religious parents are saying no to the new sex-ed. It’s a matter of principle and morals.
  • Many Parents are not aware that sex-ed is already part of the old curriculum, and that homosexuality, disease control, contraceptives and much more are already being taught. So we’re not against awareness as long as age-appropriate, we’re against irresponsible, unnecessary explicit and age-inappropriate sex-ed which is the case in the updated sex-ed.
  • Aside from the fact that the whole ‘consultation prior implementation’ process was a huge scam, (I for one was here since 2010, and neither I, nor any single person I know was consulted), Parents are speaking up and taking a firm stand to show their objection through protests, rallies, strikes, polls, speeches, social media involvement, since 2010 until today; but Wynne doesn’t seem to be interested and continues to ignore, claiming that those are just a “minority”.
  • Claims of the new curriculum being based on scientific & psychological studies shattered when experts exposed its dangers and flaws (an interesting video about sex-ed in general is available here. And you can find the videos specifically discussing Ontario’s updated sex-ed on this website, just scroll down you’ll find a video of 3 parts).


This is a great website that wraps up all what I’m trying to share here, and provides videos & PDFs relevant to the subject.

I did share my point of view on the matter earlier, explaining why I was against the updated sex-ed curriculum, and I’m still against it. I still believe, that apart from the responsible, age-appropriate sex-ed, which children were receiving, it’s a very personal matter whether you want to expose your children to more or less awareness and sexual knowledge. I still believe a unified program that doesn’t respect diversity nor accommodates religious, cultural, or social values is a huge mistake. If this means calling me an unfit parent, then I proudly am.


September 4, 2015

ألمانيا تساعد اللاجئين وتباً لكل من يصفق

تناقلت شبكات التواصل الإجتماعي الكثير من المقالات التي كانت بمثابة ردة فعل عنيفة -برأيي- على مشاركة فيديوهات تمدح ألمانيا وتطري على تعاملها مع اللاجئين السوريين، وبشكل عجيب غريب هوجم العديد من المدونين والمغردين على تويتر لمشاركتهم في مدح ألمانيا، معتبرين هذا إنتقاصاً من شأن الدول العربية التي سبقت ألمانيا وغيرها من دول الغرب في إحتضان ومساعدة اللاجئين.

أفهم بكل تأكيد، أن هناك كثر  “ما بعجبهم العجب ولا الصيام في رجب”، وعندهم حقد عجيب على كل ماهو عربي، حتى أنفسهم، وأفهم محاولات مواجهة هؤلاء  لإسكاتهم وإلزامهم حدود العرفان والإنتماء؛ ولكن أن نعتبر العديد من مثقفي العرب معقدين بعقدة “الغرب دوماً أفضل”، أو أنهم يمدحون بهدف “مسح الجوخ” أو الإنتقاص من شأن بلادهم العربية و جهودها، فهذا ما لا أستطيع استيعابه أبداً، وللأسباب التالية:

1. كل الفيديوهات كانت تشيد بما فعلت ألمانيا كسباقة لغيرها من دول أوروبا التي رفضتإستقبال اللاجئين وأغلقت حدودها في وجههم.  وكل التعليقات التي كانت مصاحبة لهذه المشاركات كانت موجهة لباقي الدول الأوروبية لتحذوا حذو ألمانيا.

2. مع أن متوسط دخل المواطن الألماني أعلى بكثير من نظيره العربي، ولكن أغلب المتطوعين في مساعدة اللاجئين هم من طلبة الجامعات الذين يعتمدون على أنفسهم في تأمين تكاليف التعليم، هذا عدا عن أن الموضوع لا يقاس بالماديات، فكثيرون لم تسمح ظروفهم المادية بتقديم أي دعم مادي، و اكتفوا بالتواجد والسمع لهموم اللاجئين، بدل أن يقفوا مكتوفي الأيدي.

3. ، الألمان  الذين إستقبلوا اللاجئين قاموا بذلك ضد إخوانهم الألمان الذين عارضوهم، وتحدوا أبناء عرقهم لمساعدة أناس من غير عرقهم، ولا دمهم، لا يتكلمون لغتهم، ولا يشاركونهم تقاليدهم ولا معتقداتهم، ليسوا أشقاءهم، ولا أقرباءهم،  فنعم الإفتخار بتصرف ألمانيا ليس عيباً ولا مبالغة.

4. هناك فرق شاسع بين التمجيد والإشادة، والإشادة بتصرفات شعب في موضوع معين، لا تعني  أبداً تمجيدها وسياستها كدولة في كل المواضيع، ولا تعني عدم الإنتماء لبلادنا الأم، أو احتقارنا لعروبتنا.

وفي النهاية، إستقبال ومساعدة اللاجئين _في أي مكان في العالم_ هما بداية مشوار طويل في الإغاثة والإحتضان، المهم الاستمرارية في تأمين بيئة كريمة تحترم فيها إنسانية اللاجئ، وتوفر له سبل العيش الكريم دون “تحميل جمايل” ودون تذكيره بمأساته أو إشعاره أنه نكرة أو عبء أو أقل مستوى من غيره.

آملين أن يفرج الله كرب كل لاجئ أياً كان أصله، وأن يسهل على اخواننا السوريين وأن ينتهي هذا الكابوس الذي يعيشونه.

September 1, 2015

Claiming Back Childhood

Filed under: Canada,General,Just Personal — Tags: , , , — Eman @ 12:51 pm

I’m in love with this ad by , it touches me as a parent, because I believe, today’s children lack the one basic thing that should label them as children: their own space.
Parents, myself included, are failing horribly at giving our children the amount of freedom we were given by our parents when we were their age. We’re overprotective, too scared, very worried and paranoid that we have them under constant surveillance. It’s like we keep them in one huge transparent bubble, we allow them to look through it, go crazy in it, as long as we’re sure they wont burst out of it, not “so soon” at least.

To be fair to parents, I completely understand where this paranoia comes from, we’re living in an insane horrible world; what I don’t understand though is: how did we reach this point? and why, despite all efforts, why are things getting only worse?

I am trying, really really hard, to give my boys their own space, their own time, some freedom here and there, but I do know, that I need to do much more to let them experience real wild childhood, the one their dad and mom enjoyed when they were kids.

May 12, 2015

Scary Coconuts

Filed under: Just Personal — Eman @ 11:04 am

A few days ago I went grocery shopping, and when I reached the ‘fresh produce’ section I found lovely small coconuts on display, I approached the stand and the sight of them took me years back to a Sunday morning, in Germany, in a small summer fair I went to with a bunch of friends. That was the first time I ever tasted fresh coconut in my life. I remember the stand, the young man standing behind his beautifully displayed freshly cut coconuts, and the small fountain of coconut water beside them. And I definitely remember my first bite; the texture, the taste. I loved everything about fresh coconuts, I got a few pieces and snacked on them while walking.

Until that moment I only had dried shredded coconuts , which I’m not a huge fan of to be honest; I’d eat a bar of chocolate with dried coconut, some yummy Arabic desserts with it as an ingredient, but I’m not that much into it.
But I’m known for my obsession with coconut oil, not for cooking though, for beauty purposes. I find it to be a perfect skin moisturizer,  hair mask, body scrub, lip balm… I use it alone or get creative mixing it with other natural ingredients and it always works beautifully.

Anyway, back to the grocery shop… I held a coconut in my hands and thought to myself: “why the hell don’t I buy these regularly?”, and few minutes later I was holding it  inside my kitchen. I put it on the table, as if it was a beautiful centerpiece, couldn’t stop looking at it proudly, happily, lovingly… and then it hit me, I never bought a coconut in the shell before, how would I open it?
I know this might seem like a silly question to someone who’s used to buying whole coconuts, but believe me, I had no clue. So I did what I do best in such embarrassing situations, I turned to google.
After watching a selection of videos and reading a bunch of articles on how to “easily open a coconut”, I went back to the kitchen, had my gloves on, a pair of glasses (to protect my eyes from any flying bits as one video suggested), a hammer in my hand, I centered the coconut on the counter, and held my arms up high, which felt more like shooting  a crime scene from a twisted movie rather than an attempt at opening a coconut, but well, google knows best, right! so I gave it the first hit, a gentle one, and God! those coconuts are hard,  I mean rock-hard! My next step was supposed to be a harder hit, but instead, I chickened out, I got so scared, I mean,  what if I hit it and it bounced back hitting me in the head, what if I fell unconscious, I know this is how a child should think , but I couldn’t handle it, I gave up. and waited for my husband to deal with it.
My husband came home from work, he was excited to see a coconut in our kitchen, probably thought I was an expert and would prepare it in minutes for us to feast on, but I told him the ugly truth, he told me his ugly truth, that he never did it before either, but luckily he wasn’t a coward like me, he took the hammer and hit it, repeatedly… but he too gave up when he saw that absolutely NOTHING happened to the coconut. So, we sighed, left it there, disappointed and embarrassed (as our elder son was watching us fail).
I decided I’m never buying whole coconuts ever again, I’ll have to search for shops that sell it cut into slices and ready to eat.

The next morning we woke up to a lovely surprise: a  crack along the shell, my son was so excited, he woke up his dad to the news, all it took was one last hit, and the coconut was finally open, we de-meated it and enjoyed it together… well, I believe Adam didn’t like it that much, it was “too chewy” for his taste, but I certainly loved every bite of it.
Will I ever buy whole coconuts again? I might, only if my husband was ready for the work, because I’m definitely not gonna try opening them, ever, in my life.

April 5, 2015

Sahlab is NOT Israeli

After attempts to label Falafel, Hummus, Baba Ghanouj and many other Arab dishes as Israeli, Israelis are now trying to represent Sahlab (also called Salep in Turkey, and Saloop in England) as an Israeli alternative to hot chocolate!!

This provocative claim has been circulating for a while on many websites and social media portals,  a lot of Israelis are trying to take credit for creating this delicious warm beverage, denying that it’s originally Arab. On the other hand, other Israelis are trying to be a bit manipulative, saying that Sahlab might be Arab, but there is a “variation”of it, aka “Sachlav”, that is created and served only in Israel.
Now the funny part is, that this variation of the Arab drink is not a variation at all, it’s exactly  the same ingredients, made the exact same way, served exactly as the Arab drink is served, making it an imitation, not a variation, and coming up with a Hebrew name so it sounds more Israeli doesn’t make it Israeli… and definitely not Jewish.

Which brings me to a very important point here: “Jewish Food”. Judaism is a religion, which, as a Muslim, I believe in, and respect, it’s not a nationality; you can be any nationality and still be Jewish. Arab Jews lived in the Middle East and North Africa for decades, in peace and harmony, and of course they cooked the food of the country and region they lived in. Whether couscous, falafel, hummus, baba ghanouj, or whatever, it was the food of that culture, cooked by Jews, Muslims and Christians of that culture, long before the state of Israel was even created.
And just like an Italian Jew serving Lasagna (or their “own version” of it) in Israel can’t claim Lasagna is Jewish nor Israeli, an Arab Jew can certainly not call Sahlab, Falafel, Hummus or Couscous or whatever food/beverage they cook or serve in Israel Jewish nor Israeli… it’s as simple as that.

Bottom line is: “Sachlav” is a desperate attempt at stealing away what’s Arab, and only Arab, it’s not Israeli, and it certainly is not Israeli & Arab as some are trying to promote, it’s just ARAB, live with it… and go create your own original beverage, be creative for a change!

We’re used to Israelis trying to steal our cultural heritage and yummy cuisine, but for international websites and news websites to publish articles advertising these lies without proper research!!!! well, it’s unprofessional, irresponsible and unfair. Shame on you!
Here’s a beautifully written piece commenting on this Sahlab vs. Sachlav controversy.

All this talking about Sahlab made me crave a cup of it, if you do too, here’s how to make it:

March 15, 2015

“عجايزنا” و”عجايزهم”

Filed under: Arab Societies,Women — Eman @ 9:19 pm

في عالمنا العربي تنتقد المرأة التي دخلت مرحلة الشيخوخة إذا فكرت بتصفيف شعرها، أو الاشتراك في ناد للرياضة ، أو  تعلم مهارة جديدة او حتى ممارسة هواية خاصة… فهذا عيب وذاك حرام وهذا غير لائق؛ هي الآن هدفها في الحياة مجالسة الأحفاد، تنظيف المنزل وملء البطون… وانتظار عزرائيل.
ناهيك عن وابل الأمثال المهينة والمحبطةالتي تنهال على مسامعها لتذكيرها ب”وضعها ” وبتخلف من حولها : ”بعد ما شاب ودوه الكتاب”، “بعد الكبرة جبة حمرة” ، ” رجلك والقبر” وغيرها.
انا مع المحافظة على العادات والتقاليد ولكن علينا ان نعترف بأن مجتمعنا يزيدها كثيرا ويستكثر على المرأة أن تكون ما تشاء أن تكون، حتى ضمن أطر مقبولة أخلاقياً ومنطقياً، قامعا روحها وعقلها، ونحن وبلا فخر، نعزز هذا الفكر المتسلط دافنين نصف مجتمعنا في بئر من المحرمات. بينما وفي ذات الوقت، يدعم الغرب سيداته، حتى وهن على مشارف الموت، لأنه على يقين، بأن دعم سيدة ولو على تصرف قد لا ترجى أي فائدة منه غير التسلية قد يشعل شمعة الأمل لدى الكثيرات ويبعث روح المغامرة داخل كل أنثى لتتحدى المستحيل والمعقول، ومن هنا، تتحدى نفسها وتبدع في كل المجالات، ومن هنا تخلق الأجيال القوية الطامحة، ومن هنا تولد المجتمعات المتميزة التي لاتقهر.
ويكفي أن يكون إسمك “إليزابيث” بدلاً من “منيرة” لتتحولي من مجرد مشاهدة لهذا الفيديو إلى بطلته.

March 1, 2015

Why I’m Against Ontario’s Updated Sex-Ed Curriculum

Yes, I am…

I know many people are just like me, and that many more are not, well, every person is entitled to their own opinion, I completely understand that, but seems like thousands of people don’t, and they want you to either convince yourself they’re right and give in to their own opinions, OR you give in even if you still disagree.

While I have no problem with many sections of the updated curriculum, I do strongly oppose teaching my children at school certain sexual topics like homosexuality, as well as oral, anal and intimate details of sexual intercourse.
Yes, I do, and it’s not because I think their curiosity doesn’t start at younger ages, or because I want to keep them in a bubble thinking they wont learn about that one way or the other, but because I want to be the one to discuss these things with them in the way I believe is best for them, and in a way that fits their mentality and age-group, and is within our family’s social and religious values given that we live in an extremely diverse society where everyone has their own opinions when it comes to sex-ed; What’s wrong with that?

1. Objectivity
A lot of people tried to convince me that the updated curriculum is not that big a deal, asking me to look at it “objectively”, so I read it again and again, I tried to be as objective as possible, but no, you can’t look at it objectively, simply because sex is personal, it is a very sensitive and intimate issue, and it should not, in my opinion, be discussed by individuals who will be trained to teach thousands of children -belonging to different religious and cultural backgrounds- in a unified way, giving them all the same message and with little or no respect to what they might be taught at home by their parents.


January 12, 2015

Gazans Got Talent

The other day I watched an episode of the latest season of “Arabs Got Talent”, and besides the fact that I feel so proud watching the many unique talents of the Arab world, this episode touched me the most because of two participants, both from Gaza, Palestine; both had little or no training at all, both had  no professional supervision nor support, and both were simple yet unique, demonstrating ambition, will power, optimism and passion, which is surprising, coming from a place like Gaza, which has become a synonym for destruction, poverty, misery, suffering and misfortune.

Overwhelmed with pride and lots and lots of heartache, I represent to you, Al-Takht Al-Sharqi, this extremely talented band… watching till the very end, you will be able to witness one of the band members, the Qanun instrument player, who I believe is the youngest, wiping off his river of tears without him losing control of the instrument or making even one tiny mistake. This scene, scarred my heart for life, as it made me picture the agony he and many like him went through, and are still going through in Gaza.

And Mohammad Al-Shaikh, this extremely flexible young fellow, who’s been training  for only a year -on his own- without any professional help, with his smile, and charismatic presence… a beautiful young talent aiming at the stars.

And those are just the ones who made it to a TV show, I’m pretty sure there are many other talents waiting to be discovered.

Bravo Gazans, you teach the world the true meaning of persistence and determination… you are an example of unparalleled optimism… just like a rose blooming in a dead desert.


November 13, 2014

On Honest Compliments & Precious Moments

Filed under: Just Personal — Eman @ 11:10 pm

Today was one of those days… lots of things to do, so little time to do them, back pain, appointments pushed at last minute to be on the exact time of other appointments, lots of waiting, back pain, lots of driving, grocery shopping, back pain, delay in school bus schedule, back pain, lots of phone calls (which I’m not a fan of) and more and more back pain. Needless to say the sudden drop in temperatures didn’t help my back pain at all, but since I like winter, it was like a breath of fresh air that helped sooth me in a way, and to refresh my exhausted spirit.

And what I love about days like this is that, in the middle of all this chaos, God keeps sending people your way, good people, just to help you: lift a bag for you, open the door for you, smile at you, offer simple help that goes a long way, something you very much need on such crazy days.

But there is nothing that fixes my spirits and makes my day more than a genuine compliment coming from a pure and sincere heart, and no I don’t mean a compliment on my looks or my hair or my clothes or my place or things like that, I mean complimenting my efforts and appreciating my hard work. My son usually takes care of that part :) but today my son’s friend joined him. A very picky eater, from a culture so different from ours, with tons of allergies I never even heard of, dropped by unexpectedly for a visit, I prepared a quick and simple lunch for them, and heard him tell my son: “Is your mom a chef or something?”… Adam came to the kitchen and told me that his friend finished his plate in 2 minutes, and he never usually does that. Then they both actually left their video games and came to the kitchen, thanking me repeatedly, sat at the table around me while I was cleaning up the place, and had a small chat with me, and then the boy came to me and shined the biggest smile at me.
Now the great part about this is that I didn’t make something special, it was quite simple, but I made it with love, despite my crazy day, my pain and my exhaustion, I enjoyed making them lunch, I decorated their plates, and  I just wanted them to enjoy eating it as much as I enjoyed making it. And I believe that the positive energy was felt and was contagious, and came back to me in the form of a compliment and a big fat smile from a boy who spends most of his days at after-school programs or with nannies, and making him feel the warmth of home and a loving atmosphere made my day as much as it made his.

It’s these simple moments, when you feel how you’ve touched someone’s heart, and when you feel they’ve touched yours, it’s these moments that count, that make a difference, and remind you that, no matter how off track your day was, there are many simple acts of love that will not go unnoticed and that will put  your day back on track, making up for all the chaos (and back pain) you’ve experienced.

November 7, 2014


Filed under: Charity & Human Aid,Palestine — Eman @ 4:56 pm

All Israeli war crimes aside, I can’t believe the world is turning a blind eye to the detention of children by the “democratic” state of Israel.

This has to stop, this is insane, inhumane, intolerable, monstrous, unjustifiable and someone has to do something about it.


If politicians don’t f**king care, I’m sure fathers and mothers and caring people still have conscious, hearts and BRAINS! what threat could a child possible pose? Someone speak up and save those innocent children.


Israel detains a 6-year-old Palestinian.

Israel detains a 7-year-old Palestinian .

Israel detains a 5-year-old Palestinian.

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