God has already written if and when each of us is finding our partner in life — neither these words nor this good fellow can be erased from our futures; the pen has been lifted, the ink has dried. We live by our own timelines and no one else’s. It’s not because you aren’t pretty enough, nice enough, smart enough, thin enough — it is not because you are not enough. It doesn’t matter how many people things didn’t work out with, it only needs to work out with one, the right one. Everyone you know can get married eons before you, but Mr. Took-His-Time will stroll into your life at exactly the moment that is perfect, because he is perfect for you, and no one else. This is neither a criticism against marrying young nor an exhortation to delay marriage. It is an appeal to my sisters to appreciate themselves before someone loves them for their true worth. Whether or whenever that is.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
This brand’s cosmetics are produced using salt, minerals, and mud from the Dead Sea — natural resources that are excavated from the occupied West Bank. The products themselves are manufactured in the illegal Israeli settlement Mitzpe Shalem. AHAVA is the target of CODEPINK’s “Stolen Beauty” campaign.
2. Delta Galil Industries
Israel’s largest textiles manufacturer provides clothing and underwear for such popular brands as Gap, J-Crew, J.C. Penny, Calvin Klein, Playtex, Victoria’s Secret (see #10) and many others. Its founder and chairman Dov Lautman is a close associate of former Israeli President Ehud Barak. It has also been condemned by Sweatshop Watch for its exploitation of labor in other countries such as Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey.
While many of us know this brand for its stylish cellphones, did you know that it also develops and manufactures bomb fuses and missile guidance systems? Motorola components are also used in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or “drones”) and in communications and surveillance systems used in settlements, checkpoints, and along the 490 mile apartheid wall. The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has launched the “Hang Up on Motorola” campaign.
4. L’Oreal / The Body Shop
This cosmetics and perfume company is known for its investments and manufacturing activities in Israel, including production in Migdal Haemek, the “Silicon Valley” of Israel built on the land of Palestinian village Al-Mujaydil, which was ethnically cleansed in 1948. In 1998, a representative of L’Oreal was given the Jubilee Award by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for strengthening the Israeli economy.
5. Dorot Garlic and Herbs
These frozen herbs that are sold at Trader Joe’s are shipped halfway around the world when they could easily be purchased locally. Trader Joe’s also sells Israeli Cous Cous and Pastures of Eden feta cheese that are made in Israel. QUIT, South Bay Mobilization, and other groups have targeted Trader Joe’s with a “Don’t Buy into Apartheid” campaign.
6. Estee Lauder
This company’s chairman Ronald Lauder is also the chairman of the Jewish National Fund, a quasi-governmental organization that was established in 1901 to acquire Palestinian land and is connected to the continued building of illegal settlements. Estee Lauder’s popular brands include Clinique, MAC, Origins, Bumble & Bumble, Aveda, fragrance lines for top designers, and many others. They have been the target of QUIT’s “Estee Slaughter Killer Products” campaign.
This technology company that manufactures computer processors and other hardware components employs thousands of Israelis and has exports from Israel totaling over $1 billion per year. They are one of Israel’s oldest foreign supporters, having established their first development center outside of the US in 1974 in Haifa. Al-Awda (the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition) has urged action against Intel for building a facility on the land of former village Iraq Al Manshiya, which was cleansed in 1949.
This brand of hummus, baba ghanoush and other foods is co-owned by Israel’s second-largest food company The Strauss Group and Pepsico. On the “Corporate Responsibility” section of its website, The Strauss Group boasts of its relationship to the Israeli Army, offering food products and political support.
9. Sara Lee
Sara Lee holds a 30% stake in Delta Galil (see #2) and is the world’s largest clothing manufacturer, which owns or is affiliated with such brands as Hanes, Playtex, Champion, Leggs, Sara Lee Bakery, Ball Park hotdogs, Wonderbra, and many others. Similar to L’Oreal (see #4), a representative of Sara Lee received the Jubilee Award from Netanyahu for its commitment to business with Israel.
10. Victoria’s Secret
Most of Victoria’s Secret’s bras are produced by Delta Galil (see #2), and much of the cotton is also grown in Israel on confiscated Palestinian land. Victoria’s Secret has also been the target of labor rights’ groups for sourcing products from companies with labor violations, and by environmental groups for their unsustainable use of paper in producing their catalogues. That’s not sexy!
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 5:35 PM
Friday, November 20, 2009
- We thought we would save money by designing and printing our invitations ourselves. We had a total of EIGHT people proofread them, and yet somehow we missed the spelling error in "Janurary." So that money we saved? It was spent on a reprint.
- We sent 'save the date' cards to the groom's out of town relatives. The problem: they received them and didn't know who the couple was. The sending name and address was mine, and for the groom we didn't use his birth name. Waste of postage.
- If you're not saying 'no boxed gifts' (from my culture) and you're not doing the money dance (from his culture), should you do a money tree? It was suggested by family and the wedding location's coordinator. Seems strange, risky for tacky and rude, but also possibly just new, different and fun. (What's a wedding tree? Love to Know.)
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 2:49 PM
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I really liked this quote from Abrahim Appel re: Veterans Day:
Veterans Day should have been a day of remembering all the useless killing for every army. [It] should have been a day where we thought about the poverty and dead ends that help recruitment. How about a vetrans day where we studied post tramatic stress disorder? Or the poverty and isolation facing soldgers upon returning? We celebrate vetrans day because we dont understand it.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 9:30 AM
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
1. Cool Kids’ Names
2. In with the In-Crowd- Get with it!
2a. Diversify Your Gene Portfolio
3. Wedding of Your Dreams
4. Instant Celebrity
5. Pull the “M” Card
6. Family Drama and Not Just Yo’ Mamma
7,8,9 &10. You totally thought I was going to list something about ”multiple wives,” didn’t you? Didn’t you? Like saving on wedding expenses by doing 4 brides-in-1, or creating a dynasty of little you’s in one-quarter the time. You were just waiting for it, weren’t you?
Well, sorry, I couldn’t resist: Reasons 7,8,9, &10 = Wives 1,2,3 & 4.
Polygamy: expanding the Muslim empire since 600AD.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Their head wear displayed a full palette of colors and patterns, and symbolized different faiths. But the two dozen Sikh and Muslim women who gathered Saturday at a Fremont community center knew their turbans and scarves had a singular effect on many others in a country where their beliefs are in the minority.
They make the women stand out as different, and to some, threatening.
"Around Sept. 11 this year, I had someone call me a terrorist," said Jasdeep Kaur, a middle-school counselor and volunteer with the Sikh Coalition in Fremont that organized Saturday's unusual joint forum with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Santa Clara to address discrimination that women of both faiths face because of traditional religious head wear like her black dastaar turban. "We are visually standing out compared to everyone else."
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Prostitution is illegal in Iraq. According to Mohammed, a typical prison sentence for women convicted is three to four months in jail, but their customers are rarely, if ever, arrested.
May Allah (swt) forgive us for not fulfilling our responsibility of caring for Wedad, her family and the thousands of others in similar situations.
Monday, November 02, 2009
Some of the fun rules I've learned about wedding invitations thus far:
- Hand addressed invitations are traditional and preferred over printed labels
- Better than saying 'no children,' one should say 'adult reception'
- Always put a postage stamp on your Response card or envelope so people can drop it straight in the mail
- If it is a religious ceremony, you ask for the 'honor' of their attendance. If it is not, you ask for the 'pleasure' of their attendance
- Do not mention gifts in your wedding invitation. Apparently this is the ultimate faux pas. As one site said, 'it is a wedding invitation, not a request for gifts.' So the Muslim trend of saying 'no boxed gifts' is apparently out
- Be careful about sending out 'save the date' cards, as you are obligated to send an invitation to whoever gets one of those
Saturday, October 31, 2009
(Hijab flutter: Dina Badawy)
1. Arrogance and ethnocentrism
The arrogant-but-sometimes-well-meaning “I know what’s best for you” attitude that flies in the face of respect for others’ lifestyles, worldviews, histories, and differences, and ignores or disrespects Muslim women’s personal agency. This is a major barrier and has been dubbed neo-colonialism for a good reason. Decades ago (even centuries), when the British colonized India, Egypt, Algeria, and other regions, the “I know what’s best for you” attitude was what enabled them to oppress men and women (Muslim and others) in these regions.
The idea that another person outside a Muslim woman’s communities and situations knows better about the issues she faces as a Muslim woman or as a woman of a certain ethnicity is impossible. While someone from outside my communities can offer an outsider’s perspective, s/he cannot understand my issues authoritatively enough to know them better than I. And, in constructing strategies for change, assuming someone else’s way (“Western” or secular or “progressive”) is better often ignores the fact that the secular way may not fit into a Muslim woman’s life, or a certain Western feminist model may not offer a Muslim woman constructive way to demand for the changing of laws that hurt her and her family. Refusing to believe that working within an Islamic or cultural framework can help me achieve the liberation I’m looking for isn’t fair to me—this isn’t cultural relativism, this is taking into account different forces that shape and have shaped a Muslim woman’s circumstances, and the different issues that she faces.
Furthermore, speaking for me when I did not ask you to actually takes my voice away. It is oppression just the same when a feminists does it as when, for example, a man speaks for a woman without her consent.
Often in the form of racialized Islamophobia and sexism. The refusal to listen to me or believe me when I tell you that Islam has given me wonderful things. Painting a Muslim woman’s issues as religious when they may really involve class, or patriarchal manifestations in her culture, or race. Demonizing my religion or culture in order to paint me as a victim that must be released from both of these things, no matter how much I love them or how they have positively shaped me.
3. Pity and victim construction
Specifically, the constant victim narrative that Muslim women are forced into. Assuming I am brainwashed because I identify as a Muslim, assuming every woman who wears a headscarf didn’t choose to.
Looking at a woman who involuntarily underwent female genital cutting as a victim does not empower that woman; it is often demeaning because it assumes that she can never be more than what happened to her. Pitying her because of what happened to her doesn’t empower her, either.
Looking at a woman who escaped an abusive marriage as a victim of her religion does not empower that woman. Not only does it mischaracterize the situation (it was her husband who abused her, not Islam), but also it doesn’t get her on the road to rebuilding her life.
Looking at an Iraqi woman as a victim ignores the agency she may exercise; constructing her only as a victim of war erases all her individual personality traits, her memories, and her humanity, leaving her to be nothing but part of a wretched aftermath. No human should be a wretched aftermath.
Pity doesn’t help anyone. And pitying me is just another type of oppression—just another way to construct yourself as better than I.
4. Using the wrong tools to measure liberation
Liberation is not a cookie-cutter deal. It looks different to every single woman in the world, and Muslim women are no different. There are Muslim women for whom liberation looks like a miniskirt, or a headscarf, or a university degree, or a well-paying job, or a husband, or a house, or debt wiped clean, or a divorce, or a reliable source of clean water, or opportunities for her children, or different combinations of these, etc. Forcing one model of liberation on anyone isn’t liberating; it’s just as oppressive as other paternalist or patriarchal forces in a Muslim woman’s life.
The best example of this is clothing, and the symbolizing of clothing as liberation, oftentimes equating choice of clothing with liberation. While I personally believe that women should be able to wear what they themselves want and face no cultural, religious, or other repercussions for it, assuming that changing clothing brings liberation is misguided. Clothing is a symbol of repression for a reason: it is not the cloth itself that oppresses, but the complex legal, social, and economic issues that enforce the cloth. Campaigning for Afghan women to have the right to remove their burqas will not change the issues that stand in their way and enforce a dress code.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 5:31 PM
Friday, October 30, 2009
American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections asks FBI not to link case to Islam
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/30/09) -- The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT), a coalition of major national Islamic organizations, is calling for an independent investigation into the death of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was shot and killed by the FBI on Wednesday in Detroit during raids in which a number of individuals were arrested on charges unrelated to terrorism.
AMT is also calling on the FBI not to link the raids or the allegations against the suspects to the Islamic faith.
In a statement, the Muslim coalition said:
"It is imperative that an independent investigation of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah's death make public the exact circumstances in which he died. And unless the FBI has evidence linking the criminal allegations to the religious affiliation of the suspects, we ask that federal authorities stop injecting religion into this case. The unjustified linkage of this case to the faith Islam will only serve to promote an increase in existing anti-Muslim stereotyping and bias in our society."
AMT is also urging the Congressional Tri-Caucus (Black, Latino, and Asian) to call for a judicial inquiry.
In keeping with its charter, AMT works for civil rights of all Americans and plans to hold a series of meetings across the United States, culminating in a civil rights summit in Washington, D.C., to address growing civil and human rights concerns of seven to eight million American Muslims.
AMT is an umbrella organization that includes American Muslim Alliance (AMA), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), MAS-Freedom, Muslim Student Association-National (MSA-N), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), and United Muslims of America (UMA). Its observer organizations include American Muslims for Civic Engagement (AMCE), Islamic Educational Council of Orange County (IECOC), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I'm currently loving this quote from the EEOC in a 2008 case:
The customer is not always right. Whether committed by customers, co-workers, or management, demeaning insults that target workers' national origin are completely unacceptable. The law requires management to step in and prevent this from happening.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Title make you take a second look? It might have seemed like an oxymoron at first.
This may explain why both Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women not only describe a sense of being liberated by their modest clothing and covered hair, but also express much higher levels of sensual joy in their married lives than is common in the West. When sexuality is kept private and directed in ways seen as sacred - and when one's husband isn't seeing his wife (or other women) half-naked all day long - one can feel great power and intensity when the headscarf or the chador comes off in the the home.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 7:30 AM
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I imagine an event where the men sit in the women's room and the women sit in the men's room. An event where women may go to the mosque and worship in huge halls while men are crowded together into back rooms. An event where women can sit and read quran or make dhikr in peace while men contend with hyperactive children and screaming babies.
I imagine an event where the most knowledgeable woman in the community ascends the membar and delivers a lecture on the rights of women in Islam while men sit behind the wall and listen through an intermittent sound system. An event where sisters gather around free to voice their questions, and their concerns while the men pass their questions foreword on hand written notes.
I imagine an event where women sit around and sip tea and socialize while men prepare the meal.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 1:33 PM
Friday, September 11, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
So sad, and yet so practical:
#1 Way to save on your wedding: cut the guest list Consider this: If you take 10 people off the list, you've just cut an entire reception table -- that's 1 less centerpiece, 10 less meals, favors, invites, and programs.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The information used in this graphic comes from data assembled on the UNICEF site Child Info: Monitoring the Situation of Women and Children and collected between 2001 and 2007. The percentages above represent women aged 15–49 who responded that a husband or partner is justified in hitting or beating his wife under certain circumstances.This is tragic. Any fraction of even 1% would be upsetting, but seeing countries with double digit percentages is heart breaking.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 9:15 AM
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
- Employee suspected co-worker was a pimp
- Employee smells like road ramps
- Employee's aura is wrong
- Employee's body is magnetic and keeps de-activating my magnetic access card
- Co-Worker reminded employee too much of Bambi
- Employee is so polite, it's infuriating
- Employee is trying to poison me
- Employee is personally responsible for the federally-mandated tax increase
- Employee was annoyed the company didn't provide a place for naps during break time
- Employee only wears slippers or socks at work
- Employee breathes too loudly
- Employee wore pajamas to work
- Employee spends too much time caring for stray cats around the building
- 8 a.m. is too early to get up for work
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 6:25 PM
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Kimberley Process certification scheme, which aims to stop the use of diamonds to fund conflict, is failing, according to a campaign group. Global Witness pointed to the smuggling of diamonds from Ivory Coast and an alleged massacre of diamond diggers by the military in Zimbabwe last year. The rights group, which lobbied to set up the scheme in 2003, says it is not being adequately enforced.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Interesting piece at "Yes Means Yes" re: why a rape victim may actually prefer filing civil charges in place of criminal rape charges:
1) Different remedies are available in a civil case that cannot get in a criminal case. E.g., as a condition of settlement in a civil case, a victim can ask that the defendant go through mental health counseling, have to give a donation to a rape crisis center, agree not to stay in a hotel without a chaperone, etc. I’m not suggesting the victim in this case wants any of this, but rather that there is lots of room in a civil case to structure a resolution that feels relevant and promotes the victim’s healing. In contrast, at the end of the day, in a criminal case it is the state/the government against the defendant, and the victim is the state’s witness.
2) In a civil case, the victim can address more than just the perpetrator’s behavior. In a civil case, the victim can seek to hold certain third party defendants – e.g., her employer – liable for discriminatory behavior based on the employer’s failure/refusal to believe that she was raped.
3) Depending on the time of crime to be charged, the victim may be able to resolve civil case more speedily than criminal case. This issue is especially important for lower income victims (who, as we know, perpetrators often prey on because they are likely to be more vulnerable in various regards).
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 2:48 PM
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Unless you confess to a crime,or threaten to commit a crime, there is nothing you can say to a cop that makes it legal for him to arrest you. You can tell him he is stupid, you can tell him he is ugly, you can call him racist, you can say anything you might feel like saying about his mother. He has taken an oath to listen to all of that and ignore it. That is the real teachable moment here — cops are paid to be professionals, but even the best of them are human and can make stupid mistakes.
We have an uncomfortable choice with Sergeant Crowley. Either he doesn't know what disorderly conduct is or Crowley simply decided to show Gates who's boss the only way he knew how at the time — by whipping out his handcuffs and abusing his power to arrest. Police make the latter choice in this country every day, knowing that the charges are going to have to be dropped.
We all know that happens. That's why so much of the commentary about this case is obsessed with exactly who said what to whom in the Gates home that day. Most white, and some black, TV talking heads obviously believe that Gates was stupid if he actually exercised his constitutional right to say anything he felt like saying to a cop. Because they know it is not terribly difficult to provoke American police to violate their oaths and the law and arrest people for no legal reason.
The president was right when he called the arrest stupid. It doesn't mean Crowley is stupid. It means that, in that moment, he made a stupid choice.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 11:00 AM
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I'm really excited about a recent piece in the NYT, re: 101 easy summer salad recipes. I'm thinking it will be helpful starting next week when I can no longer use studying as an excuse for unhealthy eating.
A few that I think I'm trying first:
1) Cube watermelon and combine with tomato chunks, basil and basic vinaigrette. You can substitute peach for the watermelon or the tomato (but not both, O.K.?). You can also add bacon [don't worry, I will not be adding bacon] or feta, but there goes the vegan-ness.
2) Thinly slice button mushrooms; toss with finely chopped carrots and celery and mix with mung bean sprouts. Finish with peanut or olive oil, sherry vinegar, a little soy sauce and minced ginger. (This is a super vinaigrette, by the way.)
3) Dust shrimp with chili powder. Sauté in butter or oil (or a combination) with fresh corn kernels and flavorful cooking greens (bok choy is good, as is watercress). Add halved cherry tomatoes and lime juice at the last minute.
Also, though I haven't been able to blog much substance recently, Mr. Davi Barker is discussing issues ranging from "Compulsion in Religion" to whether or not "White people" actually convert to Islam over at the Examiner.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
From Mona Eltahawy's piece, titled "If Only the Uighurs Were Buddhist and China Was Israel," at HuffPo.:
Following the news that did make it out of Xinjiang, I thought if only the Uighurs were Buddhists like the Tibetans with whom the Uighurs share almost mirror grievances against Beijing. If they were Buddhists, Bjork, Sting, Bono and all those other one-named saviors of the world's poor and oppressed would have held "Free Xinjiang" concerts already. But the West continues to largely ignore the Uighurs. Maybe they're not as cuddly as the Tibetans or their leader the Dalai Lama.
That's precisely the problem -- the Uighurs are no Palestinians and the Chinese are not Israel. Many Muslims -- Arab Muslims especially -- pay attention only when the U.S. and Israel are behaving badly. Palestine followed by Iraq always take precedence leaving little room for other Muslim grievances.
Look at Darfur, where the suffering goes ignored because those who are creating the misery are neither Americans nor Israelis but instead fellow Arab Muslim Sudanese.
China is coincidentally one of Sudan's biggest trade partners and sells Khartoum plenty of weapons which Darfuris complain are used against them. So it's unlikely Sudanese President Omar Bashir, who declared himself the guardian of Islam in 2007 by putting on trial a British teacher for insulting Muslims when she named a class teddy bear "Mohammed", will condemn Chinese oppression of Uighurs.
Perhaps Israel can save the day and invade Xinjiang.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Awesome news on the fashion front: there's a new designer label in the UK, that aims to bring together Islamic modesty and "street cred." The Guardian's news clip is below. Pay close attention at 3:50 where this awesome sister explains that her critics thus far have been (of course!) Muslim men claiming the clothes just aren't modest enough.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
And we thought the condition of workers in the US was bad? This is embarrassing.
Labourers are no longer welcome as patrons at Al Bawadi Mall on weekday evenings and at weekends.
They have been banned after complaints from the public about women being harassed and other “unsightly” antisocial behaviour, according to the mall’s management.
. . .
“A ban like this makes us feel like we are subhuman,” said Iftikhar Hussein, a 24-year-old Pakistani construction worker.
. . .
The mall is considering building a mini-mall behind the main mall that will cater to the needs of labourers as the mall is located in an industrial part of the city where many labourer accommodations are located.
“We are human beings dealing with human beings and realise that labourers also have shopping needs,” Mr Shraim said.
“We are considering building a mini-mall for them with stores that sell less expensive items that they can afford on the minimal salaries they earn.”
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 11:49 AM
Monday, July 06, 2009
If she runs for President in 2012, I'm voting for her AGAIN.
A LETTER FROM PRISONER 88794
Letter from an Israeli Jail
By Cynthia McKinney
This is Cynthia McKinney and I’m speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies - and even crayons for children, I had a suitcase full of crayons for children. While we were on our way to
Gaza the Israelis threatened to fire on our boat, but we did not turn around. The Israelis high-jacked and arrested us because we wanted to give crayons to the children in Gaza. We have been detained, and we want the people of the world to see how we have been treated just because we wanted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.
At the outbreak of Israel’s Operation ‘Cast Lead’ [in December 2008], I boarded a Free Gaza boat with one day’s notice and tried, as the US representative in a multi-national delegation, to deliver 3 tons of medical supplies to an already besieged and ravaged Gaza.
During Operation Cast Lead, U.S.-supplied F-16’s rained hellfire on a trapped people. Ethnic cleansing became full scale outright genocide. U.S.-supplied white phosphorus, depleted uranium, robotic technology, DIME weapons, and cluster bombs - new weapons creating injuries never treated before by Jordanian and Norwegian doctors. I was later told by doctors who were there in Gaza during Israel’s onslaught that Gaza had become Israel’s veritable weapons testing laboratory, people used to test and improve the kill ratio of their weapons.
The world saw Israel’s despicable violence thanks to al-Jazeera Arabic and Press TV that broadcast in English. I saw those broadcasts live and around the clock, not from the USA but from Lebanon, where my first attempt to get into Gaza had ended because the Israeli military rammed the boat I was on in international water ... It’s a miracle that I’m even here to write about my second encounter with the Israeli
military, again a humanitarian mission aborted by the Israeli military.
The Israeli authorities have tried to get us to confess that we committed a crime ... I am now known as Israeli prisoner number 88794. How can I be in prison for collecting crayons to kids?
Zionism has surely run out of its last legitimacy if this is what it does to people who believe so deeply in human rights for all that they put their own lives on the line for someone else’s children. Israel is the fullest expression of Zionism, but if Israel fears for its security because Gaza’s children have crayons then not only has Israel lost its last shred of legitimacy, but Israel must be declared a failed state.
I am facing deportation from the state that brought me here at gunpoint after commandeering our boat. I was brought to Israel against my will. I am being held in this prison because I had a dream that Gaza’s children could color & paint, that Gaza’s wounded could be healed, and that Gaza’s bombed-out houses could be rebuilt.
But I’ve learned an interesting thing by being inside this prison. First of all, it’s incredibly black: populated mostly by Ethiopians who also had a dream ... like my cellmates, one who is pregnant. They are all are in their twenties. They thought they were coming to the Holy Land. They had a dream that their lives would be better ... The once proud, never colonized Ethiopia [has been thrown into] the back pocket of the United States, and become a place of torture, rendition, and occupation. Ethiopians must free their country because superpower politics [have] become more important than human rights and self-determination.
My cellmates came to the Holy Land so they could be free from the exigencies of superpower politics. They committed no crime except to have a dream. They came to Israel because they thought that Israel held promise for them. Their journey to Israel through Sudan and Egypt was arduous. I can only imagine what it must have been like for them. And it wasn’t cheap. Many of them represent their family’s best
collective efforts for self-fullfilment. They made their way to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. They got their yellow paper of identification. They got their certificate for police protection. They are refugees from tragedy, and they made it to Israel only after they arrived Israel told them “there is no UN in Israel.”
The police here have license to pick them up & suck them into the black hole of a farce for a justice system. These beautiful, industrious and proud women represent the hopes of entire families. The idea of Israel tricked them and the rest of us. In a widely propagandized slick marketing campaign, Israel represented itself as a
place of refuge and safety for the world’s first Jews and Christian. I too believed that marketing and failed to look deeper.
The truth is that Israel lied to the world. Israel lied to the families of these young women. Israel lied to the women themselves who are now trapped in Ramle’s detention facility. And what are we to do? One of my cellmates cried today. She has been here for 6 months. As an American, crying with them is not enough. The policy of the United States must be better, and while we watch President Obama give 12.8
trillion dollars to the financial elite of the United States it ought now be clear that hope, change, and ‘yes we can’ were powerfully presented images of dignity and self-fulfilment, individually and nationally, that besieged people everywhere truly believed in.
It was a slick marketing campaign as slickly put to the world and to the voters of America as was Israel’s marketing to the world. It tricked all of us but, more tragically, these young women.
We must cast an informed vote about better candidates seeking to represent us. I have read and re-read Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s letter from a Birmingham jail. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined that I too would one day have to do so. It is clear that taxpayers in Europe and the U.S. have a lot to atone for, for what they’ve done to others around the world.
What an irony! My son begins his law school program without me because I am in prison, in my own way trying to do my best, again, for other people’s children. Forgive me, my son. I guess I’m experiencing the harsh reality which is why people need dreams. [But] I’m lucky. I will leave this place. Has Israel become the place where dreams die?
Ask the people of Palestine. Ask the stream of black and Asian men whom I see being processed at Ramle. Ask the women on my cellblock. [Ask yourself:] what are you willing to do?
Let’s change the world together & reclaim what we all need as human beings: Dignity. I appeal to the United Nations to get these women of Ramle, who have done nothing wrong other than to believe in Israel as the guardian of the Holy Land, resettled in safe homes. I appeal to the United State’s Department of State to include the plight of
detained UNHCR-certified refugees in the Israel country report in its annual human rights report. I appeal once again to President Obama to go to Gaza: send your special envoy, George Mitchell there, and to engage Hamas as the elected choice of the Palestinian people.
I dedicate this message to those who struggle to achieve a free Palestine, and to the women I’ve met at Ramle. This is Cynthia McKinney, July 2nd 2009, also known as Ramle prisoner number 88794.
Cynthia McKinney is a former U.S. Congresswoman, Green Party presidential candidate, and an outspoken advocate for human rights and social justice. The first African-American woman to represent the state of Georgia, McKinney served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1993-2003, and from 2005-2007. She was arrested and forcibly abducted to Israel while attempting to take humanitarian and reconstruction supplies to Gaza on June 30th. For more
information, please see http://www.FreeGaza.org
Monday, June 22, 2009
A divided Michigan Supreme Court has approved a much-awaited rule of evidence revision that delineates the power of a courtroom judge to determine witness attire.
Rejecting an American Civil Liberties Union argument that the revised Michigan Rule of Evidence 611 should contain an exception for religious dress, the court voted 5-2 to approve a standard that gives the courtroom judge the power to require witnesses to remove head or facial coverings, reports the Detroit Free Press.
The rule review was sparked by a small claims case in which a Muslim woman was asked in a 2006 hearing to remove her niqab so that the judge could see her face to determine her truthfulness as she was testifying.
Ginnah Muhammad refused to take off the religious veil, and 31st District Judge Paul Paruk dismissed her small claims case against a rental car company as a result. She then filed a federal court suit against the judge, which was later dismissed, according to the newspaper and the Associated Press.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 6:31 PM
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I love baking brownies, but I'm strictly a brownie-box-mix girl. My one previous attempt at baking brownies from scratch, was a FAILED attempt at a diabetic friendly recipe. To avoid studying this afternoon, I tried something new and Alhamdulillah it was a success. Check it out:
Ingredients (I used half):
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour or unbleached flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (8 squares) semi-sweet chocolate (coarsely chopped) (I skipped this in lieu of the milk chocolate chips I already had at home. Next time, I'm trying the semi-sweet as it may have helped intensify the chocolateyness.)
1 cup pecans, chopped (I used baking walnuts instead as that was what I already had.)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9-inch pan. In medium saucepan over low heat, melt margarine. Add sugar, vanilla and eggs; blend well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Stir in flour, cocoa and salt; mix well. Add chocolate and pecans. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until set. Cool. Cut into 36 bars.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 10:14 PM
Thursday, June 11, 2009
2. Unlike in other countries in the region, women in Iran are encouraged to be well-educated, have a high literacy rate and are very active participants in their political processes.
Iranian women are among the most highly educated and socially active in the Middle East. Women have a 77% literacy rate and account for 60% of university students, according to local census. Half of the eligible voters in Iran, which has a population of 72 million, are females.
Activists say women in Iran are subject to discrimination that makes them second-class citizens in divorce, inheritance, child custody, legal matters and other aspects of life.
More than 60 percent of Iran's university students are women but with unemployment in Iran running at 20 percent, employers can afford to be selective. Many prefer men, and women make up only 15 percent of the workforce.
3. Current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad's election resulted in a harsh crackdown on women's rights in Iran, the results of which some women have felt strongly.
During president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's term in office, several women's rights activists have been jailed and the morality police, who try to ensure that women are dressed according to Islamic guidelines, have stepped up their patrols. "Ahmadinejad has tried to put women back in the house for the past four years," says Koulaie, the former parliamentarian. Many women have chafed under these restrictions. "We want the morality police patrols to stop," says Mahsa Motavalizadeh, a 19-year old university student who attended [Mir Hossein Mousavi's wife Zahra] Rahnavard's rally earlier this week.
4. In addition, Ahmadenijad's term in office has been marked by attacks on women's rights activists in particular.
But activists say dozens of campaigners have been detained since they launched a campaign in 2006 to try and collect one million signatures on a petition demanding greater women's rights. Most of them were released after a few days or weeks.
5. In addition, most international observers feel that although even the reform candidates would be unlikely or unable to effect significant changes in Iran's foreign policy, Ahmadinejad's reelection would mean that President Obama's timeline for increasing pressure on Iran would be moved up.
However, some experts say an Ahmadinejad loss may buy Iran more time from the United States.
If he loses, however, the Obama Administration will likely give a new President time to get his arms around the policy.
6.Ahmadenijad's reported top contender is Mir Hossein Mousavi, who broke with tradition and is actively campaigning with his wife, Zahra Rahnavard. Rahnavard is, herself, a force to be reckoned with and a strong supporter of women's rights.
She was active in the struggle to oust the Shah in the late 1970s and is the author of a popular book on Islam and women's rights. She went on to earn a master's degree in art and a doctorate in political science and was appointed as the chancellor of Tehran's Al Zahra University in the late '90s. During the same period, she served as a political advisor to Khatami.
7.Mousavi and Rahnavard have promised to roll back some of the crackdowns against women of the Ahmadinejad years.
She talks about providing women with more rights before family courts, better education opportunities and more jobs. That is not only appealing to the female half of the estimated 46 million eligible voters — many of their fathers, brothers and husbands also think this the right way forward.
8.Mehdi Karroubi, a more liberal candidate than Mousavi, has proposed a variety of reforms, including the elimination of the law requiring women to cover their hair, and talked of appointing women to significant cabinet positions.
Presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, a reformist cleric, has said he is against forcing women to wear the Islamic veil. He recently debated with his team the number of cabinet posts women should fill. Mr. Karroubi's top advisers lobbied for the foreign ministry, speculating that when relations with the U.S. normalize, the new foreign minister could shake hands with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
9.Even conservative candidate Mohsen Rezaie has reached out and appealed to women voters and spoken of reforms to benefit women.
Conservative candidate Mohsen Rezaie, who formerly headed Iran's Revolutionary Guards, has an advisory team of accomplished women and said he plans to reform the law so it ensures more equality for women. Mr. Rezaie has said he will place Iranian women in top posts in politics, education and management both in and outside the country.
10.Most observers feel that, like in nearly every election in the States, women will play the deciding role in who becomes (or remains) the President of Iran.
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Hope was not only pregnant, but her uncle had infected her with HIV.
Like many young girls in Zimbabwe, Hope was the victim of a widely held belief that if a man with HIV or AIDS rapes a virgin he will be cured of his disease. This so-called virgin myth, perpetuated by Zimbabwe's traditional healers, has led to the rape of hundreds of girls, according to UNICEF. Some of those victims are too young to walk, much less protect themselves.
Betty Makoni has fought for nearly a decade to protect her country's young girls from sexual abuse. And she's witnessed some of the worst cases of the myth in action.
"The youngest girl I ever came across was a day-old baby who was raped," said Makoni, 37.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 11:41 PM
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
"Feminist women are more likely than other females to be in a romantic relationship."AMAZING. The Muslim community seems to have a false perception that any woman who gives an inkling for her God given rights is a crazy feminist and that all crazy feminist are man haters. Further Muslim men have the audacity to repeatedly seek quiet, submissive, non-opinionated women all of which are traits antithetical to "feminism." No, I'm not making this up. Some men actually seek these qualities in women.
"Falling in love can induce a calming effect on the body and mind and raises levels of nerve growth factor for about a year, which helps to restore the nervous system and improves the lover's memory."I wonder if this has an impact on finals stress levels.
"Love can also exert the same stress on your body as deep fear. You see the same physiological responses — pupil dilation, sweaty palms, and increased heart rate."Ironic.
"Brain scans show that people who view photos of a beloved experience an activation of the caudate — the part of the brain involving cravings."Showing me a picture of my husband will have the same impact as showing me one of chocolate, according to this. No complaints.
"Eleven percent of women have gone online and done research on a person they were dating or were about to meet, versus seven percent of men."Why wouldn't you do online research about the person you are dating, or being otherwise courted by. In the era of Google searches, it seems like the most responsible first step.
"Forty-three percent of women prefer their partners never sign "love" to a card unless they are ready for commitment."Makes perfect sense. No time for mixed signals when life is busy and short.
"Philadelphia International Airport finished as the No. 1 best airport for making a love connection, according to an online survey."It's settled. When the rishta attempts fail, and there's nobody on the MSA scene catching your eye head to the airport. No joke. Let's be creative.
"One in five long-term love relationships began with one or both partners being involved with others."Disturbing, beyond words.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Despite my skepticism regarding anything police force related this is semi-cool:
There's the uniform, for instance, in a society where ultra-modest dress codes mean the typical female apparel is a long wide gown, or Jilbab, and head scarf. Sometimes it's even a face-covering veil with only a slit for the eyes.
The new female police force in Gaza--formed a year and a half ago, with about 1,000 police officers and growing--adapts by wearing a long, dark blue skirt, a blue tunic and a head scarf.
. . .
"I believe that my colleagues and I are doing a big favor for people in Gaza by protecting women and giving them more privacy. We also help our male colleagues when raiding houses of suspected drug dealers or criminals."
Aisha Abu Nada, 50, is an investigator in the new female division. The mother of seven said that unlike many of her colleagues, her family didn't offer any opposition.
She attributed that to her background as a practicing lawyer. She said she changed fields because she wanted a new experience and thought that she could help her community by serving in the police force. Nada said two of her daughters have joined the force, with her encouragement.
Nada, however, has had to give up her new line of work. Her house was badly damaged when an Israeli warplane shelled a neighbor's house. After that she decided to stay home to take care of her younger children, who were badly upset by the attack, and to help rebuild their home.
In an interview before he was killed in the police compound attack in late December, Tawfiq Jaber, director of police in Gaza, spoke highly of the progress the force had made in establishing its female forces and gaining surprisingly widespread social support. "In a very short time we have gone very far with the female division, which means we are on the right track."
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 12:18 AM
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Arab News, a Saudi English-language daily newspaper based in Riyadh, reported that Judge Hamad Al-Razine said that "if a person gives SR 1,200 [$320] to his wife and she spends 900 riyals [$240] to purchase an abaya [the black cover that women in Saudi Arabia must wear] from a brand shop and if her husband slaps her on the face as a reaction to her action, she deserves that punishment."
. . .
Arab News reported that Al-Razine made his remark as he was attempting to explain why incidents of domestic violence had increased in Saudi Arabia. He said that women and men shared responsibility, but added that "nobody puts even a fraction of blame" on women, the newspaper said.
Al-Razine "also pointed out that women's indecent behavior and use of offensive words against their husbands were some of the reasons for domestic violence in the country," it added.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 10:19 PM
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
...for those of with tasbihs/masbahas and other Islamic "decorations" hanging from our rear view mirrors:
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided, after consulting with Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox’s office, that the state’s law is clear on the matter: A dangling object of any size constitutes something that can obstruct the view of a driver, and therefore is illegal and grounds for cops to stop motorists.
. . .
“They basically say that anything dangling from the mirror provides probable cause for pulling people over,” Helfrick said. “The question becomes, how does the officer determine what obstructs your vision?”
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 6:30 PM
Monday, May 04, 2009
If you're a Google Calendar user, open up your calendars page and:
- Hit "settings"
- Scroll down until you see the "alternative calendars" section
- Select one of the Hijri calendars
- Hit "save"
- Voila! Google calendars will now run the Hijri dates parallel to the Gregorian ones in your calendars!
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 11:33 AM
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Amidst the plethora of disturbing feminist news:
It’s a grueling and invasive process that can last four to six hours and produces a “rape kit” — which, it turns out, often sits around for months or years, unopened and untested.
Stunningly often, the rape kit isn’t tested at all because it’s not deemed a priority. If it is tested, this happens at such a lackadaisical pace that it may be a year or more before there are results (if expedited, results are technically possible in a week).
So while we have breakthrough DNA technologies to find culprits and exculpate innocent suspects, we aren’t using them properly — and those who work in this field believe the reason is an underlying doubt about the seriousness of some rape cases. In short, this isn’t justice; it’s indifference.
More at NY Times
Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages. The day, observed on a Tuesday in April, symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work, on average, to earn as much as a man earned the previous year. (Tuesday is the day on which women's wages catch up to men's wages from the previous week.) Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.
More at National Committee on Pay Equity
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 2:04 PM
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
In some countries we starve ourselves, in others we are force fed. It's tragic how irrespective of geographic location women, under the pretext of attractiveness, aren't permitted to simply be happy with their God given, unique bodies.
"In Mauritania, a woman's size indicates the amount of space she occupies in her husband's heart," said Mint Ely, head of the Association of Women Heads of Households. ''We have gone backwards. We had a Ministry of Women's Affairs. We had achieved a parliamentary quota of 20% of seats. We had female diplomats and governors. The military have set us back by decades, sending us back to our traditional roles. We no longer even have a ministry to talk to." Mauritania has suffered a series of coups since independence from France in 1960. The latest, in August last year, saw General Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz seize power after the elected president tried to sack him.
A children's rights lawyer, Fatimata M'baye, echoed Ely's pessimism. "I have never managed to bring a case in defence of a force-fed child. The politicians are scared of questioning their own traditions. Rural marriages usually take place under customary law or are overseen by a marabou (a Muslim preacher). No state official gets involved, so there is no arbiter to check on the age of the bride." Yet, she said, Mauritania had signed both international and African treaties protecting the rights of the child.
Leblouh is intimately linked to early marriage and often involves a girl of five, seven or nine being obliged to eat excessively to achieve female roundness and corpulence, so that she can be married off as young as possible. Girls from rural families are taken for leblouh at special "fattening farms" where older women, or the children's aunts or grandmothers, will administer pounded millet, camel's milk and water in quantities that make them ill. A typical daily diet for a six-year-old will include two kilos of pounded millet, mixed with two cups of butter, as well as 20 litres of camel's milk. "The fattening is done during the school holidays or in the rainy season when milk is plentiful," said M'baye. "The girl is sent away from home without understanding why. She suffers but is told that being fat will bring her happiness. Matrons use sticks which they roll on the girl's thighs, to break down tissue and hasten the process."
Other leblouh practices include a subtle form of torture - zayar - using two sticks inserted each side of a toe. When a child refuses to drink or eat, the matron squeezes the sticks together, causing great pain. A successful fattening process will see a 12-year-old weigh 80kg. "If she vomits she must drink it. By the age of 15 she will look 30," said M'baye.
Friday, February 20, 2009
"If we are going to say prostitution is illegal, why are so few men prosecuted for it? The answer is because they are powerful, well-connected, and can afford expensive lawyers that can keep their names private. ... becoming 'tough on prostitution' is likely to fail in the same way becoming 'tough on drugs' has."
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 12:35 PM
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The concept of reciprocal justice does not always float my boat, but it sounds perfect here:
Ameneh Bahrami is certain that one day she'll meet someone, fall in love and get married. But when her wedding day comes, her husband won't see her eyes, and she won't see her husband. Bahrami is blind, the victim of an acid attack by a spurned suitor.
If she gets her way, her attacker will suffer the same fate. The 31-year-old Iranian is demanding the ancient punishment of "an eye for an eye," and, in accordance with Islamic law, she wants to blind Majid Movahedi, the man who blinded her.
"I don't want to blind him for revenge," Bahrami said in her parents' Tehran apartment. "I'm doing this to prevent it from happening to someone else."
Bahrami says she first crossed paths with Movahedi in 2002, when they attended the same university.
She was a 24-year-old electronics student. He was 19. She never noticed him until they shared a class. He sat next to her one day and brushed up against her. Bahrami says she knew it wasn't an accident.
. . .
Bahrami said that over the next two years, Movahedi kept harassing her and making threats, even as he asked her to marry him. "He told me he would kill me. He said, 'You have to say yes.' "
On a November afternoon in 2004, Movahedi's threats turned to violence.
That day at 4:30 p.m., Bahrami left the medical engineering company where she worked. As she walked to the bus stop, she remembers sensing someone behind her.
She turned around and was startled to see Movahedi. A moment later came the agonizing pain. Movahedi had thrown something over her. What felt like fire on her face was acid searing through her skin.
"I was just yelling, 'I'm burning! I'm burning! For God's sake, somebody help me!' "
The acid seeped into Bahrami's eyes and streamed down her face and into her mouth. When she covered her face with her hands, streaks of acid ran down her fingers and onto her forearms.
. . .
Bahrami's lawyer, Ali Sarrafi, said Movahedi had never shown any remorse. "He says he did it because he loved her," Sarrafi said.
Attack victims in Iran usually accept "blood money": a fine in lieu of harsh punishment. With no insurance and mounting medical bills, Bahrami could've used the cash, but she said no.
"I told the judge I want an eye for an eye," Bahrami said. "People like him should be made to feel my suffering." Watch how the acid destroyed Bahrami's eyes (includes graphic content) »
Bahrami's demand has outraged some human rights activists. Criticizing acid-attack victims is almost unheard of, but some Internet bloggers have condemned Bahrami's decision.
"We cannot condone such cruel punishment," wrote one blogger. "To willingly inflict the same treatment on a person under court order is a violation of human rights."
Late last year, an Iranian court gave Bahrami what she asked for. It sentenced Movahedi to be blinded with drops of acid in each eye. This month, the courts rejected Movahedi's appeal.
Bahrami's lawyer, Sarrafi, said the sentencing might be carried out in a matter of weeks. He said he doesn't think Bahrami will change her mind. Neither does Bahrami.
"If I don't do this and there is another acid attack, I will never forgive myself for as long as I live," she said.
Bahrami is largely self-sufficient despite not being able to see. She can make a salad, prepare tea and walk up the five flights of stairs that lead to her parents' apartment.
She has undergone more than a dozen surgeries on her badly scarred face, but she says there are many more to come. She can't afford to pay for her medical care, so she's using the Internet to raise money.
She's lost her big brown eyes, but she likes to smile, especially when she imagines her wedding day.
"I always see myself as someone who can see and sometimes see myself in a beautiful wedding gown, and why not?"
HOW was this an act of love? In what world?
I saw a CNN segment on this tragedy while at the gym today, and couldn't help but cry. May Allah (swt) give Ameneh strength, and the beautiful wedding she dreams of. And may he protect us all from deranged, delusional and violent men of this sort.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 12:04 PM
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.
I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.
While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry.
The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health.
He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease.
As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late.
He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.
I was surprised, and asked him, 'And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?'
He smiled as he patted my hand and said,
'She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is.'
I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, 'that is the kind of love I want in my life.'
True love is neither physical, nor romantic.
True love is an acceptance of all that is,
has been, will be, and will not be.
The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.
'Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.'
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 4:01 PM
Thursday, February 12, 2009
"In the Christianization of cultures, ancient celebrations were often replaced by Christian holidays. Some claim that this is the case with Valentine's Day, which falls around the time of the pagan Lupercalia festival. Lupercalia, like many great ancient rituals, included a good old-fashioned goat slaughter. The goat meat was cut into strips, dunked in sacrificial blood and then used to lightly slap women and crops, a ritual that was supposed to make them more fertile. According to legend, single women would then place their names in an urn. Bachelors of the city would draw a name out of the urn and the couple would be paired for the year."
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
One morning, a husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, his wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, drops anchor and settles down to read her book.
Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up next to the woman and greets her, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?"
"Reading a book," she replies (while thinking: "Isn't that obvious?"). "There is no fishing allowed in this area, it's restricted," he informs her. "I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading." "Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start fishing at any moment. I'll have to tow you in and write you up."
"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman. "But I haven't even touched you," says the Game Warden. "That's true," she replies, "but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment."
"Have a nice day ma'am," he quickly replies as he leaves.
MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 5:18 PM
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Don't know what to do? Have no idea where to look? Can't overcome the trend of laughable prospects? Well, reality TV has a solution for you! The show I previously blogged about at Muslamics is making progress as it prepares to launch.
CBS is treading into potentially controversial reality TV territory again.
The network has ordered a new series from the producers of "Top Chef" that puts lovelorn singles into arranged marriages.
The show introduces four adults in the 25-45 age range who are eager to get married but have been unsuccessful in their search for a mate. Their friends and family select a spouse for them, and the newly paired couple exchange marital vows. The series follows their marriages.
The rest of the details for the project, whose early working title is "Arranged Marriage," are being kept under wraps.
The series order for "Marriage" shows that CBS is not shying away from reality projects that might draw a few pointed editorials in the wake of the network's previous envelope-pushing social experiment, the fall 2007 series "Kid Nation."
"Marriage" also will inevitably draw comparisons to another arranged-marriage reality show, Fox's infamous "Married by America."
The 2003 series drew fire from conservative groups, and one bachelor party scene containing pixelated nudity resulted in the Federal Communications Commission's slapping Fox stations with a $1.18 million fine (which was reduced last month to $91,000).
But CBS' project differs from the earlier show in key ways.
In "Married," couples were paired by viewers voting from home and then sequestered in a hotel to learn more about each other. CBS' "Marriage" presents itself as a documentary series about finding true love, a show that extends the Eastern tradition of an arranged marriage (where friends and family select the mate) into the West.
Another difference is that on "Married," despite the pundit outcry, nobody on the show actually ended up getting hitched. On CBS, couples will really tie the knot.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
This week, the Senate will consider a mind-bogglingly large stimulus package - the latest figures put it somewhere in the neighborhood of $900 billion. Here at CREDO, we believe a stimulus package this large is necessary because our economy is in dire straits. But there is a right and a wrong way to stimulate the economy. Join us in asking the Senate not to screw up the stimulus in five easy steps. The Senate needs your help -- so please add your own suggestion when you sign the petition at right.
- Get rid of a $2 billion provision for "clean coal" plants. Instead, invest this money in green infrastructure and alternative energy development.
- Invest in infrastructure, not tax cuts. Don't reward businesses that got us into this mess with tax cuts that won't create new jobs in the future.
- Reinstate the Medicaid Family Planning State Option. Funding state healthcare programs for women will protect jobs of healthcare workers and make sure women living in or on the edge of poverty get the care they need.
- Include meaningful bankruptcy reform. Bankruptcy judges should regain the ability to restructure mortgages (that is, lower the amount owed and the interest rate, reflecting the lower value of the house) so that borrowers can stay in their homes.
- Don't give Verizon $1.6 billion in tax cuts without generating a single new job. Money originally earmarked to encourage companies to bring high speed internet to underserved low-income and rural communities has turned into a billion dollar giveaway to big telecom.
The stimulus package will never be perfect, nor will it please everyone. However, these five key suggestions can help to make it the kind of package that will truly help our economy and aid those Americans who need it the most.
Source: Credo ActionSign the Petition: Credo Approved
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 11:08 PM
Monday, February 02, 2009
This is disturbing beyond words:
However, the women's allegations are described in detail in an affidavit by a State Department investigator assigned to the case. In the affidavit, filed in federal court in Washington, the women give similar accounts of being assaulted by a man described as an official of the U.S. Embassy in the Algerian capital. The official is identified in the affidavit as Andrew Warren, an "employee of the U.S. government" assigned to the embassy.
. . .
ABC, quoting unnamed officials, said the women's accounts were backed up by videotapes that were found in the CIA officer's residence. The tapes, apparently secretly made, allegedly show the CIA officer engaged in sex acts with several women, including one of the alleged victims in the case who appears to be in a semiconscious state, the network reported.
Tupac said it best, "I wonder why we take from our women? Why we rape our women, do we hate our women? I think it's time to kill for our women. Time to heal our women, be real to our women."
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 2:10 PM
Thursday, January 29, 2009
... the nerve of the [Zionist] Israelis never ceases to amaze me:
"Why did they fire rockets? There was no siege against Gaza. Why did they fight us, what did they want? There was never a day of starvation in Gaza."Really? No siege? No starvation?
The silver lining in the story: Turkey MIGHT soon be joining the cool kids club with Venezuela and Bolivia.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 5:16 PM
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
GAZA CITY: There was no party, no celebrations when 22-year-old Aida al-Qaddumi finally got married this week.
There were no regrets either -- she said she was marrying to raise "fighters" and asked only that she might die as a "martyr" in Israel.
Three weeks of a deadly Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip forced postponement of the January 7 wedding, but it did not alter her intentions.
This really puts things in perspective. What are we really looking for in a spouse? What do we really hope to accomplish together? (If not specifically raising fighters, then how about a more general "serving Allah" or "bettering the world" goal?) And what superficial, worldy obstacles are we bowing to, thus undermining our ability to serve Allah?
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
[Apartheid] Israel recruits 'army of bloggers' to combat anti-Zionist Web sites
The Immigrant Absorption Ministry announced on Sunday it was setting up an "army of bloggers," to be made up of Israelis who speak a second language, to represent [apartheid] Israel in "anti-Zionist blogs" in English, French, Spanish and German.
The program's first volunteer was Sandrine Pitousi, 31, from Kfar Maimon, situated five kilometers from Gaza. "I heard about the project over the radio and decided to join because I'm living in the middle of the conflict," she said.
. . .
"During the war, we looked for a way to contribute to the effort," the ministry's director general, Erez Halfon, told Haaretz. "We turned to this enormous reservoir of more than a million people with a second mother tongue." Other languages in which bloggers are sought include Russian and Portuguese.
. . .
Within 30 minutes of announcing the program, which was approved by the Foreign Ministry on Sunday, five volunteers were already in touch, Halfon said.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 10:30 PM
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Tomorrow, Friday the 16th, has been designated a National Call in Day for Gaza. We need to get key phone lines ringing off the hook, starting tomorrow.
All we need is 15 minutes of your time.
How important is your participation? MPAC reports that <
Can you imagine that? For every person of conscience who called in solidarity with the Palestinians, the LA Mayor's office heard from 10 people who supported the actions of the murderous state of Israel.
With the death toll now well over 1,000 and hospitals, schools and relief agency headquarters all under unprecedented military attack, 15 minutes is the LEAST we can do.
Please check out the simple instructions included below, and start calling. Then keep calling, AND please spread the word.
Please Circulate Widely!
National Call-In Day for Gaza!
January 16, 2009
We designate Friday, January 16th as National Call-In Day for Gaza. Calling is quick, easy, and effective, and will take about 5-10 minutes. We need to keep the phones ringing non-stop for the duration of the day so that our message CAN NO LONGER BE IGNORED.
Contact in order of importance:
1) Call President-Elect Obama's Transition Team at 202-540-3000.
Ask that President-Elect Obama and his team call for:
1) An immediate cease-fire.
2) An end to the blockade and siege of Gaza.
3) An immediate withdrawal from Gaza.
Be firm and polite and stress the fact that over a thousand people have died and thousands have been injured in Gaza, mainly civilians. This follows months of suffering under a severe blockade that has resulted in shortages of food, fuel and basic medical supplies. When calling, mention (UN Security Council Resolution 1860 that was adopted last week which calls for an immediate ceasefire and unimpeded humanitarian access.
2) Call your Representative at 202-224-3121. Ask how they voted on House Resolution 34 which passed overwhelmingly in the House last Friday, with 390 Representatives voting yes, 5 no, and 22 present. The resolution "recognizes Israel's right to defend itself" and "reaffirms the United States' strong support for Israel."
If your Representative voted "no" or "present" on H.Res. 34, thank them and ask that they cosponsor Rep. Kucinich's upcoming resolution.
If your representative voted "yes" on H.Res. 34 state your disagreement with their vote and ask them to co-sponsor the Kucinich resolution.
3) Call your Senators at 202-224-3121 and assert your disagreement with their unanimous vote on Senate Resolution 10 and ask that they introduce a resolution in the Senate that is similar to Rep. Kucinich's resolution in the House.
Please forward this to all your lists and personally contact 10 friends and urge them to make these calls to save lives in Gaza.
Change happens with numbers. That is how Obama became president and that is how we can bring a lasting peace and justice to the Palestinians. As people living in America, we control the discourse and the funding that has resulted in the present massacre in Gaza. Considering the fundamental role that we play in this political situation, our participation is the least we can do.
"The death of children is the death of innocence, and the death of innocence is the downfall of humanity."
– Emine Erdogan, wife of Turkey's Prime Minister, 1/10/09
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 6:25 PM
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
BEIJING - A 107-year-old Chinese woman who was afraid to marry when she was young has decided to look for her first husband and hopes to find a fellow centenarian so they will have something to talk about, a Chinese paper reported.
Wang Guiying is worried she is becoming a burden to her aging nieces and nephews since breaking her leg when she was 102 and had to stop doing chores like washing her clothes.
"I'm already 107 and I still haven't got married," the Chongqing Commercial Times quoted her saying. "What will happen if I don't hurry up and find a husband?"
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Remember all of that excitement about finally having Muslims (yes, plural. We celebrated twice.) in Congress?
It seems, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) voted YES on House Resolution 34, while Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Min) answered PRESENT per:
The Library of Congress
What is House Resolution 34? According to the bill title, it is "recognizing [apartheid] Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States’ strong support for [apartheid] Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."
If we couldn't get them to vote against this, aren't they for the most part useless?
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 3:39 AM
Friday, January 09, 2009
This afternoon, a friend emailed me a picture of a Friday afternoon Gaza protest that took place outside the mosque I grew up attending. I recognized some of the faces; uncle figures who had helped raise me. This small San Gabriel mosque and these people are not the type I would ever imagine affiliated with a protest. But subhana'Allah, the modern day genocide in Gaza has given the silent amongst us voices. Everybody is organizing. Everybody is acting. So, thank you Palestine:
Thank you Palestine for setting us free.
Thank you for giving the masses of Arabs a voice.
Thank you for giving the masses of Arabs a will.
Thank you for giving the masses of Arabs a uniting cause.
They were thrown down the well of humiliation,
Just like Josef; to get rid of them
They were pushed one small step at a time
Mow they are so used to it
Now they cannot tell if it was day or night
But you Palestine set them free
There is no darkness like occupation and
there is no light like liberty.
And that is not all!
Even those who were silenced after 9/11 got their voice back.
Thank you for giving Muslims in the US a voice.
Thank you for giving Muslims in the US a will.
Thank you for giving Muslims in the US a uniting cause.
Palestine you have awakened hearts from Caracas to those in a far away sea
Palestine, you have set us free so many times...
When will we set you free.
When ... ?
Thursday, January 08, 2009
On Why We Will March for Palestine this Weekend:
Perhaps now more than at any other time in recent memory, we must rally and march for Gaza.
We must march for the babies, the children, and the innocent victims of aggression and mass killing.
We must let the people of Gaza, and all of Palestine, know that they are not alone in this time of existential crisis.
We must march to join hundreds of thousands of global citizens who demand an end to this orgy of killing perpetrated by an Israeli war machine that is trained, funded, and supported by American tax dollars.
We must march to uphold the rule of international law over the appetite of colonialism and ethnic cleansing.
We must march to challenge the unconscionable blockade of Gaza, and to denounce the resulting humanitarian crisis that now threatens the lives of more than 1.5 million human beings.
We must march to demonstrate our call for an end to the root cause of this war-namely, the illegal and violent occupation of Palestine itself.
We must march to build momentum to support the long and difficult work that we must all do to change the one-sided and morally bankrupt policies of the United States that give unquestioned support to the actions of a settler state.
And finally - the most important reason of all - we must march to honor the commandment of our own faith tradition to oppose injustice, with our hands, our tongues, and our hearts.
This national solidarity event will not, in itself, bring peace and justice to the people of Gaza. But it is a necessary part of a larger, and longer, strategy for mobilization to end this war, and support the conditions for freedom and justice for the people of Palestine.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 11:05 PM