Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Power Of

This writing came to life after I observed Pablo Picasso's painting titled " The Blue Guitar".


I must have been 18. maybe 17. On a school field trip to the local museum. Or maybe in an art book in an art class. The blue guitar was the name of the painting. By Pablo Picasso el hombre mas incredibile en el mundo te digo pero la guitara con el hombre, si, los dos … Fuerza incredibile. But the force of the painting stopped me then and it stopped me now much older in life, supposedly more carved with the claws of life but the feeling.

That feeling. Was the same. Ever wonder why there are things out there that make you stop? Like moments. People. A breeze. A voice. A thought. A vision on the street. Why do we stop?

The power of.

They say in each and every one of us lies the seed of history. Pablo was a human being like each and every one of us with a dream to be an artist. But things got rough and this artist paints The Blue Guitar right after a close friend commits suicide. Four years. Four years he spent in grief – they call them the blue years.

What feelings moved that paint brush? What force of true, pure gush of sincerity. And the seed of history in Pablo sprouted like a blue rose out of his blood into his veins moving the tip of his fingers holding the paint brush stroking the canvas in blue and blue and blue. Because you see. Yes. You see.

You see the canvas and the man with his guitar. And you stop. And you don’t know what power is this that makes you, an ordinary human being walking by, to stop. Gripped by something. You don’t know what. In that painting. The power of.

In this way, Pablo Picasso becomes a man of history, because now, before, and forever his art speaks to the hearts of people for ages and ages to come. Can you, tell me, yes, in my ear….whisper to me…. can you do the same?

Men of history. People of history. They must have been just like you and me, who, suddenly, found themselves in blue. Blue years of grief. Like our Prophet. Yes. Him. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Need we number the grief he’s gone through?

I fear that I live life and feel sorrow, but not all of my sorrow. and love, but not all of my love. Then I have not lived.


Monday, June 15, 2009


Can I ask a question? How do I let a non-muslim guy know I'm not interested, when I see he has feelings for me? It's not me.

It's my muslim friend. For real. But one thing we have in common is that we both put on a crazy mean attitude on like the kid in the picture, yeah, you see him, kinda like that :-)... so in the end the man runs so fast like he was in a nike commercial!

But come on. There's got to be a more civilized way. me and her just don't know it. Any ideas? ... :-)

And pweeeeez don't give me the "let's just be friends" thing cuz oh boy. that don't work if you put an energizer battery in it and slapped it hard on the back! But yeah...


Saturday, June 6, 2009

ahahaha !!!! :-)

boys still holla around here, and I think I've had built up anger and frustration about it for a while now but like. so I thought I was kinda sucking it up and letting it roll past me but I guess I was wrong -- :-) -- today while I'm walking some guy goes, what translates from Arabic to english as, " you so damn beautiful".

and like out of the blue i turn around, put on this mad lion grrrr face and bark out: "No I'm not beautiful!!!!!!!!!!" lol! hahahahha :-) so the guy shrinks in his place and he's like "okay".

hahahha :-) I can't stop laughing, his face, i can't forget hahahhaha :-)


Friday, June 5, 2009

Her Bum Was Showing

It is with great pleasure that I think back to my sistaz. All beautiful covered head to toe hijab beauty queens like no other the world has seen before. I love you girls and let me tell you why.

I have a Muslim friend here in the mid east. She is not a practicing Muslim. Now I’ve been, and still continue to be a firm believer that I should never judge anybody for the way they live their lives, and I certainly will not tell them what to do, or how to embrace their faith. I’ve always been trained, as well, to believe that I should include all Muslims, from all walks of life, into mine, and to ask Allah (swt) to guide them to the right path in the way that He sees fit, for only He knows best what lies in the hearts and intentions of his followers.

Good. Now. Let’s see. Where were we. Oh yes, my non-practicing Muslim friend. So the other day she says, “hey, all faculty get into the university private beach from free so let’s go lady!” I was like okay, why not. That stack of papers to mark ain’t goin nowhere, might as well take it with me and mark in the company of beautiful blue sea.

When I stepped out of my apartment, I looked like this: baggy black pants, the ones I usually wear for work-out, long-sleeved shirt with a long T-Shirt on top, black socks, running shoes, purple hijab, a watch, an ipod, a small back-pack and a folder full of papers to mark.

My friend met me at the beach. Now. Ladies. I must say. This is the first time in my entire adult life that I’ve actually been this close in one place to a self-identified Muslim woman, who is my friend, who I accept into my life the way she is, the one I tolerate and absorb and include and embrace and and and and. The one I think of as part of the Muslim world. The one I think of as my sister in Islam by faith.

Well. This is the first time I’ve been this close in one place and see one in a tiny insy winsy little bikini that barely covers her butt or her upper thighs, let alone her chest area. This was. A real. True. Bikini!

Yeah. It’s one thing to see her at work, in the cafeteria, on the street, downtown, at the supermarket or anywhere else. Usually dressed normal. Not too revealing. Not too covered. Moderate.

It’s another thing to see her at THE BEACH. Now before I continue, I want you, veiled sisters in particular, to think of all the Muslim veiled women friends you have, especially the ones you think like oh she’s got attitude, or like she’s a bit of a snob, or she’s too annoying, or she stinks, or she talks too fast, or she’s dumb, or she’s too strict, or she’s too loose, or she’s too traditional, or she’s too attached to culture in a silly way, or she’s too blah, or she’s this or that or whatevah ...

…I want you to go to that veiled beautiful young woman. And kiss her. Yes. I kid you not. Hug and kiss her four times on the cheek and then tell her Quest loves you. And then tell her that you love her, and you realize how much Allah (swt) loves you for bringing her into your life.

Now. I continue. When I communicated to my friend that she’s almost naked, she says, basically, that she’s like this, and she thinks I am “constraining myself’ by being veiled. As much as I am a firm believer in diplomacy and love to all my Muslim sisters, I have now learned an important lesson in life. Not all sisters fit in my heart, my trust, my pure honest friendship. Sisters come in degrees. Of separation :-)

With this one, I learned, and decided, to always show her, nice and gently, that we can never be best friends, or true ‘sisters’ even if we agree on many other things. Complexity in friendships can be paralyzing if we don’t know what we can handle, and what we simply cannot and will not accept.

I will not cut my friend off, because I love many things about her, but I will always show her that I’m careful around her, so if she’s looking for a best-friend or a really close friend, I’m basically telling her you won’t find that with me. And when I look for a best friend it won’t be her. That’s the idea.

I will always voice my disagreement with things she does – such as wear a bikini cut for a four year old!

I will keep her distant, see her less than often, push her into further degrees of separation in the grid of sisterhood or friendship in my life. Again, complexity in friendships can be paralyzing if we don’t know what we can handle, and what we simply cannot and will not accept.

In the meantime, I’m looking for new friends!



Italian Marxists who are newspaper correspondents in Jerusalem, who have an adopted Palestinian child.

Womens Rights activist who works at the Lebanese-Italian embassy and films documentaries on oral story-telling by women in the Palestinian camps.

A Lebanese-American linguistics specialist who seems unhappy about having a Lebanese passport or citizenship. Obama lover, though.

A Jordanian NGO worker.

And my host: the person who invited me over to this dinner gathering tonight where I met all these people. He is a professor at the university who specializes in the Palestinian immigration problem.

There you have it. Lebanon. Life. Here. Is. Beautiful.

But elections are coming up, and the question of the night, among many others, was: Will Hizbollah win?


Thursday, June 4, 2009


Yesterday was an open mic poetry reading. A bunch of professors, teachers, instructors, poets, writers, artists, students too, come together at a cafe to read their creative writing.

An hour before this, I took something from this blog. I read it to one of my friends. Performed it. The one titled "Perfect Strangers - part six". I did the "little kid voice" and then the adult narrator. It kinda sounds like I'm acting.

So my friend really liked it. She said I should read it at the open mic.

We went. She read her stuff then asked me to read mine. I didn't .... I didn't read it. I don't know why ... could it be that I'm shy? afraid? maybe I'm not comfortable talking about personal stuff to a pack of strangers .... but then, you guys are strangers reading my stuff :-) ... not that I have a problem with that at all. On the contrary, I feel close to you guys even though I don't know you ...

A colleague who was there told me, "maybe you weren't feeling it. Don't be harsh on yourself".... it's weird... and I thought I liked attention :-).... why did I not pick up that mic? ...blah....


Monday, June 1, 2009

Still up in Stars: On Teaching

Like falling in true love. I imagine.

Allah (swt) puts us in paths to train us for our destiny. So when that heart beats. And beats. And beats. I know I'm on the right track.

At the end of the term, I asked the students to write a small reflective journal. "What did you learn this term?" -- was the question they had to answer.

One kid called me an optimistic leader. But that wasn't what got my heart racing like I was in love.

This did. A journal entry by one of the students who is french-educated, so he struggled in english when we first started the term.

And I didn't make this up, by the way, in case you're wondering. And. I can't prove that what I say is true but the beat of my heart racing as I read each line infront of my eyes which one day, for sure, will be asked in front of Allah (swt) to witness each word I say.

PS: I did proofread the piece for grammar mistakes. Sorry. I am annoying like that. Ask my students :-)


"What did I learn this term" -- English 102/Final Portfolio

I am supposed to say in this essay what I have learned during this semester, and what I was able to achieve in this course. Typically, one would simply start by emphasizing on how much this course hepled him and pushed him to 'love' English. But I am going to be one of the honest people, and say what I truly believe.

I have learned from this course how much it has benefited me in my academic and non-academic life to take this course. And what I personally think of my professor.

I have never liked English class. I never took it seriously because I thought that I was actually too good to even take one in the first place. But in my defense, I was in a French education school which forced on us a "French teacher to teach us English". Imagine the irony in that!

I personally wasn't the best student and didn't have the best of grades. But I can affirm to you that I surely spoke better English than my own teacher!

She might have been better in the writing part but definately not in the oral part.

But it all changed when I got into AUB or even when I started to take my SAT. I had realized the lack of knowledge that I had in the English language. And this lack is what got me to take english 102 in the first place. But I don't hate this, because I actually got to see what it means to study English, and found it to be amazing.

I found it amazing to write an essay like this one or even a simple free-writing, I actually liked this in our class because in the French system I was forced to write about specific boring stuff in a certain way that I wasn't allowed to say what I truly beleive in the way I am doing right now.

This is what pushed me to get more interested in this course, the space that a student gets in writing.

And to a few words about the teacher. Well to be honest this is my first real English teacher, at least the first to actually speak the language correctly. But I am sure she is one of the best, due to a specific charisma and noticeable love for the material she teaches, shown by the hard work put in the choice of the texts we study.

But also the hope that she gives to a student like the stories she says from her personal experience as a teacher who at first missed the basics of English ( as she said to us), but then had to retake them in school and university to become who she is today.

That shows us that anyone, even someone without a very strong basis in English like me, can actually become something one day, if he decides to do so.