Monday, October 25, 2010

RIP Gregory Isaacs (1951-2010)

Night Nurse
Tell her try your best jest to make it quick
Whom attend to the sick
'Cause there must be something she can do
This heart is broken in two
Tell her it's a case of emergency
There's a patient by the name of Gregory

Night nurse
Only you alone can quench this Jah thirst
My night nurse, oh gosh
Oh the pain it's getting worse

I don't wanna see no doc
I need attendence from my nurse around the clock
'Cause there's no prescription for me
She's the one, the only remedy

Night nurse
Only you alone can quench this Jah thirst
My night nurse
Oh the pain it's getting worse
I hurt my love

I don't wanna see no doc
I need attendence from my nurse around the clock
'Cause there's no prescription for me
She's the one, the only remedy

Night nurse
Only you alone can quench this Jah thirst
My night nurse
Oh the pain it's getting worse
I hurt my love

And I'm sure
No doctor can cure
Night nurse
Night nurse

Video of Night Nurse

:( Another great artist dies. The music world will miss you greatly. I will miss you greatly but I will console myself knowing that I can still hear your voice via my ipod. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Hello Folks!

So I have been MIA for a while but I swear its not for naught. I have been busy lining up my ducks in a row and possibly doing a life upheaval too. Its been an unenlightening Ramadhan. I usually find some peace during the fasting period but this year I suffered a spiritual disconnect even though I did more Ibadha than last year. Inshallah my fast and yours are accepted.

I am also in the midst of taking an online course and its daunting at times but for the most part, I have fun logging in at 3 am and writing on the boards. My experiments are at times last minute but I have to say I couldn't do it without my sister. We have come to regard my homework time as bonding time and we giggle about the questions and my ability to naturally think of the answers without engaging my mathematical brain. Who would have known huh?

My book reading has been really taking off. I am now a member of three book clubs plus my own reading list. I have taken to notating my thoughts of the books on a notepad. Some books have made me question myself and others have lead to questioning society at large. At the moment I am juggling Reading Lolita in Tehran and Sepharad. Both of the books complement each other, in that one speaks of families and lives shattered by Hitler's zeal, while the other speaks of Iranian revolution seen via works of fiction.

I have literary turned into a signed book collector. I have so far collected four signatures of authors and Inshallah by end of October I should have three more signed books under my belt; Nuruddin Farah, Uwen Akpan and Azar Nafisi. Since I am uprooting myself in the coming weeks, I am feeling nostalgic about MN and have taken to doing Minnesotan activities. I have gone to the state fair, attended a Vikings game, gone to a jazz festival and hope to squeeze a few more things before I say my adieu.

Finally, I am planning to visit Turkey in spring. I am looking forward to those two weeks. It will be a year since I have gone traveling by the time I embark on the journey. I will be making the trip with my trusted friend B. We have already had a breakfast meeting to set an itinerary of activities which, she will ensure I keep to. I dare say we will have a few more meetings before I move because she will be solely in charge and will only meet me at the airport when we leave. My arms break out in goosebumps when I think of all the historical places I will be stepping into. I have always dreamed of being inside the Blue mosque and can't wait to tick that box off my travel list.

So what have you been up to??

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Things I cherish about Ramadhan

Each Ramadhan presents a chance for any muslim to better their iman. The other day my friend, Julia, asked me what it is that makes me nostalgic for Ramadhan and I listed a bunch of things. I like the fact that the family as unit eat iftar together and pray together. I like the fact that in Kenya we sent an assortment plate of food to all our neighbours and it came back laden with their dishes. I like the fact that everyone is respectful, contemplative and mindful of their actions. In Mombasa the streets would be packed with people selling iftar that even when iftar finds you enroute to your home you can find dates and coffee a step away, but most of all its the Quran hafiz competitions that makes my heart yearn for my childhood home.

The competition, these days is more organized and is held in Makadara with contestants coming from all over the world. The prize this year is a trip to Hajj. I wish the best to all the contestants and Mashallah may Allah reward their knowledge and skill. Below is a clip of the ongoing competition which will conclude tomorrow. Enjoy.

PS:- I have been meaning to post about a Surah this Ramadhan and I already picked it and researched it but I haven't been able to sit down and write about it. Inshallah I hope to have it up for Laylatul Qadr. Remember that these last ten days Allah SWT forgives his believers. May all our sins be forgiven Inshallah. Ameen.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Creating the divide between Americans and American Muslims

Watching the news media in the past few weeks I have felt exceedingly alienated with each day. I didn't realize what effect all this negative propaganda had on me till I was sitting at work and a news item about the Cordoba center came on. I suddenly found myself feeling self conscious and I looked around at the people sitting at the tables. I tried to catch their eyes and read their thoughts. To see if they regarded me as an 'other' and all I was met with were eyes that looked passive. I steeled my heart because I realized that all over America people might be watching the same channel, and perhaps their eyes were as passive as the ones around me.

On 9/11, I was on campus drinking my coffee and catching up on notes when I saw the first images of the towers going down. It was shocking and I remember saying a quick prayer to God for mercy on all the souls that were going to be touched by this tragedy. The next day I got text messages about not coming to school because of fear. I remember my mother asking me to stay home but I was so sure of this country, my country. Apart from some odd stares here and there I didn't feel any fear at all. So tell me why the other day as I was driving with my window down and listening to Quran I felt fear creep into my heart when I stopped at a red light. I noticed an eerie silence and I chanced a look to my left. A man was staring intently at me. I smiled at him and he didn't return the smile and kept staring daggers at me. I looked back to the road and tried to shake the creepy feeling off me.

My tale is not singular in essence. The illusion of the 'other' in American history has led to certain minorities being persecuted i.e. Japanese, Jews, Blacks. The foolhardy, short sighted plan of the political candidates as well as cultural leaders is slowly unfurling the very fabric of the pluralistic and tolerant society that is United States. Scapegoating Muslims and Islam for political capital has long lasting effects that feeds off the fear of some Americans. I am as American as the next person. My religion is a personal choice that is protected by the constitution. Do not marginalize the American Muslims, who are contributing members of society, for the sins of the few. Division in society has never led to prosperity and I should know for Somalia has been mired in war for 20+ years due to divisions.

This is not only about the Cordoba Center anymore, this is about standing up for values that are intrinsically American; freedom, democracy, religion, acceptance, diversity, loyalty etc.  As a society that shares these common beliefs, I implore you to live out the motto "E Pluribus Unum" {Out of Many One}.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ramadhan and Muslims

First off Ramadhan Kareem and Saum Maqbul to my beloved readers.

Today as I was sitting in contemplation during my lunch hour, something on TV caught my attention. It was a story of a muslim woman suing Disney because they wouldn't allow her to work with her hijab on, at least not while she was hosting. According to the report Disney told the woman that she is allowed to dorn her Hijab in the back but when she was interacting with Disney guests she had to remove it. A minute later former Mayor of New York Rudy was on the tube talking about the Cordoba Mosque.

I am not sure how to feel about Islam in the media lately. Personally I can understand the stance Cordoba Institute is taking regarding the planned construction but I feel that perhaps in the interest of peace they should just find another site to build their center. Its apparently is a hot issue for some New Yorkers and now its gaining national momentum.  A house of worship shouldn't stir such hateful sentiments and if it does then its better to rethink the decision.

As for muslims in general I feel like we have invited this type of attention and phobia to ourselves by secluding ourselves. The muslim communities/families around where I live stick to their own kind and never branch out into the community or society. In America we enjoy the freedom to practice our religion how we want to but we have isolated ourselves and our communities by being so close knit. Perhaps if we talked to John down the street he might come around to ask why we fast during Ramadhan or why Samira wears a hijab.

We need to intergrate ourselves into our communities like taking part in national night out or the local fair. Thats my humble opinion and I pray each day that USA doesn't become like Europe and strip away some of the freedoms we enjoy. Education is the key here and I hope we all do something to better the situation instead of making it worse.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

WC 2010 Final

The stage has been set. 32 teams came to prove themselves on a pitch and only two survive; Espana and Netherlands. The only question that remains to be answered is who will be left standing.

This has been a historical world cup from the get go. It was the first world cup held in Africa, it was the first world cup where 5 Latin American countries advanced to the 16, it was the first world cup that an African nation had gotten to the Quarter finals and now the contenders for the WC are two teams that haven't ever won the world cup!

What can we expect in T minus two hours? These two teams are different in their approach, tactically as well as mentally. I am looking for Espana to be dominating the midfield and possession. If Pedro gets to start then he will most likely provide Inesta the ability to move from left to right at leisure. Espana has a lot of speed and can overun the midfield if allowed. Holland has to play smart and not allow through balls to Sergio Ramos who looks very strong from his position and is constantly moving up, as was seen in the Semi, when he gave Boateng a run for his money.

Holland have to be extremely disciplined in this game if they want to win. Defensively they have to keep their back line and Robben and Snejder, who have the knack of losing balls, need to be extra vigilant today and stick with patterned play. Any deviation might mean a loss. So far Lady Luck has been on their side with the goal posts helping in goal scoring but they can't depend on this. Holland has to test Puyol, Pique, Busquets by being confident that they can penetrate into Espana's box, after all in the last few years it was the Dutch who molded Barca style of play.

Finally Espana has only had seven goals throughout the tournament. It doesn't say much about how they can get results even with their tactics but in the finals the slates are wiped clean and all the World will remember, is who emerged victorious. As for me, I will be donning my Oranje shirt today and hope that this will indeed be a historical day for the Dutch (winning the WC) and South Africa (a start to heal wounds that have long been there).

Picture courtesy of nydailynews

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Sports Heaven

For the past month or so I have been perpetually transfixed to the TV set in my basement. NBA playoffs followed by World Cup. I have spent hours in other sport fanatics homes as we discussed the in and outs of the games. I have to say this has by far been the most happiest memory of WC I have had. My sisters are grown up enough to join in the craziness and the rivalries have led to goaded phonecalls after each loss but ladies and gents I am here to say I am the only one standing. 

I predicted all the quarter finalist that are in WC 2010. I hope that Oranje makes me proud when they finally lift the golden cup come July 11th. Its going to be a furious run to the finish line and I will have to wear my team colors with each game. I know I probably don't make sense but I am running on a few hours of sleep and a lot of adrenaline. I have work tomorrow and a rash of articles of write and edit. 

Ps:- I needed a change with my template and I am not sure this fits the bill, so it might change till I find the right fit.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The calculating Ms Hirsi

I am a staunch believer in freedom of expression. I read INFIDEL not because I ascribe to Ms Hirsi's beliefs but because I was curious what the big hoopla was about her. I found the book to be a narrative of her life and didn't fault her for putting it down. Reading the book, I found myself chuckling at things she wrote that at one time I also questioned. I didn't see much in her book that made me want to harm her. Her narrative mirrored a lot of Somali women's narrative. There was nothing special about her story and she knows it, but what sets her apart from the Weris Diriye's is the fact that Ms. Hirsi is a calculating woman. She, unlike Weris, is knowledgeable and aware of what her opine means in the greater context of the discourse of Islam in the West.

Her new book Nomad is out and hopefully I will get a copy soon, but what prompted my post was a review I saw on huffingtonpost regarding her book. As an afterthought, the writer writes :

I do get the sense once in a while in the second half of Nomad, which discusses her arrival in America, that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a little starry eyed about the West. Yes, Christianity at its best is about love; and no, it is not an all-encompassing theocratic order. But in its fundamentalist reaches the literalism and dogma of evangelicals generates plenty of intolerance, hypocrisy and familial dysfunction. And let's don't forget about the sex scandals in the Catholic Church.

Also, no doubt, in contrast to her experience of misogyny and polygamy Western men look pretty good. But to suggest they are nearly always upright and faithful to their wives and family is to ignore the reality of so many ugly divorces, forlorn children raised by the media, battered spouses and deadbeat dads. Certainly, the West has its fair share of desperate housewives.

Many Muslim readers will have bigger squabbles. How much does Hirsi Ali's experience, in which faith and clan are fused, tell us about, say, modern Turkey or Iran? Others, like Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, the Shiite theorist and first president of revolutionary Iran, will argue that the concept of "Tawhid" -- that the whole of existence is one -- understands that freedom, not submission and domination, is the path to the divine. Yet, admittedly, he lives in exile outside Paris like Trotsky in Mexico City while "actually existing Islam" is run by the Revolutonary Guard back in Tehran.

Above all, like Hirsi Ali's first account of her defection from Islam, Infidel, the power of this book is that it was written in "good faith" as Nicola Chiaromonte meant it: As a witness to her moment, Hirsi Ali calls it as she sees it. She has arrived at her beliefs not by retreating into orthodoxy out of fear of uncertainty or through the nihilism of indifference, but because experience has led her to them. If she wants to live in this world as a free women, here she must stand.

Ms Hirsi is a smart woman who has calculated that her experiences give her a unique perspective that is much needed fodder for the anti Islamic sentiments out there. Unfortunately those of us who speak up against her, without understanding where she is coming from, help her in painting her portrait more succinctly. We would do well to educate ourselves on the issues she raises and counteracting them instead of wildly throwing abuse at her.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dear LOST, I am a believer!

Today, as I dropped my sister off I saw this banner hanging off a balcony and I just had to snap this photo. I have been an avid LOSTIE for six seasons. I have introduced the show to people who have joined the cult and tonite I watched the culmination of six years of believing in two brilliant producers.

For the audience that hasn't watched LOST or caught an episode and was confused by the storyline, may I encourage you to set aside the whole summer to watch this TV series. The mind boggles at how religion/spirituality plays such a central role in this series. For a society that is steadily moving to secularism coupled with a decline in institutionalized religion, LOST has been able to capture the attention of millions of Americans.

The island is symbolic. Jack was being tested. He had to accept that he had died and find the people whom his life touched in order to move on. Move on to where exactly? That is unknown. That is left for interpretation. For the believers of Heaven/Hell, Jack would seem to have moved on to Heaven. For the believers of another life after death, Jack could have very well moved on to another life. For an atheist, I guess Jack just screws it all up for there is nothing after death!

Thank you Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse for a wonderful show that thrilled me every single week with questions that you have not yet completely answered. It was a blast and I shall miss you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Sometimes life hands you reasons to do things. Due to recent events I have discovered what real friends I have. I absolutely can count on them to be there no matter what. To lend me a hand and a shoulder, no questions asked. Even despite any misunderstanding I might have had with them.

Most people view friendships as transient relationships, ones that form and break daily. I view friendships as life long. I weave and nurture these relationships to the point that I can almost understand the person without a verbal affirmation.

But once in a while I realize that I have invested heavily in something only to have no return on the investment. So to the investments I have recently dumped from my portfolio:
After viewing the quarterly/yearly reports I have found that I have been backing a failed enterprise. One that is draining my funds. So, before my portfolio goes belly up I am going to reinvest in my fail safe accounts. The ones that have shown continual returns even though once in a while their quarterly reports give me a heart attack. Its been fun and a pleasant learning experience all around. I hope the market favors you in the coming years :)
Yours sincerely,

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The bond we forged

I was looking for a few papers for my mother the other day that required me to go digging into the family archive. As I sifted through boxes I came across memories of bygone days. Memories of moments treasured forever in my heart.

When I was young I used to hear the adage that girls marry men like their fathers. I used to want to marry a man like my father. A gentle man who encouraged me and nurtured me. A man who taught me to stand for what I believe in no matter what. A man who sat me on his lap each afternoon to work on crosswords puzzles, who on a trip together struggled with a comb and hair band to make me look decent (which I didn't) and one who always stood up for me.

There are many things I regret in my life. My decision to isolate myself from my father might be a costly one that I will probably regret for a long time coming. Somethings once said cannot be taken back and somethings once done can never be undone. We live with these decisions and their consequences day in and day out but one thing is for sure, no one can love me like my father and no one can ever take his place in my heart. I hope, inshallah, to one day find a way to bridge the rift that has opened up between us and till then I find comfort in this song.

Your Joy by Chrisette Michele
Walked down the sidewalk
Starin' at your feet
Wishin' my steps were longer
So by your sides I could keep

Hold your hand much bigger
Never wanted mine to grow
So I could always feel perfect
Inside your palms just so

No one loves me just like you do
No one knows me just like you do
No one can compare
To the way my eyes fit in yours

You'll always be my father
And I'll always be your joy

Laid me on your belly
Nights when mama wasn't home
Lightning had made me shiver
And you never let me feel alone

I tried to match your breathing
Beating my little heart against yours
Perfect were the nights, we were sleepin'
I never wanna end what we are

'Cause no one loves me just like you do
And no one knows me just like you do
No one can compare
To the way my eyes fit in yours

You'll always be my father
And I'll always be your joy

One day he'll come on bended knee
And ask my love away from thee
And when I give my love to him
He'll always have a place within

One day he'll come on bended knee
And ask my love away from thee
And when I give my love to him
He'll always have a place within

No one loves me just like you do
No one knows me just like you do
No one can compare
To the way my eyes fit in yours

You'll always be my father
And I'll always be your joy

Monday, May 03, 2010


I have been working on a personal project for one year. It is really shameful if I factor in all the hours/minutes and energy I have put in on other people's project. Each time I sit down to finish my project, mind you it only needs tweaking and some updating, I feel lethargic and down right lazy.

I am beginning to wonder if I have a subconscious issue with this project. I have been sitting in front of my laptop for the past two hours and I have just barely made a dent. I have a pile of notes sitting by me that I have diligently compiled over the months. I know the material like the back of my hand but when it comes down to putting it in action I am stumped.

Today, Inshallah, I intend to finish this project come hell or high water. I am going to lose out on a great many opportunities due to this negligence. Ugh, pray for me :( My mind is devious in coming up with excuses.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping sister SD?

As the days have gotten longer my sleep has gotten shorter and so I resorted to taking some Ambien every couple weeks if I have a stretch of three hours or less of sleep each night. On one of those night I took 1/2 tab of Ambien, I curled up to sleep and as usual slipped my cell phone under my pillow. I woke up refreshed in the morning and went to work. It was a half day at work and I was going to enjoy the glorious afternoon by pampering myself with a hair dressers appointment.

I left work at midday and as I was walking out I checked my missed call and messages. I noticed that I picked up a call a little bit after midnight. I didn't remember talking to anyone so I texted messaged the caller to verify this fact. The text came back yes I talked to you last night but you sounded out of it. WT fudgecakes! I scrolled down to my text messages and I also had sent a couple text messages out while I was asleep. I freaked out and wondered what else I did while being medicated but thank God there wasn't anything else.

I promised myself I won't take those pills unless it is absolutely necessary. I can do certain things to help me get to sleep. Listening to Quran does it for me, working out and then taking a hot shower right before bed, drinking some warm cocoa and reading. I can also take away the distractions from my bed like my computer and phone. I don't believe in TV watching so I don't have one in my bedroom thank God. Hopefully all these measures will lead me to a sleep induced state that doesn't require a chemical cocktail in my body.

I wonder what other things people can do to fall asleep?

Friday, April 09, 2010

Maya Angelou

There are very few writers I love as much as I love this woman. Her words touch millions of people worldwide. Who among us hasn't picked up one of her works? The most famous of which is I know why the caged bird sings. Inshallah this May I will get a chance to hear her speak and hopefully meet her. She will be at the O'Shaughnessy theater- St Catherine University (St Paul). Its an evening of poetry and I already got tickets for my friend and also my beloved aunt. I can't wait to hear her live recite some of my favorite poems

Still I Rise- Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gospel Music?

I was watching this video on youtube the other day and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what denomination these guys were. Their message was pretty generic, hell I could even sing the song without feeling like I was in church. I think what probably throws me off the most is that they are wearing toubs/kanzus with gunias (potato sacks) over them. Thats really strange. I know I have seen this denomination before in Kenya and I know they have an official name, its just I can't remember!

So if anyone knows drop me a line please :-) Much obliged.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

International Women Day

Ok I know it was yesterday but I wanted to discuss a report that came out today that has to do with marking this day. This report is the Global Gender Gap report and is released annually by the World Economic Forum (WEF). This report measures the gap between men and women in terms of education, health, political representation and economic activity. Iceland topped the list followed by Finland, Norway, Sweden then New Zealand. Canada came in at #25 and US at #31. What surprised me was South Africa being ranked #6. This is not because South Africa is not particularly egalitarian but rather that women in South Africa cannot be termed as equal, certainly not in economic activity and one of the reason why South Africa inched up in ranking is because of the influx of women appointed by the new government.

So my question remains, are women really gaining any foothold when it comes to equality in society? Yes, there are more women in school than before, certainly there are more women in the workplace but the sad fact remains that majority of women do not command the same pay as men do. We have acquiesced on maternity leave and childcare services for the long hours of work with shoddy pay. Scandinavian countries seems to have the right recipe for women with paid parental leave and childcare system in place to support women especially single mothers. How about adhering to quotas of women representation in politics like Rwanda does? US for all its wealth and power has a long way to go in terms of a egalitarian society.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The surface looks smooth but underneath there is a swirling mass bubbling. Once in a while a bubble will break the surface and if you are not careful the stream of steam it lets off will scald you. It is a rare occurrence and one that is both fascinating and scary at the same time. This unknown mass. This unfathomable, unmeasurable, putrid mess exist beneath a calm and unbroken surface unbeknowest to anyone. :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Different day, same old story

I missed writing in my blog but recently I have taken to utilizing the more personable journal by my bedside. It holds my thoughts bound tight within its pages but today, today I will let my blog be privy to these thoughts. Have you ever been caught in a moment in your life that makes you go "Hmm, boy does this look familiar!" No. I am not talking of deja vu but rather repeated patterns that emerge throughout the course of your life.

These moments are precious and should be regarded with reverence. Why, you may ask? Its simple. It is the ability of your consciousness to identify the pattern and bring it to your attention that makes this moment precious. Many of us go through life not examining it but rather going through the motions like farm animals in a barnyard. We don't strive to use the highly developed brain we have been blessed with, to think and analyze our daily occurrences. Therefore when a moment comes that strikes you as familiar, STOP!

This is where men are separated from boys or to be a feminist women are separated from girls. I have found myself in said situation and I didn't stop. I didn't analyze. I didn't blink. I waltzed passed that reverent moment without so much as a nod of acknowledgment. What I should have done was recognize the moment and the repeated pattern. Then I should have gone digging in my memory banks and examined what I did in past when I was presented with the same pattern. If I did examine the past, then I would have found that I have repeatedly done the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Einstein once said that the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. These precious moments of reverence are opportunities. Opportunities of correcting a repeated mistake. Opportunities of ending a cycle and unfurling your path to new possibilities. Dare we dream? If we did we would grab these opportunities with both hands and change our fates. For once we would masters of our own destinies, but alas a minuscule amount of us see these precious moments for what they really are. Sadly I am not among the minuscule either.