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?