Category Archives: Saving the world

Oh My Philosophy – Debate I

This post is not really a post, it’s more of a continuation to an online debate that occurred between me and a few of my followers on twitter. Namely @AmoonaM @AymanKhateeb @ZMasri @abuyazan & @ysmousa. The argument started when @abuyazan posted this link, showing the Israeli soldiers that were captured during the international water attack on the Mavi Marmara that occurred last week.The news details how the soldiers shed tears and one cried so hard that he pissed his own pants (not evident in the pictures).

[I stress on the international water attack so that everyone else who reads this and wants in on the debate understands that I am totally apposed and totally supportive of the humanitarian flotilla aid to try to break the siege on Gaza. I have been tweeting since day 1 of the tweet and still do till this day. I was there when we successfully made #Flotilla trend and I was there to support the latest vessel, the Rachel Corrie, as well.]

I was personally outraged by the article, not because it showed Israeli soldiers in anguish, but because it glorified what a bunch of activists with sticks and slingshots did to trained commandos. Little do we understand who these people are. To some of us, they are nothing but the enemy. To others, they are Jews, with little concern for what Judaism entails. They’re soldiers, trained specialists, physical human beings with a job: shoot to kill.

I happen to be friends with as many nationalities as I can, always curious to find out what goes on in the world, always curious to hear perceptions from different angles. One perception that has really changed the way I look at the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is my extensive friendship with Arab 48s. In our country they’re mostly hated, shunned in our country as Israelis and shunned in Israel as Arabs. They’re stuck in the middle, not allowed to travel to Syria or Lebanon, with barely anything more than the fact they stayed while we left our land. Our extensive hang outs with, let me be honest, usually a liter of Vodka, let’s out the truth of all conversations. I learned that being an Israeli means you’re forced to join the army right after high school. You graduate, 18 years of age, thrown into the most brutal of jobs.

Here is where my debate with the tweeps started. I was against the fact of the photos being published with the title they had, because we’re just as biased as they are when they put their news up. What is glorified as the “Piss on your pants you cowardly Jew.” in our newspaper would translate into “Brave soldier horrendously attacked by activists terrorists.” It’s all a game of political media, and we’re too narrow-minded to get that neither our news or their news will solve this problem. They’re barbaric actions of invading our ships were reciprocated by our barbaric news title. I’m not saying we did the same, nor anywhere near the same magnitude, but we’re always a step behind. The very reason we spit on our Arab governments and call them worthless is because we will always behind a step, 2 step, 100 steps behind.

I shall quote myself from the debate, when I said: “We do not choose where we are born: into what nation, religion or time.” The randomness of where I grow up, what religion I uptake and what environment I’m surrounded by is as chaotic as the odds that I might be an Israeli soldier carrying a gun. Who are you to tell me who I am because you grew up a Muslim in a nation where you learned that Palestine belongs to us and not the Jews. Now compare that to what an Israeli boy will learn, starting with King Solomon’s temple and leading to their right to own our land. According to The Torah, the Jews first holy temple was built right under the dome of the rock. Now tell me how I can be a young Jewish boy and not grow up to want to fight for “my country”?

You are patriotic, just as he is. Whether you believe that his opinions are false or not, you cannot expect to throw your idealism at him and have him take the action you want. You cannot expect him to throw arms and not shoot at you. You cannot expect him to not join the army, one of the most beneficial things an Israeli boy can do. He gets whatever job he wants, the best of benefits, and money to feed his family, in return for serving his army. When the shit hits the fan, and he’s standing in front of his “opposition” with an M16, you expect him to throw it and say “No, I won’t kill because it’s wrong?”

That’s just one side of a six-sided dice, the other being options or the lack there of. How do you know what financial conditions these people are in? Do you really believe that all Israelis have money because their government does? How many stories have you heard of soldiers who enlist solely for the purpose of providing money to a family that can’t live properly. Poverty reigns in all nations, not just ours. I will quote myself again from the Twitter debate: “The game of life could have put you there, and you would have to shoot that gun.” If you were to born into a Jewish family, indoctrinated with all the Zionist bureaucracy that we see today and you had the obligation of joining the armed forces, put in a situation of life or death, or let’s say shooting your gun or going to jail, could you really tell me you’d die or go to jail? The majority of you will be outraged right about now and say “I was taught never to kill” and I was taught never to lie but I do, don’t I? I was taught never to cheat, but I did that too. What makes you so special, sitting in the comfort of your own home, in front of a $1,000 laptop? What gives you the right to say that you’d rather die than fight. Let me give you an M16 right now, and tell me what you would do. Let me lock you up in a room with a bunch of angry activists pounding you with 30 pounds of steel bars and tell me what you would do? Would you stand tall and take the hits, or would you bleed and piss your fucking pants?

Do not tell me you know what a 19 year old Israeli soldier feel like when he goes to war, driven by a lunatic, chaotic government such as Israel. Do not tell me you would place down your weapon when you’re having the shit beat out of you. Do not tell me you only feel for martyrs of Palestine, for is not a human life worth anything be it Israeli? I’m tagged for life by my nationality? Or the actions I take be I put into a position that requires I use force? Do not laugh or ridicule those who pissed their pants in the Mavi Maramara, cry for those 19 activists that got shot in the head. Don’t tell me, those are the same soldiers that shot them! No, it’s not my issue and that was not what we were debating. We were debating the political side of things vs. the humanitarian side.

“I am an Israeli soldier, forced to go to war and shoot for a cause that I may or may not support, to feed my family or continue my education or otherwise. I am an Israeli soldier who pissed his pants when I was beat up by angry activists when I attacked their ship. I am an Israeli soldier, but at the end of the day I am a human being.”

You should not ridicule another human life, for you don’t know yourself to know your enemy. You do not know what the terrorist bomber who runs out in the name of Allah and puts on a straight face feels like. The likes of their leaders hide away in a red-carpet office building making their life decisions for them. No soldier enjoys going to war, and that is a fact that you can’t get past. You want to ridicule something, ridicule a picture of Netenyahu carrying a gun and pissing his pants when he gets his ass kicked. The people you ridicule are not the pawns, for in the game of chess they will all be wiped out. It’s checkmate, when you trap the King, not when you kill a pawn. I feel sorry for the crying soldier, maybe not as sorry as my Palestinian or Turkish martyrs, who fought for my cause, but I feel sorry that his luck landed him in a spot for people like you to ridicule.

Those of you who debated me should all change your names from “activists” to “optimists”, for your judgment is clouded by the passion you have for Palestine. I share the same passion, yet I know that our way of thinking will never get us ahead, never solve our problems and never break the siege on Gaza.

Long live the resistance, and bless the souls of those who passed away to fight a humanitarian cause. A humanitarian cause my friends, means everyone who got killed or wounded should be treated as a human being, not a Zionist nor a soldier.

That’s just my two cents, maybe because my (soon to arrive) doctor’s oath I’m going to be reciting will entail:

Preserve the strength of my body and of my soul that they ever be ready to cheerfully help and support rich and poor, good and bad, enemy as well as friend.

Now you may start the debate :).


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Filed under Oh my Philosophy, Religion, Saving the world, The fight for Palestine

My inner child – Writing I

We take the world for granted every day. Whether it’s people, or the mere fact that planet Earth is a viable enough medium for us to flourish in, we forget what matters, who matters and we never stop to ask “Why?”.

Why we communicate the way we do, or fail to. Why we drive to school or work every day. Why you can read what I’m reading and why my hands are typing figures that shape into letters that shape into words that shape into legible sentences that you can both read and comprehend. Why? Why can we do that?

All of you that are going “Pssht, it’s a habit.” have lost the “faculty of wonder”. That amazing inner child that smiles every time spring flowers bloom, not out of recognition of it’s beauty, but out of sheer amazement to the thawing of winter, thereafter the emergence of that beauty.

For the rest of you that have either stared at your screen, or your mouse, or just thought about the way life is, ask yourself the simple question of “Why?” and stop taking anything for granted.

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Filed under I wrote this for you, Life, Myself & I, Saving the world

Once upon a no-star night

Looked up unto the pitch black darkness, the sky had no stars, no moon, no life. I looked up unto the dark canvas, asked the man upstairs if he’s lost his art, he said no but I merely do not wish to paint tonight. It’s a sad night, for humanity. A sad night, one among many we have passed upon. Time flies, a gust of wind blows a leaf in front of my face, it lands on my belly and crunches as I lay my palm atop it. *crunch* The seldom appreciation we give to the world, we see so little of. We see so little of the world, our  eyes focused on what doesn’t matter, tunnel-visioned into a world ruled by democrats, republicans, kings, queens, tyrants and lords. Ruled fairly, sometimes not, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, pummeled by the rocks that society bears at hand. Rocks of social equity, be like us or perish they say as they break wind and hit them right in the face.

Our world, we live in now. Our world, we die in now. Generations upon generations, we live, we die, we thrive, we demolish, we destroy, we build, we break, we threaten, we fight, we make love, we listen, we talk, we see, we don’t see, we scream, we shout, we shut, we close, we run, we stand, we eat, we starve, we whine, we bitch, we clasp our hands in the end we clasp, to the world we clasp.

I write this in pain, pain caused by us unto mother earth. We appreciate not the land, the wind, the trees, the sights, the sounds, the birds, the water. We appreciate the money, the power, the sex, the glory. We grow up wanting and wanting, giving but little to a world that requires anything but that.

I’m not a tree hugger. I’m not a perfect person. I don’t live a simple life with just the clothes on my back and the food I eat, but I know enough to make myself cry at night.

“Close ’em eyes”, she yelled, as she climbed up on top of me. Each leg on one side of me, staring down with a flower in her hair. Her mint-laden breath flaring through my nostrils, listening to her throw the wrapping paper to one side. *Pop* She blows a bubble and giggles ever so lightly, almost orgasmically.

“Open your eyes now my dear, open them”. I look up and see the art the man created. Drawn if not in the sky then on earth, for it is that equity that I realize. It’s not always in the heavens, don’t always look up top, for when you do you forget what’s on our own level. We spend our entire life looking away, looking across, looking in the distance that we forget what’s right there in front of us. We forget our brothers and sisters. We forget our closest members. We forget ourselves.

Remind yourself constantly of who it is you have right in front of you. Remind yourself constantly of who you can help and give help to. Look at a flower, don’t pick it. Stare at the ground, not just the sky..

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Filed under I wrote this for you, Myself & I, Saving the world

In this time

We don’t appreciate anymore, not the big nor the small

We don’t appreciate anymore, not the young nor the old

We don’t appreciate the seasons, regularly bitching that it’s too warm or cold

We don’t appreciate the sky, the wind, the air we breathe

We don’t appreciate mother Earth, not knowing it bleeds

The ground we walk on, eroding under the pressure from our feet

You don’t see, we don’t see, you don’t see what I mean

The birds chirp, our iPods fade out mother nature’s music

It rains, we hide under a roof. Get wet, you say?

We don’t appreciate anymore, a walk in the street

We don’t appreciate anymore, we don’t see

In today’s world, three’s a crowd, and you want nations to come together?

Gaza, Haiti, people dying, buildings burst into flames, airplanes crash

We hear it on the news, we see pictures of the wreck and the flaming buildings

We go back to our regular lives, three days later, they live it constantly

You talk of coming together, when we don’t appreciate each other

“Bagez min a5oy!”, ma bidak itgez min wa7ad 3’areeb?

Family, means little to nothing anymore

Friends, an entity we find comes and goes

Unity, a term surpassed by self-dependency

Peace? You read it again and I laugh in your face

We know not what we know

We know not the East nor the West

We know not the sea or the land

We know not our homes, our soil, even ourselves

We constantly fight, fight, fight

We fight disease, evil spirits, fears

We learn not to accept the entities that are part of our daily lives, and then let them go

We continue to struggle, proving life a hardship it’s not meant to be

Live simple, accept that we live and we die

Before you unite with others, make an effort to unite with yourself

See yourself as one, not a schizophrenic collaborating all personalities but your own

Free your mind from the chains of commercialism and materialism

Free your mind from your own greeds

Free your mind from your own self

We don’t appreciate, you don’t appreciate, we don’t appreciate us.

world

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Filed under Myself & I, Random thoughts, Saving the world

Friday at eight

Ugh, don’t you just hate it when you’re on an airplane and you get seated next to the guy who sleeps with his mouth wide open and ends up leaning against your shoulder and drooling all over you? Or the obese individual who takes up half your seat, or the mom with her annoying child who seems to only cry when he’s next to you and once he gets off the plane he’s back in la la land again. I travel every vacation and I’m always wishing I get someone interesting and it just never seems to happen. All until my last trip back to Amman where I sat next to this guy who just looked interesting.

He had a large carcass, barely fitting into the seat that offers no leg space at all [damn Royal Jordanian economy class]. I walked in late, everyone was seated except me, and holding a cup of coffee from Costa, I struggled to fit my luggage into the overhead compartment. Yousef, as I later found out, gladly asked me if I needed help, and held my coffee himself. I thanked him and then sat down beside him. He had on a pair of headphones, scrolling through his iPhone looking at what appeared to be audio books [yes I peeked, I’m curious like that :P]. Out of nowhere, a conversation was born, if I remember correctly it was either over books or iPhones, maybe even both. One thing led to another and soon we were discussing what we did in life. Finding out I was a medical student already involved in volunteer work, he started telling me about Tzu Chi, a Taiwan-based global non-profit organization that has helped more people than you can count on two hands. Yousef told me about all the volunteer work he had done, since he was fresh back from a trip to Taiwan, and he encouraged me to participate in the weekly events held by Tzu Chi Jordan. I was super excited about it and made sure I got his number, promising to call him as soon as my schedule cleared up.

Tab3an, as usual, we all get this. The sudden surge of excitement to do good and help the needy and it soon blows over as the stress of work, school and exams bombards you from every direction. You start to forget what really matters in the world and we all turn selfish, a trait I have come to know exists intrauterine, always getting the better of us. The human want, an ever growing feeling as we grow older to shift from our wants to our desires, fed rapidly by our ever-growing media and “shiny objects”. That’s all they are, objects, but they make it seem vital to us. The “appeal” to modern day man, a nasty yet genius marketing trick.

To break the cycle, right after my pediatrics exam, I decided selfish I shall be no more, and went on my first Tzu-Chi charity event. I woke up at 8 am on a Friday morning, an act I was condemned insane for, and headed down with my friend and colleague Hisham to Mr.Cheng’s house, the usual meeting point of all Tzu-Chi events. We loaded some food in the back of the car, put on our Tzu-Chi volunteer vests and drove down to Wadi Abdoun. A 3 minute drive from your favorite cafes and pubs, namely Blue Fig and Avenue, but a totally different world. Known to most of you through pictures captioned off with “Old Amman”, not a single one of you has had the guts to drive down there and check the place out for yourselves. To summarize life down there, hygiene is reduced to a leaking tap in an empty room with a floor you can barely make out, soap being a luxury they rarely encounter, showers taken on religious holidays. Clothes mere rags on their bodies, never washed, hung or dried. Food consists of a meal per day, devoid of any nutritional value what-so-ever. The truth behind Wadi Abdoun, a tragedy better left captured by the lens of an amateur photographer with a Canon EOS SLR.

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The family we helped consisted of a blind father who had just been released from prison, two mothers, an uncle (who also served time) and eleven kids. They all slept in the same room, conditions being beyond awful. The people over at Tzu-Chi Jordan built the family two extra rooms, also replacing their front door and the doors to the rooms. We pitched in by painting the doors and the rooms and it sent goodness right into my soul (as cheesy as that sounds). The massive difference between knowing about this and getting your hands dirty (and your only pair of jeans which later had to be rubbed in “kaz” to get the paint out, so I ended up going home smelling like a petrol station) is the significant change you make in a family’s life. The smiles on their faces, the happiness we brought to them, simply by painting their doors was unforgettable. We all sat together later and shared falafel sandwiches with the whole family. An experience I will not soon forget.

“My first attempt at house painting, I’m proud!”
IMG_0514“Me and some of the children.”

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To be part of Tzu Chi Jordan, and contribute either by donations or by becoming a registered volunteer, please visit their facebook group here. You can also keep up to date with all our future events and charity runs. To know more about Tzu-Chi, please visit their official website here.

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Filed under Life, Saving the world

My gun, I fire with blanks

Wall upon wall they put up, it started with a fence, moved to gigantic concrete slabs. One, two, three, four. On all sides, deep into the ground, high above to the, not blue, but blackened skies, pollution created by a zionist regime. Ahmad and Salma, with rubble from their own home like lego blocks, the sides don’t match, the blocks don’t stay stable, they topple, much as their own lives. Running water, what running water, runs nowhere but the streets. Demolished homes, the smell of burnt skin still can’t elude their nasal canals, the sound of falling bombs wail across their ear drums, still echo in what’s left of their rooms, a broken window, shattered glass, dried blood splattered here and there, an abstract painting tells a story, a sixty year old story plus.

“For in vain I bellowed shallow screams, my voice over-ridden by the firing guns and the blasting tanks, my people still surrounded by concrete, for them I ask injustice lifted, but I merely ask..”

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Gaza, a year later. Palestine, sixty-two years later. The world, a deteriorating place, I want to live more. I remember, a year ago, fireworks lit the sky. The bombs are falling. The bombs are falling, Gaza is at war, the bastards broke their word of a cease-fire, naive were we of their ruthless ways, I say not. On the 27th day of the 12th month, their jets like the flight simulation games we’ve all played before, this was real. Showered the Gaza strip with nothing but fear. Bathed the streets with the blood of children, we watched on our tubes, we watched frightened with tears.

A year later, we remember the victims. We’re reminded of the anguish. We remind the world, of the Zionist oppression. We remind the world, we stand tall, yet surrounded on all fours. We tell the world, our story, Cast Lead would not go in vain, but who am I to kid?

I apologize to all of you, all my fellow bloggers and friends. I apologize to those passionate about my home country, Palestine. I apologize to the children who died, the women who passed away, the men who left us to a better place, the country that most of us forgot. I apologize for our leaders, arms crossed dealing with affairs of their own, infuriated I am by the lack of action I say. Names I shall not mention, but Mubarak you son of a, I shall not mention. World leaders win noble prizes for peace, I see no peace, I see pieces.

Pieces, of a nation worn down by a regime who continues to oppress, a normal life, clean water, clean sheets, a bed to sleep, a roof over their head, medication for the wounded, protection from the big bad monster, they have not that nor a way out, just four walls, the largest prison cell.

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Boom go the bombs. Blast go the tanks. Bam go the guns. Crumble go the homes. Hooray go the people, another soul oppressed no more.

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Filed under I wrote this for you, Saving the world, The fight for Palestine

Words he cannot see

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Out the womb we exit, our lungs inflate, we breath. Out the womb we exit, to welcome the sights, the sounds, the smells and our mothers. On her nipple you feed, a source of joy and nourishment, unlike the 9 months of feeding down a cord, the monotony broken by the most primitive of reflexes. Take a minute to realize, the blessing in your life, I urge you now to close your eyes for 10 seconds, and tell me what you see. Darkness, spots, shadows? A dream unlike reality, in our world we most don’t see.

He’s 7 this kid I speak off, 7 years that is. Most of you were learning to skip, jump and scream. He lies in bed, waiting for his next dose, his next infection around the corner, waiting to appear on a black and white photograph, unlike the ones we keep as memories, this album he does not enjoy. I write not so you pity, but you empathize. I write to remember him always, his strength miraculous as he fights, fights were we have most given up. Fights to sit on his bed another day, seeing but mere shadows move around, hearing voices of doctors, nurses and his mom. I don’t want you to imagine you’re in his place, I just want you to understand, if he can fight then why can’t we? Why do we give up on the simplest of tasks, when he fights to live another day of sickness?

In the other room lies a boy aged 12, face shaped like a moon from the steroids they’ve been pumping into his system since he was 5, he’s grown resistant to the drug, I say why him? Why not you, me or anyone else? His luck lay less on the clover leaf meter? Maybe.

Life is not so complex, when you look at it the way I have the past 6 weeks. I walk in and out of rooms, where patients can barely stand. I nag over the quality of food, when she’s got a tube going into her nose, down to her stomach so she can eat.

I know we all have problems, some bigger than others, some really huge. I’m not writing this to make you feel bad, or say you’re supposed to think about these people every single day of your life and feel bad and not do anything, but I write this for me. I write this for him. I write this for all of you. I write this for the world. I write this for her.

I leave you with my kindest regards, my farewell I bid to the world. I’m dying today, or a part of me is, it’s fading, fading away. You don’t know who I am, you don’t know I exist. In each and every soul I reside, waiting to escape, I often do and relapse soon again. I am the anger inside you all, the obliterator of peace. The dark side to the moon, the sunset when we need light. I am the Ebola to this country, the ticks to a dog’s back. I am the obliterator of peace, the anger inside you all.

My gift to you, as this year ends, a box of peace I bring. Peace with yourself I ask, to make before the world. Nor Gaza, nor Iraq nor Africa, it does not start there. It starts in that part dying, in each and every one of you, I swear.

Happy holidays.

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Filed under Myself & I, Saving the world, Struggling with the unknown