Dear Donald Trump, Meet My Very Scary Muslim Friends

Donald Trump does not want Muslims to enter America, at least until he can be sure what those Muslims are planning. You know, all 1.5 billion plus of those Muslims. Yes, all of them must be in on that very scary Muslim plan that they conceived one scary afternoon when no one was looking, as they all huddled together and decided that the only thing they’d want to do in their lifetime is not survive because most Muslims are not really living, not make ends meet, not finish school and find a job and try to better themselves, not to build families and communities, not to just pray 5 times a day to Allah and fast Ramadan and be good people just because they should be.

Nope.

What those Muslims have planned is something much scarier. If only anyone knew what that plan is. So Donald Trump, let us meet my very scary Muslim friends together.

This is Oula, on the far left, with her beautiful family.

Oula

Oula is a 24 year old newly graduated doctor, and a hell of a good one at that. She can handle the best of emergencies efficiently. She can save lives effortlessly, and if it comes down to it, she would also save yours in a heartbeat because that’s the kind of people she is. And look at her celebrating Christmas with her family. Do you think that’s part of the plan, too?

This is Mostapha, with his wife Dima.

Mostapha

Mostapha is also a doctor. He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders every single day. He worries  about his friends more than they worry about themselves. Mostapha is not only the most selfless person I know, he would probably define the word selfless in a dictionary. He just returned from giving blood to my grandfather, who happens to be Christian. Do you think that’s part of the plan? Infusing their blood into the unknowing masses?

This is Zaher.

Zaher

Zaher helps run one of my country’s most established and known sweets-factories. He’ll send a few kilos of those absolutely delicious Arabian sweets, poison free I promise. Zaher is a father of two adorable little girls, but his main concern nowadays is that the new Star Wars movie be up to scratch.

This is Hiba.

Hiba

Hiba is a dentist, and also the mother of the most adorable two year old you will meet whose name is Sacha. It’s pronounced Sasha, but written with a C. Don’t ask. Hiba’s friends are from all kinds of kinds. She was raised on tolerance, and like her sister Hala, who is also a doctor, practice tolerance in all that they do. I can’t say the same about you.

This is Ahmad with his wife Anya.

Ahmad

Ahmad is a physiotherapist. And he’d probably done one hell of a good work on his back if you asked him to, or probably not. She’s Romanian, so you probably wouldn’t have a problem with her. His main care in the world is providing for his family, in a country where his profession is a cut-throat competition. But you know nothing about living a tough life now, do you?

These are the Syrian refugees your country is receiving in spite of what you want, and they are all my friends too.

They’ve been to hell and back, not only at the hands of the hellish regime in their country and the terrorist forces pillaging their homes and their lives, but also in the bureaucratic process required for them to be granted entry into your borders. You’d do well read their stories on “Humans of New York” except you’re not human, so you wouldn’t understand.

This is Aylan Kurdi. And he too was my friend.

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As his body adorned the ruthless shores of Turkey, did your conscience budge in the tiniest bit Mr. Trump? Did you think, just for a second, that this was a human being worth of your sentiment and not of your judgment? Or was he just another Muslim, who was in on that big hellish Muslim plan?

I honestly and from the deepest parts of my heart wish on you, Mr. Trump, never to be subjected to what these people had to go through: I hope you never know what it is to see your loved ones die in front of you. I hope you never know what it is to see your home destroyed as you drive away from it. I hope you never know what it is to be stuck in limbo, not knowing how to move on with your life or what to do. I hope you never have your worth as a human be valued by how much you can contribute to a society. I hope you never have to be labeled as a terrorist until proven otherwise when you are ALWAYS a perpetual victim. I hope you never have to deal with the likes of you.

These are the more than a billion Muslim in the world, Mr. Trump, who live in hellish conditions, whose lives are always contingent upon powers higher up doing whatever they please with their homes simply because they exist on profitable lands, and whose worth as human beings is always dependent on the net price of the oil barrel.

These are the more than a billion Muslim in the world who scare you but are incapable of doing any harm to you, while you get people to hate them, to draw weapons at them for simply existing, for believing that they are worthless.

Except you are not a hater of all Muslims, isn’t that right? Or is it that you only love those rich Muslims who build golf courses in your name and whose name you can use to say that you have “some Muslims who agree with you” akin to those people who have “gay friends” who agree with them that gay marriage is an abomination.

Isn’t that you with Hussain Sajwani, head of Dubai’s DAMAC group?

Trump Damac

Entertain me for a moment, Mr. Trump, and answer this: How is it that you will screen for Muslims entering your beloved country on its path to greatness? Is their a Muslim gene you isolated? Will you get them to recite Quran verses? Where would that place me, a non-Muslim, who knows quite a few of Quran verses? Do you need me to recite them now or would that scare you?

What you’re saying Donald Trump is not scary. Let me call it what it is, because most American journalists are somehow still shying away from using the word with you: it’s disgusting, revolting, bigoted, racist, Nazi-like and inhumane. Is your middle name Adolf? If not, I suggest you change it to that because the last time someone had such a message broadcast in such a way was post WWI in Germany and we all know how that turned out to be.

The scary part, Mr. Trump, is that there are people paying to hear you, itching to shout your name, holding it on signs to proclaim they want their country to be great again.

I doubt that those people rooting for you know what greatness means. It is not to be a racist, which you are. It is not to be a bigot, which you are. It is not to be despicable, which those people are channeling every time they answer a poll proclaiming you as their choice. It is to be wholesome, accepting, tolerant, encompassing of change and of others who are different and who can induce change. Being great is not to be so politically dim-witted as to jump on whichever messages offends people enough to grab headlines, but to know that cause and effect, in politics, do not have a causal relationship.

To the people supporting Donald Trump, I say this: may you never be in need, in full blown despair, not knowing where tomorrow would lead you or how you are going to make it through the night, and then have someone just like you stand and say: you deserve it.

America being great again is not America refusing to be what it has always been: a country of immigrants. A country that is so afraid of what it is cannot simply be, and this is coming from someone who lives in a country that has simply been, despite all odds, and will be, in spite of them.

In a world where you are lumping an entire religion into one basket, you have to be thankful no one is lumping all Americans into yours. People applauding you does not mean what you’re saying is worth anything. It means that in that circle of jokers and jesters, you are the biggest clown.

US Presidential Nominee Jeb Bush on Lebanon: “If You’re A Christian, You’ll Be Beheaded”

Jeb Bush

The joy of Republican primaries unfolds as their latest took place yesterday, right on their safe haven Fox, in yet another scene of Donald Trump and, to a lesser extent, his friends making fools out of themselves for everyone except their base, much to the shock of the entire world and the dismay of the intellect of a few billion people around the World. Yet again, what’s new.

Their discussions veered from building walls to stop Mexicans from entering the United States, to throwing a few million immigrants out of the country and back where they came from, along with a few pinches of homo and xenophobia before going on about how comprehensive healthcare and equality are the satanic manifestations of the coming of the anti-Christ.

Sure, such topics are interesting to discuss in times when you’re just bored out of your mind with Lebanon’s stagnant politics that you feel like talking about something that’s stimulating to a certain extent. Did you know politics can be more than just the whole “to be or not to be” mantra? For years, I had no idea.

Except yesterday, while trying to score a few points in a growingly depressing campaign, Jeb Bush – the brother of infamous previous American president George W. Bush – decided to score a few points on our behalf by flexing his muscles and pretending that he, out of all people, cared for those Christians of the East, notably Lebanese Christians, who are getting beheaded in their own country. And no, he is not smart enough to mean that in the sense of Christians not having a president and thus having their figurative political head absent.

The exchange went as follows:

Trump was going on about how Putin “going in and we can go in and everybody should go in,” presumably to Syria, Fox cut to Bush on the split screen, shaking his head, waiting to tell people how Trump was wrong. Brace yourselves for his big moment.

“Donald is wrong on this,” Bush said. “He is absolutely wrong on this. We are not going to be the world’s policeman, but we sure as heck better be the world’s leader. There’s a huge difference.”

Hurray! Big words. World’s leader and not its policeman, whatever it means, serves as a helluva good sentence for future America, don’t you think?

The audience applauded. Could Jeb Bush use this moment to turn the tides?

Of course not. He then used the next few moments to talk about Syria being a board game akin to monopoly, unless you count the few hundred thousand people dying in the process, before moving on to his magnum opus as it pertains to us: “If you’re a Christian, increasingly, in Lebanon…you’re going to be beheaded.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Lebanese Christians have something more to fear than red Starbucks cups. Someone is out there to behead us, if only I knew who. Care to enlighten me Mr. Bush?

This post won’t be about how Jeb Bush is wrong. Any person with a sane mind who is willing to go beyond what is being told on a biased, xenophobic and Islamophobic TV station will probably know that Christians are not – contrary to popular opinion – currently walking around Lebanon, like Nearly Headless Nick, with their heads propped on their shoulders.

Any person with an inkling on foreign affairs would know that Lebanon is such a big fat religious cliché it’s become not only nauseating to tell, but a huge hurdle to overcome when it comes to making things in governance work. But that’s another topic for another day. The biggest threat to Christians in Lebanon today, Mr. Bush, is probably the fact that there’s no way to get their garbage picked up.

The truly horrifying aspect of Mr. Bush’s statement is not only in its ignorance, but in its repercussions. It shows how this man, who really, really wants to be president just like his brother and father, knows next to nothing about a very important facet of ruling a country that wants to become/remain? the world’s leader as he so eloquently said. If Jeb Bush thinks Lebanese Christians are dropping dead on their country’s street, what has he left to the people of the Middle East whose suffering actually extends beyond not being able to party at SkyBar this summer or pretending that their political rights are being eaten away while they discuss the best way to buy a $700 Balmain dress (whatever that is) at H&M.

Dear Mr. Bush, my parents are not afraid of being beheaded. They’re afraid of how the long-standing repercussions of the instability your country helped incur on their region will affect their children’s stability, their job prospects, their ability to make ends meet and to live life and have it abundantly. And yes, that’s a Bible verse paraphrased in case you didn’t know.

Dear Mr. Bush, my parents are not the only ones afraid in this country. Everyone is in danger. We’re all victims of a government that has no idea how to govern. We’re all victims of your own country’s blind policies that only sees the region as “Israel and Others.” We’re all victims, Muslims and Christians of being constantly lumped as those beheading and those beheaded by those who have no idea how it is to live in a country teetering at the age of chaos.

Dear Mr. Bush, sometimes the best thing to do is to stay quiet. I suggest you do this sometimes and find other ways to beat Donald Trump than to let people think I’m writing this from beyond the grave.

Lebanese Women Are 10th Sexiest Worldwide

Lebanese women

I stumbled on an article published in The Independent today talking about an American survey to pinpoint the world’s sexiest nationalities among both men and women. To that effect, 60,000 women were polled and it turns out Irish men are their favorite. It could be the accent.

Lebanese men, however, are not in the top 10. I suppose “ya ashta” doesn’t translate well to the average American woman? Our life has been a lie.

On the other hand of the gender spectrum, however, Lebanese women represent.

In another poll of nearly 45,000 men, Lebanese women ranked at #10 on the list of the world’s sexiest nationalities. The #1 sexiest women of the world according to that poll were Armenians, fueled by American adoration to Kim Kardashian and her family.

The full list of nationalities is as follows:

  • Armenian

  • Barbadian/Bajan

  • American

  • Colombian

  • English

  • Australian

  • Brazilian

  • Filipina

  • Bulgarian

  • Lebanese

The Lebanese woman that was found to be in the forefront of the survey was none other than Amal Alamuddin, a person that I find is an extremely good example to represent Lebanese women, not only looks-wise. She is extremely accomplished and successful, is a champion at defending human rights worldwide and has been all over the place the past few months with representing Armenia in European hearings to defending captured journalists in Egypt.

I say we dodged a bullet by not having Mia Khalife represent us, right?

The value behind this survey isn’t as simple as naming a representative celebrity. Being done by an American dating website, it’s also about real-life encounters with people of said nationalities. As a country that gets anxious whenever we’re mentioned in the same sentence as the word “sex,” especially when our women’s hymens are at stake – honor and all, I think it’s wonderful that our women are becoming so comfortable with themselves abroad, comfortable in their own skin, away from the confines of a society that is all about sex, but not really sex, sex.

Ultimately, surveys like this are not entirely worthwhile. But a little fun every now and then never hurt anyone.

 

Kill All The Muslims

My sympathy goes to all the victims of yesterday’s Boston Marathon bombing and to all the people who died cross the world in various other bombings in Iraq, Syria, etc… yesterday as well.

I could go on and on about how such acts are those of cowardice but what good would my words do to a country struck by tragedy and to the grieving parents of the people that died yesterday?

However, is it acceptable for the mantra “innocent until proven guilty” to become “an Arab Muslim until proven otherwise” when it comes to any terrorist act taking place anywhere in the world?

Case in point: the following tweets from an American pundit. Do you want to kill all the Muslims too?

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Is this even allowed in the case when the bomber turns out to be, in fact, an Arab Muslim?

He later on said that this was “sarcasm.” Though I think his “sarcasm” got lost with bashing the “Islam apologetics.”

The Phoenicians Discovered America?

Move over Mr. Columbus, our ancestors are in the house.

According to this article by CNN (link), our good old Phoenicians may have beat Christopher Columbus to discover good old (or new) America by about 2000 years.

Our Cedar trees have wood that is strong enough to build a boat that could withstand the 10,000 km journey. The Phoenicians, being cunning sailors, have the expertise required for the voyage – and a British man is set to prove this is, indeed, the case.

The theory has its detractors of course.

Either way, it seems like the alphabet may not be the only important thing the original inhabitants of Lebanon discovered and offered the world.

This should definitely prove to be some valuable information for all our Phoeniciaphilic Lebanese.

Islamophobia and Racism in an American Movie Theatre

Fresh off the news of a New Yorker throwing a brown-skinned man in front of a train for thinking he was Muslim (click here), the following tweets were brought to my attention of Americans who decided to go and watch Kathryn Bigelow’s new craptastic movie “Zero Dark Thirty.”

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Not only is that excuse of movie Zero Dark Thirty grossly inaccurate, nauseatingly stereotypical and a disgustingly shameful propaganda (click here), but it seems to be resonating with its intended audience by rousing up their Islamophobia and racism.

This is not an isolated incidence in the United States. The growing sense in American culture that Islam is all a bunch of jihadists who can’t wait to blow themselves up is unacceptable. And American media not only propagates that feeling, it helps fuel it.

How is it legal to have a whole ethnicity and religion categorized as such in these times and age?

You know something about those filthy Arabs and Muslims? They are sure taking all this crap in strides when they’re the most hated group on the planet.

Some people need to be ashamed of themselves.

Thank you @IsmailSakalaki for sending the tweets my way.

Zero Dark Thirty [2012] – Movie Review

zero-dark-thirty-poster

Here it is. Arguably the most challenged American movie of the year (a recipe for those little golden statuettes): Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. U.S. Senators of both parties came out against the movie because it portrayed the use of torture in many of its scenes in order to extract information about the whereabouts of Bin Laden. You know, because the CIA surely did not use torture. Ever.

Zero Dark Thirty is the story of CIA agent Maya (Jessica Chastain) on her pursuit of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden over the course of a decade. The torture methods her agency employs, which include but are not exclusive to food and sleep deprivation and waterboarding, lead her to a man called Abou Ahmad Al-Kuwaiti who, for every single non-idiot person out there, obviously comes from Kuwait. Except it’s not as obvious for the movie’s CIA agents who spend more than an hour of the movie’s 157 minutes running time on a manhunt before realizing that – GASP – Al Kuwaiti means he is from Kuwait. As they search for Osama Bin Laden’s main means of communication with the outside world, these CIA agents are faced with people who don’t want them to succeed leading to terrorist bombings in CIA headquarters, of fancy hotels, of different capitals around the world and a lot of exasperated agents who can’t fathom how they would be targeted as such.

It seems the dreadful The Hurt Locker did not satisfy Kathryn Bigelow’s appetite for American neo-political-military-award-magnet-dramas. I mean, why wouldn’t she tackle the same theme in one way or another all over again to become the first female director to win best director at the Oscars twice? Therefore, Bigelow is at it again. And Zero Dark Thirty includes not only every single thing I hated about The Hurt Locker but much, much more as well.

Jessica Chastain’s character Maya is definitely unlikeable. I hated her character to the extent that I couldn’t even appreciate her acting performance. She came off as grating, whining, overly melodramatic at times especially in a shouting scene with a CIA chief in Pakistan when she asks for extra man power in a man hunt that had been proving futile at that point. However, this type of performance is definitely the type to draw in award-voters: a charismatic female character at the heart of a male-dominated institute in the midst of the hunt for the world’s most wanted man? I can hear those voters orgasming already, which is a damn shame because if she ends up winning, she most certainly does not deserve it. Her strongest scene is right at the movie’s end as she silently reflects on the end of this decade-long era of her life. But even that scene’s potency isn’t enough.

One thing to say about Zero Dark Thirty, however, before I start grilling it is that Bigelow does well directing the movie from an “artistic” point of view. Some sequences are very well filmed, especially the raid on Bin Laden’s compound, and the movie is very technically proficient. However, a political movie like Zero Dark Thirty necessitates a politically oriented review. So here it goes.

Zero Dark Thirty is an insult on your intelligence. If there’s any movie which will get you outraged at its inaccuracy, it’s this. As a movie which wants to give itself authenticity by going the whole mile and asking you to “witness the whole truth,” it only comes off as mass propaganda about how the CIA is making the world a better place just by them being there and it portrays all those filthy Arabs living in these parts of the world as the scum of society: Muslim terrorists who can’t wait to blow up some Americans.

As they hunt for Abou Ahmad Al-Kuwaiti in some Pakistani city, the CIA van is stopped by Pakistani men. One of the Pakistanis driving gets out of the van in order to reason with the armed youth. “Shou ya chabeb?” he asks them in arabic – levantine Arabic no less – for: what’s up guys? A simple wikipedia search would have told Mrs. Bigelow that Arabic is, in fact, not spoken in Pakistan or any -stan ending country. But why would she care? Arabic-language, terrorist, Pakistan… it’s all the same for her intended audience. In fact, the movie’s scenes in Pakistan feature less Pakistani than Arabic, which is odd and definitely not “witnessing the truth” or as American critics are saying: “a movie reveling in keen detail.” Since when do Pakistanis speak Levantine Arabic?

The use of Arabic in the movie doesn’t only stop at Pakistan, it extends to various interrogation scenes where someone has to translate to Chastain’s character what the man is saying. Fair enough.

As one of the CIA agents sets up a meeting with a supposed worm within Al-Qaeda around Christmas time, she is found talking to Chastain’s character about baking a cake for the man to which Chastain replies: “Muslims don’t eat Cake.” Really? In fact, the entirety of Zero Dark Thirty doesn’t even bother to draw the line  between a religious extremist and a Muslim: it gets the boundary between the two to be so blurred that it’s so easy to confuse one with the other, making the entire movie not only highly stereotypical but highly nauseating and shallow as well.

For an American viewer, Zero Dark Thirty is definitely fascinating and I was even taken by its earlier scenes before the rhetoric started. American movie critics who don’t understand the other languages spoken in the movie and don’t have the ability to tear the movie apart from a non-cinematic perspective won’t care about the aforementioned points. Arabic, French, Pakistani – who cares? American movie critics believe that the way the hunt for Bin Laden was dramatized is chilling. They believe that the movie is politically non-biased. For those of us who can actually read into Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, it only comes off as severely culturally-inaccurate and offensive.

Bin Laden was a bad man. He killed a lot of innocent people and I’m glad he’s dead. The CIA and whichever other intelligence agencies that helped the Americans to catch that filth of a man need to be commanded for their job. But this movie is not the way. Zero Dark Thirty wants to be the definite movie about the Bin Laden manhunt. Bigelow wants the honor of being the first and last director to tackle this issue. But that is far from the case. Again, while technically proficient, the movie is not perfect. It is too slow at times and at other times, when it moves, it is only like an arthritic ninety year old man. The first twenty minutes of torturing a Saudi are chilling to watch. They are followed by almost 90 minutes of scenes that might as well be considered as an antidote to insomnia before delivering again with the Bin Laden killing scene.

By aiming to be technically proficient, Zero Dark Thirty undercuts itself by becoming emotionally detached from the material it’s trying to portray. By showing torture scenes that more often than not lead to no-tactical results, the movie is amoral. By turning the entire struggle of all of 9/11’s victims, as it starts with real-life audio from the twin towers on that horrible day, into a vehicle for Chastain and Bigelow to cash in on some rewards, the movie is also despicable. By portraying every single non-American aspect of the movie in such gross inaccurate ways, Zero Dark Thirty is horrendous. Zero Dark Thirty is, eventually, over two and a half hours of pure propaganda that is not only offensive to the memory of the Americans who died on 9/11 but to a lot of viewer’s mental capacities.

You know what’s common between Bin Laden and Zero Dark Thirty? They are both horrifyingly bad and an abomination to existence.

1/5