What Ambition Can Do To You

This blog post is to share an opinion and some experience with you.

When I was a student in high school, I was always the average-like guy. I was always brought down for having low grades in physics which really was gibberish to me. I was constantly trained to compare myself to others and to base my happiness and self-satisfaction on other people’s view of me or better yet, my academic yieldings in subjects I was clearly not interested in.

I always suggested ideas which were typically good ones. But, straight A students always had their ideas heard first and foremost. Averages were invisible.

As time converged to graduation from high school, and having been accepted to an elitist university in the country, I was excited but worried. More excited than worried. It was similar to the feeling a prisoner would get the moment he’s told that he has been set free. I had a fifteen year duty and it was time to let go.

I let go. I kicked off my university experience. I discovered colors within me I never knew existed. I was bursting in colors and ideas and emotions that were untamed, at that moment. I engaged in the entire experience. In between education and student activism, I was belonging to that place like it was home. It was home.

I went abroad for a semester which added up even more colors to my profile. I became someone that is in constant variability. I was never fixated on one idea for too long. I evolved my mentality, my attitude, and view on matters quite quickly.

I came back from a  multicultural experience to my last semester at university. I overloaded some courses. Did an internship with an international non-governmental organization with work I was specifically interested in doing pertaining vulnerability areas in the country.

I graduated. I had a one-month summer vacation which was full of people telling me a lot of things which were not sparkling with positivism.

You will apply everywhere. You will stay unemployed for a minimum of 4 months after graduating. Go for Masters.

I applied to one vacancy which my profile supposedly fit. I was interviewed and I got the full time position. I was so happy and in denial but I was happy. I was proud of myself. I deserved it. I worked hard for it. I got it.

Also, in line with this, I had the chance to join a team of founders of an independent news website namely Beirut Today tackling issues of great importance to all. I became the Managing Editor of Beirut Today while being the Research Officer at this international organization I’m work in.

I was so happy but I wasn’t in denial anymore. I adapted to the facts.

I lived with what ambition did to me.

 

 

A Beirut Metro?

Hell no.

But.

After some good research, I was able to discover that in 1968 [ Nineteen Sixty Eight, no two’s in there] a couple of engineers under the organization USSR had set up a metro establishment plan in the one and only Bae-rut.

The interesting part to this plan is the execution of corridors using explicit graphics giving a detailed explanation of how the metro is to be constructed. This again affirms the fact that the problem isn’t with Engineering, it’s far more political. Building metro transportation lines would cost quite a lot which ideally means less money being taken up by our big sharks.

The engineers kept studying travel patterns for almost a month and were capable of pulling off a plan including several metro lines– This included including typical cross sections and ridership numbers and memberships. The cost was estimated to be 280 million dollars.

Metro lines, urban and interurban bus lines along with parks and ride spots and markers were all included in this modest plan.

The execution of a metro-project is no mission impossible. Although the cost would be much higher today after over fifty years, it is still worth it for reasons that include environment, affordability, traffic jams, economic prosperity…etc. The only obstacle that I can seem to spot at my own pace is political turbulences and the unwillingness to invest in a project that does not exactly attract quick capital and liquid.

 

Why the KIP Project on Gender and Sexuality is GOLD.

If you chose to carry on and read this post, it most probably means that you have the minimum amount of knowledge what the project is all about and some about their most recent campaign – #Mesh_Basita – and if you happen to be here by chance, then I got you covered:

The KIP Project on Gender and Sexuality — What you need to Know

The reason why I admire the people behind this campaign and the project itself is that I’ve had it with people who never EVER blame the male for what is internationally, logically, legally, ethically, socially, psychologically, and sociologically defined as a wrong doing. When a guy chooses to cat-call a female person, we as a society try to give him [ the guy] excuses as to why he  did it and most importantly why it’s okay. Some of the excuses go as follows: ” He’s a man, he is impeccable. You can’t judge him” , “He did nothing wrong. If she had enough faith and had abided by the rules of her own culture, he wouldn’t have approached.”, ” Stop blaming our sons for what your daughters have planned out since they moment they land on the streets.”

He is a man. He is impeccable. You can’t judge him.

Can we really think about this quotation right above? Why can’t this man be judged? What does this man have that the female doesn’t? I need answers.

Mesh_Basita campaign is here to provide some radical answers. It is here to  draw a fine line between ignorance and freedom of expression. When you catcall a person, it isn’t okay. When you give a girl perverted looks, eyeing her skin more than you should, or objectifying her in any way– This is not Okay. It never was.

If you ever feel violated, being a female or a male, do report it. Reporting doesn’t have to be through legal lines. Telling your family, and friends about any encounter is okay. Inflate your support group. Sexual harassment is not okay. It isn’t a joke. It should never be a tool to lighten up the mood with the squad. It does not make you more masculine. It just makes you an ignorant asshole.

 

You Just Don’t Get It…Do You Now?

When someone tells you they’re free to do what they want because they like themselves while doing it, they are not challenging you into a fist-fight.

When someone sleeps around, it’s because they are an individual exploding with emotions and feelings — sleeping around is just a way of expression.

When someone chooses to drink, they’re not doing it to defy your religious values or norms. They do it because they want to do it.

When someone smokes, they know it harms them. They do it because it makes them feel better about their existence. It is their own thing.

When someone wears something untraditional, it isn’t to provoke you. It is not to trigger your animal-like desires. They do it because it makes them feel good within their own skin.

When a guy likes a guy, or when a girl likes a girl or when a 20 year old guy falls in love with a 30 year old woman [ or vice versa], it is not to make you feisty or to shake your belief system. It’s simply their own feelings, bodies, selves.

When someone puts on piercing on their lips or face or back or shoulder or stomach or x part of their body, it is them trying to create an identity for themselves.

Stop enforcing your self and your beliefs on people who are already in struggle to achieve their own special identity. Stop destroying the beauty in every growing seed. Stop judging people.

 

The One Time Trees Broke the Internet

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Earlier this week, religious figure Sami Khadra released yet another video on his Facebook page in which he addresses the social media outlet users, specifically female ones, to stop posting pictures of their own face or body, but instead put pictures of trees, flowers, verses from the Qur’an, or pictures of babies.

The message was heavily based on blame and criticism towards what the female can or can not do in a public space. Religious figure Sami Khadra goes on, as I quote him below, that:

Females take up to thirty pictures and only depict the ones reflecting seduction and suggestiveness to post on social media. Males are leaving their important matters to open their accounts and like the females’ posted pictures.

Waves of both support and opposition/satire broke the internet. Some activists chose to display pictures of trees as Facebook profile pictures as a means to make fun of Khadra’s approach.

Other activists adopted a more serious tone in addressing his words and  message in its entirety.

His message was deemed discriminatory and objectifying to the female population. This can be easily seen because females are now going to be represented by trees, verses, or natural scenery [ only anything but their own self]. This was considered an attack to the existence of the female as an active social structure.

Other activists have also shown great frustration as it boils down to the issue of gender roles. Females were accused of consuming both the time and power of men through posting pictures revealing their faces or bodies. This is a very important point to stop at as today, in 2017, women are as capable as men, if not more. This, thus, seemed to negate Khadra’s point of view or message.

On the other end of the spectrum, some seemed to agree with him. The message was assumed to go in line with religious, cultural , and moral values. An example of what one of the supporters has commented goes as follows:

I perfectly agree with you honorable Sheikh as this habit of uploading pictures has become the leading cause of family breakage and distort.

The video has been posted online on Sami Khadra’s official Facebook page for further reference.

 

Rihanna ft. The Middle East

A little tell-tale on stereotypes.

Earlier this week, Singer Rihanna’s relationship with Saudi businessman Hassan Jameel made it to worldwide headlines.

Social Media websites exploded in sarcastic criticism around the 29 year old singer’s recent relationship with Hassan Jameel, the Saudi billionaire. The criticism was essentially two-fold: Westerners attacking the singer for her decision to date a figure representative of what is usually defined as terrorism. This is typically due to the fadownloadct that Saudi Arabia is one of the Arab Countries in the Middle East maintaining a purely Islamic regime and hence, the stereotype of him promoting terrorism.

The second package of criticism was essentially forwarded by citizens of the Middle East. Some took the matter at hand in pure sarcasm mentioning that Rihanna is dating Jameel because of his net worth and hence, the stereotype of materialism being attributed to the Singer.

Other citizens of the Middle East commented on the fact in a more serious manner targeting discrimination and racism towards women. The premise is as follows: A Saudi young man is allowed to be with Rihanna who is obviously not a veiled female but females in Saudi Arabia are not even allowed to drive their car on streets. This apparently resulted in frustration as women were already discriminated against in the context of Saudi Arabia itself. With the appearance of Rihanna, the sexy and open-minded singer, anger and dispute had arisen among women in various middle eastern countries. Agreeably, the frustration is understandable.

For the most part, criticism directed towards the singer and her beloved were based on stereotypes being cultural and behavioral. It is always interesting to raise attention towards the concept of stereotypical finger-pointing and raising awareness over its impacts.

Expressing criticism is very much understandable and an efficient means towards management of conflicts or flawed ideas. However, criticism that is based on stereotypes leading to nothing but people being hurt and disrespected, stops serving the purpose it had been already set for.