Sunday, January 30, 2011

Half A Catastrophe

I hate the hijab.

To me, it represents Takhalof Hadari, Arabic for Cultural Regression.

I was raised in a Levantine setting in the days where respectable and chaste women, both Muslim and Christian worked alongside men without the need to cover up their heads.

We had once freed ourselves from this detestable rag, why do we need to bring it back?

Nevertheless, the first video below, where the Tunisian Ataturk, Habib Bourguiba goes around uncovering the head of a woman and patting her on the cheek does make me uncomfortable. It's invasive, and the woman seems to be acquiescing out of awe rather than conviction.

But Bourguiba did so much to modernize Tunisia and so he and his actions are still a Nuss-Musseebeh, Arabic for half-a-catastrophe, when compared to the alternative in the second video, where Tunisians are screaming Allahu Akbar and "We are all for the Hijab and the Niqab".

In my heart, I firmly believe that political voids in the Arab world will only bring in the Islamic Brotherhood and their ilk.

And that's a full Musseebeh.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Syria's Assad Belittles Lebanon's Independence

I now add my translations directly to the video...(click on the speech bubble to activate subtitles)

Egypt's Iconic Comedian Backs Demonstrators

Adel Imam, typically close to Mubarak's regime, initially described the demonstrators as "people who hate Egypt" changes course and considers them as "his own children"

The essential:

Interviewer: On the subject of what's happening in Egypt, I'd like to ask about a statement attributed to you that made the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, which alleges that you have called the demonstrations "absurd, carried out by elements who hate Egypt"

Adel Imam denies the above and responds: "These youth should be listened to, when I look at the People's Assembly, all I see is elderly people, I don't see any youth"

"I'm happy with these youth, and the government should listen to their demands"

- - -

This leads me to the Arabic proverb of the day: اذا طاح الجمل كثروا الجزارين When the camel falls, the butchers multiply.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Ugly Fruits of Tunis

In the first video, Tunisians praise and thank Allah for the first Tunisian passport bearing a photo of a hijab-clad woman, once banned under the secular rule of Ben Ali. The second video features similar celebrations at the first passport with the photo of a bearded man.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Qaddafi Harasses Beggars

Convinced that the Libyan welfare state fulfils his people's every need, Qaddafi is embarrassed by Libyans begging in the streets. In this video, the colonel goes around town interrogating beggars, questioning their "Libyanness" and broadcasting it all on national tv.

Here's a translation of 3 of the exchanges with three different female beggars, one of whom he unveils with his own hands (pictured in top right corner)!

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Old woman grasps and kisses the colonel's hands: "Brother Muamer, may you be victorious."

Qaddafi: "Pardon, where are you from?"

Old woman: I'm Libyan, and I'm not begging, I'm just hailing a cab"

Qaddafi sceptical but walks away: "hmm.. yeah right"

Old woman: "may you be victorious, victorious"

- - - - -


Qaddafi: "Are you Egyptian or Libyan?"

Woman: "Libyan, I swear to God"

Qaddafi lifts her veil to reveal her face: "uncover, come on, uncover"

He grabs her ID and inspects it

Qaddafi: "Don't you get a basic pension from the government?"

Woman: "Yes I do"

Qaddafi: "Then why do you beg?"

Woman: "For medication, not for me, for my son. "

Qaddafi: "You're not Libyan"

Woman: "I am Libyan!"

Woman turns hysterical and is calmed down by Qaddafi's aide who tells her: "calm down, enough, you are now talking to the leader, there is nobody above him, calm down"

Woman: "I swear this medication isn't available in the market, I'm begging so I can buy it for my son."

Qaddafi: "Why don't you get treatment for your son at one of the country's hospitals, it's free."

Woman: "I tried to take him to the hospital but they don't have the necessary medication. They gave me pills that didn't work. "

Qaddafi: "no, no, cannot be. In this country there are no beggars. Where did you come from?"

Woman: "Tripoli, I swear"

Qaddafi: "Every Libyan gets a state pension and gets medical treatment for free, why are you embarrassing us in front of the world? Do you have a husband? a son?"

Woman: "Yes I do"

Qaddafi: "What does he do for work?"

Woman: "He's sick"

Qaddafi: "and your husband?"

Woman: "he's sick as well"

Qaddafi: "They're all sick and they take the state pension then. Why do you beg despite the pensions?"

Woman: "They're not enough for the medication I swear to you"

Qaddafi keeps the woman ID

- - - - -


Qaddafi: "Are you Libyan or Egyptian?"

Woman while kissing his hand: "Libyan, I swear to Allah the Great"

Qaddafi: "Show me your ID"

Woman: "I don't have an ID"

Qaddafi: "Then you're not Libyan"

Woman: "I swear to Allah I'm Libyan"

Qaddafi: "Just tell me what country you come from"

Woman: "My husband is Libyan but I'm Tunisian. I have a sick daughter oh colonel. "

Qaddafi: "What does a sick daughter have to do with begging? medical treatment is free. "

Woman: "Please forgive me oh colonel"

Qaddafi: "Why should I forgive you when you embarrass us in front of people, now they say Libyans are begging. We're going to give you some money and send you back to Tunisia. Take her address. "

Woman: "No, why, my husband is Libyan"

Qaddafi: "What does he do for work?"

Woman: "In the postal service"

Qaddafi: "If your husband works how do you beg? and embarrass these people. Take down her address."