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The Illusion of Democracy

According to dictionary.com, a democracy is " a government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.''. In popular culture, a democratic government is a goverment from the people, by the people, and for the people.

Based on the above, we see a huge association between the government and the people. This means that the government is directly or indirectly represening the population and its wishes. Performing what this population wants internally and externally.

Jumping to another concept called Responsibilities Versus Rights, this rightly translates to the following conclusion:

"In a democratic country, every citizen is part of the government. He or She has the right to all the services expected from the government, and responsible for its actions" 

In that sense, a citizen is a health minisiter when his chosen government passes a healthcare-related resolution. He is a finance minister, when his government decides the budget. He is an interior minister, when the government passes resolutions with regards to national security, and he is a defence minister or a soldier when his goverment decides to wage wars or sign peace pacts.

However, the matter of the fact is that the population is not held responsible for the actions of their representatives. equally, democratically elected governments rarely implement the population wishes. Should one of the previous statements be false, then the whole balance of rights versus responsibilities is ruined, and the whole process is just a big lie, cover up, and even a complete illusion!

Here is an example of an unbalanced equation!

Rights

A government elected by the people is supposed to work on a healthcare system that provides the best healthcare possible to the citizens of the country. The right of the population is to get what they elected the government to do. If that doesn't happen, the population will be stuck with a government that doesn't perform its duties. Logically, this government is illegal, and should be dismissed immediately.

Responsibilites

A government elected by the people decides to wage war on a soverign nation. The responsibility is immediately cascaded to the population, as their chosen government took the decision to attack another nation. Therefore, everybody in that country is a soldier, and as a result a potential target for the enemy. However, citizens are usually considered as civilians, and as a result attacking them is illegal and is a war crime. This violates the second argument of the equation. In other words, the population is exempted from the responsibility of waging war on another nation even if the government they chose went to war.

A very simple argument really, which reduces the whole process and concept into a politicized version of American Idol. A version in which you vote and acknowledge that a certain contestant has the talent and the ability to be a star singer, but as soon as the voting is finished and the idol is chosen what happens is anybody's guess. He or she might become a drug addict, a murderer, a football player, or simply a couch potato, but naturally you will not be held responsible for his actions, neither you are expecting anything from him.

The conculsion is that as long as the citizens are not achieving their goals behind electing a government, and/ or not held responsible for its policies, especially the foreign ones, the whole concept of democracy is an illusion, and a sedative. It becomes more of a capitulation of rights and responisbilities to a chosen few. This is greatly reflected by the relationship between a sheperd and his sheeps.

Chapter 4: Jordanians " THE GRINGOS "


There is always this nasty sheep that stands out. It's the one not taking the parallel route to the herd. It's a troublemaker sheep, chewing on a toothpick the Eastwood style, and fluffing its hair the other way around.

In a similar fashion the gringos have taken a wild path. An unorthodox style of life. They couldn't care less about what you think of their clothes, or their glasses. If they like it, then everybody else can bite the dust. They are intrigued by what the mass would consider a given. They are moved by what the crowds thinks dull and colorless. They, surprisingly, still read. They have hobbies. They've got talent. They sing and dance, fall and bounce. they play an instrument, they share a sentiment. Hate for all that is vain and mundane. All that is typical and sane. They're awkward, in a good way. They might be twisted in their heads, but it's really hard to say.

They've abandoned the mainstream, preferring to travel uphill. Inspired by their dreams, and stories they want to live to tell. Your car make is just a name to them. The color of your eyes tells of your genetics, no more. It's what you have in you that matters the most to them. With those guys, you might get away with charm for a couple of minutes, but then you'd better have something good to say.

There is an IQ prerequisite to talk to these guys. It's their law of attraction. They grew tired of stereotypes and status quo. They breathe change and action, vitality and authenticity. If you looked for them you wouldn't find them. They just appear before you, out of nowhere. There is no secret handshake. There is no safe house. There is no headquarter, home, bar or cafe. They roam the place like thirsty kids. Wanting to quench their thirst with ideas. After all, home is where the mind is.

They fall in love with arts, music, sport, physics, numbers and books. It's their religion. They practice and don't preach. They are always up to something, and they never fail to function. They've been accused of so many things; dreamers, losers, too passionate, too optimistic, too pessimistic, disconnected, dysfunctional, pretenders, and a lot more. But it doesn't deter them. for they have a vision. They have a reason for living. Life to them is more than a 3-meal day, an 8-hour sleep 8-hour job and 8-hour social disturbia. it's much more. 



They are the reason this country produced any success. They are the reason Jordan is still viewed favourably by some. They are the reason we still boost one of the most intellectual and desirable communities in the region. They are the ones who passed the unseen gate of immortals first. For you will see their traces after they leave this world. Lucky you are if you are a gringo. If you are a nerd or a geek, If you raise a couple of eyebrows from the masses, and if you were laughed at in high school, and dismissed as a loser. 


The Gringos are the pen and the eye of this country. They are the wind of change. They ensure continuity, while others provide the fuel. 

10 Reasons why it's great to live in Dubai


Dubai has been the subject of gazillion news items in for several years now. Ranging from articles written in owe of the huge progress and growth the city experienced, to the bashing of its policies and it's "supposed" decline. Nevertheless, everybody agrees that the buzz this city created throughout the world is unmatched in the region, and in fact many regions across the world. 


Reflecting on my five years I spent in this city, prompted by a discussion with a friend who finally decided to go back home, I decided to share with everyone some of the reasons why I, and many like me I would argue, consider Dubai to be one of the best places to live.






10. Business
Despite all what the doubters say, and indeed despite of the mistakes Dubai committed during its astronomically fast growth, it remains a perfect hub in the region. Let's face it. Dubai has the infrastructure needed to be the link between the East and the West. It also has what it takes to be the starting point for a regional and international business. 


A huge airport, and a first class airliner, in Emirates, gives Dubai the privilige of being the perfect highway people can take travelling anywhere in the world through this region. Numerous Free Zones catering to the needs of multinational companies provides a perfect home for regional offices and logistic centres. Free zones like Jabal Ali, Internet City, Media City, Knowledge Village, Healthcare City, Dubai International Financial Centre cater to numerous business segments and model.


It's also equally important that Dubai historically doesn't mix business with politics. This is most clear in the huge trade volume between UAE and Iran despite of the differences the two countries have, and the ongoing occupation of two UAE islands by Iran. Therefore, you won't  worry that one day the ruler will wake up on the wrong side of his bed one day and decide that certain country nationals are no longer allowed to enter the country, or conduct business in it. 






9. Weather
Europeans are in love with Dubai. The reason being that for a period of six month you constantly live under sunshine and temperatures ranging from 19 to 29 throughout the day. It's the perfect recipe. Perfect weather with a lot of sunshine that will significantly wipe off most of the reasons you might think of to be depressed. The only reason weather is not ranking higher than 9, is that for 4 months during the summer the weather is very unpleasant.






8. Mobility 
For many of us, who are not blessed with having a passport stating in one way or another that your are not a terrorist, or not an illegal immigrant, living in Dubai gives you a great deal of mobility. Your visit visa is less likely to be rejected if you are planning for a vacation in Europe for example. Apparently, they believe that if you live in Dubai, then you have a good job and no good reason to runaway or go and kill yourself somewhere! So, if you are a Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian, Egyptian, Iranian or from any of the other doomed countries, your chances of being able to travel are better off if you live in Dubai than if you live in your own country. Suffice to say, you are more likely to be able to afford it if you have a job in Dubai, in most cases.


Equally important is that of all the countries in the Gulf Region that offers financial stability and career opportunities, Dubai as part of the UAE offers the greatest level of freedom to expats. You don't need your sponsor's approval to go on a vacation, and if you want you can leave for a 2-day trip on a weekend without the need to request your passport from the company because you are entitled to have it with you at all times. Trivial you might think. But if you live in Saudi or Qatar you will know what I mean.






7. Safety
This is not to say that Dubai is the safest place on earth, or that crimes don't happen in here. But if you are familiar with cosmopolitans, you will notice the difference in Dubai. Whether a male or a female, you will notice that you can walk almost anywhere in the city at three o'clock in the morning without fear of being attacked or hassled. You can leave your car running, apartment open, laptop bag on a chair in a coffee shop and you are sure that they will be untouched by the time you come back. This is in large due to the fact that UAE has a strict policy of deportation of criminals, as well as the fact that most residents are professionals who are benefiting from their presence in the city and they don't want to jeopardize that fact.








6. Freedom
Whether you are Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, atheist or a follower of any other religion in the world, you have the freedom to practice your religion. The city has several churches and Hindu temples. Christmas is celebrated in a similar fashion like Eid, and Diwali is equally as important. 


In Dubai you can choose to be conservative or a liberal. You can wear hijab and you can wear shorts. You can relax on the beach in your bikini, and you can set there dressed in a proper islamic costume. Alcohol is available in hotels, clubs and bars for those who drink. If you are a non-Muslim you can acquire a liquor license and have your own alcohol stock at home. The bottom line is, as long as you don't abuse it, and start getting crazy or intimate in the streets, no one will bother you. You do your own thing, as long as you are not publicly disrespecting the country's traditions and values. 






5. Luxury
Everything in Dubai was built to reflect a life of luxury. From hotels to malls. Streets to parks. Public transportation to cars. Everything is new and done neatly. You can drive an SUV while you'll be dreaming about it in Europe. You can own a Porsche, while you would only call it a DREAM car elsewhere. Even in the metro, you can have your gold section tickets and commute as if you are on board a world class airliner. 






4. Services and Facilities
If you are a European, you will know deep in your heart, even if you don't admit it, that Dubai provides a world class service in most aspects of life. All your bills and transactions can be done online. If you pay a handsome some of money for an apartment, you get your pool, Sauna, gym, security, facility management and parking with it. No compromises. Barring International City and Discovery Gardens, you always get value for your money. More so now that rents have went down to a more realistic and acceptable levels. 


Gas stations are malls. business buildings are fully equipped, and almost everybody have their delivery services. Dubai residents are spoiled to the point of laziness when it comes to services, and people love it. 






3. Activites
If you are an outdoor activities' fan then Dubai is the place to be. Walking, cycling, golfing, fishing, sailing, windsurfing, desert activities, fresh water activities and beach & sea activities. The facilities are available. You can always join a club or a community or do it on your own. 


skiing, ice skating and bird watching. When in the desert, you can take the pleasure of activities like camel safari and desert jeep safari.

You can enjoy the sea with activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, parasailing and deep sea fishing

Team Sports? No problem. Some popular outdoor games are ball games like football, Basketball, Volleyball and Rugby.







2. Events
One of the most interesting things about Dubai is that you always have a feeling that there is something going on. It's true that the buzz went down a little bit after the crisis, but this normal even if you go anywhere else in the world. 


Concerts and tournaments. Art galleries and plays. Fashion shows and exhibitions. The cultural agenda in Dubai is always full, and you can count on a dozen of big time events every year that will break you routine and give you a taste of how life is all over the world. In the past few month Nickelback and Sting were here. Soon David Guetta will play in Dubai, preceded by Kelly Rowland. Bands like The Killers, Coldplay, Scorpions performed in Dubai. The Dubai Movie festival is an annual event. Circus de Soleil is a regular fixture. Car, Technology, Healthcare, arts and architecture events take place all the time. In simple words, you will not be bored. 






1. Multicultural Taste
In a world destined to shrink further into a tiny village, Dubai has taken the lead in becoming the melting pot of different cultures from all over the world, and definitely the only place in the middle east that practically lives the global village dream. 


It's not abnormal to be sitting on a table with 10 people from 10 different culture and be able to call them friends. This unique experience helps you get out of your box. Learn to understand people in a different way that the one you were made to understand through TV and mainstream media. Dubai gives you the chance to meet people from different religions and social background, and serves as a bridge that helps people see beyond stereotypes. It's a given that through mingling with different cultures you create this panoramic view of life, and learn as you go about what matters and what doesn't. You become more adaptable to change. More flexible in dealing with the other. You learn about what's important to people and what they hold important to their heart and values, and this to me is the greatest thing about this city.





Dubai from the 29th floor this morning

A perfect view to start your day with!

An Advice to all Arab/ Muslim bloggers



You don't realize how little accuracy there is in network TV reporting until they cover a story in your hometown.  ~Robert Brault


I came across this post about a dog. As I understand, a guy did something nice to a dog, and as a result he deserves to be praised. 


Accidently, the guy who did the good deed is an Israeli. The outcome of the story is 25 comments so far. Ranging from complaining about Zionist Propaganda, to ranting about those who think it's a Zionist Propaganda and believe that it was only about a dog.


I personally have no problem with the post, and I didn't actually read it. But I read the subsequent post and the comments that it received and I would like to lend "Ange" the writer, and the rest of the Arab/ Muslim bloggers an advice. After all, it's free of charge, and the best thing about it is that you can totally ignore it. 


What is the most powerful weapon in the world? A nuclear bomb? A hydrogen bomb? No, I strongly believe that Media, in all its forms and shapes, is the biggest weapon of our time. As Arabs and Muslims, we clearly lack in this department. We are not powerful or influential. We don't own huge network channels like CNN, FOX, SKY, BBC or the rest. In many cases we lost wars before they even began. I'm not only talking about wars carried out by tanks and guns, and aiming at winning a territory or some natural resource. I'm referring to public opinion, and the way people look at us.


Now, if I came across Ange's post, I would have probably read it, and kept browsing without leaving a comment. I have my reasons not to leave a comment, but this is just me. However, some people were a little annoyed by the post and they made it clear in their comments. I understand why they felt so. Ange got offended, and extremely defensive. I also understand that. 


Sorry about the long introduction, but I had to put things in the right context. 


The problem, I think, is that there is always subtext to the things we write. or they write. Few weeks ago, when disaster hit Haiti, people across the world felt it. Countries and NGO's from across the globe sent aid. Either in the form of man power, clothes, medicine, food or Money. As I was watching CNN for a full day, there was one story that kept being repeated and repeated. I think it was a woman, maybe a man, who was saved from under the rubble. Her family and neighbours were ecstatic. Happy to have him/her back, which I totally I understand and respect. That person was a victim, and he/she deserved all the help possible. Then you have images of the local crowd chanting the name of the country where the crew who did the rescue come from. "Good job Israel, Good job Israel". This is the same Israel who is still killing, abusing and starving Palestinians while the world is watching. This is the same country that still illegally occupies the land of other people. This, of course, takes nothing from the good job the Israeli rescuers did, and we applaud them for that. But the question that baffled a lot of people like me I'm sure was, why all the emphasis on Israel? Why didn't CNN show the good jobs done by France, Germany, Cuba, Japan, Brazil or any of the other countries? I'm sure there were others? 


It's a world of propaganda. It serves to polish the image. They say, you are as good as your last deed, and therefore whatever you have done, especially if not covered by the media, will be wiped off by a good thing you did, which gets tirelessly and relentlessly repeated. 


The problem those guys had with your post is that you applauded and act of humanity an Israeli did towards an animal. While they believe that this same person, or the regime he comes from will NOT extend the same act of humanity to Palestinian humans. They got tired of the overwhelming propaganda about how good Israelis are, and how evil and violent Arabs are. They see this post as another serving in the plate of good deeds of the Zionists. 


Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists.  ~Norman Mailer


To be clear, I don't agree with those who posted comments on that post simply because they have probably pushed the post up the Technorati, delicious, bloglines, twitter.. etc rankings! Making it more visible to the world. Clearly this might be good for the blog hosting it, but for all the wrong reasons. 


If a TV network wanted to feature this story on one of its shows, it will probably be something like this: "A post about an Israeli man who takes good care of a sick dog draws scathing attacks from Arabs and Muslims in an anti-semitic wave. The post written by an Australian woman, A catholic turned Muslim through marriage, sparked attacks on her for showing sympathy towards Jews. We were not able to interview or get a picture of the writer apparently because her Muslim husband doesn't want her to show her photo on her blog."


How does that sound? Good? I don't think so. Neither for the blogger, nor for the commenters. She will sound like an oppressed convert, and they will sound like mindless and angry terrorists. I know she says that she doesn't write about Palestine, because she has nothing to add. But it was surprising to see how much she had to say explaining the difference between Jews and Zionists. How there are good Jews as well as bad ones. She is definitely right, but this discussion only serves to add fuel to the fire and emphasizes the difference between what she supposedly represents as moderate oppressed convert, and what they present as angry and racist Arabs and Muslims. She could've ignored those comments, or simply deleted them. They could've skipped by the post and let it be. We often shoot ourselves in the foot, and then make things worse while we try to correct the wrongs that we have done. I know she is an animal lover, but had she looked beyond the dog, she would've picked a different story. After all, there are humans all over the world who at the very least are as kind to humans as they are to animals. As one of the commenters, Femme I think, said she wished her family received at the Gaza crossing a treatment as good as the one offered to a bug! It's her own experience, it's her pain and millions like her. She has the right to be angry, she has the right to complain about it, and she has the right to hate because of it! She is human after all. I don't hear people anyone complaining about the never ending milking of the Holocaust story! It happened more than sixty years ago by the Germans under the watch of the Europeans. Until now any criticism of Israel is an anti-semitic act, and whoever questions the actual event of the Holocaust or the mere magnitude of it is criminalized and accused of anti-semitism! And the worst part is that Palestinians are paying for it. They don't seem to get tired of connecting everything to the Holocaust, and it doesn't look like people mind it! In fact, they still feel guilty. Then why are people surprised that Palestinians are also obsessed with their own ordeal?  


it's a complicated issue indeed. There is always sub-text. There is always something that will be taken out of context to get back at you, and bite you. We don't have the media. We are not the ones writing history in these times. 


I urge you to be careful. If you want to write something about Palestine. Please be careful. Please look at it both ways. We have enough people questioning our religion and our rights. It does more harm than good to have people questioning the despair and frustration others feel. If you didn't understand it, then who will? And if you want to write about animals, food, music, culture or anything else you want, be careful where that might lead. Watch out for the conversations on your blog. Don't let it divert and lead to where nobody wants it to lead. At least nobody we care about. Nobody who knows what we are all about. 


It's an advice. You can take it, and you can leave it.


People can, and will mutate the truth. Use it to their own good. Propaganda is built to brainwash people, and if you are not there... You never really know the truth.


If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read:  "President Can't Swim."  ~Lyndon B. Johnson


That's all I have to say

Dubai: Wind of Change

I guess you don't really believe in the Global Weather Change until you see it yourself.

Dubai experienced a wet and windy weather that has almost never happened. Especially in February!

But it was a cool change!