interesting video report on buzzfeed featuring a man who dresses as a woman, with and without hijab, to experience street harassment towards women in cairo. the man finishes his experiment lamenting on how horrible and difficult it is for women and how they must always be worried and conscious of every single comment, movement and person around them. says even as a man who experienced this it’s still impossible for him to understand the difficulties that every egyptian women endure just for walking in the street. this is something i experienced this often in cairo and the reporter is absolutely right; it ought to be a woman’s right to walk in the street without such harassment.
shame on the forty-six senators that voted against the manchin/toomey bipartisan background check bill. despite the fact that 90% of americans supported the idea of increased checks to catch mentally-ill and criminal gun buyers. what a horrible message to send to the virginia tech, newtown, aurora, tucson victims and the american public.
often times the way it is determined that someone is mentally-ill is that the individual commits a crime and is evaluated by a government medical official and deemed mentally unstable by a judge/jury. also, many health facilities are provided by the government and those two avenues of seeking help both (should) provide a national list that is cross-checked with criminal records in a properly executed background check when purchasing a gun.
for example, this video by the senate democrats shows that the shooter from virginia tech was tried and found mentally unstable by a judge when he was tried for stalking girls on campus and federal law states that if you’re deemed mentally unstable you are to be prohibited from buying a gun. however, in virginia only INPATIENT therapy patients show up on the list (a loophole created by the state of VA and allowed because of the lack of a federal law) and that’s how the shooter passed through the background check. had our background checks been federally required and regulated and had those loopholes been closed — and something like this federal amendment been passed – those 32 students and professors would still be alive today.
sen barbara boxer, sen roy blunt and AIPAC seek to codify israel’s right to discriminate against americans
democratic senator barbara boxer and republican senator roy blunt are currently fighting in congress to give ISRAELI citizens the right to come to the US without a visa; WITH an added clause that says that AMERICAN citizens still need visas to enter jerusalem, israel and palestine. 37 nations are part of our current visa waiver program and the rule is that americans must also be allowed to enter their countries without needing a visa.
glad to know that in a time of distress for our nation after a tragedy our beloved senators are fighting for ISRAELI citizens’ rights instead of the rights of oh i don’t know … AMERICANS.
on the anniversary of the virginia tech shootings where a dear friend of mine, reema samaha, and 31 others, lost their lives i find myself compelled to think about the world that we live in and what it has really come to.
a unique solidarity sets in when i think and pray for the boston marathon runners as i remember my father and my own family participating in marathons annually challenge themselves in order to raise money and awareness for good causes.
then my mind skips to iraq, iran, syria and the many countries around the world that unfortunately experience these attacks on a regular basis and on a much bigger scale and before i can start to grieve and wrap my head around this heavy week ahead a thought of ‘please don’t let this perpetrator be muslim’ enters my head.
my thoughts race about the animosity and the looks i will surely be facing tomorrow at work, school and in my general life i feel a sense of fear and an unexplainable guilt as my prayers are directed towards my new priority of hoping this person wasn’t of the arab culture or muslim religion.
it has been thirteen years since september 11th, 2001 and arab and muslim americans are just beginning to imagine a world in which they live free of the constant fear of hate crimes, smear campaigns, a world where their decision to wear headscarves and exhibit their faith is decided by their environment and most importantly a world where we too can feel entitled to civil rights and respect as american citizens.
suddenly more inspiring and incredible thoughts fill my head and my mind goes back to how exhilarating and emotional it was to see my father time and time again cross that finish line at marathons where he ran to increase literacy around the world. my mind skipped back to the pride I felt when my high school, robinson secondary school, released a video commemorating the 26 children of newtown asking their community to engage in acts of kindness.
and perhaps most importantly; my mind thinks of a old classmate who put a status up claiming that he was heartbroken that american muslims feel afraid and worried and he urged people not to further subjugate muslims and to remember that they too are grieving and they too are americans who love this country which has given them opportunities they could not receive anywhere else.
‘i would urge everybody to not give in to hysteria and jingoism. there are many proud and patriotic americans that love this country, even if they may not look like you or pray as you do.’
it’s so easy to reflect on the past couple years and see a violent history of the aurora, colorado shootings, virginia tech massacre, newtown tragedy, wars in the middle east, the attack on the u.s. embassy in libya and more. it is easy to wonder, what has this world come to? Is there any ounce of real safety and security left in our society?
but I can assure you that there is.
terror and violence has no creed, sex, culture, race or religion. it comes from the lack of any of those values and morals. and not only is the person who waged this attack against the marathoners not muslim; they are also not human. despite the fact that our recent events look bleak the people who waged those attacks on society are in fact a small handful of people and although they shook and rattled us; they have not destroyed us.
americans are known for their resilience, their optimism and their ability to come together. and in times like this it is reassuring to know that when times are bad look around you for the people like you initiating movements of kindness, of peace, of love; because they exist. there will always be people helping and doing good and it is your responsibility to find them and join them.
the news reporters toyed with the question of whether this was an individual who set off the twin bombings or perhaps a larger group. and while that will be a pertinent talking point for our national security the reality is that no matter how big the group; the response of our love and light as a nation will surely outweigh the atrocity that they perpetrated in this world.
we are stronger and more tenacious than that one person or that group of people and if we allow our instinctive human light to shine brighter than this darkness then we will overcome it. as americans and not as any other small division, faction or religion.
so as we all cope today and reflect on the horrible sounds and images of yesterday’s attacks we have a responsibility to remember that love will always trump hate, that peace will always beat war and that justice will always be prevail as the most powerful.
for without these fundamental beliefs it is then, and only then, that we have truly allowed the attackers to succeed.
After the Huffington Post signed me on as a blogger and allowed me to write op-ed pieces on any topic, for two years, ranging from books to sports to reviews to pop culture, something changed in our relationship. It was sudden.
I wrote this piece for Huff Po in late December, 2012. For some reason, the editors wouldn't print it. Like every other article I'd written, I submitted the piece on their backstage for signed bloggers, but nothing happened.