Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Discrimination hurts us all.

Seriously, tho ...
Discrimination hurts all of us. I have a bus driver who often refuses to stop the bus for Hispanic (and I presume other non-white/non-black - she's black) passengers. Today, for instance, she didn't make a stop when she was supposed to despite a Hispanic guy yelling out and waving his hand for her to stop. She eventually stopped (passed the designated stop) because someone had indicated they needed to get off. The Hispanic guy ran towards the bus, and he ALMOST made it, but she took off. And then she started talking to herself meanly, I suspect saying bad things about the guy. I didn't hear because I was in the back, but this was really, really upsetting to see. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Short film - "Freedom Journalism Award, Best Photo"

I love short films and just got reminded of this one. Seriously one of the most beautiful, most haunting, most moving short film ever produced. It gets you thinking deep stuff, especially our own roles as witnesses to crimes (specifically in conflict, to whomever relevant - journalists, maybe?), on photojournalism, journalist ethics, and so on.

Why instill "inferior" qualities in our daughters and "superior" ones in our sons?

Pre-Script: This is not at all to suggest that I believe masculinity is superior to femininity. The post below is actually a response to when our patriarchal, oft-misogynistic societies command that we raise our daughters as delicate, emotional, wanted/loved, but then when we do that, societies bites our daughters in the ass and tells them, "Oh, but those are inferior qualities!" Yeah, eff you, patriarchy. But I don't think the quality of "emotion" is inferior to whatever its alternative or opposite might be (conventionally "reason" but that's sick and false).

"We've begun to raise our daughters more like sons ... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters," says Gloria Steinem. And I agree. Many people, especially Pukhtuns, have a hard time understanding this quote. So let me explain.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Music makes me happy, and singing empowers me.

YOU GUYS!!! I'm going to be singing again at our Middle Eastern ensemble this semester again, inshaAllah!! BIG, BIG GRINS!! hamdallah.

Remember last semester, I wrote about how I was singing a couple of Pashto songs for our ensemble? Do recall that I'm no singer at all, and I don't claim to be one - but I do love singing. I also think of myself as a shy person generally, and I hate being the center of attention, but there's something about holding a mic, speaking and singing into it a song that's close to your heart because it's all about female empowerment, women's rights, female education, female leadership, the celebration of girls and daughters and girlhood. That's also originally sung by your favorite female Pashto singer and picturized by someone you love, respect, and look up to (Samar Minallah). And also a song that the ensemble finds a lot of fun to play and listen to, one that everyone else just LOVES because of how happy-happy it is and how beautifully it's composed.

Friday, September 26, 2014

This beautiful song by Shafiq Mureed

Okay ... kindly take the next 4 minutes and 49 seconds and listen to this song and feel hopeful about the world again. So much love!! It's so beautiful! It's in Dari, but English subs are there as well, so follow along to have your heart melt. This guy is a truly beautiful person. May God reward him for his work for Afghanistan and his people.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The claim that Malcolm X was a "black supremacist," racism against blacks, and white privilege

As I've mentioned previously, I'm TA'ing a class on Black History called The Black Power Movement. It's one of the most powerful, most important classes I've ever sat in on or taken in my life. It's huge (over 500 students, 6 TAs), and it's nothing like a typical history class, according to students I've talked to. I type my notes, and one of these days, I'm going to sift through them and share on this blog some of what I think needs to be heard and read more widely. Our section on Malcolm X is one of those things - everyone, esp white people, need to know about him through the various (4 main) phases he went through; they need to understand and appreciate the context of Malcolm X's view of the white man is the devil, but they also need to know that Malcolm X changed his view after his pilgrimage to Mecca. I'm not writing this just because I'm a Muslim, and Malcolm X was a Muslim (in fact, for political reasons and my utter hatred for Saudi's politics, I've "controversial" views on Hajj; we'll talk about that some other time, ai), but I'm writing this because, frankly, even the teacher hasn't brought this up in class yet, and we've been talking about Malcolm X for the last couple of lectures. One of the things I have GOT to work on like right now is pointing out such flaws - so while I didn't end up saying this out loud in class (I will on Tuesday in the next lecture, inshaAllah), I did ask the teacher after class if he is going to cover that because I think that's an important phase of Malcolm X's life.

But here's what happened.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Judith Stacey's "Can There be a Feminist Ethnography?"

Because this article was awesome (I wasn't convinced by her argument, but it's still useful, relevant, and important).

"Can There be a Feminist Ethnography?" by Judith Stacey 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What happens to a longing unfulfilled? (Poem)

I promise there's a poem at the end of this post somewhere. It's my latest creation, and I'm pleased with it, so. *insert heart icon*

One of the most important things to know about me is that I LOVE rain. I'm crazy about rain. I love thunderstorms, I love threatening skies, I love rainy weather. People tend to associate this kind of weather with misery (a friend once wrote a poem with the line "The sun was shining outside, but it was raining in my heart" - I didn't get it), but for me, nothing could be more romantic, more happier, more peaceful. Rain is beautiful. Rain is peace. Rain is happiness. I've happily passed this love on to Kashmala so that whenever I'm home when it's raining, Kashmala and I walk out without an umbrella (yeah, about that: I don't do umbrellas, you see) and dance! Yes, we dance in the rain, and it feels so, so wonderful! 

And so I've written a couple of poems dedicated to rain. Rainy weather just puts me in that much more romantic a mood! Here's something I wrote a few years ago about why I love rain when I first moved to where I live now and I saw the rain after several months:
Rain truly makes me happy. My heart feels lighter, my mind's at ease, my soul literally feels purified. It's as if the rain is literally washing my tension, problems, whatever else away, cleansing me of all the dilemmas I always find myself in. It's as if my heart is enclosed by the dirt of these petty issues, and the rain washes away this dirt, literally cleaning my heart. And so, when it rains,  I'm like, "What? What problems? I have no problems. I was born a happy person, and I'm going to die a happy person." And next thing I know, I'm smiling and everyone walking by smiles back, and I feel even more content with life and everything around me. Really, rain is SO beautiful.
And it's been raining here the last few days - such a blessing to wake up to and go to sleep to, alhamdulillah! It makes my heart smile.

Now the poem I promised ...

What Happens to a Longing Unfulfilled?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ay Zama Watana by Ghani Khan (song, script)

Ghani Khan is perhaps my most favorite person in history. He's a fascinating character and certainly one of the most brilliant icons to have lived this earth. His humor makes me crazy, his conversation with God and his love for God overwhelm me (in a beautiful way), and his poetry is just ... no, it kills me. It really, really kills me. When I listen to his poetry, sung mostly through Sardar Ali Takkar, I close my eyes, the world stops momentarily, my heart, too, stops to listen, and I'm no longer the same person afterwards. I call this powerful. He died in 1996, when I was too young to know him and all, but if there's anyone in history who I'd love to see in a dream, it's him. (Well, there's a couple of other interesting/influential figures as well, like Mary Mother of Jesus (peace be on them) and Muhammad (peace be on him), but Ghani kho Ghani dey kana :) Ghani is Ghani. Ghani is from me, and I'm from him. I'm OF him. He was Pukhtun, you see. He's my eternal chalice of hope. He, along with so many other brilliant poets and scholars and legends, is a beautiful reason Pukhtuns have something to claim. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

This is what's wrong with Pashto music today

Dear readers,
Thank you for visiting! This blog post on Pashto music has been moved over to my new blog. Please click below to access it:

11 things wrong with Pashto music today – with gifs

Thank you!

~ October 9, 2015

Friday, September 5, 2014

Rest in Peace, Tayyibah Taylor! Your loss is sorely felt.

Tayyibah Taylor - RIP
I'm so disturbed and overwhelmed to hear about Tayyibah Taylor's passing. I wish nothing more right now than that this were a hoax ... but I don't think it is. It's unbelievable. It's shocking. It's impossible. How can we be expected to accept her loss, and how are we supposed to deal with it? She was an incredible and influential role model to all, not just to Muslim women. I met her twice, (but I wish I'd been around her more) when I was interviewing her for a small project I was doing on Muslim women leaders in the area, and she, of course, was one of the top ones, and the things she shared with me were beautiful. She was such a positive, energetic, and spiritual person that being around her made you reflect on your own self for self-improvement purposes. And that, besides the infinite other things, is how you know her passing is a major loss to our community.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Muscat, Oman in pictures

So I clearly have some more pics to share from my adventures in Oman. And some stories to tell - especially that one about how I *almost* got expelled from CLS (the program I was with). But that still bothers me, and I'm not quite over it yet, so I'll tell it when I'm comfortable enough to do so. And just some general thoughts of mine on Oman ... and my overall review of CLS in Ibri.

Meanwhile, though, here are some photos from Muscat. I had a good time there! Just a little tip: You don't go to Muscat for a short 2-3 days; that's a beautiful and big city, and you need at least a week to enjoy it all! I saw the souq (bazaar), known as Souq Matrah; I spent a good amount of time at the largest mosque in Oman, the Grand Sultan Qaboos Mosque, and I had iftar there; I walked on the beach; I visited the mall/City Center and bought a couple of books in Arabic and got an interesting and refreshing perspective on what Oman's version of Victoria's Secret looks like (pic below); I hung out with friends at a Starbucks there (I KNOW!! There IS a Starbucks in Oman! Just not in Ibri. Then again, I'm no fan of Starbucks, and I don't do coffee. The only thing I ever get at Starbucks is their strawberry smoothies, if I absolutely feel the need to have a drink.); and I chilled lots and lots at the hotel we were staying at, Hotel Al-Falaj. OH! And that's where I basically perfected my swimming skills. May God reward my friends for teaching me!

As for my general impression of Muscat, all I could notice, really, was that my beeblez--the South Asians--seemed to be running everything (and, yes, they're treated quite badly there, like slaves, and, no, they don't actually run anything and get less than some 30% of the money they earn from the shops they run). I'm still not ready to talk about my general impression of Oman so let's not do this, please. Another time, inshaAllah, once I've healed from the trauma I faced during the second half of my stay there.

Focus now. Here are the pictures.

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