Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Women Driving Rights in Saudi Arabia

Who said driving is meant to be only for men? Who made those rules? In this world men and women share equal rights of having the ability to do and become whatever they want. In some countries driving for women is prohibited and until now I don’t get why. Anyhow, I did some major research in well known countries that prohibit women from having their own cars or driving.

One of those countries is Saudi Arabia, since cars arrived to Saudi Arabia women were never meant to use it. It’s a strange law; however, they say they have their own reasons. So I asked a friend of mine who lives in Saudi Arabia about the reasons, and he said:

Saudi Arabia is a country ruled and run by religion and only the Islamic Sunni religion. I know it has nothing to do with women not driving. But, imagine a women, a 1000 years earlier, riding a horse or a camel. I wouldn’t make sense. Nowadays, in Saudi Arabia, it’s believed that women don’t have the stable state of mind to be able to drive. And apart from this, if a women is seen driving in Saudi Arabia, it will be disastrous. When you roam the streets in the cities of Saudi Arabia, all women either use taxis or chauffeurs. Still, guys find the ways to stalk them and follow them in their own cars to hit on them. Hitting on women in Saudi Arabia isn’t like any other country. They follow the car the girl is in until she opens her rear window and accepts that the driver of the car following her to throw a paper with his number written on it. So imagine a girl driving, she will not only be stalked or followed, she will probably be pulled over and raped. Their mentality in Saudi Arabia is limited and it all revolves about men having the ultimate right of owning and using everything.”

I was shocked when I heard this. I had lived in Saudi Arabia before, but it never occurred to me that this is the reason women are prohibited from driving. I think this is so unfair. People all over the world say that women drivers are the worst drivers ever. Well, let me correct you all, do your research before saying so because the statistics say that in every 10 accidents, men are responsible for 7 of them. Making men worse drivers than men in the entire world.

Monday, March 30, 2009


This form of art has been around for thousands of years. It's fun, it's entertaining and it's very artistic. It takes real creativity to produce good music, actually, there is no good or bad music because it all depends on the audience preference.

We are all born into a world filled with music. Music represents almost everything in this world, love, hate, misery, happiness, fear etc. We relate the music we listen to to however we feel. It's an amazing form of expression to all individuals.

I personally love Western music for the beats used and the wide variety and range of words and lyrics used. I think all Arabic music talk about the same issue over and over again. Same words, same expressions and same everything, just different video clips and sentences. Or maybe I just can't understand all they say, it's a preference. I am one of the few Arabs that don't like listening to Arabic music.

Surprisingly, many people in the West love Middle Eastern music and beats. They are even inspired by the translation of the lyrics and they see Middle Eastern music as a very interesting music art.

Music depends solely on the artist and the audience. It's a form of connection. Not all people like it though, and the ones who like music have different music tastes and preference. I guess I am stuck with the rock/pop/r&b Western music although I am an Arab.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Middle East - My Perspective

This blog is all about the West and the Middle East. I have received many comments about not having known enough about the Middle Eastern society to talk about it. People felt offended. Well, I can't blame them because anyone will feel offended if faced with the truth that we are people living in shells and we still have closed minded mentalities and limited thinking horizons.

Let me start by listing what countries I mean every time I mention the Middle East:
  • Turkey
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Egypt
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait
  • Bahrain
  • Qatar
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Oman
  • Yemen
  • Iran
I personally have traveled to 8 of the mentioned countries and lived in 5 of them; Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. So I am proud to say that I covered the African part, the Gulf part and the "Middle Eastern" part.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dog Fighting - Why?

What is Dog Fighting?

"Dog fighting is a sadistic "contest" in which two dogs—specifically bred, conditioned, and trained to fight—are placed in a pit (generally a small arena enclosed by plywood walls) to fight each other for the spectators' entertainment and gambling. Fights average nearly an hour in length and often last more than two hours. Dogfights end when one of the dogs will not or cannot continue. In addition to these dogfights, there are reports of an increase in unorganized street fights in urban areas." Dogfighting Fact Sheet

This is by far the cruelest form of dog treatment ever. Supporters buy a fighting breed puppy that's cute and beautiful, starve him, hit him, abuse him and train him to hate and fight. Such people are not aware that dogs are creatures as much as we are. How one would like it if he was trained to only fight to kill? It's inhumane and it's the worst form of abuse for animals.

Dog fighting is in some countries, up until now, a sport or a game of gambling where they gamble on the which dog will win the fight. During the fight, loud voices of pain and suffering will be heard by the audience coming from the dogs fighting, not forgetting the physical pain and sometimes the death of one of them. Even if one of them survived or both did, there will be scars and painful procedures done for the dog afterwards. The dog with the most scars on his body is considered a strong dominant dog.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Civil Marriage is a Civil Right

Civil marriage is a very controversial matter in the Middle East region. Civil marriage is basically allowing a couple to get married regardless of race, religion or beliefs. All marriages in the Middle East are based on religion, and only a few religions allow different religion marriage. It’s a very complicated issue if, for instance, a Christian man wants to marry a Druze woman. In most cases they solve this problem by travelling to the closest country that allows civil marriage, Cyprus, and get married there.

Why all the hassle if our countries can provide this freedom of choice for us, the freedom of marrying the one we love for their own being and not for their religion or race or beliefs. I support fighting for the right of legalizing civil marriage in the Middle East.

What’s marriage in the first place? Marriage is when two people are officially announced as a husband and wife in front of a group of people not opposing to this unity. The paper work is only proof of their marriage. Now, what bothers me the most is that in religion, there only has to be two people as witnesses and a religious figure to announce the marriage. Let’s say two people are from different religions have different belief, they both loved each other; there has to be a way that they can get married without the religious figure because not all religions are open to other religion marriages. This is where civil marriage comes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Does Slavery Still Exist?

The answer to this question is unfortunately YES. Slavery still exists in different kind and different forms in our times than in earlier times. First let's define the word slavery.

What is Slavery?

"Slavery is a form of forced labor where a person is compelled to work for another (sometimes called "the master" or "slave owner"). Slaves are held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase, or birth, and are deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to receive compensation (such as wages) in return for their labor." Wikipedia

Slavery started when white people used to kidnap children from their homes in Africa, ship them and sell them to the highest bidders abroad. This is something very unacceptable to all human kind who believe in humanity. Using people as slaves for masters against their will and with no return is an ugly form of abuse, even uglier than physical abuse itself.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Islam Usual Suspects - Generalizing Terrorism

During Bush’s administration, Muslims were randomly picked and interviewed by the FBI with the assumption of them involved in some terrorist organization. It’s a common issue. From a personal experience; my uncle, Muhammad Saleh, went to America 2 years ago visiting family and friends. He was surprised when he was dragged into a small interrogation room in the airport, strip searched and then waited for anyone to appear for a long 3 hours. He was cuffed sitting on a small steel chair. He didn’t know what to expect or what’s waiting for him. A big man wearing a suit got into the room and started asking the regular question asked to a terrorist.

“Why are you here?” “Do you have any connections to a terrorist cell?” “Do you know these people (he showed pictures)?” “Where do you live?” “Why did you come from Syria?” “Do you know anything about guns?” “Have you ever owned a gun?” “Are you aware of any upcoming planned terrorist attacks?” and so on...

My uncle answered calmly and honestly every question he was asked. Then he asked the FBI agent himself: “Why am I here being interrogated by the FBI when I am only visiting family and friends?” He answered: “It’s because you’re a Muslim and your name is Muhammad.”

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Homosexuality - Mental, Physical or Just a Preference

In the middle east, homosexuality is the most shameful thing to ever exist. I was born and raised this way. I can't change what I think about it although I am trying to. It's not about me though, it's about an entire culture.

In the west, homosexuality is normal but not considered a norm. It's a very interesting thing. They say people are born with homosexuality; what defines their homosexuality then? Their mental health? Their physiology? Or they are born normal but preferred same sex relationships?

First let's talk about homosexuality in the west and the middle east.

Middle East
  • Homosexuality is forbidden, unaccepted and very wrong
  • Homosexuality is sometimes considered a "fashion" or a "cool" experience
  • Having a homosexual son or daughter is enough reason for the parents to murder the sibling to prevent shame and defend their honor
  • A gay person is always considered a guy "acting like a girl, giving oral sex receiving anal sex"
  • Homosexuals have homosexual friends and few straight friends. For guy, homosexuals normally have more female friends.
  • A homosexual is forced to get out of his preference and marry from the opposite sex after all
  • Homosexuals have normal relationships but very discretely
  • Homosexuals never expose themselves in public in their true "nature"
  • Homosexuality in the middle east is more of an experience rather than a lifetime "sexual abnormality"
  • Homosexuality is normal and accepted
  • Some countries allow same sex marriages
  • Adoption for a homosexual couple is allowed
  • In some countries, they have their own parades
I think there are many reasons behind homosexuality based on the research I conducted. Homosexuality can be a physical disorder. Let me explain. Some people are born males, but have very small or sometimes tiny genitals and their hormones are unstable that they can't reach puberty. In females, some are born with a high testosterone amount in their body that they start developing male voices, big clitoris, small breasts and facial hair, they are the characteristics of males. In this case a male with this disorder turn into a homosexual from the femininity and the female can turn into a homosexual because of the extra masculinity. of course such conditions can be treated or the person can, with the recent advanced medicine, have a sex change surgery. They can't help it because they are born with this disorder.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Western Expectations for the Middle East

For the past decade, western countries are trying their best to change the mentalities and policies of middle eastern countries. They are open minded people with governments providing everything needed for their people. At least that’s the way they see it. Sex, relationships, alcohol, porn, ultimate democracy and rights are their norms. In the middle east it’s very hard to impose such mentalities.

In the middle east, many wars took place, many mass accommodations occurred, and religion is a very important part of the everyday life of a typical middle eastern person. Middle easterners follow their leaders blindfolded and see that they’re doing their best for the country. Few countries are run by “democracy”.

The west keeps sending troops and creating wars in the middle east in the name of “change”. But the big question is if middle easterners can accept this change. I think through the past decades, if not centuries, we showed that we don’t like to change our norms. Each country or region have different believes , cultures and traditions from the rest. Why to impose their way of life on us. Many of us are happy the way things are and others support this change.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Are Men and Women Equal?

Men and women can never be equal. I wrote a very interesting article about equality between men and woman and how to be able to reach the closest to “equality”. I put it between quotations because I didn’t literally mean equality, it meant more like harmony. You can find the article HERE.

In the west, almost all countries have made it clear that woman have the "same exact equal" rights as men. Whereas, in the middle east, women have very little rights compared to men. This is due to religion.

Personally I’m against both. Because women and men can never be equal, and also they both have the same rights. Having the same rights doesn’t mean reaching equality. Equality between men and women is almost impossible physically, emotionally and mentally. Not forgetting that there is no gender superior to the other.

In Islam, a man has the right to marry 4 women. A man has the power to end the marriage whenever he feels like it by saying one word. In every religion, men have more rights and more power over women. Let’s take a quick look at all three religions or at all other religions. In every single one of them, the messenger is a male, the holy figure is a male, God is a male. Of course there are few exceptions, but this is the case in general. Is that fair? Is it true?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Iraq War is Over - Obama is Executing Bush's Original Plan

I was watching The Daily Show with John Stewart, March 3rd 2009 episode. It's quite an interesting show. Anyway to get to the point, there is the sketch called "Mess O'Potamia - The Iraq War is Over". The sketch speaks about the "new" plan of withdrawing the American troops from Iraq, except a few dozens of thousands soldiers.

The video I embedded is a must see. The video include Obama's speech regarding the matter and regarding the so-called "new" plan, compared to Bush's speech about the earlier plan. Surprisingly, they both said the SAME EXACT SENTENCES but with a change in a word or two. The Obama's plan is supposedly to be executed in August 2010.

I understand the Democrats won the elections over the Republicans. But honestly, Middle Eastern hopes for a better change in the region by the Obama administration are fading away as everyday passes by. As I said in mentioned in an earlier post, we Middle Easterns can't hold on to hope from any type of administration in the United States because after all it's the United States administration and not the world's administration. They do what's best for their own country.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Proposal, Engagement, Marriage and Divorce - Part IV

The Divorce (Part IV)

Divorce is one of the worst things ever in my personal opinion. I think when anyone is to be married, it has to be forever. The partner has to be chosen carefully as the one and only for the remaining years of one's life.

In the West, divorce is a very hard thing. In the Middle East it's very easy to get a divorce unless the couple is Christian.


Divorce in the west is a very hard thing to get. There has to be many settlements depending on the laws of divorce. Also the religious aspect of divorce is very complicated as they advice the couple to try counseling then they ask different opinions then the couple have to wait for the approval. It's very complicated.

Yet, they don't choose there life partners wisely. Even some law firms have compelling advertisements for them such as "Life is too short. Get a divorce". Divorce rates are increasing each year. This is all due to making the wrong decisions and choosing the wrong life partners. The good thing about a divorced man or woman in the west is that none of them is talked about. They can normally go on with their lives and have different partners.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Proposal, Engagement, Marriage and Divorce - Part III

The Marriage (Part III)

Marriage everywhere is somehow the same. Vows are exchanged, witnesses are available, the couple is in their wedding outfits, they're announced married to the public, a wedding party, then the honeymoon starts.

There are a few differences between the west and the middle east regarding the application of the wedding; and the conditions and rules between the couple when they're married.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Proposal, Engagement, Marriage and Divorce - Part II

The Engagement (Part II)


In the west, engagement is the part that comes after the proposal. When a person proposes, the ring that’s given is the engagement ring. The engagement is not a trial period of letting the couple get to know each other, it’s more of a period that lets the couple prepare for the wedding and for the marital life. It’s serious and it’s all about commitment. Normally the engagement in the west happens after the couple truly knows each other and the parents have nothing to do with them.

The priorities for a western engaged couple:
  • Living together
  • Meeting the parents
  • Getting to know each other’s dos and don’ts
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Focus on the future living standard and finances
  • Prepare for the wedding
Middle East

Engagement in the middle east is the most complicated part of a relationship. It can be the stage where two people met through their parents and got engaged to get to know each other; or it can be the stage where the relationship between two is made official to the society, extended family, relatives and friends.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Proposal, Engagement, Marriage and Divorce - Part I

The Proposal (Part I)


Two people meet each other, they share life experiences together, they live together, they learn the most they can about each other, then they say "I Love You."

"I Love You." Such a strong meaningful word, the way it's said creates a strong feeling of security and comfort. Love is hard to find, hard to express and hard to maintain. So when they have the nerve to say it, they mean it. It's not in movies, it's not in books, it's true and real.

In the West, proposals take so much planning. It's romantic and sincere. It means a lot and it's the most important things after marriage for the male and the female. Two people fall in love, one of them proposes to the other, they put on the rings, and they're engaged. It's just genuine. I personally love how it's done, even for celebrities, the proposal is a major part in the relationship where major magazines should be there and major events should take place.