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Arabisc: An Arab in Toronto and Arabs and Civilisation

Emirati blogger Osama is in North America..a place he never imagined he would ever travel to as long as George W Bush is the president of the US.

لم أتخيل أبدا أنني سأنال الفرصة لزيارة القارة الأمريكية أبدا، فقبل عدة سنوات عندما كنت أدرس في الخارج قمت باستخراج تأشيرة خاصة بالولايات المتحدة، حيث كنت عاقد العزم على زيارة قريب لي كان يدرس هناك في تلك الفترة، و لكن قدر الله ووقعت أحداث الحادي عشر من سبتمبر و التي غيرت مسار العالم بأكمله، و صار العرب و المسلمين بسببها ضيوفا دائمين في (البلاك ليست) الأمريكي، لذلك قطعت عهدا على نفسي ألأ تطأ قدماي هذه الأراضي أبدا، بل حتى مجرد التفكير في الاقتراب منها مادام المعتوه (بوش) على سدة الحكم!
“I never thought I would ever get the opportunity to visit North America ever. A few years ago, when I was studying abroad, I got a visa to the US and was planning to visit a relative who was studying there. But it wasn't to be because of the September 11 attacks, which changed the entire world and where Arabs and Muslims have become permanent fixtures on the American Blacklist. From that day onwards, I swore to myself not to set foot there or even think about going there for as long as that madman (Bush) is in power!,” he explained.

However, a business trip now lands him in Toronto, Canada, where he is learning how to enjoy a cosmopolitan society and cope with the cold winter.

كنت أظن نفسي قد تعودت على الطقس البارد بعد أن عشت في بلاد أوروبا أكثر من خمس سنوات من حياتي، و لككني اكتشفت البرودة هنا مختلفة، ولحسن الحظ أننا بكرنا الوصول بعض الشيء لنتعود على البرد القارص الذي علمت فيما بعد أن الوقت مازال مبكرا للحديث عن البرد، فدرجة الحرارة قد تصل في عز الشتاء إلى أكثر من 20 تحت الصفر!
“I used to think that I am used to cold climates since I have lived in European countries for more than five years but I have discovered that the cold here is different. I am glad we have arrived early to get used to the cold weather as I have heard that temperatures here drop to 20 degrees Celcius below zero!,” he added.

From a trip to Canada, we move to a walk across part of an Egyptian town to a bloggers’ meeting, which gave Shamseddeen the opportunity to see up, close and personal the sorry state of roads and the woman's prayer quarters in mosques.

According to the directions she got, Shamseddeen and another blogger had to take the metro and then catch a bus to the venue.

عندما نزلنا من المترو وجدنا جحافل البشر تنتظر الانقضاض علي اي ميكروباس مما نرغب في استقلالة …و لذلك – و كما هي عادتنا دائما – نحن لا ننتظر ا ن تصنعنا الظروف بل نحن من نصنعها ,فقد قررنا الذهاب الي هناك سيرا علي الاقدام حفاضاُ علي ادميتنا
“When we got off the metro we saw swarms of people waiting to pounce on any of the buses we intended to take. Therefore, and as usual, we didn't wait for circumstances to suit us but we made our own circumstances, and decided to go there walking – to preserve our humanity,” she explained.

But it wasn't a smooth walk as the road conditions she described were “unsuitable for human beings or even cars.”

On the way, they stopped by a mosque to perform prayers, and the women's prayer room didn't score brownie points with her too.

ذهبنا بعد ذلك لاداء الصلاة في المسجد المجاور ( و طبعا للاسف الشديد و انا حزينة و انا اقول ذلك …كانت الرائحة عطنة لدرجة انها اذهبت ما تبقي لي من قوة و ايضا كان مكان النساء مهمل و صغير جدا كأنهم يضعوة في الجوامع كديكور زائد … و الكثير جدا من الجوامع يستغني عن هذا الديكور !!!!)
عند رحلة العودة اتنظرنا طويلا مواصلة “ادمية ” و لما طال انتظانا قررنا العودة سيراً ايضاً و قابلنا نفس الاشياء
“We went to perform prayers in the nearby mosque and unfortuneatly, I am really sad to say this.. but the place was stinking to the extent that it exhausted me and made me lose all the energy I had. The women's quarters were neglected and small as if it was placed in mosques for decorative purposes. On our way back, we waiting for a very long time for a humane form of transportation to return home. After a while, we decided to walk back.. and experienced the same things,” she said.

Meanwhile, Tunisian blogger Mohammed Marwan Maddah posts an insightful entry on how he views today's Arabs, along with his advice to them.

According to Maddah, Arabs fall into several categories such as those still living in the glory of previous eras, those who despise their type and others who are totally Westernised, to name a few.

- أتباع أمجاد الماضي: هذه الفئة تعيش في الماضي و أمجاد العرب التي ولّت و اندثرت، يتحدّثون عن العصر الذهبي لحضارتنا و كأنّه ممتدّ إلى يومنا هذا.
لهذه المجموعة أقول: نفتخر كلّنا بتاريخنا العريق و حضارتنا التي أنارت العالم في وقت كانت تسوده الظلمات، و لكن الوضع تغيّر الآن، نحن نعيش في حاضر مؤسف، و سوف نعيش في مستقبل أكثر بؤسا إذا لم نتحرّك اليوم و نفكّر في طرق لإعادة الحياة لحضارتنا. جميل أن نتذكر الماضي، فمن غير ماضي ليس لنا حاضر أو مستقبل، و لكنّه من اللاّزم أن نتعلّم من الماضي و نستعمل الدروس التي تعلّمناها في بناء مستقبل أكثر إشراقا.
“Those who still live in the glory of the past: This category lives in the past and the glory of Arabs which has long disappeared. They speak about the golden age of our civilisation as if it still exists today. To this group I say: We are all proud of our rich history and civilisation which has brought enlightenment to a world which was engulfed with darkness. But the times have changed and we live in a very sad reality and will live a more miserable future if we didn't move today and think of ways to rejuvenate our civilisation. It is lovely to remember the past for those without a past dont have a present and cannot aspire for a future.. just as it is imperative to learn from the past and use the lessons we have learned to build a more prosperous future,” he wrote.

After criticising all the other categories, Maddah reserves his special praise to the group which prefers to work in silence.

- أتباع العمل: هذه الفئة هي من أصغر الفئات و التي تعرف أنّ العمل و البحث هو السبيل الوحيد لإيجاد واقع و وضع جديد لأمّتنا العربيّة، لا يأبهون للصعاب و يكافحون لاثبات أنفسهم و قدرة العرب على الابداع. الأمل كلّه مع هذه الفئة، المستقبل يبنى على أكتافهم و مصير الأمة العربية بين يديهم.
لهذه المجموعة أقول: لنبني للمستقبل معا يدا بيد، خطوة خطوة، لبنة لبنة، و سوف نصل إن شاء اللّه…
“Those who work: This is the smallest category of all and is made up of people who know that diligence and research are the only way to achieve a new position and reality for our Arab communities. They are not afraid of hardships and work effortlessly to prove themselves and the ability of Arabs to become creative. All our hope hangs with this group, our future lies on their shoulders and the fate of all Arab nations are in their hands. To this group I say: Let's work hand in hand to build a better future, step by step and brick by brick. We will ultimately reach our goal, God Willing,” he said.

ad pic

And our last stop is with Talasim, from Jordan, which posts a hilarious sign posts, banners or pictures daily. Today's pick is a picture of an advertisement which reads: “For Sale: A rocket, 70s model, classic, champagne colour, leather seats and automatic windows.”

Sad to say, there wasn't a price tag for that fancy rocket!

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