June 28, 2006

They met before we did

When my Aunt (my father's sister) met my fiancée's grandmother (her father's mother) for the first time during our engagement "party", there was an elusive sense of familiarity between them that was thrusting through both minds.

They both went home & started scratching their heads to aggregate their rusty memories with the underlying question; "Where do I know this woman from?"

My aunt had an advantage that all her old photos where archived neatly in albums by her daughter, (i think) corresponding to probable consecutive dates.

So she started flicking through the photos relentlessly, imagine the challenge: matching a decades-old face with what’s left of it today after she aged!

Despite the fact that my fiancée's grandmother is a distinctly looking reddish brunette (is that the word?), she's even nicknamed (by her self) " تيتا الحمرا " (The red Grandma).

My aunt search came to an end when she found the picture that captured herself, Grandma & another Lebanese woman during a social gathering sat on Sofa at my Aunt's old house in Al-Muhajirin old district of Amman.

She phoned me up oozing with excitement, telling me that she now remembers my fiancée’s grandma, though they only had a single encounter with each other (at which the picture was taken back in the fifties), they both left a deep impact upon each other that only needed a little catalyst for it to surface onto the present.

My fiancée & I bought a frame in which we placed a duplicate of the picture, and we presented it to grandma, it goes without saying that this made her day, being the person she is who's obsessed with old photos and the memories it bears!

The trigger was powerful enough for her to vividly remember my aunt the photo & the event itself; to such details as to the colour of the psychedelic-looking sofa they were setting on, the story behind the light jacket (that belonged to my Aunt) she was wearing “for the purpose of the photo only” (to cover her bare arms), the occasion at which the picture was taken at and a quick biography of the Lebanese woman who was also in the picture... That was amusingly entertaining.

Further, she mentioned that at the same gathering, my late father’s x-wife was present as a little kid, who was also a good friend of my father-in-law as they used to play together when they were young!

The astonishment from such junctures in our social fabric; can never wear-off! You’ll always be dazzled by how people are related or know each other.

On a side note, I hate pictures; I literally hate to document memories by taking pictures that "captures" them, I like my memories crudely raw & floating in my mind the way I want to remember them!

If they were worth remembering, they'll probably stick (whether good or bad), I hate the surrealistic surge that photos brings to my consciousness with an overwhelming force.

I don't recall staring at any of my late father's photos for more than few seconds ever since he passed away! It just sounds unnatural really when compared to say, how aroma trigger certain memories, or the sight of someone who looks awfully familiar to a dead relative.

June 27, 2006

Do you know Wonho?

Leave a short comment if you do!

I’ve known Wonho for almost 8 years now & he’s a good friend of mine. Beside his socially engaging personality, multi-talented nature & (sort of) charming-at-first-encounter charisma; the guy is eccentrically different than "us".

The late king in his famous saying “من شتى المنابت و الأصول” (From all routes & origins) was inspiringly broad enough to include his family as a Jordanian one indeed! How frequently do you get to be acquainted with a Jordanian guy from a Korean origin who lived among us all his life & commands Arabic probably better than many of us!

A tribute to the Chung family in Jordan & a little “experiment” on the side… please make it a success

June 25, 2006

A good blog entry & an even better comment

Qwaider from the Memories Document blog has put together a very interesting piece, which I obviously didn’t agree with, so I wrote a comment which is worth a dedicated blog entry of its own.

Links: The entry & the comment (in case you’re more interested in what I had to say)

Shameless egoistic self promotion? Indeed…

June 18, 2006

An anomalous divine intervention: America vs. Italy!

“عدالة السماء” (heaven’s mercy/justice) apparently took revenge last night for the hundred of thousands of massacred Iraqis & Afghanis killed by US forces while fighting terrorism (and as a bonus: bringing them justice while at it), along with the chronic oppression of Palestinians that was only made feasible by the American support of the Israeli apartheid!

I despicably hate America’s guts (not its people); I oppose its invasion of Iraq, & the poking of its reddish nose in everyone’s business. But I must admit that I couldn’t but help siding with whoever team the American team was playing against, I know it’s just sport & not politics, but I just couldn’t swallow it. (Beside who ever heard of an American football -soccer- league as famous as the NBA?)

But would I go to the extent to be a God’s spokesman & claim that the two red cards & the canceled goal were part of God’s wrath against American atrocities around the world? I wouldn’t dare doing so...

But it seems the commentator of the ART exclusive airing of the match thought so, he rhetorically screamed “يا لعدالة السماء” as the fond-with-red-cards referee waived the 2nd card during the match (kicking out the first american player).

For a split second there; I was rather amused by the whole thing, but as the 3rd red card was waived (kicking out the 2nd american player) & the 2nd American goal was canceled, the commentator reiterated that he couldn’t help but view this as a vengeance against America’s foreign policy! He interrupted my blatant sense of entertaining joy out of the American team’s misfortune!

Is that so? Why did God allow the American team to make it to the world cup finals in the first place (an achievement on its own even if suffering an 8 to nil defeat like another supposedly a Godly loved country), huh smart commentator?

Why wouldn’t God take revenge by weeping off a whole battalion in the middle of the desert in broad daylight or a couple of them super carriers cruising the gulf? Why choose an almost politics-free football game & not some skirmishes on the frontlines?

I’m also reminded of the fallacy in the proposition of those who found it in themselves to claim that Katrina was God’s answer to America, little did they appreciate the human tragedy in it, or the difference between the ill-fate of fellow humans & the arrogance, deficiency & failure of the government ruling them who couldn’t deal with the crisis (something worth cheering upon).

The fatalist mindset we’ve been oriented with throughout our lives is just incredible, we seek easy victories achieved by others (including non-deserved divine interventions) to heal the wounds of the utter loss we’re solely (as people & not governments) responsible of.

God may well be capable of humiliating an American team during a worldwide event, or even soak America up to its chest with floods & “natural” disasters, and frankly he is capable of doing so, he is the almighty, the sustainer of the universe, but why ridicule our creed in him to merely serve a momentous ecstasy out of mocking our enemy’s misfortune that has nothing to do with the very struggle we have against them?

For some reason (I wasn’t born back then) the scene of the kidnapping of the Israeli Olympic team during the 70s came to mind, yes; the righteously rebellious Palestinians had every right there is to bring the world’s attention to their injustice as it was slowly slipping out of the world’s consciousness & into the ancient-history injustice category that sounds ludicrous to be discussed in contemporary terms.

But the targets were civilians, and not the type of soldiers-on-standby civilians living (occupying?) Palestine as we speak, and the arena they were targeted in was of a civilian nature, I think if one choose to take the Olympics or any internationally-observed sporting activity as a retaliation front, then the game should be played otherwise: lobbying to have Palestine listed as a participating nationality (before the Oslo accords), decide to take part (after being listed) & work hard enough to humiliatingly defeat the Israeli team with pure sportsmanship! or better still, boycotting the event that the Israeli teams are taking part in altogether.

I personally would opt for the latter; I think despite official international endorsement of the Israeli state, non-political events should still recognize the oppression of the people in a politically neutral basis, under the premise that the Palestinian cause is just & humane even before being politicized. But that’s off the subject.

Personally, I only watch the world cup matches while exercising at the gym, I occasionally find myself purposely watching a football match (it must be potentially a really really good game that include mainstream-ishly recognized as good teams), but I’ll definitely not watch the American team in play again, because I don’t want the blatant part of me to have even the tiniest of American-demise midgets out of an insignificant event…

I’d rather flick the channel, watch some news of the Iraqi or afghani resistance "teams" showing their own type of red cards that harvests American mercenaries occupying their sovereign states with the “real” aid & blessing of an ever so merciful & just God.

June 12, 2006

Wondering Abdullah:

check your mail!

June 06, 2006

Did I tell you about Adam?

Perhaps one of the most eccentric acquaintances I ever made with anyone was my omni encounter with a young Canadian guy named Adam, our mutual friend (Maher) introduced me to him when he came to reside in Jordan working as a pilot for a newly established charter airliner.

Beyond the hype that surrounded his death, the portraits in glossy English magazines & the instantaneous mourning of the circle of people he was surrounded with (with few exceptions of the sincere few), allow me tell the story of Adam, the one that my humble self was subtly part of, yet its profound effect upon me, still trickles down to the very essence of my consciousness!

The gathering took place at Adam’s home in late spring’04, it was a very interestingly located classic old-Ammani style house opposite the books@cafe, vividly over looking downtown, and because it was a purposely arranged gathering, there was an uncomfortable sense of what’s-next? to it at start, but the easy-going & engaging charisma of Adam overcame this stall.

Wanderer Adam was seeking answers or perhaps directions; he had far too many unanswered (or unsatisfyingly answered) questions about existence, life & so on, the typical set of things you’ll frequently dwell upon if you reflect upon yourself and the life you’re leading (or being dragged all along in it).

We conversed in a very relaxed manner, beyond any characteristics you may attribute to the fact that I’m an adherent of Islam & he was closer to agnosticism at the time.

The discussion was left with loose ends, no prevailing thoughts or opinions, just a civilized exchange of thoughts... EDITED*

Days went by, and I never heard of the guy again, until a couple of months later, when I called my friends back home around Eid-Al-Fitr time the following Ramadan of Autumn'04, when they informed me of his death, which happened when his airplane crashed during an air-show (I think it was a rehearsal) at Wadi Rum the first day of Eid…

That piece of news was momentous on its own, the inevitable reoccurrence of death never fails to overwhelmingly strike me even when I'm not acquainted with the deceased, but that was not the only piece of news I was told, my friends informed me that Adam embraced Islam during Ramadan… May Allah rest him in piece & have mercy upon us!

A Few days later, Maher called me and told me about the encounter he had with the Shiekh who led the funeral prayer at Ibad-Al-Rahman mosque in Sweifieh, who asked about the identity of the deceased, he was told it’s Adam, he was astonished & reiterated that this new convert joined him throughout Ramadan in Taraweeh prayers (the prolonged Ramadan-exclusive optional prayer after Isha)!

Please understand that I’m not trying to promote Islam here blunt manner, despite the fact that the story itself is profoundly influential, yet if one can contemplate the human story line, in which a guy from a distant land, travels halfway across the world to a tiny foreign land, whilst having lived the bulk of his life either adhering to a certain axiom or wondering (for the most part) about his existence & the truth beyond matter & sincerely attempting to give meaning to his livelihood!

And then, far away from where he considered home, he acquaints himself with a new religion, a way of life or a philosophy (whatever floats your boat; “open-minded” claimants) and he embraces & practices it for the rest of the few days remaining in his life!

It was an undisputed manifestation of the prophet Moh’d -pbuh- hadith:

إن أحدكم يُجمع خلقُه في بطن أمه أربعين يوماً نطفة، ثم يكون علقة مثل ذلك، ثم يكون مضغة مثل ذلك، ثم يرسل إليه الملك فينفخ فيه الروح، ويؤمر بأربع كلمات: بكتب رزقه، وأجله، وعمله، وشقي أم سعيد، فو الذي لا إله غيره! إن أحدكم ليعمل بعمل أهل الجنة حتى ما يكون بينه وبينها إلا ذراع، فيسبقُ عليه الكتاب فيعمل بعمل أهل النار فيدخلها، وإن أحدكم ليعمل بعمل أهل النار حتى ما يكون بينه وبينها إلا ذراع فيسبق عليه الكتاب فيعمل بعمل أهل الجنة فيدخلها

Call me mystically emotional, but I shiver when I think of Adam & this hadith at the same time.

I’m not sure if his parents knew of the conviction he carried with him to the afterlife... EDITED*in order to bury him at a Moslem cemetery observing the Islamic rituals as he would’ve deserved after his body was sent back to Canada.

At any measure, this was not the average numb existence of your average person! This was not onw of your average hyped up converts stories that are usually told rhetorically! It was simply the story of Adam… and from my humble perspective, it was The story of Adam: the one day friend, the one month Moslem and the martyr. نحسبه عند الله كذلك

* EDITED : Edited on the 10th of June upon the suggestion of reader Lamer, thank you.