سلك السماعة – مصطفى ابراهيم

الكثيرون لا يلقون للشعر العامي أو الغير موزون أي قيمة بحجة البلاغة الأدبية وغيرها من الحجج التي تساق كل مرة في وجه أي بوادر كانت صغيرة أو كبيرة للتغير. لكن عموماً، بما أن الجميع أتفقوا على أن يختلفوا، مقطع قصيدة سلك السماعة من أجمل الأشعار العامية بلاغة برأيي وأعترف أيضاً أنني من المتهمين بالتأثر بالثورة المصرية بغض الطرف عما ألت اليه الأحداث اليوم!

 

الدنيا اساساً م الاول ..
شيء يشبه سلك السماعة ..
يتلعبك منك ف ثواني ..
و عشان يرجع مفرود تاني ..
لازم تتعذب و تعاني ..
و تفكه ف أكتر من ساعة ..

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Medianeras: one more time!

Turn the English subtitle on the video to understand the thing!

When I first watched this movie (philosophical view of life) years ago, I was stunned! for a developer whose life is shaped and guided by the online world, it was an irony that some Argentinian director sat one day and thought of all of this!

From the great intro above to the last scene in the movie, I was glued! how often you can find your life depicted on the screen (well, without the love story part!) and how often a screenwriter can relate to you on the creation level!

Every time I watch this movie (watched countless times already) I found myself drowning in my loneliness and despair thinking, how this wired interconnected world is the only thing that ever got me! I lay down staring at the ceiling thinking am I an arrogant person who can’t communicate with others or I’m just a developer who finds it a little bit difficult to relate to others on the real side and hence lack the sense of connection and belonging!

When Brene Brown told us that vulnerability is the source of all the courage in the world, she was totally right! she nailed the thing down, however, what she didn’t realize is that people do not want to connect or relate to the true you or the real you! they want to relate to the nice enhanced version of you that doesn’t feel desperate or depressed! that doesn’t know how to laugh except with those they truly care for and that sometimes they may fail to connect but they desperately wish to communicate and connect!

Synopsis from the film

Martin is a phobic in recovery process. Little by little he manages to step out of theisolation of his one-room apartment and his virtual reality. He is a web designer.

Mariana just broke up after a long relationship. Her head is a mess, just like the apartment where she takes refuge. Martin and Mariana live in the same street, in opposite buildings, but they never met.

They walk through the same places, but they do not notice each other.

How can they meet in a city of three million people?

Urban loneliness.

Buenos Aires.
Medianeras.

What separates them is what brings them together.

All The Way – a Charles Bukowski Poem

If you’re going to try, go all the way.
Otherwise, don’t even start.
This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind.
It could mean not eating for three or four days.
It could mean freezing on a park bench.
It could mean jail. It could mean derision.
It could mean mockery–isolation.
Isolation is the gift.
All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it.
And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds.
And it will be better than anything else you can imagine.
If you’re going to try, go all the way.
There is no other feeling like that.
You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire.
You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.
It’s the only good fight there is.

A year from around the world!

I gotta say, last year between October 2014 and October 2015 I had the most fun and wonderful time in my life! it was travel time through which I had the chance to experience traveling, meeting new people to trying new food, seeing new places and most important: discovering my own self!

ahRzfmd1YXJkaWFuLXdvcmxkLW1hcHJMCxIGcG9pbnRzIkA3NTkxQTJDQzZBQkFBMDk2MUU0MDJFQzRBM0QzQ0Y2NDM5N0M5QjcxNDlBOEEyNzUxN0E3NkMzMjNFRDdBODdEDAThese memories reflects the craziest and truthful times I’ve been through. From almost cryin’ at Paddington station knowing no where to go to cruising Charles river in a bus! 2016 lets see what new adventures you are hiding to me 🙂

So here are some of last year’s adventures:

 

Dear my mentor, Izetbegovic 1

Izetbegovic

Beside my dad, I don’t think that I ever had a living mentor, even the word mentor never came to my mind until I had to describe their influence on my way of thinking. Of those that I’m proud to call my mentors are Alija Ali Izetbegovic, Abu Hamid Al Ghazali and Malik ben Nabi. Why these among millions and millions of scholars and thinkers, I only can say that this is the well of God.

My dear mentor Alija Ali Izetbegovic,

I recall that one day you said in your book “Notes from prison”, that the blue sky in day light is beautiful, why do we need the night with its darkness? Then after thinking you said, we need the darkness in order to see the beautiful lightening stars. I always smile whenever I remember this, as a big admirer and fan of art, I’m always fascinated with such expressions but at the same time it draws my attention to why we as humans have a dark side too!

Each one of us has his good and bad, his ups and downs and that’s a bless in a sense that we tend to value and maintain high standards and morals. We tend to be perfectionists and idealists all the time and the result is becoming more disappointed and depressed of this imperfect and immoral world. However, in your book “Islam between East and West” you explained how our imperfection is perfection in its own. We are not angles who don’t makes mistakes all the time, and we are not daemons that do mistakes all the time but we are humans who do right and wrong and align with our nature of making mistakes and pursuing doing the right thing all the time.

However my mentor, trying to do the right thing all the time is really tiring, you end up caught up in the middle between your nagging never-stop-hyper-thinking super ego as Freud discussed, and your desires and needs (Id) and this poor ego -that is trying to please both sides and accommodate both of them- is thinking to kill himself. I reached to a conclusion my mentor that achieving balance between both of these is a mission impossible, to balance this inner and outer aspects of yourself your identity is rather complicated than a thing that goes with my nature. Nonetheless, the integration between these two is what makes me human. A human being who do mistakes along the way and try to purify himself as well in the same passion. A human being who accepts himself with all his odds and hence accept others as they are the same as he is. A human being who is less judgmental, more understanding and have empathy for everyone around.

Auguste Perret once said “Architecture is what makes the ruins beautiful”! as a man of choice, you choose what to see and what truth to believe, ruins for some are only ruins but for others what gives this dead thing a meaning is Architecture. How we choose to interpret our surrounding is what makes us humans. Any act that tries dehumanizing me by telling me this is the truth without allowing me to think about it is inhuman. Standing for my opinions and taking responsibilities of my actions is what makes me human; any act that tries to free me from this obligation towards myself and others and prevents me from struggling to stand for my own responsibilities is inhuman even if the intention was for the good of me.

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But my mentor, what gives this struggle a meaning, what makes the actions of these humans who are contesting this world order a value? In today’s context, anything that is not rewarding or done out of interest is considered a failure, a big one. Those who are on hunger strike inside prisons like Shaikh Khader Adnan, what do they gain besides their own suffering and health issues, a couple of hash tags and profile pictures change on social media? If you asked them, they will always say I will do it again and again and again! What makes this guy raise his voice in solidarity with someone somewhere else in the world that might never gonna be heard stand with a big smile on his face, Alone!! Drama is what makes us humans!

To be continued…

Morality, Norms and after midnight hallucinations!

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It’s been a while when I started the search for the Morality question that lead me in a way or another to norms. As a starter, it was hard for me to accept that right and wrong can be subjective, relative and contextualized. That Einstein’s relativity law can be applied to something like morals! Or as Roger Scruton says: “In argument about moral problems, relativism is the first refuge of the scoundrel.

In the ancient Greek methodology, Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter to Artemis in order to allow his ships to sail to Troy. A man would throw himself into fire to rescue a child or a cat, or more common in our context, an activist would defy the authorities and go against all odds for an idea or a principle he believes in and think it is right! Can such acts be analyzed using reason!

Voltaire said “I hate what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. One would argue that the society is built on the self-interest of individual people, that social norms is that silent code of conduct that everyone agrees to as long as it is aligned with their interests. That this collective good is made sometimes against self-interest but with the illusion that it was made for the major good, or based on Bentham’s utilitarianism that based on the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong.

Now is this utilitarianism or the collective good is the right and moral thing? Back to the relativism question, this collective good can never have a full consensus from people not to mention that it will not always reflect the interest of the majority. The history is filled with stories about how this can be imposed by certain authorities like the communists who valued the police state and controlled every aspect of their people’s lives or when they creating the individual infallible leader image that was imitated by our Arab countries! The imperialists who invaded other countries and conquered it by force and violence under the name of spreading democracy and social justice! To name less of course.

In Dostoyevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment”, was guilt and regret the reason Raskolnikov confessed his murder! Was it his conscience that couldn’t hold the weight of his actions! Was it the delusion of the unusual person that he failed to maintain what made him end up in Siberia! Mere conscience would not lead a moral man to do good, to go against the mind and choose the right thing without any calculations. It is what makes violent murderers in jails maintain high values and morals where they can’t betray each other’s trust and be courageous and never cheat!

So talking about moral obligation, what makes us do right things, sacrifice and go against reason and mere logic! Is it our selfishness, the need to be perfect, to achieve self-values and idealizations? Henri Bergson starts his argument with “Why did we obey?” rather than “Why should we obey? According to him one source of moral obligation is social pressure and therefore, social morality is at best is a pressure!

I do believe that Morals are an internal act as Ali Izzat Bigovic stated in his book “Islam between East and West” and I would disagree with John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism that argues that morality has two sources that are internal from what is called “conscience” or “super ego” or “Nafs ul Lawwaama” or from being raised in a high moral family and an external act that is enforced by law. Was Bergson correct at least with that assumption? I believe as Bigovic said that enforcement is against freedom and freedom is an essential part of morality. Without freedom there is no moral act, it’s just a social code of conduct and traditions that been practiced over the years and formed our culture.

So the question is still up, what defines moral acts, what gives it its virtue and collective consensus that is the right thing to do! To be continued in another hallucinations!

Politics and technology: An Interplay

Internet Highway

It might sound funny to say that I was not surprised by anything I read so far in terms of Astra’s book The people platform” or “New noise” by Simon Lindgren. For a tech-savvy myself, I might fall under the third way umbrella that approached the internet with a careful skepticism and neither fall under utopian cheerleaders and techno-evangelists nor dystopian doomsday’s fans and technophobia’s.

In his book “The shallows: what the internet is doing to our brain”, Nicholas Carr is not denying the positive and powerful role technology is playing in our lives, however, in this era where many people started to develop some forms of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), he argues neuroplasticity, a concept that is related to how our brains rewires itself in response to stimulation it encounters. In this world, where anyone with a keyboard and internet connection can publish and share anything through a click, where the highest mental activity performed is searching Google for answers, one should pause and reflect to examine how the internet is reshaping our thinking and hence our lives.

In recent years, it’s no longer the internet that is the focus of debates between supporters and skeptics but rather social media with its huge impact where the medium now matters more than the content itself. Marshall McLuhan says “The effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts; rather, they alter patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance”. Recently, two major incidents fired up social media and specially twitter, Charlie Hibdo and Chapell Hill shooting. Anyone with a brain in her head can see how media played a big role in labeling the first incident as a hate crime and a terrorist attack and the second as a dispute over a parking lot. In both cases, people were killed; the act of killing was condemned but the aftermath of each incident varied based on how these media decided to drive people’s attention and shape their response. Is the cyberspace still argued to be an egalitarian sphere?! I just wonder.

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Who is better than ISIS to understand the role the social media is playing when it produced its video of burning the Jordanian pilot alive or beheading the Qubtic Egyptians in Libya. The message of fear it aimed to deliver was easily spread using the media because they understood that the attention paid by the media was higher in these cases than the media itself gave to the daily killing and burning of people by Assad regime in Syria, or mass killing by Shi’at in Iraq to Sunni Muslims, etc. In this modern world where violence is deeply rooted in people’s life but denied on the surface, one can’t argue that movies like “Natural born killers” truly depicts how modern societies are and what both Oliver Stone and Quentin Tarantino did was showing that through a picture!

Its 2015 when I finally decided to buy a smartphone. The idea of being connected all the time with all people haunted me and prevented me from having an internet connection on my mobile. The idea that the internet is this big connected nation where barriers are not there is a lie! Big time. It is not news that today’s man is just half an idea half a man. Trying to run in pace with this rapid development only hindered our own development. Our ignorance of the complication of the online world affected our perception of online freedom, privacy and ability to communicate without being surveilled, judged and analyzed.

When Edward Snowden decided to reveal NSA mass and global surveillance program, he was motivated by I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity, or love, or friendship is recorded, and that’s not something I’m willing to support, it’s not something I’m willing to build, and it’s not something I’m willing to live under“. His realization that he don’t want to live in an Orwellian society is the reason why we have more awareness of our own privacy and taking protective measures of our activities online. Employing technology itself through cryptography to protect our communication, anonymity, the great and important role played by investigative journalism, hacktivists and whistleblowers to expose atrocities done by our name and against us.

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I might sound a bit technophobic right now, however, without this very technology and its vital importance to media we won’t be standing here right now listening to people like Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras and their digital magazine The Intercept and their wonderful work to analyze Snowden revelations. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! says The media is absolutely essential to the functioning of a democracy. It’s not our job to cozy up to power. We’re supposed to be the check and balance on government.

Nevertheless, the way politics is interwoven with technology as we are seeing is challenging and imposes lots of questions everyday on topics like Net Neutrality, surveillance and freedom of flow of information which is the essence of the internet. Trials and prosecution of Anonymous hackers under poor and ill-defined hacking laws was taken to extreme ruling where a hacker from Texas was charged with 440 years in prison! Journalist Barret Brown was sentenced to 5 years in jail for alleged connections with Anonymous as well. Not to forget to mention Aaron Swartz, Reddit computer activist who took away his life after being charged with 35 years in prison and more than 1 million $ fines. In the US where the espionage act is now woven in the face of journalists, hactivists and whistleblowers to intimidate them and prevent them from exposing corruption and misdeeds of governments, will only encourage people like John Kiriakou the former CIA whistleblower who exposed CIA torture program who said after being freed from jail “I will do it all again”.

Those like Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, Aaron Swartz, John Kiriakou, to name less, whom are showing how technology is really ruling our lives from both perspectives is the ones who will drive change to our lives or as Jeremy Scahill puts it “Real change in our society, regardless of what profession people are in, is going to come from people who have a passion burning so strongly in their heart that they don’t even identify it as work that they’re doing; they identify it as a way of life“.