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…

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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“.

My Cyber World


In life.. I live in B or C classified places.. never in A..

In Palestine as well.. I do live in C area that is controlled by the Israelis.

My guess is that I’ll never live in A places which is really cool as I won’t be bounded by well designed houses and shaped trees..

In my head.. I design web sites.. people lives in my mind… in pages I’ve created… in my sleepless nights and my dreams…

I architect.. I implement and I create..

In the cyber world.. I’m all connected.. I communicate.. I relate.. I exist.

In life.. I’m a ghost.. I live on the edges on the border of the no where

My library is my symmetry.. I live with corpses all the time.. the Muslims.. the Jews.. the Christians.. the non believers.. the infidels… and they talk to me… think with me… and we are friends!!

I dream of the vast sky… the stars and the darkness of the space.. the world is huge and I’m nothing… I drown in black… and I’m drifted away…

I see the world behind glasses… a layer after a layer…

Another mask… you put one after another after another…

Life is fake… until you find a meaning in all the non sense that happens outside your head

My head… a non stopping machine… an organized chaos… that controls me…

And I’m drifted away… behind the walls… of someone else’s mind!!

My Bookshelves 1

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Nop, my bookshelves are not as neat as they look in these images, I have piles of books all over my room, my work office and at my Mom’s too!! The image above is 9 months old and you can imagine how it might look like now!! One day when I finally get my custom bookshelves Insha’Allah I will be able to bring all of them in one place. So for the sake of this post, I had to empty my library and the piles of books at front last week and took different shots for them.

Beside my school and work books, most of my books are in Arabic so I will list these in Arabic. As for those in English, I will list those I have them here for now and I will update this post Insha’Allah with those at work and my Sherlock BBC edition coming up the way in mail once they arrive 😀

I will write another post for the rest of my Islamic and fiction Arabic novels in a separate post so this won’t be long as forever!!

I buy most of my Arabic and Islamic books from libraries here in Jordan and from books exhibitions held in here each year. For my English books, I find it cheaper for me to order them online than buying them from libraries here!! so I order from Amazon, Bookdepository, Jamalon and sometimes my boss bring them for me when he go to the US!!

 

Politics and Islamic Shelf

Shelf 1

I have a modest shelf for political and Islamic books in English, not much but I’m planning to grow them Insha’Allah.

1. Dirty wars by Jeremy Scahill.
2. The Palestine Papaers: The end of the road> by Clayton E. Swisher and Ghada Karmi.
3. Seeking Palestine: New Palestinian Writing on Exile and Home by Raja Shehadeh.
4. Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America by Yossef Bodansky.
5. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein.
6. Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege by Amira Hass.
7. GAZA: When the Sky Rained White Fire by Musheir El-Farra.
8. Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism by Cornel West.
9. The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East by Robert Fisk.
10. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe.
11. Gaza: Stay Human by Vittorio Arrigoni.

12. A World Without Islam by Graham E. Fuller.
13. What I Believe by Tariq Ramadan.
14. The Quest for Meaning: Developing a Philosophy of Pluralism by Tariq Ramadan.
15. Al-Ghazzali on Knowing Yourself and God by Mohammed al-Ghazali. A gift from my brother Tim 🙂
16. Al-Ghazali on the Ninety-nine Beautiful Names of God by Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. I borrowed this from my brother Tim and I will return it to him when I see him again Insha’Allah.
17. A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide by Mark D. Siljander. a gift from my friend Dorothy.

 

Fiction and Random books

Shelf 2

Again, this shelf doesn’t contain much fiction books but I’m planning to order more Boxsets and all the work of Sherlock holmes the BBC edition so it will be full soon Insha’Allah.

1. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.
2. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym), J.K. Rowling.
3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling.
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling.
6. The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset by Suzanne Collins.
7. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.
8. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.

9. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.
10. Measure Twice, Cut Once: Lessons from a Master Carpenter by Norm Abram.
11. The Family Business: Its Governance for Sustainability by Fred Neubauer, Alden G. Lank.
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12. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
13. The Gillian Flynn Collection: Sharp Objects, Dark Places, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

 

Russian Literature

أدب روسي

ٍShelf 3

I was astonished when I found most of my Russian literature reading were e-books so I’m planning to complete these shelves soon as well!!

1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
آنا مارنينا by ليو تولستوي
2. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
الأبله by فيودور دويستوفسكي
3. The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
المقامر by فيودور دويستوفسكي
4. The Complete Short Novels by Anton Chekhov
الأعمال المختارة #1 by أنطون تشيخوف
5. Five Great Short Stories by Anton Chekhov
الأعمال المختارة #2 by أنطون تشيخوف
6. Chekhov Long Stories by Anton Chekhov
الأعمال المختارة #3 by أنطون تشيخوف
7. The Complete Plays by Anton Chekhov
الأعمال المختارة #4 by أنطون تشيخوف
8. The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky
الساقطون by مكسيم غوركي
9. A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov
بطل من هذا الزمان by ميخائيل ليرمنتوف

 

Islamic and Arabic Thinking

فكر إسلامي وعربي

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I’m proud of this collection, read most of them as they helped shape my thinking and the way I see the world.

1. هروبي إلى الحرية علي عزت بيجوفيتش
2. الإسلام بين الشرق والغرب علي عزت بيجوفيتش
3. الديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان في الإسلام راشد الغنوشي
4. الحريات العامة في الدولة الإسلامية #1 راشد الغنوشي
5. الحريات العامة في الدولة الإسلامية #2 راشد الغنوشي
6. رؤية للسلام العالمي رجب طيب أردوغان
7. الدين والعلمانية في سياق تاريخي – الجزء الأول عزمي بشارة
8. روح الدين: من ضيق العلمانية إلى سعة الائتمانية طه عبد الرحمن
9. سؤال الأخلاق: مساهمة في النقد الأخلاقي للحداثة الغربية طه عبد الرحمن
10. التخلف الاجتماعي: مدخل إلى سيكولوجية الإنسان المقهور مصطفى حجازي
11. الظاهرة القرآنية مالك بن نبي
12. مشكلة الأفكار في العالم الإسلامي مالك بن نبي
13. وجهة العالم الإسلامي #1 مالك بن نبي
14. وجهة العالم الإسلامي #2 مالك بن نبي
15. الصراع الفكري في البلاد المستعمرة مالك بن نبي
16. من أجل التغيير مالك بن نبي
17. شروط النهضة مالك بن نبي
18. الإسلام في الألفية الثالثة ديانة في صعود مراد هوفمان
19. الإسلام على مفترق الطرق محمد أسد
20. ماذا خسر العالم بانحطاط المسلمين أبو الحسن الندوي
21. حتى الملائكة تسأل: رحلة إلى الإسلام في أمريكا جيفري لانج
22. الصراع من أجل الإيمان جيفري لانج
23. القرآن والتوراة والإنجيل؛ دراسة في ضوء العلم الحديث موريس بوكاي
24. طبائع الاستبداد ومصارع الاستعباد عبدالرحمن الكواكبي
25. الطريق إلى مكة محمد أسد

Coming back with another tour through my bookshelves 🙂

مدينتي صمتي

فان كوخ

يسحرني الصمت، يشدني اليه كما كانت تشدني حكايات جدتي عن الغولة التي تسكن البستان المجاور… أو كصمتنا عندما نتسكع في دهاليز الذاكرة… لا لشيء بل كي نفتش عن العدم الكامن فينا بحثاً عن العزلة أو الصمت المطلق. الصمت لغة لا تفهمها الا العيون والعيون مرآة الروح… مفتاح… يفضح أعماقنا …يعرّينا… ويهبنا الى المطلق… كما تهب الغجرية جسدها للموسيقى لا لشيء سوى الاتحاد مع اللازمن…

يقول حسين البرغوثي أن لكل اسم مدينة ينتمي اليها… ومدينتي صمتي… احملها معي الى حدود اللاشيء حيث لا شيء هناك سوى العدم وخطوط لامعة منحنية تعصف بعقلي تمنحني العزلة المطلقة… وأغرق… بداخلي بئر عميقة أضعت فيها نفسي… أناي… عندما التقينا صرخت لأبي أن بداخلي أمرأة أخرى تكلمني… خفت… فأفلتُّ يدها الى الأبد… ومن يومها أبحث عن نفسي لأجدني… وما وجدتني الا في غياهب الصمت ووحدتي…

مدينتي صمتي… وعقلي ريشة فنان صاخب ينثر الألوان كما اتفق… وعيناي شبابيك تعكس فوضى ذهبية كألوان لوحات فان كوخ… صاخبة كشمس الظهيرة في جبال الخليل… وأنا أغرق في شلال من الخيوط الذهبية… أكرهها… عيناي شبابيك تعكس صخباً وألوان… والصمت سراب… يشدني اليه برتابة أزيز الصراصير… في شمس ظهيرة قائظة… في جبال الخليل… وأنا أغرق… في لحظة صمت على حافة اللامكان… والزمن رتيب… وعقلي شلال لا يهدأ…

When Silent Migraine pays you a visit

Migraine_aura

Not long ago I knew that the blurred images I have, dizziness and lost of focus and seeing is called silent migraine. My silent migraine visits me when I do not have much sleep or when I’m exhausted and tired and yes they come with a ZigZag Aura.

I never panicked before, I would close my eyes until I gain my first visual sight back, the dizziness is stopped and I can hold my self up to set down, take a deep breathe and continue working until everything is back to normal. But this time was different, I panicked!! Once I realized that closing the curtains did nothing to the blurred images I had on my screen my heart starts to beat faster, closed my eyes for too long and started to urge it to go away.

There is a saying by Oscar wild that says: “Knowledge would be fatal. It is the uncertainty that charms one. A mist makes things wonderful”! I keep thinking that would it be better if I didn’t know that I do have a silent migraine! I don’t have a sever headache I barely feel it Thank God but the moment I did a research on the topic I started to feel stressed out when it passes by! Sometimes not knowing is good indeed.