Old Song


My student showed me this video. Does anyone know what it is talking about?

Criminalization of Dual Citizenship



Should dual nationality holders be stripped of Kuwait citizenship?

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Family Bookshop Salmiya


It's really a shame they are so bent on demolishing Old Salmiya. I went today to buy a book in Family Bookshop and let me tell you the variety as well as the price is much better than any mega-store like Virgin.

India-Pakistan Border Stomp Romp


Arabian Business: "Labourers living in homes 'not fit for cats and dogs'"


Gulf states are seeking to buy people’s silence through state hand-outs while unskilled foreign workers are living in conditions “unacceptable to cats and dogs”, according to a leading Bahraini newspaper editor.

Dr Mansoor Al-Jamri, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Bahrain’s daily Alwasat newspaper, drew loud applause at Qatar’s BBC televised Doha Debates with his comments.

He said: “The governments have a philosophy based on oil wealth, but instead of letting it trickle down to the people they use it to silence the elite or to by-pass their citizens.”

He added that in Bahrain the average salary in the private sector had dropped by 15 per cent in recent years and more than half the population had been waiting to be housed since 1992.

Speaking of the wretched housing which so many foreign workers from the Indian sub-continent endure in Gulf states, Al-Jamri said they had to live in conditions “that cats and dogs would not accept.”

He warned that if these workers, who make up the vast proportion of unskilled labour, continued to be treated like third class citizens, their inability to share in the decision-making process or have a right of domicile would ultimately lead to the intervention of international bodies in the affairs of Gulf states.

Al-Jamri was speaking at the latest Doha Debate, a unique public debating forum in the Middle East, whose 350-strong audience voted 75 per cent to 25 per cent in favour of a motion that “Gulf Arabs Value Profit over People.”

He told the mainly Arab audience attending the debate, to be broadcast on BBC World News on November 22-23, that token trade unions existed in Bahrain and Kuwait but that they were deprived of powers of collective bargaining and the protection of international labour organisations.

“I am always hearing in the media and from officials how this is not the right time for the participation of the people. They say: we will give you free education and free housing, but just shut up and don’t criticise.”

His colleague on the panel, Dr Najeeb Al-Nauimi, a former Qatari Justice Minister and later lead counsel defending Saddam Hussein in Iraq, condemned governments which summarily deport not just unskilled, foreign labour but teachers and sometimes doctors.

Al-Nauimi decried the lack of compassion towards a labour force which builds extravagant construction projects on meagre salaries with minimal social benefits.

“Oil prices and cheap labour are the basis of our economies,” which depend in turn “on the silence of our citizens,” he said.

Al-Nauimi warned that the Indian sub-continent was forging ahead by opening up its societies to a working, middle and upper class with rights. “We are (just) citizens of the Gulf and represent a marginal class, marginalised by the political process.” (for full article click



This is what happens when a Brazilian soap opera attempts to imitate an Indian drama...A strange lovechild indeed.

Book: Leaving Tangier by Tahar Ben Jelloun


Picked this book up at the Virgin Store in the Beirut airport while I was waiting for a connection flight. It is an easy read and I got through the entire book on my long flight.

It deals with a brother and sister who emigrate from Morocco to Barcelona. The brother basically catches the eye of a gay Spaniard named Miguel who goes to Morocco often for leisure and business. He creates a pseudo-job for the brother, who I think is called Azel (?), provided he live with him in Barcelona, be his lover and basically be at his beck and call.

Meanwhile, the brother convinces Miguel to marry his sister so that she may also come to Spain, which Miguel does, although there are no romantic feelings between the sister and the Spaniard. In the end, what the story highlights on are how different people deal with emigration into a foreign land, who ruins themselves in the process and who paves out opportunities for themselves. I wished that the story had created more dialogue between the three characters to show their interaction in greater depth, but in the end it was a page turner.

United Nations 2012 World Urban Forum to Be Held in Bahrain


Why is this most important? Besides the obvious factors for the Gulf, one of the biggest benefits is that this will give a chance for Gulf Youth to participate and be active. For each World Urban Forum, there is a World Urban Youth Assembly that precedes it. Here is the UN HABITAT press release, closing the 2010 World Urban Forum.

The Fifth Session of the World Urban Forum drew to a close in Rio de Janeiro on Friday with speakers hailing it as the most successful one ever staged.

According to available statistics, some 13,718 participants from 150 countries around the world attended the Session. Secretary of State Mrs. Hilary Clinton of the United States was full of praises for the Forum saying it was a unique venue where people from different backgrounds shared ideas on how to cope with the challenges of urbanization.

Mrs. Clinton who addressed the closing ceremony via a video message said the work of UN-HABITAT in addressing urbanization challenges was crucial adding that there was a greater need to foster private public partnerships in addressing those challenges.

In her speech, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka challenged the Forum participants to think long and hard on the kind of future they wanted to leave behind for the generations to come.

“How will our world look in just two generations to come when it is projected that 70 percent of humanity will be living in towns and cities? What percentage will continue to live in abject poverty? How much dirtier will cities make our planet? As we also learned this week, the means to bridge the urban divide are not lacking. We must, however, muster the political will to make our cities fit for our children, and the time to act is now!,” she said.

Mrs. Tibaijuka who leaves UN-HABITAT later this year at the end of a her second term at the helm, said she was walking away with her head high having managed to give the agency a footing, as requested of her by the former UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan when he first appointed her to the post.
In his address, Brazil’s Minister for Cities Mr. Marcio Fortes said the success of the meeting could be gauged in the fact that most of the time, the meeting rooms were turning away some participants because of being fully packed.

During the occasion, the government of Bahrain, the hosts of the Sixth Session of the World Urban Forum in 2012, gave a presentation highlighting what delegates at the meeting are to be offered.

Staring Night Series: Annual Birthday Poem


Posting a little late

A 14 February heart
a pulse into the 15th
propeller of birthdays

mechanism inducing age
push slinky "what
walks downstairs
alone or in pairs"
momentum of the years

collapse, coil,
collect deep at 11:59 pm
& expand out at 12:00 am

the birthday compression between
the force and the flick of the hands

Floating Down


Hi everyone, sorry for the long winter of silence, but I have been around the Middle East, and in an undisclosed country in South America, yes its true. I have a big announcement to make soon, in seven days. In the meantime, I just found out that one of my favorite artists M.I.A., will be coming out with a new album in summer 2010. Check out a potential song here. Lets all turn off the lights and celebrate Earth Hour.