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Friday, October 28, 2005

sticking it to the press and the naysayers

On Spitfiyah this month we did a show on women of colour in politics in Canada, over the course of our research, we found some pretty interesting stuff...

The new Governor General of Canada, Michaelle Jean has had to take a lot of flack, as a relative unknown, but most of all because of how people view her race. However at the Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner this past weekend, she blasted the opposition in a hilariously biting way. Oh, and former PM Brian Mulroney also told some guy to F*** himself. Make sure you watch the videos.
Scroll down a bit on the right side of the page, you'll see the video clip of the new GG's speech. She's my new hero.

Life in Plastic, So Islamic...

With the arrival of Fulla , Barbie's Middle-Eastern Muslim counterpart, it is now possible for little Muslim girls (and boys!) to have a pint-sized, praying sister to play house with. On the not-so recent heels of "Muslim-friendly" versions of other originally Western products like Mecca Cola (though it remains if she will be as politically aware), Fulla is quickly replacing Barbie's pink bust and permanently high-heel molded feet, with her full-length abaya and matching headscarves. Created by Syrian-based company New Boy, Fulla has been flying off the shelves from Morrocco to Iraq. She also comes with a range of other clothing, but according to the manufacturers, little Fatima will have to make sure that Fulla is only seen wearing her more fashionable outfits (like her full length pink skirt), indoors. Not only can Fulla pray and observe modest dress, but she can also complete any child's Iraqi battlefield set. Get her to play house with a few of her friends, bring out your Desert Storm GI Joe's, and let the liberating begin!

Check out this Globe and Mail article (I don't know how long the link will be stable) for more.


Comments:
wow - why do I have a feeling that 'liberal' muslim feminists will be all up on this one and buying their daughters Barbies just cause. Ah, commercialising values. What a mind game.

 

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

(Conference of the Wet Pigeon)

It's official: the rain makes me self-indulgent and mopey.

Al-Attar tells me in beautiful poetry how selfish and materialistic we are.

And now it's time for me to get over it-- and also everything else that is beyond my control.

Goodnight Moon
Goodnight Mush
Goodnight Old Lady whispering "hush..."




....sweet dreams....

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sunday Afternoon

The hoopoe answered her: 'Your life is passed
In vague, aquatic dreams which cannot last -
A sudden wave and they are swept away.
You value water's purity, you say,
But is your life as pure as you declare?


Sipping sweet chai latte foam for hours
safe from the rain that falls gently on saint laurent
Leah walks by and she gives me a kiss through the window pane
French, English and Spanish fill the air
(of this warm nicotine pomegranate)
Mostly emanating from older men
One family, and some younger pairs who love each other

with their frequent cigarettes
they fight wars of black and white
Sometimes strategy rewarded in stacatto exclamations of "Oooh Maestro!"
Laughter and anticipation of the certain death of a monarch

Others hold serious silence broken only by the click of the timer
And the one in the corner is alone
surveying his own battlefield
The girls brewing the coffee know the soundtrack of my life and play it perfectly
from behind the counter

I chase after Debbie on her bicycle when I see her ride by
We sit at my table by the window
in matching red leather chairs
and she tells me that her Grandmother is dying - for real this time, as in:
it's only a matter of days now.

The Vice magazine she flips through while I read Farid Ud-Din Attar,
is all about gruesome imagery ,
titillating advertising, fake blood, and bad horror films.
She leaves, and I drink more tea - a tisane this time
No pretense. In the window looking pretty.


A fool described the nature both worlds share:

"The unseen world and that which we can see
Are like a water-drop which instantly
Is and is not. A water-drop was formed
When time began, and on its surface swarmed
The world's appearances. If they were made
Of all-resisting iron they would fade;
Hard iron is mere water, after all -
Dispersing like a dream, impalpable".'










Italics excerpted from The Conference of the Birds by Farid Ud-Din Attar, translated by Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis.

Comments:
I love you. Iloveyouiloveyouiloveyou.
Iloveyouiloveyouiloveyou.

Do you have any idea how badly I wanna blow life into a doll-size version of you and carry you in my pocket?

steph

 

that was beautiful - as if i don't miss montreal enough!

By the way, there's this girl I met recently that I've been wanting to tell you about. She works in an NGO in the same building as mine - it's a refreshingly liberal,efficient and empowering organization run for and by Muslim women - where she's teaching English for a few months. Incidentally, she's Iranian, but has lived in Sweden her whole life. I think you'd absolutely love her. We have great conversations about ethnicity and patriarchy and travelling and Zorastrianism - in other words, she reminds me a lot of you :)

Come see me in Bombay. I PROMISE we'll have a blast!

(hugs)

 

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

P.O.P. 10%

The sun decided to make an appearance today-- for the first time in at least a week (or so it feels like anyway). Still I was feeling a bit down, so I indulged in a haircut. The haircut was also meant to distract me from the homestretch before sundown when I get to eat. Today was Day 4 of my "renewed interest in Islam". Ha! Pretty funny, considering I love food so much. I don't think I've done four days in a row in years. To be honest I feel like I'm in a dream-like state towards the late afternoon. I feel connected and disconnected at the same time (maybe there's a glitch in the Matrix). The strangest thoughts have been crossing my head on an empty stomach.

***
McGill had its fall convocation today. I didn't see any of the actual "convocating", save for a bunch of people in their gowns (some with really goofy hats-- the Ph.D's I suspect) toting their huge diplomas by Place Des Arts Metro in the late afternoon.

My Concordia prof explained in class the other day that "Baccalaureate" means "permission" in Latin. Strange how you need someone to give you permission to follow through on your dreams--- or ( more likely) just to get a job that is meant to sustain you materially.
***

my soma

I really should be sleeping right now. But instead I'm spending this morning, first watching madonna videos on mtv.com and then k'naan and MIA on the muchmusic site.

funny how that calms me down. what's your soma?

[galang galang... galang galang]

Monday, October 17, 2005

Alif, Ba, Ta....

The United States has had a rather antagonistic relationship and negative image in the Middle East now for decades, and so, it is still rather shocking that the government hasn't beefed up their diplomacy efforts with staff that can actually communicate and speak the language of the region. Not only are there few "Western" academics and "Middle East specialists" who speak Arabic beyond a few key phrases and political terms, but the people on the ground lack the ability to communicate with the population that surrounds them. Painful indeed. But, unfortunately, a prime example would be (now long gone) Paul Bremer "Civil Administrator" in Iraq--- a fluent Dutch speaker, but who knew nary a word in Arabic.

This Washington Post article is great, outlining exactly what is wrong with the way the American government is going about training their diplomats in the Middle East.

So... which to hone first: Arabic or the infinitely easier Farsi???

Friday, October 07, 2005

Totally Tunic Tiffany Goes to Hair School...

My research paper will explore the changing roles of women in Iranian politics.

This following piece of writing however, will explore the changing modes of procrastination employed by this half-Iranian woman in avoiding writing the proposal for the originally mentioned research paper.

I
Shopping

I bought one of those "Bum Shirts" today at Garage clothing of all places- you know, one of those long t-shirts that covers the bum that's is meant to be layered with another shirt or a long tanktop. I've become one of "those" people, in those trendy tight shirts. haha! The printing on the inside, in gold lettering reads: "Totally Tunic!". So sexy....

II
Last Day of SACOMSS Training

It's not exactly procrastination, since it served a purpose on its own and was quite satisfying. G, Julia and bunch of other outreachers enjoyed the last gasps of this Indian summer afterwards, with cool drinks (pina coladas, smoothies and daiquiris) on the terasse at Coaster's afterwards. Also the last day of training involves the Superstar activity, which always is a big ego massager.

III
Hair Styling

For the first time since first year, I gave Nora an impromptu trim, complete with wispy layers - to even out the back of her hair.

IV
Dreams of being Carmen (Hey... at least Sarah Shahi is a descendant of the Shah- research I say, research!)

One reason I've taken so bloody long to write a lousy 4 page paper proposal (apart from the fact that my graduate seminar still intimidates me), is my new found desire to play DJ in my room with my Winamp playlist. Stuff you should listen to:

1. K'naan - I went to the show last week. I'm officially in love. And if you haven't heard him before, or you have and don't own "The Dusty Foot Philosopher" go out and by it. Everyone says it: but he takes it to the next level.

2. Feist - Another artist from the soundtrack of my summer and now, my life. I love her soothing voice and insightful lyrics.

3. Manu Chao

4. Cibo Matto - specifically the song "sugar water" - everything else is even more quirky, but "sugar water" is hypnotic and calming, as though you were drinking, uh, sugar water. also the video is beautiful.

5. M.I.A. - hello browness, pop political Tamil Tigress. She's hot, she's brown and she's soooo brown - not bollywood beautiful brown, but as someone commented to me she's beautiful in a "brown-brown" kind of way "not watered down or mixed race". and someone else said: "she's refugee brown". heh... big up to the brown.

6. Arcade Fire - anyone who knows me will laugh at this one, since I've been a cold-hearted pretentious bitch with regards to this band for the past 3 years, and now that I don't see their lead singer in the architecture cafe anymore, I've decided that I like them. Everyone else was right in the first place, what can I say?

7. Everything But the Girl - just cause.

I was gonna do 10, but now i'm tired.
****

Tomorrow I embark on a road trip with 4 fellow females from my hallowed post-secondary institution. We're going to Ontario for Thanksgiving. I'm going home, and I can't wait. Also, it will be cool to have folks from school visiting my hometown and to show them around.

Apparently we're not having the Turducken anymore and my aunt has opted for the traditional alternative, and as such mama has put her in charge of procuring the kind of bird that she (my mother)refuses to cook. I can't wait for stuffing. Steph, you have many photos of my multiracial family participating in this celebration of colonization in our most holy of religious months. Oh the postmodernity of it all (oh wait, I think we're just culturally confused) - don't get me started about how we celebrate christmas.

Alright, well, that was number V. Perhaps I will actually go to sleep now.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Happy Ramadan to you too!

It's that time of year again--- the holy month of fasting for Muslims and for me, the month where I try for a week and then usually give up. But, this year, like all years before, I say to myself: "It's going to be different". Ha! I actually had thoughts of satan in my head this morning, me, secular being that I am, had gotten up to eat and pray, and then... . And then, oh horrible irony, just as I was about to crawl back into bed, waves of nausea began to set in. Suddenly I felt closer to the toilet bowl than I did to God--- though I rationalized it as being my own fault for not trying to be holy sooner.

That being said, once I feel better, I will try again to fulfill at least some sort of religious duty this month--- and try and keep my French toast in my stomach, where it belongs. I don't really know why i ultied this morning, perhaps my body just wasn't used to eating at that hour. So frustrating.

***

I've got a paper proposal to write-- something about women in Iran and politics. I'm excited about the paper, but don't quite know where to go. I'll post some more about it soon, if it looks like it will interesting.
I don't have much to write this morning. Things have been moving quite quickly- between school, SACOMSS training and work. I have to say though: spontaneity is a great thing, and having ready access to transport makes it even better. I went to Ottawa this weekend and chilled with Jameel, who is now with Canadian Friends of Burma(!!!). I'm going home this weekend and can't wait to chill with the family, while we stuff our faces with Tur-Duck-en (the tasty amalagmation of turkey, duck and chicken that my mother insists on ordering since she is vehemently anti-turkey--- don't ask).

****

Since I'm not that great at updating this place, perhaps you may be interested in some other people who are:
Abu Aardvark is great for all your Middle East political geeky needs: http://abuaaardvark.typepad.com

All for now...

Comments:
you are not aloud to ulti unless I'm around, is that understood anak?

love, mom

 

and by aloud, i meant allowed.

duh.

who's the English teacher here? poor, poor Japanese kids.

 

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