Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu in the world - up until now

The Swine Flu, a new threat to the world. Is expanding rapidly and mostly by people coming from Mexico. almost 90% of the cases registered in both Europe and USA and Israel are due to a returning citizens from Mexico.. some of which sadly spent their honey moon there. 

The Maps below are updated maps taken from google maps showing where exactly symptoms of the Swine flu were registered or where people were hospitalized. 

The world: 


Europe and Middle East:

Pink markers are suspect
Purple markers are confirmed or probable
Deaths lack a dot in marker
Yellow markers are negative

For further info and updated data go here. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

On simplicity...

We all have problems, worries, work duties or family headaches.. they consume so much energy from us. They even force us to give them attention more than ourselves.. we end up forgetting to live and having a peaceful mind.. and a simple smile on our faces.

I woke up today and started my morning routine of coffee and news reading.. until i came across a lovely clip on youtube.. which i can describe in only 3 words: cute, simple and beautiful. 

Its interesting how both the singers and the author of the animated clip expressed it in such a simple way that drew uncontrollably an honest smile on my face while watching it. 

The author of this clip is a talented young Egyptian blogger named Ahmad Ali and here is his blog

If only we look at everything with such simple eye.. don't u think life will be better? 
hope that it drew a smile on ur faces while watching the clip. :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

where is Jordan?? :)

Once u travel, one of the best experiences ever is hearing what normal people from around the world think about your culture and country.. and more importantly... get to know if they know about your country in the first place.. :)

During the past few years, i have visited several countries.. and met wide variety of nationalities and ethnicities.. and upon introducing myself.. of coming from Jordan.. some had very interesting reactions. I would like to share with you some of them:

Polish guy (hostel receptionist): Ah nice you know, u r the first ones who come to our hotel from Jordan... where is Jordan anyway?? please tell me anything about ur country.. i really wanna know !

Polish guy again: Do u have cars? (Dear God) :S

French man (artist): Ah Jordan! I was there..Petra is just goregous.. its a shame people don't speak french there.. 

French man 2:  ah oui oui.. Jordanie.. lovely people.. there is this lovely city i can't forget.. i can't remember its name.. 
me: Amman? 
FM2: no no.. it starts with B ?
me: ha?? are u sure?? 
FM2: yes yes.. its on the sea.. 
me: are u talkin about Beirut?
FM2: YES.. thats the one..
me: sir this city is in Lebanon..
FM2: Oh.. (speaking to his friend) i should stop drinking.... (and falls into a deep laughter)

Bulgarian guy: oh Amman!  how exotic!! (i dunno what did he meant by that - but i guess he had a flashback image of Arabian Nights)

Swedish flat-mate: Ah Jordan... yea ... King Abdullah and Queen Rania.. also the late King Hussein.. very lovely Royal family..

Swedish flate-mate 2: you have a lot of water pipes there no?? :)) Dude Shisha rocks..!

Swedish colleage at University: oh you from Jordan?? Assalamu Alaykom! I Study arabic for fun!

Swedish girl (my friend's flate mate): do you have a lot of terrorists?? ( WTF?)

Swedish man (at Westren Union office) :
WU: where do u want to sendmoney to? Jordan? where is that? 
me : You know Jordan.. middle east..? Amman..?
WU: Ahh Yordaniaa 
me: yea thats what am saying.. 
WU: no sir.. u said Jordan.. how am i supposed to know!

my Greek Professor: Jordan.. and Amman.. i love them.. it reminds me of my home in Greece.

Turkish hotel receptionist: Ah Urdon! Urdon! :)) (and that was it =) )

2 Macedonian old ladies: 
OL1: So u lived in Jordan?
me: Yes
OL1: but u speak fluent Macedonian...
me: yes am half macedonian and half jordanian :))
OL2: there must be a macedonian school in Jordan... hence the fluency..
me: ha?! macedonian school in jordan!!? ( didn't expect such answer)

Macedonian friend: Jordan?? hmm.. yea yea.. Jordan River.. wasn't Jesus Christ baptised there?

to be continued :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

على الدنيا السلام

يا انسان اسمع مني هالكلام

اذا كنت ناوي تعيش بأمن و سلام

الحب ابعد عنه و اعتبروا من الاوهام

الصدق هو الي عليه انت راح تندم و تنلام

و بالكذب حتعيش حياة و لا بالاحلام

بهالزمن ما تصدق انه في شي اسموا غرام

انسى كلام الحب مهو كلو كلام بكلام

و لو حبيت بصدق يا ويلي عليك و يا حرام

حتعيش الالم و حتشوف اصعب الايام

و تصير بكل ليلة تعاني حتى تقدر تنام

لانه اكيد الي هتحبه ما حتلاقيه الا في المنام

و بالندم راح تعيش و تصير انت و قلبك على خصام

و في النهاية راح تعرف ان الحب بعيد مثل طير الحمام

الخسارة هي مصيرك و قلبك في النهاية حيكون حطام

زلزال الالم و الفراق حيخليك اشلاء و ركام

نصيحه انسى الحب و امحيه من قاموس الكلام

الطيبة و الوفا ابعد عنهم و اعتبرهم مجرد اوهام

لانهم لو وصلوا قلبك بنورهم حيطفوه و تعيش بظلام

يا انسان خد من كل هالكلام

و احفظه هذا اليوم احسن علام

و امشي عليه على مدار الايام

صدقني هذا الزمن ما عليه اي ملام

هذي رسالتي الك كلها عبر, و انا هيك ما بنلام

و بالنهاية بقولك يا انسان اقرء على الدنيا السلام

تأليف الشاعر محمد العمد

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On Homesickness...

Ever since i left Jordan 4 months ago, i have been undergoing constant changes, changes that i haven't even dreamt of occuring or even touching my life. I guess it all started the minute i arrived in Sweden, when the freaking cold weather went through my bones.. and reminded me of the wonderful weather of Amman. But it all was for a good cause..i pulled myself together and started my journey. 

Probably the most interesting phenomena, was accepting my identity as an Arab.. in the best possible way. We all grow into certain identity as puberty hits our wanna be personality.. and the result of this clash usually defines what u will end to be in ur future life. But you may spend few years before realising urself the outcome of this clash.. and make peace with it and accept it.. and even become proud of it. 

Um Kalthoum, the symbol of classical Arabic music was probably the first thing i fell in love with after i left Jordan. I couldn't believe how could my parents spend an entire hour on one song..and actually enjoy it.. ! Now all of a sudden ... i find myself every evening... preparing my coffee and go through youtube or my limited music library and put Um Kalthoom.. and just enjoy every note coming out of her voice.

Fairouz, was always part of my morning routine, even when i was in Jordan, but when i was in Paris last week... you can't imagine how does it feel like to eat "Labneh w Zaatar" from a lebanese restaurant in the morning with Fairouz in the background. It just brings the goose pumps all over ur body. 

Arabic writers... and novels.. were never an option for me when i was searching for a good book to read... I dunno why.. but the only arabic book that i have read while being in Amman was "The prophet" by J.K. Jubran, but ever since i came here.. i started looking for Arabic authors in the university library. Its not that i didn't appreciate them before.. but its like they were just hidden in the darkness.. and surrounded with a pre-given idea that everything from the west is better. 

I can go for hours giving u smaller and smaller ideas of how i started appreciating our Arabic culture, music, tradition, values and literature.. but i think the idea is sent already. 

Its always good to have new experiences.. and explore new places.. it reminds u how great is your own home.. that u will always tend to go back to. 

Miss you Amman. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

" بطاقتي الشخصية "-" الشاعرة الليبية ردينة الفيلالي "

 انتزع مني بطاقتي الشخصية     ليتأكد أني عربية
وبدأ يفتش حقيبتي وكأني أحمل قنبلة ذرية
وقف يتأملني بصمت سمراء وملامحي          ثورية
فتعجبت لمطلبه وسؤاله         عن الهوية
كيف لم يعرف من عيوني       أني عربيه
أم أنه فضل               أن أكون أعجمية
لأدخل بلاده دون إبراز الهوية

 وطال انتظاري وكأني لست          في بلاد عربية
أخبرته أن عروبتي لا تحتاج لبطاقة   شخصية
فلمَ انتظر على هذه الحدود      الوهمية
وتذكرت مديح جدي             لأيام الجاهلية
عندما كان العربي         يجوب المدن العربية
لا يحمل معه سوى        زاده ولغته العربية

وسر زيارتي الفجائية جنسيتي وبدأ يسألني عن أسمي،
اسمي وحدة، جنسيتي عربية وسر زيارتي تاريخية فأجبته أن
جنائية سألني عن مهنتي وإن كان لي سوابق

فأجبته أني إنسانة عادية
على اغتيال القومية لكني كنت شاهدا

سنة هجرية سأل عن يوم ميلادي وفي أي

 فأجبته أني ولدت يوم ولدت البشرية
وبائية سألني إن كنت أحمل أي أمراض
فأجبته أني أصبت بذبحة صدرية
الوحدة العربية عندما سألني ابني عن معنى      
الإسلام أم المسيحية فسألني أي ديانة أتبع
فأجبته بأني أعبد ربي بكل الأديان السماوية  
حقيبتي وبطاقتي الشخصية فأعاد لي أوراقي،

فبلادي لا تستقبل الحرية وقال عودي من حيث أتيت
" الشاعرة الليبية ردينة الفيلالي "  

Impressions ... Live from Paris.. Part 2

time: 17:30 11-April-2009
Place: Notre Dame de Paris -Paris

On Île de la Cité - a wonderful natural island on the Seine River, stood in fornt of me the amazing architecture of Notre Dame De Paris.. My eyes were fixed on the enormous bell tours and infinite number of sculptures. I kept looking and observing the smallest details on the wonderfully designed and preserved walls until i realised that i have been standing still for the past 30 minutes..

I sat down between the crowds who were obviously experiencing the same feeling of silence and amazement.

I looked on the three arcs below the steep Bell towers.. looked from far away almost the same arcs but looking to them more precisely i noticed that they differ, not only in the contents but in the arc shape.

I recalled what i have read before about the Cathedral, and flashback images of the 12th century interrupted my vision.. horses carrying huge stones.. infinite number of workers.. building the new "parish church of the kings of Europe". Another flashback.. of Heraclius of Caesarea calling for the Third Crusade..

An experience that u can only have if you just stand in front of this Cathedral. I decided to go in, people were waiting for the Easter Mass. I lit a candle and slowly entered the enourmous wooden door. It seemed for a moment that i am travelling in time, and found myself in a new world, filled with people.. with various facial expressions. Old women praying, their men staring into the Alter..

Then suddenly i heard a familiar melody, a melody that i used to hear on simple insturments, but this time it felt different, i turned around.. with my eyes searching for the soure of the music until they fell on a very huge Organ. I tired to get a bit closer, and saw hundreds of pipes.. bouncing out a harmonic sounds that led me to an experiance totally different than anyother religious experienes i have ever had.

I sat, and didn't feel how an hour and a half passed while listening to the Holy Mass of Easter. I looked on the people's faces, some were happy, other were worried, other were expression-less.. but all were having something that kept them silent and peaceful.

The Mass finished, and i went out with the crowds, it was time to go as it was getting late and dark, i stopped a bit and looked on the western facade of the Cathedral. I looked my out from the Square and crossed the street towards the Metro Station.

I stopped for a moment and looked back to the Bell Towers of the Cathedral, and for a moment i saw a vivid backflash of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, waiting for the building process of the Cathedral that started 9 centuries ago, to be finished.

Impressions.. Live from Paris..Part 1

time: 13:10 11-April-2009
place: Montmartre - Basilique du Sacré-Cœur square - Paris
images i couldn't but trying to "flag" them in my mind:

- a group of young people.. probably around 50 or sth, entertained by a public guitar player/singer, all singing with him the seventies hits and evergreens...

- magnificent and glorious building overviewing Paris... thousands of people.. Christians.. Muslims.. entering the Basilica..

-(Inside the church) Breathtaking Alter, frescos, infinite number of candles.. thousands of people.. but yet silence..

-(outside again) a woman dressed up in the 17th century clothing posing for pictures..

- an old man, my guess that he is older than 60.. sitting on the grass, having his coffee.. and reading todays "le Monde"..

- infinte number of couples.. announcing their love to each other on probably the most romantic spot i've seen..

- a Violinist.. playing the Spring part of the Four Seasons piece of Vivaldi..

- Kids runnig and trying to fly a kite..

- 3 middle aged women.. laughing and talking loudly in french.. damn they sounded cool..

- A painter making a portrait of a small kid posing in front of him..

- Clear Sky..

- The Eiffel Tour visible from the Square..

- Me ... lost between all these people.. and everynow and then.. remembering to breath..

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

On Double identity...

I wanted to join my voice and gratitude with AquaCool to Fadi Andrawos for his piece "Palestine and Lebanon". Its probably the first singer who attempted to approach this delicate "double identity" issue. Why? I mean why hasn't anyone before stumbled upon this problem that many many Palestinians scattered around the world in general or the Arabic countries in Particular?

I believe identity is created by direct interaction of the person with his present society, with his parents roots and with the personal belifes and ideologies. But often there are certain conflicts in such mixture.

Fadi Andrawos in his song "Palestine and Lebanon", adressed his personal double identity of being a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon. Some Palestinians may argue, that by speaking the lebanese accent or by declaring himself being Lebanese that he is forgetting his roots.. and that his not loyal to his own people.
He is only a simple example of thousands of refugees.. everywhere.. including those in Jordan.

Many times during my study period at the University, i faced the very direct question... "where are you from?" Are you Jordanian or Palestinian.. ? You have to choose.. either tick or tack!
And I couldn't help but thinking in myself.. why can't I be both? does that make me less of a Palestinian? if i feel obligated to respect the dignitity and soverenity of the country hosted my grandparents when they were refugees. Or if I declare my self as a Palestinian (even though i hold a Jordanian citizenship) ,does that make me less of Jordanian? or maybe accused of being a "careless" Jordanian...and thus treated as a second class citizen..?

I guess that issue, in the previous generations was solved by the Arab nationalism ideology. (though that doesn't resolve the situation palestinians faced in non-arabic countries). Ideology that at that time united everyone against the Israeli agression, but failed these days.

It gets even more complicated if you travel. Again the very same question... Where are you from? Am I Palestinian ? Am I Jordanian? :S so i settle down with answering "I am from Jordan".. but if the one who hears this question knows a bit about Jordan.. he will be like: " are you Palestinian or Jordanian Jordanian ?! So back in the loop.

Yes it is hard , to have double identitiy.. I am not Jordanian with Palestinian originis, i am not Palestinian staying temporarily in Jordan, i am not Jordanian Jordanian not Jordanian Palestinian.. I am not Palestinian Jordanian... I am simply both. Not 50 % Jordanian and 50 % Palestinian.. but 100 % Palestinian and 100 % Jordanian.

Yes we can be both, and am so proud of both as i happen to be proud of even anther whole issue of having even third identity.. the Macedonian one...

Monday, April 6, 2009

The T-Mobile Dance ! Refreshing..

Watch the moment Liverpool Street Station danced to create this special T-Mobile Advert :

This is how it happened...the Making of the T-Mobile Dance.