Monday, May 18, 2009

Goodbye Sweden...

As my journey in Sweden comes to an end.. i couldn't but look back at the past 4 months and remember how was the experience of the drastic change from the busy streets of Amman.. to the extremely calm city of Lund in the south of Sweden. 

I arrived here, on a windy cold day. I got off at Lund Central Station from the Copenhagen Airport train, and called my mentor to pick me up and take me to my hostel. The city seemed empty.. all i kept thinking was where the hell are all the people? it was almost 4 in the afternoon.. but it was dark already.. as the day is very short here up north in the winter. 

I got to my little dorm room, and tucked myself into my blanket.. and a strong feeling of lonliness hit me.. i decided to sleep.. and imagine am still back in my home in Amman. 

THe next day, i started figuring out everything.. i met my flat mates with whom i shared the kitchen and the laundry.. as well as explored the dorm building in which i found saunas , restaurant and even a small gym. It seemed warm and friendly.. but still alone..

Starting the semestar was probably the only thing that took me away from the loop i was stuck in. And i got my schedule and met my colleagues.. it all started to make sense.. 10 days later.. i explored the city.. found the basics of living around here.. learnt the esence of being a swedish person : work/study , have lunch.. go home.. sleep at 7 (since everything closes at 6 - literally everything). 

The rain.. the snow.. the grey scene.. was everywhere.. it was like the nature is mourning.. and those little precious hours in which the sun was visible.. where so short at first.. and i felt that people didn't know how to appreciate them. But slowly things got changed.. the Spring came.. around mid march.. and the awakening phenomena appeared in every single corner.. and even in people's laughter.. and mood. They started to talk.. and be more social.. and they started to explore other ways of living aside of the previously mentioned routine.

and once i started to enjoy the fast rythem of the fun city of Lund.. i realised it was time for me to go.. I have never imagined that nature have such an impact on people's behavior and habbits. It really is interesting to see that people up north.. literally sleep more in winter.. and stay awake more in the summer.. - i thought thats only for the polar bears :D 

But hey, lets give the swedish people a break, they are not that bad.. they are very caring people.. thoughtful.. pleasant to talk to, they have in general a good attitude towards Arabs.. and particularly Palestinians and they love our Queen Rania.. :) they speak about her always when i tell them i come from Jordan. Oh and when they get drunk on weekends they are fun people to party ! :))

Now that am leaving in few days to another journey in Europe.. I think i am gonna miss the inner peace i had while living here.. the nature.. those little muffins in the nearby coffeehouse... am gonna miss reading in the park.. i am gonna miss the spirit of Lund. 

p.s. my next post will be impressions of my next destination.. will keep it a secret for now :))

Sunday, May 17, 2009

and the winner is... Norway! See you in Oslo 2010

This Years Eurovision Song Contest finally ended yesterday.. as expected with a scandinavian victory  by Norway.. who will host the next year's Eurovision. The show itself was pretty good, the stage was magnificant.. and it really gave a huge impact on each song's performance. 

The organization however, specially the russian element in the show was a bit annoying and at some points i think it was offensive. For instance, in the first semi -final, before announcing the results the hosts presented the military Choir of the Russian Army to sing some Russian songs, now it would have been ok if we didn't suddenly see a tank and a military airplane colored in funcky colors appearing on the stage.. and then out of no where... the russian duo t.A.T.u started singing their Hit "Your not gonna get us"... i mean even the lyrics of the song are implying the fact that they wanna show the world how superior they are.. as a nation.. and as a power.. and thats pretty offensive.

On the other hand, in the final, there was this reportage made by the host tv in the streets of Moscow.. asking people to sing live... just to prove to the world that their vitory in the contest last year was well deserved.. so their first stop was asking 2 soldires !! i mean why do we need to have soldiers appearing on TV.. we get it.. you have a mighty Army.. 

Another interesting act by the host was the anouncement of the begining of the voting time, which was made by the Russian Space station/Sattelite.. and they connected the European viewers live with the Space ship to "press the button" and start the voting process.. Again.. we get it.. you are powerful and have space ship!!

So bascially, Russia paid more attention on showing itself.. rather than showing their rich culture.. i don't get it.. they have soooo many things to be proud of.. rather on showing to the world their strength. That was the laim part of the show.. aside ofcourse of having soo many average songs.. and singers focused on the coreography and the dance routine more than the song and the music itself (like Greece, Turkey and Germany).

Anyhow i think that the show was Ok.. and probably one of the good songs won. Here is the Norwegian entrey and winning song :

and here is my personal favourite.. Moldova.. that i wished it got more points but didn't :) :

Friday, May 15, 2009

*Blog About Palestine Day* - Silence

time: dawn ..15 of May 1948 
place: Palestine..

Silence in the house... Henna* was gazing through the open window. The sky was clear.. she could see the stars sparkling here and there, she felt a little spring breeze coming into her face, she looked up and said with a slow voice almost sobing : "ya Ummana ... e7meena bukra" 

She closed the window, and went out of the bedroom. She didn't want to wake Kareem up, he has spent the entire day at his father's shop discussing weather to open tomorrow or not... rumors have spread that tomorrow will be the day. 

Henna went into the kids room. Layla was sleeping and hugging her pilow.. but Luka was awake.. he pretended at first that he was sleeping.. but when Henna approached to him.. his worried eyes sparkled in the darknes...

Henna: why are you still up son? 
Luka: i couldn't sleep... i am worried... will dad let me go out tomorrow and play in the neighbourhood ? i heard him talking that it will be a very bad day tomorrow.. and that we should all stay at home. 
Henna: Inshalla it will be fine..
Luka: but mom, what if .. - Henna : It will be fine..come here....

She hugged her son tightly, knowing that it won't be fine.. 

Silence again... Henna's mind travelled again.. she remembered her mother and father.. who taught her how to love her home.. how to love her family... and how to cherish laughter and peace.. her eyes got filled with tears the minute she started thinking.. will she be able to teach her kids all that? will they survive the next day..? 

Many have already left.. but Kareem wanted to stay.. its the house of his grandfather.. the family legacy.. how can he leave it?  he wanted Layla to be given away to her future husband from the yard of the very same house.. he wanted to see his grandchildren playing under the same tree he used to play.. it was the best time of his life.. his memory was so vivid in his dream.. even though he was sleeping.. his mind was awake... 


the 16th of May 1948 came...nothing was left... Silence in the house. 

* The names mentioned above.. are fictitious.. Any resemblance to real persons.. living or dead, is purely coinsidence.. the event however.. has happend on the 15 of May 1948.. in Palestine.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Who has the power to decide?!

How is it possible in the 21st century for someone else to decide who I am, or who I am not? Does the "universal human right to self determination" as declared by the United Nations not apply to me? Am I excluded from this declaration?

How does one become what or who he or she is? Is it the government that decides? The priest, the church, the United Nations…? Who has the power to decide ethnically and nationally who I am, what language I can speak, what songs I can sing, what dances I can dance,…. And if anyone has that right who has given it to him or her?

I am Macedonian - Period. 

P.S. for more info about the dispute between Macedonia and Greece click here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Eurovision Song Contest 2009

Next week, the Russian capital Moscow, will be the host of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC).. after a very suspicious victory in Belgrade last year. But, let's leave what happend last year aside.. the Russians are taking their job pretty seriously.. and 10 days ahead of the big show..they are determined to put into the shadow all the previous contests, and deliver a world class european show to all the 42 participating countries.. and the watching world.
This year, Almost all the European countries are participating.. with only Italy ,Austria and Georgia missing out, which makes it one of the most watched and popular TV shows through out all Europe and Israel who participates regularly even though its not a European country. 

This year's eurovision song contest, will be remembered by many interesting events to name a few..

Georgia's disqualification from the contest, since they were accused to be sending a song politically motivated. They thought they can outsmart the Russians.. and present a song called "We don't want to Put in" clearly playing with the words.. and moking the current Russian Prime Minister and former president Vladimir Putin after the Georgian/Russian crisis of August 2008.
The Arabic and Israeli Duet representing Israel for the first time on the ESC with a song sending a peace message (as they claim) entitled "There must be another way" performed by Mira Awad and Noa, which was very controversial issue between both the arabs and isrealis.

Another big change in the format of the competition this year, is having 50 % jury votes and another 50 % coming from the countries' televoters, to avoid previous "mafia" voting.. where voting became a political sign of friendship.. instead of voting to the best song. So it became very preditable that each year the Sandinavian countries will vote for each other, the Balkan and Yugoslav countries to each other.. the Ex- Soviet to each other.. and ofcourse Greece and Cyprus exhanging the 12 points every year.. So the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is hoping that this practise will come to an end.. and the best song to win. 

Having too many countries singing, this year ESC will be having two semifinals in which the best 10 of each semifinal will be qualifying to the Final along with the Host (Russia) and big 4 ( UK, France, Germany and Spain) who automatically go to the final every year.. (very democratic.. i know!). 

The Olympic Indoor Arena in Moscow, will be the avenue hosting the big show the next 12 , 14 and 16 of May with an expeted capacity of 20,000 guests in the Final plus the Press center in the very same building. 

About the songs, in my opinion.. there is nothing special to be remembered.. or any hit to mark 2009. But there is certainly a nice variety of music.. from Hard Rock, soft rock, pop, disco, ethno, traditional, balad slow music.. and Hiphop. Its a nice way to get to know the European Countries in a cultural way.. so i strongly recommend to add it to your schedule.. of next week.. you can find it on almost all the national TV stations on Hotbird. 

Let the Best song win. 

P.S. You can still watch the Champion Leagues final Man United and Barcelona.. next wednesday as they do not coincide ! :))

Monday, May 4, 2009


Yugoslavia, a former slavic country in South Eastren Europe.. was a great mixture of religions, ethnic backgrounds and languages, but also of a great tragedy against humanity and nature. Now after 18 years, the woond hasn't healed yet.. and even though each country has started its own journey in the world.. people still say "Nismo znali sta smo imali" - We didn't know what we had, or sometimes "Sve je isto samo njega nema" - Everything is the same.. only He is not here..

We all have heard about what happend in the Yugoslav war and how violent was its breakup for most of its 6 republics (Bosnia and Hercegovina,Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia and Montenegro) and how it still provokes disputes and tension in the uniletral declaration of independence by Kosovo.. and the ongoing ethnic tensions in Republika Srpska in Bosnia & Hercegovina.

The worst part of the Yugoslav war, took place in Bosnia and Hercegovina.. killing thousands of people.. and causing an endless fear and misstrust between Croats, Serbs and Bosniacs.

The best way to feel the tragedy done in Bosnia, is by spending few hours with a "Yugoslav" immigrant and talk a little bit about his experience.. I have never imagined it was that difficult for the normal citizens.. as i thought that they were supporting their leaders... but it turned out.. that once again the media didn't show enough of what actually was going on. Why? because a lot of countries wanted the Yugoslav dream to be done.. because they were afraid of the unity and diversity of that nation.. 

"...Retrospectively it can be said that we all loved Yugoslavia and never wanted for it to be abolished. During its existance it was one of the most beautiful countries in the world, having a domestic production of aircrafts, cars, chemistry, textile, military and industry in general. 

This unlikely creation of a land, reminding more of a dream than reality, gave the observer the impression of having succeeded to unite several nations and religions under one common direction and alliance. But the injustice that was nourishing inside the soul of Yugoslavia ever since its birth had a devestating implementation upon its citizens primarily by Serb, and some Croat, nationalist currents..." - BosniakPassion

"... they would anounce in what location of Sarajevo the authorities will send drinking water, and peoplewould rush to gather as much as they can for their thirsty children.. until the poor people would be surprised with the rain of missiles landing on their heads and between the water tanks..." -  Croat from Bosnia.

"... you would sleep in ur own house.. in the middle of your village and suddenly hear the sound of the Yugoslav national Army (JNA) tanks... and you just know that only luck would save ur house.. or your you just stay still and pray.." - Serbian from Bosnia

People nowadays in Bosnia & Hercegovina(B&H).. look back at the past 20 years.. and wonder what have those 2 decades left? The Ottomans left their religion, culture and architecture... Yugoslavia of TITO has built the country.. and made it what is it today... did the independence do anything to B&H and the other 5 republics except the torture and endless dreamless nights .. for those who survived?

With the beginning of the economic crises.. every citizens in the countries of the former Yugoslavia.. remembered the old good days of TITO.. whose dream was to build a country that all the world will wish to live in.. in which he succeeded..until 4th of May 1980 came.. and he passed away. 

For the memory of this great Leader.. and remembering 4th of May.. i will leave you with this clip showing Yugoslavia in its glory...After all.. everything is the same (between the people) but only He is not here...  =)