Monday, June 29, 2009
The "Two Seas Canal" project... is apparently transforming into the "Vally of Peace" initiative. A project that is supposed to "create" peace.. and bring the peoples of the region together... Take a look at the clip below.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
"The March 18 Movement was born out of a tragedy. On this day in 2009, Omid Reza Mir Sayafi, Iranian blogger and journalist, died in Evin Prison in Tehran. The December before his death, he was sentenced to two and half years in prison for allegedly insulting religious leaders, and engaging in “propaganda” against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Omid Reza was the first blogger to die in prison and his death reveals that getting censored is far from the worst thing that can happen to a blogger." - OR318 Team.
For further info visit www.march18.org
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Inspired by Ruba's post i started thinking.. when i had my first experience with the Internet, and how it all started.. and i realised that this year.. i should be celebrating 10 years anniversary since i started my "online" life.. !
So lets go back in time, in 1998 i left Jordan to continue elementary school and high school in Macedonia, and my brother was Tawjihi at that time.. so he stayed in Jordan instead. The first year, we were communicating through phone calls (which were very expensive) and well the classical way Post mail (yea in 1998!) until the big day came.. when my bro came for the summer vacation a year later to Macedonia telling me the great invention called EMAIL.. and at that time i was computer illeterate even though i was 7 th grade, but we didn't own a computer at home.. and at school we were taught Computer on a "machine" called Sa5er... ma 3alena i didn't know what Windows is.. nor Microsoft is .. well because the "advanced" Computer lessons start from 8th grade at that time.
Few weeks later, in our small city.. the first internet cafe opened!! :D.. and to the astonishment of the owners.. who thought they will have to teach people.. my bro was the first one there.. almost everyday.. checking his email :D.. and teaching me!
Anyhow, that summer , he travelled back to Amman, and he didn't have time to teach me how to make my own email (i know!) .. i just learnt how to use my brother's email :D.. so he created another one.. and i started using his yahoo account.. so it was like.. i am Ayman.. and he is Ayman..sending to each other..
A month later.. we started taking it at school.. things started to get more clear! :D.. so.. i wanted to create my own email.. and thought well .. here is a chance to be creative..I was the one teaching what is the invention of EMAIL to my class mates.. :D.. and u know puberty and all.. u want to impress the girls... and the gang .. by ur "knowledge".. so i found out this cool ( at that time) email service page "lovemail.com". That year.. everyone was afraid from the 2000 issue.. and i stupidly enough wanted to have cocacola in my username :D.. so the output in my head was : firstname.lastname@example.org.. but ofcourse.. that was already taken (DUH!).. and i settled down with one of the suggested usernames : email@example.com.
So excited enough..i emailed my brother from it.. and he was like "shu hal mas5ara ya walad.. e3mal email 3edel".. hehe. So i started thinking of a new one.. i wasn't creative about the username.. and went from extremely funky domain.. into extremly boring one.. (mail.com) and since i was inspired a lot by the word "explorer" (IE) my next attempt was: firstname.lastname@example.org ( i know.. my brother still makes jokes about it.. until now).
Btw, i forgot to mention, that at that time.. since i was still learning (in my defence) i didn't know how to print out an email.. and sometimes the guy who worked there wasn't free.. so i used to copy my brother's emails handwriting..! so that i can read them to my parents!! poor samer.. was so stupid at that time :)))
A year later..i realised i should make a normal e-mail at yahoo.. or hotmail..! and my Mom suggested using my nickname in the family (which is abu samra).. to be as my username withsome prefixes or suffixes...
I tried that.. but it was already taken... so i tried samamiro.. which was how my brother used to call me since i was a kid.. up until today :) but .. my clever mind .. suggested samamiro15 (since i was about to turn 15 that year) @yahoo.com.. which was my first decent email address.. that i used for almost 3 years during which i went t Jordan.. :)
When i became 18.. i thought that its stupid to have samamiro15..! and at that time gmail appeared.. so my first gmail experience.. was with email@example.com. One year later.. i started realising my own stupidity (its good to be self critic no? :P) that its not practical each year t change ur username.. and decided to make a more sustainable email address that won't need any further change.. so the lamp over my head lit up.. and the samamiro86 idea emerged ! :)))
When i started second year university.. i realised i will need more professional email.. to send my homeworks at University.. and since i felt gmail is more professional (less colorful and adds compared to hotmail or Yahoo)... i created my current email (firstname.lastname@example.org) .. for all official purposes.. and its the one assigned in my CV.
As time passed... my knowledge in the internet domain.. grew.. as i took courses in HTML and webDesign.. and became interested in blogging.. chatting.. skype.. facebook.. downloading.. groups.. and now twittering :D..
So from the stupid 13 years old boy..:D.. ( i was clever in other things hehe) who was afraid to print out an email.. 10 years ago.. now am twittering and blogging.. and designing my own webpage.. with a Mechatronics Engineering Bachelor Degree in one hand.. and faith and Optimism in the other to start my career.
I am really glad that things are a lot easier for the younger generation nowadays to learn.. and progess with the internet.. but they won't have such a stupid story to tell.. right?
Happy 10th Anniversary to my Internet Experience !
Islam spread in Macedonia during the Ottoman occupation which lasted for 5 centuries.. not many converted into Islam at that time.. but Islam reached Albania... and more than 80 % of the Albanian population became muslim.. many of these Albanians..during the Ottman Rule.. emmigrated to Macednonia, making a significant minority percentage in the present republic of Macedonia of 33%.
Today, Macedonia.. with its both ethnicities.. and religious groups.. is proud of its heritage of Orthodox Christianity.. and Islam.. and compared to many European countries.. Muslim minority.. enjoy equal rights as muslims in Muslim countries.. of freedom of expressing their faith.. building Mosques.. Eid el Fitr and Al Adha are public Holidays.. and Islamic religion is taught in schools.
Macedonia, is taking another step forward towards coexistance.. between Muslims and Christians.. by promoting the Religious Heritage of Orthdox Christianity and Ottoman Islam and protecting these temples by law.. as national treasure to be protected and taken care of.
For that purpose the Macedonian government made the following clip as part of the series of the "Macedonia timeless" clips.. to promote the temples of Macedonia..
And here are some pictures of some of those Mosques and Churches of Macedonia :
St. John Kanoe - Ohrid
Aladja Mosque - Skopje
St. Naum - Ohrid
Isak Bey Turbe Mosque - Skopje
St. Pantelemon - Ohrid
Bitolska Djamija - Bitola
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
As a kid.. i have never understood the importance of the unlimited monastries scattered around the country. I grew up in Macedonia.. where it was a normal thing to go to the monastry every now and then.. go pray.. lit a candle.. or just perform certain ritual. That was very normal to me.. from religious point of view, but what really puzzled me at that time..was why the hell they were always built far from cities.. into the woods.. or deep in the mountain.. or sometimes in the middle of nowhere. I mean.. if people like to go there a lot.. why didn't they build them close to where people lived so that they can go and visit and do their things anytime they want...
One such monastry is the Monastry of St. Ilya in the mountains not far from the city of Strumica in the southeastern region of Macedonia where i am staying at the moment. It is a small monastry built inside the mountains.. to go there.. u need to reach first the highest point of the city.. from which u can have a wonderful panormic view of the city.. and from which a small path is revealed to you and that leads you deep into the mountains.
Once yo start walking.. the sounds of civilization fade away.. no more cars can be heard.. just you.. and God's creation.. The nature there is untouched.. because simply there is no room for any car to go through that path.. so it kept its purity.. and devine scent.
At first it seems amazing just to see the mountains.. and trees.. but later.. u start to feel the cold breeze of the small rivers popping here and there.. promising a view that will make sure you will stop few moments to mentally capture it...
The trip to St. Ilya (Sv. Ilija) is about 40 minutes walking/climbing.. a time enough to clean ur mind and make you ready to experience the spiritual heritage of the Orthodox Monsatries..
I guess now the location of those Monastries.. make more sense.. for me.. the spiritual peace and happiness.. can't be felt in a church like a monastry.. maybe because you run away from Human's creation.. and get in touch with God's creation...
Later i learnt that it has another reason for being located in such places... Macedonia was under Ottoman rule for 5 centuries... during which the Ottomans forced Islam to the local people.. and spread hate between Islam and Christianity.. to the degree that many Christians were afraid to declare that they were praying and going to the church.. so the Orthodox church.. as a defence mechanism.. to defend its spiritual life.. and faith.. they started building the monastries.. which were used later as faith keepers as well as heritage, traditions and language preservers.
Such monastries were built everywhere around the Balkans.. in Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Romania and Macedonia.. and thanks to these Monastries.. these countries.. managed to retrive their original independent culture and identity.. upon their independence...despite the 5 centuries Ottoman presence.
And today.. those hidden candles still stand proudly.. to remind us.. that faith can never be overcomed.
St. Ilya (Sv. Ilija) in Strumica Macedonia
Friday, June 12, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Every year, the Jordanian newspapers are filled with advertisments and torusit offers.. to Sharm el Saikh, Cairo, Beirut, Turkey , Bulgaria.. sometimes Cyprus and Greece for a change.. and those who can afford more luxurious trip, decide to do a cruise around westren european countries... or go to the far east.
I find all these ads boring.. and repeated.. every year.. the very same locations.. and attractions...to a point when u loose interest to travel. Maybe those countries that are presented as offers in Jordan do a lot to promote their countries more than the others, but i still think that we can choose from hundreds of countries in the world.. and that there are zillions of wonderful locations that are still hidden to the Jordanian tourist.
Maybe Jordanian torusits prefer all planned trip by a tourist agency.. and avoid exploring by themselves.. which makes the vacation even more boring... you get to see only what they want to offer and serve.. not what you actually want to see.
One such location that i believe is still unknown to the Jordanian tourist is the city of Dubrovnik on the Adriatic Sea in Croatia. "The Pearl of the Adriatic" is a perfect combination of amazing beaches and wonderfully clear and clean sea... great night life.. cultural and historical heritage as well as preserved nature.. prepared with great infrastructure of modern Airport and stations.
Watch the clip below.. to have an idea of Dubrovnik.
I hope next time you think of going on a vacation.. you will consider Croatia.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
On my way to the R. Macedonia from Thessaloniki... things seemed fine.. normal.. peaceful for someone who doesn't know about the Macedonia name dispute. While i was waiting in the Thessaloniki train station, i had few hours to spend until my train to Gevgelia leaves. I observed the people.. coming into and out of the station, they looked so much similar to the Macedonians.. and then it occured to me .. that they probably are Macedonians.. but they are afraid of declaring themselves as Macedonians.. and speak their language.. but instead they speak Greek..
I had flash backs of the Macedonians running away from the very same station.. in the late 1940s during the civil war in Greece. Children.. and women.. running.. looking for the peron of the train going to Yugoslavia (at that time) ofcourse for those who were lucky enough to afford the train.. for the majority.. the border was crossed on foot.
The Greek Civil war... was probably one of the many unjustice acts made by Greece towards the Macedonians. The Greek civil war, was fought between the Greek governmental Army backed by UK and USA, and the Democratic Army of Greece - the military branch of Greek Communist Party. USA and UK backed the greek government at that time.. to stop the spreading of Communism as it it became the political system in almost all Eastern Europe.
During that war, many Macedonians caught in the middle.. decided to send their children and women as refugees to Yugoslavia to the newley established Socialist Republic of Macedonia within the Yugoslav federation. Those Macedonians who stayed in Greece.. more preciesly in Aegean Macedonia, fought alongside the Communists in Greece. And Unfortunately... that gave the excuse to the Greek army, to commit one of the biggest genocides against Macedonians after the Second world war, killing the Macedonians.. and kicking out those who stayed in their homes just to make the big dream or the big idea (the Megali idea) coming true.. of occuping Macedonia.. and make it Greek..
Bilingual slogan on mount Vitsi both in Greek and Macedonian ("Long live our leader, N. Zachariadis"and "Long live the II Congress of the NOF. Long live the national unification.") prooving the existance of Macedonians alongside the greeks in Aegean Macedonia
The Civil war ended.. and the genocide was done.. Greece continued its practise of assimilating the Macedonians.. and forcing them to change the endings of their last names from -ov or -ski (slavic) into -kis (greek), and changing the names of the cities , rivers and even churches.. into Greek names. Many Macedonian refugees from Yugoslavia at that time.. tried to go back to their homes after the war ended.. but they were always denied entrance at the border.. many have even migrated to USA , Australia and Canada.. and with those passports they were also denied entrance.. for simple reason.. the birth place written in the Slavic way not as it is now.. which was a reminder to Greece of the terrible act against human rights. Many of these refugees.. are still in todays Macedonia.. waiting the day when the border will be open and go and visit their houses.
When it became evident in the late 1980s that Yugoslavia will break up..and that Macedonians will gain independency , Greece decided to continue its practice of Helenising Macedonia.. renaming the northern province.. from North Greece into Macedonia, renaming the Airport of Thessaloniki into Macedonia.. and starting a strong campaign claiming that Alexander the Great was Greek.. and that Macedonia is Greek, challenging the history.. and prooving that the powerful writes the history.. not facts and actual events.
Thats basically the reason why until now Greece denys the right of milions of Macedonians of Self Identification.. and moreover un-recognizing the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia, even though Greece had no problems with the name Macedonia when it was within Yugoslavia.
Friday, June 5, 2009
The Greek Neo-Nazi faction Golden Dawn, entered and ravaged during a promotion of a Macedonian-Greek dictionary, promoted by the party of the Macedonian minority in Greece called "Rainbow". Rainbow is part of the European Free Alliance and Greece is a member of the European Union. This should not be allowed to happen in third world countries let alone a EU member.
Because Rainbow is part of the EFA, such provocations can be seen as political pressure for the current European elections. It is not the first time for the neo-nazis to pull off such a stunt on behalf of Rainbow, but the Greek and EU authorities seem not to care as no official condemned the incident up until now.
RIGHTS FOR THE MINORITIES OF GREECE!
RIGHTS FOR THE MACEDONIANS OF GREECE!
Its more than obvious now why Greece refuses to recognize Macedonia under its constitutional name.
Watch the attack on the clip bellow. All rights reserved to theMac3donian
Call me by my name.. Don't FYROM me.. Say Macedonia.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Before leaving Sweden, i put in my mind to record my impressions in Greece.. having high expectations from Athens and Greece itself.. as the cradle of democracy and an open book for history and philosophy. But things started to go wrong from the minute i arrived in the Airport in Athens. Coming from a relatively cold region with day temperature of 15 degrees in Sweden.. i was literally shocked by the unbelievably hot weather in Athens.. of 35 degrees and high humidity, which made everything else more in slow motion.. and made the people around me puffing in discomfort every few minutes.
I gathered by broken suitcase.. which the "gentle" danish hands broke, and found my way to the info center to get some info about how to get to the central station and things weren't simple there either..
You can literally feel how the mentality changes once you go from north to south.. and if you go souther to our arabic countires, things get even worse. Ma 3alena, the nice lady explained to me how man trians i should switch in order to reach my destination - my hotel. It was 12 noon.. and i was melting.. but within 1 hour i got to a deserted city.. because the worst combination ever - hot weather and Sunday!
The hotel wasn't that good.. and surprisingly the receptionist was extremely unfriendly! although i used my Jordanian passport to identify myself as the one who made the reservations, but i guess he noticed my birth place - Macedonia ... and thats the only justification i can think of for his very bad attitude.. 2olna bardo ma 3alena.. maybe the heat is making him that unfriendly..!
i got into my room.. and probably the only best thing in it was the Air conditioning..! God bless those ACs.. it brought me back to life.. and cheered me up.. combined with a nice shower.. i was ready to give it a try and still not judge on Athens as the worst city i've ever visited..
We (me and my friend who also shared my miserable experience) deided when the sun calmed down.. to go and see the Acropolis.. as time wasn't waiting for us.. and the next day both of us will find his way. We took the metro , which was surprisingly in good shape compared to the Old train station we arrived at. We got off Sintagma square, and things started to get better.. we looked up a place to grab a sandwich and then walked through the Athenian streets to the Acropolis.
There it was fun, i mean.. i felt the arabic or better said the oriental feeling of the city.. of people's behavior of the buildings.. and their facades and balconies. People were having coffee.. or beer.. ladies were talking and laughing.. People were really enjoying those precious moments of having a chat with someone over a coffee.
The streets were shining with antiquity... and with busy life.. we found our way to the Acropolis.. and climbed the hill. The view from up there was breathetaking.. i guess the Acropolis was the best thing i've experienced in Athens. You can see the entire city from there.. overviewing the white houses.. and thick green forests scattered here and there around the city and ofcourse the most famous blue Sea in the background - the symbol of Greece.
The Acropolis itself.. wasn't a massive building.. but a witness of the Greek glory in that era.. You can feel how glorious were those moments and places.. where one of the strongest school of philosophy was established and developed. Its impressive how precise and sophisticated the ancient greeks were compared to the rest of the nations at that time. Although they didn't florish much further, but their legacy is certainly something humanity is still appreciating and learning.
After 2 hours or exploring every single detail of the Acropolis.. we decided to go back and sleep.. coz we were already exhausted... We stopped by Syntagma Square again.. and decided to follow the advice of our greek professor, and pass by Kolonaki.. a nice wealthy area in Athens.. were a lot of diplomatic representatives are located.. and ofcourse a lot of cafes and restaurants. We had some drinks there.. and rested a bit under the warm moonlight of Athens, and then went back to our hotel.
Things weren't that bad after all.. after my first impression of the city in the morning.. but they should certainly warn people to be patient before judging the city.. hehe
The next day , early in the morning.. i continued my trip .. from Athens.. towards Thessaloniki and Macedonia - my next destination.. the country were the sun never sets. Will see you folks from there.. :)