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Saudi Jeans

rants and raves from saudi arabia

Last Build Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2012 02:36:21 +0000



Thu, 21 Jun 2007 02:09:00 +0000

This blog has a new home now.

Please click here to visit the new Saudi Jeans.


Wed, 30 May 2007 15:39:00 +0000

I know, I know: I'm not supposed to get back now, but today is my birthday and I wanted to share it here with you. The picture below was taken by my friend Mahmood at the wedding of Haifaa al-Mansour in Dhahran last week. It was a great wedding party, btw, and I'd like to congratulate my friends Haifaa and Brad and wish them a lifetime of never-ending joy and happiness.


As for my birthday, there will be no party: Just me and my beer coke, working on some unfinished projects and getting ready for the tough finals. I won't lie to you: I have actually written a few posts during the past two weeks, but they are pending and will be published later in June. Till then, have fun and wish me luck :-)

Saudi Jeans is 3 Years Old Today

Sat, 12 May 2007 20:00:00 +0000

Today marks the third anniversary of Saudi Jeans. Three years is probably not such a very long time of blogging. Dave Winer has been doing it for the past 10 years; Jason Kottke for 9. But for someone who has started blogging as a “fun experiment” I honestly did not expect myself to keep on doing that for this long. Surprisingly, I still enjoy writing on this blog and I truly believe this is the main reason why I keep on maintaining it. Of course, it is not always fun and games in Saudi blogland, and the blogosphere can be a tough, horrible place sometimes, but overall I can say that I'm somewhat satisfied with the experience so far.

Similar to last year, as my finals approach, I will be taking a break from the blog to focus more on my studies. I should be back in 3-4 weeks. I believe some more bloggers might also take similar breaks, though unannounced, so you can expect the local blogosphere to be queit for a while. Until then, you can dig in the archives at the end of this page to follow the evolution of Saudi Jeans over the years. I want to thank you all my dear readers, and I want also to thank anyone who helped me with my endeavors on the web.

The Weak End

Mon, 07 May 2007 07:05:00 +0000

It wasn't unexpected at all, at least not to me: several members of the Shoura Council decided to use the religion card against a proposal to change the Kingdom’s official Thursday-Friday weekend to Friday and Saturday. It is truly a pity how some people in this country would shove religion in everything even when it has nothing to do with it. The weak arguments raised by these right honorable members of our esteemed council are “baseless,” just like one of them described the economic reasons cited for the change.

Frustrated, although absolutely not surprised, I find myself repeating what Tariq al-Maeena has said earlier this week: “Are they trying to frustrate efforts toward a more progressive and productive society? It seems to have worked in the past on other issues such as the liberalization of laws relating to women.” It seems to me that this is exactly the case: when you can't find a reason to halt the change, hey, you can use religion. But you know what I'm eagerly waiting for now? A fatwa by the religious establishment here declaring that changing the weekend is going to make this nation go to hell in a handbasket.

On Zee TeeVee

Sat, 05 May 2007 16:27:00 +0000

If everything goes as planned, I should be on TV tonight sometime around 9:30 (6:30 PM GMT). Naif Abu-Saida has invited me to talk about blogging in the IT segment of the daily magazine show Min Al-Riyadh (From Riyadh) on Al-Yaum channel, a part of Orbit network. Since many people, myself included, don't have a subscription to Orbit in their houses, it would be nice if someone (wink wink!) who has could recored the interview and upload it to YouTube.

I'm definitely not the first blogger to appear on the show: Herbaz and Milyani have done it before, and Naif himself is a fellow blogger, though his blog is strictly poetic. I'm nervous about this, but I guess it is understandable that live TV can be intimidating. Wish me luck.

UPDATE: Just left Orbit studios. I don't know about the interview, I think I have had a hard time trying to put my ideas in sequence, but hey, it's my first time. If you have watched it, please let me know what you think.

Who Else Wants a Good Textbook?

Wed, 02 May 2007 22:57:00 +0000

Secularism on the ethical side means chaos and mocking religion and virtue (...) Democracy is the political expression of secularism i.e. secularism is the origin and democracy is its branch in the political domain (...) The democratic system contradicts in its origin and essence the Islamic system
(image) One of the courses I'm taking this semester is 104 SLM aka Political System in Islam. The textbook of this course has been revised several times over the years, and the latest edition in our hands today was authored by no less than six faculty members of the Islamic Studies department at KSU. Unfortunately, however, when start reading it, it falls miserably short as you would think this is some political party manifesto, not a textbook that is supposed to be fair and unbiased. The mentioned above quotes are just few examples of the gems that fill the textbook of choice for a mandatory course that all students in KSU, males and females, must pass in order to graduate. So much for raising political awareness in the youth.


Wed, 02 May 2007 22:31:00 +0000

(image) While preparing to write one of the previous posts I had come across many images of the new projects under development in Saudi Arabia. I collected these images in this Ikbis album for your viewing pleasure. If one picture worth a thousand words, and if these pictures are any indication, then we are actually experiencing a new boom. Let's just hope to come out of it with minimum damage.

Milyani Blocked

Wed, 02 May 2007 22:23:00 +0000

The local blogosphere is abuzz with the news of blocking Mohammed Milyani's blog by the much dreaded ISU. Herbaz says this looks like a mistake so maybe we should wait a little bit while this thing unfolds. Don't worry Mohammed. We are with you, and we will work it out.

Whatever Happened to Balanced Development

Thu, 26 Apr 2007 11:56:00 +0000

I watched Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum on television announcing the new national strategy for the United Arab Emirates last week. He was confident and direct, and not afraid to say the truth no matter how painful or embarrassing it could be. The way he talked about the ministry of justice for example was just unbelievable.

Few months ago, Mohammed bin Rashid, a true visionary, has locked the members of his new cabinet in a fancy resort in Dubai and told them they won't leave the place until they come up with a clear strategy of the country for the coming years. Obviously, after making Dubai the miracle that it is today, he now wants to take the rest of the emirate with him to the future. Is there any doubt he would do it? I, for one, have no doubt. All the best to our brothers in the UAE.


Now moving to our magic kingdom, I guess I wasn't the only one to be disappointed that the king's speech to the Shoura Council carried no major announcements. The major news came later last week was launching a number of new projects worth US$31.5 bn in Riyadh. Amazing. That was my immediate reaction while watching the presentations on television. However, this also made me wonder about the "balanced development" agenda that many people were hailing the government for promoting last year.

Just last year, the media was abuzz with the news about the King's visits to different corners of the country to launch new megaprojects in regions that were admittedly neglected and underdeveloped, including six economic cities that are expected to change the face of Saudi Arabia.

But probably our Najdi brothers got jealous seeing other parts of the country getting a little share of the development cake and decided to do something about it. I bet the rest do not envy the central region; I bet they are genuinely happy for their counterparts there; and I bet this leaves them wondering: was balanced development a true promise or merely a temporary slogan?

Al-Yamamh Girls are Blogging

Thu, 26 Apr 2007 11:54:00 +0000

Mrs. Lobat Asadi who teaches English at Al-Yamamah College in Riyadh has sent me a link to her project website that is used as a part of the course she is giving there. I know this practice might be common elsewhere, but I think this is interesting because I've never come across anything like this happening here in Saudi Arabia. Mrs. Asadi also provides links (check out the left sidebar) to blogs by her students. She thinks many people will enjoy reading the thoughts of these young Saudi women, and that "they are much more intelligent than people give them credit for." I agree with her that many people underestimate the capabilities of our women, and I'm glad that blogs are offering opportunities to change the conventional thoughts.

Ray of Hope

Wed, 18 Apr 2007 09:22:00 +0000

Following my latest post, Khaled has written that although we have plenty of good blogs, we are still far behind our counterparts in countries like Egypt and Kuwait when it comes to using blogs as tools for stimulating political and social change. I agree with him, but I think this is not surprising, and I have written about it on previous occasions.

There are, imho, two main reasons behind this. First, the process of making decision in our country has always been restricted to an exclusive circle. Normal people hardly have any history of political participation, and our first, and only so far, democratic experience took place two years ago when we voted to elect half the members of municipal councils that we yet to see their effect on improving the quality of our everyday life. Second, I think that we as a society, as I perviously wrote here, lack the concept of collective action, even in fields that might be considered much less sensitive and dangerous than politics.

However, this is changing. The past few years have witnessed a notable increase in political awareness, and thanks to the revolution of communication and new media, people now have greater access to information and more outlets for free expression, and they are more willing to voice their opinions and discuss issues that used to be taboos. Just look at our blogosphere today and you would see a new rising generation of young tech- and political-savvy Saudis who consider reforming their country a noble cause that is worth fighting for and should not be let go, and are more than determined to make the change they dream of a reality everyone can touch. They are the hope of this nation, and we cannot afford to lose this hope.

10 Must Read Saudi Blogs

Thu, 12 Apr 2007 22:37:00 +0000

Here is a list of ten blogs that I think one should read in order to get a sense of the Saudi blogosphere and feel the real pulse of streets in the country. This is strictly my opinion; if you think there are other blogs that should have been included in the list please do leave a comment or, even better, you can make up your own list and post it on your blog. Note: blogs from 1-5 are in Arabic, while those from 6-10 are in English, however, the list is absolutely in no particular order.‬1.‭ ‬Heaven's Steps‬:‭ ‬Hadeel al-Hodhaif is one of the few‭ (‬the only‭?) ‬Saudi female bloggers to use her real name online.‭ ‬Her blog was mentioned on several big websites such as‭ ‬BBC Arabic, and she was interviewed on Al Jazeera‬.‭ ‬Earlier this year,‭ ‬Hadeel was invited to speak at a media conference in Oman,‭ ‬where she talked about her experience in the Saudi blogosphere.‬2.‭ Mashi97‭:‬ ‬Khaled al-Nassir's frankness and courage have gained him popularity in a short time,‭ ‬but also cost him a temporary brief absence after writing some fierce posts a few weeks ago.‭ ‬Fortunately,‭ ‬he is back now,‭ ‬with a much cooler head‭ ‬:-‭)‭3‬.‭ A Tribe Called Sarah: ‬This blog,‭ ‬written by a student studying in Bahrain,‭ ‬is a homogeneous mixture of love,‭ ‬poetry,‭ ‬and humor.‭ ‬Many readers feels that Sarah's memoir-style blog is some kind of a novel in the making.‭4‬.‭ MagicKingdom‬:‭ Mohammed's blog does not only ask good questions and start interesting conversations, but also offers a much needed view on the scene of culture and arts in the country.‭5‬.‭ Entropy.MAX: ‬Entropy has been blogging for only few months,‭ ‬but over that short time she has proved what an outspoken,‭ ‬articulate blogger she is.‭ ‬It is not only about the issues she touches on,‭ ‬but also in the way she explores the different sides of these issues.6‬.‭ SaudiSphere: ‬Aya is a young Saudi woman blogging from New York City,‭ ‬and her critical,‭ ‬angry blog is one of most interesting blogs written by Saudis who live abroad.‭ ‬One thing you would find on this blog that you can't find anywhere else in the local blogosphere is Aya's occasional selections of cartoons from newspapers all around the world.7‬.‭ ‬Annals of a Space Cowboy‬: ‬The name says it all‭? ‬Nah‭! ‬In this blog,‭ ‬Fahad al-Butairi,‭ ‬aka Fedo,‭ ‬a student at the University of Texas,‭ ‬comments on news and posts some interesting YouTube videos.‭ ‬He is also a‭ ‬contributer to Global Voices‬,‭ ‬covering the Saudi blogosphere on semi-weekly basis.‭8‬.‭ An Englishman in Saudi Arabia‬: I wrote about this blog for the first time in last December, and now he is back after some hiatus. This British blogger moved to Riyadh a while ago, and started this blog to record his adventures with tailgaters on our streets and ninjas in our shopping malls. Quite amusing.‭9‬.‭ ‬Crossroads Arabia‭‬: ‬It is not the only Saudi blog written by non-Saudi,‭ ‬but definitely the best one in this category.‭ ‬Blogger John Burgess is a former US foreign service officer who has had two tours in Saudi Arabia.‭ ‬He describes his work as an effort to put the country into context,‭ ‬and his experience makes this blog one of the invaluable sources about Saudi Arabia on the web.‬10.‭ ‬Rasheed's World‭: ‬Rasheed Abul-Samh is a Saudi-American journalist.‭ ‬He is a senior editor at Arab News,‭ ‬and also reports for Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times.‭ ‬His ability to bring us the-story-behind-the-story is what makes his blog stands out.Honorable mentions: There is also a [...]

My Bad

Mon, 09 Apr 2007 06:29:00 +0000

I did not see that coming. I mean: I really, really did not see that coming. On the opening day of the fourth Saudi Media Forum organized by SAMC here in Riyadh, the minister of interior has made some bold statements:
Interior Minister Prince Naif yesterday urged the Saudi community not to endorse the culture of segregation between men and women. The remarks were met with applause from members of the audience where the prince was speaking.

Segregation of men and women is not correct,” Naif told an audience consisting of officials, academics and media persons, who were attending an annual communication forum organized by the Saudi Association for Media and Communication here.
Don't get too excited, though. Arab News have emphasized on these statements and decided to use them as one of the main stories on their front page today, but unfortunately they failed to mention this: these statements were made as a response to a question on the need for a Saudi women's media forum. Of course we will read all kinds of (mis)interpretations of these few words by our pundits over the coming few days, but, and before what is going to be a media hoopla, I believe there is only thing I should say here: I'm not holding my breath.


Fri, 06 Apr 2007 18:54:00 +0000

This post was supposed to appear almost two weeks ago before some changes take place here, but somehow I totally forgot about it, and for that I apologize. The thing is: although I have owned the domain for some time now, my blog has been hosted on Google's domain. The blog is still hosted by Google, but I decided to use the new feature from Blogger to offer the blog under my own domain. You can still access/link to the blog using both domains: and, but I prefer that you would use the latter one. The old feeds are still working, but you are advised to use the new ones. Thanks, and sorry for the inconvenience.

Who Can Outshine Dubai?

Tue, 03 Apr 2007 11:12:00 +0000

Upon a recent visit to Dubai, Tareq Al-Maeena confirmed what many people have been saying recently: the thriving city has become very expensive, crowded, with too much 'bling', and not much substance. I wonder what he would say when he learns that Hooters are coming soon :-) In his conclusion, Al-Maeena suggests those can't stand living in Dubai anymore should consider taking the nearest exit, hinting that Saudi Arabia can be heaven for those repelled by Dubai's luxurious hell. Actually, this kind of argument is not exclusive to us; it is very visible in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar as well.

However, Al-Maeena does not forget to point out, though shyly, that in order for this to happen Saudis should relax their regulations and implements some changes and reforms before they can offer their country as alternative to our Emarati neighbors. Saudi Arabia is the largest market in the region after all, right? I wonder what suggestions Al-Maeena, and the rest of our distinguished intelligentsia, have on how we can make our cities more attractive than Dubai. I mean: with the fierce opposition against everything “different” and/or “liberal” we see in our country on daily basis, is this idea of competing Dubai even realistic?

Arab Summit = Long Weekend

Thu, 22 Mar 2007 23:08:00 +0000

The best part about the coming Arab leaders summit in Riyadh is that the government have decided to give students and employees two days off in order to ensure the smoothness of traffic in the city as some major roads are to be blocked.

Now coming to my expectations of the summit, I would say “not much.” I mean it would be great if our leaders could do something about the political deadlock in Lebanon and the civil war in Iraq, but this seems very unlikely to happen, despite the speculations about a Saudi package engineered by Arabia's Kissinger. The situation is all too similar to the latest GCC leaders summit: big speeches and big ambitions, but nothing that actually touches the lives of citizens or something they would look forward to.

Most probably I would be leaving Riyadh to enjoy the long weekend in Bahrain or to spend some time with family and friends in my hometown.

New Coach, Same Old Story

Tue, 20 Mar 2007 09:55:00 +0000

Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) have announced earlier this week that they sacked Brazilian coach Marcos Paqueta from his position as manager of the national team, and subsequently signed a contract with his compatriot Helio Dos Angos to prepare our national team for the Asian Cup in July. Paqueta, who still had nine months left in his contract when it was terminated, learned the news from newspapers. This is, imho, unprofessional on the behalf of SAFF, who should have at least told Paqueta earlier of their intentions to replace him.


However, it is not very unusual for SAFF to act this way. They have become very well-known for sacking managers irrationally since the 1970's. An official at SAFF who spoke to the press described sacking Paqueta as a “tough decision,” which doesn't seem to be the case, but whatever. He said they were not satisfied with the performance of the team during the World Cup, but decided to give him a second chance. When the team lost the Gulf Cup semifinal in December they could not take it anymore, and they “had to sack him,” he added.

I can't for the life of me understand what SAFF were expecting; he is a coach, not a magician. I mean: were they seriously thinking that our team could go to the next round in the World Cup? This is just unrealistic; this is wishful thinking. Six months later, the team goes to Abu Dhabi as a favourite to win the Gulf Cup, but they find themselves out in the semifinal after losing to the hosts by a late goal of UAE's wonder boy Ismail Matar, who went to win the cup in the first time in his country's history. I think this should not be considered a major failure, especially when all critics in the region agreed that Saudi Arabia (and Oman) offered the best performance in the tournament.


Local sports press, in what has become some kind of a norm for them, began to circulate rumors and speculations about the fate of Paqueta and who is the next manager of the Green Falcons, in a fashion very similar to what we have seen with his predecessor Gabriel Calderon of Argentina. Obviously, it was only a matter of time, and SAFF, as usual, did not disappoint their ever decreasing base of fans. They remained faithful to their tradition of changing coaches before we even get familiar with the name of the last one.

Ironically, SAFF always talk about how they are committed to “scientific methods” when they make decisions on the future of our first national sport. However, I think the only progress they have made in the past ten years is this: we used to sack managers “on the spot” when our team don't win, now we give them a few months to enjoy our sunny weather before sacking them.

Thanks to their “scientific methods,” Saudi Arabia have acquired such a bad reputation in the football market that most world class managers would decline to work here despite the large sums of money offered to them. Just take a quick look at the long list of managers who took the helm of the Saudi team since 1998 and you would not see any name that can be considered an internationally top manager. Why would any self-respecting manager compromise his history only to be sacked a few months later in a manner that will only damage his reputation?

Who Are the Agitators?

Mon, 12 Mar 2007 06:46:00 +0000

The attack on French tourists on the hands of some unidentified armed men near Madaen Saleh northwest of the country was disturbing and brought back some bad memories that we hoped would fade away forever. Hadeel asked if we were back to square one, while Rasheed has posted the-story-behind-the-story.

Interestingly, Faris Bin Hizam, usually referred to as al-Qaeda expert, said it is not necessary for this crime to be attributed to al-Qaeda, but it definitely meets their agenda and ideology. So why after more than four years of our continuous war on terror we find ourselves in this position? Bin Hizam says, this is because “the agitators are still among us.” Methinks that all the efforts to halt terrorism are pointless if we still allow the agitators to keep on promoting their destructive ideas. Unfortunately, Bin Hizam does not go as far as telling the rest of us the names of these agitators, although he says clearly in the title that “we know them.”

RIBF 2007: Final Rant

Mon, 12 Mar 2007 06:34:00 +0000

I thought I would be updating this blog with news from RIBF over the past week but unfortunately there wasn't much to report. The overall organization has improved, but the accompanying cultural events were not as good as last year's. There were lame, but I read that Latifah al-Sha'alan has kicked some ass during a panel discussing reading in the Arab World, so I'm kicking myself for missing it. (Pictured above: some of the books I've purchased at this year's RIBF)

The War of Hearts and Minds

Mon, 05 Mar 2007 06:44:00 +0000

Except for the Bush administration, almost everybody believes that the United States are losing the war in Iraq, if they have not lost it already. But there is another war the Americans are losing, one that some people, inside the administration and outside it, consider more important than the military battle: it is the war to win the hearts and minds of Arabs.Have you ever heard of Hi Magazine? The answer is probably not. The magazine, launched in 2003, was targeted at Arab youth in order to give them a glimpse into living the American dream. The magazine proved to be a failure, and had to shut down after less than three years of the first issue.However, Hi was not the only example of American failure to communicate with the Arab public. Al Hurra is still unable to attract even a small fraction of the audiences of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, and I wonder if anyone in the region listens to Radio Sawa. After the failure with the old media trio, only one medium is left in Uncle Sam’s bag of tricks: the internet.According to an official at the U.S. Department of State, they are looking now for methods to use the internet to communicate with Arab youth, and they are tackling questions such as: what kind of websites appeal to this large demographic group that represent over 60% of the population in the region? Are they interested in news, sports, entertainment, blogs, social networks, or photo and video sharing? I would say any of these topics can be of interest to them, but only in one condition: it needs to be done right. And based on previous experiences in this field, the Americans just don’t know how to do that.I believe that they are genuinely interested in reaching out to people here. They even send some of their top officials and advisers to talk with influential as well as regular people in the region. But when it comes to taking actions they utterly fail.The failure in choosing the proper method of communication is not the only problem though. Another major problem facing the Americans here is that most people simply don’t trust them anymore. Several years of foolish and biased foreign policy in the Middle East have made people turn down anything coming with a “Made in USA” label. They just can’t expect anything good to come out of the U.S. administration.So, what the Americans to do in their endeavors to boost more understanding between their nation and the Arab World? First, they should stop wasting resources on hopelessly failing projects. Instead, they should focus more on cultural exchange programs on different levels. Also, instead of launching their own projects online, they might consider using and supporting some of established websites to deliver their messages.You don't always need a standalone website to market an idea and spread the word about it online. Many good ideas on the web gained popularity depending exclusively on word of mouth. Governments, organizations and companies can make a big buzz by small gestures on the internet. Here is a few examples: - Sponsor a competition on a community website. - Ask a blogger for a slot as a guest blogger on his website (if you have something interesting to say, most bloggers would agree to do this). - Support a non-profit organization.Issues of ethics, credibility, and conflicts of interests should be clearly addressed and handled very carefully here. It could be very difficult for all parties included to deal with these issues in such situations, and therefore they should do their best to ensure transparency while maintaining a certain lev[...]

Let’s Meet and Talk

Sun, 25 Feb 2007 17:29:00 +0000

I think some readers of this blog still remember the sorry incidents that happened during last year’s Riyadh International Book Fair. You can find some of the posts I have written on the occasion on the sidebar. The 2nd edition of RIBF will open on Tuesday at the same location: Riyadh Exhibitions Center in the northern area of the capital, and it will remain open until March 9.

During a press conference last week, Abdul-Aziz al-Sabeel, deputy minister of information for cultural affairs, announced there will be some changes from regarding the entrance arrangements. There will not be any days for families only. The book fair will be open to everybody, men and women, except for the evening period of three days which will be only open to men. I have to admit that such change is unusual and was not expected, not from my part anyway. The new arrangement was the fruit of a deal between the ministry and the Committee for Promoting of Virtue and Prevention of Vince, al-Sabeel said. “There is going to be a large number of CPVPV members present in the fair carrying their ID cards,” he added.

Similar to last year, there will be a number of cultural events on the sidelines of RIBF. However, as I can see from the program, the organizers have decided to avoid the controversies that occurred last year by choosing a certain kind of topics and speakers. Even though the program is not as interesting as last year’s, I will be attending some events. Here is a list of the evens I intend to attend:

- The Arabic Culture and the Ottoman State. 28/2/07 @ 18:15
- Electronic Publishing: a Battle with Paper. 28/2/07 @ 20:00
- Between Culture and Politics. 2/3/07 @ 18:15
- Intellectual Property. 2/3/07 @ 20:00
- Human Rights: a Dialogue from a Distance. 4/3/07 @ 18:15
- Western Books on Islam after September 11. 5/3/07 @ 20:00
- The Road to the Kingdom: Readings in Travel Books. 6/3/07 @ 20:00
- The Arab World and Reading. 7/3/07 @ 20:00
- Book Covers. 8/3/07 @ 18:15

I hope it would be a good assortment of brain food, and hey, if you are going to be there, let’s meet and talk! You know how do I look like, so if you see me you can just stop by and say hi. Actually, I would love to see some bloggers there, namely MagicKingdom, Riyadhawi, Al Failsoof, and a bunch of others. I think it would be really nice :-)

Sun, 25 Feb 2007 17:25:00 +0000

Calling all Mac software junkies out there: I’m looking for a free/open source download manager to handle downloads on my brand new MacBook. During my Windows days I used FDM, and it was one of the apps that I couldn’t live without, but unfortunately they don’t offer a Mac version. All suggestions are welcome and highly appreciated.


Thu, 22 Feb 2007 06:22:00 +0000

Although I have been a fanboy of Apple for a very long time, I never purchased any of their products yesterday. The product is a white MacBook that I purchased from iMachines in Rashid Mall, Khobar (special thanks to my friend Mahmood who helped me with the whole thing). This is the first post I’m writing using the new machine. It is a very good-looking laptop with a bright screen and a keyboard that is not ordinary at all. The Mac OS X needs some time to get used to it, but so far almost everything has been straightforward. More on that later.

Eating Bitter Lemons

Thu, 15 Feb 2007 18:08:00 +0000

Well, not really, but I just felt like saying it :-) Now let's get serious: Bitter Lemons International, a Middle East roundtable, have invited me to contribute to their weekly issue, which features four different writers providing their own perspectives on a particular topic. This week's issue focuses on blogging in the Arab World, featuring Esra'a al-Shafei, Mona Eltahawy, Ammar Abdulhamid, and myself. Read, and please let me know what you think.


Wed, 14 Feb 2007 18:53:00 +0000

Blogging makes us more oriented toward an intellectual bottom line, more interested in the directly empirical, more tolerant of human differences, more analytical in the course of daily life, more interested in people who are interesting, and less patient with Continental philosophy.
I believe blogging can do all of that and more. What do you think? (via k)