Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ahmed Ahmed in Saudi (Jeddah)

Last night I attended a stand up comedy show in Jeddah, hosted by one of the brilliant Arab-American comedians of the "Axis of Evil", Ahmed Ahmed

So what is special about that??

Well, this is Saudi Arabia, WE DON'T HAVE STAND-UP COMEDY HERE. Along with Theater, Cinema and any other form of artistic public entertainment, so last night was a major breakthrough.

Standing up, in front of 800 "mixed" audience, performing an "uncensored" show, cracking jokes that spoke directly to our day-to-day issues of living in Saudi, It was great to be part of that experience.

The real achievement of the night in my opinion was the introduction of 5 "local" talents to the stand-up comedy world. 5 guys, 3 Saudis, one Irish-Sudanese and another British-Pakistani performed for the warm-up show.

And they were brilliant!!!

The crowd laughed at their jokes as much as they laughed to Ahmed Ahmed's. And I wish the night never came to an end.

Thank you Ahmed for coming over, we all hope to see you again. Thank you for making us share an honest laugh together.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Saudi Relegious Police being Kicked out of a Mall

The Saudi religious police "Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice" are seen being kicked out of a Saudi mall in Riyadh. The interesting part is that they are seen being kicked out by members of the "Regular" police force. Technically, religious police and regular police are two separate entities. Regular police reports to the ministry of Interior while the religious police reports to the committee. It is not clear who has the higher jurisdiction in case of conflicts, although this video shows that regular police does.

Another sweet part was the reaction of the crowd to this event. The happiness and cheerfulness of the people at the mall to the sight of the commission guys being kicked out should be a clear signal to decision makers in the kingdom about the true feelings of people towards the commission. And they should act on it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A new Respect for the American People

I have always been disappointed in the American people following the re-election of George Bush in 2004. How could they vote this man back into office following his disastrous two wars and ridiculous crack down on human rights in his first term in office was a total mystery to me.

However, last week Americans proved me wrong and to quote Bill Maher " I will never accuse Americans of being quick, but they eventually catch on" . During the ceremonial first pitch at the Nationals park in DC, the crowed booed the hell out of president as he walked to throw the first pitch. Job will done fans, i hope you do the same in Nov 2008 :)

A last comment about the incident, this incident was a great illustration of what made and continues to make America, the best country in the world. Free Speech, there is no country in the world were people could boo their president so openly and confidently and can assure themselves they will be sleeping in their own beds in the same night. Unfortunately, it is also the only country where a president so unpopular can remain in office till the end of his term :(. I guess with democracy, you have to take the good with bad. I leave you with a clip of the booing of the century so far .. enjoy :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Saudi Hypocrisy for the World to See

The Story of banning red roses in Saudi Arabia on Valentine’s Day just wouldn't go away. And it illustrates the level of social hypocrisy and ideological divide within the Saudi culture. As the guy in the Video says, if there wasn't a high demand for Valentine’s Day roses and gifts, the Hay2a "Religious Police" would have not intervened. But the opposite is true, people wanted to celebrate, wanted to go out on dates, exchange gifts, and express their love, which propelled the Hay2a to intervene.

On the other hand, there are the others on the fence. Who want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, who drink alcohol, have pre-marital sex, and pretty much enjoys their lives as much as any American or western person would. But they do it OUTSIDE" Saudi Arabia. For some reason, it feels less guilty when sins are committed in another country. And usually these people are the most stubborn and resistant individuals to moderation and liberation of social rules. Saudi represents to them the Utopia that the return to after they fulfill their desires somewhere else. And these people are the source of the tremendous power religious police has, not the religious fanatics.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Human Rights abuse not Limited to Saudi Arabia

This video documents a strip search and total abuse and violation of basic human rights in the U.S. to a WHITE UNITED STAES CITIZEN!!!!

I guess human rights abuse is not limited to Saudi Women only. Americans need to look at their own house first.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Muslims and Virginity

Today I came across an incredible story in a French magazine

About Muslim French girls having to go through "Hymen Repair" surgery to restore their virginities so they can marry. The argument of these girls was that men would like to marry "Pure" girls and being a virgin is the ultimate sign of pureness. A happy family starts with a pure woman, to paraphrase what a French girl said.
Two points come to my mind; I thought that part of the reason for Muslims who are originally from the Middle East to live in western countries is free oneself from the pressurized, intolerant social structures that dominates life in Middle Eastern countries. Living in Franc, and freeing oneself from social stigmas and living up to personal believes and desires is the benefit of living in a secular country like France. Then why, after "enjoying" the freedom that France has to offer, girls go back to the same "shackles" they escaped from to begin with?? Why prison themselves to the same old social stigma and "complies" with old rhetoric rules they already have freed themselves from??
Secondly, what is the point of starting a happy married life that is starting on deception?? If the girls feel "guilty" about her past and decides to hide it with a surgery, what is the fault of the poor guy? And if she is NOT feeling guilty but she just want the gain the respect of her prospect husband who would’t respect her unless she was a "virgin" then his respect is not worthy to begin with, is it??
It is sad to see that educated, professional, and independent women, living in a beautiful country, still can't escaped the prisons of the life of their mothers.
I am not encouraging pre-marital sex; I am just saying that people should be responsible for their actions and not resort to deception to achieve personal gains.
I used to believe that this was a problem only for girls still living in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Egypt for example. In Saudi it is such a big issue, most girls resort to anal and oral sex during their pre-marriage relationships to keep their virginity intact for their wedding night. As science improved, surgery became a very widespread solution that no one can tell for sure what they are getting into. And we wonder why divorce rates are exceeding 50%, and cheating is more common than honest marriages in the last few years.
Its marriage based on DECEPTION!!! That is why... and it seems France is heading down the same road. For Muslims at least.