October 29, 2006


The third and final movie in Indian born Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta's trilogy, Water, tells the story of 1938 India, where widows suffered three fates: To burn with their deceased husband. To live a life in self denial. Or to marry the husband's brother if his family permits.

We get to follow the fate of Chuiya, a 7 year old bride whose significantly older husband passes away, and she is lead to a widows home where other widows dwell till they die. It is an absolutely beautifully made movie with a simple story that captures you.

Watch clips of the movie here. Watch trailer here.

Also read about Saudi Arabia's first feature film, Keif al hal.

Her other two movies are Fire and Earth.

Swedish Storm

Sweden was hit by a storm on Friday the 27th, some places more mildly and in other places airports shut down. This was the view from my balcony. The pallette of the sky changed from this to a green blue.

October 28, 2006

Keif al hal?

Screening at Stockholm's 17 th annual International Film Festival is Saudi Arabia's first feature film, Keif al hal? A comedy-drama shot in Dubai.

"The ultra-conservative Khaled wants his sister Sahar to marry his righteous and God-fearing friend Waddah. Sahar on the other hand has no plans what so ever to quit her job as a journalist and seems much more interested in Sultan, a director of experimental theatre and also a close friend of the family."
-David Fukamachi Regnfors

Watch the trailer here.

October 27, 2006

PHR Israel

Damned Dime

Patients mysteriously self set on fire even after the fire has been put out. Patients with internal burns that wont heal.

It's all about Dime. A new "sucess story" in the world of weaponry. Doctors in Gaza and Lebanon have all reported these strange new finds in patients that have been coming in after attacks by Israeli Military. Sweden recently was made privy of such reports alongside reports from Danish medical staff also talking of a similar strange types of wounds from the same area.

A weapon that has been developed in US airforce labs with toxic heavy metal powder called Dime, is believed to have been used in attacks on civilians in both Lebanon and Gaza according to recent reports that are being further looked into by Human Rights Watch. The Israeli human rights organisation, PHR, Physicians for Human Rights, have been waiting for a meeting with the Israeli Defence Ministry for two months, demanding an explanation to the mysterious wounds on victims of attacks in Gaza after having visited fellow medical staff in Gaza and taking their testimony.

During the war in Vietnam, similar wounds were found in civilians struck by US smoke- and light granades, which both contain white phosphor, a substance not approved for use against human beings.

Even there the wounds were of the type that would not stop burning even after attempts to stop the burning wounds. Doctors at that time had to cut out the area of the burns in order to allow the patient a chance to heal and survive. the idea then, like now, was to inflict wounds of a type that simply would not heal, and thus would leave the affected person untreatable.

More than 30 years later it is happening again.

Similar story can also be read in The Guardian.

October 23, 2006

Happy Eid al-Fitr!

Written on the outside of this odd but cute mosque in Mostar, Bosnia is; "Bajram Serif Mubarek Olsun."

The Bosnian and Turkish word for Eid is Bayram.

I wish all readers and anyone else who is participating in the three day celebrations, a very happy, blessed and above all fun Eid!

Eid Mubarak!Ciid Wanagsan!Bayram Mubarek Olsun!

October 19, 2006

"Poor" Maria Millionaire

Meet Maria Borelius. The J.Lo of the political world. Had an amazing 8 day express career as a Minister in the new formed right wing government in Sweden.

Reason for her resigning from her post? It was revealed that she had in the past hired a nanny, "black" as we call it in Sweden, meaning without paying taxes and an official salary. Money under the table basically. Ok fair enough, a lot of people do it. What is interesting here is her explanation for not paying her nanny a proper official taxed wage:

"I couldn't afford it at that time."

This comes from a woman who together with her husband at that time made 16 milion Swedish Kronor a year (roughly 1.6 million Euros).

October 18, 2006

Oh pec!

Humana People to People receive the first OPEC Fund Award for Development.

hey were chosen "in recognition of the vital and valuable work it is engaged in across southern Africa," in countries like Angola, Mozambique and Zambia. Humana and Opec have been in partnership since 2001.

One seldom sees pictures like this. Saudi Eminences giving out prizes to Scandinavian women who work for Africa. Maybe the world is changing for the better after all...

H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia (left), Mr. Suleiman J. Al-Herbish, Director General of The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) (middle) and Ms. Maria Darsbo, Chairperson of Humana People to People (right).

October 17, 2006

Poll Result: Israeli Military Reaction

Not much more needs to be added to the poll results. They speak volumes in many ways. The world is not black and white and one is reminded of that more and more every day.

Do vote in my next poll: Do you believe a cure for AIDS will be invented in the future?

October 15, 2006

Keep a Child Alive

Got a dollar and 49 cents to spare?

Why not Keep a Child Alive?

In the new single prepared for the International AIDS Day on December 1st this year, Don't Give up (Africa),* by Alicia Keys and U2's lead singer Bono, all proceedings from the sales of the single will be donated to KCA, benefitting children with AIDS in Africa.

The single will be released on iTunes for both US and non-US residents on December 6th, 2006.

Meanwhile watch the video here.

*currently only available for purchase for US residents.

October 12, 2006

Jolie's Jordan Journal

What are the chances of us ever visiting Ruweished camp in Jordan? Slim to none?

What is Ruweished camp? Who lives there, and why are they there?

One can say many things about celebrities doing charity work, and some may even go so far as saying they do it for their own publicity. But the fact of the matter is, many people who care about for example, what Angelina Jolie does, will perhaps come across the following link; Angelina Jolie's Jordan Journal. And perhaps one more soul on the planet has been made aware of yet another pebble in the sea of hurt. And who knows, that soul might be inspired to do something about it.

Jolie talks Ramadan, Refugees and Recognition.

October 11, 2006

NG goes World Music

National Geographic, most famous for its amazing imagery and photography not to mention top of the line articles and stories from the world has now decided to delve into the world's music scene.

Apart from music downloads you will be able to find videos, artists interviews and information about tarditional and popular music in contries around the world.

Baaba Maal from Senegal, Emmanuel Jal, former Sudanese child soldier now hip-hop star. Or how about Israeli Reggae?

Visit their new website here.

October 08, 2006

Iranian Kidney Bargain Sale

Sohaila, a well educated woman, 27 years of age tells us her story about what leads her to sell her kidney. It’s a story about a system where women are prey by constitution. Raped in early age she flees into a marriage with a psychologically disturbed man. To get a divorce she has to borrow money and buy herself free, a freedom which is imaginary even though she gets a good position in a computer company and is able to pay the interest of the loan, faith caches up on her. Her abusive stepfather is now about to sell the elder of her half sisters, who already tried to commit suicide, to a crippled considerably older man. Sohaila decides to take care of her two half sisters. Meanwhile the half of the loan which was private has to be paid of immediately. Sohaila face a situation where social authorities waves her away in spite of her impossible situation with hints that she always could sell her body. Sohaila refuses to do so but she still has to sell a part of it – her kidney.
-Excerpt from the Swedish made documentary by Nima Sarvestani shot in Iran, "Iranian Kidney Bargain Sale"

October 8th, October quake

One year passed since the terrible quake,
but my life and my world it did not shake.
Now many people's lives are at stake,
they're calling for us "awake, awake!"

October 05, 2006

What's in a name? Part 1

He never made it to tell you all this, so I will tell you his story as related to me by his sister. Reality beats fiction, and this following story from real life will leave any people in doubt of that statement, as sure about it as the sun rising and setting everyday.

Libya, some two-three decades ago:

Hassan, not Libyan himself, was working there electroengineer as he was. He loved a girl. A typical story of impossible love? Not really.

She was seeing his best friend, and eventually became pregnant, out of wedlock. Even in Communist Bosnia (or Yugoslavia as it was at that time), it was somehow frowned upon. Hassan's best friend, left her without marrying her or taking care of the baby boy that would eventually see the light of day; Elvir.

It didn't matter to Hassan, and he decided to marry her anyway. His parents back home were not thrilled but they all agreed that should he decide to marry her he should under no circumstances separate mother and child. He wouldn't have done that anyway. He loved her too much.

He left Libya and started a new life in Bosnia with his wife and bonus child.

The child had been damaged a lot, especially during the pregnancy when his mother had tried to hide the fact that she was pregnant. Elvir couldn't speak properly and Hassan invested a lot of time and money in his stepson to get him speech therapists and whatever else to help him function as normally as possible.

Eventually they had a boy of their own. The only difference between the two boys was that Elvir kept his mother's last name, and the new boy of course got the name of his father. That is how she wanted it.

Who would have thought then, that it would have such dire consequences?

As time went by the children grew older and Hassan made sure never to favor his biological son over Elvir, sometimes resulting in being harsher on his own son. Anything so that his wife would not feel that her boy was not loved.

To be continued...

October 03, 2006

When all is forgot...

The things that were, and the things that were not,
what do they matter when all is forgot?
What use is the candle you use for light?
When standing outside on a cold rainy night.
Do you sing songs of lamentation to a deaf ear?
or is it the sound of your own voice you wish to hear?
Do you paint pictures of your heart to a blind eye?
or do you paint so that you can hang it for passers by.
Whatever it was, and whatever it should have been,
no one can name what they have never seen.
And yet all that was, and all that was not,
what does it matter when all is forgot?

October 01, 2006

Ileeya & Somalia

Playing on Al Baal right now is a Somali song called ileeya, from the album Moonlight.

One of their most famous singers is Xasan Adan Samatar. The letter X in the Somali language is the equivalent of the letter haa or 7 in the Arabic language. (Xasan=Hassan)

Many of you have probably never heard Somali music before, but I bet you have all met or come across Somali people. They have a fascinating language and culture. The sound of the language is soft, yet distinct. Thanks to my many Somali friends, I have picked up some of their language and music.


Ps. All the links I have provided you with have music you can listen to with one click. The most comprehensive guide to Somali Music can be found here.