Happy New Year!

As another year draws to a close the world focuses on resolutions and trying to better themselves. Each year 99% of the people who make resolutions will break them within january, but it's the thought that counts right?
For me, personally, it has been a particularly hard hitting year. I don't often share any personal information on this blog but it explains the lack of post for a period of time. This year I have had to go through my dad having pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs) and ending up in hospital with one of his heart chambers enlarged, my cat dying and then my mum dying. On top of that I was told I had to retake the year at uni anddd one of my close friends got deported. So all in all it was a less than happy year really.

But let's focus on moving on, on having a good year and to fulfil our hopes and dreams for the new year.
I'm looking forward to a new year, new chances and renewed focus and drive in my life. And in the new year I am curious as to what is going to happen with the world. Although it is all supposed to end, I wonder if that does happen how it will. There are many ways in which the world could end, as the world is a scary place with scary diseases everywhere. Natural disaster. You name it we've got it.

Anyways, I digress.
I am curious as to what this new year will bring in regards of political progress. And maybe there will not be any political progress, just political regress - which would be a sad state of affairs really.
I hope that things will continue to improve all over the world, that the people of the world will get what they want without regressing back into an unstable mind set, without going into extremist politics.  The fact that the hackers in Germany took down hundreds of neo-nazi sites merely proves that in times of hardship people are leaning towards extremist politics because they are disgruntled with what they median politicians have or have not been able to do. But I think that it is even more important to realise that no extremist political policies would have been able to stop what has been happening in the economy - at the end of the day the economy does what it does and we cannot stop it.

The people who believe in extremist politics are not necessarily bad people, but are often merely misinformed and disillusioned with the way things have gone. There are, however, a minority of people who believe in racist, separatist ways, and they need to get a grip.

As another year has gone by it has been another year where we have realised that peace and unity will not be something that finds a way on its own to spread around the world. So it let's try and cope with with the hatred that is going on in the world whilst we continue to slowly spread the word!

Take care and let's hope that 2012 brings happiness and the fruition of many goals, hopes and dreams!


Merry Christmas?

As the time of Christmas joys has arrived, it is time to reflect of some of the major injustices in the world.
It may not seem like a merry thing to do, but this is a holiday which in the western world is synonymous with presents and large amounts of food - don't get me wrong I love a good christmas present and a good christmas meal. In fact, today I'm going for steak, but I think it should also be a time where we look at the original meaning and look at giving to the people who need it most.

Obviously the original meaning is that of the birth of Christ. The son of god. The messiah. He was brought into this world to bring a new direction to the people's beliefs and to their way of thinking, he was there to set things right. (in a Christian point of view) And I sit here and find myself thinking, with the world gone the way it has, where is he now? Surely it is needed now more than ever; especially as the world looms ever more on complete destruction if world leaders get their ways. But nope, he's nowhere to be seen (but please do forgive my atheistic/agnostic points of view)

Now let's move on to a developing world/western world comparison. A stark contrast between what people have, and yet the religious faith is greater in the countries that have very little than it is in our countries. Think about it - the western world is filled with people who attend church once a week, or even once a year, and pray only every once in a while to be forgiven or to get something they want. And yet the developing world finds extreme solace in the idea of a greater being there.
Personally, this brings me great trouble. I have great difficulty in being able to believe in a greater being such as the 'omni-god' as I cannot understand why someone who is meant to be benevolent (all-loving), omnipotent AND omniscient (all powerful and all knowing) could bring such horrors into this world. Moreover, when people try and address this by using the 'fall from grace' argument it is often irrelevant as it does not explain things such as the horrible diseases, natural disasters and malnourishment that exists in this world.
Even within Western civilisation there is a lot of poverty, illness and fear. We often do not know what is coming next and especially with the recession there are increasing amounts of people becoming jobless or even homeless. They may not be sleeping on the streets but they have had the kindness of their friends and families to ensure that they have somewhere to stay - something which not everyone is blessed with.

So what about doing something different this Christmas? Don't worry, I'm not asking you to step away from the massive turkey that's stood on the table. But maybe try and give a little something back?
Help at a food drive, search through your wardrobe and donate your clothes to a charity that redistributes them to the poor, homeless, needy or those in a developing country?
Maybe try and raise some money or awareness for your own favourite charity?
Organise that next year soldiers who are fighting for your country get christmas presents?
What about getting creative? Write a song, poem, short story with what you think the Christmas message should be.
Just try and raise some awareness for something YOU believe in, try and fight an injustice somewhere. Try and do something about the general ridiculousness of the situations we find ourselves in.

That is all.



Apologies for the lack of posting at the moment. I'm working on something and will be posting it soon, have just been through an hectic few months (mum passing away etc.)
Thanks for still following/reading! I appreciate it, honestly.


The Right Here, Right Now Generation.

Because let's face it, that's what the current young generation has become.
In this day and age, what has become the norm is that everybody gets what they want instantly. They get it by winning a tv show, by winning the lottery or apparently, by rioting and looting.

What has happened in England was ridiculous, and we are now going to have to deal with the consequences. The society needs to remade; the houses that were destroyed need to be rebuilt, the shops that were broken into and burned to the ground need to repaired, and thousands of people who have lost their livelihoods now need to find a way to live. A lot of them more literally than they should have to, as often people live above their shops. As shops have been burned down, so have the flats above them.

It's moments like these that make me angry to be part of this generation, a generation that doesn't want to work hard, a generation that isn't prepared to put in the effort to reap the rewards. The reason why people were rioting is because they got angry. They got angry because they couldn't get everything when they wanted it. Really what happened is thousands of people had a temper tantrum, but instead of stomping their feet, screaming and dropping to the ground - as they're older, bigger and stronger now - they destroyed people's lives, possessions and the communities which are around them. Sensible? no, I didn't think it was either.

There is a lot which needs to happen in society, people need to be able to readjust their viewpoints and realise that life doesn't come as easily as they want it to. The society which we live in today has given birth to girls who want to be 'WAGS' when they grow up, girls who just want to have their own reality show, those who think that leaking a sex tape will get them the fame they want. Guys who want to become professional footballers, just so they can sleep around. And if the shit happens to threaten to hit the fan? Just get a superinjunction, it's fine.

But it's not, how is it that this is what people are aspiring to? Surely this is a step backwards from what all of the generations before us have been trying to achieve?! They pioneered the way to get people from every background equal recognition (and rights), people from every sex equal rights (and I'm talking about the Trans people too), and slowly they're starting to let those who have different sexual preferences be equal to the rest. Sure it has taken a long time and not a lot of it has been achieved 100% yet. People are still racist, some more than others (everybody is at least a little racist. It's just the way it is). And a lot of religions still have issues with those who are homo- or bi sexual, (Which for the record I think is bulshit, we're all equal. Just because you don't fancy someone of the same sex, doesn't mean that it's wrong for someone else too. Moreover, the texts that those who are religious quote from are thousands of years old, you need to put it back into context! At the time, it maybe wouldn't have been accepted. But it sure as can be should be now...!)

But anyways, why is it that these people who are supposed to be more liberal, and more open to change and other peoples needs destroying the communities around them? If you want them to improve, burning them down isn't going to do much. Look at the Bronx, burning the old buildings down did nothing for it in the 60s and 70s - why should those tactics work for us in 2010s?

I think it is now that people need to speak up, and I think that those who have influence need to start exerting it. Those who people listen to, which unfortunately are largely celebrities, need to condone the actions of the current youth. Because this is getting ridiculous.
If Eminem, 50cent, Kim Kardashian etc spoke out against all of the BS, then maybe something would happen, maybe something would change! We need to go back to the original HipHop mentality (and if you don't know what that is, I suggest you read Can't Stop, Won't Stop - A History of the Hip Hop Generation, by Jeff Chang and also Foundation, by Joseph Schloss)


63 years have gone by...

At 4pm on the 14th of may 1948 the state of Israel was declared in Tel Aviv. On the 15th of may the British mandate ended, and within hours President Truman recognised the State of Israel as an entity.
Ever since, many tragedies have faced the Palestinians; they have been kicked out of their homes and off their land, being bullied by those who were previously bullied themselves.

The most difficult thing about the Arab - Israeli conflict is that both sides, and yet neither side is in the wrong. Something which is difficult for many to grasp, and even more so to accept.
The Palestinians have very little land left, and technically speaking don't actually have a country. They live on occupied ground (which Israel denies is occupied), in poor conditions with very little to live on. But they live, and remain strong. And they retaliate.

The retaliation is something which is necessary for them as otherwise they feel they would be trampled by the opposite force, but at the same time it is not something which is helping their cause either. The entire existence of the whole conflict is a catch 22, and something which I suggest you look into if you haven't already.

Both sides want the same thing, that's the problem. But what it has created is a very politically aware people, on both sides. And amidst all of the chaos there is still something which unites people all over the world, which brings hope - HipHop.

Throughout the past few years the popularity of HipHop has increased within areas such as Gaza, and within the refugee camps in places such as Syria - mainly amongst youth, as the older generations often do not accept it as an appropriate form to keep the Palestinian spirit alive. And perhaps some of the most inspirational people Gaza are the Camps Breakerz Crew (and their facebook). A breakdance crew of 10 people, aged 14  to 27, dance in schools and at shows to show that there is another way to let out anger and to get a point across. When I e-mailed them and asked them for an interview they were very happy to e-mail back and I have to say that they seem to be very kind, strong and passionate people. And I hope that one day there will be some B-Girls joining them too!

24 Year old B-Boy Pipeboy (Ahmed Ismail) met 24 year old B-Boy Funk G (Mohammed Alghraiz) at Nursing College in Gaza, both had come over from Saudi Arabia where they had started B-Boying. When Pipeboy suggest to Funk G to start a crew an idea soon turned into reality when they looked for the best guys around them - and found all of them in the same camp. The crew now consists of the following members:
Ahmed Ismail (Pipeboy) - The Manager of the Crew (24)
Mohammed Alghraiz (Funk G)  The Coach of the Crew (25)
Belal Abu Shaweesh (Fox) Crew Member (14)
Abdullah Alghraiz (Jarule) Crew Member (17)
Ahmed Alhorani (Don) Crew Member (17)
Marwan Abu Oreban (Barwan) Crew Member (20)

Ahmed Alghraiz (Shaark) Crew Member (22)
Ibrahim alashram (Chino) Crew Member (23)
Ibrahim Abu Rammadan (Dark) Crew Member (26)
Fahed Abualnemmer (Puma) Crew Member (27)

The Guys are inspired by all crews, but particularly by the Pockémon crew and the Mortal Combat Crew (And who wouldn't be? Have a look for yourself at the skills these crews have)

The Crew gives workshops in various places around Gaza and inspire more people to join in, they're the only crew in Gaza at the moment and are thus highly coveted. Every workshop a lot of people turn up to get a glimpse into this different world, a world where you don't have to think about anything but breaking.
I asked what inspired them and Pipeboy said: "Which inspired us to break is we feel that we can put our anger and we can challenge any thing by break dance, especially when it doesn't exist in our communities. So I think it's the only way which keeps us in the crew close to each other and like one family. Plus we send to the world a message that Palestinian people are not terrorists..."

"Palestinian People Are Not Terrorists"
With their breakdancing they hope to raise awareness about Gaza, to make the world believe in Gaza. They hope to provide a different mindset for those around them, to give them something to live for. Moreover, they hope to travel around the world, battling other crews and hope to welcome many crews to Gaza. They're also looking forward to setting up a Breakdance Academy and a Sports Centre as there are few places in Gaza to play sports - the ones that are there are always in use.

Pipeboy explained that many of the more traditional Palestinians are also warming up to the idea of HipHop - though they may not openly accept it they are always asking about and for shows. His thoughts on those who don't think HipHop is an appropriate way to keep the Palestinian spirit alive? "We don't care about these people because this is our own idea and there is nobody or nothing that can keep us away about what we are doing. In the beginning there was a lot to try and keep us away cuz its not good for the traditional but now how come they go and see them and they always ask us for show or something like that..."

When I get to more sensitive questions I don't expect an answer, but still get one - something which demands some serious respect:

What do you think about the 'peace' offers that have been made between Palestine and Israel?

I don't believe in it because I can't believe in peace and we live like this !!! we live worse than the animal from the hell blockage from Israel so tell me how we can believe in this peace ? But sure we hope to live in peace one day .

Do you think the conflict will ever end (Especially with the The 63 Anniversary of Al Nakba this year)

I don't think so - Israel will never end this conflict... We need it here just to live in peace and freedom. And Israel won't make this happen without any reason and they have always said we are terrorists but all of this shit is wrong.

But let's finish this off on a happier note - one of the crew's favourite songs to break to:
We Are Electric by Flying Steps:


Barack Obama

Quick update (I'm tired, ok, I'm going to bed):

Today Obama has stated, for the press, on tv, that the UN has passed resolution 1973 and are therefore going to take any action necessary to stop Gaddafi from hurting his own people.


Now let's hope he doesn't go on a murdering rampage.

Meanwhile in Bahrain:
Not good things are happening, and so far nothing has been said by the international community about what's going on and that it needs to stop.
I suggest you check reuters and al jazeera for some good up to date news on it, and I'll do a more comprehensive blog this weekend.

Take Care, Be Safe, GOOD NIGHT! x



Is university something which we should brag about?

This question came to me today when I was talking to a friend, she got a nasty message from a mutual facebook friend who went:
"Actually I AM doing something with my life, so I don't need a job, as I'm going to uni as a straight A student. And my parents will be taking care of me because they also went to uni and got high paying jobs"
Which is an extremely arrogant thing to say, as if somebody who has gone to university is so much better than someone who hasn't...
Some of the highest paid people (Take Lord Sugar - Alan Sugar - for instance) did not go to university but had an entrepreneurial way of thinking, thus making themselves lots of money.
Someone I know hasn't got that piece of paper to say he finished university, but is extremely intelligent and knowledgeable in various subjects because when he found a topic interesting in university he would go deeper into it than the university syllabus taught - causing him to be behind, but knowing more about specific bits. Yet companies would discriminate against him because he hasn't got that one piece of paper saying 'yep I've done this'

And, a lot of english people don't come out of university with that much knowledge. Everyone here can go to university (even if you get straight Us) so how much value does 'just a degree have' (yes the classifications make a difference, but still). And so a lot of English students come  out of university with a 2-2 or a 3rd and a drinking problem.... instead of a 2-1 or a 1st with an attitude which would suit the 'real world'

I know that for me it will be hard to adapt initially because the degree is fun, and not that much hard work (it isn't easy and it's hard work) but the journalism industry is one which is extremely competitive and very fast paced. The areas that I want to go into will not be the safest of areas to live in, and the stories I would like to be reporting on are generally ones that have constant developments.
I, for instance, would love to be in North Africa at the moment to look at the developments there - yes it is horrible what is happening in Japan, but in the meantime the Rebels in Libya are losing and Gaddafi is getting power back by murdering them. Yet the western world doesn't do anything about it...
And the reporting has stopped because the focus has turned on japan..



Warning: this is a rather long post.

There are a lot of countries which are in uprising against their current totalitarian government to gain democracy, which is a great thing. It's something which is well worth doing - a lot of those who were in dictatorial rule were not nice to their people and definitely not big fans of human rights. Some of them still aren't - especially now that their people are in uprising and are trying to get them out of power. Take the wonderful colonel Muammar Gaddafi / Qaddafi, in Libya, for instance. He is happily murdering his own people to try and hold on to power, even though 'rebel troops' are refusing to give up and they are now fighting for Tripoli even more than before. The cities around Tripoli and in the north (the most densely populated area of Libya) are all mainly controlled by the anti-Gadaffi people. (I'm going to stick to the western spelling of it for the rest of the blog, for convenience)


Gaddafi is definitely not a nice person, the way that he is dealing with the protesters is not a way that any person should deal with it. The things that are going on in Libya are a far cry from what happened at Egypt - only a relatively small amount of people died and it did not take a violent REVOLUTION to get rid of the person in power. Because that, ladies and gentlemen, is what is happening in these countries. Revolutions. Be they non violent or extremely violent.

Revolution : The overthrow of a government by those who are governed
 Princeton Wordnet

It is amazing that even after all of the years that they have been governed, these countries are still able to strike out. They are able to show the world that they aren't just going to take being governed by totalitarian dictators who disregard their human rights and who refuse to make changes to their way of governing.
A lot of the time when a totalitarian person is in power, the government is fairly backward because the person who is in power has been in power for a long time, and refuses to go with the time as they believe that their way is the best way for everyone. They should not change, but the world should change to their way of thinking. It is ironic because sometimes the people who get in charge are actually thinking ahead of their time at the start, but are so rigid with their points of view that they quickly lapse in how modern they are but instead turn out to be extremely backward.

Another reason why it is simply amazing is because it is showing that a people can still stand up against those who have been in power for decades to get them to leave. Egypt has shown that someone as powerful as Mubarak has left the country after only a relatively short period of protests and 'revolution' - although Egypt now has a very long road to go to becoming a completely democratic state.

Yet one of the most troubling things about the whole situation is that other countries are refusing to step in at the moment, even though he is bombing his own people. Something which is quite clearly wrong. The debate on whether or not the western world or even other countries in the arab world should step in is a lively one as people do not want another Afghanistan or Irak on their hands (even though this is fairly unlikely to happen either way considering that libya does not quite have a tribal ruling system such as Irak and Afghanistan have, within itself.)

The latest update on Libya when this article was posted is this:

Gaddafi forces strike at rebel control of oil export hubs in Libya's east as Arab states weigh plan to end turmoil 

However, this also includes countries like Oman.
Oman is a relatively small country (especially when compared to Saudi Arabia which is right next to it). It is currently ruled by what is called a 'benign' dictator, the economy is relatively good and he keeps a lot of people busy with public works as he as built a lot of big buildings (included one of the world's biggest Mosques) and has transformed a lot of areas into green areas. And as Oman has a desert climate these green areas need constant care to ensure that the grass and flowers don't die.
This benign dictator is named: Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said (some interesting, if very lengthy, background reading for you: here
His father was in rule before, and during his fathers rule he has been put in prison by his father. Moreover, Oman lived in turmoil under the previous sultan - he was nasty and very strict. Not at all like Sultan Qaboos now.

The reason why this is an however is because Oman is actually a wonderful country. The way it is ruled at the moment is very similar to western countries, it just isn't completely democratic. Sultan Qaboos is very free and those who are protesting at the moment have no idea what it was like under his father - as it is our generation and those who were to young or not even born yet during his father's rain - who are currently protesting. The older generations appreciate what they have and understand how different it is already.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying that I completely disagree with the protesters. I understand where they are coming from. They want democracy and want to be a part of all of the turmoil that is going on in other countries (and yemen, again... which is Oman's neighbour - if you weren't aware). And democracy - for us - is not something that is unreasonable to want. We have lived with it all of our lives and very much want it for the rest of the world, but I am not entirely sure whether democracy would work a hundred percent in these countries. I can't entirely explain why I think this, but especially in Oman, they are not used to anything else and it would take a long time to get something fair and uncorrupted in place.

In that respect - corruption - I think that falsely democratic states are even worse than openly dictatorial countries. What I mean by this are countries that are riddled by corruption and problems, but still 'pretend to hold elections' but I will deal with that in a seperate post as this one is getting too long already.

At the moment there are also things going on in the ivory coast, if you're interested in this sort of thing and didn't know about it yet:

Ivorian women fatally shot at rally: At least five women killed by forces loyal to country's disputed president ... 

That's all from me for now!



Just a little something I wanted to share.
I am a lover of books, I love all books and I love the smell of old books. Why they smell so good?
I found that one out just now:

"Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us."

Why secondhand bookstores smell good
Perfumes: The Guide (via YMFY)


Just some random things.

Firstly I've been training this in Dance:

(kudos to http://o-ri-bond.blogspot.com/ for that pic)

secondly, for any of you even vaguely familiar with the guitar, you'll know about Rodrigo Y Gabriela:
But you'll probably be less familiar with these equally (if not more) talented people
(Eduardo Niebla and his trio/quartet depending on where and when he performs)
skip through and you hear him play =)

That is all.


Medicinal Advantage or Merely Sustaining Life?

What popped into my mind today was Medicine. When do medical advancements stop being an advantage and start being a way for parents / family / loved ones to prolong a life.
I was talking to a friend of mine and she was a bit down because her 3yr old neighbour most probably has leukaemia - and she already has down's syndrome, and has had about 4 operations on her heart. And my first thought? If it wasn't for these so called medical advancements being an 'advantage in life' this girl would've died closely after birth. This girl wouldn't have had to suffer an immense amount of pain, fuss and stress before she had even turned four because her parents had decided that everything needed be done for this little girl to be kept alive. Is that fair?
The child must have gone through unspeakable pain already; recovering from heart operations, dealing with downs (I don't know what comes with Down's syndrome) and now going through Chemo and bone marrow transplants?
A young life - a  baby - can't decide for itself. It isn't counscious in its decision making and it isn't fully aware of the surrounding around them. They don't think, they don't know what's going on and generally they can't speak until they're a little bit older (2/3ish) - so the grown ups decide. The doctors have taken an oath to ensure that they do everything in their might to save the life of a person, but at what point does this become too much? At what point does it become almost unethical to keep the child alive?


Walk Like an Egyptian

Oh my dear god, Mubarak has gone absolutely bonkers.
You know what he has done, he has played with fire and it did not go well - 600 egyptians have been injured today. Want to know why?
he paid protesters to support him and to show up to the rallies, thus major clashes erupted. I can't believe it - even for a dictator this is just stupid. I mean wow, how would you even think of that? HOW could you do something like that to your own people.
As if it isn't bad enough that he's currently just like "nooo the egyptians like me, they just don't like the government I put in place..." etc etc etc etc, The guy is either extremely ignorant, stupid are just plain in denial. The reasons why the people that live in his country are protesting is because they are sick of living in a dictatorship. they want democracy. DEMOCRACY. thus not another government appointed by the dictator. It is still people that he has decided to put in place, those who are sympathetic with his way - they are not people that the inhabitants of a nation has voted for.

"Someone - a few people actually - are dropping homemade bombs into the square from the buildings surrounding it," our online producer said.

(from http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201122124446797789.html)
I suggest you read the article, it is simply shocking what is going on there today. The other thing that really got me from the article is the following quote:

Witnesses also said that pro-Mubarak supporters were dragging away protesters they had managed to grab and handing them over to security forces.
Salma Eltarzi, an anti-government protester, told Al Jazeera there were hundreds of wounded people.

"There are no ambulances in sight, and all we are using is Dettol," she said. "We are all so scared.

It is horrible that people can be against other people like this, what is happening in Egypt is simply horrendous even though the things that are being thought for are things that most of the world stands for. The worst thing being that there is no real medical attention, for a government that wants to stay stay in place it is not doing a lot to keep its people happy. It's not even doing a lot to ensure that IF they do stay in power that the people are going to be even remotely happy. All they appear to be doing is ensuring for more instability in the future - the people who are out on the streets at the moment are not people who are easily going to say - oh ok nevermind we'll just retreat into our old lives again and lay low. Yet these are also not people who are going to be thrown in prison or murdered as there are two many of them. If something happens to them now then the whole world is going to know as the whole world has been watching - ESPECIALLY after Mubarak decided the turn off the internet. Seriously - what was he thinking?
However, it IS wonderful to see people stand up for themselves though, it is amazing that even in this modern day and age people still care about what happens to them and about how they are treated. I think it has been shown a lot this year and last year. People have been standing up for what they believe a lot, students keep protesting. Tunisia revolted and now Egypt is doing the same thing. It is good to see that these people are finally sick of being told what to do all the time - of every aspect of their life being controlled. Hooray for democracy, and glad that there is finally and end coming to all of this.


things are a changing.

"The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and wellbeing. The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people," the army statement said.

This is obviously in reference to the Egyptian rallies and protests that are going on at the moment, they want Mubarak to step down - and they want him to do so now. It is great that there is now solidarity between the egyptian people and the army, and that it is going to remain peaceful - something which is so important.
Today is/was the 'march of millions' that people have been trying to get together from yesterday

this is the update that Al-Jazeera put up, just look at all of the people. At the start they are shouting Allah Akbar - Allah is great/Allah is the greatest. Something which is used a lot in the Arabic language (if you look at the language, a lot of it uses Allah as a reference or is actually religious in base if it is literally translated - I'm a bit of a language nerd - e.g. Insha'allah - it means 'If Allah wills it' and it is something which is added when talking about plans in the future.)

Anyway, I think it is amazing that the Egyptian people are so incredibly driven to get rid of a dictator which has ruled their lives for three decades. What's more, it is said that the Israeli government has pleaded with other world leaders to ensure that his regime stays in place... the ISRAELI government want a dictator in an ARABIC country to stay in place - it's not something which is making Mubarak particularly popular with his own people, let along those in the nations around him. Least of all with the Palestinians who live in Egypt, and in refugee camps in the surrounding areas... which is understandable, I think.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is something which has interested me for a long time - ever since we started studying it in history in year 10. It's so incredibly complicated but fantastically interesting; but most importantly it is something which is very important to understand. People today only know the very basics of the conflict and make up their mind based mainly on preconceptions, stereotypes and how the media portrays it all. But we don't hear a lot about the conflict because it has been going on on a daily basis and has done since the second world war. However, what we do hear (though this is currently decreasing) is generally tipped in such a way that the Israeli's are the ones that sound like the victim. Generally reports have been about how many Israeli's have died and how unfair it is yet what doesn't get reported half of the time is the fact that the Israeli's retaliate and that they kill many more Palestinians than the other way round. Moreover, if Palestinian refugees aren't killed by bullets, missiles or hand grenades they will die from poor sanitation, lack of nutrition and awful living conditions because they are living in buildings that are falling to pieces (because bombs have been dropped on them) and are cramped into small spaces. It's horrible. Once upon a time Gaza city was a wonderfully rich place, and even when it was first turned into an occupied territory it wasn't too bad as Palestinians were allowed over the border to work. Now? Not a chance... Another thing which I do not like about the Israelis is the fact that the presidents are generally incredibly hypocritical.
For instance in the 80s and 90s they refused to sit down with Yasser Arafat at first because he was a terrorist (feel free to google him if you don't know who he was or what he did - and feel ashamed for not knowing...)
One of Arafat's most famous quote is from when he stood in the UN meeting and said 'I am standing here with a gun in one hand and an olive branch in the other - don't make me drop the olive branch' (It might be slightly paraphrased, I'm afraid)
Anyways, terrorist. If you look at the history of the Israeli presidents... almost every single one of them has been a part of some form of terrorist organisation.
Another thing which really got me about this particular conflict is the happenings at Deir Yassin. (Linked for your convenience, I am nice really)
So please, do your research on it - it's incredibly complicated, intricate and very interesting.

Personally I don't buy any produce which comes from Israel, it sounds like a silly thing but there are a number of things I don't like about it. Firstly I don't really like the way Israel treats the Palestinians (you might've been able to tell that from this post... maybe).
But I also don't like the amount of air miles it collects up. (there you go a bit of random info for you)

But that's all I wanted to mention actually, now it's time for you to do some reading around and dig into it. Trust me, it's worth it and it is incredibly interesting.


Ignorance is Bliss

Or so they say, but not to those who aren't ignorant. Those who aren't ignorant are infinitely annoyed (well I am anyway) by the ignorance of others. I have the patience of a saint when teaching someone something as long as they don't give up and aren't ignorant. As soon as that happens murder is the ONLY thing on my mind.
what brought this along, I hear you ask. Well:
As some of you may know, or not, I do breakdance. I'm one of the few people who started this year who is dedicated and interested in it. I love the history and the stories behind it, and the motivations of people. The top bboys are some of the most dedicated people from the poorest backgrounds around - most of the time. And then I see this, and someone going:
"so many bboy moves in kung fu" and I just want to punch someone. It's not like Bboying came first and Kung Fu second. Kung Fu has existed for thousands of years, bboying is something which is recent. (1970s I believe is when the old style breaking came up).
So PLEASE people, don't be ignorant, do your research and then make informed comments. ffsake.



I know that this is not an entirely news-y blog, and actually this is going to be really short and I'll blog properly after my exam, but this is something which is important all the same.
In the circle of people that I am in now, a lot of importance is put on health. Yes half of them eat a lot of shit foods but they also exercise a stupid amount of hours in the week to counteract that. And I think that it is something which is important - I never thought it was, but I realise now the benefits.
So if you can, get yourself into a sport and do something you enjoy.
I dance, I bboy (well Bgirl) and I do hip hop (street dance), and I love it. I got told yesterday that training is back on (properly) and more often, and for longer. That means instead of my 7hrs a week of dancing, I will be dancing 12hrs a week. That's a LOT of dancing. Thus I fully intend to eat my through the rest of the cheesecake I have in my fridge.
Now go get yourself something healthy to do, you'll thank me for it later.


And another blog.

Aren't you lucky.. Yes all none of you! My sleep pattern is completely fucked so you get two blogs, in fairly close succession to each other!

In Holland it's customary for comedians to do something called: Oudjaars conference. Or an 'old year's conference' where they look over the year that has gone by and comment on things that have happened. The one I watched was Guido Weijers', a comedian that I find absolutely hilarious. Not least because he has a squint and he plays on it (he makes it look far worse than it actually is half of the time)

All rights belong to Gelderlander newspaper, NL
but also because the material he uses is relevant and the guy is actually really intelligent.
There are very few comedians who manage to talk about things that are so prevalent and make them funny while getting a message across AS WELL AS chucking in quotes by the likes of Ghandi and Plato.
He has done a number of these conferences and every time I have been in absolute hysterics (in the American sense of the world) but also more aware of what has been going on. He manages to pick up on things that originally people might not have noticed and has a real way of playing with words and meanings (unfortunately, for those of you that don't speak Dutch, the show is lost on you. The jokes do NOT work in translation) to bring more thoughts to the forefront. For the past two years he has managed to relentlessly pick on the footballer Wesley Sneijder, even when apologising in the most recent one, particularly about his height.

But the thing that got me most this year is that he pointed out a journalistic fact. When the crash in Tripoli happened (almost everyone died except for 1 Dutch boy named Ruben) instead of mentioning the large amount of people that died, they had Ruben as front page news for weeks, especially the fact that 'De Telegraaf' put a photo of him, in his hospital bed, up on the front page. The problem being that Ruben was only 9yrs old, and thus there is an ethical dilemma associated with putting the photo of an under-age boy on a national newspaper's front page.

Photo used in Le Parisien
This particular photo is one used in French newspaper 'Le Parisien'. You can tell the boy is clearly in danger solely by the amount of machines he is hooked up to and the casts on his legs, you really can feel nothing but sympathy for this boy. Even worse is the fact that he lost his parents in the crash, and therefore only has his Aunt and Uncle to take care of him.

Now the (crude, but funny) joke Weijers made about this was that suddenly the Aunt and Uncle had become parents. People on the street asking: "Is that your kid" "he is now" "Was it planned?" "No it was an... accident"
which just shows you briefly the sort of play on words he uses.
But I think that the tradition that we have in Holland is quite important, a lot of people are very ignorant and don't really know what has happened in the last year, and this way people tune in for a laugh and actually learn a lot more than they expected. Even if, half of the time, they are learning all of this subconsciously.

(the text reads: Extremist: Brings serious harm to you and the society)

Another point that he made in his show is one that I think is a great one, that of who is allowed to vote. Democracy still isn't the best system, he says, but it's the least shitty one out of all of the ones that around. What he suggests in his conference is that all people should be allowed to vote, but before they do they have to answer 5 questions about current political affairs. And if they get them right, then they get the 6th question which is 'who do you want to vote for' which to me sounds like a great plan. People who are voting should, at the very least, know about what is going on in a country before they are allowed to vote some sort of idiot into the government *ahum* WILDERS *ahum*(In Holland there are a few criminals in parliament). Maybe then there wouldn't be as many stupid decisions made (hoorayyyy for the con-dems (or not..)) within the governments.

What I found most hilarious is that I didn't realise that the Dutch government had also had an enquire into the Iraq war, and the prime-minister picked who got to do that, and when he got the report on his desk he looked at and went: 'I can't find myself able to agree' - I guess is the best way of translating it, I will let you know if I find a better English equivalent ("Daar kan ik mij niet in vinden"). But the fact that, INSTEAD OF APOLOGISING he just disagreed with an enquiry that said he was wrong to have gone into the Iraq war is ridiculous. I guess he wasn't quite expecting the man who he appointed to look into it to come out with a conclusion which would not side with his point of view. Oh well, Balkenende, you remain a man who lacks common sense, and a distinct level of intelligence.

Moreover the main theme throughout the show was that of Money vs Happiness.
Which considering I've been talking to a friend of mine about money and needing to find a job to get some extra cash, and what we would do if we won the lottery (He's decided that if he ever strikes the lottery he will attempt to convert me into a dota playing gamer... - I don't think so... ^^) is something which I would like to discuss.
A statistic that I had thrown at me a while back (I watch too much Nat Geo/Discovery Channel) was that most of the people who win millions from the lottery are broke or homeless within the first two years. The one that Weijers used was that of the American scientists who had a look at both Lottery winners and those who had lost their mobility and were no in a wheelchair because of a car crash - one year after both of the events happened. What they found? They were equally happy.
Now, that's either some extremely happy handicapable people or some verrrrry unhappy 

 (ex-)millionaires (something tells me it's the latter). And I think it's almost sad that people manage to blow through SO much money in such short periods of time, but when you think about it, the people that become millionaires because of hard work have often not just worked hard but have managed to save. So these people are usually pretty stingy - that's the way they got their money - whereas those who have come into millions from the lottery have not had to do anything for it. Perhaps this creates a lesser sense of responsibility for the money? Perhaps they just haven't got the money skills to deal with such a large sum. Personally I think that people who stop working are the ones that will fail most quickly, as they don't have any more income and if you win a million, say the bank gives you only 1% interest, that's only 10,000 pounds p/a - that's not a lot of money. And not something you can live extravagantly on. Take into account all of the expenditure that these people will have (new house? new cars? debt paid off?) and before you know it you're million is gone and you're back to  square one.
What would you do if you won 1 million pounds?
I think I would probably put half in the bank and use the other half for buying a small flat, paying off family's debts, some stuff (nice interior, gadgets), learning how to drive, skydiving (oh yeah) and living a bit more royally... and continue working/studying (depending on when obviously this fictitious million comes into my life). I would probably also use it to be able to travel to places; some places are so expensive to get to, and that would make it so much easier - and it would make staying places nicer as you can afford a better hotel/appartment.

Another thing that obviously needs to be mentioned is the snow. I've been reading a French article (read it here) which says that Sarkozy had declared the chaos caused by the snow just isn't acceptable. To which I would like to say - well done, Monsieur Sarkozy, for stating the blatantly fucking obvious (excuse the swearing). Europe was hit even harder than England, and more often too. But still the things that were happening shouldn't have happened. Not here, not in France, not in Holland.
Holland was the most hilarious, throughout the year the NS (Nationale Spoorwegen / National Railways) has said that they have made changes to the trains, the tracks and to the routes to minimise any problems that could occur because of the snow. (Remember last year december (2009) as well as feb, yeah that was FANTASTIC, Holland's rail system crashed completely). When the snow hit in December 2010, well, it crashed completely. So their promises have epically failed, half of the trains didn't run and the country was in chaos once again. My god I am so glad I wasn't there at the time, it was bad enough here and I didn't have to experience it!


Happy New Year!

So I just wanted to wish all a Happy New Year, hopefully this year will bring everyone many good things. Both with university/work and personal lives! Hopefully the world won't implode on itself and maybe the governments around the world will manage to get a grip and not start another war (here's to hoping).
Hopefully there will be greater equality in the world, even if it's just a little bit.
Let's just hope all continues moving forward!

However, the way things are looking (such as with the floods in Australia)..
there might be a small issue with everything moving forward, as it just appears to be going downward. Very fast and in epic proportions. So We'll see what this year brings!