Bloggin’ Banat

two arab-american chicks takin’ over the blogosphere

Palestinians Getting High May 10, 2009

marijuana-leafLiving under occupation is no doubt stressful.  So, it’s not really a surprise that some Palestinians would want to get high.  But I would think people would try to be a little discreet about it.  Apparently not.

Palestinian police recently found marijuana plants growing “near the main crossroads” of the village of Turmus ‘Ayya according to Maan News Agency.  Yep, right out in the open.  Sadly, the residents there said they thought they were just regular plants.  I’m almost certain there were those who knew what those plants were but kept it on the down low so as to maybe get some of the end product.  Police also found over 1,000 poppy plants and seeds in the gardens of nine residents in a village near Nablus.

I wonder if there’s any correlation between the drugs and the areas in which they’re grown.  My theory is that life in the Ramallah area isn’t so bad.  Therefore, weed is sufficient in relieving any stress. However, people in and around Nablus have it much worse due to the constant raids from the IDF and the like.  Therefore, a more hardcore drug like heroin is necessary to deal with the adversity.  But if that’s the case, what would the people in Gaza use to escape the hard knock life?  That’s a frightening thought.

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West Bank Formaggio May 6, 2009

pecorinoA group of Italian agronomists have helped start the first West Bank Italian cheese factory at the Golden Sheep cheese factory in Tubas.  Three Palestinian farmers have been trained in Italian cheese-making and so far the project has been a success.

The project initially started ten years ago when Stefano Baldinia from Ucodep, an independent Italian group that sponsors small-development projects around the world, trained Palestinian farmers to make mozzarella.  Apparently though, Palestinian cows aren’t cut out for making mozzarella.  I wonder if a male, milk-producing goat could do the trick.  Now, ten years later, the Golden Sheep cheese factory is successful in making pecorino, smoked ricotta and scarmorza cheeses.

The idea for this cheese-making factory was conjured up to help the West Bank economy. So even though a lot of Palestinians aren’t accustomed to the taste of these Italian cheeses and most likely can’t afford to buy them, the cheeses are a hit with wealthy Palestinians who’ve lived abroad and with the various internationals living in the West Bank.

Inevitably, as with many business endeavors in the West Bank and Gaza, Golden Sheep has its setbacks.  Power outages make it difficult to keep a steady temperature in the ripening room.  They don’t have a refrigerated truck and therefore can’t sell the cheeses all over the West Bank.  And the cheese that they can distribute is hampered by long delays at Israeli checkpoints.

Regardless, I think Golden Sheep has a bright future despite the various setbacks.  They’ve started making pecorino with za’tar to cater to the Palestinian palate.   Sounds good to me.

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Israel Wiped Off The Map. Literally. April 30, 2009

Filed under: Israel,Nawal,travel — Nawal @ 1:47 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

The British airline BMI recently had the state of Israel removed from an in-flight map during a flight to Tel Aviv.  But don’t think the British suddenly decided to make a bold statement on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  There’s actually an explanation for this.  It was a mistake.bmi

Apparently, BMI recently purchased two planes from a company that mainly flew to Muslim countries. According to a statement from BMI, the in-flight system in these planes was adapted to mainly show places holy to Islam.  The airline had asked that the maps be removed but a technical mistake prevented that from happening.  Of course,  Israeli passengers were furious and complained to the authorities.

The Israeli transport ministry responded to this whole thing by saying that “Doing business with Israel has its advantages and disadvantages, but we will not agree to a situation where they hide the existence of Israel but want to do business with Israel.”  Isn’t that what Arab countries do?

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Thanks Ron Paul! April 21, 2009

ron_paul_posterThis is just a shout out to the Bay Area Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty for their awesome tea-bagging poster. With conservatives organizing tea-bagging parties across the country, the Ron Paul campaign thought they’d join in too. But their poster conveys a message that I truly stand behind and actually makes sense.  Of course, some republicans aren’t too happy about it; as if that’s a surprise.  California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring put out a statement today in which he said:

“The leaders of the taxpayer movement in California are good, solid people with whom I’ve worked for years. Their work is incredibly important and should not be tainted by the anti-Semitic views of a few who wish to use the growing taxpayer movement for their own, fringe purposes. Such attempts must be roundly condemned across the board.”

Sorry, but criticizing Israel’s policies (occupation, war crimes, crimes against humanity, etc.) that are supported by our government and funded with our taxpayer money isn’t anti-Semitic. And, by the way, Palestinians are Semitic too.

But back to the awesome poster.  It’s image couldn’t be more vivid and the text is so on point.  The text reads “Uncle Sam Reminds You: KEEP PAYING TAXES. The ongoing extermination of Palestinian Children Can’t be Done Without Your Help.”  There you go.  Plain, simple, to the point and pure awesome.

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‘Harem Pants’: Hot Or Not? April 10, 2009

From left: Harem styles by Topshop, Mango, and Yves Saint Laurent for Netaporter.com.

From left: Harem styles by Topshop, Mango, and Yves Saint Laurent for Netaporter.com.

Fashion designers often times come up with trends that are just utterly ridiculous.  The latest cockeyed concoction in women’s fashion to hit the boutiques are pants with a droopy crotch and tapered leg called harem pants.  The style comes in various lengths and crotch droopiness.  The shorts example shown here just looks like an adult diaper to me.

What’s wrong with this trend?  First of all, I take issue with the name.  The word harem conjures up images of female servants and concubines being held captive by Arab men back in the day. This, of course, does nothing but further the negative stereotype of Arabs.  Maybe I’m over analyzing it, but I think it’s wrong nonetheless.

Besides taking issue with the name, these pants immediately take me back and remind me of Ghawar, the character portrayed by Syrian actor Duraid Laham in movies I saw when I was a kid. For those who don’t know, this style of pant, called a shirwal, is a traditional piece of men’s clothing worn in the Bilad al-Sham region of the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan).  Even if  you’re not Arab, these pants will regrettably remind you of the MC Hammer days.  Who’d want to relive that?  I still can’t believe some people actually thought those pants were cool.

I don’t know if women everywhere will start wearing these but I certainly hope not.  I’m totally down with traditional Arab styles becoming prevalent but certain things should just be left alone.  This style is definitely not hot!

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Technology Can Be A Bitch April 9, 2009

text-messagingThe popular and expanding use of text messaging, Facebook and Twitter definitely have their advantages. They have become great tools in dispersing information widely and quickly.  However, if you happen to be on the receiving end of bad news or the subject of unflattering information from such messages then it may not be so great for you.

A couple of days ago a Gazan mother and journalist, Laila El-Haddad, was detained at the Cairo airport with her two young children.  El-Haddad was attempting to visit her family by going through the Rafah crossing.  Through her Twitter and blog updates, via the free Wi-Fi at the airport, El-Haddad has been documenting about her detention and treatment.  Apparently, the Egyptian authorities at the airport told her they cannot allow Palestinians into Egypt if the Rafah crossing is closed.  According to her latest tweet, she’s been informed she’ll be deported back to the US via the UK. Thanks to this technology, El-Haddad’s story has been picked up by several online media outlets and the whole world knows of her ordeal and treatment in Cairo.  I wonder if Egyptian authorities will decide to discontinue the Wi-Fi at the airport after this?

In another story, a Saudi man decided to divorce his wife via text message.  He followed up the text with a couple of phone calls to relatives to inform them of his decision. The man wrote the text from Iraq where he was on jihad, as he describes it.  If you’re wondering if divorce via text is legit, it apparently is in Saudi Arabia. A court in Jeddah finalized the whole thing.  Under Sharia law, a man can divorce his wife by saying “I divorce you” three times but I always thought that one must say that in person.  I don’t know.  It’s probably best his wife, or ex-wife now, didn’t see him.  I hope this way of getting a divorce doesn’t catch on though.  It’ll be a cop out, particularly for men with no backbone.

The access to instant information is great but it can be a bitch too depending on the circumstances.

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NPR’s Series On Israel’s Separation Wall April 7, 2009

A Palestinian man walks towards the security fence, which separates the West Bank town of Mesah from nearby Israeli settlements. (David Gilkey/NPR)

(David Gilkey/NPR)

NPR is running a four-part series on Israel’s separation wall called “Israel’s Barrier.”  The series started on Monday and will air on the afternoon program “All Things Considered.”  The reports look into daily life along the wall and the effects it’s had on Palestinian and Israeli life.

The series is a compilation of works by reporter Eric Westervelt and photographer David Gilkey.  Westervelt writes that “the series captures the realities of life along the barrier, including the struggles of the people who find good and bad in it everyday.”  You can listen to the reports and see photos and videos at the series’ website.  It’s worth checking out.

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