December 11, 2004


"There can be no peace without equitable development and there can be no development without sustainable management of the environment in a democratic and peaceful space. This shift is an idea whose time has come"
Wangari Maathai, Peace Nobel Prize laureate 2004 on her acceptance of the prize speech.
She just summarized in two lines almost everything I believe in!


December 7, 2004

Observations from the Redpath Library

Same faces meet without any prior appointment everyday. They take the same places. They look at each other. Sometimes, they nod their heads, other times they smile, they seldom share a word.

My Indian PhD student friend: I met him in during my first weeks in Montréal in Second Cup coffee shop on Milton Street. We chatted for a while. Since then, I see him every time I am looking across the windows of every café in Montréal. It seems that during the winter he hibernates in the Redpath reading room. Same laptop. Same headphones. Lonely looks. Will I end up like him?

The energetic engineering student: She is always here before me. We always share a smile. I think she is Lebanese. She is always careful of her stuff. Ear plugs are always ready to be used. When she goes away for a short while, she asks me to look after her stuff. I always accept generously. She came in late today.

The tall blonde with the laptop: She always takes the window table. My favorite table especially when I have my laptop with me. Sometimes she laughs at the computer screen. Maybe she is chatting with a loved one. I think she is an MBA student. She has a colorful umbrella that matches the colors of her sweater. I wonder if that was done on purpose.

The brunette: I think she is a political science student. Quebecoise with long brow hair. A big “trousse” full of all sorts of colored pens. Her papers have the colors of the rainbow on every line.

The young short dude: Always shaved. Always messy with his papers. Yet, he looks pretty smart to me.

The old Indian: I think he realized that he missed some education so he returned back to school. He only comes in the evenings at 6pm exactly. Probably, after a long day at work.

My Lebanese classmate: We talk over a cigarette about politics, democracy, growth economics, immigration to Canada, and most of all our own identity. In English of course!

In the outside alley, people are walking speaking different languages. Arabic is commonly heard. It feels like the hallway of one of Mougama3 el Tahrir floors.

As I look outside, people are still breathing in the -10 C weather. Snow covers the whole campus as if I am watching the “Love Story” movie.


November 27, 2004


It is a cold November night in Montréal. I am in the fifth floor of the McLennan library thinking that I should have a theme song for this long journey. The one that came to my mind is Mohamed Mounir’s song Momken.

Askon beyout el farh. Ah! momken
Askon beyout el houzn. La youmkem
Wi moustahil ya hozn rah toustoun
Idir el zamn ifhamna
Ah! Yimken?!

Shakilni bi ta3m el afrah
Loweini bi loon el touhaf
Wi bi ta3am el manga
Wi kamanga ti3zifli 3ala el garh artah. Yemken?

Mashini 3ala koufouh el raha
Nassini low helm wi rah
Wi Ishmi3na el ma3na beiy3rafini
Low bateit fi ouloubna girah

Askon beyout el farh. Ah! momken
Askon beyout el houzn. La youmkem
Wi moustahil ya hozn rah toustoun
Idir el zamn ifhamna
Ah! Yimken?!

For the non-Arabic speakers:
I live in the houses of happiness. Possible.
I live in the houses of sadness. Not possible.
Sadness you will never ever live.
Can time really understand us?!
Yes. Perhaps?

Mold me in the taste of happiness
Color me with the color of apple
And with the taste of mango
And with a violent, play for me on my wounds. Will I be relieved? Perhaps?

Walk me on the palms of relief
Let me forget if a dream is gone
Why is it that the meaning knows me?
If wounds stay the night in our hearts

I live in the houses of happiness. Possible.
I live in the houses of sadness. Not possible.
Sadness you will never ever live.
Time can understand us?!
Yes. Perhaps?

Who said translation is an easy job!

Montreal. November 27th, 2004.

November 1, 2004

Role Models..

These are people who I look you with great admiration and who inspire me always. They have either induce change in the community or country or always carried the name of their countries no matter where they are.

Kassim Amin
After studying in France, he retuned to Egypt. He was one of the main intellectuals that reshaped the status of women in Egypt. Though heavily attacked at the time, he published two books that laid a landmark in the history of Egyptian women during the end of the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth century.

Saad Zaghloul
The great Egyptian leader during the early twentieth century. He was called the leader of the people. All Egypt was united under his leadership. From a small village in the country side of Egypt, he made it to be the prime minister of Egypt during one of its important struggles of Independence.

Ahmed Zewail
Chemistry Nobel Prize laureate 1999.
He made it! And when he was asked what is your nationality he said: Egyptian American.

October 27, 2004

the room with a view

Why am I doing this?

It is not because everybody does it. It is because I am away from where I lived all my life. I am away from people that shared all the hills and valleys of my days. I am writing this blog because I know where my roots are. All I need to do is to keep the link to these roots strong and alive. Always!
I wished it would have been in mother tongue. However, one thing I am not proud of is that I can not type in Arabic. Looking at the bright side, the message will go through to more people.
It is not about my personal life. It is about how I see things.