Paris Terrorist Attacks (11/13/15)

Unfortunately there’s been yet another major terrorist attack. This time in Paris where more than 100 people are confirmed dead in 4 separate attacks.

ISIS/ISIL has claimed responsibility.

Why? What on earth did these innocent people do? Why all the hate and murder?

I understand people of all religions and backgrounds are frustrated for a number of reasons. Everyone is angry and bitter. But isn’t it time to just stop?

Paris

Emirati woman murders American teacher

While I’ve not blogged in quite some time and had even decided it was time to stop, some things just deserve a bit of attention. That coupled with the fact I absolutely love to write leaves me squeezing my way back into the blogosphere every now and then.

Below is a lengthy video released by the Emirati Security Team outlining the details of the recent murder of an American teacher by an Emirati woman.

It seems there was some kind of verbal altercation between the two women in a public restroom and the Emirati woman pulled out a large kitchen knife and stabbed the American teacher to death. The Emirati woman (seen by surveillance) then leaves the bathroom as others appear to run from the area screaming, gets onto an elevator, and leaves the scene in an SUV with the license plate hidden by an Emirati flag. The Emirati National Day was a few days ago so this large flag on her car wouldn’t have appeared out of place.

The video also shows additional footage of the same woman pulling a small suitcase (later found to have explosives) which is placed in front of an American teacher’s residence. Not the same teacher she stabbed. The video goes on to show her arrest, the search of her vehicle, discovering the explosive devices, and arrest of the suspect.

I’m a bit miffed that her face and head are blurred in the video — as if some ‘respect’ is being shown to her as a ‘Muslim’ woman. Her actions are not in any way Islamic, and therefore no respect should be shown to her as she’s certainly not exhibiting behaviors of practicing Muslim.

The news has reported a possible connection between the suspect and ISIL/DAESH.

Updated news can be found in the Emirates 24/7 News.

ISIS, Kuwait news, and misbehaving Americans

The past few days our news (morning, afternoon, and evening) have consisted of endless reports of ISIS, war, invasion, and murder. Of course we’re getting the glorified ‘Hollywood’ style reporting. The type which kept my mother worried for years — even while I lived I Abu Dhabi. So I decided the best place to get something resembling reality would be via the Kuwait newspapers I keep up with regularly. (We do travel back and forth a number of times a year, as well as having family, a home, and businesses there — keeping up with Kuwait is still an important part of our lives.) Fortunately, and as expected, I discovered there’s no media frenzy taking place in Kuwait regarding ISIS. If anything it’s only mentioned a couple of times. Desert Girl did an awesome post about it as well and she’s far more interesting than the local newspapers.

arab-times-logo

What I did find quite interesting this morning were the number of articles regarding Americans and their criminal behavior in Kuwait. Some are about a month old, but I haven’t kept up with the crime section lately as it reads more like a trashy tabloid. However, ‘US juvenile rapes teen‘ did catch my attention. Followed by the drunk American story and the American threatening to kill his wife. Not that Americans committing crimes is a new thing, but it seems more prevalent in Kuwait now as compared to a number of years ago.

C’mon, people, if it’s a crime in America you know it’s a crime in Kuwait. Why run the risk of facing a judicial system you know nothing about in a country where the official language is probably one you don’t speak?

US Airways tweet gone very wrong

By now I’m sure everyone has heard about, or worse, seen the tweet sent out by US Airways in response to a customer complaint.

USAir

 

USAir2

(Note: You’ll have to Google the image yourself. It’s out there but I won’t link it to the blog)

The one with the rather graphic pornography and possibly the most hilarious thing to hit Twitter since, well, the day before when a 15 year old girl made a terrorist threat to American Airlines via Twitter. OK, that wasn’t necessarily ‘funny’ but it definitely had some entertainment value. US Airways tweet, on the other hand, is outright hilarious. And even more valuable are the 38 Priceless Reactions (tweets). I literally laughed myself into tears. Below are just a few of my faves.

USAirTweetReplies

 

Ethiopian maid kills 19 year old Kuwaiti girl [Kuwait]

My deepest condolences to the family who lost their loved one in such a tragic way. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

Sadly this isn’t an isolated incident. And though it prompts a lot of talk by officials, no action has been taken to prevent it from happening again. Extensive articles are written, meetings are held, and opinions are offered, yet the only solution seems to be to ban certain nationalities from entering Kuwait as Domestics. Seriously? That’s the best they can come up with? To finger point at an entire nation of people because of the actions of a few?

How about investing in genuine, effective, and professional training for both sides (employee and employer)? Just because you’ve had maids in the home you’re entire life doesn’t make you a qualified employer of one. And just because a woman can make a bed and do dishes doesn’t make her qualified to be a live-in, full time housekeeper. The expectations of both sides are unrealistic and should be reviewed. Laws to protect Domestic employees should be revamped, implemented, and upheld. Psychiatric evals should take place before a person even leaves their country for employment.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of domestic abuse, but we’re all also familiar with those who are treated like family members but still runaway after robbing their sponsor blind. There are no guarantees. But as long as this system is broken these tragic incidents will continue to happen.

*Arab Times re-post

*Arab Times re-post

The Arab Times has posted an article filled with a lot of chatter, many opinions, some fabulous ideas, and great solutions. But until action is taken then it’s all moot.

“Doubts Over Mixed Marriages” — Highly offensive article

While reading the Kuwait Times this morning I came across an article written by Muna Al-Fuzai which I find to be offensive, obtuse, and outright presumptuous.

When writing or sharing stories, we can only discuss what we have knowledge of. We can really only share personal experiences or something we’re intimately familiar with. Therefore, I have to question who her ‘source’ is. The story is written to be outright degrading to Western women to the point that it comes across bitter.

 

“This is the latest trend in marriages in Kuwait among expatriate women and Arab Muslim men! I’m not against mixed marriage, but I have my doubts over the success of these kinds of marriages, especially if each party has his or her own agenda to hook themselves to a stranger into a serious bond like marriage. (What agenda? Marrying someone they’ve fallen in love with?)

The Islamic marriage goes this way; the female is a Christian woman in her late forties, fifties or above, with no family back home or a spouse waiting. The male is a Kuwaiti or Arab man. The man, of course, has been married once if not several times. (I have never been a Christian, nor am I in my late 40’s, 50’s or above. My husband has never been married before and certainly not ‘several times’. He doesn’t have any other wife than me. This is the case with most Western women I know who are married to men from Kuwait. I would love to know her source for this statement.)

For them, it is an easygoing marriage in which they don’t have to spend much money and fulfils their fantasies of getting married to a Western woman with blue eyes and blonde hair. (I don’t have blonde hair or blue eyes. I was given exactly what is expected in the Kuwaiti culture, and probably even more since we had 2 cultural traditions to satisfy; gold, diamonds, dowry, marriage ceremonies on both sides of the world, houses, cars, etc. The difference is, I asked for NONE of it, nor did I expect it and even respectfully declined many things. I didn’t marry my husband for money, I married him for love. Should there come a day he can’t provide a comfortable life I certainly won’t be leaving him. Again, I believe every Western woman married to an Arab man [that I know] feels the same way.)

In fact, the men feel that they are undertaking a noble mission because these women convert to Islam in order to marry these Muslims men. Men feel proud, and the women could not find a better source to cover their expenses, needs and a secure shelter in case she is lucky to get pregnant and have a baby. (Cover their expenses? I thought we were cheap? Which is it? Writing an article with a number of contradicting statements show lack of research and/or limited sources. Resulting in an article based on emotion. Very poor writing at best. Oh, and lucky to have a baby?! Girrrrllll, put down that pipe.)

According to some of the sources, these woman are most likely homeless back home and broke. So they use Islam to solve their personal troubles. And this is why I reject and deny these kinds of marriages. (Homeless and broke? I’m a graduate degree holder from one of the most respected universities in the world. I’m proud to say I’ve always held lucrative positions of importance and eventually started my own company. While I do agree, there are many US contractors working in Kuwait making a ‘fair’ salary who are marginally educated and have no hopes of making a similar salary back home. Yet that doesn’t mean they’re broke or homeless. Nor does it mean they’re seeking to gain financially by marrying a man from Kuwait.)

In fact, most of the men, especially the Kuwaitis, don’t reveal their marriages with these women to their families and first, second and possibly third wives. (My husband’s family knew about me before they met me and long before we were married. They welcomed me with open arms and embraced me as part of their family. This is the case with the majority of those I’m familiar with as well. Except for one who has promised to marry a woman for years yet continues to hide her from his family.)

The fact that these women accept to stand in line with other women shows how desperate they are and I can’t blame the man because legally he is permitted to have four wives, but ethically I have never witnessed any successful marriage of this kind, Arabs or otherwise. (Of all the Western women I know in Kuwait who are married to locals, none of them are a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wife [me included]. And though they’re all Muslim [many long before marriage] they are very clear they prefer to be the only wife… period. However, I am quite familiar with many Kuwaiti and other Arab women who are perfectly happy being in a multiple wife marriage.)

I can find an excuse for a Muslim woman to be in such a marriage due to the conservative nature of society, customs and tradition, but I fail to understand why any Western woman would come all the way to Kuwait just to be in such a marriage. (If by ‘Western’ she’s referring to Christian women why doesn’t she also address the fact that Christianity doesn’t recognize or allow multiple wife marriages?)

Islam is present all over the world, and she can find any Muslim man back home. It is a kind of unethical manipulation under the name of Islam. In our life today, we are witnessing some who use Islam to achieve their personal goals. Terrorists kill innocents under the name of Islam & they think they are serving their religion and some use their bodies to fulfil the needs of a man whom she would not even consider if she was in her twenties and had money. (What about the men who study abroad in the West and use Islam as their tool to manipulate women in their 20s who have money? Why is the man the victim? Because the woman is Western?)

These women accept these arranged marriages and live under stress just because of their needs. This kind of stress leads to many mental illnesses and more stress on the man who may put then put pressure on his kids or his other wives. I think there is a regulation about Kuwaiti men who marry non- Kuwaitis.

I wonder if it is ever implemented. The increase of such marriages has more negative outputs than good, and yet we are still watching these cases with no one trying to seek the root of the problem; the men for accepting such marriages or the women for making themselves goods for sale? I can never be against any kind of mixed marriage if it was for love and mutual understanding between a young couple who want to start a life together. But, when it is otherwise, I surely have my speculations over why it is happening.” (To make such a statement she should be required to show her source and a link to reputable studies to support this nonsense. I know in the most recent study done regarding Kuwait divorce rates local marriages had a much higher divorce rate than those who married a foreign woman.)

[source]

When someone is in a position to reach a high number of the population, you would think they would do so in a more responsible manner. Sadly, this article does nothing other than shine a negative light on a highly opinionated writer. It causes her to come across as bitter, angry, and even a bit jealous. It takes away from her credibility when it comes to future articles and leaves doubt in the mind of the reader in relation to her credentials.

Yeah, I’m disgusted.

The 10 Types Of Toxic People That Mentally Strong People Avoid

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook today and it’s definitely worth sharing. I like to think my husband and I subconsciously live by this rule and it’s part of what brings us so much peace and happiness.

_______________________________________________________________________

1. The Showoffs

Those who feel the need to be showy are always compensating for something and trying to prove their worth to themselves. Unfortunately for them, this is how you know they have little worth. Showing and trying to make other people envious is a waste of time, unless you’re trying to make yourself feel better about yourself at the expense of others. People that do such things are not the kind of people you want to keep around.


2. The Unintelligent

I’m not talking the kind of dumb that can’t be helped; I’m talking about the kind of dumb that is a result of an immense ego, voluntary ignorance and self-righteousness. Most of us know at least one or two people who are completely unintelligent as a result of continually making bad decisions and not learning from their mistakes for their entire lives.


3. The Leeches

Growing up, we’ve all had or been that friend who was always a bit broke and always happy to take a handout. When our friends are at a difficult point in their lives, there’s no reason not to help them out or to offer to pay for a few rounds of their drinks so they come out and have fun with the rest of the group. The problem is when the person seems comfortable in the position and is making little to no effort of improving their financial situation.


4. The Lazy

Laziness is a disease, one that is highly contagious. Lazy people make other people lazy. The more you hang around the immobile, the less you will feel the need to be mobile. The mentally strong are not impervious. Hang around lazy people too often and you’ll notice your productivity and general enjoyment of life plummeting.


5. Anyone Who Lives By The Saying, “YOLO”

Understanding that you only live once can put your life in perspective. In fact, it should put your life in perspective. Yet, the Biebers, Drakes and Mileys of the world somehow managed to get the message completely backwards. YOLO: Let’s get wasted and high, do stupid sh*t, throw up all over ourselves and possibly die while we’re at it! Yes, YOLO. The whole origin of this saying doesn’t suggest doing pointless, dumb crap. YOLO means you should spend your time doing something meaningful, with a purpose. YOLO: You have once chance; don’t screw it up.


6. The Big Talkers

Those that spend their time running their mouths spend little time doing anything else. It’s the mentally strong that don’t bother doing the talking because the work they are doing speaks for itself. The talkers, on the other hand, have nothing but the empty words they’re speaking.


7. The Constantly Depressed

Not those that have an actual chemical imbalance, but those who act like they do. We all know people who are always feeling bad for themselves, always complaining about how difficult their lives are and how unlucky they are. Bad luck is not a lifelong circumstance. If your life sucks, then guess what? It’s mostly, if not entirely, your fault. Don’t keep these folks around unless you want them to bring you down with them.


8. Those Who Stay Within Their Comfort Zones

If we wish to live a life of adventure, then those who aren’t adventurous need be avoided. All those you meet and come across in your life are partners on your journey, if only for a few seconds. Those we keep around more regularly end up steering our direction more than we realize. If you hope to leave your comfort zone regularly, then don’t hang out with those who aren’t willing to leave theirs. Their chain simply isn’t long enough to go for the ride.


9. The Non-Dreamers

Those who can’t dream don’t live. Life is about believing that things can be better — not just for you, but for everyone. What makes people human is dreaming and hoping that the change to come will be for the better. Those that don’t dream won’t allow you to dream, either, and will do their best to prove to you that your dreams are just that: dreams.


10. The Non-Believers

Worse than those who don’t dream are those who dream, but don’t believe that they can turn those dreams into reality. Those who don’t believe in themselves don’t amount to anything in life. They are the losers — those that are always there, but don’t influence the world. They live in a gloomy and depressing world where their lives are out of their hands. They go with the flow and never attempt to achieve any sort of success. Don’t rely on them to support you when you need the support, either. If they don’t believe in themselves, then they sure as hell won’t believe in you.

[source]

Saudi women staging grass roots movement to drive

I am incredibly late at getting this and several other things posted.  However, this is such an important topic and I definitely wanted to share this before the day ended.

Below you’ll find a beautiful statement by Rotana as well as her cover song ‘Team’.

Wishing the women of Saudi Arabia all the best!

“I have recently been so moved by the brave Saudi women of my generation, and the generation of women that laid the foundation before us. As an admitted ex-cynic when it came to issues of women’s rights in our country, you have showed me what it is to try, try again, try harder, try again, and never stop trying. No matter what. 

I recorded my version of the song “Team” by Lorde with tailored lyrics in solidarity with the cause of women’s right to drive. But to me, this song is bigger than that. It is a salute to any woman brave enough to stand up for her right and follow her dreams despite cultural barriers, and a nudge to all those who are on their way. 

To all the women living through their authentic self, and scratching the surface for others, thank you. You have inspired me to follow my dream. I sing for you. I salute you. 

On October 26, and every day. I hope we all drive, dream and stand up. We are on each other’s team!”

Medical tests to detect homosexuality? [GCC]

‘Homosexuals to be barred from entering Kuwait’

“The routine clinical screening of expatriates coming into the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) might be also used to “detect” homosexuals, a senior Kuwaiti official has said.

A central committee tasked with the status of expatriates will look into the proposal when it convenes on November 11, Yousuf Mindkar, the director of public health at the Kuwaiti health ministry, has said.

“Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries,” he said. “However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states,” he said, quoted by local daily Al Rai on Monday.

Homosexual acts are banned in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the GCC member countries.”

Full article here.

Copyrighted image. All Rights Reserved.

Copyrighted image. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing, republishing or redistributing without permission is a violation of rights under the Copyright Act.

The suggestion that a medical test can detect homosexuality is comical but evidence of the desperately needed education in Kuwait. Sadly a ‘senior Kuwaiti official’ has been credited as the person to come up with this idea. Even more pitiful is the abundant issues Kuwait is facing in far more critical areas which don’t seem to be getting much attention at all.

Homosexuality is very misunderstood in Kuwait and only the transvestites, cross dressers, and ‘bottoms’ are seen as being gay. As long as the man is the ‘giver’ then he’s not considered homosexual at all.

A former colleague of mine (Kuwaiti male, 27 years old) had a ‘girlfriend’ for months. Initially they only talked on the phone but eventually met in person. She was a niqabi and refused to uncover anything in his presence. This went on for a few more months. Eventually the ‘girlfriend’ confessed that she was really a he. Both were willing to continue the relationship as long as their intimate ‘roles’ were clearly defined. I explained to my colleague that his desire to continue an emotional and physical relationship with another man was an indication he was homosexual, or at the very least bisexual. He was shocked by my statement and reminded me of their ‘roles’. I reminded him of gender while accepting the strong possibility he was still insecure about his sexuality. Several months later he was married (to a woman) and continued his relationship with his male lover (being an American woman also means being the confidant for those who have secrets but don’t know who to share them with). This was 6 years ago. I know he and his beautiful wife eventually went on to have 2 children, but I suspect he continued to keep his man on the side.

Though I don’t believe homosexuality is any more prevalent in Kuwait than in America, I do believe homosexual acts are far more common in Kuwait. I attribute this to segregation. Keeping young men and women apart from a young age doesn’t remove the desire, it only fuels their fire of curiosity. Raging teenage hormones can’t be controlled with religion and shame. I’m not suggesting teens be thrown together for an orgy, but eliminating some of the segregation would help curb some of their curiosity. Until this happens young boys will continue to experiment sexually with other young boys. Are they going to talk about it? Of course not. But it’s happening.

I certainly hope this idea of ‘medically testing’ for homosexuality is only an idea. I hope no men (or women) are subjected to whatever humiliating tests they would be required to undergo.

Have the malls implemented new security measures? Has the dangerous traffic issue been resolved? Has the use of wasta been eradicated? Have new labor laws for domestic workers been drafted, implemented, and upheld?

C’mon, Kuwait. Homosexuals? Really?

Dogs Are People, Too [NY Times]

My love for animals certainly isn’t a secret to anyone who has ever read my blog or spent 5 minutes with me in person. Our pets genuinely are family members. We plan much of our day around their care and wouldn’t think of doing otherwise.

Of course when we got each of our pets my husband and I agreed it was important they get acclimated and fit neatly into lifestyle, not the other way around, But we also agreed once their schedule meshed with ours, we would do everything in our power to avoid major changes. We choose many events based on their ‘dog friendly’ policy, or just skip something that doesn’t allow pets and opt for a doggy day at the park or a trip to the pet store.

Some people may ask why we put so much consideration into our pets when making many decisions, but the answer to us is simple… they’re family members with feelings. Some may argue that animals don’t have feelings… I couldn’t disagree more. Their eyes, their facial expressions, their behaviors; speak volumes.

*Click image for source

*Click image for source

Until now, me and all the other animal lovers of the world were just spewing a ‘bunch of nonsense’ to those who didn’t get it. And, well, other than our personal experiences there wasn’t a lot of evidence to support our ‘animals have feelings too’ speeches.

Fortunately Neuroscientist Gregory Berns has made extensive progress in his study of the dog brain. He’s found scientific evidence supporting the ‘animals have feelings’ theory us animal lovers have known all along. He’s quite possibly my favorite person on earth today.

Check out the brilliant article here.

“The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child. And this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs.” [excerpt from NY Times article]