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books i just read...

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Mark Haddon

Middle East Illusions
Noam Chomsky

Reading Lolita in Tehran
Azar Nafisi


songs in my head...

Films About Ghosts
Counting Crows

Jimmy Eat World

Heavier Things
John Mayer


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A Scanner Darkly

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Something to look forward to in the Fall...

Richard Linklater has done some phenomenal independent films. Notably the believable romances Before Sunrise and recently Before Sunset. He made a brilliant film a few years ago called Waking Life which was a lengthy philosophical dialouge that flowed from one conversation to another in a dream like state. What was special about it was that it was filmed and later enhanced in post production using a computer animation technique known as "rotoscope", making it look like a mix between animated and the real world.

While it didnt make any one rich it made alot of heads turn in hollywood. So now he's doing it again with a new film called "A Scanner Darkly", starring Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downy Jr, and Woody Harselson. Produced by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh (among others).

A Scanner Darkly is 'set in a future world where America has lost the war on drugs, an undercover cop, Fred, is one of many agents hooked on the popular drug Substance D, which causes its users to develop split personalities. Fred, for instance, is also Bob, a notorious drug dealer. Along with his superior officers, Fred sets up an elaborate scheme to catch Bob and tear down his operation.' It is based on a Philp Dick story, whose stories have lead to other film adaptations including Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report and Paycheck


Palestinian gives birth at checkpoint

A Palestinian woman has been forced to deliver her baby at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank.

Aljazeera correspondent Jivara al-Bidairi said the 25-year-old woman was forced to give birth to her baby at the Qalandia military checkpoint on Thursday after Israeli soldiers blocked her passage.

The permanent roadblock separates Jerusalem from Ram Allah. It is estimated that there are more than 700 Israeli checkpoints across the occupied Palestinian territories, some permanent, others constructed and removed without notice.

They hinder Palestinians seeking medical attention and those going about their ordinary lives. Queues and closures at checkpoints can turn a 20-minute journey into an hours-long ordeal.

It was the first time Aljazeera was on hand to record a woman in labour being prevented from proceeding to the maternity ward to deliver her child.


This is one of those stories that just reminds you how brutal this occupation really is

Nostalgia & The World of Ideas

Friday, February 18, 2005

"A feeling of sadness and longing that is not akin to pain, and resembles sorrow only as the mist resembles the rain."

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [poet]

Nostalgia is a killer folks. It is a creature trapped in a cage somewhere in the darker realms of your inner most self. At night you can hear it ratteling the bars and it can keep you up. Then there's that time of the year where it feels like the creature is on the verge of escape. This is the time we've come to know as "summer". Family, friends, people you met on the bus, are all going home and you...well you're looking forward to summer courses.

So what's the cure?

After 4 years of experiencing the most intense nostalgia I have made an Einstein-like discovery: there is no cure. That's right, nostalgia, like many chronic diseases has no known cure except one: going home.

Time, money, obligations, responsibilities, these are the viruses that enter the body and keep nostalgia working, keep the creature locked up. Teasing him like children poking animals in a cage at the zoo.

After 4 years I am Radiohead's 'homesick subterranean alien'. But! I will be returning soon. Its weeks away, in fact months away, but the sheer idea that home is a drop of water away is comforting. That drop of water feels like an ocean the sooner the time approaches. I have a countdown in my head.

Plato said that to every thing we see around us, from the water bottle in front of me to the copy of Dali's 'Persistance of Time' on the wall, everything has a true form, an original mold to it, an original copy. These forms and molds are known as Ideas. Supposdly they all exist in a place called the World of Ideas. So everything we see are just shadows on the wall of a cave, and it's all we know.

The soul, Plato says, belongs to the world of ideas. It was there before you were born and it experienced everything in that world. But once you're born, its sudden amnesia. It forgets where it came from. So for years we rely on our bodies, our senses. BUT! as we continue to experience things our soul is slowley waking up. Our experiences are like deja vu for the soul. You do something, you say something and your soul suddenly wakes up and says "hey, ive done this before" or "i've seen this before".

Suddenly you come of age and your soul remembers where it came from, and with that it begins a quest to return back to the world of ideas. It has, as Plato describes, a deep longing or desire to return whence it came. It knows there are more than just shadows on the wall. It knows that by turning around to see the shadow's source we are experiencing Eternal Beauty simply because the source must be more beautiful than any shadow.

I think Plato was on to something...

Since I got here my soul been waiting to go back. In fact it's bags are packed and it's waiting at the airport gate. Our bodies I guess are slower than our souls. I guess because our bodies spend too much tim analyzing, overthinking, and bound to the world of shadows. The soul is free.

But my body is catching up. In a few days I'll buy a ticket; a temporary succor for a long term disease.

What is it about Jordan in particular? Man it must be the water...or lack thereof.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Amman Sunset Posted by Hello

The End is the Beginning is the End

"The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. 'Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?' he asked. 'Begin at the beginning,' the King said gravely, 'and go on till you come to the end: then stop.'"

- Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland

...And so I shall. Beginings tend to be tedious though I will follow the King's advice this time and begin at the begining and stop at the end.

My name is Naseem Tarawnah and I am a Jordanian. I was born in Toronto Canada some 21 years ago and I'm currently seeking my higher education there.
I am new to the universe of blogging and have always wanted to do one. "About what?" was the question that plauged me. So while I was reading the blogs of other Jordanians (which are remarkable) I felt a strong connection and it occured to me there may be no subject matter closer to my heart than Jordan. I also feel that blogging is a way to serve the country and it's community. Jordanian bloggers are making an investment whether they know it or not. They are purchasing a virtual piece of real estate and nurturing it with their ideas and their thoughts. And over time inshallah it will blossom.

I graduated from high school in Amman and I am currently persuing an honors degree in political science one of my first loves (if there is such a thing). An interest in politics is another thing I owe to Jordan; that region has a tendency to sprinkle political fairy dust on all its inhabitants.

Living abroad, which in nostalgia is translation for "not living in Jordan", is truly a unique experience. In the years I have been here I've gained certain perspectives on all aspects of my life and my place in this vast universe. When you live abroad your head begins to fill with ideas, observations, dreams, and opinions. I suppose this is what Plato once called 'The World of Ideas'.
I suppose, this little piece of virtual real estate is my very own 'World of Ideas'

...And now that I have come to end, I will stop.

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