Jihadica on the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks

November 30, 2008

Will McCants at Jihadica has a simple yet poignant post about Jihadis trying to capitalize on the attacks in Mumbai to gain support, etc. In addition, he points out that what is most alarming about what happened this weekend is that it was an operation carried out with small arms, and although it seemed to be highly coordinated, was something that your every day Joe shmo could put together.

Jihadis use these attacks as propaganda to rally more support to their cause. What Will is getting at here is that there is no real way to stop these attacks other than to defeat the ideology that encourages them.


Teaching English is Not What you May Have Thought

November 29, 2008

It’s quite hard, actually. I am always complaining that Arabic is impossible because it is filled to the brim with idiomatic expressions. Well, English has quite a few as well, and on top of that, nothing is spelled the way it sounds.

My roommate is out of town and he asked me to fill in this week with his student, the Somali learning English who I have previously mentioned. I had a really great time and I found the work challenging and rewarding. It was nice to feel like I was teaching and helping someone, especially in regards to something like English which is such an essential skill these days.

I understand now why teachers have to actually get trained for this stuff. Trying to explain a word like “situation” is difficult.  And no, one cannot actually “read someone’s mind” like one reads a book. And yes, read, read, and red all look and sound the same but mean something different. And “-tion” sounds like “shon” and “loud” is spelled “loud,” not “lawd,” but yes that is what it sounds like.

Arabic Media Shack

November 29, 2008

A special thanks to “Rob” at Arabic Media Shack for linking to my blog. If you want to know what is going on in the Middle East and you don’t read Arabic Media Shack, you should check it out.

Foreign Policy Association Egypt Blog

November 27, 2008

I am going to be doing some blogging for the Foreign Policy Association’s Egypt Blog.

This is the url: http://egypt.foreignpolicyblogs.com/. My first post is titled : Egypt’s Exporting of Gas to Israel not Likely to Change.

Gulf Arabs in Egypt

November 27, 2008

We were just sitting chatting with Mohammed the barber when I remembered that I saw him sitting with a Yemeni man the other day is new to the neighborhood. Mohammed told me that the man was here on vacation and was renting an apartment for a few weeks because it is cheaper than a room in a hotel.

Gulf Arabs come to vacation in Egypt quite often, and I have yet to hear an explanation of this phenomenon other than the one I am about to share. Mohammed told me that Gulf Arabs, especially the more convervative Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen, come to Egypt to “go out with women.” This means everything from just speaking to women to sleeping with them. In these countries, Mohammed explained, the women are all covered, most often wearing niqab. I wanted to question this stereoptype as I hear it often and I think it’s generally useful to do so, so I asked Mohammed if he was sure that this was really the reason people from the Gulf come to Egypt. He said, “well yesterday when I was speaking with him he asked me the best place to fine women in Cairo, so yes, I am sure.”

He added that to Gulf Arabs, Egypt is known as “أمريكا العرب.” “The America of the Arabs.”

It’s Official! The King of Pop is a Muslim

November 23, 2008

Michael Jackson has converted to Islam

Right Smack in the Face

November 22, 2008

One of my roommates teaches English once a week to a Somali living here in Egypt. The student’s name is Mohammed and he is 18 years old. I have met him a couple of times and he is very nice, and he told my roommate today he has never gone to see a movie and would like to come with us next time we go.

I was curious about Mohammed’s socio-economic status, as I do not know much about Somalia and was interested to know what type of family Mohammed comes from. My roommate said from what he understood, Mohammed is from a “middle class” Somali family, whatever that means. Not dirt poor but not wealthy on any level, either. So I asked what Mohammed’s parents do for work. Guess what? His whole family is dead. His mother, his father, and his brothers and sisters. Killed in the current conflict in Somalia. Mohammed is here alone studying English, Arabic, and Islam, and shares an apartment with a few other guys living in Cairo.