Sunday, April 24, 2011

My naïve conclusion

I feel like I’m ten years younger writing this post, saying something that should be basic to any curious and intelligent being who is well into her thirties. But I justify it as delayed maturity caused by a late onset of teenagehood at the age of 21. So here goes.

I recently read an article by Adam Curtis about development of the concept of humanitarian intervention (obviously spurred by the highly debated western intervention in Libya). It goes without saying that this extensively researched piece is a must read. However, in summary, Curtis describes how a group of French philosophers, innately interested in helping victims of injustice, started a thought movement that justified intervention aimed at achieving this justice, by force. Needless to say, that journey was a bumpy ride that in my opinion can no longer be seriously defended, for two main reasons. One is that when you use violence, for whatever reason, you will attract the vilest people who would jump at the opportunity to take advantage. The second is that no matter how well you think you understand the situation on the ground, how many experts you consult with and how smart your weapons are, you can never predict the outcome of the intervention and ensure that more innocent lives will be saved than if you hadn’t lifted a finger. So humanitarian work reaches another dead end. Where do humans go from here?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Giving the term "matching clothes" a whole new meaning

I'm currently attending CityScape Abu Dhabi, an exhibition and conference on real estate in the region. The exhibition obviously hosts booths of regional players showing off their luxiourous residential or tourist projects and investments. The booths are actually quite fancy and in most cases tasteful. But something caught my attention and increasingly disturbs me. The women representing the exhibitors are not only required to wear the same clothes (in most cases extremely short skirts), they are also dressed in accordance with brand, i.e. The same exact colors as the logo. The men, on the other hand, are simply wearing suits. What exactly does this mean? That the women exhibitors are actually exhibition items, like the branded pens and chocolates? Are they also on offer somehow?

Something is not right here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

What about ME? (A guest post by Bana Bashour)

I was recently sitting at a café in Miami when two teenaged girls walked past me with similar t-shirts saying: “I love ME”. It was obviously a play on the I love NY t-shirt, so I wondered why these young ladies felt they had to express their affection towards the Middle East. Was it out of solidarity? Out of concern? Was it that the recent developments in Egypt and Tunisia moved them so much that they had to express their admiration for that part of the world? It was only then that I realized that ME was not an acronym. These young ladies were simply expressing their affection towards themselves, and doing it so the whole world would see.

That is not a surprising image in the 21st century. Facebook and Twitter provide the ideal forum for people to share every detail of their lives, every mood they are going through and every meal they have eaten. In fact, they are so encouraged by others who “like” their statuses (the likers were probably referring to themselves and their own feelings towards the relevant experience/mood/meal). It’s not a bad thing to love oneself, it may not even be a bad thing to be self-centered, for after all, our “self” is the only lens through which we can see the world, and having a better understanding of this “self” enables you to understand the world and other people better. So what’s the problem?