Wednesday, May 31, 2006

All Change

So I have a dashing new template and the Girl's Club has a new home and look.

The new template is because I was bored (again!) and fell in love with this one.

The new home for the Girl's club is because someone deleted our blog. Yes, some silly person in cyberspace with a grudge against one of our members decided to delete our entire blog.

However the lovely Ahmed (backtick) had our post stored and with the help of him and Google's cache, you can find most of the old stuff in the new place!

Isn't technology marvellous!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Petty Fascinations Part One: Yulia Tymoshenko's Hair


Once upon a time, women did not have hair styles, they had hairdo's. Hair styles have bounce and vitality. Hairdo's do not move. At all. Hair styling is about drying your hair in a certain way and using a few hair products. Hairdo's are created, or rather, engineered, using a fist full of hair pins, various implements of a blistering temperature and the contents of a can of hairspray so large, it can be used as a battering ram.

Sadly the hairdo is a dying art, although there are a few maintaining the standard. Step forward Yulia Tymoshenko. Since 2002, the Ukrainian politician has worn her hair in an impeccably neat braid, based on a traditional Ukrainian hairdo. Such was the stir this ornate hairdo caused, speculation was rife that the braid was a result of a hair extension. When asked this question publically, Tymoshenko responded by unpinning (see!) her hair, to show that it was all her own. Since then, come rain or revolution, the braid has not shifted, not even a hair out of place.

Pictures obviouisly not taken by me and obtained from BBC News, Pravda, Ukrainian Elle, mosnews.com and The Age.au



Update:
According to this article, Yulia Tymoshenko takes exactly seven minutes every morning to style her hair. Impressive.

Also, if you Google "Yulia Tymoshenko hair", this blog is the 10th result.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Man from Montenegro, he say Yes.

0.4% has created a new country. The people of Montenegro have voted Yes to independence, with a 55.4% vote in favour, just 0.4% over the 55% needed for the vote to be valid.

Is this a good thing? I don't know. Something that makes me a bit sad it that one of the main arguements of the yes vote was that an independent Montenegro may be able to gain a quicker entry into the European Union. Especially as the Serbian version of Where's Wally (Aren't those Intepol pictures shoddy, no wonder they have been found yet!), which is currently stalling their entry, is showing no signs of coming to an end. While I can see the economic benefits of EU membership for such a small country, I'm uneasy about it being held up as the glittering prize, to be attained at any cost. Also, does EU membership enable a country to be truly independent? The benchmark figure of 55% needed for the referendum vote to be valid was set by: The EU.

I am not a nationalist, but this has been a debate on national identity and it seems strange logic to become a smaller box just to join a bigger one.

Another worry, is that this may cause further instability in the Balkans (Googling that phrase gets over 15000 hits), if Republika Srpska decides that it want independence too.

So what will happen next? Stay tuned for the next episode of the Balkan soap opera.
(P.S that last point is poking fun at the world view of the Balkans, not the region itself)

Good blog here.

Friday, May 19, 2006

New Model Army


People have very different ideas about what liberation means. Often what is called liberation really means that one type of restriction has disappeared and been replaced by another.

One area which is considered more liberated in modern day society is sex and sexuality.
Modesty or prudishness have been pushed aside by hedonism and comercialism as the frequent refrain of "Sex sells" and meeting the demand of the public is used as justification.

The most visible example of this is the pornographic industry, which has used globalisation and technology to become an ever more profitable business. From being the domain of backstreet shops and mail order companies, porn is now a mainstream product, readily available.

Does anyone ever wonder where all these porn actors/models come from? There are so many of them it is frightening. So many people are being drawn into such dangerous and damaging work and the numbers of people doing this is increasing. Can there really be that many people who want to earn their living this way? It's almost like there's some sort of conscription at work, drafting people in to provide fodder for the industry.

I am against pornography, both as a Muslim and a feminist. Those who disgree with this stance should ask themselves if they would like someone they care about to appear in such things. The answer is almost certainly no.

The desire for porn to be seen as acceptable is a very insiduous trend and not just for those who appear in it. Like narcotics, like tobacco, like gambling, porn is another accquired desire that is destructive both for the user and those around them.

It degrades both the user and the porn actor by removing dignity and converting human intimacy into the lowest common denominator of temporary gratification, encouraging people to view each other as objects be to be utilised then discarded.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Boom!


This is quite an easy post to write because I love Egypt. It's true that of my many years on earth, I've only spent seventeen days in Egypt but still, I love the place and frequently dream of returning there.

I think one of the main reasons I loved being in Egypt was because Egypt is a Muslim country (I use that term to mean that Egypt is a country with a Muslim majority). The first time I went there I was a shiny, new Muslim, still in the closet to my family and most of my friends and work colleagues. The feeling of relief at being somewhere where having to pray five times a day is the norm rather than a oddity, at not having to consantly explain all the time was amazing. It felt like I could inhale after holding my breath.

Yet amidst all the joy at being amongst other Muslims in Egypt, hearing the athan, indulging in muhijaba-friendly shopping and alternating between embarrassment and pleasure at people's delight in meeting a real-live convert, there is one memory that stands out.

I am on horseback by the pyramids looking out across the city, when the athan for Mahgrib starts. Like an aural wave, it swept across the city as the different mueddhins made their calls. As I heard it, one word came into my head: "How?" How can a country this religious be ruled by people devoid of any goodness, spiritual or otherwise?

Masha Allah, there are brave people in Egypt doing more then asking questions but are actively fighting for change in Egypt. I am humbled by their efforts. May Allah protect them all.

Technorati tag: googlebombingforalaa

Thursday, May 04, 2006

If I only had a brain......



I've been at this blogging lark for about four months now. I'm a pretty active blogger and I like to comment a lot on other people's blogs. Yet I was starting to get seriously perturbed by the lack of comments on my blog. Then, whilst looking through my settings I found a load of comments that I needed to publish. You see, I am dense. I did not realise that I actually had to check and put the comments on myself. This is what happens when you select your blog settings when you're half-asleep and don't bother to review them.

So for all the people who have commented and kept commenting:Thank you .

You are all sweeter then I could have ever imagined.

P.S replies to comments coming soon, insha Allah.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My Everchanging Ethnicity

I am a white girl. Blue eyes and skin the colour of frightened milk. I live somewhere where this complexion is pretty commonplace and so never considered myself as looking at all exotic. Until I wore hijab. Then I became a big question mark for Muslims and Non-Muslims alike.

To some people I look Arab. This prompts lots of questions of "Where are you from?" when I reply I'm from this country, I am asked "So where are your parents from?". One man, who decided I must be from Syria/Lebanon, even asked where my grandparents were from. He must have thought I was using the convert story because I was ashamed of my Arab heritage.

To others, I look all too white, too much like them. My Hijab is a sign of treachery. So I get remarks like: "You're the wrong colour to be Muslim", "Wannabe Pakistani" and recently was accosted by a man on the bus who accused me of betraying my Christian roots, that this country was in danger of becoming an Islamic state and I was helping it happen. To which I replied "Good" and promptly told him to leave me alone and mind his own business.

As I got off the bus, the sun was shining and I knew that it was all worth it, converting to Islam is still the best thing I've ever done. Alhamdulilah.