One small step for Wujdan, One HUGE leap for Saudi Women!

So today I was on the sidelines when history was being made…. The words “being proud” is often thrown around, and is maybe overused these days, but not today! Today I was proud, today Saudi women were proud, today Saudi as a nation was proud… (well almost). This morning I attended the Olympic Judo matches and saw Wujdan Shaherkani make history, in becoming the first Saudi Olympian! What a feeling that was. I had shivers down my spine while her name was being called out to take her place in the arena – and the crowd cheered so loudly for her, and I would say almost as loud as the cheers for Team GB!

The 16-year old Saudi barely had a minute when the high-ranked Puerto Rican fighter easily beat her, but in my eyes she didn’t lose! she was a champ! She made a whole nation proud of her achievement. She competed in the greatest sporting event of mankind and without a shred of help from the Saudi government. In fact, the government (unlike any other country) not only didn’t support her, but stood in her way. At school they forbid her from participating in sports, and physical education just for being born a women. Outside school by not providing gyms and facilities for women, and as an athlete by not providing any funding for her to compete in the Olympics. Yet despite all of this, she managed to compete in this global event that had hundreds of millions of viewers- What an achievement! She has not only competed for herself, but for every Saudi women out there with a dream. Her accomplishments will loudly tell them that they can do anything they desire, and being a Saudi women will not stand in the way of there dreams! What a role model to be proud of!

Unfortunately, her performance today has highlighted a very horrible treat we have in Saudi – Racism! Because of Wujdan’s historical roots from outside the Arab Isles, she has been targeted with racial slur. The worrying this is, the Saudi authorities don’t take racism seriously, so I expect nothing will be done, and no support will be provided for her to deal with this unacceptable behaviour.

I hope and wish that Wujods participation in the Olympics will highlight the importance of women in sports, and highlight the URGENT need to create facilities and gyms in schools and beyond for females in the Kingdom.

To find out more, read my opinion in the Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443866404577566622867956722.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

and then to the Associated Press at http://hosted2.ap.org/OREUG/0a6106be5ac4420893ee9bde92187155/Article_2012-08-03-OLY-JUD-Saudi-Fighter/id-ce539d5ee60b47a18e58a78bc13008f2

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Hey Mr, call me Dr Engineer please – I have a Ph.D.

Since English is a language that is infused with culture, it is difficult to teach English learners exactly how to address people. Non-English native speakers often feel confused about how to address people properly, which make native English people awkward. But this isn’t why I’m writing this post, it’s because of a complex I notice in Arabs genrally, and in Saudi’s particularly — how they like to be addressed, at home and abroad!

Hello, I’m Dr. folaan!… OR Hi, my name is Engineer Olan! I think you see where I’m going with this…

I’ve lived in England for over 25 years, I did an Engineering degree and almost completed my PhD, so I’m more likely than most to meet Engineers and Dr’s in my every day life – and in all my time abroad, I have yet to meet a non-Arab that introduced him/her self to me with a title! What does this say about our complex for titles?

What gets under my skin is this – so many of our “religious” media personalities who obtained PhD’s from “theology” departments at Saudi universities {whom we all know very well lack academic integrity, and research skills required for world-class research hubs} insisting to be referred to as Dr. sheikh zu3tan!

Some of you might be mumbling under your breath as you read this stating “It’s about respect”, trust me – I have met some of the brightest movers and shakers this generation has to offer, not once have I heard one of them asked to be addressed by titles…

Respect is only gained by ones idea’s and thoughts, and not by what type of degree they hold or how they think people should address them!

اللغة الإنجليزية هي لغة لكنها ايظاً مليئة بالثقافة، فإنه من الصعب تعليم اللغة الإنجليزية بالضبط و خصوصاً كيفية إستخدم المصطلحات في المكان المناسب. غيرذلك، الناطقين باللغة الإنجليزية الأصلية في كثير من الأحيان في حيرة حول كيفية التعامل مع من لا يفقهون إستخدام اللغة من ناحية ثقافية. ولكن هذا ليس السبب الذي أردت أن أكتب عنه، ولكن مدخلاً لموظعي…

مرحبا، أنا الدكتور فلان! … أو مرحبا، اسمي المهندس علان!

لقد عشت في انجلترا لأكثر من 25 عاما، معي شهادة في الهندسة وقريبا سأكمل درجة الدكتوراه في العلاقات الدولية و القانون الدولي، غرضي في هذه المعلومة هو بيان الدائرة المحيطة بي، وقد أتشرفت بمعرفة الكثير من المهندسين والدكاتره في مجالات عديدة- وفي ال ٢٥ سنة و حتى الآن، لم أتعرف مع غيرعربي يعرف نفسه لي بعنوان دكتور أو مهندس! فماذا العكس صحيح في مجتمعنا؟

الذي يثيرني الكثير – هو العدد الكبير من الشخصيات “الدينية” الاعلامية الذين حصلوا على شهادة الدكتوراه من كليات شرعية في جامعات سعودية {الذي ندرك جميعا بشكل جيد للغاية كم تفتقر من النزاهة الأكاديمية، والمهارات البحثية اللازمة لمراكز الأبحاث ذات المستوى العالمي} يصرعلى ان يشار الىه بعد تخرجه بسماحة العلامة الشيخ الدكتور زعطان!

البعض منكم قد يعلل هذه الظاهرة قائلا “انه من الاحترام”، ولكن ثق بي – لقد التقيت بعض ألمع المحركون فكرياً وانشط اساتذة العلوم هذا الجيل، وليس مرة واحدة سمعت أحدهم طلب أن يعرف به بغير إسمه فقط…

اكتساب الاحترام من قبل الأخرين لا يكون إلا فقط بالفكر النير، وليس بالظرورة نوع الدرجة الجامعية التي حصل عليها…

Don’t Point – It’s rude!

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Recently I watched a Youtube clip of a TV pannel show on an Arab TV station, and I was shocked when the person who was supposed to represent the religious establishment started pointing his finger at the person he was debating with!

Whilst I understand that some simple gestures and non-verbal actions can mean different things in other countries/societies (or even offensive and insulting), I always grew up being told-off when I pointed my finger at someone, and rightfully so! It’s rude and bad manners!

First of all it’s authoritative and aggressive, and there is never an excuse to be aggressive or rude in a conversation – yes, even if you dont agree with the other person!

So, next time you ant to point your finger at someone, stop and think for a second, and ask your self ‘how low do I want to look?’ because frankly, when people start pointing fingers, I start loosing respect!

شاهدت مقطع على اليوتيوب منقول من قناة فضائية عربية، و انصدمت عندما شاهدت الشخص الذي كان من المفترض أن يمثل المؤسسة الدينية كان يشير بإصبعه الشخص الذي كان يتناقش معه!
أنا أفهم أن بعض اللفتات البسيطة قد تعني أشياء مختلفة في بلدان  و مجتمعات أخرى، لكن نشأتي وتربيتي علمتني أن اعاقب إذا أشرت إصبعي في وجه شخص ما! لانها سلوك سيئه!

قبل كل شيء، الاشارة تولد العدوانية، وليس هناك أي سبب أكون عدوانيا في محادثتي مع أي شخص ما – نعم، حتى لو كنت لا أتفق مع شخص آخر!

لذا، إذا أردت الإشارة بإصبعك على شخص ما، توقف و فكر للحظة، وتسأل نفسك: “كيف أريد المجتع أن ينظر لي؟”،

عندما يبدأ الناس في توجيه أصابع الاتهام، يبدأ فقدان الاحترام!

22 year old, the youngest Member of the European Parliament, not in Saudi

Ok well this is not going to happen in Saudi any time soon, and I don’t mean getting an “elected member of parliament”, but just having a young senior official holding any office….european-parliament-brussels-inside

With the Lisbon Treaty being signed by all European Union member states, the Pirate Party has gained another seat in the European Parliament. The second Pirate Party seat will be occupied by the 22 year old Amelia Andersdotter, who will become the youngest Member of the European Parliament.

Ironically, The Pirate Party was against the Lisbon Treaty, which has now doubled the number of seats the party has in the European Parliament.
Amelia Andersdotter, will become the youngest Member of the European Parliament. In order to free up time for her political career, Amelia recently decided to quit Economics and Spanish at Lund University in Sweden.

Amelia will officially take her seat in Brussels on December 1st, where she will be joining Christian Engstrom. The two will have plenty of work to do in the years to come, countering the growing influence from pro-copyright lobby groups.
Although some may argue she is far too young to take such an office, I think the fact you can have young blood and passion in such institution can only be a force of good. Lets face it, she had thousands of votes to get that seat, and for that I salute her and her ambition… next stop, Saudi politics? Ya riiight!

Saudi under Cyber attack!

Saudi Arabia tops all Gulf countries in attacks by Internet hackers, UAE daily Emirates Business reported on Thursday, citing software firm Trend Micro. Of all the recorded cyber attacks in the first nine months of this year in the Gulf, 64 percent were directed at Saudi Arabia and 20 percent at the UAE. There were 769,698 cases of “compromised systems breakdown” in Saudi Arabia and 248,034 in the UAE, according to Trend Micro data. Kuwait recorded 94,910, followed by Bahrain at 60,440 and Oman with 37,105 cyber attacks. Due to high concentration of wealth, Internet security experts put the Gulf at high-risk of cyber threats as criminals try to steal vital data from the public, including information such as bank details and credit card information. UAE Daily

SHOCKING: Saudis will be allowed to buy firearms openly

It’s clear that there is a strong correlation between gun manufacture, and distribution and gun related deaths. However that said, soon Saudis will be able to buy handguns and other personal firearms openly for the first time, changing the law to that of license privately owned gun shops (which isn’t any better, but was highly regulated). The law change will allow anyone over the age of 25 with a clean criminal record and a bank guarantee of $135, 000 USD (why do they seem to think people with more money have more common sense?) can apply to open a gun store (as if this will discourage militant recruiters!).
Some have argued that this is aimed at curbing access to the widespread illegal ownership of handguns and assault weapons. Hunting and sport shooting weapons are currently sold in specialty stores and all weapons have to be licensed. The conditions for carrying firearms include a fresh antecedents certificate and a copy of the civil status card accompanied by three photos (Fantastic!).

Today in Saudi, there is currently no statistics on how many guns exist in private hands in the Kingdom, and one reason is that some Saudi argue that need handguns to defend themselves. However, everyone knows that civilians with guns do more harm than good. Lets face it, criminals are always going to get the first shot anyway.

So what I propose is a call for a total nationwide ban on handguns! We need to move forward people, not back! Shocking news Saudi! So I ask, Won’t it be better to make guns illegal in Saudi Arabia?

Devils Advocate note: No. I don’t believe it would be better to make guns illegal because it just makes it harder for the honest people to defend themselves. Illegal or not, criminals get guns no matter what the laws are.