Archive | November, 2008

Mo Ibrahim on Afro-optimism

29 Nov

“Africa was perceived, it still is to some extent, as a place which is very difficult to do business in. I don’t share that view. Africa has 53 countries. And you find that three or four countries in these 53 are dominating the news.

There is, I think, a problem with image for Africa. Whenever there is a problem with image, whenever there is a gap between reality and perception, there is a good business there. I’m an African. If I don’t do it, who else will do it?” Continue reading

More Hilarity from Arab Leaders

28 Nov

This time, its the Libyan leader Muammar Al-Gaddafi. Whenever Gaddafi speaks, I usually prepare myself for the absurdity that will surely ensue. Most of the time, I can’t tell if he’s purposely being ridiculous and secretly testing how many idiots will agree with him, or he’s just outright inane. This ’07 video however is proof that he’s got a great sense of humor, because I am sure he’s not serious.

All hail the Queen

28 Nov

Who ever said monarchies were no fun, obviously did not watch this video by Queen Rania on youtube:

I Jinxed India!

27 Nov

I have a confession: through a convoluted turn of events, I might have something to do with the recent Indian terrorist attacks! (Dear FBI: my middle name is “kidding,” please disregard the confession on this blog, you have more important things to do anyway.)

Well, I’ll tell you what happened, and you be the judge of my connection, either way, I do believe it to be incredibly ironic. So this morning, as I was getting ready to head out to work, I was thinking: “why do most people mistake me for an Indian?” When I was first told I looked Indian, I was surprised to be honest. I did not think I looked Indian at all. Even though I still hold that view, I do see where people are coming from. In the States, I get asked if I am Indian 90% of the time, a lot of the time by Indians. The other 10%, I have been mistaken for Dominican, Brazilian, Polynesian, and the really sharp self-described “worldly” ones just point out that I am probably North African. So I said to myself: Self, you know it is actually better to be mistaken for an Indian, because then all the subsequent conversations will revolve around people’s proclamation of their love for Chutney, questions about Cricket, or if it gets really intense, they will want to discuss their friend Sanji’s arranged marriage, and inquire about whether or not my family is forcing me to marry “that Indian doctor.”

This I thought, was a lot easier than saying that I am Sudanese and getting either one of two looks: The “Aww I’m sorry” look, which usually comes from people who are generally sorry anyone has to be from Africa, or the Arab world (or lo and behold, an Arab country in Africa!) They then take liberty in divulging their views on the Darfur “genocide,” terrorism, that Arab restaurant they tried the other day, and how they would have never guessed I am Sudanese, because I look Indian. The other look comes from people who take it upon themselves to hate anyone who is not a disenfranchised African. Its more of the “you have no right to have that Gucci bag and enjoy life, while your people kill Darfurian babies, you Arab Sudanese murderer, you” look. That look I generally ignore, because it usually comes from the “omg, Africa is not a country?” crowd.

Anyway, I kept thinking about this while driving to work, and decided that from now on, if someone decides I am Indian, then so be it, because I am sick of discussing the politics of my country and neighboring train wrecks. I decided that some days, it’s just easier to discuss the deliciousness that is Masala and why I worship cows. That’s until, two hours later, India was all over the news for terrorism. Damn. No more “are you going to wear that red dot on your forehead” conversations. I am afraid I jinxed India!

Mexico on Darfur

25 Nov

This is an interesting article by the Sudan Tribune titled: Unfortunate Mexican statement on ICC move against Sudanese President.

Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art

22 Nov

I love Qatar for many reasons and have great respect for its people, culture, and leaders. I also love the Doha Debates, Qatar Foundation, Shafallah Center, Qatar Open, and most importantly, Qatar’s commendable foreign policy. There is yet another reason I can add to my “Why I love Qatar” list, which is: The Museum of Islamic Art. The museum houses the world’s largest Islamic art collection, at over one thousand artifacts. Check out Aljazeera’s coverage of the museum’s unveiling ceremony, which was attended by one thousand dignitaries from around the world. Fantastic!

Side note: I wonder how much money it took to ‘lure‘ renowned architect I.M. Pei out of retirement.

What Does Angelina Jolie Have in Common With Arab Leaders?

21 Nov

Well, other than the fact that they have all been blessed with incredible beauty, turns out she’s also a fan of censoring any criticism of her image. According to the New York Times, Jolie has been orchestrating her public image for years, successfully constructing a facade of sainthood. Many moons ago, Jolie was known for looks ,wild ways, infatuation with blood and sharp objects, and her über sexual persona—she is bisexual. She is also the woman who stole Brad Pitt from Jennifer Aniston (how dare she do that to Rachel!) However, instead of being known as a husband snatcher, she is constantly praised for her international mini-army and her humane efforts worldwide. So how did she transform her public image?

The article states that when Pitt and Jolie “negotiated with People and other celebrity magazines this summer for photos of their newborn twins and an interview, the stars were seeking more than the estimated $14 million they received from the deal. They also wanted a hefty slice of journalistic input — a promise that the winning magazine’s coverage would be positive, not merely in that instance but into the future.”

The article goes on to describe Jolie’s restrictions on what is to be reported about her: “According to the deal offered by Ms. Jolie, the winning magazine was obliged to offer coverage that would not reflect negatively on her or her family.”

Smells like Arab leaders.

Disclaimer: The aforementioned “analysis” has no intellectual merit whatsoever.