More thoughts on the Arab-Israeli Conflict

I have initially wrote when I was applying to universities as a response to one of the questions. I recently went through it and felt it was relevant to share here. Once the actual website is complete, I’ll probably have a copy of this in my ‘writings’ section. For now, here is it:

The Arab-Israeli conflict is a regional issue that has plagued over sixty years of Middle East history; nearly a hundred thousand on both sides died of direct military clashes, more died as a result of occupation and living conditions, hundreds of thousands have been injured, and millions have been deprived of their most basic rights due to this conflict. Living conditions have been deteriorating so rapidly that light and running water have become luxuries.

As an Arab Middle Easterner, it is very easy to get carried away amidst such conflict, to get carried in the current of hate, bigotry, and intolerance. How can I not take sides? How can I – when the status quo has bred such pain and agony to my people?

To be honest, I must take sides, and I do. But what I must not do is lose perspective.

When millions are suffering on both sides, it is my human compassion that wakes me up to remind me that human anguish and distress on either side is unacceptable; this is the perspective that I strive to maintain: no matter how strong my political dedication to one side is, it should never reward, justify, or even belittle the ugliness of human pain on either side of the conflict.

The problem we are currently faced with is that most people have lost that perspective; most people have lost respect to, or even acknowledgement of, the other side’s humanity. Sadly, the sixty years of conflict shaped a generation unwilling to compromise.

Continue reading “More thoughts on the Arab-Israeli Conflict”

Yazan Al Rousan in Autostrad

imageRising Jordanian singer Yazan al Rousan along with a few others have recently launched a new project: a band called Autostrad that aims to somehow ‘revolutionize’ current-day Arab music by incorporating various elements of Rock, Jazz, and even a hint of electronic music in the predominantly “mono-styled” Arab music world.

While I’m a fan of conventional Arab music, I think we should see some more variety in there. I mean, when looking at English (English language) music, we’d see classical, gospel, rock, jazz, blues, rap, hip-hop, etc. but for Arab music there’s just a single genre. Granted, it has some innovative variation within the “Arab genre”, I have not seen any notable Arab musician that represents an actual departure from that Arab genre.

Anyways, with Yazan al Rousan and the newly-formed Autostrad, I think we’ll have a chance to see some of that.

The album is unconventional to say the least, and probably ‘weird to hear’ for many. It’ll confuse you at times and shock you at others, but listen to the whole thing with an open mind and ear, and you’ll be impressed.

Refreshing is all I can say.

Here is some relevant information:

And here’s the track list (along with a short commentary):

  1. Safer (سافر), probably my favorite song in the album. Adopting a highly melodious and enjoyable rhythm, and sung with a traditional bedoin accent, Safer succeeds in portraying a melancholic voice and perhaps imposing a similar mood on the listener.
  2. Mirsal (مرسال), This is a remake of a song of the same name. While I still must say I prefer the original, this again is an excellent track.
  3. Kil Shi Jutabel (كل شي جوتابل) is a typical example of the band’s “interesting” music style. Nothing exceptional in the song as a musical composition, but why did I find myself listening to it 4 times in a row trying to extract some meaning out of it? Such hard-to-understand yet seemingly enlightening lyrics style seems to spread across the album.
  4. Fikrak (فكرك)
  5. Asmar (أسمر)
  6. Habseh w Lamseh (حبسة ولمسة) perhaps one of the most energetic and enjoyable songs by Autostrad. Excuse the ‘references’ throughout the song though!
  7. Kanabaye (كنباي), an indeed humorous song recorded live to capture the response of the audience (who, at times, laughed their a**es off). Seemingly nonsensical and comic, I’m told the song has some meaning… I’m yet to find any though!
  8. Mafi Ishi Nsawi (مافي إشي نساوي)
  9. Alf Tahiyyeh (ألف تحية), the only thing I can say for this song is that it’s heart warming!
  10. Ya Salam (يا سلام), Yazan al Rousan (and now Autostrad)’s perhaps more popular song. Very active, high spirited, and unusually happy, the song presents the idea that one must live his/her life regardless of whatever else they might face. I like.

If you’re a Jordanian, you can go grab the Album. Some information should appear on the Facebook page linked above.

For others, you can check samples from their debut album as well as other songs on that very same facebook page.

And for anyone who doesn’t believe in Facebook… there you go <_< .

Conflict in Gaza

As if an anti-humanitarian siege wasn’t enough, our peaceful neighbors have done it again, this time with a full-fledged war against the (people?) of the Gaza strip.

Israel – as any sovereign entity – has the right to exist, granted. Israel – as any other nation – has the right to defend itself, again: granted. But these two statements cannot justify an entire military operation with the magnitude of what is going on now, because they are irrelevant.

Is Hamas’s decision to fire al-Qassam rockets at southern Israel wrong? Sure it is. Does Israel have the right to defend itself from ‘attacks’? Yes it does. But: how can THIS be seen as a self-defense act?

From the ‘hundreds’ of Qassam rockets fired at Israel, only 3 Israeli civilians died. My deepest condolences to their families, really. But how can the death of 3 prompt a massacre being launched against Gaza? How can the death of 3 citizens justify the death of 915 from Gaza? Why is Palestinian blood being considered that cheap? Its normal for a government to value the lives of its citizens, but when 3 civilian lives are valued more than nine-hundred-something (and still rising) lives on the other side, something is unjust.

Israel isn’t attacking Hamas, its attacking the people of Gaza. Maybe it doesn’t mean to attack them – but the bottom line is: the people of Gaza are the ones suffering, so what is the point really?

Israel is breaking the Fourth Geneva Convention, which it ratified, because its military actions and hostilities are collective measures that fail to distinguish between civilians and militias (the “hostile entities”).

The head of the UNRWA in Gaza made an emotional televised appeal yesterday, I recommend you search for it.

And here’s a nice statistic: for every Israeli that dies (that is, including members of the Army), 71 Palestinians are killed by the Israeli forces in the Gaza conflict. When taking the entire Arab-Israeli conflict into consideration, Ehud Olmert states that – in 2008 – for every Israeli killed by Palestinians, 25 Palestinians were killed by Israel. TAKE THAT, Human Rights!

So who am I really?

Before I can start blogging heavily (which I plan to), I think I need to talk a bit about myself, to sort-of formally introduce myself to everyone.

My name is Eyas Sharaiha and I’m a Jordanian Year 12 IB student, software and web developer, online magazine editor, and tech enthusiast. I’m interested in technology, software development, politics (especially affairs of the region), physics, standup comedy, and music.

During the past several years or so, I’ve had a wide range of intended careers and perceived futures, ranging between a lawyer, educator, inventor, king, physicist, president (yes I can), and finally the most recent: Computer Engineer!

2008 was my nerve-wrecking college application year, and 2009 is my even-more-nerve-wrecking college decisions year.. so, I might have chosen a rather critical time to start (actively) blogging, but I believe this will make things more interesting 🙂 .

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be going into most of my interests, in an effort to introduce myself in a more complete manner and share my opinions on some recent events.

Adieu for now, you’ll be seeing me soon!

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