Welcome to Space

The Space has always been my greatest fascination. The endless dimension where you can let your soul float and your mind wonder about this great secret. This site is for my personal general interests and not limited to Space. The name is a tribute to the wonders of Space. Izzat Sajdi

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Picture with a Soul

I have ran across a number of exceptional pictures. Each deserve to be called: A Picture with a Soul. Here are two examples.

Sergei Bongart (1918-1985) - The Art of contrast

Sergei Bongart is one of the very talented and famous artists. A Russian/American painter 1918-1985.
Communicating on his successful technique, he wrote:
You have to put the right spot of color in the right place! And, the best exercise for training the eye was to exaggerate or overstate the color and then work from there, always comparing the relationships of one color to another, one value to another;how light or dark, how warm or how cool.
Sergei emphasized: More contrast. More contrast. To create, you must think: cool, warm, related co-lor, reflected co-lor, dark, light, thick, thin, dissimilar spaces, opposite contrasting movements—like in music, fast, slow, soft, loud; but all must relate to create symphony both on canvas or in music hall. Every painting needs active and quiet areas and feeling of poetry and drama. If painting gray day, make it gray. Use gray and silver. If painting sunny day, use oranges, red, yellows, greens—make it happy. Every element of painting must tie together, must have unity, must express mood.

Before you begin, ask yourself what should be seen first within your painting, and what you want to say about it. Areas of greatest contrast will attract the most attention. This is your first reading. A strong composition usually facilitates three good readings.

Understand the basis of composing a picture in color. No color should be viewed in isolation, but rather in constant relation to what is around it. A color is what it appears to be only because of its relationship to the surrounding colors. Nothing exists in isolation. Each previous color choice must be re-evaluated as a new color is placed along side of it. If you change one color, you have in effect changed them all.

When we paint, we really aren't copying the colors of nature, we are painting the color relationships. We don't have the color palette that nature has, so we must give the illusion of truth through the relationships of the colors we choose.

As in chess, try to think several moves ahead, painting the color relationships that are deemed integral to the picture. Always make the next most important move. Don't paint in nose highlights, for instance, before you have established the background colors.

It is vital at the start of a painting to cover the white of the canvas with chosen silhouettes of color. Do this as soon as possible. A white canvas masks the truth of the color relationships. Toning the canvas can help eliminate the glare of white, but does nothing to establish the true harmonies between each color.

Work around the canvas two or three times or more before moving to any detail. It is entirely possible, and often advisable, to spend 90% of your time merely adjusting the big, simple shapes before ever moving to the rendering. Once this is satisfactory, the chosen style or technique can be completed with confidence, up to and including ultra-tight realism.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The talent of Kathryn Stats

Kathryn Stats is one of the gifted painters whose work I find worthy of being rated at World Class level.

On Christmas night in Palestine

This is the best Christmas card I have seen so far. It is very expressive of the racist and immoral wall built by Israel. While the whole world is dismantling borders and barriers, Israel has built a wall that has trapped the Paletinians in a big prison. It is an apartheid wall that must be dismantled. For more information on the wall, link to Youtube and search for "Wall of Hate".

Saturday, December 22, 2007

10 minutes drawing techniques

These episodes by Moat DD are very well prepared, easy to follow and a nice way to learn art techniques. See them on my Video bar.

Candy Apple by Duane Keiser.

Outstanding educational and enjoyable art work by Duane Keiser.

Sunflower by Duane Keiser

Brillient educational and enjoyable art work by Duane Keiser.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Fountain Pen - Writing from the heart

"My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of coarse. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane". Graham Greene.

Writing with a Fountain Pen is superior to writing with any other types of pen. I find it most enjoyable. When I strike the combination of a good Fountain Pen and good Paper, the writing quality would be at its best and I achieve a satisfying pleasure. This is an experience and joy only felt by the Fountain Pen passionates.

My preference is still a Diplomat Medium size 7. Unfortunately Diplomat are not producing this classic type any more.

Amman in a picture

Congratulations for Aziz Sajdi for getting the second prize for the photographic contest entitled: Amman in a picture.

Second place out of 275 is quite an achievement. Well done Aziz.


A photo from Kennedy Caddesi. In addition to the most beautiful architecture and historical buildings, Istanbul has magnificent natural scenes making it one of my favourite cities. Kennedy Caddesi is a long Corniche road. This particular photo is taken from a spot at the tip of the Old town 1 Km before turning into the entrances of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Shot angle is towards the Sea of Marmara. Istanbul ..... what a beautiful city.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Source of the Nile at Jinja

This is one the unique places which I was pleased to visit. It is station 0+00 of the start of the Nile from Lake Victoria in Uganda. The start is fixed as an iron bench mark insertd into the concrete block seen in the right hand side photo.

The water begins to flow from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea. It takes water 3 months to complete this journey of 6400 Km.

The falls that John Speke saw in 1862, naming them the “Rippon Falls” after the President of the Royal Geographic Society in London, submerged in 1947 on the construction of the Giant Owen Falls Dam. The dam was completed in 1954, harnesses the head long rush of water from the lake to produce hydro electric power of Uganda.

“Omugga Kiyira” is the local name for River Nile.

On the western bank of the river is an obelisk marking the spot where Speke stood for hours when he saw the source of the River Nile, making it known to the outside world.

Why did'nt I think of that?

CUP & COOKIES Smart cup in which you can put 2-3 of your favourite cookies. You don't need extra plates. It's made for right handed and left handed.

TOILET SEAT LIFTER 'Who left the Toilet Seat up?' The PeaceMaker will end the battle of the toilet seat. Merely step on the pedal to activate the lifting mechanism. When finished, remove your foot from the pedal and the seat gently comes to a rest where it started.
LASER SCISSORS Laser ScissorsCutting a straight line has never been easier. Just aim the pin-point laser and follow the line. The scissor blades are stainless steel and cut very clean with a micro serrated edge.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Golden Mountains - South Africa

Minutes before sunset, the sun rays strike a series of montains in the Orange Free State in South Africa. The mountains turn golden in one of the most fascinating views I have ever seen.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I have taken this picture in Maseru on one early morning.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Maldives

I have been very fortunate to visit the Maldives a number of times for business. The country of the white sand and turquoise waters. The people of the Maldives are very friendly and peacefull. The language is Dhivehi. It is one of the countries mentioned by Ibn Battuta during his travels.

Ibn Battuta described in his book how the people of the Maldives converted to Islam. This story is engraved on a 3 meters wooden block that is kept now in the National Museum.

The three-storied museum is located in the Sultan Park in Malé, which is part of the site of the Maldivian Royal Palace compound dating back to the 17th century. The two-storey Us-gēkolhu is also the only remaining structure of the palace demolished in 1968.

The interior of the museum has been retained from the days of the Sultanate, including the handwritten Qur'an engraved on the walls of the building.

When in Male, ask :"Maaf kurey ... Dhaarul Aasaarah dhaa magu bunedhee bala?". You will find the Maldivian pleased to give you the information politely. Shukriyyaa with a smile must be your acknowledgment.

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta (Arabic: أبو عبد الله محمد ابن بطوطة) (born February 24, 1304; year of death uncertain, possibly 1368 or 1377) was an Islamic scholar and at times a Qadi or judge. However, he is best known as a traveler and explorer, whose account documents his travels and excursions over a period of almost thirty years, covering some 117,000 km. These journeys covered almost the entirety of the known Islamic world and beyond, extending from West Africa, North Africa, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the west, to Pakistan, India, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and China in the east, a distance readily surpassing that of his predecessors and his near-contemporary Marco Polo.

At the instigation of the Sultan of Morocco, Abu Inan Faris, several years after his return, Ibn Battuta dictated an account of his journeys to a scholar named Ibn Juzayy, whom he had met while in Granada. This account, recorded by Ibn Juzayy and interspersed with the latter's own comments, is the primary source of information for his adventures. The title of this initial manuscript may be translated as A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling, but is often simply referred to as the Rihla, or "Journey". Whilst apparently fictional in places, the Rihla still gives as complete an account as exists of some parts of the world in the 14th century.

Ibn Battuta described the wooden block which you can see in the photo. A clear evidance that he has been to the Maldives defying a German Professor who claimed that Ibn Battuta's travels are his own fantasy.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Jerusalem by Tamim Barghouthi

Brilliant poem and superb recital.

See my YouTube selection for Tamim's poems.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Baobab tree - Tanzania

Adansonia digitata, or Baobab tree, was named in honour of Michel Adanson, the naturalist who first saw it in Senegal, Africa about 1750.

The Baobab tree is a strange looking tree that grows in low-lying areas in Africa and Australia. It can grow to enormous sizes and carbon dating indicates that they may live to be 3,000 years old. One ancient hollow Baobab tree in Zimbabwe is so large that up to 40 people can shelter inside its trunk. Various Baobabs have been used as a shop, a prison, a house, a storage barn and a bus shelter.
When bare of leaves, the spreading branches of the Baobab look like roots sticking up into the air, rather as if it had been planted upside-down. The African bushman has a legend that tells of the god Thora. He took a dislike to the Baobab growing in his garden, so he threw it out over the wall of Paradise on to Earth below, and although the tree landed upside-down it continued to grow. The tree is certainly very different from any other. The trunk is smooth and shiny, not at all like the bark of other trees, and it is pinkish grey or sometimes copper coloured.

The Baobab tree has large whitish flowers which open at night. The fruit, which grows up to a foot long, contains tartaric acid and vitamin C and can either be sucked, or soaked in water to make a refreshing drink. They can also be roasted and ground up to make a coffee-like drink. The fruit is not the only part of the Baobab that can be used. The bark is pounded to make rope, mats, baskets, paper and cloth; the leaves can be boiled and eaten, and glue can be made from the pollen.

It is not surprising that such a strange looking tree should have superstitions linked to it. Some people believe that if you pick a flower from a Baobab tree you will be eaten by a lion, but if you drink water in which a Baobab's seeds have been soaked you will be safe from crocodile attack.
Baobabs are very difficult to kill, they can be burnt, or stripped of their bark, and they will just form new bark and carry on growing. When they do die, they simply rot from the inside and suddenly collapse, leaving a heap of fibres, which makes many people think that they don't die at all, but simply disappear.

An old Baobab tree can create its own ecosystem, as it supports the life of countless creatures, from the largest of mammals to the thousands of tiny creatures scurrying in and out of its crevices. Birds nest in its branches; baboons devour the fruit; bush babies and fruit bats drink the nectar and pollinate the flowers, and elephants have been known to chop down and consume a whole tree.

A Baby Baobab tree looks very different from its adult form and this is why the Bushmen believe that it doesn't grow like other trees, but suddenly crashes to the ground with a thump, fully grown, and then one day simply disappears. No wonder they are thought of as magic trees.
Baobabs, grown from seed, are a popular choice for cultivation as bonsai plants.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Water - Middle East and North Africa

Within the next twenty years, it is estimated that the Middle
East and North Africa (MENA) region will become so
dependant on desalination technology for sustainable
water supply, that a minimum of fifty thousand additional
technical experts of various professional levels would be
needed to service the desalination industry. At current, regional
education programs concerning desalination are limited
to private sector initiatives seeking to meet national
employment quotas and a few regional universities conducting
individual research projects and a few specialized
courses. These initiatives alone will not meet the estimated
future needs. A more coordinated training approach is necessary
which includes participation from multiple institutes
and organizations.

A parallel approach is to conserve more irrigation water and
control the croping patterns with strict measures on the
use of Irrigation trends. In Jordan, irrigation water consume
70% of the water while Agriculture contributes 8% to the economy.
Jordan is one of the 10 water poorest countries in the World.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Denizli - Turkey

Denizli is the center of the textile industry in Turkey. The city of the Rooster and the famous source of Buldan Bizie. Once in Denizli, you must pay a visit to Pumakkala. A stronghold of the AK Party.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Arab Universities .... What a disgrace!

The Academic ranking of the top 500 World Universities for 2007 is published. Only one Arab University found a place within the top 500 World Universities. What a disgrace!

The University of Cairo was ranked 428. Is that it? One University at 428?

This is a serious evidance of the Quality of education in the Arab World. Not all Arab countries are rich, but how could'nt the rich government resources of some countries and the very high fees assist in creating a proper high quality education?

For the complete report, lists and criteria of selection, go to http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/rank/2007/ranking2007.htm

It is needless to say that our future is highly dependent on very good educational system. That is if we wish to be in the forefront with other countries. Unless a serious attempt is made to improve on the criteria mentioned, improve the poor curriculum and substantialy increase the shockingly low Research and Development budgets, Arab Universities would remain lowest in these lists.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Aya Gallery

Communicating visually, spiritually and peacefully through the profound and universal language of Art.

Distinctively London's newest and only venue dedicated to exhibiting and promoting contemporary art predominently from Iraq, but also from the Islamic world at large. In addition to curating and hosting exhibitions, ayagallery provides a wide range of art-related services including art consultancy, graphic design, framing and art restoration.

Visit Ayagallery site: http://ayagallery.co.uk/

Artist Maysaloun Faraj is owner. Maysaloun has done a magnificent project called "Strokes of Genius: Contemporary Iraqi Art".

Friday, July 20, 2007

Pew Global Attitudes Project Survey

Global Unease With Major World Powers

Rising Environmental Concern in 47-Nation Survey


A 47-nation survey finds global public opinion increasingly wary of the world's dominant nations and disapproving of their leaders. Anti-Americanism is extensive, as it has been for the past five years. At the same time, the image of China has slipped significantly among the publics of other major nations. Opinion about Russia is mixed, but confidence in its president, Vladimir Putin, has declined sharply. In fact, the Russian leader's negatives have soared to the point that they mirror the nearly worldwide lack of confidence in George W. Bush.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tony Blair ... Any chance for success?

Arabs doubted former British Prime Minister Tony Blair could succeed as Middle East peace envoy because of his unpopularity and because he is too close to Israel and the United States.

Blair had little credibility in the Middle East because he took part in the invasion of Iraq, opposed a ceasefire in Lebanon last year and failed to follow up on many promises to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Quartet - the US, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - appointed Blair on Wednesday, the day he stepped down after 10 years as British prime minister.

The choice of Blair was seen in the Middle East as a present from US President George W Bush for his years of support for Bush's policies in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Even Blair has no confidence from his own people. He was forced to resignation as the British people got fed up from his Americanised behaviour and his countless lies to the British public.

Blair .. No one believes you now except G W Bush and the Israelis. How can you take an unbiased role with these facts? You better retire early and fake your memoires just like your faked evidences of Weapons of Mass Destruction to invade Iraq.

And the "cash-for-honours" allegations? ... say no more.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Wanted ... Computer Engineers


A part of Illyria in ancient times and later of the Roman Empire, Albania was ruled by the Byzantine Empire from 535 to 1204. An alliance (1444–1466) of Albanian chiefs failed to halt the advance of the Ottoman Turks, and the country remained under at least nominal Turkish rule for more than four centuries, until it proclaimed its independence on Nov. 28, 1912.

Largely agricultural, Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe. A battlefield in World War I, after the war it became a republic in which a conservative Muslim landlord, Ahmed Zogu, proclaimed himself president in 1925 and king (Zog I) in 1928. He ruled until Italy annexed Albania in 1939. Communist guerrillas under Enver Hoxha seized power in 1944, near the end of World War II. Hoxha was a devotee of Stalin, emulating the Soviet leader's repressive tactics, imprisoning or executing landowners and others who did not conform to the socialist ideal. Hoxha eventually broke with Soviet communism in 1961 because of differences with Khrushchev and then aligned himself with Chinese communism, which he also abandoned in 1978 after the death of Mao. From then on Albania went its own way to forge its individual version of the socialist state and became one of the most isolated—and economically underdeveloped—countries in the world. Hoxha was succeeded by Ramiz Alia in 1982.

Elections in March 1991 gave the Communists a decisive majority. But a general strike and street demonstrations soon forced the all-Communist cabinet to resign. In June 1991 the Communist Party of Labor renamed itself the Socialist Party and renounced its past ideology. The opposition Democratic Party won a landslide victory in the 1992 elections, and Sali Berisha, a former cardiologist, became Albania's first elected president. The following year, ex-Communists, including Ramiz Alia and former prime minister Fatos Nano, were imprisoned on corruption charges.

But Albania's experiment with democratic reform and a free-market economy went disastrously awry in March 1997, when large numbers of its citizens invested in shady get-rich-quick pyramid schemes. When five of these schemes collapsed in the beginning of the year, robbing Albanians of an estimated $1.2 billion in savings, Albanians' rage turned against the government, which appeared to have sanctioned the nationwide swindle. Rioting broke out, the country's fragile infrastructure collapsed, and gangsters and rebels overran the country, plunging it into virtual anarchy. A multinational protection force eventually restored order and set up the elections that formally ousted President Sali Berisha.

In spring 1999, Albania was heavily involved in the affairs of its fellow ethnic Albanians to the north, in Kosovo. Albania served as an outpost for NATO troops and took in approximately 440,000 Kosovar refugees, about half the total number of ethnic Albanians who were driven from their homes in Kosovo.

Ilir Meta, elected prime minister in 1999, rapidly moved forward in his first years to modernize the economy, privatize business, fight crime, and reform the judiciary and tax systems. He resigned in Jan. 2002, frustrated by political infighting. In June 2002, former general Alfred Moisiu was elected president, endorsed by both the Socialists (headed by Fatos Nano) and the Democrats (led by Sali Berisha) in an effort to end the unproductive political fractiousness that has stalemated the government. The political duel between Nano and Berisha continued, however, and little improvement was evident in the standard of living for Albanians. In 2005 elections, Berisha replaced Nano as prime minister.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


When I was in Grade 10, we asked our English teacher, Mr. George Khoury, about the longest word in the English language. He said :" Antidisestablishmentarianism".

Mr. Koury also taught us European History. He was an excellent teacher. Since then, I used to check the dictionaries for this word but with no success. I doubted that I may have the wrong spelling. However, and to my pleasure, I found the word listed in Wikipedia. My spelling was correct. Here is the definition from Wikipedia:

Antidisestablishmentarianism originated in the context of the nineteenth century Church of England, where "antidisestablishmentarians" were opposed to proposals to remove the Church's status as the state church of England. The movement succeeded in England, but failed in Ireland and Wales, with the Church of Ireland being disestablished in 1871 and the Church of Wales in 1920. Antidisestablishmentarian members of the Free Church of Scotland delayed merger with the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland in a dispute about the position of the Church of Scotland.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Blue Mosque - Istanbul

The results of the new seven wonders of the world will be announced on 7/7/07. Hagia Sofia is nominated from Turkey. From Turkey, my personal choice would be the Blue Mosque.

The Blue Mosque was founded by Sultan Ahmet I. He ordered Architect Mehmed Aga to begin constuction in 1609 and the whole complex was completed in 1616. He made the mosque splendid by the perfect proportion of domes and semidomes as well as the splendid minarets.

Upon the entrance to the mosque, one should pay attention to the gate. The gate is a typical Seljuk- Turkish wooden work with a geometrical design in its center. The star symbolizes the Turkish Generation and very typical of early 11-12th C Turkish Art. After the gate, one meets the breathtaking interior of the mosque with its chandelliers and blue tiles. The mosque is all surrounded by beautiful 17C Iznik tiles which give its name to the Blue Mosque. It is all carpeted with prayer rugs because people must put their forehead on the floor and therefore the floor should be soft and clean.

The Blue Mosque is the only mosque with 6 minerates. The blue mosque is a magnificent piece of exceptional art and architecture.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


On 15 May 1948, 78% of the historical Palestine was occupied by the Zionist Jewish movemont. Palestinians were forced to exile.

On 5 June 1967, the remainder 22% (what is known as the West bank and Gaza). More Palestinians were forced out of their homes.

Here is a brief account of events of the Palestine occupation:


The Jewish invasion of Palestine began in 1881. Before the first large wave of immigrants started arriving, Palestine had a population of half a million; most of the population was either Moslem or Christine, and only 20,000 were Jewish. Every segment of the population enjoyed the religious tolerance characteristic of our civilisation.

Between 1882 and 1917 the Zionist movement settled about 50,000 European Jews in our homeland. In 1917 it succeeded in getting Britain to issue the Balfour Declaration, promising the Jews a national homeland of their own in Palestine.

In the wake of the Balfour declaration and over 30 years, the Zionist movement succeeded in settling more European Jews on the land, thus confiscating the properties of Palestinian Arabs.

By 1947 the number of Jews have increased but constituted only one third of the population; they owned 6% of Palestinian arable land.

Following the Second World War and the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews, the United Nations, influenced again by the major powers and in sympathy to the Jews, issued a partition resolution granting the colonialist settlers 54% of the land of Palestine. Their dissatisfaction with the decision prompted them to wage a war of terror against the civilian Arab population. They occupied 81% of the total area of Palestine, uprooting a million Arabs (both Moslems and Christians). Thus, they occupied 524 Arab towns and villages of which they destroyed 385, completely obliterating them in the process. This instilled fear into the minds of many Palestinians, forcing them to flee Palestine. Having done so, they built their own settlements and colonies on the ruins of our farms and our groves.

The roots of the Palestine question lie here. Its causes do not stem from any conflict between two religious or two nationalisms. Neither is it a border conflict between neighbouring states. It is the cause of people deprived of its homeland, dispersed and living mostly in exile and in refugee camps.

Declaration of Israel 1948

The Zionist movement managed to get itself accepted as a United Nations member. It further succeeded in getting the Palestine Question out of the agenda of the United Nations and in deceiving world public opinion by presenting our case as a problem of refugees in need either of charity from do-gooders or settlement in a land not theirs.

The 1956 and 1967 Wars

The racist state launched a war against Egypt in 1956. In 1967, Israel launched another war occupying Egyptian Sinai as far as the Suez Canal, and Syria’s Golan Heights in addition to the remaining lands of Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza). More Palestinians are kicked out of their homes and more settlements are built for Israelis.

All these developments have led to the creation in our area of what has come to be known as the ‘Middle East Problem’.

A Jew who was born in New York and all his ancestors are Americans has the right to go to Palestine and live there. While a Palestinian who was born in Palestine with ancestors going back to hundred of years is not allowed to return to Palestine even for a visit. Does any law permit this to happen? Is there any justice in such a discriminating case?

Judaism vs. Zionism

We do distinguish between Judaism and Zionism. While we maintain our opposition to the colonialist Zionist movement, we respect the Jewish faith. The Zionist movement continues to be a threat to the Jews themselves. They discriminately rank Western Jews as first class citizen, Oriental Jews as second class citizens, African Jews as third class citizens and Palestinians as no citizens at all doing all possible efforts to get rid of all of them and declare a pure Jewish state in Palestine. If you are not convinced, think for a moment what the flag of Israel means; two blue lines with the star of David in between. The two blue lines mean the Rivers of the Nile and the Euphrates.

The present situation

There are 6 million Palestinians living in exile and 2.5 million living in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel has gone as far as to literally torture Palestinians by confiscating their water, poisoning their livestock, destroying electrical power plants, and roads. Towns and villages are cut off by roadblocks and check points. People cannot go to prayer, let alone work, to provide their families with an income that can keep them alive. Many in Gaza, one of the most densely populated regions in the world, are living in total darkness due to the recent destruction of their only electrical power plant. 80% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are under the poverty line. 10,000 are in prison. Over the years, the Palestinians have tried to raise their suffering to the Security Council. Without failing a single time, any resolution to condemn Israel was blocked by a Veto by the USA. Encouraged with this support, Israel further suffocates the Palestinians of the West Bank with a hope that such a miserable life will force them to leave Palestine.


The construction of the Israeli separation wall began on the 16th June 2002. It is built inside the West Bank capturing 40% of its area. For the most part the barrier, which could eventually extend over 750 km, consists of a series of 8 meters high concrete walls, trenches, barbed wire and electrified fencing with numerous watch towers, electronic sensors, thermal imaging and video cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles, sniper towers, and roads for patrol vehicles.Israel maintains that the Wall is a temporary structure to physically separate the West Bank from Israel and thus to prevent suicide attacks on Israeli citizens
While the Israeli public continues to believe that the wall is a security project, reality on the ground is quite different.

The myth of security: 'The wall will prevent suicide attacks.'
Reality: history shows that a country can never achieve security or peace by enclosing an entire people behind a wall. The imprisonment of a desperate people is a certain recipe for violence and hatred. But security is not the aim of Israel, if that were the case the wall would not have been built deep inside Palestinian territories.
No one would spend 2 billion dollars on 'temporary security measures'
'The path of the wall was planned for political and not security reasons.'

The wall will not separate Israelis from Palestinians but Palestinians from their land! Security will be achieved if the Palestinians are given a viable state with their rights recognised.

(Extracts from Jude Sajdi).

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Alitalia .....

They say that if you travel on Burundi airlines, you will almost always hear the Captain announcing :" Ladies and gentlemen... We have just landed near the runway".

On my recent travel on Alitalia, I approached the counter at Malpensa airport (Milan). The Alitalia staff greeted me with a refreshing reassuring smile and announced :" Ladies and gentlemen ..... I am pleased to announce that we are on strike .... therefore, the flight is cancelled".

What a sudden shock.

Now this is the lesson I have learnt. If Alitalia staff are not working, it is because they are on strike. If the Alitalia staff are working, then they will be on strike very soon.

What does Aliatalia stands for: "Always late in travel, always late in arrival". Poor service with distinction.

Cashew nuts

No wonder they are expensive. Each fruit holds one cashew nut. To buy 1 Kg of cashew nut, you need a lot of these fruits.
The Cashew . The plant is native to northeastern Brazil, where it is called by its Portuguese name Caju (the fruit) or Cajueiro (the tree). It is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew "nuts" and cashew apples.

What appears to be the fruit of the cashew tree is an oval or pear-shaped accessory fruit or false fruit that develops from the receptacle of the cashew flower. Called the cashew apple, better known in Central America as "marañón", it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure about 5–11 cm long.

The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe that grows at the end of the pseudofruit. Actually, the drupe develops first on the tree, and then the peduncle expands into the pseudofruit. Within the true fruit is a single seed, the cashew nut. Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the fruit of the cashew is a seed. However, the true fruit is classified as a nut by some botanists.
This picture is taken in Gambia.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Goree Island - Senegal

Goree Island is 20 minutes away by ferry from Dakar, the capital of Senegal. It was used as the center for collecting the slaves for shipment to Europe and America for more than 400 years. Over 20 million slaves were caught and shipped. In harsh and inhumane conditions, 5 millions died.

The slave male must be over 60 kg in weight. If less, he will be fed beans until he reaches the weight and shipped. The slave house in Goree has different cells. The slaves are classified; males, females, children, and mutinists.

All cells eventually lead to an opening where the slaves are pushed into the ships. Standing at this opening, I have felt the suffering and brutality these people have suffered in leaving their lands and freedom into the dark future.

African Americans cry when they visit this place. In the picture, you will see me in the cell of the mutinists. A cell of height of 1 meter to force the mutinists to sit. Cells were cramped. A cell of 3x3 meters will have 50 people standing against each other.

The physical slavery age ended. Have we another form of slavery in the Economic and Political sense?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Black and White

If Africa is called the Black continent, Africans can boast that they have the whitest clouds ever seen. I find it quite a phenomenon that the clouds there are so white and thick that the sight is overwhelming.

The seen of the moving white clouds evoke the strong meaning of the Chinese saying: " The vast sky does not hinder the white clouds from flying".

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Quick results

I am preparing for my trip to Senegal for the Annual General Assembly of FCIC. I have 2 days to go, and I have just finalised arrangemnts with IDB, member firms, reservations, Visas ,speakers, translations and reports. The internet is a blessing, and I can not comprehend how things were prepared 10 years ago without mobiles and emails. Yes Friedman, the World is flat.

Having said this, I sometimes hope that results could have quick answers such as: Find x.

Thank you Moinuddin for sending me a list which answered my question quickly: the 18th or the 20th?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fine Arts

I have a passion for fine arts; in particular Water, Oil and Pastel paintings. A good saying that I read and fondly remember :"If you look at a glass mirror, you see your face. If you look at a painting, you see your soul". Isn't that lovely?

Well, I love fine arts. You will see me attending all art exhibitions in Jordan. While abroad, my outside working hours program is predictable. I would look for local art; in galleries, on street pavements, and under the roofs of the down town shops and houses.

Although I am not an artist myself, I appreciate fine arts. I did not understand how appreciation of fine arts could exist within a non artist. My good friend, the talented pioneer Iraqi Artist Saadi Kaabi, gave me a simple answer. He said that a person would enjoy and appreciate Music but it is not necessary that he should be a Musician. Likewise is the case of Art.

This did not prevent me every now and then from rolling up my sleeves and paint. This painting on this post is of my own making.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Swahili language

During my two visits to Tanzania, I enjoyed reading the Street ads and Public notices in Swahili language . It is written using the English alphabets. In almost every sentence, you find one or two Arabic words. Hence, the overall meaning is concluded.

I took this photo of a tanker in Dar EsSalam. The words on the back says: Maji Safi which has the same meaning in Arabic an Ma'a Safi. Wizara e Fida are two Arabic names for Wizarat Al Fida meaning Ministry of Silver (ie Ministry of Finance).

The influence is even greater in Zinjibar. The Music played on Al Qanoon is very similar to our melodies and musical rythms of Hijaz, Biati etc. What a nice country and lovely people.

Amman Stock Market

No one knows where the market is heading. After an extraordinary rally in 2005 and the first quarter of 2006, prices collapsed. However, on the long term value in addition to cost should be the criteria for deciding which company is a good investment. You need to pay less and get more. Lower cost and higher value.

Some investers kept on buying while the prices fell in order to get a lower average buying price. What a mistake. If you are in a hole, you do not dig deeper.

If the fundementals of a company are strong, eventually its shareprice will improve. Things do not happen overnight. You can not produce a baby in one month by making nine women pregnant. In business, things have to take their time and there are no short cuts.

The English language

This is probably one of the most intelligent essays I came across on the web in a very long time, and I thought that I must share it with you. I hope you enjoy it, as much as I did.

Let's face it -- English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France.
Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find
that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are
absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your
house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the
creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all).
That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.

Space and Beauty

Who among us has never looked up into the heavens on a starlit night, lost in wonder at the vastness of space and the beauty of the stars?