Saturday 19 June 2010


Its Friday, I call it my newspaper day. Often I keep the articles and the various bits and pieces that I want to have a thorough read through for Friday. One of the articles was amazing, it wasn’t obvious to me whether the writer had a hidden agenda or not, however I felt that he or she does. A list of my favourite actresses, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, etc were all listed as single, successful and active. And if you search through successful women you will find that most if not all of they are single, or were married and got a divorce, or married with lots and lots of problems. Why is this?

Are men scared of being next to a successful woman (SW)? Or are they worried that if they stay married to an SW part of their agility and successfulness will transfer to women and they will lose it? Are they just plain nasty and hate to see their better half with a fat bank account? Is marriage based on need? Or on companionship? Will the man be happy if we extend our hands to ask for money from him? Or wait at home for him, wearing full makeup and in our best behaviour as his highness shows up at the end of the day? Is being successful a cause to go hunting for other women? Is that why Tiger Woods went with I dont know, 10 to 100 women? Was his wife secretly successful? Can we at all solve this issue?

In one of the movies of Meg Ryan ( I really like her, as she is the most genuine actress I have ever watched a movie for), she locks her husband in the bathroom, and tapes his mouth so he cannot talk, and tells him: ok I dont need you, but I want you and I love you! now this sentence appeals to me, I think all men who divorce their pretty but successful wives need to know that we marry for companionship and for friendship, and we need to talk to someone that we have a history with, if they understand this, then Sandra, and Cameron, and Rennet and Angelina and many others will stay married, and we will have a fantastic world.

Is this ever possible? I am dreaming? Or what do you think?

Friday 18 June 2010

to follow from my previous post, about objectivity

well at last someone was on my side for discussing Salman Rushdie, the NAFSAn is Jeff and here is what he says
'I wish to thank Suad Alhalwachi for raising this issue, and lend my voice to hers in objecting to the selection of Salman Rushdie as NAFSA’s plenary speaker. Clearly, there are divergent opinions on the choice of Mr. Rushdie as a plenary speaker. Most of the comments so far indicate that anyone, no matter how offensive, would be a good choice for NAFSA plenary speaker– some even seem to suggest the more offensive, the better!

There are countless individuals whose scholarship and public lives have greatly influenced our work. To me, it seems that a choice was made to overlook these in favor of a novelist whose celebrity is less the result of his literary achievements than from the notoriety arising from the fatwah against him. Indeed, I suspect that if the fatwah had never been issued, many of us would have been far more sensitive to the feelings of many Muslims who were deeply offended by his portrayal of their faith. I would not go so far as to suggest that NAFSA was censoring alternative speakers by choosing Mr. Rushdie, and I think that it is misguided to suggest that questioning Mr. Rushdie’s selection as a NAFSA plenary speaker amounts to advocating censorship.

Let me be clear that I fully support the rights of anyone to criticize, parody, and even to offend. This is an essential part of a free society. Therefore I do not object to Mr. Rushdie, or his right to speak; what I object to is the choice of him as a speaker at NAFSA. If NAFSA were hosting a conference about academic or literary freedoms, such a choice might be appropriate. NAFSA, however, is an organization dedicated to international education, which necessarily entails striving toward understanding of others' points of view. An essential element of intercultural competence is cultural empathy yet we, as an association, made a choice to offend many of our own members and colleagues overseas, and did so without very compelling reasons. While I would concede that there may be cases in which an individual's contributions to international education are so compelling as to override concerns about offensiveness, clearly this is not such a case. David Paulson writes that he is “appalled that any modern educator would object to hearing Mr. Rushdie deliver a public speech,” but this misses the point. I do not object to hearing Mr. Rushdie give a public speech; I object to NAFSA choosing a speaker whose work has been so divisive, instead of choosing someone whose work unites us as international educators.

I've been a NAFSAn for more than a quarter of a century now. Often, when our members criticize the association, we do it in 3rd person ("NAFSA should" or "they shouldn't" when in reality, NAFSA is "We". Unfortunately, however, when it comes to selection of plenary speakers, it seems that the members do not have a voice. When I privately questioned some members of the NAFSA leadership about the choice of Mr. Rushdie, I was surprised to hear that no members—not the conference planning committee, not the Knowledge Community leaders, not even the board— are involved in these choices. I hope that this year's choice of plenary speaker will prompt a review of the selection procedure, and that in future years, the pros and cons of such choices can be discussed in advance rather than after the fact.

justice always prevail.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

I think I should stop being objective

how do i start, I wrote a discussion on Linkedin, about nafsa conference, and i thought that the people who are educators will understand my point of view; i wasnt trying to put a stop to this thing, i was merely asking a question and wanting a reply from nafsa. anyway, Nafsa as an organisation, gave me a good reply, i thought, well, this is great, now i know that us the educators, should not exclude poepl or spekers just because they have a point of view that differs to what we believe, after all life is about having various views, and life is about having differnt colours, and that is why we all like to have different types of food rather than sticking to one type only every day. it would be sickening otherwise.

Anyway, i will list you the replies, and would like you to be the judge, i need your comments please:

Suad Alhalwachi

Bringing Salman Rushdi as a keynote speaker to Nafsa conference? is this right?
I have been a member of NAFSA since 2005, and was always keen on attending its conferences. I find them important and interesting, and also useful as we get to gain more networks and possibly more knowledge. This year I gathered enough funds that will cover my ticket and hotel, and the conference fee, but just before I filled the form, i looked through the agenda and noticed that the keynote speaker is Salman Rushdi, so I decided not to join and I certainly hope that others will follow suit as having him is against the philosophy of NAFSA.

Now I am not an Islamic activist, nor am I against having one’s own opinion on certain religions. My argument here is that Education insists on scientific research evidences, and scientific findings, and at all the universities in the world, all of us have to show that our opinions are based on real facts (and real research methodologies), whether these come from surveys, questionnaires or checking historic data and trends. The book that was slammed by most Muslims "satanic verses" is not based on any of the above, plus it insulted the 2 billion Muslims in the world because it comprised of cynical, false information about the most influential person on earth, PBUH prophet Mohammed. The fact the he is the most influential is not according to us the Muslims, because we are always branded as chauvinists, discriminative and extremists; its according to Mr M. H. Hart who wrote a book in 1978 about the ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, this book was reprinted in 1992 with revisions. It is a ranking of the 100 people who, according to Hart, most influenced human history. Mr Hart did not come to this conclusion on the basis of what we the Muslims had written, but on the basis of "research" into historic data.

If I am NAFSA which is {an Association of International Educators, NAFSA is an association of individuals worldwide advancing international education and exchange and global workforce development. NAFSA serves international educators and their institutions and organizations by establishing principles of good practice, providing training and professional development opportunities, providing networking opportunities, and advocating for international education}, then I would expect NAFSA to practice its mission statement and not to have someone who is totally against these principles and one who writes misleading and useless information in the name of "freedom of speech", to be its key note speaker. I would like a response from NAFSA about this fact, and i would like NAFSA and its members to convince me that having him at the conference is correct and its not against the main principles of "education".

1. Ursula Oaks
Director, Media Relations at NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Over the years, NAFSA has sought to include speakers with diverse points of view, even challenging and controversial ones. In inviting Mr. Rushdie, NAFSA takes no position on his point of view and intends no disrespect to any members or participants.

2. Suad Alhalwachi

dear Ursula. will you also one day invite Osam bin laden then? i wouldnt want to know his thoughts either. i am not saying that we should shelter our minds, all i am saying is that this is an education and an educators conference, and we preach honest in research, so we must practice what we teach.

3. David A. Paulson

I wouldn't be a member of any organization that excluded speakers based on their point of view. Only right wing extremists do that. Of course, there are those so-called progressives with their political correctness who are actually conservatives in progressive clothing. S.R. is one of the great writers of our time. Any intelligent and literate person should celebrate the opportunity to hear him speak. I would eagerly listen to Osama Bin Laden to hear his perpspective on the world. I would also alert American authorities long before his speech ended and celebrate his incarceration. Rushdie has committed no crime. Keep that in mind before shouting him down.

4. ravikumar -

Being in the field of education, it requires to be objective and unbiased about people and their ideology. When we preach honesty in educational and cultural research; it imperatively means that we should be ready to LISTEN impassionately rather than restricting to personal nuances.

Comparing Rushdie to Laden [though unintended] reflects lack of understanding of Rushdie's learning and scholarship. Visiting the following page aptly suggests why he is invited for key note address at NAFSA.

5. David A. Paulson

I certainly agree that Scholar Rushdie and Terrorist Laden are not in the same category and certainly are not of the same stature. Nevertheless, I would eagerly listen to both of them. In fact, a debate between the two would be most exciting. Guns and bombs must be left outside the hall.
We must all be diligent in our fight against extremism and prejudice. We must also be dedicated to eradicating absurdities and stupidity. Where absurdities exist, whether in politics, philosophy, or religion, those absurdities must be exposed for what they are. Just because some one or a group of someones believe in absurd things, doesn't mean that those absurdities shouldn't be addressed. Political correctness should always be sacrificed at the feet of truth.

6. Nicholas Tee

If we are about to start banning and protesting about people because they have their own point of view, then it's about time to starting discussing it somewhere else than on an education related forum.

As far as inviting Bin Laden goes, something tells me that whoever invites him is in for a real problem finding him accommodation! :)

This comment has been deleted.
8. David A. Paulson

There's nothing that irks me more than thought police and political correctness. It takes courage of leadership to bring in someone like Rushdie. And who is this man? He happens to be one of the great writers alive today. He understands Islam as well as any person walking. He also understands the need to be able to honestly discuss any issue in our modern world. It is not "education" when we cut ourselves off from the leading intellects of our time, just because he or she happens to have a couple of points of view that differ from accepted orthodoxy. We argue for diversity in our societies, and yet some leading educational communities do not want diversity of thought. Genetic differences pale into insignificance along side the differences in the way we see our world. Education has to be the arena for intellectual debate. Any orthodoxy in philosophy, religion, or science that cannot be examined is pure and simple blind intellectual bigotry. When I hear academics shying away from certain intellectual leaders because of a "deviant thought", I despair.

9. Martin Tillman

I've been a NAFSA member since 1976. As the size, scope and influence of the Association has spread across the world in these decades, decisions made about key note speakers resonate more deeply. Of course, members have a right to not attend a meeting if they feel offended by the values or viewpoints of speakers - or sessions for that matter. What I find disappointing is that those who have chosen to write in this space would expect the Association to make its programming decisions in the same manner as individuals make their choices about what to read or what political or social beliefs they practice in their personal life. NAFSA has had speakers representing divergent views speak at meetings for decades- this decision appears to have sparked disapproval because of Mr. Rushdie's views ---in a work of fiction! - about Islam.

Rushdie's work was so condemned that a fatwah was issued which urged Muslims to kill him for what he wrote in a book. That in itself should be reason enough to bring him to the conference and support his right to freely speak to us. I would hope NAFSA members of all faiths would speak truth to power on his behalf.

10. Ana Ferrufino

I celebrate that NAFSA has invited Mr, Rushdie to be key note speaker.I agree 100% with Martin TiIllman.

11. Suad Alhalwachi

Well, one of my associates wrote me a private reply, and I hope she doesnt mind me putting it here:

"I also thought it very strange at the least that NAFSA would invite (this in not about banning, but actively "inviting") someone to speak who would so obviously be offensive to a large segment of our membership--and the world. This is a part of the world that our country is attempting to reach out to and mend fences.

I personally chose to not attend NAFSA (primarily for this reason) and know of a number of others who who are boycotting due in total to this choice of a speaker.

Surely there are other prominent speakers to invite to a convention on international education / relations ! "

I agree with her, she is a prominent american PHD holder who is so pro education, and one who taught me a lot about taking education to those that need it in remote areas.

I am really surprised about the replies that I am recieving for my discussion. I have only stated objectively the need to have speakers who will add to our knowledge in education and its advancement, and also I stated that I am not an extremist. I think the medium I am in does not support objective discussions, and people are taking this discussion personaly. if we want to hear people with diverse point of views, we can, but not in this conference. i assure you that there are many arenas in the world of media that can enable us to hear, see, read etc diverse points of view. but not in a conference that is so specific.

let me conclude that we are really giving him more attention than he deserves, and to this end, I would really like to end this discussion by saying this:

I dont want to go to this extreme. so thank you very much and good bye

12. Nicholas Tee

In these times where political correctness is going to the extreme, I would like to make a change to what was added above and ask a question:

WHEN YOU dare to have an opinion about BLACK PEOPLE THEY CALL IT RACISM,
WHEN YOU dare to have an opinion about WOMEN, THEY CALL IT SEXISM,
WHEN YOU dare to have an opinion about YOUR COUNTRY, THEY CALL IT TREASON,
WHEN YOU dare to have an opinion about A RELIGIOUS SECT, THEY CALL IT HATE SPEECH,

So are we saying that by having their own personal opinion, a person is a RACIST, SEXIST, INTOLLERANT, TREASONOUS, and a HATE SPEAKER?

Because if that is the case then the black person, the Jew, the homosexual, the Nationalist and the member of a religious belief is then denying that individual the most basic of human rights? The same human right that they themselves are demanding.

This is nuts! This is crazy! And more than anything this is a sign of a world going completely mad!

13. David A. Paulson

I happen to consider America a pagan nation, which I consider a compliment. America was created by deists who believed passionately in religious freedom and tolerance. Over the centuries, every religion within the borders of America have taken slings and arrows from those who disagreed with their fundamentals. Sadly, there have been those who have been killed and slaughtered because their faith didn't fit the narrow constructs of the society or geography in which they lived. As enlightened individuals, we vehemently protest those who use the tenets of their faith as justification to attack those who don't believe differently.
When someone writes, speaks, draws, or acts out something that is objectionable to some holier than thou religious or political group, it should not be cause to place a bounty on that person's head. That behavior is primitive madness and belongs in the distant past. In the modern world, every point of view deserves a safe hearing. Arguments and debate are the forum in which ignorance, stupidity, and hate are exposed. We cannot allow a modern inquisition to resurface within any organization just to protect the feelings of some alternative point of view. If a perspective is so weak that it cannot tolerate hearing itself berated, belittled, or publicly dismissed, then that position has no merit or standing.
I am personally appalled that any modern educator would object to hearing Mr. Rushdie deliver a public speech. I would argue that anyone who simply rejects Mr. Rushdie because of something he has written is neither a modern intellectual nor an educator.

14. Keith Jolie

And for the record, his speech was funny, engaging, and enlightening.

15. David A. Paulson

Truly you lie. That can't possibly be. Rushdie is a religious racist. He is hate-filled and evil. He couldn't create a humorous and enlightening sentence, much less an entire speech. How is that possible? His lectern must have been pummeled with lettuce and cabbages. Shots must have rung out from the audience. With his genius, he must have slipped down a rabbit hole in one of his novels to escape the slings and arrows of those who think he deserves a fatwah or a holy Jihad.
I only wish I could have been there to hear him.

16. Ana Ferrufino

Is there anyway we can get his speech? ( video or transcripts)

Wellness spa for some, but does hate vanishes in such atmosphere

On Sunday, we decided to go to Vienna for sightseeing. We were late, so the bus went to the next hotel to pick up the other travellers. After one hour the bus arrived, and the tour operator (who cannot speak good English, which made me think how she will explain the history of the places we are going to visit? maybe we will learn Slovakian language hehe) brought a traveller to tell us what happened. It transpired that this traveller and her Aunt rode to the bus first, then another group came in, and as soon as they saw the girl and the aunt, closed the door of the bus again and shouted at the tour operator, refused to go on the tour, and asked for their money back. So she said that since we are only four, we can cancel and will receive the refund or we have to pay a bit extra and continue with our journey. I also helped by bringing another traveller who was supposed to go to the airport and she paid this poor non-English speaking tour operator extra money, we were happy and had a whole bus to ourselves. However the incident made me think of why that group didn’t want to ride with us? I would like you to guess the background of the group at the end of this blog please.

I believe that when someone is relaxed, most of the detestation will disappear from ones heart, and life will be a bed of roses. One would forget wars and terrorism; one will return to nature and find out why god created us. We are all in this life for a reason, and this reason is behind our creation, we were not created to spread wars and kill people, we are here to spread knowledge and invent things for the betterment of humanity. However this group despite going to a health spa didn’t find it in themselves to love us, we the Arabs who do not mind smiling to them and greeting them. So how do you ever imagine that the Palestinians problem will ever be solved?

Help people, we need a solution.

What a difference

can you spot the difference, and how tired i lookes in the picture with the brown scarf, and see how fresh i look now, i can tell you for sure guys, that going to a relaxing place and just enjoying nature and some massages and treatments, without the hussel and bussle of the city life can make a huge difference on your complextion, i really feel different even from the inside. the food here is healthy, and the atomosphere is very rewarding, the photos of the flowers i placed on facebook is a 0.000001% of what is there; this place is surruonded with water, part of the water stream is in actual fact a waterlilly farm. magnificant. i truly recommend it.

Sunday 6 June 2010

Is it too much to ask?

Omm, how do I start? I decided in a whim to go for a relaxation and treatment spa, let me tell you something friends, this turns out to be the best decision I have ever made in my whole life. The place is brilliant, the treatments are out of this world, and the food is yum and healthy too. No junk at all, and the coffee is fantastic. The water is great, and you have to drink this smelly, heavy water every morning, I drank a sip and found out straight away that its not for me, it must have been written in my programme by mistake. Apparently if you do take 3 glasses from it every day, you return to your twenties; and since everyone thinks I am in my twenties, I didn’t think I need it.
The best thing is the swimming pool, its hot thermal water, imagine jumping in a hot pool, and not too deep (did I mention that I am scared of swimming in the deep and I had already booked an appointment with Dr Beryl to treat me from this phobia?) and the smell of course is too strong, but the rejuvenating feeling that you will receive from just being in that pool even for 5 minutes, out of this world?. Mud? I am sure you imagine worms and dead insects? No darlings, it’s clean, hot and slimy, but gives you that feeling of being smothered with chocolate? Have you ever imagined that? I am sure you didn’t. So imagine that you are wrapped with this chocolate, oops excuse me, hot mud, and this cold iron piece is placed on your heart, then you go in this dizzy state of mind where you dont know whether you are here or there, the thoughts stop and the mind is blank, to tell you the truth, the 20 minutes finished in a flash as I think I had dozed off, I can never tell, after washing the mud off, I was wrapped again with a blanket in a dark room to go to sleep. From the mud that you are wrapped with, to the mud pool, to the hydro massage and the spinal massage and the CO2 injections, etc, Everything you are asked to do here is designed specifically for you, it’s your own programme ( or you feel that way).

Kids, if you are reading this blog, please make sure that my next birthday gift will be a trip to one of these spas again. Shall we call it a week in heaven? No it’s much better than that.

Looking forward to that week, and I will tell you more about everything else tomorrow.

By the way, check out the new pictures on facebook, these are the swans that followed me to the hotel. Of course knowing that I love nature is something that I found out after being in that mud for 20 minutes.