Saturday, June 30, 2007

Pound Sterling, Orange Revolution and FSB

Litvinenko, God bless his soul, died in November 2006 under allegations from the British authorities that the Russians poisoned him. If you ask me, I advocate capital punishment for treason, if it were.

Recently, an overt espionage war has begun between the Russians and the Brits. The Brits, enthusiastically continues to throw accusations at Russians (Andrei Lugovoi) of killing the former KGB agent, which he in turn assures would not have been achieved without assistance from the MI-6. The Russian bear, on the other hand, continues its attempts at recruiting former FSB agents for counterespionage.

Enough with the introductory remarks. I read this article [Russian] which confirms what the International Herald Tribune also published. Vyacheslav Zharko (photo above), a Russian citizen and a former employee of the FSB, resorted to his former employer seeking protection as he feared for his life, he claimed.

Allegedly and according to the state-owned NTV channel, Zharko worked both with the tycoon Berezovsky and MI-6. What a coincidence! He revealed being recruited by the MI-6 since 2002 to gather important economic as well as intelligence information for the Brits.

The Russian addendum is that Vyacheslav Zharko revealed the missing link. According to him, Berezovsky (who has a Phd in embezzlement, and not math) was actually supported by the Brits to finance the Orange Revolution in Ukraine based on the information Litvinenko provided him with.

The Pound Sterling is still a strong currency, I reckon.


As a Sudanese, I've been subjected to the most ludicrous inquiries about my home; the Sudan.
"Isn't it in Asia?"
"No, you dimwit!"
And of course, lately I've resorted to identifying Sudan with Darfur. Sad but what to do? And even then I get the ever more laughable questions.
"Oh, you don't look Sudanese"
"I'm from the Janjaweed!"

So, here I've decided to post something about Sudan, every now and then, for the world to learn.

Well, its very interesting to find different results when googling with different languages. I've attempted it with Russian and found this interesting site: The Central Bank of Sudan. When I googled it in English using the keyword Sudan, this site didn't appear until the 10th page , in the Russian attempt, the 1st page.

Our currency, fluctuating between the Pound and the Dinar, reflects our mosaic social and ethnic fabric. So I highly recommend you check it out.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Obsequious Behaviour

In our days and times, knowledge, specialization and creativity is secondary to connections. Its very unfortunate, but almost always it is.

It has become a normal thing to use words such as "networking" as an excuse for attending professional gatherings. And since it has become a socially acceptable mode of meetings, I myself had given in. But what I cannot stand is the OBSEQUIOUS BEHAVIOUR this networking entails. It sickens me to see little puppies waggling their tails while leaving lip imprints on Big Shots' behinds. And as much as it upsets my stomachs, it relieves me and makes me laugh myself silly on how disgusting and pitiful the perpetrators of this shameful behaviour look like from aside.

Now, it is important to underline that obsequiousness has different manifestations dependent on gender, age and brain-weight. Ladies, revealing cleavages and calves makes you look more like a bimbo than a professional employee capable of getting things done.

Guys, using Shakespearian English and engaging in topics of extremely high complexity based on your superficial perusal of ONE article in a local newspaper does not reflect depth, but, on the contrary, shallowness. Furthermore, getting nodding responses from people in the business must not be interpreted as their approval. Again, DEPTH of insight is needed here, and you haven't gotten it.

But, haven't you noticed my friend? A$$-connoisseurs do not compete against each other. They'd rather gang up against those who use their taste buds for gourmet food. Therefore, we often have these two teams in most gatherings: the would-do and the would-never-do.

I have always believed in this adage: Birds of a feather, flock together.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Every man for himself

That's exactly what it is these days. Can't depend on anyone to lend you a hand, let alone do something for you. And silly you, you would do the somersault to make someone feel better. And I blame noone but your pathetic self for not being smart enough to recognize that this is what this current time is all about, every man for himself !

That reminds me of what Ali ibn Abi Talib كرَم الله وجهه said:
وذقت المرارات فلم أجد أمر من الحاجة إلى الناس

To be in need of someone makes one weak, and I'm talking about favors! Oh how I hate those, and miss the days when I did everything myself instead of being feeble and burdening myself with reciprocity and repayment. Furthermore, all the negative emotions that surface when your favor can't be done, such as disappointment, hurt, anger. Why do you need those?!

Depend on yourself you wimp and do everything by yourself and for yourself. That will make your life harder but you'll feel better about yourself, for there is no better feeling than debt-free feeling.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Last week I have watched two foreign films that if made compulsory in educational institutions we would be living in a peaceful world.

1-Иди и смотри [Idi i smotri] (Russian 1985) translated Come and See. This is the last movie directed by the late and renowned Elem Klimov. The film portrays the psychological deterioration of a youngster , Florya, from a Belorussian village during WWII (or as we dub it in Russian, the Great Patriotic War) as the Nazis began encroaching on the borders of Soviet Union. The protagonist, Alexei Kravchenko was an incredible actor who himself declared he wasn't sure he was able to mentally survive the shooting of the film. The scenery is very realistic both physically and psychologically.
Highly recommended: to people interested in history, psychology, war ethics and human rights. Not recommended: to the weak-hearted.

2- Rachida (Algeria, France 2002). A much milder civil war film which narrates the life of a school teacher in Algeria in the 1990s. It is directed by Yamina Bachir and in it she creatively combines the modern and the traditional in the daily life of a young Algerian woman. This woman is Ibtissem Djouadi (a pretty green-eyed newbie) who played the character, Rachida, with a complete devotion and talent
Highly recommended: to all
Not recommended: to all those who don't try to understand our Muslim way of living.

Ranking FIRST, disputed

The Failed States Index of 2007 caused a commotion, among my fellow citizens, who are also skeptical but with different approaches.

Read my query, and also take a look at Sudanese thinker and Black Kush.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Acne blog

Salam world!
finally I mustered my courage and paid a visit to a dermatologist. It was not as dreadful as I've been fearing for some time now. Diagnosed with what I already knew I had, the doc suggested that I get an injection. Yes! a facial one, and no it was not Botox, I am naturally wrinkle-free :-). But that has set my mind whirling with the possibility of Botox injection in far-future. The procedure is pain-free.
Finally I was prescribed a regimen for 4 weeks. The countdown has begun!

I am optimistic, except for the fact that one medication has hair-loss side-effects.
Is that why the doc was bald?

متلازمة بنات دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي

لا ده ما مرض. ولا أقول لكم حاجة؟ حالة، وحالة مرضية كمان

معظم بناتنا السودانيات اللي إتربو في الخليج بيعانوا من المتلازمة دي. والأعراض كالتالي:
1- الدلع الفائض واللي بيتمثل في مجموعة من امراض أخرى سمها صديق لي بأمراض الدلع (كالجلد الحساس، المعدة الحساسة، الأزمة، الأنيميا، وغيرهم)

2-الطلبات و التوقعات الغير واقعية من الوالدين، الأخوة، والعجب من "الجكس" يعني ما ممكن يا بنات الناس تكونوا دايرين أي حاجة شوفتوها مرة واحدة في مسلسل أسترالي عرضوه في قناة الشارقة، خصوصاً لو المطلوب منه عايش في قارة تانية.

3- حب السيطرة: وبالعامية كده "فاكنها في روحم" لي يعني معظم بنات الخليج مقتنعات إنهم بنات كول وراقيات وفاهمات في كل شي في الدنيا وبالتالي بيظنوا إنهم أدرى وأي زول يتجرأ يناقش النقطة دي ولا أي من النقاط المذكورة أعلاه بياخد على راسو وبيعيش ليهو في مسلسل خليجي اللي الأحداث فيهو بتجر أيام طويلة وبيكون فيهو لغة مشفرة ما بيفهما الطرف الثاني لأنو البنت ذاتا ما فاهمها وبتكون بتواصل فيها بس عشان المسلسل ما يخلص

أفتكر كده كفاية
ومن دون زعل لأني بس بحاول أعمل نقد ذاتي :-)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

AFI Lifetime Achievement Award

I know it's rather late, and you've missed it, just like I did *sobs*, but my baby has been rewarded the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award of 2007! ATTA CARLITO.

Serpico possesses unparalleled artistic talent and has always given himself in totality to any role he'd been assigned. The way he adopted his characters is unsurmountable.

I do not refer to his recent flicks, but even the ones filmed in 1970s. Do yourself a favor and check them all out, you'll be showering me with thanks forever...

Baby, I love you :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sudanese talent

I heard about this competitor, Khalid Hassan, but never got a chance to hear him until today. Not bad at all

wish him good luck

Are you in LOVE?

Check against the following 12 signs and you'll know
When you're on the phone with them late at night and they hang up, you still miss them even when it was just two minutes ago.

You walk really slow when you're with them.

TEN:You feel shy whenever they're around.

NINE:You smile when you hear their voice.

EIGHT:When you look at them, you can't see the other people around you, you just see him/her.

SIX:They're all you think about.

FIVE:You realize you're always smiling when you're looking at them.

FOUR:You would do anything for them, just to see them.

THREE:While reading this, there was one person on your mind this whole time.

TWO:You were so busy thinking about that person, you didn't notice number seven was missing

ONE:You just scrolled up to check & are now silently laughing at yourself.

So that is why he is Sir Rushdie now!

As usual, being a couple of days late, the Arabs have finally awoken up to the splendid recognition of Salman Rushdie's creative writings.
Today, Al-jazeera News Channel in its "In Depth" daily segment, in Arabic ما وراء الخبر, discussed the underlying political reasons for Rushdie's honours. References were made to European glorification of secular and liberal ideology even if at the expense of denouncing religious beliefs. Thus, the laudatory support of individuals like "prodigy" Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Taslima Nasrin.

Check it out here, it will be uploaded soon.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Yay! my country is ranking FIRST!

My country, the Republic of the Sudan, has again ranked the First. But I am not proud at all, and somewhat skeptical. According to the Failed States Index for 2007, Sudan is the most susceptible state in the world to failure.
Based on social, economic and political indicators, these rankings, by the Foreign Policy Association and the Fund for Peace organization, are from unclassified statistical data.

Very disheartening and embarrassing, but as I previously said I'm skeptical. Who gathered these data? If it's the state then wouldn't it doctor these statistics to its own advantage. If non-state actors conducted the research and gathered the data, which politically failed state will allow strangers do so to harm it?

The Foreign Policy Association answers this question rather ambiguously

Q: What methodology was used for the ratings?

A: The Fund for Peace used its Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST), an original methodology it has developed and tested over the past decade. CAST is a flexible model that has the capability to employ a four-step trend-line analysis, consisting of (1) rating 12 social, economic, and political/military indicators; (2) assessing the capabilities of five core state institutions considered essential for sustaining security; (3) identifying idiosyncratic factors and surprises; and (4) placing countries on a conflict map that shows the risk history of countries being analyzed.

For the Failed States Index, FfP focused solely on the first step, which provides snapshots of state vulnerability or risk of violence during a window in time. The CAST software indexed and scanned tens of thousands of open-source articles and reports using Boolean logic. The data are electronically gathered using Thomson Dialog, a powerful data-collection system that includes international and local media reports and other public documents, including U.S. State Department reports, independent studies, and even corporate financial filings. The data used in each index are collected from May to December of the preceding year. The software calculates the number of positive and negative “hits” for the 12 indicators. Internal and external experts then review the scores as well as the articles themselves, when necessary, to confirm the scores and ensure accuracy.
Italicized red clauses are the ones that boggled my mind, they shouldn't have the same effect on you.

Well, I don't need all this to tell me that life is hard in Sudan and that WE NEED A LOT OF CHANGE AND REFORM!!!!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Writer's block

Somebody help me! I am suffering from a writer's block and please don't tell just start writing or brainstorming. It has all proved futile.
For some reason I have become prone to writer's block more often than before. I could spend hours on end evaluating different views, critically analyzing them, and formulating my own arguments just to find out that someone has already thought similarly.
It is frustrating because I am lagging behind in all my projects and many of them are past due. It's affecting my morale and I feel further sluggish and disheartened.
Why is it happening?
Ohh goodness this is so galling!!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

He is Sir Rushdie now!

So Rushdie has been knighted! I wonder why? and I am not challenging his literary achievements, just simply wondering whether this nomination has been "politically" motivated.
Isn't it just interesting that of the two knighted, one is a staunch provocateur who would not seize any single opportunity to defame any Islamic practice?
The British Affirmative Action was also employed in the list of honorees who received the CBE titles (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) such as Christiana Amanpour, Chakrabarti the civil activist and Barry Humphries cross-dressed as Dame Edna Everage, or CMG ( Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George) that was awarded to the former (or perhaps still) Russian spy Oleg Gordievsky.
What a diverse group! Interesting enough none was an Arab. At least not to my knowledge. Yeah we're fit to be labeled terrorists and sentenced to 136 years only.
But please do not blame Queen Elizabeth II. She was merely celebrating her birthday (for the second time). The process of nominating and choosing candidates is complex and administered by an Honours Awards Committee in which the Prime Minister has the final say. I am sure Her Majesty was aghast at all those honorees herself.

Your Majesty, if you're reading this, that makes us two.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Are we the Arabs different from Iranians?

Apparently we are not! I mean our beloved President, who doesn't look so presidential, did include Iraq in his axis of evil.Iranians won the trophy there too.
But I find a lot of difference between us. First, ethnically the Arabs, just like Jews, are Semitic: Iranians are Aryans. Linguistically, Arabic is a Semitic language, again similar to Hebrew and Aramaic, and not Yiddish. Persian belongs to the Indo-European family and a distant relative of Sanskrit. Culturally and historically and despite the legion of religious and folkloric similarities, we've chosen different paths following the defeat of the Persians by Arabic troops some time in the 7th century.

But do Americans spot these differences? Unfortunately not, and being insistent on explaining that to them is a tad tedious. Ergo, using kindergartener's lingo I would suggest watching Maz Jobrani's clip on the difference between Arabs and Persians.

Funny yet true