Saturday, July 03, 2010

My Christmas Island Debreif

This is my Xmass island debrief, i'm not sure if this is what you had in mind,

Having first landed on Christmas Island I had no idea what to expect. The humid weather and the militarized atmosphere didn’t fill me with enthusiasm. Though I did feel more at ease as I met the volunteers one by one until the evening when we all dined at the Boson.

Lockie had advised that these 4 weeks would go by very fast, still I did not expect it to go so quickly- it was almost like the whole experience was uploaded into my brain matrix style. I remember landing, and then I was playing touch footy outside the airport waiting for plane to take us back to the mainland. How did it pass by so quickly? A question I struggled to answer myself or the volunteers when I told them I was leaving. You’re leaving? But you said you were staying for four weeks! IT’S BEEN FOUR WEEKS ALREADY!

During the past few days I’d been trying to describe my experience at Christmas Island but so far I’ve just not been able to put it into words. All I can say is that it was one of the most incredible & journey I’ve had the chance to experience.

The opportunity to engage and work on a daily basis with the clients was most rewarding, getting to know them closely and chatting with them and sharing stories and laughs and sometimes tears will have helped them to endure the ordeals they’re going through and make new friends in the process.

I shared more treasured memories on the Island with the volunteers, the long hours and the challenges we faced from sickness to the ever changing weather to the even more volatile work conditions would have been quite difficult to deal with had it not been for the support and cooperation of the volunteers. Everyone I worked with gave the same 100% and the can-do attitude that made every session and class so successful every time.

I also enjoyed challenging myself on so many levels, the constant physical and emotional strain has made me realise how far I can push myself and keep going strong.

I would like to thank the management and the HR team for their tireless work and support to us. Knowing we had you for support to deal with CI’s changing environment made us give that much more of ourselves when out there in the camps.

When I finally left Christmas Island I did so with a heavy heart. Sadness at seeing my friends for the last time, sadness at leaving this amazing team of volunteers behind, sadness as we jumped off the pier one last time, had our last bbq on the beach, taken our last lazy scooter ride around the island, too many experiences and encounters to list.

Again, thank you for this experience and I can’t wait to come back again for another four weeks.

Nasser Alkhateeb

Friday, April 09, 2010

This world is full of evil

I don't write as much as I should.

I real a lot, well these days I don't read as much as I should either, in previous times I used to read 3 books a month. These days I watch a lot of TV junk and sometimes commercial documentaries.

Still, whenever I read and whatever I read about tells me there is so much oppression in the world today, against minorities ( in this case minorities means all non white people everywhere), against women, against Islam and Muslims, it just seems the world is run either by bigoted selfish leaders or is run by pure capitalists where profit is the only motive, which in turn makes this a pretty bleak world for 98% of its inhabitants.

Countries like Palestine being absolutely ravaged by ferocious war machines while the whole world wants to know what Angelina Jolie is wearing for the Emmys. Frustrating celebrations of blatant lies such as democracy in Iraq or better lives for women in Afghanistan. Millions of deaths in subcontinental India, Subsaharan Africa etc... and so called charity organizations are making millions of their suffering while effectively giving them very little due to weak regulations and the fact that no one really gives a f$#k about a bunch of hungry curries or niggers (excuse the french).

Poetically impressive naming conversions such as THE WAR ON DRUGS, THE WAR ON TERROR, THE WAR ON POVERTY is in fact a new name for an old game called THE WAR TO RULE THE WORLD AND MAKE THE REST OF WORLD DIE WORKING FOR YOU WHILE YOU DIE OF MORBID OBESITY. I know it's a long name but hey, evil isn't pretty.

In Australia Obesity is a bigger killer than smoking ! 1 in 5 Australians has WAY to much to eat while across the water in Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, people die by the thousands of every day. Now tell me, does this make sense to you ? Like, you're a fat man and your neighbour dies every day and you don' help him ? No no no you do help him, by having a concert "to raise money".

And what really takes the cake for Australians is that bloody boat people debate. Tamils are getting killed and jailed and raped and generally F@$ked up the a$$, so they run away to Indonesia (no a UN signatory of the refugee conversion) and so they have little option but to try and make it across to Australia driven by criminals on shoddy boats over shark infested waters just to reach safety out of their hell. They reach Australian waters after all that and ....

they get put in hot as hell island prisons for years because ... why ? politics of fear, that's why.

As a muslim, I believe that one day I will die, and then I'm gonna be asked by God what I did on earth when this evil was taking place.

Question: Nasser, shit happened, what did you do for it ?
Me: Well, most of the time I was watching Avatar, and then I went to a islamic lecture, and we went out for Pizza afterwords.
Question: and did that help anyone ?
Me: Well I felt better afterwords ! and I gave $5 for the Haiti emergency appeal ?

Seriously, is this as f#&ked an answer as it sounds to me ? Are we really so petty that we've forgotten the obsoleteness of world and of the suffering around us ?

Anyways, I'm going to Christmas Island for a month, I don't expect I'll make any tangible difference but at least seeing this suffering of people may move me into doing something actually worth answering the God questions. like screaming at rallys or spamming politicians.

Quesion: shit happened, what did you do ?

Friday, February 05, 2010

The exposure effect

For the past few weeks I've been staying home a lot because of my looking-for-work status. So whereas before I either worked or studied and was out and about a lot of the time. These days I just sort of do most of my job and house hunting online.

I also surf the web looking out for art and news. Art because of my expensive drug habit of photography, and news because I like news.

So again most of my exposure to the world has been news sites comments and forum entries, which just happen to be filled with ignorant racist islamophobes who rant a continuous stream of hatred and the same old tired anti Islamic rhetoric that was making the rounds 200 years ago. I tried initially to engage with some of those people by trying to correct misunderstandings or debate issues, but it seems most those individuals were so hateful or fearful -or whatever the case may be- they flatly refused to employ any logic, etiquette, consideration etc... It was quite frustrating.

I found that I was reading so much of those websites and thier useless comments and forums that I developed a fear of going out. I thought most people in Australia thought this way. this was ofcourse exacerbated by a racist comment to my sister one day in a shopping center. For a time I was not comfortable in Sydney.

Over the past few days, realizing how decayed I was becoming staying at home like this, I tried to go out, so I'm going to the gym more often, I'm joining my sister in her study sessions at uni, I'm going out and about looking a houses etc... It's done me a world of good because it sort of showed me the other side of the coin, normal decent people who see muslims as they are; people. Who don't hate and don't fear and respect you if you respect them.

It seems the people who haunt the web and who spread the hate and the division are too cowardly to speak their minds out in public so they hide behind nicknames and avatars and congregate in groups online. nice one mayte !

Since then I remembered an interpretation by prominent speaker Ahmad Deedat of an aya
يا أيها المدثر، قم فأنذر"
Translated roughly as

O thou enveloped in thy cloak, Arise and warn!

From Surat Almuddathir.

The historical context of this verse was a command from Allah (swt) to the prophet (pbuh) after his first revelation through the Angel Gabriel. The prophet had come back to his home and was in a state of fear and panic. This verse was telling the prophet his duty.

Shiekh Deedat however, in a fir of genious, interpreted this verse to a representative from the Saudi ministry of religious affairs. He said (roughly) : this verse is to your muslims and arabs ! who this great message and religion of peace and justice which you have the duty to convey the world, instead you are HIDING. COVERING yourselves behind your borders and keeping this message with you, to you Allah says "Oh you covered one, ARISE ! and warn".

It was amazing insight this man had to understand the ponder this verse in this way, and in a way this problem is appearant here in Australia as well, the leaders of the community and shiekhs (not of all them, let's be fair) are hiding in thier ethnic ghettos, covering themselves with petty politics and mud throwing. While muslims are losing sense of what it means are usually caught acting in a way shameful to any muslim, and while non muslims are ignorant of this great message and its potential to heal the world.

Exposure is very important, human communication is very important. Scholars of the old had to balance thier knowledge of this world with the knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence to be able to fairly judge. While -some- of our leaders barely speak english, deeming the world as black and white of Kuffar and Muslimoon. It ain't like that buddy ! go out there and see this world !

What does this have to do with me ? Well I can't be hiding either, I have to be out there understanding my community. Getting comfy with this place in which I'm probably gonna have my kids and die in.

Wallahu a3lam

Monday, January 11, 2010

the mind sponge

Having no job currently, (and even working and stuck in traffic) I tend to think about my identity and why I do the things I do and like the things I like etc...

I realized of late (can I say that ? of late ? meaning recently ?) that alot of what makes me me, is basically cues that I took from TV.

Sure, alot of things I can trace to things my dad said ( "Why does the muslim always hide in the mosque ? why does he not go out and wear a suit and a nice watch and speak logically?") or society (subtle racism of subcontinental indians) or from war fed state propaganda (Iranians are usually the bad guy).

It amazes me however how many times I can trace a certain choice or habit or preconceived notions and values etc ...

One thing I remember vividly is westerns or cowboy movies, where the hero is strong, rough, honest and a chain smoker, as opposed to the deceitful red indians but that's another story.
The cowboy wore jeans.
The cowboy spoke with his gun.
The cowboy's romance is basically women he saves and hookers.

So I always wanted to smoke, that's probably why smoking is so prevalent among arabs.
Also why among arabs until today, a pair of jeans + a denim jacket is stylish.

It's not just American or western movies that skewed my views, I remember during the 70s and 80s egyptian movies were horrendously cheap and commercial. Drinking, promiscuity, low moral values were all the rage back then. I can't count the number of times I saw men with broken hearts go to bars to drown out their sorrows.

This is probably why I like to fill my cup with ice to the brim and fill it with coke, I like the image of the fizzing and the froth etc... I'm surprised I'm not an alcoholic.

If you think about it, TV is basically a machine of unfiltered propaganda of values and truths. Millions of children around the world are left to watch TV unattended because "it keeps them quiet" , which of course it would because it's feeding them a continuous torrent of information.

TV shows, movies, cartoons, adds, sermons at 3am etc... they're all tools that project an image for watchers to follow, it doesn't tell them to, it just does. I'm met Arabs who are pro israeli anti Palesintian, Iraqis who are willing to work for the CIA to spy in Iraq ! Muslims whose highest aspiration is be a movie star or whose most important value is true love.

So yeah. I can't deny it, I've been -to an extent- shaped by TV, I won't have it happen to my kids, once I have kids, I'll be looking over everything they watch.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Every year that passes, I ask myself what I achieved, I remember there were some pretty sad years because of how little I could list, recently alhumdulillah things have been better, got a degree, got a job, got married, learned to be an amature photographer. all khair.

so what about 2009 ?

Highlight ?

1- I fired an employee for the first time, such a rush
2- Left UAE and returned to my beautiful Oz with the family.
3- Got my new camera, Canon 7D, my second wife.

Lowlight ? (I know it's not called lowlight but the only way I can blog is by doing quickly)

1- Quit my job : (

that's it.

Crazy adventures ?

1- had a number of dental emergencies, some of which required a trip to hospital emergency. That was fun.

2- Went to Bahrain.

3- Went to 12 Apostles.

4- Had a full on showdown with a racist guy who called my sister a terrorist in the middle of a shopping center.

Yep, a crazy interesting year. and now it's over, the first decade and all. alhumdulillah no one died and no one got hurt, and now i have Two nieces, i mean i had them before but i wasn't around to see them. and now I can.

So what now ? well it's 1am on Sunday the 3rd October, and i'm sitting here watching ep. 4 season 1 of "The wire", thinking and worrying and stressing about finding myself a job, so i can get myself a house, so i can start on stocking my kitchen and my bookshelf.

I bought a nice new diary today, should be the beginning of a good year inshallah.

good luck with yours