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The good people of Israel November 29, 2006

Posted by Aella in Israel, Sweden.
2 comments

Swedish human rights worker viciously attacked by Jewish extremists in Hebron.

by ISM Hebron, November 18

                                                               

Tove in Israel

“A 19-year old Swedish human rights worker had her cheekbone broken by a Jewish extremist in Hebron today. Earlier the same day at least five Palestinians, including a 3-year-old child, were injured by the settler-supporting extremists, who rampaged through Tel Rumeida hurling stones and bottles at local residents. Palestinian schoolchildren on their way home were also attacked. The Israeli army, which was intensively deployed in the area, did not intervene to stop the attacks.

Tove Johansson from Stockholm walked through the Tel Rumeida checkpoint with a small group of human rights workers (HRWs) to accompany Palestinian schoolchildren to their homes. They were confronted by about 100 Jewish extremists in small groups. They started chanting in Hebrew “We killed Jesus, we’ll kill you too!” — a refrain the settlers had been repeating to internationals in Tel Rumeida all day.

After about thirty seconds of waiting, a small group of very aggressive male Jewish extremists surrounded the international volunteers and began spitting at them, so much so that the internationals described it as “like rain.” Then men from the back of the crowd began jumping up and spitting, while others from the back and side of the crowd kicked the volunteers.

The soldiers, who were standing at the checkpoint just a few feet behind the HRWs, looked on as they were being attacked.

One settler then hit Tove on the left side of her face with an empty bottle, breaking it on her face and leaving her with a broken cheekbone. She immediately fell to the ground and the group of Jewish extremists who were watching began to clap, cheer, and chant. The soldiers, who had only watched until this point, then came forward and motioned at the settlers, in a manner which the internationals described as “ok… that’s enough guys.”

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Saudi girls and their secret love lives November 27, 2006

Posted by Aella in Saudi Arabia, Saudi culture.
38 comments

Found the following article on the site Arab View . It is written by Dr. Maha Al-Hujailan who is a medical researcher at King Khaled University Hospital in Riyadh. The name of the article is “Meeting a Girl’s Emotional and Psychological Needs: Parental Responsibility:

In the past few years, a new and unusual phenomenon has been spreading among girls in public schools, universities, colleges, and sometimes among teachers or between teachers and students. These women develop a feeling of admiration toward each other until they form a platonic relationship. These relationships often evolve into serious and dangerous associations not only emotionally but also physically.

Having this sort of relationships between Saudi girls coming to light lately doesn’t mean that they didn’t exist before. It only indicates that freedom of publicly showing interest among girls is permitted now. History reveals that such relationships among women were present in the Abbasid era but it remained highly secretive.

In our modern world, being exposed and learning from other cultures trying to understand their relationships, values and specifically this type of sexual relations made our girls open to getting attached to individuals from the same gender. There are many factors that cause and create this type of attraction toward the same sex; some of these factors are genetic, some are environmental related to how the girl was brought up socially and psychologically.

Some people believe that separating the two genders is the main cause for such relationships keeping in mind that sexual energy is an instinctive natural desire that each and every person has. And because there are no boys available to interact with these girls and make them experience these feelings, girls end up searching for other girls. However, I don’t totally agree with this theory. The Saudi woman still admits that man is her only way to release her sexual energy even if she had made some attempts with her girlfriend to try and explore it, but this is only considered “childish behavior.

I would like to clarify that sex is not an obsessive topic women talk about in a society like ours, but how is it that love and affection between girls is increasing to an unacceptable degree just like what’s happening now? To me it seems that the nature of the woman — any woman no matter what her status — and her need to feel love boosts her self-confidence, her femininity, and her sexual abilities. These feelings are born easily and very quickly as soon as a student praises her peer’s good looks, personality or character in an unusual way. Then the same student would follow up with a sensational letter that declares her feelings of friendship and sexual desire toward the other girl. What happens is that when the other girl receives the letter and starts reading the compliments and likes it, she starts feeling special and that she’s worthy of love and care. Not to lose these beautiful positive feelings, she agrees to interact using the same language. A strong relationship is then born between the two where the first girl dominates the other. It’s all because she is in need of someone to fulfill her psychological and emotional needs either because she’s lonely, disturbed, or has no confidence in herself. So she seeks someone to be so close to her and listens to her problems. And the relationship is welcomed by the other girl who becomes ecstatic on hearing, on a regular basis, how beautiful and sexy she is! (more…)

Swastika rider November 26, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden.
9 comments

 Managed to take a pic inside Rashid Mall on Friday just before opening. I know that you are allowed to photograph things here here in the kingdom as long as you don’t take pics of people that don’t want to be included but I still feel a little uneasy about it. People are little uptight about cameras from what I have heard. I will still continue taking pictures though.

Inside Rashid Mall, Khobar

Inside Rashid Mall

Swaztika bike

And duh, outside Rashid Mall.

I am really wondering who is the owner of this bike. Is it a hindu, buddhist or  what (since the swaztika is a sacred symbol in these religions)? Or is it someone who is just plainly in love with the ideas of the Nazis? I know this symbol is common in some Asian countries due to their religions but in Europe where I am from, it is mainly associated with Hitler and his men. I am pretty sure you would get arrested for having this on your bike in Sweden (seeeee we too are open minded and tolerant!)…. unless someone actually breaks your bike first.

Teenage boyz of the Eastern Province November 25, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, Saudi culture.
20 comments

It is now winter here according to the local population. Which means it is about 23 degrees celcius. Really freakin’ cold in other words. Most people are now dressed in their winter gear. Many Saudi men and boys have abandonded their white thobe in exchange for either a grey,blue,brown, black or  beige thob. Many young men see this time of the year as a chance to dress in a more non-traditional way and are now dressed in trousers and jumpers a’la hip hop style. Not so cool actually. Most of them doesn’t really seem to know how to combine different items of clothing and the results are more than often a disaster. Their knitted yoyoyo winter hats really make me laugh.  Looks kinda dumb if I may say so since it isn’t actually cold!

There is a lot to be said about teenage boys in Saudi Arabia and one of them is that they are often quite annoying. Aha yes, aren’t all teenage boys annoying? Naa, not like these lot. They travel in packs, stare at women (I mean stare) like sickos (if no man is around), annoy people in shops and are just plain rude and annoying. And most of them are ugly too which could be sorted out by shaving their little bumfluff moustache off.
Of course you meet some boys which have a proper upbringing and treat people with respect but most just don’t.
They must have a seriously twisted upbringing to be acting like this. Is it perhaps because many of them aren’t used to natural contact with females or is it just really bad upbringing? I never saw this kind of behaviour in Lebanon.  I think the Saudis have a huge problem if this is how they are letting their sons act.

The never ending Lebanese story November 21, 2006

Posted by Aella in Beirut, Lebanon.
4 comments

Lebanon’s minister of Industry Pierre Gemayel was assassinated today as he sat in his car in New Jdeideh. According to reports his vehicle was rammed by the Gemayels carassassins’ car before Gemayel was shot at point-blank range as the assassin got out of the car and walked up to him. Pierre Gemayel was a member of the infamous Christian Phalange Party of Lebanon which his grandad (also named Pierre Gemayel) founded in 1936. The Phalangist are believed by many to be among the responsible for the 1982 massacre in the Palestinian refugee camps Sabra and Shatila 

This assasination has heightened the already tense political situation in Lebanon where recently five shia ministers resigned after Lebanese political leaders broke off round table talks without having come to a conclusion to the crisis facing the country.
Saad Hariri, leader of the Future Movement and son of the late Rafik Hariri broke of a news conference after hearing that Gemayel had been shot and hailed him as a brother and promised to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Need I go on?

Another tragic assassination in Lebanon and surely not the last one. During the war on Lebanon by the Israelis I was devastated but apparantly the war was nothing but an interruption and a disturbance for the Lebanese in their bickering amongst each other.
When will they stop fighting and killing each other in this small but amazing country? Probably never. It is like someone combined the crooks and plots of the movies Street Fighter and all the Batman movies and made a country with a screwed up political system.

So many Lebanese dissapoint me greatly. At the Mövenpick lunch the other day I sat next to a Christian ex-colleague of my husband. We can call this man eeh, Hitler. As we started talking about the war of 2006 he exclaimed that it was Terrible! Yes, I said, With all the bombings and killing, really terrible. Ah, he goes, The bombings weren’t so bad? How do you mean, I said, What about all those villages in the South? What villages? Only shias live there, he said with a laugh. We all laughed in my neighbourhood when we heard of it….said lil Hitler. Who is up for dessert?
Needless to say, my jaw dropped when he expressed his views on the war. Unfortunatly his way of thinking is not uncommon in Lebanon.

When I lived there I often met people that thought that other groups deserved to be kicked out of Lebanon or even be killed. In my love for the people of Lebanon and due to my naive outlook on them I always argued with whoever spewed hate on the other side, whatever side it might be. I  am really dissapointed in them and I think the chances of the Lebanese living peacefully toghether is as great as the Israel-Palestine conflict to be solved.

Down came the rain November 19, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
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For the second time since we came here it is now raining. It rained as we crossed the bridge to Bahrain the other day and it is raining now.. The weather is really great. The sky is covered in a grey soft blanket of clouds and it is about 18-20 degrees. So, so nice! I used to really dislike rain and grey skies but now it feels really good and it kinda gives me a home feeling. I should go swimming or something!
Heard cats wailing as it started to rain. They probably hate this weather. It was like, wwwiiaaaaaauu let us iiiiin wwwwiiiiaaaaaaaauu!!
The other day we saw a man at a petrol station with a scarf tied around his head. It reminded me of some Beirutis in the winter. I guess he thought it was cold hehe (23 degrees). I am actually looking forward to the winter here. Let’s see what I have to say about winter here in a few months..

 

Bahrain food trip! November 18, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia.
2 comments

Yeezzz I found my chutney in Bahrain. We went to Geant and heey they had a lot of things not to be found in Geant Khobar. I picked up the last 3 jars of spicy mango chutney (sooorrry) and also found wholewheat flour and hahaha spreadable Lurpak! Yes!
Missed Lurpak since Beirut and I have only been able to find Flora for my sammiches here. So I guess that means that the Saudis are still boycotting the Danes or what? Interesting since they sell other Danish stuff here. Is Lurpak the only thing people recognise as Danish?

Had a loooong lunch at Bahrains Mövenpick yesterday and aaah do they have a magnificent buffet or what? All kinds of cold cut meats, sallads, vegetables, fresh fish cooked at the place, salmon, oysters, mussles, crab, any kind of fruit you want, lots of different warm dishes (didn’t check them out), this aaaaand that and not to forget the sushi. They did actually have a few things that I could eat being pregnant and all so I was very pleased. The dessert area is one to die for if you have a sweet tooth. Loads of cakes, creme brulee, cheesecake, arabic sweets, fresh fruits of any kind, ice cream, a dude that makes warm crepes for you and the 2 chocolate fountains where you can dip marshmallows, strawberries or other pieces of fruit. Wish I woke up with that buffet next to me evey morning aaaah (do I sound like a fat n greedy person or what!) and I am not even usually fond of the idea of buffets

Mango chutney! November 16, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
2 comments

There is quite a large Indian expat community here in Khobar but do you think I can find mango chutney cus of that?? Hell no. So what is this? Is it like a European idea that Indians eat chutney or what? I been to Giant Stores, Geant, Carrefour (which sucked yesss) and Tamimi and still haven’t found anything but uuh some kind of Indian pickle jars. I need my mango chutney (spicy)! So where the heck can I find it? There is an area in downtown Khobar which is full of Indian,Bangladeshi,Fillipino and Pakistani (I am guessing the nationalities) shops. Maybe I can find something there. All I can find in the large supermarkets is loads of spices and 15 millions types of prawn crackers.
We are off to Bahrain tomorrow so I guess I could check out their supermarkets too.

Blogspot blocked?? November 15, 2006

Posted by Aella in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia.
8 comments

I have been trying to access some blogs on Blogspot lately without any success and it really pissed me off. There are plenty of good blogs there and I just don’t want to be without them. So Blogspot is probably blocked and I really don’t know why. Aaaanyway, as we say in Sweden, shame on the person that gives up, today I found this lil treasure http://www.inblogs.net/ which helped me access the blogs I wanted to check out ( one of them  www.lifeinbahrain.blogspot.com). Really interesting and hilarious blog. This sentence just cracked me up “playing really loud Bedouin music, that sounds like a soundtrack of a really fucked up and twisted horror movie” (posted on the 30th of nov 2005).

Please pass on the inblogs.net  link to anyone having problems accessing Blogspot.

Domestic workers in Saudi November 13, 2006

Posted by Aella in Saudi Arabia.
2 comments

Have just started a quest in order to find out how to get a full time maid here in Saudi Arabia. Doesn’t seem to be the easiest thing around. As I searched the net for any info I bumped into some seriously depressing reading.
http://hrw.org/reports/2004/saudi0704/7.htm

http://www.sptimes.com/2002/webspecials02/saudiarabia/day3/story1.shtml

And of course there is a lot more to read. I mean how sick can people get? Forbidding maids to leave the house, sexually abuse them, beat them, giving them crap food and letting them work 24-7. Did they think they bought a person or hired one? And who do they think they are themselves treating people like this? Really sickens me.