Friday, February 27, 2009

Baghdad, Saif, and Ali.

This entry is being written to the sounds of AloBaghdad Radio, please support them.

I realized that I can only write when I'm angry and feeling isolated, otherwise my words are just fluff thrown in the face of falsely uplifting winds. In that sense, Doha could be the perfect place for this blog to rise up from, as it is a city always ready to depress and destroy me.

However, I have to realize that these are still ultimately privileged confines, and no mental anguish of mine can equate the death and destruction facing millions of people in Iraq, or Palestine, or any other part of the world struggling to come out from under the boots of colonialism. My stress is also incomparable to the dehumanization and abuse facing hundreds of thousands of migrant workers that clean and build the plush aestheticism pretending to be culture in these parts of the world.


My dreams are regularly graced with the presence of Baghdad and all her majesty. All the details are there. The proud tired faces of her residents, the talking walls of magical homes with all their stories and dirty secrets, and the struggling river Tigris as it winds through the city, carefully tending to her wounds, and consoling her broken soul.

Baghdad is a city, despite being left alone with her legs forced wide open by thousands of her relocating residents, still gives strength without prejudice and discrimination. Iraqis, around the world, and whether they know it or not, are fed dignity and respect every day by the city many can't wait to forget. As a mother mourning the murder of her soul, Baghdad becomes more vigilant in her love for all those that drank from her hands, no matter how hard they have tried to sell her off, burn her, or cover up the traces of her love by white washing themselves with hype and pipe dreams.

Despite my unwavering support for Baghdad, including organizing to oppose the killing and torture of the city I love the most, I am still ashamed to revert to her flowery feet, even if I'm to return and beg for forgiveness. How will she welcome me? Won't she ask me where I have been during the most difficult of days? Will she laugh at the effect of my attempts to stand in the way of those trying to pillage her pride? If I know anything about Baghdad, I know that she will welcome me right into the expanding basateen (groves) of her beauty.

Ali & Saif

But at times, I wish Baghdad was harsher with her citizens, especially those that continue to flaunt her failures as signs of accomplishment and liberation. There are two such characters here, despite their good intentions and complete irrelevancy to the political developments in Iraq, who upset me the most with their reactionary repulsive rants. They are Ali and Saif, two friends of mine, who need to be checked, or chucked.

Yesterday, in the parking lot of one Doha's desperate hotels, and just outside an American fast food chain, of which I shamefully ate not only once, but twice, a conversation took place. A fitting place for some selling out to take place, and Ali and Saif took advantage of the surroundings to do so with flying colors.

They were telling me their thoughts on Palestine, of which I don't think they can name three cities, not including Tel Aviv ofcourse. They were telling me how the Palestinians deserve what they got, and that I support Palestine because I didn't live in Baghdad, missing out on how Palestinians got treated better by Saddam than most Iraqis. They are referring to the tokenistic handouts given by Saddam to Palestinians, either in the form of free housing or admission to Iraqi universities. Palestinian support for Saddam is clouded, corrupt, and confused.

At best, their analysis is infantile and reactionary, not taking into account the systems of global power at play, that have kept Palestinins and Iraqis living under the feet of Israel and Saddam, as they worked hand in hand, regarldess of their intentions, to destroy the Arab world, and in particular, its youth. The former with bullets and bombs, and the latter with blazing bouts of empty promises, torture, and futures full of nothing.

I am not surprised by their ignorance, seeing the putrid social class from which they emerge, elite, educated and eager to earn. However, I am most disappointed because they both show signs of progressive thought on other issues, less clouded with emotion and their daddies' commentary, so I choose not to give up on them, nor on my role, to talk to youth and get them to move before they are moved on themselves.

In the meantime, and until next time, I will go to respond to Tiffin's reply.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In response.

After a peaceful rally and demonstration was held by Students Against Israel Apartheid on February 12, the York University administration banned the student group without trial or jury. This act of intimidation comes within a systemic response from many universities that are trying to scare students from holding Israeli Apartheid Week on their campuses. I decided to write Vice President of Students Robert J. Tiffin ( a letter telling him what I thought of his decision to suspend the group for thirty days, fine it $1,000, and to fine a Palestinian student from Gaza another $250 for her role in organizing the demonstration:

Dear VP Tiffin,

My name is Ahmed Habib, I am an alumnus of York University and a former Vice President at the York Federation of Students. I dare you to read this letter, and not throw it away after realizing who it is from.

When I graduated, and in front of my traveling family, former YU President Lorna Marsden refused to shake my hand for what I can only assume to be my political activism at Keele Campus.

I am certain that you also remember me for the countless times that you tried to intimidate me by sending me warning letters about holding events in Vari Hall, and by allowing the dehumanization by racist students against me and others to go unpunished.

It is with no surprise then, that I read your latest assault on members of SAIA for exercising their democratic right in the face of troubling complicity between York University and the racist Apartheid ways of the state of Israel.

I know that you will respond to me and tell me that York is neutral in what you like to term the "Israeli-Palestinian" conflict. However, I am certain that even for a man of your political sleaze, you do not believe a word of that argument.

I refer you to the latest bridge being built between York and Apartheid Israel, a new course being offered on campus: HUMA 4821: Culture, Society and Values in Israel.

The objection here isn't the nature of the course per se, although Zionism is internationally recognized as racism, but the fact that it is being taught by a former Cabinet member of former Israeli PM Menachim Begin.

Amongst Begin's many accomplishments during his reign was the illegal occupation of Lebanon in 1982, which caused the death of more than 10,000 civilians, including the atrocities committed in the Sabra and Shatilla massacres.

Perhaps, the new course could be offered free of charge to Shahira Abu Roudeina, one of the survivors of that fateful day when militias under the watchful eyes of Ariel Sharon and Menachim Begin carried out despicable acts including disemboweling pregnant women and cutting off the heads of their unborn babies. Here is part of Ms. Abu Rudeina's testimony as part of the legal case launched in Belgium to indict Israeli officials:

"On Thursday 15 September, after sunset, the Israeli air force carried out some raids against us. We lived in the western part of the camp, and when the shelling started drawing nearer, we – my husband, my children and I – went to my parents’ home at the entrance of the camp, to see where they wanted to go. But we all stayed at my parents’ house until 7 pm, at which time, seeing as the shelling kept intensifying, my sister went to see what was happening outside. They immediately shot at her. She shouted, “Daddy!” and didn’t come back. Hearing her cry, my father went out. He saw her and said, “Our little girl is dead.” Then they shot at him, and he fell. The whole camp was lit up by light flares, and none of us could go outside. We stayed locked in like that until 2 am. Then we understood that there had been a massacre. "

I wonder if Professor Arye Naor will be discussing these moments in class, or if he will just use the academic space granted to him by you to whitewash the crimes he was complicit in.

Note that Ariel Sharon was invited to speak in Canada by none other than York University's own fundraising genius Julia Koschitzky. The connections between York and Israeli crimes are many and disgusting, I am sure you know about and uphold many of them willingly.

As for your suggested disciplinary actions against SAIA, I was distressed to see that they are completely in line with the racist attempts of Zionist organizations to silence anti-Apartheid activism on campuses worldwide. I was utterly disgusted by your cheeky suggestion to Hala Farah to write a letter of public apology to the York community for disturbing classes.

You should apologize for supporting the killing of her family, for supporting those that deny her the right to return home, and you definitely should apologize for trying to intimidate her along the classic lines of anti-Arab racism.

I remember an incident at a meeting between us where you erupted in anger because I kept calling you, "VP Tiffin" as opposed to "Rob". You suggested that by addressing you with the former I was dehumanizing you.

By continuing the display of racism and intimidation that will form your legacy at York, you have proven that you are neither interested in humanity, nor are you fit to deal with humans destroyed by racist regimes like Israel.

It is time you step down. You will always be remembered as a tool for supporting Apartheid, and for ignoring pressing issues on campus like safety and accessibility so you can dedicate the bulk of your energies to supporting Israel.

As well, please say hi to President Shoukri, who apparently likes to smear my reputation cowardly when I'm not there, and your assistant Sylvia Schippke, who learned how to deal with students during her reign at Boeing, one of the world's largest weapons manufacturers.

Disgusted, Ahmed Habib

---- I will be back to post more tomorrow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A bit More.

I can't write when people are around, in this blog or anywhere else.

There is an intense vulnerability that is exposed when thoughts are put into words. It is an agonizing process of extracting hope from death, and I am still uncomfortable sharing this exposing exercise with the eyes of onlookers. As such, my blog has remained empty the last few days to make way for the hordes of friends and loved ones that have completed my circle.

Despite my virtual return, I feel that there are still so many things in my heart that I can not share. They have been building up with anxiety and reflection for years, like the dust that collects on the backs of ancient graves. These deeply buried secrets are heavy at times, feeling like weights chained to my feet. But at times, they offer me a sense of solitude and sanctuary that I yearn for in a world filled with intense invasive incursions into my soul.

My first loves, because as we grow, we fall in love for the first time over and over again. My weakest moments of greed, lust, privilege, and self absorption. My most fear filled fallouts, shaken by the scorn of an angry loved one, or beaten down by the brutality of relentless destruction. My lowest moments of self destruction, escapism, and disregard for the world around me, all remain hidden like scars under bursting bangs of hair.

I have difficulty serving these items in my daily dose of diasporic diatribe. I choose to hold on to these memories, because, they are like the beautiful rust on an aging piece of jewelery, left somewhere under my grandmother's feet. In a world so perversely shaped by individualism, I would rather have these as my possessions than the meaningless trophies that people spend so much of their energy to pursue. I refuse to latch on to the material gains close to so many people's plastic hearts. I have no illusions about how our wealth is built on the back of poor voiceless people around the world.

Here in Doha, and throughout the capitalist West, cars are extensions of men's flailing confidence in their own driving abilities. Technological toys tantamount to total trash tease their tastes, and give them a sense of fake accomplishment. Here in Doha, and throughout the Gulf, you are judged by what you wear, and how you treat your hair. And not by what and where you work, and how you treat your maid.


There is sporadic graffiti throughout Do-ha. In Toronto, graffiti, one of the four elements of Hip Hop, and a complex art form that is responsive to the misery of marginalized communities, is considered a crime. Because, in Toronto, crimes are judged not by their impact on people, but by their effect on property and matters material. Broken windows are considered to be more of a serious offense than broken bones. As such, our communities might be void of vandals, but are still rife with wife beaters and racist cops.

Just outside the main gate to our house, there is a huge map of India sketched onto an unfinished wall with a thick Cross placed in the middle of the drawing. I suspect it is our neighbor, an Anglican priest from Mumbai, recently arrived, grappling with the rawness of corporate Islam, the region's official religion, that decorated the design. I wonder what his reaction will be to Islamic scrawlings on the wall of his home in India or here. I would test the young priest, but religion is a backwards backbreaking affair, infested with mysogyny and elitism, no matter what stripe your faith is.

Just around the corner, the word 'sex' is spray painted hastily against the heated concrete walls of our gated community. It is a word that you see written everywhere. Young men, uncertain of how to deal with their hormonal hysteria, resort to cheap thrills on the net or by flicking through the parade of porn populating satellite programming. Sex, or just the act of love here, and throughout the world, is tempered largely by status and style, as opposed to being the product of trusts, times, and total encapsulation into one another's worlds.

There was a beautiful piece of grafitti, around the corner, that had two flags, one Palestinian and the other Croatian, embracing each other, with the words, "Together" tagged underneath them. But that has since been consumed by the tidal of wave of construction defining Do-ha, and the Khaleej on which it sits.

Driving through the city, I noticed some Arabic graffiti with the word Gaza in it, hastily painted over to cover up, I assume, any dissent or reference to the struggle of oppressed people, no matter where they are. Other graffiti gems that I gazed over included, "Za3tar", "Abu Sameem", and a slew of randon names put up by people desperate for expression and identity in a world not accepting of both.

References to musical bands are also common. I have seen, "Lamb of God" , "Daft Punk" , "Tupac" , and "System of a Down" scribbled on different walls and fences. I will leave it to the reader to decide whether this sort of grab for culture is conducive to change, or is part in parcel of the wave of Americanization sweeping through the Arab world. But, having that said, I identify more with the art of Tupac, Lamb, and System than with the empty echos of Arabic pop music attacking our minds and ears.

But, the most surprising and refreshing discovery I have made throughout my visits over the years, has been a small forgetabble alleyway just around the corner from my house. It is a route commonly taken by students on their way to some highly esteemed private schools in the city. On each side of the tight walkway, walls are covered with Anti-American sentiment, a simmering but sedated emotion running through the veins of young people in the global South. Everything from expletives against the USA to more complex demands from disenfranchised kids decorate the otherwise boring route to nowhere.

Here in Doha, these writings on the wall are my closest friends. Unlike the elite, these etchings are desperate, isolated, and critical of their surroundings. Unlike the rich, the smatterings of graffiti decorating the drama, are genuine and striving for truth. I must admit, that my eyes see the scribbles on the wall in a bigger presence than in which they really exist. But if I follow the neon lights and women in tights, then I will be part of the beast I fear the most: complicity.

Until next time, stay strong like Iraqi mothers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Here and now.

I always like to visualize my stress. Crumbling mountains into the sea or agonizing sweaty overweight sit ups come to my mind when my mind starts to wrestle with itself. Seeing the stress allows me to think of quick and clever escape routes to tranquility, no matter how artificial or temporary these getaways may be.

In many ways, I love stress. In Do-ha, stress keeps you awake and warm under the relentless and aggressive tactics of air conditioning units and their operators. In Do-ha, stress keeps you awake and alert in the face of mind numbing innuendo spewing from loud TV sets and even louder TV pets: the viewers.

But my stress isn't limited to my immediate locale. It extends in a far reaching drain-bow that spans several cities and skips numerous time zones. For the purposes of strength and agility, I will limit my reflections to the city I hate to love: Toronto.


The most feverish news coming out of the Tee-dot (alias for Toronto) is how much I miss my other half: Saron. There are few words in the world that can describe how much I love her, and even worse, there are much less words to describe how lonely I am without her.

For anyone who has met Saron, there is little that I can say about how much of a beautiful kween she is, as I'm sure most of you are either in love, or in admiration, with her as well. For those that haven't met her, I will try to to use my virtual canvas to describe her, knowing there is no literary movment in the English language that can capture all of her essence.

Saron, or Susu, or Tumtumo, is a world of strength and dignity held together by a beauty hand crafted by Habasha gods. She is a woman who has smashed every obstacle, and, along the way, opened up spaces for the most marginalized of youth to seek their own liberation. She is a mental and spiritual mountain towering above oppression, and in return, acting as a beacon for her community and beyond to guide voiceless hordes of youth right into the halls of power.

Despite all her heavenly traits, Saron is a humble down to earth girl that has a heart bigger than all of the world and its neighbors. Her heart beats step by step with the pace of progress made by others, and when they stop moving forward, her heart pauses to resist. She is gracious and generous with her love and concern, and is universal in her appreciation for community and belonging.

I have never known a love like this. A kiss on her cheek sends me straight into the bluest and clearest seas of ecstasy, where I am content to live the rest of my life. I see Baghdad in her eyes and here the gunfire of freedom fighters with every word that she speaks. I lose myself in her hair, a crown woven from fire, perfectly nestled on the cutest of heads. I exist off her dreams and die with every one of her disappointments. She inspires me to fight, write, and light the skies on fire. She holds my head strongly against the ground, where the sounds of her footsteps sound like knocks on the gateways to life.

I have never known separation to be so agonizing. I am haunted by her absence, even when I am surrounded by dozens of friends. I ache for her touch, yearn for her voice in every waking moment of my daze. It is for her that I venture here to start this career, whatever it may bring. I want to build her a palace from Iraqi water and Ethiopian clay, and spend my days braiding her hair, and washing her feet. But, as I stare at this screen, with only me and my tears separating me from these words, I am sobered by the distance between us.

I am thankful for her patience, and all her support. But I am concious of where I may have to abort my mission. No money or status in the world could equal a minute of being lost in her love. Even if I tried, I can only survive without my heart for so long, seeing I left it with her, somewhere in her back pocket, before I left.

This is stress not made of impatience and greed. This is stress that breaks my bones and burns my eyes. I miss Saron, and hope you can tell her that Ahmed is the luckiest boy from Baghdad. Full Stop.

Alma Matters

No matter how far I travel, I can never wander far enough to escape the day to day details of York. I graduated from the third largest university in Canada several years ago, but the stench of Zionism which is synonymous with York U keeps bringing me back. How can I disregard my priviledge as a student, or alumni, to fight against support for Israel, when I know silence means complicity in filling Palestinian graves with dead babies.

York, since I met it, has been an institutional hub for upholding the racist Apartheid criminal ways of the world's most notorious hijack state: Israel. In the weeks that I have been gone, my friends, or more accurately, my diasporic family, have continued to organize for a Boycott of Israeli Universities right in the heart of York's Zionist infestation.

I gain so much strength from their courage to face the racist mysogynistic bullying tactics of spoiled kindergarten fascists acting in the name of Hillel or the Hasbara fellowship. I know that many of these racist Zionist students have served in the Israeli army, perversely named a Defence Force, and that deep in their hearts, they wish they can physically degrade Palestinian students and their supporters.

I look forward to this year's Israeli Apartheid Week, an educational and organizing campaign, now held in 4o+ cities across the world. I am honored to know that it started in Toronto, and that it now constitutes a serious threat to the monolithic mass of lies emerging out of Israeli propogandists that their country is a democracy. Israel is only a democracy for the racist settlers that claim their home on the bodies of dead Palestinian villages, whether they are in Tel Aviv or Hebron.

My postings will bring you updates of the Week, set to take place between March 1 and March 9. Please visit their website: for more information.

The Gulf

I think it's fitting that the name of the area I live in can also mean a large abyss between two people or groups. Not only is there a gulf between me and Saron's feet, but there is a Gulf between me and the people I meet here.

I am the luckiest boy from Baghdad not only for falling in the hands of a perfect love, but also for the open ended amount of love and support I get from my beautiful family. Hadeel, my sister and soulmate, is an ocean of love and support. Aseel, my other sister and role model, despite her diasporic sentence in New Jersey, always makes me feel like I am watched over and accounted for in these heavy seas of exile. As for my parents, Kassim and Jinan, I have never seen parents more loving and caring. To them, I owe everything, and I dedicate anything that I have done, or will ever do.

On Censorship

Although these blog posts are supposed to be open windows into the soul of a pissed off Iraqi, I must warn my readers of filters in place. There are three kinds of censorship at play here: internal, external, and just simple absent mindedness.

Internally, I limit my outbursts at people as to not lose their friendship. There is something about people's ego that makes written criticisms even harder to accept. Maybe it is because the critique can be read over and over again, as opposed to a verbal lashing that eventually melts into the cocophony of nothingess. But, do not fear, I would rather have no friends, than be chummy with people whose attitudes and beliefs disgust me.

Externally, I am concious of my surroundings and the effect that my words could have on the futures of loved ones around the world. For all those silenced depressed and marginalized voices in the Gulf, you know what I mean.

Absent mindedness is an unavoidable symptom of stress, and so I apologize for missing out on moments that have deep impacts on my soul.

After all, these words are only descriptors for a language only understood by my heart and mind.

Tomorrow, we meet my friends in Qatar.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Today and Tomorrow

Today's post is tomorrow's post. Fatigue victimized the rant.

Monday, February 16, 2009

here and there

It's been two weeks since I packed up my remains and boarded an Emirates Airlines flight straight to do-buy. Although fourteen days have passed since my escape from Toronto, my heart and mind have remained stuck somewhere along the 10,000+ km route that I took to end up right here in the newest Khaleeji city-to-be: doha.

The Flight

As a person with a disability, air travel is always a stressful, dehumanizing, and painful affair. This time was no different. From the first approach to the counter, I can see the perplexion on the faces of employees waiting to check me in. After assuring them that I am mentally fit to travel alone, the jousting for accessibility begins. I was informed that I had to take a seat wedged somewhere between two rows, an impossibility for someone of my size, especially seeing I am a "carry on" passenger. (the term used for people who cannot walk to their seat) My requests for a seat change were received with a cold shrug from one of the managers responsible for herding people onto the flight. After a stern and slightly louder protest from myself, a more senior official with the airlines was able to 'miraculously' change my seat to a front row.

Boarding the flight is always the most agonizing part. I have to be lifted for my chair onto a flimsy and extremely narrow "aisle chair" that is then difficultly pushed to my seat, where I have to be lifted again. I was really lucky in that the two young men that carried me were caring and concerned for my safety. Usually, there is a thin line between the way I'm carried and they way luggage is thrown into the belly of the plane.

As I was being dragged through the aisles, Mersedeh, the head flight attendant on Emirates Air to Dobuy on February 2nd, turned to me and spoke. I thought that she would say something to alleviate my fears and concerns. Instead she reminded me of some airline regulation that would ban me from taking the flight if I needed help during the flight. She was referring to how I would use the washroom during the twelve hour direct flight out of Canada. "Thanks!" I blurted out in her face. She rolled her eyes at me, and walked away, shaking her head to fellow crew members.

Throughout the flight, I was nestled in between an overweight Palestinian man from Gaza, whim I felt a natural affinity to, and an aisle ripe with kids and food carts smashing into my head everytime I fell asleep. My entertainment portal failed to work throughout the flight, and I was left to my active internal life to keep me entertained in the skies.


I was thirsty and desperate to pee when I arrived in the newly built lavish, yet eerily empty, terminal in dobuy. I was happy to see that three of my closest friends were waiting for me in the arrival halls, and after I spotted them from within the baggage reception area, I knew that liberation was near.

With a wheelchair, there is always some Taxi drama, and it is important to note here, that despite all the larger than life developments in dubai, there are only two accessible taxis in the entire United Arab Emirates, one of which was broken down that night, and the other was out on some run deep in the concrete jungles of plastic city.

We managed to squeeze into some non accessible van, and were reminded by an Emarati cop that Iraqis are treated like gold in the UAE. The outburst by the officer was a response to our disappointment in service. The officer must have forgotten that prior to Emarati support for the destruction of Iraq, dobuy was nothing more than a boring little dot on the map of the Earth.

From the cab, I was immediately inundiated with the political economy of the UAE. Desperate, oppressed faces of Asian workers dotted the streets of luxury. However, news of capitalist collapse in the Emirate warmed my heart to see that justice sometimes comes in weird and unexpected ways.

Ahmed, Hamdy, and Omar assured me that "Dubai will never fail," although with differing enthusiasm. I am thankful for their hospitality and their presence across the Gulf is always a strong reassurance that I am not alone.

At Hamdy's, I got to meet my two dear friends Basma and Mays. They are two beautiful strong Iraqi women forging their ways on their own conditions. As well, Sarmad and Naseer took me through the night with engaging conversations about Iraq, its destruction, and its future, or lack thereof.

The next day, I went to a photo shoot with Mays and Basma, who both work in the fields of promotion and beauty respectively. It was a promotional shoot for a new government authority mandated with addressing issues of inequity, inaccessibility, and social exclusion. Finally! I will keep you updated on the status of their development, or lack thereof.

Eventually, I met up with Hamdy, Sarmad, and Ahmed again at the seaside surroundings of the Jumairah Beach Residences (JBR). South African steakhouses, Starbucks, and fake Mexican food decorated the streets hugging the shores of the Gulf. Interestingly, there was great street art that was also featured on the coastal strip. But all in all, aesthetic beauty was doused with a great sense of oppression and colonial culture.

My jet lag forced me to sleep through most of our time at Trader Vic's, an after work hangout for the hordes of underqualified and overpaid British trash that Dubai loves to accomodate so much. I made my way to the airport, where the trials and tribulations of anti-access air travel whisked me off to Doha, where I post my blog from today.

Al Khor

A few kilometres outside of Doha, the relentless onslaught of sand dunes and rocky roads offer a sense of humility to a city that is growing faster and faster as each day passes by. We ventured out to the coastal area one day after I arrived to spend the night at Hussein's coastal getaway. A few tents, a huge fireplace, and an unlimited supply of hospitality were too difficult to turn away despite the intense sense of jetlag looming over my huge head.

Moayad brought his keyboards with him, and his musical talent kept us magically awake till the early hours of the morning. My "Diesel Medley" (a collection of dirty Iraqi songs) was a huge hit that night, and I was blessed to be surrounded with so many loved ones and great friends. Another great hit was the Mendy, a local term for food cooked underground, buried deep in the sand. Mustafa, my neighbor and dear friend, was a tremendous host and his hard work paid off in the most delicious of ways.

The beautiful beachy sunrise of next morning, however, shed light on the horrific experience of hearing young Iraqis talk about the destruction of their country. First, it began with a tirade of reactionary hate against Muntadhar Al Zaidi, the brave young journalists, who hurled his shoes at war criminal George Bush. "He is an embarassment!" or "Bush saved Iraq!" were just some of the disgusting comments hurled at me. I couldn't believe the audacity of these kids to support the killing of millions while they lived plush priviledged pathetic lives here in Doha.

However, it would be unfair, for me to point to these jokers without making reference to a wider context of apathy and self colonization that defines the Arab youth in the gulf, and i suspect, throughout the Arab world. People here are amazed with the efficiency of Wal Mart checkouts and are inspired by the way American police oppress young Arab delinquents there. Arab youth here, equipped with unintelligent business degrees from the West can't wait to sell their souls and the Arab world to Bechtel or the highest bidder. Arab youth join with their Afrikaan and British friends in dehumanizing migrant workers. Arab youth shudder at identifying with poorer Yemeni, Palestinian, or Sudanese youth. Instead, they seek comfort in the confines of a posh gym or a pretty bar. Arab youth are neither Arab nor youth anymore. They are dirty old white men.


So much in Toronto keeps me busy, especially missing Saron, my next post will revisit some unfinished business there and reflect on things that might be unfolding in a city that my friend Hani calls so fittingly: a sewer.