Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

When Evil Strikes


(the cover of the Sydney, Australia, Herald Sun)


(Photograph from the archive of TIME photographer James Nachtwey, You can see his entire collection, and more at Time Magazine)

The killing of innocents is never right, not when it is committed by the US, not when it is committed by our allies, not when it is committed against innocents, never.

I’ve always loved September, the time of new beginnings, new school years, the fresh breath of Autumn, but I awake the morning of September 11 full of sadness. I have sad, intense dreams, and I am conscious, throughout the day, of the horrors we inflict upon one another. It is a day of great sadness.

It is so sad for me that this one time, I am closing the comment sections. We all have to deal with our sadness in our own way.

September 11, 2007 Posted by | Events, News, Political Issues, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Azan Insult

This is from last week’s Arab Times, one of those things I clip because they are interesting and then sometimes I forget. My Kuwait readers will wonder why I am even bothering, maybe this isn’t so interesting, but to me, it is one of those things that illustrate a difference in how we think.

Man Insulted in Azan Row:
Director of an unidentified department of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has filed a complaint with the Andalus Police Station accusing a Kuwaiti man of humiliating him and threatening to cause him harm, reports Al-Rai daily.

A knowledgeable sourse said the man works as a muezzin at a mosque in Sulaibikhyat and the suspect accused him of calling the faithful for prayers earlier than the time assigned by the ministry.

The source added residents of the area had sent letters of complaints to the ministry stressing the muezzin should abide by prayer timings issued by the ministry.

A source added the man is a political activist and has a file at State Security.

The source also said the man visited the director and humiliated him in a very negative manner. The man reportedly called the official on the phone and called him a donkey and threatened to cause him harm.

Here’s what I love – in Kuwait, the muezzins are LIVE! In every other Islamic country in which I have lived, it has been recordings, but here, they are LIVE! One woman told me that their muezzin was fired because at the end of the call to prayer, music started playing, and everyone knew he had left a recording.

Each muezzin starts the call to prayer at a slightly different time, so you hear a chorus of individual voices raising their voices to say “God is great” and to call the people to prayer, a sound as beautiful as the church bells of western countries, which fulfill a similar function. You can hear the sound of the call to prayer here:

And in how many countries would exact time be an issue when calling people to prayer? Life is sweet, living in a country where time to pray is an important issue.

And here is what I find intriguing – in the west, when we call someone a donkey, it is a very mild insult. I have heard that here, being called a donkey is like one of the very worst things you can call a person. Please, local friends, can you tell me why donkey would be such a bad insult?

September 11, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Middle East, Social Issues, Spiritual | 21 Comments