Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

‘Some Just Like to Hate’

I am receiving hateful e-mails; e-mails claiming Barack Obama is really Muslim, and that Muslims are trying to take over America. Sometimes I wonder how well my friends really know me? Sometimes I wonder how well I know my friends, that they would be so nice and kind as I know them to be, and so rabid in their hate-filled beliefs?

When I found this article today in AOL News it comforted me . . . that this round of Anti-Islam is no where near so mindless and destructive as the hatred of the Catholics, of the Mormons, of the Jews. I can only hope that this too, shall pass.

I work at changing perceptions one person at a time. The most common question I get about living in Jordan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait is “Weren’t you scared?” and I laugh, and point out that the crime rate in Pensacola is much higher, and that the risks of my walking alone in any of those countries was much less than here.

I tell them about my time with women in those countries, the many kindnesses I received, the fun we had working and playing together. They know I am religious. It puzzles them that I can find being around people so different from me comfortable. I tell them how we share values, how being around religious women from Qatar is easier than being around non-believing American women. It’s the stories that make the difference. I can understand why Jesus spoke so often in metaphors. You have to find some way to explain that people can understand, some way they can visualize and connect to what may seem alien and strange.

Andrea Stone
Senior Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Aug. 19) — Are Muslims the new Jews? Or Irish Catholics? Perhaps Mormons? Or are they really the war on terror’s Japanese?

Religious experts and historians say: all of the above.

The still-unfolding controversy over plans to build an Islamic center near ground zero is just the latest chapter in a long saga of religious and ethnic misunderstanding that experts say goes back to the nation’s earliest days.

Fear of foreigners dates to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which were aimed at French immigrants suspected of disloyalty, said American University historian Allan Lichtman. “Then it was the Irish, the Germans, and the Catholics, and the Jews,” he said. “These waves of xenophobia are as American as apple pie unfortunately.”

Despite the appeal of blaming the overheated rhetoric over the dispute in lower Manhattan on the still raw emotions left over from the Sept. 11 attacks, antipathy toward Muslims predates the furor around the proposed Park51 Islamic center.

A Gallup Poll conducted late last year found 43 percent of Americans admit to feeling some prejudice toward followers of Islam. That’s more than twice the number who feel that way about Christians, Jews or Buddhists.

Acts of vandalism against mosques are rising. Plans to build new ones sprout not-in-my-backyard protests and even calls to outlaw them. Muslim women complain that bans on head scarfs trample their religious rights. In Florida, congressional candidate Allen West, who has been endorsed by Sarah Palin, has said Islam is not a religion but “a totalitarian theocratic political ideology.”

Blogs such as Stop Islamization of America and Creeping Sharia have helped lay the foundation for the controversy. And the culture war promises to grow even hotter. A fundamentalist Christian pastor who describes Islam as “of the devil” has called for an “International Burn a Quran Day” to mark the ninth anniversary of 9/11 next month. A more mainstream minister, Franklin Graham, was booted from a prayer service at the Pentagon, where Muslim prayer is welcome, after he called Islam “evil.”

Yet is any of this new? While nearly one in five believe, incorrectly, that Barack Obama is a Muslim, this is not the first time a president has been suspected of lying about his religion. Anti-Semites and Nazi sympathizers spread false rumors in the 1930s that Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a mainline Episcopalian, was Jewish.

The latest debate reveals “the dark underbelly of the American psyche,” said Boston University religion professor Stephen Prothero, author of “God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter.” “We keep imagining that we’ve outgrown our religious bigotry and we haven’t. It keeps getting tested for each new religious group.”

Everything old is new again

Scholars liken today’s Muslim bashing to similar episodes in American history. In the 19th century, the nativist Know-Nothing Party wanted to prevent immigrants, especially Irish Catholics, from coming to America. Prejudice against Mormons forced them to flee west to Utah. Anti-Semitism spawned lynchings as, of course, did racism.

In 1924, Congress clamped down on immigration from eastern and southern Europe — home to such “undesirables” as Italians and Jews — as well as all of Asia. And after the attack on Pearl Harbor, more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast were forced into internment camps for the duration of World War II.

Today’s debate over the mosque “is very mild compared to some of these previous episodes,” said John Green, a University of Akron political scientist who studies religion and politics. He notes that religion, ethnicity and race are often conflated to produce a conflict between new groups and old groups.

“Each of these episodes has its unique circumstances,” he said, “but they appear to be most severe when the unpopular group is linked to national security and the definition of the nation. 9/11 is a good example and many of these episodes were associated with wars. Other were linked to other crises like state rights, civil rights, immigration and communism.”

Louise Cainkar, a Marquette University sociologist, sees similarities to anti-German sentiment during World War I and against the Japanese in World War II but says neither were as “strong or pervasive” as the feelings about Muslims. The only thing that comes close, she said, was the anti-Catholic movement of the 19th century that lingered in a less-virulent form until 1960, when presidential candidate John F. Kennedy had to affirm publicly that he would take no orders from the pope.

Religion and politics have often mixed in America, with uneven results. After 9/11, President George W. Bush rejected the formula that Islam equaled terrorism and spoke out loudly in favor of religious tolerance. In the current debate, political rhetoric has ranged from far right to moderate middle to wishy-washy to impassioned.

But Prothero was struck by two reactions “by politicians who should know better” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Both men oppose the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan and both are Mormons.

“It’s unconscionable and frankly shocking that any Mormon would speak on this issue the way Romney and Reid have spoken. Don’t they remember that the founder of their religion was assassinated by an anti-Mormon mob?” said Prothero, who also wrote “Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — And Doesn’t.”

Yet he said the men are typical of Americans who live in one of the most religious countries on earth but are “astonishingly ignorant” about religion. He noted that Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, who heads the Cordoba Initiative behind the proposed Islamic center, is a Sufi. Sufism is a tolerant strain of Islam that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida consider an infidel religion and whose shrine in Pakistan was recently the target of a double suicide bombing.

“I find the lack of memory frightening,” Prothero said. “This is a classic moment when it helps to remember something about American history – that our freedoms have been hard won.”

Muslims in America

Akbar Ahmed, chairman of the Islamic studies department at American University and a former Pakistani diplomat, visited 100 mosques in 75 cities over the last year for his new book, “Journey Into America: The Challenge of Islam.” What he found in interviews with Muslims and non-Muslims, native-born and immigrant, was a common feeling of being under siege from a faltering economy, natural disasters and two wars at a time when the first non-white president in history “has become a lightening rod for everything that is going on in America.”

But he said the controversy “is not just about one mosque, although that is a very special and sensitive one because of 9/11. It is much more.”

Ahmed said Muslims haven’t had the chance to go through “the process of Americanization that successive waves of immigrants” did before them.

When the Immigration Act of 1965 opened the door for the first time to people from Third World countries — many of them Muslims — the doctors, lawyers and engineers who came “flew straight into the American dream,” Ahmed said. “Nobody challenged them. They didn’t go through the century-long process that Italians and Jews did” to be accepted. But when 9/11 happened, “People said, ‘Who are these Muslims? We don’t know anything about them’ ” and some quickly equated the 19 hijackers with all Muslims in America.

“Some Muslims have been here five generations,” Ahmed said, “but today they are all under a cloud.”

Cainkar, author of “Homeland Insecurity: The Arab American and Muslim American Experience after 9/11,” noted that Arabs have lived in America for more than a century but anti-Arab feelings intensified only after the Six-Day War in 1967 and have since combined to inflame ill will toward Muslims. Today, she said, those speaking out against the proposed mosque are motivated by more than just religious beliefs.

“Some have foreign policy interests. Some think a strong America means controlling Muslim movements and countries. Some support Israel and so understand that to mean opposing Muslims. Some have a conservative view of American society and think it should be Euro-American. Some don’t like people of color. Some believe Jesus is our savior and other religions are false. Some just like to hate,” she said.

“It is not really about Muslims at all — they actually know very little about them.”

August 20, 2010 Posted by | Charity, Civility, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Relationships, Safety, Spiritual | 8 Comments

Cats in Cages

For four months now, since we moved here, AdventureMan and I have been looking for a good cat hotel for the Qatari Cat. When we are away for short times, our son and his wife look in on QC, making sure he is well fed, well loved, etc. but if we are going anywhere for a longer time . . . we don’t want to burden a family with two working adults, a baby and three cats of their own.

Seeking a good cat boarding facility in Pensacola has been daunting. The very best one we found prior to today had a separate, quiet floor where the cats were boarded, but the cages were sterile. There was one cat, who looked just like QC, and the veterinary technician said he was a BAD CAT, and poked her finger in at him and told him he was a bad cat. They had great dog facilities, play times, etc. Cats were . . . chopped liver

And that has been our experience, desperately looking around Pensacola for a GOOD place to leave QC. We have visited so many places, veterinarians, grooming places – cats in steel cages. One place had larger steel cages, but cats in dark, damp, smelly rooms, cats warehoused in the same dank, dirty place with DOGS, cats in steel cages, looking miserable. Honestly, how can we travel? We can’t leave QC alone too long; he gets really depressed and stops eating and stops taking care of himself. And visiting all these boarding facilities was just depressing. We would walk out with a pit in our stomach.

Today, we passed one place – it looked cute. AdventureMan said “you run in and see if they board cats” (it looked like a dog place). I walked in, and there were three women grooming dogs, and it was quiet. The dogs all looked really happy. No, they don’t board cats yet, not yet, because they want to do it right, had I ever heard of cat condos?

Yes! Yes! Like the Kitty Ritz in Kuwait, a place that understands cats, understands their need for security, for privacy in their litter, for some variety and some stimulation under controlled circumstances. We loved the Kitty Ritz, and we loved the cat hotel we used to take our cat to in Germany, where they had kitty condos and a cage full of mice that kept the cats fascinated for hours. Our cat loved to go there! They even knew how to give her insulin shots twice a day.

So we went looking, one last time, and we found what we were looking for, at Village Groomers and We Tuck ‘Em Inn in Pace, less than half an hour from our house.

The place is CLEAN. Orderly. The cat dorms are roomy, one room for sleeping and observing, another room with litter and food. Each cat has his or her own drawer with his or her name on it with special foods and cat toys and blankets – anything from home to help the cat be content and secure.

We reserved an upper dorm for Qatari Cat. It gives us so much peace of mind knowing he will be well taken care of.

August 18, 2010 Posted by | ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pets, Qatteri Cat, Relationships | 2 Comments

AdventureMan’s Bathroom

“Hey Dad, what happened, you draw the short straw?” our son asked AdventureMan when he saw the bathroom in the Pensacola house.

We really love having our own bathrooms. They may be small, but we don’t have to bump one another out of the way, we don’t have to try to groom while someone is showering and steaming, and while I can have the A/C blasting, AdventureMan can have the vents totally closed. It works for us.

But his bathroom had swinging doors, saloon style. And an old toilet that didn’t always flush completely. And an old bathtub with old tiles.

While he was away, we did a new bath – new walk-in shower with a rainfall showerhead, new toilet, and best of all, a pocketing door. He is going to be SO surprised. 🙂

It has been so hard keeping this secret. I can hardly wait to see his face.

August 15, 2010 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Family Issues, Home Improvements, Hygiene, Living Conditions, Renovations | 8 Comments

Pensacola, Sunday 0900

It’s one of those rare Sunday mornings when I am on my own, no AdventureMan, no son and daughter-in-law and grandson, just me. As a special treat, I get to go to the 8:00 service at Christ Church, and then, since I don’t have any church-girlfriends yet, I don’t have anyone to go to breakfast with, so I stop by Micky D’s and get in line for take-out.

It’s a long line. Whoda thunk, early on a Sunday morning in Pensacola, there would be a breakfast line at McDonalds?

A flashing light catches my eye, and a Pensacola police cruiser pulls up across the street, and leaves his lights flashing as he cautiously heads to the entrance of the convenience store. His hand is on his gun. No, I am not kidding!

He looks in the windows. Customers are coming out, and he keeps watching through the window as he walks towards the door. As he enters, he draws his gun. Just moments later, he and another policeman come out, with a man between them in handcuffs, white guy, looking sheepish. They put him in the back of the second squad car.

I really wanted a photo of them stuffing him in the back seat, but by this point, I was in traffic and I shot the photo I could get, not the photo I wanted. Me and my bacon, egg and cheese McMuffin headed home for coffee and the Sunday Pensacola Journal, all about school starting this week in Pensacola.

And AdventureMan comes home tonight. The house is sparkling. He has a surprise in store. 🙂 Our son and I will meet him at the airport to welcome him home, home being about 5 minutes from the airport IF there is traffic, LOL.

August 15, 2010 Posted by | Crime, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Renovations | 2 Comments

The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton

It took me a while to get into this book, because it is, in my opinion, badly written. The characters are thin, the story is thin, and yet . . . it is a book I will never forget.

Masha Hamilton writes of a girl with a dream of going to a faraway place; she writes a grant proposal for a Camel Bookmobile, to take books from a remote library in Garissa, Kenya, out to nomadic groups in even more remote locations. As it turns out, the book features a device I like very much – a discussion of what is knowledge, what is learning, what happens when cultures clash and how in every interaction, there is something left that changes those interacting.

As Fiona (“Just call me Fi”) McSweeny follows her dream, there are her actions, how she sees her actions, how her actions are seen from an alternate culture, and how Fi feels she may be missing something in the interaction.

Anyone who has tried to finesse their way living in an alien environment knows that feeling, and the disasters you can bring on with only good intentions. Words, tone of voice, body language – all can be interpreted in ways you never dreamed, blinded by the wisdom of your own culture.

The star of the book is the Kenyan desert. While we do get to know the characters in the small arid desert village of Mididima, it is the way of life that Hamilton captures and which captivates us. The traditional ways are already passing, and the village elders are fighting a losing battle, trying to maintain their old ways. At the same time, there is a lot of wisdom to be learned and stored before the old ways pass, if there is anyone to document, to capture the details.

How can a book be both badly written, so badly written that you are constantly aware of it, and so breathtakingly vivid, so unforgettable?

There is a real Camel Bookmobile, started in 1996, and after visiting, Hamilton began a Camel Book Drive which garnered over 7000 books for the nomadic library. You can visit the website and learn where to donate books for other schools in the Garissa area by clicking here.

August 12, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Beauty, Books, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Food, Living Conditions, Weather, Work Related Issues | Leave a comment

That Cheeky Woman at the Well

I love this story. I love all the stories about these women, who just won’t stay in their place. What was Jesus thinking? Why would he start a conversation with this woman, a woman not even married to the man with whom she is living? Listen to her tone, can’t you hear her words, barely bordering on mockery?

It doesn’t take long, and the women to whom Jesus speaks sees the light – that this man is something special, and has something special to offer her, even her, the most humble of the humble.

If I had never lived in the Middle East, I would never have understood the nuances of this story, how men just don’t speak to women, how speaking to this woman, not a Jew, a very unclean woman, could make him unclean, how taking anything from her, much less asking for a drink of water was just unthinkable.

Jesus turned it all upside down. He often did the unthinkable – working on the sabbath, speaking to women as if they were real people, talking about how it is what is in our hearts that matters more than looking good in public . . .

John 4:1-26

4Now when Jesus* learned that the Pharisees had heard, ‘Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John’— 2 although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— 3he left Judea and started back to Galilee. 4But he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)*

10 Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’

11 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’

13 Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’

15 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’

16 Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’

17 The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; 18for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’

19 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you* say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’

21 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’

25 The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ 26 Jesus said to her, ‘I am he,* the one who is speaking to you.’

August 11, 2010 Posted by | Cultural, ExPat Life, Middle East, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Ramadan for Non Muslims – 2010

I miss the hustle and bustle of almost-Ramadan, the way the stores stock up with luxuries and delicacies not found through the rest of the year, the eager anticipation with which my friends anticipate the month of fasting, re-commitment, and gathering with friends and families with a month of specialty dishes.

Welcome Ramadan, which starts tomorrow. I am going to reprint here one of my all-time favorite articles. I wrote this originally in 2007 to help educate my western friends in some of the details related to Ramadan – and if you find that this interests you, you will want to go back to the 2007 entry and read the related comments, which are way more informative than my original article. 🙂

Ramadan for Non Muslims 2007

I am repeating this post from September 13, 2007 because it found so much interest among my non-Muslim friends. We are all so ignorant of one another’s customs, why we do what we do and why we believe what we believe. There is a blessing that comes with learning more about one another – that blessing, for me, is that when I learn about other, my own life is illuminated.

(I didn’t take this photo; it is from If you want to see an astonishing variety of Ramadan lanterns/ fanous, Google “Image Ramadan lanterns” and you will find pages of them! I didn’t want to lift someone else’s photo from Flicker or Picasa (although people do that to me all the time!) but the variety is amazing.)

Ramadan will start soon; it means that the very thinnest of crescent moons was sighted by official astronomers, and the lunar month of Ramadan might begin. You might think it odd that people wait, with eager anticipation, for a month of daytime fasting, but the Muslims do – they wait for it eagerly.

A friend explained to me that it is a time of purification, when your prayers and supplications are doubly powerful, and when God takes extra consideration of the good that you do and the intentions of your heart. It is also a time when the devil cannot be present, so if you are tempted, it is coming from your own heart, and you battle against the temptations of your own heart. Forgiveness flows in this month, and blessings, too.

We have similar beliefs – think about it. Our holy people fast when asking a particular boon of God. We try to keep ourselves particularly holy at certain times of the year.

In Muslim countries, the state supports Ramadan, so things are a little different. Schools start later. Offices are open fewer hours. The two most dangerous times of the day are the times when schools dismiss and parents are picking up kids, and just before sunset, as everyone rushes to be home for the breaking of the fast, which occurs as the sun goes down. In olden days, there was a cannon that everyone in the town could hear, that signalled the end of the fast. There may still be a cannon today – in Doha there was, and we could hear it, but if there is a cannon in Kuwait, we are too far away, and can’t hear it.

When the fast is broken, traditionally after the evening prayer, you take two or three dates, and water or special milk drink, a meal which helps restore normal blood sugar levels and takes the edge off the fast. Shortly, you will eat a larger meal, full of special dishes eaten only during Ramadan. Families visit one another, and you will see maids carrying covered dishes to sisters houses and friends houses – everyone makes a lot of food, and shares it with one another. When we lived in Tunisia, we would get a food delivery maybe once a week – it is a holy thing to share, especially with the poor and we always wondered if we were being shared with as neighbors, or shared with as poor people! I always tried to watch what they particularly liked when they would visit me, so I could sent plates to their houses during Ramadan.

Just before the sun comes up, there is another meal, Suhoor, and for that meal, people usually eat something that will stick to your ribs, and drink extra water, because you will not eat again until the sun goes down. People who can, usually go back to bed after the Suhoor meal and morning prayers. People who can, sleep a lot during the day, during Ramadan. Especially as Ramadan moves into the hotter months, the fasting, especially from water, becomes a heavier responsibility.

And because it is a Muslim state, and to avoid burdening our brothers and sisters who are fasting, even non-Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, touching someone of the opposite sex in public, even your own husband (not having sex in the daytime is also a part of fasting), smoking is forbidden, and if you are in a car accident and you might be at fault, the person might say “I am fasting, I am fasting” which means they cannot argue with you because they are trying to maintain a purity of soul. Even chewing gum is an offense. And these offenses are punishable by a heavy fine – nearly $400 – or a stay in the local jail.

Because I am not Muslim, there may be other things of which I am not aware, and my local readers are welcome to help fill in here. As for me, I find it not such a burden; I like that there is a whole month with a focus on God. You get used to NOT drinking or eating in public during the day, it’s not that difficult. The traffic just before (sunset) Ftoor can be deadly, but during Ftoor, traffic lightens dramatically (as all the Muslims are breaking their fast) and you can get places very quickly! Stores have special foods, restaurants have special offerings, and the feeling in the air is a lot like Christmas. People are joyful!

There were many comments on the original post, and, as usual in the history of Here There and Everywhere, the commenters taught us all more about Ramadan than the original post. If you want to read the original post and comments, you can click HERE.

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Events, ExPat Life, Holiday, Ramadan | 2 Comments

88% of Employed Qataris Work In Qatar Government Sector

The problem is creation of an attractive business environment . . . what would that require? Graft free bureaucracies? Transparent governments? Elimination of wasta/nepotism/cronyism?

Figures like this, with no reversal, can sink a government and bankrupt a country. As populations increase, the government has obligations to pay pensions, health care and salaries to citizens, which grow exponentially.

Public sector top employer of Qataris

Qatar has 88% of its employed nationals working for the public sector, even as the Gulf economies face twin challenges of creating adequate jobs for their nationals and the possibility of government budgets slipping into sizeable deficit, according to IBQ.

The UAE had 85% of its employed nationals in state service, followed by Kuwait (82%), Saudi Arabia (50%) and Bahrain (30%).

“Clearly, the ability of the public sector to absorb new entrants into the labour force will be increasingly limited in the future,” said the IBQ report.

Apprehending that deficits would be the future challenge for the GCC countries, it said the rising trend of public spending “is likely to limit government’s capacity and willingness to respond to economic difficulties in the future and increase the possibility of budgets falling into deficit if oil prices decline.”

The most recent oil boom that started in early 2003 and lasted for five consecutive years lured Gulf governments to expand public spending at unprecedented pace. “Annual growth in spending average 16% over the last five years and is expected to expand by a further 12% in 2010,” it added.

These two challenges, according to IBQ, could be addressed by paving the way for the private sector to play a larger role in the economy, for which the government should introduce policies that make it easier for the private sector to do business and remove unnecessary impediments.

It said the GCC economies have managed to escape the fallout of the global economic and financial crisis at a relatively low cost, partly due to their strong financial positions that enabled the adoption of stimulus packages to support economic growth.

Undoubtedly, the recent crisis has demonstrated the importance of local fiscal policies and direct government intervention in countering cyclical downturns in the short run, IBQ said.

“But other than providing temporary support, fiscal policies should not be viewed as a substitute for enhancing the competitive and fundamentals of domestic economies. As such, supporting the resilience of the regional economies in the face of anticipated future shocks should be prioritised,” it said.

Unfortunately and despite the availability of ample resources, the progress of Gulf economies in achieving their visions and strategic objectives is moving very slowly, especially those pertaining to the reduction of the region’s heavy dependence on the hydrocarbon sector through economic diversification.

“Experience shows that the achievement of these targets requires the creation of attractive business environment, which has yet to materialise throughout the region,” it added.

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Financial Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Qatar, Values, Work Related Issues | 2 Comments

This is the Way We Wash Our Clothes . . . Wash our Clothes . . .”

We grew up, in America, singing a song about washing clothes:

“This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes, wash our clothes,
This is the way we wash our clothes, all on a Monday morning.”

Tuesday we iron our clothes, Wednesday we mend our clothes. You can read the entire week at Mulberry Bush. Just click the blue type.

Today, Letitia Long will be named as head of the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. It makes me smile to think that these two news articles appear on the same day. Women used to die young, worn out from bearing too many babies, and working themselves to the bone to keep their houses and clothes clean. Just washing clothes was an entire day event, heating huge pots of water, using a washing board, drying clothes by laying them over bushes and rocks, only the very luckiest had a clothesline.

These humble machines save hours of time. You can read the entire story of the earliest washing machines Here, At AOL News.

(Aug. 8) — “Thor” has been the name of several powerful forces in history, including a Norse god and a Marvel Comics superhero. But the strongest Thor might just be an electric-powered machine born 100 years ago that brought laundry into the modern era.

The first known washing “machine” is thought to be the scrub board, created in 1797. New-fangled hand-powered washers were introduced in 1851, but it wasn’t until a century ago that a drum-type machine with a galvanized tub and an electric motor, dubbed Thor, revolutionized the way people deal with dirty clothing.

Invented by Alva J. Fisher and introduced by Chicago’s Hurley Machine Co., the washing machine — which was patented on Aug. 9th, 1910 — is important for three distinct reasons, according to Thor Appliances vice president of marketing Michael Lee.

“First, it celebrates the birth of one of the oldest and most innovative brands/companies in home appliances,” Lee told AOL News. “Second, it represents the beginning of the washing machine industry. And third, it marks the date that clothes washing was transformed from an arduous physical task to an automated task.”

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Living Conditions, Social Issues, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | 13 Comments

Happy Birthday, Happy Baby!

Today the Happy Baby is 6 months old. He is sitting, and pre-talking, and laughing and about to start school! He will be in a start-up program that actually begins educational formats at a very early age.

My son and his wife are having a birthday party today. 🙂 No, I haven’t heard of a 6-month-birthday party before, but what a great idea! Most grandmamas loves opportunities to give her grandbabies presents!

I found one book that is hilarious – and since we are all readers, and we want Happy Baby to be a reader, too, we start early. I have found that one of the secrets is buying books that adults will like, too. This one is about a zookeeper, whose zoo follows him home at night after closing. 🙂

If you teach a child the habit of reading, you get a bonus. You get a child who can keep him or her self occupied, and you get a child who can discuss books, ideas and characterization. It may be a challenge sometimes, but it’s a good challenge.

And this one, I am sure, is the kind of toy a grandmama can give a baby because she knows he will love banging on it, even while I suspect mama and papa will groan in horror:

August 8, 2010 Posted by | Books, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Pensacola | 2 Comments