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Expat wanderer

Saudi Cleric: Driving Hurts Womens’ Ovaries

From today’s Kuwait Times:

RIYADH: A Saudi cleric sparked a wave of mockery online when he warned women that driving would affect their ovaries and bring “clinical disorders” upon their children. The warning came ahead of an October 26 initiative to defy a longstanding driving ban on women in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

“Physiological science” has found that driving “automatically affects the ovaries and pushes up the pelvis,” Sheikh Saleh Al-Luhaydan warned women in remarks to local news website Sabq.org. “This is why we find that children born to most women who continuously drive suffer from clinical disorders of varying degrees,” he said. His comments prompted criticism on Twitter, which has become a rare platform for Saudis to voice their opinions in the absolute monarchy. “What a mentality we have. People went to space and you still ban women from driving. Idiots,” said one comment.

Luhaydan, a member of the senior Ulema (Muslim scholars) Commission and former head of the Supreme Judicial Council, said that “evidence from the Holy Quran and Sunna (the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) completely prohibit (women’s driving) on moral and social background.”

An online petition titled “Oct 26th, driving for women” amassed nearly 12,000 signatures, while access to it was blocked in the kingdom yesterday. Saudi Arabia is the only country where women are banned from driving. Activists declared a day of defiance against the ban on June 17, 2011, but few women answered the call to drive. Some of those who did were stopped by police and forced to sign a pledge not to take to the wheel again.

Saudi Arabia imposes other restrictions on women, including a requirement to cover themselves from head to toe when in public. The 2011 call, which spread through Facebook and Twitter, was the largest mass action since November 1990, when 47 Saudi women were arrested and severely punished after demonstrating in cars. – AFP

September 30, 2013 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Saudi Arabia, Social Issues, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | 10 Comments

Hoist by Her Own Petard

I love words; I am a word-nerd. To this day, I always thought hoist by one’s own petard must mean a petard was some kind of edged weapon (knife, dagger, etc) so to know the true meaning is a glorious thing!

From Anu Garg’s A Word a Day to which I have subscribed for around 15 years now. You can subscribe and get a similar daily email here:

A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

What comes to your mind if I say the name Dumpty? Perhaps you’re thinking of Humpty and you’d be right. The two go together. Each of this week’s words also prefers specific company, and usually appears in set expressions.

You can also think of them as fossil words. They are mostly obsolete and only appear as part of idioms. We are used to seeing them bundled and never stop to think about what they literally mean. This week we’ll go behind the scenes to identify their origins.
petard

PRONUNCIATION:
(pe-TAHRD, pi-)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A small bomb used to blast down a gate or wall.
2. A loud firecracker.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French péter (to break wind), from Latin peditum (a breaking wind), from pedere (to break wind). Ultimately from the Indo-European root pezd- (to break wind) which also gave us feisty, fart, and French pet (fart). Earliest documented use: 1566.

NOTES:
A petard was a bell-shaped bomb used to breach a door or a wall. Now that we have advanced to ICBMs, this low-tech word survives in the phrase “to hoist by one’s own petard” meaning “to have one’s scheme backfire”. The idiom was popularized by Shakespeare in his play Hamlet. Hamlet, having turned the tables on those tasked with killing him, says:
For ’tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petard

USAGE:
“Her attempt to rub salt in the wound had backfired. She had been well and truly hoist by her own petard.”
Immodesty Blaize; Ambition; Ebury Press; 2010.

“Ned … heard the petard exploding against the doors of the fort.”
Dudley Pope; Corsair; House of Stratus; 1987.

Explore “petard” in the Visual Thesaurus.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself. -Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1928)

September 30, 2013 Posted by | Communication, Words | Leave a comment

God Vs. Worry; God Wins

One of the things that adds texture to my life, and helps keep me on the straight and narrow (and that takes a LOT) is reading the daily lectionary every single morning of the year, before I do anything else. Normal days, I access it from my computer, traveling or appointment days, I can access it from my iPad or iPhone. It’s like a little extra fence that helps keep me safe from myself and my own creativity when it comes to evil.

There is another side, the blessing side. In one of the bible studies I attend, we learn, over and over that God blesses the believer. You don’t have to be perfect – and it’s a good thing, because none of us are. If you want to see how much God can love a sinner, just read your bible. Sin is one of the main characters, right along side Abraham and Sarah, Job, Lot, and especially King David.

But in my life, I have seen wondrous things, and I have had some totally WOW moments when God has blessed me beyond any prayer I could have raised. One of those moments was showering under a waterfall near an oasis in the Tunisian desert. Two others happened this year, and these were blessings that stopped me in my tracks with their timing and aptness. First, we got an unexpected tax refund which arrived in our account just in time to cover the big expensive air conditioning system on the main floor when it broke and had to be replaced.

Second, when we were looking for the last few thousand dollars to help us buy a new car (we prefer to pay cash) we got another tax refund – we had asked that they re-look taxes for a move, and they allowed the moving expenses. We had waited almost a year for that decision; we had waited so long we had pretty much forgotten and given up on it. I mean tax refunds – it’s a never-never land, it all seems so arbitrary. You can have a perfect case, and it can be denied for a reason you’ve never heard of.

God’s timing is perfect. His sense of humor is breath-taking. The funds we needed poured into our hands just when we needed them, in just the right amount.

Matthew 6:25-34

25 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,* or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?* 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.

30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God* and his* righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34 ‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

September 30, 2013 Posted by | Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Lectionary Readings, Moving, Spiritual, Tunisia | 2 Comments