Protests near Ground Zero

Today marks the ninth anniversary of 9/11. The day witnessed heated demonstrations — against and for the proposed Islamic community center — two blocks away from ground zero. I was there this afternoon with a friend of mine, and took some pictures.

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Mas que un equipo

At the end of their first month at Columbia J-School, students are expected to produce a short audio slideshow to demonstrate the basic skills they acquired in audio and photo reporting. Below is my slideshow. It is about a football (Americans call it “soccer”) player who immigrated from Ecuador ten years ago.

What do you think?

Identity and social change, women’s rights movements, US diplomat in henna

  • Qusay ponders the questions of identity and social change: “I am a product of that change, along with many others, just take a look at the Saudi’s writing in English. English is almost our first language, we grew up watching American shows and we dressed like the cool people we saw on TV. When we went out we ate fast food, and listened to American music, and watched Hollywood movies (not in theatres of course).” I wonder if I’m one the bloggers he is talking about. I don’t think that I’m one of them. I think my view of our society has more to do with our past, which I believe was better, than with what Western media sell as their lifestyle vs ours.
  • The Philosophy Cube writes about the women’s rights movement in Saudi Arabia. Or rather the lack thereof. I think many of us agree that the economic factor is one of the strongest catalysts for change. “In light of all the social intricacies within the society, I am sure that it is poverty alone and the struggles of the lower classes that will bring Women’s Rights to the country.”
  • Today’s picture:

    Cynthia Cook tries henna

    Cynthia Cook sits down to have her hands adorned with henna in a local summer festival here in Hofuf, east of Saudi Arabia. Cook is the Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate in Dhahran, and she was part of an American delegation that visited the festival earlier this week. You know, public diplomacy and stuff :P

Welcome to Earth

So today I had to dig into my family’s archive to look for the immunization documents from my early years (long story). While flipping through the papers I found this thing:

It is not a birth certificate. It is a gift from the hospital where I was born. It has my picture, date of birth, and wishes of a long prosperous life. I’m the only one of my brothers who has one of these. According to my mother, the hospital stopped giving these away shortly after. My favourite part of it is the polaroid, which is still in a good shape after all these years. The picture was taken during my first few minutes into this world, apparently still inside the incubator. I can only guess what the expression on my face means, but it’s probably a combination of bemusement and boredom. Yeah, I’ve been in this place for like 5 minutes and I was bored already :P

If you liked this one (and seriously, what’s not to like? JK ;-) you might also want to check these two blogposts where I posted old pics from the days when I was fat and happy. A new header for the blog is also in the works, so stay tuned.


I’m 26 and I’m still here. I’m still not sure where I’m going next, and I’m still not sure where I will be for my next birthday. I’m not sure about anything anymore. Here’s to the waiting, uncertainty, and lifelong dreams…