Thursday, June 26, 2008


I often hear that the eyes can disclose the true feeling of someone when looked at. The eyes shows happiness, sadness, anger, fear, even hidden rage! Many and many musicians talked about the beauty of the eyes, how a singer would be describing the eyes of his lover in a poetic way that people love to hear and imagine. Others say that looking into the eyes is the way to reflect self-confidence of the other person - a person who does not look eye to eye has no strong personality - I don't agree with that, however many believe in it.

The eyes is one fascinating part of human body. I heard from people more than once about guys who fell in love because their lover's eyes. We have a say that the eyes fell in love before the heart, does that apply?

Some like to play with their eyes (or others eyes) by putting different (sometimes strange) makeup and colors. Some would make another piece of art by doing some manipulation using either photoshop or real make up. Others would just show another face of reality in beautiful and different ways. Eyes can be a source of imagination too, indeed!

With this post I put a selection of some of my most favorite images of eyes, made by wonderful and talented individuals and artists.

Images by:


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Arrow Classic Rock Festival 2008

Last Sunday I have been to Arrow Classic Rock festival, in the city of Nijmegen. Entering the festival compound took more than hour because of the thousands of people queuing, and for that reason I missed REO Speedwagon. I also missed Journey later on, because I was walking around by the merchandise and forgot myself in the middle of collectors CDs and DVDs for sale, among other interesting stuff. Yes, I bought a number of patches of favorite bands. The weather was not that good, actually it was bad, despite that it was full of joy and fun watching great bands like Whitesnake (the main reason I have been to the who in the first place), Motorhead, Def Leppard, Kiss and others. Speaking of Def Leppard, they were great and powerful, playing old pop-rock favorites, with a great set list. The only disapponintment, not playing wise, but the singer, Joe Elliot, lost his voice more than once while singing. The surprise to me was Kansas and Motorhead - both have seen for the first time. I know how fun and great attending a Motorhead concert, but was over expectation. Sometimes couldn't hear the guitar sound because of the loud base guitar (Motorhead trade mark) played by the legendary Lemmy. I adore his bass-playing technique by the way and the total sound comes with other musicians. His dark sense of humor is also helarious, especially when exchanging jokes with the guitarist. From time to time the drummer poke out and ask the audience for some yelling. Kansas, I mentioned earlier that it was the first time I go to a show by this classic progressive rock band. One word: this band is perfect!! They are professional musicians who could play one song forever without making the public get bored. How many rock bands can ricruite a violen into their work and can produce the same excellent music quality as Kansas do? I don't think there are any! They are one of the bands that I wish they could play for longer time, unfortunately time is up and had to go to the other stage for another great act.

Whitesnake: no need for introduction, the years were obvious on Coverdale's wrinkles, also on his voice, sometimes. I don't understand why his way of singing changes when playing songs from new album. However, he still able to crack the floor of the stage beneath his band members with his voice. Whitesnake played three songs only from their new album, two are my favorite from that album. The crowd, at least where I stood was horrible: I couldn't believe it! They were like zombies standing staring up at the huge stage, except of course for some ten people in their late thirties who were enjoying their time on every song. There was a man and a woman standing in front of me, the man was like dead but standing, didn't move a bit, not even a node (I didn't hope for some headbanging), but not even a finger moved forward, except when smoking a cigarette. I thought he should be used as the mummy on stage by Iron Maiden in their current "somewhere back in time" tour. The woman with him was a little different: I thought she was just awake after a standing nap in the middle of Whitesnake performance and started taking photos! The highlight of Whitesnake show was when David Coverdale invited his "Dutch brother" to stage, Adrian Vandenberg where they played with the rest of the band "fool for your loving" and "Here I go again".

I left the festival while Kiss was still playing, because I was so tired - besides, I have to go to work the next day! I am sure I missed some cool stage show this American band is famous with. The long way back was also enjoyable, listening to CDs I bought while thinking and recalling such a great event.

Here are some pictures I took from the festival

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Butterfly Effect?

Woke up in the morning around 8am on the telephone ringing, I was still sleepy, in fact very dizzy, an energetic and husky female voice on the other side started calling me with my nickname the family in Iraq used to call me when I was a kid! I looked around me in the living room. I was not sure if I was dreaming of this, something very similar to the days when my female cousins used to call and exchange jokes with each other! Or was I in fact in Iraq and all my life abroad was a dream after all!!! All that happened in a fraction of a second.

The female voice kept asking with fun and energy "how are you?" "how are you dear?" and "what's wrong, my dear, you don't sound that well?" I told her that I just woke up "she laughed, and the loudness of her voice did not decline, she asked with a giggle "oh oh oh, my dear, my dear, you were still sleeping??" I cleared up my voice and told her innocently, of course, I have to change and go to work in a few minutes, I was already late. I was almost loosing my balance, because the voice of that female was not familiar but it was very much close to that of someone I know! When I gave her the last answer about preparing to go to work she paused and said "no... not.... it is not the same .... you are not the same person I want to talk to..." Her voice did not loose its energy it had in the beginning of the phone call, but embarrassment was obvious in her tone. She repeated the same sentence three times but on each time, her voice was becoming down than before. I told her "I don't believe so, you are looking for someone else... " She was confused, started to apologize and hangup.

In a fraction of a second, because of that phone call, I felt like I was in another place, a place from the past! Like I was going through a butterfly effect!

Image by Hipathia

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Hardest Farewell of George Wassouf

Very beautiful song, very sad song indeed. In fact one of the best Arabic songs ever made, in my opinion. When I read in the news a couple of weeks ago that the great George Wassouf choose that song, Assab Fourak (Hardest Farewell), to be the single from his latest album, Kalamak Ya Habibi (Your words, My Love), I was wondering how someone make a video clip that would match the sorrowful lyrics and can at the same represents the atmospheric melodies of such a song?

The video clip was made, by the genius Latif Nasief. The video was filmed in a the town of Kafr Thebian, Lebanon. There are very nice and interesting segments in this video, the one I liked most is when the young man picks up a coin from his desk and stare at it. That coin is the same one used by George Wassouf in his previous video clip "Ya habeeby", which was also directed by Latif Nasief, but the most emotional part in the clip is when George Wassouf standing leaning on his black car, surrounded by rocks, wiping his tears away while saying the farewell and nostalgia!

One of the things I can make out that George Wassouf has transformed himself through this video clip from the lover who misses his lover we used to see in past videos to the grayed hair father who deeply devastated by the loss of having his son living far away. One thing in common with many other video clips by Wassouf is seeing him driving another beautiful car model. I couldn't figure out what model is that, besides, I am not an expert in cars, well, who cares, I liked it!

At the moment George Wassouf is on tour to the United States and Canada to promote his latest album, which sold out on the first few days of sale.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Football: Oranje Style!

I couldn't believe my eyes! Neither did the approximate 50,000 Dutch fans travelled to Bern, Switzerland to watch their national team playing against France today. The Dutch football team played with style that made them the winners after a breathtaking match against France, scoring 4 fantastic goals against 1 for the world second football champion. Some might say that the French did not play well (like in an argument with a friend of mine who said that Italy didn't play as expected). I don't agree with both, because two things were clear: first France and Italy played hard, and they played as they should, but (which is the second remark) the Dutch played better, so they deserved to be the winners.

Two years ago, everyone blamed couch Marco van Basten for the poor performance of the Dutch national team. Then he made a promise to everyone that the team is still young and everyone will see the same team but much better in the UEFA EURO 2008 tournament. Two matches from this championship guaranteed Oranje for the quarter-final, and it proved that van Basten was up to his promise. He also deserve an applause for his tactics and conduct.


No Security Pact!

This is big news! Iraq's Prime Minister comes out with the statement that the long-term security pact between Iraq and the United States has reach a dead end! This news came out days after optimistic voices were heard of a consensus between the two governments and a long time debate about how such an agreement will affect Iraq's sovereignty.

I find the statement by Maliki a bit strong: "...we found that the U.S. demands hugely infringe on the sovereignty of Iraq, and this we can never accept".

Has this decision by the Iraqi Prime Minister anything to do with his latest visit to Iran? maybe and maybe not! Or is it really the conditions put by the US, namely, regarding immunity for its soldiers on Iraqi soil has raised some eyebrows!

As a conclusion, are we going to see more violence in Iraq (as if Iraqis now are not hearing anymore these deafening blasts or the rattling of machine guns day and night! Are we going to see more instability in the northern regions??? Of course not to forget that the same optimistic voices came out from Washington abut the agreement or pact, the same will shout booing Maliki and his government for corruption and lack of strength to deal with violence. It happened before, why not now going through the same circle one more time?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Manners Matters!

when someone discusses a certain issue, regardless of what context or main theme of that discussion, whether it is politics, social, religious, the other sitting around would listen and exchange ideas and point of views. However, there are who play the wise man role and come with a sort of counter-argument presented in some sort of self-confidence, not based on the information that person or the source, but to disgrace all those gathering around and their opinions. Some years ago I joined two guys in a political discussion about Iraq. It was during the time when Iraqis were suffering grievely from the impact of the economic sanctions imposed after the second Gulf War in 1991. While I was giving my point of view one of the guys was interrupting me more than once; either by pointing his finger stopping me from keep on talking, or almost start yelling and objecting on what I was saying. After a couple of times of blood-nerving attitude from that guy, I got angry and I asked him plainly to shut-up. I asked him why is he doing this? instead of listen to the other then give his own opinion. He was ashamed, and with a shy smile he replied: "in politics, a good and a smart politician must not give his opponent a chance to finish"!! Then he giggled lightly at the joke! A year later we met more frequently, this time I noticed that that guy has adapted to a new method in imposing his point of view and ideas on others; He became a super manipulator, by sneaking in certain words and sentences with soft tone of voice like luring someone into some kind of agreement.

If that guy I mentioned above use tricks in forcing his own opinion, there are others who would reject any idea and launch some kind of a verbal attack against others, including bad mouthing in a series of insults and abuse to the opinions of others.

From that I asked myself whether the concept of freedom of opinion can be applied to such people in public gatherings (including the internet, Radio, and TV). Or should such community scumbags like those be denied access to all means of communication with others?

Face From The Past

A couple of days ago, when I was in Paris, and since the early morning I had the feeling that I would see something/someone from my past, from the days I was living in Iraq! As the day went by that feeling was becoming stronger and stronger. In the evening I sat in a restraunt having dinner when that feeling was like a sign, very strong feeling that I will meet or see someone I used to know. I went back to the place where I stay, switched on my laptop and while browsing the Internet I came across a photo of him. The same ugly very pale face pausing smiling - I don't remember him smiling that much! He lost a lot of weight, that was obvious from the picture. He used to be a sort of a symbol of accumulated fat in a body of a human. It didn't take that long for me, kept staring at him and remembering the old days, then I closed the browser.

Stairs and Lifts

Car parks are normally designed to have stairs and lifts, especially if it contains more than one floor below surface. Lifts, in particular would help the old and the handicapped to go up to the street with comfort. When I parked my car in that one particular parking garage in central Paris, I was too tired to take the stairs so I looked for the lift, found it, entered it, pressed 0 and it went up. When the door of the lift was open I saw the surprise: more stairs to take in order to be on street

Secured Slippers!

Hup Holland hup!

The Netherlands football team stunned the whole world with their brilliant winning over the world champion, Italy, by thrashing them 3 to null on their first round of the European Championship today in Bern, Switzerland.

Congratulations, guys, you did a great job, keep this magical performance, The Netherlands is proud of you, and hard luck for Italy.

More pictures from the match here

Image by 't Snabbeltje

Sunday, June 01, 2008

No News On Iraq!!

It is the same curious man I see him at work from time to time. a couple of weeks ago we had lunch together – among other colleagues. We talked about everything, as usual, joked about different things, and before the end of the lunch I could see the question written in his eyes. He managed to steel some silence in between the different subjects and jokes and dropped the question: “how are things in Iraq? It has been some time since the last time I saw some news about Iraq? and with semi-confidence he added "I heard it is getting better and better... I think the new troops surge last year helped improving the situation after all!”

That question reminds me of a story a cousin of mine told me long ago. He used to study in the United Kingdom from late 1970’s to late 1980’s when he went back to Iraq – something he regret to this day, as far as I know because instead of having the government taking advantage of his expertise and higher education in the field of technology, he has been dumped for years to come as a soldier in the Iraqi army. After a period of depression like sitting alone in a dark room, eating very little and smoke more than a coal train can make, his father managed to get him serve military services in the capital Baghdad till the end of the second gulf war where he was released afterwards, arranged his traveling papers and left Iraq for good to this day.

In mid 1980’s that cousin of mine decided to spend his New Year’s vacation with his faily and among his relatives in Iraq. During that time Iraq was engaged deeply in the war against Iran and more and more lives were eaten up by this slaughtering machine called warfare. On one of these days, I was at his house, and he told me how someone sent a letter to the BBC wondering why is that no more coverage for the war between Iraq and Iran as it used to be in the early years?

Back to today and seeing the same question being popped up, also from a person who lives in the west, I decided to follow the news here on Iraq more carefully, not that I don't follow the news in Iraq, but I decided to check out different channels and focus mainly on Dutch news. The man was right, the coverage of the news in Iraq compare it to the real events on the street is far from being the same!

It did not bother me when that colleague asked me about the lack of news about Iraq on TV. What bothered me most is my colleague's comment about the improvement of the situation when he said "... I guess the new troops surge last year helped improving the situation after all..." That was like a slap on my head, because from the news we get from people we know in Iraq and what we read on the internet the situation did not improve, not even a little, because there is still self-suicide attacks, still people are being killed, still men and women are fleeing the country in thousands... so I don't see the improvement whatsoever that make the western public believe in such, and that the U.S. government did find the solution to the problem when they added more troops. Not to forget the new propaganda in these days about the "Armageddon of Iraq" that has began a couple of days ago, where the last battle will be taken place in Mosul (north of Iraq) to get rid of the Al Qaeda forever! However, I believe more pumping into the war propaganda is needed, especially that "Iron Man" or "Indiana Jones" latest blockbusters do carry more interesting action scenes indeed.

Yet, I am not a clairvoyant, so I can't say when will be the big end scene (Like in any other movie where we see an end to the story) but I am sure there will be another big action scene close to the presidential elections in the United States... we will see suddenly Bin Laden broadcasting another of his threatening messages, we will see the danger alert level in the United States rises to Red because of a possible terrorist attack, we will see rising in the number of suicide attacks and more policemen get killed...etc All part of the same tragic reality show: just a dynamic movement of events ups and downs with whatever situation that maybe. However, one thing remains static for certain: More Iraqis are either displaced or killed!

media strike image courtesy of Sfinal

Vacation & Memories

An Iraqi friend went for a week visit to the United Arab Emirates last month. Two days after his arrival I decided to call him and see how he's doing, he was not in a good mood, because first thing happened at the airport was a fight with a security officer that according to my friend was not polite at all. I was surprised because as far as I know the security and passport officers are not rude, on th econtrary, they are very calm and very polite. Anyway, after few minutes of that phonecall, I received an SMS message from him. He said in it: how come most of men in this country have Uday beard-style - that is very carefully light shaven! He meant as a joke, of course, but it rang a bell in my head when he mentioned Uday, of course, Uday is Saddam Hussain's son who was killed in a fight against the US forces in Mosul, north of Iraq.

I laughed when he sent me that message and made me think a little deeper about such a remark from someone who left Iraq a very long time ago and this was his firt visit to an Arab country in almost two decades. How an flash back like that struck in his head when he saw the men in the streets on Dubai and Abu Dhabi with their traditional customs walking and driving around.

I came to one conclusion: no matter the years passed, sad and bitter memories remains hidden in the back of someone's mind but they won't be erased from someone's rain. It would suddenly comes up to the surfice because of a some situation. The bigger problem is the psychological affect that follows: Our friend did not have pleasent memories about his life in Iraq before, thus did not enjoy his vacation. He told me that after he arrived back to Europe by phone.

So that one piece of memory because of seeing something/someone somewhere would erase the meaning of joy and would make old scars become fresh again! That's how I can perceive that whole experience.

Chris De Burgh & Iran

Gamma Goblin has raised a couple of questions on the buzz surrounding Chris de Burgh's planned concert in Iran

I am not a fan of Chris de Burgh, but I am sure there are many in Iran, like in any other country, despite that the government in Iran prohibit listening to western music in general, but I believe such restriction exclude control over satellite TV. Therefore pop and rock concerts is not common in the Islamic Republic, but it is generally common in other Arab and Islamic countries: Deep Purple and Iron Maiden did perform in the United Arab Emirates couple of years ago. Ricky Martin, I think, has been to Jordan?

Planning a concert in Iran is surprising to me, especially under the current circumstances, but less surprising when one follows the growing interest Chris de Burgh is showing in music business in the Middle East generally. Couple of years ago I read in the news about a duet Chris de Burgh did with a famous Lebanese singer called Elissa. I never listened to the song but saw pictures of her with de Burgh in the studio. Many young boys and girls consider Elissa a super star, a great singer and a very sexy woman - no way I consider her so, but I agree with the last opinion, though - remember Spice Girls? you can mute the TV and watch their video clips. In addition to that duet, he made an appearance on the Lebanese show "Star Academy", a show for young musicians want to be super stars and conducted interviews through that show. Chris de Burgh is not the only western artist who collaborated with Arab singers, so it is not something new (that's another issue), but this legendary musician is either trying to explore or re-explore new/ old fan-base for his musical career, or he decided to be in the headlines by triggering such news, last December -

I think Chris de Burgh is serious about performing in Iran, and his statement is clear about his motives, which I personally like. The question remains when and how the legendary singer will arrange all this

Back to Gamma Goblin's question and remarks on "Crusader"; he won't sing that song, that for sure. He would play "A Melody for Peace" instead! The song he did back in 2007 with the Iranian, Arian band! But to answer specifically the question, the comment by someone reviewing that album I read on is valid in this case:

"... and the mere fact that the story is told from a crusader's point of view doesn't do anything to change this, for those who participated in the crusades knew better than to underestimate Saladin or put him down like this - the version we're getting here is the propaganda spread throughout Christian Europe in support of the campaign to "free" Jerusalem. But ultimately, I don't think this part of the song represents the point that Chris De Burgh wants to make. Rather, the song's most important lines are those of the last, reflective verses, which are well worth considering, particularly these days:

"What do I do now?" said the Wise man to the Fool,
"I have spent my whole life searching, to find the Golden Rule,
Though centuries have disappeared, the memory still remains,
Of those enemies together, could it be that way again?"
Then the Fool said "Oh you Wise men, you really make me laugh,
With your talk of vast persuasion and searching through the past,
There is only greed and evil in the men who fight today,
The song of the Crusader has long since gone away ..."

Fox News Hates Bloggers???

Many media companies found bloggers as a good and reliable source of news. I read a couple of months ago on the internet that high precentage of Italian public believe more the news read out blogs than these on news bulletins and official news broadcasters. In addition, British and Australian media like the BBC have endorsed bloggers, even there are some bloggers who started their journalism career with support of such media giants. There are also many American newspapers who enjoy this kind of cooperation between them and bloggers. However, what's the problem with FOX news channel? Why do they hate bloggerss by calling them "vicious", for example?