Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Get Well, Ronnie

The man with the giant voice. I was shocked when I heard the news of Ronnie James Dio diagnosed with stomach cancer, and that he is taken to hospital for medical treatment.

First time I heard Dio's voice on tape was on Black Sabbath's album "heaven and hell" when it came out in 1980. The album was and still considered ahead of its time with the way songs were made and mixed. From that moment Dio became one of the biggest influences on me musically with his opera like way of singing his selection or taste of music composition with the different bands he played with for more than two, three decades.

I saw Ronnie James Dio for the first time live with Heaven & Hell two years ago. I was like wow, God bless. Such a devoted musician and humble person on stage

For those who would like to give their support and love for the Ronnie, website has created a page for fans to post their pictures and wishes for Dio, and on different website, among them the great Deep Puprle hub created a "wishing well" page for same purpose.

Get well soon, Ronnie, I and millions are waiting for the new of you beating that nasty beast.

I am sure that day will be a big festivity all around the world when we see you on tage again

From my heart, all best wishes for health, happiness, and long living.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

In The Lift

I was wondering

You are taking the lift upstairs to the 5'th floor. No one in the lift but you and another man who want to go to the 4 floor.

Mind you, there are some lifts that are really slow, so the time it takes feel like endless.

It is sometimes irritating, because there is a delay one floor, but that is not the issue.

What would you do? Keep silent? rolling your eyes up and down.

Remember, I am talking about taking the lift at work place, and not taking the lift while you are going up the Empire State building while on a visit to New York city.

Some people just turn their look to the opposite side of the person standing next.

Start a converstaion with that person? what about? throw a light joke?

What I do, usually I take a quick look at the person with me in the lift, it is like investigating the mood and what to say. Based on that I might start a conversation.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Get Rid of Your Culture!

Below is a new study on what it is defined as the "integration" issue in the Netherlands, came out of a study / research results done by a government-social institute:

" Almost 40% of the Dutch think there are too many immigrants in the Netherlands, a drop of ten percentage points on 2000, according to a new report from the government's social policy institute SCP.

The report also shows both the native Dutch and immigrants consider new arrivals should learn the Dutch language and leave behind their original cultures."


I agree that learning the language of the country you are living in is essential. In fact it is the most important thing to do after arriving in a country, before searching for work or get adapted with new life and new society, but to leave behind original culture??

This is the most bizarre thing I have ever heard.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Week of Concerts

last week was a historic one, for me, to be part of a festivity, celebrating the arrival of great musicians, from west and from the east.

I posted earlier the three concerts I have been to and what an experience.

The first one was last Tuesday at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, watching the legendary British band Deep Purple, one of the bands that made the genre Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Click here to read my post on that concert .

The second concert I have been to was of one of the most talented and prominent American Metal bands, it is Alice in Chains. I have never seen them before, so it was a new experience to see them as it is for them with their new singer, DuVall. Click on the link here to read the post on that concert

It just became more beautiful, I mentioned it as being historical for me, especially with the third concert.

Kadim Al Saher!

The legendary Iraqi and Arabic singer had a concert in Brussels, Belgium. That was extraordinary for me, an eye opening. I know that Al Saher is known for his classical Arabic language songs, but listening while watching his performance doing his songs live for the first time was something sensational.

Read here my experience attending Kadim Al Saher concert, it was indeed exceptional and a good finale to my week of concerts.

Week of Concerts 3: Kadim Al Saher - The Living Legend

I am proud to be one of the thousands of fans attended Iraqi legendary singer, Kadim Al Saher concert in Belgium last Saturday. This is the first time ever that this European city host a concert for the Iraqi legendary singer.

This is another reason I am proud to be on that show.

There were fans of all ages; families, young and old, from different countries, such as Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Palestinians, and from western countries too. Like me, I came all the way from Amsterdam, there were people who travelled from Germany, Sweden, France, and other European countries. Many were already very early arrived at the Paleis des Beaux-Art (Center for Fine Arts). While smoking at the main entrance of the center I watched people in their cars trying to find parking space with the stereo loud playing the latest album by Kadim Al Saher, Drawing with Words.

The hall was nice, but before I was skeptical of what kind of acoustics it can produce from a performance like Al Saher's? I was right, and sad, not only because the design of that hall was not up to the altitude and the size of the music played, but the person sitting on the soundboard, in my opinion, was someone who is obviously lacks the least of experience related to control a band playing oriental instruments in such a concert hall.

I wondered if the band did some sound check in the first place!

What made things worse was the technical failures. During the first song, for example, and after less than 5 minutes of Kadim Al Saher singing, his microphone went off. That didn't ruin the moment, the public continued that part of the song with the backing vocals, while another technician brought another mic for Kadim Al Saher.

Through the whole concert, almost two hours I didn't hear neither the Nai or the Oud sound.

Very sad!

Musicians in Al Saher band were the victims, especially that anyone can see their perfect musicianship throughout the show; one time the keyboardist (whom playing and the sound of his keyboard remained the entire show hardly heard) another time one of the violin players, a third time one of the percussionists, and even the drummer, all were making signs to the sound engineers every now and then to fix the sound of their instruments.


That sound engineer should be sentenced to life in prison

Yet...enough talking negative

That concert was not doomed, such things happen. Belgium concert was a great success. It was not a music performance or a band show only, it was the chance for thousands of people to show their feelings; joy, pride (of their country), happiness, honesty interacted between perfect musicians and the public towards their idol, Kadim Al Saher.

It was a night a night to remember, forever.

I said that about Dream Theater's concert last month

By the way, this is one of the very little concerts I went to where I hear people cheering with the presence of their beloved singer and his band to the level that you can't hear the music. Chanting, singing loud along with the music, and the singer, shouting Kadim's name with a tone with full of love in their voices, there was laughter, joy, anticipation to the giant who was standing before them on stage. That was the situation on that show. It was not quiet at all, but not chaotic either. Even the singer was surprised when he began singing the first verse of the song "Layla", all was quiet, listening, Kadim Al Saher paused and with a beautiful smile addressed the public in Iraqi dialect "... this is the first time... you become soooo quiet just like that..."

The public exploded with laughter followed by big applause.

The public stood for Kadim Al Saher when he arrived on stage with the biggest welcome anyone can see for an artist accompanied by deafening applause. The flashes from the camera's did not stop, in spite of the early warning by the organizers of the show that taking pictures of filming is only allowed in the first 5 to 10 minutes. During the show there were people who struggled with the bodyguards to get to Al Saher closer just to have a simple handshake or an autograph, not to mention those who brought presents for him. There was a young women who tried to approach Kadim Al Saher on a number of times between and during songs, but did not succeed. At the end of the show and while he was walking towards the exit she ran towards him and ... almost there, one foot distance from him, but the body guards were faster and stopped her. I thought she collapsed afterwards and have been dragged away.

I was disappointed with one thing, that no single song from the new album played. Kadim Al Saher asked the audience what they like to hear. I thought that was one time, but I realized that the legendary singer meant to please his audience by asking them what they like to hear. On one occasion and after the end of one of the songs, a group on one side of the hall started singing "hatha al loon..." (this color on you...), immediately he turned to his band and asked to play the song... I was happy to see live Qusay, the main violinist in Al Saher band, playing his solo part like I used to hear on tape years ago.

I can't remember all the songs played, but below are some played:
- Hel Indeky Shak (Do you have any doubt)
- Mustebbida (despot)
- Hatha al loon... (this color on you...)
- Baghdad
- Layla
- Ahibeeny (Love Me)

Kadim Al Saher talked about the agony of the Iraqi people, taking the members of his band as an example of the Iraqi people who have been in a lot of trouble traveling across the world, and wish that the agony, the suffering of the Iraqi people, all Iraqi people will end one day, and that his message to the world is of peace and love, two things as the ultimate wish for Iraq and its people.

I realize that whatever the words, the sentence I can put in this post, it won't be up to the standard describing how great this singer is. The lesson I learned after all: Kadim Al Saher is not only a genies, Kadim Al Saher, he is extraordinary person, with musical wit. His musical conduct, composition, and technique while singing, in addition to his attitude on stage and during interviews has put him side by side with Arab music stars such as Abdel Wahab and Abdel Haleem Hafidh.

I guess I am not saying something new about a great and wonderful person, like Kadim Al Saher, but at least this is what I think and feel.

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Week of Concerts 2: Alice In Chains - 013 Tilburg Show

The second concert I have been to last week was of a band that some critics put it in the grunge metal genre, others just categorize their music as plain metal band.

That is Alice in Chains

That was one hectic show to attend, because I had to drive a long way from Amsterdam. Traffic was horrible and thought that I would not make it to the show as the clock was ticking after 8PM when I arrived in the southern city of Tilburg.

I was lucky! For unknown reason there was an hour delay till the band came up on stage. Crew members kept on moving left and right organizing and setting up stands, microphones, placing paper sheet (I think the set list) in designated places, with a big screen in the background where the Dutch flag kept on it for the whole time...etc The resentment in the faces of many attendees was obvious, I even heard someone standing behind telling his girlfriend that the staff of 013 were not happy with the delay of show from 8PM to 9PM.

Lights were dimmed, a big heart appeared slowly over the Dutch flag on screen, and with the same slow pace each member of the band walked out, and the hall was on fire.

The sound was horrible, I know it is a metal concert, but it was too loud for such a concert hall, and part of the joy listening to the songs was lost. Yet, that didn't ruin the a show of a band full of musicianship whom their focus was to please its fan base.

Highlights of that show were "Them Bones", "Again" and "Dam That River". The band did a great job of Promoting songs from their new album, by playing four of 5 songs, I don't remember. By the way, I didn't like "Black Gives Way To Blue", but after the show, I have second thoughts. Songs like "Rain When I Die" and "Check my Brain" are typical AIC songs that any fan would love to listen.

The band played three acoustic songs on that show: "Heaven Beside You", the beautiful "No Excuse", and "Black Gives Way To Blue", which ended with a big picture of late singer Layne Staley with peace sign and a cigarette hanging from his lip

"Sludge Factory" was the beginning of a second leg of heavy, powerful section of that show. Another three songs followed from old and new that rocked the house.

No Alice in Chains can be complete without the masterpieces "Would?" and "Rooster". The two songs were the finale for a very loud and good show.

Jerry Cantrell, the driving force behind the band, a man who looks much younger than his real age when watching him from a distance, a great and professional guitarist. Yet, watching AIC on DVDs, TV and now live makes me always think that Cantrell is influenced by the attitude on stage of no one but the master of the riffs, Tony Iommi. His quiet presence just reminds me of that, but that was not the case on a number of occasions as he did some headbanging on one song, or jump up on another.

This of course has its impact on the public and set more fire to the show

Someone asked me "what do you think of the new singer?"... "is William DuVall the right replacement?" I confirm, he is the best and closest to the way Alice In chains songs should be, it matches the style these songs are written, most importantly the harmonization with Jerry Cantrell, but I won't compare DuVall with Layne Staley, because Staley was unique. Mind you, that doesn't mean that DuVall is not a good or up to the AIC songs, to the contrary, he is one of few singers with high tone and long range voice, just fantastic singer.

I don't think anyone who write a review on Alice In Chains would ignore mentioning the band's bassist, Mike Inez, the great and one of the most energetic musicians alive. Simply, he is excellent. A man playing with power, the smile and interaction with the public remained during the whole show, and he ensured that he greet and thank the public at the end of the show with a big thank you.

To summarize all, it was a nice evening after all, despite delay, hectic traveling, I did enjoy seeing an great metal band, and enjoying listening to their music. 002 004 012 024 028 057 058 062

Week of Concerts 1: Deep Purple Rocks Amsterdam

Tuesday, 17 November was the first one, at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam: a sold out show of the mighty Deep Purple
No, they are not old or lacked the power they used to have. Their performance was fun as before, and it is my privilege to have their show booked in my agenda every year.

I am going to their concert again next year, even if they didn't record a new album, that's for sure.

If there is something unique about Deep Purple as one of the most influential rock/metal bands to date is their combination of power and fun. I said it before and I will keep on saying it. I love this band for those two reasons. Like any band, I don't like ALL their songs, but I love most of their songs, and my collection of their live and bootlegs will never seed to exist, it will keep on growing. I like how they joke and have fun (with these confident exchanges of smiles) among each other- Maybe the exception to all that is the great Ian Paice, but... I couldn't have the chance to catch up a glimse of him from my angel.

I was surprised when the band came on stage, seeing how Ian Gillan lost weight to a fightenning level, honestly, I wish this legendary singer health and long living, wouldn't think of him being ill and that loss of weight is caused by some illness. However, he still charming and one hell of a handsome man.
By the way, Ian Gillan mentioned that they are planning to record a new album for next year, but did not say when.
I can't wait

Which song I would drop out from their setlist? I ask this question because this is common question by many fans of a band like DP with a history, rich history. I would think of "Strange Kind of Woman", but I changed my mind after hearing it on that show, because of the energy and the way they play it live. I would think of "Fireball", but that's a trade mark, nooooo, I won't think of dropping it either, and I just hate those who talk about "that song is worn out and the other played too much on their shows" and all this bla bla bla
Everytime I look to the selist, trying to find a weaker song that can be dropped, I fail to select one.

The selection of songs was also different from last year, I loved this setlist, especially that they played two songs from their 1984's "perfect strangers" album, which they never did, at least not to my knowledge: "Wasted Sunset" and "Not Responsible". The latter was a puzzle to me, considering Gillan's age, I was wondering how he would sing such a song after all these years. Believe me, he did it and I loved that live version.

Don Airey's solo was classic and the great thing when it followed by the excellent "The Battle Rage's on", what a song!

Another highlight was Gov't Mule guitar player Warren Haynes, who joined Deep Purple on stage for the Black Night encore.

The set list for Heineken Music Hall show is:
01. Highway Star
02. Things I Never Said
03. Not Responsible
04. Strange Kind Of Woman
05. Wasted Sunsets
06. Rapture Of The Deep
07. Fireball
08. The Well Dressed Guitar
09. Wring That Neck Play Video
10. Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
11. No One Came Play Video
12. The Battle Rages On
13. Space Truckin'
14. Smoke On The Water
15. Hush
16. Black Night (with Warren Haynes on Guitar)

Deep.Purple.HMH 019

Deep.Purple.HMH 025

Deep.Purple.HMH 076 Deep.Purple.HMH 051 Deep.Purple.HMH 052 Deep.Purple.HMH 054 Deep.Purple.HMH 068 Deep.Purple.HMH 075

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Burj Dubai Fountains

On the first Saturday I was there, I read in the news that people living in Dubai had a rare opportunity to see the fountains during the day.

I didn't have the chance to visit these fountains, because my trip to Dubai were limited to driving through Zaid street and downtown.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Night To Remember... Forever

Yesterday was horrible

No!!! I don't mean Progressive Nation 2009 night. I am talking about the heavy rain and traffic jam on the highway while driving south west to Rotterdam. I know it was also the time when people driving back to their homes after eight hours (or more) working day.

But it never stopped raining, never, till today early in the morning!

Anyhow, Arrived in Ahoy much later than expected - there are a lot of people who also got stuck in the traffic because I saw a lot were just parking their cars, or walking under the pouring rain, or standing in long queues waiting to get their tickets investigated and bodies searched for any sharp objects.

For that reason I missed the first band, Unexpect. I also didn't see Bigelf from the beginning of their fantastic performance.

I really wished that Bigelf would play longer, because surely they blew me away with only the last couple of songs they played - one of them is the excellent "Money, it's Pure Evil". Their playing and overall performance was so powerful, musically tight, and full of melodic epics. This is how I can describe Bigelf - Not to forget Damon Fox's voice and keyboard/organ playing; this was the first time I see a combination of Led Zeppelin's Plant and Deep Purple's Jon Lord depicted in one person performing on stage. His voice is even better than studio recordings.

Then came Opeth, quietly walking into stage and picking up their instruments under the cheer applause of the public.

There was a big blast of laughter when one fan shouted "Norway". The band lead singer and guitartist, Mikael Åkerfeldt looked calm and straight to the direction where he heard that rant, with pure tone in his voice, he said "We are from Sweden..." he paused, kept looking in the same direction and said "... and... our name is Opeth". Big applause followed that rocked the hall.

Opeth does need introduction, I call their music deviant progressive metal, with mid-tempo as the main on almost all songs.

I was surprised they didn't play acoustic-guitar songs as I hear on their album. Things to note about Opeth (apart from their musical perfection), are the singer's powerful ability to change from the warm tone in his voice to the growling that would tear every thing up, and the very long and repetitive composition on every song.

Between each song Akerfeldt was deliberately used to be giving false meanings to the next song they were going to play, with sarcastic remarks every now and then.

By the way, I didn't get was the last song: it was to me like the band was playing that song thinking that it would last longer, or they just decided to ended the way it ended. I don't know, but something was not quiet right at the end.

This did not ruin the joy of watching them live for the first time.

For almost half an hour, busy stage crew was preparing everything for the headliners, Dream Theater. A huge gray curtain kept blocking the most psychedelic stage I have ever seen - simple but glamor until the first song already began.

I was hoping they would play at least one song from their newest (and best to date) Black Clouds & Silver Linings, and was expecting them to play "A Rite of Passage".

I was wrong!

Dream Theater performance started with thunder, sound of thunder and playing like thunder. They started the show with the first and one of my most favorite songs from that album: A night to Remember.

They proved me wrong many times, in fact, because Dream Theater played not only one song from this superb album, they played "A Rite of Passage", "Wither", and ended their stunning performance with the epic ""The Count of Tuscany".

I am sure if they had more time to play, they would not mind to play the remaining two songs from that fantastic album.

Dream Theater played songs from their old catalog too, and joked with the public on numerous times - loved the moment when drummer Mike Portnoy stick his nose or take one drumstick into his nose while playing his drums aggressively and with speed of light. This was hilarious, it made me wonder how perfect such a drummer like that can do complex compositions on his instrument while keep the good spirit and control on everything around him.

One of the things I noticed is how guitarist John Pertucci's gain of weight, contradicts to the big loss of weight of drummer Portnoy.

Oh, and James LaBrie was amazing too... I heard him life a lot of times, but this time I was stunned to see and hear him singing life. I don't need to mention the rest of the band because they don't require some compliments: Does the rattling bass playing of John Myung or the Keyboard/synth's playing by the wizard Jordan Rudess needs introduction?

I am sure that there are a lot to tell, and there are a lot of people who can write reviews better than I do (especially when writing so quickly like I am doing now) in describing the Dutch leg of progressive nation tour 2009, for those four bands there is one definite fact: It was a night to remember

Below are videos from last night

Dream Theater - "A Night To Remember"

Opeth - Windowpaint

Dream Theater - Count of Tuscany

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Brutal Legend Converts People To Heavy Metal | NowGamer

I am not into computer games, anymore, but I like this, at least it has Black Sabbath songs on it

Brutal Legend Converts People To Heavy Metal | NowGamer

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dancing in Central Station of Antwerp

Last year in March, a group of 200 dancers emerged out of nowhere in Central Station of Belgian city of Antwerp and started dancing on the "sound of music" melody plyaing out from the speakers at the different corners of the big hall. It is in fact a some sort of promotion to the musical by the same name.

Check the surprise on many people faces and their reaction to the suddenly jumping young and old dancers.

Thanks to Loulou for that

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wake Up Call

Yes, its a wake Up call

a wake up call for a blogger who's missed by many, and not only by me. I am not talking about those who suddenly decided to give it a try and leave everything behind, as if the effort put on writing and publishing what they think and want to share with the whole world (through this blog) is nothing but a waste of time.

There are some bloggers who just feel lazy to write anything, any more

Others who decided to quit everything for good, because they saw that their case, their cause where they decided to put forward in front of everyone did not catch a lot of people's ears or eyes.

I can't exclude myself from this situation, because I didn't even posted anything for sometime now, so it is my wake up call as it is for others I love to visit and to read their posts.

I feel sorry (and sad) that there are bloggers who originally had the intention to let the world know their story, but like many blogs around, the story did not have an end, and many people just kept on visiting that blog hoping, just hoping that one day they can read the end of the story.

I had a conversation with one of those excellent bloggers on the reasons he put a halt to his blog, he told me that "there is no use to continue"... "I am writing about my suffering, my agony, what happened to me in a specific point in time, but what is the use? will someone be helping me out? is there a solution?"

Another brilliant blogger has a habit of locking himself up when he is feeling lonely or maybe having problems with his surroundings, at the end... no new posts

In both cases, those bloggers are depriving people and visiting their blogs from sharing with them every single letter, every single word...

These letters and these words are not just empty

The sharing is much more valuable to many readers, it is about sharing feelings, maybe, or reflecting certain self-experience of that reader, or sharing the fun and joy that blogger or the other is posting on his or her blog.

Yes, it is a wake up call for all bloggers I used to read... who are missed, not only by me, but by many. Those bloggers who are in my eyes and mind left a trace with their precious words, experience, feelings, and events.

The Lost Symbol

Robert Langdon is again embarked into a new adventure.

A lot of people are looking forward to this, especially after the Da Vinci code and Angels and Demons.

I read the Da Vinci code and I watched the movie, it was, but it was crap if we compare it to the book and the magic it brought along with the story

Angels and Demons... Did not read or seen the movie - heard was good and lot of good reviews written about it on the internet.

However, I read Deception Point, and was not that impressed - no comparison here, with other books.

The new book by Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol (in fact it had another working title: The Solomon Key) took from the writer six years to complete. In it, the story is taking Robert Langdon, the Professor of Symbology, deep into the world of one of the most (if not the most) controversial "society" in the history of mankind i.e. freemasons

I asked myself the question while reading the Da Vinci code couple of years ago whether Dan Brown's main motivation to write about Symbology was in fact influenced by the myths and facts of the freemasons on one side and the facts regarding the chronological events in history after the establishment of our modern calender to this day, on another hand. However, I was almost sure that one day Dan Brown would write a full novel on the freemasons, whether Langdon playing the main character or someone else, and here we are ready to read such an adventure.

The novel came out yesterday to retailers in the United States, in English language, of course. For Arabic speaking friends, they have to wait because there is no Arab publisher announced yet that they will translate the novel very soon - I don't have doubts that the same publisher of previous books will do the job, but we have to wait.

Not the same thing for Dutch speaking friends, it will be out next month in bookshops in the Netherlands

I can't wait till I get my hands on this book.

Finally, two wishes:
First: I hope the book would be as good as the Da Vinci code
Second: they won't ruin the essense of the story when making the movie in 2012

Don't Always Believe in What the Police Say

So he is not addicted to alcohol and drugs! The killer of Arzu Erbas, his name is Nevzat K., 41 years old is also has no records by the police related to violence or anything related in the past. All this stated by the suspect defense lawyer, Niels van der Laan, today, which bring us to put forward the same question: from where and on what basis the police spread the news of a drug and alcohol addict killing a peaceful woman in mid day?

In such an important case, I say important because of the circumstances and the victim, and after all the silence from the police side now and suddenly this news erupts out of nowhere to tell us that the main suspect has a different record than it was thought. Another week, we might hear that the suspect is free and the police was mistaken with the identity with someone else because all Turks and Moroccans are look alike!

This is scary, for normal citizens to think that way, which would make them loose trust in the only tool to enforce law in the country. For that reason, reliable sources such as the police must not make such a grave mistake...

I am not exaggerating

Take and Give Away?

This is funny! It is like the opposite to the "give and take" situation! Maybe because it happened on the same day and within minutes that I read two pieces of news on Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates!

The first news headline is about Abu Dhabi hospitals charging patients up to Dhs 1,000 ($272) for swine flu tests, which are free in Dubai, by the way, according to The National website. Patients, wary of the side effects of Tamiflu, have been demanding the tests in order to avoid taking the anti-viral drug unless they are specifically infected. However, the tests are often unnecessary, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it recommends that otherwise healthy patients who have flu-like symptoms but no other complications need not be treated with antivirals or tested for the virus.

The second piece of news is concerning a $150 million gift from the government of Abu Dhabi to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, with the aim of developing tools and processes to reduce the pain children experience before, during and after surgery. According to the New York Times, the gift to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington will be used for pain research. “Our hope is that this gift will be transformative and lead to new medical technology and breakthroughs that improve health care for children around the world,” said Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States.

The full article from the New York Times is here, interesting read telling the story of how this gift was given and a background on this institute.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Killer

His name is Nevzat Koya, 41 years old. According to police, this is the name and age of the person who killed Arzu Erbas. He is dangerous, addicted on drugs and alcohol but above all, he has no permit to live in the Netherlands.

Until this moment, this man is free and undetected, neither anyone knows, according to police, the motives behind the crime he committed, especially that that man has no link or relationship with the day care center and any of the children or their parents.

One person I talked to a couple of days told me "so what the use? they will catch the killer, lock him in prison for a couple of years, end of story: two children lost their mother with no obvious reason, a mother who wanted to do something good for her community and the people around her just got killed like that, is this fair? where is justice?? and what someone can learn from all that???"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mourning Or Gloating?

The news last Monday of the murder of Arzu Erbas, 33 year old owner of a creche in Amsterdam has been to many, including me as the biggest shock ever. The attack happened at 6.40pm after Mrs. Erbas finished her work at the “Moedersschoot” childcare centre and was on her way to her parked car, when a man attacked her and stabbed her to death, and ran away – until this moment the identity or the whereabouts of the man unknown, according to the police.

Not long ago she was in fact with her husband and two sons enjoying their summer vacation in their father-land, Turkey, when she decided to get back here because of her busy work scheduling.

The motive for the attack is unknown, said the police, who are appealing for witnesses to come forward and tell what they saw. Yesterday was a special coverage on TV program Opspoor Verzocht on the crime where the police appealed to any one who has tips or witnessed anything who might help them to find that merciless murderer.

Arzu Erbas, or as many like to call her “the mother of all children” or “the perfect woman” was born in the Turkish coastal town of Rize and moved to the Netherlands when she was at a very young age, she studied Pedagogy and married later. Her energy and determination to make her dreams come true were beyond description. She got the idea of establishing her own childcare center was not a mere idea. Her dream was to make that childcare center something special for the children and not just a shelter for little children when parents go to work for eight or more hours. The success of the first “moedershoot” (in English Mother’s Womb or lap) motivated her to take a step further and to open a bigger establishment, not far located from the first. She had plan to open a third one in addition to her plans to open an orphanage in Turkey, not to mention her voluntarily work regarding integration in the Netherlands, as the case with her beautiful contribution to the work of Stichting Waterval in the city of Almere.

I visited in the past different child care centers, and I know people close to me (relatives and friends) who described the atmosphere there and told me stories about how childcare centers in Amsterdam and other cities where they took their daughters and sons looked like (I don’t blog about everything, I know), but to me, Arzu’s dream was spectacular (no disrespect to other owners of other childcare centers), because for the first time I see in the Netherlands a merge in dealing with babies and children between western-methods and middle-eastern upbringing: something that many immigrants (as well as Dutch) found it unique and perfect.

Some might say from reading and knowing Arzu Erbas that she did not achieve everything she was dreaming of. I tend to disagree, because such a wonderful woman had one dream, just one: care for children in any way possible and with any means. In fact, seeing what she established and what she provided for many children and their parents is a big proof of what I say.

I am not going to politicize this tragedy as some did. I am not going to ruin a moment of mourning many of us are living at the moment for a lovable person like Arzu, BUT it outraged me seeing the amount of disgusting and low-level comments put on Dutch newspaper Telegraaf related to this horrible news! The comments by many sick-minded people changed in the past days, and based on the assumption for the motive of the crime: such as how come that a 33 years old woman has own a luxury Mercedes? Later on the focus was on the one and only thing a typical Dutch person would think when seeing or hearing about a Muslim woman wearing a head-scarf being murdered: murder in the name of family honour. Yesterday night, drugs and mafia was involved! I am sure there will be more and more speculation. Before I forgot, some of those who were putting comments took the opportunity to express their pride of showing their lova and support for Geert Wilders!! I don’t understand what Wilders has to do with the whole thing, unless the telegraaf became the ultimate portal for Wilder’s fans. However, one thing can be attached to Wilders in this regards: thanks to him, he is one of the main igniters to trigger such sentiment among people put comments on the Telegraaf.

I agree with the opinion that the Netherlands is not the same compare it to 10 years ago, but it is not that dramatic as I see, unless I am seeing the wrong picture here and someone has to show me the way through- I would be grateful, though, relying on my experience I would be shocked when I hear someone say that “that concept of tolerance Dutch are famous with is just a big lie”.

I am not going to carry on with this, seeing other media sources and their warm words and passion, their sadness, from everyone, all reflected how much common people are shocked with what happened to Arzu – I personally cannot believe such a thing can happen, but that’s our cruel reality.

There is no overrated assumption if I say that The Netherlands has lost a great woman. She is the perfect symbol of social integration for people migrated from her country and for people believing in her faith – does that pause any threat to anyone? Yet, whatever the reason might be, killing in such a way as happened to Arzu will never be justifiable, because all those who knew that woman, all those around her remember her smile, her hospitality, her care, and her determination to reach out for her dreams.

Rest in peace, Arzu

P.S. There is a memorial forum made for the victim where people can leave their thoughts and wishes for Arzu and her family

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Turkish Favorite Rock/Heavy Metal Vocalists

Bruce Dickinson is my second favorite vocalist of all time - my first choice has always been Ian Gillan. Turkish heavy metal and rock fans differ!

Headbang, a Turkish rock and metal magazine which is sold as a Blue Jean magazine supplement, has published its list of top 30 heavy metal and hard rock vocalists of all time (as compiled by the magazine's writers). It is as follows:

05. James Hetfield (METALLICA)
08. Klaus Meine (SCORPIONS)
09. Bon Scott (AC/DC)
10. Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P.)
14. Alice Cooper (ALICE COOPER)
15. Axl Rose (GUNS N' ROSES)
16. Geoff Tate (QUEENSRŸCHE)
17. Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT, STONE SOUR)
18. Eric Adams (MANOWAR)
20. Lemmy Kilmister (ex-HAWKWIND, MOTÖRHEAD, THE HEAD CAT)
23. Jonathan Davis (KORN, JONATHAN DAVIS)
25. Udo Dirkschneider (ex-ACCEPT, U.D.O)
27. Brian Johnson (AC/DC)
28. David Coverdale (WHITESNAKE, EX-DEEP PURPLE)
29. Paul Di'Anno (ex-IRON MAIDEN)

Launched in 1987, Blue Jean is Turkey's oldest youth and music magazine with a monthly circulation of 20-25,000.

Headbang, which was first published in March 2007, is the most popular rock and metal magazine in Turkey. It is also said to be the country's only monthly music magazine with rock and metal content.


New Website For RNW

Radio Netherlands Worldwide (or Radio Nederland Wereldomroep) put a new effort to their website. This media organization is considered the best and only source of Arabic news in the history of the Netherlands. The new layout is different from the old in its more friendly and readable sections. It is not by any means the same compact news I used to see in a list soft of columns as before.

In the past months I noticed that the website administrators are focusing more on the media by attaching sound and video clips with most of it coverage of news in the Netherlands and abroad. This is another evidence of an emphasize on providing interactive experience for the reader, instead of just reading like any newspapers. I personally see that many steps forward for providing services for the visitor to the website.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide is not just about news. In fact one of the most interesting elements on the website are the reports and analysis about the different events and personalities living on the globe.

The only thing I noticed, which I wish the team working on the website should pay attention to is the font size of the Arabic letters, which I find it a little small compare to the overall page size and the pictures attached with each headline.

But that would not stop me from visiting this site, the important thing to me is the content, the information, the message that this organization seems to put an effort to keep it professional, to the point, and enjoyable all at the same time.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fulla & Hwayda Yousif - Ana Fi Intezarek

Algerian singer, Fulla and Syrian singer, Hwayda Yousif, performed live a cover version of Um Kalthoum's classic song, Ana fi Intizarek on entertainment show Taratata. On the same program there was the legendary Tony Hanna, among other new artists and singers from different Arab countries. The whole edition of the show was masmarizing, watching Tony Hanna and his excellent band performing classics from his long career.

Anyway, the version of the song Ana Fi Intizarek is my favorite cover so far; the passion and power the two ladies showed is superb.

Simply and with no doubt brilliant.

Well, I didn't find the video of that song on the internet, and I couldn't upload the damn movie contained the song nor on youtube, neither here so far, therefore, enjoy Metallica, instead, also from their performance on Taratata

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dubai Metro

This is a long view of Dubai metro, the longest fully automated rail system in the world. It will open on 9 September 2009.

It reminds me of a view from the futuristic sci-fi movie metropolis

Click on the image for larger view

Friday, May 22, 2009

Is This Real?

A beautiful scene with the clouds, the sky, the sun and the ocean as the leading role players. In the background you see the islands of Desertas.

Location: Caniço, Madeira (Portugal)

Photographer: Hartjesfan (Lilian)

Is Not About An Award

Its about the words, about my great appreciation that I accept an award from a friend and a fellow blogger.

Thank you, Branwen, It means a lot to me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dedicated To Metal Lord

This song is dedicated to Ali Metal Lord

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Speaking of movies in general, science fiction movies in particular, A couple of weeks ago I went to the movie theater for Watchmen.

It was one of the worst movies (if not the worst sci-fi) movie ever seen. With all high-tech special effects, this movie proved to be one big flop. The story has no consistency, no development to the plot, like glewing small fractions to make one long boring movie.

There are two things the director focused on: senseless action scenes and sexual showup.

In fact, at the end of the movie I felt that I was tricked into going to theater and choose IMAX to watch such a boring movie.

From watching this movie, knowing before hand that the director is the same of 300, which carried a boring story, but great action movie, I was expecting something similar, but my dissapointment was to a large extent when seeing the end title of Watchmen.

Star Trek XI

I watched Star Trek a couple of days ago.

I had the feeling that this movie would beat Xmen Origins in a previous post

The verdict: simple plot, amaingly and beautifully science fiction movie. From the begining and without any introduction you are deep into the story line.

I liked the way each character has been introduced and showed its development, keeping in the back of my head how these character later (in the original series) became the way all Star Trek fans know

I read somewhere that there is a follow up to this prequal, something I certainly looking forward to.

If you don't like Star Trek, its still a great action packed science fiction movie. If you are a Star Trek fan, this movie is full of things that make you smile and enjoy.