HASA!


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I’ll never forget the day this album dropped. I was in another dimension. I was inspired.

This album performed well. Its critics are caught in a web of infinite skepticism.

I bought this album and Yeezus on the same day. I believe these are probably the two greatest artists of our time. If you pay attention, I have been influenced by them in all of my work.

The political undertones in this work, like all of Jay-Z’s works, are omnipresent. The cover itself, inspired by greco-roman mythology, the inner-booklet, as well as the content, from beginning to end, captures the stark reality of an American hustler. The whole time I felt I was watching a Spike Lee movie.

Jay-Z is hated for his business approach. I think he is an artistic genius. His genius is beyond the minds of his critics, be they musicians or not. He addresses conspiracy theorists in a line from “Heaven”:

Conspiracy theorists screaming illuminati,

They can’t believe this much skill is in a human body,

6’2, how the fuck he fit in a new bugatti,

Aw fuck it you got me,

Question religion question it all,

Question existence until them questions are solved,

Meanwhile this heretic, I be out in Marrakesh,

Morocco, smoking hashish with my fellowship,

Y’all dwell on devil shit, I’m in diablo, yellow-shit,

Color of jello shit, hello bitch,

It’s me again, fresh in my easter clothes feeling like Jesus.

For all the so-called purists & the conspiracy theorists, this is a clear message. Jay-Z isn’t here to make you comfortable. He is here to make a living, express himself & expose what he sees as American hypocrisy. With references to Malcolm, Martin Luther King Jr., Wall Street, Jewish affluence and more, this album in no way falls short of being consistent with the tradition of hip-hop as a conscious movement.

Despite ongoing trends & exploitations of the culture, for the most part, there remains a largely alive movement of conscious listeners and artists who remain true to the craft and the messages upon which it was built.

It cannot be understated the impact which 200 years of slavery has had on the African-American culture. This recent interview with Azealia Banks on Hot 97 really captures the emotions of the African-American community. Whether or not you agree with her views or self-expression, I do believe it is important for Americans especially, to hear this perspective. It is true, that Abraham Lincoln emancipated the slaves in the 19th century. But that was the end of a tactic; not of a system. The system which we would like to believe no longer exists today is strong and more alive than ever. Words alone, especially my own, cannot do justice.

Today, hip-hop is saturated with a blend of either ultra-conscious underground or ultra-materialistic mainstream. The medium is there, if you look for it. The majority, which represents the American population, remains held hostage to either the purists within the underground community or the bigots who have largely extended their grasp over the popular media-mainstream, exponentially since the deaths of major hip-hop icons Notorious B.I.G. & Tupac.

I am all for new music & innovation. But I tend not to look for it from many of the artists who the mass-media spoon-feeds us on the daily. I like sticking to my real hip-hop.

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Remembering Anthony Shadid (1968-2012)


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On September 1st, 2011, late journalist & NYT foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid came to speak to UCF students about his recent escapades in the Middle East, namely his most recent experiences in Libya, where Shadid recalled being taken hostage with two other associates for three days.

I am grateful to say I had the opportunity to sit in on his speech. I was even able to meet with Shadid shortly after his speech during which I introduced myself. He was quick to smile with news that I am Syrian. I purchased his most recent book, Night Draws Near, in which he left me a little note, perhaps a little naive in hindsight, or just rashly hopeful as all Arabs tend to be. “See you in Damascus,” he uttered.

Anthony Shadid reminded me what it means to be an Arab, aside from the ordinary customs, our cuisine, language music and traditions. Anthony Shadid reminded me that at the heart of being Arab is the nature of resilience; our ability to laugh and chuckle even amidst the darkest of chaos. I vaguely remember a story told to me by close friend of mine, a Palestinian political activist from Ramallah, Tami Rafidi. Rafidi, whose husband was taken captive by Israeli forces never to be returned, embodied this resilience. Despite her frustrations; anger & suffering, Rafidi recalled memories of running wildly along the rugged Palestinian terrain dodging Israel fire while laughing, telling jokes & drinking the famous Arab liquor – ‘arak’.

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In 2006, when Israel began bombing Hezbollah sites in Lebanon, the Lebanese people were seeking refuge by day; clubbing relentlessly by night. Despite all the misery and control, the Arabs found a way; an outlet.

It is Tami’s resilience, the resilience of the Lebanese people, which echoed the sentiments of Anthony Shadid, who did not stop short of asserting during his speech: “At the heart of the Arab struggle is Palestine, a very dear subject for the Arab & Muslim world. This cannot be understated.”

I admire this man for his courage and resolve.

In 2012, during a trip to Syria where he was capturing stories about the ensuing conflict in the region, Shadid suffered what appeared to be a asthma attack. Shortly after Shadid passed. I was shocked by the news. Without any history of medical complications except for minor sensitivities to allergens, Shadid was not on course for any type of health issues.

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I remember having met his daughter at the time of his speech. She was quite young, very polite & beautiful. My prayers and thanks are with her, wherever she may be, for having had such an amazing man as a father. My dream is to honor his legacy and the struggle of the Arab people all over the world, which he represented so well.

I did not want to go into any details or elaborate on the possibility of foul-play regarding Shadid’s death, out of respect for him & his family. I will add, however that with regards to the Middle East, there is without a doubt an unrelenting fear among journalists, dissidents or activists of any sort, of persecution for propagating legitimate news, especially if it poses a threat to the interests of particular political actors. His bodies of work, including the aforementioned book, shows no restraint in exposing the consequences of the US government’s disastrous policies which would usher in violent instability & chaos that has yet to conclude, even a decade after the US initiated the invasion.

I pray that in the case of Shadid, his passing was a matter of fate and nature. Nonetheless, his legacy remains & the struggle for Arab dignity continues.

RIP Anthony Shadid. Thank you. May the children of Iraq see justice one day. Long live the Arab struggle for freedom & may Palestine one day be free!

Faux-News: Balancing News Coverage in the US Media-Mainstream


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The reason why most immigrants to the US are less inclined to believe lies on US media channels is because they have more experience in the outer world.

That is why when US media outlets inflame the crimes of violent groups like al Qaeda and ISIS, it almost makes us laugh because in our eyes, we know that none of these groups are Islamic and that the real perpetrators are in fact some of America’s closest allies, like Saudi Arabia & Israel. The problem is the US has much at stake, economically and in its reputation. American politicians & corporate execs are involved.

That is why when the Daily Beast posts headlines about the crucifixion of babies by ISIS, it upsets me because this in fact serves ISIS’ goal of garnering attention and slandering Islam.

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Article link here: http://thebea.st/1CZQRv8

Why don’t CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CBS, Daily Beast, or even Al Jazeera America broadcast the international crimes committed by the apartheid state of Israel on a daily basis? Where are the journalists and the news broadcasts and the full fledged reports about the causes of income-inequality inside and outside America? Instead all we hear about is the dangers of “Islamic terror”, the urgency of blind, self-righteous American patriotism and unquestionable support for indiscriminate international security measures. Instead, we get stories about Iggy Azalea and Suge Knight. Instead we get headlines titled Je Suis Charlie.

Well Je Suis Ahmed Merabet. Je Suis Mike Brown. Je Suis Shaimaa el-Sabbagh. Je Suis Eric Garner. Je Suis Rachel Corrie. Je Suis Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

The forces of imperialism currently being incited right now to destabilize universal concepts of national sovereignty, international peace and cooperation are the following: Zionism, Wahhabism, Communism, Anarcho-Capitalism, Libertarianism, Turkish Fascism & Ottoman Expansionism, White Supremacy.

We need fair coverage of world events in the US. Europe isn’t as bad as I’ve heard from peers, friends and family. But considering the US is the most influential country on the planet, for better and/or worse, it is urgent that we get a fair display of what is going on in the world here on American soil. It is hard enough for us political scientists who aren’t willing to compromise truth for the sake of riches to maintain our sanity let alone survive because the American economy isn’t very friendly to critics of its own politics. There isn’t anything un-American about it; though those in power might have you believe it does. In reality its just a group of Americans who benefit off media-bias, unfair coverage & imbalanced lobbying. It is of no coincidence that this group is likely white. Just afraid of a little competition…

The twentieth century allotted much of the global policing responsibility of the world to America. But just as England, Spain, Rome, and nearly all of history’s global empires overreached, so to has America; and the 21st century is finally time for the US to turn it down a notch. Protecting the world from extremism has turned into an impetus for exploitation.

While communism and extreme statist policies were viewed as the enemy of global stability; the 21st century has ushered in a new force of evil; anarchical capitalism. The King of Morocco once said, “capitalism and communism are two sides of the same coin.” I agree. Being a mixed economist myself, I have relinquished any desire to associate myself objectively with any particular ideology. This highlights the dynamic of the Vietnam War per se during which the US viewed Communism as a global threat therein being blinded by its own imperial ambitions. The same is true for Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion; the product of that debacle was the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, the Taliban and al Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden himself with close ties to the Saudi monarchy.

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The problem is there is large disconnect between the US government, Big Banks, and the American people, exacerbated by a culture and tradition of self-righteous Republicanism. Why Americans Hate Welfare, by Martin Gilens, shows how failure on behalf of the media to accurately and fairly portray the socio-economic realities within the US not only leaves the issue of economic inequality unaddressed but largely perpetuates the misery of the impoverished classes by distorting their image and the root causes of their suffering to begin with. This same principle ought to be applied to US coverage of foreign affairs which leaves various groups and communities like Arabs, Armenians, Africans, Palestinians and Native-Americans disenfranchised altogether; without a voice.

I believe only through democratic collective initiatives and progressive movements can we put pressure on politicians and the media to address public concerns. Let us honor the legacies of our predecessors like Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. who strove to balance the rights of all men in this world by fighting and protesting peacefully until our voices are heard.

Democracy versus Republicanism


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I have spent day and night verifying the perfect political system; one that guarantees men their individual freedoms, their collective rights and global stability.

The menaces of fanatical ideologies have swept over human civilization since the dawn of mankind.

Individuals have been struggling to preserve their individual identity, and countries have struggled to protect their sovereignty due to the threat of fanaticism and its manipulative tendencies.

Ultimately, democracy is the ideal government. It is the will of the individual protected by the common values of the collective.

Fanaticism, the anti-peace, the anti-individual, the anti-collective, manifests itself on all ends of the political spectrum, spanning all corners of ideological persuasions, including some of the most deceiving.

Often times these fanatical ideologies have a religious foundation, such as with Zionism, Wahhabism. Other times, they are proudly irreligious, such as with Communism. However while all fanatical ideologies wear different masks; underneath all the propaganda and fear-mongering, they all share the same face, and they are all the very antithesis of democracy, universal equality, prosperity and happiness.

The aim of the established elite in western countries, namely America, is to intimidate the lower classes with the propagation of fear and ideological fanaticism. In America, we are taught that Republicans are the true American patriots. We are indoctrinated to believe that Republicanism is the face of America, and that democracy, monotheism, equality and true free enterprise is only possible if we put our trust in the Republican creed.

But the face of America is not just white. It is not just Christian either. This country was founded on principles of universal equality, and by definition, Republicanism is the very antithesis of that doctrine.

Republicans have gone out of their way to portray every enemy of their ideology as an enemy of ‘freedom’, when in reality, it is Republicans who funnel their money into campaigns and projects with the aim of propagating religious dogma. If we dig even deeper, we’ll see that some of the biggest heads of the GOP, such as Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush, have their investments in non-democratic entities, such as the Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Emirates, Qatar, Lebanon, Israel & non-state actors like ISIS, al Qaeda, etc.

Republicans are enjoying the fruits of democracy while corroborating with dictators, terrorists and political criminals abroad. They do so by portraying all enemies of America as freedom-stealing fanatics. The irony. The fanatics, ISIS & al Qaeda, work for American Republicans. They are in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Egypt right now, propagating Wahhabism, Salafism and other extremist takes on Islam in order to destablize the region and put various resources under the auspices of Western elites. I will not dismiss the culpability of Eastern elites either, who likely cooperate with the West, such as Russia & China.

The irony is that Syria, unlike America’s arab allies, Saudi Arabia & Qatar, is a secular democratic state that elects its leaders. The majority of Syria, likely to this day, remains loyal to Assad and the current government.

What the Western elites and their cohorts are trying to do is not original – it is a tactic they use right at home on their own people in attempt to distort democracy. It is a combination of gerrymandering, gentrification, and disenfranchisement.

The tactic is to propagate an ideology and to spread paranoia through the region. This is done by appealing to individuals in the region who are mentally unstable and socio-economically insecure. Unaware of the source of their misery, which is as much due to ignorance as it is to the poor living conditions that result from imperialism and colonial suppression, namely from the Israeli-Gulf axis, they fall prey to a false promise of security, power and fulfillment.

All in all, since America is a democracy – a struggling one at that – the last resort of elitist minded individuals in such a political structure is to portray its enemies as non-democratic. However the irony is that America is itself struggling to be democratic, with wealth concentration in the top tier and a social system that disenfranchises african-americans as well as immigrants. As America struggles to free itself from the shackles of republican dogma, so to does the rest of the world.

Many people still want to point their finger at Obama. That is just playing into their hands. Obama is our president, but remember, the real power doesn’t lie in his hands. The real power is in the hands of the corporate executives of big oil and big banks, who dictate the financial affairs of the entire world.

Furthermore, criticism of America should be more directed. Instead of attacking the country whose image we seek to improve, scrutiny should target the group of individuals responsible for holding us back. History tells me those people are Republican elitists who do not acknowledge the human rights of anyone but themselves.

Syria’s Assad is not the cause of Middle Eastern instability. The problem is fanaticism – the very antithesis of democracy, individualism and peace.

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Rise of the Eastern Son (COMING SOON!)


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Continue reading “Rise of the Eastern Son (COMING SOON!)”

The Problem of Collectivism


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If there is one thing I have come to learn to really appreciate it is my individual freedom.

It is becoming extremely taboo to tout your individualism.

It is often viewed as a sense of paranoia.

I have learned to face a fact: most people prefer to rely on others – instead of themselves – for financial/political gain.

They themselves do not possess the qualities necessary for financial success.

The irony is that these qualities are not just scarce but that most people are unaware of them entirely.

These qualities are spiritual, and this is the irony, that it requires a form of spiritualism to succeed in the realm of materialism.

This is my philosophy of Islam, a perfect blend of secularism and spirituality. This is my version of what I believe is perfect Abrahamic monotheism.

As a Syrian, I have seen the lines drawn between believer and non-believer; adherent & heretic. Usually the lines are separated between Alawite & Sunni, but my version of pure Islam embodies neither and at the same time a little bit of both.

My emphasis in this post is on how my philosophy in life has brought me to a confrontation with a worldly dilemma: collectivism – the inability of other human beings to develop a sense of self-respect and individualism due to a variety of reasons ranging from insecurity to familial underdevelopment to political suppression.

In America the general idea is that Republicans, the right-wing, Libertarians, the tea party, Ron Paul, Ann Coulter & Ayn Rand are the de-facto symbols of individual freedom – especially the individual freedom that birthed the American model of governance.

Initially, the preservation of individual rights sprung from the individual concern about the fate of his most basic rights. Eventually, once the individual discovered his innovative capacity, he wanted a new form of individual rights: the protection of intellectual property.

The general narrative against collectivism is that human beings form tribes that eventually turn into governmental forces that suppress individual innovation and ultimately bring an end to prosperity and the general welfare.

The USSR, Nazi Germany, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Iran, the DRC – these are all national entities which have evidently subjugated their people to terrible standards of living throughout history – some still exist today.

My ultimate question is, from where does this ultimate desire to stifle the “ultimately economic” freedom of the individual?

Why must we as individuals suppress our self-expression, our ambition to be great, our desire for dignity and freedom…for the sake of preserving the insecurity of other individuals?

But what insecurity do I speak of? If all individuals in a given society are free to do as they wish; what fear of failure ought any of these individuals have? The fear of fulfillment? The fear of not being acknowledged? The fear of being overlooked? The fear of financial insecurity? Or, less innocently, the fear of not losing exclusivity and power?

Ultimately…my political philosophy can be described as a classical liberal monotheist, with some socialist elements that recognize the crimes of history. Conservatism, collectivism guised as individualism, and all other forms of collective thought-manufacturing, is the antithesis of freedom, salvation, enlightenment, education, happiness & prosperity.

Capitalism purports to be the preserver of competition but in reality what it does it strip the realm of ‘God’ as the superior deity in order to fill a void or insecurity of skill, thereby relying on arbitrary ownership of ideas. This is capitalism. Communism does the same.

All the isms of this world serve one giant agenda of collectivist persuasion – to turn men into sheep and to herd them into giant collectives and to pin them against one another – the age old ‘divide and conquer’.

Meanwhile all the moderates, the spiritualists, the self-reliant, the skilled, the humble, the abundant…whose currencies are neither government nor business…but rather…God and nature…these are the messengers whose messages are as warnings to a world of ignorance; a world that was never free but in which free men are constantly struggling to preserve their dignity and purpose.

It is us who recognize the fallacies of man, who have read history and understand the imperfections of our entire race, it is us who struggle.

I have no currency. I have no religion. I have no ideology. I am but a man of Nature and the one and only Supreme Being.

Those men who wish for more than nature wish for power and vanity. They wish to be worshipped and to worship that which is not our God. Beware especially of the fanatics.

These men are slaves of the systems of ownership of other men that human beings have created in this world. Capitalism owns men by convincing them they can achieve higher social status and greater acceptance if they conform to a set of a capitalist set of values that ultimately enslaves you to that methodology of thinking, thereby preserving power in the hands of that very same capitalist elite. Communism does the same by making you think that you are more powerful and socially reputable if you propagate/advertise yourself as an ascetic intellectual who does not require the basic needs of man. Ultimately both of these philosophies have a non-genuine intent: social status and power.

Anarchists are another great tool for power-mongers as they promote jealousy by pinning the only source of potential stability – government – as the enemy.

Remember, government is not necessarily the problem, but rather, the ideas that are used to enslave our governments to groups of men: cults.

Democracy and socialism have been hi-jacked by power-hungry capitalists, communists, anarchists and such.

More ideas and isms will spring forth in the future to destabilize countries, usurp resources, and maintain power.

Therefore, power is the ultimate goal and nation-states are their tools. Private and public security forces that inhibit the spread of genuine democracy and socialism are the controllers of this world. The ideologues. These are the kingpins. The money, the resources, the militias: these are their tools.

Now that I have no fear I am free again because I see the ignorance of this world and that my God is perfect. Fatalism has always been true.

Men are at fault for their intentions. There are consequences.

The true men of this world have sought truth and education; they have equally sought to spread it.

Most men are busy worrying about the power and vanities of this world, when they could merely focus on their gifts and blessings.

P.S.

Do not allow your ambitions to distort the truest definition and origin of a word or concept.

There is a huge difference between classical liberalism and libertarianism, and conservatism. I align classical liberalism with my God of Islamic monotheism, and get socialist nationalism. The gods of other ideologies are either other men, preachers, clerics, power-wielders or themselves.

(The genius of capitalism is that it allows for one man or one small group to use money to hire and own employees and their skills so as to make it seem as though human beings are individually capable of perfection when in fact the capitalist must enslave workers upon workers to curate perfection).