Obscurity as a reason of hate

Have you ever seen someone do something and thought to yourself: “why would he even do that?” or, “what mentality must one have to do something like that?” Well, I don’t know about you, but I sure have. Whenever someone does deliberately makes a choice to do an act, I always think about what motive or what justification he/she had to do that. Most of the time it may be easy to understand why?, but in certain cases I am left baffled. I can’t comprehend the reasoning behind what motive they would have; one of these things is hate, specifically racism.

I stumble upon videos where a person is being extremely racist and hateful towards others, and most of the time in those videos, the racist people say the most bizarre things I’ve ever heard. Some of the things are so out there that I have trouble to comprehend these words have been said by a normal functioning human being.

The root of such absurd actions is one’s education. The people who say these sorts of things have been brainwashed into believing completely untrue and absurd things since they were young and these ideas have implanted themselves in the person’s head causing them to make these false conceptions about a group of people. For instance, people in power will spread false information about a group of people and the majority will come to “hate” that group without even actually knowing them which leads me to my next point.

Another reason people commit acts of racism and project hate towards another group of people is because they don’t actually know them. It is in human nature to be afraid of what one doesn’t know but this can be overcome and if people go and talk with the other side, they will most likely come to realize that they aren’t too different. They both have the same goals, the same values, and same ideas. Communication is also a key factor in combating hate.

It is the responsibility of those who are aware of this danger to communicate with others and advocate for communication. Sitting and watching will do nothing. It is time to action. Otherwise a dystopian future will welcome us.

Inspiring story of Rais Bhuivan

A Muslim immigrant from Bangladesh has taught us how love can be an antidote to hate, and how violence against violence is not the answer to our ills.

Rais Bhuiyan’s story starts nearly two decades ago, when he first came to the U.S. as an immigrant. In one of his talks, he tells about his experience as he was first coming to the U.S. from Bangladesh, just three months before the 9/11. The pilot of the plane he was flying let him go up to the cockpit and that they had a friendly conversation. He says that something like this happening today is almost impossible and that he can’t even speak Arabic because it is considered as a security threat.

After 9/11, he spoke about an incident in which a man, holding a gun, walked into a store of a gas station he was working at. Thinking it was a robbery, Rais offered him the money in the cash register. The gunman asked him where he was from and even before he could reply, he shot him in the face. Rais lost one of his eyes. His assailant was convicted of murder and was sentenced to death. Luckily, he survived, unlike two of his friends in the gas station.

What Rais did next was very inspiring. Instead of watching him be killed and going on with his life, he fought for his assailant to not be executed. He thought that violence wouldn’t be solved with violence and that this person had to be taught.

When his assailant found out about him fighting for him not to be executed, he wrote a letter telling Rais that he was sorry and that whoever raised him raised him right.

When he was going to be executed he wished to talk with Rais. Rais told him that he never hated him and responded: “I love you bro.” It is amazing how someone who wanted to kill Rais out of hatred was saying that he loved him and even called him brother. Rais then founded a website called “worldwithouthate.org”, where he is fighting against hate.

I think that this is a very touching and powerful story. Just by not hating and loving, he changed the mindset of a man who, if not for the love, might have gone to his grave with full of hate. But with a single act of kindness, this man’s mind was changed forever — even though he was eventually executed.

Long Time No See…

Whew! It’s been a while! I can’t believe that summer is over already, it feels as if it was only yesterday when I landed in New York with my messy hair and heavy bags. My break isn’t completely over (I’ll be going back in a month), but it sure feels like it is. My brothers are starting school and I’m having to be more on a stricter schedule.

JFK Airport, First day of my summer.

I also took some classes that I didn’t take in Egypt, online, which ended about two weeks ago. For anybody that hasn’t taken any online classes, let me just say I can define my first experience as: “get the homework and finish it the last day.” This is exactly what I did in the eight weeks that I was taking English and social studies, and guess what? I got an A+ on both of the classes! The classes were a breeze and even fun at times, but I can’t say I’m not, disappointed that it ended.

Nothing much has happened since the bike ride and I am REALLY bored. And the fact that my friends’ schools are starting and that I’m mostly home on my computer doesn’t really add any more excitement to my life either, I’m just waiting for Egypt. At least when my friends were here we would play soccer in the park or something. I would even go to the trail from time to time with one of my friends and try to finish the whole seven miles.

Liberty Park NJ, Manhattan on the background.

I never thought that I’d say this but I’m THRILLED to go back to Egypt. Life here is just too boring (no offense America), I miss the days when we would count the intervals between honks in the street and never get higher than ten seconds, I miss hearing “FUUUUL!” in the mornings, and mostly I just miss the feel of Egypt. I even had my mother make me Koshary from a recipe online to soothe my longing for Egypt. I know that I’ll probably miss the luxuries in America when I’m there but now, I’m really craving the short interval between the car horns.

My upcoming year in Egypt is planned to improve my Arabic only, last year we finished all levels in the center. This year, I will be more in the crowds, and more active in society (which will hopefully lead to really interesting writings in the future 😉 ). I am planning to be a volunteer in an Egyptian charity organization for refugees. (If you guys have any connections you can help me too.)

While I was at home the Middle East didn’t stay still, many huge events happened. I would like to write what happens on North Syria, Iraq, and of course, the coup attempt in Turkey.

I just hope this last month goes as fast as the rest of my summer break was and I get to go back to that beautiful, yet dirty country. Until then I just have to beg my mother to make more  Koshary..


Nice Attack and things that come to mind.

A horrific event happened in Nice, France during the Bastille day celebration. About 84 people were killed and 50 people are in critical condition. This is the third biggest terrorist attack in 19 months. The terrorist ran people over with his truck zig-zagging to take out the most people as he shot at the crowd as well, the name of the terrorist was Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel.

French president Francois Hollande was quick to label this as “Islamic terrorism.” This might seem true, however does terrorism have a religion? Hollande Stated in response to the carnage that: “All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism.” After the Orlando club attack, presidential candidate Donald Trump said that This problem of Islamic terror will continue as long as Obama doesn’t recognize the terrorism as Radical Islamic terrorism. As a response to this Obama said such a stance would “make us less safe, fueling hatred toward us.”It also makes “Muslim-Americans feel like their government has betrayed them.”

I think Obama’s reply to Trump was very well said.  Hatred and otherization makes the society “split” and causes an internal conflict between groups . The last thing the world needs is a conflict like this.

Terrorism is not a new thing, terrorism in America has been happening since 1837. However to understand terrorism, we need to look at the dictionary definition of the word. Terrorism literally means: “The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes”, so basically it’s “war” fought by people that aren’t representing a country. In the 21st  century, the term that comes to mind when the word terrorism is heard, is “Islamic Terrorism”. However does terrorism have a religion? Does Islam or any other religion provoke terrorist approaches?

No religion would order a person to massacre people. The whole idea of religion is happiness here and hereafter. Religion gives something that one can be devoted to. In no religion does it say to go out there and massacre tons of people. Religion is an excuse used by terrorists and an explanation to terrorism used by governments. If we take a look at any book from the three Abrahamic religions, we can clearly see that killing of the innocent is a HUGE sin, and what most terrorists are doing is just that.

“…Anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all the people. …” [Quran 5:32]
“There are six things that the Lord hates, …a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,” (Proverbs 6:16-19)

“Thou shalt not murder.” (Ten Commandments)

Murder cannot be justified by something that condemns murder. People like Hitler didn’t kill millions because of their religions, it was their own ideas that drove them to do these things. People’s ideas are to blame in situations like this, not religion. For, if one classifies a type of terrorism as religious terrorism it’s like putting every person from that religion under the same roof.

Home Sweet Home!

Finally I’m home! I came back from Egypt a while ago and have been enjoying my summer vacation. After many days indoors I decided that I needed to go out and do something so I started thinking. Many long thinking sessions later I told  my dad that I wanted to buy a bike, so I could see the America that I missed and get some exercise. I looked online for some bikes and realized that if I wanted a good bike I’d have to “buck up” a lot of money, and if I knew myself I wasn’t looking to pay more than 50 dollars for a bike.  My next resort was to check online with websites like Craigslist and realized that this was more a fantasy than something I would actually do, I wouldn’t get my parents to drive all the way to some place 30 minutes away and meet up to buy a bike with somebody (the prices were also pretty expensive, a bit too much for my taste 😉 ). The next resort was one I had never gone to before: the flea market.

Just bought my bike. Another seller is packing up.

You can find anything at a flea market; weird, life-sized dummies, ancient weapons, knives and antique stuff like teapots and plates. It is very interesting that the parking lots of Flea Markets are full, and you can see Ferraris or Porsches parking. Some rich collectors visit flea markets to hunt for some antiques. Summer is the unofficial flea market season.

Now, I’ve never been to a flea market before, however, have heard that you can get many things at a cheap price. I asked my dad if he knew if there were bikes there, he said “of course”; apparently the flea market’s full of that sort of stuff. The flea market is a place similar to “Bazaars” in the Middle East, where you can buy almost anything directly or with a little bit of haggling.

It was a Sunday and we went to the flea market which was conveniently on the side of a road. There were many people who had set up shop with their trucks or with stands that were already there. We were a little bit late, It was almost the closing time. Most sellers were putting their stuff into the trucks. I saw many antique things like the first PlayStation and even older, the SNES (super Nintendo entertainment system). My dad and I took a walk around the flea market and arrived at the place that was selling bikes. Some chainsaws on the ground caught my attention, you could buy almost anything.

After looking at all of the bikes we chose two bikes that were great. The man said that the price was 100 dollars for both of them, which was good by my standards but my dad thought otherwise. After some haggling we got both of the bikes for 80 dollars, which was even better by my standards. After we got the bikes we rode them back to the car and loaded them in in the back and headed home.

Green all green!.

About a week after buying the bikes I went to a nearby trail and rode with my dad which was also a very fun experience (a tiring one too). I’m happy that I could have this much fun without wasting an insane amount of money and look forward to riding again. In the meantime I’ll be at home recovering from yesterday’s long and tiring ride.

It’s good being free from all the yellow and coming to a place that’s green…

My Mobile Internet

As our leave’s getting closer and we’re  counting down the days. I’m remembering the beautiful things about the States. The green outdoors, the breeze, the parks, and most of all: my house. I miss my house, it’s in a quiet place, you don’t hear any car horns or anybody yelling; I really miss my house.Thinking about these things makes me even more excited to go. I’m so excited that I’m surprised that I didn’t start packing my bag out of excitement already. I also really want the language center classes to finish so the time would go faster until our leave.

My very first days in Cairo.  Shopping for Mobile Data Plans.

While thinking about my home, I also think about how on YouTube anything under 1080p resolution was unacceptable. But here in Egypt  I have to watch everything in 140p resolution so it doesn’t finish my internet packet. In Egypt there is no unlimited internet packets so it’s like pay as you go. You buy a small card and put the code on your phone. Then after you do that you can buy a limited packet with the credit you put in. The biggest thing that I got affected by living in Egypt is the fright that my Internet will finish. Every video counts, oh you want to try out this game on the appstore? Well before you download it you scroll down and look at how big it is, before coming to Egypt I didn’t even know you could check that. You really have to use the internet efficiently and not waste it so your internet packet lasts until the end of the month. For me however, a huge internet user, you can find that I finish 7 gigabytes before the half of the month.

Get used to this.

I miss using the internet without limit, before, I used to download apps according to the limits of my phone storage, and now I download according to the limit of my internet. Every time I watch a video I watch it cautiously, everything counts. Many times my internet finished and this small dreaded message popped up on my phone screen saying that I used 100 percent of my internet.

Internet has probably been the most of my expenses this year.

Internet has probably been the most of my expenses this year. I look forward to going back to The States soon (About 2 weeks) and enjoying the unlimited internet and the greenery outside and taking a break from the yellow, grey, and brown colors of Egypt.

All of this teaches me something, I’ve always been told “be grateful for what you have”, and I don’t think I truly understood that until I came to Egypt and found that there are some things in America that Egypt doesn’t have. Even Egypt has some things that other countries would wish for. You come to Egypt, you drink as much water as you want in this burning country and stay hydrated. While drinking the water we have to think about those who don’t even find water. We need to think about the orphans while we are enjoying our time with our parents. And we have to think about refugees while we are warm and cozy in our house and they leave their houses and head towards an unknown future. We have to be thankful for what we have.

An Abrupt Leave – Syrian Refugee Crisis

By the time he returned home that night from his job at a healthcare company, he had resolved to flee Syria. He talked it over with his wife, informed his mother, and then reached out online to an underground group known for smuggling Syrians into Jordan. Again he was fortunate: the smugglers had space in a private car to carry him and his wife to the border the next day. The couple packed their bags with clothing, photos from their wedding and a few keepsakes, they walked out the door and left their life behind…

This is the story of Faez al Sharaa, a 28 year old Syrian refugee (Time Magazine)

You’ve probably heard about  the big tragedy in the world today: The Syrian Refugee Crisis. Whether it be taking in refugees or about the refugees themselves, this big tragedy has probably been in most country’s current events. We also hear about this crisis, from Internet, from the news, from our friends. Everybody knows about it now. The problem is, getting people to take action about this crisis, which people have started doing, with the help of fundraisers or actually going to the refugee camps and helping them.

kids How did the crisis start? You might’ve heard of The Arab Spring which is when most of the Middle East countries revolted against their tyrannical leaders. The same was going on in Syria, however the peaceful protests escalated to something far more extreme, after the governments violent crackdown, rebel groups started attacking the government which led to the government fighting back. About 250.000  lives were lost, half of which are thought to be citizens.

This fight resulted in the people fleeing their homes for their lives. That was a total amount of 3.8 million Syrian refugees in 2015.

This fight resulted in the people fleeing their homes for their lives. That was a total amount of 3.8 million Syrian refugees in 2015.  The Syrian refugees make up the biggest refugee population in the world. A problem this big cannot go unnoticed, which it hasn’t, the IRC (International rescue committee) has assisted 1.4 million people in 2015. Many efforts are being made daily to make these people’s lives better. man gets down on his knees

sad kid Lets Imagine ourselves in their shoes. I can’t imagine myself leaving my home, leaving my country to go live somewhere that I know will probably be worse, where I know I can die. However that decision has to be made, you either go or get killed by your own county. Taking with you only enough, leaving all of your luxuries. Making your world worse for the better. fenced in

What can we do to help these people?There are ways we can help them.  We can inform the people around us about this crisis and donate money. On savethechildren.org you can provide the refugees with 1,000 gallons of safe drinking water for only 15 dollars. We can also start our own fundraising on these websites, I started one myself and invited my friends to donate, here’s the link if you’re interested. Or we can write in our blogs and make a difference about this subject.
Syrian refugee tents

By doing these kind of things we can make their lives better and more comfortable, especially for kids. According to the UNHCR more than 50% of all refugees are children; these people don’t deserve this.  It is up to us to make their lives better.

Lets sacrifice a little bit from our comfort to make others world better.






Will I return to Egypt after Arabic?

A common saying I’ve heard throughout my time in Egypt has been “One who drinks the water of the Nile comes back for more”. Many people here have told me their own stories, proving the truth behind this saying. One person told me that he came to Egypt in middle school for a month in Arabic classes; then not long past and he found himself here, in Egypt studying high school. This is yet one of the many stories of people coming to Egypt. There seems to be this magical feel of Egypt that draws people back to it. I think that’s why they call Egypt “Ummud Dunya” or mother of the world.

Would I come back? I truly do not actually know what the future has ahead of me, however…

Would I come back? I truly do not actually know what the future has ahead of me, however if I were to find a chance I would come to Egypt. I’ve even thought about retiring in Egypt even though I don’t even have a job yet. The small slice of a time I’ve been in Egypt has convinced me about the beauty of this country. You might not see it at the first glance, but when you dig down in the heaps of trash in the streets you find a truly beautiful country. The liveliness, the culture, the food, even the annoying sounds.This country has a lot to offer if you dig deep enough.

I’m not even gone yet and I feel Egypt pulling me in and telling me to come back later on. I miss The States right now, I miss my family. However Egypt, the sandy trashland, which doesn’t have much that would make it better than The States still manages to reel me in.

If a country is not comfortable and normally wouldn’t attract anybody manages to attract you, you can consider that country is a good one.

7000 Years !!! Cairo @ night

Cairo Facade

The Grandma Khan El Khalily, Cairo, Egypt

The Bakery. "Al Azhar" "Bab Zweila" Cairo, Egypt


“Dakkatu al-thawm”; the balancer on the restaurant table.


In a foreign country, eating it’s cultural foods is inevitable; that’s a part of the whole thing. Well, my Egyptian friends noticed that we had been in Egypt for a couple months and still hadn’t tried Egyptian foods. So they brought us to a place called “Zaim” which sells a traditional dish called “Koshary”. Koshary is an Egyptian dish made of pasta, rice, and lentils mixed together, topped with a tomato and vinegar sauce, and garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions. This is where my story starts…

After we got our plates, I saw that there was a spice which was apparently really hot. My friends told me not to put too much…

After we got our plates, I saw that there was a spice which was apparently really hot. My friends told me not to put too much, saying that even one tablespoon of the stuff could destroy your mouth. I’d seen before that my Egyptian friends didn’t like spice that much, so I thought that they were exaggerating the whole hotness of it. So I put a tablespoon, even more, and I saw one of my friends pouring this yellowish liquid into their Koshary. I asked what it was and one of them said it was lemon juice. I didn’t want hot and sour mixing so I decided not to put it on and I started eating. After a couple bites I felt this burning in my mouth, I thought that I was a spice lover, but this wasn’t spice, It was like poison, I desperately looked for water.

Normally there was water on the tables but our jug was all finished. So I thought about the “lemon juice”. I desperately poured some in a cup and started drinking. A sudden feeling of disgust hit me, this wasn’t lemon juice and it was like vinegar! After being humiliated in front of my friends they asked for water and I drank, soothing my burning mouth.

Later on I found out that the “lemon juice” was something called “دقة الثوم” (dakkatu al-thawm) which I think is like garlic and vinegar and some other things that cool the hotness when you pour it into the Koshary. I don’t think it works too good if you drink it though. This was a really memorable first experience for me that I probably won’t forget. And ever since that I’ve loved Koshary and still eat it to this day…

Traditional Egyptian lantern

Photo Credit: mneuropa.com

The first time I heard about the word “fanous” (فانوس) was when my Arab teacher told me about it. I didn’t know what it was and after asking “Google the wise” I got some information on this old Egyptian tradition.

Fanous” means light or lamp and actually isn’t an Arabic word, it’s true origins is from the Greek language. The use of the lantern date back all the way to the Fatimid Caliphate. One story about the origin of the lantern is that: one night the Caliph went out to look for the crescent moon which signals the beginning of Ramadan (Muslim holy month)  and when he went out, the kids go outside with lanterns and sing and celebrate the beginning of Ramadan. That behavior became a custom every Ramadan and that custom is now an Egyptian tradition.

Photo Credit: alriyadh.com

There are many other stories to the origin of this lantern but whatever it may be, it still has a special place in Egyptian culture. Before Ramadan the kids go outside with their lanterns and celebrate the beginning of the holy Muslim month. And It still is a widespread Egyptian tradition through all these years.

Photo Credit. alriyadh.com

These days people hang lanterns outside. The “Fanous” has also started a new industry. Just like in Halloween in America where candy industries sell candy, in Ramadan, industries sell lanterns. Some sing, some are plastic, and some are actual lanterns. Lantern is not only a Muslim tradition, people have been using these “Fanous’” for many kinds of celebrations even in countries other than Egypt, such as famous Chinese Lantern Festival celebrations as early as the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC) throughout the years.


Photo Credit: mneuropa.com

You can even find people wearing traditional Egyptian clothes called “galabiyya”, which is a one piece robe with loose sleeves and bottom which kind of looks like a dress. Normally in America if I came dressed all in old English attire with a powdered wig and all, people would look at me weird. However in Egypt people still wear their traditional clothes. Some might see this as a setback from being “modern” however I believe  that it is a great thing for people to continue doing their traditions even in the year 2016. The definition of modernity should not be narrowed to clothing. The most important  thing that connects people to the future is their past.



It's a journey of 17y old American boy lived in Cairo and now in New Jersey