Sister Soljah
March 31, 2004
 
3 1/2 month anniversary of being Muslim

Heard an ice cream truck today - summer is near - woo hoo... And I got real mail in the mail today... I love it when I get cards, articles, etc in the mail. With the internet it never happens anymore and I absolutely when someone takes the time to do it. :-) I also ate pepperoni today...vegitarian style...and it was soooo good (Thanks for telling me about it Masooma!). I love pepperoni...and it's not the pork that makes it good...it's all those yummy spices they put in there.

Okay, so today is my 3 and a half month anniversary of being Muslim and man it's been a ride. I went way too fast. I didn't really know what I was in for, but here I am. What I do realize is that I am Muslim...I kind of felt like a tourist for a while.

It's been hard. Real hard. Some days i don't even think I am me anymore. I don't see the resemblence of who I was and who I am. It's weird and I wonder if other converts go through it. Often i feel like i am having an identity crisis, a mid-life crisis, some sort of crisis that's for sure. The pressure, the rules, everything just culminates in one day and I start crying and freaking out. Time is what I need because I kind of just jumped in and went with it. Started wearing hijab, eating halal, and giving up everything else that I was supposed to in one week. I studied, learned, prayed and everything from the first day I inquired about converting and didn't really give myself time to adjust prior to doing it. And I was doing real good with it until the last few weeks.

Then I went through this phase recently where I didn't want to pray, didn't want to wear hijab, and didn't want to eat halal...etc. It's like I wanted to be me again instead of this person I didn't recognize. So I went a day without wearing hijab so I could just be another person again instead of someone who stood out. It felt good and then I went right back to the hijab the next day. Sometimes I just need a day to be me... Kind of impossible anyway since being Muslim is being Muslim whether or not the scarf is worn etc. and the thought process changes too. I think of Allah always now...not sporadically...but in every thought I'm thinking of what I could be doing better, etc. Nothing in my life is the same as it was 3 and a half months ago. Nothing.

I also had a chat with a friend and he was telling me that recently one of his friends was on an airplane...his job was to check out the service, efficiency, etc. on the plane. Well he arrived at his destination and was escorted out by security and questioned. They said they got a call from a stewardess saying that a middle eastern man was on the plane observing everything going on in the plane and looked around a lot. Well it was his job to do that and his hijab made him suspicious. And then I've heard other men say that they can't take off their hijab. They always stick out. That must be hard. And I love wearing it most days...but just every now and again I don't. Anyone else go through this?

All in all I think I'm just still in an adjustment period and need time to adjust that I didn't get in the beginning. Add this on top of moving, and other things in my life and it all just comes out in tears every couple of weeks ago. But the good thing is I bounce back fast and come out of it better than I was. It's like I have to rebel for a day and it actually makes me stronger and better than before...

Am I weird, or is this stuff normal?

 
 
General Political Science Resources ... good website for research...

http://socsci.colorado.edu/POLSCI/RES/gen.html
 
 
The Moth Incident (yup...nothing really good to say so I will share the trivial meaningless terrifying event of the evening)

Okay. I hate bugs. Hate them. I know they are God's creatures, and I love them and am amazed at them from afar, but I hate them around me. And I didn't know what bugs were until I went to Atlanta...man theirs can eat you alive I swear.

But on to the moth incident. I had my balcony door cracked tonight and thought the screen was closed to keep them nasty little things out. Well, it wasn't, and it didn't. Now, realize that no matter how much I hate bugs, there's nothing worse than killing one. It gives me goose bumps and then i feel guilty and then i usually have a dream that night of the darn thing coming back to life and haunting me some more.

Anyhow...this HUGE and i do mean HUGE moth - probably four inches - with huge wings flew in and terrorized me for a good fifteen minutes in his schizophrenic meanderings around my head and kitchen. Disgusting crunchy wings giving me the chills. Well, I don't want to kill him cause well he's big and I don't like to kill God's creations as i said, but he was going crazy. So he gets in the sink and sits there for a minute but everytime i go near him he starts fluttering his dang wings. So, I go to the bathroom, grab the Muslim shower bucket and flood him. He flaps around and i start yelling like a girl...well i am a girl, but you know what i'm saying...that shreiking cheerleader sort of screaming. And then it stops and I think he's dead so i go to pick him up with a paper towel and he comes back to life. I flood him again and he falls into the garbage disposal and i really don't want to grind him up so i just flood him so more. All is quiet so i take another paper towel and get him out of there and into the trash. Well I get online and I hear weird noises coming from the trash and go over there. The damn thing was alive in there trying to get out. Took the trash outside and left and let the damn thing escape. Yuck. Now that was a terrorist if i ever saw one.

Why am I such a baby when it comes to bugs. I mean I grew up in the hood, can play with snakes, even ate a worm as a kid to prove to the boys that i was tough, know how to shoot a gun, etc. I'm not a wimp so why the hell can a moth freak me out enough for me to go running outside of my own apartment while he occupies it?
 
March 29, 2004
 
Cost of war...

http://www.costofwar.com/
 
 
Osama...the movie. First movie I've seen in a theatre in two years...crazy.

Okay, this movie will make your gut ball up in disgust. I'm not going to tell the details in case anyone wants to see and doesn't want it spoiled. If you want to know what it is about click the link below for a review...

But, what I will shares are my thoughts. Man o man, the Taliban really irk me and make me want to go over and kick the ibby gibbies out of them. In my opinion, they are afraid of women, not protectors of women. Women have no value and the violation of them is a God given right (in their heads). I mean this stuff was sick. Oh screw it... I've gotta speak of the movie a little...if you don't want the movie spoiled, please quit reading.....spoilers start here....

Okay, so this little girl (about 12) whose eyes speak her fear of the Taliban has to pretend to be a boy and go to work...that's scary enough. Then she gets snatched up by the Taliban to go to a school for Taliban training. Well of course her gender is found out - we wouldn't have a movie if she didn't. And well she's married off to an old mullah "by Allah's will". I will not tell the end... But throughout the movie we see how women are not even second rate citizens, they are merely inviscible or being maltreated. One Australian woman gets buried and stoned to death (tastefully we don't see the actual stoning) for being an infidel. When women walk in a eerie demonstation carrying signs begging to be allowed jobs so they can feed their families, they are hosed down and many arrested. The cinematagraphy itself is beautifully creepy. The men who are not Taliban also show the pain and fear in their eyes, though they feel a little safer obviously because they can't get arrested for leaving the home without a male but they do feel for the women. Much more happens in the movie but this is the gist and it's just disturbing.

Right before the movie at coffee, a friend of mine was saying that the Taliban was a recognized government and we should never have started a war with them. I agreed somewhat...not that the Taliban was a recognized government (recognized by who? the US, etc....other oppressors)...but I agreed that we didn't have a reason to attack a whole country and install a new government...this is because I believe in Revolution, change has to come from within the country - from the people. But after talking with another about that, the people did try and revolt and it created civil war. My question is this: How could the Taliban have been taken out? Right now I want to go over there and take a couple of them on. I hate war but I don't think there was another solution... Those guys had to go. The first thing that should have happened is the US should never have funded them, then left them on their own after defunding them, and then start a war years later. The US is to blame for the war not the Taliban and how dare this country "recognize" them as a government. The Taliban are bad, but what does that make the US for funding them?

This movie left me really disturbed which shows just how good it was. Four stars on the Sister Soljah scale. One thing that worries me though is that non-Muslims may think the Taliban is Islam...insh'Allah, the ones seeing it are more educated than that...but I really hope that misconception won't happen.

Here's Ebert's review...

http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_reviews/2004/02/022002.html
 
March 27, 2004
 
Bushisms...one day he'll learn English...

http://www.bushisms.com/
 
 
...a video featuring 56 of the very best ads submitted in the Bush in 30 Seconds contest, plus footage from Bush in 30 Seconds Live featuring Michael Moore, Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, Chuck D, Julia Stiles, Benny Boom, John Sayles, and the Bush in 30 Seconds team.

http://www.bushin30seconds.org/
 
 
I'm having blog block. Can't think of anything to write...hmmm... Going up to the mountains today to see Allah's artwork and hope to find some inspiration. Have a special person in town for the weekend...so that's going to be great. Watched an airhead movie last night...cracked me up though. Here's a dirty little secret of mine... I'm a junkie for romantic comedy's. I'm an incurable romantic and it's my demise and my passion. It's the reason I never married... I need romance...not in dollars but in sentiment. Flowers on occassion...words of love... My stepmother used to tell me, "Don't ever marry a poor man if you can marry a rich man." I always replied with "Poor men are romantic...I'll stick to them." Picked flowers are better than bought. Poetry is better than an already printed card. Long walks in the woods are better than a jetsetting trip. Intentions are what's important.

Here's a strange thing too. I've always wanted to be a shephardess. When I was in France I saw these sheepherders and longed to be one of them. I imagined myself living humbly in a shack with a mat as a bed and a pile of books to the side with a flickering candle writing away the evenings...and during the day shepharding sheep and thinking. I even tried to get a job over there when I got back, but they don't hire Americans. But how nice it would be to be separated from the world and live so humbly? I am an activist, a linguist, etc....but sometimes I think it would be better to be away from technology and live life simply. It would make me focus.

Oh, I had a very surreal dream the other night. The Taliban were voted in as the president. It was very strange and shocking. And didn't make one bit of sense - first of all...only one person can be president, but dreams don't often make sense. For days, I've tried to find the symbolism...and I came up with this: it symbolizes my lack of trust in the voting system and the lack of public knowledge. That those voted in aren't because of knowledge and study... it's lack of the two. Here's a story...and a true one. One year, a guy in prison ran for mayor or governor or something semi high up like that just to see what would happen...I guess he was bored there in his cell....he received 37% of the votes. That is scary.
 
March 25, 2004
 
So...today (Thursday) was one of those days I enjoy...thrive on. I read a book... "Marriage and Morals in Islam" - good stuff, watched Slam (a movie that is about Spoken Word Poetry - a mixture of rap and poetry - it was mentioned in this book of poetry i've been reading (Listen Up!). Nice little flick.

Got the resume all updated. Finished painting a picture. Started on my taxes (hate that) and read some Rumi... did a little writing too. Oh, and I baked a cake. How Suzie Homemaker of me. Dinner was good too... i made Chicken Tortilla Soup...yum. Started my newest book review also.

I love those days where it's all input into the brain. I used to fast on these types of days. I wouldn't eat or drink anything - I would just create. I would also fast from talking. It's cool to go a whole day without speaking a word. I used to do that a lot... Try it sometime. Go a whole day without saying a word. Everything goes internal and it creates a state of solitude and stillness.

(sidenote) I needed white noise so i turned on the tv for a few minutes while doing some research online...daytime tv is sad. I can't imagine kids flipping channels during the day. I can't believe what they have on daytime tv... dating shows where people take turns kissing and being all over each other. Man, what is going on? On national tv young girls go on and talk about their sexual exploits. My dad would have lynched me if i ever... Anyhow...just thought it was sick. No wonder I don't watch tv. I promptly turned it off. Oh...and here's the kicker...the two commercials...one about aids and drug use - the other a type of medication for herpes...go figure. Is this really entertainment? i remember when 3's Company was risque. Dang...
 
 
The media makes me madder and madder day by day. You know...it's no wonder Americans are so gung ho on war, etc. when the media wraps the news up in a little Happy Meal supersized with lies and secrets.

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article2531.shtml
 
March 23, 2004
 
Had a great day yesterday...met a wonderful sister from a town an hour or so from here and we hung out all day - it's been a long time since i could just talk with someone instead of debating or competing...very nice day. She is blessed by the light of Allah. Beautiful, smart, and great to be around. I now have jilbobs, and traditional clothing...so cool! I look forward to my closet in the morning now. Thanks girl! We hung out and talked, then went for a nice stroll through a wilderness park and had dinner. Prayed for the first time in public outside of a Chili's restaurant. :-) And the cool thing is it didn't bother me that I knew some were looking on and passing by. No shame.

Afterwards I dropped by my sisters house and well that was the typical "why are you Muslim?" and "why do you wear that thing....just take it off" conversations. And how her friend next door has war footage of the Iraqi war and how it shows people being blown up. We do come from different stock that's for sure.

Today I ran errands...used up my credit at a used book store i go to. Got some good stuff. Watched a few movies over the last week in about 20 minute intervals a sitting...Before the Rain (Albanian) and A River Runs Through It. Both poignant flicks. Got the pictures from the rally - now just need to figure out how to get a link going for them. Goal 5 of the day after building a new resume. First I must take care of Uncle Sam (taxes), and trivial stuff like that.

This did cross my mind today...what more could someone want in a partner than someone who has undying love for me, a passion to help my dreams come true, and complete acceptance and support? Why is marriage so scary to me? Is it because I come from a broken home? Is it the fear of losing my spark? I am just a chicken. Been solo for so long and love my independence so much that interference in that scares me. But what I never stopped to think about is that two can be stronger than one. And what is better than having someone who loves you the whole day through and then some? A friend as well as a husband. I need to quit being a chicken and start being a hen.
 
March 22, 2004
 
Fareed Zakaria ...Newsweek... The Radicals are getting desperate... good article.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4468639/

Also Sheik Yassin was assassinated yesterday...this is going to create a blood bath...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3557601.stm
 
March 21, 2004
 
some more pics from the rally....as well as links to other rally's... see if you can spot me in a few lol...

http://colorado.indymedia.org/newswire/display/7752/index.php

and

http://www.rmpjc.org/2004/M20/philw/
and

http://www.rmpjc.org/2004/M20/
 
March 20, 2004
 
Global Rally Against War and Occupied Lands...

Well well well what a day. Exhausted to say the least. At least I didn't get arrested which almost happened. Went to the protest rally first thing this morning and wow what a turnout. Wore my Palestinian scarf and t-shirt that says Palestine in Arabic... Starbucks was a funny experience wearing that. So many people showed up for this march. The protest rally's without permits are so much better since streets don't get closed off. Whenever there is a permit they shut the streets down and no one ever sees the protestors. Well not this one. We were seen. We marched up the 16th street mall (an outdoor mall downtown) then to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Halliburton Building ending at the Federal Building which ironically I hadn't been at since being questioned by the FBI for being a possible terrorist. A windy snake all through downtown and it was LOUD. Loud slogans spewing, drums, Buddhists chanting - the crowd was enraged and energetic. Got some people from downtown to join in too as they cheered us on. Cops became prominent later (and even more so after that). There were speeches and whatnot at the end. One girl, a true poetess of the spoken word type of poetry (a cross between rap and poetry) really got the crowd pumped. She was "da bomb".

I ended up getting in a fight (verbal of course) with a protest protestor. She was saying we were making a mockery of our president and when I exchanged words with her she said "what are you a Muuuslim?" I said yeah. She said "you can't be wearing blue jeans or even pants at all - you are not a real Muslim." Oh dear God. Then why was I sweating under the long sleeve shirt and other general cover upings? I told her that being Muslim wasn't about pants or no pants. She said "Yeah it's about worshipping the Quran." I said "no, it's about worshipping God." And then she kept bringing up abortion and why don't we protest that when 30,000 Americans are killed every day with that kind of murder. I said that was an individual issue...this is a personal issue this is societal. I can't speak for all people... but I can speak against my government. Well after spit flew between us she got drug away by a cop and they asked her to leave us alone - woo hoo. Then a university paper got pictures of it and heard it all and asked me if she had a right to speak there and I said no - that she should go join the majority. Oh God I can't believe I said that. I didn't mean it like that but that's how it's going to come out in print. Open mouth, insert foot. They shouldn't have asked me questions until I had relaxed a bit and regained composure. Oops...

Then the drama really began. A small group broke off and continued marching. All were wearing masks over their faces and Palestinian signs and scarves. They asked me to join them and I said I'd catch up to them - I wanted to listen to what the rest of the people and the sheik had to say. Well by the time we (Sister Scorpion and I) caught up to them - quite a few had been detained against a wall. 9 of them detained and 11 cops. Eventually they let them go except one. Guess who they arrested? Yeah, the one Muslim girl there. She did nothing. All she did was say "I don't have to tell you my name - what I am doing is legal." They arrested her for that. False information was the charge. Well there were four male cops all over her and I started hollering at them to get a female cop and quit touching her. I took pictures of her getting arrested for press and lawsuit reasons. They threatened to arrest me since I pushed past them to get the pictures since the cops stepped wherever I did to block the picture taking. I backed off after I got the pictures I wanted. Everyone was screaming at them. Even passerby's got riled saying that she didn't do anything and why choose her to arrest. A Jewish guy said " what Muslims now and then Jews next?" Cool dude - he was mad too at the cops not getting a female cop...he's an Orthodox Jew..and they don't agree with the touching between unfamiliar men and women either. The cops didn't care. They also said there's a law about walking around with faces covered. (The guys had their faces covered with scarves). They said that this is a sign of bandits and is not allowed. Funny that people in winter don't get arrested when they use scarves to cover their faces. And what about Michael Jackson? Anyhow, it's not allowed - it's a sign of Anarchy.

Then when they put her in the cop car I asked them again to get a female cop. They said none were available and then he pushed me in my chest and said if I didn't get back he would take me in too. I asked him not to touch me. He knew that I was mad at them touching her and then he pushes me in my chest - he knew what he was doing and i know he was trying to rile me. It worked but I didn't feel like jail tonight so I just left it alone.

I then went home to pray and afterwards headed down to the city jail to see what we could do. A group of us was meeting up with cash to bail her out and support (I don't even know the sister but dang they did wrong). They said the charges were changed to Resisting Arrest and bail was increased. Then they changed it again to Contraband and Possessing an Illegal Substance (bail raised again). She has to stay in all night. After staying down there until 7:00 I headed home. I'll go back in the morning to take the sister to breakfast and welcome her out of there with the others.

Ironically...in front of the jail there is a sign that says "blessed be the peacekeepers" - I wouldn't say we were blessed today. A peace rally gone bad. The really messed up thing was that the police reported to the newspaper and news that no arrests were made today. We cleared that up with the press. We got the names of the arrested, badge numbers of the arrestors, etc. Oh and get this - the cop who actually arrested her was Muslim...Shabbaz...Nation of Islam. When I kept asking why they are arresting the Muslim of the group they just said "this cop is Muslim". It was their slogan as if to say this isn't a Muslim thing... Yet she was the only one in that group to actually get arrested and bystanders (tourists and what not also said the same thing.)

Pictures will be posted soon (once i figure out how to do it and get them developed and scanned). Look at sister scorpions blog (link on the left to see her pics and also her blog...) Here's one compliments of Sister Scorpion...that be me on the right...at the start of the march...before things got craaazy...


 
March 19, 2004
 
Random thoughts...

So....wanted to go to the mosque tonight but ended up not making it because I was at an antiwar group meeting for the anti-war events going on this weekend. Bummer. It's the second week i haven't made it, or third. That's bad. I've become one of the Muslims I'm always complaining about. Not good. I think I'll fast tomorrow just because. I love fasting. I even did it before I was Muslim... I would feel the hunger pains and love it. Seriously. Made me think about all the hungry ones out there without food to eat. Some days I wish I could take on the pain and suffering of the world. Just like today I was telling someone that I would go to hell if all the others could go to heaven. It's weird. And don't think I'm a good person for it because I'm not...it's a selfish thing. I see suffering and I feel bad. If I suffer...I don't care. It just pains me to see it out there. I cry sometimes over people who just don't have anything...there's nothing sadder to me than a woman on the street (living or walking it) as well as men...but especially women.

I was thinking today about money and writing. You see I've always been of the belief that writers have to be poor. We have to feel everything, suffer a little, struggle, and turn every emotion, thought, etc. into a commodity...our writing. Everything that happens becomes a story in our minds or a poem. Always alert for the next moment that would be the muse of our next project.

I always felt moneyed writers were the worst. When I was young (yes i've finally realized/accepted that i'm not anymore) I always thought I'd have a cozy broken down apartment somewhere in Paris with a decent view (and to me anywhere in Paris is a decent view except the red light areas) and I'd be broke and loving it. Hemingway style. Killing pigeons in the park to eat (except pigeons aren't halaal are they?). I would write up in that apartment until my fingers were cramped and stained by ink. Blood, sweat, and tears. The passion of it all has to come through an aching for our craft and the need to do it regardless of whether or not it pays the bills. I guess what I'm saying is I want to be poor. How silly am I?
 
March 18, 2004
 
UGH...I'm not worth a cent...

Okay, so I struggled through the day yesterday, spent more time outside than I should have wandering around downtown at lunchtime looking at drunks and bums and teenagers that dress like they are 30. Let the secret service agents lurking around raise their eyebrows at my hijab. Talked and visited with people. Then I had my exit interview at my job and well here's how it went...

Okay, your health insurance will expire at the end of the month. Check.
You no longer have life insurance. Check.
Wish you luck in the future. Check.
Your badge? I give it to her. Check.

As I was driving home I became scared. I have nothing lined up for a paycheck. If I died today, I'm not worth a penny and would be buried in a pauper's grave. If I get sick I could only go to the local hospital as a poor person and see a bad doctor who would probably hurt me more than help me (my bout with West Nile crosses my mind). I am freaking out now. What have I done?
 
 
What a dork...did all these guys in Bush's regime get their educations from a cracker jack box?

KARL ROVE, Bush's long-time political guru and White House advisor:
"As people do better, they start voting like Republicans...
...unless they have too much education and vote Democratic,
which proves there can be too much of a good thing."
 
March 17, 2004
 
from http://www.beliefnet.com/story/121/story_12112_1.html

In the spring of 1999, as George W. Bush was about to announce his run for President, he agreed to be interviewed about his religious faith--grudgingly. "I want people to judge me on my deeds, not how I try to define myself as a religious person of words."

------------------------------------------------------------
Wow....he wants to be judged on deeds. Hmmm...murder, chaos, infringement of rights, being a terrorist...now those are some deeds. Good thing he doesn't want to be judged on his words since he hardly knows how to string together a logical cohesive sentence...
 
 
Interesting article about hijab...from a Catholic...

http://www.toledomuslims.com/Criterion/Article.asp?ID=191

 
 
Cruel and Unusual Punishment...

Got to work today, scored rockstar parking even though the building is surrounded by Secret Service agents, police, and K-9 units. Dick is in town - Cheney. They told me I didn't have to work today but need to do the exit interview and they made the meeting at the end of the day. God forbid. I stayed up late thinking I would only be here for a couple hours. Didn't bring my prayer rug either since i thought i'd be home in time to pray. Oh well...maybe I'll wander over and try and talk with Dick, get arrested for doing so, and call it a day.
 
March 16, 2004
 
Global Day of Action - One year anniversary of the war in Iraq.

End the Occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Marches are all over the world. Let's unite and make a stand.

http://www.unitedforpeace.org/


Locally...there will be a candlelight vigil for those who have died in the war...US soldiers, innocent Iraqi's, etc.
There will also be a march etc... please come.
 
 
Okay...why no comments? For the next week I will try and be real interesting...but I better get some comments. Mkay? It really does make my day.
 
 
Holy Shiite -

I did it. I threw caution, fear, insecurity, rationality, and everything right into the wind. I feel gooood and scared. I turned in my notice today and can't believe it. I didn't think I was really going to do it. But I did. I was nervous and shaky so promptly went downstairs to get coffee...just the thing one should do to calm nerves.... And well it did the trick - wired me so much that I was kinda out of it. I'm excited about my future for once. And I'm free. No more dress code, no more searching for halaal food in 30 minutes, no more waking up at dawn...oh yeah...still have to do that. Hmmm. That's okay. I like my new boss. I'm so happy. And scared. And well, everything is still all tied up in one big ball in my gut. But I am free of all that and I feel gooooooood. James Brown style.
 
March 15, 2004
 
This is going to be an interesting week... I was out of town this weekend and when I landed I drove around listening to Dirty Vegas...Days Gone By. Special tune. I drove through all the neighborhoods I've lived in here and just thought. I started thinking how I've been trying to leave this place since I was a teenager and now that I'm going to do it, I'm going to miss it. Those mountains are a benchmark for me and it is going to be weird not seeing them and not praying on top of them. The hiking will go away. I'm going to miss my friends too. This is where I became Muslim and this is the place that turned me into who I am. I will miss all those who touched my life whether good or bad.

Funny to think when my family came here 16 years ago we were essentially homeless...living in a schoolbus and struggling hard. Icicles between our toes every night praying they wouldn't drop from the ceiling and poke us in our eyes. Those days I was a good Catholic girl, then I became the Buddhist and a bunch of other things. Exploratory years. Learning years. Hard years. The following year I visited my first mosque. I was drawn to Islam at that time, but never thought I'd be a part of it. I guess I always searched it out but didn't know I could be a part of it. Day by day I become more Muslim, and in a way, more me. Weird thinking like that but it's true. The softer side of me has been able to come out. The goodness within me found a place to be good. The activist inside found her voice. The anger turned into love.

Okay, enough of the gushy stuff, but I am gushy today. Tomorrow I will quit my job and see what the next chapter of my life holds. Insh'Allah, it will be everything I've never known was possible. There's going to be hills and mountains to cross and there will be long roads that I travel down effortlessly, but all will be a treasure to behold. Insh'Allah.

Yes...all this is vague to those who aren't living it, but my life is going to change 100% in 30 days. More to tell later....
 
March 11, 2004
 
K2 and TV Nation

Good movie about K2 in Pakistan...made me want to go. Man, to live that life it must be agony and ecstasy at the same time. Beautiful mountain peaks, but to risk your life for a view. Don't get me wrong, I hike a lot, but man, these guys were hardcore. Pure agony and ecstasy I say.

Watched another episode of TV Nation by Michael Moore and this one cracked me up. He went to a KKK rally outside of Atlanta, GA - can't believe this stuff still goes on...such stupidity. Did they ever crack open a Bible? I mean they have their own churches and stuff but I have to wonder what book they are following. Being pretty educated with the Bible I can't even fathom how they can practice Christianity. Michael Moore was funny though... He went to the rally and got a Mariachi band to go with him, some black girls doing cheerleader chants "We just want to love you more...", and some others. Pretty funny in a messed up way. He had the slogan of "There's nothing hate groups hate more than love" and "love those who hate." To think people dress their kids up in those clothes and teach them the doctrine of hate. So sad. But I also bet those kids will be the first to marry outside their race. Cops were at the rally not for protection, although there were some for that too, but they were speaking about the supreme race (whatever...there is no supreme race). Hilarious episode though. He just cracks me up.

 
 
Loving and Leaving Hijab...great article...

http://www.muslimwakeup.com/mainarchive/000253.php

The article hit home because I sometimes feel the hijab is a statement, other times I like it be a shield, and often I think it makes me behave and help me with the conversion. Other times I forget about it even being on my head. I've been pondering the thought of taking it off in the future once I feel I am there...there meaning comfy as a Muslim. I just don't know. I do know that I feel it's the woman's choice to hijab or not to hijab.
 
 
Ecological Footprint Quiz

http://www.myfootprint.org/

here's my results...dang...

IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 24 ACRES PER PERSON.

WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 4.5 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE ACRES PER PERSON.

IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 4.9 PLANETS.
 
 
Happy Accidents - Michael Moore - and hmmm....blah blah blah

Watched this movie (Happy Accidents) and it was actually quite good especially since I thought it was going to be bad. Real cute in fact. Not a word I usually like to ascribe to a movie, but it works. It was about a girl who finally meets a normal guy only to find out he's from the future...and his discussions of the future are interesting. I loved it. Just what I needed to get my brain off the intellectual/spiritual journey for an hour and a half.

Also watched quite a few episodes of TV Nation by Michael Moore. Great stuff. He's pretty crazy but right on most of the time as far as propaganda goes. I am also reading his book (er, rather listening to his book being read to me -multitasking) Dude, Where's my Country? Pretty funny in that satirical sardonic way.

I started watching "The Hidden Half" a couple weeks ago and it's been on my mind - identified with it so much. I've got to finish this movie (this weekend?). Need to go Geocaching too.

Finally got caught up on all my extracurricular activities that I promised everyone so now I can get back to my own thinking, reading, and writing instead of theirs. My job has got to go too. There will be a HUGE blog about that next week.

The book review gig is picking up and I really need to start networking that to other places. Oh dang, that reminds me, I printed up some other newspaper contacts at work and left it on the printer and won't be back till Tuesday...oops. Dang dang dang. Busted.

That's about it from over here. Oh, and i got the best compliment on my writing ever yesterday... felt so good...
 
March 06, 2004
 
Red Earth Women's Alliance Peace Rally and March

"These boots were made for walking and that's just what they'll do..."

Put on Iranian garb, hijab, and Doc Martins and hit the pavement.

What a day! Marched with all walks of life...punks, Native Indian Movement, Jews, Christians, Pagans, athiests, Hindu's, and a few other Muslims...you name it and it was there. All marching in the name of peace. Guerilla girls did cheerleader cheers about revolution and what not..."I don't know what I've been told - this war for oil is getting old" and some other raging cheers. Flags and signs all over crying out for unity. Drumming by the Indians the whole way. The tribal sound leading the pack to downtown. The jingling of the shells and beads adorning their traditional garb still echoing in my ears.

Got to the end and had Indian (native not eastern) dancing. Pagan or not, we all enjoyed it. Spanish speeches about revolution and immigration screamed out. Poetry. Little kids saying poems and singing songs for peace. Palestinian flag waving. All causes were spoken for and the women's role in them. Self determination and revolution. Some men marched too which is really cool. The "Raging Granny's" dressed in old granny clothes and sung anti-Bush songs. It was awesome. Then prayers from each religion were done.

Sister Scorpion got drug up there for that...too funny. That's what you get for wearing the Abaya...lol. An Indian woman spoke of the genocide inflicted on the Indians and the government's tendency to kill. This country is a country born in blood. It was never the white man's. Oh, those crazy granny's did a song about "rich white men" and they were fuuuunnyyy.

The spy files here are a mile long with peace activists and some of the people here have their names on it. I actually haven't been to very many rally's or marches since the boys in black (FBI) paid me a visit or two or three. According to the police and the FBI here, activists are dissidents and therefore possible aiders to terrorism or terrorists themselves. Bite me.

Anyhow....

Then an older Afghani lady from my mosque got up there and in her Afghan-English said "Bismillah hir Rahman ir Raheem... I am from Afghanistan. I am Muslim. Spoke what she could about war and then at the end yelled "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar." Then said peace and made the peace sign. (I got a great picture of this). She is so brave and I've always had so much respect for her. I see her at the mosque weekly and she is the matriarch of her house and I love it. She drug the kids along too and made them join in. All of us holding signs. When she said Allahu Akbar all us Muslims did too but she did it three times and that seriously made my skin tingly and goosebumps covered my body. It was sooooo awesome. So strong. So brave. So woman. She is a pillar of strength to me. She may as well have gotten up there and said "I am Woman, hear me roar" cause that is what I saw. Sister Scorpion started crying.

It's a shame the name of Allah has become associated with terrorists and the very mention of the word gives people the eebie jeebies. The crowd did get a little quiet after that. But i praise her for the way she stood up in front of those people so proud, so loud, so wonderful.

Then we all joined hands in a circle of peace (Native Indian peace circle dance) and then said Salaams.

Sister Scorpion and I then went to an old hangout from high school...bohemianish coffeehouse and daytripped to the past. Naked art lining the walls. Smoked cigarettes, me drinking my typical Chai and her something chocolaty, and ate pesto pizza. Started talking to the girl at the next table who is from Chzech Republic who had the Star of David on a necklace swinging back and forth as she gestured while speaking while we were hijabbed up...it just goes to show that people want peace...the governments don't.

We were on memory lane a bit I think - we've both changed so much. Both of us were very different in high school (15 years ago) and had one class together and went to school together for a year. We knew each other but she was a punk and I a hippy. Never talked after high school until I met her through the mosque (15 years later!) a couple months ago. With so few Shias here, it's just crazy to think we found each other again. Now that is kismit. Love you sister!

We drove homewards to the sound of matam (chestbeating) and I felt good. Even after finding out that my car got in an accident while I was marching - at least the guy left a note with insurance info. I really could care less. Today was a great day and nobody can get me off this ecstatic feeling.

I could go on and on... but won't... I will post pictures later this week - they will speak more than my words. Lots of good ones.
 
March 05, 2004
 
Hmmm.

Stayed up entirely too late reading...just as I thought. Woke up and ran some errands. Went to the halaal store, the organic store, and the regular store. Ugh. Annoying. But what is funny is this. Both the organic store and regular grocery store are out here in white bread suburbia...but in the regular store, people stare at me in the scarf or what i really like is when they look at you and you bust them and they turn their frown into a smile with all teeth. It's very forced and funny. Kinda looks like they are constipated - but then, maybe they are (minds can be constipated can't they?). I know it's funny for some people...especially because I couldn't pass as someone from the Middle East to save my life...very fair skin and blue eyes. I know it must appear weird at times. But the organic store is a whole nother thing...openmindedness lurks all about. Am I crazy or stereotyping people? But why are organic food shoppers more consciously aware than the average citizen? One hippy granola lovely lady said "nice scarf." Another - a young jocky guy - didn't blink twice, didn't look away, just treated me normal...and said "wazzzzup." Made me laugh.

Not much going on besides that. BTW, never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. I now have six kinds of cheeses in my fridge. Who eats that much cheese? I guess me for the next week. Now who's gonna be constipated?

Oh...got a physical greeting card in the mail today (so sweet). You know in this day and age, how often do we actually write each other like that. Means so much more doesn't it? Yes. Thanks - you know who you are.

Gotta go make signs for the peace rally tomorrow. It's sponsored by the Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace. We are frustrated because Muslims never show up at the rally's...so this year, it's been all about peer pressure... we'll see how it goes. Inshallah, this year there will definately be two...maybe even three. Here's a link for the group...

http://www.ccmep.org

 
 
The prophet once said:

"One who sees a cruel governor violating Allah's laws, breaking His convenant acting in contrast to the tradition of the Prophet, committing mischief and intruding upon peoples' rights, without trying to change that governor through his action, or speech, Allah will then reserve a suitable place for him in Hell."

Let's all do our part... Bush has got to go... Should there be/or will there be one day a Revolution or an Islamic Revolution in the U.S.? What do you guys think?

 
March 04, 2004
 
Fashion on Israel's frontline: The Israeli fashion house tried in vain to recruit Palestinian models ... An Israeli fashion house has launched its summer catalogue with a parade along Israel's controversial West Bank barrier.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3531149.stm

This is just wrong... On one side of the wall an Israeli fashion show, and on the other the burial of a Palestinian protestor. Since when should oppression become fashionable. I guess if you live in occupied land....
 
 
Wow... I slept. Came home from work and went to bed. So nice after weeks of barely sleeping. Woke up in a daze....actually thought the clock said 1 am but it was 7pm. Still 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep in the afternoon. There's nothing like it. Woke up to snow. Yuck. Missed Kumayl already - my intention was to go to the mosque tonight but c'est la vie. Too late. Maybe I'll stay up and read all night now....make up for the sleep I got. ;-)

Thought about the presidential election today quite a bit and got real depressed. I definately don't want Bush, I thought Kerry would be good, but the more I learn about him, I don't think he's going to be much different. Nader would be nice, but that's an impossility. When will there be a president I will actually be interested in voting for? Why do we have to choose between the lesser of two evils? I'm starting to think they all come from the same stock. Oh they do. Rich white men. I swear, if ever a minority or a women runs for office, I will vote for them - if nothing else to break the chains of white supremacy standing up for their own. The poorer the candidate, the better. I think of Che Guevara...now, him I would run out and vote for, and even work in an office promoting him. When will we get someone that I would want to run around with a button on. All I got now is Bush with a red slash through it. When will we actually have a choice between moral men or women? Ugh...frustrating.
 
March 03, 2004
 
PARADISE/HEAVEN

I've been thinking - Does Paradise/Heaven have different layers? I wonder because I think that a whole lot of people are going there and this includes many non-Muslims ... there's a lot of people who do good out there but don't do what's required for Paradise but I think will surely be let in...so are there layers?... like - okay you all go over here, and you over there... But then I started thinking, Can Israeli's and Palestinian's get along in heaven? Can Mother Teresa hang out with the Buddha? What about all the people who have tried to create peace? What would it be like for Mother Teresa and Ghandi to have a conversation? And would there be different sections for the most pious (prophets, etc), the "i do my best," and the "i don't do jack regarding religion, but i do good deeds and am a good person"? If there are sections, I would probably go to the "so glad i got past those security guards....lol". Okay not funny. But seriously, I wonder.

I mean Allah sent 124,000 prophets/messengers - five with a book - there was a reason for that. He was giving everyone the opportunity for Paradise. Makes one wonder who these prophets were and just how compassionate He is.
 
 
10th day of Muharram

Spent much of the afternoon yesterday and most of last night at the mosque. Emotional day for me and for everyone in general I think. Walking in there was the smell of sweat and tears all around me (had to sit in the men's section - behind a curtain because the women's section was filled up) - but I smelled what I felt. Sweat and tears. Listened to the lecture in Urdu and a very nice Khoja girl translated it all for me. So nice. You know I didn't understand the matam...I did this day. And I joined in unexpectedly. I felt rage about the hatred, love of the prophet and Ahl al-Bayt, and sadness for the evil killing of good. Tears came, love was felt, and I thumped my chest with all these feelings. Emotional day and evening indeed.

The lecture was good too...reenactment of Karbala and a couple things the guest scholar/sheikh had said stuck with me:

* Shiites are and always have been defensive not offensive, reactive not proactive. (How can it be any other way....we don't tend to start trouble, we tend to be on the receiving end.)
* There were 70 bodies, but 1 soul at Karbala.
* We have as a people forsaken the Quran and Ahl al-Bayt for the world and that's why there is so much unhappiness.

Another interesting thing that happened was a lady who is never at the mosque asked me why I converted. As a convert you get questioned a lot, and it has been recent that I understand the intention behind the questions. Most right away will ask you if you are married (2 reasons for this - either they want to set you up or they assume that you converted for a man - their next question gives you their intention). When they find out I did it on my own they ask why. This too is twofold with intentions. Some really want to know. Others seem to be trying to suck some of that faith from you. So many say, "I wish I believed like you do". So many also say that us converts are more religious than themselves. I don't know about that - I feel like a bad Muslim most days. The religious are attracted to this new found purity they see in us (whether real or not) while others want to be around you to try and find their faith again. It's interesting.

Anyhow...about this lady... She invited me to dinner, but then asked "do you eat halaal all the time?" I, of course, do. It's in the Quran, the Bible, and the Torah to do so. I never understood the whole it's okay to eat non-halaal....all the books say to kill the animal in the name of Allah...not eat the animal in the name of Allah. Well she said she would have to buy halaal meat then the night she cooks for me. Ugh. And then the are you single question... It frustrates me sometimes when people assume you converted because of a man. I converted by the mercy and grace of Allah. That's it. I found my way back to Him. When they find out you are single, they are so shocked as though they are sometimes asking "but why would you" and this comes from non-Muslims as well as Muslims. Non-Muslims often add an insult to injury saying "but you were so pretty." As though the scarf now makes me unattractive. Isn't beauty from within? I do think so, and feel more beautiful than ever.

 
March 02, 2004
 
Ashura

Intolerable cruelty
Men playing God
uncompassionately.
Shooting squads, bombs, tanks
take the lives of Shiites.
Muslims are Muslims are Muslims
submitters to Allah.
Not to be killers of one another
brothers and sisters and life.
Condemnation, Damnation, and Murder.
We are nothing
but slaves to our Creator
with a test to be worthy of Paradise.
Not here to fight
nor exude might.
But humble servants prostrating to Him,
peaceful and loving.
Blood, carnage, smoke, fire, bombs tearing apart Earth and flesh
All this fills the streets tonight.
Savagry.
Karbala, Hussein, Ahl al-Bayt
For you my heart bleeds on Ashura night.

 
 
from the book Kerbala and Beyond by Yasin T. al-Jibouri....

The basic Islamic outlook of this life is one of an introductory course; the real life is the one to come, not this one. This worldly life is a prelude to another eternal one; therefore, this world is a preparatory state for people in order to attain the spiritual level which permits them to enter Paradise. It is a microcosm of the real eternal macrocosm. The other side of the picture is the horror of Hell for people who misuse or abuse the power placed at their disposal.

 
 
Take the Dalai Lama Test... (working now)

http://dalai-lama.perbang.dk/

 
 
THOUGHTS ON PRAYER

I used to say a prayer every day trying to park downtown ... "Hail Mary full of grace, help me find a parking space." And this started me on a thought process about prayer. Recently I've heard that many Christians believe Jesus is God. This upset me immensely because growing up as a Catholic I've never ever had a confusion between Jesus and God. Jesus was a man sent to us by God and God, well that's clear. I thought "How can people believe Jesus is God? How can God create himself?" And if Jesus was God, he (depending on different schools of thought) died on a cross. This seriously disturbed me because I wonder how many kids, etc. are being indoctrined to this belief. It's scary to me. But then I was thinking of this prayer I used to say (the one above) ... It sounds as though I was praying to Mary...certainly in my mind I wasn't, but it sure does sound that way. These types of prayers can give kids the idea that we should pray to saints etc when we should only pray to God (and this is what I always did) but the types of prayers in churches can seriously be taken wrong as though they are praying to someone else than God. And it is a fine line isn't it? Once I started praying Islamically I at first had troubles with Muhammad's (SAW) name being in the prayer so much because it made me think of the way Jesus is in so many prayers. I feel prophets and messengers are pious and special people, but still people, not to be idolized. They are the human form of what Allah wants but not to be prayed upon. In time, my thoughts changed, and I understand why he is in our prayers and why it is important - and that we are asking for blessings and he and his family - not praying to him. It took some time for me to be comfortable saying his name so much, but the Quran cleared it up. Sometimes though it bothers me when Muhammad (SAW) is idolized. The other night in a lecture the guest sheikh was saying Muhammad - he's the Man and kept saying it over and over and exalting him. I agree that he is so important to the religion and a person whom we should take guidance for our lives from but sometimes I would like to hear Allah praised as much as our messenger.
 
 
HATRED

Got a middle of the night phone call about the bombings and shootouts that happened overnight. This is sick. 29 killed in Pakistan and 150 wounded and then a couple hundred more killed between Baghdad and Karbala during religious processions. I just have to say what the hell?!? It's times like this I can see why Muslims have such a bad reputation. If we can't control the fighting between ourselves and killing each other, how is the rest of the world supposed to stop attacking us? And what do these people want: paradise. Not going to happen. Killing is not an act condoned by Allah. I just want to say "Get it together!" How are we Muslims supposed to breakdown the stereotypes the media has inflicted on us when they hear that even we kill each other. It's no wonder so many say annialate the Middle East. This is sick. Sick sick sick. Sunni's and Shiites NEED to create peace amongst themselves. Education would be a start. How can the American people become educated and have a positive image of Islam if we as a group can't even do it? I don't know how many times I've been condemned by Sunni's saying that I'm on the wrong path. They say "you guys worship and idolize Ali." Not true. And it's hard to hear, especially since I'm a recent revert. And why such hatred towards Shiites? I've never heard a Shia condemn Sunni's...I've never heard a Shia say Sunni's are worthy of death. Why such tribalism still? Get over it people - remember what the Quran says..."you be to your religion, and i be to mine" and think about what it says about telling a Muslim when they are doing wrong...not kill them when YOU THINK they are doing something wrong. With such misconceptions and Wahabistic facism, how can we ever unite as a people and get some respect from the rest of the world. Today is a sad sad day indeed. Not only because of Ashura, but because lives were martyred (the innocently killed - not the attackers) today via hate. How can so many people be ready to face the flame thinking they will go to Paradise? Allah is most compassionate and merciful, but killing fellow Muslims and brethren (this is all people...are we not first and foremost members of the human race and who has the right to take lives? In my opinion...only Allah) can never be respected. I will pray and pray today that we can unite not only as Muslims, but as humans. I, no doubt, will shed tears today...not only for those we lost, but for mankind in general and the state of this sad world. Facism needs to go. Egos need to go. Hatred needs to go. These are not the attributes Allah wants us to have...
 
March 01, 2004
 
CORPORATE JAIL

My job sucks my soul out of me everyday. For all the 17 or so years I've worked, I don't feel like I've done anything productive. Why is that? I feel like my time is being stolen from me. I have so much I could be doing for the better good.... this is how I'm feeling today. Corporate America is the killer of many souls I'm sure.

Went to my favorite used bookstore after work today and picked up a few books... some on Islam...the Dune series (thanks sister scorpion)... and one on the counterculture of the sixties. Not like I don't already have enough to read right now...but as usual I go to the bookstore for one book and come out with six. Good quote today though.... "Books are the best presents...you get to open them and open them and open them."
 
 
nice....

THE TEARS NEVER DID STOP

by Shazah Sabuhi

I set my foot inside the Holy Mosque,Upon the cold, white marble, Where day and night, People sat worshipping, praying,The tears never did stop.

Right and left, the Mosque being cleaned,Shining, not a particle of dust, The carvings of marble, the plates of gold,The symmetry of the whole Mosque, the largest of it all,The tears never did stop.

Then came the grandest of the whole,The center of one's life and concerns, The big, Beautiful House of Allah,Covered with black cloth and gold leaf writing,The tears never did stop

My life flashed past me, the good and the bad,such a feeling I had never felt before,A special bondage to the Almighty-A sudden chill in me,The tears never did stop

Looking around, the large floor was filled with people,Circling the beautiful house, loudly chanting,People sitting, praying for forgiveness,Praying for another chance to lead a better life,The tears never did stop

Taking a deep breath, I entered the never ending crowd,With my heart pouring out all the prayers I could think of,Begging for forgiveness of my sins, Praying to become a better individual, The tears never did stop

I ran around the black house,The ancient, black house built by Ibrahim centuries ago,Where not one second passes when people are not circling it, praying,The tears never did stop

I got closer as did my heart, mind and soul,I touched the sacred house, hands trembling, Knowing I was as close as ever to the Almighty,The tears never did stop

It was amazing, everyone centered their attention only on worshippingAll worldly concerns forgotten, focused on praying,Forgetting everydah matters and happenings,The tears never did stop

The rituals were tiring, took strength and time,But what is a few hours for our Giver? Our Creator?For what He has given us, the worldly goods, the luxuries,A few hours of forgiveness for our sins,The tears never did stop.
 
When you figure it out, tell me.

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Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

A recent convert to Islam...finally found what I was searching for. I am a writer and love to read and learn. I also love travelling and getting to know new cultures and ways of thinking.

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