Category Archives: Uncategorized

Scattered thoughts (and feelings) on Egypt


January 20, 2014

Shiddi halek ya balad.

How is it that Egypt’s soil had the power to produce such anguished, angered, empowered energy – yet lacks the power to produce the will to make? The will to construct?

I had just finished watching a film entitled, “A Winter of Discontent.” The film reminded me of the spirit that existed in 2011 after Ben Ali left Tunisia. For Egypt, the floodgates have opened and there was no turning back. You can see this clearly in the film, as this particular concept was appropriately conveyed. The last scene in the film foreshadowed Egypt’s reality today: the head of security went back to see his family, which he earlier sent to stay in a sea-side villa away from the demonstrations. He hugged his daughters, and the audience was taken right to the credits. This is what happened, isn’t it? Mubarak left office – but everything else stayed in place. The entire apparatus was touched, but unharmed – it was left standing.

Little do they know that Egypt’s people desire more than bread to eat and water to drink. They desire well-being, well-being that goes beyond the now somewhat clichéd terms of freedom and liberty. You know, the opaque, mysterious, undefined terms thrown around everywhere nowadays.

We live in an Arab world that is so chaotic, so disorganized, so counter-intuitive. And from the looks of it, it will get worse before it gets better. What do I know about Syria’s ruins? What do I know about the still repressive regime in Algeria? It really depresses me. I don’t even know what to say anymore. I just want to cry. We deserve so much more. I know we all have the smarts to help make things better, but everyone I know is leaving el balad. They’re all leaving Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, Egypt… And Egypt. Oh Egypt. What a sad twist in history. How can we forget how it felt when it was announced that Mubarak would leave office? That joy was so unparalleled. Nothing can compare. I was all the way in San Diego and I felt every bit of it, watching from a laptop screen. The nights I stayed up just watching, waiting. My soul felt like it could jump through the monitor and just be there. It was momentous. No, momentous is not the word. Just epic. And not epic in the overused ways of our day, but momentously epic. Egypt, the largest country in the Arab world, had enough.

What now though? Did we naively think that we could actually change things? Or that those who held the reigns of power would ever let go? Oh goodness, I am on a plane and I just can’t stop crying. What is it? What are we missing? We succeeded in the first step – what’s next? What will happen next? Tunisia is a nice silver lining in many ways (who still has its host of problems), but the rest? What about Egypt? What about Syria? What should we do? Never have I questioned so much about the future. Of course, our countries will not magically “make themselves work.” It takes every one of us to make them work – but where do we start? Sure, we need to take things in our hands – and by the way I don’t just mean the youth or a certain segment of the populations. I mean everyone. We take things into our hands and change how it all works. However, in Egypt for example, there are very well defined structures of power. Some things people just cannot do. Unless people think they can.

I believe we may just need a psychological shift in what we think we can and can’t do.

Until that mental change, shiddi halek ya balad.

Qabbani and South Lebanon

Mr. Qabbani seems to always have the right words. The literal translation of this particular verse into English would, I feel, reduce a nostalgic soul into dry words. But Nizar Qabbani here writes to one of his many muses – the southern Lebanese countryside, el-J’noub. He says here that el-J’noub became ‘his pens, his rose-colored folders’. It became his ‘secret Writing.’ El-J’noub witnessed major political upheaval and war over the years, but its golden hilltops and its peoples nuanced complexities have never failed to inspire a whole generation of authors and poets such as Nizar Qabbani. Below is a little visualization I made for the verse.

Happy Friday everyone!


Issuing Deliverance – Women in Modern Times

(Warning: this is a rant. Nothing new in this post.)

The key distinction is the idea of issu-ING deliverance, for it has surely not been issued completely yet. When we look back on all that women have gone through – and I speak from the position of being a woman of color in the United States – we see that history has carried women on its ebb and flow, consistently carrying them through failures and gains. 

And we must acknowledge the gains, and honor the women and men that fought so hard for them. Women now can vote and are active members of society. It is generally well accepted that the female gender is and will always remain an important and entire one half of the population.

Yet, I feel fury at times because that as women, we still accept the fact that senile old men in richly decorated offices get to dictate what we do with our bodies. We still accept the fact that in some states, women have to pay higher insurance rates than men. We accept the fact that a woman’s decision to rear a child is not entirely in her hands. We accept the fact that Planned Parenthood is being cut left and right by our elected officials. We accept unequal pay based on gender. We accept the fact that our legislatures institutionalize policies that condemn us to being less than fully adult human beings.

We cannot accept this anymore, because the truth is, we have not been delivered. Deliverance has not been issued, and we are the only ones that can issue it.

We must be fearless.

My Trials and Tribulations with Civil Procedure

(No pun intended, of course.)

How do most ugly conglomerate corporations legally get off the hook? How do they get away with engaging in irresponsible behavior that negatively impacts neighborhoods and communities? With polluting, ransacking, and abusing? We’re not even talking MNCs here – we’re talking state-to-state, nation-bound corporations.

They use the law to their advantage. Read: their legal counsels cleverly find loopholes in state statutory law and federal law. Sometimes, they even find policy loopholes. They locate headquarters in tax-lax states such as Delaware, for instance. They find the secrets to absolve guilt through procedure – not through substance.

They master the art of civil procedure. They master the body of law that nobody (in his or her right mind) would like to hear about. What, you’re not turned on by Federal Rule 4(k)(2)(b)? They just do it. And then, they win (i.e. screw people over).

This is what I tell myself every time I open my civil procedure text book. Yet, every time I do so, my biology also seems to react – and I begin to partake in a yawning Olympics. It is as if I have quickly (in a matter of mere weeks!) developed an allergic reaction to the subject. I have never been allergic to anything. No food or material can throw my ever fabulously healthy immune system off balance. OK that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Somehow, still, civil procedure is my caveat.

I just cannot keep my eyelids open. One sentence would have the same 5 words repeated two to three times just in a different order. Take this: “Pendant personal jurisdiction is possible as a basis for personal jurisdiction for claims that derive from a common set of facts as claims for which the defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction.”


I drink 3 cups of coffee then I finally start to read quickly and efficiently without falling asleep. But… How far can coffee go? Believe it or not, I do have a personally-set ceiling for the level caffeine allowed per day. And I cannot keep upping that ceiling. My body can only handle so much before I go insane. So what do I do?

For now, I have coined a mantra that I simply repeat to myself time and time again as I do my readings. “For Justice, know CivPro.” Not sure how accurate it is, but I do know that it’s keeping me going. One day, I would like to use the subject to fight for a Good case. Until then… I will keep calm and litigate on.

ClickRally Magazine has launched!

Dear friends,

As a contributing writer for ClickRally Magazine, I am proud to announce that the website has finally launched. ClickRally is a progress oriented publication that combines news, analysis, and opinion with online activism. ClickRally’s “clicktivists” share a passion for realizing positive change in the political, social, environmental, and economic worlds.

ClickRally has grown to include writers from sustainability organizations, activist groups, and political organizations.  The clicktivist team is comprised of academics, entrepreneurs, scientific researchers, students, and, most importantly, readers like you, who are seeking creative solutions to local and global problems like poverty, hunger, environmental degradation, and political corruption. Originally based in San Diego, our clicktivists now represent the diverse communities of Los Angeles, New York, Denver, and Washington D.C. to name a few. Many of our writers will also be contributing works from abroad.
I hope you all enjoy the website and share it with your friends and family.