Muslims at “Occupy Wall Street” Protest

October 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Palestine/Gaza & the “Arab Spring”

September 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Tri-City Area (California)–San Francisco Bay Area–This is a continuation of my coverage of Lauren Booth and the AMP (American Muslims for Palestine’s) dinner.  Your journalist sees this as a part of his examination of the geo-political situation as Ramallah prepares herself for self-agency by marching forward to the UN in New York this month demanding statehood.

I have already presented a short report on Libya printed here on these pages with a good deal of my own research.  Except for Paul Laudree (below), your reporter has refrained from using names to protect any relations who may still be left behind in their native lands, but because Paul is well known for his opposition to Israeli policy against Palestine – and especially toward Gaza – and the Israelis have already threatened him with dire consequences if he is ever caught in the Occupied Territories again, I have decided to name him.

Your reporter has written on Paul twice before.  Definitely, he is one of your writer’s heroes, and, he is a brave man, too, and we suffer through the same maladies of aging!  Paul is one of the co-founders of the Free Gaza Movement, the American contingent of the greater international humanitarian movement to relieve Gaza by sea.
Dr. Laudree is the son of American and Iranian parents.  He was born in Iran during the first year of the “baby boomers”.  His career was spent at the American University in Beirut.  Therefore, he is wll aquainted with the Middle East and speaks Arabic fluently and probably Farsi, too.

Paul came close to losing his life after his capture during the last running through Tel Aviv’ Navy’s blockade into the Gaza Strip.   Fortunately, he did survive a severe beating, and was deported to Turkey with a warning never to enter the (Occupied) Territories again — or else!

In the most recent attempt to relieve Gaza, most of the boats were from the Mediterranean littoral, but yet your scribe does not fully subscribe to Paul’s analyst that it was Israel’s big brother, the United States, who held the majority of their ships in Athens’s harbor.  Boat and land convoys have pierced the isolated Palestinian nation on the coastal Strip in the past.  Your correspondent suspects it had more to do with the recent European Union (EU’s) financial bailout of the Hellenes.

When Paul Laudree had stopped by Greece’s capital, Athens, two years ago, her current Prime Minister, then out of power, and while Israel then was anathema over the Hellenic landscape and the same George Papandreou of the Panhellenic Socialist Party wished, at that time, to have photo ops with our orator.  The Prime Minister still rules-over a basically anti-Israeli/America populace; thus, your author believes that it may have been more the EU who influenced their domestically unpopular foreign policy behavior.  

(Emeritus) Professor Paul Laudree muses, for the present we have been forced to desist, but we still have plenty of vessels to deploy. 

The planning for the million-person march to Jerusalem has commenced!  He is involved in a global movement of over a thousand souls trek to the Abrahamic Holy City.  There will, also, even be a contingent from the U.S. 

“Look at the bordering republics, yet none will help her.”  Ultimately, from “Where is the defenders of our [their] rights,” coming?

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Get a “K-Lue”

August 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

It’s the new gaming ritual that is bearing down on Kuwait like a hungry dog chomping down on a juicy bone. By all appearances, K-Lue is a heart-pounding and fast-paced treasure hunt that takes place in commercial complexes, malls, beaches and parks all over the country.  It bears a very close resemblance to reality television shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race. However, it is growing much larger than anyone expected and is certainly set to change the face of adventure gaming in the region.

The mastermind behind the new gaming venture is a 22- year old Kuwaiti Entrepreneur named Dhari Al-Moawad. Through his website, www.K-Lue.com , Al-Moawad unites people from all walks of life to participate in a mind-jarring game of K-Lue. Clients, who choose the preference “Welcome Stranger,” will be pitted against perfect strangers and will be a part of teams comprised of total strangers. The other option, and most popular, is for clients to be teamed up with their close friends or relatives.

The object of the game is the same as it is with a traditional treasure hunt. Each team is given a set of clues and a fixed period of time in which to find them. The team that finds all of the clues, or at least the bulk of them, wins. The prize is a shiny gold-toned medal and the satisfaction of being the winner. Teams must utilize their own transportation, know-how and bravado to get from one point to another when searching for each clue.

Al-Moawad is very active in his gaming venture and even hides some of the clues himself in various places around Kuwait. “I am so involved that I’m always unconsciously thinking of riddles and every place to me looks like a big maze. Once as I was driving, I spotted sign language for the disabled and I immediately wanted to incorporate that into my next game. This way I get to constantly innovate as well as learn about various communities and cultures.”

The best part about K-Lue is that clients determine the level of game play and even the timings. Reservations can be booked online according the number of players or teams and even according to gender. The future looks very bright for K-Lue as Al-Moawad plans to expand his gaming venture to other countries in the Middle East. “I’m trying to launch a treasure hunt between regional countries. For instance, it would start in Kuwait and end in a neighboring country. We’re still working on the logistics of that one though I’m also eyeing a concept right now which is more individualistic and complex than K-Lue,” he shares.

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A Summer of “Sandboarding”

June 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

extreme-sports-wallpaper-sand-boardingOne of the biggest complaints often heard by residents, and visitors alike, is the lack of sporting activities in the Middle East. The lack of outdoor activities is not surprising given that eight months out of the year are sweltering with temperatures easily reaching well above 100-degrees Fahrenheit. The greatest pastimes for most denizens of the wealthy gulf regions of the Middle East are usually fine dining or shopping in heavily air-conditioned malls. However, a new breed of daredevil is weathering the scalding desert sun and taking advantage of one of the most plentiful resources in the desert. Sand.

Sandboarding is believed to be a sport invented by the Egyptians, however, there is not credible data available today crediting Egypt with developing the sand sport. Over the past year or so, sandboarding has swept across the Middle East and become the most popular desert activity. Sandboarding combines the best moves and techniques from three sporting activities- skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding. And it requires a very large sand dune in order to fulfill all the twists, jumps and tricks that sandboarders dare to perform.

It can take several minutes for a sandboarder to ascend his sand dune of choice and a mere couple of minutes to cruise down it. For this reason, a sandboarder must be aware of the effects of performing a high-intensity sport in the scorching desert sun and must take preventative measures to ensure his safety and the safety of those sandboarding with him. As a rule, most sandboarders choose the early morning hours just after the crack of dawn to ride the dunes. The heat of the sun in the region reaches full capacity in the early afternoon. Sandboarders must carry several liters of water with them in addition to their sandboard.

One of the most popular sandboarding sites is located in Dubai, which is a municipality of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). There is an abundance of naturally occurring sand dunes in the UAE, some scraping the sky at over 200 ft. However, the largest one stands at a dizzying 300ft. It is known by sandboarders as “Big Red”, however locals refer to it as “Al Hamar”. Regardless of the name, the sand dune is very steep and it is bright red due to high-levels of iron oxide. Daredevils congregate near “Big Red” on weekends and a crowd gathers at the base to watch the show.

Sandboards can be purchased in local sporting good shops in most Middle Eastern countries and are even available online. Ingenious businessman, in both the UAE and neighboring Arab States, have created special sandboarding excursions which provide sandboard rentals and transportation to and from the dunes.

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