Not actually me
TL;DR: Not a serious post. Just a short, silly brush with U.S. passport control (first shared on Facebook) that perfectly marries my clumsiness and paranoia.
Finally made it to U.S. passport control in San Francisco after an 11-hour flight. I was feeling frazzled, and particularly nervous, considering the obvious.
As I approached the desk, I started formulating things to say to the customs agent in my head, just in case he decided to ask me any questions.
(‘….Yes, I was born Muslim, but I really don’t like ISIS. Yes, I’m originally from a Muslim-majority country, but it’s not one of *those* Muslim-majority countries. No, I haven‘t visited any of *those* countries in the past six years. Yes, my official name is Fatima al-Zahra, but my Western friends call me Zahra. Yes, yes, like the clothing store! Oh, I work for Facebook. That’s why I’m here. Yes, Fake News is SAD’). Continue reading
Western media have been aggressively commemorating the 100th anniversary of Sykes Picot, the “secret” agreement that saw British and French colonial powers carve up the Middle East into not nearly enough pieces.
The guilt-tinged coverage is understandable, considering what a blo*dy mess the region is in* (although the Economist recently [didactically] argued it’s time to move on from blaming the West for the Middle East’s ills. Definitely quite an original take.) Continue reading
My fave bit of journalism this week is this New York Times article on an Israeli lawmaker’s comments that Palestine can’t possibly exist because the Arabic alphabet doesn’t contain the letter P.
In the journalistic gem, reporter Isabel Kershner states that “it is rare to meet an Arab who can pronounce the letter P.”
If you’re an Arab, or if have had the misfortune of communicating with Arabs, or living in the Middle East, you’ll know this is something of a fallacy.
I say “something of,” as I acknowledge that the mispronunciation isn’t entirely unheard of. I’m fair that way.
Perhaps your grandBa called you a SuBBer Star as you were growing up, or maybe you’ve been drinking Diet Bebsi all your life, but have never actually been able to bronounce the broblematic word. Continue reading
Posting on Instagram from his shelled-out studio flat in Raqqah, ISIS militant Daoud Mahmoud announced plans January 1st for a low-carb diet, appending the hashtag “#NewYearNewMe.”
One month on, the jihadist tweeted, “@TheRealAbuBakralBaghdadi re: diet, still strugglin, prtty sure imprilist gregrian calndr is haram but got2 cut down somehow lol x fyi @BasharAlAssad” Continue reading
By Zahra Hankir and ND*
It’s been a tragic and dark year in many respects: Terrorist attacks from Paris and Tunisia to Beirut and Mali; the Nepal earthquake; the Greek debt showdown; strikes on Syria and the refugee crisis; the Charleston church massacre; escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians; police brutality; Islamophobia;Trump’s vitriol. And, and, and. (Google does a fantastic job of compiling the biggest trends here. )
But it’s also been a particularly hilarious year, and we don’t want to end it on a sour note. So we’ve pored through some of the more bizarre and unusual stories of the past 12 months and have selflessly compiled them here for you in one post, in lieu of Charlie Brooker’s 2015 Wipe.
UberPool is now available in London after successfully launching in New York.
I have mixed feelings about this.
On the one hand, who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to save some £s (precisely 25% of a full ride) on costly London transport? Particularly for those long-haul rides from.. well… Brixton to Farringdon.
On the other, part of the reason I appreciate Uber is that you get to avoid interacting with, or being exposed to, strangers. Specifically talkative, inebriated strangers who are feeling especially friendly. When you aren’t. Continue reading
By Zahra Hankir and ND*
There are so many terrorist (or kind-of-terrorist-) attacks out there these days, that it’s hard to keep track.
While we understand terrorism is certainly no laughing matter, we thought we’d put together a flow chart to help you figure out how to respond to such attacks during these dark times.
Are you a Facebook user? A moderate Muslim? A western media organisation? Vladimir Putin? Or even David Cameron?
Florence of Arabia has got you covered.
(Click on the image to enlarge).
* ND is a London-based ultimate frisbee player, flow-chart expert and journalist. She’s also a White Westerner.
David Cameron on Wednesday had the audacity to call me and my friends “terrorist sympathisers,” before adding injury to insult by using my hard-earned tax money to bomb an already war-torn country that’s already being bombed by numerous other countries.
Aside from far more serious issues, this begs the question of how one should define a “terrorist sympathiser.”
Florence of Arabia teamed up Prof. Andrew Will-Share, a London-based mixologist, to do the heavy-lifting for you here.
At Heathrow; about to board a flight to JFK. Stopped by security last second — literally moments before getting on to the plane — and asked to step aside.
Told that ‘I’ve been ‘selected‘ by the government of the United States of America to go through a detailed security check’ by a British gentleman who’s speaking in what can only be described as an upbeat voice coupled with a posh accent.
Feels like I’ve won a prize or something. Continue reading