Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Canadians Favours

From Gulf News

When Dubai Police Chief, Lieutenant-General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, revealed that Canadian authorities have arrested a suspect in the murder of Hamas commander Mahmoud Al Mabhouh, Ottawa pretended to have been caught off guard. It seems Canadian authorities wanted to keep the arrest secret, perhaps to avoid angering close ally Israel.

Some think the Canadians might have backtracked on this issue, by even trying to deny it ever happened, as a response to the beating the Canada-UAE ties have taken in the past few weeks, over a disagreement on airline landing rights. If that is the case, Canada will only be shooting itself in the foot. Security cooperation, especially in combating state-sponsored terrorism, like the assassination of Al Mabhouh in Dubai earlier this year, should not be affected by trade relations.

If Canada thinks it is doing the UAE a favour in arresting a wanted criminal, it surely is mistaken. Terrorism is a global threat and the UAE, according to United Nations reports, is at the forefront of international efforts aimed at eradicating this plague.

Security cooperation is not an option. With terror activities rising, transparent security cooperation is the only way to ensure global peace.


How every interesting! Especially after I've read this news article below...

Guys.. keep all your purchases private.. be they for weapons or DVD's before New Years... and stay safe!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Dumb Circular


"No compensatory off for New Year holiday
Ministerial circular declares Saturday holiday for public sector"

How fucking dumb are we? Next year they might issue a circular declaring that the week is 7 days long.

Insult our intelligence sometimes, but this is baseless and pointless. Everyone gets a holiday on new years.. just because it's on a weekend doesn't make it OK.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Three towers

From left to right:

1- Decadence and Sin: Address hotel (3rd place in terms of relative height).

2- Humility and peace. Minaret (2nd place).

3- Agressive Expansion. Burj Khalifa (1st place).

Here is the same picture as one from the previous post, but minus the plane. This shot was taken a few days after the picture with the plane.


PS: Am thinking of submitting this to a photo competition.. any ideas?

Photographic winner...

... yes, Mr Rosh is correct!!! It's the Burj Khalifa.

A small prize for those who can guess how many tries it took to get this shot!

Hello guys.. great to see you: Dots, Mr Rosh, AA Rose, Ema...

and, I guess I'm here now.. that's what counts!

Friday, 24 December 2010

What's hanging?

Guess what is hanging from the bottom of this plane?

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Abundance of Idiocy

...and various other tales!

1- Why do very small cars drive around with all their lights? low beams and fog lights included? You only need the fog lights when it's foggy. Dumb asses. I'm also seeing big cars driving with just their fog lamps. It must be perceived by cool by those with IQ's of under 10. Or those who are overdrawn in that department. Yesterday they just baked the cake, and some guy was desert driving with just his fog lamps.. needless to say, he could barely see!

2- Why are the authorities fixated with banning speeding? When you really need to ban people who change lanes suddenly and those who do not observe lane discipline. Actually I noticed that all drivers almost have their own lane. The FJ Cruiser number 6669 from Al Ain drives at the fast lane always. The Corolla number 84204 Shj2 drives with his fog lights at the 2nd lane. The Emirates Bus dude with 31 people drives on the 3rd lane, the heavy laden truck going to Gusais drives on the 2nd lane too, but does just 60kmh. You can see this poses problems when you're doing Emirates Road speeds! Still, the authorities will penalise speeding rather than incorrect lane discipline. Dumb.

3- If your empty plot of land is surrounded by pavements and is made of 100% pure UAE silicon, and you park on it, then the RTA will automatically slap you with a fine for "parking on the pavement". But you cannot slap them with trespassing.

4- If you're Indian then you do not look before you cross the street, but you cross quickly. If you're Arab then you also do not look, but you pass much more slowly, especially in the face of oncoming traffic. Must be all that obesity and mental retardation...

5- In the UAE indicators are used to confirm a lane change. In other countries they are used to indicate before a change. We'd like to see more Indicators used and less Confirmators.

6- to be continued...

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Insolence of Prosperity

Happy National Day!!!

Almost 39 years ago, our forefathers (I don't mean only genetically) drew out the first sketches of the union of states that is now the United Arab Emirates. Things pretty much went up for us from then. I know because I am a child of such a union as I was born a few years after the union. The federation was a win-win for all the states involved and was the only logical thing for us to do after the British left the region (for now, they have since returned, but this is not the post for that). I might be biased, but out of all the Gulf states, both Arab and Persian, I believe the UAE enjoyed the most benefits from this. The fact that we're starting to be noticed regionally and to an extent internationally is a proud testament of that.

I grew up in an Emirates of needs and wants. We needed so much and let's be honest, we didn't have much. They named one of the main squares in Sharjah the Kuwait Square as a thank you to the people and government of Kuwait for their help to build the UAE Educational system. When they launched Emirates, the first flight was actually to Pakistan back in 1985. Now when we think of Pakistan we think of something stupid and racist or we think of cricket or political instability. Many people still refer to construction works as "Indians". How rude! And if you ask an Emarati grandfather, he will surely refer to the local currency in the UAE as the rupee, even though the UAE Dirham has been in circulation for many many decades. What better testament to how much we owe to our brothers from the Indian subcontinent.

In fact, prosperous families used to send their children to India or Kuwait to be able to finish high school because not so long ago, most schools in the UAE were only available until a primary level or only taught the Koran. In a few decades I was lucky to be born in the UAE, to be educated in its schools, and that was to such a level that I found it easy to continue my studies at Harvard and Oxford. Bravo to the UAE.

Cars were a luxury. In fact they were an oddity. Healthcare was patchy to say the least. Airconditioning was no where to be found. The main airport was in Sharjah (see here King Abdul Aziz Street used to be the runway on the old Sharjah Airport ). Dubai's runway was still new, and was very much a dusty place.
Et cetera, et cetera...

I know this blog has become an old and dusty place too, but I have meant to write this post for some time. Not so much to remember the past, but to voice my condolences perhaps to our present, and to pray to our future, and the future of this country after we leave it for our children.

What have we become now? A nation of fat, slow people. A Nation of smokers. Diabetes and heart disease are so common even though we have amazing and cheap healthcare. We would fight over a parking slot nearest to the mall door when our fathers wouldn't have known what a mall is. We pay millions for a small number plate, even more for a phone number.

So here is what happens in today's UAE. I bet you Sheikh Zayed would not be happy, I know for a fact that Sheikh Rashed would NOT BE HAPPY at all. This is not the UAE he left. I remember the day Sheikh Rashed died like it was yesterday. I felt a deep sense of loss and that was shared by everyone, from the oldest Emarati to the Indian dude that has heard of the UAE and is spending his first few days here, and even the odd palm tree felt sad. Sheikh Rashed, may Allah bless his soul, was the true architect of the union, and many of you young guys do not realise this.

Driving down the roads is not only dangerous, but it makes you liable to being abused and cut against. I had to drive my family to Sharjah yesterday and I was checking my mirror briefly towards the left only to find that the small gap I left between me and the car in front was now occupied by a dumb fuck who took the modest safe distance as an invitation to cut me. I braked suddenly to avoid a collision and the idiot son of an idiot soon changed lanes. This doesn't happen back 20 yrs ago or so... people used to be polite when driving. Here, we've become a nation of speed freaks. You don't buy your car depending on your budget or the utility, but you look at two things.. you look for cars that people will respect and fear you in, and you also look for cars that can be the most agressive (e.g. loud exhaust or blinding high beam). I bet if you stop the random idiot on today's roads they will tell you that the high beams are purely for flashing and overtaking rather than driving at night on unlit streets.

Oh my lord...

What about the workplace? Ok, so we have more women at work, but they are learning the bad habits of men. Answering phones or e-mails here is rare, so you have to actually visit all the places you have business with personally in order to get the service you need.

Speaking about service, why is it normal for someone to cut in front of you when you're trying to ask a salesman something? Why will the new person always get priority? Why do people give priority in situations when they are meeting face to face and then the fone rings and they can't wait to answer it quickly. Of course if they were alone they would just let it ring.

I can go on, but you get the idea.

Is this the UAE that our fathers dreamt of? I bet it isn't the UAE that most expats come to dream of. I know almost all visitors come here thinking they will learn or at least hear some Arabic, but the only Arabic you'll hear is swear words on the street. Let me stay away from our language problems, coz that needs a whole other post!

Past prime concerns were getting enough food and medicine, or even education. Current concerns are getting enough fatty foods and smoke and a good movie to watch when we want. Even exercise has been abused. Gyms now offer free access to a DVD library if you sign up. (pointless?!?!). Most guys go there to check out girls, rather than to work out. What's going on...

We have to properly reassess our future in order to survive and in order to become a quality city and country. We cannot allow ourselves to be led by the whims and fashions of the dumb, rich, and weak. Above all...we must not tolerate the insolence of prosperity.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Emarat runs out of petrol - burn me!

So it's been a while since I wrote, and that's because of a noticeable lack of interest in the topics gracing our lives. So please excuse my absence. However, yesterday (15/9/2010) a few weird things happened that demand to be mentioned.

First of all, my car needed to be filled with petrol so badly, the fuel indicator dipped below the zero indicator. So when I finished from my teeth-grinding boring meetings I pulled into Enoc (one of the 4 petrol providers in UAE) to fill up with regular gasoline (Special grade 95 RON Octane). The attendant told me that they are running dry and they have only Super 98 and Diesel. So I requested a full tank of Super 98 (which I believe is superior on long distance journeys). Before I could say "twitter" the tank was filled up because motorists refused to pay more to fill up with better quality petrol. Typical.

The attendant told me that they have problems with supplying fuel. Thanks ENOC.

Today I read in the papers that Emarat (another one of the basteurd petrol sellers) have run out of petrol due to technical problems with the supply chain, and they also mention financial problems with loans etc that won't be fixed until they can charge market prices and drop the state-sponsored price-system.

Read more here:

"Emarat is finding it difficult to get bank loans to enable it continue to sell petrol below cost, so it's trying to ration the limited quantity of gasoline it has. The company is incurring a daily loss of about Dh2 million due to the subsidy on the fuel and compensation from other businesses such as convenience stores isn't enough to cover the losses," an Emarat source told Gulf News. "This problem will continue until the government frees petrol prices," he added.

DAMN YOU "Emarat source"!!!!!!

The Emarat petrol distribution company announced that some of its 200 stations in Dubai and Northern Emirates are facing supply shortage of fuel (special Benzene). The company spokesperson told Al Bayan that “the shortage is due to technical issues related to the process of unloading cargo from ships to tanks in Jebel Ali". Khalid Hadi, Director of Information and Marketing of Enoc said, "All fuel stations of Enoc and Epco is functioning normally and is able to provide various types of fuel without any problems."

Not only dues Emirates 24-7 above show an ENOC picture when they are talking about Emarat problems, but they mention a very interesting point made by Mr Khalid Hadi, Director of Information (you can direct fictional movies, but can you direct information?!) that Enoc is not having "any problems".

OK. Sir.

What about the Enoc station site 1088, terminal ID 00108803, on Oud Metha Road that was empty of cars yesterday because you couldn't supply petrol to it cheap enough that people will buy it?

Also are we dumb enough to believe that in a country that can build the tallest building in the world, and the widest motorways, and the best airline that you cannot deliver fuel? Don't take us for stupid people please. It's like when Bush and Bliar (sic) convinced us that our security was threatened by Iraq and we HAD to invade and kill the innocent to protect the innocent.

Yeah right.

Also, ironic that the shortage came exactly 2 years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers (my screen shot of the bbc webpage from 2008 is attached).

However, seems not only the UAE is suffering from greed and stupidity. Pakistan, the only Muslim nuclear power is unable to supply its citizens with machine-readable passports in the UAE because they are only printed in Pakistan.

Please, please, when will the stupidity end?!


Sunday, 12 September 2010

Losing battle for hearts - opinion

The following is an article in the Opinion pages of Gulf News/Guardian:

It sums up this mess we live in very nicely. Happy Eid everyone.


In the US, a crackpot pastor threatened to burn copies of the Quran and finally cancelled his plan yesterday after appeals from the president, the secretary-general of the UN, and Angelina Jolie. In Afghanistan, five US soldiers are charged with murdering civilians at random and collecting their fingers as souvenirs, while Nato troops open fire on protests against the pastor's plans.

In Britain, the normally hawkish International Institute for Strategic Studies says the threat from Al Qaida and the Taliban has been exaggerated, and warns that the war in Afghanistan risks becoming a "long, drawn-out disaster".

Meanwhile, Tony Blair cancels two appearances in London to publicise his memoirs after anti-war protesters pelt him with eggs and shoes in Dublin.

Welcome to the world of the ‘war on terror', on the ninth anniversary of 9/11. It is a world more divided, fearful and conflict-ridden than a decade ago.

"We need to win not just the military action, but to win people's minds," Tony Blair told CNN in November 2001, at the height of the Anglo-American bombing of Afghanistan. But the struggle for Muslim hearts and minds was allowed to morph into a seeming war on Muslims. The ‘war on terror' has resulted only in more war and more terror.

It all seemed so different in 2001. The mayor of Tehran called his counterpart in New York to offer his condolences, as Iranians held candle-lit vigils in solidarity with grieving Americans. Palestinians lined up to donate blood to the survivors of the attacks. Islamic scholars and clerics across the Middle East denounced the murderous barbarism of Al Qaida. Polls showed that vast numbers of hearts, minds and souls in the Muslim world were with the West.

But along came Guantanamo Bay, the catastrophic and illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, photos of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib in 2004, and allegations of torture and murder at the US air base in Bagram, Afghanistan, in 2005.

By 2006, Muslims across the globe were horrified and radicalised by the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon, conducted with the blessing of Blair and his partner in crime, George W. Bush.

The ‘hearts and minds' brigade had to beat a humiliating retreat.

Hopes were raised again in 2008, with the election of Barack Obama, with a Muslim middle name and an African heritage. In his first six months in office, Obama declared that "the US is not and will never be at war with Islam"; in a speech in Cairo he symbolically "reset" relations with Muslim communities.

But Guantanamo is still open for business, and the president's demand that the Israelis ‘freeze' illegal colonies has fallen on deaf ears. The war on terror has been ramped up in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa. The deaths of US soldiers in Afghanistan and Pakistani civilians in US air strikes have increased on Obama's watch.

On Thursday, the US President said Pastor Jones' plans to burn the Quran would be a "recruiting bonanza" for Al Qaida. Yet he fails to recognise how the West's war in Afghanistan provides a similar boost to extremists — on both sides.

The "enemy" in Afghanistan, concluded the IISS report released last week, is "incentivised by the presence of foreign forces". And inside the US the likes of Jones and right-wing Republican bigots, frothing at the mouth over the ‘Ground Zero mosque' take their cue from aggressive leaders like Blair, Bush and Obama — who send more and more troops to fight and die abroad, in faraway Muslim countries, while denying any link between militancy and western foreign policies.

Whether the swivel-eyed priest goes ahead with his plan to immolate Islam's holiest book is, ultimately, irrelevant.

The battle for hearts and minds was lost long ago.

Mehdi Hasan is senior editor (politics) at the New Statesman.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Israel does it again - to the Rachel Corrie

Not satisfied with their performance last weekend, the Israelis have blocked yet another ship laden with aid to Gaza. The ship is named Rachel Corrie after the activist that was crushed to death by Israeli bulldozers a few years back.

Fortunately there was no violence this time. However, why does Israel insist on harrasing aid shipments to Gaza over waters which it no longer even occupies? Surely if the UAE starts blocking ships in Iranian waters then all hell will break loose.

Why does Israel continue to exist above the law?

Why is the Egyptian border with Gaza still closed?

More info:

The excellent cartoon is kindly provided by Carlos Latuff:

Image: Swedish Demonstrators

Check out this most excellent gallery of pictures from demonstrations from around the world against the recent Israeli actions. It's scary how many countries are listed there.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Forgotten Floatilla

So it's only been a few days since the Israeli massacre aboard the peace floatilla.. so, the big question is have we already forgotten about it?

I hope not, and I leave you with this most excellent clip.

Found here:


Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Blue Waters - Jewish Piracy

As you know, the Israelis have have boarded an international aid ship heading for Gaza while it was in international waters and murdered 19 of its members. The ship was carrying the Turkish flag and Turkey as well as all Muslim and Arab nations are furious, the world is furious too at this act of state-sponsored barbaric piracy by the Middle East's "only democracy".

Democracy my ass...

Coming soon.. more stuff on this.. but until then I leave you with this excellent cartoon by my friend Carlos Latuff.

More info:

Carlos Latuff on Twitter
Carlos Latuff on Deviant Art

Is it OK to chant "down with Israel?"

I wouldn't mind also driving the Israeli state to the sea since they seem quite at home there.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Two beautiful pictures

Here are two beautiful pictures that adorn my computer desktop. With my new Macbook Pro 15" as a new member of the family (i7 all the way!), there is even more screen to show off these beauties :)

I leave them for you to enjoy at your pleasure. Please note if you own the copyright please let me know and I will remove them immediately. These are not my pictures, but some I found online. It's worth clicking on the pictures to enlarge them because the current resolution will not do them justice.

The pic below is from the National Geographic and is probably one of the most nicely taken pics I've seen in a while. Take some time to allow it to sink in.

This pic below is unknown in its source but I love its peacefulness. Also reminds me I wanna live at some point in the woods in tune with nature :)


Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Abutt's Finest Hour

[This post is written as a reference post]

We all relish on a bit of debate and dialogue, none of us have taken this to heart and to such extremes as much as aBit who is known by many names including Ultra Blue.

The authour of this blog had a debate with him about female body building which turned sour very quickly. I thought it's best to publish this properly for everyone to see him for who he is, and also because the coward is known to delete his comments after they have been read.

Interestingly.. He rudely refused offers of a hug then it took him a good few days to muster a reply.. oh well, maybe he was simmering slowly to a boil. Pathetic.

Pathetic 1:

You can bring your whore body building wife as well, the one I'll have a pakistani laborer rape after I beat you and have you jailed for whatever reason the cops can come up with.

Again, the innerwebs, its an amazing source of entertainment.


Yalla, answer that and stay fashionable tool.

Posted by ultra[blue] to BuJ Al Arab at 17 May 2010 09:55

(Interestingly, you can be arrested for saying less than what Mr ultra[blue] just wrote.. oh well)

Pathetic 2:

Oh, and my driver fucked your sister last night! Expect a 1/2 bangladeshi nephew in 9 months! Muahaha!

Best thing is, if I choose to delete these comments, you cant prove shit! YOU ARE POWERLESS UNLESS YOU MODERATE!


And and I was kidding about meeting you to talk. IF YOU ARE MAN ENOUGH come meet me in AD and I will BEAT THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF YOU and have you jailed. YOU will be jailed.

(hmmm, it seems he will teach me a lesson by using his 200kg body to sit on me! If he's such a fat-man himself why not displace his fat-self to DXB?)

Pathetic 3:

A combination of the 2 Pathetics above, as well as the words "f-you" repeated about 654 times over about 40 different comments. He probably just learned about the "copy" and "paste" functions. Oh dear me. All this was trigged coz I proposed to hug him? oh dear me.

Very Worrying 1:

Having read this in Gulf News this week...

We hope the police catch him soon and may this be a sign for all haters and pedophiles that you are not above the law.

For more details on how to get in touch, the racist lurks here. FYI, all comments and e-mails are saved should they be needed in the future. All this can be easily verified by a 3rd party.


Unfortunately, this week we saw the ill-fated airline crash to Mangalore from Dubai. Sadly, it was observed that aBit's blog had a very racist post that stirred a lot of feelings, especially from the Indian community for its racist ideas.

Read for yourself:

Incidentally, one of the fiercest critics of racism was our Prophet Mohammad who fought it fiercely and the same applies to slavery.

We pray for his mental stability to return, and for Allah to protect us from all evil.

Updated : 25 May 2010

Seems the whole blog has been deleted or blocked somehow. Very peculiar indeed.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Saturday, 22 May 2010

RIP to aircrash victims

On a flight from Dubai to Mangalore (not Bangalore) yesterday disaster struck as the plane tried to make a tricky landing at what is called a "tabletop" runway. i.e. one which is proceeded with a valley or a drop that makes overshooting the runway a scary adventure.

Sadly 158 out of the 160 passengers perished. Even more sadly, the flight departed from Dubai and included a Gulf News member of staff who perished as well. Incidentally, it was Gulf News that rocked my morning by reporting this sad piece of news.

Before people get too excited, the pilot was British with more than 10,000 flying hours and 26 landings at Mangalore. The co-pilot was Indian, and although he had less flying time than his Captain, but, he had more landings under his belt on this dangerous strip.

May they rest in peace.

The Entabulator

For all you smart engineers out there, and everyone else too!

For more information please click here:

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Historical Tweets - D-Day

This just cracked me up!!!

page reference

Please click to enlarge. (Wish most things worked like that, hihi)

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Bad aftertaste - 62 years on

I woke up this morning and looked at my Calendar that read 15 May and I knew it was a bad day. I usually have had better memories on this day in the last few years, but for the goodness of me I didn't know what today signified.

Thanks to Dubai Jazz, I remembered. I just read this post on this blog which is copied here in its entirety:

15th of May - 62 Years on the Nakba: A Few Memorable Quotes

"The cleansing of Palestine remained the prime objective of Plan Dalet."
David Ben Gurion (the 'Founding Father' of Israel)

(Plan Dalet was a premeditated plan designed in part to ethnically cleanse Palestine during the establishment of the state of Israel)

"Only a state with at least 80% Jews is a viable and stable state"
David Ben Gurion

"Arab evacuees from the towns and villages left largely because of Jewish — Haganah, IZL or LHI — attacks or fear of impending attack.......[however],an extremely small, almost insignificant number of the refugees during this early period left because of Haganah or IZL or LHI expulsion orders or forceful 'advice' to that effect"
Benn Morris. Author of "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited", Cambridge University Press, 2004.

"This leads to a figure of 73% for departures caused directly by the Israelis. In addition, the report attributes 22% of the departures to "fears" and "a crisis of confidence" affecting the Palestinian population. As for Arab calls for flight, these were reckoned to be significant in only 5% of cases…"
A report by the military intelligence arm of the Haganah (the Jewish paramilitary force), which refutes the claim that the +750,000 Palestinians left Palestine of their own volition.

"Allon repeated the question: What is to be done with the population[50,000 Palestinian inhabitants of Lyd and Ramllah]? Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture that said: Drive them out!"
The Memoir of Yitzhak Rabin "Soldier of Peace"

"I'm a Zionist!"
Joe Biden, VPOTUS.

"The Middle East is obviously an issue that had plagued the region for centuries"
Barack Hussein Obama, POTUS.


"The viciousness of Israel is testament to its knowing that Palestinians will always remain steadfast and defeat its past and present attempts to erase them"
Joseph Massad (Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics at Columbia University)

"Revolt! you're only going to lose the tent and the shackle"
George Habash (the late Palestinian leader)

"All that you have done to our people is registered in notebooks"
Mahmoud Darwish (A renowned Palestinian poet)

"When a brown man resists, he's a terrorist. When a white man resists, he's Robin Hood"
Dubai Jazz

"It must have sucked to be an Arab in 1948/49"
A Zionist, arguing the Nakba with Dubai Jazz on some political forum.

"So, going by your logic, it must have also sucked to be a Jew in Europe circa early 1940s?"
Dubai Jazz, replying to the said Zionist.

An excellent source of maps:

Friday, 14 May 2010

Moroccan Magic

After posting videos about Italian engineering on two wheels (Ducati 796), it's time to shed some light on a different passion of mine - offroad motorcycling! Specifically, in Morocco!

The following is courtesy of the National.

We knew there was something different about this trip when the doctor started taking pictures of everyone. “So I can know which limbs to re-attach to whom,” said our sardonic sawbones. That our travelling physician, Axel Thiäner, a trauma surgeon from Munich, was (semi) having sport with us – German style – was little consolation. We had seen his mobile medical cabinet containing all the necessary gear to perform a roadside hip replacement. What was this? Just what had I got myself into?

Our small group was about to embark on a 1,000km (mostly) off-road motorcycle ride through the heart of Morocco that would see us leave the relative civilisation of Marrakech and head south and east to Ouarzazate and Boumalne Dades, over the famed Atlas and Jebel Saghro mountains and the Gorges du Dades and traversing some of the craggiest overland passes in the world.

And as dangerous as that might be, the good doctor was not here for us. No, he was here because Hendrik von Kuenheim, scion of the man who saved BMW and now general director of BMW’s Motorrad division, was here. We moto journalists may revel in delusions of our own self-importance, but there really was only one man on this trip that actually was important. Put another way, if we all lost our limbs simultaneously, I knew whom the good doctor would be saving first.

I’ll ride anywhere, but not having ridden anything with knobby tires for more than five years filled me with a certain amount of apprehension, an unease that turned into full trepidation when I thought of trying to muscle a 225kg R1200GS through deep sand. Ever the pragmatist (that should read coward), I insisted on riding the smaller F800GS.

Northern Africa may well be full of sand dunes, but we saw none of it. What we did see were rocks. Small rocks and big rocks; sharp rocks and round rocks; bare rock still part of massive outcroppings; others seemingly strewn specifically to send the front wheel of BMW GSs piloted by nervous journalists slewing sideways. Did I mention that said rocky roads were often accompanied, in the finest tradition of Third World civil engineering, by steep and prolonged drop-offs? It was the toughest/scariest/most attention-focusing off-roading I’ve done in quite some time.

Sometimes, cowardice can lead to inspired choices. When push came to shove (as in trying top push a bike out of sand wash or humping, trials-like, over big boulders), the lighter 800 was the right choice. Hardly to be described as lithe, the F800 is close to 50kg lighter than the R1200, a reduction that was keenly felt during one particularly long plod through a washed-out river bed covered in the softest, wheel-swallowing, golf-ball-sized gravel I’d ever seen. Correcting the inevitable front-wheel washouts and sometimes-spectacular rear wheel slides was a lot easier riding something that didn’t feel quite as heavy as a touring bike.

But what was surprising – indeed, extremely surprising – was how easily the big R1200 (outfitted with Continental TKC 80 off-road tyres) handled the rest of the off-roading. Yes, shaft drive and that bulky engine mean that it occasionally felt like trying to dock the Queen Mary without a tugboat, but thanks to that same hulking, opposed-twin engine, the centre of gravity is admirably low. And the R1200GS’s front-to-rear weight balance is almost ideal. There are indeed an abundance of kilograms housed in the 1,507mm between the big GS’s axles, but they are ideally situated, making traversing all but the slowest and softest terrains remarkably easy. Thanks to that lower centre of gravity and its much smoother low-speed throttle response compared with the 800, the R1200 was actually easier to navigate than the 800 on some trails, especially distinguishing itself on rough, rocky descents.

On-road, of course, the R1200GS is magical. Newly fortified with a slightly detuned version of the double-overhead camshaft, 1,170cc engine from the high-performance HP2, the 2010 GS may have lost five horsepower and a little more than five Nm of torque, but it gained an enthusiasm missing from previous versions of the Boxer engine. It responds with more low-rpm alacrity, has wonderful mid-range punch and even spins eagerly to an 8,500-rpm redline. The new engine really does change the personality of the entire motorcycle.

The F800GS, of course, can’t match the 1200’s on-road poise. Above 120kph, the front end feels decidedly light. Nor is its seating position as expansive or comfortable. But then very few bikes can match the R1200GS in this regard.

On-road behaviour, however, was inconsequential as we rode up the Tizi-n’Tazazert pass. What poses as a road looked more like a photo of rock-strewn Mars than any terrestrial topography I’ve ever seen. Approaching the summit, we, of course, congratulated ourselves on our manliness, only to then watch a local, dressed in flip-flops and a baseball hat, start down the very same goat path aboard a Docker 50 scooter complete with chrome passenger floorboards and bald street tires barely an inch wide. Consoling ourselves with the fact that he couldn’t make it down the tougher, south side of the pass was truly the last refuge of the once pompous.

But our five-day sojourn was far more than a simple test of men versus machine (though that eight-kilometre traipse through the rocky river bottom did threaten to turn our entire ride into a Survivor episode). Indeed, while I came to ride with von Kuenheim and test motorcycles, what I left with was an overwhelming appreciation of all that is beautiful about Morocco.

Rural Moroccans, for instance, are the very epitome of welcoming hospitality. And while urban Morocco borders on the Third World (with a few luxury hotels thrown in to keep the tourists happy), the countryside is positively medieval. Kids in Marrakech often have to play football in the street because the community can’t afford a playing field; kids in the dusty villages that seemingly popped out of nowhere can’t even afford a ball.

Yet we were universally greeted with good cheer, even though we were often riding through their front yard/vegetable patch/laundry room (that last would be the river beds the local women use to hand pound centuries of dust from clothing). Inevitably, every kid in the village would rush out to greet us; the girls usually to wave demurely while the boys would try to enthusiastically give us all high fives.

And the food! I now have a new favourite cuisine. Move over sushi; begone you woefully bland and unhealthy French Hollandaise sauce. Everywhere we went, no matter how far off the beaten path, the repasts were nothing short of spectacular. Nothing was fancy, but its delectability lies obviously in the details. I was so captivated by a simple salad, made of mostly tomatoes and onions, that I contemplated stuffing some in my pockets to take it home with me.

And, of course, the countryside is always full of surprises, not the least of which is that Morocco would seem to be very popular with movie producers. Outside Ouarzazate, for instance, we found the “Jerusalem” set for The Last Temptation of Christ. At Aït Benhaddou, the entire ksar, or fortified city, was renovated for the filming of Lawrence of Arabia and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987. Other temporary monoliths included a miniature double of Mecca and another ruin that could have passed for anything from Agadir to the Alamo.

But, for my favourite place, we have to go back to the aforementioned Tizi-n’Tazazert. High atop the Jebel Saghro mountains, despite the incredible impassability of the trail, stands a hotel. Not like anything normally recognized as a hotel, but a rocks and mortar lodge that could have well been built a millennia ago (it was actually christened in June, 2005), so basic were its accommodations. But the food, limited though it was, was great, the peppermint tea always piping hot and the view nothing short of spectacular. There was even a presidential suite – a 4m x 2.5m single room with no private toilet, a rock floor covered with numerous blankets to soften the sleep and a small desk.

But best of all was the seclusion. Other than motorcycle adventurists and the occasional, truly mad off-road bicyclist, your world would be completely at peace. Indeed, book a room atop Tazazert and you will never be farther “away from it all.”

But the hard part is getting there. You might want to bring a doctor, just in case.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Now turn to the left

I found this hilarious picture that I thought I'd share with you following the Farah Malhass post that so many of you absolutely devoured!

I believe the picture speaks for itself! I believe it's from 2008.

image link

Here is my original post on bodybuilding:

I actually went to school with one of the guys in the picture.. he's a very cool guy and I wish him the best :)

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Two high fives make ten

politics is dirty and disgusting.. that's what was going through my mind when I heard that Cameron was to become the UK's new Prime Minister. Either you get old, ugly, and inefficient leaders in the UK or you get young, ugly, and inexperienced ones.. oh well..

The fact that the LibDems are now in bed with the Tory's is a scary thing. I read that many LibDem voters will scramble to vote for Labour next time, coz the voted LibDem in 2010 to avoid handing power to the Conservatives, and what did the LibDem leader do? Oh, he went to work for David Cameron who has been able to become Prime Minster.

Also what do the new guys in power do on their FIRST DAY? Oh, they announce that parliament will be fixed for 5-year terms. This has never been done before, and the Prime Minster in the UK can call a General Election anytime they see fit. Obviously this is a weak and faltering government in the making and they want maximum time to get things wrong.

Tut tut tut..

Famous Handshake video

The British public have decided that no one really has their full mandate to government. The electorate rarely does that, and that's why hung parliaments are very rare in the UK. Hung as in without a majority, not with a noose! What some expected is that some kind of coalition/minority government will result and a new General Election will be needed before the 5 year period. This hasn't happened and this lame new weak government has dictated they will stay around for 5 years. I don't suppose they can just decide like that. It should go for a Commons vote and I hope the Labour dudes block this!

For those of you reading this in my archives in 2015 (if we're alive).. you'll probably agree with me that this government hasn't done much good in these last 5 years.. oh well.. nothing new!

BBC article

EDIT 15 May 2010

I found this funny pic on and thought I'd share:

Image Source.

Monday, 10 May 2010

We love Iran

This is a post specifically for our new commentor Mr/Ms DGray who would like to comment about Iran.

Anyone wishing to talk about Iran, please pour your comments into THIS post.


khosh amadid

Image Credit

LATE NIGHT EDIT 10/5/2010 10.00pm

I got this article from a Jewish newspaper in Israel...,7340,L-3881674,00.html

Don't worry it isn't blocked by eatzeft...

"Iran protests UAE 'occupation' remarks

Islamic Republic's state TV says country's foreign ministry summoned United Arab Emirates' top diplomat in Tehran following 'irresponsible and uncalculated' comments over Gulf islands dispute

Associated Press Published: 04.27.10, 17:43 / Israel News

Iran's state TV says the country's foreign ministry summoned the United Arab Emirates' top diplomat in Tehran to protest against comments made by the UAE foreign minister on the ownership dispute between the two nations over three islands in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

The Tuesday report says the envoy was summoned to protest the "irresponsible and uncalculated" remarks by the Emirates' foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Al Nahyan last week called on Tehran to end its "occupation" of the islands.

The UAE claims ownership of Abu Musa, Greater and Lesser Tunbs islands at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has controlled the islands for close to 40 years."

To be honest.. as much as I admire the Iranian people I believe the Iranian Gov should have a big fat middle finger shoved not only in its face (as shown in my last post about Iran here) but shoved somewhere else too.

I have to stress that some of my best friends are Iranian and they are lovely and classy people. However this government is very lame and they are point blank occupying our lands. Moreover, they are very aggressive towards anything in the Arabian Gulf. Just coz they call it the Persian Gulf they feel anything that comes in contact with it will become Persian. How stupid.

Just like the 3iyam in the UAE (Emaratis from Iranian decent). Some of them are cool, but a good part of them are very racist towards Arab Emaratis. They still have their own language at home etc even though they are recognised as full Emarati citizens by law, yet they insist on speaking a version of Farsi at home. The federal UAE law clearly states that Arabic is the official language of the UAE, so you'd expect that UAE citizens would at least use this language at home, no? Funny if Barack Obama speaks in Spanish to his kids, and Sarkozi speaks in English, and Putin speaks in Chinese.. not good.

If Iran really wants to become a better place then why not abandon their stupid nuclear plans or modify them to follow the UAE's model (we're building powerplants but we won't touch the fuel, it will get imported, used, then exported). Let them enter into an arbitration process with the UAE to sort out the islands issue. Honestly, I don't think the UAE really needs them, but if we're treated with respect I am sure the UAE will be happy with a compromise. Plus, hold on a minute. Iran is known to be a country of intense cultural diversity (Farsi, Pashtu, Azeris, Yazidi, Arabs etc all live in Iran) and it's much much bigger than the UAE, so really, do they need those pesky islands? By the way, as far as the UAE is concerned, we still have UAE citizens living on the 3 islands that Iran is making life very difficult for them. Also, Iran should not steal any oil under the lands surrounding the Islands until the conflict is resolved.

I can go on for a while.. but that's enough for now.. what do you think Miss Gray?

Sunday, 9 May 2010

How good is your GPA?

hehe, enjoy this article courtesy of the National :)

The émigré taxi driver uses three languages in a sentence in an effort to make himself understood as he navigates traffic. While he may not realise it, he is contributing to the development of an emerging form of local communication.

“Acha, acha, acha, ana Waziristan lakin ana no danger man,” he says to a passenger. “Pakistan danger ziyada. Roh sida?”

The translation: “Good, good, good, I am from Waziristan but I’m not dangerous. In Pakistan there’s a lot of danger. Straight ahead?”

The message is typical enough, as is the driver’s way of expressing it, in a blend of Arabic, English and Urdu.

Spoken in taxis, restaurants, souqs and homes across the Gulf, this emerging patois has remained unacknowledged and even been mocked by many Arabic speakers as crass or comical.

That, however, is beginning to change. Gulf Pidgin Arabic (GPA) has caught the ear of language experts who recognise that broken Arabic and the new dialect are not same-same.

“Arabs who study Arabic mostly study classical Arabic and I think that it’s only recently that even Arabic dialects have been considered worthy topics of research,” said the Norwegian linguist Unn Gyda Naess.

“It has to do with academic tradition because Fusha, the classical Arabic, is so highly linked to higher education.”

Ms Naess found herself captivated by the conversations of migrant workers while working at the Norwegian embassy in Saudi Arabia. Intrigued, she made it the topic of her master’s thesis. She found that the pidgin had specific rules for grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, which she believes are still changing and evolving.

Not everyone in the academic community is as receptive to GPA. To some, it is a threat to the integrity and beauty of Arabic.

The limited vocabulary of pidgin prevented people from forging the deeper cultural and social bonds they might build by speaking the classical language of the region, said Dr Ahmad al Zubi, the chairman of the Arabic language and literature faculty at UAE University.

“I don’t want to see that our cultures are not connected to each other,” he said. “The only solution is [Arabic] classes. The Government should teach these courses if they want people to communicate well.”

Pidgin, usually a mixture of three or more languages, is a simple dialect used by people who do not share a common tongue. Found the world over, they have no native speakers and are used by groups that have limited contact with each other but need to communicate for a specific reason, such as trade or military purposes.

JR Smart coined the term GPA in his 1990 paper Pidginization in Gulf Arabic, which examined its use in newspaper comics. It was almost 20 years, however, before GPA attracted the interest of other academics.

It had existed in some form for a long time because of the Gulf’s history as a trade hub, said Dr Fatima Badry, a professor of linguistics at the American University of Sharjah.

“Speakers from different linguistic backgrounds try to help each other to communicate,” she said. “So, at the beginning, you try to speak the others’ language, but when you don’t have the vocabulary to do that you go to the vocabulary of your first language. Once the words are being used frequently they become part of the conversational exchange.”

If pidgin is passed to a second generation, it can become known as creole, a more stable linguistic entity. Academics will be watching to see if GPA makes the leap.

For now, Gulf Pidgin Arabic has helped people from diverse backgrounds to communicate. Mohammed Hanif, 46, a taxi driver from Pakistan, said his experience in dealing with passengers had taught him to appreciate a simpler mode of communication. “I’ve lived in the Gulf for over 20 years,” he said.

“When I was new [in the region] I wasn’t good at Arabic. In Oman, many people were talking in Arabic and Urdu. Here it’s more English. So I had to learn to talk to everybody, so everybody understands.”
While GPA is earning recognition in academic circles, those who speak it may still find themselves chided by purists for talking like a taxi driver. Given the world of social possibilities it opens up, that may become a compliment.

Arabic base with foreign flavour

Gulf Pidgin Arabic (GPA) uses a simplified form of Gulf Arabic both grammatically and phonetically, research by the Norwegian linguist Unn Gyda Naess has shown.

For example, standard Gulf Arabic has three classes of negation, while pidgin uses only two – “ma” and the ubiquitous “mafi”, which has yielded the well-worn phrase “mafi mushkala”, universal Gulfspeak for “no problem”.

Likewise, the nine vowels and 29 consonants used in Gulf Arabic have been reduced to just five vowels and 18 consonants in GPA.

While hard-to-pronounce sounds including the guttural “kh” and “gh” have been dropped, new ones such as “p” have slipped in.

GPA uses Arabic as a base and borrows specific words, usually nouns, from other languages. Examples include “chico” for child and the Urdu word “sida” for straight.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Beirut I love you...

Just a few more days to go to our trip... :)
Just in case the guys from the Institute wanted to know...

If anything, the music is just beautiful.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Farah Malhass - Arab Female Bodybuilder

Jordan seems a very unlikely country to produce what might become the Arab world's first female body builder. Her name is Farah Malhass and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw her picture gracing Gulf News' front page this morning.

Click on the link to see for yourself.

While I'm no fan of tattoos I'm all for Farah to persue her love for bodybuilding. What do you think? Is this amazing or gross?

Go Farah Go!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

IDF Internet Troll


I won't copy/paste anything here except the hilarious troll picture.. so please click on the article and enjoy!

Thanks Abu al Kabab!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Etisalat on youtube

I found this on youtube recently about Etisalat...

I think it's completely distasteful to the engineers that designed the tower, and to the workers that built it, and to the numerous guys that work to maintain it.. and of course a big insult to one of the most beloved companies in the UAE - Etisalat.

Completely wrong, I think they should block this video! Disgusting!

PS: now that the egyptian cable has been fixed, you can appreciate this disgusting video even more.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Ducati 796

Beautiful beyond words...

Please view the video directly on youtube due to formatting reasons...


Sunday, 25 April 2010

Calling all cops

First of all let me congratulate Dubai Police on their excellent results at the Dubai Government Excellence Awards 2010.

If you remember, it wasn't long ago since I last ranted about driving in the UAE and specifically Dubai. Specifically from Sept 2009:

This is when I listed the top 20 things that the stupid/crazy UAE drivers tend to do when behind the wheel of a car.

More recently, from Jan 2010 I wrote this post:

The topic is pretty straight-forward, it's all about lane-discipline.

So after more than a year since my return to Dubai, I'm still suffering from the f***ing idiots on our roads. They come in all shapes and sizes (fat and thin) and (Nissan Armadas to Nissan Sunnies), as well as slow and fast, left and right lanes, up or down a bridge, and driving pretty much in anyway they like.

We unfortunately had an assasination here in Dubai of a Hamas leader, not the most peaceful group, but since when has Dubai become the playground of thugs so openly? Our Police really does an amazing job going after the killers and of course liaising with Interpol etc..

They also do an amazing job keeping us safe in our homes, streets (pedestrian only), offices and airports.. Seriously, I have no criticisms on that front, and can safely say that Dubai probably is one of the safest cities in the world.

Now, my issue is this: The police spends a lot of time, effort and money to do the all the right things but with the wrong priority. Ok, it's great that we're going to go and put the Mossad chief in prison, and to liberate Palestine, and so on, but why not do all that after you've improved the situation on the road.

Sorry, but by giving stupid black points and rediculously expensive fines to motorists left right and centre you are not improving the situation and that cannot be considered good Police work. I'm sorry, but it just is not the case.

Both my parents have got black points on their licenses and they are probably one of the safest drivers that I know. All of this happened in 2010. Their driving attitudes and styles did not increase this year, nor have they had any accidents since they been both driving that was their fault. Dad had an accident where his car was totalled but that was more than 15 years ago by a guy with an Omani car and no license or insurance. So why is the Police penalising people that are at no risk to the public?

As a younger male driver, I am statistically more dangerous, and yet I have less black points than either parent! My felony was to use the 4x4 capabilites of my car and to drive in the sand to avoid the congestion due to a traffic accident ahead, probably caused by bad lane-discipline.

So the issue is this, from the zillions of Dirhams made from fines, why doesn't the Police spend some money to work on lane-discipline? I believe if we observe the right lane discipline we will benifit with:

1- Better safety. If you are slow, stay right, and if you're overtaking then go left. Never leave the lane to your right empty, and if it is then move into it. If everyone knows exactly which lane he/she should be in, then it's only normal for accidents to be reduced.

2- Higher road capacity. When you look at motorways in a civilised driving country like the UK, you'll notice the slow lane has the most wear and tear to it, because it's got the most traffic on it (including trucks). However, here the most utilised lane is the 2nd lane from the fastest, because everyone seems to think it's their lane. If you're a complete idiot, then you'd "park" in the fastest lane and not care about people behind you. This leads to huge inefficiency in the utilisation of the road. My humble estimate is that if we observe proper lane discipline then we can easly increase the road capacity by 30-40% without any changes to the road (thus no cost). All this by changing our driving attitute.

3- Predictability of driving leads to less road rage. Less road rage means less accidents and of course less speeding. But wait a minute, less speeding is bad if you get more than 600 million dirhams annually from fines (zawya) which is approx 15% of the Police's annual budget, and an even higher percentage of its undesclosed revenues.

I can go on and on, but we cannot continue to drive to be an international city with open borders and expect people to want to live here if we cannot get simple things right. Dubai has an amazing will to succeed and can do anything if it puts its mind into things. Who would have thought Dubai can build 3 terminals in less time it takes London to build one (T5 Heathrow = 19 years, wiki)?? Dubai famously built extensively into the sea and built the tallest building in the world. Given the current economic climate, it seems that's a title that Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) will have for a long time to come. Dubai also designed and built a world-class metro system in under 5 years. Other countries take 10-15 years for FAST projects.

Why can't we get our brains together to fix the situation on our roads. After all I believe Dubai's roads are probably the best in the Gulf and the Arab World even, and more fun to drive in that the roads I been on in England for sure, but not Wales!

So please Dubai Police, please, please, do something about lane-discipline!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Etisalat Press

Well well well, the Q1 results for 2010 are out and Etisalat has made just under 2 billion dirhams in profits.
This is an offensively large amount of money especially for a small country (UAE has about 5 million people) that is going through a recession of sorts.

If this performance continues all through the year, and you cut a bit off for inefficiencies and what not, you will get a grand profit of about 7 bn dirhams a year! Just to clarify that's about $2bn! This qualifies Etisalat in my opinion to practically print money for its shareholders. It's a printing press, plain and simple.

To get an idea what this money could do, 7 bn shared over the whole UAE population would mean each one of us gets a handsome 1400 Dhs a year.. this equates to about the price of a good mobile phone. Now since it's only possible for Emaratis to buy Etisalat shares, we can safely assume that only Emaratis will profit from their profit.

So, for every Emarati there are 4 expats, this means that each one of us gets 5600 Dhs.. which could handsomely cover my annual fuel bill for my gas guzzling V8 SUV and bike, and this includes the coming 10-15% hike in prices.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Odd plate out

Can you spot which one is the odd one out?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

To all the petrol heads out there..

... here's a present for me to you!

It takes a while to load in the UAE considering some cable near Malta is twisted...

Might be better to view the video directly from the original site (by double-clicking anywhere on the video, except the play button).


Expensive petrol is cheaper for you

Surely if you're in the UAE, you've been following the petrol price hike here, due this Wednesday of 0.15 Dhs/litre. Personally I think the stupid and inefficient Sharjah toll on trucks at 100 Dhs a go is worse and will affect us more, but that is another matter, especially since increasing taxes during a recession is about the dumbest thing that you can do.

Anyway, so here's how you can save money by buying more expensive petrol.

First of all, in the UAE you have two types of petrol: 95 Octane and 98 Octane.. different companies call them different things, e.g. Eppco/Enoc calls 95 = Special, and 98 = Super.

Octane rating is how much heat you'll get when you burn a unit of fuel, so the higher the number the more efficient the fuel is.
Just to get an idea, back in the days, fuel was at 80 octane, and in most countries 90 or 91 octane is normal. However you can get up to 99 or 100 octane apparently.

So, back to the UAE, a full tank of 95 or 98 weighs exactly the same (as far as your car is concerned), however if we go with my car for example, a full tank of 95 costs about 110 Dhs and 98 at 130 Dhs. However, the more expensive petrol can take you about 25% farther on the same tank than the cheaper one.

This is amazing because it means that you waste less time during your short life to stop and fill up for petrol. You also burn fuel more efficiently. You're also saving the environment by making your engine live longer because it's a more efficient fuel and will limit wear more.

The funny thing is that these bastard petrol companies are smart, they do not say that they are increasing the price by a percentage, but instead they increase it by a fixed amount, which is 0.15DHS FOR BOTH GRADES, which means as a percentage the price hike hurts less when you buy the expensive 98. Hence another reason why you should only buy 98.

Here's my tip on how you can save money by spending more money, however the biggest saving for me is time, coz I hate to wait at petrol stations for my tank to fill up.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Sigma of posts equals ten

It's been busy lately, but here is my Sigma of posts.

I will try to keep it brief but these websites have been lurking on my browser for weeks, and here am I sharing them with you.

1- Sabbah History Lesson:

Click this link for a short video on the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

2- 21,000,000,000 Dhz is a lot of money:

This is actually very scary... to quote...

"Car crashes are robbing the country of as much as Dh21 billion a year, research has found...The Dh21bn (US$5.7bn) is equivalent to the value of one in eight barrels of oil the UAE exports, or almost half of Dubai’s tourism revenue each year."

3- Court asked to define ‘Israeli’

"A group of Jews and Arabs are fighting in the Israeli courts to be recognised as “Israelis”, a nationality currently denied them, in a case that officials fear may threaten the country’s self-declared status as a Jewish state...Israel refused to recognise an Israeli nationality at the country’s establishment in 1948, making an unusual distinction between “citizenship” and “nationality”. Although all Israelis qualify as “citizens of Israel”, the state is defined as belonging to the “Jewish nation”, meaning not only the 5.6 million Israeli Jews but also more than seven million Jews in the diaspora...The interior ministry has adopted more than 130 possible nationalities for Israeli citizens, most of them defined in religious or ethnic terms, with “Jewish” and “Arab” being the main categories..." Really merits reading!

Image Credit: Carlos Latuff

4- Israeli Arabs urged to try 'reverse discrimination' against Jews:

The title kinda says it all..

5- Bedouin leave city for their desert roots:

"Abandoning this lifestyle, in which English is rarely spoken and neighbours know each other intimately in these wide open spaces, for the city is out of the question, said Mr al Harthi, a Saudi who works as a policeman in Abu Dhabi."

Amazing eh? No jokes about camels please.

6- Publish banned Gaza 'war crimes' report, says Arab Israeli MP:

Again, this is worrying news..

"The investigation by Uri Blau, who has been in hiding since December to avoid arrest, concerned Israeli preparations for the impending assault on Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead. In a highly unusual move, according to reports in the Israeli media, the army ordered the Haaretz newspaper to destroy all copies of an edition that included Mr Blau’s investigation after it had already gone to press and been passed by the military censor. The article was never republished."

Surely, nothing is to be lost since Israel is the region's only democracy.

7- BBC News Audio slideshow: Classic cars in Gaza:

You really have to see and hear this to believe it.. plus what an amazing surname..Mahfouz Caberetti.. which derives from Kibreet or a form of Sulfur I believe..
BBC website, click here

8- Is this where the holy land is headed?

"Jerusalem, April 31, 2027: The final segment from what was known as the Security Wall was torn down yesterday as street signs in the holy city were changed in preparation of the upcoming Unification Day of Israel-Palestine, four years after the Great Middle Eastern war of 2023."

Riveting reading here...

9-Stranded leader runs country by iPad:

A big win for apple.. who by the way have delayed my new laptop by 3 weeks because of the iPad.. I want something with a keyboard that is touch-sensitive, and i can type with my eyes closed, so forget the iPad for now.. but until this.. read on..

"Running a country? There's an app for that.
When Norway's prime minister found himself stuck in New York as a volcanic cloud grounded flights to Europe, he fired up his new Apple iPad and did the job remotely."

10- Don't forget the children of Gaza:

This video makes me doubtful that any good is left on this earth, and specifically in countries like Israel and Egypt.

Notice how the occupiers are referred to by religion and not by nationality.

Really worth a watch, and a sob. The poor sods.

Peace. Salam.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Sheikh MBZ and Prez Obama

Cool picture of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (AD Crown Prince) and President Obama in Washington, presumably yesterday 13/4/2010.

From WAM:

Thursday, 8 April 2010

RIP Sheikh Ahmad bin Zayed

Death is always painful.

Sadly it seems to strike when we least suspect it.

I won't say much except that it is painful to see a young son of the UAE and of Sheikh Zayed die suddenly like this.

I'm referring to Sheikh Ahmad bin Zayed, may his soul rest in peace.

Sadly, this reminds us of events that happened 2 years ago when the UAE lost yet another one of its sons, Sheikh Nasser bin Zayed.

Again, both seemed to have met their maker in aviation-related accidents.

Allah yer7amhum wo inna lillah wa inna ilayhi raji3oon.

The National and Gulf News

PS: please excuse my absence.. i realise i should have written this earlier, but better late than never.

She's got balls, and a finger!

For more details: