Tag Archives: AlJazeera

FGM in the West

AlJazeera’s The Stream will be doing a piece about female genital mutilation (FGM) and it’s growth in the west, mainly the UK, later today. I was approached to include my comments which I’m sharing with my readers below. Click here for the link to a very important story!

The fact that this horrid act continues into the 21st century says something not only about the worlds education system but also about the worlds health system.

There needs to be a global initiative to be educated people on FGM, the myths behind it and the health risks. First and foremost, this whole obsession over female virginity is absurd! FGM has nothing to do with keeping a lady a virgin, her choice to be celibate (or a virgin) until marriage does.

Second, FGM is a health risk, many die under the knife during this procedure, especially when done to girls as young as 12 years old. I was in Egypt in 2011 when a girl not far from my family’s town had died under the knife of a doctor whom was an “expert”.

Finally, and I’ve had this argument with many people, FGM has nothing to do with religion. It is not Islamic in any way shape or form. Islam dictates that only men are to be circumcised after birth if health of child allows for procedure to happen at the time.

And that’s my rant on that!
@Ms_Hala
https://mshala.wordpress.com

AlJazeera Staff Sentenced in Egypt

On June 23, 2014, Sisi’s vision of “Egyptian democracy” were made obvious when AlJazeera journalists Peter Grest, Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Ghorab and several other journalists (some in absentia) were sentenced from 7 to 10 years for doing their journalistic duties.

Media preview
c/o @mohamed via Twitter

This sentencing comes despite complete lack of evidence of any threat to Egypt’s national security. This also comes after US Secretary of State, John Kerry visited Egypt’s President on the matter and of course, the issuance of military aid from the US, a total of half a billion US tax dollars.

Family, friends, supporters and journalists were forcefully removed from the courts after the hearing. Several images on Twitter have shown police angrily placing hands on camera lenses and chasing people out of the entrances. After going a few steps forward on January 25, 2011, Egypt has now gone several hundreds steps back on June 23, 2014.

I still have hope and know deep down that this not the end of the revolution. The struggle remains, the voices louder, the revolution continues.

Steve Jobs… Not An Obituary

Steve Jobs… Not An Obituary
By Ms. Hala
 

I am not the biggest fan of Apple products. I refuse to purchase the iPod, the iPhone or the iPad (but debating spending so much on a MacBook). I am the biggest fan of Steve Jobs. Why? Simply because he was to a great extent a business mogul, something I aspire to be one day.

Jobs will forever be remembered as the powerhouse behind Apple, the inventor of many life changing technologies and the reason many of today’s biggest tech companies are even in existence. He will be remembered for his failures before his successes.

I personally remember him for being able to smoothly rise up after each failure. Remember when Apple Computers dropped him in 1985? He rose up, dusted himself off and started all over. He launched NeXT Computers and later Pixar Animation Studios before returning again to Apple Computers in 1996 after the acquisition of NeXT Computers. Apple Computers then simply became Apple Inc. thanks to Jobs innovation and creativity beyond just computer design, including having his name on over 300 patents for the company.

The rest is history.

Seeing that everyone is discussing it on Facebook and Twitter, I wanted to be clear that as a Muslim Arab American, I don’t pride or care that Jobs biological father was a Muslim Arab. Why? It’s because I’m a firm believer that parents are those who raised, not those who birthed! Had Jobs unwed parents not given him up for adoption soon after his birth, would he have become the person he was? Would Apple have existed? Would any of these innovative technologies existed? I personally doubt it as I know Jobs had always been grateful to his family for their love and support.

I have to say, I’m blessed to have the love and support of my family, especially my mother. She’s the reason that I fell head over heals in love with computers. When I was in 5th grade, she signed me up for an after school computer class to learn how to type and navigate a computer. That class was in a small room of IBM PCs. Then when I was in 6th grade, my mother made sure that one of the classes I was taking was a computer class. It was there that I typed and sent my first email to a pen-pal. That class was in a small room of Apple MacIntoshes.

It was those simple courses that got me to type up to 65 wpm by the time I was a freshman at Abraham Lincoln High School. Most of my time in high school, I was using Apple Mac computers while using PCs at home. It was my experience using both Macs and PCs that got me some decent office jobs while other teens my age were working at fastfood restaurants. By the time I went to college, I had decided to be a computer science major, being in love with computers whilst inspired by the work of many innovators, including Steve Jobs.

Every time I started work on a project, hit a bump in the road and failed, I remember Jobs. I took my time to get up, go over what just happened, discuss with close people in my life, learn from them and be inspired as I planned my next steps. In 2003, Jobs talked about how great things in business were not done by one person, but were done by a team. That inspired me when I started freelancing two years later. I tackled a couple of projects with a team of like minded individuals rather then on my own. Honestly, it was much easier to get up after tripping over a bump in the road when a someone was there with their hand reached out to me.

As the world looks back at Jobs life, I realize how much in awe I was of him all these years. I started writing this post because I wanted to point out that as someone who is in awe of Jobs, there is one thing I dislike about his business. I’m sure you all know that the headquarters of Apple is in Cupertino, California but that doesn’t mean that’s where all the great gadgets are made. AlJazeera recently brought to light that most of Apple’s products such as the iPhone and the iPad are made in Foxconn manufacturing plants in China. Foxconn is secretly known as a sweatshop; with bad working environments, terrible treatment of employees and a company with an extensive record of employee suicides!

Watch AlJazeera English’s iProtest

I’m sure it’s not all Jobs doing alone, but being the CEO of Apple, I’m sure he has some kind of hand in it. As much as I agree with his message that one is to do something that will change the lives of others, I don’t agree that that should be done at the expense of others. As I was writing this post, Micheal Moore tweeted, “Devices made in sweatshops. We all use them. We use them at times for the greater good. Don’t think about where they come from.”

I do hope that the massive publicity of Jobs death today will bring awareness and much needed change to how Apple makes your next generation iPod, iPhone and iPad. I also hope that it continues to put us in awe of his determination, creativity and vision.

Rest in Peace Steve Jobs.