Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Many people wonder what Seraph means, and why I'm using this name.

Seraph is another word for "angel". A Seraph is one of the highest angels, if not the highest.

A few days back, I was bored out of my mind, and started googling "Seraph" when I stumbled upon the meaning in Wikipedia. To my shock, and to my amusement as well, I found a very interesting meaning...

A seraph (Hebrew שׂרף, plural שׂרפים Seraphim) is one of a class of celestial beings mentioned once in the Old Testament (Tanakh), in Isaiah. Later Jewish imagery perceived them as having human form, and in that way they passed into the ranks of Christian angels.


So basically, a Seraph is the Jewish equivelant of a Christian angel. How nice...

Did that bit of information shock you? It sure surprised me.


Watch this interesting video which compares the U.S coverage of the Middle East Crisis with the Middle Eastern coverage and how the U.S coverage reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It also exposes how the U.S's foreign policy interests of American political elites work in combination with Israeli Public Relations.

Visited Countries

This is cool. I've visited 14 countries, which is 6% of the entire world. I guess that I need to visit more places I haven't been to.

To make your own visited countries map, click here.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Comedy vs. Tragedy

Comedies and tragedies share many of the same social ends, but the tone of the two kinds of works is very distinct.

Certain parallels can be drawn between William Shakespeare's plays, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and "Romeo and Juliet". These parallels concern themes and prototypical Shakespearian character types. Both plays have a distinct pair of ‘lovers', Hermia and Lysander, and Romeo and Juliet, respectively. Both plays could have also easily been tragedy or comedy with a few simple changes. A tragic play is a play in which one or more characters is has a moral flaw that leads to his/her downfall. A comedic play has at least one humorous character, and a successful or happy ending. Comparing these two plays is useful to find how Shakespeare uses similar character types in a variety of plays, and the versatility of the themes which he uses.

Prohibited love, romance, controlling families, both plays have it all. With a few simple modifications, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" could have been a tragedy, and "Romeo and Juliet" could have been a comedy. Shakespeare however, uses many of the same character types, young, prudent, rebellous lovers, and controling family members, in both comedies and tragedies. The end results are character molds, along with theme molds that can be easily translated into almost any plot, in any play.


So why do people think that tragedies are stronger? If you were a movie director and had a story of a certain plot, would you adjust it to make it comedic or tragic? And why?

I've been told by most of the people I asked that they would, of course, make the movie a tragedy if they had wanted a certain message to reach their audience. This strikes me as strange. Don't they both tackle emotions on the same level? Why do certain movies do better when they're tragic? The finest example of that is Titanic.
Perhaps it has to do with the history of the topic. Aristotle, a Greek historian, gave rules to both comedy and tragedy.

Tragedy = Poetics
Comedy = Lost Treatise

Recent critics see a strong social pattern to tragedies.

While debating with someone over this topic I was asked to name one comedic movie which held a strong moral. A few movies came into mind, but it seems like most of the good stories are made tragic in order to be remembered. Why not make them comedies? Why not be happy and remember rather than sad? When you're laughing you feel light headed and don't think of what you're doing and quickly forget about it. When you're sad, though, you think deeply. Is this why the greatest thinkers were depressed? Does intellegence accompany sorrow?
I feel like I'm debating with myself here. I type as I think. I might be hanging on the fence here, but both comedies as well as tragedies hold extremely strong emotions. The fact that a tragedy is portrayed as the stronger emotion, though, cannot be denied. Perhaps a change is needed...

Thursday, July 13, 2006


My great grandmother passed away yesterday morning... الله يرحمها و يغمد روحها الجنة

Freud expressed a "death instinct" present in human beings. Is it possible for anyone not to be conscious of the concept?

The topic of death has always intrigued me, especially after reading a piece someone wrote online on the book, "Tuesdays with Morrie". Didn't you notice that dying old people become softer and sweeter as time passes? The closer you are to death, the softer you become. Most probably, it's due to the realization of your mortality. You know that you will die soon and you don't want anyone to hold any grudges against you.
Not knowing when we're going to die truly is a blessing. People wouldn't be so ambitious if they knew when they were going to die. If I knew that I only had a few hours left I wouldn't spend them on planning something; I'd spend them with loved ones and would pray.
Why do people gather when someone is born, and gather again when that person dies? Births and funerals serve to remind people of life; one is a happy occassion and the other is a sad one.

A friend told me yesterday that she had sat during a lecture on death. Apparently, the people who are already dead welcome the people they know who had just died into the after-life as one would welcome an honored guest. It made me think about who would be there to welcome my great grandmother; could it be my grandmother? Or maybe my great grandfather? I don't really know.
We also discussed another topic. Were you to die in a war, would you still feel the piercing bullets tear through your body even after your heart stopped beating? Does the soul feel what the body is going through after its death? Do those who get cremated after their death feel the burning flames lick their skin?

I once asked my 4th Grade tutor whether or not the Prophet (May Peace and Prayers Be Upon Him) cried when his wife died. She gave me a speculative look and replied, "Why should he cry when he knew that she was going to go to heaven? He should be happy for her." So I asked her whether or not he cried when his uncle died, to which she responded, "Why should he? His uncle is going to hell; why waste his tears on a sinner?"
That made me think: Why cry?

Only those who are extremely confident in what they spent their life are the ones who aren't afraid to let go and die, because they know that they'll be generously rewarded in the after-life.

My great grandmother was a soft spoken old lady. Her manners were those of your typical Arabian old lady; extremely polite and - expectedly - traditional. Her eyes had always intrigued me. They were green. She and a few of my cousins in KSA were the only ones in the family with such eyes. They were extremely powerful and, at times, frightening for their powerful glow. However, one soft smile from her would take all my fears away. The wrinkles running across her eyes when she smiled were magical; you couldn't help but smile back.
Most importantly, she had passed away in Mekkah - the holiest of places - and for that I am extremely thankful.

اللهم ارحم جميع موتى المسلمين