Archive for 2006

BYE BYE 2006 … and WELCOME 2007!!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2006 by Karin

The final countdown is on and “2006” is almost in the drawer – together with the countless previous. It is an old habit of mine to take time on this last day of the year to reflect, to look back to what had happened during the last year, how things had developed, what was “good” or not necessarily a “deed of glory”, what I could have done better – and what I strongly intend to improve.

For me on a personal basis it was a difficult and sometimes even very painful year and I am only too happy to let it go, delighted to be able to wave it good bye!
Do I have New Year resolutions? You bet I do even though this question makes me chuckle as I usually – like probably most people – only to drop or intentionally forget them one by one, finding for each an elegant excuse why it is all of a sudden not THAT important anymore. It is anyway a strange story with this sudden surge of sometimes weird intentions only because a year is about to pass and a new one imminent. I am not sure but assume it is in the nature of man to do so, being tempted to draw a psychological line … and hope for something better to come!

As difficult as 2006 was – I am grateful as it taught me a LOT, provided me with new impressions, gave me hard but obviously necessary lectures and new, wonderful friends, (REAL ones as well as MANY aquaintances) – and got me started on blogging which I highly cherish since the first day! I am looking foreward in optimism, not backward nor holding grudge against anyone and I thank God for this ability.

I do have some specific wishes for 2007 though … wishes I am determined to put a lot of energy in to make them happen or, for some goals which greatly surpass my capability of achieving, to do my part and help to make it come true.

I wish for PEACE, first and foremost of all! I pray more and more people will learn to step back in a quiet moment and look at the whole picture … understand that this planet is our ONLY home, our ONLY refuge with NOWHERE else to go! Why do we destroy it then?
That we are ALL of ONE AND THE SAME SPECIES … “homo sapiens” which literally means “wise man”. WISDOM though is what I greatly miss as ALL laders of this planet .. I want to emphazise “ALL” leaders, are guided by selfishness and own ideas! While mentally flipping through the names I did not find ONE which would cause me to reconsider this statement regardless of location, gender, nationality or religion! I would like to find ONE who REALLY acts as what he was elected for … as SERVANT of his/her people respecting THEIR wishes … and not acting according to own interests!

I wish for FREEDOM for the oppressed! Too many dictators are still out there, too many oppressors heads of governments, too may people gravely suffering from their iron fist! It is the God-given right of EVERYONE to be FREE – to have freedom of expression and movement … NOBODY has the right to take that away – NOBODY!!

I wish for MORE COMPASSION among people, to help according to each ones capacity where help is needed regardless of “where” and “who”! That colour, nationality and religion do NOT seperate – but unite because DIVERSITY is what makes the human race so wonderful! I despise EACH kind of supremacy-thinking – we are ALL the same, have the SAME forefathers … a Christian is NOT better that a Jew and a Jew NOT better than a Muslim – nor is a Christian, Buddhist or Hindu! There is only ONE GOD … no religion “owns” him! Many conflicts have a strong religious “flavor” and divide groups whereas religion per se, refers to something which should bind people and bring societies together!

I wish people would stop to blindly condem Islam and harbour suspicion against Muslims in general while in principle not understanding what this religion is all about … just ignorantly copying what the mass-media tirelessly preaches! I do well understand stereotype answers like “and who is responsible for 9/11? London? Madrid?” It is correct, sadly enough they were Muslims … despicable criminals who belong punished by the full weight of the law – but please do NOT judge an entire religion after some criminal elements who have nothing better to do but deeply shame it’s name and every TRUE Muslim on this planet! Christians aren’t judged after the Crusades … so please don’t judge Muslims after those extremists! Do yourself a favour and read, learn – and ask questions to those who KNOW! Islam is a PEACE-LOVING religion … everything else is an interpretation of some senseless and totally irresponsible and unacceptable hate-mongers and criminal weirdos! Had I even sensed for ONE minute even the slightest tendency to violence, I would never have made the decision to convert … rest perfectly assured of that!

I need to keep that a bit shorter as I actually want – I could go on and on … but want to mention a person who just recently highly impressed me with his courage, his honesty, straight forwardness and strict determination to speak the truth – Mohammad Omer, a 22-year old journalist from Gaza and the winner of New America Media’s Youth Voice award. He has whirlwind-toured the U.S while being sponsored by “Washington Report“, introduced his people, eloquently and convincingly talked about the current situation while accentuating the lectures with most impressive and as well shocking movie-clips filmed by himself, pictures which under normal circumstances would – due to censorship – most likely NOT have made their way out.
Mohammad .. GREAT JOB!! You’re a wonderful representative of your people … HANG IN THERE and keep up the good work!!

Last not least the people, REAL friends, who helped me during the last few months, who constantly encouraged me to plow along … I am sure they do well know – while reading – who I refer to! I couldn’t have done it witout you guys … I owe you BIG TIME!! You’re FANTASTIC!!!

My very special thanks to Robin, who hosts me here in California since a good month and who became a most wonderful and trusted friend … thanks a millon dear! There will be a day on which I will be in a position to return all the “GOOD” you did and still do to me … may our creator bless you – always!




Posted in Uncategorized on December 29, 2006 by Karin
Please read that carefully … and let me know how it makes you feel, what thoughts cross your mind! I am a mother myself …

Johann Hari on the plight of pregnant women in the West Bank where babies are dying needlessly

Published: 23 December 2006

In two days, a third of humanity will gather to celebrate the birth pains of a Palestinian refugee in Bethlehem – but two millennia later, another mother in another glorified stable in this rubble-strewn, locked-down town is trying not to howl.

Fadia Jemal is a gap-toothed 27-year-old with a weary, watery smile. “What would happen if the Virgin Mary came to Bethlehem today? She would endure what I have endured,” she says.

Fadia clutches a set of keys tightly, digging hard into her skin as she describes in broken, jagged sentences what happened. “It was 5pm when I started to feel the contractions coming on,” she says. She was already nervous about the birth – her first, and twins – so she told her husband to grab her hospital bag and get her straight into the car.

They stopped to collect her sister and mother and set out for the Hussein Hospital, 20 minutes away. But the road had been blocked by Israeli soldiers, who said nobody was allowed to pass until morning. “Obviously, we told them we couldn’t wait until the morning. I was bleeding very heavily on the back seat. One of the soldiers looked down at the blood and laughed. I still wake up in the night hearing that laugh. It was such a shock to me. I couldn’t understand.”

Her family begged the soldiers to let them through, but they would not relent. So at 1am, on the back seat next to a chilly checkpoint with no doctors and no nurses, Fadia delivered a tiny boy called Mahmoud and a tiny girl called Mariam. “I don’t remember anything else until I woke up in the hospital,” she says now. For two days, her family hid it from her that Mahmoud had died, and doctors said they could “certainly” have saved his life by getting him to an incubator.

“Now Mariam is at an age when she asks me where her brother is,” Fadia says. “She wants to know what happened to him. But how do I explain it?” She looks down. “Sometimes at night I scream and scream.” In the years since, she has been pregnant four times, but she keeps miscarrying. “I couldn’t bear to make another baby. I was convinced the same thing would happen to me again,” she explains. “When I see the [Israeli] soldiers I keep thinking – what did my baby do to Israel?”

Since Fadia’s delivery, in 2002, the United Nations confirms that a total of 36 babies have died because their mothers were detained during labour at Israeli checkpoints. All across Bethlehem – all across the West Bank- there are women whose pregnancies are being disturbed, or worse, by the military occupation of their land.

In Salfit, on the other side of the West bank, Jamilla Alahad Naim, 29, is waiting for the first medical check-up of her five-month pregnancy. “I am frightened all the time,” she says. “I am frightened for my baby because I have had very little medical treatment and I cannot afford good food … I know I will give birth at home with no help, like I did with Mohammed [her last child]. I am too frightened to go to hospital because there are two checkpoints between our home [and there] and I know if you are detained by the soldiers, the mother or the baby can die out there in the cold. But giving birth at home is very dangerous too.”

Hindia Abu Nabah – a steely 31-year-old staff nurse at Al Zawya Clinic, in Salfit district – says it is “a nightmare” to be pregnant in the West Bank today. “Recently, two of our pregnant patients here were tear-gassed in their homes … The women couldn’t breathe and went into premature labour. By the time we got there, the babies had been delivered stillborn.”

Many of the medical problems afflicting pregnant women here are more mundane than Jamilla’s darkest fears: 30 per cent of pregnant Palestinians suffer from anaemia, a lack of red blood cells. The extreme poverty caused by the siege and now the international boycott seems to be a key factor. The doctors here warn grimly that as ordinary Palestinians’ income evaporates, they eat more staples and fewer proteins – a recipe for anaemia. There is some evidence, they add, that women are giving the best food to their husbands and children, and subsisting on gristle and scraps. The anaemia leaves women at increased risk of bleeding heavily and contracting an infection during childbirth.

Earlier this year, conditions for pregnant women on the West bank – already poor – fell off a cliff. Following the election of Hamas, the world choked off funding for the Palestinian Authority, which suddenly found itself unable to pay its doctors and nurses. After several months medical staff went on strike, refusing to take anything but emergency cases. For more than three months, the maternity wards of the West Bank were empty and echoing. Beds lay, perfectly made, waiting for patients who could not come.

In all this time, there were no vitamins handed out, no ultrasound scans, no detection of congenital abnormalities. Imagine that the NHS had simply packed up and stopped one day and did not reopen for 12 weeks, and you get a sense of the scale of the medical disaster.

Some women were wealthy enough to go to the few private hospitals scattered across the West Bank. Most were not. So because of the international boycott of the Palestinians, every hospital warns there has been an unseen, unreported increase in home births on the West Bank.

I found Dr. Hamdan Hamdan, the head of maternity services at Hussein Hospital, Bethlehem, pacing around an empty ward, chain-smoking. “This ward is usually full,” he said. “The women who should be in this hospital – what is happening to them?”

They have been giving birth in startlingly similar conditions to those suffered by Mary 2,000 years ago. They have delivered their babies with no doctors, no sterilised equipment, no back-up if there are complications. They have been boycotted back into the Stone Age. The strike ended this month after the PA raised funds from Muslim countries – but the effects of stopping maternity services are only now becoming clear. Hindia Abu Nabah says: “There is a clear link between the deteriorating health situation and the international boycott.

Amid this horror, one charity has been supporting pregnant Palestinian women even as their medical services fell apart.

Merlin – one of the three charities being supported by the Independent Christmas Appeal – has set up two mobile teams, with a full-time gynaecologist and a paediatrician, to take medical services to the parts of the West Bank cut off by the Israeli occupation. They provide lab technicians and ultrasound machines – the fruits of the 21st century.

I travelled with the team to the Salfit region – scarred by Israeli settlements pumping out raw sewage on to Palestinian land – to see women and children desperately congregating around them seeking help. Amid the dozens of nervous women and swarms of sickly children, Rahme Jima, 29, is sitting with her hands folded neatly in her lap. She is in the last month of her pregnancy, and this is the first time she has seen a doctor since she conceived.

“The nearest hospital is in Nablus and we can’t afford to pay for the transport to get there through all the checkpoints,” she says, revealing she is planning – in despair – to give birth at home. Even if she had the cash, she says she is “too frightened of being detained at the checkpoint and being forced to give birth there”. She sighs, and adds: “I will be so relieved to finally be seen by a doctor, I have been so worried.” But when she returns from seeing the doctor, she says: “I have anaemia, and they have given me iron supplements,” supplied by Merlin. She can’t afford to eat well; she lives with her husband and four children in a room in her mother-in-law’s house, and her husband, Joseph, has been unemployed since his permit to move through the checkpoints expired. “The doctor says I should have been seen much earlier in my pregnancy. My baby will probably be born too small.”

All the problems afflicting these 21st century Marys are paraded in Merlin’s clinic. One terrified, terrorised mother after another presents herself to the specialists here, and leaves clutching packs of folic acid, calcium, iron and medicine. Dr. Bassam Said Nadi, the senior medical officer for this area, says: “I thank Merlin for the specialist care they have brought. Not long ago, we didn’t even have petrol in our cars. Alongside other organisations, they are helping us survive this terrible period in our country’s history.”

Merlin can only maintain these mobile clinics with your help. Leaning in the doorway of her bare clinic, Hindia Abu Nabah says: “Tell your readers that we need their help. There are no Hamas or Fatah foetuses. They don’t deserve to be punished. I couldn’t stand to look another anaemic woman in the eye and tell her that her baby will be underweight or malformed and we don’t have iron supplements to give her. I can’t go back to that. I can’t.”


Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2006 by Karin
In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful. Praise be to the Lord of the Universe who has created us and made us into tribes and nations, that we may know each other, not that we may despise each other. If the enemy incline towards peace, do thou also incline towards peace, and trust in God, for the Lord is the one that heareth and knoweth all things. And the servants of God, Most Gracious are those who walk on the Earth in humility, and when we address them, we say …



Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2006 by Karin

What is Eid al-Adha

At the end of the Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Mecca), Muslims throughout the world celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). In 2006, Eid al-Adha will begin on approximately December 31st, and will last for three days.

What does Eid al-Adha commemorate?

During the Hajj, Muslims remember and commemorate the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham. The Qur’an describes Abraham as follows:

“Surely Abraham was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for Our bounties. We chose him and guided him unto a right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the righteous.” (Qur’an 16:120-121)

One of Abraham’s main trials was to face the command of Allah to kill his only son.

Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Allah’s will. When he was all prepared to do it, Allah revealed to him that his “sacrifice” had already been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for his Lord superceded all others, that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him in order to submit to God.

Why do Muslims sacrifice an animal on this day?

During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham’s trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel, or goat. This action is very often misunderstood by those outside the faith.

Allah has given us power over animals and allowed us to eat meat, but only if we pronounce His name at the solemn act of taking life. Muslims slaughter animals in the same way throughout the year. By saying the name of Allah at the time of slaughter, we are reminded that life is sacred.

The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts, in order to follow Allah’s commands. It also symbolizes our willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. We recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and we should open our hearts and share with others.

It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for our sins or using the blood to wash ourselves from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations: “It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (Qur’an 22:37)

The symbolism is in the attitude – a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Straight Path. Each of us makes small sacrifices, giving up things that are fun or important to us. A true Muslim, one who submits his or herself completely to the Lord, is willing to follow Allah’s commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that our Lord desires from us.

What else do Muslims do to celebrate the holiday?

On the first morning of Eid al-Adha, Muslims around the world attend morning prayers at their local mosques. Prayers are followed by visits with family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts. At some point, members of the family will visit a local farm or otherwise will make arrangements for the slaughter of an animal. The meat is distributed during the days of the holiday or shortly thereafter.


Posted in Uncategorized on December 27, 2006 by Karin

After this Christmas season has ended, the seasonal holy days of Islam are about to start! This year “The Day of Arafat” will be observed on the 29.12. in the entire Muslim world!

Some of you may hesitate, raise eyebrows and wonder … but relax – it has nothing to do with politics directly though the “Mount” played godfather for the late Palestinian President … I am talking about the fifth column of Islam … the HAJJ!

The 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah (the Month of Hajj) is called the “Day of Arafat”. This day is the culminating event of the annual Islamic pilgrimage to “Mecca”, Saudi Arabia. The Day of Arafat falls on the 2nd day of pilgrimage rituals. At dawn of this day, nearly 2 million Muslim pilgrims will make their way from Mecca to a nearby hillside and plain called Mount Arafat and the Plain of Arafat. It was from this site that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, gave his famous “Farewell Sermon” (summary) in his final year of life.

During the entire day, from dawn until sunset, Muslim pilgrims stand in earnest supplication and devotion, praying for God’s abundant forgiveness. Tears are shed readily as those who gather make repentance and seek God’s mercy, recite words of prayer and remembrance, and gather together as equals before their Lord. around the world who are not participating in the pilgrimage often spend this day in fasting and devotion. For whoever is interested to learn – here is a summary of the virtues of the “Day of Arafat”!

On a personal note: I hope and pray, the estimated FOUR THOUSAND PEOPLE still stranded at Rafah-boarder to Gaza and forced to spend the time under cruel and inhuman conditions, will be promptly allowed to go home and spend the holidays with their family and loved ones! Palestinians are forced to stay there since weeks … sleeping on the dirty ground, without any sanitation, no money, barely food, clean water, nowhere to go – ONLY because the Israeli government stubbornly refuses to open the boarder and consequenlty to let the people go back home! It is a show of power – we all know that, a proof to the world of who’s in charge … I am, together with the civilized world, waiting for a show of compassion and humanity!!


Among those desperately waiting to cross the boarder are people who most urgently require medical attention, children, babies, pregnant women … I wonder how Israel justifies it’s decision! The ones trying desperately to get back are ALL residents of Gaza … simply wanting to return home!


I got tagged … by Dubai Jazz!!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 26, 2006 by Karin

Thanks so much dear friend for tagging me with these rather sophisticated questions (which I do like a lot) requiring some serious thinking and considering … I hope my responses will be to your satisfaction!

Here you go …

1- Are you a principled person? Or are you pragmatic?

Well, actually I am both … always depending on what the issue is! I try to be more specific … I have strong principles concerning values for example, moral as well as ethical ones and am not willing to compromise on them! They are firm .. would I compromise, I’d most likely lose my self respect.
Am I pragmatic? Yes I am as well – in a sense that I tend very much to be guided by my own observation! I find myself in the lucky position to be able to look back (my God – that sounds as if I am already a hundred years old!!) to quite a wide range of experience made over the last thirty-plus years and that does provide me with the necessary security the moment it come to make a judgement!

2- Do you believe in people or in ideas?

Same thing here … in both, sometimes intertwined even, tendency to ideas though! To give you an example … I just recently told one of my sons I do believe in him with whatever he plans … meaning I back him 100%, know he makes a right decision, firmly stand by his side!
Intertwined … well who comes to my mind is for example Gandhi, Mother Teresa! I do believe in them as person, meaning I do highly respect them as people and what they stand for – AND in their (basic) ideas and philosophies alike!
Contrary to that, it does happen as well that I do like and appreciate certain ideas without having a high opinion of the folks who created them!

3- How good are you in separating what is business from what is personal?

GOOD! I learned (the hard way I suppose) to draw a line and turn a switch in my head! In my profession as RN it equals disaster NOT to do so and to take work-related problems back home … a rocksolid recipe to snap within a rather short period of time!!

4- Do you have role models? How good are you in following their trajectory?

No, I don’t. I USED to have though in earlier years… possibly out of the common lack of self confidence and self esteem at young age! HAD I a role model nowadays … even then I don’t think I’d be good following his/her trajectory … I am much too much of an individualist for copying someone or attempting to “be like him/her”!

5- A British saying goes: “Manners maketh (a) man”, what else do you think makes a man ‘a Man’?

I love that one! William of Wykenham certainly had his reasons when he created this expression in the 14th century! I do agree though … a man without manners would be (for ME at least) an instant and total turn-off! What else makes “a man”? Well, I like to see (the higher the better) intelligence, determination, goal-orientation, ambition to a certain extent (NOT pathological in terms of not having time for anything else anymore NOR ruthless of course), but as well compassion, emotions, courage, values! Even though with all that … without humour, ability to have a GOOD time and a passion to laugh a man would be an absolute no-no for me!

6- Do you believe in taking risk? Do you follow your guts feeling? Has it ever failed you?

Yes, absolutey do I believe in taking risks!! I am talking about CALCULABLE ones though … most of the time at least! Many times in my life I was faced with a situation which required just that .. and went for it. There were uncalculable as well, quite a few even … and only my gut feeling told me that I’d be alright. It worked, every single time …
I do highly count on my gut-feeling … it rarely let me down or made me misjudge something/someone entirely! I made mistakes as well of course .. but in limited numbers.

7- Have you ever been through a ‘paradigm shift’? If not, do you believe that such process exists?

Oh yes … not only do I believe it exists – I went through it as well! It often depends on a learning process, on widening one’s horizon, on experience, for example in my case, on understanding that a prior believe was totally wrong and I changed it accordingly!

8- Do you believe in unilateral love? Have you ever been through such experience?

NO! It is the most hurting, frustrating and even shattering experience a person can go through! Who was never head over heels in love with someone who sometimes didn’t even know about it (as teenager for example)? Sure I was no exception … I distinctly remember one particular guy who was the dream of all the girls in high-school, and that over years without break … each one was dying to get his attention and would have probably fainted, had he talked to her! Alone that shows how drastically I changed … today I would never run with the crowd but check upfront what everyone’s heading for … and most likely turn the other way!

9- How good is your assimilation within your social sphere?

I don’t like to judge myself but would carefully rate it as pretty good. I can well “play the game” even though the company might not at ALL have my wave-length and the topics of interest not at ALL be to my liking! In case it does start to seriously fall on my nerves, I’d either get very quiet – or leave. I’d never embarass anyone … and can’t STAND people who chose to do so!

10- Can you name some of your new year’s resolutions?

Like probably 99% of all western women .. to lose some weight and physically shape up (via the help of a gym) as “#2” on the priority-list – and as “#1“, to settle down, get the papers I need, get my Green Card renewed and start working thus get my life back in order!
What is AS HIGH on my list is to continue doing my share for peace, fight against injustice and for equality and human rights!


Posted in Uncategorized on December 22, 2006 by Karin

A HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!

May our creator grant you never-ending HEALTH, HAPPINESS and SUCCESS!