Egyptian life: On TV, in a veil
|Egyptian television presenter Ghada El Tawil was allowed back on air last week after a six-year absence, in which she won the legal right to wear an Islamic headscarf, known as hijab, on screen. She tells BBC News about her fight.
Ghada can wear what she likes on screen as long as it is doesn’t look ‘strange’
I have waited six years for this moment – to present television wearing my hijab.
I only started wearing it in 2002. The rule is, when a girl gets her first period, she has to cover her hair. I didn’t – but sometimes you don’t do many things you should.
But as the years passed, I began to feel I wanted to do what God wanted. I struggled for about a year, before deciding to wear it.
More and more women are wearing the hijab, especially here. Only one or two in 10 Alexandrian women are not covered, so I was part of a wider movement of change. But I don’t think I was aware of that at the time.
Cairo is different, because it is such a big, cosmopolitan city.
Anyway, when I put the hijab on in February 2002, I was banned from being on screen.
There have been many cases like this – female presenters losing their jobs when they want to wear the hijab on air. A colleague, Hala el-Malki and I were the first to take it to court.
We got two rulings in our favour, the most recent in July 2005. It said we could wear what we liked on screen so long as it wasn’t ‘strange’. It’s taken until now for our employers [Alexandria's Channel 5, a state channel] to apply it.
There are now five of us wearing the hijab on screen.
I don’t know for sure why the management doesn’t like us wearing it. Maybe they thought we belonged to a very religious group, or something. They never gave us a proper reason.
But the reality is, most women here cover their hair. I come from Alexandria and as a presenter, I now reflect and represent my audience more closely than before.
I present a discussion programme focussing on social issues, it’s mainly aimed at women. On my return to the programme last week, so many people congratulated me in live phone calls on air!
However, my employers still haven’t let me return to my other job of reading the English-language news bulletins. I did this job for 12 years before I was stopped – but now they said I needed to pass another test. I refused to take it on principle.
When I covered my hair, I didn’t lose my ability to read the news. I can’t see the point of the ban, can you? To let me do one of my previous jobs, but not the other.
I hope I will win this next case, too.
Category Archives: Culture
Loreal denies digital lightening of Beyonce Knowles …
A recent visit to the corner Barnes & Noble store led me to a cozy corner near the magazine section where I picked up a copy of Swindle Magazine.
I love this magazine for their great artwork and neat articles. I happened to be drawn to this issue in particular because of the cover.
The issue focuses upon the city’s absorption of a rising Muslim population—and we feature the young Islamic artist Sarah Maple.
Here is an excerpt:
If you want to see where London’s future lies, look to its Muslim demographic. Today, about 40% of Britain’s Muslim population resides in London, where they make up just below 10% of the residents. And half of the city’s Muslim population is under 24—the youngest age profile in the capital. According to the BBC, over half of all British Muslims were born in the U.K., making this subgroup an increasingly intrinsic part of British society. “We’re the second generation, we’ve grown up here like the kids around us and we haven’t faced the strains most of our elders felt such as not understanding English,” says Warsan Nur, a 19-year-old anthropology student at the University of London, and aspiring journalist. “Racism isn’t so common because people are growing to accept us, so the possibilities for this Muslim generation are endless.”
Fore more visit: http://swindlemagazine.com/issue16/
The wonderful Eyes Over Africa shows aerial photographs by Michael Poliza, taken on an epic helicopter adventure from the north to the south of Africa.
Nile cruise ships, Luxor, Egypt. © Michael Poliza.
A Maasai market scene North-East of Maasai Mara, Kenya. © Michael Poliza.
Grassland plains in Northwest Katavi, Tanzania. © Michael Poliza.
Water meets land in Cabo Delgado, Mozamibique. © Michael Poliza.
Deserted flamingo nests in the red salty patches of the Pans, East of Kubu Island, Botswana. © Michael Poliza.
Publication shows candidate dressed as a Muslim, his wife as a terrorist…
WASHINGTON – Barack Obama‘s campaign says a satirical New Yorker magazine cover showing the Democratic presidential candidate dressed as a Muslim and his wife as a terrorist is “tasteless and offensive.”
The illustration on the issue that hits newsstands Monday, titled “The Politics of Fear” and drawn by Barry Blitt, depicts Barack Obama wearing traditional Muslim garb — sandals, robe and turban — and his wife, Michelle — dressed in camouflage, combat boots and an assault rifle strapped over her shoulder — standing in the Oval Office.
The couple is doing a fist tap in front of a fireplace in which an American flag is burning. Over the mantel hangs a portrait of Osama bin Laden.
“The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. “But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”
In a statement Monday, the magazine said the cover “combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are.”
“The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall? All of them echo one attack or another. Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd. And that’s the spirit of this cover,” the New Yorker statement said.
The statement also pointed to the two articles on Obama contained inside the magazine, calling them “very serious.”
Republican John McCain‘s campaign spokesman, Tucker Bonds, agreed that the cover was “tasteless and offensive.”
Can’t remember what time your next meeting takes place? If you’re a Google Calendar user, you can find out in a flash: Just send a message with the word “next” to GVENT (dial 48368) and you’ll get back the time and details of your next scheduled event. Send “day” for a full list of today’s appointments and “nday” for tomorrow’s.
Google Calendar also lets you add new events via SMS — and you can use plain English to do it. For example: “Lunch with Joe at Panera Bread tomorrow at noon.” Shoot a message like that to GVENT, and Google will add it to your calendar with all the appropriate details.
If you’re watching your weight, Diet.com can help you count your calories. Text any major restaurant chain’s name and menu item to DIET1 (dial 34381) and Diet.com will shoot you back the nutrition stats: calories, fat, carbs and protein.
Quicken Online can send you a text-message reminder when a bill is due, so you won’t have to worry about racking up late fees. Other Web-based money managers like Buxfer and Mint offer even more SMS-alert options: They can notify you of low balances, unusual spending and large deposits (such as a paycheck). You can even record transactions (great for tracking expenses on the run) or request an account balance.
Most people who hate text messaging do so for the simple reason that it’s such a hassle to compose messages using a cell-phone keypad. You could always upgrade to a keyboard-equipped phone like the AT&T Tilt, LG Voyager or RIM BlackBerry Curve, but even those models are “all thumbs” when it comes to text input. Plus, it probably seems excessive to spend hundreds of dollars on a new phone just for the sake of easier text messaging.
Instead, let your voice do the legwork — or fingerwork. A free service called Jott will transcribe your spoken message into text and deliver it via SMS to anyone in your contact list (which you have to set up in advance on the Jott site). Just speed-dial Jott from your cell phone, say the name of the person you want to contact, and then start talking. (Remember to keep it short: Text messages can’t be longer than a few sentences.) This is also a much safer way to send a message while you’re at the wheel. (Note, however, that some states ban or discourage using the phone while driving, or are considering laws against it.)
If you’re away from your PC, tap Google SMS for on-the-fly navigation. Create a new message with your starting point and destination, then send it to GOOGLE (dial 466453). In return, you’ll receive Google Maps directions in one or more text messages (depending on the length of the route). You can also get an actual map by texting “map” and your location.
Need directions but don’t want to take your hands off the wheel? Dial 800-FREE-411, 800-GOOG-411 or DIRECTIONS (dial 347-328-4667) for voice-prompted assistance. State your starting address and where you want to go; all three services will whip up directions and shoot them to your phone via SMS. Best of all, they’re free. You pay only standard calling and text-message charges.
4INFO offers a similar batch of SMS services, but adds helpful extras like package tracking and a Wi-Fi hotspot finder. You’ll find fun stuff, too, such as jokes, drink recipes and pickup lines. You can also sign up for text-message alerts: 4INFO will send you the game scores for your favorite teams, educate you with a word of the day, and even deliver Craigslist ad updates (so you can swoop in the moment playoff tickets go on sale).
Jet-setters can also tap Google SMS and 4INFO for flight information. Just text your airline and flight number to receive up-to-the-minute arrival and departure times. If you’d rather have flight updates pushed to your phone, head to FlightStats, sign up for a free account, and then set up some Flight Alerts. The site will send you a status report up to three hours before departure, notifications of any flight delays or cancellations, and a notification when the flight lands (helpful if you’re on airport-pickup detail).
Fans of Twitter, the micro-blogging service that lets others know what you’re doing at this very minute, will find SMS virtually indispensable for sending and receiving updates. Start by configuring your Twitter account to support text messaging: Click the Settings link and then click Phone & IM. Follow the instructions to enable your phone, then set Device Updates to “on.” (While you’re at it, click the Notices option and set “sleep” hours so you’re not bothered by new messages all through the night.)
To receive text-message updates from your friends and family, click the Following link in your profile and set Device Updates to “on” for each person. To broadcast your own updates straight from your phone, text your messages to 40404.
Enter Beam It Up Scotty, a free Web-based service that leverages SMS to send just about any kind of file to your phone. Just browse your hard drive for the desired file — document, photo, MP3, movie or whatever — and then choose a compression setting. Beam It Up Scotty can automatically optimize video and audio files for mobile-phone playback and can compress other kinds of files for speedier transfer.
Finally, enter your cell-phone number. Within a few minutes you’ll receive a text message containing a link to download the file straight to your phone.
To preserve only a select few messages (and avoid the hassles of software and cables), check out Treasuremytext. This free Web service archives and manages all messages forwarded from your phone. Later, you can visit the Treasuremytext site to review your messages, add notes and organize them in custom folders.
With two presidential candidates so close that the lead between competitors is virtually indeterminable….I had to ask myself what could make the difference between winning over Ohio and not?
I visited this website: http://www.somaliohio.org/ and got substantial information on what just might make a difference.
Ohio is home to over 45,000 Somalis, and 15 percent of these Somalis have become United States citizens. I wonder how many of these citizens are registered to vote, and how many will, indeed vote?
I urge all Somalian and Djiboutian citizens to get out there this season and vote!
If you are reader of Zadie Smiths work like myself; you will be excited to know that Zadie Smith has edited a new book called :
The Book of Other People
In a nutshell…
Eclectic mix of authors showcase their different styles and media through the eyes of different characters. The result is a collection that is by turns poignant, comic and thought-provoking, but always engaging.
What it’s all about?
The Book of Other People is simply about character. The 23 authors who each render a character do so in a fantastic variety of ways, from short blurbs (Nick Hornby) through inner monologue (David Mitchell) to pictorial (Chris Ware). Equally the focus of the authors, who were asked to contribute a story each on a character in the name of a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting young creative writers, is similarly varied. In one instance we watch the expiration of a judge (Heidi Julavits), in another the perspective of a paranoid cultural critic (Jonathan Lethem), a giant (Dave Eggers) and, elsewhere, a child (Andrew Sean Greer), a mother (George Saunders) and a monster (Toby Litt).
The variety is one of the hooks and central tenets of the book, but there are some themes which recur. Family, love, loss, sanity and subjectivity are all explored through different eyes, with the one constant – character – exploring the interaction between the individual and the world.
Who’s it by?
Zadie Smith edits, collates and contributes one character; the other authors and their creations comprise the rest of the book in individual chapters:
Nick Hornby with Posy Simmonds
Jonathan Safran Foer
Andrew Sean Greer
As an example…
“I told her with courage and dignity. ‘I am here to bury my husband. Iraq. I’m not at liberty to tell you any more.’ Before my very eyes, she transformed into a real receptionist. She checked if a quieter, more spacious room, away from the conference wing, was available. Lo and behold, it was.”
(Judith Castle, David Mitchell)
“Being known by Magda is a messy and unavoidably carnal experience. All of us neighbours are known by Magda. Last time she knew me, she pushed me up against the side of my car.”
(Magda Madela, Hari Kunzru)
“He was, that first time, in what I would soon learn to call one of his ‘ellipsistic’ moods. Perkus Tooth himself later supplied that descriptive word: ellipsistic, derived from ellipsis. A species of blank interval, a nod or fugue in which he was neither depressed nor undepressed, not struggling to finish a thought or begin one. Merely between. Pause button pushed.”
(Perkus Tooth, Jonathan Lethem)
Likelihood of becoming a Hollywood Blockbuster
There is little doubt that some of the authors here have the potential to make it to the silver screen with their taut mini-plots and skillful, readily identifiable characterisation, but a film of the book as a whole would make for schizophrenic viewing.
What the others say
“If you are looking for the ideal Christmas present for a bookish relative, then look no further than this collection.” (The Scotsman)
So is it any good?
There are some pieces which seem to suggest the author decided not to overdo their contribution and certainly some characters, and indeed authors (Hornby), look insubstantial when placed in comparison with others. However, this is testament to the quality and variety of the authors on display. The chapters each have their own particular allure and the chocolate-box nature of the book adds to the pleasure of starting a new one.
As an introduction to some of modern fiction’s finest authors – Smith, Mitchell, Eggers – it captures the style and focus of their work, as well as offering a self-contained set of polished stories.
For those unfamiliar with genres such as Chris Ware’s poignant comic strip – to which I add myself – it is a fascinating snapshot of different approaches and reading the book is likely to spark a rash of purchases, as readers follow up their favourites and those they have not previously been acquainted with.
Reading the book is like walking through the National Portrait Gallery: some of the pictures you recognise, some are less familiar; some are in brilliant colour; some monochrome; some old, some new; some funny, some sad – but all done with a deft hand.
Published by Penguin, out November 1st, 287 pages, £16.99.
Fresh from collaborating with Kano, Craig David is set to return with a new album and single this autumn.
His fourth long-player ‘Trust Me’ hits the shelves on November 12 through Warners, with the single ‘Hot Stuff’ preceding it a week earlier.
‘Hot Stuff’ features a sample of the David Bowie classic ‘Let’s Dance’ – a move that will no doubt earn the track some much needed airplay.
‘Trust Me’ was recorded in Havana, Cuba with K T Tunstall producer Martin Terefe and is said to contain Cuban influences on album tracks.
A UK tour is being scheduled to coincide with the record’s release. I can’t wait…
Experts offer secrets to scoring special sale items, buying safe products and making money while you shop.
By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com senior writer
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — For some people, the thought of holiday gift shopping invokes dread, frustration, even disgust. And for good reason.
It’s not a particularly pleasant experience to fight through large crowds of aggressive bargain hunters, contending with messy stores and clueless employees just to get the gift list squared away by Christmas.
So whether you plan to join the midnight throng on Black Friday, or hit the stores at a saner hour, a good gameplan will help you save money and score those hard-to-find deals.
Here’s what the experts had to say:
Divide and conquer. Get a friend, spouse or sibling to help you on big shopping days, said Britt Beemer, retail analyst and chairman of America’s Research Group.
That will make it easier to take advantage of different sales that are going on at the same time, especially on Black Friday and over the Thanksgiving shopping weekend.
“This is going to be the biggest year ever for early-bird deals on Black Friday,” Beemer said. “I am telling shoppers to get up early and divide and conquer. You go to one store and send your husband to the other.”
Another helpful tip: Call stores ahead to find out how many units of a particular product that you desperately want are in stock.
This is a particularly good idea if you’re after what merchants call “doorbusters,” the special deals they offer only for the first few hours on sales days. On Black Friday, it’s not unusual for people to line up in front of stores as early as 4:00 a.m. to bag these special low prices on the season’s must-have items.
“Retailers don’t always share that information, but sometimes the employee will give you a heads up that the product could sell out in an hour after the store opens.”
Buy “safer” toys. After millions of toys were recalled this year because of safety concerns, many parents will want to make sure that they buy safe toys for their kids.
Before purchasing a toy, Beemer suggested that consumers ask a store employee if the manufacturer of that toy has had any recalls in that particular collection.
“You can use the information to decide if you want to pick up another toy instead,” he said.
Some retailers have implemented specific measures in their stores and online to help parents purchase safe toys. Toys “R” Us stores will have new Safety Boards in all of its stores featuring up-to-date product safety information, including recall notices.
Additionally, the retailer has set up a Web site – http://www.Toysrus.com/Safety – to help consumers easily find product safety and recall information. Consumers can also sign up for an email product recall notification system at that Web site.
Don’t throw away expired coupons. Retailers offer plenty of discount coupons during the holiday season as a means to get shoppers to return to their stores, many of which expire in 30 days.
But Beemer said shoppers should hold on to the coupons even if they’ve expired.
“Ask the store if they will honor the coupon anyway,” he said. “Chances are they will, because retailers know they’re in for a difficult holiday season and they need to register every sale to meet their year-end targets.”
Make money while you shop online. Some Web sites like Ebates.com give customers two to five percent of their money back, in the form of rebates on their online purchases.
Ebates gives customers exclusive offers and free shipping deals from more than 800 online retail chains, including Nordstrom (Charts, Fortune 500), Target (Charts, Fortune 500) and Gap (Charts, Fortune 500).
Edgar Dworsky, consumer advocate and editor of Consumer World, said Ebates is like an online shopping mall. The company gets a commission every time a consumer clicks through to a featured retailer.
“But they also share the money they make from the referral by refunding some of the cash back to consumers on their purchases,” he said.
Users set up an account on Ebates and shop via any of the merchant links. After the transaction is completed, the retailer notifies Ebates and the company will put money back into your account, as much as 25 percent, on all purchases.
According to Ebates, the company will mail users a check every quarter for the money earned, or transfer the money to a user’s PayPal account.
Don’t rush to buy the flat-panel TV. Instead, wait to score an even better deal on a TV or a computer in the last two weeks before Christmas.
Last year’s glut of holiday inventory for flat-panel televisions forced retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City to set deep discounts early in the season so that they wouldn’t get stuck with excess merchandise after Christmas.
However, it’s a different scenario this year. Flat-panel TV supplies are tighter and retailers also have better managed their holiday inventory in order to preserve their profits.
At the same time, retailers know that consumers this year aren’t as comfortable spending on big-ticket purchases as they were last year, Beemer said.
“While electronics sellers are desperate for sales, they also want to make profits. They will refrain from making the deep price cuts until the last 10 days,” Beemer said. “And that’s when the real deals on TVs and other items will come out.”