Muammar Gaddafi’s Compound To be Transformed into Public Park

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Tripoli – Libyan tourism minister Ikram Abdel Salam announced that Libyan authorities will be transforming Gaddafi’s 6 square kilometer compound into a public park.

Following the fall of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, much of the family-owned homes and assets were seized and raided by joyful crowds celebrating the fall of who they like to describe as “Crazy, madman dictator” and his regime. But the most important Gaddafi asset is by far the family’s compound in the center of Tripoli. The 6 square kilometer compound included lavish residences for Gaddafi’s family and key officials, swimming pools, lush gardens and surely Gaddafi’s tents. Since the fall of Tripoli back on August 2011, much of the compound was destroyed by angry crowds, armed groups and NATO which bombed the compound on different occasions with August 22nd being the last time.

Plans by the Libyan government to transform Bab Al Azizia into a public park was highly welcomed by Libyans who expressed utter joy to hear that the place they once feared to even look at, is now turning into a place where Libyan families can enjoy each others company in a 6 square kilometer park. The minister also stated that the overall image of the park will be noticeable about 2 months from now.

The 7th Day of Ramadan: People Finally Coping

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Saidia – Today is the 7th day of Ramadan here in Morocco and people are back to their pre-first-day-Ramadan energetic although fasting. 

Unlike what many westerns think, Ramadan of 2013 isn’t Ramadan of 665 because people always find a way to cope with the very special Ramadan routine and soon get back to being energetic and seemingly not fasting. The reasons vary from house to house, family to family and person to person. Most young people spend the day sleeping and wake up only 4 to 3 hours short from the Maghrib (time to break the fasting), while other young people who need to work, cope with each passing day as job-related issues takes their thinking away from food. For older people, most of them work and therefor, must cope with daily Ramadan activities. Normally by the 7th day, a Muslim gets used to the Ramadan routine and at times, favorites it from the ordinary routine and starts fasting Mondays and Thursdays (Preferred yet not Forced by Islam).

Ramadan’s first couple of days always bring much confusion for family members, especially women who find themselves wondering about what to cook next.

Hekayate Hayat (مسلسل حكاية حياة ): Keeping Viewers On Their Toes

Saidia – Ghada Abdel Razek may have rose some eyebrows with her political and pro-Mubarak statements back in 2011/2012, however no one can deny that Ghada is one of Egypt’s most talented actresses, and her latest Ramadan series is just amazing.

So this series talks about a woman called  Hayat (Ghada) locked up in a “crazy people” hospital while her family enjoys living the life or the rich and powerful as part of Egypt’s elite community. It turns out that Hayat was accused of killing her mother and instead of going to prison, her father used his influence so that his daughter gets to be locked in a “crazy people” hospital, a lavish hospital I might add.

A Doctor following the case of Hayat soon finds out the horrors Hayat went through and go through inside the hospital as some workers in the hospital abuse her and mistreat her. The good doctor gets so close to Hayat that the latter starts telling him about what really happened and how she was framed for killing her mother, getting her husband taken from her by her own sister and subsequently losing her money to her sister and little brother after the death of her father. Hayat tells the doctor how her mother used to sleep with other men and that when she decided to face her things got heated and her mother fell from the porch — >Dying.

Following yet another abuse by hospital workers, the doctor helps Hayat to break free and then convincing the hospital “dirty” officials to state that Hayat has been cured and subsequently getting a government committee to agree that Hayat may leave her “prison”. Seeing that 13 years have passed since she was first locked, her criminal case was dropped (Egyptian law states that after 10 years any case or rulling are dropped). Now, Hayat is living one block away from her Son, who she last saw when he was a little kid but she is yet to get her money, she is yet to start her war with her family and she is yet far away from fighting back especially that she keeps telling the doctor (who is married and seems to be falling in love with her) that she wants to be left in piece, she doesn’t want any money and only wants her son.

Wow, what a series right? From Al Araf, to Al Shak and the Preacher what could you possibly choose with another cool series: Hekayat Hayat….Egypt is truly the Hollywood of Arabs.

Ramadan: The Month Of Delicious, Tasty Food

Saidia – Back i the day, Ramadan’s arrival was largely attached to embracing god and the religion along with experiencing the feelings of poorer people who are unable, throughout the year, to find something to eat whenever they want.

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However, people alienated Ramadan from its religious and holy form and into a month of tasty delicious food made exquisitely for visiting family and loved-ones. I won’t lie, I personally enjoy Ramadan, hankering for its arrival along with its blessings, religious atmosphere, and I won’t lie….The food and series are AMAZING! Yes it has become the month of series and delicious food, the same way the new year celebration, Christmas and thanksgiving diverted from their original forms. However, on a little bit optimistic stance, Muslims (myself included) are still attached, at least for now, to the larger and clearer parts of their religion, and although we can’t change what we have become, we sure can’t forget who we are, we can’t forget our Islamic origins and roots.

I love Ramadan, I love its smells, I love its theme, I love its routine, I love its food, I love its family gatherings but more importantly, I love its spirituality and holiness.

Maroc Telecom 3G: From Bad To Worse!

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Saidia – Maroc Telecom fancy itself as the leading communication company in Morocco and has been keen to sustain those claims with multi-million dollar advertising campaigns showcasing how family-friendly and affordable it is.

No one can deny that the ads are very impressing, especially the ones with A-list celebs dancing around and smiling with the company’s logo everywhere –> after all they’re paid to do so, but Moroccans with limited sources, unable to pay nearly 400 Dhs a month to acquire a faster internet connection, find themselves with the option of 100 Dh/month 3G connection and they would be lucky if the internet actually works let alone fast enough to watch videos.

The depressing reality is the fact that Maroc Telecom is yet to add a 4G connection while many Arab communication companies intiated it years ago! And the image gets even bleaker as the current 3G connection used to be faster just one year ago say Facebook-based young Moroccans who are outraged by what they called “lies and fabrications” made up by Maroc Telecom.

But to be honest enough, Maroc Telecom isn’t the only one with this problem as both Inwi and Meditel face the same problems along with the same absence of a near solution.

Spanish Helicopter Enters Moroccan Airspace….for weeks!

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Saidia – According Hespress, a Spanish helicopter has been entering Moroccan airspace for the past few weeks near the occupied city of Melilla searching for sub-Saharan immigrants trying to sneak into the city.

The website although confirming the operation is being coordinated with Moroccan authorities, is to say the least, a disgrace to Morocco, government and people, for giving permission to a former colonizer to disgracefully disrespect Morocco’s sovereignty even more than it already is. We can admit that taking back Ceuta and Melilla won’t happen as long as we’re a weak, developing country. That doesn’t mean its ok to given in to Spanish bullying.

We are big fans of Spain, we hail the economic relations between Morocco and Spain, we appreciate the Spanish culture and history but we love our country way more than staying silent for such outrageous acts done under any circumstances.

Morocco’s “Rebel Movement”: Lacking public support?

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Saidia – Following the success of Egypt’s Rebel Movement in toppling President’s Morsi from power, movements bearing the same name spread swiftly in other Arab countries with Islamist governments, including Morocco.

So how much support does enjoy in Morocco? We tried to find out through searching for any page, group or even website named after this movement, but besides being mentioned by Moroccan news websites, we failed to see any strong support for this “movement” besides 220 likes in what looks like their official Facebook page. What struck us the most is how the epidemic of “copying and pasting” is spread in our Arab culture, alongside what should be called “cancer” of the Arab nation ….. enlarging small news stories.

As both Libyan, Tunisian, Syrian, Yemeni and Egyptian subjects are getting boring, news outlets throughout the Arab world are trying to search for new “subjects” to highlight and gain more views –>more money.

Ramadan Is Here: From Fez …. With Love

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Saidia – Walking in the warm alleyways of the ancient city of Fez, my hands feeling the old walls of the ancient city and my eyes watching that old Jewish man in his store congratulating his Muslim neighbors for the arrival of Ramadan and if only he wasn’t wearing his trademark Jewish hat, no one will able to see any difference between him and his Muslim neighbor.

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Ramadan in Morocco has a different taste, a different flavor in each city, village and douare (Small village). It might be due to the fact that Morocco is such a diverse country but today I’ll focus on the imperial city of Fez with its old riads, houses, smells, people and mosques. Entering from one of its grandiose gates, one might feel humble, at awe and obviously proud to be in a country with one of the oldest and most ancient civilizations in the world. Hearing a mom shouting at her son not to forget picking the best bread from the bakery at the end of the alley…all of this is happening, you see the granddad walking out of the mosque with his white Djellaba, red Taboush and aged yellowish Belgha (traditional Moroccan sandals). Continue walking in the old city gets more and more interesting as smells of food coming from houses with open doors taking a person in a journey from the present day to a time when security was not a concern and the neighbors were a one big happy family.

All of this beauty might be overshadowed by the negligence the old city of fez is suffering from, especially that the mayor of the city is busy securing himself a better position in the governing body of Morocco and soon, negligence will reach even the center of the old city that is if….modernity didn’t hit first….but Fez will survive as long it continues conceiving loyal citizens defying the impossible. My small story is finished and the only thing left for me to say is: From Fez….with love.

With 42 people killed, will Egyptian interim president resign?

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Saidia – The treats made by the Muslim Brotherhood about destabilizing the country may have been true as violence in Egypt seems to be escalating towards an Iraq-like scenario.

Over 42 people were killed in clashes near the headquarters of the republican guard between pro-Morsi demonstrators and the Egyptian army and the Muslim Brotherhood is claiming that the army stationed in the perimeter of the republican guard HQ. With the Muslim Brotherhood seeming as strong and staunch as ever many are wondering what will happen next in the land of the pharaohs. Many parties came out with statements calling what happened a massacre against the Egyptian people and while anti-Morsi parties, political figures and news channels denounced what happened they stopped short from accusing the army of committing anything wrong while on the other hand pro-Morsi and neutral political parties called the Egyptian interim president to resign as a response to what they called a massacre. And as violence continues to spread from a city to the other, the US seems to be unable to support one part over the other as president Obama’s administration continues to send mixed signals about its stance on what happened is happening in Egypt while the vast majority of Arab countries (mainly gulf states including Qatar) publically welcomed the change in Egypt.

The violence in Egypt even caused a rift between Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera which were for the past 2 years strongly supportive of each others news reporting which might explain how delicate the situation is in Egypt.