Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Letter to Dr. Baradei

Dear Sir,

You have come at a beautiful and turbulent time in my country’s history, and have been given the opportunity to be a great driver of change and hope. You have stepped in with the drive and zeal demonstrated by great leaders, and then slightly retreated with the caution shown too often by diplomats.

Now I know that you definitely have more knowledge, depth, and experience than I could personally ever hope to amass, and that is exactly the reason why I personally put so much hope in you to inject enthusiasm, change, and participation into our political and social engagement.

Let me elaborate a little more on that:
I do not expect you to become the leader, but I would very much welcome your heightened and consistent involvement in the most active of times. Some have argued for and some against your travels, and against the fluctuating rates of your personal involvement in the political sphere, and my personal belief is very clear:
To become a proponent of such dramatic change, Sir, you must be involved to the bone, to the hilt, to have burnt your bridges, and to inspire us all to see that the only way to go is forward.

Dear Sir,

Though this may not be the most fortunate of times on the political scene, it is still your good luck that you are physically able to do what you, and do so in very fertile grounds.

Modern technology has allowed you to remotely address the young and old people of this country and to inspire them, but what they demand of you will be more. They will demand of you to be the commitment and passion that you must be. YouTube is good, but YouStreet will be even better. People will demand and you must be proud when they do.

With respect


Monday, September 13, 2010

Why start a blog?

It is still only fifth posting on my blog, but I already feel like I have something to go back to when I want to make a point about anything. I attach a great deal of importance to my blog regardless of the number of readers I have (but not regardless of some great encouragement by a few friends). My blog allows me to think more deeply about ideas that cross my mind, gives me an excuse to comment on thoughts, events, concepts, public issues, pretty much everything.

Here are a few good ones for why I like blogs:

1. Most writers started out small and then grew because people loved their writing, may be one could be one of them.
2. You can write and assume that the whole world reads you, or eventually will.
3. It gives you a wonderful excuse to say, yes, I did post that on my blog.
4. I like the sound of ‘’my blog’’.

5. My blog

6. Once someone learns about your blog, they may be completely surprised by the number of things about you that surprise them.

7. The best part is that you can start addressing public figures and remote personalities under the pretense that they may be reading you. Using technology to your benefit and linking this social website to the other you might end up being read by someone who actually knows them.

8. My blog

9. The next posting will be a letter addressed to a public figure.
10. Most importantly, it allows me to feel like I can start to actively participate in things that really matter - so without much ado, here is me going on to participate.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Why do I fear the woman at the bank?

I have developed into a pretty outgoing person, who over the years has learned to appreciate the value of being outright, open, and sometimes even a little confrontational. Of course people who have known me for a long time still insist that my ‘’diplomatic’’ nature often takes over, but I call it thinking before I speak.

I confront and demand my rights when I am buying something, when someone is cutting in front me at a queue; I may even interfere physically when I see injustice being inflicted on someone (and end up feeling like a modern day hero), and generally I look at myself as a man with a healthy self-esteem.

But where I am still meek, slightly broken, and overwhelmed by a sense of guilt is when I am dealing with any resemblance of bureaucracy. Be it a license renewal, an ID issuance, military papers, notary, even the bank, anything makes me feel like I am demanding what isn’t mine. I enter the day as if I were about to start a dangerous and excruciating mission, and once I am done I feel victorious and above all, grateful. Grateful to the soldier who gives me the stamp that says I may travel, grateful to that grumpy man who has been kind enough to accept my presence in front of his desk, grateful to that lady who has reluctantly tolerated me on a chair next to her desk despite the fact that there aren’t enough customer chairs at the bank. And, if I am not at the bank, then grateful to those that will indicate they may be willing to accept my tips in return for helping me. You should see how I almost stutter and struggle to keep my voice straight and my request short, concise, polite, respectful, and manage to maintain my self-respect in the process.

Then why, you may ask, do you put up with this? My answer is short and sweet; we have been raised in a bureaucracy to understand that rights should not be demanded, they should be asked, begged, and bribed for. Why they may be granted is supposed to be beyond your comprehension and should not be subject to your evaluation or speculation. It should be considered good fortune that may disappear forever if questioned.

So this is why I fear the woman at the bank, because she has the upper hand and I don’t.


P.S: She turned out to be a very helpful and sweet woman after all, could it be because I was very respectful?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

‘’Zeyad Mourad has been wondering about what it is that makes Facebook so attractive to some, and so abhorred by others’’...?

Let me start by talking about what I like about Facebook. When I signed up, I did so to just to take part in the trend and because I was succumbing to peer pressure. But now it all looks pretty different. I actually know in a pretty clear manner what it is that I like and dislike about the whole Facebook thing – which some have managed to turn into a Farce-book as well.

Something says if you are a whiner, a master networker, dull, or if you share too much or too little. I won’t be surprised if TV crime shows start psychologically profiling victims and killers through their Facebook activity – they are probably thinking about it already. I know for a fact that some employers assess potential recruits by checking out what they do on Facebook.
Not a very comforting thought to people who value some privacy, and yet another step to taking Orwell’s “1984” closer to reality (there will be occasional instances where I will ‘’subtly’’ try to impress you with my reading and intellect – mostly it won’t work, but at least I would have tried).

Others simply hate Facebook; they hate it with a passion unparalleled by few, except by my wife’s passionate dislike for both Sushi and Facebook. I think they hate the hype, and sometimes hate what that it hasn’t struck them the right way from the beginning. But I will write another blog on love and hate of little things later on.

But I digress, and I will allow myself to do so because I am not at work. I can digress without any serious consequences, except the reader losing interest. But then at least I would have tried.
And this is what I am all about as I grow older – having tried!. And why do I try? I use it as an insurance against future regrets of deeds left undone for no better reason than laziness or lack of initiative. Basically I am trying to protect myself against regrets a few years from now, and from self-pity that will overcome me if I don’t start doing the things that always linger in the corner of my mind.

So let’s get going, and let me know what you think along the way, because this is just the beginning.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

The power of audacity

I was flattered beyond every belief to read the title of Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope’’ where he decided to point out the concept of audacity on the title which I had always preached to anyone who would listen was one of the most important drivers for success. As if I had owned that idea! Anyways, I never got around to reading it; I think I have hardly read any autobiographies of great people because at the end they are all very personal accounts with little left to pick up on, or so I like to make myself believe. And then happened the improbable, and the nice people in Stockholm really did take the wind out of my sails for the Obama craze. I was initially one of the biggest admirers of his charisma and ability, yet by him receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for having done absolutely nothing at the time except making it to President of the US of A, they sort of took away a lot of spirit and inspiration from this impressive persona.

But now back to the original reason for this piece, which is audacity.
I think it is some people’s overwhelming boldness and audacity, sometimes even ignorance of a better alternative, which allows them to fly to unequalled heights in the different walks of life. This of course applies to the more mediocre geniuses of our time, not the real ground-breaking, earth-shattering intellects and talents of this world that, hate them or love them, you need to respect.

Now let me bring that a little closer to a reader’s mind. Let us take a look at that TV presenter with minimal culture and barely acceptable education and grammar. Now this man/woman throws him/herself at TV stations, at intellectual gatherings, and to top it all off, on audiences and the world. The result? Quite often, if this person persists, and continues to persist, and continues to live that illusion that they are worth the effort, somehow somewhere something will give way and they will make it. Sometimes they will make it big-time.

So what was extraordinary about them? Their language – no, their communication skills – big no, their research methods and extreme wit – I swear again, NO. It was their audacity. Now of course, the ultimate thing to do for them then, is to also carve out a niche for themselves (kindly project that onto your office life) – and thus they become as strong and powerful as their respective audacity. Sometimes we like to glorify their audacity by giving it other names such as persistence in the face of obstacles or determination, but in the end is a good healthy ignorance of their own weaknesses and a belief that they totally have everything it takes that takes them there.

Now excuse my corporate background, but who of us hasn’t seen managers who have shared with the world, not only verbally, but in letters to the entire organization, their insights, reflections, and views on the many facets of business with a confidence that would leave the biggest thinkers and intellectuals of our time feeling humbled.

It has finally happened and for no apparent reason...

I have absolutely no idea how it happened and why, but here I am posting my first blog. I have been pondering the idea for ages, discussing it with friends, revisiting it in every possible dimension, waiting for my IT savvy friends to help me set it up, and suddenly I find myself creating my own blog in a few minutes without any further thought, discussion, plan, or assistance. I don't have a name for the blog so I had to go the easiest one that came to my mind, I don't have a vision for how to take this further, so I went ahead and did it anyways, I don't even know what I will post but I am sure I will find a few things to share for now. Expect my writing to branch out into whatever roads my mind will twist into, and I hope it is worth your read.

All that sudden surge of emotion brought up a few big questions in my mind which I intend to post in later blogs (ha, I can now post future blogs - isn't it just amazing the amount of freedom technology can give you?).

1- The overwhelming difficulties of choosing a blog name and design for yourself - should everything you do say something about you, or is it just random?

Excited about getting the blog done, but wondering what the name and design will say about me and about people should expect from me, I started browsing every background and template and contemplating the very serious consequences each and every one of them will have on my image. Realizing that nothing will make it worse or better than it already is, I just went for whatever came easiest to me. Well, sometimes I believe that a decision taken quickly or seemingly randomly, is often much more appropriate than the one that took ages to make up. Similar to the business world, where people get together and try to perfect an idea until they have stripped it of everything that made it special to begin with – so they end up with full alignment and zero spirit.

2- Taking the initiative

So I have a separate blog for this one as well, but to keep it very short, turns out one should apparently just be confident enough or ignorant enough of his/her own weaknesses, and go ahead and shoot. Get the stuff done, perfect it later – unless you are doing surgery, it quite often works out just perfectly fine. Therefore, instead of waiting another few more years to perfect the idea of the blog, and plan my copyrights, I decided to start my blog – and now. Why the blog, and why not the earlier idea of compiling it all for a book which is another dream of mine? Put simply, I think the blog will provide me with instant gratification, insult, or feedback in general. Please read the blog about audacity and its merits when I post it.

3- What would you do if you didn’t have to work for the money?

Apparently the most intriguing question of all, the one that starts conversations even when people are mostly uninspired. Why is that? I think people deep down feel like they never had the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and would like to mostly blame it on something else. Lack of time, money, energy, abundance of other commitments, and the list really does go on. This week, thinking I was a witty conversation starter, I once more dropped the above question, tried to lead the conversation by asking what it is that keeps us from doing the great list of things that we would dedicate our lives to if we didn’t have to work for the money.

It turns out there are a number of things one can do without leaving their job, walking out on their families, growing dreadlocks (with my type of hair it is indeed the only alternative), and roaming Latin America looking for Che Che Guevara hiding out somewhere. The Egyptian version of the above scenario really being that I would throw away my ID, get kicked out of my job, find another low paying job in a public facility where I can come and go as I please, and brag about some literature I read on the late night café sessions somewhere around mid-town only to be interrupted by an ugly cough of my deteriorating body.

So the blog is one of the answers to the questions of what I would do if I didn’t have to work for the money.

More to follow