Thursday, January 04, 2007

Little Mosque, Advice and That Video

As if a relatively balmy 12 degrees in what is supposed to be winter wasn't enough to remind one of the middle east, there were camels in downtown Toronto! It was all a promotional event as the CBC was giving out free chicken shawarmas to celebrate the launch of a new TV series, Little Mosque on the Prairie.

With signs like 'You say tomato, I say tabouleh', the clips of the TV show so far are funny and hilarious. This is one pilot I am eagerly awaiting, and my only complaint so far (already!) is that the Muslim characters are mostly Arab or African. I mean, we do have some Bengali Muslim bloggers ...
* * *

I am not usually accustomed to giving advice. Yesterday a friend asked me for some advice as she was about to graduate. I hope what I said made sense, as the last time someone asked me for graduation advice the situation went a bit like this:

I was eating with a friend who was just about to graduate. As I am in the middle of tackling these mouthwatering scrumptious tiger shrimps in a noodle dish, he tells me, "I am so conflicted."

"Uh-uh." I mumble. The shrimps were so delectably juicy.

"I want to work and earn some money you know," my friend remarked, "but my dad wants me to apply for med school. Our whole family is into medicine and he wants me to continue the work and be another doctor."

"Right, right." I said in between bites. "Man try this, this is good."

"Ya," he didn't even reflect on my oh-so-generous offer of one shrimp. "I am so torn. On one hand my dad left his practice to be here to give us the opportunity, and now I don't want to be a doctor."

"Well," I realized he was not going to give me any peace until I said something. "It's all about following your calling you know. The heart knows what it wants."

I didn't know what I was saying. I just sprouted some rubbish and went back to eating. The next thing I know he is staring at me with his wide eyes.

"Man that's so profound. Wow, that's really deep."


"You have a way with words man. The heart knows what it wants. That's awesome. Thanks man."

So he didn't become a doctor, and is doing quite well otherwise. His father doesn't return my salaams at the parties.

And I still like tiger shrimp.
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Has anyone seen the Saddam execution video? When I first came to know of its existence I did not want to view it, but then morbid curiosity (the kind that draws you towards the scene of a traffic accident) got the better of me, and I viewed the graphic footage. How can I sum up my feelings? Oh yes, shock and awe.

Shock that a state execution, what is supposed to be a sombre and solemn affair, turned out to be a mob lynching, and awe about the apparently fearless way Saddam died, with the kalimah on his lips. And utter amazement at the fact despite the knowledge of his heinous crimes and tales of his brutal oppression, his executioners have actually managed to provoke sympathy for that man.


isheeta said...

I couldnt avoid the Saddam spectacle.. I was in Panama, and thats all the CNN and BBC were focused on.

Here you had one of the most gruesome dictators in history, and instead of feeling a sense of closure at the hanging, I watched with morbid fascination and with sympathy for the man (for only a short time) who wanted to die with God's name as his last words, and instead... the mob lynchers make him look like a national hero because of their unprofessionalism.

The fear in his eyes as the black cloth was wrapped around his neck was unavoidable though. THAT was death staring you in the face.

Mousehunter said...

I can't wait for Little Mosque on the Prairie either. At first I thought the ad was a joke, cuz I was watching This Hour has 22 Minutes, but saw another ad realized it was a real show. Look funny too. An acquaintance of mine knows the producer and sent out a big email promoting it and everything, saying that there was gonna be the "World Biggest Shwarma". Anyways, it looks promising.

The heart knows what it wants...too deap maaan. Were you thinking about the the tiger shrimp?

Interesting how after Saddam was executed all these stories surfaced about how he used to save bread crumbs from his meals to feed the birds and how he was so good to the nurses and guards in the prison. Who knows, maybe he made sincere tauba, and it was accepted, and changed for the better. Allahu Alam.

M&M said...

it sounds like a funny show. its such a sensitive issue though because I am not sure if the general Canadian public would get the jokes. I hope they do not overdo it and it doesnt end up showing Muslims in a bad light. I do want to watch it. There was this ad for the show where the guy is talking on the phone telling his friend he threw a "bomb" on his dead as he has decided to give up his law job and does not care if his dad thinks he is committing "suicide". lol the white lady in front of him freaks and two min later he is arrested by the swats or something. LOL

Good advice. short and sweet.

I felt the same way about the video and have fianlly watched it. Same feeling of shock and awe and even some sympathy actually. I cannot imagine the feeling in his mind of knowing he is going to die in a moment.

mezba said...

Isheeta: and on Eid day too! What a grotesque way to settle scores. I know I should not feel sorry for him, given what he did all these years, but you can't but help after watching that video, eh?

Mousehunter: I thought it was a parody too! I didn't know about the shawarma beforehand else would have gone, wanted a shawarma badly today and was in the area!

Lol ya I was thinking about the shrimp. I just love shrimps.

About Saddam, I don't know. He did a lot of oppression against right of others, and those, Allah does not forgive unless the other persons forgive. But, as you said, Allahu Alam.

M&M: Yeah I hope they don't do a lot of in-jokes too. Allah made me Funny is really funny, but you have to be Muslim to get some of the jokes and I hope it's different here.

'liya said...

I'm definitely curious to see the show too. But what's this, you got a free shawarma! No fair! I should've came downtown today instead of hanging out at my old university. Man, I miss all the good things! Last time I was downtown someone was promoting a new chocolate bar but it wasn't halal so I gave it to a homeless person :S

Suroor said...

If I want advice from you I’m going to tie you down to a chair without food in sight so you can hear me and respond ‘deeply’ :) Thanks for telling me this in advance!

I watched it too and he came out so brave. Allah knows who’s at fault, we don't. He was brave and so heroic. Others would have peed in their pants. Did you see how he was talking to his executioners? Who does that? It really disturbed me esp when people danced around his body like kids around Piggy in Lord of the Flies! Disgusting!

Maliha said...

"the heart knows what it wants.." so poetic Mashaallah :)

The Saddam affair was so deplorable, and also on Eid day? I mean really, how tasteless can they get?

I thought it was so symbolic on some level..i hope the other dictators are taking notes in the ME...

Abu Sinan said...

Turns out it was militia men who did the killing, members of Muqtadar as-Sadr's "Mahdi Army."

Turns out as-Sadr even has the noose that did the job.

It was not justice, it was a sectarian lynching.

Anonymous said...

I saw the preview too when watching I think either "This hour.. or Air farce, when does it start? 8/9 Jan??? Am waiting to see if it's all good as it seems!
As for Saddam, that was one sad day,on a happy occassion (Eid),that picture kept on playing on my mind as I tried to have a good time with my family. I think it just backfired (the shit just hit the fan now), pple sympathised with him. I saw the video, my husband was viewing it on youtube,I just didn't want to see all the *stuff*. He looked *calm* and the Kalimah, so loud and strong. Now,what about the other dictators of our time, when will they be punished?? or is this just a double standard??? sf

Anonymous said...

The Saddam episode leaves me so sad.
We as Muslims start every task with "Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim" and this episode demonstrates how large the gap is btwn. intent and reality.

Especially being an Ismaili Shia this leaves a sour taste in my mouth - enough said.

Many many articles I have read and the one i would recommend is this one from Tarek Fatah - the local TO commentator ...

Why the rush to execute Saddam?


khonika said...

I was in Canada recently and saw a mini clip of "Little Mosque on the Prairie" on CBC. It looked funny indeed. I'm sad that I won't be able to watch the show in US. :-(