Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. Everything has been figured out, except how to live. One always dies too soon or too late. And yet, life is there, finished. The line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life. There is only one day left, always starting over. It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk. We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are, that is the fact. When you live alone you no longer know what it is to tell a story: the plausible disappears at the same time as the friends. You let events flow by too.Suddenly you see people appear who speak and then go away; you plunge into stories of which you can't make head or tail. You'd make a terrible witness. It is true that people who live in society have learned how to see themselves in mirrors as they appear to their friends. Luckily, I only have a few...

Dr Shaw is a lecturer in Further Education at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. She also offers philosophy courses at the School of Continuing Education, Lifelong learning, at the University of Liverpool. In 2015, she has completed her Doctorate in philosophy with a focus on existentialism, the equilibrium doctrine and narrative. She has worked as a teacher of English and Comparative literature and Philosophy at The American University in Cairo, Egypt where she also obtained her BA (Hons). Dr Shaw has an MA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of East Anglia where she also taught on a number of humanities subjects. Whilst working in North Wales in Further education, she gained a PGCE aimed at teaching in FE and HE sectors. Dr Shaw moved to Liverpool in 2010 where she now resides.

Interests: Existentialism, Narrative, Comparative Literature, Feminist Thought, Public Speaking, Arab Existentialism, Philosophy of Education, Art, Music, Film and Theatre, Greek Mythology, Existential counsellor and psychotherapist.


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Happy Ramadan Everyone!

Ramadan is one of the best months to spend in a Muslim country. The charm of the Eastern warmth, the fumes and mixed smells of cooking near Iftar time, people's chilled out attitude towards life, the traditional songs and the variety of TV programmes, but best of all, the colorful lanterns lightening the streets at night. This is something I terribly miss here in UK. Every year Ramadan comes and I only know about it from friends and family. I feel nothing here, no celebrations, no traditions and certainly no gathering around the table for Iftar. The family feel during Ramadan is absent in UK. Even Christmas day in the West does not come any close to such a holy month in terms of preparation or grandeur.

Ramadan this year has started on 8th July and is predicted to last till August 7th, 2013. After it comes the Eid, which is another celebration I miss a lot, mostly because of the lack of family members I have here in UK. You'd think when you marry and leave your parents house that life has begun for you and is filled with so much adventures. Realistically, life is exactly the same but with one difference which is that your're seriously on your own. Many times I think to myself "it sucks to be an adult" I wish I knew that ages ago I could have taken advantage of being a youngster and lived these days fully rather than trying to grow up so fast and worrying about what the future holds.
The problems of Ramadan in UK is that Iftar is at 10 pm which is extremely unhealthy if like me you are a full time mum looking after a crazy active toddler, trying to write up a thesis, juggling a few chores and running a household single handed. Now what would someone religious say to me about not fasting? Well, the first attempt to convince me that I should would be that in me suffering there is redemption for my sins and that my reward after the temporal life will be very worthwhile. The problem with this reasoning is that it already assumes that I have committed sins in the temporal life that I so wish to redeem and that my sense of guilt or shame from God will drive me to give in to such reasoning and agree to put my body and mind under this suffering for a month. The second attempt to convince me is that I would be tempted to fast for the sake of the reward in the non temporal world- i.e. appealing to my greed. The two attempts from my view are inadequate in terms of making me fast since the hours and the suffering will have terrible consequences on myself, body and mind, and on my child who will not be able to cope at 18 months only without me fully functioning to take care of his daily needs. What I find annoying though is when someone sleeps during the day till past 4 or 5pm only to have a few hours left to go till Iftar and stays up to watch TV after Iftar at 10 pm till 3am! Surely God would see this as a waste of one's life and productive valuable time. People who do so, should not preach to people like me whose day starts at 6 am daily with the cry of a child to attend to.

The moral of the story, therefore, there are things in Islam that are desirable but not doing them will not make you a sinner. Islam should be seen as a religion that does not take away your right to live life fully, it is not a religion that dictates to you to do this and that blindly. Islam tells us to think, to see, to feel, to learn, to know and to act. Yes, it is desirable of me to be fasting during the month of Ramadan, but not fasting for very important reasons such as health, time and the welfare of a child who is entirely dependent on me, does not make me a sinner.
With this quote: "Life is like a game of cards, the hand you are dealt with is determinism the way you play it is free will", I leave you...Have a wonderful month of Ramadan.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Once again an Egyptian Revolution

My sister, Heidi

Egyptian people rise to show the world that they are strong- even if not entirely united. But  this was all about to change. I have to say I was skeptical at first and I was disheartened about Muslim brotherhood ruling of Egypt. I can finally take a breath and say I was very wrong and there is still a future for Egypt. 

My mum and sister were among many of those wanted their voice to be heard and know that Morsi's ruling was no good. After only one year in power, the Muslim brotherhood drained Egypt's resources and put themselves and their relatives in office to "cash in" while they still can as much as possible.

My mother, Hala
On the night of 3 July, after a warning 48 hours earlier to intervene on behalf of the people, the Egyptian Armed Forces came out with a statement announcing the end of Mohammed Morsi's presidency. In the same statement, the military announced that the constitution was temporarily suspended, that a presidential election would be held soon, the chief justice of the constitutional court, Adly Mansour, is now head of the government and that a transitional technocratic government would be formed until the election.

In an Nutshell, consequences of 3rd July 2013 revolution are:
- President Morsi deposed by Military (as request from the Military by Egyptian people)
- Constitution suspended (It needed some attention to be honest)
- New Elections to be determined by the interim government- Arrests of Muslim brotherhood members (Like Nasser's era)
- Closure of perceived pro-Muslim media outlets (Wooohooo-  I hope it's including the belly dancing channel that began when they came to power!)

Now, the latest is:
Barack’s Plan B for the Brotherhood | FrontPage Magazine:

Obama and Morsi come together to try to show Hamas and Israel the way to peace.(Patrick Chappatte's cartoon: Chappatte is an editorial cartoonist for the International Herald Tribune- http://www.nytimes.com)

Mr Obama, here is a reply from an American citizen, Lina A Benhalim who has lived all her life in Egypt and is now witnessing all the events first hand. Ms Benhali claimed that she can clearly see the truth which is concealed by some of the Western media. today.

Ms Benhalim 's reply to Mr Obama should be more than sufficient:

Dear Barack Obama,

You can stick that "plan B" where it really belongs. Egypt is not and will not be another Syria, or even another Iraq. Your historical ways of planting terrorism in the Middle East to "create" the need to jump in and save the day as you did previously won't work this time. This is Egypt Mr Obama, bigger than you, your government, and your 10 year old nation. This is the civilization of thousands of years, and this is the land that initiated all the sciences and maths that you now use against us. Unfortunately this is one where you can't stand the chance, Egypt is bigger than you. 


An ashamed American citizen