Archive for the ‘Review’Category

The Company Men (2010) – A Review

The Company Men is the story of how the human spirit, bent and twisted by corporate greed and consumerism, requires a shaking up in order to rediscover and reinvent itself. This movie cleverly paints how the endless desire for money, cars, and ‘stuff’ is never enough for three successful corporate execs.That is until their worlds are interrupted with reality — layoff.

For Bobby Walker, played by Ben Affleck, the stark reality of being unemployed results in disillusion, defiance, and finally a recalibration of values as he sells everything”:his country club membership, his Porsche, and even his home. It is only when he goes to work for his brother-in law, Jack Dolan (played by Kevin Costner) and begins spending time with his family that he regains his spirit and true sense of humanity. Bobby tells Jack,  “At my old job I was scared all the time; quarterly cost reports, young guys coming up, losing an account, who is getting ahead of me…”

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13

04 2011

Muslims as Artists

From muslimswearingthings.tumblr.com, a photo of two Pakistani policewomen.

It’s been pretty heartening seeing things like the Muslims Wearing Things blog (http://muslimswearingthings.tumblr.com/) and Reza Aslan’s newest book “Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East” pop up.

I’ve always thought that the best way for Muslims to make strides is through our artistic talent and showing the different faces that Muslims have.

The Muslim clothing blog popped up after NPR’s Juan Williams made his comments about “Muslim garb” as a way to prove that there is no such thing as a certain Muslim look.

Aslan describes his book as a collection of fiction and non-fiction poems and short stories written by authors in Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and other parts of the Middle East, both in the past and from the present.

“It’s like a new kind of history book … it’s written by the poets and writers,” he said recently on The Colbert Report. “The best way to reframe perceptions … is through the arts.”

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18

11 2010

ZEITOUN: The Story of an American Household

ZEITOUN: The Story of an American Household and their Ordeals through Hurricane Katrina

The heart aches and weeps from the senseless injustices.

The strain and insanity have rendered the heart unfeeling, unstable, trying to shutdown, trying eagerly to avoid pain.

The body will not allow it, after all life goes on. Stuck in between, the mind unable to comprehend the madness, the paradox of this conflict is warped, broken, seeking eagerly to forget.

But it does not work quite that way. It is not that easy.

“Zoning out” is increasingly common. Confusion, dizziness, difficulty in memory retention and recall, the inability to focus and the crippling mind freezes to take hold. At times tasks, even simple and menial, become laboring or altogether impossible.The world as was once known has been shattered as has the trust in it. Confidence is lost in self and in all.

- A description of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder inspired by Dave Eggers book, Zeitoun.

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13

11 2010

Outlandish: An Overseas Phenomenon

Outlandish was born out of the creativity of three friends, Waqas Qadri, Isam Bachiri, and Lenny Martinez in Denmark in 1997. Originally from Morocco, Pakistan, and Honduras, they share common experiences from the youth clubs and soccer fields in the Western suburbs of Copenhagen. Outlandish, or OL, as their fan base refers to them, fuses American Hip Hop with Arab and Bollywood beats. Their song lyrics are in English, Danish, Spanish, Urdu, and Arabic and tackle issues such as religion, brotherhood, oppression, and politics, but also aspects of daily life. The band aims to create a musical narrative of contemporary society. This is “the vantage point called ‘the world we live in’, according to their website Outlandmoro.com. Although Waqas and Isam are Muslim, OL is not an exclusively Muslim band, with devout Catholic, Lenny Martinez who raps in Spanish, completing the trio.

In Europe, especially Denmark, OL has gained fame and following, garnering six Danish Music Award nominations and winning Best Hip Hop Album. Continentally, the song Aicha was an instant hit, climbing all the way to top of the charts all across Europe and propelling OL to radio stations, magazines, and even television. Their second album, Bread & Barrels of Water, took off after its release in 2002 which was followed by Closer Than Veins in 2005.

What has made OL popular among Muslims?

For many Muslims in the West, OL represents music that is compatible with their location, yet also identifiable lyrically. Some topics OL covers relate to Muslims directly such as Hajj, the Palestinian struggle, and Hijab. Many young Muslims use OL as a way to cope with the problems they face in the West. According to one Muslim student, “The religious aspect has been such a blessing, when you feel tired with life and you need that extra inspiration to go pray, I got that from [OL].”

Dira, a Muslima from New York explained that Muslims in America are constantly looking for inspiration, motivation, and ways to strengthen their Imaan which is something that OL did for her after seeing their music video of women wearing Hijab.

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22

10 2010

Three Cups of Tea – A Critical Review

By Ali A.

Different readers must have read this book with varied emphasis and with different take-away lessons. The variation in their readings was probably informed by their educational, professional, geographic, ethnic and national backgrounds, also their knowledge of the Pak and Afghan regions and cultures, and, furthermore, their understanding of current American involvement in these regions, its motives and history.

But, not all readings of that book are equal and not all facts and lessons from that book are worth taking. No doubt the book presents a remarkable story of courage and compassion. The point is not to question those values. It is to scrutinize the ideas (and solution) of ‘development’ and ‘humanitarian intervention’ offered in this book. A particularly useful way to approach this is to contextualize and question the underlying normative assumptions and politics of the book’s narrative against the backdrop of American hegemonic expansionism.
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03

08 2010