A Short Post On A Potentially Lengthy Topic

Third world country. That’s a term I hear quite often. And it’s a term I am not fond of. Not one bit.

(Before we get started, let me clarify that in this post I’m not talking about the history of the term or its exact definitions. Rather, I’m discussing, and deploring, the general use of the term in every-day conversations.)

Now, let’s begin.

So I understand that sometimes it’s easier or makes more sense to designate labels or to classify certain things into groups. I also know that the majority of people who use this term have only the purest of intentions.

But the term is just crap.

As someone who has grown up in and has visited many “third world countries”, hearing this term makes me cringe. Even though it doesn’t mean that a country’s history, culture, or people are less valuable than a first world country’s history, culture, or people, it comes across like it does.

It suggest that someone is superior and therefore the other, inferior. That term stands up on a chair and looks down its nose.

At least, I think it does.

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe me being a TCK makes me hyper sensitive to the term. Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this late at night.

But, I still stand where I stand. Fellow TCKs and non-TCKs, what do you think of the use of this awful term?



“Let us remain in once upon a time…”*

I always love discovering new (well, new to me) music and I especially love finding music that’s from the East. Two nights ago, I listened to Souad Massi, an artist from Algeria, and oh my, I’m going to be playing this everyday:


*My translation of a line in “Raoui”, the first song she sings.

This Eid

When my family and I went to the cinema a couple of weeks ago, my brother noticed this film poster:

(Image found here)

I was really excited about it – not  because it looks like my type of film (although I do like a lot of Indian films, like Dhobi Ghat), but because of “This Eid”. Rarely have I seen anything in the States that makes reference to Ramadan, let alone Eid ul-Fitr. I’m sure if I was in a city or a neighborhood with a larger Muslim population, I would spot things like this a bit more. However, the city I’m currently in and the neighborhood the cinema was in, does not, to my knowledge, have a predominately Muslim community. So seeing this poster, hanging out with Ted and Brave and whatever other film posters were up, was awesome.


Ramadan Mubarak

Ramadan Mubarak everyone! I’m sorry this is a bit late – life has been kind of crazy for the past week.

May this Ramadan be full of Light and Peace,


Laughter From The Middle East

The video below is over four minutes of people laughing. To be honest, before watching it, I was a little dubious about its length. But then I watched it. And then I fell for it. I love (and miss) hearing this beautiful sound from this beautiful region of the world:


Wenti Mastaneti

I just heard this song and I love it:


20 Before 20

The author of a blog that I read has been finishing up her “40 Before 20” – a list of forty things to accomplish before her twentieth birthday. I, who adore lists, was inspired and thought I’d make my own. So before I turn twenty (which will be in a year and two weeks), here’s what I’d like to do (in no particular order):

– Go to a museum or art gallery that I haven’t been to before

– Read a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

– Climb a tree (because I don’t think I have ever done that)

– Learn how to design a website

– Read an entire book in Arabic

– Visit a city or town that I haven’t been to before

– Learn a new dance

– Make a stop motion short

– Learn some basic phrases in Swahili

– Taste American cotton candy

– Know where countries are located in Africa and their capitals

– Know the words to “El Bosta” by heart

– Make complete design plans for a entire house (rather than just for a few rooms)

– Get employed

– Try Ethiopian food

– Join the intramural football (by football I mean this) team at my college (i.e. play football)

– Read a novel by Dickens

– Plant something and watch it grow

– Be a “driver” on a road trip

– See at least one film at a film festival

So while this list isn’t as adventurous as I hope my 19th year will be, I’m thinking of it as more of a “bonus” list of goals to accompany what, insha’Allah, will be a great year.

Have you guys ever made a list for the year or for a season?


Ezra Likes Turnips And Maltesers

One of my goals for the month of June is to become more knowledgeable of Africa’s geography. I can locate some countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Somalia, and the DRC, but have a bit more trouble finding Burundi, Gambia, and Burkina Faso. To improve my understanding of what’s where, I have been using a map, flashcards with the countries’ capitals, and acronyms like “Ezra Likes Turnips And Maltesers”. While that system has worked fairly well, I wanted to find an additional aid. And I found one. And I love it. It’s a website aimed at kids, but works for anyone who wants to learn. Here’s the link to the site.

Have fun (if you like these kinds of things, which you should, because learning more about the world is wonderful),


P.S. As great as the content of the site is, it is a little outdated and is missing South Sudan from its map of Africa.


I meant to blog about a project by Lebanese designer Marwan Kaabour several months ago, but college was a bit of a distraction. Anyhoo, here it is now – sorry it’s fairly old in online age.


Yeah, Don’t Call Me That

During the two years that I’ve been living in the States, I’ve noticed some things I didn’t notice when I would just visit the country every other summer. One thing that’s been on my mind lately is what strangers call me. (That sentence may sound a bit creepy, but I don’t mean it to be at all. Anyhoo. Back to how strangers address me.)

Some people will say, “Ma’am”, although those instances are pretty rare. Being called “Ma’am” is fine with me. What I’m not OK with is when they call me “Sweetheart”.  If someone in my family uses “Sweetheart” in place of my name, that’s not really an issue for me. When a stranger, however, calls me that, it is. I know they probably don’t intend for the title to come across as condescending or sexist, but it does to me. How and why?

It’s condescending because it feels like a diminutive term that reduces my strength, abilities, and achievements and sexist because it assumes that because I am a woman, I automatically have “sweetness of heart”. Another thought is that while men are sometimes called “honey” or “dear” by strangers, I’m pretty sure I hear them being addressed as  “Sir” a majority of the time.

One reason strangers may be calling me “Sweetheart” is because even though I’m almost nineteen years old, my face could look fifteen to a lot of people. I still don’t think that justifies the term, but it’s one explanation for the “Sweethearts” I’ve received. I know there’s also a cultural aspect to the term, but I get annoyed all the same.

OK, rant over. Americans or people who know the States better than I do, what’s your take on “Sweetheart”? Do you think I’m justified or semi-justified or I’m blowing it all out of proportion?