My Hospital Intiative and being in Miss Earth Canada

Here is my Miss Earth specific blog The official site for Miss Earth Canada is

Check out the Borama Fistula Hospital, Amoud University Medical School and the nursing programme at Borama General Hospital @ : why I am started this!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jack Layton's and Abdulaziz Abdulghani's deaths

As Libya sees a new dawn, our joy is mixed with sadness, two tears mixed with melancholy and bliss.

The very kind Abdulaziz Abdulghani died of his wounds in Yemen as he was next to the president when the bomb hit. Jack Layton, leader of the NDP party in Canada, also a kind man died of cancer within the same hour.

A columnist wrote a disgusting disrespectful inappropriate column on Jack Layton whose body has yet to be buried. Seriously, is she too childish to have the patience to wait a week until the body is in the ground to speak ill of the dead?
In my fury and grief, though I do not belong to this party, I respect this man, so I must write something. It was too thoroughly tasteless and too premature - so I wondered would the words be just as tasteless if written about another life prematurely ended due to poor health and too full of life and too young to die? It was so tacky that no plastic pink flamingo would want to be seen within 10 feet of that article this week.

My parody of Christie Blatchford's throughly tasteless article: (for the real one click here

-- Amy Winehouse died today. How fitting that her death should have been turned into such a thoroughly public spectacle, where from early morn Monday, television anchors donned their most funereal faces, producers dug out the heavy organ music, reporters who would never dream of addressing any other politician by first name only were proudly calling her “Amy” and even serious journalists like Alan Solomon of the BBC repeatedly spoke of the difficulty “as we all try to cope” with the news of Ms. Winehouse’s death.

By mid-day, after Prime Minister David Cameron had offered a few warm words about Ms. Winehouse’s death and rued that their oft-talked-about jam session had never happened, Mr. Solomon even expressed sniping surprise that “Amy Winehouse wasn’t the sole focus” of the Prime Minister’s remarks.

Mr. Cameron, who clearly had not spent the day watching the national broadcaster and thus was unaware that the jazz singer’s death was the only story of note, had gone on to mention the families of the 12 people (including six-year-old Cheyenne Eckalook; now there’s someone who died far too young) who perished in the Arctic plane crash on Saturday and the tumultuous events in Libya.

The PM in fact was one of a very few voices of reason to be found on the airwaves — he remembered Ms. Winehouse kindly and with evident regard, but he had perspective and did not fawn.

And what to make of that astonishing letter, widely hailed as Ms. Winehouse magnificent from-the-grave cri de coeur?

It was extraordinary, though it is not Mr. Solomon’s repeated use of that word that makes it so.

Rather, it’s remarkable because it shows what a canny, relentless, thoroughly ambitious fellow Ms. Winehouse was. Even on Saturday, two days befores he died, she managed to keep a gimlet eye on all the album releases to come.


In contrast, a man who left us too soon leaves us with his last and very beautiful words:

"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. -All my very best, Jack Layton." May he rest in peace.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I am Adam with Two Edens Lost to me

“I’m the Adam of two Edens lost to me twice
expel me slowly, kill me slowly

with Garcia Lorca
under my olive tree.” - Mahmoud Darwish

My feet are torn,

And homelessness has worn me out.

Park seats have left their marks

on my ribs.

Policemen have followed me

With their suspicious looks.

I drag myself from place to place,

Destitute except for

Day-long memories of a home

That yesterday, only yesterday,

Was mine,

And except for evening dreams

Of my dwelling there again. - Iraqi poet Badr Sahakir Sayyab

" In The Summer

by Nizar Qabbani

In the summer
I stretch out on the shore
And think of you
Had I told the sea
What I felt for you,
It would have left its shores,
Its shells,
Its fish,
And followed me.

Translated by B. Frangieh And C. Brown

Mahmoud Darwish -
” So we are who we are, as the Mississippi flows,
and what remains from yesterday is still ours –
but the color of the sky has changed.
oh white master,
lord of the horses,
what do you want from those making their way
to the night woods?”
“Tamer of horses, teach your horse
to ask forgiveness of nature’s soul
for the way you’ve treated our trees”

Oil sands excluded from UN report gets no mention?

By: Mike De Souza, Postmedia News

The federal government has acknowledged that it deliberately excluded data indicating a 20 per cent increase in annual pollution from Canada’s oilsands industry in 2009 from a recent 567-page report on climate change that it was required to submit to the United Nations.

The numbers, uncovered by Postmedia News, were left out of the report, a national inventory on Canada’s greenhouse gas pollution.

It revealed a six per cent drop in annual emissions for the entire economy from 2008 to 2009, but does not directly show the extent of pollution from the oilsands production, which is greater than the greenhouse gas emissions of all the cars driven on Canadian roads.

The data also indicated that emissions per barrel of oil produced by the sector is increasing, despite claims made by the industry in an advertising campaign.

----other articles

Great article. Former Minister Jim Prentice supports Cap and Trade System in Alberta

He is known as a very ethical man. Also from an Alberta ethics specialist, Donna Kennedy Glans -

Btw- Ezra Levant is a former tobacco lobbyist. I take what he says with a grain of salt.

She is a Conservative candidate, not Liberal, not NDP. So this is posts from a reasonable conservative who supports their agenda in many areas, but thinks critically like all intellectuals. Liberal and NDP oriented intellectuals also critique their party in the benefit of tweaking it.
From her blog: Wind Farms Kill Whales and


And this is crucial - we are emitting more green house gases per capita than many countries - we rank 8th in the world on some indexes.

Rankin 2000 with Rank in 2000 w/out Rank in 2005 w/out Country
land-use change↓ land-use change↓ land-use change
12 9 8 Canada
Year 2000 Tonnes of CO2e Year 2000 Tonnes of CO2e Year 2005 Tonnes of CO2e
with land-use change without land use change with land use change 24.3 22.2 22.6

Internationally, Qatar is often #1. According to this Saudi Arabia has a better emmisions record than Canada Ezra Levant, former tobacco lobbyist writes about ethical oil. I think looking at this chart puts a few questions in that argument. NEWSFLASH -Saudi Arabia is more eco-friendly than Canada. When that happens, you know there is work that needs to be done here.

So here is another article she recommends oil sands expected to outdo carbon cuts


Recommended Reads

I saw this, this is awesome!

And sad. But Awesome. A report on how jobs are mainly created in alternative energy, how China is big on that, how most jobs are created there and we are simply not investing.

If government fails, it's a government failure, so the economist in me turns to the markets. I think corporations who believe in the eco-friendly like Telus and Scotia Bank should band together and have a prize for development and promotion of excellent Canadian projects like tidal wave conservation off of New Foundland and Nova Scotia and Canadian innovation. If you have a good small company, good competitive invention - what would it cost telus to send them off to an international trade show. Every large corporation has a charity budget. Scotia Bank could even profit from their stocks if they promote these ethical efficient entities. It's win win win. Make money, create jobs and clean the environment.

Former Liberal MP Omar Alghabra posted this on his facebook. Very fascinating article. "wow. They care more about using their logo than the dangers of asbestos" -Omar Alghabra . Part of the problem is finding jobs for asbestos producers. Banning abestos and causing mass unemployment in Quebec is not a win-win solution. This is where a public-private partnership comes in. The green economy is hot, Brazil, China, emerging powers investing it it like crazy, a German firm also recently created jobs in Southern Ontario. I propose supporting a green-tech firm like building solar panels and photovoltaic technology and retrain workers. Then close. A win-win!

Also, on other news, I saw eco-friendly house cleaning products. I tried them. They work. Medium efficiency, average but they leave no smell. I can breath and clean! Yay! Next off, tackle the oven!!! I don't know if its greenwashing if they are bad for the run off or not, but I do now enjoy cleaning the apartment without chocking at the smell of toxic chemicals. More later. My goal in the future is to try out different affordable green products, find their origin and find 1) are they are really green 2) are they good for you 3) do they work and post on the blog.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Miss Earth competition next week!

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Hi I am back, and preparing for the Miss Earth pageant. I am studying up on UN reports, staying away from red meat farther (it contributes to green house gases), taking the bus and recycling more. However, I do hope that I get attention that recycling is not enough. For change to happen across Canada, we need to change our voting system from first past the post to something fairer that reflects the population so that environmentally conscious voices are not crushed.

Soon we may have 300-700 jobs gone forever from Environment Canada due to job cuts instead of raising corporate taxes to levels similar in the rest to the G8 which are needed to sustain developed economies. Is lower taxes making Canada more competitive.

No, with our foreign policy we wouldn't even be competitive with Dubai's zero per cent taxes. We have the highest visa rates for U.A.E and Turkey. To create a conference for Canadian energy companies as it included Russian partners, the conference was held in Europe due to fact they feared that the Canadian government wouldn't give participants visas. Even Russian ministers, businessmen do not receive visas. My Yemeni cousin living in Sweden for many years while running a company and finishing a doctorate tried to get a visa for a trade show in Toronto for weeks, major problem. He got his passport back and in three days received the visa to the U.S. which has extremely high security standards. We have to get real, and get a business-friendly foreign policy. Of course we should still have principles, but getting our point across more diplomatically and tactfully will prevent business unfriendly rifts.

Due sinking in capital, changing our corporate tax rates by a couple per cent won't change anything but by slashing 300-700 jobs from Environment Canada, you'll overwork the existing staff. As a result of an over-worked staff, environmental regulation will slip. U.S. Vice President Cheney's corporation, Haliburton, was responsible for the part of the oil rig that failed in BP's Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill disaster, which to the best of my knowledge was deregulated. It showed that self-policing doesn't help.

If this is not your priority - well, only around 22% of Canada's population voted for it's "majority government. 40% can vote for but the 60% against have no voice. Also, coalitions exist in England and most stable governments. This must be de-stigmatized and seen as a norm. If the environment is not seen as a priority for one ruling party, if coalition was required to govern, it would see it as important. The current system we have has the highest distortion, as documented by the Gregory Scale, and on that scale where each individual vote counts the least in our system. If there was a coalition government, the slash and burn cuts to environment Canada would never happen. If the staff are over worked, they can be lax, not as vigilant and let disaster occur unintentionally.

Recycling, composting, taking the bus are all important, but if we change our political system were 60% or more of the votes count, we can have government being proactive. Meanwhile corporations such as Telus and Scotia Bank are supporting environmental causes. There are many environmentally friendly cleaners in the grocery and that is what my family buys now. They sell like hot cakes.

What can we do aside from joining Fair Vote Canada? ... and I'll stop sounding like a Green Party politicians. for a moment. :-) What can you do if you think big but work to implement your vision in small practical steps? Aside from recycling, using the bus, not eating red meat?

Its important to connect the environment and business to create something lasting. Blue-Green Canada's 2011 report states

"Canadians have missed out on approximately 66,000 jobs because the federal government has failed to match the U.S. in renewable energy investments." Their report states that the EU will create 2.8 million jobs from environmentally friendly energy. While green jobs have shown growth, traditional manufacturing jobs such as the automotive industry have slowed, or even decreased. The economy is changing and unlike the US, China ant the EU, we are not investing where the economy is headed.

If government doesn't step in, what can one do? Replace it. You can bring your own community together to fix local and sometimes even global environmental problems. For more details, you'll hear me at the pageant, where I unveil my platform.

I my home city of Taiz, youth are planting trees and picking up trash after everyone as a form of protest against the anarchy and to create hope, while seizing the moment and not waiting for government to change the environment. The future starts now and is in your hands, so let's not wait for others and start making the world a better place today! Start recycling, join fair vote Canada or do an ambitious project with local businesses and get them to be coordinated on Green issues or more eco-friendly.

Miss Earth competition coming up

I finished a lovely shoot on the memories of a refugee with Richard Brecker. Beautiful art. Here is a one of the stills, where i am reading the poetry of Nizar Qabbani. On the side, in the corner is a book from his contemporary, Neruda.

"When you grow up, my son,
and read the diwan of Arabic poetry
you'll discover that the word and the tear are twins
and the Arabic poem
is no more than a tear wept by writing fingers."

Syrian Poet, Nizar Qabbani ironically wrote this verse:

A Lesson In Drawing

My son places his paint box in front of me
and asks me to draw a bird for him.
Into the color gray I dip the brush
and draw a square with locks and bars.
Astonishment fills his eyes:
"... But this is a prision, Father,
Don't you know, how to draw a bird?"
And I tell him: "Son, forgive me.
I've forgotten the shapes of birds."

My son puts the drawing book in front of me
and asks me to draw a wheatstalk.
I hold the pen
and draw a gun.
My son mocks my ignorance,
"Don't you know, Father, the difference between a
wheatstalk and a gun?"
I tell him, "Son,
once I used to know the shapes of wheatstalks
the shape of the loaf
the shape of the rose
But in this hardened time
the trees of the forest have joined
the militia men
and the rose wears dull fatigues
In this time of armed wheatstalks
armed birds
armed culture
and armed religion
you can't buy a loaf
without finding a gun inside
you can't pluck a rose in the field
without its raising its thorns in your face
you can't buy a book
that doesn't explode between your fingers."

My son sits at the edge of my bed
and asks me to recite a poem,
A tear falls from my eyes onto the pillow.
My son licks it up, astonished, saying:
"But this is a tear, father, not a poem!"
And I tell him:
"When you grow up, my son,
and read the diwan of Arabic poetry
you'll discover that the word and the tear are twins
and the Arabic poem
is no more than a tear wept by writing fingers."

My son lays down his pens, his crayon box in
front of me
and asks me to draw a homeland for him.
The brush trembles in my hands
and I sink, weeping.

Why am I doing this? The Pageant Manifesto

Why am I in Miss Earth Canada? People ask me, isn't one pageant enough, all that hard work preparing? Why a second time. I wish I could say vanity, lol, but that is rarely the reason anyone I know ever spent that much effort at a pageant.

I tried modeling out of curiosity after I was in Miss Universe. I met many ethical photographers, a couple ethical agencies, there are good people out there... but the problem is that the bad are just allowed to do bad and flourish being horrible. I saw many terrible things. It is the industry of young women's dreams but also asymmetric power and no regulation. Average age and gender of models are female, 14-19, photographers male 45-68. Zero regulation and people get mad when you even bring up safety in the industry. I saw photographers with criminal records work with 14 year old models. I saw a photographer I shot with being violent, nothing being done about it, and he rapes a model the next year.

Kathy Ireland spoke out on CNN that when she was a teen model, she had an assignment in Europe, and saw a pimp in her hotel room, and to her shock he was sent by her agency. She left modeling for success in business. On my modeling profile I state that I do not shoot nude very clearly not even bikini, but I still have photographers try to pressure me to shoot nude even though they know I'll lose my livelihood, my reputation and will be kicked out of the pageant if I do so. I have received a lot of bullying on model mayhem when I say that when a model shoots alone with a photographer she doesn't know, she should bring an escort. Many university now have policies against student and professor intimate relations, which prevents unwanted sex as means of advancement instead of one's merit. The same with pageants.

For not shooting nude, one photographer who was an administrator a modeling pool I was a part of that directs models to castings angrily said I was a "restrictive model" and I wasn't ready for the fashion world because I wasn't ready to take clothes off, and is why he wouldn't even do a fashion shoot with me. I said, "Despite my race and ethnicity and values I did have a job selling evening gowns, I managed to sell them and there were many successful sales women of women's gowns of my ethnicity and religious values too. I don't need to be nude to sell a dress to women!"

In contrast, the problems at pageants seem trivial. We have escorts/chaperones when we go as a group because yes, a group of healthy looking young women can cause problems. Playgrounds can attract children, but also those who want to hurt them, which is one reason playgrounds are chaperoned. Last year, when I was at Miss Universe Canada, we heard that at a different pageant either drivers or a sponsor gave unwanted gestures to young women. Andrew Lopez, the PR director gave us a lecture before we headed to events, "If you feel uncomfortable for any reason at an event like you will be attending this evening for any reason whatsoever, we urge you to go to the bouncer and ask him to kick the guy out." They didn't tolerate anyone making the young women uncomfortable, had a policy of zero tolerance against unwanted advances and took all precautions.

I see the same with Miss Earth Canada, and most pageants have a policy to deal with unwanted advances and protect the young women from harm. There is NO ONE with a criminal record. There is a Miss Congeniality award to prevent infighting between the girls, and young women are selected based on their ability to compete with dignity and good-sportsmanship (i.e. the initial interview process works to remove catty young women).

Recently, regarding acting, there was an article that a former Canadian beauty contestant was suing a Los Angelos acting agency for harassment and for grooming women not for acting jobs but for unwanted advances. In pageants, like universities, there is a policy against such behavior. Why?

Two reasons - one that the big four pageants have been there since 1951- 1999. They depend on a good reputation and the organizations are easy targets if there are lawsuits, while their reputation can be destroyed and the visibility of their brand is very high. The other reason is economics: pageants, you are a paying customer, so they will ensure you are treated with professionalism, dignity and respect. The pageant organizers treat the young women with the same dignity and professionalism

Swimsuits - if feminists criticize that - well they are voluntary and I was offered to completely cover mine up, and I partially cover it up in respect of my colleagues competing, and the purpose is to make you go to the gym and it works! When they pick up a fashion magazine, behind the slick images, are young girls constantly pressured to pose nude. In Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump's daughter's biography, she writes reasons why she left the modeling agency her father created. Despite who she was, at events in the evening, models were expected to socialize with the firm's clients many of whom were in the firms client's bedrooms in the morning. She didn't want to be in an industry where one had to do that to get ahead, and is successful in real-estate. There is no regulation in the fashion industry.

Also, in many fashion agencies I witnessed size 00 girls told they are fat, backstage by the modeling agencies and that they won't get jobs because they are too fat and I see the ribs sticking out on these famine victims. I asked organizers why do they pick these children to the shows, who have to bring their parents who are told they are too thin. The organizer, a friend, said, "When you have a fashion show the light that highlights the fabric makes everyone look much heavier, so you need very thin girls." I have a genius solution that the fashion industry is unlikely to take up on : theatre lighting. On stage, in theatre, ballet, there are several points of light to correct for the weight imbalance shining too much light on a person in one direction. This is especially important in Opera, lol, and done at pageants. However, models are not taken into consideration. If they just want hangers, don't use living and breathing human beings and try to dehumanize them.

I really enjoyed a Lady Gaga-esque artistic effect done beautifully on a model and mentioned to a fashion industry member how it would be interesting to try that look. They recommended against for a shocking reason. "Your portfolio is to highlight you as a person, a human being people want to work with. When you go on runway, the reason why we sculpt these crazy looks is to dehumanize the model, so that she loses any identity and you see not the model but the clothes." When I asked, why are model so thin "they are human clothes hangers."

I doubt that the demographic of high fashion buyers, moms 40-60, enjoy being sold dresses by dehumanized children aged 14-19 the age of their children. They would prefer a happy, healthy, wholesome beautiful young woman, which is why vintage advertising is back with a vengeance.

My experience with pageants has been very positive. I have been treated like gold by Miss Universe Canada, and Miss Earth Canada, while they accepted me and I was candidate. Yes, it wasn't Disney, there were some minor inconveniences I saw like one girl making life more difficult her fellow contestants to get ahead at any cost(it was nipped in the bud, stopped immediately when the organizers discovered it). Pageants try their best to create an artificially positive environment where good collegial girls are selected together doing a fun positive activity that builds their self confidence, gives them opportunity, is good for the community and allows them to be a role model.

I think feminists barked very loudly, but up the wrong tree. I am a HUGE supporter of specifically the swimsuit portion of pageants because they forced me to get my lazy butt to the gym. I'll pay what it costs to join a programme that managed to make even me go to the gym! Now I'm addicted. They allow girls to cover. Last year, a Muslim Canadian, Pauline Ranjbar, covered her bikini at Miss Earth Canada and was one of the finalists, won best evening gown, and has been sent to pageants by the organization internationally. I am glad they allow everyone to participate and you meet women of all ethnicities and backgrounds across Canada.

I support pageants because they changed my self-esteem and I feel more confident in myself, where my qualities as a human being are highlighted in everything from my dress to the questions at the interviews, and my health is highly valued by organizers who give low grades to unhealthy contestants who are too skinny or avoid the gym. If one has a teenage daughter who is finding her way and lacks self-esteem, pageants are a great way to develop it and make positive friends.

Modeling is a private business, there are no rules, no regulation, but with the power asymmetry that exists combined with lack of regulation - its ripe for exploitation. The widespread dehumanization of young women is shocking to me in that industry, because my grandfather, who fought the Nazis all the way to Berlin in World War II said, "When you are in the trenches and can see the eyes of a human being, and see they are human, it's impossible to shoot. Even if you try, your instincts will make you flinch and your bullet will not hit the human being that is your enemy on the other side. In order to kill, dehumanization is necessary, which is why propaganda plays a central role in war. You need to dehumanize first before you kill."

Valentino said he knew what women want, "They want to be beautiful." This is true because there is a strong link between beautiful and loved for women, biologically. It builds up self confidence significantly. Just because young women need confidence and have dreams of being beautiful as a way of somehow attaining that confidence doesn't mean mean we have a right to exploit the dreams of teenagers and vulnerable youth for dehumanization, which is the first step to killing and violence. One of my favorite books, "War, a force that gives us meaning" talks at length on dehumanization, and images hyper-sexualization in society and how these two were a pre-requisite for Milosovich to start the horrible war in Yugoslavia where hundreds were killed brutally.

After reading Chris Hedge's War a Force that Gives us Meaning,I feel ambivalence when picking up a women's magazine. Picking up almost any mainstream fashion magazine makes me think of Milosovich - the connection is obvious. But the images seduce me into wanting to be attractive like the dehumanized "woman" in the picture. I admit it, as sad as it is. I am adult enough to understand it is unhealthy and I use art and cinema as inspiration for my shoots far more than fashion, because there women are a subject an not an object.