SiD's Corner.

Discussion in 'Members Corner' started by ahmedsid, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    People, I started this thread to post my thoughts on Delhi 6, then an Idea struck me, Why not make this into my Corner, where I can post my views on everything under the sun, Including my Favorite subject, Mid East Affairs and Journalism and my encounters there, and Not to Forget, some of my Favorite articles by some of my favorite Journalists will be posted here! Hope you all will enjoy it, God Speed.
    PS: Thanks Invincible, for making the thread sticky and putting up the name ;)




    I Saw Delhi 6. I had read the not so Glowing Reviews, and people telling that its a bad movie. But I still saw it You know why? Because I had to, I just had to.

    This, people is not a Review, rather a collection of thoughts on Delhi 6.

    I basically feel, the Director set out to make a movie, based on a collection of his thoughts and feelings and Not based on a Particular Storyline. To be frank, It was refreshing to see this approach. I mean the movie didnt follow any particular path. It had bizzare incidents spewed across it, even more bizzare characters running through the screen.

    First off, Let me ask myself, Is this movie a Honest take on Delhi, or Rather India??? YES, Its as honest as it can get on screen in a mainstream hindi movie friends. Are the Characters Believable, YES again. Is the Story or rather the Incidents scattered across the movie plausible? YES, they are Real, They can Happen. We all know how a Monkey wrecked havoc not that long ago. I dont remember it exactly, But I remember Headlines Today or some channel like that Running around covering it and bringing forward stupid theories. So We cant blame the Director for Bringing in "Kala Bandar". It truly was a Sensation while it lasted!

    Here is an Excertp from a Newspaper in 2001 about the Description of the Monkey Man sightings which wrecked havoc back in 2001.

    "Descriptions of the Monkey Man of India, first mentioned in police calls on May 13, 2001, have shown little consistency. So far, some described the entity as having a metal claw or claws, while others likened it to a cat with glowing eyes. Another claimed it had flaming red eyes and that green lights glowed upon its chest. These descriptions were but a few among many."


    After reading the Description I feel the Director has stuck to reality. Anyone saying the Kala Bandar episode in Delhi 6 was exaggerated has lost touch with the past, I say dig up a newspaper!

    About the Lack of Story, Yes the Movie does not have a story, It was meant to be like that I feel, Its interlaced with a series of Incidents which show the Hero's Journey through Delhi. These Scenes Show the Bizarreness of us Indians, Our Staunch Religious Leanings which sometimes lead us to Lunacy! It couldn't get better in bringing these odd behaviour of ours into the Open.

    The Music is surely a Plus Point, Its great Infact, and there are numerous songs, one after the other, but they are short, but I feel atleast 2 songs could have been avoided if they wanted.

    The Acting, well Abhishek was okay, and stood out in the Climax when he blows up on his Grandmother when She asks him to leave everything to God. Sonam was great, She excelled in quite a few scenes. Especially with the Dialogue "Indian idol makes a somebody out of Nobody"

    That part showed us how, Girls are treated in many of our Families, I mean, sometimes Fathers forget that Girls have dreams, aims and want to achieve things in life and lead sucessful lives, just like a Son. I really loved the way Sonam presented the Dialogues in that scene.

    As for the Others, well they were all apt, especially Divya Dutta as the untouchable.

    As for the Climax, I need to say Honestly, I felt something amiss there, I mean it lacked something, a movie like this, even though proceeding in a set pace, should have had much more of an impactful climax. I liked the way, Amitabh was brought it, and Abhisheks conversation with him. It was well thought out to be frank. But still It missed something somewhere, especially the Dialogue about a Kala Bandar in each of us, I feel it was not related well, i mean the simile was lost but Still I was SATISFIED.

    So what do I say? Shall I ask any of you to Watch this movie or Give it a Miss? Well I wouldnt say either, Because its your money, your time and Your Wish. And liking a movie is based on Perceptions, so what I adore you may abhor. But Still I would say, dont write off Delhi 6. Its not a Badly Made movie by any standard. God Speed.
     
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  3. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    very well written liked your views thanks.
     
  4. devgupt

    devgupt Regular Member

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    Well the movie tried to capture the spirit of the city, the life of its people and I must say that it was successful in doing so.
    However except that there was nothing to hold attention.The script was really weak.The romance between Abhishek and Sonam was too subtle to be enjoyable.
    Once the spirit of the city sinks in the viewer, there is nothing else to keep him glued.The climax was very tame.
    BTW this smile is a tribute to the movie :sAni_monkey:
     
  5. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    How i started screenwriting

    It was In High School that I first read Dan Browns, Digital Fortress, he wasn't famous back then and Da Vinci Code hadn't released but I got hooked onto his writing. To be frank his books made reading Interesting to me and started making me look at reading as an enjoyable affair. I started reading whatever I could lay my hands on, and soon had an enviable collection of books. Up til then I used to make fun of people who spent time gazing into books, I became one of them. That's when a Friend Of mine who is into movies, suggested that I start writing a screenplay since I read so much ( I don't know how he co-related that). Then he told me that new writers with good scripts are always in good demand, and I believed him (Its wrong though).

    So from there I started writing my first screenplay. It was a love story, and I started plagiarizing it after I saw a Tamil movie. I didn't plagiarize it fully, just the germ of the Idea. Soon I was watching movies left and right and copying from there, here and every possible where!!. I was in the 3rd act when I chanced upon a Series Of Articles on the net, by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, they were the screenwriters of Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean etc. Reading their columns made me thing what a mess I was writing up. I thought maybe I can get this screenplay made, but people will say I am a copy cat. But then I don't usually care for what people say, and I continued. Then on this course I watched an English movie and I got distracted by a single item in that movie and I got my Own Original Movie Idea!! Yes we can get new Ideas out of movies, if we think what difference we could make if we make if we wrote that movie. But I left writing for a while, even though I got many new Ideas out of no where!!! Yes out of No where.

    Then one day I told a writer friend of mine a Story Idea, I told Him i want no credit or anything, just told him to make it into a movie!!! He wrote the movie, got it produced by a top banner and Directed by a top Director, (HIS LUCK AT WORK) And the Movie Became a BIG HIT!!!(HIS SKILLS AT WORK). That's when I came to Know what a big Fool I have been, I wasn't confident about this story idea of mine, that's why I told it to my friend and he churned out a hit Film and he is into Direction now. I always think, what if I had written the movie? Maybe I would have made it a mess and flopped it big time. Maybe the producer/Director might say I was too young to write a movie,( THEY STILL DO!!!) But It taught me a lesson NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR SKILLS because you never know what TOMORROW HOLDS IN STORE. Another thing, this action of mine has made me confident and has made new contacts for me. So I am readying with my Film and I suggest all the new guys/gals out there, Don' t give up.
     
  6. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    What is normal????

    I Reproduce an article by Paulo Coelho, am Immensely enjoyable read, and something that has importance at the same time.



    INVENTORY OF NORMALITY: BY PAULO COELHO

    I decided to conduct a survey among my friends about what society considers to be normal behavior. What follows is a list I have made of some of the absurd situations we face in day-to-day life, just because society sees them as normal:

    1] Anything that makes us forget our true identity and our dreams and makes us only work to produce and reproduce.

    2] Making rules for a war (the Geneva Convention).

    3] Spending years at university and then not being able to find a job.

    4] Working from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon at something that does not give us the least pleasure, so that we can retire after 30 years.

    5] Retiring only to discover that we have no more energy to enjoy life, and then dying of boredom after a few years.

    6] Using Botox.

    7] Trying to be financially successful instead of seeking happiness.

    8] Ridiculing those who seek happiness instead of money by calling them “people with no ambition”.

    9] Comparing objects like cars, houses and clothes, and defining life according to these comparisons instead of really trying to find out the true reason for being alive.

    10] Not talking to strangers. Saying nasty things about our neighbors.

    11] Thinking that parents are always right.

    12] Getting married, having children and staying together even though the love has gone, claiming that it’s for the sake of the children (who do not seem to be listening to the constant arguments).

    12ª] Criticizing everybody who tries to be different.

    14] Waking up with a hysterical alarm-clock at the bedside.

    15] Believing absolutely everything that is printed.

    16] Wearing a piece of colored cloth wrapped around the neck for no apparent reason and known by the pompous name “necktie”.

    17] Never asking direct questions, even though the other person understands what you want to know.

    18] Keeping a smile on your face when you really want to cry. And feeling sorry for those who show their own feelings.

    19] Thinking that art is worth a fortune, or else that it is worth absolutely nothing.

    20] Always despising what was easily gained, because the “necessary sacrifice” – and therefore also the required qualities – are missing.

    21] Following fashion, even though it all looks ridiculous and uncomfortable.

    22] Being convinced that all the famous people have tons of money saved up.

    23] Investing a lot in exterior beauty and paying little attention to interior beauty.

    24] Using all possible means to show that even though you are a normal person, you are infinitely superior to other human beings.

    25] In any kind of public transport, never looking straight into the eyes of the other passengers, as this may be taken for attempting to seduce them.

    26] When you enter an elevator, looking straight at the door and pretending you are the only person inside, however crowded it may be.

    27] Never laughing out loud in a restaurant, no matter how funny the story is.

    28] In the Northern hemisphere, always wearing the clothes that match the season of the year: short sleeves in springtime (however cold it may be) and a woolen jacket in the fall (no matter how warm it is).

    29] In the Southern hemisphere, decorating the Christmas tree with cotton wool, even though winter has nothing to do with the birth of Christ.

    30] As you grow older, thinking you are the wisest man in the world, even though not always do you have enough life experience to know what is wrong.

    31] Going to a charity event and thinking that in this way you have collaborated enough to put an end to all the social inequalities in the world.

    32] Eating three times a day, even if you’re not hungry.

    33] Believing that the others are always better at everything: they are better-looking, more resourceful, richer and more intelligent. Since it’s very risky to venture beyond your own limits, it’s better to do nothing.

    34] Using the car as a way to feel powerful and in control of the world.

    35] Using foul language in traffic.

    36] Thinking that everything your child does wrong is the fault of the company he or she is keeping.

    37] Marrying the first person who offers you a position in society. Love can wait.

    38] Always saying “I tried”, even though you haven’t tried at all.

    39] Putting off doing the most interesting things in life until you no longer have the strength to do them.

    40] Avoiding depression with massive daily doses of television programs.

    41] Believing that it is possible to be sure of everything you have won.

    42] Thinking that women don’t like football and that men don’t like interior decoration.

    43] Blaming the government for everything bad that happens.

    44] Being convinced that being a good, decent and respectful person means that the others will find you weak, vulnerable and easy to manipulate.

    45] Being convinced that aggressiveness and discourtesy in treating others are signs of a powerful personality.

    46] Being afraid of fibroscopy (men) and childbirth (women).

    47] And finally, thinking that your religion is the sole proprietor of the absolute truth, the most important, the best, and that the other human beings in this immense planet who believe in any other manifestation of God are condemned to the fires of hell.
     
  7. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    well done sid

    hey i liked your work " how i started scriptwriting " very much,your case is so very true everytime we try to duck away from life it brings us back to the same square we tried to avoid.it happens to all of us.infact we all find similar incidents in our lives too ,most people can relate to your writing well done SID keep the posts coming.:)
     
  8. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    ahmedsid, loved this article m8, thoroughly enjoyed reading it :D. May I make a few suggestions though:

    - Originality is priceless...it is an expression of the self- the temper of the soul manifested in art, and great ideas conceived without plagiarizing are ideas that are truly the makings of a great scriptwriter. Ofcourse, nothing is 100% original: we are ourselves evolutions of a single species after all, and a single idea engenders a multiplicity of others even while many others coalesce to form a single, coherent whole. Expose yourself to a variety of notions, but never bog down your originality and creativity to any single or amalgam of individual ones. Starting from scratch is much harder...but therein lies the challenge, and you will find solace in far greater satisfaction and the honing of your own creative capabilities with which the good Lord hath blessed you in abundance.

    - Make good partnerships. A writer is not his own manager, publicist, director, all. And ensure that those partnerships are underscored first and foremost by a professional understanding of mutual character, and even more importantly by trust. Underwrite all your scripts, and take both success and failure in stride. Enshrine all your dealings within the sacrosanctness of a contract, and do not be abashed if you have to claim your rightful share- your work is your intellectual property, and you are as much entitled to the fruits of whatsoever endeavor it be put to as the next man. Do not be discouraged by instances of failure or rejection, for with every failure comes a learning experience of invaluable measure and proportions.

    - My last, and most sincere, piece of advice to you is to never compromise your standards of judgment for the allure of profit. A quick buck is always there to be made, but a writer of worthy scruples is as a diamond in a coal heap.

    P.S: If you haven't already, I suggest you read the excellent title "Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver. The ideas and literary techniques you will gain from this book are such as of an inordinate measure. This is one lady who truly knows how to write.

    Good luck in all your endeavors :)
    Rage
     
  9. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    Rage, I thank you for your honest and awesome reply! I will surely read the book you suggested asap! God Speed.
     
  10. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    The pleasure is all mine :)

    Keep posting mate :co:
     
  11. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    Robert Fisk: So, I asked the UN secretary general, isn't it time?

    Mr Ban said it would not be up to him to launch a war crimes tribunal. It was pathetic

    Monday, 19 January 2009
    BY- ROBERT FISK

    It's a wrap, a doddle, an Israeli ceasefire just in time for Barack Obama to have a squeaky-clean inauguration with all the world looking at the streets of Washington rather than the rubble of Gaza. Condi and Ms Livni thought their new arms-monitoring agreement – reached without a single Arab being involved – would work. Ban Ki-moon welcomed the unilateral truce. The great and the good gathered for a Sharm el-Sheikh summit. Only Hamas itself was not consulted. Which led, of course, to a few wrinkles in the plan. First, before declaring its own ceasefire, Hamas fired off more rockets at Israel, proving that Israel's primary war aim – to stop the missiles – had failed. Then Cairo shrugged off the deal because no one was going to set up electronic surveillance equipment on Egyptian soil. And not one European leader travelling to the region suggested the survivors might be helped if Israel, the EU and the US ended the food and fuel siege of Gaza.

    After killing hundreds of women and children, Israel was the good guy again, by declaring a unilateral ceasefire that Hamas was certain to break. But Obama will be smiling on Tuesday. Was not this the reason, after all, why Israel suddenly wanted a truce?

    Egypt's objections may be theatre – the US spent £18m last year training Egyptian security men to stop arms smuggling into Gaza and since the US bails out Egypt's economy, ignores the corruption of its regime and goes on backing Hosni Mubarak, there's sure to be a "compromise" very soon.

    And Hamas has had its claws cut. Israel's informers in Gaza handed over the locations of its homes and hideouts and the government of Gaza must be wondering if they can ever close down the spy rings. Hamas thought its militia was the Hizbollah – a serious error – and that the world would eventually come to its aid. The world (although not its pompous leaders) felt enormous pity for the Palestinians, but not for the cynical men of Hamas who staged a coup in Gaza in 2007 which killed 151 Palestinians. As usual, the European statesmen appeared hopelessly out of touch with what their own electorates thought.

    And history was quite forgotten. The Hamas rockets were the result of the food and fuel siege; Israel broke Hamas's own truce on 4 and 17 November. Forgotten is the fact Hamas won the 2006 elections, although Israel has killed a clutch of the victors.

    And there'll be little time for the peacemakers of Sharm el-Sheikh to reflect on the three UN schools targeted by the Israelis and the slaughter of the civilians inside. Poor old Ban Ki-moon. He tried to make his voice heard just before the ceasefire, saying Israel's troops had acted "outrageously" and should be "punished" for the third school killing. Some hope. At a Beirut press conference, he admitted he had failed to get a call through to Israel's Foreign Minister to complain.

    It was pathetic. When I asked Mr Ban if he would consider a UN war crimes tribunal in Gaza, he said this would not be for him to "determine". But only a few journalists bothered to listen to him and his officials were quickly folding up the UN flag on the table. About time too. Bring back the League of Nations. All is forgiven.

    What no one noticed yesterday – not the Arabs nor the Israelis nor the portentous men from Europe – was that the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting last night was opening on the 90th anniversary – to the day – of the opening of the 1919 Paris peace conference which created the modern Middle East. One of its main topics was "the borders of Palestine". There followed the Versailles Treaty. And we know what happened then. The rest really is history. Bring on the ghosts.
     
  12. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    My Life as a Dyslexic Child!

    My Life as a Dyslexic Child!
    By- ME
    Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 3:07am


    Driving through the empty city streets, some non sequential memories flashed in as I drove by my School. Yes a certain part of my life flashed by In a second. I thought I will write it down here and let it out. Not to let everyone know, But to let myself know, To let myself know How I progressed, How I succeeded against some heavy set odds.

    I used to envy the High Achievers always, they with their Perfectly clean Notebooks, Their perfect Grades, Always on time HomeWork Submission and lots of other Perfect Achievements.

    I am the Youngest in my Family, and Thereby the Most Pampered. My Mom (The best Mom in all the Solar Systems), Well My Mom didn't want to send me to Kindergarten, She decided that she will teach me Alphabets, Numerals, Additions etc and then Get me Admitted into 1st grade. So I was admitted into 1st grade when I was like 7, even though I Failed the admission test! The Kind Teacher In Charge didnt want to waste a year of my life by making me sit in KG, so she admitted me (I remember her name vaguely, some Philips or something).

    In 1st grade the Nightmare started, I dont remember much, but what I remember are not Good memories. I remember all the Students speaking English and all I couldnt understand a word properly. Even though I knew the Alphabets, little did my mom know that 1st Grade would be so Advanced!!!
    I was the weakest guy in the class. The teachers mocked me and thought I was just playing stupid Or I was just Lazy.

    I would always write F, S, E etc in their mirror images. I had a hard time getting to write properly. I used write even 7 like this. I used to score 0 in most of the Tests. I still remember the teacher drawing a SAD FACE :( In the Zero I get and sign under It. I used to feel sad and Helpless. Why couldnt I write, get good marks like Sonam, or ( I dont remember names as such, but I remember this HOT GIRL SONAM, HOT WIT BRAINS!!!). Why cant I talk English fluently like them??

    When I bring home these marks, I never used to get Scolded. My Big Brother used to tease me, My Sister used to tell me to write more and learn, My Dad didn't say pretty much anything and My mom, well she had Faith in me, that much I remember. My sister and Mom used to make teach me, sitting with me, But I used to pre-occupied with other thoughts in my Mind!

    I failed Grade 1, But since there was Universal Promotions Policy till Grade 3 In my School, I didnt stay Back!!!! (Otherwise I would still be stuck there people!!!!). In grade 2, I Improved leaps and Bounds, I dont remember how, but I could now talk English better, Write better (Handwriting Sucked Big Time, Still Does!!) Maths was my Achilles heel, I used to Only Pass it in the Final Exams!!!!

    I reached Grade XI without much hitches, and then I chanced upon this Book called "BUSHISMS". This book was a collection of Mistakes Made by George Bush Jr when he used to Deliver Speeches etc. The Writer Concluded that Bush Junior, Suffers from DYSLEXIA even now. While reading the book, I saw many of the mistakes I used to make. Hell I am Like GEORGE BUSH!!!! What next?? Osama Bin Ladens Character Traits??? Sheesh I freaked out, I read up a lot about DYSLEXIA and finally concluded I suffered from DYSLEXIA. Even though my Parents didnt know of it back then (Now they do thanks to TAARE ZAMEEN PAR) they helped me. I am sure they thought I was lazy and will overcome my laziness. I was not Lazy, I was DYSLEXIC. And One more CLARIFICATION: AMOLE GUPTE, DON'T WORRY I WONT SUE YOU SAYING YOU STOLE MY STORY, ACTUALLY YOU STOLE THE STORY OF MILLIONS OF KIDS, JOKES APART, YOU ARE GREAT!!!

    By this time, Writing, didnt bother me. I overcame my disability in writing (Maybe all the reading helped!). But I was left One serious Problem. I cannot Learn routes!!! I still cant, I cant remember the way to ANYWHERE!!! Even if i got in the same route a thousand times, I cant remember. I remember Einstein having the same Problem, He used to always forget his Way. Roads confuse me, and I used to be scared of getting lost. I still havent Overcome it, I still loose my way atleast Twice daily, But I try to Overcome it, I try to Master my fear of loosing my way. I ride around aimlessly, Until I can remember each route. Its hard But I finally get it. (My midnight Drives got nothing to do with it, I only go to places I know at night, Otherwise, God Knows!!!). For eg: I learn the route to the nearest McDonalds, I go the same way atleast 20 times and I remember it, But the problem is that I will forget it, If I dont go there for 2 weeks!!! then its back to Square One.

    I will OVERCOME the Final Frontier, I am sure One day, I will be able to wander aimlessly without the fear of loosing my way ( I wander Aimlessly now a days, on clearly charted out routes!!! Thats the limit to my aimlessness.)

    I always say this to myself: I OVERCAME SOMETHING GEORGE BUSH JUNIOR COULDN'T, I AM BETTER THAN THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, SO I GOT TO BE BETTER THAN YOU!!!!!! Yes I keep saying this to myself so that I can Succeed. I am sure my First Grade teacher never thought I will write like this One day, She Never dreamed that I would Write Movies One day, I am sure about it. She wrote me off, I like being WRITTEN OFF, so that I can come back With a BANG! Not everything in this world Is Possible, But there are somethings which are Possible, So list them out, SUCCEED because SUCCESS IS ADDICTIVE, SUCCESS IS SUCCESS!!!
     
  13. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    Robert Fisk's World: A region boiling with tales of kings, gangs

    This is Eminent Journalist Robert Fisk's article, I liked it and think it is a good read.


    Two groups from Moscow fought it out with Kalashnikovs amid Dubai's architectural masterpieces

    I call it the back of the book, the ream of reports and stories that pile up in my reporters' notes which cannot be used; because the sourcing isn't quite good enough for every detail or because there simply isn't enough information to make it long enough to get into the paper. It's an enraging situation since the "back of the book" often turns out to be true – usually bursting into the papers when I'm on holiday or flying back to Beirut from Los Angeles, or, most awful of all, when I'm marching into The Independent office in London for a rare visit.

    This is one reason why journalists are often more interesting to talk to than to read. The other reason is that American reporters are so fearful of being criticised by Israel that their work is bland to the point of incomprehension; if you want to know what The New York Times or The Washington Post knows, you've got to talk to one of their correspondents. But I'm tired of these conventions. When I hear something in Dubai, then I hear it again in Qatar and then, a week later, over lunch in Beirut – and then on the phone from a friend who's just returned from a holiday in Casablanca – you, the reader, should hear the same.

    So here goes. The Middle East is currently boiling with rumours about the state of the monarchy in Morocco. Where is King Mohammed V!? In Qatar, they say he has spent two months' holidays in the Far East (Thailand is the favourite) and this would account for his absence at President Sarkozy's Bastille Day bash last month. The King, it is said in Dubai, simply doesn't want to be king any more – I always thought kings liked being kings, but no matter – and that he wants his brother to take the throne. And I suppose we shall never prove that £4bn have left a Moroccan account for Europe...

    Let's go to the Gulf for a while. Dubai is, as we all know, busy producing the largest, tallest, smallest, deepest buildings in the world. The highest one, however, appears to be a favourite haunt of the Russian mafia and, earlier this year – so Dubai's Indian expatriate community insists – two rival gangs from Moscow fought it out with pistols and Kalashnikovs amid the towering architectural masterpieces. The police had to storm this most famous of all the Gulf's pearls in order to end the battle. Or that's what they say.

    Oh yes, and then there's the little matter of the new railway line from Dubai city centre, aimed to terminate – for now, at least – at the emirate's new international airport. There's a problem, however. Engineers in Dubai have apparently noticed that the carriages on the largely overhead track will be so narrow that passengers will not be able to carry baggage on them.

    To Beirut now, and the almost totally unreported – and totally unexpected – arrival in the city of General David Petraeus, the US commander who has turned anarchic Iraq into a tourist paradise with just one surge and a lot of walls (or "fences" as we would have to call them if they were built in Israel). Petraeus saw Lebanon's new President, Michel Sleiman, and the acting commander of Lebanon's army, General Shawki el-Masri, with whom he discussed how to "strengthen the army's defensive capabilities, training and logistics". Petraeus, the most popular general in American journalism, is to take charge of US central command, which will give him overall command of the Middle East, but you might have thought Lebanon was some way down his list of priorities.

    Not so. For when you remember that the Lebanese army fought one of al-Qa'ida's satellite groups, Fatah al-Islam, for months last year – last week's bomb in Tripoli that killed nine Lebanese soldiers might have been the group's revenge – Petraeus has good reason to turn up in Beirut. Many of the suicide bombers who have assaulted Petraeus's men in Iraq started their journey from the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon whose perimeters are guarded by Lebanese troops. Since 2006, the US has given about £170m in military assistance to Lebanon – Israel, of course, gets £1.5bn year – which includes Humvees, ammunition and lots of new blue police cars.

    And there's just one more thing. Less than a week after Petraeus's visit, Sleiman was to pay his first presidential visit to Damascus, Did the American general perhaps have a few requests to make of President Bashar al-Assad via Sleiman? A word of thanks, perhaps, for improving security along Syria's border with Iraq? A plea for a little more help in restraining the insurgents, perhaps even paving the way for good relations with the next US president? It will, obviously, take a bit longer before President Petraeus arrives in the White House...

    Yet still the Middle East debates whether Israel or the US will bomb Iran. Personally, I don't believe this will happen – but then again, that's what I told my friend Seymour Hersh before the Iraqi catastrophe, when he said we would invade and I said we wouldn't. Currently, he thinks an Iran attack is still on the cards. So, apparently, does the Emir of Qatar. He's generously handed the Americans yet more desert for their massive air base outside Doha, land that stretches away on the further side of the military installation. He's asked for the return of the side of the base closest to the capital. The reason? Well, if America bombs Iran, the Islamic republic's missiles are likely to come hissing towards US forces in Qatar. The Emir wants them exploding as far from Doha as possible.

    And we'll have to finish in America. I received a letter last week from an old friend whose son has just returned from military duties in Iraq. And he's been wandering the Pisgah mountains in the US with a group of schoolkids in an area where he noticed a lot of military training going on a year ago, and... Well, I'll let him tell you the story. "I had seen nothing more up there until this past week, when C-130s and C-17s suddenly were making low runs through the high mountain valleys. There were also military helicopters around. It may mean nothing, but it may indicate something for the future. I am enclosing some photos of the area to give you an idea of what it is like. Perhaps it reminds you of somewhere."

    And I looked carefully through my friend's snapshots of rocky mountainsides and thick forests. And, darn me if they didn't remind me of the Elborz mountain chain just outside Tehran.
     
  14. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Nice posts ahmed.
     
  15. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    Thanks Lethal, I basically will share the best of writing I have enjoyed reading over the years and Some of My Personal writings/notes which i wrote at times of great creative influx ;)
     
  16. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    Benedict will demean other religions to prove Christianity’s ‘superiority’

    Robert Fisk’s World: Examine the Pope's words, and there's only one thing to conclude

    By Robert Fisk

    So it's all the fault of the Pope's satraps. "Vatican advisers blamed for Pope's woes," I was informed by one headline. "A self-imposed cone (sic) of silence surrounds Benedict." And now poor old Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Benedict XVI, the solitary German who found himself manning an anti-aircraft gun at the end of the Second World War ("briefly" and "unwillingly", I know) has had some "harsh words" for his advisers because – according to the Vatican – he "had no idea of Bishop Williamson's views before lifting an excommunication order against him last month".

    Williamson, I should add, is the disgusting British-born prelate of the Society of Saint Pius X who has said that "not a single Jew died in a gas chamber" in the Second World War. This Cambridge-educated priest says he is prepared to "re-examine" the historical evidence of the Holocaust – but, needless to say, declines to visit Auschwitz. Unsurprisingly, the Vatican has rejected Williamson's mealy-mouthed apology to those who suffered "injustice" at Nazi hands.

    Now a lot of folk will go along with the line that the Holy Father is so stupid – so utterly out of touch with Planet Earth and all its Catholic children, so "cut off from the real world" (here I quote a Vatican "insider") – that he has no idea how disastrously his actions are received. Hmmm. Well, I wonder.

    For was this not the same Pope who actually visited Auschwitz and – to the understandable outrage of Jewish dignitaries who were present – blamed a Nazi "gang" for the Jewish Holocaust? Before this infallible pronouncement, an awful lot of people thought that the Nazi German nation was to blame for Auschwitz, but old Joseph apparently thought it was a mafia clique in Berlin that murdered six million European Jews. And – here we go again – was this not the same ex-Cardinal Ratzinger (anti-divorce, anti-gay and anti-aircraft, as I always remind myself) who delivered a lecture at Regensburg in 2006 in which he quoted from a Byzantine text which characterised the Prophet Mohamed as evil and inhuman?

    Chancellor Merkel, it was, who called up the old boy to point out that pardoning Williamson gave the impression that Holocaust denial was "permissible". The last time a German Chancellor took so serious an interest in the words of the Holy Father, of course, was more than 60 years earlier when A Hitler Esq profoundly hoped that Pope Pius XII would abide by Williamson's line on the Holocaust. That particular pope's silence is well expressed in the sinister black statue of His Holiness in St Peter's Basilica, a bespectacled cadaver that so shocked a Muslim friend of mine that she took 36 photos of the thing "because he looked so evil".

    Well, there you go. But I bring all this up today because of a remarkable article by Ralph Coury, professor of history at Fairfield University, Connecticut, which appeared in the latest issue of the Institute of Race Relations' journal Race and Class. The redoubtable professor has combed his way through Benedict's Regensburg peroration, in which the Holy Father quotes the 14th-century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus as telling a visitor to "show me just what Mohamed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and human". God, the good Paleologus told his interlocutor, "is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body".

    Coury's detailed critique of Benedict's mistakes – his apparent belief, for example, that there is a doctrine of jihad in the Koran – is compelling, but he has also unearthed some revealing interviews in which Ratzinger/Benedict reveals a lot more than he should have done about his own bias against Islam. "There is a very marked subordination of woman to man," he says of Islam in 1996. "There is a very tightly knit criminal law, indeed, a law regulating all areas of life, that is opposed to our modern ideas about society ... above all, Islam doesn't make any sort of concessions to enculturation (sic). Islam is Arab (sic), and anyone who becomes Islamic takes on this form of life."

    In Regensberg, Benedict went on to say that Christianity took on "its historically decisive character in Europe" despite "its origins and some significant developments (sic) in the East". These few significant "developments" presumably include a Jew called Jesus and his birthplace in Bethlehem - which is at least 1,000km from Rome – along with the misadventures of numerous disciples in the Middle East, until Saint Paul headed off to Macedonia and the whole shebang mercifully became a "Western" or "occidental" religion.

    Benedict's remarks on the theological significance of Israel on Roman Catholics have themselves been a little odd. "If it has significance for you, it must have significance for us," he told a Jewish leader before he was pope. "One would think that such a small people couldn't really be important," he said of the Jews in 1993. "But I believe there is something special about this people and that the great decisions of world history are almost always connected to them somehow." This is not very comforting.

    But Coury has also traced some very disturbing decisions by Benedict; his post-papal demotion, for example, of Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, his distancing himself from the pro-Palestinian Angelo Cardinal Sidaro, John XXIII's secretary of state and a friend of Michel Sabbah, the Palestinian Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem; not to mention Benedict's private audience (originally kept secret) with the increasingly weird Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci – whose crackpot statements included the assertion that "Islam breeds hatred" and that Muslims "breed like rats". The details of this extraordinary papal audience with the late Ms Fallaci have never (unsurprisingly) been disclosed.

    And what do I make of all this? Well, I don't think the Pope is as innocent as he seems, nor so ill-advised. He sees Christianity as a superior, "Western" religion and is prepared to demean other religions to prove it. I think he knows exactly what he is doing. I think he knows what he is saying. I used to think he was a silly old German. Now I am beginning to suspect he might be a very nasty piece of work.
     
  17. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    In search of the perfect leader

    In search of the perfect leader
    BY- PAULO COELHO

    A reader sends me a questionnaire in which he presents the profile of three world leaders who lived in the same period of history, and asks if it is possible to choose the best one using the following data:

    Candidate A was associated with witchdoctors and often consulted astrologists. He had two mistresses. His wife was a Lesbian. He smoked a lot. He drank eight to ten martinis a day.

    Candidate B never managed to hold down a job because of his arrogance. He slept the whole morning. He used opium at school, and was always considered a bad student. He drank a glass of brandy every morning.

    Candidate C was decorated a hero. A vegetarian, he did not smoke. His discipline was exemplary. He occasionally drank a beer. He stayed with the same woman during his moments of glory and defeat.

    And what was the answer?

    A] Franklin Delano Roosevelt. B] Winston Churchill. C] Adolf Hitler.

    So what then is leadership? The encyclopedia defines it as an individual’s capacity to motivate others to seek the same objective. The bookstores are full of texts on this theme, and the leaders are normally portrayed in brilliant colors, with enviable qualities and supreme ideals. The leader is to society as the “master” is to spirituality. This, however, is not absolutely true (in either case).

    Our big problem, especially in a world that is growing more and more fundamentalist, is not allowing people in prominent positions to commit human mistakes. We are always in search of the perfect ruler. We are always looking for a pastor to guide and help us find our way. The truth is that the great revolutions and the progress made by humanity were brought about by people just like us – the only difference being that they had the courage to make a key decision at a crucial moment.

    A long time ago, in my unconscious, I changed the word “leader” for the expression “warrior of light”. What is a warrior of light?

    Warriors of light keep the spark in their eyes.

    They are in the world, are part of other people’s lives, and began their journey without a rucksack and sandals. They are often cowards. They don’t always act right.

    Warriors of light suffer over useless things, have some petty attitudes, and at times feel they are incapable of growing. They frequently believe they are unworthy of any blessing or miracle.

    Warriors of light are not always sure what they are doing here. Often they stay up all night thinking that their lives have no meaning.

    Every warrior of light has felt the fear of joining in battle. Every warrior of light has once lost faith in the future.

    Every warrior of light has once trodden a path that was not his. Every warrior of light has once felt that he was not a warrior of light. Every warrior of light has once failed in his spiritual obligations.

    That is what makes him a warrior of light; because he has been through all this and has not lost the hope of becoming better than he was.

    That is why they are warriors of light. Because they make mistakes. Because they wonder. Because they look for a reason – and they will certainly find one.
     
  18. screwterrorists

    screwterrorists Founding Member

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    You had an article by Paulo Coelho.
    I suggest you read his The Alchemist. Amazing book that changed my perception on life forever and for the better.
    Its not long either.

    Btw, i definitely approve your choice in books. Dan Brown is my boyy.
     
  19. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    Bro, I got a Personalized copy of The Alchemist and all of other Paulo Coelho's works! I got Like a flowing river autographed too :), and Yes, Alchemist is a very good read. I got most of the articles written by Paulo Coelho over the years too :)

    I suggest you read, Outsider- By Colin Wilson. Dan Brown is my favorite masala writer ;)

    I really loved the White Tiger recently among Indian works, I like Chetan Bhagat too, even though I hated One Night at the Call center- The Movie was better I feel. His best work so far has been his latest I feel 3 Mistakes of My Life.

    If you can, get your hands on "Release 2.0- By Anil Goel" get it. The Author is a close friend of mine, and this is Indias First Techno Thriller and he shares some traits with Dan Brown. His Next Book, I am sure will take the world by storm. Its called "Exit Point" and It is revolutionary!

    http://www.amazon.com/Release-2-0-I...=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236205741&sr=1-2
     
  20. screwterrorists

    screwterrorists Founding Member

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    I see.
    Will definitely try to keep to your suggestions.
     
  21. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    The first cardinal virtue: Faith

    The first cardinal virtue: Faith
    BY- PAULO COELHO

    The sins come before the virtues. As a wise man said, he who has not sinned has no merit in his virtue – because he has not overcome any temptation. Most holy men of any religion generally lead a dissolute or apathetic life before they dedicate themselves to the spiritual quest.

    So, since the series on sins has come to an end, and following the logic of the path of Light, we shall dedicate the next columns to the seven cardinal virtues, beginning with Faith. They are derived from the sum of three theological virtues, plus another four based on Plato which were adapted by Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas (there are many divergences regarding the four complementary virtues, so I have decided to choose the more conventional list).

    According to the dictionary: from the Latin word fide: confidence; religious belief; conviction with regard to someone or something; firmness in fulfilling a commitment; credit; intention; theological virtue.

    According to Jesus Christ: The apostles said to the Lord, “Give us more faith.” And the Lord said: “If your faith is as big as a mustard seed, you could have said to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and planted in the sea,’ and it would have obeyed you!” (Luke, 17: 5-6)

    According to Buddhism: "We are what we think. Through thought we build and destroy the world.

    “We are what we think. Your imagination can do more harm than your worst enemy.

    “But once you control your thoughts, no-one can help you so much, not even your father or your mother." (Extract from Dhammapada, a collection of some of Buddha’s principal teachings)

    For Islam: "How do we purify the world?" asked a disciple.

    Ibn al-Husayn replied: "There was a sheik in Damascus called Abu Musa al-Qumasi. Everyone honored him for his wisdom, but no-one knew if he was a good man. One afternoon a flaw in construction caused the house where the sheik lived with his wife to fall down. In despair, the neighbors began to dig among the ruins. After a while they managed to locate the wife.

    "She said: ‘Leave me. First save my husband, who was sitting more or less over there.’ The neighbors removed the debris from the place she had pointed to and found the sheik, who said: ‘Leave me. First save my wife, who was lying down more or less over there.’

    "When someone acts like this couple, they are purifying the whole world through their faith in life and love."

    The faith of denying reality: “One year ago I gave a speech in an aircraft-carrier saying that we had succeeded in reaching an important objective, accomplishing a mission, which was to remove Saddam Hussein from power. As a result, there are no more torture chambers, no more mass graves.” (George W. Bush, 30 April 2004. In the same month, the world was to see the photos of torturing in the Abu Graib prison, and the collective executions of the civil war between Shiites and Sunites continue up to the moment I write this column).

    According to Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlava: A disciple sought out the rabbi and said: "I can’t manage to talk to God." "That often happens," replied Nachman. "We feel that our mouth is sealed, or that the words just don’t come out. However, the mere fact of making an effort to overcome this situation is in itself a beneficial attitude.”

    "But it isn’t enough."

    “You’re right. At such times, what you should do is look up at the sky and say: ‘Lord Almighty, I am so far from You that I can’t even believe my own voice.’ Because the truth is that the Lord always hears and answers. It is we who do not manage to talk, for fear that He will pay no attention to us."
     

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