Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sociolinguistics: Article review

A sociolinguistic Study of the Linguistic Taboos in the YemeniSociety” falls into the branch of sociolinguistics which is the descriptive study of language in relation to society. Sociolinguistics specially focuses on the structure of language and the way each society, with its different aspects from social classes and culture to gender and ethnicity, influences the type of linguistic structures we use when we address others with our speeches or discourses.
In her qualitative conceptual article, Nada Qanbar sought to investigate the categories of linguistic taboos in the Yemeni society, the factors affecting the use of taboos, and the mechanisms used by the Yemeni speakers to save what Brown and Levison (1987: 61) calls one’s “public self image”.
The article explored taboo words and expressions in the Yemeni society in terms of their religious and socio-cultural usage. The article typified these linguistic taboos into context-specific taboos and general taboos, both divided into two more categories. Each subcategory was defined, explained and laden with an array of examples extracted from real-life situations in the Yemeni society. Some of the examples depicted the kind of repressed patriarchal society where Yemeni women lived since calling their names or mentioning them in the presence of male individuals was taboo.
Nada Qanbar went on to shed light upon the socio-cultural, demographic and socio-economic factors that profoundly and diversely affected the use of the verbal taboos. She illustrated the mechanisms that could be employed by the Yemeni speakers to replace or minimize taboo words and expressions in order to eschew face threatening acts that result especially in the presence of a hearer with whom one did not have an intimate relationship.
The investigation ended with a brief comment on the study of the verbal taboos in the Jordanian society in comparison to that in the Yemeni society. Since both of the latter shared almost the same Arabic and Islamic cultural values, paramount similarities were detected in terms of verbal taboo categories and mechanisms for euphemism.
This paper made a contribution to my knowledge in Sociolinguistics and the sociology of language. It identified new insights into the Yemeni society in terms of linguistic taboos. It was built upon past research studies that were conducted in the Chinese, Jordanian, Ethiopian and American contexts, but never in the Yemeni one.
Not only was this article the “first ever” to examine linguistic taboos in the Yemeni perspective but also it probed the reasons that made certain words or expressions taboo at the first place, a point skipped by many researchers who chose to “just blame it on society without explaining why.”
The article was built upon the appropriate foundation. The author succeeded in answering the “what is a taboo” question when she displayed the answer in a brief paragraph starting with only two definitions instead of numerating different definitions and quoting many linguists. Then, she concluded it with a brief and neat definition of her own that served the reader to better understand the study. Many previously conducted studies were also addressed in the state of the art in an accurate manner. The literature review and theoretical background were detailed enough for other researchers to conduct the same study in different social contexts.
The reader did not need to have general background knowledge on the topic or topic area of this conceptual sociolinguistic study. The beauty about this sociolinguistic research study was manifested in the way it was delivered. It allowed the reader to understand the end result of the objectives set by the author, especially with the facts that there were no complicated concepts and the paper was loaded with examples.
Since the context of the study was an Arab society, readers who had knowledge of the Arabic language and Arab cultures in general would be one step ahead of those who hadn’t. However, the author succeeded in leapfrogging this drawback when she made detailed explanations of the concepts related to the Yemeni culture and translated all of the words in Arabic into English.
One point of controversy was deliberately overlooked by the author, a point that would answer the question of “what constitutes social taboos at the first place.” Tackling it would have established a holistic picture of the issue of linguistic taboos in the Yemeni society and paved the way for further studies in other cultural contexts.


Qanbar, N. (2011). A sociolinguistic Study of the Linguistic Taboos in the Yemeni Society. Modern Journal of Applied Linguistics, pp. 86-104

Public Administration and Society

Despite their different roles, politics, administration and society are intertwined concepts as they all participate in the implementation of policy and the exercise of political power and accountability within society with the help of civil society and public administration.
There is a complex triangular relationship between politics, administration and society. Politics and administration are both critical components of democratic governance as well as elements of the process of policy formulation and implementation. However, they do not both relate to society in the same way (Peters & Pierre, 2012). Society, along with its varying components from citizens and organizations to private businesses, interacts with politics and administration for the better implementation of laws that seek to realize the common good and interests of the people.
The civil society and public administration often cooperate with each other to deliver better public services to other citizens; such is the case in continental Europe. The civil society is the sum of non-governmental institutes and organizations which manifest the will and interests of the citizens. It has a significant impact on the mobilization of resources and the democratic path. It provides the government with different sources of ideas, legitimization and feedback (Peters & Pierre, 2000). It also participates in the stimulation of the different members of society and helps them have a hand in determining their futures, lives and fate.
The public administration has an ever-changing role (Bouckaert & Pollitt, 2003). The level of centralization of the bureaucracy and the government policy making now vary from one country to another. However, all in all, following the introduction of the concept of decentralization, less power is granted in the center in comparison to the past. Another concept that is being introduced and developed is that of leadership expertise and how essential it is to provide better services to the public in order to attain the economic self-sufficiency it needs for more independence in their future operations.
The less centralized and less hierarchical system of the public administration has helped in the development of the latter especially after the participation of the civil society in influencing the government during the policy implementation.  
Bouckaert, G. & Pollitt, C. (2003). Public Management Reform: A Comparative Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Peters, B.G. & Pierre, J. (2000). ‘Citizens Versus the New Public Manager: The Problem of Mutual Empowerment’, Administration and Society, pp. 9–28.

Peters, B.G. & Pierre, J. (2012). Introduction : The Role of  Public Administration in Governing. The Sage Book of Public Administration. 

How to Design a Personal Strategy for living? (Sample)

(PS: This is an imaginary personal strategy. Not mine!)
       I have reached a point in my life where I want to do and learn a lot of things, but there is so little time. That is when I felt the urge to make a yearly plan of the goings-on of my life. This will help me to clear things out, to understand who I am, who I want to be and what I want from this life. It will help me elucidate my goals and the needed strategies and steps to be done to reach those goals.
My Mission in Life
I want to change myself, the people around me and my community. I want to write books that will make a change in the lives of my potential readers.
My Vision
I will be myself and not a copy-cat of someone else. I will be intellectual, creative, active, sociable, friendly, loving, hopefully, inspiring and aspiring.
The Three Areas of my Plan
Physical aspect. Lately, I’ve been living an unhealthy life. I either eat out or order pizza. I eat a lot of junk food and I drink a lot of coke. I need to get rid of this health-damaging diet once and for all. Starting from this week, I am also going to start eating at home and cooking vegetables-based dishes and drink my morning fruits energy drinks.  I am also going to apply for a gym membership card. Practicing sports is very important for one’s body and mind. A healthy body means a healthy mind and a happy life.
Spiritual aspect. It is amazing how much contemplating can affect the way you perceive life and make you a happier person. I believe that going to the park on an early Sunday morning to take a walk while listening to some relaxing opera music will do the trick. I will also attend the Saturday yoga club to which my friends have been inviting me. It will help me clear my mind and cleanse my system from all the negative energy. 
Intellectual aspect. I will participate in the annual book challenge set on my favorite book site called I will challenge myself to read 50 books before the end of this year. I will look for a book club and join it. I will also save some money to buy more books. I love reading, and I believe that if I am ever going to take it seriously then I will need to invest both of my time and money in it. Besides, since writing is my number one passion, starting from tomorrow I am going to start writing my first book. I will commit myself into writing at least 300 words a day.
Emotional aspect. To make my dreams come true, I need to learn how to control all sorts of negative feelings towards myself as well as others. I need to transfer every negative and unhealthy feeling into something positive that will help me achieve more of myself. To do that, I will watch videos and read books and articles that will teach me more about feelings, energy and the metaphysical aspects of life and human relations.
Family members. The older one gets the more it gets harder to maintain a good and healthy relationship with your family members especially because of the existing generation gap. To avoid tension and miscommunication, I will spend every Sunday afternoon with my family and plan once-a-month cook-outs. During these meetings, I will try to better communicate with them by trying to listen thoroughly to what they say and improve my listening and communication skills in the process. If I cannot maintain a loving and healthy relationship with my parents and brothers now, then how am I ever going to have one with my spouse and kids? I need to be in control of my social life now!
Friends. I must not forget about my friends. My good friends are like a family to me. I intend to keep having a close relationship with them. I will squeeze them in my plans. I will ask them to join me in the gym. Instead of looking for a book club to join, I will create our own book club. I will also join them at the Saturday Yoga club. As for my best friend, I will invite her to the monthly cook-out I hold at my parents’ house.
I understand that for me to change myself to a better person and to improve my communication skills with others I need to be an active citizen and get involved in my community. Being engaged with the people of my community will help me build confidence and self-esteem, meet new people and enjoy my time. I need to help other people so that I will be able to help myself. I feel really blissful and satisfied when I make someone happy thanks to the good deeds I do for them. It makes me feel less selfish and egocentric. Since I am a bit short on money and I cannot do any charitable giving, I will do some volunteer work by serving food to the homeless at a nearby homeless shelter at least once a month.

          During the week, I am going to be busy with my studies. During week-ends, I will commit myself to this plan which will help me achieve a better version of myself, bond with family and friends and help the different members of my community.

Ciminelli, P., & May, C. (2008). Developing your personal Strategic Plan. Retrieved from:

Rogers, R. How to Design a Personal Strategy for living [PDF document]. Retrieved from:

Leadership Challenges in the Public Sector of the 21st Century

Leaders of the Past 

Today’s leaders of the public sector are facing a number of challenges which are keeping them from establishing their goals in the friendly environment they first expected to be working in. However, some of these challenges are the cause of the people who are being mistaken for leaders. Other challenges exist due to the fact that the public sector is not yet ready for leadership.
The public sector needs to improve its services in order to attain the economic self-sufficiency it needs for more independence in their future operations. Hence, there is a growing demand for the implementation of the concept of leadership in the system of ideologies of the public organizations. Leaders- and not managers- are said to be the only ones who are capable of carrying out the task of delivering better services to the public. However, the leaders of the public organizations “are often selected for their technical expertise, and they lack preparation for leadership” Morse & Buss (2009). The same public organizations often end up with having managers leading their teams instead of leaders. That is why, according to Kotter, organizations failed to create the needed change because they were “trying to manage change instead of leading it” (cited in Suganya, 2012). Furthermore, according to a research study aiming to identify the “Best leadership practices in Public sector organizations in Western Europe”, public organizations are being challenged to boost their performance and competence, and amend their attitudes towards leadership.
Leadership expertise and technical expertise are two different things. However, they are both fundamental in order to create competent and high-performing public-sector organizations. An effective leader needs to have both. Beside the technical knowledge that a person receives from formal education, one needs practice and experience to have what it takes to become a leader. An effective leader needs to “create positive organizational cultures, strengthen motivation, clarify mission and organizational objectives, and steer organizations to more productive and high performing outcomes” (Suganya, 2012). Thereupon, government leadership concerns about evolving take into account “creative thinking, collaboration, cross-organizational team building and leading for results” (Suganya, 2012).
For a leader to accomplish his/her goals and objectives, s/he needs to be in control of the entourage and environment. The environmental and cultural structures of the public sector does not often promote for the concept of leadership. On the contrary, it constrains leaders and prevents them from developing true and effective leadership and eventually meeting the ultimate goals of improving the services provided by the public sector. It is a challenging quest to “cultivate a performance management culture” and to know how to manage a situation where the environment is “hostile” and “ever-changing”. It is also necessary to be knowledgeable of and keep oneself up-to-date with the latest advances in information technology and make use of the latter in order to keep up with the “increased demands for quality service” and “sustainable development”. What is even more challenging, especially in developing countries, is the fact that leaders need to deal with “increased poverty, low performing employees, corruption and an acute shortage of financial, material and human resources” (Suganya, 2012). That is why an effective leader needs to anticipate both the benefits and downsides which the team will encounter during the execution of a task, project or operation. S/he needs to cope him/herself with the market demands and global economic shifts and be ready for all types of sudden events.
The leader of the 21st century is being challenged to work in a tricky environment, which is the public sector, where the managers and employees are not yet fully ready to completely embrace the concept of leadership. In order to reach their goals, leaders are yet to leapfrog a number of challenges to prove themselves worthy of the title. 

Bozeman, B., & Rainey, H. (2000). Comparing Public and Private Organizations: Empirical Research and the Power of a Priori. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory: J-PART. Vol. 10, No. 2, Tenth Anniversary Issue, pp. 447-469.
Morse, Ricardo S. and Terry E. Buss, Eds. Innovations in Public Sector Leadership.
Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2009.

Suganya. G., (2012). Strategies and Challenges in Quality Leadership in the Public Sector. International Journal of Business Intelligence. Vol 01, Issue 02. P 57-60. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

كم تمنيت

كم تمنيت لو لم التقي بك. لكنت شخصيةً خياليةً تلهمني في وحدتي و اقتلها بقلمي في إحدى كتاباتي. لكان سهلاً علي تعذيبك أو معاقبتك. اه! صدقني كنت سأستمتع برؤيتك تصرخ من شدة الألم.. الألم الذي ستتسبب فيه روحك التي سأجعلها تمشي على صراط حبي المستقيم. و ستترجاني حتى أعفو عنك. و لن أفعل. فأنا لا اغفر لمن يكفر بحبي. أنا لا اغفر لمن يشرك بي.

Friday, December 5, 2014

ماهي السعادة

الجميع يبحث عن السعادة. تريد أن تعثر على أصدقاء يفكرون مثلك حتى لا تتجادلوا و تسعد. تريد الحصول على شهادة لترتاح و تسعد. تريد إيجاد عمل قار حتى تتحصل على المال و تسعد. تريد الزواج حتى تستقر و تسعد. تريد إنجاب أطفال حتى تضمن عدم العيش وحيداً في الكبر و تسعد. ما بالكم تخافون الشقاء و التعب و الإفلاس و الجدال و عدم الإستقرار؟ بإمكان كل هذه الأشياء القاتمة أن تجلب لكم السعادة تماماً مثل الإستقرار و المال و الراحة و ربما أكثر بشرط أن تتقن و تتفنن توظيفهم. بإمكانك أن تكون أكثر الناس شقاءً و تعباً و في نفس الوقت أكثرهم سعادةً. بإمكانك أن تشهد على لحظة موت كريستين دابيه في حضن حبيبها المشوه و تبكي و أنت في نفس الوقت سعيد. بإمكانك أن تتخيل لحظة موت كريس مكاندلس في مكان آني و السم يقطع أحشاءه و قلبك ينبض بشدة خوفاً عليه من الموت و أنت تعلم أنه مات و لن يعود و روحه لن تسكن ذلك الجسد مرة أخرى و مع ذلك تبكي و لكن في نفس الوقت تسعد.
و لما أحزن و موتهم قبل شفاه انسانيتي و أيقظها بعد 100 سنة من النوم.
لهذا السبب اتفادي المفهوم النمطي للسعادة. فالسعادة تكمن في الإبتعاد عن القطيع و إيجاد تعريفٍ للسعادة خاص بك وحدك. أينما وجدت الأقلية أينما كان العيش أفضل. أكثر الشعوب توحيداً غير قادرة على تقبل بعضها البعض. فلنجرب الإختلاف لمرة. يمكن هكذا عوض أن نحاول أن نتقبل الآخر نصبح نحب الآخر لاختلافه. إن أحببتك يوماً فاعلم أنك مختلف و إن توقفت عن حبك فاعلم أنك أصبحت مثلهم.

حواء آلهة أفعى شجرة المعرفة

عندما يطلب الشاب شفقة الفتاة بطريقة شيطانية غير مباشرة فجأةً يصبح الشاب فاتن و تحس الفتاة بكل مشاعر الأمومة تجاهه و تنصب نفسها أماً بديلةً له.
و عندما تطلب الفتاة شفقة الشاب بطريقة حواء آلهة أفعى شجرة المعرفة تصبح هي فاتنة و يحس الشاب بكل مشاعر الأبوة و ينصب نفسه سنداً لها. 
و الآن يكفينا من "الحياة الوردية" ولنعد إلى أرض الواقع أيها الأبله. 
عندما تطلب الفتاة شفقة الشاب بطريقة حواء آلهة أفعى شجرة المعرفة تصبح هي "عاهرة" مثيرة للشفقة و فقط.

و كما يقول صديقي افيخاي أدرعي جمعة مباركة.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

و ما الجمال إلا في قبحهم

لا يستهويني المعنى النموذجي للجمال بقدر ما يستهويني القبح. في القبح جمال لا يستطيع رؤيته أغلب البشر. في عيني أوديب و هما يبكيان دماً بعد أن فقعهما. في جسد ايمي واينهاوس و هو يهتز بفعل النشوة القاتلة. في شفاه كريس مكاندلس و هو على فراش الموت يتلو شهادة الحياة "السعادة لا تكون حقيقية إلا عندما نتشاركها مع من نحب". في وجه إريك شبح الأوبرا المشوه و قلبه الولهان بحب كريستين دابيه. في جسد آنا كارينينا و هو يدهس تحت القطار بعد أن تخلى عنها حبيبها و نبذها المجتمع و حرمها زوجها من رؤية ابنها. لا شيء أجمل من تقبيل آثار جرح على صدر جندي قدم روحه فداءً لوطن خانه و لا زال يخونه. أو تقبيل أنف عمر الدامي عندما عنفه جندي صهيوني بعد أن صعد الجدار الفاصل بفلسطين ليرى حبيبته. أو تقبيل عينيه و هو يبكي حتى أتذوق عذوبة دموعٍ انهمرت من أجل حبٍ يائس و وطن. عمر يا عمر! أيتها الشخصية الخيالية لقد استوطنت قلبي و عقلي. إرحل فلا مكان لك في قلبٍ بهذا القبح.

"أيها المجتمع! أيها النسل المجنون!"

By Rachel Baran

أريد الهروب إلى اللاشي، اللاشعور، اللاتفكير. لا أريد شيئاً من هذه الحياة في هذه اللحظة غير اللاشيء. لا أريد عقلاً يفكر و لا قلباً ينبض. أريد أن أنام نوماً عميقاً لا أحلام فيه و لا كوابيس. أريد أن أنام طيلة 100 عام مثل الأميرة النائمة و لكن لا أريد من فارس أن ينقذني و يعيدني إلى الحياة.
أريد الرجوع إلى هذا العالم حين تصبح تلك النفس التي تسكن هذا الجسد جاهزة للقتال مرة أخرى.
عالمكم يرهقني، يمتص مني روحي يوماً بعد يوم. "أيها المجتمع! أيها النسل المجنون!" هذا يكفي! لم أعد قادرة على تحمل هرائك بعد اليوم! 

‫أيام قرطاج السينمائية‬: فيلم "عمر"

"عمر".. فيلم رائع تم إنتاجه في فلسطين. شخصياته الرئيسية عمر و نادية يعيشان قصة حب لا تخلو من الدراما و النضال من أجل الحرية. قصة الحب الوحيدة التي كانت واقعية و لم تثر اشمئزازي في نفس الوقت. عيناك يا نادية و ولائك للوطن يا عمر استوطنا قلبي. قصة حب بعثت فيّ مشاعر أنا إلى هذه اللحظة غير قادرة على فهمها. الحب إذا لم يغلبه الألم و المرارة و الشوق إلى الوصال ليس بحب. بعيداً عن بذاءة أنصاف عشاق القرن ال21.