Egypt: Old and New

As Rudyard Kipling described about his travels, “Going up the Nile is like running the gauntlet before Eternity. Till one has seen it, one does not realize the amazing thinness of that little damp trickle of life that steals along undefeated through the jaws of established death…” The Nile River Basin hints at the key of any civilization: water…

How watching the U.S. Election in Jordan cultivated GRATITUDE: A tale of castles and smiles

The world didn’t have Facebook to trigger virtual solidarity on 9/11, but on 11/9 an air of mourning reverberations engulfed my newsfeed. I had survived 7+ nonstop hours of watching CNN and munching on maamoul with 15 pro-Hillary and/or anti-Trump-ists agog to see the status quo upheld or at least the exacerbation of social strife obviated. I witnessed an epic decrescendo of hope and energy emanating from the stunned faces of my party guests as their glazed eyes stared into oblivion and despondency—as if they were listening to Ravel’s Bolero in reverse—and the supposed-to-be celebratory cheesecake hid unfulfilled in the freezer hours after everyone departed. At 8 a.m. I finally gave in and took a power-nap before heading to class. When I awoke, a glimmer of hope bounced through my mind trying to convince me that it was all a dream...

Chants, Cephalopods and Citadels: The etymological bridges to Amman

A common thread that binds together hearts among disparate groups of Jews, Christians and Muslims is an assenting Amen. Whether reciting the Sūrat al-Fātiḥah in Islamabad’s contemporary Faisal Mosque, shouting praises in unison with 16,000 stalwart congregants in Houston’s mega Lakewood Church, or chanting a kaddish prayer in Budapest’s neo-moorish Dohány Street Synagogue on Yom Kippur: we humans often discover comfort, confidence and closure via our universal dual-syllabic expression of pious harmony...

Welcome to Amman!

After successively watching 4 in-flight videos, I suddenly found myself roaming a bustling terminal in Charles de Gaulle and pondered heading to downtown Paris to burn some layover heures: maybe indulge in pain au chocolate for brunch and discreetly do some people watching at the pont des arts where lovers lock away their secrets and dispose of the keys in the Seine...