Friday, February 20, 2015

An inbox message that touched my heart

I am quite touched by this inbox message I received from a young lady residing in Durban.
"Salaams Sis , I was looking at your pics , awesome , breath-taking , your holiday pics . you know you very very blessed . Some ppl only go to places like that in their dreams . While many of us just try to get by and eke a living , to many, a visit to the corner store to buy a few goodies is a dream to cherish , usually once a month . How I wish I could see the beautiful places you visit , how I wish I could feel and taste the foreign air that you breathe on your magnificent holidays .... Of all the places I wish to visit , what my heart longs and yearns for, is to visit the Roza Mubarak of Our Beloved Nabi (saw) . If I should be so lucky . You truly blessed . Just wanted to share ....listen to you , love your Arab News , take care , Salaams"
To the poster, firstly thank you so much for the kind words and I am glad that you do enjoy the Arab news segment on Radio Al-Ansaar. It definitely encourages me to put together an entertaining news bulletin for all the listeners out there. However, I do sense some negativity in your inbox message or perhaps an underlying sadness. My pictures may portray a fun life of travels and exploration but no one will ever know how difficult it was to reach this point in my life. Nothing in life comes easy and I was definitely not brought up with a silver spoon in my mouth. We grew up in a small council home. In fact the house was so small that it was one step to the bathroom, another step to the toilet, one more step to the kitchen and so forth. But we were happy and content. Contrary to what most people think, I went to a normal government school and did a lot of extra work and tuition at home. We only had one car that dad used to go to work and hence mom did a lot of walking. When mom eventually got a car it was an old rickety vehicle a Peugeot 504. I still remember the number plate lol GTG451T. Whilst many of the suburban women and kids would mock at the vehicle, it never really bothered us in the least. We were grateful that we didn't have to walk any more. We had a car to take us from point A to point B. As a young child I had dreams of being in the medical field and traveling the world interacting with people who were different from me and of course learning about other cultures, customs and traditions. I recall one day whilst driving home from my nani's house with my folks, I was browsing through a newspaper in the car. I was paging through the travel section in the newspaper and I seen pictures of Mauritius. In my mind I said, insha Allah one day I will go there too. Believe it or not I landed up going not once but twice. Everyone in life is born with a different life story and destiny.Each one of us has our own purpose on earth that we need to fulfill. We all come to this world empty handed and it is up to us to fill up the pages of our life story. Whether you brought up in a poor home or a rich home, whether you reside in a rich suburb or an informal settlement our life story is completely dependent on us. There should be no room in your life for negativity. Words such as impossible or "I can't" should never ever cross your mind. Alhamdulilla I do feel blessed and I am really grateful for everything the Almighty has bestowed me with. I never ever thought in my wildest dreams that one day I will have a successful career and travel the world. A lot of my success I credit to my family, my parents especially and of course my grand parents and moms sisters who were always there to support me through my studies. Success in life my dear starts off with a dream and it is up to us to make that dream a reality. There is no short cuts to being successful. It always comes with hard work and perseverance. May Allah fulfill all your dreams and grant you success in both worlds!! Ameen.....

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rey's delicious chicken kalya recipe

                                            1. Cut up one fresh chicken and place in pot

                                    2. Have your spice container close to you ( masala dabbo :) )

                                          3. Add 2 whole green chillies to the chicken

                                           4. Add 2 teaspoons ginger garlic masala to the chicken

                                           5. Add 4-5 teaspoons of fresh red chillies (If you
                                            do not have fresh red chillies, normal chilli powder
                                            will suffice)

                                            6. Add 2 teaspoons garam masala

                                            7. Add 2 teaspoons salt

                                            8. Add 3 taj (cinnamon sticks), 3 lavang (cloves), 
                                            3 elachi (cardamon) and 3 whole peppers

                                            9. Add 1 teaspoon jeeroo (cumin seeds)

                                            10. Add 2 teaspoons aradh (turmeric)

                                            11. Add a half a cup fried onions (now readily available at 

                                            12. Add 1/2 teaspoon saffron

                                            13. Add a half a cup of inkomasi sour milk

                                            14. Blend two large tomatoes

                                            15. Add to the chicken 

                                            16. Add 3 tablespoons ghee

                                            17. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly

                                            18. Add 1 cup of water to the chicken and cook on
                                            medium heat until done. If more water is required
                                            for cooking you may add.                                  

                                          19. Cut up potatoes and fry until soft. In a pot boil 4 eggs

                                        20. Once the chicken is cooked add the fried potatoes
                                               and boiled eggs to it.
                                              Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with hot rotis. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Doc Jazz- A Palestinian surgeon with a passion for music

A Saudi friend of mine sent me a music clip by the Palestinian artist Doc Jazz. I honestly liked what I heard and was curious about the artist himself in terms of his life story. He has used music to convey his message about the the plight of his nation and through his music he has united thousands of people across the globe who share the same sentiments as him with regards to the Palestinian people. He has a Facebook following of almost 80 000 people and hence is an international icon. Music knows no boundaries. It transcends way beyond race, colour, creed, status or religion. Thanks to the internet and social media networking sites, I managed to get in touch with Doc Jazz and I am quite thankful not only for his prompt response to my messages but also for giving me the opportunity to interview him. Read on to find out more in his own words.
1. Firstly, thank you so much for taking time out to be interviewed by me on such short notice. How did the stage name of Doc Jazz come about?

It’s my pleasure, thank you for your interest in interviewing me. When I was a medical student, doing my internships, my colleagues nicknamed me ‘Doctor Jazz’ because I would bring my guitar along to our social gatherings and liven them up a little with some nice popular songs that everyone could sing along with. When I started releasing my own music on the internet a few years later, I needed a stage name, and remembered ‘Doctor Jazz’. I later shortened it to ‘Doc Jazz’, and I have kept it that way ever since. 

2. Tell me a little more about your family background and life from childhood until present? What was it like for you as a child growing up in Palestine?

I did n’t grow up in Palestine, but in the Netherlands. It was quite a challenge to defend my Palestinian identity and heritage in a country where people are so widely and deeply brainwashed into supporting Zionism. ‘Where are you from originally?’ was always one of the very first questions asked in any new encounter, and the answer “Palestine” was rarely ever received neutrally, and almost never positively. If anything, this preposterous and astonishingly widespread attitude served to increase my adherence to and interest in my Palestinian background. It has strengthened my spirit and my personality. Fortunately, I don’t live in the Netherlands anymore, but have moved to the United Arab Emirates six years ago, which has resulted in a significant improvement for me in terms of quality of life. 

As you probably know, the majority of Palestinians in the world are the descendants of those who were forced out of Palestine by the Zionist invaders. From an early age on in my life, we did visit Palestine very often though, as tourists in our own country, never allowed to settle in my grandfather’s house. Getting to visit our land became a bit easier when we acquired Dutch citizenship, but I am still not allowed by the occupier to have residency in Palestine. Nevertheless, my Palestinian identity has always been very dear to me and continues to play an essential role in my life. Palestine is home, and irreplaceable to me as such. It’s the only place in the world where I am not a ‘foreigner’. I am fluent in our Palestinian dialect, which is the language of my heart and soul, and despite having grown up in exile, I am deeply immersed in and familiar with all aspects of Palestinian culture. When I am in Palestine, people rarely identify me as one who grew up on foreign soil.

3. Do you belong to a musically inclined family?

Among my closest relatives, there are n’t so many who are very involved in music. My father is a retired university professor of social sciences, my mother is a medical doctor, as are many of my other relatives, so many that I would rather say I belong to a medically inclined family. However, my paternal grandmother, may God rest her soul, came from a very musical family from ‘Arrabeh, a village in the vicinity of Jenin. It could very well be that I picked up a few musical genes from that side. I learned a lot about Palestinian culture from my grandmother, who was delighted to see me picking up traditional Arabic instruments such as the shibbabeh (Palestinian flute), the Oud (Arabic lute) and the Middle Eastern handdrum, the darbuka. 

4. What has been your most memorable performance thus far?

My most memorable performance ever was when I performed in Palestine at Al Quds University in Abu Dis, Jerusalem, in 2009. I felt a really strong connection with the students, and the warmth with which they received me and my music is something I will never forget. It was a true homecoming. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a great feeling on stage at any other moment in my life. I don’t perform very often, so I sometimes wonder if this amazing experience will ever be matched.

5. If you could be granted one wish and have any skill or talent in the world, what would it be?

Interesting question, since I rarely think in such terms. If I feel like doing something and believe in it, I usually just go out there and do it. But, let me see. I guess perhaps I wish I had the skills of a movie director. I would produce a popular movie for the masses that would bring them really close to the Palestinian cause in an unorthodox and unusual way. It should be something that steps away from the usual formula of highlighting the tragedy purely through direct confrontation, not something aiming to appeal to those who are sensitive to 'disaster voyeurism', but with an entirely different angle, namely that of personal identification. I would like to enable the viewer to step into the skin of a Palestinian, both the one in exile and the one living in Palestine under oppression and persecution. I have some pretty well-developed ideas about this, but I don’t foresee that I will have the chance or opportunity to have it materialise anywhere in the near future. Anyway, I think there are some people in the field of film who are doing a fantastic and highly important job already, even though I still think my approach would be somewhat different. I’m not saying it would be better, just different, perhaps in the same way that my music is quite different from that of others who promote the Palestinian cause in their songs. 
6.What are your favourite websites? 

I have a special relationship with the Palestine Chronicle, the well-known news and analysis website that I have been contributing articles to since as early as 2002. I think the newer website Middle East Eye is also doing some very nice things. I also admire the work of those behind the Electronic Intifada. Besides this, I follow the English-language blogs of young Palestinians from Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora, and I highly recommend that others around the world do so as well. I believe that their perspective is highly relevant, and that there are many talented writers and thinkers among them. I have a lot of confidence in the new generation of our people. I tried to express this in my song ‘Al Jeel Al Jadeed’ (’The New Generation’). I also want to emphasize that despite our situation of forced separation and exile, we are still one people, and we remain connected with one another, defying all the efforts of our enemy to create as many divisions as they can among us. I think these websites play an important role in maintaining this connection. This is also one of the reasons why I have a clear preference for Palestinian-led web projects and websites, although there are some good initiatives from non-Palestinians out there as well. 

7.Where do you see yourself  five years from now? What are your plans for the future?

I am a surgeon, and this is my true calling, so I expect and hope to still be doing that five years from now, and for many years after that. This is a profession that involves continuous evolution, growth and development, so my deepest wish is that as time goes by, I keep growing as a doctor and a surgeon. As for my other activities, I pray that I will still be able to continue doing them next to my full-time job. My current plan is to continue to further develop my musical skills, not with the political aim of their message, since I believe I’ve more or less said what I wanted to say in my huge number of songs on that topic, but for the enjoyment of musicianship itself. It does n’t matter so much to me how my new songs will be received. I will continue to express myself in other ways about our cause, through writing and through educating the masses on the many aspects of our struggle.

8.Define success. What does success mean to you?

I suppose my answer to this will be perceived as the typical answer of a Palestinian, but for me the only real success is the defeat of Zionism. Any other successes are just small steps towards that goal, and if they don’t contribute to it, I don’t consider them to be true successes. That said, I believe the success of any Palestinian who is true to his cause is a success for all Palestinians and for our cause. This idea does not stem from some impoverished ideology of nationalism, but from the simple and realistic notion that Zionists clearly are aiming to destroy our people on all possible levels, from our national identity, to our cultural heritage, to our personal lives. Every success booked by a Palestinian, regardless of whether this is in their professions, or in their arts, or in science or business, is a slap in their faces and a defeat for Zionism. Keep moving forward, my Palestinian brothers and sisters, and keep aiming for the highest level of achievements in all fields, whilst never forgetting your roots and your rights.

9. As a Palestinian, what is your opinion about the illegal invasion of Palestinian land by Zionist Jews. In your opinion how can the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians be resolved? 

The illegal invasion of Palestine, and the massive ethnic cleansing and appropriation of land by the Zionists, known as the Nakba, is one of the 20th century’s most significant and most severe crimes against humanity. What turns it into one of the worst among them, is that the ruling powers have been protecting and nurturing this brutal invading power in almost every thinkable way, in total defiance of international law and global conventions. This has turned this issue into the massive crime that everyone knows about, but nobody wants to solve. The excuses that people - mostly in the Western World - make up for themselves that keep them from forcing ‘Israel’ to comply with international law, are as morally corrupt as their hypocritical eagerness to please Zionist lobbyists in politics and media. While everyone is well aware that these attitudes are purely given in by opportunism, there seems to be a common consensus among many in the West that these immoral attitudes are best maintained, despite the fact that people are no longer oblivious to the fact that the Palestinian people are paying a heavy price for these inhumane policies. 

Fortunately, on the level of ordinary citizens, things are changing significantly, and people are starting to realize that the unholy alliance with Zionism of their governments is not to their own benefit, but only profitable for the ruling elites in their countries. The heinous atrocities committed by Israeli forces upon the Palestinians of Gaza in the summer of 2014 have done their share of waking up large numbers of people who were in a deep slumber on the issue.

The resolution of the issue can only come from significant numbers of people deciding to redeem their own moral integrity, and starting to pressure the Zionist state by calling upon their governments to cut off arms supplies, eliminating trade agreements, boycotting Israeli products, and implementing an academic and cultural boycott as well. Without the existing economical lifelines, the Zionist entity will be forced upon its knees, since it cannot survive without them. The euphemism, "a conflict between ‘Israelis' and Palestinians” is outdated and misleading: in truth, this is a matter of violent invading hordes oppressing, persecuting, robbing, expelling and destroying the indigenous people of a country, for all to see. It is a harsh reality that is inevitably becoming more and more visible to a growing number of people, despite decades of cover-up, brainwash and propaganda. The fake dream induced by the treacherous Oslo-agreements of the 90’s has run its course. It’s high time to wake up from this deceitful hoax, and people are doing that. They just need to hurry up more doing it. Facts on the ground are changing on a daily basis, to the advantage of the Zionists. The situation grows more urgent every day.

10.Do you teach music? Would you consider teaching music in the future?

I don’t consider myself to be in any position to teach music. Despite the many instruments I play on in my recordings, I am entirely self-taught, and I don’t even know how to read musical notes. I don’t think I would even know how to teach other people to make music. I have of course, over the years, developed my own set of skills and knowledge, but I wouldn’t dare compare that to the background that people who have had a true musical education possess. I think teaching music should be left up to those professionals.

11.What advice would you give to young aspiring musicians out there?

I would rather give an advice to young people out there including not only those who aspire to make music, but those who have any other skills and dreams as well. Achievement is always the result of dedication and perseverance. It does n’t usually come presented to you on a silver platter, so don’t count on that to happen. Work hard on what you wish to accomplish, and don’t waste your energy on whining over failures on your way there. All these failures contain lessons that actually help you grow and advance, if you only open your eyes wide enough to see what those lessons are. Don’t give up on what you wish to achieve, and just hang in there long enough until you start seeing things happening, and if you are stubborn enough about it, you will. It’s like the slogan in my song ‘Intifada’: never give up!

 Once again, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed by me . Desert Moon wishes you all the best in your future endeavours!!! This is definitely one of the most inspiring interviews that I have ever done. I am so honoured and proud to have interviewed a man who has made a positive impact globally through his music whilst the world is engulfed in political turmoil and war. Thank you for giving me this opportunity and hope to see you soon in South Africa!!

        To listen to the artists music, simply click on the link below