Stretched.

He has been stretched with all his intricate edges.
His skin is no longer fit, his hair is no longer short,his hands  are no longer tucked in pockets and warmth. He has been exposed to icy flakes that stir goosebumps, to shocks that electrocute hair follicles, to knives that lay dormant in pockets, waiting for the next rendezvous with inexperienced hands.
He has been stretched with all his intricate, virtual edges. His eyes have learned to absorb more daylight – light that keeps him up in a maze at night in belief that sleep would soon knock on the door he has locked and casually stride in through the wooden plates he has placed. His ears have elongated the tunnels through which the voices pass, in hope that the distance would only cause the voices’ loss along the way. His tongue, stretched too, has been swallowed and digested by acids and sourness – acids that are not his and a sourness that has dissipated into his skin and built up inside the membranes of his body.
He has been stretched. He has wrapped his elongated arms around his frail body multiple times, creating a shield of flesh and bones. He has spread his mind as a carpet and has walked on thoughts and feelings. He has extended his vision farther than your horizons and their ambitions. He has shed his skin and lit it up multiple times. He has expanded his heart, emptied it from all remains, and filled it with pure water – water that is read to morph its way through endless tunnels and hallways.
It has been a stretched year – a year of expansions and contractions, a year of morphology, a year of changes – and he has embraced it to the fullest.

She Writes Verses of Poetry

She writes verses of poetry in her mind as she looks at the pale moon and the North Star from a two story house – a house built on the side of the street of a village that has endured bombshells and rifles and men with rough shoes and a handful of foreign languages.

She writes verses of poetry in her mind about what’s going on in the minds of the people sitting in the gardens and lit houses around her: What hardships have they endured in their lives? How many times have they fallen in love? What goes on in their minds as they lay their heads every night on their pillow? What has made them who they currently are?

She is fascinated by people’s history.

She writes verses of poetry in her mind as the prayers of a distant priest fill the village for the fifth time that day, and raise to the sky in an attempt to please a listener in the heavens that may or may not be listening – that may be a figment of imagination that has been passed on from a history to another, and has been woven so deeply into the histories of so many that it has become an “unquestionable” reality.

She writes verses of poetry in her mind about this reality, as she realizes the role she can and has to play in carving out an exact piece of the future she wants to hold in her wrinkled hands 50 – 60 years from now.

She trudges down the steps to the first floor and lights red candles she usually leaves for special events then decorates the halls with them. She sits facing a 32 inch TV.

She turns it on: Skies black from fire smoke. Villages rioting. People out of their minds. Minds out of their people. Burnt gardens. A repeated history.Chaos. A young girl with curly brown hair and sun-kissed skin lying dead in a pool of crimson red blood. A young boy placing next to her a white flower black from the grease in his hands, and a lit red candle.

She turns it off – smashes the screen with the vase of white flowers she had placed at the table, next to the red candle she just lit.

And then, she goes back to writing verses of poetry in her mind, running far away from a bitter- sweet reality and a constantly repeating history. But at the back of her mind, behind where the verses of poetry form, the image of curls and tan and the history that that girl could have made continuously resurface.

At some point, she knows she will write verses about her too.

TechGirls : Inspiring A Worthwhile Road

When i grow up, I want to...

When I grow up, I want to…

One year ago, I was going through the pictures of the Tech Girls of 2014, wishing I was one of them.

Yesterday, I was on Flickr, going through the pictures of Tech Girls of 2015 – the pictures of girls who have become sisters to me in the past 3 weeks. I still have trouble digesting the entire experience I had went through in the United States and the fact that I was even part of this program. Every single moment was a special one, a different one.

Sisters.

Sisters.

From the day I arrived, I knew that this is going to be a life-changing experience. Going from Washington DC’s airport to American University, I looked through the bus’ windows at DC:  Its clean vastness that boasted a contrast of lit signs of international companies and beautiful greenery is enough to inspire anyone to think big. Such forms of inspiration continued from the first moments of arrival up to the last minutes before departure – which for the fact, we spent at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM)’s annex (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center), digging deeper into the science, mechanics, and history of international and historic airplanes.

And I was right: it was a life-changing experience.

At Tech Girls, we were exposed to how the real tech world works and to how successful people have built themselves and their companies. We visited the big tech companies and met with several hard-working, intelligent women, each of which had her story to inspire us with. We visited museums that exposed us to the American culture, past scientific achievements, and future ideas on the road.  We went through a technology camp that empowered us with a programming language and creative ideas. We spent two days at a summer camp that gave us long-lasting friends. We learned about the importance of continuously giving back to our communities and about the strategies of designing projects fully focused on benefiting the people. We made friends – no, sisters – from all around the Arab World. We laughed, cried, danced, sang, and talked for hours. We fully embraced the importance of diversity, technology, and society.

Most importantly, we realized that the road in the field of technology is not going to be an easy one, but it will definitely be one that’s worth it.

Why?

Because the technology we develop is the future of the planet. Our innovation and hard work will be what will determine the next course humanity will take – be it regarding space exploration, renewable energy, social media, medicine, politics, and many more topics.

At Facebook and Yahoo, we met with women whose work is at the intersection between politics and social media: The effect of the work they do ripples into the hands of millions of users of these two massive companies. At Virginia Tech University, we saw and listened to the newest research and inventions being made: solar cells as thin and small as an A5 paper, doorsteps that can help conserve energy by turning off the electricity in rooms you are not in, 3D printing technology that can change the medical and industrial field, and much, much more.  And what these visits, and many others, made me realize is that everyone can have a role in technological development – not a small role, but a big one if he/she wants to. Everyone and anyone can change an entire industry if he/she put their mind and work into it.  Everyone and anyone can affect the community, country, and world they’re in.

Just think about it: The next coding class you’re giving might be to a 12 year old that would one day start what would become the biggest tech company. The next event you make might hold the inspiration that a young entrepreneur needs to launch his idea. The next picture you post might be one of a tech program that sparks the interest of a young girl in the suburbs of a big city – a program that once she applies to and gets accepted in might change her life.

Scratch the last “might”. The program already did.

Tech Girls gave me the confidence I needed to have in my tech abilities and ideas and in myself.  I now look at all the difficulties currently present in my country and in the world, and remember a sentence said by one of the women we met at Facebook:

“Every job I had did not exist before I had it. I saw this problem. I saw the solution, and I realized that I want to be the one to do this.”

 I see the problems, and I’m on the look-out for solutions.

Winter Deaths

Death.

A process where a living person- breathing, moving, blinking etc – becomes still in fractions of seconds. The heart stops. The pulse dies. Slowly, colors leave the body. They dance back into the air, absorbed by the sun, swept by the wind. Tombs are made to collect as much of the colors as possible. Those which escape become rainbows that bring joy to the living, who look in awe at light reflections they will someday be a part of . We’ll all dissolve at some point and with us we’ll take others’ colors. Life is all connected in an intricate web.

When the cold steals the heat off my fingers to warm itself up,I remember your solid, blue fingers folded on your stomach as you lay in that coffin. I’ve never shivered from the cold. It was always remembering your scene that sent chills to my heart. I hate winter for that very reason : that it reminds me of your blankets and boiling coffee and lost, blurry yesterdays that I can’t seem to put my hands on anymore. I forgot the sound of your voice – all the screaming that happened wiped it off my memory. But I do remember the story you’ve told me about that time you almost died while climbing that hill to work. Or the one about how she used to write you poetry on her father’s newspapers, and secretly give them to the mailman to send them to you. It’s a shame that she was killed after being caught giving the mailman those letters on a stormy January afternoon. They thought she was having an affair with him.

And I remember the poem you told me you wrote her. You’ve always recited it by heart. I wish she had had the chance to hear it.

There are no real words to describe death – be it death of people, events or experiences. Someone, or something, just disappears. All what’s left are videos constantly pressed on play-back.

The 31st Of The 12th

We called the dead from their graves and told them they’ve finished one year of their eternity. Such good friends they were.By the campfire, flames dispensed in the still air after eating the last of their book’s pages.

Some things never fade. They just change states or shed skin. Bones remain as flower petals fall of scaly skin, and scaly skin falls off skeletal remains.Crumbling masks. Origins that send goosebumps to the skin.

I was never able to understand such processes. I don’t see the point anymore anyways.I’ve heard congratulations on the new beginning, the new birth. Such naive actions. The book hasn’t finished yet. The writer’s hand just got crippled. His tongue got cut; his eyes popped. This always happens on the 31st of the 12th. The brain is what remains functioning, forced to reflect on a story it can no longer tell. Self- torture. The worst and the best all send yearning thoughts that sizzle and fry. Those who use their senses never experience such pain. This year, I agreed to continue the book that will be burnt.

I attached a pen to the clock’s arms and surrounded it with papers pinned down by my friends’ bones. I hid it all away in the depth of the jungle.

Let them cripple my hands. The clock will continue the story.

Woven Stories : Hers

She’s the girl with the messy notebooks scattered all over her bedroom, the ones with scratches over words and words trailing behind arrows of curved paths and a corrected direction. She never wrote with neat pens or fancy brushes, the ones you dipped into dark-soul ink and wrote a few letters, then stopped to stare at the beauty the feathers left behind.  No. She didn’t. And her pencils were never sharpened. She left it to her ideas to sharpen words, then printed them with thick graphite on small sheets of old brown paper that smelled like yesterday, and her hand never wrote straight.

When she was at home, she would drink her coffee in an orange mug with a metal spoon inside. You always found it on the small round oak table to the right of her bed, sometimes full and boiling hot, other times empty and cold, always with the spoon standing inside. And right there, just to the left of the mug on that small round oak table she bought from the antiquity store for 20$, you always found a Hemingway novel on top of “Post Office” or a Hawking book lying over “Ham on Rye.” She would not let Henry Chinaski leave, and he did not mind. She fell in love with how they both lived over their writings : Him, through currency he got paid for writing raw novels to a sparrow; her, through the sheer existence of assembled words.

And every night before she went to sleep, she always ran her fingers through his books as she imagined how he had once written them on a barely-working typewriter in the corner of his bedroom while his head hurt from alcohol, his stomach rumbled from hunger, and his eyes darted back and forth to his bed where a women he had met a few hours ago lay peacefully sleeping naked. She shuddered as she thought of the scene, but didn’t shut the book for his tales of ordinary men were too beautiful. “One more hour,” she told herself as the hands of the clock struck 2 AM, then dove into the pages.

In Veins

There are days were black-polished nails clutch on tightly to white porcelain,

and golden rings fall off tanned fingers,

and words swarm on top of throats

and hold hands to dance

in place

and stomp feet to feel

in vain

and echoes swim in salty water

up

to cling to veins

just above the eyes

but just below the eyebrows.

They say eyes mirror the beauty within.

I look for it in veins.

12 great free online courses

For those with a constant thirst for learning :

TED Blog

Much ado has been made in recent years over the quickly rising cost of healthcare in the United States. But the cost of college tuition and fees has skyrocketed at nearly twice that rate. Going to college today will cost a student 559% more than it did in 1985, on average.

In an exciting talk given at TEDGlobal 2012, Stanford professor Daphne Koller explains why she was inspired — alongside fellow professor Andrew Ng — to create Coursera, which brings great classes from top universities online for free. Coursera classes have specific start dates, require students to take quizzes and turn in assignments, as well as allowing professors to customize their course into online chunks rather than simply recording their lectures.

When she spoke at TED Global, Coursera offered classes from four top colleges — Princeton University, the University of Michigan, Stanford University and the University of…

View original post 1,613 more words

10 places where anyone can learn to code

TED Blog

blog_learn_to_code_art_revTeens, tweens and kids are often referred to as “digital natives.” Having grown up with the Internet, smartphones and tablets, they’re often extraordinarily adept at interacting with digital technology. But Mitch Resnick, who spoke at TEDxBeaconStreet in November, is skeptical of this descriptor. Sure, young people can text and chat and play games, he says, “but that doesn’t really make you fluent.”

[ted_talkteaser id=1657]Fluency, Resnick proposes in today’s talk, comes not through interacting with new technologies, but through creating them. The former is like reading, while the latter is like writing. He means this figuratively — that creating new technologies, like writing a book, requires creative expression — but also literally: to make new computer programs, you actually must write the code.

The point isn’t to create a generation of programmers, Resnick argues. Rather, it’s that coding is a gateway to broader learning.“When you learn to read, you…

View original post 570 more words

Craving Destruction

He walks through the streets with his tongue hanging out of his rosy lips, dripping salty water that mixes with the dust and sand on his feet to leave a trail of dirt behind his hairy steps. He wanders them streets with a magnifier in hand, an ax in another, speculating over every pebble lying in the corner, every scratch strolling on the wall. The magnifier has been partially painted red, the color of the flag, to remind him of his enmity to a movement that held resilient for decades but has long been dead. He shall see red in that pebble, and in every pebble and every scratch, and shall destroy all what poses a potential threat.

On that wall, in the dark alley by the bar where the prostitutes hang for drinks after their nights, he saw lines that made up men whose figures shone in that red. They were playing with glass they did not know held their death.