Lima Al-Azzeh

Archive for the ‘Foreign Affairs’ Category

You Old Soul.

In Foreign Affairs on June 12, 2013 at 9:32 pm

carol burneet show
The other day, I looked behind me at work to find a group of people gathered in a semi-circle around one of my colleague’s screens watching a video. Turns out, our boss was introducing my coworker to Carol Burnett. It was Tim Conway’s epic elephant story. Read the rest of this entry »


Blood-curdling blasts and secret prayers

In Foreign Affairs on April 20, 2013 at 10:15 am


When events like the Boston Marathon Bombings happen, I suppose you could say my family has a rather unusual reaction, but following 9/11, who could blame us?

At work, my colleagues and I followed news of the bombings and its aftermath all day, each of us affected in his or her own way. Racing through my mind, a shamefully selfish thought that I was a little relieved to find out my mother was thinking also. Half jokingly, half seriously:

“God I hope it wasn’t one of us …”

By “one of us”, my mother and I implicitly agreed, we meant Arabs, we meant muslims.

Following the news of the bombings, I had almost begun to convince myself that the person or people behind this were definitely more of the “James Holmes, Aurora, Colardo’s Batman shooter” variety, than of the “one of us” variety.

As events unfolded, as Waterton was put on lockdown, as the manhunt ensued, I grew increasingly dejected … I never expected that the media would become privy to a new face of fundamentalist Islam.

Sadly now, I can already hear the aftermath of terrorism at work, “those Chechens, you better watch out for them”.

Whether we like it or not, this is the kind of news that changes our views not just of specific culprits, of a specific religion, but of a people. It’s an inevitable part of the fallout of these kinds of horrific events. It’s the leftover mental & emotional residue that leaves a strong bad taste in our mouths.

I’m not saying we’ll all think this way, that we’ll all suddenly have these prejudices,  but as history has been loathe to repeat itself, fundamentalist acts are almost always countered by some kind of homegrown zealotry.

This is the stuff wars, hot or cold, are made of, and though the evil-doers have been captured, we have yet to see the true global implications of their actions.

To those who share my faith’s dismay, Muslim extremism has a new face, a new language, perhaps even a new country to call home. Only time will tell whether capturing the Tsarnaev brothers was enough to quell the flames, or whether it has inspired a new rallying cry.

Either way, I can speak for my mother, myself and likely a lot of fello Muslims when I say: “Well done, boys. You’ve really fucked us over, all over again.”

Aliens Exist

In Foreign Affairs on August 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm

So young, so wise. Eight year old Ethan schools me at life. He also has himself a little smart aleck girlfriend to boot.

Ethan is a gorgeous eight year old, blonde Mowgli look-a-like with a head full of wisdom. I was fortunate enough, on a little break from our day of sunning and swimming, to get some insight into his thoughts on life and the universe in general. Read the rest of this entry »

PB & J

In Food in Vancouver, Foreign Affairs on March 3, 2012 at 11:52 pm

I was 16 years old the first time I ever sunk my teeth into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was babysitting for my friend’s younger siblings (about three of them) at various ages of toddler-dom. Before she left to work, leaving the children in my charge, she gave me the run-down, the facts, the “if you do exactly as I say we shouldn’t have to deal with any meltdowns, breakdowns or disasters” list. I listened intently. I did exactly as I was told. Don’t fuck with the routine.  Read the rest of this entry »

Dirty Laundry.

In Foreign Affairs on January 25, 2012 at 9:00 am

Photo by simplerich, via Flickr

The subject of today’s post, and what I’m sure is a more-common-than-I-expect writer’s conundrum, is: How much of your family’s dirty laundry can you air  (read: turn into a novel, a book of short stories, or a screenplay) before it is seen as tasteless exploitation and/or potentially damaging to members of your clan and your relationships with them? Are there stories you really can’t tell? Read the rest of this entry »

Just Dance

In Foreign Affairs on May 16, 2011 at 9:17 am

Taiwan: The Heart of Asia, logo and slogan by Taiwanese Tourism Bureau. Photo courtesy of Mooi Hsieh, Flickr

My favourite reaction to any post is when people leave a comment, here, on Facbeook, or via Twitter, telling me they identify with the story. It makes the most foreign sounding experience a universal one, and there’s infinite power behind that.

This lead me to want to hear other stories about feeling foreign, or being in a place where you have been culturally misunderstood, or on the flip side, have completely misunderstood another culture. I asked my ridiculously talented friend Monica Hamburg, the master mind behind the blog Your Dose of Lunacy, to submit a guest blog post surrounding this theme. To my delight, she took some time out of her busy schedule to contribute. Without further ado, I present Monica Hamburg in “Just Dance”. Read the rest of this entry »

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