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On the morning of Oct. 6, two adventurous Martel seniors, Batoul Abuharb and Shamsa Mangalji, took to the streets of Houston to interact with hundreds of enthusiastic participants participating in the Occupy Houston movement.
All the heads of states or organizations who have recently been criticized for their eyebrow-raising sexual antics wear the same facial expression. Just Google Anthony Weiner, Mark Sanford or Elliot Spitzer and you'll see what I mean. Those trademark, remorseful (or pseudo-remorseful) expressions are strikingly similar to those worn by naughty toddlers who have just been caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar. Should all those politicians who made stupid decisions be publically humiliated into resignation? I think not.
Productivity. We all strive for it. Students inhale Red Bulls and lock themselves into their rooms to be productive. Athletes, doctors, lawyers, farmers, workers in every profession, you name it, want to be productive. And why not? In our society, productivity is rewarded handsomely. You can't get an A+ or a stack of Benjamins if you're not a productive worker.
A few days ago, I went on a hunt for British policemen. Not only did I want to examine those stereotypical, unique British police caps in greater detail but I also wanted to get an inside look of the interesting crowd of student activists they surrounded. Passionate crowds of students and concerned citizens alike have been rallying around the UK for months demanding a repeal of a controversial education reform bill passed recently. The bill calls for a dramatic cutback of federal funds to British universities. Government officials have cited the economic crisis as grounds for cutting the funds. To make up for lost sponsorship, Parliament has raised yearly university tuition fees from 3,000 to 9,000 pounds. This bite to the wallets and threat to academic integrity has caused thousands of members of the British populace to take to the streets.
Everyone's been griping about Facebook these days. Mothers shed tears when they realize the disgusting amount of time their kids spend on the site. We've all been warned to "privatize" our accounts so future employers can't see our sloppy, inebriated pictures. People keep tabs on their clients by policing Facebook photos - one health insurance company stopped covering a woman's depression medications ... because she looked "happy" in photos. But something must be working for the site, or we wouldn't use it so much, right?Contrary to what people say, it's NOT "sooo distracting." I see Facebook as a fun, fulfilling study break that'll force me to keep my head in front of the computer screen. Getting up to "take a quick walk" is much more dangerous. More often than not, my "walks" turn into a series of more questionable activities, like stealthy people-watching through Brochstein windows, badgering my busy friends and playing with that automatic stapler by the library printers.
It's 3 p.m. I'm staring intently at the course catalog trying to figure out which classes I want to take for the semester, but it's not going well. Every few seconds, I find myself glancing woefully at my yellow water bottle that's sitting across the room. I force myself to look back at the screen."Come on, Shamsa!" I tell myself. "Find those D3s!"
It's Christmas day. You see that foxnews.com has published an article stating that a "Muslim terrorist tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner packed with 300 people just moments before landing." Soon, you notice that other major media networks follow suit. "Oh, God," you groan. "Not again. What's wrong with these Muslims? What are they thinking?"I can't tell you what those so-called "Muslims" were thinking. I can't jump inside their heads to discover why they commit these merciless, terrifying acts in the name of "Islam." But I can tell you what I think. Simply put, I feel outraged at these terrorists' disgusting perversion of my Islamic faith. I am ashamed to see the way my faith is being portrayed in mainstream media, and I think the world needs to understand the real meaning of Islam, a word derived from the Arabic concept of "salaam," or peace. With this column, I would like to give you a new perspective of my religion.
To the 99 percent of people at Rice whom I have yet to meet: Hi. My name is Shamsa, and I'm a visiting student and sophomore who will be here for a year. Normally, I attend New York City's Columbia University.When I tell people in Houston that I live in New York City, this usually prompts eyebrow raises and incredulous gasps of "What? What are you doing here?" These queries are typically followed by long, boisterous speeches about how exciting the city is, how Times Square is the most enchanting place ever and, inexplicably, how great the street-vendor hot dogs taste. I smile politely, agreeing that New York is a fascinating city and that Columbia is an incredible university.