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Archive for the ‘Funny names’ Category

and they’re called theorists. That’s right, I would just love to grab a few by the collars and say, “Damnit man! Why must you make all of our lives so difficult?! The empirical phenomena can’t possibly be that difficult to describe or explain! Ack!!!”

***I say this as I proceed to pull my hair out and pound my head against the library’s ill-colored and ill-decorated walls****

So I started this exercise with trying to comprehend existing debates concerning Islamist movements and got sucked into a vortex black hole of sorts filled with infinite intellectual puzzles (that are quite mind blowing I daresay) and discovered there is no end in sight. It is like playing a chess game (in this case, against myself) and thinking hah! I am only 3 steps away from checkmate…then you discover no, you are 6 steps away and only from check, not checkmate, and by the way, it isn’t 6 steps, it’s 6 with 5 substrategies and points to consider.

After 48 hours in the library this weekend, I have concluded the following:
There is no light at the end of the tunnel concerning literature on Islamist movements–either scholars address it as a problem with terrorism (even though not all Islamists are terrorists), a problem with conceptual definitions (how the hell do we define who is an Islamist and who isn’t), level of analysis problem (how we analyze them at either a global level or a regional level), a problem with rational strategy, a problem with identity, a problem with such movements challenging sovereignty and international norms, etc. etc. etc.etc. etc.

Dear God almighty folks, do you want to know what the REAL problem is? Theorists in different subfields are not talking to each other within one friggin discipline or across disciplines! That’s the problem!

And don’t get me started on individuals who hold paradigmatic irreconcilable philosophical worldviews because that is a whole other empty vacuum in space–and it sucks naive people like myself into its infinite theoretical depths of ill-conceived concepts and terms.

Can’t the IR theorists, Middle Eastern regional specialists, and social movement theorists hold a greater intellectual dialogue instead of talking past one another? That’s all I want–I want to see a new group try and bridge those gaps in the literature and devise creative and innovative ways to address social movements at a transnational level who politically mobilize populations in a variety of fashions.

Sure, it is a very tough task (to say the least) and begs many questions–but geez people, why have those gaps not been explored to the extent they can be?

*Sigh* I think I will stop turning my personal statement into a lit review and write it with existing knowledge, try to address those gaps as best as possible, and wowzas, if it needs more research, I will resume it by all means. For now, I think my head is going to friggin explode if I don’t compile my thoughts in a cohesive written manner.

P.S. I don’t want to shake theorists, but would like to politely and kindly ask them to step out of their restricted intellectually boxed debates now and then to look at……..other restricted intellectually boxed debates.

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Hear ye hear ye! I have a new blog! That’s right, to the skeptics who didn’t believe in my capacity to create blogs, I have news for you: change has come to the blogopshere!

Ok, it’s 10am on a friggin Sunday morning…I needed some type of cliche hook-in.

Ah, but for those wondering, why the crazy name Sayida Siyasa of Arabia?Well, what blog is a blog without a fun origins-of-the-name story? Here goes: twas a late Saturday night (more like 2am) and amidst my caffeine-powered brainstorming for my PhD programs personal statement, the following idea came to mind: why not set aside time for a weekly blog? Excuses immediately came to mind: I have no time for it! It’s a conformist thing to do! (and facebook isn’t?). I’ll get seriously distracted from my grad-school applications!

A few seconds later, being the spontaneous spirit that I am, I made every practical excuse to start one: I spend just as much time on facebook and could link the two…..hmmmmm……..ok….I can have fun with GRE vocab prep and write blog posts about my academic readings if need be……hmmmmm……ok, and….and….I can post Arabic translation exercises of BBC news items–People will still look at my blog just because they think it’s cool to see anything with Arabic writing on it even if it makes no damn sense.This is sounding more appealing as the caffeine wears off and my head fills with crazy ambitious schemes….oh what the hell! I’m in!

As the wee hours of the morning began to set in and I ventured into a euphoric realm of caffeine deprivation, I decided it was high time to create a blog name. A short summary of the process occurred as follows:

2am: I initially thought: how about something snarky and witty?

I know! The Angry Arab!…..oh wait, that one’s taken. Damnit.

3am: With a cup of tea, I continued with my noble task. Ah, I’ve got it! How about taking some haphazard miscombobulation of English words, translate them into Arabic, and produce some outrageous title that sounds 10x cooler? Since people in the Middle East refer to people as either Umm (mother) or Abu (father) of something, let’s try Bait Al-Afkar Umm Al Siyasa…or, roughly translated, Mother of Politics House of Ideas!Wow, I just seriously mistranslated that and misused the idafa structure. Damnit squared!

4am: Ok ok, gettin serious here…let me think….once upon a time when I did a blog a few years back, I used the term LadyPolitik because I thought it was a clever feminist spin on the IR term realpolitik. In retrospect, it was horribly cheesy, but seemed to make a great AIM Id. So, how about I take that word, try to translate that into Arabic, make it sound 20x cooler, and then tell an absolute fabricated lie of a story in the morning to entertain my would-be readers?

Alright, I’ll take it.

Voila! Sayida Siyasa was born! Sayida means ‘lady’ and Siyasa of course means ‘politics’. I don’t believe the term ‘politik’ has an equivalent translation in Arabic, so I adopted the word closest to it.Take that Lawrence of Arabia–here comes another East-meets-West force to reckon with! …..just not in the deserts of Wadi Rum, but instead in the blogosphere!

**Caveat disclaimer: To my geeky Arabic speaking friends, no I did not adhere to perfect formal Arabic grammar since Al-Siyasa is the proper word which means politics (yes, I dropped the definite article to make my blog name sound less awkward.) Secondly, sayida is used in colloquial, not formal Arabic, for both single and married women. The formal Arabic word ‘anisa’ (for Ms.) would have also sounded awkward. Just run with my crazy imaginative blog name will ya? :-)**

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