Thursday, February 28, 2008

Empty Places

I drove the old way yesterday.
It 'd been a while,you see.
And there,without warning,
the pain washed over me.

I drove the old way yesterday
and sadness came on strong,
taken back by so much feeling,
since you've been gone so long

Places seem to lie in wait
to summon up the tears,
to say remember yesterday,
those days when you were here.

Places where you laughed and played
are places where I cry.
These places hold the memories
that will live as long as I.

By Genesse Bourdeau Gentry
From: Stars in the Deepest Night

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

سيدة الرداء الأحمر

أتذكر أحلامنا عندما خطبتني
والسعادة التي طوقتنا عندما تزوجتني
وتشجيعك لي وبكل خطوة ساندتني
وأجمل الهدايا لقدوم الأولاد أهديتني
وعن اهتمامي المفرط بهم كم مرة عاتبتني
خوفا على صحتي وبضعا من الراحة ناشدتني
وفزعك علي عند ذهابهم للجامعة صارحتني
أتذكرالأغنية التي كنت تطلبها أينما أخذتني
أغنية "سيدة الرداء الأحمر" كما لقبتني
فالأحمر يناسبني كما أخبرتني
،واليوم اشتكى و سألك
" هل هناك أمل؟ أم أنها دفنتني؟"

الأحمر رحل مع الحبيبة والبهجة قاطعتني
كيف ألبسه بعد المصيبة التي أصابتني؟
فحبيبة قلبي ذهبت وبالسواد الحالك خلفتني
أخبره بأن فاجعتي بابنتنا الغالية حطمتني
والأفراح رحلت برحيلها وتركتني
فالألوان كلها تبكيني وكالأحمر فقدتني
وتحن إلى الأيام التي بها كستني
ها أنا اليوم أقف بعدما الحياة صفعتني
صفعة قضت علي.... لا بل قتلتني
وعيوني ظللها الحزن والدموع زينتني
ليتني أعود كما كنت وقبل ما الأقدار قهرتني
بل يعيدني الزمن مثلما أمي ولدتني
،لأبدأ حياتي من جديد
وتهبني عمر وقدر وسمر كما وهبتني
،وترفق بي وتحذف وفاة الحبيبة من تاريخي
ومن هذا المصير أنقذتني
،لأرتدي الأحمر وأعود التي عهدتها
قبل ما الأيام دمرتني
"سيدة الرداء الأحمر"مثلما الألوان عرفتني
رنده ربحي حماده
(أم سمر)
جميع الحقوق محفوظة للمؤلفة© 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Reflection on "Music Censorship"

Debating controversial issues is something I am not adverse to, for it is one of my favorite pastimes. The feeling of absolute excitement I get when trying to prove my point is indescribable. There is this adrenaline rush that goes through my body that makes me feel so alive. Even when I was this somewhat less stimulating project, I was rather excited. This year I haven’t been doing my work to the best of my ability, but with this project, it was different. I felt like I had to achieve something; I had to prove something. I feel that I achieved my goal of writing two balanced, well structured essays on the controversy over music censorship. This project was quite time consuming, and very tiring, but it was worth it. After all the research I’ve done concerning my project, I feel qualified enough to engage in a debate relating to it. I am a rather opinionated person, but this project has taught me that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and that in order to let people agree with you, you must back up your arguments with substantial proof. Before conducting this project, I really didn’t have any say concerning this topic, I was somewhere in the middle. But after my research, I personally believe that music should not be censored in the USA, because in this day and age I believe that people should have the complete right to say whatever they want, within certain limits of course. But these limits do not go under music censorship. Music is a beautiful art, and art should not be censored. Even though I feel this particular way about my topic, I tried to the best of my ability to write with a non-biased attitude, and hopefully that it is evident in my writing.
Samar Al Ansari
Grade 10.3

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Music Should Not Be Censored in The USA

Being open minded is one of the most important attributes for a person to have in order to be successful in life. It promotes tolerance and acceptance, and rids society of hatred and biased. Sometimes we do not like what we hear, but we should listen anyway, because as we have the right to say something, so do others. If you are that close minded that you can not tolerate what you are listening to, you shouldn’t listen to it, but to force others not to listen to it as well is just absurd. Artists have the right to say whatever they want, and people should have the right to listen or not listen to it. During the course of history, people have progressed and advanced through art and music, and to censor the arts is retrogression. Music censorship goes against the First Amendment, it affects society especially the children, and has various bad economic effects as well. Music should not be censored in the USA, because everyone has the freedom to express and control themselves.
“Oh America, land of the free.” The USA is founded on freedom, all types of freedom, as established in the First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peacefully assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” The First Amendment guarantees all Americans freedom of speech, and no one should have their right taken away from them for any reason. Music is considered a form of speech, and to have speech censored is a direct violation of the First Amendment. Music is also a form of media, and to censor media goes completely against the First Amendment. Americans have freedom of religion, so if an artist sings about aethism, his music shouldn’t be censored, because of its effects on the Christian community. It is the artist’s right, and if people do not like what they hear, then they should not listen. Voltaire said it best when he remarked, “I disapprove of what you’re saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” We might not like what the artists in the industry today are saying, but as long as they are on US soil, it is their right to say whatever they want. The founding fathers of the US assembled the constitution around the ideal of freedom, and by promoting music censorship we are retrogressing. Music censorship goes against the laws of the USA, for music is considered an art, and there are certain laws set up to protect art from censorship. “Censoring the music in this country would go against everything America is all about. People should be able to choose what they want or don’t want” ( ). If music censorship is permitted, what will stop the government from censoring art, television, or even books? In this day and age, people should have the right to say what they want.
Those who support music censorship argue that children are easily affected by music containing obscene lyrics, but is music censorship really a form of protection? ‘Our children should live in a world where they can have clear views of both sides of life’ ( ). They shouldn’t live in a world where they only see the positive side of life; if they do, they will experience an extreme shock when they enter the real world. Life has its ups and downs, artists sing about its ups, and they should be able to sing about its downs as well. Life includes sexual misconduct, murder, abuse, and rape. Those who promote music censorship think that by censoring the lyrics talking about these problems they are getting rid of them. The best way to protect our children is to educate them. Through schools, fliers, and even organizations, we can help the youth understand the problems faced in society and come up with helpful solutions. But to censor out the problems as if they do not exist is not a solution; it merely is denying the presence of problems. Our children should know that society has its faults, and we should teach them ways in which to deal with them. The answer is not to cut off the things we don’t like in life. That is not a good example for children to follow, because they will think that they can cut out the unpleasant things in life. Music censorship is unnecessary, for the RIIAA has put out voluntary, uniform labels (Explicit Content) on albums with blunt lyrics. By legalizing music censorship, the government is taking away the responsibility of parents. Parents should be more involved in their children’s’ lives. Parents should censor the music their children listen to if they don’t like it, but the government shouldn’t prevent others from listening to it and artists from expressing themselves. They should be making the decisions for their children, not the government.
“A lake which isn’t flowing and is limited is polluted easily unlike a flowing river. Although a flowing river has to suffer from wild waves, to undergo the suffering is better than to be contaminated and die” ( Music is like a flowing river, it sometimes consists of obscene lyrics which are like wild waves. To experience these waves is better than to not experience them, for you will be contaminated with the poison of denial and die. To experience all the aspects of life is better than to live an artificial life. Life resembles a flowing river, for it contains waves. A river that does not flow does not resemble life at all. Music censorship promotes authority over others. The important thing today is the individual judge not the authority judge. Individuals should control themselves, hence censorship authorities have no right to judge and control others. By imposing their rules on others, censorship authorities are controlling the freedom of artists. The thing people seem to forget is that music doesn’t create problems, it merely reflects them. Whether or not music is censored, problems will not disappear from society. Lyrics are often misinterpreted and people do foolish things. The artists are not responsible for the unwise things that others people do. Tupac did not tell the seventeen year olds to shoot at police officers, they did it out of their own will. These people should be put in medical establishments, and not be out in public, for they are the real threat to society, not the music. “The press make easy prey out of musicians. Not caring if they ruin the artist’s reputation at all” ( ). People do foolish things out of their own will, not because of music. The Columbine Shootings were said to be influenced by Marilyn Manson’s lyrics, but people seem to ignore the fact that the murderers had psychological problems. They were not regarded as ‘popular’ in their high school, and they committed their horrendous felonies out of their own free will, not because they were told or forced to do so by music. Those arguing for music censorship say that statistics prove that crime has been on the rise after the formation of gangsta rap. ‘In truth, rise in such reports are more likely to be caused by the growing awareness and new willingness for victims to come forward’ (Page, 35). Music that talks about crimes has led to the growing awareness of them, and probably as a result of this growing awareness, more people report the crimes committed. If indeed crime is on the rise, public policy should not be made in times of chaos. Rappers are not to blame for this rise in crime; parents should have control over their children. By blaming the artists, society is just pointing fingers. They are just looking for easy answers, because they can’t deal with the horrid truth. Those who argue for censorship say that music with obscene lyrics leads to moral collapse, but in reality, when art is being limited to someone’s will is more dangerous than moral collapse in society.
Music censorship has bad economic effects. The PRMC (Parents Music Resource Center) hit rappers/rock stars so hard, that some artists had to make two albums. They had to make the original version, and an edited version. The recording of one album is very costly, let alone two albums. “Wal-Mart, as well as Camelot Music Chains, sell only the edited versions of albums” ( Wal-Mart has become the largest distributor of music in the USA. Wal-Mart has banned many albums it found inappropriate, by censoring in this way, it wields great power in determining an album’s success. For example in 1997, Wall-Mart as well as K-Mart banned Prodigy’s new single, “Smack My Bitch Up”. By doing this they really disrupted the success of the single. Artists are just trying to make a living, by censoring their work, you are robbing them of their deserved income. People should have the right to spend their money freely. They should purchase what they like, the government should not tell people what to like.
Music should not be censored in the USA because everyone should be their own judge. It directly opposes the First Amendment, it affects children by permitting them to pursue an unrealistic life, and it has various bad economic effects. Music with explicit lyrics do not lead to the deterioration of morals in society; music merely reflects the problems evident in society today. Everyone is in charge of their own actions and they should be able to have complete control over their lives. The fight against music censorship does not promote the usage of obscene lyrics, but it is merely a fight for freedom. Free yourself from the oppressive nature of music censorship and fight for freedom.

Samar Al Ansari
Grade 10.3

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pro Music Censorship

It is every American’s duty to protect his/her country. Protection comes in many forms, you can protect your country physically, mentally, and spiritually. Music in the U.S.A. these days has been very tasteless and containing extremely obscene lyrics. Music is a beautiful art that has been ruined by hateful lyrics of songs heard today. These vulgar lyrics are not only of bad taste, but they affect everyone who hears it as well, thus music censorship should be legalized in the U.S.A. It is a form of protection; we are protecting society and mainly our youth. Music with obscene lyrics should be censored in the USA because it corrupts society of all moral values.

The First Amendment, Freedoms of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, and Petition states that: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peacefully assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” It is undisputable that the First Amendment guarantees all Americans freedom of speech, but the fight for music censorship is not about taking away freedom of speech. It is about the protection of society and all its members. According to the Communications Decency Act in 1996, the First Amendment does not protect music. The First Amendment states that people peacefully assemble when they have problems with the government and what have you. Today people are contradicting the First Amendment and singing violently and tastelessly about the problems they face with the government, as shown in some political songs, instead of assembling peacefully and dealing with their problems. With their songs they are brainwashing innocent minds, and creating an even bigger danger to society. Freedom of speech is a privilege, and with every privilege comes responsibility. Some artists in the industry today cannot handle the responsibility of freedom of speech. Artists abuse this privilege by carelessly ‘speaking their minds’ and distribute their immoral values onto others without thinking about the severe consequences that follow.

The fraction of society most affected by the obscene lyrics found in some songs today are the children. Children are at a very naïve age, in which they are very impressionable. They are at a ‘monkey see, monkey do age’ or in this case, a ‘monkey hear, monkey do’ age. ‘The twelve year old murderer, Mitch, who was behind the Westside Middle School shootings in Arkansas, was said to be influenced by gangsta rap, according to a teacher in Westside Middle School, Debbie Pelley’ ( Mitch was heavily influenced by rap music, and frequently talked about murder and violence. We must protect our youth, and thus protect ourselves from the outbursts of violence influenced by obscene lyrics. The “explicit content” label on albums with vulgar lyrics does not serve as protection. It is an inadequate label that is the only source of information available to parents. Regardless of the number of restrictions put on albums whether adequate or inadequate, music is easily obtainable, and our youth lay unshielded from the ugly voice of vulgarity. Parents can only do so much, and it is impossible for parents to be fully away of the type of music their children listen to. Therefore it is our duty to censor music that has proved to affect children to a great degree.

Not only does vulgar music affect children, but it affects the society as a whole. Platinum selling rapper, Tupac Shakur, has been in trouble with the law and public since his first album and even now after his death. “In 1994, two 17-year olds shot some police officers and said they did because they heard it in Tupac’s music”(, Does Rap Music Cause Violence?). Artists should realize that people look up to them, and that they are regarded as role models in peoples’ lives, and that what they do affects and influences many people. The Columbine High School Shootings which shook the USA, were said to be influenced by the tasteless music of flashy rockstar Marilyn Manson. Lyrics of Manson’s music include: “I hate the hater, I’d rape the raper…..Hey victim you were the one who put the stick in my hand…Let’s just kill everyone and let your God sort them out”. As Hitler pointed out, through repetition comes control. When songs are heard over and over again, especially songs like Marilyn Manson’s, the ideals of the songs are being imprinted in the minds of the listeners, and thus practiced by them. Studies have shown that teen violence, suicide, drug use, and sexual activity have all been on the rise after the formation of gangsta rap. Does it not make sense that the catalyst promoting these standards is to blame? Music is supposed to be beautiful, but instead music with explicit lyrics is leading to moral collapse. What is a being without his standards and his principles? People are walking down the streets singing along to tunes praising such ideals as rape and murder.

Music censorship has various economic effects as well. The “explicit content” sticker is merely a marketing strategy used to promote the CD. When people see that sticker, it captures their attention, and they feel compelled to purchase the album. “The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) does everything with marketing strategies in mind”( Their main concern is profit, and not the vulnerable youth of tomorrow. Have you not noticed that the songs that top the charts are the songs containing indecent lyrics? This is the direct result of the RIAA’s marketing strategies. The youth, being the largest portion of consumers, are targeted and manipulated into purchasing albums of explicit content.

Music with obscene lyrics should be censored in the USA because of their destruction of moral values in society. Children are being heavily affected, as well as society, and marketing managers are showing the children that life is all about money, which it most definitely isn’t. Once again, the fight for music censorship does not include robbing citizens of their freedom of speech. But there should be laws set up that protect society from these unwanted lyrics. The “don’t like it, don’t buy it” adage does not work in society today, for music of all types is heard everywhere without peoples’ consent. Please help us sew back the fabric of morals in the quilt of society.


1. Leo, John. Censorship, Opposing Viewpoints, San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1990.

4. (Does Rap Music Cause Violence?)

5. Microsoft Encarta 2001, CD-Rom, Music Censorship.

Samar Al Ansari
Grade 10.3

Sunday, February 17, 2008

If You Go Away by Terry Jacks

If you go away on this summer day

Then you might as well take the sun away

All the birds that flew in a summer sky

And our love was new and our hearts were high

When the day was young and the night was long

And the moon stood still for the nightbird's song

If you go away

If you go away

If you go away

But if you stay

I'll make you a day like no day has been or will be again

We'll sail on the sun

We'll ride on the rain

We'll talk to the trees

And worship the wind

And if you go I'll understand

Leave me just enough love to fill up my hand

If you go away

If you go away

If you go away

If you go away as I know you must

There ain't nothin' left in the world to trust

Just an empty room full of empty space

Like the empty look I see on your face

Can I tell you now as you turn to goI'll be dying slowly 'til your ?

If you go away

If you go away

If you go away

But if you stay

I'll make you a night like no night has been or will be again

I'll sail on your smile

I'll ride on your touch

I'll talk to your eyes

That I love so much

But if you go I won't cry

The good's gone from goodbye

If you go away

If you go away

If you go away

To listen to this song click on:

Saturday, February 16, 2008


"To live in hearts you leave behind is not to die"

By : Thomas Campbell

In :The Hallowed Ground

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You Are a Star

Dear daughter, I hope you know that you are a star
When you were alive and when you went afar

You continue to shine in so many people's hearts
A star that keeps glowing after it departs

Precious daughter, I wish I could bring back yesterday
To tell you all what I wanted and yearn to say

Although I told you "I love you” so many times
I still feel it needs to be repeated like chimes

You went, my darling, without saying goodbye
Beloved daughter, all my life for you I will cry

I was with you on every occasion since you were born
And accompanied you in each step, removing every thorn

However, the moment you were chosen by God to leave
I was not there with you, for that I will always grieve

Although I held you after and washed you with my tears
I wish I was there then to calm your last fears

I talk to you every second of my night and day
And ask the Lord to bless you every time I pray

I always imagined you to be part of my tomorrow
Instead, you left me darling, immersed in deep sorrow

Randah R. Hamadeh, 2008, Copyright©

Written in loving memory of my daughter, Samar Ahmed Al Ansari

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Seasons in the Sun

Lyrics of Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks

Goodbye to you, my trusted friend.

We've known each other since we're nine or ten.

Together we climbed hills or trees.

Learned of love and ABC's,

skinned our hearts and skinned our knees.

Goodbye my friend, it's hard to die,

when all the birds are singing in the sky,

Now that the spring is in the air.

Pretty girls are everywhere.

When you see them I'll be there.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.

But the hills that we climbed

were just seasons out of time.

Goodbye, Papa, please pray for me,

I was the black sheep of the family.

You tried to teach me right from wrong.

Too much wine and too much song,

wonder how I get along.

Goodbye, Papa, it's hard to die

when all the birds are singing in the sky,

Now that the spring is in the air.

Little children everywhere.

When you see them I'll be there.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.

But the wine and the song,

like the seasons, all have gone.

Goodbye, Michelle, my little one.

You gave me love and helped me find the sun.

And every time that I was down

you would always come around

and get my feet back on the ground.

Goodbye, Michelle, it's hard to die

when all the bird are singing in the sky,

Now that the spring is in the air.

With the flowers ev'rywhere.

I whish that we could both be there.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.

But the stars we could reach

were just starfishs on the beach

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

SAMAR's Dietary Motto

A moment on your lips

A lifetime on your hips

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Letter of Introduction on Music Censorship

When I was first informed about the controversial topic project, I was instantly reminded of a favorite subject of mine, politics. This made me rather interested in the project, and I found myself putting a great deal of effort into it. At first, I decided on the controversial topic of polygamy, and I even began researching it. I was interested in polygamy because I have always been appalled by the tasteless act of plural marriage. The fact that I was so against it made it rather hard to be neutral and write two papers on the subject: one promoting it and one against it. Also, I couldn’t find enough information to support my arguments. After a hectic period of researching, talking to friends, and being in an utter state of confusion, I finally settled on music censorship. It really interested me because frankly, I love music. To me, music is more than beautiful, and I spend most of my days listening to music either on my I-Pod, or in the car, or watching music videos on television. Freedom of speech is still not existent in my developing nation, and I am aware of freedom of speech in the First Amendment of the US constitution, so my controversial question was: Should Music Be Censored in the USA? As the days progressed, and I got more into research, I found myself very drawn to my topic, and very interested in anything concerning it. It no longer was a hassle for me; I was quite enjoying searching as well as writing my papers. Before all the research, I knew very close to nothing about my topic, and now I feel so much more informed to the point where I can sit and debate the opposing view points of my topic. After numerous days of brainstorming and staring at a blank computer screen, I was finally able to write two balanced opposing papers on the controversial issue of music censorship. This project was rather tiring, but I really do feel that it was worth it. I am extremely proud of this portfolio, which basically contains all the work I did for this project, and I will cherish this experience for many years to come.
Samar Al Ansari
Grade 10.3

Friday, February 08, 2008

Please Be Gentle

Please be gentle with me for I am grieving.
The sea I swim in is a lonely one
and the shore seems miles away.
Waves of despair numb my soul
as I struggle through each day.
My heart is heavy with sorrow.
I want to shout and scream
and repeatedly ask “why.”
At time, my grief overwhelms me
and I weep bitterly,
so great is my loss.
Please don’t turn away
Or tell me to move on with my life.
I must embrace my pain
before I can begin to heal.
Companion me through tears
And sit with me in loving silence.
Honor where I am in my journey
Not where you think I should be.
Listen patiently to my story.
I may need to tell it over and over again.
It’s how I begin to grasp the enormity of my loss.
Nurture me through weeks and months ahead.
Forgive me when I seem distant and inconsolable.
A small flame still burns within my heart
And shared memories may trigger
both laughter and tears.
I need your support and understanding.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
I must find my own path.
Please, will you walk beside me?
By: Jill B. Englar

Monday, February 04, 2008

أمي، كم تتعذبين

أمي، أعلم أنك لست وحدك لفراقي تتعذبين
ولكنني أعلم أيضا أنك أكثر المعذبين
فالأم اصطفاها الخالق رب العالمين
فريدة في العطاء لأولادها حتى الراحلين
لذا أعلم يا أمي كم تقاسي وكم تتألمين
فأبعث لك رسائلي مع الأغراب والمحبين
أرسلها لعلك يا أمي تطمئني وترتاحين
عندما أدرك بأنك بهذه الأيام تتعذبين
فأنت التي تبكيني عندما يضحك الضاحكين
ولا مكان للفرح عندك يا أعز المحبين
والتي أسمع دعاءك لي، كلما تسجدين
والتي لا يعلم إلا الله الحزن الذي تكتمين
فما تظهري، ما هو إلا قطرة من الأسى الدفين
الأيام تجري وأنت وحدك يا أمي، تقفين
ودائما آخر يوم في حياتي تتصورين
والمشاهد كلها كشريط تعيديه وتتخيلين
اذكري الأيام التي كنت بها معي تسعدين
وتضميني إلى صدرك الحنون، وتقبلين
واذكري، كم مرة جففت دموعي وكم كنت تواسين
أمي ،أعلم أنك تودين أن تحضنيني وتبكين
اصبري يا أمي، فالصبر أجره كبير عند رب العالمين
أدرك بأنك تعلمين بأن جميعنا بالموت موعودين
ولكنك لم تتوقعي أن أكون أول المفارقين
وأعلم أنك رغم هذا كله، من الشاكرين
لله حتى لو أخذ منك أقرب الأقربين
والموت أصبحت يا أمي لا تخافيه ، ولا ترهبين
ولكنك على إخوتي من النسمة بت تخافين
أمي، أعلم أن رغم الحزن الذي به تظهرين
امرأة مؤمنة، قوية لعلها من الأولياء الصالحين
فأنا اختارني الله أن أكون من السابقين
وأنت بإذن الله الواحد الأحد يوما بي ستلحقين
وسنلتقي يا أمي إن شاء الله معا ومع المؤمنين

رنده ربحي حماده
(أم سمر)
جميع الحقوق محفوظة للمؤلفة© 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008

مقتطفات من رثاء نزار قباني لولده توفيق

مكسرة كعيون أبيك هي الكلمات
ومقصوصة، كجناح أبيك هي المفردات
فكيف يغني المغني؟
وقد ملأ الدمع كل الدواه
وماذا سأكتب يا بني؟
وموتك ألغى جميع اللغات
لو كان للموت طفل ،لأدرك ما هو موت البنين
ولو ان للموت عقل
سألناه كيف يفسر موت البلابل والياسمين
ولو كان للموت قلب.... تردد في ذبح أولادنا الطيبين
نزار قباني
مقتطفات من قصيدة الى الأمير الدمشقي توفيق قباني