Friday, November 25, 2016

Video: Americans reflect on "Election Day" 2016

I started video filming again recently for the first time in years. 

These clips were initially for a "Cultural Bridging" effort in an ESL program I started in order to offer real life experiences and different perspectives from the American public to the Arab world and our ESL students. 

On Election Day, November 8, 2016, we asked several Americans on the street their thoughts on the election.

Chris, from New Jersey, was dressed up in a Donald Trump mask and encouraged voters to go out and vote to, as he said, "Stop Trump."

We also talked to several American students about their feelings and thoughts on the US presidential election this year. 

Here's what students and members of Temple University Asian American Association had to say about it.

“People don’t do that enough: to come together and try to be one. I think everyone kind of sees themselves as just by themselves and they don’t really want to socialize with other people. And I think people really underestimate the power of unity. And if a lot of people come together, I feel as though, you guys can make a difference. It’s because a lot of people, they just feel as though they can’t. They feel small, like one little speck of dust in a room. I think people need to realize that you have a lot of capabilities and you have a lot of potential., and you can do so much with that, as long as you choose to.”

A final interview was with 2 young women who are Muslim and attend Temple University as well.

If you wanted to learn more about the English as a Second Language program, check out the Facebook page:

Friday, January 15, 2016

Political Arabic Poetry in English: Selected poems by Ahmed Matar

Some of my recent translations from Arabic to English, for Egypt, Iraq, and Syria and Palestine and Burma.


We’re neither dead, nor alive!

لسنا من الأحياءِ في أوطاننا
و لا من الأموات
نهربُ من هروبنا
مخافةَ اعتقالنا
بتهمةِ الحياة !

We are not considered alive, 
among those who are alive in our home
nor among the dead,
We escape from our escapism,
fearing getting arrested,
with the accusation of being alive!


إن كان البترول رخيصًا
فلماذا نقعد في الظلمة؟
و إذا كان ثمينًا جدًا
فلماذا لا نجد اللقمة؟

If oil is so cheap,
then why are we sitting in the darkness?
and if it is so expensive,
then how come we can’t afford a bite to eat?



- ما تهمتي؟
-تهمتك العروبة
-قلت لكم ما تهمتي؟
-قلنا لك العروبة
-ياناس قولوا غيرها.
أسألكم عن تهمتي..
ليس عن العقوبة!

-What's my accusation?
- Your accusation is Arabism.
- I'm telling you again, what's my accusation?
-We told you it's Arabism.
-Oh, come on people! 
Tell me something else!
I'm asking you about my accusation,
not my penalty!

Poems by famous Iraqi poet: Ahmed Matar

For more translation, visit our project's website: