Friday, August 1, 2014

Ceasefire - A Poem

Note: I actually wrote this poem about 5 years ago in my college poetry class. With all the continuing bloodshed and relentless violence and the fact that a ceasefire in Gaza only lasted 90 minutes, it's every bit as relevant now as it was then. #freepalestine

by Asif Balouch

Across my TV screen
the evening news invites me
to a world where smiles do not exist.
Where all that lies is images of horror,
devastation that knows no bounds.
where blood flows more than water.
Sad story follows tragedy repeatedly
in a torturous cycle.
I’ve seen enough
and am not the only one
that cries out for those liable
to bring forth a ceasefire.

To city halls we go and march,
embassies and consulates.
The demand of a resolution we sought
an end to the conflict.
Cardboard signs with words big and
bold spell out our disapproval.
A clear message to those in power:
"How much more lives must be lost
before you’ve had your fill?"
That would get you out of your passive state into actual activity?
Save some lives and save your souls,
bring forth this ceasefire!

It seemed the demands had been met,
the ceasefire had finally come.
Talks of peace now possible, rather
than a pipedream.
Short-lived, however,
is what peace came to be
as violence and bloodshed
reappeared uninvited.
Guns rattled,
bombs blasted,
bodies dropped,
and families returned to being
depleted of its members.
Children now orphans and only Childs,
while parents childless.
All due to the triggers of transgressors,
violators of the ceasefire.

A dispute over real estate becomes
a clash over faith and tradition.
Those that follow their holy books,
claim justification of their actions.
Yet they overl

ook the most important verses of their scriptures,
a blind eye to God’s commandments,
a deaf ear to the consequences.
Religion is not even required as a guide,
use your common sense!
At a young age we learn to share,
to bond,
to coexist,
compromise and work out differences.
Skills that are supposed to be instilled,
in the framework of human hearts and minds,
now another casualty of this war.
A call for resurrection,
for those fallen tools of world peace.
For if they were to return,
would there be a need to order a ceasefire?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

RIP Ultimate Warrior (There goes my childhood)

A sad start to the month of April. One of my favorite childhood wrestling hero's has passed away. The Ultimate Warrior died at the age of 54 from heart failure while walking with his wife to his car at a hotel. This was just 24 hours after he was on Monday Night RAW for the first time in 18 years and more than 48 hours removed from being honored at the 2014 Hall of Fame.

Ultimate Warrior was my gateway drug into wrestling when I was a little tyke. My dad liked watching wrestling and I think when I was around 2 or 3 I got my first glimpse of wrestling either on a Saturday morning or Saturday night when my dad had just got home from work and was relaxing. Who was on the screen? The Ultimate Warrior. The long hair, the crazy promos, the colorful facepaint and tassles the big muscles I thought he was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Sure a lot of the times you didn't understand a word he was saying but the dude was a ball of energy running to the ring and that music was awesome!

WWE did a tribute to him this past week and it is one of the most beautiful packages I've seen them make for anyone. When it gets to the part where they show his daughters, that's when I lose it, being a new father myself.

What's crazy is that his last address to the fans the night before his death was almost prophetic, like he knew he was going to die. I read that his family had a history of heart disease and his father even died at 57 from a heart attack. He had to have known from doctors that he didn't have much time left. So I'm guessing that's why he put behind his bitterness with his former employer, WWE, and accepted the Hall of Fame invite. He may have known his days were numbered but probably didn't think it'd be so soon as he had signed a multiyear deal as an ambassador for the company. My heart goes out to his beautiful daughters and his wife. Despite his criticisms, they lost a good man.

I'll miss you Warrior!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Charitable Viral Videos: Noble or Boastful?

A trend that is starting to catch fire on the interwebs are viral video pranksters going off the beaten path and showing off their charitable side by recording a video of them either helping out the homeless with a makeover, some money, groceries etc. 

Popular Youtubers like Vitalyzd, FouseyTube, MagicofRahat are just a few of those folks. Look at this recent video just released of MagicofRahat giving a homeless man a fake lottery ticket and following him to go cash his winnings.

The heartwarming video above I must admit brought tears to my eyes. These videos are usually very inspirational and emotional. It's no surprise videos like these go viral because it's not common for charitable acts to be seen up close and personal from a third person perspective. The majority of folks appreciate the random acts of kindness but others expose a different side, one that is usually disliked or overlooked. I'm talking about comments such as these:

Emotional porn? That's a new one.

While I do respect and appreciate the ultra-kind gesture that MagicofRahat and others like him did, detractors do raise a valid point and it is the reason why openly giving charity is kind of a slippery slope. You try to do something nice but when you publicize it, you're bound to get responses such as this and accusations of being a hypocrite, self-righteous and exploitative. 

It's a tough situation to be in especially if your intentions are to inspire others, raise awareness or get people reach into their pockets and give a little more. 

I don't think MagicofRahat or those like him are trying to say "Look at me, I'm a good person!". And as for those who say they are benefiting financially by having these videos go viral, while it may be true it's merely complimentary. They were getting PAID with their viral prank and comedy videos long before releasing videos of their noble deeds.

 I feel they are merely giving back because if it wasn't for all the views and subscriptions and support people gave them, they probably wouldn't have the income and fame to put them in a position to give like they do in those videos.

Being charitable or doing any good deed does trigger a response in our brain which emits a warm satisfied feeling within us and for some people it can be a drug. They want people to know about their kind act and be recognized and put that dopamine-induced pleasure their brain gets into hyperdrive. I know in the past when I have done something charitable and I feel all virtuous and whatnot, one of the first things part of me feels like doing is letting the world know. I feel like tooting my own horn and shouting "Look what I did, what have you done lately?"

 I learned real fast that not only does it make you come off like a jerk and a hypocrite, but it's a dangerous line to cross because you're pretty much removing any credit you were to receive by Allah because you're seeking praise of others. I'd much rather have Allah's reward than a "Cool story,bro!" from my peers.

Situations like this really gives you a better understanding of the phrase that both the Qur'an and the Bible mention: giving charity in such a way that your left hand doesn't know what your right hand is doing. It's much more respectable being the anonymous donor; the guy who swoops in, saves the day and just disappears into the night before anyone can ask for his name. It's why superheroes are superheroes.

If Superman was a real person and started spouting off all the times he saved the world from utter destruction, stropped that schoolbus full of children from falling off a cliff and the countless other acts he's done, we'd all be calling him an A-hole. If Spiderman took every opportunity to show folks a highlight reel of all the cool heroic crap he's done over the years, we'd all be throwing tomatoes at him (though he'd successfully dodge them all and wrap us up in his websling).

Whatever, dude.

 The best way I can conclude are with reminders given from the Qur'an:
If you give charity openly, that is good. But if you keep it secret, and give it to the needy in private, that is better for you. It will atone for some of your misdeeds. God is cognizant of what you do. (2:271).
O you who believe! Do not cancel out your charitable deeds by reminding others of your him who spends his wealth to be seen by the people (2:264)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Jinn Official Trailer Breakdown: Trenchcoats, Swords and CGI equals Jinn movie?

That about covers it...
Last week, Exxodus Pictures released the brand new trailer for the much-delayed movie  Jinn. The film--which had been in developmental purgatory for nearly 4 years (originally supposed to be released in 2011)--finally has a set date for release on April 4th, 2014.

I expressed my thoughts on the initial teaser trailer over a year ago and said from the looks of it, the movie is not going to stay accurate to the Islamic teachings of Jinn but instead veer off into the typical "fantasy monster" movie genre.

Lo and behold the brand new trailer confirmed my suspicions. It's friggin' Highlander meets Fast and The Furious meets Blade. They are even marketing it as a supernatural thriller adventure? Ugh...

A few questions that have me scratching my head:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

PhilAsify101 Year in Review and Looking Ahead

I know guys, I know! Don't ya'll have movies to go make?
Hey gang, it's your friendly neighborhood PhilAsifer again checking in (late, as usual) with the first post of the new year. In between work and being a daddy, I haven't had an ample amount of time to sit myself down and come up with some creative posts. It's really left a void in me because just a year ago I was rolling with content on a consistent basis.

2013 was quite a ride. It will mostly be remembered as the year that I made the final leap into adulthood by being a father, accompanied by gray hairs, aching joints and a receding hairline (yippee!)

After coming home from a 9 hour grind, there's little time to devote to the writing room when theres more important things to deal with like giving my wife a break from spending all day with sonny boy. I love spending my nights with the little dude but at the same time I do miss that free time to buckle down and move my fingers--which more often than not wasn't devoted to writing/typing but rather wasting hours on the Playstation. I've recognized the dire need in striking the right balance between doing dad stuff and getting back into a productive writing groove.

And that's one of my main goals for 2014. Others include:

  • Getting back in pick-up basketball game shape. (That's about 30 pounds from now.)
  • Hitting the weights again. (I don't know how my aching wrists feel about that :s)
  • Start and FINISH a screenplay (Finally!)  
  • Buy a new car (for the wifey)
  • Get back on the deen more by reading and memorizing more Qur'an, reading more in general.
  • Kill some debts so I can get me a PS4! (Uh...for my son)
  • Continue churning out some exciting new blog posts for PhilAsify101!

What are your goals for this year?