White Helmets – A Documentary Short on Netflix

by Bushra on September 19, 2016

The strife in Syria has been going on for five years at this point. A lot of the story is on the refugee crisis, with millions of Syrians fleeing their country to find a life somewhere else. But, as a picture of a young boy named Omran Daqneesh, who was covered in dust after he was pulled out of rubble went viral a few weeks ago shows, there are still plenty of Syrians who are still living in their country, which has been effectively a war zone these past five years.

And yet, all hope is not lost even as air strikes continuously bombard the country because Syria has the White Helmets. This volunteer group of Syrians conducts search and rescue, digging people out of the rubble, and clearing them away from any danger.

The latest Netflix documentary The White Helmets shows what it’s like to be a volunteer on this team as it highlights several men in the group. These men had previous jobs in their life before the war but now they work as White Helmets, understanding the danger they put themselves in as they go from disaster to disaster, pulling people out from under the rubble. The boy from that picture, Omran, is just one of the many people that the White Helmets have saved.

I can’t even wrap my head around what these men do. Even though many of them have families of their own, they put themselves in danger every single day, whether through the possibility of buildings falling down on them or from being caught in an airstrike themselves. Even though there are members of the White Helmets who have been killed while performing their duty, there are still so many of them that do this selfless work.

A lot of us can’t even understand what it would be like to live in a war zone and I hope we never have to. Our resources may be limited in what we can do to help the Syrians so the least we can do then is to understand the conflict and the stories of the people of Syria. Watching The White Helmets is one of many steps that can be taken to get a glimpse of what daily life is like for people who have done nothing to deserve the constant death and destruction around them. Check it out if you can.

The White Helmets is directed by Orlando von Einsiedel and is currently on Netflix, with a runtime of 40 minutes. Here’s an article on IndieWire written by the director and producer Joanna Natasegara about their experience shooting this documentary: The White Helmets’: How the Stars Of Netflix’s Doc Are Making A Difference in Syria’s Civil War

If you want to support this organization check out their site.


Oh, *That’s* How You Pronounce It

by Bushra on September 10, 2016

I was wondering what to write about so I figured I’d google “Muslim” to see what was up these days. Honestly, I already know what’s going on for the most part just by scrolling through my Facebook feed and my own general knowledge. Currently, the Hajj pilgrimage is happening right now in Saudi Arabia and we’re all gearing up to celebrate our holiday, Eid Al-Adha on Monday. And then there’s unfortunate incidents like this that popped up on my feed:
Bigot tried ripping off two Muslim women’s hijabs as they strolled with their babies in Brooklyn attack

Therefore, I didn’t really have to search for anything but I was curious.

The cool thing about searching for just one word in Google is that the search results will bring up the definition of the word, pronunciation, and all that. It’s pretty convenient when you want to confirm you know the definition of a word real quick.

So… this came up when I googled “Muslim”:


It’s always been a struggle to get people to pronounce “Muslim” the right way. For some reason, a lot of people can’t not make the “z” sound in the word or they heard it somewhere pronounced like that and assumed that was correct. A lot of us have accepted it while others hope that the people who do say it like that will eventually learn when they hear it properly said over and over again: with the “s” in the word sounding like an actual “s”, with an “ess” sound.

But if you freaking google it and you get the search engine telling you that it’s a “z”, what are you supposed to do if you happen to not know any better? The most well-intentioned person would get it wrong if they actually were trying to figure out how to properly say the word. Someone, somewhere, normalized the wrong pronunciation of “Muslim.”

I can see it now:

Newscaster: How do I even pronounce this word? *googles it* Ah, okay.
“Today, Mozlems from around the world are celebrating…”

If you do hear someone say “Muslim” with a “z,” be kind as they may not know any better. If you are the one who says it with a “z,” trust me when I say it would make a huge difference if it’s said properly.

On a related note: Been seeing this article here and there. It’s somewhat connected but this actually has way more of a negative impact than the above: The Lasting Impact of Mispronouncing Students’ Names


Coffee with a Side of Nintendo

September 9, 2016

I was in a cafe not too long ago that was filled with decor from the 80s, from movie posters of popular movies of the era to what I think was an actual Delorean, done up in the manner of the time traveling one from the Back to the Future series. I was instantly in […]

Read the full article →

An Ode to Ms. Marvel

September 3, 2016

In my “About Me” page, I say the following: I’m a huge Superman fan. There was even one point of time (well, a point of time that spanned 5.5 years) that I read Superman comic books. I used to get upset when I saw someone wearing a Superman shirt because I felt like I should […]

Read the full article →

Watching The Night Of

August 31, 2016

The Night Of recently held its finale on HBO. It’s an eight episode miniseries about Nasir (Naz) Khan who is arrested and tried for the murder of a girl that he met one night after he stole his dad’s cab to drive to a party in Manhattan. Naz is in his early twenties, attends college, […]

Read the full article →

When the Best Intentions Lead to the Worst Coffee

August 29, 2016

I’m not a hero when I drink coffee black. I genuinely like the taste of coffee when there is care to the beans, it’s roasted well, and the barista brews it in a way that really makes the notes of the coffee come through. I tend to go to the kind of cafes where I […]

Read the full article →

On Stranger Things

August 27, 2016

It has been over a month since I first watched Stranger Things the day after it was released on Netflix. I had plans to hang out with a friend but it had been a long and busy week and so I decided to stay in and just relax. [Side Note: Quick shout out to awesome […]

Read the full article →

Upping my Coffee Game with a Chemex

August 24, 2016

I found myself at the register at Whole Foods in Oakland without any food but instead, an 8-cup Chemex, a box of filters, and a bag of Ethiopian coffee beans. As the guy rung me up, I couldn’t help but feel like I had to explain: “I want to be able to make good coffee […]

Read the full article →

Suicide Squad, Or: What Was It I Just Watched?

August 22, 2016

They should do this thing with DC movies that every time they release one, they should tell you which episodes of a DC animated series you should watch afterwards to reassure yourself that there are good stories with the characters they just messed up on the big screen. To rid oneself of the taste of […]

Read the full article →

A Note About Not Writing

August 22, 2016

I haven’t updated this blog in a while. Every time I wanted to write a blog post, most likely about something specific going on in the world, something else terrible would happen and the right words wouldn’t come. Nothing I was writing seemed good enough. I felt as if I had to address the craziness […]

Read the full article →