About Razan Masri

I love exploring, researching, finding and sharing. I love to learn and to teach, I love to live and to laugh, I wish to speak to the world as an Arab Woman using the most beautiful language through photographs and writing.

Our Beauty

The perfect place for coffee time… or journal writing, book reading, self reflecting, listening to a podcast or favorite music, this place is the perfect place for good time, for inner time, for culture time. Take a dear person, show them around what really is ours, our culture, our history, our art, our ambiance. This is the meaning of true beauty, not trying to hard to be someone other than the self, but trying enough to be the best self.

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Spring in Webdeh

What about closing out the outside world,

What about staying inside your own being exploring your own ventures,

What about not giving a f and listening to your inner sound,

What about being sure your not missing out and instead you explore the movements within you,

What about you ignore it all and just give yourself the chance to explore your being,

Create some art, your kinda art, the art that is just different from anything else, and guess what, it is only art when it does not necessarily make the same sense to everyone else…

What is inside you let it outside,

Make it your outside world,

Make it what you have been missing out on instead,

Make your own art your life.

A book of faith…

I was so happy to see the Quran displayed for people to look through at The Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding, not because it is the Quran per say but because of the fact that I believe religions in general have been misunderstood. We make of them what we want, we look at them from different perspectives, and rigidity in such is what brings much complications. But how the Quran were displayed was a welcoming way to retell us what it really is; a book of faith, that its goal is not to divide but to unite, is not to differentiate and separate but to guide us to love and accept. Just because I am Muslim and I choose to read the Quran, it does not make me any less of a Christian or a Buddhist. They all call for one God and for one Love. If I choose to go with one it should not mean I have abandoned the other, I instead chose to respect them all and accept them all. I am not deviant if I choose to read the Bible or visit the Synagogue. I believe they are all books of faiths and homes to connect with the higher power. All temples that are respected and that we feel we can spiritually connect with should not be or seen otherwise. Or thats just me. But thats how I feel when I see books that call for faith. I see love. And when we try to facilitate them to encourage us to love, then they suddenly shine upon the world.

The Blue Sweater for March – Book Review

So I went ahead with the Blue Sweater book for the month of March. It has been dragged along with me everywhere for the past year waiting for the moment I decide to go for it. It is an intriguing book telling the story of the founder of Acumen Fund, an organization established focusing on finding solutions to poverty. They attract investors who are philanthropists to invest into entrepreneurs who are bringing sustainable solutions to big problems of poverty.

The book tells you the story of how Acumen was born by the founder herself. It starts with a compelling story of finding her own blue sweater that she has given away for charity worn by a kid in Africa. And using this as the beginning of her story intrigued me. Few pages down the book I was getting a little bored and started flipping until I reached half way and read:

“I’m supposed to be an anthropologist, so what am I doing studying vector analysis and the Black-Scholes theory?

He reminded me that I’d come to learn the skills I needed to change the world- at least that was my mantra. The developing world needed management skills. It needed people who knew how to start and build companies, not just people with good intentions. It was growing clear to me that those who sought power and money made the rules; yet power alone could corrupt and corrode. “Power without love,” Martin Luther King Jr. said in one of his last speeches, “is reckless and abusive,” and, he continued, “love without power is sentimental and anemic.”

This passage is what made me want to finish the book reading and not skimming. For to be an anthropologist one needs to be concerned with the other as an equal human being, and to have a goal or a mantra to change the world, that I resonate with as cliche as it may sound. So how did Jacqueline Novogratz the author of the book The Blue Sweater (bridging the gap between rich and poor in an interconnected world) make it happen starts only after half the book has been read.

The first half is also of importance as to how she has reached the second half. But personally I felt it was too long. I only was excited about the second half. It discussed her experience with the aftermath of the genocide that took part in Rwanda. How she forged an understanding to how silence can feel criminal. It is an interesting book that explores how the need to help others overcome their difficulties, enable them to find the way to secure their basic needs turned from an empathetic approach to a business oriented approach generating millions in number to serve the world to become a better place.

She also tries to bring to the readers attention the power of listening and how that can strengthen relationships and foster abundant joy. Which I find to be also important to share, for listening I have myself come to learn is a work in progress. And in many situations where we ignore the power of listening, listening can actually be the source of making a difference in the present moment.

“Just start. Don’t wait for perfection. Just start and let the work teach you.” Is how Jacqueline was able to succeed, and it is how I was able to make it work once. But it is easier said than done. For to start something new requires goal setting, more like goal specification. And it does not necessarily require a full goal drawn, but a clear step visualized before approaching, a step that can latter take you to many steps, and the most important factor here is to imagine yourself not five years down the line, but twenty and forty and even after your death, where will what you plan to do be, take the world, the people, where will it leave them, influence them, inspire them? Those questions might make a difference before starting, but starting should not be disabled just by being afraid of imperfection. As I agree with the quote in the book that imperfection is only perfected through practice.

After all, the book is a great read for all those who plan or are in the process of starting something humanitarian or not, for having a humanitarian approach in everything we do, can be life changing for many. And to start somewhere even if that is nowhere close to where you see yourself is still considered a good start. Jacqueline started in the finance world when she knew she wanted to be in the humanitarian world, and through banking she learnt how to bring it to benefit the poor through micro-finance, philanthropy and investment. And as she started small, she made many mistakes that are only human mistakes and one can only learn to grow and to form bigger ideas only through living the full journey. Allow yourself to try and fall as many times as you need to, and in the end something bigger than all those that have fallen will take place. And if you have failed enough, than that bigger thing might over live you. And to the world the benefits can be infinite.

I recommend this book.

We choose to use the language that we want people to understand

“Culture is interpretation. Facts are made, and the facts we interpret are made and remade. They cannot be collected as if they were rocks, picked up and put into cartons and shipped home to be analyzed in the laboratory.” Refelections on Fieldwork in Morocco by Paul Rabinow was my book choice for February.

It is a great book for people who wish to get a little deeper insight on anthropology and the work anthropologists can do. It is also insightful to how interpretations can take place between different cultures, how perspectives and situations matter, where our eyes are set to be seen from and how the person seen chooses to present his subjects. It is quiet mind moving, and gets us thinking about the way we view new cultures when we first get introduced to them, and since today we live in a cosmopolitan world through the internet if not through the cities we live in, the way we perceive new cultures lies on the hands of both the viewer and the viewed. And I personally think, it is becoming more important today, to open up the spaces between our understanding to the tool of communication.

Bourdieu in his afterword in Reflection on Fieldwork in Morocco said, “But, as is usual with these matters involving much more cognitive understanding, we must not believe too quickly in our own comprehension.’ And I believe this does not only go to Anthropologists per se, maybe Anthropologists should just be more aware of their comprehension since they tend to later communicate their comprehension of their study, but at least we need to highlight to ourselves and to others, that our comprehension is according to the situation we were in, and different comprehension is always possible.

Bourdieu also compares our communication relationship with what Jean Piaget once said, “it is not so much that children don’t know how to talk: they try out many languages until they find the one their parents can understand”, and this opens up a wide spectrum to our reflection on what we encounter, for truly, I for one, would communicate differently depending on the person who is of my opposite. How I predict their level of understanding of my world will affect my choice to how I wish to communicate it to them.

I forgot to title this

As if I have the space or time or air to think about enrolling into anything, yet every time I read, sense or think, I am seeking to enroll in something. I am not quiet sure what has happened to me after my MA year of submission. I feel like I have been slapped into a coma and I can not manage to find a way out of it. I keep saying I have a priority but yet so much of my time is going off from it, and yet at the very same time, I am in search of something, I am absolutely unfamiliar with. Deep down, there is a sound, that tells me it is coming after me, and I will one way or another, find the crossing road with it, but for now keep going, keep seeking. Seeking for what? I am so unfamiliar with it, that every time I see the word enroll, I feel like it might be it, honestly I am loosing it, I barely have the time to blog, and if you ask me what am I so busy with, I have a hard time putting my words together to give you an accurate answer.

Figuring out my shit. Which I have been trying to figure out for God knows how long, but today it is a different kind of figure out, and as much as I am obsessed to enrolling into something new, the same much I am terrified by the idea of having to yet accomplish one more thing. I no longer want to accomplish anything, I now want to sustain. I want to focus, I want to stablize; my senses, my ground, my movement, my hand, literally, I want stability. Maybe, I might be able to say, that this is the first time in my life, that I search for longterm stability. I want to be stable, to stand up tall, sharp, certain, I want to be forever smiling, to feel advanced, satisfied, in the sense of acceptance, I want to dig down and not up, I want to feel rooted, building layers of wonders within the same wonder. An approach to internal being, like the rhizomatic roots of the grandest tree, so huge in its shape, in its weight, but actually I don’t want to care how it looks over the ground, I want with what it looks under the ground, it is so rooted, inside, so deep, in different shapes, in multiple ways, it is all so connected to the soil, to many soil, it looks like a Godfather, it is protection, knowledge, it is security, it is warmth, approval, it is infinite presence. Yes, I want to work my way down, not up, and I do not mean by down, down under, but down, down genuine, down real, down worthy. I do not care who sees it or who understands it, what I care about is the core of it, the truth of it, the clarity of it, the base of it, the light on it, it is the root self, the true self, the one self, the only self. This is where I am today in my life, where are you?

Enroll budged me into this piece.

Tree, spiritual, strength, creative

Build a wall around Trump

“This photograph is by Aimee Song @somgsofstyle on instgram”

I am not a political person (in some kind of way, but so political in many other ways) but someone like Trump! Becoming a president! I mean, the world got to have better ways to vote on that. It is hard for me to believe that the Americans really wanted him, and if they really did… then there must be something wrong with the Americans… and if that is right! Then the world needs to find new ways to make sure presidents are only positions made for true leaders who want to make this world a better place (not worse).

And America! For what it stands for, they have proved to us what media is all about. The land of dreams coming true and all that bull shit, well now we know what we can make of a brand by making up a cool branding to it but we must also know that false branding wont stay up for too long.

Anyway enough said. I stumbled upon this photograph and I loved it. Because this is what we need to go out for, finding ways to stop having awful leaders guide us to wrong directions. We want a world where it belongs to everyone and not to anyone. We want a world were traveling is easy access for everyone, a world were diversity is branched out, where acceptance is rooted, where freedom is respected. A world were we each live the way we love that is healthy for ourselves and for those around us. Making this image of a world difficult or impossible is just wrong people presenting us. Unfortunately we are currently living in that era. And fortunately we are the ones that have the opportunity to be the next Martin Luther King or Gandhi.

In a gentle way, you can shake the world. Gandhi

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Martin Luther King Jr.