The Benefits of Silence

Articles, Translations, Uncategorized

Learn About the Many Benefits of Silence

Al-Araby al-Jadid

6 May 2017

We live in a world full of sounds; some are melodious and others are noisy, but rarely do we experience silence. Is this important? Actually, it is. According to the website Psychology Today, silence has several benefits, below are some.

  1. Silence contributes the development of the brain. A 2013 study about the brain’s structure and functions showed that at least two hours of silence can lead to the development of new brain cells related to learning and memory.
  2. Noise affects our stress levels through increasing cortisol and adrenaline. A study in 2006 found that silence can decrease stress within just two minutes.
  3. Silence helps the body and mind relax more than listening to music, as indicated through lower blood pressure and an increase of blood flow to the brain.
  4. Periods of silence improve sleep.
  5. 20th century studies linked between noise pollution and higher percentages of heart disease and ringing in the ear (Tinnitus). The World Health Organization likened this pollution to a “modern plague”.
  6. Conor O’Shea, who interviewed 100 people on a retreat, found that they had increased levels of awareness and gave more time to reflection. Everyone should listen to their inner voice before making decisions.
  7. Silence helps increase our ability to think. This might seem obvious but often we find ourselves forced to finish a report amidst noise and some people study while listening to music; several studies have shown that this is not [productive for focusing].
  8. Caroline Myss says, “The soul always knows exactly what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to quiet the mind.” How to achieve that is up to you. For example, you can meditate for 10 minutes in complete silence and this might help you calm down and think of what to do. Give priority to what matters, then, the secondary details will be what you always wanted them to be, secondary.
  9. Abraham Lincoln says, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” We must realize that silence is many times the best strategy, not jut for ourselves, but for others as well. Not everyone wants to hear your opinion. Before you speak, ask yourself, “Is this beneficial? Do I have to say this?

This is a translation of an Arabic report that appeared on Al-Araby al-Jadid.

salzburg at night

Salzburg: More Than Just Mozart

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Original German text from dw video:


“Salzburg gehört zu den beliebtesten Reisezielen in den österreichischen Bergen, nicht zuletzt weil Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dort geboren wurde und gelebt hat. Touristenführerin Inez Reichl zeigt besondere Orte in Salzburg wie das Café Classic, das Museum der Moderne und die Steingasse, die nicht in jedem Reiseführer zu finden sind.”


Salzburg: More Than Just Mozart

“Salzburg is one of the most popular travel destinations in the Austrian mountains, not only because Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and raised there. Tour guide Inez Reichl shows us unique places in Salzburg, such as Cafe Classic, Museum der Moderne  (Modern Art Museum), and Steingasse (Stone alley), that cannot be found in every tour.”

Sanaa, Yemen

Alex Potter fotografiert den Jemen

Articles, Translations

Original English post by Kaeleyn Forde:

“Fresh out of nursing school and just 22 years old, Alex Potter dreamed of being a photojournalist and bridging the gap between her home in the Midwest and the Middle East. After graduating from college, Potter left her native Minnesota and traveled to Jordan. When she saw that Yemen, a country on the Arabian Peninsula, had a big election coming up, she hopped on a plane in a matter of hours. Potter has been living in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, ever since.”


German translation:

Frisch von der Universität und nur 22 Jahre alt, träumte Alex Potter davon, eine Fotojurnalistin zu werden und die Lücke zwischen ihrem Heimat im Mitteleren Westen und dem Nahen Osten zu schließen. Nach dem Studium, verließ sie ihrer Heimat in Minnesota und reiste nach Jordanien. Wenn sie sah, dass den Jemen, ein Land auf der arabischen Halbinsel, bald Wahlen durchfuhren wurde, stieg sie nach nur Studen in einem Flugzeug ein. Seitdem wohnt Potter in der Hauptstadt Sana’a.

Read Kaelyn Forde’s full post from August 26, 2015 and view Alex Potter’s eye-opening photo essay of Yemen. Visit Alex Potter’s website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


A Japanese Surprise…Beware of the Victory Sign

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In a strange piece of news, the National Institute of Information in Japan announced that making the v-sign in photos is not recommended, in fact completely unsafe,  as it may lead to identity theft.

According to DP Review, a website concerned with the latest technologies in the world of photography, a report issued by the Institute said that the technology of determining fingerprints has become so unbelievably advanced that it can now determine the hand- or fingerprints of any individual through a simple photo published on SnapChat or any other social media network. They warned that the technology is widely available and easy to use.

According to the Institute, this advancement is thanks to smart phones with high resolution cameras that can capture much detail. Researchers were able to copy fingerprints from a photo that was taken using a mobile phone three meters away from the subject. However, naturally, the copying requires that the fingerprints be clear in the photo and that the photo be taken somewhere bright and that it meets a certain size and quality.


Read the original Arabic article published on Al Arabiya on 19 January, 2017.

Turkish retiree and his rooster, Chili Shalabi and Chili (photo credit: Anadolu Agency)

The Turkish Retiree Who Befriended a Rooster

Articles, Translations

Turkish retiree Ismail Shalabi made a special friend when he retired, a friend who added a certain beauty and flavor to his life, but was also sometimes the source of negative comments from his friends.

Shalabi (62 years old) takes his rooster friend Chili with him everywhere: he has him sit next to him in the car, takes him shopping and to the coffee shop, and also shares his hobbies with him; Chili is the first to hear Shalabi’s poems.
In a conversation with Anadolu, Shalabi said, “Chili has become my retirement friend. I feel happy when I spend time with him. I have chickens and other roosters, but Chili has a special place in my heart. He is my best friend. I go everywhere with him. I feel like he almost talks to me and shares my worries.”
Shalabi, who is a father of three, likens his love for Chili to that of his children, saying, “Sometimes, I can’t sleep at night and wonder if Chili is ok, so I go outside and check on him.”
Shalabi is sad that some of his friend do not understand the feelings he has for Chili as they talk about him behind his back and wonder if he has lost his mind. He wonders, sadly, ” Is loving animals crazy?”
This a translation of an article that was published on Al Jazeera citing Anadolu Agency.
Photo credit: Anadolu Agency

Germans are Working Longer, More Frequntly, and Later

Articles, Translations, Uncategorized

Arbeit: Länger, öfter, später

© iStock

© iStock

Die Deutschen haben immer weniger Freizeit. 1,7 Millionen Menschen arbeiten mehr als 48 Stunden pro Woche. Im Jahr 1995 waren es noch 1,3 Millionen. Auch ist Arbeit an den Wochenenden und an Feiertagen für viele kein Tabu mehr. Jeder Vierte in Deutschland – das sind 8,8 Millionen Menschen – ist samstags und sonntags im Job aktiv (1995: sechs Millionen). Außerdem arbeiten 5,6 Millionen Deutsche im Schichtdienst(1995: 3,8 Millionen).
German have less and less free time. 1.7 million people work more than 48 hours a week. In 1995, they were 1.3 million people. Working on weekends and holidays, for many, is no longer taboo. One in every four people in Germany- 8.8 million people- are active in their jobs on Saturdays and Sundays (1995: 6 million). Also, 5.6 million people in Germany work in shifts (1995:3.8 million).
This is an English translation of a German post. Read this article and find out much more about German culture on deutsch-perfekt.

Palestinian-Icelandic Author Mazen Maarouf Wins AlMultaqa Short Story Prize

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الفلسطيني مازن معروف يفوز بجائزة (الملتقى) للقصة القصيرة في الكويت


من محمود حربي


الكويت (رويترز) – فاز الفلسطيني مازن معروف يوم الاثنين بجائزة (الملتقى) للقصة القصيرة العربية في الكويت في دورتها الأولى عن مجموعته (نكات للمسلحين) وقيمتها 20 ألف دولار.


وتتضمن المجموعة الفائزة 14 قصة قصيرة تسرد الواقع غير المنطقي من وجهة نظر طفل يعيش حياته اليومية في ظل حرب لا تتصدر موضوع القصص إنما تعتبره واقعا فانتازيا يعيشه الطفل ومن خلاله يقص المؤلف الرؤى الإنسانية والمفارقات والدعابات الساخرة.


والمجموعة الصادرة عن دار رياض الريس للكتب والنشر في بيروت هي الأولى للمؤلف الفلسطيني/الأيسلندي الذي ولد في لبنان عام 1978 لعائلة فلسطينية. وحصل معروف على بكالوريوس في الكيمياء من كلية العلوم بالجامعة اللبنانية وعمل لعدة سنوات بتدريس الكيمياء قبل أن يبدأ مشواره الأدبي في 2008 وصدرت له سابقا ثلاث مجموعات شعرية.


وقال معروف لرويتز بعد تسلمه الجائزة “لهذه الجائزة رمزية كبيرة لأنها ترد الاعتبار لأدب القصة القصيرة وهي تعزز المشهد الثقافي الفلسطيني وتكرم الكاتب الفلسطيني فأنا مولود في الشتات ولم أزر فلسطين إلا مؤخرا.”



Palestinian Mazen Maarouf Al Multaqa Arabic Short Story Prize in Kuwait

Kuwait (Reuters)- Palestinian Mazen Maarouf won on Monday, 5 December, the Al-Multaqa Arabic Short Story Prize of $20,000 in Kuwait. Maarouf received the first edition of the Prize for his collection “Jokes of the Gunmen”.

The winning collection includes 14 short stories that narrate the senseless reality from the point of view of a child living his everyday life amidst a war that is not the subject of the stories, but is rather seen as a fantasy reality the child lives and through which the author illustrates human visions, paradoxes, and sarcastic jokes.

The collection published by Riad El-Rayyes for Books and Publishing in Beirut is the Palestinian-Icelandic author’s first. Maarouf was born in Lebanon in 1978 to a Palestinian family. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the School of Sciences at the Lebanese University and worked as a chemistry teacher for a few years before starting his journey in literature and writing in 2008. He has three poetry collections published previously.

Upon receiving the Prize, Maarouf told Reuters that “this Prize has a major symbolic meaning as it brings back esteem to the short story, strengthens the Palestinian cultural scene, and honors the Palestinian writer; I was born in the diaspora and did not visit Palestine until recently.”

Read the full Reuters article by Mahmoud Harbi.