Friday, October 26, 2007

TRAC: a better future for TA and RA in Concordia University

Two years ago, the idea started as a dream. Few friends were looking forward toward building a new bargaining entity for Concordians. It was an opportunity and a threat at the same time. A lot of research and teaching assistants regarded the act as a new problematic spot to be added to our box of conflicts with the administration. Everybody was afraid of the revolutionary policy of Lajeunesse in Concordia and students expected the worse.

Very few accepted to live up to the challenge and we started collecting the individual signatures to support the demand in front of the Quebec Labor Board. It was a really tough quest and the credibility of the team was not very high. We needed to tackle a lot of traps and overcome plenty of obstacles to reach department by department. A lot of students had personal conflicts with the organizers and a lot of students hate unions and unionization for the very simple fact that they came from countries where unions build a negative impression.

Although I agree with the opposers' point of view, I preferred to continue supporting the union because I believe that anything can be good or bad depending on how it is managed. TRAC faced Murphy's law consequences and what we expected to go wrong, did go wrong. At first, the university resistance lead to cutting off a good percentage of research contracts that were converted into bursaries. Students' opposition was too strong to stop the plan. Friction with the left wing affected the plan as well because the historical performance of left wingers (who jumped to the right side at the expense of the left) destroyed their credibility.

However, we continued to build the confidence with major groups of people who trusted some individuals working on the project, and, consequently, eventually, gradually we realized the dream.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

N-TI, yes luxurious apparel MADE FOR YOU

Time is running and my blog lacks updates. However, I wanted to write something about a new website that I have seen lately. It is a new concept to integrate the "Muslim N-TI" in a Quebec context. The Canadian woman does not have to import her fashion from the East anymore, and she does not have to struggle to be "A la mode".

My wife used to spend long hours searching for something that is appealing and match with the look of a Muslim wife in Canada. It was not easy for me to get her a gift on special intimate occasions. Now, I simple send my clicks to and pick "Simplicity, Beauty, and modernity".

A nice coincidence happened to me. They used the name of my beloved daughter "yet to come" as a sign for one of their skirts. When I selected that skirt for my wife, I did not know that it has the name of our angel that is still sleeping in the womb of her mother. Another dress got the Jannah name and I pray that Allah may grant Jannah for ladies who opts for this dress. It is a truly "Islamic collection" and not "Islamized clothing".

The story behind the site is surprising by itself.

"Three Muslim mothers, four young children, a common dream and a will to work with and for the women of the Muslim community, that is the starting point of N-ti.

After reflecting on the challenge of finding high quality clothing of diverse styles that meets Islamic requirements, Dikra, Salma and Audrey created N-ti. The challenge of creating a business adapted to their house wife situation was surpassed by their ambition. With the help of Allah and despite the many obstacles they faced, they decided to realize their dream.

Respecting divine laws and providing high quality goods and services are N-ti’s first priority. Also, unlike most companies in the clothing industry, N-ti focuses its creation and fabrication efforts in Canada. The majority of our clothes and accessories are thus designed in Canada and all our craft products are hand maid by Quebec artists. Since the companies products are geard towards the Muslim community, N-ti also favors attributing the production to Muslims.

Because they promote cooperation and solidarity within the community, the founders of N-ti also participated in the creation of a network of Muslim business women called Initiatives.