A reward and punishment VR system – imagining the future Black Mirror style


The future might be both, beyond our wildest dreams, and so much familiar where it manifests many of our beliefs and traditions. With the exponential advancement of AI and technology, it would be near impossible to predict what is coming our way.


But understanding the power of human beliefs and imaginations and how persistent it can be, and coupling that with the powers of our future technologies of AI, VR and censoring, let’s imagine the following scenario:


For those who still believe in heaven and in hell, who believe in reward and punishment in a world where aging does no longer exist and death is far more rare. You don’t have to worry!


I have a solution.


We can run a mini experiment and create the world you think is fair and true. To assist the angels on your left and right shoulders, we will create artificial invisible angels, planted on your shoulders to log whatever action you do. They will be ran by an advance AI that can asses every single action, collect data from your body and brain activities, and determine if the action should be logged in your deeds or sins records.


This can start any moment, from the day of your birth, or the day you subscribe to our service. It will also have a time limit. We recommend 100 years. After which, your judgement day will arrive. But don’t worry, we can do it in groups, or patches, so it can feel real, with a real judgment day for all. And we can keep the date a secret that no one knows.


On your judgment day, the AI will measure your balance and how it tips. It will determine if you have been a good person or a bad one. And accordingly, it will channel you to one of our afterlife chambers; the VR chamber of Hell or the VR chamber of Heaven.


In Heaven, you will be seated comfortably in a perfect room and you will delve into an experience of joy that you have never thought of. Your body will be monitored all the time to ensure your safety. Your mind will be constantly induced with happy hormones. And your imagination will be living the Heaven you always dreamt of and longed for. You will not feel time, because there is not time in Heaven.


In Hell, we will burn you “virtually” to atone your sins. You will be tortured to the highest levels your body can endure. We will repeat that constantly, every time till you lose your consciousness, and reset once you wake up again. All in a safe environment, with your body tightened into a comfortable chair and sensors that can guarantee you would never die.
Who is up for this? Add your name in the comments!


– This can either be a Black Mirror episode or a blue print for a sequel for my Heaven on Earth

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Joker – a wake up call for social justice


The Joker is in the back of my head as I come today to office. I greet the security guard and the office boy with a smile, and with a part of me that feels sad, reflecting on the emotions of Joaquin Phoenix who knew exactly how to portray the feelings of someone enduring social injustice.


That’s the core message of this strong film. Social injustice that we grew to accept as a natural state of life, embracing the status quo and brushing off the harsh reality of the lives of many people living with us.


And while, enduring the daily struggle of living at the bottom of the social ladder, or the invisible side of it, is a valid reason for someone to develop contempt towards this society, the Joker has been lucky to combine that with a history of abuse and mental illness. A formula that built a character we grew to love and admire at the end.


The film doesn’t glorify villains as some critique claims. In the contrary, it raises an alarm. It is a strong wake up call. It is a call for every single one of us to pay more attention, to be nicer and look beyond our own needs and vanity. The Joker, hasn’t been a villain in this film, not to me, and not even towards the end when his character develops into enjoying killing other people. And to be honest, the minute he shots the first person is a turning point in the film. Not because he pulls the trigger, but the effect of it on him. The empowering look on his face, the liberating feeling and the healing from the psychological pain he endured for so long.


It is not right. I know. But I accept it because it is a film. There is a part of me that can’t handle the sight of psychological struggle of other people. I wish to help and I know that I fall short in many times. But that same part, played on by the film makers, made me cheer to the Joker as he took those lives. Yes, smile. I wanted to see him smiling and clapped when he did. Yes, dance. I loved how he danced and wanted to dance with him.


Be happy. I wanted to see him happy but that didn’t happen. And that is unreasonable to expect at the point he reached. He is broken beyond repair and his actions are no longer to seek justice or take revenge, but more of becoming mad to fit into the craziness of the world he found himself in.
And here, I can’t ignore the connection my mind made between the Joker and Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on 17 December 2010, triggering the Tunisian revolution and the Arab Spring. One might find this film dark and heavy, but looking at our reality and the state of the region since Bouazizi burnt himself, shows us clearly that more than often, reality is darker than fiction.

SI Leader Lab – Going back again after 11 years!


I am going back to Sweden in two weeks. This time participating as a coach in the Swedish Institute new leadership program “SI Leader Lab” which aims to connect gender equality advocates in South Asia, the MENA region and Sweden.

I can’t be more excited to be part of this after 11 years of my participation in the Young Leader Visitors Program, which started in 2008 with the aim of connecting young leaders for positive change. I was selected to be one of around 25 participants at the time from Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Sweden. And that was mainly due to my writings on this blog. It was an amazing experience getting to travel to Stockholm, meeting all of those young change makers, who were leaders in their respective communities, getting trained on team building and social media, and build friendships that last for a lifetime.

The beauty of the program lied in the network it built and the connections it paved the ground to. It wasn’t limited to that year, as it continued every year since then, adding more change makers to the network. Some of which I already met and got inspired by their work, but many others whom I am yet to meet.

And this years, it even gets better. The YLVP has morphed into a program that focuses on what I am really passionate about – gender equality. It is also larger, reaching out to young gender advocates in more countries, hosting 60 participants this year from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen. And this time, I am going to give back to the program, co-facilitating a public narrative workshop to help these gender advocates develop their stories.

I actually can’t wait to get to know each and every one of the participants and learn about their work and challenges they are facing. It feels like an entirely different generation, but I understand the challenge. I understand how hard it is pushing the gender agenda in this region and around the globe, and I salute any effort that is put into building and strengthening such networks.

The movement is growing in breadth and strengths, and many laws have been changed in the past few years towards equality. Yet, we are no even close. The challenges are still huge, but we will work, each from his place, to make this world a better place to live for all of us.

I am going back this year with a feeling of pride, as I look back to 2008 and know that my passion hasn’t faded out. I am going back with an arsenal of books in my history log. Books that I wrote with the intention to push social boundaries towards more openness, tolerance and acceptance. And others that are yet to come. It makes me feel that I do belong to this network, and earned my spot here.

7 years passed, still a best seller – Aroos Amman (The Bride of Amman)


Yesterday, an old time friend of mine, took a photo for “Aroos Amman” (The Bride of Amman” that shows the book in the best selling section of DNA Lifestyle Store in Al Abdali Mall.

I was happy to receive the photo and rushed to share it on all of my social media channels. The fact that “Aroos Amman” keeps on appearing in best selling lists after 7 years of its release, speaks volume. This is not the first time or place for it to be a best seller, in fact it was one of the top best selling books on Jamalon in 2012, the year it got released. It continuously appears in the best selling books section in the famous Jordanian bookstore “Reader”. It has been a best seller and a “recommended to read” at Virgin megastore for months. The audio version, made it to the most listened books list on storytel and the ebook is part of Abjjad’s all time most read books!

In Virgin Megastore Amman

The book been translated and published to English in 2015, and currently is getting translated into the French language, planned to be released next year.

Jamalon best selling list 2012

It has opened so many door to me, including securing an MA scholarship from the British Council to study in the UK in 2012. Invitation to different conferences and events in global cities from London, to Berlin, Salzburg and Pune

I have always wondered about the reason behind the success of this book. Why it ticks with so many people? It was my first to write, even before doing my MA in Creative Writing and Critical Thinking. It wasn’t perfectly crafted, and critics would point out the simplicity of its language or the shortages of the plot. Yet, it keeps generating strong reactions that surprises me till today, not just from my fellow Jordanians whom I mainly address in the book, but also from Arabs and foreigners from different countries.

For me it was a work of activism and I am more than happy to see it reach such heights. I wanted the voices of my characters to be heard, and they got heard. I wanted to give our youth hope, and for many I did. I remember a gay guy once told me that he keeps the book with him all the time, and place it next to his best when he goes to sleep as he feels protected by having it close by. That’s something I am so proud to hear. I remember a young woman once sending me a long letter stating how empowered she feels after reading the book and promising to stand up for her self and her rights. That’s also something I am so proud of. Even yesterday, after posting the photo of the book in the best selling list, I received a message from a guy who said it is his favorite book ever and that he remembers how he skipped his university classes and stayed home super excited to read it.

رواية عروس عمان بين الكتب الأكثر مبيعا في مكتبة ريدرز
Readers Bookshop

I don’t know what the magic in “Aroos Amman”. Maybe it has to do with giving a voice to a gay man that hasn’t been heard of in our society before, or hearing a Jordanian woman standing up to her body rights and sexuality, or maybe its magnifying our issues of gender and heavy social heritage, and showing how they have been affecting our lives negatively. I always say, I wrote it from my heart, and maybe that’s what made it tick. And I guess, thats what others see in it, like what a friend commented yesterday on the Instagram image, stating that it is successful because it is “honest” and “different”.

Thank you for all of the honest and different people who supported me and supported this book into such success. Hopefully we will seeing it reaching more people and maybe soon we will watch it as a movies on the big screens.. fingers crossed!

London launch for The Bride of Amman

doodle by fido and mlabbas bringing you a line of custom cute kids tshirts


Anyone been with me in a meeting or workshop or any training must have seen me doodling on a paper or a napkin. It has been a long time habit that I love. Just give me a paper and a pen and you’ll see me coming up with different weird shapes topped with dotted eyes, smily faces, chaotic hair, and lines of arms and legs.

It is something that I loved to do since school days. And in my mind, I always thought of how to make something out of this and thus I started last year an instagram account for my doodles (@doodlebyfido). But they were still paper doodles without colors. I wanted to add more life to them and for a long time was thinking about trying digital art. I never got myself to get any digital painting tool until recently when I got my ipad pro and downloaded procreate. And since then, I have been having so much fun, coming with a different colored doodle almost every day. They look livelier with colors and more attractive.. I think.

Mlabbas website
One of my doodles on a Mlabbas tshirt

And yet, I was thinking to myself, how can I turn these doodles to something of more value, since people are loving them. So in my last visit to Amman, I decided to approached Imad Al Shawwa, founder of mlabbas (a tshirt store gone wild as stated on their website). I have always been a fan of them and their work and a regular customer of their Jabal Amman branch. They offer local designer a platform to print their work on tshirts (mainly) but also a list of other items. I thought why not contacting them, and I messaged Imad asking him if we can work together on this project. Thankfully, he welcomed the idea and was very helpful in setting up a channel for doodle by fido on their website.

It is an exciting project for me and I am very happy to work with mlabbas on this. I look forward to see many kids wearing those cool doodles and be happy with the good vibes they project.

So far I am pleased with the reactions and thankful for all of your support.

To visit my channel on mlabbas website and order tshirts for your kids click on: http://doodlebyfido.mlabbas.me/

Random big thoughts


Sometimes I wish I have the time and expertise to change fields completely, study science, math and physics in depth and contribute to the human knowledge in a way or another. Unfortunately, that will remain a dream for me for the time, and maybe forever, I don’t know. But it doesn’t prevent me from reading scientific articles and wandering in thoughts of potential solutions to existential questions. And here I’d like to share with you some of them that I would explore if given the chance:

First thought:

It is big I know! and is related to our quest to send colonise Mars. And while I am not an astronomer and have little know of space beside popular science. I am wondering if there are any celestial of adequate size roaming the space between earth and Mars that we can use as stations in our future trips. We have always learnt that we have numbered planets in our solar system and that’s fine, but might it be that there are many other smaller objects orbiting the sun? objects we haven’t paid attention to and can be beneficial to us?

Can someone tell Elon Musk to explore this? It might help him achieve his dream!

Second thought:

As you know, I am very interested in the scientific advancement in biotechnology, especially those focusing in understand the ageing process and reversing it. Few months ago, a study revealed a link between gum bacteria and Alzheimer. From what I understood, it is our immune system reaction to build protective proteins shell around brain cells in order to protect it from bacteria infiltration, causing these cells to loose communication and develop the disease.

I suspect that a similar process plays a role in developing many of other age related diseases. From my read to Aubrey De Grey’s book “Ending Ageing”, I understand that the same happens to our arteries of protein accumulation over time that makes them lose their elasticity and ending in causing us strokes and heart problems. It could be like Alzheimer, an immune system reaction to protect body cells from bacteria infiltration.

I believe that Rheumatoid Arthritis is no different as well, and I think that if we focus our research in understanding the role of our microbiome in our ageing, we might be able to fix it.

Third thought:

It is about alien life! And yes, I understand the math and probability of having all those trillions planets without us detecting any form of life outside our planet. It is mind boggling and don’t make any sense. Looking at the diversity of life on our planet and the trillions of species who lived and are alive on this earth, one would wonder if that is not the case all over the universe. Having read Dan Brown’s “Origin” and the theory that states it is physical laws that predicts animate beings to pops out of inanimate objects, which very logical, then life on earth shouldn’t be that special and other celestial objects should be like microwaves with corn seeds popping life all over the space.

I think that there is something in our capabilities of seeing life on other planets. There is something that prevent us from seeing. Otherwise, life on Mars should be as diverse and common as it is here on earth.

Time will tell.

And yes my last thought is about time and space and Einstein’s theory of relativity and modern physics. I admit that I find it very difficult to understand modern physics theory and I was relieved to read the other day an article stating that maybe we are wrong trying to find a unifying theory for the universe by looking into smaller and smaller objects. And I totally agree with that. I think that we desperately need to a new model of describing the universe. We need to get out of the limitation of the time space model and think broader.

And no guys, I am not high on anything tonight!

فادي زغموت مع سهى النجار في البرنامج الإذاعي على الطريق


يمكنكم الآن مشاهدة مقابلتي الإذاعية مع المذيعة الرائعة سهى النجار في برنامج على الطريق على قناة مزاج إف إم والتي أجريتها في آذار الماضي. فرحت جداً بلقاء سهى شخصيّاً واستمتعت بالحديث معها، فهي فعلاً محاورة ممتازة وبرنامجها ممتع. تطرّقنا في اللقاء إلى أسباب منع رواية ليلى والحمل في الأردن وكذلك تحدّثنا عن رواية عروس عمان وجنة على الأرض وعملي القادم قيد الكتابة. أتمنى أن تنال اعجابكم وبانتظار تعليقاتكم وأسئلتكم.