|—||Kurt Vonnegut, American writer and genius. My favourite book of his is called “Slaughterhouse-Five”. Unfortunately he left us in 2007, but his collection of writings and simple, frank quotes remain. I love this quote, as it’s a different way of saying “c’est la vie”.|
My good friend Kristen H. sent me this wonderful article today, replete with an excellent repertoire of photographs of what Dubai once was, before it became what it is today. It was a place of culture and a true ambassador of old Arabia. It’s amazing what the passage of time and money can do to a place!
Taken near Vik, Iceland in March 2010. It’s been just over two years since my phenomenal trip to Iceland, and I have been to many other places since then, but the scenery and raw nature I encountered while traveling through this Nordic land is impossible to forget. I don’t apologise for the film - it turned out to have a defect on the left, but I quite like it. Iceland was truly serene, and it’s the place that my mind wanders off to when there is too much to deal with in real life.
The link to a blog that my Paris-based friend, Narymane, and I are kicking off. I must warn you - it is under construction, and the name is likely to change in the very near future, but we are excited about it nonetheless and wanted to share our first article. In fact, the first piece was written by Narymane in French and translated into English by yours truly. The blog will be a press review of current news and stories coming out of North Africa and the greater Arab world, as they are portrayed on the ground and through the eyes of former colonial powers and their neighbours/allies. Articles will be presented in English, French and (sometimes) Arabic. The first post pertains to the French presidential elections and how Algeria, it’s former colony, will be affected by its outcome. ENJOY!
“Bamba” by the Touré-Raichel Collective. The Collective consists of Idan Raichel, Israeli pianist/hippie/music virtuoso, and Vieux Farké Touré, the son of famed Malian guitarist Ali Farké Touré. This duo met in the Munich aeroport several years ago and arranged to meet again in Tel Aviv not long after; it was in Tel Aviv that they held a jam session that became known as their fist album, entitled “The Tel Aviv Sessions”. What they make is a wonderful fusion that is slightly more African than Levantine, and tunes that one cannot resist tapping their feet to. In concert, this pair shares a unique energy and they are a wonderful testimony to the work that can be made when political and religious differences are put aside. Enjoy!
A fantastic article written by Mona ElTahawy, an Egyptian-American journalist who received much attention during the Egyptian revolution for her allegations against the authorities who held her, claiming that they had beaten and sexually assaulted her.
The piece does come off as a bit harsh, and I must admit I was put off to find it being posted first by an American girl who knows very little about the Arab World… but any woman born and raised in the region has the right - based in knowledge and experience - to touch the same taboo subjects that ElTahawy highlights.
A male friend and I discussed the plight of women over coffee yesterday. He admitted quite easily, after pondering the notions of pregnancy, child-rearing, and other tidbits that women were much indeed stronger than men. Whether this is true or not is debatable, but what is certain is that women are underrepresented and starved of their rights all across the board, not only in the Arab world but also beyond. People like Mona ElTahawy and organisations like HarassMap.org are beacons of light in the struggles of “revolutionary” nations. To quote Chairman Mao Tsedong, “women hold up half the sky.”
Just a side note - for a different perspective, check out http://samiacharquaouia.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/dear-mona-eltahawy-you-do-not-represent-us/ … she also raises good points about where ELTahawy may have gone too far.
وعد لا يُردّ
و لا يزول
Mahmoud Darwish, renowned Palestinian poet.
Love is like death; a promise that cannot be returned, and does not go away.
He also said, “Who will win in the end - love or death? To ask for love is like asking for life.”
The scarlet ibis, as seen through the legs of a crane at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, MA. This striking bird is native to South America and the Caribbean. It is also the national bird of Trinidad! The photographs’ setting is not exactly exotic, but the bird was so stunning that I had to document and share it.
“Eyne Ezzerga” by Salim Halali - born Simon Halali in Annaba, Algeria in 1920, Halali was a prolific musician who found his success in France during WWII. He is featured as a main character in the Fall 2011 film “Les Hommes Libres” as he was, in fact, a Jewish Algerian who faced persecution under the Vichy government, along with many other North African Jews. It was the Grande Mosquée of Paris that was issuing North African Jews in France with fake identity papers claiming that they were Muslim, and it is this storyline that is behind Les Hommes Libres, in addition to featuring Salim Halali as a phenomenal singer and composer of Andalucian-style songs. Enjoy “The Blue Eye” as Halali takes you back in time to a lost age.
This is such a stunning collection of images that I had to share it. Taken during the BBC’s Human Planet series filming over the past two years, it provides snippets of the shows goal of highlighting man’s relationship with nature.
“Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye feat. Kimbra - a bit of a mainstream post, but I couldn’t help myself. Not only is the tune the kind that sticks in your head, but the lyrics are meaningful and the video is well-made, albeit a simple idea. Gotye is a Belgian-Australian chap who got his start nearly a decade ago but who has just made it big on the English-language Top 40 scene, first in the UK and now (slowly) in the US. “You can be addicted to a certain kind of sadness”.
Spring is well on its way in this buzzing East coast metropolis; all the commotion takes me back to quieter seasonal memories, crossing seas and continents. This photo documents the colours of spring in the hills of Jordan, circa April 2011; a bumblebee on a wild flower in Abou Souss, an area known for its natural springs and lush greenery.