|—||Margaret Gardiner, from her 1969 publication, “How to Lose Less Money Raising Horses”. This was also on the front of one of my birthday cards this year.|
"Calle Melancolia" by Carmen Paris. Originally performed by Joaquin Sabina, a Spanish poet, songwriter and singer who was inspired by the poetry of Pablo Neruda, among others. Carmen Paris is also Spanish and did a cover of this song several years ago. Her music is a fusion of flamenco, jazz and Andalusian flavours. The songs’ lyrics attest to the power of nostalgia and melancholy. ¡Olé!
|—||Nelson Mandela, as quoted by Deepak Chopra in a recent interview with the June 2012 Oprah Magazine.|
A delightful collection of music collected by NPR’s Steve Inskeep as he travels through North Africa. The short article provides you a link to an ongoing playlist of all of the songs. And his choices are not limited only to modern-day tunes; he even has Abdelhalim Hafez on there. I’m so pleased at the exposure that Arabic music will get out of this!
A woman holds her inked finger up after voting in Egypt’s November 2010 parliamentary elections in Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt. Posted in honour of the elections taking place in Egypt yesterday and today. May the best man win!
Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.
|—||Mother Teresa, charity worker extraordinaire.|
"Mohammad" by Oumeima El Khalil and Marcel Khalifé. El Khalil is part of Khalifé’s "Mayadine Ensemble" that accompanies him on his world tours - her voice is full of clarity, particularly as she sings this poem written by Mahmoud Darwish entitled "Mohammad", written about a young Palestinian boy who wants to escape his troubles. Khalifé himself is a world-renowned Lebanese composer and oud player. Most of his work is fusion music, as his son, a key part of his ensemble, is a stunning jazz piano player, but this song stands out as one of his more traditional compositions.
I just love this. Please read below. I adore his word choice - that he referred to these LOVELY Egyptian carrots as his “odalisques”! What lovely diction!
While living in Imbaba, a rough part of northern Cairo, I walked to my favorite vegetable stand on a dirt alley one street in from the Nile. It was not the closest stand to my house, but Ahmed the vegetable salesman never tried to rip me off or force unwanted purchases on me. And then nature brought this gift: while picking through the carrots these three rose to the top. Here they are: my Odalisques.
[Photo Credit: David Degner]
|—||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.