Thursday, December 04, 2003

Once upon a Ramdan...

Cairo is bursting with culture…
With rhythmic Quranic voices, beautiful Arabic calligraphy, faces, faces, faces (over plates of interesting meals), lights, rusty bronze, and tacky trails of neon light bulbs, green garbage
collectors smiling at you toothlessly at every corner, late
nights, early mornings (grooan), sticky golden sweets, and
murky orange drinks, big groups of people in noisy sweet
smoke-infested 2a3das, shouting over each others voices, or
rows and rows of people standing quietly, heads bent
slightly listening to musical verses spilling from speakers,
and repeating long "aaaaaaaaaaaamiiiiiinnnnnnn" s in strong
male dominant unision, intwingled with soft feminine
whispers as well..

The country's bursting with culture…
which is unla7a2able and even when your not praying, the tarawi7ers and tahagudders create this serene musical background sound and sensation that lasts all through the night..

I've gone through almost all the quran for the VERY first
time and it's an incredible feeling!
The book is SO FULL of tales of magic, adventure, hope,
love, fear, anger, emotion.. it's SO hard to imagine all
this is captured in paper and bound in a small book.. one
that I had barely ever experienced as such kaman..
did you know Soliman talked to the wind?
Do you know that means the wind, the mountains, the air, the atmosphere, trees, ants, birds, they're ALL ALIVE!!
And a beautiful moon through lacing clouds might actually be
looking right back at you? :)
And it might actually be telling a story f3lan :)

Did you know that shooting stars are actually "shehab" being
thrown at trespassers attempting to listen to the angels
discussing stories of you and me, and today and tomorrow..
And that judging by the speed of light and the fact that the
shooting star you see today, could be one that shot
thousands of years ago..
you ARE witnessing history when you see 'em!

How Beeeaauuuutiful your own voice sounds when your
stretching out the names of God to sing in unison with a
number of others..
how scary it is, when you finally do achieve the unison of
voices, so that the next time you open your mouth, you don't
hear YOUR voice, but a stronger more collective one, that
yours own only becomes a part of .. a flavor, a particle, a
NO WONDER they get into trance-like states. it’s bewildering!

du ever think of how beautiful the Arabic word is??
I always(still do ya3ni) have a serious problem with it.
bas you can never actually LOOK at an English word and not
read it, you can't do that with Arabic. you have to give it
attention. each word is an icon, an idea, sometimes even a
concept. They all stem from a three letter word, and infused
with other letter and loads of tashkeel actually transmit an
idea.. a concept, and it's doer, doee, or the actual action
of it.. bas you can't just look at it.. you have to actually
read it. and often ponder it too.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Let Knowledge grow from more to more...

If you've ever realy wondered; But never got around to ask...

"Let Knowledge Grow From More to More,
But More of Reverence in us Dwell"

Ring a bell?
Comes with a neck crane :)
If it doesn't, you probably never wondered, or ur eyes never
strayed over as you waited for something to "start..ba2a!"

Neways, here's where it comes from;

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892

Strong Son of God, immortal love,
Whom we, that have not seen Thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove.

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust;
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die:
And Thou hast made him: Thou art just.

Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, Thou.
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Ours wills are ours, to make them Thine.

Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be;
They are but broken lights of Thee,
And Thou, O Lord, art more than they.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before.

I always wondered, and STILL do..
"tab ya3ni... why this one.."
There's alot more to it now i guess, bas still..
Neways was REAALy glad i came accross it, thought you might
like :)

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Edward Said - Worth a Thought. And Many more

It's not a breathtakingly, 'step back for a moment of
silence', gasp, or sit back and stare off into space
article.. bas I liked it :)
And though it may be too long, I think at least the first few
paragraphs are well worth the read..
There isn't... very 'alot' we can be proud of these days..
I don't want it to sound cliche' ... bas it seems like your
always, or at least i'm always trying very hard to make sure
i'm at least proud of what is mine.. or maybe sa3at what is
Point is, he was something to be proud of... maybe it's
devestating that he's gone, and maybe it isn't really,
because what he was all about, is still around.
Alot of it is about Palestine, yes, bas he was about alot
more than just that..
So regardless of political stances (or lack thereof's) i
don't think he was only a source of pride, but a strong
inspiration.. and a pretty good example..
I think there's an open road for most of us in that
direction.. or to make that sort of difference..

His life wasn't easy.. bas he made GOOD use of all his
confusions, small and large, identity crisis, problems iwth
his parents, being stereotyped, or trapping yourself in your
own web of social constructs or conventions...
Some things vary every day, and some things don’t at all..
bas he not only brought things out in the open bas shared alot we
can relate to..

This isn't only a tribute to Edward Said, it's a something
that's worth a thought..
(and THAT i believe is a stronger more deserved tribute...)


By Ziad Asali, MD
UPI, Commentary
September 26, 2003

A university professor of literature at Columbia University has died.
He was witty, elegant and powerful, passionate about his field of
study and a man of aristocratic bearing. He loved opera and art and wrote lovely, erudite books. What made him especially important,
however, was none of the preceding. Edward W. Said was one of the
architects of all reasonable discussion on the question of Palestine
and commanded the moral authority to discuss the subject honestly and
outside the rhetoric of hatred and violence.

He was a brilliant man who sought to improve the world through the
power of reason and beauty and truth. Now he is gone and we mourn the
loss because his passing leaves in us an absence where the source of
Arab-American identity once lived.

Being born to privilege does not a great man make. However, using the
gifts of privilege, the education, travel, perspective and information of a fortunate youth, gave Edward the opportunity to put his experiences to the service of the underprivileged. Where many chose to flee and seek comfort in "the good life," Edward Said made himself a witness to the lives of the Palestinian people. He understood the oppression that comes from simply lacking the means to articulate your
own circumstances. He found great purpose in speaking for and about
the Palestinian cause because he felt uniquely suited for the job.

History simultaneously smiled upon and cursed him.

He was a pioneer on the issue of Palestine and his perceptions and
inquiries still frame the debate even as the constant unfurling of
history has altered the specifics of the discussion. His passionate
pursuit of justice inspired so many of us to mature in our political

He was the first Palestinian to ask Arabs to delve into the painful
history of the Holocaust in order to understand the suffering that
Jews endured. And in this way, he was able to clarify in the minds of
many Palestinians the way in which clinging to their historical
grievances would merely lead to a showcase of wounds.

Edward was harshly critical of the shortcomings of the current
Palestinian leadership as he was of Israeli occupation. However, he
was extremely careful to separate leadership from the population at
large. In his work and in his person, Edward Said made the
Palestinians human to the rest of the world. He gave voice to mute
suffering, for where many heard the din of violence and hatred, Edward made our concerns lyrical. He gave us faces and names. He put words in our hearts, souls and minds. And that was just his hobby.

In the minds of many, Edward helped create the discipline of
comparative literature. With the publication of "Orientalism" in 1978,students of English literature and art history were suddenly able to see a global and historical context for the canon which they revered.
He made it possible to both passionately love these works and
simultaneously understand the vast assumptions they made about the

He liberated thoughtful students from both sides of the divide to
consider their own colonial history as a tool in comprehending the
other perspective. And though the field of comparative literature has
evolved and it may be fashionable to turn upon the early texts, it is
undeniable that Edward Said made it possible for these further, more
elaborate discussions to even exist. He discovered words for what some readers had merely felt and that revelation of the inchoate was so valuable to scholars that it has transformed many of the texts about which he wrote.

His career as an academic would have been remarkable even
if "Orientalism" were his only contribution. He could have been one of those eminences grises who lectured from yellowed notes on the
groundbreaking work his younger self produced. He was far from that
picture, writing on subjects as varied as opera and religion, and
writing introductions to the works of such luminaries as Rudyard
Kipling, Henry James, Sigmund Freud, and E.E. Cummings not to mention
Chopin and Faulkner.

He also collaborated with noted conductor Daniel Barenboim
on "Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society." There was no aspect of the arts about which he had not cultivated a deep interest and a thorough understanding.

On a much more personal note, he contributed greatly to Arab America's comprehension of itself. Edward Said's personal grace stood in living defiance of the stereotypical images of Palestinians as thugs and terrorists. How could a person believe those things after having met the worldly, charming, elegant man that Edward was?

Never was his grace so much in evidence as in his last few years in
the face of his final, indefatigable enemy. His personal heroism in
illness was remarkable as he continued to teach, write, travel and
speak even as his physical condition deteriorated. He continued to
work on four books simultaneously in his final year. Although he was a man of many passions, he maintained profound dignity in the face of
death. In fact, dignity and justice were of such importance to him
that one of his last articles to be published was an essay on the
nature of dignity.

Edward Said will be remembered as the model of integration for Arab
Americans. His fluid comfort in both cultures was astounding to behold and it came from a very simple source.

He was born a Palestinian and being one was a wellspring for his
unique perspective on history, art, music, philosophy and many other
subjects. He was an American and being one gave him personal and
political freedom, a fully functional model of the rule of law and the opportunity for success in his chosen profession. He was both because each fed him and contributed to his integrity as a human being as much as having two arms or eyes did. And Edward Said's commitment to a full identity freed us all.

Because he chose not to be merely Palestinian or only American, we
were granted permission to choose the best of both and create the
identity which gave us dignity. And because he refused to be defined
by history's accidents, we were liberated to seek our destiny and rise like many bright phoenixes from the ashes of our former selves.

Ziad Asali is president of the American Task Force on Palestine.