October 23, 2007

Football Fever

Hooligans are very strange people. On what grounds can anybody attack someone else and in any case what is the point of fighting about a result that has happened , do they think they can change historical facts?
While checking and reordering my dashboard I found this unfinished post and decided to post it now, kind of out of season as Hooligans have not invaded front pages for sometime but maybe because it is out of season it can start an interesting discussion as while people are hot they cannot really think logically and the discussion becomes tainted witha bias to a certain club, player, referee. At these times one would swear these people are defending their inner beliefs to a point that makes you doubt about any inner belief.

September 19, 2007

Returning objects

Alisher Usmanov has bought the artwork collection of the late cellist Mstislav Rostropovitch in order to hand it over to the Russian state while the powerful Yale University had to surrender its collection of Peruvian artefacts from Machu Picchu one of the soon to be destroyed (I mean restored) co winner of the seven new wonders of the world.
It seems a fad has started to send back local artifacts is underway with the full backing of finance moguls and of the academical world while international politics just ignores the subject.


That means that the possibility of us getting back the Berlin Cleopatra, the Louvre's Cat and the British museum Rosetta stone is becoming a more plausible one.

Am not sure if one should be happy or one should worry...

September 16, 2007

will it be enough then?

Fundamental freedoms are under attack however the freedom to push the button is still allowed to some. (Full text)

According to the BBC, the advances made in individuals surveillance are on the verge of many a breakthrough. This disturbs me deeply.

It seems that 75% of individuals in most of the world do not mind being watched 24/24 all year round, at least according to polls. I believe this has to do with Religion. If one is religious, one knows he is being under the stethoscope of God however this universal "soulprints" (as opposed to fingerprints} of the human race disturbs me deeply. Not because I am defending "His" prerogatives, but out of a deep ingrained need for a place where the masks can fall without no one ever finding out one's private moments.

The "Logan's run" nightmare is even more disturbing than Orwell's "1984", and although "Animal Farm" amazing maxims are freely quoted by today's world leaders, without the shadow of a smile, and with apparent utter conviction, my most feared nightmare is the crystal in the palm of one's hand, or even worse the electronic chip into your DNA through the cell phones waves.

Governments have now outlawed casual smokers. I propose they do the same to cell phone users. I'll keep mine though.


.. in order to change moods I would suggest you watch this , learn the song and form a delegation"Wafd" to present our requests .




+++ +++ +++







People's assembly election mid 90's

I wonder to whom the delegation (if it was ever formed) would present its demands these days, Does anybody know where Napoleon is?



September 15, 2007

Paradoxically

More Facebook stories.




On 9/11, the unmasked version of this photo was deleted from Facebook. I wonder why? No explanation. No warning. Nothing. Is El Qaeda controlling Facebook and decided to commemorate their vicious attack by deleting all traces of the twin towers ???

This picture was posted to the "fun wall" of a friend of mine who incidentally is the woman on the picture. A personal picture, then.

I wonder why should we not respect the amazing architecture masterpiece the twin towers have been. I will not dwell into that. The disturbing detail about it is that this "Fun Wall" application is actually controlled by slide.com. So it is difficult to pinpoint who is responsible for this deletion.







A few days later, this picture too was deleted this time definitely by Facebook, as the person who posted a non commented version of it as the logo for a group, was not only sentenced, no death row. Immediate execution and a warning to top it was the unstoppable destiny.

" This decision is final. Thank you for your understanding" (Facebook Theodore)


However this version is still on Facebook in a well named group. Check Teezbook on Facebook.






How many "God Gifts" are there?




Why is there so many groups that are related to religions?




The numbers of which can only be matched by those related to sex?

Who is deciding what can be said or showed on what is after all your own profile?
Is there a hidden agenda?

99% of all groups being quite obnoxious and not flying very high intellectually. The most ridiculous superstitions being discussed by some.

While In real life more and more people seem to have decided to stand up for their right to believe whatever they feel like believing, I cannot help but wonder about this bigot's approach to WWW. I wonder when are we going to start discussing the flatness of Earth or the normalcy of beheading prostitutes , the right of an American federal judge to order around an independent country and the fair punishment for spreading an unfounded rumor.


All this said, and while I am happy to see Mekharbesha still Kicking on Facebook, I do wonder why El resuscitated itself. Facebook is no more a free country than any other. Maybe after all the cat is convinced by the Egyptian saying :






"البلد دي احسن من غيرها"
This country is better than any other

August 31, 2007

El's story

Bill Thompson is one of my favorite columnists and he said in a recent recap article celebrating his 5th year as the technical columnist for the BBC that "I care about the ways we manage our online lives, and how we get the balance right between social rules and government regulation, because I don't believe that we can or should leave the rule making to Microsoft, Google or Facebook and that democratic governments are the least worst way of running both the network and society in general."





"Facebook Theodore", or "Big Brother", were the two choices I thought as a title for this post when I started writing it. Then the working title was for sometime "1984 is there" I ended up deciding for a different title.

Facebook is a great social networking facility even if it becomes fast slightly boring and closed on a factual circle of friends. Unless one chooses to be open to all possibilities and letting other people in the "private parts" of their personalities. In order to be able to "free" itself from those social rules, a friend of mine was hiding behind an obvious false identity. It called itself "El Mekharbecha" and mascaraded as an old and wise cat, born in 1932. "Mekharbesh" means in Cairene slang "street wise".

El Mekharbecha was a lovely character that I unfortunately never befriended on Facebook.

El joined groups and causes such as "do not declaw" out of personal interest I suppose, and because of these causes, I suspect El Mekharbecha to have been on the Green side of the political spectrum, this did not prevent it of being Iraqi. Was this a political statement? and ultimately the reason why it was kicked out? Maybe .

Being "Street wise" and slightly bored, El eventually joined slightly racy groups such as most beautiful legs and most beautiful boobs, and posted some pictures on the legs group. For some reason This started a process that finally bloomed into it being kicked out.






Facebook Warning‎
From: Facebook (warning+of1zdo1e@facebookmail.com)

Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2007 8:22:26 PM
Reply-to: warning+of1zdo1e@facebookmail.com
To: bustancat@hotmail.com


Hello,

You uploaded a photo that violates our Terms of Use, and this
photo has been removed. Among other things, photos
containing nudity, drug use, or other obscene content are not
allowed, nor are photos that attack an individual or group.
Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in your
account being disabled.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact us at
warning@facebook.com from your login email address.

The Facebook Team


El was slightly upset, specially that it encountered many strange and obnoxious people in some "Facebook" back streets . After the 4th such warning, it purred while moving its tail this sarcastic answer.



[bustancat@hotmail.com - Wed Aug 08 15:36:52 2007]:


Hello, I received 4 of those


It seems I put a lot of borderline pictures ... so could you please
tell me where exactly is the limit and upon which criteria do you
decide so that I can follow the rules as I definitely do not want to
get kicked from Facebook
you are a great team and you are doing quite a nice thing here,
however I do not think I've posted anything that was too ose.


El Mekharbesha


PS do you take into consideration the quality of the picture?

For example it could be nice i you could send the violators ...
the picture that was deleted and explain where does it break the
rules, it could make it easier or the rest of us to find out where
does big brother interfere.

Thanks though for everything and please do send me a link
where the policy is stated in details.
____________________________________________




El was quite fast automatically answered


rt.facebook.com #5936223] AutoReply: I received 4 warnings and 4 pictuires have been erased I was just wondering why‏
From: Appeals from Facebook (appeals@facebook.com)
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2007 10:36:53 PM
Reply-to: appeals@facebook.com
To: bustancat@hotmail.com


Hi,

Action has been taken on your account, and Facebook Customer Support has received your inquiry. We will review your situation and get back to you as soon as possible.

Thanks for contacting Facebook.

-Facebook Customer Support


A couple of days later El was thrown out of Facebook while on line doing something or another. Checking out its mail, it discovered the following:


[rt.facebook.com #5936223] I received 4 warnings and 4 pictuires have been erased I was just wondering why‏
From: Theodore from Facebook (appeals-comment@facebook.com)
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2007 11:45:14 PM
Reply-to: appeals-comment@facebook.com
To: bustancat@hotmail.com

Hi,

Fake accounts are a violation of our Terms of Use. Facebook
requires users to provide their real names. Impersonating
anyone or anything is prohibited. We will not be able to
reactivate this account for any reason. This decision is final.

Thanks for your understanding,

Theodore
Customer Support Representative
Facebook
Together with El, we discussed its being kicked out and it is from the opinion that what proved to be its undoing was its obvious disrespect for such local minor deities as Youssef Bek Wahbi, Adel Imam and Omar Al Sharif. El had voiced an opinion in a fan group it had created that the best ever performances of these three had come under the directing eye of Fateen Abdel Wahab. It also underlined the fact of the near total lack of information about this Director that it considered to be one of the great Egyptian directors..



I personally believe that this is not the reason, however I can not believe the pictures it got warnings for were a good enough reason to kick the street wise cat out of the box. On the other hand the official reason stated by Theodore of Facebook is slightly unbelievable, as there are many obvious mascarades running freely and happily all over Facebook site and groups. But when gifts of God are bestowed one can only accept .


Somehow what bothers the cat the most is the disappearance of some pictures and thoughts it had posted, and the overtaking by some of the groups it had created and the fact that its brief but productive passage on Facebook has been erased as if it had never existed.

It just contented itself to underline the paradox in the final 2 sentences of the kicking out notification. " This decision is final. Thank you for your understanding" has become its favorite quote since.

Fortunately when this happened it was the beginning of the mating season and the cat had other things to do, so it was not too disappointed with its forced disappearance.

There is another possible thing that Facebook might have been trying to censor and that was this funny video that El had found on the www.








Funny, isn't it?

July 28, 2007

Toes Story

This toe is on display at the Cairo Museum and is a serious contender to the title of the oldest practical prosthesis. The actual holder of that title is the Roman Capua Leg that does not exist any more as it was destroyed in an air raid during world war II.


Out of Patriotic reasons I believe that it is actually 700 years older than the lost leg. Nonetheless, I also believe that Ancient Egyptians were quite advanced in the scientific field of medicine, after all there was a quite a long period in history where Egyptians had discovered and were using quite extensively mummification. On the other hand, I am not sure that they were the only ones to do so. I suppose that China and India were also quite advanced in those fields much before Europe and white skin supremacy was at the time the New World Order.

Often I wonder, if the Greeks were a civilizational power (same as US today) or just ignorant barbaric hoards of bandits who pillaged and plundered their peaceful neighbors, same as the Roman who eventually took over definitely were. The same stands actually for all the Empires built by our amazingly crude human race.

July 23, 2007

Utter Madness


From time immemorial building big was perceived as positive steps for humanity as a whole. Most advanced techniques and hard working underpaid labor were used extensively in order to build ever more gigantic ... However when a whole town is to be put into one building in one small city... this is utter madness.
More Pollution, more carbon prints for those who will live or work there.... Actually , it does not need to be so, a couple of floors could be dedicated to the recycling of trash, another for the batteries needed to save the energy that could be gathered by solar panels that would replace the windows I suppose that on 160 floors there must be a lot of those ... the rest of the surfaces being covered by the wind power gathering micro windmills that would continue gather power during the nights. I suppose that in this case the shareholders could even make money just by selling their extra electricity... in Europe, actually in Germany, the government started encouraging by lending money specifically for structural changes to home produce clean energy and promises to buy the extra produced by the individual houses.

In the case of the yet to be finished biggest building now in Dubai expected to reach up to 800 meters, I doubt that is the case.

July 16, 2007

Swan Song


"The Swan Song" is also a fairly new novel by Mekkawi Said only available in Arabic for the moment, but should soon be translated as it is the kind of literature that appeals to foreign publishers, and globalized culture. It is a well written book and describes the events that lead to the conscious decision of getting out through suicide by a Cairene middle age man disappointed by the present as a way to find the lost treasures of his past. It does not discuss the metaphysical side of the decision but it describes what leads him into the final decision. The anti hero narrator acknowledges "Lately, I started feeling they are surrounding me everywhere. I even started dreaming of them. Whenever, I walk around, either in downtown that I love so much and that I know well, or where I was born and bred the Pyramids area, or even in El Hussein area that I love so much, and all I see is foreigners. All I overhear is different languages but no Arabic.
They always meet me face to face... nobody by my side , nobody behind me... while they are crowded lines of them filling my horizon".
After many events involving memories of a horny and successful movie producer and of his death induced by the appalling way he is treated by his recently turned Islamic fundamentalist son, memories of a money making trip to the Gulf states with a friend and of the loss of his first love due to a one in a million kind of accident, the details of torrid affairs with a girl from Upper Egypt who had been raped by her uncle, and a "foreign researcher" that makes him work (according to the hero) for ends of her own, and those of his friend with a Korean who soon dies of breast cancer, the trip into ordinary madness his friend embarks upon as a result, and many more, he ends by stepping into the vacuum while sucking on a cocktail of medicinal drugs. "The street expands to the horizon it is overcrowded with humans, animals and soulless creatures. I can hear their breathing, and even their moves as they move out to let me through without once looking at me or moving towards me, I start seeing a white stretch of vacuum and at the other side I see many people waving at me, there is Youssef Helmy and his martyred son, my mother and Julia, Hend and Samantha. When I finally step into the stretch of vacuum everything stops and I can not see or hear anything".

The story discusses the many frustrations of a few generations of Egyptians, those born from the early forties to to the late sixties, inspired by some personal experiences of the author and by few "mediatized affairs" that probably influenced a way or another any of those.
But even without the keys to the symbols of the tale, it should still be an enjoyable, compelling and worthy read.

July 13, 2007

Indignity

How can anyone do that to anyone? I thought this kind of behavior had disappeared from our modern world. I never could find any logic to it. But it strikes me as even less understandable when it is performed by a group who had to suffer this same indignities less than a hundred years ago. I really cannot understand.

July 9, 2007

Facebooking


Facebook is flourishing in Egypt. For the very few who are not familiar to the phenomenon Facebook is just a social networking internet site. Maybe you heard about Myspace (I am registered on it however I haven't checked it for a long time), Bebo, or friendster. They all do more or less the same , they help you keep up with friends and also to make new virtual ones.Strange it never happened with myspace, or the once very popular Hi5 or many other of those networking sites, I used to just mark all invitations as junk. Don't know what attracted me into Facebook. Reconnecting with people one has not seen for long is often a pleasure. But this involves a lot of catching up to do. Moreover having found myself administrating 2 groups it takes also time to check out what happens in those. After adding Brigitte Bardot as my friend, I fell in the trap and now I am kind of addicted to this social networking thing. Maybe that explains my slower rate of posting on this blog. But that is not the only reason.. the truth is I am kind of slightly disappointed with the relative failure of this blog to attract readers or comments, on the other hand news are not inspiring me too much anymore, maybe I should try another news provider than the BBC, but I believe it is the least biased news source one can get, you find examples of US police unexplainable brutality, (is it so unexplainable? within the contest of the Terror fight that has been predicted by UK officials to last up to 15 more years ... it might not be, after all this 70 years old odd looking white female could be grimed and be a Jihadi or even Ben Laden himself whom we all imagine would not have the time nor the cultural background to water a lawn)
In the meantime, Prominent Shiite and Sunni politicians called on Iraqi civilians to take up arms to defend themselves after a weekend of violence that claimed more than 220 lives . But on the other hand Federer did it and wrapped a fifth Wimbledon title during that same week end. So let's wrap it up too with this cute song...dedicated by the Iraqis to the pacifying and peaceful forces that are finishing up the job officially terminated on May 1st 2003. Mesdames et Messieurs, I introduce you to Joe Dassin's Ca ne va pas changer le monde que tu changes de maison, il va continuer le monde et il aura bien raison.

If you feel like you
Watch funny lip synchronization and the tacky video clip production of the song

Have a nice day!

July 7, 2007

7/7/7


Well the hour clicked and we now know... I had already mentioned this story. For some strange reason, the pyramids at Guizeh have been disqualified by not entering the contest as it seems that some Egyptians have strongly disapproved and settled for an honorary place within the new wonders instead of putting their National Treasure into jeopardy . well they are not at all in my list. Nor is it I suppose on the list of many others. Wonders are very personal things. I sometimes wonder in front of a badly cooked meal. I seriously do.
I am sorry if I seem as I am letting go of this blog. But I am kind of getting through a phase when I cannot finish writing anything I start... maybe that's what they call a writer's block... the thing is though I am no writer. Strange. Here is another wonder for you, if the badly cooked meal won't do. Keep tuned! my next post will elaborate.

In the mean time I wish to extend my 100 million congratulations for the 100 million clickers (I suspect there are much less than that) that voted, The winners of the contest, although I wonder (That's the third and last one today) why Abu Simbel was not listed, the 70,000 US couples that tied the knot, the 1 million and a half couple across the world (completely unofficial estimate) that did the same, and finally to you .

NB For those who wonder what happened to my votes and how much did they bring on eBay, I have to say I was too busy surfing the BBC coverage of Wimbledon to bother.

June 24, 2007

A pity



Few days ago I went to a concert by a lovely Sudanese "Rasha" at the Amir Taz Palace , it is always a treat to go there either through the citadel or through Sayeda Zeinab to probably the best restored Mamluk house in Cairo.



Having gone the day before to the Citadel , I picked the Sayeda Zeinab path this time around, and while going there I felt a profound loss for this amazing art nouveau architectural gem that consisted of a twin villa and was although derelict still standing a few month ago. I dreamt of schemes involving big companies or banks buying and renovating it for their pretigious head quarters .





Alas it will not Happen. This time when I went through there was only rubble. A few years ago, I had more or less the same feeling when I saw the Matatia bldg brought down.



Just for the record, I really believe that those who can bring down historical artifacts are the same brand as the Talebans whatever their religious tendencies, their political ideologies or their main line of business.






Arriving at Amir Taz palace , i was a bit less square with life. I had gone there a few times, The inauguration exhibition was held a year ago with a retrospective of Adam Henein's works. Again I was in awe by the magnificence of that ancestor of condominii, and descendant of antique villages.



In spite of a few problems with the sound system at least the sound was not as bad as the day before at the Citadel for the Souad Massi concert, who had an enormous attendance, packing the esplanade with an impressively sized audience and where strangely enough the two preparing acts before Souad had a decent sound . As soon as she started singing though, the quality of the sound system kind of collapsed. A pity because all who heard her recordings said she is quite amazing.




As everybody was in a "Festive" (Fete de la Musique) mood, nobody really minded and people did enjoy themselves , the site being as amazing as it is. A few of the people who attended though woke up with a headache the next morning.


June 16, 2007

America, America



is the title of a film that was nominated for the Oscars in 1963 and was directed by Elia Kazan, based on a novel he wrote about his uncle.
But it is also the half sarcastic repressed outcry by the masses of non Americans when they hear stories such as the Oklahoma time capsule. I mean it is quite ironic that the most advanced technologically and the most powerful military "civilizational force" was not capable of beating rust and decay forces for a mere 50 years.
Well after all I might be exaggerating. It is nothing but a publicity stunt gone sour. But somehow it is not important as the last new model sold under the Plymouth marque was the second generation Neon for 2000-2001.


June 5, 2007

Royal Collection




During the first exhibition I did, I used one of the floors to show these coats of arms inspired by the Royal memorabilia that were used to decorate the big ceremonial tents, they used to hang on top of the poles that were holding those tents.



The form of those just inspired me into some personal views of life. So there was the Sumo wrestler that turned upside down transformed into a Pharaoh's head, there was a fish in an aquarium and a badly drawn Marylin with her skirt blown up, a cooking pot, etc...





I wonder what I was trying to do. Because if I was trying to desacralize a symbol, then I was coming far too late, on the other hand if I used the outdated symbol as a symbol then ... it is open to onlookers interpretations.



June 3, 2007

Diamonds are forever



Damien Hirst hits again with more macabre "artworks". He set for 12 millions Sterling pounds of diamonds into a skull and evaluated it at 50 million Sterling Pounds about 500 million Egyptian Pounds. The piece called "For the Love of God" must be quite a sight. Hirst claims that the piece is "uplifting and takes your breath away". It was inspired by a turquoise Aztec skull from the British Museum and Hirst hopes that they both will be shown side by side. Modesty does not seem to be one of his forte.
Charles Dupplin (art expert from specialist insurer Hiscox) saluted "another bold move" by Hirst adding that it is "a spectacular piece and undoubtedly the work with the highest intrinsic value in modern and contemporary art".
Definitely one can not stand in front of "For the Love of God" without dwelling upon World's poverty and hunger. Maybe that is the philosophical point to it.

May 31, 2007

Abdel Badie















The Gezira Art center is currently displaying Abdel Badie sculptures.
Abdel Badie Abdel Hay was found killed in his atelier in Old Cairo quarter on July 5th 2004 at the age of 88. He had been killed by two youngsters under influence who thought that they would find no resistance in such an old man and a lot of money in such a well known artist home. That was the fate of the boy who was born in 1916 in a village of Minieh.



Abdel Badie started working as a cook in the early 30's in Malawi. His talent as a sculptor appeared later when he tried to join the Egyptian Royal army he was beaten by the British officer in charge after he complained about his being turned down. In a moment of rage he found his path, while playing with a bone doing his first sculpture "Private Abdel Badie" where he portrayed himself beating the offending officer.
He only stopped sculpting when he lost most of his eyesight in the 90's.



In the early 40's he was drawn to the attention of fellow Miniawi Hoda Shaarawi (incidentally nominated as one of the 30 most influential women of the last millenium), who sensing a great talent decided to take him as a cook in her house in Cairo.
While in Cairo nearer to the capital's lights, he started exhibiting in sculpting competitions, being often chosen by the different juries as a winner.
At the death of his benefactor, he opted to go for a couple of years to learn sculpting from the Pharaonic masters in Luxor instead of the Academie in Paris.







When he came back to Cairo, he started executing statues for other artists.
1956 was a bad year, for in spite receiving the honorary prize for the Afro-Asian exhibition, he was incapacitated in a work accident, leading him into a different approach to sculpture , turning to the less exhausting reliefs on Gypsum boards that consist of his series called "the complaints".
In 1973, he was granted the medal of Science and Art by Anwar El Sadat.





May 26, 2007

The Force


Celebrating the 30th birthday of the Star wars saga, the US Postal service has issued a series of stamps. A lot of changes happened since the Hoax that started as a politically motivated civil disobedience. Back then in 2001 , a little bit more than 70 thousands Australians claimed to follow the Jedi ways, also the same year Jedi Knights gained official recognition as a religion in the UK. Nowadays, through browsing one can find "A Short History of the Jedi Movement" , an Islamic interpretation of the Jedi creed.







Jediists , if this is how they are called have also launched a website complete with forum and chat rooms.

May the Force be with them !!!!!

Nonetheless, I believe that the set of stamps will be cherished by stamps collectors all over the world. They will want them as mint and as used. One more reason for the hype to roll on.

May 20, 2007

Occidentalism

In the Cairo Private Modern art scene, apart from the inevitable Town House gallery which was until recently the only one with a website and although I gladly acknowledge the elegance and the simplicity of their web page, I did not penetrate it because they ask for personal information before letting you in, they also offer you the chance of becoming one of their friends with special treatment promised and discounts on buys for just under a hundred dollars . I'd rather spend those though on something else. Nowadays though Karim Francis Art Gallery has a flashy (in the sense it includes lot of flash animation) but slightly empty and boring website courtesy of his new project funded by the European Community and alternatively the Prince Claus Foundation, whom took the wise decision to underline that the contents of the exhibition "are the sole responsibilities of the curator, participating artists and contributors, and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union. "


The exhibition pamphlet states that :
"
Twenty artists from Egypt have been commissioned by Karim Francis to create works of art surrounding the theme of Occidentalism, driven by the question How do you see the West?
Stemming from regular meetings and discussions on the subject that began in April 2006, Occidentalism is a body of contemporary Egyptian art first exhibited in Cairo in May 2007, accompanied by open forums with participating artists, evenings of music and a panel discussion.
As of 2008, the exhibition will travel to various museums of international cities."


Incidentally the name in Arabic translates as "An eye on the West" , that's dangerous they could be accused of spying. Even more so since there are a few openings in Guantanamo, for the inmate positions that is.

The twenty artists include stars such as Adel El Siwi, and Mohamed Abla, a plethora of established artists featuring between others Hazem El Mestekawi, Huda Lutfi, Shadi El Noshakaty, Hisham El Zeiny, Khaled Hafez, Amal Kenawy, Lara Baladi, Ahmad Nosseir and an array of personal choices of the curator.


According to Wikipedia , Orientalism mainly refers to the study by western scholars of the languages, cultures and people of the near and far east during the 18th and 19th centuries. Wikipedia in its entry does not refer to the 20th century. In a sense by then the concept of Orientalism had lost its raison d'etre.

Wikipedia does go on to say that Orientalism can sometimes refer to the imitation or depiction of aspects of Eastern cultures in the West by writers, designers and artists.

It is therefore possible to believe that Occidentalism would be either the study by eastern scholars of languages, cultures and people of the near and far west (I love John Wayne) or that it could also refer to the imitation or depiction of aspects of Western cultures in the East by writers, artists and designers.

Finally, some logic is invading the Cairo Art Scene. There is after all such a thing as intellectual djihad.

Unfortunately a piece of the puzzle is lost on them, if Orientalism ceased to exist by the early XXth century , then by now Occidentalism should also have ceased to exist. We are now into a different ball game called "Globalization". Maybe it is time for some to sink it in.

The exhibition though is a must see as it is on for a few more days. The "Pension Suisse" is an amazing space. The views from its different balconies are quite a thing. The building is amazing. It also feels good and new to have an artistic squat in Cairo, even if it is a very temporary one. the exhibition ends on May 23rd after an electro- jam session (whatever that means). It is open from 10 to 10.

There is also a few interesting efforts in the lot.




The image above has nothing to do with the exhibition, it is just a thing I did while having fun.

April 29, 2007

Sandmonkey games

The Blog "rantings of a sandmonkey" seems to have gone off. The reasons why are explained in his last post. I do hope though that this person will change its mind and start blogging again. I firmly believe that blogging is addictive and I suppose that it is as hard to quit blogging than it is to quit smoking. On the other hand, I understand that people would rather not be arrested and persecuted for what they believe or what they say. In some ways I believe it is easier to become a suicidal bomber than a human rights activist. As a suicide bomber, you do lose your life but do not get imprisoned, which implies torture and abuse. Everyone would rather avoid abuse and torture. Reason then is to avoid the wrath of those who have the power to imprison, torture and abuse.
This is why I fear somehow that the Monkey's attitude might snowball. Many Egyptian bloggers seem to be disappointed and chose to go into a low profile. They are being threatened by courts , state security forces, and other threats seem to be still in the making.
I really do not know what to advise. I wonder is it worth it to fight while those who would really gain for standing up to their rights, do not seem to be interested in doing so.
I will just miss Sandmonkey.
Really hope that the Monkey changes his or her mind.

April 11, 2007

Faces look ugly



People are strange, when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked, when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven, when you're down

When you're strange- faces come out of the rain (rain, rain)
When you're strange- no one remembers your name
When you're strange, when you're strange, when you're strange

(The Doors)


Specially when you are alone or strange, according to Morrison Jim who is now undergoing a rehabilitation process nearly 40 years after his conviction on charges of indecent exposure and more than 35 years after his death in Paris. I discovered this while checking one of my favorite blogs. "Crooks and Liars" was awarded the 2005 best blog award for the non-professional category. Not that I check it daily, but once a week I check Crooks and Liars and "Think Progress" . Those two blogs use a sense of humor that makes me smile quite often. Moreover they both tend to give a somehow lesser mainstream analysis of American Politics. Check them out. While if you don't care about American politics maybe you could go check out the original video clip of people are strange. Quite a treat.


April 7, 2007

April 4, 2007

Syrian moments





These pictures were all taken in Damascus , Syria, a year ago. I believe they are nice. But I am too lazy to comment them myself. I would say they are self explanatory and do not need commenting.