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Showing posts from June, 2017

In Taheyya we Trust - How an Egyptian bellydancer found her posthumous stage in Berlin

“You should have winked at her,” Aida said dismissively, as if such a possibility had been imaginable for someone as timid as I was. Tahia Carioca was the most stunning and long-lived of the Arab world’s Eastern dancers (belly-dancers, as they are called today).
Edward Said, Farewell to Taheyya

My story with Taheyya begins in the summer of 2016, at Bulbuls Caféin Görlitzer Str. in Berlin. It ends two blocks down on Wiener Str 17. 

Bulbuls is a café and art space around my corner that I have grown to like to sit in and drink smoothies (1). He had commissiond us- a crew of Syrian and Egyptian artists, as well as myself, to paint the walls inside the café. El Tenneen (the Dragon) is the one who ended up drawing Sheikh Imam, with the help of Salam Alhassan (known as Salahef/ Turtles) and Sulafa Hijazis (whom we call El Hayya/The Snake’s) beamers’ illumination. The Sheikh sits happily in the place to this day and Crew El-Zoo was born.

Tenneen had the advantage of knowing immediately what he wa…

Two minutes: Happy?

Transcript from a conversation with a travel agent representing Mindful Journeys Ltd. "The grass is greener on the other side- we strongly suggest you book an all-inclusive trip to the other side. Don't listen to the voices in your head telling you that happiness can be lasting and found within. They're wrong. We're right. You know this, don't you? And now sign here, here and here, initial here, date here, your autograph here, cash or credit card? We're happy you chose us to accompany you in your search. Your credit card, please." 

Two Minutes: A Death (1)

Every life consists of many deaths and rebirths- some of them are choices, others are conditions. 
The death of the child- often killed and relegated to fond memory, making way for a more practical evolution. Learn to suffocate that child, put it in a coffin and carry its weight on your back. Its ghost will haunt you for the rest of this life, but don't worry- you will die too, and it will return. And then, you may find yourself happy. 
Death Tarot StoryHaving left the tree from where he hung, the Fool moves carefully through a fallow field,  head still clearing from visions. The air is cold and wintry, the trees bare. He knows he has  started on his spiritual journey in earnest, but feels strangely empty and profoundly sad, as  if he has lost something.  Before him he sees, rising with the sun, a skeleton in black armor mounted on a white horse.  He recognizes it as Death. As it stops before him, he humbly asks, "Have I died?" And the  Skeleton answers, "Yes, in a way. You…

Two Minutes: We is confusing.

The first-person plural form, possibly descended from the Sanskrit vayam, is very confusing.
Normally, it refers to a group of people including the speaker, in some cases, may refer to everyone but the speaker, or a specific we. It might also refer to one person who symbolises a nation- a king or queen- or an editorial board, even if they don't share that opinion. In a corporate setting, we includes everyone, from the CEO and board to the people cleaning the toilets- in order of importance- again, whether they like it, or not. 
We is also a word that connotes division- for there to be a we, there must be a clearly defined them to contrast the we. Therefore, we should be used with the utmost care (or lack of it), when referring to groups that automatically include people who may feel more attached to them, or more comfortable with "I". 
We is not something that comes about suddenly- unless you practice love at first sight actively, but needs time to develop.
We brings so…