Friday, 23 April 2010

Budrus - Non violent mouvement in Palestine

Budrus is a documentary on a non-violent mouvement in Palestine, showing the persistance of some activists from the Palestinian and the Israeli side.
Non violence was advocated many years ago, some do it silently, some succeed, some other fail. But today in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, press coverage is all about violence. On the Israeli side, it is common to talk about threats from terrorists with the need to protect and for security to prevail. On the Palestinian side, it is usually about victims, rights removed, agony and pain. From an arab perspective, it is about the unsolved conflict that has no end and full of humiliation which dragged many years of suffering. From the Western perspective, it is about whose media talks louder and present their point of view. Violence every where, from all images and talks.
Budrus is a village in Palestine that stood non-violently against the Wall in 2004. With the help of conviction and "thinking outside the box", men and women from all sides got together and made a difference.
Julia Bacha is the director of this documentary following the major steps in the mouvement. She talks about "peace fighting for peace" and the need of freedom. Media doesn't cover much of this, but a documentary would allow a different vision on the subject. The film got screenings and awards in the Arab world and recently in New York at the Tribeca film festival 2010. It is worth seeing if ever in your neighborhood.

Budrus official website
Little white lies blog: review

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Houda Kassatly - art on trucks

At last, a book on art painted by truckers on their most precious possession, their vehicles.
Houda Kassatly, an anthropologue and photographer, did a research and published it at "Editions Terre du Liban", with the title in French: " Les camions peints au Liban d'aujourd'hui".
Big or small, four or twelve wheelers, heavy duty or light weight, trucks are decorated with first a need of aesthetics, with colors and designs. Once elegance and grace is in place, the truck needs full protection from evil eye or any superstitious malefic power. After that poetry, sayings or slogan or even jokes can be added to reveal the driver's philosophy and entertain other cars passing by.
It is an art and it says a lot on masses and proletarian expression of culture and beauty.

(photo by Houda Kassatly from her book)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Ashkal Alwan - Homeworks 5

Ashkal Alwan is "platform for the creation and exchange of artistic practices. As a non-profit, the association is committed to education, production, support and circulation of creative and intellectual endeavors rooted in an engagement with civil society."
Based in Beirut, they will start their yearly program: Homeworks on the 21st of April to continue until the 1st of May. Their program is rich and attractive.
If in Beirut, do pick a venue and take the time to see or watch or hear, it looks promising.

Ashkal Alwan program 

Ashkal Alwan site

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Ancient Egypt art - discovery of a royal scribe tomb

A tomb of an ancient royal scribe has been recently unearthed in Tell al Maskhuta in the province of Ismaelia, Egypt . This intricately decorated tomb belonged to Ken-Amun in charge of royal records during the 19th Dynasty (1315-1201 BC).
Beside their unparalleled monumental art, scattered in open air from pyramides to statues to temples, ancient Egypt has left treasures still today in the realm of discoveries and exploration. Mumies have been opened to be studied and then shoved in museums. Scrolls and tools have been neatly rearranged in display boxes. Frescoes, bas relief, stones are there to be seen. What a gift from the Pharaohs and their civilizations!
The question will remain facing the mass tourism tendencies on how will anything be preserved for the afterlife of  civilizations  or even the future generations to learn harmony and aesthetics ?

Monday, 12 April 2010

Photo Romance - Rabih Mroue, Lina Saneh

Rabih Mroue and Lina Saneh are showing their theatre / video / performance: "Photo Romance" in Paris at the Parc de la Villette until 24th of April 2010. They have good reviews in medias in France and internationally on their artistic activities. Their subject in this recent work is about identity of a man and a woman in search of answers about the major fault lines of conflict and existence in Lebanon: religion, ideas, politics, masculin virility, women's role, freedom, reality...
Will you be in Paris to see this performance?
It might take a long time before any of this can be shown in the Gulf. It might be too tricky or too adventurous.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Used books store in Kuwait

It seems to have been around for quite a while and bloggers stumble upon it and make a buzz from time to time. But it is incredible: A Second Hand - Used Books Store in Kuwait!
And they buy your books or sell you some others and will rebuy them again from you within a period of time.
In a country where books are rare and so scrutinized, book shops are to be counted on one hand. Censorship doesn't help and it becomes a vicious circle where readers are less interested.
With online shopping, books have been flown in with lesser restrictions. The "Kindle" or other screens versions might be the solution for book deprived countries. But that doesn't give the real flavor of discovering ailes of shelves, fiddling along some titles, reading randomly, putting a book back and taking another...
Book lovers rejoice, you might find something to quench your thirst...

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Ali Hussein Sibat and death sentence

Mr Sibat was on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia,  (a sign of piety and a sign of asking God's forgiveness). He  is then arrested, accused of witch craft and sorcery, sentenced to death and now waiting since 2008 that day. In Saudi Arabia, death sentences are carried out on thursdays and they usually envolve public beheadings. Mr Sibat, a lebanese national is accused of predicting the future and giving advice on a Lebanese satellite TV. 
Amnesty International is asking for his immediate release on the basis of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom of expression. 
All these events put together boil down to some questions: is freedom of expression worth fighting for or the lack of it worth dying for?
Is this man guilty of the worst of crimes?