In Calais

A Calais
Emmanuel Carrère, “In Calais”
Adelphi Edizioni

Fiiiiiinally I’ve managed to add a second book to my “read” list this year 2017!! Forty-nine pages of awesomeness I read aloud to my sister while on the beach on Easter Sunday. Forty-nine tiny tiny pages but nonetheless a published book, and one I gave five stars on Goodreads 😉

I had never had anything to do with Carrère before but now I think I might want to stumble into him again, in the future. Smart guy for sure, and I love the way he writes. Would also love to read him in his original French.

So what about the book? Since it doesn’t seem to be available in English (I feel privileged!), here’s a fairly literal translation of what’s written on its cover:

<<What I’m interested in is to be able to write a reportage in the same way I’d write a book>>, states Emmanuel Carrère. Thus, in the “Jungle” of Calais, he doesn’t tell us about the mud, the violence and the misery of the camp, but rather about all that is around it: the anger and frustration of a part of the Calaisians; the compassion and solidarity of another part; the factories and abandoned neighbourhoods; the enormous police apparatus; the mediatic circus; the “tourism of pain”. And he does it in his affable and direct way, with the look, simultaneously clear-headed and sympathetic, of who constantly questions everything – even himself.

I admit it: strictly speaking, this book isn’t about the Middle East. It’s set in France, mostly talks about French people, and is written by a French man. But… but… it does link to migrants and refugees that come from the Middle East, too; and I would highly recommend it a priori 🙂 …plus, it’ll only take less than an hour of your time and you’ll still be able to brag about having read one more book hehehe!!

And, oh- I LOVED THE ENDING.

See book details on Goodreads

Asfour by Aida el Ayoubi

It’s #ReviewFriday !!
My Arabic teacher has suggested that I listen to this song by Egyptian singer Aida el Ayoubi:

Aida el Ayoubi (Arabic: عايدة الأيوبي‎‎; born 1964) is an Egyptian singer, songwriter and guitarist. She also has German Kurdish heritage.[1] She graduated from The American University in Cairo in the mid-1980s, and gained fame in the early 1990s in Egypt and the Middle East. Aida el-Ayoubi is a graduate of Deutsche Evangelische Oberschule in Cairo and The American University in Cairo where she majored in Computer Science.

She completed three albums before going into a career hiatus following her first-born. She is well known in Egypt and many other Arab countries for her romantic music and her soft voice. She is best known for her hit song A’ala Baly which appeared on her first album. Aida’s heartfelt lyrics and beautiful, soothing voice were the keys to her success till this day. [Wikipedia]

so there we goooooo 😀

She also pasted the lyrics for me:

عصفور طل من الشباك قالى يا نونو 
خبينى عندك خبينى دخلك يا نونو
قلتله انت من وين قالى من حدود السما
قلتله جاى من وين قالى من بيت الجيران
قلتله خايف من مين قالى من القفص هربان
قلتله ريشاتك وين قالى فرفتها الزمان
عصفور طل من الشباك قالى يا نونو
خبينى عندك خبينى دخلك يا نونو
نزلت ع خده دمعه وجناحاته متكيه
واتهدى بالأرض وقال بدى امشى وما فيه
نزلت على خده دمعه وجناحاته متكيه
واتهدى بالأرض وقال بدى امشى وما فيه
ضميته على قلبى وصار يتوجع على جروحاته
قبل ما يكسر الحبس تكسر صوته وجناحاته
لتله انت من وين قالى من حدود السما
قلتله جاى من وين قالى من بيت الجيران
قلتله خايف من مين قالى القفص هربان
قلتله ريشاتك وين قالى فرفتها الزمان
عصفور طل من الشباك قالى يا نونو
خبينى عندك خبينى دخلك يا نونو
قلتله لا تخاف اتطلع شوف الشمس اللي هتطلع
اتطلع عالغاب وشاف امواج الحريه بتلمع
شاف جوانح عم بتزقزق من خلف ابواب العليه
شاف الغابه عم بتحلق على جوانيح الحريه
قلتله انت من وين قالى من حدود السما
قلتله جاى من وين قالى من بيت الجيران
قلتله خايف من مين قالى من القفص هربان
قلتله ريشاتك وين قالى فرفتها الزمان
عصفور طل من الشباك قالى يا نونو
خبينى عندك خبينى دخلك يا نونو
It’s too late/ I’m too tired and this is a bit too complicated for me to attempt a translation right now, but wow I love this! It’s such a sweet sweet song, hypnotic even!!!! And even without knowing exactly what it says, I can already make some observations:
  1. I think Aida is speaking Egyptian ammiya here, based on certain words
  2. She is also definitely pronouncing words in the Egyptian way, i.e. skipping the initial ق, going hard on ج and softer than I expected on خ
  3. She’s talking to someone called Nunu and mentioning windows, the sky, a house, time, the Earth, tall doors and something that this Nunu has! Yeah!!

I shall work on a proper translation as soon as I have the chance, in between my actual Arabic lessons, correcting my past homework and producing some other new one 😉 Meanwhile, I’m happy to now have Aida el Ayoubi in my YouTube repertoire hehe! Goodnight peopleee

Sporty, Middle-Eastern, women

I’ve never been a big fan of Nike. But yesterday I saw their new ad and I have to admit I just loved it. Sure, they are good at what they do and I shouldn’t be surprised about that – but at the same time this is actually something that could lose them some customers, and that certainly sparked some debate. You’ll understand as you watch.

The phenomenon has, of course, been talked about. Some articles keep it pretty short and neutral (this CNN one for example); some go a little more into detail as per what people’s comments have been on the issue (Huffington Post); TheDrum has the merit of mentioning the full names of a few of the incredible spostswomen featured in the ad; AlArabiyaAlArabiya adds some info to the current Saudi context on the matter;  and an official article on the Nike website gives insight on each of the sportswomen’s lives. Overall, my first Google research on this only produced positive results, with titles that focused on the ‘baldness‘ of this move and on its character of celebration, inclusion and empowerment.

And do you know what the great news is? Even my second Google research, criticism on new Nike ad, gave me some pretty excellent responses. The only negative ones referred to another Nike ad from last summer, with babies, which apparently backfired. As for the rest, keywords include

#millennials #powerful #challenge #stereotypes #daring #statement #success #culturalexpectations #pioneering #overcome #viral #overwhelminglysupportive #controversy #smashstereotypes #defy #trumphate

Real criticism only amounted, article after articles, to two comments made by random internet users- nothing terrible, either, one being clearly a personal opinion and the other a matter-of-fact statement that “this is not how things really are“. Yeah they sure aren’t for all women in the whole Middle East, and that alone, in my opinion, is exactly what makes this ad truly great; because who better than the media can inspire change by portraying what normal people cannot see or even dare to imagine in their daily lives?

Nablus Festival!!

Nablus Festival!!

Maaarhaba friends! Please allow me a little moment of (100% spontaneous) advertisement today: have you heard of the Nablus Festival before?

  • YES –> ok that’s excellent, good stuff
  • NO –> you will now!

Here’s a link to an explanatory video by organiser-in-chief Hakim Sabbah himself; you can also find more info on the Nablus Festival Facebook page or on its website. Then of course I could also just quote myself from my Nablus blog post back in December when I visited. Aaand if you can read Italian, there’s more on Hakim and his brilliant endeavours in my article both on my portfolio and on the website of the magazine I published it with.

Ah, if you’re more of a visual curiosity person, there, look at last year’s leaflet cover:

Image result for nablus festival 2017

and this year’s (I think)

Image result for nablus festival 2017

SO! Yep, no, am not going to tell you what it’s all about but come on, find out for yourself! Give this extraordinary Palestine-based event two minutes of your time and, if you can, think about going – if not to this edition, then to the next.

Go Project Hope, go Hakim, go Nablus!!!!!

The bird loves its nest

The bird loves its nest

“Who loves Jordan more than me?”, part 2 (you can find part 1 here, though to be honest it didn’t amount to much haha, more of a realization of how long it still takes me to read something new!). I’m LOVING the book and can’t wait to go on despite the effort!!!!!!

Longer video but better reading + English translation this time, I hope you’re happy mum!! 😉

Just in case you were wondering, the picture above comes from my first attempt at making this video, which in the end I had to delete because for some reason the audio didn’t come out right. By the way, if you’ve been following my videos from the very beginning you’ll now have seen me in four different houses, I think 😛 😀 This current one I’m going to keep for a while but who knows, maybe I’ll take my reading materials with me next time I go on holiday and shoot a special new video just to take you places hehe

Oookay the video has finally finished uploading and editing and stuff. I’ll leave you to it 😉