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!!


See book details on Goodreads

If the mountain doesn’t go to Muhammad…

…Muhammad will go to the mountain!!!

I have just realised we have this saying in Italian*, where the Muhammad in question HAS GOT TO BE the Muhammad, and I have no idea why / where it comes from / all of that. Fun mystery!!

Hello friends, marhaba asdiqa’ 🙂
I’m not officially back but I did want to say something: in accordance with above-mentioned saying, since I still can’t manage to find the time (and brains) to study Arabic nowadays, I just made the Arabic come to ME! How? Well…

facebook in arabo



I know, I know. I either have already gone crazy or soon will. But I thought this strategy was worth a try 😉

Updates soon. Soon-ish. Whenever.
Much love / Hubb kathyr  ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤



* “Se la montagna non va da Maometto, Maometto va alla montagna” hehehe

OT – Global Millennial Network

I’ve been told I’m a millennial (well yes, I did “reach young adulthood in the early 21st century”, I can confirm that).

I’ve also been told that we millennials are innovative but not interested in policy (may be mostly true) and that on the contrary governments are, surprise surprise, interested in policy but not as innovative as it would be auspicable for them to be (fact!).

Well now a good friend of mine has set up a startup, Global Millennial Network, that aims to tackle both problems through a team of talented young professionals from all over the world. I believe in their potential, which is why I am taking this moment to encourage you to learn a bit about them.

Let’s show the world that we ‘generation Y’ are not as useless as we seem, shall we? 😉


p.s. sorry, guys – still haven’t gotten into my new routine and even got sick, so my usual posts will have to wait a little longer before I resurface! I’m doing everything I can and miss Arabic, calligraphy, etc so I’ll definitely be back sooner or later!!!

Mission: unthinkable

It would seem that I have a natural propension to making my life easier by making it more difficult. Or was it the opposite? Maybe both.

The fact today is that I’ve decided to have a stricter blogging schedule, starting from next week or anyway, for sure, from my first day of work at WEP (Monday, March 13th). The general idea would be that having said stricter schedule should help me know what to write about every day, and keep consistent. There’s nothing I love more than being all empirical and getting things wrong by actually trying them, so YAY 😛 😉 Besides, let’s say you’re only interested in a certain type of posts- from now on you’ll supposedly be able to know which day of the week your topics of interest will be posted.

What’s the schedule like? Not impossible, but pretty improbable, or unthinkable as I like to put it:

  • MONDAY – read MENA news, comment
  • TUESDAY – do new piece of Arabic grammar, post summary and examples
  • WEDNESDAY – Arabic calligraphy
  • THURSDAY – produce a piece of Arabic writing and/or translation
  • FRIDAY – review time! watch a MENA film or video/ listen to MENA music/ visit MENA-related places or exhibitions/ read MENA-related something, and comment
  • SATURDAY – up to you
  • SUNDAY – video with Arabic reading and/or speaking

I got some tough love going on for myself, I know… just like to think of myself in superhero terms, what can I do :3 Please do stick around and follow my very likely failure and rare successes!!!


If I type “Middle East” on Google…

Disclaimer: this is a fairly useless experiment!! Yeah! Because we like doing fairly useless experiments on Sunday niiiiights B)

If I type “Middle East” on Google…

  • I get about 532,000,000 results in 1.03 seconds
  • The first result of all is the related Wikipedia page, which starts like this: “The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia and Egypt. The corresponding adjective is Middle-Eastern and the derived noun is Middle-Easterner. Wikipedia | Countries: Syria, Egypt, State of Palestine, Cyprus” [interesting selection, no?]
  • Images are subdivided into the following suggested groups: culture | flags | people | desert | city | countries and the first twenty un-subdivided rows or so are all geographical, geo-political and/or satirical maps of the region. The first two images of a different kind that come up are

Image result for Middle East

this place [I wonder where it is] and
Image result for Middle East

this superlative vignette I honestly didn’t understand 😛

End of experiment.
I told you it was fairly useless 😉

The books I want to read

According to my Goodreads account (I am Kirini on there, join me!) there are no less than 153 books I know of and definitely want to read in the, a-hem, near future*. Thirty of these I have marked with an extra label: “Arabic – Islam – ME – migration”, where obbbviously ME stands for Middle East and not for… me 😛

I just thought that refreshing the contents of that list in my mind couldn’t do any harm, so here we go – just to reinforce the fact that #ilovelists as well as #uselesshashtags 😉 You’ll see that these books come in different languages and that the names of their writers alone reflect a certain diversity. That is entirely on purpose, of course!

  • Passoni Laura, Au coeur du Daesh avec mon fils
  • Franceschi Karim, Il combattente: storia dell’italiano che ha difeso Kobane dall’Isis
  • Pagano Ernesto, Napolislam
  • Mazzucco Melania, Limbo
  • Mazzucco Melania, Io sono con te: storia di Brigitte
  • Barghouti Mourid, I saw Ramallah
  • Sardar Ziauddin, The no-nonsense guide to Islam
  • Stalker Peter, The no-nonsense guide to international migration
  • Anonymous, The way of a pilgrim
  • Del Grande Gabriele, Il mare di mezzo
  • Nasr Seyyed Hussein, The study Quran: a new translation and commentary
  • Issou Abdelilah, Mémoires d’un soldat marocain
  • Hamadi Shady, Voci di anime
  • Hamadi Shady, La felicità araba: storia della mia famiglia e della rivoluzione siriana
  • Mossino Alberto, L’amore vero l’ha fatto solo con me
  • Mossino Alberto, Quell’africana che non parla neanche bene l’italiano
  • Mossino Alberto, La grande opera
  • Pen Project, Stories from Amman
  • Mahmoud Ibtihal, Snow in Amman: an anthology of short stories from Jordan
  • Zaghmout Fadi, The bride of Amman
  • Sarif Shamim, I can’t think straight
  • Munif Abdul Rahman, Story of a city: a childhood in Amman
  • Orbach Benjamin, Live from Jordan: letters home from my journey through the Middle East
  • Abu-Jaber Diana, The language of baklava: a memoir
  • Faqir Fadia, Pillars of salt
  • Noor, A leap of faith: memoirs of an unexpected life
  • Fiocchetti Patrizia, Variazioni di luna: donne combattenti in Iran, Kurdistan, Afghanistan
  • Tamimi Widad, Le rose del vento: storia di destini incrociati
  • Gordon Neve, Israel’s occupation
  • Campanini Massimo, Quale Islam? Jihadismo, radicalismo, riformismo
  • Fletcher Martin, Walking Israel: a personal search for the soul of a nation.

This last one makes it 31 and I just now remembered it because I happen to know Martin Fletcher and saw the book while staying at his house in Tel Aviv in December hehe 😉 My travel buddy started reading it there and said she was enjoying it lots, so why not pick it up myself!! And oh, I might start from “Le rose del vento” because it’s the only one I have a copy of as of yet.

* If only I actually started reading one of these days… !

Yep. I want to. I should.
Please let me know if you know of anything you’d recommend adding to this list!!!