Sunday, August 10, 2008

Shame on Jordan Television

And on Lana Mamkegh.

On the morning that the whole literary and Arab worlds are mourning Mahmoud Darwish, the Jordan Television has nothing better to present on its morning show except an interview on laser surgery.

What makes this a bigger shame is that the presenter is non-other than Lana Mamkegh, a writer herself who out of all people knows the hefty loss that we endure with Darwish's passing.

Instructions from "up above" might now come to do something. But whatever they do, they would be doing too little, too late.

Darwish is a great figure, and maybe it is a blessing in disguise that he was not mourned by JTV. Tribute by such mediocre institutions might not be a tribute at all!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

محمود درويش

إلى أمي

أحنُّ إلى خبز أُمي

وقهوة أمي

ولمسة أُمي ..

وتكبُر في الطفولةُ

يوماً على صدر يومِ

وأعشَقُ عمرِي لأني

إذا مُتُّ,

أخجل من دمع أُمي !

خذينيِ إذا عدتُ يوماً

وشاحاً لهُدْبِكْ

وغطّي عظامي بعشب

تعمّد من طهر كعبك

وشُدي وثاقي ..

بخصلة شَعر..

بخيطٍ يلوِّح في ذيل ثوبك ..

عساني أصير ُإلهاً

إلهاً أصير..

إذا ما لمستُ قرارة قلبك !

ضعيني , إذا ما رجعتُ

وقوداً بتنور ناركْ ..

وحبل غسيل على سطح دارك

لأني فقدتُ الوقوفَ

بدون صلاة نهارك

هَرِمْتُ فردّي نجوم الطفولة

حتى أُشارك صغار العصافير

درب الرجوع .. لعُش انتظارِك!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I just read an article about a show taking place at the Tate in London entitled "the Lure of the East" and subtitled "British Orientalist Painting".

In this article the author shows the fascaination as well as the desdain that the West held towards the East (mostly Turkey and Iran). This is done through the portrayal of selected artworks produced during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

It is amazing to read about the way in which this apparent fascination of the East was expressed, and which was through obsessing over its fashion. Several Orientalists (Europeans) actually adorned the garments of the East in a desperate attempt to fit in.

The article then moves on to describe one Robert Shirley. "Between 1608-1613 and 1617-1624, Shirley wheedled his way into the Iranian court and was dispatched on European missions on behalf of Shah Abbas of Iran.....The Briton, who took himself very seriously, was portrayed several times wearing Iranian court attire, or so he thought,"

The article goes on to say that "The result (the depiction of Shirley) irresistibly calls to mind the famous scene in Molière's satirical comedy "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme," where a man from the newly rich bourgeoisie aspiring to aristocratic status has himself decked out in a pseudo-Turkish outfit before being hailed with a bogus title, "Le grand Mamamouchi."

Mamamouchis and bogus titles....sounds familiar!

A new siren in town

The frequency of police sirens these days has increased for some reason.  The sound of sirens has also changed.  Amman is coming of age, and with it comes a new fleet of police cars.  Strangely enough, the sound of the sirens does not bother me.  In fact I like it.  The sound of the new sirens is exactly the same as the ones heard in Paris or London.  So everytime I hear a police siren goes off, I just close my eyes and pretend that I am on vacation somewhere in an exotic city in Europe...until I am rudely awakened by: "Honda zarga, wasse3 tareeg"

Friday, August 1, 2008

If you love Google

You will probably like cuil (pronounced cool).  
A new search engine developed by an ex-Google designer.


A non-ending Diana day!

I am sitting outside in my garden at the first circle.  All of a sudden the voice of Diana Korazon is echoing all over.   It just hit me that there is a concert at the Citadel (Jabal Al-Qal3a) for Diana Korazon and Assi Hellani.  I never realized that I could attend concerts at the Citadel for free. Diana, "merci kteer" for this revelation.

Merci Kteer

There was an interview with Diana Korazon today on JTV's morning show.  Everytime she wanted to say "thank you", she would say "thank you kteer" or "merci kteer" (not to mention the sudden switch to the lebanese accent).

I can live with the "thank you kteer" (Maybe).  But the "merci kteer" was too much for my gentle ears.

I suggest from now on, anyone who wants to qualify for the "merci kteer" should be required to carry on a non-stop conversation in french for at least five minutes, otherwise they should stick "shoukran kteer"!  Come to think of it, it would probably be much better if they just keep quiet.