Driving home on the Kasr El Nil Bridge with a good song playing on a crackling taxi stereo, wishing a silent goodnight to the bronze lions who guard the bridge. Windows rolled down, watching the newlyweds taking their pictures, the young couples in intense negotiations, the teenage boys sitting on the railing laughing, the families out for a midnight stroll. The great black river carrying a rare breeze and full of reflected light, small open motor boats skimming its surface like electric water bugs, draped in colored lights and pulsing with pop music. As you think: There’s no city quite like this. (via We’ll Always Have Cairo — The Arabist)

The aim of Arabs Without God is not to make a case for atheism but to argue for the right of Arab atheists to be treated as normal human beings. The first half, based on interviews with non-believers, looks at how and why some Arabs choose to abandon religion. Chapters in this section also explore the history of Arab atheism, arguments about the divine origin of the Qur’an, and the way atheism relates to gender and sexuality.

One of the more unexpected discoveries was that Arab atheism is somewhat different from atheism in the west: “scientific” arguments about the origin of the universe are much less prominent. In interviews, the issue most often cited by Arabs as their first step on the road to disbelief was the apparent unfairness of divine justice. The picture they had acquired was of an irascible and sometimes irrational Deity who behaves in much the same way as an Arab dictator or an old-fashioned family patriarch – an anthropomorphic figure who makes arbitrary decisions and seems eager to punish people at the slightest opportunity.

(via Arabs Without God — The Arabist)

The extreme nothingness of these landscapes casts a spell upon those who visit them. Anyone who has known life in these silent realms is familiar with the feelings of solitude and desolation they bring; yet, they regard them with a certain happiness nonetheless. (via Wind, Sand, and Stars « REORIENT – Middle Eastern Arts and Culture Magazine)

Professor Maamoun is in constant touch with his staff around the country who contact him by email with updates about new threats. They have recorded the entire inventory of Syria’s museums electronically and maintain a data base of damage and destruction that is regularly updated. But the work is overwhelming. Professor Maamoun is waiting for a replacement to take over so he can go back to his university job. “I’m very tired. I feel I’ve been the director here for thirty years. I’m the saddest museum director in the world,” he said with a deceptive smile. (via 'The saddest museum director in the world': documenting Syria’s lost antiquities | Middle East Eye)

Sublime Fequencies has long sought out music not available to English-speaking audience by carefully curating music from local radio broadcasts, old 45s and crackling cassettes. Now the label has composed a third Algerian-focused collection, 1970s Algerian Folk And Pop (preceded by 1970s Algerian Proto-Rai Underground and Radio Algeria), which serves as somewhat of a companion piece to Proto-Rai Underground, as it focuses on the social history woven into song. Hicham Chadly, the Egyptian music scholar who compiled this collection, focuses on the music from a still newly independent Algeria, and takes a broad look at the music of the people. (via Various Artists - 1970s Algerian Folk And Pop (Sublime Frequencies))

#its5oclocksomewhere (at Somewhere, Algeria)

Marché populaire, Alger | Market near Martyr’s Square with various low-end wares, sign for #Mouloudia football club, and a shop proudly selling “Chinese fashion”.
#market #marché #algiers #alger #algeria #algerie #urban #rolleicord #nofilter #filmisnotdead

“I mention all of this because of the despondency and passivity and talk of unraveling that floated around this summer. Now there is a mood of pessimism and fatalism evident in the polls and in conversations — a lack of faith in ourselves. It’s important in times like these to step back and get clarity. The truest thing to say is this: We are living in an amazingly fortunate time. But …”
“I envision a string of adult camps or retreat centers (my oldest friendships were formed at summer camp, so I think in those terms). Groups of 20 or 30 would be brought together from all social and demographic groups, and secluded for two weeks. They’d prepare and clean up all their meals together, and eating the meals would go on for a while. In the morning, they would read about and discuss big topics. In the afternoons, they’d play sports, take hikes and build something complicated together. At night, there’d be a bar and music.”

Public fountain, Casbah of Algiers
#casbah #alger #algiers #algeria #algerie #rolleicord #rollei #nofilter #filmisnotdead

“"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda, in order to make the generals race there and cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses…" — Osama bin Laden”