“But you don’t need to speak Arabic to be moved by this music. It’s the music of the poor, the excluded who couldn’t afford to go to the big conservatories to study Andalusian poetry—their suffering is in rhythm.” New York’s Gnawa artists know that on Steinway Street, in Astoria, home to a large Moroccan community, religious conservatives and cultural purists look down on their music—and that, just last year, a prominent musician who performs in the ala tradition referred to Gnawa as “pagan music” (musiqa zandiqiya). The bickering around Gnawa has always been a stand-in for a much larger conversation about Morocco’s identity and which direction the country should face—east, west, or south. (via Claude McKay and Gnawa Music - The New Yorker)

“We will have to take a fresh look at the policies the West has been advancing over the past twenty years, ranging from the European Union’s roadmaps for Russia’s inclusion in Europe to the U.S. “reset” and the EU’s “Partnership for Modernization.” We will need to ask ourselves to what extent Western policies were actually means of including Russia in Western normative space, and to what extent they merely facilitated the revival of the Russian personalized power system. Having cast aside imitations of partnership and democratization in Russia, Putin seriously damaged the reputation of Western intellectual and political communities. Just think how many analytical publications, speeches, and dissertations have now been rendered superfluous, if not just plain wrong! How many political decisions and constructs have been exposed as futile, or even deleterious to the liberal democracies! Even a short list of misguided political actions, op-eds, and academic research would offer a stunning example of a collective failure to analyze, predict, and react to the obvious.”

Magic lamp
#alger #bastion23 #algerie #algiers #algeria #lamp #rolleicord #rollei

In the absence of a pavilion for Algeria at the Biennale, researchers who have particular interest in the history and theory of architecture in Algeria, specifically in the architecture of housing in the fifties and sixties, will be warmly invited to participate in the creation of this online Algerian presence. The aim is to create, from June to November 2014, a common platform where peculiar historical events about the design and construction of urban and rural dwellings in Algeria will be exposed and collected (via About | Algerian Pavilion 2014)

“Syria and Iraq are not merely a pair of problematic shapes on a map, and the agreements that followed the First World War, in drawing the borders, did not create modern states out of thin air; they created them out of far more substantial things—the tangled thickets of communal memory, landscapes drawn in poetry and prose, and centuries of political culture memorialized in chronicles, oral epics, and biographies.”

Today all sorts of Syrian media outlets target the country offering news, talk shows, music, and a totally new genre which they like to call “social programming”. Mostly popular with radio stations, it deals with everything concerning civil society and daily life in war circumstances or under military rule, whether in regime or opposition-held areas.

The audience calls in and debates issues such as healthcare, children education, and discusses possible solutions to daily life crises, such as power outages, the lack of water and gas, and how to cook food in dire circumstances. (via Against the odds: Syria’s flourishing mediascape - Opinion - Al Jazeera English)

“The failure to evolve in ways that were responsive to social change and democratic in economic restructuring has left most Arab states, if not all of them, struggling to meet the complex challenges of today’s world. There is no external power that has the capability to provide assistance or engage in intervention of the scope and scale needed to fix their problems. Indeed, it is no longer even certain that the Arab region is important enough to generate such an interest.”

Many Mauritanian slaves, isolated by illiteracy, poverty, and geography, do not recognize the possibility of a life outside servitude, and part of Abeid’s mission is to make them aware. The job is complicated. Slaves are tied to their masters by tradition, by economic necessity, and, Abeid argues, by a misinterpretation of Islam. (via A Mauritanian Abolitionist’s Crusade Against Slavery)

Concert chaabi au Bastion 23, mois de Ramadan 2014
#chaabi #concert #dance #danse #live #music # musique #rolleicord #rollei #nofilter #algiers #algeria #alger #algerie #bastion23 #

A real-photo postcard by Armenian photographer V. Deroian of shop owners sitting outside their individual stores at Aleppo’s famous Souk el-Habil (Circa 1920). Aleppo’s oldest covered market to the south of the great mosque. Cordes, or Hibal in Arabic, were an essential item used in tents, for wrapping goods, pulling water from the deep wells …etc. The cordes themselves were manufactured outside the old wall of the city in the area al-Maqale (stone quarries) in the summer time. In the winter, they were manufactured in the caverns outside the city, and in the Kallasa area. (via MIDEASTIMAGE :: Image Search Results)

“By contrast, future generations must accept whatever we choose to bequeath them, and they have no way of informing us of their values. In this, they are even more helpless than foreigners, on whom our political decisions about pollution, trade, war and so on are similarly imposed without consent. Disenfranchised as they are, such foreigners can at least petition their own governments to tell ours off, or engage with us directly by writing articles in our newspapers about the justice of their cause. The citizens of the future lack even this recourse.”
“In May last year, a supercomputer in San Jose, California, read 100,000 research papers in 2 hours. It found completely new biology hidden in the data. Called KnIT, the computer is one of a handful of systems pushing back the frontiers of knowledge without human help.”

Casbah alleyway / زنيقة في القصبة / ruelle de la Casbah
#casbah #alger #algiers #algerie #algeria #الجزائر #rolleicord #rollei #nofilter