On Peeing Statues and Kafka

Nothing could set a better introductory to the -well- perfectly Kafkaesque setting of Franz Kafka’s Museum in Prague as David Cerny’s “Piss/Pee” Statue.


What on earth could be more welcoming than a couple of men pissing on a Czech Republic shaped pool!!

On his take on Art, Cerny says:
“Provocation is the amplified…uh…amplified reason why the art exists. What’s supposed to be called ‘art’ and not design has to have something behind. Has to have some message, whatever. Of course, it can have a static message. But it has to have a message, it’s not a ‘chair’.”

Well, you don’t have to agree or disagree with Cerny’s point of view..yet it is a fact that his works are remarkable.

The above statue draws lots and lots of tourists -not for the erotic notion I hope- around the Kafka’s morbid museum, even those who are not visiting the museum itself.

On a quick note: am totally prejudiced. Never liked Franz Kafka, and after visiting his museum I realized it is because he is the sole creator of his dilemma.
His “existential circle” could have been wider & less tragic but he inflicted much agony on his life for the sake of “literature” I suppose.

Published in: on September 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Poetry for Revolution’s Sake

Poetry as an art form in Egypt and the Arab world has always been one of the most powerful resistance and opposition weapons.  No wonder many of our great poets were either imprisoned or sent to exile during the last 50 years.

Who would have expected that Abul Qasim El Shabi’s verses would ignite the revolutionary volcano in Tunisia and travel all the way to Egypt, like a brush fire torching millions of hearts in the morning of the 25th of Jan.

 إذا الشّعْبُ  يَوْمَاً  أرَادَ   الْحَيَـاةَ          فَلا  بُدَّ  أنْ  يَسْتَجِيبَ   القَـدَر

 وَلا بُـدَّ  لِلَّيـْلِ أنْ  يَنْجَلِــي               وَلا  بُدَّ  للقَيْدِ  أَنْ   يَـنْكَسِـر

 Few days Later; precisely during the internet cut-off, Tamim El Barghouti, one of the exiled poets couldn’t resist and wrote his inspirational poem Ya Masr Hanet. Tamim’s poem became the official Tahrir Square anthem

يا مصر هانت وبانت كلها كام يوم…

نهارنا نادي ونهار الندل مش باين

الدولة مفضلش منها إلا حبة شوم..

لو مش مصدق تعالي ع الميدان عاين

 ياناس مفيش حاكم إلا من خيال محكوم..

واللي هيقعد في بيته بعدها خاين

اللي هيقعد كأنه سلم التانيين للأمن بإيديه

وقاله هما ساكنين فين..

وصلت لضرب الرصاص ع الخلق في الميادين

 حتى الجثث حجزوها اكمنهم خايفين..

يامصر أصبحنا أحياء وميتين مساجين

 فاللي هيقعد في بيته يبقى مش مفهوم..

واللي هينزل الهي حارسه صاين

يامصر هانت وبانت كلها كام يوم..


The elder generation of Egyptian revolutionary poets blessed the “people” revolution.  In the early days of the revolution Abdel Rahman El Abnudy one of Egypt’s favorite folk poets, saluted the Egyptian youth and wrote a poem that gave us all instantaneous goose-bumps.

صباح حقيقي ودرس جديد اوي في الرفض

اتاري للشمس صوت واتاري للارض نبض

تاني معاكم رجعنا نحب كلمة مصر

تاني معاكم رجعنا نحب ضحكة بعض

مين كان يقول ابننا يطلع من النفق
دي صرخة ولا غني ودة دم ولا شفق
اتاريها حاجة بسيطة الثورة يا اخوانا
مين اللي شافها كدة مين اول اللي بدأ
مش دول شاببنا اللي قالوا كرهوا اوطانهم
ولبسنا توب الحداد وبعدنا اوي عنهم
هما اللي قاموا النهاردة يشعلوا الثورة


No one will ever figure the secret love triangle between the poets, people, and revolutions.  It is a relationship based on inspiration and the absolute belief in the power of the word.

Freedom is poetry, taking liberties with words, breaking the rules of normal speech, violating common sense

                                                 –  Norman O. Brown –

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm  Comments (2)  

The night the Egyptian Cultural Scene was slapped on the face

Last Thursday during the long awaited Ziad El Rahbani Concert I Camel’s sentence kept on reverberating  in mind “Culture is an attitude”….

What happened in the cultural wheel last Thursday was a true offence to the word “culture”.   A lot of Ziad El Rahbani lovers were high and ecstatic since they heard that he will be performing in Egypt during the Cairo Jazz Festival.  Alas, the event was a disappointment: here is a hint of what happened

We knew beforehand it is a standing kind of concert; yet we barely found a place to step in.   The culture wheel over-sold  the overpriced tickets for the event, that they practically ruined the experience for those who paid to enjoy the music.

Ps: I would have contentedly paid double or triple the ticket price if the event was at the opera house that’s for sure, only becoz I would have been positive that it will be a magnificent experience.

The culture wheel adopts a no smoking policy in its premises; awesome no? well…that didn’t happen on Thursday, during the break everyone rushed to the sides of the river hall  -which we took a refuge to listen only to Ziad’s music and reconciled with the fact that we won’t see the performance-  to smoke ignoring not only the convenience of the others but only their safety, let alone the rules of the place.

When I asked the only available organizer to stop them from smoking, he shrugged and said that he tried, but they won’t stop.

The concert, organizers, and attendance were an extreme disappointment.   The whole thing  was pretty much a bunch on the face to the fragile alleged cultural scene in Egypt

Published in: on March 13, 2010 at 8:32 pm  Comments (2)  

Yet another film hindi

It was the last day in an extremely strenuous workweek when I called the sis to check if she would like to go watch “Slumdog  Millionaire”,  I was pretty sure she won’t tag along as we definitely dropped down this “going together to movies” issue a few years ago, our last one was “wa7ed men el nas” fa you can imagine how unyielding is our pact 😉 (between us girls: she talks during movies, shhhhh).


El Mohem we went to the movie which happened to be in Genina Movie Theatre, (a prestigious award winner movie should be allover the place, not only in a few movie theatres across Cairo, no??). We had an hour to waste fa we went around the mall keda, and sister kept torturing me as she practically stopped in front of each and every candy stall we came across.  At the very beginning I thought she wants to buy something in particular but tab3an I was wrong, she was just doing it for the fun of it.


I will spare you the familial details and now to the movie review (if I may say), actually it is not a review khales, it is only my opinion, and I can really sum it up in a simple sentence: 

Slumdog Millionaire; yet another “film hindi”, in a short time span.  I totally understand that the movie has practically rocked the world and all, yet to me it didn’t make much sense, like many of those loooooooooooong movies we used to watch during the eid vacation when we were young. 


It is the same old recipe.  Throughout the movie inconsistency prevailed.  I have to admit that at many points I was touched to the core, and I also have to admit that the movie is visually brilliant.  But the flawed storyline really got into my nerves, I was totally disappointed.


Although I loved the Jai Ho Score at the very end with all the music, energy, and stuff, yet I went like “howa film hindi”.  There is nothing wrong with aflam hindi by the way, I can confidently tell that so many of us used to like the colorful scenes and the music offered in those ones we used to watch zaman, but the drama was never a measure coz we knew that they mostly lack realism.

Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 10:53 am  Comments (11)  
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And the baby is finally out!!

During the past few days SMS and phone calls with Dido were more or less about THE BABY.  READ is a newly born newspaper, those who carried out this project  were determined to make a dream come true, to put together a different kind of publication, a newspaper for young people.  They worked hard to present to you “The Only Newspaper for Youth in Egypt”.


A vivid concise and to the point biweekly newspaper that comes out on stands on Sundays, printed in full color and covers many interesting aspects:

* News of major events and happenings classified by Continent ( Africa – Asia – Europe – America – Australia) + Middle East
* Special focus on citizen journalism through columns powered by Global Voices Online
* Business Specialized Page
* Science & Technology Specialized page
* 2 pages for sports
* 2 pages for performance & visual arts
* Book Fair
* Human interests
* Masryetna:
A page in Arabic language discussing Egyptology and all related topics on Egyptian history & culture


Where can you get your copy!!
– Read is distributed freely in all private universities
– Read is available free at different bookstores (Shorouk Bookstores – Kotob Khan)
– Read is available free at different coffee shops (Cilantro – Starbucks)
– Read is available at On The Run branches
– Read is sold only for One Pound at Newspaper stands & kiosks.

Read’s Partners:
Content: AFP (Agence France-Presse) – Global News Agency + Global Voice Online

Grab your copy and let Dido know your opinion 😀

Published in: on March 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm  Comments (4)  

From Eskendrella’s Concert

ده بأف مين
كلمات بديع خيري و تلحين سيد درويش

ده بأف مين اللي يألس 

على بنت مصر بأنهي وش

و النبي يجري يتليس

ماطلع كلامه طظ! فش!

النوه النووه

هي هي هيه

شغل البكش ده يا أختي

مابقاش ينفعنا دلوقتي

دي المصرية كتّر خيرها

في التربية سبقت غيرها

يا سيدي إنت

البنت تفضل محبوسة

قال جوه بيتها يكون أظبط

لحد ما تبقى عروسة

بدال ما تفضل تتنطط

العفو العفو

يا سلام

يا سلام يا إخوانا دي العبرة

ماهيش في جوة و لا برّة

عمر الحرة ما تبقى عرّة

عمر العرّة ما تبقى حرة

يا سيدي إنت

باردون يا فندي بالذمة

إيه بس عيب المصرية

الدنيا ضاقت بيك لما

ماتاخدش غير الأفرنجية


و إعقل

يا أهبااال

يا أهبل ليه غيرنا يفارقنا

ماتخلي زيتنا في دقيقنا

دي المصرية تبيض وشك

الأفرنجية عينها في قرشك

يا سيدي إنت

اللي ماتكتبش و تقرا

الدجالين قالعين عنها

وتو ما تقع البقرة

مالحق ما تكتر سكاكينها
إخه إخيه ..إخييييه

تفوا عالجهل ميت تفة

يالا نكسر وراه شقفة

من تعليمنا أهلنا خايفة

واقعين ليه من قعر القفة

يا سيدي إنت

خليها دي حلقة في ودنك

من قبل ما تقري الفتحة

أول كلام تقوليه لابنك

وطنك مافيش زيه دحه

م النيل إمبوه


حبه يا نونو بالأكتر

من بابا و ماما والسكر

منه الـتسة و منه المما

إوعك تنسى فرض الأمة

يا جدع إنت

It was my first time to hear this song last night @ the concert…Samia Jahin and Aya Hmeida’s performance for the song was extraordinary kaman.

* Read Omar’s interview with Eskendrella and listen to the song here

Published in: on February 22, 2007 at 12:03 pm  Comments (16)  

Starry, starry night…although it is 10 am


Originally uploaded by nerro285.

Starry, starry night

Paint your palette blue and grey

Look out on a summer’s day

With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Shadows on the hills

Sketch the trees and daffodils

Catch the breeze and the winter chills

In colours on the snowy linen land

Now I understand

What you tried to say to me

And how you suffered for your sanity

And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen

They did not know how

Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night

Flaming flowers that brightly blaze

Swirling clouds and violet haze

Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue

Colours changing hue

Morning fields of amber grain

Weathered faces lined in pain

Are soothed beneath the artists’ loving hand

Now I understand

What you tried to say to me

And how you suffered for your sanity

And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen

They did not know how

Perhaps they’ll listen now

For they could not love you

But still your love was true

And when no hope was left inside

On that starry, starry night

You took your life as lovers often do

But I could have told you Vincent

This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you

Like the strangers that you’ve met

The ragged men in ragged clothes

The silver thorn of bloody rose

Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know

What you tried to say to me

And how you suffered for your sanity

And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen

They’re not listening still

Perhaps they never will

Don McLean’s song Starry, Starry night, based on Vincent Van Gogh painting Starry Night which has been painted in 1889.

Published in: on June 28, 2006 at 10:11 am  Comments (5)  

The Hakeh Niswan Debate

After watching Eve Ensler’s “The vagina Monologue” on stage…Lina Khoury the director and playwright of Hikah Niswan or Women’s talk decided to shock the arab world with her own version..

Ready to take the heat….armed with enough guts, patience, and persistence…she worked on it….….”After five drafts and as many trips to the censors, Khoury finally got approval — but after months of seeing paragraphs scrapped because of subject matter and language”


Hakeh Niswan” was scheduled to run for five nights. There was no advertisement or marketing — just word of mouth. It played to sold-out audiences through those five nights. Then another five nights. It is still playing, and Khoury is hoping the run will last all summer.

Talk about oppression…

TBC…or…I think it deserves a separate post!!

Published in: on June 17, 2006 at 7:54 pm  Comments (2)  

Aurora…legends, Mythology, and Art

Aurora or Northern Lights
In Alaska, Canada, Northern Europe, and other places close to the North Pole the night brings a wavy curtain of green, blue, red and other colored lights stretching across the sky. As evening passes to midnight and on to dawn, the folds of the curtain make fantastic decorations over the heavens, forming arcs, rays, and wreaths.

These are some of the many legends concerning Aurora, which still exist in various parts of the world:
– Ancient peoples of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland believe that the Aurora is the fire of torches lighting the way to heaven for the spirits of the dead. The beautiful pink rays, which sometimes appear, are thought to be the color of blood shed in the struggles between the spirits.

– In Japan, an entry in the ancient Nihon Shoki “Chronicles of Japan is an epical monument of Japanese literature, a cycle of myths and historical legends written in 720A.D.” is thought to refer to the aurora.

– In China many sketches resembling the aurora remain. The dark red aurora was considered to be an omen of ill fortune.

In Roman Mythology
Eos, Goddess of the dawn, was known as Aurora and was the sister of Helios, the Sun. Every morning she would rise from her bed and drive Helios into the sky. Four of her sons are the four winds (north, south, east, and west). According to one myth, her tears cause the dew as she flies across the sky weeping for one of her sons, who was killed by Achilles during the Trojan war. Among the handsome young men whom she carried off as lovers were Orion and Tithonus. Eos asked Zeus to give Tithonus immortality but forgot to include ?everlasting youth? with her request.

In Greek Mythology
She is Eos Goddess of the dawn, the daughter of the Hyperion and Theia and the sister of Helios (sun) and Selene (moon). She was the mother of the four winds: Boreas, Eurus, Zephyrus, and Notus; and also of Heosphorus and the Stars. She was depicted as a goddess whose rosy fingers opened the gates of heaven to the chariot of the Sun. Her legend consists almost entirely of her intrigues. She first slept with Ares; this earned her the wrath of Aphrodite who punished her by changing her into a nymph.

In Art and Literature
– In the 17th century Aurora the goddess of dawn became a popular figure in Baroque decorations, where she appeared in a chariot driven by the winged horse Pegasus. She often spread flowers while passing by.

– Shakespeare referred to her in his famous play Romeo and Juliet

– Giuseppe Ungaretti, once wrote this epic verse: “Aurora, of the rosy fingers?”. This he recited at the start of a movie on the Homer poem “The Odyssey”. Heard this verse and was touched by its descriptive image and immediately saw in his own mind this mythological figure crossing in the sky at dawn.
In October 1994 he started to work on Aurora. His initial difficulty was to avoid the figure becoming too heavy and massive. He avoided this by giving to the piece an incline that creates an ethereal perspective and weightless atmosphere. He also used a two wheeled chariot instead of a four wheeled one, as more commonly represented in the past.

Finally here is a poem “Goddess of The Dawn” From Aurora Threat’s Behind the Line

As fascinating as the northern lights
To which many are drawn
Luminous in the nights
The Goddess of the dawn
It took some years
For me to understand
The many spears
I’ve had to withstand
I am like the borealis
A beautiful arch of light
While my address is not a palace
I am rich in delight
I am like the sunlit sky
Upon my face a bright smile
Radiant, without a try
Unique, savvy and not hostile
Like a clothing brand name
You try to give me a tag
To lower my head in shame
With gossip and gag
But I am like a twinkling star
When you raise your eyes above
You’ll see me dazzling from afar
Sparkling and overflowing with love

Published in: on November 24, 2005 at 2:56 pm  Comments (42)