AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: September 2012 (Page 2 of 4)

Walking into a sky of riddles

I do not believe in horoscopes.

Yet, for the past few months, I have been really tantalized by the prospect of believing in them. If only life was that simple.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Questions and more questions! Will the monkey
on your back jump off, at least for a while? Will the sign of the zodiac
that you understand least become an X-factor in the unfolding plot? Will a
cute distraction launch you on what seems to be a wild goose chase —
until it leads you to a clue you didn’t even know you were looking for? Will
a tryst in an unsacred space result in an odd boost to your long-term
fortunes? The answers to riddles like these will be headed your way in the
coming weeks. You’re at the beginning of a phase that will specialize in
alluring twists and brain-teasing turns.

Walked the streets of Babylon [September in Book Excerpts]

With the basest of companions, I walked the streets of Babylon…

-AUGUSTINE Confessions, II, 3

This September on AndFarAway, you can enjoy excepts from great books, as selected by Carl Sagan in his book “Contact”. Perhaps they will help you decide to read one of these books, or simply just inspire you.

Losing the ability to care

One day, I woke up and realized that I honestly, truly, and deeply don’t care anymore.

I often think of that [September in Book Excerpts]

The world is nearly all parceled out, and what there is left of it is being divided up, conquered, and
colonized. To think of these stars that you see overhead at night, these vast worlds which we can never reach. I
would annex the planets if I could; I often think of that. It makes me sad to see them so clear and yet so far.

-CECIL RHODES Last Will and Testament (1902)

-WILLIAM BLAKE Songs of Experience “The Fly,” Stanzas 1-3 (1795)

This September on AndFarAway, you can enjoy excepts from great books, as selected by Carl Sagan in his book “Contact”. Perhaps they will help you decide to read one of these books, or simply just inspire you.

The Day They Took the Ice Cream Away

The neighborhood’s corner store is tiny as expected, with a very selective selection of sweets, drinks, and basic home supplies. In the summer, they also sell ice cream.

To my surprise, the ice cream freezer was turned off and empty this weekend.

“Where is the booza today?” I asked Abu Ahmad.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I had to turn off the freezer as it isn’t worth the electricity it spends. You know, it has to be on 24/7, and the bill has been too expensive.”

“Oh.”

“Here, have some mints.”


Artwork by Omar Zoubi

Chance and change alone control the world [September in Book Excerpts]

Do we, holding that gods exist, deceive ourselves with insubstantial dreams and lies, while random careless chance and change alone control the world?

-EURIPIDES Hecuba

This September on AndFarAway, you can enjoy excepts from great books, as selected by Carl Sagan in his book “Contact”. Perhaps they will help you decide to read one of these books, or simply just inspire you.

Mashrou Leila brings down the house in Amman again

Last night’s Mashrou Leila concert in the Roman amphitheater, organized by Art Medium, was absolutely awesome. The event was very well organized, the music was brilliant (as always), and the setting was perfect. Hat tip to Alaa Wardi and Hayajan too, I especially loved the Arabic cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”.

Here’s Mashrou Leila’s performance of “Em Il Jacket”:

On a different, more serious note, it’s amazing how magical the location was: an amphitheater built by the Romans well over 2,000 years ago. It ins’t just the gorgeousness of the place either, it’s the symbolism.

Mashrou Leila’s contemporary Arab energy in an ancient place was in perfect harmony with the current situation in the region. The music and the act captured the clash of civilizations, the clash of ideologies, and the clash of modern mentalities and ancient mentalities.

The nature of the city and the nature of our lives was laid bare for all to see: here we are hidden in the midst of the real world. Here we are dancing and singing nonchalantly while things burn outside. Here we are, trying, but not really. We sing and lament the realities, wishing they were different.

As Leila says, “Let’s burn down this city and build a more honorable one.”

ﻗﻮﻡ ﻧﺤﺮﻕ ﻫﺎﻟﻤﺪﻳﻨﺔ
ﻭﻧﻌﻤﺮ ﻭﺍﺣﺪﺓ ﺃﺷﺮﻑ
ﻗﻮﻡ ﻧﻨﺴﻰ ﻫﺎﻟﺰﻣﺎﻥ
ﻭﻧﺤﻠﻢ ﺯﻣﻦ ﺃﻟﻄﻒ
ﻣﺎ ﺯﺍﻟﻚ ﺑﻼ شي
ﻣﺎ ﻓﻴﻚ ﺗﺨﺴﺮ شي
ﻭﺃﻧﺎ ﻣﻠﻴﺖ ﻣﻦ ﻋﺸﺮﺓ ﻧﻔﺴﻲ
ﻛﺎﻥ ﺑﺪﻱ ﻏﻴﺮ ﺍﻟﻌﺎﻟﻢ ﻣﺶ ﻋﺎﺭﻑ ﻛﻴﻒ ﺍﻟﻌﺎﻟﻢ ﻏﻴﺮﻧﻲ
ﻛﺎﻥ ﺑﺪﻱ ﺇﺣﻤﻞ ﺍﻟﺴﻤﺎﺀ ﻭﻫﻸ ﺃﻧﺠﻖ ﺣﺎﻣﻞ ﻧﻔﺴﻲ
ﻗﻮﻝ ﺇﻧﻨﻲ ﻣﻠﻴﺢ
ﻗﻮﻝ ﺇﻧﻨﻲ ﻣﻠﻴﺢ

I don’t think there’s a song that captures my mood these days as perfectly.

Or no. Maybe it’s these lines from “Ghadan Yawmon Afdal”: “Now all you have to do is learn to avoid these discussions that will never go anywhere, anyway. They won’t save your family nor change the world. Get up so that you don’t go crazy, it’s better if you just learn to ignore.”

بقى تتعلم تتفادى أحاديث بعمرها بتوديش
لا رح تنقذ أهلك ولا رح بتغير عالم
شنا الناس دايماً بتنتقم وعمرها ما بتحبش
قوم بلاش ما تنفصم أشرفلك بس تطنش

Or maybe it’s as simple as “Elhal Romancy”. Get up. Paste that smile on. Do what you’re expected to do; get married, have a few kids, invite your family to kharoof il Eid every now and then. Things have been going just fine.

ﻣﺶ ﻋﺎﺭﻑ ﺇﻥ ﻛﻨﺖ ﺭﺟﻞ ﺃﻡ ﻣﺼﺮﻑ ﺁﻟﻲ
ﺑﺲ ﺍﻷﺟﺎﺭ ﻳﺎ ﺧﻴﻲ ﺻﺎﻳﺮ ﺳﻮﺑﺮ ﻏﺎﻟﻲ
ﺗﺰﻭﺟﻨﻲ ﻭﺁﻗﺮﺃ ﺃﻧﺠﻠﺰ في ﺳﺮﻳﺮﻱ
ﺇﺫﺑﺢ الخروف ﻗﺴﻢ ﻭﺯﻉ عالجيري
الحل ﺭﻭﻣﺎﻧﺴﻲ ﺑﺲ ﻣﺶ ﻏﻠﻂ
ﺣﺒﻚ ﻛﺴﺮﺓ ﺍﻟﻘﻄﺎﻉ الخاص ﺑﺲ ﻣﺶ ﻏﻠﻂ
ﺯﻓﻮﺍ ﺍﻟﻌﺮﻭﺱ ﺯﻓﻮﻫﺎ

I’ve been listening to Mashrou Leila for years, but I think I finally grasped the desperateness of their music. “ﻻ ﺗﻌﻤﻠﻲ ﺟﻮﻧﻐﺎﺭ”, they say (Don’t attempt to be a superhero),”ﻣﺎﺷﻲ ﻭﺍﻟﺰﻓﺖ ﺍﻟﺬﻱ ﺑﻮﺟﻬﻲ” (I’m walking and the shit is hitting me straight in the face).

Yeah.

On a side note, how perfectly appropriate is my new t-shirt from Jo Bedu?

Previously:
A Love Ode to Mashrou Leila
An Interview with Mashrou Leila
After the First Mashrou Leila
Mashrou Leila: Revolution Generation
More Reasons to Love Mashrou Leila

To the guy in the airplane/parking lot with a nice shirt

Nice shirt.

(Think of this as an experiment in degrees of separation).

Unheard are sweeter [September in Book Excerpts]

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.

-JOHN KEATS “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (1820)

This September on AndFarAway, you can enjoy excepts from great books, as selected by Carl Sagan in his book “Contact”. Perhaps they will help you decide to read one of these books, or simply just inspire you.

Silence [September in Book Excerpts]

The cruelest lies are often told in silence.

-ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON Virginibus Puerisque (1881)

This September on AndFarAway, you can enjoy excepts from great books, as selected by Carl Sagan in his book “Contact”. Perhaps they will help you decide to read one of these books, or simply just inspire you.

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