Monday, February 26, 2007

Once Upon a Time in Iran

An interesting documentary aired on the 28th anniversary of the Iranian revolution on how the tragedy of Karbala and Hussaini philosophy influences Iranians today.

I liked the irony, something which I've always noticed and thought was portrayed quite well in the video. The young beardless dude with the pretty wife with peroxide highlights and the mother with a fag hanging off her lips doesnt exactly epitomise religious adherance, however the passion and devotion to Imam Hussain seems to transcends this. The scene in the service station where they talk and joke of martyrdom like people relishing the thought of bungi jumping in cape town or something is ironic knowing the very real calamaties that could be awaiting them in Iraq, and the twist being that they are all going voluntarily. Some watching this might think it is orientalist romantisization, but i'd like to reassure that it is very real. My grandparents late last year waited on the Iraqi-Jordanian border for four days as border control refused to let them enter because of the dangerous security situation. I was quite shocked at what I thought was my grandparents complete oblivion to a raging bloody war that was killing thousands, but it just turned out that they didn't care. They literally went there with the worst case scenario in mind, that if we die it might as well be here and it might as well be for Imam Hussain. In fact I can't help but tease them about how disappointing it is that after a month long stay they came back alive.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

أنا لا املك في الدنيا الا عينيك وأحزاني


أنا إنسان مفقود
لا اعرف في الأرض مكاني
ضيّعني دربي
ضيّعني اسمي
ضيّعني آه عنواني
تاريخي مالي تاريخ
إني نسيان النسيان
إني مرساة لا ترسو
جرح بملامح إنسان
ماذا أعطيك أجيبيني..
قلقي ..
الحادي ..
انا ألف احبك فابتعدي عني عن ناري ودخاني
فأنا لا املك في الدنيا الا عينيك وأحزاني
نزار قباني

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Photo series: Out and about in Bahrain

I've harboured a secret hobby over the last year or so involving a kinky and intimate relationship with the 'camera' although the product is far from so. I discovered its an awfully fiddly business. I've played with settings and switches, messed around with photoshop, spent sleepless nights sifting through quite a vast digital collection (mostly useless) and now, I will try to share a few every week or whenever. I'll focus on Bahrain for now and hopefully will get round to doing travel shots at a later stage. Feedback would be great esp technical. Hope u like!

Manama: outside Mo'min mosque

Two girls from a village

Manama: Alnajjar coldstore

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tikriti flavoured tajnees

The news of the naturalisation of an entire Iraqi tribe from Tikrit to serve in one state arm or another doesn't seem to have ruffled many feathers in Bahrain other than the mention on our beloved internet forums. Eyewitnesses who have paid visit to the Ministry of Immigration note the arrival of a new Iraqi strain of passport applicants. Since tolerance and shock levels are at a high alert level and almost breaking point, this dangerous and provocative development if true could be a potential tipping factor. This kind of event however, is not quite the tangible contravention that seems to demand immediate mass action, it is more of a simmering problem and its undertones in public discourse are clear, yet impossible to verify by the very nature of the problem. How on earth do we go about proving that the state is unlawfully naturalising people, if the state decides the law, controls the judiciary, and blacks out the ministries involved?

The state's ingenious demographic engineering is not going unnoticed abroad however. The decision to import and naturalise a fleeing saddamist sunni tribe in Jordan seems to have touched a sensitive nerve with the Kuwaitis. In addition to the reported arrest of Asian criminals in Kuwait carrying Bahraini passports is of obvious concern. Hence the official flurry back and forth between the two countries earlier this month. As is Gulf politics, what settlement was reached in the royal courts is anyone's guess and probably comes too late to undo the damage.

This 'Tajnees' (naturalisaiton)is happening below the radar, officially denied and statistically unrecorded. Yet it is as clear as the blue sky to almost everyone. What began with the use of mercenaries for the ruling family's security now serve a new purpose as symbolic imports of the sectarian conflict in Iraq, signed, sealed and delivered to Bahrain to spread the hate. No doubt we share responsibility in the biggest refugee crisis to face the region since 1948, but as Albandar's exposé of state sponsored sectarian policy unfolds day by day, this latest development is yet another loosening of the strands that form Bahrain's social fabric. A moral cover of humanitarian responsibility could not even biggen to disguise this.

Monday, February 12, 2007

هو في حاجة؟!؟

اعزائي اقدم لكم الشاعرة المصرية ايمان بكري ...(و اضيف لها تعديلات بسيطة لتتناسق كلماتها مع الوضع في البحرين اللي مفيش حاجة!!)

بصو لو حد من القراء عايزنى أبلغه بحاجة يقول مايخفش من حاجة

نعم .. فيه إيه؟ ...لالأ مافيش سرقه ولا تطرف ولا طائفية ولا حاجة
بتقول إيه..البندر مين...و البطالة إيه... ده كله كلام مفيش حاجه

حرامى إيه ... و تقرير إيه ... و فساد إيه؟ شــفـافـيـه مافيش حاجة

وبتقول إيه .. لالآلأ عـــيب لافيه تجنيس ولاتمييز ولا تزوير ولا حاجه

سعادتك برضه مش زَيـىِ مافيش حاجة

أهـه بيضحك بيقول مافيش حاجة

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bahrain on the brink...