Film and Video


zabbaleen

There is a recent documentary on the Zabbalin garbage collectors of Cairo, produced by RT.

Heritagedaily.com, November 11, 2013.

“These are not the ruins you’re looking for!”

In 2012 Italian photographer Rä di Martino spent more than a year wandering the desert towns of Morocco and Tunisia, on her journey she came across the curious remnants of another world…

‘A long time ago in a galaxy far away’ these words are so familiar as to be short hand for the beginning of a grand adventure! Much like the immortal words ‘Once upon a time’ or ‘Are you sitting comfortably?’ they are arresting and instantly significant. For generations they have peaked the interest of the movie-going public and almost like a mass pavlovian experiment, we can scarcely stop ourselves from re-playing the grand opening phrases of John Williams’ iconic score in our heads – perhaps making raspy lightsaber noises with pursed lips as we thrash our arms about… Just like a ‘real’ Jedi.

We return to Rä coming upon the ruins of ‘Tatooine’ as one might approach the standing structure of Karnak or even the megaliths of Stonehenge. Though while those ruins are of cultures from the distant past, these are of cultures from the depths of human imagination. Some stand alone in the desert while others have been incorporated into towns and homesteads. She found the juxtaposition of these remnants of ‘another world’ and ‘real’ ruins fascinating and decided to feature them in a series of photographs entitled ‘Every World’s A Stage’. (more…)

The first Egyptian silent film apparently appeared in 1923 under the title Barsoum Looking for a Job
برسوم يبحث عن وظيفة
It is now on Youtube. It has poor, hungry Egyptians, lots of fighting, a dinner party and a drunken ending…

The media news network CNN sent reporter Nic Robertson to the border of Saudi Arabia and Yemen, where he was given a tour and saw several of the Yemenis caught smuggling over the border. One of the items being smuggled was qat. A young boy was given $50 to smuggle it into Saudi territory. The authorities tell him that in the past three months they captured close to half a million tons of qat worth 100 million dollars on the street. Here is one way the Huthis are getting cash. The report indicates that the Saudis are spending a lot of money to build fences and guard towers, although much of the border is so rugged it is impossible to stop everyone. Robertson is a bit overactive in his role at one point telling the Saudi interior spokesman with him that the Iranians are behind the Huthis and then saying this is what the Saudis say. I suspect it is what the Saudis say, but it was presented as a statement in the excerpt provided.

You can watch the video here in English, here in Arabic and read about it in Arabic here.

My friend Amir Hussain is featured in this Mike Epps episode. Check it out.

Rumi Rocks, literally. Check out this Iranian video

One of the most original and intriguing scholars of the Islamic era in recent times is Patricia Crone, who has been at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton since 1997 and is now emeriti. Her, co-authored with Michael Cook, Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World (1977) brought in a fresh and controversial angle to what had been a rather staid academic subject. She is currently battling cancer and a film is being made about this battle by her sister, a professional documentary maker. To find out more about this film, and how can you support it, click here.

Anyone who has watched NFL or NCAA football or listened to interviews with major football players will find a large amount of talking about Jesus. Tim Tebow, the Florida quarterback went so far as to inscribe Bible verses on his forehead. Jesus talk, like trash talk, is as much a part of the game as fighting in hockey. But heaven (and you know which one I mean) forbid if you have a Muslim name, pick off a pass by a Patriot like Tom Brady, scoot into the endzone and slide into a position that for literally three seconds looks like the Muslim prayer position. This happened to Kansas City Chiefs player Husain Abdullah in Sunday’s game. If he had raised his hands and said “Thank you, Jesus” the refs would not have batted an eye, but if he has a Muslim name he must not be allowed to look like he might be praying. Who knows how many ISIL terrorists would be inspired by such an act! Thus, a 15 yard penalty, but it is more than that.

On top of the prejudice, whether premediated or not, the ref has a very poor understanding of how Muslims pray. The most important part of prayer is intention. A Muslim prepares for prayer with ablutions and with a mindset that is focused on the spiritual. Running into the endzone is a thrill and one can understand the excitement of Husain as he slid on his knees. But anyone who looks at the video can see that he was not actually praying. Prayer is a ritual with stages, not what position you end up in at the end of a slide. It was no more a literal religious act than a “Thank you Jesus” would be. (more…)

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