January 2012

The hunting trip is a time when falconers night spend up to six weeks away from their homes, families and business in the desert. These days the trip need no longer be frugal and it is possible to provide every comfort.

So writes the Qatari veterinarian Faris al-Timimi in his 1987 book Falcons & Falconry in Qatar (Doha: Ali bin Ali Press). I met Dr. al-Timimi in 1988, when I was conducting research in Qatar on the seasonal almanac knowledge of the Gulf. He showed me some of his prized falcons and explained the long established practice of hunting with falcons in Qatar. At that time a superb falcon might be worth $30,000, so I can only imagine what a prize falcon would sell for in today’s commercially enhanced Qatar. Unlike many other sports, where the animals are domesticated and, in Darwinian terms, bred for the task, the best hunting birds are said to be those captured young in the wild. Those that are captured and kept for a future hunting season are those who excel at catching the bustard (Chlamydotis undulata), known in Arabic as the houbara.

There is a rich literature on Arab falconry,known as bayzara in Arabic. In his 10th century bibliographic survey of Arabic books, Ibn al-Nadīm listed ten books on the subject, in addition to the numerous references that would have been found in other kinds of texts. Today both texts and videos are only a click away in cyberspace, including sites devoted specifically to falcon hunting in Qatar. Al-Jazeera recently posted a photographic montage on the most recent hunting expeditions in Qatar. In addition to the use of falcons, followed by high-speed cars rather than racing camels, there is the use of hunting dogs. While the trajectory of a falcon on its prey is purely natural, the sport of hunting dogs has reached a true dog-days syndrome, as an contraption-bound gazelle along a mechanical path substitutes for the open range, the host of SUVs spurting up dust. I do not doubt that Abbasid princes or Mamluk sultans would have adopted the same vehicular superiority, if they had known it, but there is something pitiful about an animal trapped in a mechanical game that does not give the prey a sporting chance.

For a set of extraordinary pictures by photographer Matthew Cassel on falcon hunting in Qatar al-Jazeera, click here.

Daniel Martin Varisco

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مبلغ 1000جنيه ندعي لك قبل أذان المغرب.

‏1500 جنيه ندعي لك قبل المغرب مع بكاء.

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ولا يفوتك العرض الخاص فقط 4000 جنيه الباقة الكاملة طيلة شهر رمضان

مع تحيات شركه دعاء الكروان!

إدارة الحاج سليمان الدمنهوري

تقاطع شارع جامعة الدول العربية

الدور الثاني

مكتب دعاء الكروان

Sa’da, May, 1978; Photo by Daniel Martin Varisco

With this post I start a new theme for Tabsir: my photographs taken in Yemen since my initial fieldwork in 1978 in the springfed irrigated valley of al-Ahjur. As Yemen is currently embroiled in political turmoil, it is easy to lose sight of the marvelous scenery and cultural heritage of this land. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but for most of these pictures few words are needed.

There is a beautiful recording on Youtube of an azan given at an interfaith gathering at a cathedral by Algerian Ben Youcef

Revolution in Their Eyes: Activist Photography from Yemen’s Revolution

Opening Friday, January 27, 2012, 6.30 to 8.30 pm

The Exhibition

The images in this show are the work of several activist-photographers. They provide a glimpse of the reality—both brutal and beautiful—of daily life inside Change Square, the heart of the revolution in Yemen’s capital, San’a.

The Revolution

Since February 2011, hundreds of thousands of citizens from every walk of life have taken to the streets of Yemen’s cities and towns to demand the ouster of President ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh’s regime, which has ruled the country for 33 years. In spite of violent repression, the revolutionaries have pledged to persevere until Yemen is free.

The Yemen Peace Project

Founded in early 2010, the Yemen Peace Project is an international network of activists and scholars whose mission is to develop and promote peaceful solutions to the challenges faced by the people of Yemen. It provides up-to-date, accurate information about events in Yemen, and is a conduit to Yemeni activists so their voices are heard in the U.S. The Yemen Peace Project has also launched a series of fundraising campaigns to support medical and humanitarian efforts among Yemen’s most vulnerable citizens.

Cosponsored by the Yemen Peace Project

Opening Friday, January 27, 2012, 6.30 to 8.30 pm
Room 6304.24 (MEMEAC space)
Photos will be on view until June 2012


A new film called Bughda, said to be the first in Adeni dialect, has recently been released. This is produced by the Adeni filmmakers at Jadaria. The trailer is on Youtube.

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