October 28, 2009

El Violín

Filed under: On films,Quotes,Uncategorized — by AmiraAK @ 12:19 am

El_Violin_1I just saw this film at the Spanish Cultural Center (Cervantes).  It was showing as part of the “Cine en Construcción” film festival.

I have to say that the film is a beauty and a masterpiece.  It is not beautiful in the sense of the hollywood-style breathtaking scenes and intricate dialogue and scenery.  Quite the contrary.  It is crude and simple with minimal dialogue, yet extremely powerful.

It is shot in black and white and gives a sense of those great old film masterpieces. I shall say no more but direct you to this webpage from the Film Movement site which displays the numerous awards it has received and some reviews from established papers and critics.  You can also check the official website of the film.

And I would like to add this quote too which describes exactly how I feel about it:

“A stunning film that dazzles with its deceptive simplicity.” – Belinda Acosta, Austin Chronicle

I strongly recommend that you see it if you have the chance.  It is one of those films that you won’t easily forget.


October 26, 2009

Thoughts kida 3al mashy..

Filed under: Uncategorized — by AmiraAK @ 4:13 pm

Every extra day you live, every extra day people around you live, every chance you have to spend time with someone close (especially if that someone is old or sick) is a blessing.  A true blessing.  We don’t always realize it.

It never hurts to be kind.  You’ll never regret it and you’ll really feel good afterwards.  And people will remember your kindness.  

I sometimes feel worn out.

I love opera.  It soothes the soul and the spirit.  It rejuvenates and energizes, and it’s simply truly beautiful to listen to.

I am touched by the thoughtfulness and kindness of my friends. 

God bless my mother whose love has no boundaries and no limits.

God bless my father, my sister, my nephew, my aunts and my grandmother.  May God protect and shelter them.  Them, and my cousins and their children, my brother in law, my uncle and his family and my great aunt.  I often feel we are all very fragile in this world.

This blogging business..

Filed under: Uncategorized — by AmiraAK @ 12:50 am

This blogging business has become quite intriguing…

I was more into reading masterpieces or at least literary works from known and unknown writers.  Diaries, biographies and letters of established literary figures and artists, trying to understand the workings of their minds after having read their novels, short stories or poems or seeing their works of art or listening to their music.. many of them long gone.. I never thought I’d be reading bits and pieces of current vibrant living young people’s diaries or looking forward to what, for instance, Gjoe has to say about the world, or anticipating Jessyz’ Friday fives or wanting to read the ramblings of someone’s disoriented mind or simply identifying with how someone’s day went by, delving into my friends’ inner selves and browsing and flipping new electronic pages hoping to discover a new talent here or there and being pleasantly surprised when I do.

My circle is still very small – like a small circle of virtual friends – and I have to admit that though I tried this google reader thing, I would opt for the regular browsing where I look forward to a new posting and I look at the designs of the different blogs and I read the comments.. I don’t merely want a list of new postings, I want the human element in a webpage if there is such a thing.  I like to check out young people’s blogs, especially Egyptians, and see how they think or what they like to write about.  I admire those with a political sense and a social responsibility, I admire those who manage to write regularly, those with many readers and followers, those who talk about a book or a film with passion..  those who have been in the blogging business for many years now.

I keep my distance, hoping I don’t get too addicted, too attached.. anticipating a flow of thoughts, and thinking about different ideas to express, trying to keep a sense of anonymity but at the same time, a desire to reveal the intricacies that make up my simple yet complex self, for only in revealing them can I begin to understand them.

October 21, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — by AmiraAK @ 3:58 pm

I need to focus.  I can’t focus.  Emails, blogs, reports, emails, chats, phonecalls, emails, a memo here, a letter there, someone else popping up wanting to chat, remembering to call someone, checking my other email accounts, no time for facebook, definitely no time for facebook. i need to read that report, minutes of a meeting, yet another phonecall, someone’s talking to me, i need coffee, emails again, i check my phone for missed calls, smses i only glanced at the past two days, an event at auc? i have to write it down before i forget, chatting, another paragraph to read before my 3 o’ clock meeting, freecell, i get another email, shouldn’t i be writing those minutes? close msn. God, what’s that pile on my desk? someone called me this morning and asked for something.. what was it?  someone’s talking to me and i have no idea what they’re saying, let me put my headphones on so i can drown out some sounds and try to concentrate, one song leads to another, let me check that website, hey that’s an interesting topic, one google search leads to another, another phonecall and more freecell, another email, wasn’t i supposed to write something down?  what about that report?  God, i didn’t read that report…..

October 18, 2009

Dancing through life..

Filed under: Uncategorized — by AmiraAK @ 1:58 pm

And it’s one of those times again when I feel I’m aimlessly dancing through life.. well, at least I’m dancing :)

From Wicked – the musical.

Dancing through life
Skimming the surface
Gliding where turf is smooth
Life’s more painless
For the brainless
Why think too hard?
When it’s so soothing
Dancing through life
No need to tough it
When you can sluff it off as I do
Nothing matters
But knowing nothing matters
It’s just life
So keep dancing through…

Dancing through life
Swaying and sweeping
And always keeping cool
Life is fraughtless
When you’re thoughtless
Those who don’t try
Never look foolish
Dancing through life
Mindless and careless
Make sure you’re where less
Trouble is rife
Woes are fleeting
Blows are glancing
When you’re dancing
Through life…

Dancing Through Life
Down at the Ozdust
If only because dust
Is what we come to
And the strange thing:
Your life could end up changing
While you’re dancing

October 13, 2009

The Challenge

Last Sunday I attended a presentation on a hike that an Egyptian woman did up Mount Kilimanjaro last August.  The presentation was organized by Sahara Safaris and was meant to share the experiences of two hikers, Hesham and Nadia, two regular people, with no previous experience and with no exceptional fitness either.  Nadia, a mother of four, had done very little practical exercise before let alone any safaris.  Hesham, likewise, had only gone on a few safaris and only worked out for 10 weeks before going.  Of course they took precautions and medication and worked on endurance fitness rather than high-impact workouts, did the research, planned carefully and embarked on their journey.

The presentation that included maps, pictures, examples of gear and loads of stories shared, also benefitted from the presence of Omar Samra, the first Egyptian ever to have summited Mount Everest.

My purpose here is not to report the presentation.  It is to talk about the amount of positive energy that was available in the room that day.  The stories inspired us and filled us with energy, determination and a conviction that anything we put our minds to, we can achieve and accomplish with a little bit of effort and perseverance and simply by putting one foot in front of the other and taking it one step at a time.

Nadia, Hesham, Mabrouk and Omar talked about challenging ourselves, and Omar especially mentioned that challenges push human concepts.. in the sense that there are things that we never thought were possible, and then along comes someone who achieves that or accomplishes it, and so we discover that it is possible and this leads us to challenge ourselves in different and more diverse ways.  Things that we deemed impossible push us to do more.

One thing I liked was how Omar measures his success or determination: by the number of people who try to discourage him or tell him that he’s doing something crazy or dangerous.

From what Mabrouk and everyone discussed that day, I truly believe that each one of us has their own challenge, no matter how big or small, in their eyes or in the eyes of others.  Even if it is walking from Abbasia to Tahrir or from Cairo to Alex, or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or summiting Everest as was mentioned.  And no matter how long it takes to prepare for it, one thing we should all take out of all this is Polé Polé, (slowly, slowly).

I’ve been thinking about this and about our need to challenge ourselves.. and maybe my personal challenge won’t be to climb the highest or smallest mountain in the world, or to do skydiving, nor even deep sea diving (though that’s not a bad challenge).  I believe that each one of us has areas of interest and desires that one would like to accomplish if given the chance.  We should set a goal and go forth trying to achieve it no matter how much time it takes.  I think one of the goals I can set for myself would be to speak Spanish fluently and I could challenge myself to do it in a certain period of time.. no matter how much work I have, and no matter what other things come in the way of this.  I don’t have to follow the regular classes that I take.  I could go further.  I could challenge myself to read at least 15 books this year.  Substantial books that is, or books I have been postponing for ages; really set a time frame and schedule and not give in to outings and TV series (and that’s not an easy task I have to say).

I could challenge myself to exercise and lose weight.. now that’s a big challenge!  We all have great intentions of exercising and of becoming fit, but if we truly challenge ourselves.. and not for the sake of weight loss, but in my case for the sake of health and for a professional position I am aspiring for, then I believe that would be a worthwhile challenge.  I don’t have to climb high mountains or throw myself into dangerous waters to feel that I have accomplished something worthwhile.  But there has to be a thrill and determination to achieve the goal we set for ourselves, no matter what diversions and how many people tell us it’s not worth it.

Nadia, Hesham and Omar, I truly salute you. And with all my heart, I hope you continue to inspire people around you and encourage them to go beyond the limits they thought they had.  I have now rethought my idea of vacations and the way I spend my time.  Lazing on a beach or staying at home, isn’t the way I would want to switch off and recharge my battery.  I need to engage in something that takes away my whole being (heart, soul and body) and immerses it into a totally new and exhilarating experience.  And I need to start working on that now!


Filed under: Uncategorized — by AmiraAK @ 12:50 am

I have a friend who used to always complain.. and she was constantly tired and was rarely able to get a good night’s sleep and I always used to believe – and tell her – that the reason was because before going to sleep every night, she would turn on debate and talk shows whether 90 minutes or El3ashera Masa’an or those Orbit talk shows and listen to debates for at least an hour or two until she fell asleep.  Whenever I would go to spend the night, I would have an extremely hard time sleeping because of the constant noise of the people talking and debating (and you know how people debate in Egyptian and Arab radio and television – I compare with the BBC radio where the hosts rarely raise their voice and the people interviewed hardly ever interrupt each other).  No matter how many crime scene and hospital series I watch after a long hard day at work, I manage to get to sleep fine and with very few nightmares.  If there’s a really disturbing episode, I switch on to a cartoon or a short comedy series before sleeping just to change my thoughts. Now, for the past three days, my parents have been watching talk shows on television.. related to the recent niqab issue or the Shobeir/M.Mansour rivalry or whatever other topic raised in the Egyptian media.  Frankly, to me, it’s a total headache!  The voices of the host and the guests are ugly and nagging and simply prove my point that you will definitely get lack of sleep and constant nightmares if you listen to this in general and specifically before going to sleep.

October 5, 2009

Paying homage to a true legend..

Filed under: Uncategorized — by AmiraAK @ 1:39 am

Though this is originally the song of Violeta Parra, it was widely sung by Mercedes Sosa and she was best known for this particular song – well, at least in our part of the world when people talked about Sosa, they introduced her with Gracias a la Vida.  I can’t seem to find a good translation in English.  There used to be one, but i can’t find it.

Mercedes Sosa, God rest your soul..

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me dio dos luceros que cuando los abro
Perfecto distingo lo negro del blanco
Y en el alto cielo su fondo estrellado
Y en las multitudes el hombre que yo amo

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me ha dado el oído que en todo su ancho
Graba noche y día grillos y canarios
Martirios, turbinas, ladridos, chubascos
Y la voz tan tierna de mi bien amado

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me ha dado el sonido y el abecedario
Con él, las palabras que pienso y declaro
Madre, amigo, hermano
Y luz alumbrando la ruta del alma del que estoy amando

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me ha dado la marcha de mis pies cansados
Con ellos anduve ciudades y charcos
Playas y desiertos, montañas y llanos
Y la casa tuya, tu calle y tu patio

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me dio el corazón que agita su marco
Cuando miro el fruto del cerebro humano
Cuando miro el bueno tan lejos del malo
Cuando miro el fondo de tus ojos claros

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me ha dado la risa y me ha dado el llanto
Así yo distingo dicha de quebranto
Los dos materiales que forman mi canto
Y el canto de ustedes que es el mismo canto
Y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto

Gracias a la vida, gracias a la vida

October 4, 2009

October 1st, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — by AmiraAK @ 9:02 pm

Stranded at Luxor airport and for the first time in my life, I have nothing to read!  I brought three books with me on this 3 day trip and I finished them all!!! Imagine that.  But I have to admit that reading those 3 books has been a huge accomplishment.  The first was Like Water for Chocolate – a book I have been wanting to read for the past 7 years or so.  I borrowed it from Raghda and no matter how many times I tried to return it, she always told me, ‘when you read it, give it back’.  I have been feeling guilty about it for a very long time.  I finally decided to read it and I finished it in three days.  The other book, Atyaf, I have regarded as my constant travel companion for the past year and a half if not more.  I take it with me on all my travels but only mange to complete a small portion of it.  Between yesterday and today, I finished it.  Actually, I think it was just today.  I have finally finally finished reading it!  The third book is a Spanish book I got from the library.  It’s about famous Spanish figures, including Monsterrat Caballé, Domingo, Almodóvar, some bullfighters, some rich and powerful people and many others.  I feel good to have read it.  Another accomplishment.  I got it at the beginning of the long Eid holiday to read then but didn’t get a chance to – I was watching too much television :)

I feel that this trip with its two hour drive from Luxor where I’m staying to the village in Qena where I have work, has been very good on all fronts.  I did lots of reading, I fasted and got a glimpse of what it’s like to fast in the summer in Upper Egypt.  I was lucky because I broke my fast in Luxor while sitting in a comfy hotel.. but I have to say that with the heat and the conditions of the villages over there, fasting is not an easy task.  I would return every day and rest till I ate and then lazily watched some TV and read.  It’s been a nice relaxing trip, albeit hard work and quite exhausting.

The trip was also beneficial on the TV level.  I watched a beautiful program on a luxury train that goes through different district, areas and villages in the north of Spain.  It’s called the Transcantabrico.  Passengers were mostly of retirement age and were enjoying the trip as a present from their children, or because of a special occasion or simply to try out the trip or to visit the different regions that the train passes through.  The landscapes were amazing and the little villages were beautiful.. they passed by Santiago de Compostela and it’s crazy how this has crossed my way so many times in the past months that I feel that I might soon go there.  Injy went recently, my professor is from there, this TV program, Brigitte mentioning it a few months ago… it’s almost uncanny how I have encountered this place all these times.  It reminds me of my car before I bought it.. I was seeing it everywhere and people were telling me to change my car.. people who hadn’t talked to me for ages or others who rode with me every day.. I felt that the whole universe was conspiring to make me buy my sweet Opel Corsa!

Another program I watched during this trip is one of Margaret Moss, CNN photographer/camerawoman and her life story.  It was inspiring; especially for me on this borderline trying to move out of the stability and luxuries I currently enjoy in my home country to a risky life in the humanitarian field.

With the delay of the plane, I also managed to listen to a few lessons of Spanish and laugh a little at the intricacies of the Pink Panther (the cartoon) trying to get out of the many mischievous situations he put himself in.

I’m glad I took this trip and even now, as I sit here at Luxor airport waiting for the delayed plane to be fixed, I feel good and I feel satisfied.

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