Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Between Essaouira and Sour ... new verses were born

" كصمت الياسمين"

This is the title my Palestinian friend Talaat Harb gave to his first poem collection. The birth of the collection coincided with a beautiful date: March 21, the first day of Spring, and just a few days before the Mothers’ Day and the Children’s Day.

Talaat’s poems slowly saw the day light during his journeys between the beautiful coasts of Essaouira in Morocco and Sour in Lebabnon.

The collection, of which I had the privilege of reading some poems, explores many themes including identity and love with different dimensions: love for the woman, for the mother, and for the home land.

Congratulations Talaat! We’ll be waiting for the book in Morocco… and certainly in other places of the world ;)

Read bellow some verses of one of Talaat Harb’s poems:

دون تعقيداتِ السفر
أو رموز الكتابةِ اليومية
دون أن تلتفتي
يمينا أو شمالاً
كلما أمسكتُ بيديك
دون أن تذكّريني
بيوم لقائنا
دون أن تحفري الأسماء
...على أشجار السنديان

أحبّيني ليومٍ واحدٍ
و بعدها انتحري
فلستُ أنا بفارسٍ للرومانسية
أو عازفاً لأسطوانةٍ شرقية
إنما أنا عاشقٌ
...يبحث عن هُوّية

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ownership game

This weekend I had a strange reflection about our tendency to use possessive pronouns with many things which we don’t really possess or control. It seems just obvious to say “my” or “our”, while we’re never sure about who in fact controls the other!!

My mind: Can you really control the way your mind works? Can you stop forgetting what you want to remember, stop remembering what you want to forget? Can you vanquish your fears, program your reactions, or stop analysing/overanalysing things when it’s not for your good to do so? Can you make your mind work the right way at the right moment?

My dreams: By dreams I mean both what we see when we're asleep and the goals we might have in life. The dreams we see during sleep are probably the least thing we could control. Who among us ever wishes to see a nightmare? And who can control what one sees in one’s dreams??

The goals we sometimes call dreams are similarly never ours in the sense that we can never guarantee they will come true. We can work hard for them, plan the way to get them, but there’s always something called faith, qadar, or mektoob having the upper hand on what happens.

My job: I and my job: which of the two controls the other? Who makes the other wake up early in the morning everyday, endure the troubles of transportation, work hard the whole day, work at night sometimes, lose temper and feel depressed and overwhelmed…?

My life: How long we will live, where, and how. The unknown future. It’s also when we talk about life that we talk about the undefeatable giant: time. (And no need to talk about the illusion that I own MY age which never takes my opinion before it decides to increase its figure to a higher one!)

My body: Is “your body” really yours?? Your body never forgets to grow fat if you don’t pay attention to what you eat or don’t practice sports. It is absolutely not you who orders or even reminds your skin to show wrinkles nor your hair to turn white as the years go by. “Your” body can give you pain. It can let you down or prevent you from moving if it decides to do so.

Just a few silly thoughts that crossed “my mind” by a Sunday afternoon…

Monday, March 12, 2007

Modern addiction

Majdouline laughed a lot at my endless tendency to resort to Google!! Whenever she asked about something, new words, expressions, or any kind of information, my answer was obvious: “Go to Google!” After a few days working at the same office, she even started replying on her own questions before I uttered a word. “Go to Google,” she would say imitating me! Fortunately, thanks to Narjis ;) I knew that I wasn’t the only Google-addict in the place. So from time to time, we shared reflection about how life looked in the pre-internet era!!

Just a few years ago, when the Internet wasn’t accessible to everyone as it is now, we didn’t have the possibility to share documents or pictures and receive feedback right away. We couldn’t have the world’s libraries brought within seconds to our desks, nor could we keep daily contact with people living in the four corners of the world.

But was life normal then? Yes it was! We didn’t feel anything was missing. We used the methods available to make research and keep in touch. Life was not impossible without the internet. There were business deals concluded, PhDs obtained, and all sorts of information shared using simpler and slower methods. Had there been no Google, no Yahoo, no MSN, no Internet at all, we would have still found ways to communicate and do research normally. That’s why I think that more than anything, it’s the NEED such services as the internet and mobile phones have successfully created in our lives which make us unable to imagine life without them.

Now I don’t know if this addiction is beneficial, and whether I will ever be able to confirm that it was worth it. All I know for the moment is that it would be great if Google could develop a bit more and help me find the door keys I always keep losing :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Away from the city's noise (2)

Three Tunisian and three American artists, merging American and Andalusian music notes, beautiful voices, perfectly played string and percussion instruments and a highly professional performance --- All these gathered and gave Kantara, an amazing group composing and playing fused Arab-Appalachian music.

Kantara enchanted us Monday evening in Rabat’s Mohammed V theatre where they gave a music show that didn’t last long, but just long enough to steal us away from our busy, stressful days.

A special present to Morocco: the band created a new work during their stay here. They titled it “Lalla Khadija” after our newly born princess.

Listen to them here:


Friday, March 2, 2007

Take-away translation

Do you know those moments when you’re so overwhelmed with work that you can do nothing at all? This was my state this morning. All my attempts to force myself to advance on the report I have to submit in two days were just a fiasco. I spent hours replying on emails, writing others, drifting in my blog and in others, reading articles here and there, connecting to msn, disconnecting from msn, receiving and writing sms… and from time to time, going back to my report and writing a few sentences… or just opening big, round eyes in front of my PC screen while almost no thought crosses my mind.

At one of those moments, my gaze caught the sentence “translate a web page”. So I wondered what my blog would look like if I translate it --- using automatic translation!

The engine showed a blank page with the word “Translating…” in the middle, a sign that I had to wait a few seconds to get my translated version. The seconds passed and a French "fast-food" version of my blog was there! The same template, the same pictures, colors… I started reading the translation. The first sentences didn’t show any special problem, except some verbs that were kept in the infinitive (des phrases du genre "moi décider tuer toi":))

But I still was sure I was going to find some “perles de traduction” there!

And I was not deprived from the pleasure of reading them! I think those who have read my previous posts can enjoy some of them:

- Today I’m standing on a stage. Acting a play which I don’t believe at all...

--> Aujourd'hui je me tiens sur une étape. Agissant un jeu que je ne crois pas du tout…

- We bravely shake our heads approving the idea that time flies and that we will meet again soon.

---> Nous secouons bravement nos chefs approuvant l'idée que le temps vole et que nous nous réunirons encore bientôt.

- That lovely four-year-old baby :)

---> le beau quatre-année-vieux bébé :)

- This is a good occasion to tell you that I’m becoming a fan of laziness!!

---> C'est une bonne occasion pour te dire que je deviens un ventilateur de paresse ! !