My views, observations, questions about everything in this world ....and that country they call Egypt.

19 September 2007

Too Keen On God

I only capitalized the word god in the title cause I've been doing that to all words in my titles so far. In here though, I'm not gonna capitalize it. Why would I? Out of respect? Respect for an imaginary concept is as meaningless as talking to it.

I tell you, I am reminded of my atheism many times a day living in Egypt. This country has been obsessed with imaginary super beings for thousands and thousands of years. From Ammon to Aten, and from Jesus to Allah, they've always been a big part of life for Egyptians. The concept of god is ingrained in everyday life here in Egypt. It is weaved with Egyptian speech, attitude, and way of thinking. That's in addition to all the activities this all-powerful being wants you to do. So much energy going into something that cannot be proven don't you think?

If you wanna live your life chasing promises made by something that you've never seen so be it, but at the very least don't force that on me. Yes, don't force your beliefs on me. Don't ask me if I wanna pray, or why I'm not gonna pray with you if I say no. Don't make me hear calls to prayer 5 times a day. Don't give me books to read if you won't take books from me. Don't ask me to say a meaningless phrase after a prophet's name. Don't make me kiss the priest's hand. Don't answer me in words that pertain to your beliefs like "god willing" and "god will take care of it." Don't ban/edit movies or music just because they don't agree with what you
believe in. Don't force your morality on me. Don't force on me the laws that come from your holy books. They are holey and not holy to me. Don't expect me not to eat in public during some random lunar month, I don't share those beliefs.

It is enough that non facts were fed to me in my childhood. How could you do that? How could you tell a little kid that so and so is true? How could you not tell him/her that you have no proof of what you're saying? How could you make him/her participate in rituals if he was not told the truth and given the choice? It's a crime. Yes, it's enough those years I spent reading ancient books and talking to nothing. It is enough that you filled my head with man-made myths when I should have been learning about the real world. Any religion that tells you that you will have 72 virgins in heaven or that you have to eat your lord's flesh and drink his blood or that you just happen to be a supreme being's chosen people is clearly a man-made myth. I have to live with a family that feels sorry for me since I'm going to hell cause I choose to think.

07 September 2007

Chained To The Pillars

The other day I attended a Zar at a place called Makan. Like you, I had no clear idea of what a Zar is. The only thing in common between what I read on wikipedia and what I actually saw was the use of the Tanbura, a harp-looking stringed instrument, and the Mangour, a strange percussive instrument that is worn as a belt. It was just a musical performance, nothing more.

The moment I walked into this place one word popped into my head: 'authentic'. Even the air smelled Egyptian or Nubian... and that's as far as I can describe that smell for you. Let's get down to business though and talk about Mazaher, the group that performed this Zar. As you might guess I don't care much about the spirituality/healing/energy crap, I am interested in the music and cultural aspect and what I saw and heard impressed me. Here are the highlights very briefly...

Mazaher has two star performers, the Ney player, and Madiha. They Ney player displayed some remarkable mastery of his instrument. He was soloing with that thing like he was born with it. I have no idea how he can do that without musical education. Very good stuff. The real deal here though is Madiha. She's a very charismatic Nubian woman with a powerful voice of which she is in complete control. First of all, you'll find yourself unable able to take your eyes off her. Second of all, your heart will just sink when she gives you those piercings looks as she sings to you. Those of you who pay attention to lyrics won't be disappointed either, religious songs aside. Stop what you're doing right now and start making plans to go see it with your friends. You have to!!!

04 September 2007

How Days Creep By

I would have liked to leave the last post on for a little longer, but maybe I'll just have to post more similar posts. Anyways, here is another one of my favourite artists from Iceland. Her name is Emiliana Torrini. She will strike you as very Bjork if that is at all possible. She's more acoustically inclined I guess, but her music is still unclassifiable.

The name of this track is actually Tuna Fish! The song has a very refreshing simplicity to it. I love the look on her face as she tries to find the mood of the song before she starts... brilliant. The cuteness of her voice is undeniable, reminds me of a particular someone.