DAY 44

May 31st, 2013 § 0 comments

I think we should break with our traditional order of presentation, now becoming as hackneyed as sonata form (say), to celebrate the meteoric rise of Gaza’s Mohammed Assaf on ‘Arab Idol‘.

MohmdAssaf060513To quote Mondoweiss:

It was no small task for Assaf to travel to Cairo to audition for the wildly popular show.”He needed a visa (to cross the Gaza-Egypt border), but he didn’t have one,” his father, Jabar, told CNN from Khan Younis, a refugee camp in Gaza. Israel imposes a blockade on Gaza, leaving residents without access to an airport.

Palestinian officials had to make special arrangements for Assaf to leave Gaza, his mother, UmShadi, a math teacher, explained. By the time he arrived in Cairo, the doors to the venue where auditions were held had already closed.

“So he jumped the wall,” she said. Security guards seized him and were going to escort him out when a Palestinian official with the show recognized Assaf from his performances in Gaza and gave him a candidate number, allowing him to compete.

When asked by judges on the show why it took him two days to travel the 250 miles from Gaza to Cairo, Assaf simply replied, “problems at the crossing and such.”

Assaf is one of seven children. “We are refugees!” his father proclaimed. “We only dreamed he would get to this point and show the world his beautiful voice. Now we want him to win!”

“Palestinians are not the way (the world) see(s) them,” he explained. “They like to be happy. They like to sing.”…

“We aren’t used to the fame,” [his mother] said, “but we are very happy.”

prater    schiele  pizza





.                The Prater                            Schiele                        What they think in the

.                                                                                     Mariahilferstrasse

Still, you will be asking, how can I explain my long desertion of the blogger’s craft? Writer’s block? Disgust with the increasing poverty of my offerings? Anomie? Enough to say that I’m just back from a freudian trip to Vienna, where the hotel wifi din’t work; with holiday pix:

The long tramps through galleries! The even longer tramps to get to the centre having found that the British Sunday was still alive (as Klimt complained in 1910) and nothing runs after 3 p.m.! The endless German sermon on the Trinity probably by the Cardinal himself, before a rapt audience in the Stephanskirche! But where were the wienerschnitzel, the schokolade mit schlag, the linzertorte? Research on these will have to wait till the next trip, although they may have become as rare as jellied eels in London. But to those of you who have wearied of the hackneyed pleasures of Reykjavik, Havana or Erbil, the old imperial capital still has a great deal to offer, even if the London Freud museum has more of the goodies such as the ‘Gradiva’ (naturally, the Freuds carried their household gods with them in 1938). (I was going to mention the attractions of Mozart, Schubert and Schönberg, but noticed that the sentence was already over the limit.)

I sort of implied that my silence on Syria was due to a feeling that I was too ill-informed to comment. Not that that stops me generally, I hear you riposte. I read almost all of Patrick Cockburn’s piece in the current LRB, and am much better informed – so I offer it to you. (But perhaps the link won’t work, as the piece is being offered as a ‘taster’ to induce you to subscribe.)



Having had a Rwandan rendering of Charles Wesley a while back, here is a Rwandan poem (author seems to be pseudonymous), with a helpful reference to math. and equations.


The unthinkable world
They say you rip what you saw
Does that explain why we are products of war?
They say history builds the future
Is that why we ignore our culture?
Years in school plus years searching for a job
Equals years of death
An equation you were not taught in math
Why do some people work hard.
And earn small?
Think that explains why some buildings fall.

Unthinkable world
Be strong young boys and girls
Be strong as you tell everyone 
That you are not just a star
Which only shines at night?
Tell’em u are bigger than the sky
And that u don’t rule u lead u are the master
Boys be ready to face the unthinkable world
Make sure that everybody takes your inspiring words
Girls be ready to face the unthinkable world
Don’t let young boys lie to u with fake
Diamonds and pearls
With the unthinkable world.

The following track is a real discovery. I last heard it in the fifties – it’s a living proof that as with Alice’s Restaurant, you can find anything you want on the Internet. It dates from 1954, and was Eliza Marelli’s first big hit. I thought you’d like to know.

Leave a Reply

What's this?

You are currently reading DAY 44 at Luke Hodgkin.