Saturday, 31 May 2008

Bahrain 2005



Another Andreas Gursky.

Bone Bomb


My
Body
So
Thin
So
Tired
Beaten
For
Years
Ploughshare
To
Bomb
So
Hard
Bone
Bomb
Bone
Bomb
Bone
Bomb
My
Town
So
Dusty
So
Dry
Buildings
Pushed
Over
Lives
Heaped
Together
Young
Girls
Dreaming
Of
Beautiful
Deaths
Popstar
Pictures
Above
Their
Beds
Above
Their
Heads
Troops
Everything
Stolen
Except
My
Bones
Now
I
Am
Only
Bone
I
Waited
For
Peace
And
Here
Is
My
Peace
Here
In
This
Still
Last
Moment
Of
My
Life


Brian Eno, Another Day on Earth, Opal Ltd 2005

A Significant Translocation



One year ago, I moved to another place on this globe, quite another extreme. After having stayed in one of the hottest places on Earth (literally and in figurative sense) for six years, I started exploring the Arctic. Tromsø lies 350 km north of the Arctic Circle, but the amazing Gulf Stream grants a quite comfortable climate, not too cold in winter, rather warm in summer. There are several northernmost records: the most northern brewery, the most northern university, the most northern cathedral and mosque.

University (my new employer) is blessed with students from many nationalities. It was established in 1968. Today, it homes 1800 staff members and 6500 students.


























In the 19th century, Tromsø was known as the “Paris of the North”; people were (and are) highly civilized and much interested in culture and good dining. Even nowadays, the density of pubs and good restaurants is high. So are prices. The city has a good or bad reputation of being one of the most expensive in the world. Population reached 65000 in 2007.

Doors in the Middle East





































Examples from Kuwait, Iran, Oman, and Yemen. Some of the doors from Iran show the typical two knockers for men and women. They give different sounds. In a society where women live in seclusion (either at home or veiled), it seems to be vital to get to know who is knocking (and therefore who has to open the door).

More samples may be found in the beautiful book by Jehan and Tareq Rajab about The Carved Wooden Doors of Kuwait, the Gulf, and Yemen.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Final Sunset






Kroken, May 20, 2008, 11 pm

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Elections



After the Amir, HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, had disbanded the parliament earlier this year Kuwaiti citizens have today, after 2006, another chance of general elections. Election campaigning came to a halt earlier this week with mourning for the former Amir, Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, who died on Tuesday.

In 2006, a lot of hope arose when women for the first time rightfully voted and even were allowed to run for parliament. A good sign, although it was generally agreed that it will take some time until they would succeed in gaining a seat.

The way the previous parliament dealt with important matters (as was reported in the media), this year’s election campaign developed in a quite comparable (very negative) way. Sad to say, it was mainly characterized by illegal primaries, riots, rumors of bribery and buying votes, and, in general, rather ugly disputes in the country. The previous constitution of parliament was dysfunctional not only in the eyes of the Amir, but whether things can improve is more than questionable. Results of the vote are unpredictable at the moment.

Democracy is utopia. Citizens have to fight for its implementation permanently. Times are not getting easier with new military adventures being prepared in the region and a final struggle for natural resources already appearing at the horizon. Although a tiny country, Kuwait should definitely take its responsibilities here. Its multicultural society is its strength, not weakness. Kuwaitis might understand easier that any Arab society can only function if the expatriate workforce is allowed to participate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Kuwait

Achaemenid Style

Esfahan has an excellent reputation of being one of the most beautiful cities in the world. One single argument is, aside from exquisite and really old mosques, its marvelous river bridges, and stately mansions its beautiful palaces located in Persian gardens.






Chehel Sotun Palace in a typical paradise imitating park uses clearly Achaemenid (550-330 BCE) elements of architecture, although the huge building was built during the reign of Shah Abbas II in the early 17th century. Especially the tall, but incredibly slender, wooden pillars carrying the porch remind of Persepolis, which will be the topic of a future posting. When entering the terrace of the palace, one will get an impression of royal life in the earlier of several high cultures in Iran. The Great Hall displays gorgeous frescos and the, for Esfahan, so immensely typical miniatures.




















Another palace, albeit much smaller, is Hash Beshest (the ‘Eight Paradises’) in the vicinity of Chehel Sotun. And not to forget Ali-Qapoo, one of the key elements in Nagsh-e Jahan’s architecture. From its balcony, the Shah used to watch polo games on the gorgeous square.