Freitag, 15. Januar 2016

Best of Saidi — album (artist: Fatme Serhan)


Fatme Serhan - Deezer 


Fatme Serhan's performance of Egyptian Balady songs is full of emotion and passion. Her powerful yet enchanting voice has earned her the title 'The Queen of Baladi' and acclaim all over the Middle East.

Lyrics: Tahtil Shibbak (Under The Window) 



Donnerstag, 14. Januar 2016

Zeinat Olwi (1930-1988),

 stage name: 'Zurah'

Zeinat Olwi (Arabic: زينات علوي‎) whose stage name was Zurah, (1930-1988) was one of the leading belly dancers in Egypt in the middle of the twentieth century. 
She was born in 1930 in Alexandria where she suffered severe abuse throughout her childhood at the hands of her family. At age sixteen she escaped and fled to Cairo. 
She appeared in many movies from the Egyptian Golden Age of cinema. One of her most famous performances was in Henry Barakat's 1955 movie Ayyam wa layali (Days and Nights).
Zeinat Olwi died in 1988 at age 58 of a heart attack.

Video: Zeinat Olwi (1953) 

This clip is from the 1953 Egyptian film ‘Raya and Sakina’ (ريا وسكينة). Based on actual events, the film tells the story of sisters Raya and Sakina who, with their husbands Hasaballah and Abdel Aal and two accomplices, killed numerous young women for their gold jewellery.
The featured bellydancer in this clip is Zeinat Olwi (Zurah) who becomes one of the unfortunate victims. Its worth mentioning that many Egyptian women at that time wore their wealth in the form of gold jewellery as the average woman didn’t put her money in the bank. The murders took place in 1919-1921 in Labban which at the time was one of the poorest areas of Alexandria, Egypt. The common thread from eyewitnesses seemed to be that the missing women were last seen in the company of either Raya or Sakina but the police were unable to find any leads.
The film starred Negma Ibrahim as Raya, Zouzou Hamdi el Hakim as Sakina and Anwar Wagdi as the policeman who finally cracks the case.

Video: Zeinat Olwi (1955)  

Egyptian bellydancer Zeinat Olwi performs in a scene from the 1955 film 'Ayyam wa Layali' (Days and Nights أيام و ليالي). The film starred Abdel Halim Hafez, Mahmoud el Meliji, Eman and Ahmed Ramzy.

Video: Zeinat Olwi (1957) 

Egyptian bellydancer Zeinat Olwi dances in a scene from the 1957 film ‘Al Motahm’ (Accused المتهم). The film starred Sharifa Maher, Tawfik Ismail, Mahmoud al Meliji and Riad Hussein.

Video: Zeinat Olwi (1960) 

Zeinat Olwi is the dancer in this scene from the 1960 Egyptian film ‘Souq al Selah’ (The Arms Market سوق السلاح). The female singer is Hoda Sultan. The film also starred Hoda Sultan’s then husband Farid Shawki along with Mahmoud al Meliji and Mohamed Reda (the actor not the dancer).
Actress and singer Huda Sultan (1925-2006) was the sister of renowned composer-singer-actor Mohamed Fawzi. She was Egyptian screen actor Farid Shawki's third wife, the couple being married between 1951–1969.
Trivia: Actor Farid Shawki was married to bellydancer Saneya Shawki for 5 or 6 years in the late 1940s. If you'd like to see Saneya Shawki performing, there's a clip of her on this channel.


Mittwoch, 13. Januar 2016

Kuchi Nomad Woman, 1920's

Kochis or Kuchis (from the Persian word: کوچ koch; meaning "migration") are Afghan nomads similar to Arabian Bedouins, primarily from the Ghilji tribal confederacy. Some of the most notable Ghilji Kochi tribes include the Kharoti, Andar and Ahmadzai. Sometimes Durrani tribes can be found among the Kochi, and occasionally there may also be some Baloch people among them that live a pastoral nomadic lifestyle. In the Pashto language, the terms are Kochai (singular) and Kochian (plural). In the Persian language, "Kochi" and "Kochiha" are the singular and plural forms (respectively).

Kochis historically abstained from politics, because they are nomadic, but under Afghanistan's constitution, they were given ten seats in parliament. Provisions are written into the Afghanistan Constitution (Article 14) aimed at improving the welfare of Kochis, including provisions for housing, representation, and education. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, before the 30 years of war, Kochis owned 30 per cent of the country's goats and sheep and most of the camels for years, and they were largely responsible for the supply of slaughter animals, wool, ghee and quroot to the national economy.

Kochis were also favoured by the Kings of Afghanistan, themselves of Pashtun origin, since the late 1880s. They were awarded "firman," or royal proclamations, granting them use of summer pastures all over Afghanistan in a long-lasting Pashtunization campaign. During the Taliban era, Kochis were a main factor and supporter of the Taliban and their leader Mohammed Omar. As a result, the northern ethnic groups (Hazara, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Turkmens) have a long-standing distrust of the Kochi. This political dispute has been deepened over the decades of Kochi transhumance, whereby some Kochis became absentee landlords in their summer areas in the north through customary seizure procedures to attach debtors' land. However, the Kochis themselves see the northern minority groups as a non-Afghan race, and claims the Kochis were natives of northern Afghan region, and that during many years of invasion such as Genghis Khan and Timur, they escaped south.

The Kochis have been identified by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan as one of the largest vulnerable populations in the country. As Afghanistan's population grows, competing claims over summer pastures, both for rainfed cultivation and for grazing of the settled communities' livestock, have created conflict over land across central and northern Afghanistan. Paying head-count fees for each animal crossing someone else's property is exacting a harsh economic toll on the Kochi way of life, one that is already having to contend with recurrent droughts that are now occurring with increasing frequency. There are communities of Pashtun Kochi origin in other parts of the world as well, including in the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. In Pakistan, some Kochis are found in Karachi in Sindh.


Berber woman

The Berbers or Amazighs are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa. They are distributed in an area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Niger River. Historically, they spoke Berber languages, which together form the Berber branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. Since the Muslim conquest of North Africa in the seventh century, a large number of Berbers inhabiting the Maghreb have acquired different degrees of knowledge of varieties of Maghrebi Arabic. After the colonization of North Africa by France, "...the French government succeeded in integrating the French language in Algeria by making French the official national language and requiring all education to take place in French.". Other foreign languages, mainly French and to some degree Spanish, inherited from former European colonial powers, are used by most educated Berbers in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia in some formal contexts, such as higher education or business.

Today, most Berber people live in Northern African countries, such as Algeria and Morocco; a small Berber population is also found in Niger, Mali, Libya, Mauritania, Tunisia, Burkina Faso and Egypt, as well as large immigrant communities living in France, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries of Europe.

The Berber identity is usually wider than language and ethnicity, and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa. Berbers are not an entirely homogeneous ethnicity and they encompass a range of phenotypes, societies and ancestries. The unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language, belonging to the Berber homeland, or a collective identification with the Berber heritage and history.

There are some twenty-five to thirty million Berber speakers in North Africa. The number of ethnic Berbers (including non-Berber speakers) is far greater, as a large part of the Berbers have acquired other languages over the course of many decades or centuries, and no longer speak Berber today.

Berbers call themselves some variant of the word i-Mazigh-en (singular: a-Mazigh), possibly meaning "free people" or "noble men". The name likely had its ancient parallel in the Roman and Greek names for Berbers, "Mazices".

Some of the best known of the ancient Berbers are the Numidian king Masinissa, king Jugurtha, the Berber-Roman author Apuleius, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and the Berber-Roman general Lusius Quietus, who was instrumental in defeating the major wave of Jewish revolts of 115–117. Dihya or Kahina was a female Berber religious and military leader who led a fierce Berber resistance against the Arab-Muslim expansion in North-West Africa. Kusaila was a seventh-century male leader of the Awraba tribe of the Berber people and head of the Sanhadja confederation.

Famous Berbers of the Middle Ages include Yusuf ibn Tashfin, king of the Berber Almoravid empire; Tariq ibn Ziyad the general who conquered Hispania; Abbas Ibn Firnas, a prolific inventor and early pioneer in aviation; Ibn Battuta, a medieval explorer who travelled the longest known distances in antiquity; and Estevanico, an early explorer of the Americas. Well-known modern Berbers in Europe include Zinedine Zidane, a French-born international football star of Algerian Kabyle descent, Loreen the Swedish-born winner of Eurovision 2012 and Ibrahim Afellay, a Dutch-born football player of Moroccan Riffian descent.


Sonntag, 10. Januar 2016

Affirmation für jeden Tag

Wir sind jung, wir sind reif,
wir sind gesund, wir sind lebensstark,
wir sind gut, wir sind liebenswert,
den Tod gibt es nicht, wir werden immer leben.
~ David

Samstag, 9. Januar 2016

Bedouin woman from Turkmenistan, 1866

Bedouin, derived from the Arabic badawī بدوي, a generic name for a desert-dweller, is a term generally applied to Arab nomadic pastoralist groups, who are found throughout most of the desert belt extending from the Atlantic coast of the Sahara via the Western Desert, Sinai, and Negev to the eastern coast of the Arabian desert. It is occasionally used to refer to non-Arab groups as well, notably the Beja of the African coast of the Red Sea. They constitute only a small portion of the total population of the Middle East although the area they inhabit is large due to their nomadic, or former nomadic lifestyle. Reductions in their grazing ranges and increases in their population, as well as the changes brought about by the discovery and development of oil fields in the region, have led many Bedouin to adopt the modern urban, sedentary lifestyle with its accompanying attractions of material prosperity.


Bedouins spread out over the pastures of the Arabian Peninsula in the centuries C.E., and are descendants from the first settlers of the South western Arabia (Yemen), and the second settlers of North-Central Arabia, claimed descendants of Ishmael, who are called the Qayis. The rivalry between both groups of the Bedouins has raged many bloody battles over the centuries.

The fertile crescent of Arabia was known for its lucrative import trade with southern Africa, which included items such as exotic herbs and spices, gold, ivory, and livestock. The oases of the Bedouins were often mobile markets of trade, as their lifestyle involved frequent migrating of the herds in search of greener pastures. The Bedouins were often ruthless raiders of established desert communities, in a never-ending conquest for plunder and material wealth. Equally, they practised generous hospitality, and valued the virtue of chastity in their women, who were their ambassadors of generosity and hospitality. They followed their code of honour religiously, governed by tribal chieftains, or Sheikhs, who were elected by tribal elders.

In the first few centuries C.E., many Bedouin were converted to Christianity and Judaism, and many Bedouin tribes fell to Roman slavery. By the turn of the seventh century, most Bedouins had been converted to Islam.

The incessant warring caused great conflict and discontent among the tribal leaders, and as such they decided to branch out in their travels as far as Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, and Persia, often amazed at the excessive wealth of the civilizations which they encountered throughout Arabia. However, when the Mongols took the city of Baghdad in 1258 C.E., the Bedouin people were subjected to accepting Ottoman presence and authority.

The nineteenth century proved pivotal in the history of the Bedouins, as the British pushed through on their way to India. Some Bedouin under British rule began to transition to a semi-nomadic lifestyle. By the 1930's, the oil fields had been established and farmed by Americans and British, which brought gratuitous wealth to the Arabian empire, bringing desert people into a modern world of lavish comforts and technology. In the 1950's and 1960's, large numbers of Bedouin throughout the Middle East started to leave the traditional, nomadic life to settle in the cities. The traditional nomadic Bedouin became an endangered species in terms of survival, as contemporary commerce rolled into Arabia.  

Photo from Algeria


Ancient history:

In the region of Ain Hanech (Saïda Province), early remnants (200,000 BC) of hominid occupation in North Africa were found. Neanderthal tool makers produced hand axes in the Levalloisian and Mousterian styles (43,000 BC) similar to those in the Levant.

Algeria was the site of the highest state of development of Middle Paleolithic Flake tool techniques. Tools of this era, starting about 30,000 BC, are called Aterian (after the archeological site of Bir el Ater, south of Tebessa).

The earliest blade industries in North Africa are called Iberomaurusian (located mainly in Oran region). This industry appears to have spread throughout the coastal regions of the Maghreb between 15,000 and 10,000 BC. Neolithic civilization (animal domestication and agriculture) developed in the Saharan and Mediterranean Maghreb perhaps as early as 11,000 BC or as late as between 6000 and 2000 BC. This life, richly depicted in the Tassili n'Ajjer paintings, predominated in Algeria until the classical period.

The amalgam of peoples of North Africa coalesced eventually into a distinct native population that came to be called Berbers, who are the indigenous peoples of northern Africa.

From their principal centre of power at Carthage, the Carthaginian expanded and established small settlements along the North African coast; by 600 BC, a Phoenician presence existed at Tipasa, east of Cherchell, Hippo Regius (modern Annaba) and Rusicade (modern Skikda). These settlements served as market towns as well as anchorages.

As Carthaginian power grew, its impact on the indigenous population increased dramatically. Berber civilization was already at a stage in which agriculture, manufacturing, trade, and political organization supported several states. Trade links between Carthage and the Berbers in the interior grew, but territorial expansion also resulted in the enslavement or military recruitment of some Berbers and in the extraction of tribute from others.

By the early 4th century BC, Berbers formed the single largest element of the Carthaginian army. In the Revolt of the Mercenaries, Berber soldiers rebelled from 241 to 238 BC after being unpaid following the defeat of Carthage in the First Punic War. They succeeded in obtaining control of much of Carthage's North African territory, and they minted coins bearing the name Libyan, used in Greek to describe natives of North Africa. The Carthaginian state declined because of successive defeats by the Romans in the Punic Wars.

In 146 BC the city of Carthage was destroyed. As Carthaginian power waned, the influence of Berber leaders in the hinterland grew. By the 2nd century BC, several large but loosely administered Berber kingdoms had emerged. Two of them were established in Numidia, behind the coastal areas controlled by Carthage. West of Numidia lay Mauretania, which extended across the Moulouya River in modern-day Morocco to the Atlantic Ocean. The high point of Berber civilization, unequaled until the coming of the Almohads and Almoravids more than a millennium later, was reached during the reign of Massinissa in the 2nd century BC.

After Masinissa's death in 148 BC, the Berber kingdoms were divided and reunited several times. Massinissa's line survived until 24 AD, when the remaining Berber territory was annexed to the Roman Empire.

For several centuries Algeria was ruled by the Romans, who founded many colonies in the region. Like the rest of North Africa, Algeria was one of the breadbaskets of the empire, exporting cereals and other agricultural products. Saint Augustine was the bishop of Hippo Regius (modern-day Algeria), located in the Roman province of Africa. The Germanic Vandals of Geiseric moved into North Africa in 429, and by 435 controlled coastal Numidia. They did not make any significant settlement on the land, as they were harassed by local tribes, in fact by the time the Byzantines arrived Lepcis Magna was abandoned and the Msellata region was occupied by the indigenous Laguatan who had been busy facilitating an Amazigh political, military and cultural revival.

Middle Ages:

After negligible resistance from the locals, the Arabs conquered Algeria in the mid-7th century and a large number of the indigenous people converted to the new faith. After the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate, numerous local dynasties emerged, including the Aghlabids, Almohads, Abdalwadid, Zirids, Rustamids, Hammadids, Almoravids and the Fatimids.

During the Middle Ages, North Africa was home to many great Scholars, Saints and Sovereigns including Judah Ibn Quraysh the first grammarian to suggest the Afroasiatic language family, the great Sufi masters Sidi Boumediene (Abu Madyan) and Sidi El Houari, as well as the Emirs Abd Al Mu'min and Yāghmūrasen. It was during this time period that the Fatimids or children of Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, came to the Maghreb. These "Fatimids" went on to found a long lasting dynasty stretching across the Maghreb, Hejaz, and the Levant, boasting a secular inner government, as well as a powerful army and navy, primarily made of Arabs and levantians extending from Algeria to their capital state of Cairo. The Fatimid caliphate began to collapse when its governors the Zirids seceded. In order to punish them the Fatimids sent the Arab Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym against them. The resultant war is recounted in the epic Tāghribāt. In Al-Tāghrībāt the Amazigh Zirid Hero Khālīfā Al-Zānatī asks daily, for duels, to defeat the Hilalan hero Ābu Zayd al-Hilalī and many other Arab knights in a string of victories. The Zirids however were ultimately defeated ushering in an adoption of Arab customs and culture. The indigenous Amazigh tribes however remained largely independent, and depending on tribe, location, and time controlled varying parts of the Maghreb, at times unifying it (as under the Fatimids). The Fatimid Islamic state, also known as Fatimid Caliphate made an Islamic empire that included North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Tihamah, Hejaz, and Yemen. Caliphates from Northern Africa traded with the other empires of their time, as well as forming part of a confederated support and trade network with other Islamic states during the Islamic Era.

The Amazighs historically consisted of several tribes. The two main branches were the Botr and Barnès tribes, who were divided into tribes, and again into sub-tribes. Each region of the Maghreb contained several tribes (for example, Sanhadja, Houaras, Zenata, Masmouda, Kutama, Awarba, and Berghwata). All these tribes made independent territorial decisions.

Several Amazigh dynasties emerged during the Middle Ages in the Maghreb and other nearby lands. Ibn Khaldun provides a table summarizing the Amazigh dynasties of the Maghreb region, the Zirid, Banu Ifran, Maghrawa, Almoravid, Hammadid, Almohad, Merinid, Abdalwadid, Wattasid, Meknassa and Hafsid dynasties.

In the early 16th century, Spain constructed fortified outposts (presidios) on or near the Algerian coast. Spain took control of few coastal towns like Mers el Kebir in 1505; Oran in 1509; and Tlemcen, Mostaganem, and Ténès, in 1510. In the same year, few merchants of Algiers ceded one of the rocky islets in their harbour to Spain, which built a fort on it. The presidios in North Africa turned out to be a costly and largely ineffective military endeavour that did not guarantee access for Spain's merchant fleet.

Algerian Girls, 1906

Algeria (Arabic: الجزائر al-Jazā'ir; Berber: Dzayer), officially People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in North Africa on the Mediterranean coast. Its capital and most populous city is Algiers. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa and the Arab world. Algeria is bordered to the north-east by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the south-east by Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Mali, to the south-east by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes. Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been President since 1999.

Ancient Algeria has known many empires and dynasties, including ancient Numidians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Umayyads, Abbasids, Idrisid, Aghlabid, Rustamid, Fatimids, Zirid, Hammadids, Almoravids, Almohads, Ottomans and the French colonial empire. Berbers are generally considered to be the indigenous inhabitants of Algeria. Following the Arab conquest of North Africa, most indigenous inhabitants were Arabised; thus, although most Algerians are Berber in origin, most identify with Arab culture. En masse, Algerians are a mix of Berbers, Arabs, Turks and Black Africans.

The North African country supplies large amounts of natural gas to Europe, and energy exports are the backbone of the economy. According to OPEC Algeria has the 17th largest oil reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa, while it has the 9th largest reserves of natural gas. Sonatrach, the national oil company, is the largest company in Africa. Algeria has one of the largest military in Africa and the largest defence budget on the continent; most of Algeria's weapons are imported from Russia, with whom they are a close ally. Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC, the United Nations and is the founding member of the Maghreb Union.  


Mittwoch, 6. Januar 2016



The Ghawazi (also ghawazee) dancers of Egypt were a group of female traveling dancers of the Dom people (also known as Nawar).

The ghawazi style gave rise to the Egyptian raqs sharqi by the first half of the 20th century, and in turn to the Western forms of belly dance.

While the performative raqs sharqi in urban Egypt was heavily influenced by Western styles such as classical ballet or Latin American dance, the term ghawazi in Egypt refers to the dancers in rural Egypt who have preserved the traditional 18th to 19th century style.
The Ghawazi performed unveiled in the streets. Rapid hip movement and use of brass hand castanets characterized their dance. Musicians of their tribe usually accompanied them in their dance. They usually wore kohl around their eyes and henna on their fingers, palms, toes and feet.

The Ghawazi performed in the court of a house, or in the street, before the door, on certain occasions of festivity in the harem. They were never admitted into a respectable harem, but were frequently hired to entertain a party of men in the house of some rake. Both women and men enjoyed their entertainment. However, many people who were more religious, or of the higher classes, disapproved of them. 
 Massin sisters, Luxor, Egypt

Video: Banat Mazin (1967)

These are the three elder Mazin sisters, Souad, Tukha & Ferial, members of one of the last actively performing Ghawazee families. This clip is from the 1967 film 'Al Zawja al Thania' (The Second Wife الزوجة الثانية ). The film tells the story of a nasty village mayor (Salah Mansour) who tires of his first wife and forces Abdulla (Shukry Sarhan) who is one of the villagers to divorce his own wife, Fatima,(Suad Hosni) so the mayor can marry her and bear a male heir. Turns out that Fatima is already pregnant by her husband so the headman has a fit and is paralysed and Fatima restores everything to the way it should be.

Geschichte der Ghawazee

Die Herkunft dieser Ghawazee ("Eroberer der Herzen"; die Einzahl lautet ghaziya) ist unsicher. Die meisten von ihnen ordnen sich dem Stamm der Nawar zu und sprechen in der Tat eine nicht-arabische Sprache. Auch ihre Gesichtszüge verraten eine andere Herkunft. Die Nawar sollen ein Roma-Stamm sein, der Afghanistan und die Türkei durchwandert hat, ehe er in Ägypten ankam. Allerdings besetzte die Türkei seit dem 16. Jahrhundert Ägypten, und es ist auch möglich, dass diese Frauen aus der Türkei gekommen sind. 

Die Ghawazee wurden zu allen Arten von Festen (Hochzeiten, Beschneidungen usw.) eingeladen und tanzten manchmal im Haus, manchmal vor dem Tor. In den auf ihre Ehre bedachten Harems waren sie nicht willkommen. Sie tanzten auch vor Ausländern, die ihre Künste mit viel Geld entlohnten. Manchmal erhielten sie ausnahmsweise die Erlaubnis, in einem Haremshof unter den Fenstern der Frauen aufzutreten. Auch beim Tanz auf der Straße plazierten sie sich oft unter den Gitterfenstern, damit die Haremsfrauen sie durch ihre Gucklöcher beobachten konnten.
 Ägypten ca. 1920
'Ghawazee' ~ Artworks by Louis-Léon Gérôme