Wednesday, 5 April 2017

D is for... Diab...Dimashq...and...Dice...




is for


Amr Diab – a multi award winning, globally recognised Egyptian musician, the best selling Arab musician of his times. I'm among his gazillions of fans. His Nour el Ain (Light of my eye) was rocking this island when I first landed up in the ME. His music has been part of the soundtrack of my time in Arablands :) playing all through the last 20 years as he has gone from strength to strength. Listen to him perform Nour el Ain for the award function in 1998, and find more of his music on his own site by clicking on his name above - 





Damascus! 



To Damascus, years are only moments, decades are only flitting trifles of time. She measures time not by days and months and years, but by the empires she has seen rise and prosper and crumble to ruin. She is a type of immortality.
~ Mark Twain

Known as Dimashq-ash-Sham in Arabic, shortened to Dimashq, one of the most ancient cities in the world. It has been continually settled for thousands of years, its origins lost in the mists of antiquity.   




Hazy origins, but by the 1st millennium BCE, Damascus has risen to prominence.  It’s mentioned both in Ancient Egypt and in the Bible. Control for it has been fought over many times. Now you hear it’s conceded to Rameses II, then you hear Aramaic tribes have taken over, or the Assyrians. But hang on, now the tribes have revolted and wrested it back, will they keep it? nope, they’ve gone and lost it to the neo-Babylonians! 


Into the 4th BCE now, and early on Alex the Grrreat has poked his head around – comes, sees, conquers, vanishes!  His generals are fighting for scraps after him. The balance of power teeters between the Ptolemaic and the Seleucid empires.  For a couple of centuries - then Romans have kicked the Greeks out altogether. 



The first centuries CE – the heyday of Rome: tad stability, support, and presto! Damascus has morphed to this strategic, happening metropolis where traders from Arabia, Palmyra, Petra and the long Silk Route rub shoulders. Rome falls, but Damascus goes on.


Damask Rose.  Crusaders brought this back from 
the East to Europe.



A new faith has risen meanwhile in the Hijaz in South East, and Damascus is conquered again, wrested from Byzantine control in the 7th CE. They are dismayed – Damascus is prime property! - they mount a counter-offensive, but the Arabs gain a decisive victory. Syria and Palestine, both profoundly Christian lands, are plucked out of Byzantium.

Umayyad Mosque, Damascus.


Damascus goes onto become the capital of the Muslim world, the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate. It doesn’t last long, the power centre shifts lightning fast - the moment of glory is always brief, a mere spark.  But Damascus carries on, it always has.



Fast forward to 21st century, Damascus faces possibly the toughest times in its 12,000 years of history – will it be able to go on? 



The Dice Player 



A poem by world-renowned Arab poet Mahmoud Darwish, made into this animated calligraphic film, a prize winner at the Berlin Zebra Poetry Festival. 









Did you know the Arab Diaspora spans the entire world? Some prominent personalities are of Arab origins - Steve Jobs is one for instance, Ralph Nader and Paul Anka are two more.







Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2017 



57 comments:

  1. Steve Jobs? Wow, didn't know that. Ralph Nader and Paul Anka, I knew. :)

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    1. Steve Jobs is biologically Arab-American. His (biological) father is Syrian in origin, from Homs I think.

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  2. You gave out some great info today. There is always more to learn.

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    1. No end to learning. And if you happen to be in the ME you're always coming across something new..

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  3. LOVE that calligraphic film. Definitely mesmerising. ]
    So many diasporas... the seeds of community which I hope we learn to nuture.

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    1. Yeah, me too! And not to mention Darwish is my all-time favourite Arab poet :)

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  4. I've heard that Damascus was a really beautiful city at one time. But alas, the current situation is dire. So sad that people ruin their own city in the name of battle.
    Excellent post, and yes, Steve Jobs/family - a case of the need for immigrants.
    Dynamic Post!

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    1. All ancient sites in Syria have been damaged in the conflict, beyond regrettable that such priceless
      heritage is lost to us and the future generations.

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  5. The city tour was cool.
    Amr Diab's music was very festive. And uplifting.

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    1. He combines a lot of Western elements into a very strong Egyptian/Arab base of his own - his music is quite unique, no other artiste like him in the contemporary Arab music scene.

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  6. D is for downright-amazing. Which describes this post. Can't wait for E.

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    1. Downright - what a cool word for D! :) thanks! E is going to enthrall, entice and energise :))

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  7. Thanks for sharing Damascus with us and Amr Diab's music. I didn't know about Steve Jobs, Ralph Nader or Paul Anka. Surprising!

    #AtoZChallenge
    "Female Scientists Before Our Time"
    http://shells-tales-sails.blogspot.com/

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    1. There are a whole heap of people like them - with Arab heritage somewhere in their families...glad you enjoyed the post.

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  8. Information -rich capsule , thats how i see your posts . Love your style of narration too .Thanks for the enriching experience.
    Moon
    https://aslifehappens60.wordpress.com

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    Replies
    1. The ME is a rich place - a wealth of history quite unparalleled in the whole world!

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  9. Such a fountain of information and colorful photographs you are sharing. The Damask rose and The Dice Player especially caught my eye.

    http://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com

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    1. Darwish is great by himself, and that animated calligraphy they've done to his poem is so cool!

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  10. So much to learn here. I did not know that about Steve Jobs, but we all have to come from somewhere, right? I am really enjoying your posts.

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle
    #AtoZChallenge 1970's Billboard Hits

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    1. Yup, agree. Ultimately the origins don't really matter as much as what you make of your life, Jobs made a whole fab heap!

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  11. Hi Nila - this one I need to come back to - I'm enjoying Amr Diab at the moment - love it. Then I want to see the Damascus and the Dice Player clips too ... love reading about the history - such devastation at the moment - it's too terrible to think about and the future. Wonderful mix of peoples - and emigration and immigration has always happened ... thank goodness for that - cheers for now Nila - the Damask Rose is coming up in May for me ... cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/d-is-for-ducks-dabbling-diving-domestic.html

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    1. Emigration and immigration enriches the world and mixes up the gene pool and in ultimate analysis makes us stronger.

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  12. Really liked that song :-)

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

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    1. Yeah, me too! Like most of his songs - real struggle not to bung him in for every post :)

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  13. Probably I have listened to Amr Diab's songs hundreds of times without even knowing his name!

    -----
    Eva - Mail Adventures

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    1. You must have. Probably to Tamally Maak, 2000.

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  14. What a delight it is to visit your blog. Amr Diab's song. Damascus. Damask rose. You've conjured up such beautiful things - I am transported.
    Despair #Lexicon of Leaving

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    1. Damascus is possibly not in a good position right now, but Diab and flowers and Darwish continue to delight me :)

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  15. Once again, a really interesting and informaive post. I didn't realise how little I knew!

    Another day in Amble Bay!

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    1. The ME is truly a history lover's delight.

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  16. Wow
    So much information & every one were so intruding.
    Thank you for sharing

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for visiting.

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  17. So informative, Nila, thank you!
    So sad that the world seems determined to destroy the beginning of all things, and for the people to have to live through such intense warring for so many, many years!

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    1. That's what completely baffles me, we don't seem to learn any lessons from all this constant warring...keep making the same mistakes...

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  18. Whoa! I haven't heard that song in ages!

    I love your fun little take on history. If only all history books were so tongue-in-cheek. Alexander the Grrreat...love it!

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    1. You are on the bloglist now, so no worries...catch you later...the song was exactly timed to match my entry :)

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  19. Still enjoying the music. And Damascus sounds like an amazing place!

    26 Things To Hate About Writing: D is for Dialog

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    1. Sadly a lot of its monuments are damaged due to the conflict there. But the history remains with or without the buildings.

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  20. Didn't know that Arab musician. A trip to Damascus sounds like just the thing.

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    1. One of the top grossing in the Arab world.

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  21. Beautiful architecture and Damascus rose!

    *Visiting from A-Z*

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  22. It's quite mind-boggling the amount of change that Damascus has seen. It's just terribly sad to see the situation at the moment. I wonder when things will start to turn a corner.

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    1. Yes, it's awful the chaos and the suffering...and so prolonged..

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  23. You make me want to visit Damascus. I had no idea it was that old (I knew it was old, but THAT old?).

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    1. It's the eternal city of the east...seriously ancient

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  24. What a beautiful rose. Hope the city doesn't suffer too much more damage.

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    1. The people, the city and the monuments must be indelibly scarred.

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  25. It's incredibly sad what's going on in Syria. I hope Damascus will one day be restored to its former glory. Amr Diab is a charismatic entertainer. For some reason, I thought Paul Anka was of Italian background. He's one of ours - born in Ottawa. ☺

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    1. Anka is a Canadian, of course. Both his parents were of Arab origin - one Lebanese, the other Syrian, settled in NAm.

      I echo your hope about Damascus - incredibly sad if we lost the heritage of that city!

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  26. Damascus is really ANCIENT!
    Will we ever truly know how the fight for power has impacted on the place? Sad.

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Thank you for stopping by! If you are here from the A-Z, please leave me your link. A clicky link would be super, but just your url pasted in will do fine too. Just please, please, don't leave me to figure things out from a Google profile! :-)