Saturday, 8 April 2017

G is for...Girgis...Geography...and...Glass...



is for

Girgis, Mina and the Nile Project


 – Mina is an Egyptian ethnomusicologist and the co-founder of the Nile Project, an initiative to bring together musicians from the 11 countries through which the Nile runs to create a sustainable future. Transforming conflict through a common cultural platform of shared music.   





Geography 


Just a recap of the geographical boundaries here, what the Arablands actually mean. Loads of confusion re the MENA, it's not synonymous with Arabs.  Iran and Turkey are notable countries which are part of the ME but not Arab, the majority language there is Persian and Turkish respectively. And there are a whole bunch of other, minority ethnicities and languages - Kurdish, Armenian, Berber, etc which are part of the MENA.


The Arab nations are organised formally into the League of Arab States, known in Arabic as Gameat ud Dowwal al Arabiyya, with 22 member states. Here’s a map that marks out what it means to be an Arab.

Credit

The other G-word is the Gulf Cooperation Council, a political and economic alliance of the Arabian Gulf monarchies - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. 


Glass

Glass has been made for more than five thousand years, produced around 3000 BCE in what is today Iraq and Syria. The first glass vessels were made simultaneously in Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 1500 BCE.

Medieval Middle Eastern glass vessels. Bahrain Museum. 
By the 1st century BCE Syrian craftsmen had discovered the blowpipe – this made glass infinitely easier to manipulate, cheaper and widely available. Blown glass flourished under the Roman Empire and the first workshops were set up in the eastern fringes of the Empire in Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and the province of Cyprus, reaching southwards into Egypt.

Glass lighting fixture in restaurant. Cairo. 
The advent of Islam elevated ME glass-making to another level.  From the 7th to 14th century, major new techniques were added by the Arab glassmakers – superbly innovative and decorative relief-cut glass and gilded and enamelled lusterware for instance. 

Reflection from stained glass. Qalawun Complex, 
13th century.  Cairo.
By the 13th century Syrian glass craftsmen had found ways of applying enamels and gilding on glass, producing spectacularly coloured polychrome glass objects of great artistic complexity, including typical lanterns to light mosques.  Middle Eastern glass was prized for its craftsmanship and artistry across the world.  The glass making traditions still continue today in their original homes.





Do you think cross-cultural collaborations like the Nile Project can help solve long standing geopolitical conflicts?



Gosh, that's one week of this A-Z gone already, zipped past like a nanosecond, hasn't it? Time flies, and it flies faster when you're enjoying yourself! Have a great Sunday and see y'all next week!











Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2017 







46 comments:

  1. The music is lovely! I don't understand it but it has a very positive upbeat feeling. And OMG! that glass artifact is so pretty!
    I liked your compilation for bits of culture & enjoyed learning about it!
    Thanks For Sharing
    Goal of Art
    Best Wishes!

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    1. They do really pretty things with glass in Egypt! Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. love that gorgeous light fixture in the Cairo restaurant.

    joy @ The Joyous Living

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  3. The map is interesting. Not Turkey. And Eritrea? I had to study that for a while!

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    1. Turkey is not an Arab country, though it's part of the ME. Eritrea is also not Arab - it's however, an observer nation. Arab League has all the countries which have Arabic as a majority language.

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  4. I really, really hope that collabortations like the Nile Project CAN solve conflict. It is definitely worth a try.
    I am always blown away by the intricacy and beauty of Middle Eastern Art. And glass is such a glorious tool for them to use.

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    1. Cultural collaborations are possibly the only way past/knotty conflicts can be rid of their bitterness. As you say worth a try!
      Middle Eastern art is so rich and varied and complex!

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  5. Love your photographs. I had not heard of the Nile Project so I found your blogpost very interesting
    Dropping by from the A to Z Challenge.
    ----------

    Sandra, Aspiring family historian, fellow participant in the #AtoZchallenge
    http://ancestralresearchjournal.blogspot.com.au/

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    1. Thank you. Have a great challenge, and weekend.

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  6. G is for gems. Which is what you have brought to us here

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    1. The lighting fixtures do look gem-like, especially if you walk into a shop that sells them, where they are massed together - so colourful and pretty.

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  7. Loved the gorgeous images. So much color and beauty. Also enjoyed that very uplifting music. Thanks for this post.

    Stopped by from the #atozchallenge. I wrote on G for goals, guilt and grief ! Here are the two most inspirational yet sensible ideas that appealed to me https://archanablogs.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/g-for-goals-and-guilt/

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  8. Have a Great weekend too... thanks for the info and the photos.

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    1. My pleasure. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. "G" is for Great. Loved this and the awesome pictures to maych an excellent. read.

    Yvonne.

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    1. Thanks Yvonne. Glad you enjoyed them.

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  10. Thanks Nilanjana for my dose of information rich capsule for today . Nice to know about the Nile project. It seems to be a great initiative for conflict zones.
    See you on Monday 😊
    Best wishes
    Moon

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    1. Nile water sharing is a huge issue among the countries through which it flows. Thanks for being here. See you soon.

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  11. Glad to learn so many facts here. The glasswares look so beautiful.

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  12. Hi Nila - I'm definitely coming back to check all your posts out ... and take a better note of everything ... time is somewhat short at the moment. Wonderful collection you're giving us through your Arabiana ... cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/g-is-for-goose-gobbling-or-otherwise.html

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    1. It's a culturally super dense place. Hard to keep the posts short :) a bit of time crunch too over at my side for the weekends. Catch you later!

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  13. Another beautiful and informative post. :)

    Can conflict be solved through cultural collaboration? The optimist in me (that tiny, tiny optimist) wants to believe that it can. Then again, conflict is something that we, as a species, are best at.

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    1. It does seem like that sometimes to me too...that we are best at conflict! But then I look around at the massive amounts of people who work quietly towards peace in their communities, individually and collectively, and doubt sets in about our abilities and appetite for war :)

      What other way forward is there except for collaboration? :) We have been doing that too, for probably a longer time than conflict - since our hunter-gatherer days.

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  14. I'm the eternal optimist, so YES, cross-cultural collaborations like the Nile Project CAN help solve long standing geopolitical conflicts.
    Love the idea of the Nile Project...but I still need to charge my speakers so I can hear the music!!!!

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    1. There is no option except some sort of collaboration, cultural or otherwise. We don't seem extra skilled at political ones right now :) so cultural might just do the trick :) The music's available 24/7, here and on YouTube - so you can listen anytime. Using music to solve conflicts - so neat!

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  15. The variety of your subjects continues to impress me.

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    1. Easy to impress when the subject is magnificent in itself. :) thanks for being here.

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  16. Cultural collaboration has to be a positive. I appreciate your clarifications and maps. I admit to not having a complete grasp

    I do love glass work and glass blowing fascinates me
    Well done week!!

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    1. Me too! Love glass art in every form, and coloured glass is a bonus - so pretty and gem like. Thanks.

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  17. Love that kind of ornamental glass. So lovely. And thanks for the map--good to know.

    G is for Gardasil—Is It Safe?

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    1. They do look like a bunch of flowers upside down :)

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  18. Every semester, I have to teach my students the difference between Arab countries, Muslim countries, and the Middle East. Maps are very useful... :D

    The Multicolored Diary: WTF - Weird Things in Folktales

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    1. Indeed. I have to confess that I was completely ignorant about the differences when I travelled first to the ME. Found out soon enough though :)

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  19. The glass work is beautiful. The lighting fixture is especially pretty. I've never heard of the Nile Project but think it's a wonderful idea.WeekendsInMaine

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    1. People getting together and making music over issues that have divided their countries is a brave idea and beautiful too.

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  20. What beautiful artefacts. A very complex skill to have. I have to say, I did not know so many countries were counted as Arab.

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    1. I think I read somewhere - Arabs are the largest ethnic group after the Han Chinese...their homelands are vast! Total area is roughly 1.5X that of USA...

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  21. There's so much cultural richness in the Arab lands that went back hundreds of years. It is a pity it has to put up with lots of aggression perpetrated by those with their own agendas!

    http://imagery77.blogspot.my/2017/04/a-penchant-for-outdoors.html

    Hank

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    1. It's a shame that innocent people are killed to serve the agenda of a misguided few. Upset at the news coming out of Egypt.

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  22. That confusion is tiring, isn't it?
    I like the pictures of glass.

    -----
    Eva - Mail Adventures
    G is for Giant

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    1. Yeah, can get tiresome explaining the difference.

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  23. So much exquisite glass, wonderfully detailed. I have a very small perfume container with a fragile dipping stick that my sister gave me (she lived in Dhahran.)

    Musings Over Poetry

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    1. There are lovely glass bottles available here but I don't know that they are made here, or that they are hand made. Machine made glass can be very pretty too of course.

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Nonymous comments prized more than rubies :) Anonymous comments shall be deleted as soon as spotted. Just so you know.