Wednesday, 19 April 2017

P is for...hang on...P? not legally Permitted!


In case you are looking for the WEP post, click here.



is not a letter

Psst...did you know? P doesn't exist in Arabic? Yup, no P. Many uneducated Arabs substitute P with B which are both bilabial consonants (need both lips to be pronounced, in plainspeak), and say Bebsi for Pepsi. 


No P in Arabic. Arab decorator overcompensating! :) Spotted 
many of these on the Ring Road, Cairo. Egypt.


Arabs are forever being made the butt of jokes because of this...Have you heard that one about the guy who wanted to 'find a blace to bark his car because he wanted to bray?' Yeah me too, about five million times, it kind of goes flat after the first. Let's turn the tobic to more bleasant, OMG it's rubbing off!! I mean, pleasant stuff like...


Pitbull featured in this Cheb Khaled number






Photography


For a culture that is supposed to shun image-making as close to being idolatrous, the Arabs churn out pretty large piles of photographs!  Click here to find a small selection of them and the kind of work they do. 


Also, just a wee mention of the Arab Image Foundation, set up in 1997 in Beirut. It collects photographs from the Arab countries and diaspora, and preserves the history of photography in the region.  They have a collection of 600,000 photographs till date.



However, today I want to talk about just one particular photographer - Mosa’ab El Shamy, who is a young Egyptian, self-taught, freelance photojournalist.  He started off by documenting the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 and went on to follow those events through the years.  His photographs are powerful, yet intimate, sometimes heart-wrenching, at others heart-warming, at times both.  Strangely compelling. Go to his Flicker stream to see more. A word of warning though - some of them are graphic! so not for the queasy or the softhearted.  Read his interview in the WSJ and on Time here, both interviews carry his images too.


Protesters clash with police in Cairo after the events at Port Said. 
© Mosa’ab El Shamy

The lion on Qasr el Nil bridge after many protesters were shot in the eye.
© Mosa’ab El Shamy


Protests in Cairo on Armed Forces Day, 6th October
© Mosa’ab El Shamy

Painting


If there is a biochemical that controls human affinity to paints/colours and the facility with a brush, then the Arabs seem to have an unfairly large dollop of it in their genes!


Triptych by Hassan Al Suri. Bahrain Museum.


I don’t have any statistics to prove it, of course, but I am sure that artist per capita population in the Arab world must be one of the highest! I don’t know what it is- this intense sunlight – does that bring a unique clarity not possible elsewhere? Or is it the forbidding, stark beauty of the desert landscape that underpins a unique perspective? Whatever it is, it makes for a profusion of artworks.


Painting exhibition at the Atelier, Downtown, Cairo.



In an artist's studio in Wikala al Ghuri, Old Cairo.



Anyways, I digress.  Like Mosa’ab, I wanted to tell you about one particular Bahraini artist – Abdul Wahab Al Kooheji, an architect by training, he has spent his entire career archiving the old architecture of Bahrain through his paintings. The kind of dwelling spaces that have mostly been lost now in the rush of modernity. See more of his work by clicking this link.



Reproduction of The Balustrades by Abdul Wahab Al Kooheji.
Note the discarded slippers at the foot of the staircase. 


There is a common Perception that Arabs are an angry, violent race, but this is largely untrue. Given the constraints they operate under, the young people are extremely well-behaved, Polished and Patient. Of course, as I said before, there are a few rotten apples everywhere. But all things considered, the majority are Paragons if you ask for my free and frank.








Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2017 






55 comments:

  1. Didn't know that (about no P). Like English has no letter for sh. Oh these contrary cultures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. English does combine those letters and create the phonetics though...totally agree about the contrariness :) why oh why is sugar pronounced shugar?? :)

      Delete
  2. A truly Berfect Bost (sorry).
    Loved Mosa’ab El Shamy's work. Powerful. Poignant. And often heartbreakingly beautiful.
    I suspect that creativity and a hard/harsh environment often go hand in hand. An antidote perhaps?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha nothing in the world is berfect...always room for imbrovement...and imho, a little imberfection is good..bure berfection gets boring :))

      Food for thought in your last remark!

      Delete
  3. they say you (should) learn something every day- I've not learnt a couple things already!
    Seasons of the heart

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I try to avoid learning...uff too much like school, too much hard work :) but end up learning anyways whether I want to or not :)

      Delete
  4. I'm learning so much from your posts. I didn't know P wasn't a letter for Arabs.
    That young man's photos are amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't they? He somehow captures the entire profundity of an event in one single shot!

      Delete
  5. Oh Yes! your post reminds me, my sister told me this... when she moved to Dubai few years back... Her initial is P and the Arabs would pronounce it as B.
    Beautiful compilation of Photography and Painting.
    Thanks for sharing
    PMS
    Best Wishes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG people with names beginning with P have an entirely separate set of hardships here :)

      Delete
  6. P is for the Perfect Progression of ending with those beautiful Peace Paintings. Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you again for sharing images and information from your world. There's so much to learn!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I will have to tell my grand daughter about not being any "P" in Arabic.......she is studying the language so she can go and live and work in Egypt.
    Excellent post and pictures. Loved it.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope her name doesn't have a P in it! :) thanks for being here

      Delete
  9. once again another fascinating post - with some amazing images - maybe you're right and the sunlight brings out creativity :) Thank you again for all your hard work in researching and writing these pieces for the A- Challenge - they are Phenomenal (hopefully a word beginning with the letter P Arabs can say?)
    http://pempispalace.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/o-is-for-options.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, fenomenal they'll have no problems with :) the research is the best part of the A-Z! thanks for visiting

      Delete
  10. am trying again - lovely and interesting use of P thank you! Maybe it's the sunlight with its powerful illumination - maybe just an innate gift.

    also an atoz er - hope this link works. www.gardenofedenblog.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, probably innate...and thanks for the link!

      Delete
  11. Hi Nila - this is brilliant - I love that the artist is painting up or has painted up the architectural gems that over time have been destroyed ... I'll definitely be back to look at the links etc ... and now I'll have Bobbing for Popping or Bing for Ping - perhaps that's how it came about ... but wonderful and thanks for being so interesting and thorough with your posts ... cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/p-is-for-pigs.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha bobbing for popping seems a much better alternative if you ask me :) thanks for your support this A-Z as always, much abbreciate it :)

      Delete
  12. I enjoyed the links to photographers. Do you know the Moroccan photograph Yoriyas?

    But I don't agree about the number of artists per capita. At least, not in Morocco.

    -----
    Eva - Mail Adventures
    P is for Paradise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I didn't know about Yoriyas - so thanks for telling me!! Will be clicking over as soon as I can

      Delete
  13. I think Hebrew has some similar issues with missing letters, only there are vowel dots to change one sound to another.

    P is For Popov, Dusko Popov

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hebrew and Arabic are very closely related so I am not at all surprised...my knowledge of Hebrew is even smaller than my knowledge of Arabic...

      Delete
  14. No P? wow....and i love that Pitbull number btw
    A Peice Of My Life

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope, no P. Many languages which use the Arabic script have to devise a separate letter to add into the alphabet...Urdu for instance has added letters for P, ch, jh, and so on the letters/sounds that Arabic doesn't have...glad you enjoyed the music

      Delete
  15. I adore all the artwork. Language is a complicated thing isn't it? :) A super post Nila. Thank you so much for sharing and congrats on a successful A to Z so far. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nicola! Language is indeed deliciously complex :)

      Delete
  16. Berfect music for the bost...sorry, I couldn't resist. Now that I know what the lighting is like, I definitely must visit one day, somehow. I can imagine the most awesome golden hour at sunset.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sunset and sunrise are glorious the world over...the planet is beautiful everywhere, but certainly the ME has its share of beauty and more than its share of light :)

      Delete
  17. Didn't know about the absence of P in Arabic.
    Bray & Bark does sound out of place :)
    'On The Way' #AtoZChallenge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't it? :) The Arab accent is actually very characteristic and also very charming...at least to my ears, maybe because I have lived here for a long time

      Delete
  18. Well you know, P and B are pretty similar sounding, so why not, eh? That handstand really grabbed my attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He finds this utterly gobsmacking moment to click and frame an entire event...

      Delete
  19. Ah, Bebsi...it was quite a popular drink when I was growing up. Still is in some parts of town, and among the Egyptian tourist crowd. :)

    There does seem to be a high volume of artists in the Arab world, especially when it comes to photography (ironic, as you pointed out). It's quite a mystery, but as long as they continue to produce breathtaking works, I won't probe that too hard!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am entirely with you there, don't probe, just enjoy :))

      Delete
  20. For not having P in the Arabic alphabet, you Provided a Plethora of Particularly interesting P topics. Not a Puny selection. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have a Penetrating and Profoundly imPressive collection of P-words yourself! :) Thank you!

      Delete
  21. Another fascinating compilation. Mosa’ab El Shamy's work is extraordinary - a real treasure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree. Such an outstanding photographic talent!

      Delete
  22. I had no about the missing 'P'. Your posts are so informative, Nila. ☺ Beautiful photos and paintings on display today. And Pitbull! He's cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are other missing letters too, as compared to the Latin script. Then there are the ones English doesn't have any equivalents for - several of those too. Not generally a fan of Pitbull, but I think he and Cheb Khaled have made an awesome job of this number :)

      Delete
  23. I had to check you out on P day:)
    Pretty neat.
    Photography certainly gets a lot of press here in Qatar too.
    P is for Poetry, Petra and Pottery

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I'm sure it does, and Poetry too has a huge tradition in Arabic!

      Delete
  24. Although I like the painting, I love those photos!
    Especially the one with the lion. I like the contrast :-)

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Egyptians have an irrepressible and quirky sense of humour even under the direst circumstances...the lion wearing an eyepatch is an example...

      Delete
  25. I had no idea that Arabic language didn't had P. I do know that Urdu has P and the sound.

    Amazing photos. Thanks for the links.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya, Arabic has a smaller number of letters/phonetic sounds than Urdu, so Urdu has had to devise extra letters and add them in. Still based on the Arabic script.

      Delete
  26. not a real letter? fascinating! guess we'll just have to drink Coca Cola instead ;P

    joy @ The Joyous Living

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankfully I was never a fan of Pepsi anyway :)

      Delete
  27. Yes, I noticed people of Somali and Ethiopia heritage also do not use the letter P. I have learned bits and pieces of both Somali and Amharic because many people in my community speak these languages.
    P is for plays

    http://theglobaldig.blogspot.com/2017/04/p-is-for-plays-atozchallenge-via.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somalis have been culturally influenced by Arabs, in fact Somalia is actually considered an Arab country and is part of the Arab League. I knew Somali has a lot of borrowings from Arabic, had no idea about Amharic being related...thanks!

      Delete
  28. I had no idea about the absence of the letter P...

    Some fabulous artwork, Nila!
    The Reproduction of the Balustrades by Abdul Wahab Al Kooheji...such talent! The painting is so beautiful that it makes me wonder what's the story behind the discarded slippers at the foot of the staircase?

    ReplyDelete

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