Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 9th, 2014


Looking At Tears Under A Microscope

Reveals a few Facts.

One day Rose-Lynn Fisher wondered if her tears of grief would look different from her tears of joy, so she began to explore them up close under a microscope.

She studied 100 different tears and found that basal tears (the ones that our body produces to lubricate our eyes) are drastically different from the tears that happen when we are chopping onions.

The tears that come about from hard laughter aren’t even close to the tears of sorrow. Like a drop of ocean water each tiny tear drop carries a microcosm of human experience.

Her project is called The Topography of Tears. (How about taxonomy of tears?)

Tears from laughing until crying

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of change

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of grief

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears from onions

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Joseph Stromberg of the Smithsonian’s Collage of Arts and Sciences explained that there are 3 major types of tears: basal, reflex, and psychic (triggered by emotions).

All tears contain organic substances including oils, antibodies, and enzymes and are suspended in salt water.

Different types of tears have distinct molecules. Emotional tears have protein-based hormones including the neurotransmitter leucine enkephalin, which is a natural painkiller that is released when we are stressed.

Tears seen under the microscope are crystallized salt and can lead to different shapes and forms. So even psychic tears with the same chemical composition can look very different.

Fisher said, “There are so many variables—there’s the chemistry, the viscosity, the setting, the evaporation rate and the settings of the microscope.

Basal tears

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of timeless reunion

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of ending and beginning

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of momentum, redirected

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of release

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of possibility and hope

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of elation at a liminal moment

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of remembrance

Rose-Lynn Fisher

Credit: Rose-Lynn Fisher

Like snow flakes and fingerprints, no tears are alike.

I can’t believe the difference between all of these. If you found this post interesting, share it with others.

A video by Masaru Emoto on water, consciousness and intent

Water, Consciousness & Intent: Dr. Masaru Emoto
Masaru Emoto was born in Yokohama, Japan in July 1943 and a graduate of the Yokohama Municipal University’s department of humanities and sciences with a focu…

Is waving Palestinian flag a ‘racial slur’? Houston stadium and Buthayna Hammad

Last Sunday, Palestinian-American Buthayna Hammad attended a soccer match at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston’s downtown 22,000-seat soccer-specific stadium, home to the Houston Dynamo.

About 15 minutes after the game started Hammad was approached by the head of Compass Stadium’s security Nathan Buchanan.

Soon she encountered a total of 8 security officials, four from stadium security and the other four, Houston police officers.

Buthayna Hammad

Buthayna Hammad

Why? because she was waving a Palestinian flag. Stadium security informed her that her Palestinian flag implied a “racial slur” and therefore was in violation of BBVA Compass Stadium rules.

Hammad, a native of Houston, is an avid soccer fan.

She attended the match with her “alt family from Honduras” including her Honduran boyfriend. The match was between Israel and Honduras.

The implications of this story are mind-numbing, and we’ll discuss that later.

First, in Buthayna Hammad’s own words, cited in Free Press Houston (FPR): “Mere Existence of Palestine Deemed a ‘Threatening Racial Slur’ by the Houston Dynamo Organization.”

I wore a Honduras jersey and was eager to cheer on this team, dressed to represent Honduras. To represent my own heritage as a Palestinian-American, I also brought my Palestinian flag.

I made sure my flag was allowed (based on the size, etc.) and I was all ready to go. For the first 15 minutes of the match I stood up and cheered and stomped my feet with the rest of the crowd chanting “HON-DU-RAS” and waving my Palestinian flag, my colors vibrant and loud against a sea of blue and white…and apparently also racist.

I was told I had to sit down, which I did, only to be told to get back up again and follow the manager of security away from the stadium seats and into the concession area.

I followed, and there waiting for me were three more BBVA security personnel and four police officers. When I asked them what was wrong, the manager of security, Nathan Buchanan, told me I am not allowed to carry this flag because it implies a “racial slur” and it is in BBVA Compass Stadium violation.

I asked him to show me evidence of his accusations and asked him how my flag, a part of my identity as a Palestinian-American, implies a racial slur.

He could not answer whether he did not know or could not articulate why he was ordered to remove my flag and me from my seat. I was getting very emotional at this point, I had my flag wrapped around my neck like a scarf, and he said he would take my flag and “check it in” for me, that I was not permitted to return to my seat until I surrendered my flag.

BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston Texas

It’s almost too strange to believe. In a 22,000 seat stadium, security officials concerned themselves over Hammad waving her flag.

Another publication, Houston Press, (Security Didn’t Want Her Waving Palestinian Flag During Israel Game in Houston) attempted to contact the security manager Nathan Buchanan, but he’s not making himself available.

A spokeswoman for BBVA Compass Stadium, Gina Rotola, appears to be walking back the inflammatory “racist” allegation. She told Houston Press that “A national flag from any country cannot be a racial slur, so if any statement of that nature were used, it would have been made incorrectly by an individual trying to deescalate a situation.”

Which begs the question, deescalate what situation?

Gina Rotola runs a PR boutique agency in Houston, in part specializing in media management, branding, and crisis communication. So what kind of excuse rationale did she come up with?

“[T]he decision to not allow the Palestinian flag to be displayed during the game was based on the sole intention of maintaining the safety of those in attendance.

The flag bearer was instigating the crowd, and we felt it was important to diffuse a potentially volatile situation as emotions began to escalate. We instructed the patron that she could retain her flag but should refrain from waving it in front of fans from the other teams.”

That makes no sense.

Fans frequently wave flags at sports games and Hammad said she made sure her Palestinian flag complied with stadium regulations. What does “waving it in front of fans from the other teams” mean in a stadium this size?

FPR’s Harbeer Sandhu asked Rotolo how Hammad was instigating the crowd. Her response?

Astoundingly, Rotolo said that Hamad was waving her flag “in front of Israeli supporters” causing “emotions to escalate.” 

I have never been to a match at a sports stadium where emotions didn’t escalate, ever.  Who contacted security that day? Who complained about the flag?

Sandhu connects the dots any logical person might consider:

It is now considered “racist” for an American of Palestinian descent to wave her flag at fans of the Israeli soccer team.

The First Amendment can be suspended in a stadium built with taxpayer money because some Israeli soccer fans might be moved to violence by the mere sight of the Palestinian flag.

The good people of the Houston Dynamo Organization think that it is “racist” to merely remind Israeli soccer fans that Palestine exists.

I am trying to imagine what the complaint sounded like.  “Excuse me, Mr. Buchanan, that flag over there is really pissing me off–causing emotional distress–and I might have to hurt the lady holding it so you better get four cops to impound that flag or else I’m going to beat her up and it will be all her fault.”

What or who could have overridden Nathan Buchanan’s common sense in the stadium that day and caused eight security personnel to assemble for the purpose of confiscating a national flag from an enthusiastic sports fan?

And more importantly, is it enough for BBVA Compass Stadium (parent company the Anschutz Entertainment Group)  to issue a statement from a crisis management professional sans any formal apology to Buthayna Hammad?

In her own words:

The Israeli government has banned Palestinians from hanging their flags outside their home, and arrests the occupants of the home for having it on display on their own land.

Every day, in Occupied Palestine, Palestinians are denied entry to neighboring villages, to schools or their family’s home and in many cases to hospitals thanks to Israel’s apartheid state.

Yes “apartheid,” that word implies racism, yet my flag implies a racial slur? I asked him several times if I could go back to my seat and he would spread his arms out to create a blockade with his body and his arms so I could not pass.

“This is private property,” he said.

I told him I paid for a ticket to enter. I could not keep my eyes from gathering tears, but forced myself from letting them fall.

“What country are we in again?” I asked. “Just because Israel is playing a match, does that mean you should treat me this way? Because of my Palestinian identity? I am a U.S. Citizen!”

Buthayna Hammad was eventually allowed to return to her seat after missing the first half of the game. A compromise was offered whereby Hammad was allowed to keep her flag as long as she didn’t wave it.

Echoing Hammad, What country are we in again?

And where’s the national press on this story? Is it fair to ask, had this been an Israeli flag would the NYT be covering it? Everyone would be on it.

The ADL, Houston Chronicle, and where is ESPN?


“Seduction” in Arab Cinema: An Extinct Genre


Although at the outset, Arab cinema wasn’t that bold when it came to “ighraa” – or “seduction” in Arabic, a term used to refer to sensual scenes– it must be recognized that whether seduction was present or absent, earlier films were like a dream for the Arab public, for what they featured in kissing, women, and seductive dancers.

Leila Murad was perhaps the first Arab woman to capture the public’s eye, even if she wasn’t the first female actress on the silver screen.

The “Harp,” as Murad was called, didn’t appear in any seduction scenes. Back then, the most sensual thing one could hope for in a movie was a kiss at the end. But Murad was the embodiment of romantic seduction.

After Leila Murad, it was actress Faten Hamama’s turn in the limelight. But Hamama, too, maintained her restraint on the screen, and was never a symbol of seduction, but was, again, a symbol of romanticism.

Real seduction scenes in Egyptian movies produced during that period featured primarily belly dancers (Samia GamalTahia CariokaNaima Akef) who attracted moviegoers to come and “peep.” The presence of a belly dancer was the backbone of the film, and the sure way to make it a box office success. Producers thought of seduction films as a great way to boost revenues.

At the end of the 1940s, actress Hind Rostom made her film debut in a secondary role. She would continue to appear in similar roles until director Hassan Imam took her under his wing in the mid-1950s, giving her roles in a series of movies that made her “the preeminent seduction star in Egyptian cinema.”

Rostom and Imam would collaborate again in the 1960s and the actress was given the lead roles in Imam’s two films Chafika the Coptic Girl and The Nun, further establishing her credentials as a seduction idol.

Film critic Tareq al-Shennawi proclaimed once that Hind Rostom’s brand of seduction wasn’t explicit but suggestive. He wrote, “It was enough for her to wear a traditional robe in Youssef Chahine’s The Iron Gate, Atef Salem’s Struggle on the Nile, or Fatin Abdel Wahab’s Hamidu’s Son, for her to be instantly desired by all men.”

During Gamal Abdel Nasser’s mandate, seduction in film continued in “polite” form, perhaps because of the ideological halo of the Egyptian revolution and the rosy dreams of pan-Arabism. Films never crossed the so-called red lines, and belly dancers were censored and forced to adhere to a specific dress code.

But after the Arab defeat of 1967, as Itidal Mumtaz wrote in her book Memoirs of a Film Censor, presidential instructions were given to censors to allow sex and drug scenes in movies, and not to cut any of them no matter how daring they may be, in an attempt to distract people away from the defeat and the feelings of frustration that came along.

Dozens of seduction films were shot, featuring the stars of that generation such as Shams al-Baroudi, who starred in the biggest number of movies – of this genre – most notably Salah Abu Seif’s The Bathhouse of Malatily and Mervat Amin, who starred in The Greatest Child in the World with Rushdi Abaza, directed by Jalal al-Sherqawi.

There were also Nadia Lutfi in My Father atop a Tree featuring several kissing scenes with Abdel Halim Hafez (directed by Kamal al-Sheikh), in addition to Naglaa Fathi in The Passion and the Body by Hassan Ramzi, Suhair Ramzi in The Culprits by Said Marzouk, Souad Hosni in The Well of Deprivation by Kamal al-Sheikh, and Zizi Mustafa in The Adolescent Girls by Ahmed Diaa al-Din, to name but a few.

Full nudity in Arab film began in Beirut, in Lebanese cinema, with director Samir Khoury’s 1972 film The Lady of the Black Moons.

The film stars Nahed Yusri in addition to a number of other actors. At the time, the Department of Censorship of Publications and Artistic Recordings insisted on giving the film an adults-only rating.

Two years later, Khoury’s encore came in Wolves that Don’t Eat Meat (starring Nahed Sharif). The film was shot in Kuwait, because of the liberal climate there at the time! Nudity in the Lebanese director’s films was unabashed, and wasn’t even veiled with a “fig leaf,” so to speak.

Birds flew over the actress’s naked body, as the male lead showered it with kisses – at times on the sandy beach, and at others in the bedroom.

Even today, the actresses who appeared in Khoury’s films remain groundbreaking symbols in the history of cinema, and are trending names online for having appeared in “adults-only” films.

After Nahed Yusri and Nahed Sharif, it was the turn of the Syrian actress known as Ighraa, who appeared topless in front of the camera before actor Khaled Taja, who rubbed cream on her breasts as she lay down.

In The Panther by Nabil al-Maleh, Ighraa not only exchanged a passionate kiss with actor Adib Qaddoura, but bared it all for him in the love scenes directed by Maleh.

Subsequent Syrian films didn’t live up to the level of Ighraa’s seduction. However, censors who allowed Maleh’s film to be shown would years later delete the “racy” scenes from cinematic memory forever. The seduction wave in Syrian and Lebanese cinema didn’t last long, whether because of civil war or censorship.

In Egypt, with the retirement of Shams al-Baroudi, and the receding stardom of Mervat, Suhair, and Naglaa compared to other male stars, the film scene was ready for the emergence of a seduction star of a different kind, Nadia al-Jundi.

Nadia became known for her contrived roles, and rose to fame after starring in the film Bamba Kashar, which ushered in a phase of biopics about belly dancers in Egyptian cinema.

Nadia continued to be an unrivaled seduction star until Nabila Ebeid rose to renown. Ebeid appeared in similar roles as Jundi in films like Please Give Me That Medicine and Ayam Fil Halal (aka Marital Bliss).

Nadia and Nabila continued to compete for stardom and box-office success until they both aged and retired. They competed in an era where handsome or leading men dominated, such as Adel Imam, Mahmoud Yassin, Nour El-Sherif, Hussein Fahmi, Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz, and Ahmad Zaki.

By comparison, the 1980s and 1990s was an era of subpar seduction movies. Despite the many daring roles that Elham Shaheen and others starred in, the prostitute characters that Yusra played in a number of films, such as “A Woman on the Verge of Falling,” and despite the attempts of director Inas El-Degheidy to tackle themes like sexuality and sexual perversion in her films, this period couldn’t produce a true rival to Nadia al-Jundi or Nabila Ebeid, or fill the void they had left behind when they moved on from cinema by virtue of their age.

In the past few years, there were signs of a revival in the seduction genre, with director Khaled Youssef casting the duo Somaya El Khashab and Ghada Abdel Razek in his films “In Better Times” and “Chief Omar Harb.”

The two actresses rebelled against the zeitgeist dominated by so-called clean cinema, which meant movies had to be free of kissing and sex scenes, in line with the mentality of “prohibition” that had become commonplace in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Although there have been many seduction stars in the history of cinema, the seduction genre, for a large segment of the moviegoers, remains linked to a few names, most notably Hind Rostom and Souad Hosni.

In truth, Hind Rostom is considered the sexiest and most attractive actress among the public, and no star could ever overtake her, even the stars of the 1970s like Nahed Sharif, Madiha Kamel, and Mervat Amin, or the stars of the 1980s like Elham Shaheen, Yusra, Nabila Ebeid, and Nadia al-Jundi, not to mention the stars of our present day.

Hind Rostom rekindled the notion of femininity with her body language, and was able, even in a traditional cloak, to stir up a whirlwind of swooning men around her, something that not even a modern girl in a party dress or a revealing gown can claim.

For her part, Souad Hosni combined sensuality with innocence and mischievousness, an ideal combination for men, lying somewhere between the sensual Hind Rostom and the classical housewife-like beauty of Faten Hamama.

Both Souad, “the Sister of the Moon”, and Hind, “the Queen of Seduction“, were a source of inspiration when it came to seduction and playfulness for the starlets of the new generation.

It was as though the stars of our generation couldn’t get over the past, in an era of new political movements that aren’t only opposed to seduction, but cinema in and of itself.

Indeed, even before the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power in Egypt, Egyptian society was already Islamized and wearing headscarves was a widespread practice. This conservative trend was reflected in Egyptian cinema and its patrons, concept, and future.

Since the 1980s, there was a curious phenomenon of “repenting” Egyptian actresses-turned-preachers, a trend that grew further in the 1990s.

One consequence was that the Egyptian film scene saw an onslaught of dancers from Eastern Europe, who acted more like a substitute for what was missing. In parallel, Lebanese actresses featured more and more in Egyptian films, to compensate for the absence of Egyptian actresses who no longer wanted to star in seductive roles.

Lebanese actresses who appeared in Egyptian films include the tediously seductive Nicole Saba, who appeared in a bikini in the film “The Danish Experience” alongside Adel Imam, and Haifa Wehbe, who appeared in a “polite” seductive role in the film “Shehata’s Shop” by Khaled Youssef.

Today, seduction in Arab cinema appears to be an extinct genre. It seems that no one’s left on the seductive scene other than Haifa Wehbe and her ilk.

This article was published on 24.02.2014
This article was published in its original Arabic version on 24.11.2013


موقع رصيف٢٢ غير مسؤول عن محتوى التعليقات التي ترده من الزائرين، ويتمنى على القرّاء الكرام التزام أدبيّات النقاش .




June 2014

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