The cultural rainbow of Afghan clothing

Here is the land of culture and ethnic diversity

Unjustly exposed inside the Western world’s media, as one of the most dangerous countries in the world to live in, where poverty and terrorism are the only reality to show, Afghanistan is a country with a remarkably beautiful culture and heritage, with a fascinating collection of traditional clothes from different regions that have their own style of garnments, colours and decorations. With Central Asian neighbours to the North, Iran and Middle East to the Western side, and to the East, with the Indian Subcontinent, there is no doubt that this country is so diverse in terms of traditions, languages, clothes and historical background regarding its ethnic minorities. You may be surprised to find out that Afghanistan is the home of more than 50 ethnic groups! During its history, for many centuries the Aghan people have influenced the clothing style of their neighbours and viceversa.

Afghan people, traditional colours and pride

It is believed that inside Afghanistan are around thirty million people, even if it is hard to calculate the exact number of country’s population. From traditional point of view, locals are divided into more than fifty ethnic groups, however the most important are the Baluch, Hazaras, Nuristani, Pashtuns, Tajiks, Turkmens and Uzbeks. You can know their origins from the clothes they are wearing, reason of cultural pride. Even if in the city of Kabul people tend to wear Western style of outfits, country’s general profile is a traditional one, and its minorities proudly wear their original clothes.

 Examples of basic items for men traditional outfits

 

 

Benefits of Za’atar! For Levantine cuisine lovers

If you live inside Middle East or at least you are a fan of its cuisine, then Za’atar should be a familiar condiment to you. If is not something that you know about, here is what you should find out about this precious spice mixture. Za’atar is popular inside the Arab cuisine but you’ll find it the most in Levantine region, in countries like Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Syria, as a blend of hyssop, sumac, sesame and salt. There are several traditional dishes and local pies that use Za’atar to add great flavour, and most of use love them, while another way of eating Za’atar is beside Arabic pita bread, dipped in olive oil.

Medical benefits and beliefs

In Folk Medicine, Middle Eastern people were convinced that Za’atar can reduce and eliminate internal parasites. In Palestine there are many who think Za’atar can increase the intelligence, so kids are often encouraged to eat it for breakfast, before school time.                                        Photo- Lebanese Flatbread (Man’oushe Za’atar)091f974e99c9d8bd804663ce9e996b1e

 

 

 

The impressive women of Middle Eastern’s Art scene

8e1f99bd4b9be2c40be3f6e4d44c7d4eWhen it comes to the Middle Eastern area, women are many times seen by the Western media as victims who rarely have a word to say in a male dominated society regarding their profession, hobbies and dreams. Of course, just like in many other regions, there are sad stories to share, but there also many strong ladies who became successful through their work and here are some names that may show us the opposite when it comes to women’s role in Middle Eastern’s Art scene. We have a top five of the most influential women from the Middle East, known outside of the region for promoting the culture, music and visual arts of their native land.

Antonia Carver- she’s the Director of Art Dubai. UK- born Antonia Carver holds the reins of the Middle East’s largest and most established contemporary art fair. In the past she was an art writer and administrator, and today she’s working hard to bring the Middle Eastern contemporary art to the attention of the Western world.

Lina Lazaar Jameel- has become known as an authority on bringing Middle Eastern contemporary art to international fame. She was born in Tunisia 32 years ago, and raised in Saudi Arabia and Switzerland. She is considered a key player in the recently established in the famous cultural event from Saudi Arabia called Jeddah Art Week.

Mojgan Endjavi-Barbé- this charismatic ambassador of Iran’s contemporary art works a lot for building bridges between Iranian artists and the Western world. She’s the founder of Geneva-based ILLA, where she promotes the Iranian culture, from music, to videography and visual art. Another project of hers is called „the Persian Garden of Geneva”.

Mona Khazinder is the first Saudi woman to become the general director of the internationally renowned, Paris based, Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA). This amazing lady is a force to be reckoned with in the region’s visual arts sector.

Laure d’Hauteville is seen as one of the most important names in the Middle Eastern commercial art scene. The Lebanese personality founded Artsud in Beirut in 1998, the first fair focused on Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian contemporary and modern work. (The area is also known as ME.NA.SA)

 

Western Asian flavours and the Kurdish cuisine

04ef0397-1491-4db6-8f35-bff596077db6-mKnowing a Kurdish family may be the perfect opportunity to get familiar with their cuisine, as well. The Kurdish cuisine (Çêştî Kurdî), is composed of a wide variety of food that Kurdish people prepare since centuries ago. Analyzing where the region of Kurdistan is positioned, we won’t be surprised to notice the cultural similarities of Kurds with their very close neighbouring countries, such as Iran, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Armenia. Kurdish cuisine have as well some dishes that you will find them in the Indian subcontinent and Arab Gulf countries, such as biryani. If there is a way to describe the cuisine of Kurdistan, one may say thay it is a typical western Asian cuisine.
                            (Kurdish traditional food)
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The high price of popularity: between social media and family traditions.

Palestinian girl Isra’a Ghareb (photo) is just the last case of honor killing happened few weeks ago, inside the conservative society of her country69952505_2507591386001868_4437697593346097152_n. She’ve been killed for using the social media in a shameful way, according to her family’s point of view. Last year, because of her fame, daring outfits and opinions on the social media, Iraqi model Tarah Fares and other two well-known women from the same country, (Dr. Rafeef Al Yasiri and businesswoman Rasha Al Hassan) passed away in strange circumstances, reported as being murdered by conservative religious groups, according to local mass media. All these victims were interested in beauty market and were leading female social media figures in Iraq. In 2016 Pakistani model Qandeel Balooch, has been killed by her brother while sleeping, for some selfie pictures, considered highly offensive for her family’s reputation. And these are just few cases of honor killing, where women pay with their lives for not having protective laws on their native land. Should females from conservative societies stop using the social media to protect their lives or they must act brave and keep going by following the Western trends?

The stunning tradition of Afghan embroidery

As a country surrounded by many cultures derived from different ethnic groups we are 53461739_2310920915609038_6872475963167342592_nnot surprised to find out that colours, designs and great quality materials are used by the locals of Afghanistan when it comes to their embroidery that can be seen as a reflection of country’s important location inside Central Asia. Generally speaking, the responsability with the production of embroidery is carried out by young women and girls, who are sitting inside the domestic environment, working handmade. Not only the women were doing such type of work by the end of twentieth century, but men as well. They were carrying out the embroidery, but in a different manner, such as using 15078608_1325721377462335_2400687686605380222_nthe machine embroidery from tailor’s workshops. In Afghanistan, embroidery is used for decorating a wide range of interiors, objects, mainly for home decorations (mats, towels, curtains and and table cloths) and of course, for the clothing of both: women and men. As a difference between men and women’s outfits, we must notice that women’s clothing are more colourful and elaborately embroidered. Kandahar is a famous place known for its type of men embroidery. Other places where you can find different styles of handmade embroidery may include Herat, and inside the Nuristani community located in East of Kabul, (this form of embroidery can be comparable to the chikan work originally from North of India, especially from Lucknow city). To decorate their dresses, Pashtun women use beads and large mirrors, while coins and shells are usually found on nomadic women’s dresses. Shisha embroidery (with small mirrors) can be seen at Pashtun and Baluchi women, and the idea originates in Northen India, as well.  These pictures are just a small proof of how beautiful the Afghan embroidery is!

(Beautiful traditional Afghan dresses displayed inside a shop)

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Rain in Beirut

 „And this is how I forgot to love you. I was watching you one morning and I suddenly knew, clearly, with no doubt, that I no longer love you. You will complain that I am bad, that I am selfish and that mistakes have always come from my side, because you, as a man, always have excuses, motives, circumstances explaining” THAT” behavior. The woman is hysterical. The woman is in that period of the month. The woman’s got „movies in her head”. The woman is thus guilty for being as she is, you do not bother, of course, to wonder how she ends up like it. Suddenly, the woman who did not sleep at night until she knew you arrived safe in a certain place, who did not sleep until she got a message from you, the woman who forgot to mix the sugar in her coffee when she saw you sleepy, entering the kitchen for the steamy coffee, wincing just to satisfy you, that woman is forgotten somewhere in a corner, insignificant, unimportant, with no chances to survive, and clearly too weak to be able to protect herself against the new ME. The hysterical, the selfish and who does not love you anymore. Today I am drinking my coffee just the way I like. With two teaspoons of sugar, slowly boiled, relaxed, and I am watching the rainy streets of Beirut, listening to one of Elissa’s songs. I no longer find magic in the artist’s lines, I find them senseless, written for dreamers. Your cup is a little further on the table. You are still sleeping and probably in a quarter of hour you will be looking for me to make a coffee for you also. The sugar is almost over and more than ever, I do not feel like going down to the supermarket. I am good the way I am, on this rainy weather, which „matches” my soul. All idle talks, that I am no good, that you cannot imagine how I could manage without you, all your nights out when it was „men’s time”, all those psychical intimidations making me guilty for any look I attracted in public, the hysterical, ungrounded scenes, all of which have become a millstone, and then your victimization, forgetting about her, the weak, crying woman after the „manliness” excesses. The hangman needed the victim’s protection. I am coming to you in the bedroom. I do not like you anymore. It is not because you are ugly, you have always been handsome, and there are enough jays who want you near them at a glance (I was one of them, when it smelled like Lebanese spring flowers). Our apartment is a simple, cozy one. White, cheerful, nothing Oriental in it, we are a young couple after all, influenced by our trips around Europe. But today, in the scenery of this rainy Beirut, our house seems to me more like a hospital. The patient is you, of course. It is normal like that; given that you are an innocent man. But, curiously, a powerful patient, with no wounds, if you read my minds. I am the exhausted doctor. But I will not give you any more pain killers. As from today, I will take care of myself only. And this is how I forgot to love you. You are fussing me. And I will free myself from you. I will flow as the river, on the moving staircases of the building, and I will hear your reproaches that I am selfish and hysterical fainter and fainter. You are so small in my eyes… You will probably let your family know that I left you. Yes, the guilty left the virtuous.”