Friday, February 5, 2010

Days with Islam: Double Meaning..and new LOVE

Only have a few days left in Cairo (going to Sinai for few days to work on my painting project) and am only now feeling like things are moving forward! Hilarious, I guess thats how it goes, normally.

So, youre wondering Why? and youre wondering what I mean by Double Meaning. Well, first things first...the why and one of the double meanings is the same: as mentioned in a previous post, my new very good friend Islam is making everything work out. I mean it! He is the cause of the project moving forward. And...also, the other meaning, of course, is the inquiry into the religion of Islam that I am conducting as a natural product of the project. Even with minor glitches in the system, like cloudyness, cold and audio messups, everything is going forward properly! We are meeting muezzins, different ones too! Some are official muezzins, chosen by the Ministry of Awqaf and others are volunteers, while yet others are neither! Some of these guys are highly educated and yet are not willing to talk about specifics of Islam or specifics about the history of the adhan. Those who are not as educated are more willing to discuss these things....

And then there are those that surprise you! You know, me getting into any mosque is a miracle to start with...lets be honest! And then for someone to agree to do an interview with a foreign non-Muslim, unreligious person is also a great great, there was this man, Sheikh Shaaban from Sherif Mosque (on Sherif Street in Downtown. It's at the end of an alleyway filled with shops and across the alley from a coffeeshop, where we ended up doing the interview) who did not want me to enter his mosque, was warning Islam about me and about women, and yet, he was willing to do the interview. Not only was he willing to do the interview, but he spoke so beautifully and passionately about the adhan and about Islam and answered all of the pertinent questions the way I've been hoping someone would!!! It was wonderful. For the first time, I felt no connection to a muezzin, in fact, I was scared it wasnt going to go well, and then, I got EXACTLY what I've been searching for.

The day before this, Islam and I went back to Sultan Hassan Mosque to REinterview Sheikh Ibrahim (the audio was lost as mentioned in a previous post). When we arrived we learned that the official muezzin, Sheikh Said, was there, so we could not do what we planned. Instead we enjoyed an interview with Sheikh Said and got to hear and record his beautiful, beautiful voice! This man was chosen by the Ministry of Awqaf for the quality of his voice, as evident by his articulation, intonation and ability to alter tone, pitch and rhythm mid-breath! Before he was calling people to prayer at Sultan Hassan, he was the muezzin at the Mohammad Ali Mosque (Citadel), both are equally impressive and thats REALLY REALLY impressive.

We are still trying to REinterview Sheikh Ibrahim and hope to do so before I take off to Sinai! Please, please cross your fingers, please. I need your help! The interview we got with him was perfect, he was natural and sweet and photogenic and the lighting was super and he spoke so kindly, he is a great great human. I visited him today in hopes, but no luck today. Please please give me luck. Also, before I go, I need to get an interview with the muezzin from the Sheikh Abdullah Mosque in Gamaliya, across from my hostel, Arabian Nights, and two more interviews with muezzins from mosques in two other areas of town whom we have not yet found or even looked for, please please help!

The other thing I'm hoping for is that Hassan Mustafa (the main character from the short, Voices of Cairo) comes back from his work trip before I leave the country. Not only do I want to continue what we began with the short/trailer, but I also want to see him!!! He is such a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful being!



I am learning so much about the subject matter of our project AND things I have hoped to learn, things I have not expected to learn, and things I only imagined I would learn one day!

One example before bed, ok, ok....I am learning about the structure of choosing muezzins - on the governmental level, the individual mosque level, the community level and the individual level. I am learning about the souls of the Egyptian people, I am learning how my love is expanding and transforming for them and the land. Its interesting; no, its like falling in love: at first you are in awe, you are amazed, everything is perfect about that person, better than anything else in anyone else, better than you deserve, more awesome than yourself and than anything you have ever experienced, at heights never reached before (at least thats my experience in love), and you get to know your loved one, you realize they are just a human being, exactly like yourself!

I am learning this about Cairo, about the people, about how things work, the heartbeat of the city is beating inside of me now!

When you see something at first, you think you see it objectively, rather, I do...and then once I get a closer and more in depth and begin understanding and the perceived mystery, the fog/smog of awe clears, I get to choose to love this time, rather than just falling in love. I think thats where Im at. I have chosen to love Cairo. In every way. In all the ways. And to keep digging, keep learning, keep on truckin, cuz in this place...IN THIS PLACE, really theres so much information in such condensed spaces. Its absurd how much you can learn from just one square meter!


ALL CONTENT COPYRIGHT (c) Anna Kipervaser, On Look Films, LLC

All Rights Reserved 2010

1 comment:

cristina said...

I am looking forward to seeing this work done, Anna! It seems so exciting to live some days deep in these rich culture!
Christina (from Brazil)

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