"Last night I had such a wonderful dream. That today, I feel great and satisfied. You said, 'Go, for you are the king!' True and may I be merry and glad! I am drunk without cupbearer and wine! I am King Ghobad without throne and crown!" Rumi, Masnavi
Last night, I performed music for an Afghani community celebration of the legacy of Rumi. It was a clear night. The sun melted over the horizon an incandescent vermillion azure, and a mountain silhouette graced the starlit west. I accompanied a dear friend, who plays the Persian santur, with wind and percussion instruments. The audience was cheerful at hearing our unique musical expression of global community, and our hosts delighted.
One young woman at the event, born in Canada, proclaimed, "I am from Afghanistan." As the Afghani and Persian language commingled in a unity of mind and understanding, the political discussion turned to musical appreciation. Music is the one common language, they agreed, Persian and Afghani, who speak a common language, are not divided by the bounds of modern nationalism, war and custom, because they share culture, language and music.
Yet, even in Canada, where a military imperialism curses the blood-stained earth of Afghanistan, the people of that country remain proud and honour the sacred unity of their cultural heritage beyond national boundaries, and into the language of unity, peace and wonder. So, as one proponent of Sufism, Rumi and Peace said in Canada to close the June 6, 2012 podcast on World Democracy Discussion speaking in reference to the Iran-Israel Nuclear Crisis:
"Rumi was sitting was sitting with his students in his academy and one of his students ran to him and said, 'Rumi, two wise men are fighting, come and do something.' Rumi didn't react. The second student came and said, 'Rumi, two wise men are fighting, they are beating each other, come and do something.' The person soon asked, 'You don't care?' And Rumi answered that if they were wise, they wouldn't fight.'"
URGENT: Citizen Response to Syria
Letter to Alberta Members of Parliament
Dear Alberta Members of Parliament,
I am a citizen of Alberta for over five years. I arrived as a resident of Calgary directly from Cairo, Egypt, where I was a student at the American University of Cairo (2007-2008), and then University of Calgary (2008-2010).
Please recognize my plea to all Members of Parliament not to support military intervention in Syria.
In 2010, I returned to Cairo, Egypt and the Middle East through the Consortium for Peace Studies at the University of Calgary. The Consortium was formed in response to Canada's response to the Iraq War of 2003, which Canada did notparticipate in. What has changed in Canada during these ten years?
It is a well-known fact that the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) invests in war manufacturing. In effect, the Canadian Federal Government is complicit in war crimes through the investment of such weapons manufacturing as cluster bombs and nuclear arms, in spite of such international agreements as the Global Landmines Treaty and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Due to the fact that our tax and revenue system is inextricably tied to the arms industry, every Canadian is complicit. Why are we furthering our complicity in the deaths of 100,000 and the forced exile of over 2 million Syrians?
Why is the Canadian government demonstrating support for the U.S., who used chemical weapons in Fallujah during the invasion of Iraq, and now purports to protect Syrians and the global community from the very same belligerence?
As Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says, "we are of one mind" in promoting America's call for an international coalition to intervene in Syria. Prime Minister Stephen Harper warns of the risks involved in not intervening. As a citizen of America and a permanent resident of Canada, I am embarrassed to be from a part of the world that seeks to undermine international order for the sake of economic investment.
Please regard my concern and stand with the British Parliament in denouncing all support for the mounting American military intervention in Syria.
This letter was also posted on The Media Co-op
TAKE ACTION AND CONTACT OFFICES OF YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT
& MORE IMPORTANTLY,
CONTACT OFFICES OF YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND TAKE ACTION
Alberta is not only the economic engine of Canada, it provides the lifeblood of economic energy for much of the world. Globally, Alberta's oil industry is the third largest in the world, behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The U.S. is the largest consumer of Alberta oil. When war is at our doorstep, it is economic investment in energy resources that prop up the debate in the minds of politicians who influence the direction of billions of dollars on a daily basis. Whether from the U.S. or Canada, or elsewhere around the world, we need to remind the Alberta government that their actions, whether to wage war on the Earth (industry) or its people (war), are wrong and obsolete, and must be diverted in providing the means to renewability in energy resources and sustainability in human resources.
Education is the lifeblood of our culture. Contemporary miseducation conjures cultural remnants still felt, yet which are now practically nonexistent. As the government slashes the limb of theatre and jazz from the roots of culture - our education - it is the artists, and more accurately, artists' collaborations, that resurrect obsolete forms of creativity. Our art reshapes and polishes the dusty, antique lenses through which other forms of learning, knowledge and truth are remembered and reinvigorated.
This virtual exhibit is interactive, kinetic, visual, aural, and potentially recycles the space and redefines it through an exploration into its space as connected with viewers/participants. The conduit of such activity is the exhibit.
There are three essential aspects to the virtual exhibit before you.
Firstly, the original digital artwork, Mountain Reflection on Cyclical Wordplay is displayed. Below, a listening station plays the album, Compilation Vi An under Mountain Reflection on Cyclical Wordplay.
After listening in and seeing, become the seer of music by using a calligraphy brush and red ink (or creative equivalent) on blank space. Find blank space around you, the unused, neglected, under-appreciated, unassuming areas straddling the bars of existence and nonexistence. Such a space could bet the utilization of your present surroundings, depending on the configurations. However, at the very least, do not draw a blank. As a participant/viewer, engage with the calligraphy brush and red ink, the acoustic harmonies and naturalistic/vintage aesthetic of the artwork meld to produce an inner ambiance of memory, culture, history, tradition and nature.
Secondly, the original digital artwork, Present Sound, Silent Space is displayed. Through another listening station and a black pen (or creative equivalent) are to be employed. Below, the listening station plays the album, Endangered under Present Sound, Silent Space. As a participant/viewer, engage with the black pen (or creative equivalent).
The visual artworks within the recorded music re-contextualized in this virtual space represent the creativity of local, independent artists as reintroduced a lost branch of independent self-education. The implications draw from a wealth of meaning in relation to institutionalizing (and budget-cutting) culture and education as the final straw in forgetting our even more archaized, unconventional cultural and educational backgrounds.