By Jalaluddin Rumi Reason says, “I will beguile him with the tongue;” Love says, “Be silent. I will beguile him with the soul.” The soul says to the heart, “Go, do not laugh at me and yourself. What is there that is not his, that I may beguile him thereby?” He is not sorrowful and […]
Erkan Ogur, a composer, he has influenced many musicians with his compositions combining the sounds of Turkish folk music, classical music with the ancient traditional music. Erkan Oğur, or Erkan Ogur in the West, (born 1954) is a Turkish musician. A pioneer of fretless guitars, he invented the first fretless classical guitar in 1976. He […]
I Come From There
I come from there and I have memories
Born as mortals are, I have a mother
And a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends,
And a prison cell with a cold window.
Mine is the wave, snatched by sea-gulls,
I have my own view,
And an extra blade of grass.
Mine is the moon at the far edge of the words,
And the bounty of birds,
And the immortal olive tree.
I walked this land before the swords
Turned its living body into a laden table.
I come from there. I render the sky unto her mother
When the sky weeps for her mother.
And I weep to make myself known
To a returning cloud.
I learnt all the words worthy of the court of blood
So that I could break the rule.
I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word: Homeland…..
…in the Presence of Absence
Darwish is considered to be the most important contemporary Arab poet working today. He was born in 1942 in the village of Barweh in the Galilee, which was razed to the ground by the Israelis in 1948. As a result of his politi-cal activism he faced house arrest and imprisonment. Darwish was the editor of Ittihad Newspaper before leaving in 1971 to study for a year in the USSR. Then he went to Egypt where he worked in Cairo for Al-Ahram Newspaper and in Beirut, Lebanon as an editor of the Journal “Palestinian Issues”. He was also the director of the Palestinian Research Center. Darwish was a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO and lived in exile between Beirut and Paris until his return in 1996 to Palestine.
His poems are known throughout the Arab world, and several of them have been put to music. His poetry has gained great sophistication over the years, and has enjoyed international fame for a long time. He has published around 30 poetry and prose collections, which have been translated into 35 languages. He is the editor in chief and founder of the prestigious literary review Al Karmel, which has resumed publication in January 1997 out of the Sakakini Centre offices.
He published in 1998 the poetry collection: Sareer el Ghariba (Bed of the Stranger), his first collection of love poems. In 2000 he published Jidariyya (Mural) a book consisting of one poem about his near death experience in 1997. In 1997 a documentary was produced about him by French TV directed by noted French-Israeli director Simone Bitton. He is a commander of the French Order of Arts and Letters.
Omar Faruk Tekbilek, born in Turkey, has lived and worked in the New York area since 1976. He is a virtuoso on several Middle Eastern instruments and is a capable performer on dozens more. Tekbilek became familiar to many listeners through his work on Brian Keane’s soundtrack to Suleyman the Magnificent and subsequently through two additional collaborations, Fire Dance and Beyond the Sky, that combined the sounds of the Middle East with Western synthesizers and guitar. He has appeared at the Kool Jazz Festival and the New Sounds Live Concert Series, and has performed with Don Cherry, Ginger Baker, and many others.
Listen, O drop, give yourself up without regret,
and in exchange gain the Ocean.
Listen, O drop, bestow upon yourself this honor,
and in the arms of the Sea be secure.
Who indeed should be so fortunate?
An Ocean wooing a drop!
In God’s name, in God’s name, sell and buy at once!
Give a drop, and take this Sea full of pearls.
[Mathnawi IV, 2619-2622]
Rumi translations courtesy of Kabir Helminski.
This part is about the Awakening of the world under Islam. The advancements and discoveries credited to Islam as a system that ran society.
The Making of Islam: Empire of Faith
by Robert Gardner, Producer
The production of Islam: Empire of Faith was a big challenge from the beginning, simply because it covered more than a thousand years of history and culture, and a very large part of the world.
But we really wanted to push beyond the conventional form of historical documentaries, which have depended on pans and tilts of still pictures, supplemented with landscapes and interviews. We wanted to find a way to use the visual techniques usually reserved for fiction motion pictures to tell a story of great scope that took place in pre-photographic history. This meant the project would require very large scale costumed re-enactments and equipment far beyond the ordinary documentary production package of camera, zoom lens, tripod and small light-kit.
We knew that we had to find a way to present images of cultural history — both re-enacted scenes and contemporary scenes of Islamic architecture and city life — in a way that would evoke the past, but maintain a sense of authenticity. The scenes would be dream-like and impressionistic but would still give viewers a sense that what they were seeing was accurate in historical terms.
We designed a production package that included a robotic crane with an 18-foot reach (Jimmi-jib), allowing us to fly the camera through architectural spaces, and a Steadicam that would allow for smooth camera moves through buildings at ground level — even mounting it on a truck to shoot running horses at full speed. We took a wide selection of lenses from extremely wide to telephoto and we also brought a high-speed camera for true slow-motion (500 frames per second) allowing us to slow an action down that actually took one second to fully twenty seconds on-screen. All of these taken together would provide an extraordinarily production palette. But it also meant that we had to travel with more than 40 cases of equipment — and do so in seven different countries. The logistics were severe.
The actual American camera crew was very small — Director of Photography Rege Becker (who also operated the Steadicam) and First Assistant Cameraman and Jib Operator Nick Gardner, who also shot second camera when required. The rest of the crew was hired and trained in each country — Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Israel, Spain, Turkey and Iran.
It was in Iran that we used a motion picture company — with a crew of 50 — to produce the costumed re-enactments. Iran’s foremost Art Director Majid Mirfakhraei, had to create locations, costumes and props for more than a thousand years of history — from the deserts 7th century Arabia, to the palaces of the Ottoman empire. The same team of stunt riders had to be made-up and redressed to play Arabian mounted soldiers, Crusader knights, Mongol raiders, Ghazi horsemen and Ottoman cavalry. A full sized, four-story replica of the holiest shrine in the Muslim world (the Kaaba in Saudi Arabia), had to be built in the deserts of Southern Iran and the vanished world of 8th century Baghdad had to be created in the ruins of a 19th century Persian palace. More than 300 costumes were required, as well as a dozen camels and riders, dozens of sheep and goats, an entire Bedouin encampment and the streets of Jerusalem in the 11th century — complete with market stalls and citizens.
This extraordinary production design, set in epic landscapes, gives the film a startling sense of scope and provides a remarkable window through which to examine the past. The film took 18 months to edit, and is supported by an original score by Leonard Lionnet.
Produced and Directed by
Stefano H. Kotsonis
Director of Photography
Production Manager, Associate Producer
Historical Re-enactments, Iran
Producer, Hedayat Films
Art Director, Production Designer
Majid Mir Fakhrai
First Assistant Director and Translator
Sheila Blair, Jonathan Bloom, Ahmet Karamustafa, James W. Morris, Michael Sells,
For Devillier Donegan Enterprises
A Gardner Films production in association with PBS and Devillier Donegan Enterprises
Islam: Empire of Faith was presented as part of the Empires ® series. To learn more about other programs in the series, visit the Empires ® series homepage.
If you are the last of what god told me, be
the pronoun revealed to double the I. Blessedness is ours
now that almond trees have illuminated the footprints of passersby, here
on your banks, where above you grouse and doves flutter
With a gazelle’s horn you stabbed the sky, then words flowed
like dew in nature’s veins. What’s a poem’s name
before the duality of creation and truth, between the faraway sky
and your cedar bed, when blood longs for blood, and marble aches?
A myth will need to sunbathe around you. This crowdedness,
these gods of Egypt and Sumer under palm trees change their dresses
and their days’ names, and complete their journey to the end of ryhme…
And my song needs to breathe: poetry isn’t poetry
and prose isn’t prose. I dreamt that you are the last of what god told me
when I saw you both in my sleep, then there were words…