ألبانيا بالعربي

يضايقني كثيراً قلة الدراسات عن العلاقات الألبانية / العربية، رغم مشاركتهم العديد من الأحداث و الأفكار خلال القرون الماضية، و كثرة المؤثرات المتبادلة بين الطرفين، خاصة على مستوى تنقلات الأفراد و المفكرين. رغم أن هناك العديد من الألبان الذين استوطنوا في مصر و في البلاد العربية، إلا أن محمد علي بالطبع له نصيب الأسد من الأبحاث، لكونه ذو أصول ألبانية. لكن هناك نقص حاد في تأريخ العلاقات بصفة عامة.

فعلى سبيل المثال، هناك العديد من الشخصيات المصرية ذات الأصول الألبانية، و التي أثرت بشكل كبير على الحياة في مصر. بعضهم أتى بعد تولي محمد علي السلطة، و آخرين هاجروا في أعقاب الحروب التي شهدتها البلقان. و يقال أن أحمد مظهر وليلي فوزي وأحمد رامي من أصول ألبانية. بل و سمعت أن عمر أفندي نفسه ألباني، , أن ابنه باع المؤسسة للتاجر اليهودي فيما بعد.

من جهة أخرى، فإن المفكر الأزهري حسن العطار (معلم رفاعة الطهطاوي) أقام في ألبانيا، بمدينة اشكودرة لمدة لا تقل عن 8 سنوات في أوائل القرن التاسع عشر، و تزوج هناك قبل رجوعه مرة أخرى  لمصر. لكننا لا نعلم شئ عن الفترة التي عاشها هناك، هل درَّس طلبة العلم؟ هل ترك كتابات و دراسات؟ هل له أحفاد؟

إذا حاولت البحث عن كتب عربية تتحدث عن ألبانيا، فستواجه صعوبات كثيرة. فهناك كتاب معدودين اهتموا بهذا الموضوع، أهمهم : محمد موفاكو ، محمد الأرناؤوط، بكر إسماعيل الكوسوفي.… و لكن القائمة لا تزال قصيرة. عموما، أحب أن أوضح مجموعة من الكتب التي توفقت في العثور عليها:

  •  الثقافة الألبانية في الأبجدية العربية، محمد موفاكو، و نشرت ضمن سلسلة عالم المعرفة في أغسطس 1983
  • المخطوطات العربية في ألبانيا، محمود الأرناؤوط، دار الفكر المعاصر بلبنان، و فيه يسرد الكاتب بعض المخطوطات الموجودة بالمكتبة المركزية الألبانية و دار الأرشيف الوطني.
  • مداخلات عربية بلقانية في التاريخ الوسيط و الحديث، محمد الأرناؤوط، نشره اتحاد الكتاب العرب في عام 2000
  • النزعات الكيانية الإسلامية في الدولة العثمانية 1877-1881، بلاد الشام – الحجاز – كردستان –  ألبانيا، لعبد الرؤوف سنو، نشره: بيسان للنشر و التوزيع في 1998.
  • ملامح عربية إسلامية في الأدب الألباني، د. محمد الأرناؤوط، اتحاد الكتاب العرب.
  • ألبانيا عبر القرن العشرين، د. محمود علي التائب، دار الكتب الوطنية ببني غازي.
  • كنت في ألبانيا، محمد بن ناصر العبودي،
المفاجأة التي سعدت بها اليوم كانت مستودع الأصول الرقمية التابع لمكتية الاسكندرية  ، حيث عثرت على عنوانين العديد و العديد من الكتب المتعلقة بهذا الموضوع، و رغم أنها عرضت 5% فقط من الكتاب، حماية لحقوق الملكية الفكرية، إلا أن هذا كان كافياً حتى أبحث عن تلك الكتب فيما بعد.
لعل كتاب “كنت في ألبانيا”، هو الوحيد المتعلق بأدب الرحلات الذي أحبه، و لذا كنت مهتمة بمعرفة المزيد عن الكاتب. هو محمد بن ناصر العبودي، صفحة ويكيبديا تذكر أنه من مواليد 1930، أي أنه قام برحلته لألبانيا بعد سن الستين! أديب ومؤلف ورحال سعودي ولد في مدينة بريدة، ويشغل منصب الأمين العام المساعد لرابطة العالم الإسلامي.  المثير للاهتمام هو كثرة البلاد التي زارها و كتب عنها. فقد أصدر نحو 130 كتابا للرحلات إلى النيبال، مدغشقر، المالديف، سيلان، أوروجواي، باراجواي، بروناي، جزر الكاريبي، الصين، أستراليا، بلغاريا، ، و بلاد أخرى لا أستطيع حصرها من الكثرة. ما شاء الله! كم نحتاج لمثل هذا الشيخ في أدب الرحلات العربي…ـ
أخيراً، حالياً ابحث عن كاتب مصري علمت أنه زار ألبانيا في أوائل التسعينات و كتب عنها، ، هو مجدي سعيد، و الكتاب اسمه ”  ألبانيا بين الآمال والمخاطر” ، نشره  مركز الإعلام العربي بالقاهرة عام 1994.  هذا بلاإضافة طبعا إلى كتب مكتبة الاسكندرية التي تحتاج إلى ” قعدة”  🙂      ـ

كلمات قديمة جدي

من معجم الصطلحات و الألقاب التاريخية، تأليف: مصطفى عبد الكريم

  ألاجة: لفظ تركي بمعنى: الشئ الملون بألوان كثيرة. و هو غطاء طاولة أو سرير مصنوع من قصاصات الحرير المخاطة مع بعضها بعضاً.
أوباش: هو جمع مقلوب من البوش، و هم مجموعة غير متجانسة من الناس، أطلق فيما بعد على الجماعات المثيرة للشغب
بخشيش: لفظ فارسي معناه هبة أو عطاء
بقسماط: لفظ تركي دخل العربية/ و هو عبارة عن قطع من الخبز الجاف يستعمل حينما لا يتوفر الرغيف الطازج.
بك: لفظ تركي أصله فارسي بمعنى حكيم أو رئيس،
بكتاش: لفظ فارسي-تركي جرى مجرى اللقب للخادم عند الأمير. و هو لقب السيد محمد رضوي، الذي تنسب غليه الك\طريقة البكتاشية.
بلطجي: لفظ من العصر العثماني، بمعنى حامل البلطة، كان البلطجية فرقة من حرس القصور مهمتهم بالأصل مرافقة و حماية مواكب نساء القصر، و في آخر العصر العثماني صار لقب للرجال الذين لا عمل لهم و يعيشون عالة على النساء.
بهلوان: لفظ فارسي معناه البطل أو الشجاع، تطور اللفظ ليصير فهلوي.
بهلول: عند عامة الناس، هو رجل بقوم ببعض الألعاب لإضحاك الناس.
حرفوش: لقب اتصل منذ بداية العصر الأيوبي بجماعة من الشحاذين تميزوا بألبستهم الرثة و استعدادهم للثورة و الفتنة في كل ظرف. قبل ذلك ، مثل تلك الجماعات كانت لها أسماء مختلفة مثل: العيارين، الشطار، الزعر.
خواجا: لفظ فارسي بمعنى: ثري أو تاجر أو كبير. استخدم كلقب لكبار التجار، و منذ العصر العثماني أصبح يطلق كلقب من ألقاب التشريف لكبار النصارى.
زلطة: عملة تركية من العهد العثماني مغشوشة رسميا
زوربة: لفظ تركي من العهد العثماني معناه: الثائر أو العاصي
سمسار: لفظ فارسي ، معناه: الوسيط
شرطة: لفظ مأخوذ من الشَّرَط، أي العلامة التي كان يتخذها حفظة الأمن.
صعلوك: نسبة إلى الصعلكة، و كانت عند عرب الجاهلية مفخرة لأنها شيمة الشجعان. و الصعاليك جماعة ظهرت في العصر الجاهلي أصابهم الفقر فتاقوا لى الغنى عن طريق المغامرة و الغزو.
صقر قريش: لقب عبد الرحمن بين معاوية بن هشام مؤسس الدولة الأموية في الأندلس بعد أن تهاوت في الشام.
طبنجة: لفظ فارسي، أصله تبانجة، أطلق في العصر العثماني على نوع من البنادق القصيرة تمييزاً لها عن البندقية الطويلة التي كانت تعرف باسم: تفنك.
عربجية: طائفة عسكرية من طوائف الجند العثماني يعمل أفرادها في سلاح العربات، مهمتهم جر المدافع المتحركة
فطحل: لفظ أطلق على كبار العلماء المعروفين بغزارة العلم. و في اللغة، الفطحل هو السيل العظيم أو الشخص الممتلئ الجسم.
قحبة: في اللغة، هي المرأة العجوز التي يأخذها السعال بسبب المرض. تطور هذا المدلول فأصبح يطلق على المرأة البغية لأنها كانت توحي بوجودها لطلابها بسعالها، فغلب هذا الاسم عليها.
قرافة: اسم قبيلة يمنية جاورت المقابر في مصر، فعرف باسمها المقابر.
كخ: لفظ فارسي يقصد به صورة قبيحة المنظر تصنع لإخافة الأطفال.

The Bastard of Istanbul

This book was recommended to me by inji, and as I trust her book judgement, I did my best to find that book , and finally made the order from Amazon.it to deliver it to me in Albania in 3 weeks.

I was encouraged by the front page review, comparing it to Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, which I enjoyed tremendously (novel and movie). So It became my companion after finishing Dune. 

It’s true that there are some resemblance between the two books. Both of them focus on women, immigrants, taking the views of different personalities, going from the past to the present swiftly. But they are also very different in their mood and style. For example, the Bastard of Istanbul also included the stories of some of the men, though they are few. Plus, it aimed at highlighting some aspects of the Armenian tragedy in the beginnings of the 20th century, and the sensitive relations between Turks and Armenian.

The story is about 2 intertwining families, one is Turkish living in Istanbul, and the other is Armenian living in the US. A girl of the Turkish family is a nihilist and doesn’t know who her father is, she is rebelious against lots of things, on top of them is her family (mother, aunts, grandmother and great-grandmother). The other girl from the Armenian American family, wants to know more about her “Armenian-ness”, so she embarks on a secret mission to discover her grand mother’s roots in Istanbul.

As for myself, I am feeling guilty that I didn’t know much about the Armenian tragedy, though I know some Armenian friends, and I know that there are lots of Armenians who live in Egypt, and they are famous for their delicate work, especially in jewelry making.

Because of this novel, Elif Shafak was put on trial in 2006 for “denigrating Turksihness”, due to some of the Armenian rhetoric some of the characters express in the novel! But eventually, the charges were dropped.. Elhamdlelah, it would be a shame to go to prison for such a novel.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“It is so demanding to be born into a house full of women, where everyone loves you so overwhelmingly that they end up suffocating with their love; a house where you, as the only child, have to be more mature than all the adults around….
But the problem is that they want me to become everything they themselves couldn’t accomplish in life…..
As a result, I had to work my butt off to fulfill all their dreams at the same time.” 

I totally understand what she means, and I try (will try) not to impose on my daughter paths in her life she doesn’t necessary like, but she might push herself to do just to please me, because I would not have accomplished them myself… Complicated, hein? That’s why I will do my best not to dwell too much into the role of the all-sacrificing-mother, partly to feel accomplishment myself, and partly because it’s not fair for a generation to work hard only to accomplish what the previous one didn’t.

“The Iron Rule of prudence for an Istanbulite Woman: If you are as fragile as a tea glass, either find a way to never encounter burning water and hope to marry an ideal husband or get yourself laid and broken as soon as possible. Alternatively, stop being a tea-glass woman!” 
“You see, unlike in the movies, there is no THE END sign flashing at the end of books. When I’ve read a book, I don’t feel like I’ve finished anything. So I start a new one.” 

A bit bibliomania?? 😉

Fiction

Though books were potentially harmful, novels were all the more dangerous. The path of fiction could easily mislead you into the cosmos of stories where everything was fluid, quixotic, and as open to surprises as a moonless night in the desert. Before you knew it you could be so carried away that you could lose touch with reality -that stringent and solid truth from which no minority should ever veer too far from in order not to end up unguarded when the winds shifted and bad times arrived.

Elif Shafak – The Bastard of Istanbul  (the logic of a family who doesn’t approve that the daughter is a bookworm)

“الأدب الجيد قد يعلمنا الكثير عن الآخرين والحياة .. قد يمنحنا لحظات جميلة من الراحة بعيداً عن المشاكل ، وحين نفرغ منه نكون قد صرنا أفضل وصرنا أكثر استعدادا لمواجهة الواقع ”  – أحمد خالد توفيق
Is fiction important? isn’t just a waste of time?
Many times I felt so guilty reading all these novels. I sometimes felt I was wasting time, and instead of sitting there reading the imagintive world of some author, I should be reading something more beneficial, say political, scientific,  history books.
Lately I met these two different thoughts on the importance of fiction (one direct, one indirect). Both are reassuring (in their own way) that fiction is good.
Is it??
I understand that through fiction, the author can easily transmit his thoughts, analysis and message. This type of fiction I appreciate. But they are quite rare, and it all depends on the depth of the author’s analysis and his way of presentation.
Plus. fiction generally has a longer life span than non fiction. It records the thoughts of a nation and transmits it through generations, preserving and solidifying the communities values, and maybe even exporting the way of living.
still, isn’t fiction such a waste of time?

Pumpkin with Bechamel recipe

Highly recommended 🙂

Serves 6
Ingredients:

1/2 kilo pumpkin
100g butter (melted)
100g flour
2 cups sugar
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Stick of cinnamon (optional)
2 eggs
  • Cut pumpkin into squares and place in a pan with 1 cup of sugar and just enough water to cover. Some people like to add a stick of cinnamon for flavor. Cook on low heat until pumpkin is tender.
  • Remove the pumpkin, leaving about 2 cups of liquid in the pan.
  • Add the flour to the liquid.
  • Add 1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of milk while whisking.
  • Add the eggs and the vanilla and stir until smooth.
  • To intensify the sweet bechamel’s pumpkin flavor, add a few pieces of pumpkin and mash. Pour in the melted butter  and give one final stir.
  • Mash the rest of the pumpkin squares with a fork roughly.
  • Spread less than a third of the pumpkin bechamel in an oven-proof dish, add mashed pumpkin on top, and then cover with the rest of the pumpkin bechamel.
  • Place in the oven until surface becomes golden. Serve hot or cold.

Source (lovely blog with beautiful pictures) : http://libyanfood.blogspot.com/2011/01/pumpkin-pie-with-bechamel.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dune

Reading a highly acclaimed classic sometimes puts certain expectations on a certain novel, so what about your expectations about  “best-selling science fiction novel of all time”. So putting this idea aside, Dune was an enjoyable read. From time to time, I felt it was not that big of a deal, then I remembered that this novel was published in 1965, so when Egyptian writers were renovating our literature, Frank Herbert was building a whole universe. 

Note that as far as I know, this is one of the earliest “complete sci fi sagas”, it is even said that Star Wars was heavily influenced by Dune, especially in its earlier drafts. But let’s leave this to the experts.

I liked the depiction of political struggles, ecology, religion, social interactions in general.. I found the multitude of several cultural / religious connotations pretty interesting, especially the Arabic ones. I was very surprised with the multitude of Arabic names, phrases, sayings. Why was Herbert so interested in the Islamic culture? However, I know that the book also mentioned some other oriental influences, but because I don’t have a background on them, I couldn’t figure them out.

Here are some interesting quotes:

“Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.” ” ‘Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man’s mind,’ ” Paul quoted.

A visionary on computer hacking? 🙂

Hawat looked at the boy. “I was thinking we’ll all be out of here soon and likely never see the place again.” “Does that make you sad?” “Sad? Nonsense! Parting with friends is a sadness. A place is only a place.” He glanced at the charts on the table. “And Arrakis is just another place.”

very true.

“If wishes were fishes we’d all cast nets,”
 
the proximity of a desirable thing tempts one to overindulgence. On that path lies danger.
 
Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.
 
You see, gentlemen, they have something to die for. They’ve discovered they’re a people. They’re awakening.”

Very suitable for our post 25 Jan mentality 🙂

The Sardaukar had never been prepared for such happenings as this day. They’d never known anything but victory which, Paul realized, could be a weakness in itself.
 
The Guild navigators, gifted with limited prescience, had made the fatal decision: they’d chosen always the clear, safe course that leads ever downward into stagnation.
 
The proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you’ve always known.”

On religion.

From Shaitan did we not get the hurtfulness of speed?” (This is the source of the Fremen saying: “Speed comes from Shaitan.” Consider: for every one hundred calories of heat generated by exercise [speed] the body evaporates about six ounces of perspiration. The Fremen word for perspiration is bakka or tears and, in one pronunciation, translates: “The life essence that Shaitan squeezes from your soul.”

Frank Herbert’s explanation of ” العجلة من الشيطان”

 

All in all, it’s a must read for sci fi fans, for more reviews, check out the goodreads link. As for me, definitely I will continue the series, but maybe after a break.

Chipsobasta in Amman

I have a confession. Though I love traveling, I didn’t visit that many Arab countries, mainly it was a day in Syria (in a  coastal city I don’t recall its name) and a day Beirut, that were part of a Mediterranean cruise I did in 1999 ! So when I made up my mind to take this trip I was particularly excited. First, to meet my family members who lived there, second, to broaden up my traveling list.

 

This whole trip started with a mere conversation with a friend of mine 5 years ago. We were talking about preserving  knowledge, and how documenting family heritage is crucial to preserve our identity, and we talked about my own family history and its voyage from the Caucasus. This led to prolonged conversations with my father, and we draw some sketches of our family tree, and he helped me with some information on his grandfather who came to egypt in the late 19th century.

Then I dig in my grandfather’s papers, and found among the yellowed paper, some letters, when he used to correspond with his cousin (and closest friend). And through these letters, I was touched with the amount of brotherly bonds between them, and the extent of which they were on the same track of thoughts and general attitude, that it felt like having another grandfather, who grew up in Cairo, but decided to settle down in Amman.

Weeks go by, and this post helped me get in touch with some family members living in Egypt and some living in Jordan.  And a year later, I met one of my relatives in the street of London by mere chance! We were in touch via mail and
phone, but as our schedules didn’t coincide, we didn’t have the chance to meet. But Destiny had another say, and she saw  me on a random street in London and actually recognized me, cause I look like her Aunt!! My heart was pounding so
hard! It was a sign that this family connection is meant to be refurbished.

When I landed in Queen Rania airport, it took me a while to get to acquainted with the new Arab slang I was hearing. A  friend of mine once told me that when he first landed in the US, he was shocked to find himself not understanding English for a couple of hours despite the long years of using it in Egypt! Where is the Babel fish when you need one??

Before leaving the airport, I was greeted with a huge billboard saying: tagawal ma3a shabaka amneya (walk around with  a security network!). Okaaaay! So I was leaving Egypt behind with some instability, only to go to amman where they advertise on body guards companies in the airport! Then, I discovered that it was not “Amneya: security”, but “Omneya: wish”, the name of a mobile operator! So the phrase actually meant: Roam with Omneya’s network! sigh!

Needless to say, I enjoyed every single moment of my visit. it didn’t feel like it was the first time to meet these wonderful people. It felt more like we knew each other all along. I was very grateful for having all these loving aunts. Perhaps I was more so, because of my new motherhood feelings, which prompted me to re-establish “selat el ra7em”. I find the Arabic word much stronger, because at the end there is some common blood between me and them, and it all started with one woman, only 4 generations ago, who gave birth in a noble house somewhere on top of the cherkessk mountains.

————————–

The first thing that came to my mind when I was invited for lunch and asked what type of food I want, was -of course-  the sharkasseya. For if I was invited by circassians, I definitely should taste their original version of the famous dish.

El Sharkasseya (or Chipsobasta) consists generally of 3 different parts: rice, chicken and walnut sauce. There are very  few differences between the original and the one we make in Cairo. for instance, they sprinkle some chili sauce on top of it, we don’t. They mix rice with borghol, we use only rice but add a tinsy bit extra water. They use the whole chicken, we use only the breasts. We use bread for the sauce, they use flour.

I also tasted the circassian cheese, which is kinda similar to the low fat “gebna 2arish”, but with a bit more salt.

———–

As a sword enthusiast, I was gladly shown some circassian swords (called Qamah). It is said that every family should  have at least one sword and one dagger, which makes sense looking at the tendency of circassian for learning how to fight.

the circassian sword is straight, and its thickness is average. In the ones I saw, the cover was silver , with some simple drawings. It looked practical, and not too heavy.

—–

Amman is a new capital, it was built in 1920’s, on the ruins of an old city called Philadelphia, which was on the road of commerce between the Arab penninsula and Syria. And bit by bit, it grew bigger and bigger along a number of squares (called دوار ) and several hills. These squares are numbered from 1 to 8, and are used extensively in giving directions. And as a general advice, try to visit both the eastern and the western neighborhoods of Amman to get a feeling of the City’s vibe.

In the Area of Jabbal Amman, off the first dowwar lies in the old parts of Amman, and close to it there is the famous Rainbow street, with a bunch of cafes, crafts shops,,, etc. Also, in the vicinity is the Roman Amphitheater, and the Citadel.

On Fridays, check out Souk Jara, it opens from 10 am to 10 pm, it has lots of booths showing traditional crafts, antiques, textiles,,, plus some food and drinks outlets. It has the same feeling of our El Korba festival, but much quieter.

———-

Amman itself won’t offer you lots of historical sightseeing, but some short excursions will immerse you in ancient monuments.

I had the chance to visit only 2 sites (Madaba and Mount Nebo), and I was back in Amman in less than 4 hours.

Madaba is famous for its 6th century AD mosaic map, which is the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem.

Mount Nebo is approximately 817 meters  above sea level. And when you get to the summit, you can have a panoramic view of the Holy Land. It is famous in the Christian and Jewish tradition cause it is considered that this is where Moses (peace be upon him) was buried there.  Needless to say I had to focus every time I mentioned this mount, cause replacing B with an M makes a lot of difference.

Jordan has much more to offer. Next time insha allah, the De