The big battle of womanhood

After all, as even the smallest glimpse into the lives of women writers -East and West, past and present – keenly shows, every case is different. There is no single formula for motherhood and writing that suits us all. Instead, there are many paths on this literary journey, all leading to the same destination, each equally valuable. Just as every writer learns to develop his or her own unique style and is yet inspired by the works of others, as women, as human beings, we all elaborate our personal answers to universal questions and needs, heartened by one another’s courage. Elif Shafak – Black Milk

This is what summarizes what Shafak has learnt through her journey. And in my opinion, it summarizes the struggle of women who are entangled in the dilema of career versus family.

I was discussing this with a friend of mine, and at the end I told her:
Just remember that only you and your partner know what’s best. Pray for God to show you the right way and the strength to follow through implementing the decision (that’s what Istekhara prayer is all about). And remember that everything goes at its own pace, whether its family or professional achievements. And finally, only you put the standards of being a high achiever, not your family, friends, boss, society.

I can’t claim that I work by this rule all the time. Occasionally I pass by severe under-achievement phases, and I truly hate it. But to be honest, I also know that even if I chose career over family, from time to time I would have similar depressive thoughts. So in conclusion, both sides most probably face the same problem, only from different angles, so this entails that there is no one right answer to all. And as Shafak said, every woman will elaborate her own answer to universal questions. I pray that we accept our decisions, and try to fulfill our dreams.

Abstractism & Symbolism

الأصل في الرمز هو أن يجئ لاحقاً لما يرمز له، إذ تعرض لنا حالة أو فكرة، نريد تمييزها مما قد يختلط بها من أشباهها أو أضدادها، فنبحث لها عن رمز يميزها، و الأغلب أن تكون الحالة المرموز لها مجردة، و أن يكون الرمز المميز لها شيئاً محسوساً يجسد خصائصها و معناها……

و إذن فنقطة البدء الطبيعية في عملية الرمز هي اختلاجة النفس بحالة يراد التعبير عنها، ثم يتجه طريق السير من باطن إلى ظاهر، من حالة وجدانية داخلية إلى شئ محس في دنيا الأشياء الخارجية.. لكن هذا الترتيب الطبيعي -فيما نرى – قد انعكس أحياناً عند ابن عربي في ديوانه “ترجمان الأشواق” لأنه بمثابة من وجد نفسه أمام طائفة من الرموز المجسدة، و أراد أن يلتمس لها من الحياة الشعورية الداخلية ما يصلح أن يكون مرموزات لها. ـ

زكي نجيب محمود – قيم من التراث

I don’t want to compare between sufism & photography, this is not what this post is about. This post is concerned with one specific issue, the process of incorporating symbols in photography.

When I read this paragraph, which focuses on specific poems by Ibn Araby, whereas Zaki naguib Mahmoud says that generally speaking a poet would ponder on a thought / feeling he wants to express, then he will go outwards and finds the proper symbol to express it. But in a book by Ibn Arabi, he described some symbols first, then followed it with what could be the original thought / feeling.

In my opinion, there a lot of similarities between these 2 scenarios and photography, which is evident as both are forms of expressive arts. One in words, and the other in images. In some aspects, a photographer will have a certain message / idea he wants to transmit, and then he will build up the composition of the photo in order to make the observer feel it too. And this is one of the most popular fields of photography, especially in commercial photography whereas it focuses on building a certain image of the product, happiness, freshness, excitement,,,, etc.

Then there is another field of photography whereas the photographer would find a captivating scene, shoot it, and then after looking at it on his laptop or printed image, he will try to describe how this image has impressed him. This reverse way of symbol-then-symbolized can be also found in different types of photography, but for me (and my limited experience in photography), it is most evident in the field of abstract photography.

Through the lens you might find attractive composition, and you don’t know exactly was made it so captivating, you just feel like it talks to you, or moves you in some unknown way, and afterwards (maybe even during editing), you find through its lines, curves, colors that it talked to you specifically, in its own mysterious ways. The fact remains that this feeling was interpreted after you took the picture, and that you had no intention when you left your home to take that specific picture. And this is the thing I love most about photography, spontaneity of expression.

At the end, whether you are building a certain composition, or are just walking around with your camera, just keep your mind and your eyes open, and enjoy!


يجب أن تبدأ حياتك فقيراً! نجاحك في مستقبلك مرهون بأن تبدأ حياتك من حيث لا تملك شيئاً على الاطلاق! هذه الوديعة هي جهود غيرك إلا قليلا. فأرني اليوم كيف تكون. ما الذي ستحققه من مكاسب أدبية؟ من مستوى اجتماعي لائق. من كيان مرموق على صدره اشارة العدالة و في قلبه شرف. أنت ابن أبيك و الوشائج بيننا ليست في المصاهرة بل فيما هو أسبق و أهم من المصاهرة. كلانا تربى على قيم مصرية نبيلة جوهرها الضمير و الشرف و الأخلاق و الوطنية. لا يغرنك ما تراه اليوم من انهيارات في كل شئ فإنها ظواهر مهما استفحلت مؤقتة، مرهونة بزوال الصغار الذين وثبوا على مواقع الكبار…. مصر أكبر من حاكميها بكثير جداً، و هذا هو الضمان الأكبر على أن الأمور لن تبقى هكذا طويلاً. إن الفساد يطول عمره كلما انسحب الشرفاء من الميادين و آثروا السلامة و تخاذلوا، فيفسحون المجال للصغار التافهين البلطجية.

خيري شلبي – اسطاسية

كنت انظر إلى رجل يتكلم و هو على فراش الموت، و شعرت وقتئذ بتفاهة الحياة، و قلت في نفسي لماذا يتصارع الناس في هذه الحياة؟ إن الصراع الشريف هو في مصلحة البشرية أما الصراع غير الشريف و الادعاء الباطل على الخصوم فهما عملان لا أخلاقيان سوف يحاسب الفرد عليهما في دنياه و في آخرته. اللهم لا شماتة، اللهم أنت القوي الأكبر، اللهم وفقني لأن أقول كلمة الحق و ألا أظلم أحداً أبدا.

سعد الدين الشاذلي – مذكرات حرب أكتوبر