Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Anonymous guy in Rise Against music video

Rise Against is a "melodic punk" band from Chicago, USA. The band members themselves aren't really interesting from a Chirayliq point of view (except perhaps bassist Joe Principe), but in a recent music video of theirs, a really hot guy appears ...

The video is for the song "Prayer of the Refugee" (2006). While the song is obviously about refugees, the video, directed by Tony Petrossian, instead focuses on American consumerism and unfair trade. The band members break into a hypermarket at night, get anxious about all the alienation and value added, and eventually thrash the place in frustration. These scenes are intermingled with scenes of people, some of them children, in far-off parts of the world, producing the things that are on sale in the hypermarket.

One of them is this cute guy in a textile factory.

I was excited when I discovered a "making of" film about this video on the official website of Rise Against. I was hoping I could find out something about this guy, but unfortunately the "making of" focused entirely on the scenes with the band members in the hypermarket. So, I guess that even in the making of this music video, the dead cold grip of alienation between the producers and the consumers of goods could not be broken ...
At least in a couple of seconds at the very end of the "making of" film, frontman Tim McIlrath was allowed to explain a little bit about surplus value.

Watch the video.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Building the Siberian Railroad, 1895

In a previous blog post, I threatened to include even a Central Asian Italian, just to make sure nobody mistakes this for an exclusive site for Turkoman-worshipping. Of course, we enjoy more than a bit of Pan-Turanic bonding, but Central Asia is a melting-pot. You wouldn't enjoy a nice hot stew as much if you had to eat all the raw ingredients separately, would you? Or a nice minestrone soup?

"Evviva la Siberia!" Even Italians have done their share to connect the far ends of the great Eurasian continent. These Friulians (probably skilled engineers) came to the Russian empire in the 1890's "per un grande e nobil progetto del Zar". Italian engineers participated in the construction of the railroad bridge over Yenisey River, among other projects. The oldest cinema of Irkutsk, Cinema Don Otello, used to belong to an Italian engineer who worked at the Circumbaikal line! Some became very rich on the deal, only to lose it all during the Great War.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Another chirayliq uighur

This young man works at a grill in Shanghai, China.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Naseer Shamma

Naseer Shamma is an Iraqi musician who has specialized in playing the 'oud, a traditional Middle Eastern stringed instrument.

Shamma's interest in the oud awoke already at 11 years of age, when he was a young boy in the city Kut on the Tigris river. Since then he has become a world-renowned master of the instrument.

The classical 'oud has six strings, but Shamma has constructed an 8-string 'oud following a manuscript of the 9th century music theorist Al-Farabi, expanding the musical range. (Read more about it and see Farabi's manuscript at Shamma's official website.)

He has also developed a new method of playing the 'oud with only one hand (something that was originally invented by the Iraqi 'oud master Salim Abdulkarim), so that children and soldiers who have lost one arm in war could play the 'oud.

Here, Naseer Shamma is performing "رقصة الفرس" ("When the mare is dancing"):

And here, he demonstrates his one-handed 'oud technique (clip originally from Mike's ouds):

Shamma has lived in exile in Cairo since 1993, but remains conscious of the plight of his fellow countrymen, 4.2 million of whom are refugees, both within Iraq and in neighbouring countries, mainly Syria and Jordan. In December he helped launch a 90-day fundraising campaign to aid Iraqi refugees, in cooperation with the League of Arab States and UNHCR. Back in October, Shamma had approached the League of Arab States offering to help after watching a documentary on Iraqi refugees in neighbouring countries:

"I have not been able to sleep more than four or five hours a day since that documentary," he said, sitting at his office in a 14th-century house in Cairo's Islamic quarter, where he founded a school to teach youngsters how to play the oud, the Arab cousin of the European lute.
"Winter is approaching. I cannot imagine myself sleeping on a comfortable bed while others are cold, cannot afford medicine or dinner," he said in an interview on Monday.

Read more about the campaign.