Saturday, 16 June 2007

Beautiful Africa - 1st edition!

Proudly presenting Beautiful Africa's kickoff! This first edition has kicked off with a strong focus on the Middle East.

First of all (and first to contribute to the carnival!), Howidiedtoday presents Siwa, Egypt: An Isolated And Flourishing Oasis Populated By A Community Of Gracious Berbers, a dream holiday in a mysteriously beautiful oasis where people go out of their way to welcome visitors to their town.

"I know that most people think of Egypt as being Middle East," she says, "which is why I thought it would be even more unique for this article to be featured. "

presents Xenophillia, where he talks about Egyptian perfume! Ha, I have been to Egypt just once in my life, and that was 21 years ago. I remember our excursion to the pyramids, the mini Pepsi cola bottles and the tiny boutiques, filled with just that: perfume!

In Naseer and the Lute, Szavanna presents a story about Tunisian music lessons and tells what it was like to fulfill a dream and learn how to play the Arabian lute - "a beautiful string instrument" that similarly to the violin is "fretless".
Read and enjoy!

In 1/3 of the Water Planet, Tim Abbott presents his reflections on deserts and his firsthand experience with Namibia.
"Deserts are alive," he writes, "and have supported life of remarkable variety and resilience. "This is a very interesting post about one of the most fascinating landscapes on earth. Go and have a look!

In Best Dressed Nigerians Hated by South Africans, Izz talks about his encounter with African inter-racism in South Africa when looking for a decent barber.

"My point," he writes, "we can learn a lot from places that are melting pots of nations and kaleidoscope of cultures such as Sunnyside."

Beaman presents some good humour in Constance: Noodle and Laxatives in Berlin; a short truestory about a girl from Cameroon in Berlin.

Finally, there is a post at the former Ishtar News site entitled First day for the 19th time. I have been going back and forth between Africa and Europe for as long as I can remember, and yet, the cultural differences never cease to amaze me. For the Twentieth 'First day experience', have a look at Back in Niger hosted on this site.

That concludes this edition. Thank you for your contributions! The next carnival is scheduled in mid July.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of beautiful africa using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.



Szavanna said...

Hi Ishtar - thanks for starting this initiative - I am happy I could take part - I will try to help look for stories for the next edition :) Still busy reading the stories - definitely an interesting selection.

Izz said...

Nice one Ishtar. I am about to start on the readings and am sure the stories will provide fulfilling passages about Africa. Thank you for featuring me and I look forward to contribute to the next edition on July 18th.

Beaman said...

Thank you for including my story. This is a great idea indeed. I'll visit the others very soon.
Best Wishes.

Travel Betty said...

Thank you for including my post on Siwa, Ishtar. And thanks for hosting this great carnival. Africa is such an amazing and diverse continent, I can't wait to read the other posts for more insight.

Ugo Daniels said...

Damn, i can't believe i missed this. Where was i? Hopefully, i'll have a post next carnival!

All da best Ishtar and did i ever tell you, you're so beautiful and lovely. Keep up da good work. 'wink'

Amre El-Abyad said...

I know that most people think of Egypt as being Middle East," she says, "which is why I thought it would be even more unique for this article to be featured. "

Well, Egypt is Arabian and has been like that for 8 thousand years. It has got nothing to do whatsoever with Africa language, culture, ethnicity, history..........etc

Ishtar said...

Your post saddens me, Amre el-abyad. No one has said that Arabs and Africans share the same language, culture, ethnicity, history etc. You DO share the same continent, and we ALL share the same world.

I for one am all for differences of individuality and the differences between societies. I think it makes life more fun and enjoyable. You sound as if you are offended by the connection between North Africa and SubSaharan Africa but you cannot do anything abouts its geographical connection. To me, it's a question of tolerance and generosity towards cultures and values different from our own. I do not presume to my set of thinking is superior to anybody else, just because I belong to a particular community.

If there is every going to be peace in this world, we have to learn to live with the fact that our neighbors have other values than ourselves. There is no risk of anyone having to conform to anything else unless of course one is not so sure in what one actually believes in and why.

Africa is a great place; a warm, generous, pulsating world with a wide scale of nuances, colors, faces and beats. Please don't destroy that selflessness by wanting to create a division. The world has enough of those as it is.


Amre El-Abyad said...

you have caught me! Unfortunately not so many think likewise. Man is not a peaceful creature. Nature is about conflict of ideas, species and individuals. I wish it weren't like that. But I guess we have no choice but to play the game, even when we don't like the rules.

you have a wonderful blog, sorry for the inconvennience


Ishtar said...

Dear Amre,

We do have a choice. Just because most people follow a "given" track, doesn't mean all of us. Not that we must. You can be proud of your Arab heritage, and still be happy to have such a variety of neighbors. Luckily for us, the world is big enough for there being a place that will suit each and every one of us. My mother is from Sweden and loves the sea. I grew up just south of the Saharan desert, and I love the horizon. Sweden is my home country but its mentality is often more alien to me than Niger's. I know most people long for strong "roots", something even I longed for during my teenage years. But I have figured out that if you're strong in yourself and what you believe in, and you have a heart for doing something for others, then it doesn't matter where in the world you are: you will see life for what it is and you will enjoy it.

Good luck in finding purpose in life and in seeing all the positive and selfless things that people actually are doing. I know the selfish take a lot of room; after all, it would be absurd for generous people to step on other's in order to find their place in the spotlight - however, if you look around, you will see the big things done in silence by the "little people" - and those are the ones that I really admire.

When you do find them - and I am sure you will, because they exist in every continent and within every culture - let me know. If it's within the realm of this amazingly varied continent, you can submit your post to the next Beautiful Africa Blog Carnival!


PS: thanks for coming back and answering my post. A good dialog is often the first step for mutual understanding!

Moussa said...

Hello i manage the website about niger
in english
And have been following you on your blog you are promoting Niger tourism
I also read your interview so when are you coming to my site and share your Niger experience with my readers
my email is

Amre El-Abyad said...

Dear Ishtar,

your post has made think of Sudan which is indeed a a very unique spot in Africa. The sudanese perconality is African and Arabic in the man time. That makes it very intrigueing.In sudan west African, Ethiopian and Arabic cultures merge.

Sometimes, I feel sorry for the Sudanese( jocking) they pay price for conflicts in the Arab world while they have to cope with the fact that they are black Arabs.

My perconal experience has shown me that they are the most honest people in the world. However, they took they somehow merged Arabic and African tempers in a way that could be scary, yet special.

Bottom of the line, one can do nothing about Sudanese but like them.

I used not know much about Niger but in the photos I see in your blog, I see another melting spot. Only this time, it is Amazig with west Africans. From your writings, it sounds like a laid back peaceful place. Ofcourse there are problems.But!??? what you are doing is the right thing.

despite of the huge cultural differnces between swedes an Arabs. I have noticed that both of those poeples have a tendency to romanticise on things, the Swedes are much more efficient and practical, however.


Travel Betty said...

The more I travel, the more I find that people, at their core, are very similar. Our heritage and surroundings may appear different (and thank goodness for that!), but we all have very similar simple human needs.

And Ishtar, this dialogue is great. The fact that your blog has initiated it should make you very happy.

Ishtar said...

Betty, I agree. People are people no matter where they've grown up. Sure, we have different set of values and especially, different traditions and reasons for following specific social patterns, but at the core, we are all the same. We are all individuals trying to figure out what to do with our lives and where to invest our talents. In my universe, there are universal truths and I'm happy for it because it makes my life easy. We all have the same value. True, some of us have been born more fortunate than others, but the question is, what do we choose to do with the benefits we have received? Invest it in ourselves or invest it in others? The latter certainly gives a great sense of meaning to one's life!

Ishtar said...

Amre, I think it's fun that we share such geographical places together. I was pleasantly surprised that you had such positive things to say about Swedes - I was afraid you would find them too reserved, and to be honest, rightly so.

Keep talking! We've opened up an interesting discussion!