Sunday, June 08, 2008

Visitors from three new nations

I have not had time and energy to note our first visitor from Uganda, and I apologize for waiting . This morning I looked and we had first visitors from two more nations: Iraq and Georgia. Welcome to you all!

From Wikipedia:
The Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa, bordered on the east by Kenya, the north by Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, within which it shares borders with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a portion of the south of the country including the capital Kampala.
When I met the imam of the Shi'ite mosque in Oakland shortly after 9/11, I learned that he was from Uganda. He appeared Indian. Well, his family was from India, had moved to Uganda, fled under Idi Amin to Canada, and eventually he was called to be the spiritual director in Oakland. My other, very indirect, connection with Uganda was the partnership between St John's in Oakland and the Anglicans in Uganda, one that involved lots of building and sharing until the support given by TEC to the LGBT community led to the Bishop of Uganda severing all ties. Now, I ask you: why is it easier for me to get along with my Muslim sisters and brothers than with my Anglican ones? I would suggest because our interfaith dialogue focused on our human commonalities and our intra-communion squabbles focus on our differences. The differences with our Muslim friends were not denied, just not moved to the center. Is there anything to be learned by this?

If you are young enough not to recognize references to Idi Amin, you may find extensive information here and here.

My first emotional ties with Uganda came through Lesser Feasts and Fasts, where I learned of the feasts of James Hannington and Companions and the Martyrs of Uganda, whose number later came to include Archbishop Janani Luwum.

We hear and read so much about Iraq these days, though little of its significance in the history of civilization. Let us remember that it was the site of great ancient civilizations on whose heritage the entire western world is drawn. Think of the Code of Hammurabi. Wikipedia has this:
The region of Iraq was historically known as Mesopotamia (Greek: "between the rivers"). It was home to the world's first known civilization, the Sumerian culture, followed by the Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian cultures, whose influence extended into neighboring regions as early as 5000 BC. These civilizations produced some of the earliest writing and some of the first sciences, mathematics, laws and philosophies of the world; hence its common epithet, the "Cradle of Civilization".
It is sad to ponder the contrast between that and the current situation.

There is also a very rich history between ancient and modern eras. Just consider what "Baghdad" conjured up before the past decade and a half.

Georgia (Georgian: საქართველო, transliterated as Sakartvelo) is a Eurasian country, chiefly located in the South Caucasus, at the juncture of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. [Wikipedia] When I look at Russian headlines I see references to Georgia by its Russian name, Gruznya (Грузия).

The ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia were here and it was one of the earliest nations to become Christian. Georgia struggles with independence movements in Abkhazia and Ossetia and is in tension with Russia related to this. More from Wikipedia:
Georgia is a representative democracy, organized as a secular, unitary, semi-presidential republic. It is currently a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the World Trade Organization and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. The country seeks a membership of NATO and, in the longer term, accession to the European Union.
OK, time for some music.

Treat your woman right!

That should have your hips moving.

Ekitagururo - Victoria Burke

Iraq's greatest musician and artist, Ilham Al-Madfai singing the old song "Khutar", directed by Fadi Hagopian. Video was shot and produced in Amman-Jordan.

An interesting mix of cultures here in a wedding theme bit of song and dance - I believe we have the "treat your woman right" theme at an earlier stage here, sauce for the goose and all that. Rather cute video.

iraqi music majed almohandes - wallah wahshny
[If only his hands would sit still. The dramatic romantic scenes are nice. Et un beau visage, n'est-ce pas, Comtesse?]

I have one or two CDs at home of Georgian music and I really like it. A very rich tradition of lush harmonies.

This video is, in spots, a bit too military for my taste but here is some Georgian patriotism nicely sung, the national hymn:

Very elegant and restrained dancing - not the exuberance of Riverdance for sure.

Here is a great dance sampler by the ensemble Rustavi (embedding not allowed). Here is another bit of music and dance, demonstrating the rich a cappella harmonies and seriously fancy footwork. [I think I am now in the market for a Georgian boyfriend.]

Something a little calmer: Qeti Melua - Tcitcinatela

Americans-"ქართული ანსამბლი" sing Georgian music [for your Sunday evening worship]:

We conclude with a blast from the past: Vintage collection-Georgian vocal quartet

--the BB

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