The Bohemian and The Bulbul: Journeys in the Middle East (and further east), by Mira Baz

Posted on September 5, 2012 - by

The Beautiful Karen

The Beautiful Karen

The young girl belongs to the Karen tribe, an ethnic minority in Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). I love their colorful clothes; they remind me of similar traditional clothes I’ve seen in Yemen.

Share

Recently Published Articles

Posted on June 19, 2011 - by

Bradley Hilltopics: Covering Yemen

Bradley University’s alumni publication, Hilltopics, published some of my photos on Yemen in its most recent issue, Summer 2011.

Read the PDF version: PDF
Read the text version on the Hilltopics page: online

Share

An indelible imprint: Yemeni culture pervades in Malaysia

Yemen is often perceived, by Yemenis and foreigners alike, as an insular entity, impervious to cultural interchange. Nowhere is the falsity of this perception more evident than in Malaysia. Yemeni culture, customs and history are evident in every corner of this multi-ethnic Southeast Asia country.

Share

Arabs between Jihad, Mohannad and Hayfa

On a main street in Sanaa, Mohannad smiles down daily from a Turkish Airlines billboard at drivers and pedestrians. He should be happy. The finale of the Turkish soap opera he starred in, titled “Noor” in its Arabic version on MBC, was watched by 85 million Arab viewers aged 15 and older, MBC Marketing Director Mazen Hayek announced at a conference in Beirut last year. That’s a quarter of the total Arab population, or 1 in 4 Arabs who watched it. And the majority of them were women. 2008 and 2009 saw the unprecedented Mohannad fever spread across the Middle East, T-shirts of him and Noor reportedly outselling Saddam’s.

The popularity of “Noor” says something significant about the state of Arabs today.

Share

Watch: CNN iReport features the Sanaa Music Festival

CNN featured clips of the Sanaa Music Festival videos on its monthly show iReport, along with a chat with Mira on the growing hip hop trend among the urban youth in Yemen. Mira’s blog, The Bohemian and The Bulbul, got a mention as well. (Click to watch the CNN spot.)

Share

Video: Sanaa Music Festival and an interview with Mira on CNN International

CNN International is showing clips of the Sanaa Music Festival videos and an interview with Mira on its iReport show this week at these times. Not to be missed!

Share

The Beautiful Karen

This is a thumbnail

The young girl pictured belongs to the Karen tribe, an ethnic minority in Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). I love their colorful clothes; they remind me of similar traditional clothes I’ve seen in Yemen.

Share

Thailand: Good luck garlands

This is a thumbnail

A woman makes flower garlands on a sidewalk in Bangkok, Thailand. Garlands (Thai: Phuang Malai) are bought for different purposes, such as for good luck, safety, or for offerings at Buddhist shrines and temples.

Share

How do you pack your life into a suitcase?

“If I know a song of Africa,
of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back,
of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers,
does Africa know a song of me?”

-Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

The house and garden had quickly become my home, where in the mornings I fed my regular guests the Bulbuls and Serins, and found serenity when, through watching them, I meditated on existence, on cycles, on life, on everything and nothingness. Out there was Yemen. Within the garden walls, and all the walls, was me, inside my head.

How do you pack your life into a suitcase? How do you sift through every piece of your life and decide which memories to discard and which to keep?

In this corner were the stored decorations from the last Christmas dinner. And over here in this spot was the scattered dust from when I stood on the roof and surveyed sunset after surreal sunset in the Sanaa sky. I’d look from up here at the street below to see, near where the boisterous neighborhood kids played, the gaping hole in the asphalt, a reminder of the incident. (One day that mark, too, will be paved over.) This view offered me perspective, so that sights seen day after day did not grow too familiar, and, seen from above, acquired new meaning. A traveler’s worst enemy is familiarity. But nothing is more difficult than leaving.

Share

The jinn doctor is in

Yemeni door

The Arabic word for “crazy”, majnoon, has the word “jinn” as its root. In Islamic teachings, jinn are spirits that live in a parallel realm and can be good or evil. Therefore, perhaps a lost meaning of the Arabic word for insane is “with jinn”.

And it was spirits that we were seeking on the trip to Radaa, one of Yemen’s least safe places to be due to constant tribal battles.

Gunshots rang out in the distance. A wedding? It was an odd time for a wedding.

After lunch at a restaurant, where Yemeni men with wild Jimi Hendrix hair and bandanas casually kept their Kalashnikovs very close to them, it was time to go meet al-Obali, one of Yemen’s famed exorcists whose reputation had spread to other Arab countries.

He received “patients” at his Yemeni-style home.

Share

Warning: First parameter must either be an object or the name of an existing class in /home/admin001/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/yet-another-photoblog/lib/Yapb.class.php on line 817
Yemen’s economy on the verge of collapse
Lynsey Addario: ‘It’s What I Do’ (NYT photographer detained in Libya)
Save Beirut Heritage (photos of threatened traditional Lebanese houses)
In Peril: The Arab Status Quo, by Anthony Shadid
In Yemen, A Barefaced Advocate for Women’s Rights
In the Mideast, No Politics but God’s, by Anthony Shadid
Cosmopolitan Citizenship in the Middle East, by Sami Zubaida