Thursday, April 26, 2012

"People need stories more than bread itself"Arabian night

I start this blog with a powerful quote from the movie that shows the importance of the stories and the story telling in the Arabic culture "One Thousand and One Nights" said in English the "Arabian Night" or in Arabic "Alf Layla wa Layla "
 "People need stories more than bread itself- they tell us how to live and why".

We had an interesting lecture from Dr. Esa about Arabic folk tales and the power of story telling. Most people around the world are familiar with "One Thousand and One Nights" stories. The number 1001 it is very imponrtat in Arabic culture as that means infinity so adding one more number to it makes this number extra ordinary as the stories it self.This are a collection of stories from different periods and different places.
The main story start with tow brothers in rivalry and the cheating of the wife as the other brothers lover. One of the brother kills the women and from that moment he mistrust every women so he marries virgins and had them killed the next morning. After this was going on fro sometimes fear was spread among females on who will be next. After being fascinated from the beauty and power of the story telling the daughter of a wazir decided to volunteer to be the next wife of the king with the home that with the power of the story telling she can save him herself and  other women.
With the power of story telling she saves him and gives him 3 boys. While watching the movie Arabian Night i could not stop it i just wanted to know the end even though the movie was as long as two hours i didn't realise that i took so long as that what the power of story telling does , takes time way and without realizing it is morning and you just don't want to stop hearing them.
The style of the Arabic tales is much more complex than other tales we have read in class. Much more action it is involved and much more moral such as the given wealth taken away and the way to get back. It is more like a teaching lesson on how to live life and how to fulfill your desires by fate and after by choice or wit.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

"Kribu Rafiki" Welcome Friend

Last week we had  as a guest speaker Dr. Ochieng'  K'Olewe, which gave an interesting lecture that turned   to be one of the most interesting classes of all times not only for me but for many in the class.
In African "Kenyan" fairy tales in the form of oral literature are not only for entertainment but for bringing communities together , gather families  and deliver important messages. In this story telling we have the teller and the audience that is not only a listener but a responding audience as well as the teller will call many times and the audience would have to respond to the call. Remember "Paokwa" -"Pakawa" , Once upon a time........

Stories in Kenya were told in the dark that generated because stories are older that electricity so at the time the story teller will just interpret under the moon light. Another reason it is that in the dark the listener will follow the voice without distraction and remember the story better so the darkness it is used even to capture the listener attention.

In this stories we find many significance messages or advises. As in Africa and in many countries important is the ability to survive. To survive you need to have the ability to think fasts on your feet that will get you out of troubles. "Wit" is celebrated, quick thinking.

The significance of this stories is that they show values , believes , attitudes and portrait African societies. Many of this stories deliver a moral "Be thankful of what you have". The mores and morality of the society.

Another important thing in oral society are the "songs". A song by itself it is a story.
Karibu -Rafiki  song that mean welcome friend, you will find a video made in class by me while we were  singing this song with Dr. K'Olewe.

Each of the stories deliver a different message , moral or advise, for example the mosquito story says to us that it is a reason why things happen  the way they happen.Or a contemporary issue you can turn it into a narrative (The Somalia story)
History is important as it is were all this stories, generated from shared experience myths and fact.

The importance of drums. I don't want to leave without mention this important African instrument the "drums". The talking drums , drums were the first way of communication and play an important role while singing and int he story telling.

Asante -Thank you

Monday, April 2, 2012

Jewish Folktales vs Reality

As  I start  to read the Jewish folktales  they sound very familiar to me. I am asking my self how come Jewish folktales are so similar to Albanian folktales? In my mind  start to flow the history of Jewish people.Living in diaspora their folktales originate from different countries and because  of Jewish migration due to history this folktales spread world wide more than any others.

 Despite their familiarity Jewish folktales are more religious and tend to put god as the only magnificent that can change things from worst to great.This magical powers are not put in the hand of a fairy grandmother but in the hand of a religious man like a "rabbi" being the only person with magical godly power this folktales personify  god as your only choice to justice and happiness. This folktales being to religious in my opinion focus to much on the fact of how other people from other religious hate Jewish and try to full them and in the end the smart Jewish person always wins.In my opinion this are very religious tales to make Jewish children think that everyone hates you because you are Jewish and the only way you can survive is not to trust others and be smart and listen to rabbis.

Like in the case of tale "The Rabbi and the Inquisitor" ,We have a wicked priest that hates Jews. We have the rabbi that is about to lose its live for something he has not done(as always it is never their fault) ,we have the rabbi not trusting the Grand Inquisitor  (showing that Jewish never should trust as always is injustice done to them)and in the end by the rabbi right instinct and trick he saves his own life (if you want to be a Jew and alive you have to be smart). This looks more like propaganda tales to tell to jewish
children and unfortunately often they get into  them.It is sadly that this folktales onse confirm how Jewish community educated their children and their people and once more it is not true that every one hates Jewish people and that injustice is done to them.It is an irony of fate that this old folktales show the time when this injustice were done towards the Jewish people and now in the 21st century we have Jewish people applying the same injustice manners toward other minority groups such as the Palestinians.

The folktale "A dispute in sing language" is the one that i heard as a child in my country Albania but the end will be a bit different, would not include "god" or "Jewish people" but people and the entire world. So the tale would be less religious and more kind of  tale that gives the wow effect in the end and showing that are two kinds of people out there the ones that think always in the negative way and the ones that think in the positive.

"Chelm Justice" this tales once more focus on the importance of the minority groups where the needs overcome justice.
The magic Mirror of Rabbi Adam"  once again we have a religious talk where the power of rabbi will save the life of a Jew were his wicked betrayer wife is planing with her lover to kill him .Once more the rabbi will save the poor jewish person only after he had fully trusted the rabbi and done whatever he said him to do(delivering very strong religious messages).

My favorite of this religious Jewish tales is  "It could always be worse" , this tale is very famous in my country Albania as well , small , poor communities where people complain a lot. I like the message that it hold as it is true that many people take what they have for granted and start complaining making their life's miserable. Through this tale we see the important message that everyone should carry and as always is said in my country "Don't complain, It could Always get Worst".