Saturday, July 01, 2006

Exclusives, JUL 06

UGANDA - African Fashion Show
The Spirit of the Modern African Woman
by NOOSHIN SHABANI, staff writer

The village women in Uganda start work when the moon is still present, and their day is done with only hours before they next arise. The role of a woman is multiple in African society. She acts as the mother, provider, teacher, and wife, and to have strength is priority. Despite the poverty and nineteen years of political conflict, the women in Uganda spend this evening celebrating the true beauty of just being a woman.

ANDALUSIA - Handicrafts in Spain
An Arab Legacy that Still Lives
by HABEEB SALLOUM, senior global correspondent

As I travelled through southern Spain, I could see that the handiwork of the Arabs saturated every facet of life. All these trades, which make Andalusia unique in Europe, almost without exception, are an Arab legacy. Some have been evolved to fit into the modern age, but most are as they were when the Arabs were a part of Spanish history.

Despite the many religious wars in the past, the Spaniards have, to a great extent, preserved their Arab heritage, especially in the field of handicrafts. The Alhambra in Granada, the Mesquita of Cordóba, the Alcázar in Seville, and above all, Andalusia’s artisan products, testify to the rich artisan legacy that the Arabs had bequeathed to Spain.

A recipe for splendour
by HABEEB SALLOUM, senior global correspondent

Through the centuries, such have been the epithets with which men have described Damascus – which is the oldest continuously inhabited urban centre on earth. Aramaeans, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and, above all, the Umayyad Arabs of the 7th century, left a rich legacy in all areas of the city's daily life - particularly in its food.

Added to this, Damascus and its sister city of Aleppo were at the western end of the wealth-producing Silk Road, which for some 4000 years, was the pathway of trade that connected the Far East and Europe. The Frankincense Route, which was no less important in the creation of both cities’ affluent lifestyle, was the route over which the perfumes and spices brought by Arab dhows to southern Arabia were transported overland to these cities.

Reflections on a journey home
by REBECCA ROSS, guest writer

At the Djemaa el Fna Square, you will experience the majority of what Morocco has to offer, and everything from intricate henna patterns on your hands and feet that are made from a natural dye. There were the energetic Gnawa Dancers that charged money for the taking of their photographs. There were the souk’s--shopping areas--set up along the center square, where bargained for the items we wanted.

We even watched some perform acrobatic stunts and then charge us and a few others as well. And interestingly enough, I was even persuaded by snake charmers to put a tamed black water snake around my neck for good luck. But this is hardly painting a full picture as to everything I saw in these cities. It’s like an ongoing circus, so much to see and do, but so little time and money.

PHILIPPINES - The Worth of a Book
Education in the Philippines
by NOOSHIN SHABANI, staff writer

The levels of poverty in the Philippines are extreme. Many of the Filipinos who are fortunate enough to get an education, go on to seek work abroad, as the opportunities are greater overseas. The Philippines has a ballooning amount of debt to repay, and education is not on the priority list. According to the Philippine Education Sector study (World Bank & Asian Development Bank) 1998-2008 will be a period of limited or zero growth in the public budgetary allocation to education as a whole.

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