Saturday, August 25, 2007

Abu Nuwas

Abu Nuwas, born around 756, is one of the greatest writers of classical Arabic literature.

Abu Nuwas’s mother was a weaver from Iran, and his father, whom he never knew, a soldier from Syria.

The handsome Abu Nuwas was sold by his mother to a Yemeni shopkeeper who took him to Basrah in Iraq.

Abu Nuwas's looks attracted the poet Waliba ibn al-Hubab and the two males became lovers.

Abu Nuwas wrote erotic love poems (mudhakkarat and mujuniyyat).

His love poems are about beautiful boys, 'often embodied in the figure of the saqi, the Christian wine boy at the tavern.' (Abu Nuwas, the first and foremost Islamic gay poet)

'The theme was picked up time and again over the ensuing centuries by the best poets of Iran and Arabia, such as Omar al-Khayyam, Hafiz, and countless others who shared his tastes.' Abu Nuwas, the first and foremost Islamic gay poet

Abu Nuwas based himself in Baghdad, which was the capital of both Arabia and Iran (Persia) and the biggest city in the world.

The caliph, Muhammad al-Amin, shared Abu Nuwas's love of boys.

Abu Nuwas's best poetry... "celebrates hunting, the love of wine, and the love of boys, diversions widely appreciated by educated Muslims everywhere, despite the ongoing fulminations of fundamentalists." - Abu Nuwas, the first and foremost Islamic gay poet

Abu Nuwas poems:

I die of love for him, perfect in every way,
Lost in the strains of wafting music.
My eyes are fixed upon his delightful body
And I do not wonder at his beauty.
His waist is a sapling, his face a moon,
And loveliness rolls off his rosy cheek
I die of love for you, but keep this secret:
The tie that binds us is an unbreakable rope.
How much time did your creation take, O angel?
So what! All I want is to sing your praises.

(Love in Bloom; after Monteil, p. 95)

A gentle fawn passed around the cup
Delicate of waist and slim of flank,
“Will you be on your way, come morn?” he chirped.
“How can we bear to leave?” came the reply.
He glided among us and made us drunk,
And we slept, but as the cock was about to crow
I made for him, my garments trailing, my ram ready for butting.
When I plunged my spear into him
He awoke as a wounded man awakes from his wounds.
“You were an easy kill,” said I, “so let’s have no reproaches.”
“You win, so take what you will, but give me fair reward.”
So after I had placed my saddle bag upon him he burst into song,
“Are you not the most generous rider ever, of all Allah’s creatures?”

(Tu’atibu-ni ’ala Surbi Stibahi; after Kennedy, p. 262)

Monday, August 06, 2007

More weapons for Israel and less for Saudi Arabia

Israeli military police women stand in formation during an honor cordon ceremony for Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates in Tel Aviv, Israel, April, 18, 2007.

More weapons are going to Israel and less to Saudi Arabia.

Over the next 10 years, the USA will supply around $63 billion worth of weapons to Middle East countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. (America in the Middle East Arming its friends and talking peace ...)

Israel is to get a 25% increase in military aid; $3 billion a year; £30 billion over ten years.

Egypt is to get only $1.3 billion a year; $13 billion over ten years.

Saudi Arabia and 5 other Gulf states will get only $20 billion in weapons over ten years.

From 1990-2000, Saudi Arabia bought around $40 billion-worth of American arms.

So, it looks as if Saudi Arabia is now going to get less, while Israel gets more.

In March 2007, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia described America's occupation of Iraq as illegal.

It looks like Xymphora may be wrong about the arms deal? ("The recent agreement of the American government to supply sophisticated arms to the Saudis is a massive, massive – did I mention massive? – defeat for Israel, and return to form of the American Establishment." - permanent link)


Travel and Saudi Arabia

"Defer all non-essential travel to Saudi Arabia because of the continuing high risk of further terrorist attacks against Westerners throughout the country. Residential compounds, transport and civil aviation facilities, aircraft, restaurants, shopping malls and buildings associated with Western interests or used/frequented by Westerners, may be targeted." -

"There is some risk to your security in the United Kingdom; due to the heightened threat from terrorism at this time we advise New Zealanders to exercise an increased level of caution." -