Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tunis in the sun!

Two days later, Tunis offered sunshine and fresh air during a brief midmorning walk, away from a marathon of meeting rooms.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Algiers in snow!

I made my first visit ever to Algiers in the beginning of this week, amazed by being met by snow. I know the city is known as La Blanche - the white Algiers, but didn't expect it this way, I guess!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

#Sidibouzid - Dec 17, one year on...

I rarely write on this blog and lately I have not posted much at all. I will not make promises to amend that, because life is churning far too fast for me to be sure of keeping such a promise. But I would like to write a few lines of what we see in my cherished Middle East over the past year, and what better time to do so than the anniversary.

So, this is a tribute to unemployed university graduate fruit vendor Mohammed Bouazizi of Sidibouzid in Tunisia, whose frustration and anger was the spark of the Arab revolution of 2011. His action woke many and started a wave of change.

Many more have died since and I fear we have not seen the end of violence. But many many have also found voice and hope. I believe we can never go back to a day where it is said that Arab populations are politically passive or complacent.

This is also for Tawakol Karman, Nobel peace laureate, Alaa Abdel Fattah, Razan Ghazzawi, Ali Abduleman - just to mention but a few of those brave people whose names we have learned this year.

Change will continue to come, if in different timetables and ways in different countries.

At the regional level, inter-regional interaction has also sharpened and heightened.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Two different windows (the lower one real and decorated, the upper one painted), from the Hagia Sofia.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


The architectural solidity of the Hagia Sofia, one of the earliest building supporting a dome (replicated in Istanbul first almost a thousand years later by Sinan in the Suleymaniyya) and having survived in an earthquake zone, leads me to believe that this amazing column has no important function. But it does sort of lead you to look twice and once again!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Every detail is really exquisitely worked.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More details

4 different angels (? or what are they?) can now be seen in one of the ceiling domes - they must have been uncovered from whitewash in recent renovations because I cannot recall ever seeing them.