ThysdrusRoman Coliseum of El-Jem

Panem et Circensis

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Location: Tunis, Tunisia, Tunisia

Monday, October 31, 2005

Hannibal Vs. Rome II

Yesterday I watched the NG Channel's two-hour long documentary on Hannibal Barca's battle aginst the Romans.Despite the repeated and boring cuts of commercials, the doc was excellent in that it gives you an idea on Hannibal's years of childhood, the influence of his father Hamilcar Barca on his future as army general and the aoth he took, under his father's request, to consider Rome as his eternal enemy and which will have a deep impact on his future life.After Hannibal's historic victory over the Romans and his ultimate defeat in the battle of Zama, the son of Barca, finds out that he was only fighting for an illusion, Carthage his native city, which he left at the Age of 9 and returned back to after many years he spent in Spain and Italy. In a tragic ending note, Hannibal Barca, fearing to be caught by the Romans and eventually killed, committed suicide, leaving behind him the epic true story of a North African warrior who would dare to challenge the impossible and shape the course of human history as well as an army general who influenced the modern warfare through his ancient, though innovative tactics.

The documentary featured the participation of a team of renowned Tunisian actors such, Hicham Roustom, Mohamed Kouki, Malika Hachemi and I could not find the name of the actor who played the role of Scipio Africanus the Younger( By the way he is playing the role of Anwar in the Ramadhan TV serial "Awdet El Miniar" on Channel Tunis 7).

Freedom Of Expression In Music

This is the theme given to a Conference held recently in Lebanon and which raised the topic of censorship of music mainly in Arab and Muslim socities with a focus on Iran, Afghanistan and Algeria.The Conference in itself is quite intresting in that it raises a sensitive issue for Muslims which is music and how moslem radicals view such a means of entertainment.

Prince Of Wales To Persuade Americans Of The Merits Of Islam

According to the Telegraph newspaper, Prince Charles who leaves next Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, will try to persuade President George Bush of the merits of Islam, because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Lyrics Of The Day


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Quote Of The Day

"To understand yourself is the key to wisdom."

~ Confucius (c. 551-c. 479 BC)
Chinese philosopher, founder of Confucianism

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Pyramid In Bosnia?

Via Avdibeg- This is really interesting!

Cuba Unexpectedly Accepts US Hurricane Aid

Via Drudge- I guess that it is a normal human attitude that at times of national tragedies and natural disasters there is no place for animosity and conflict between people, but in the case of Cuba-US relations it is really intteresting to see Cuban Leader Fidel Castro accepts the American offer to help the Cubans in the aftermath of the disasterous effects of the Wilma Hurricane knowing that he has long before rejected the help of the United States when Cuba was hit by Dennis Hurricane.

Mahgreb Blog Review II

First of all I wanted to apologize for our fellow tunisian bloggers : Adib, Subzero and Jrayda for inadvertantly ignoring the fact that the magharebia article did mention them. The fact is that I first read the article in its badly translated arabic version so I didn't really pay much attention to whom the author is referring (for example the fact that they misspelled Adib's name and writing أبيدس1 or jarida instead of Adib1 and Jrayda). I was much more pissed off when I found that a major portion of the article was focusing on Moroccan bloggers and moroccan food(my dear moroccan brothers and sisters please no offence I have nothing against you :)) anyway I would like to congratulate our fellow Tunisian bloggers for this success not because it was an american-sponsored website that mentioned them but because it was a recognition that bloggers in the Maghreb do really exist and they do contribute actively to the world of blogosphere. By the way the website magharebia is widely read here in the States and I remember that during a Senate Armed Services hearing at Capitol Hill, a Pentagon official referred to it as a new and important tool to further help understanding between Americans and the Arab and Moslem world mainly in North Africa.Adib special thanks for linking to me both in your personal blog and the Maghreb one too! I really appreciate it.

Asma I read your feedback and I totally agree with what you said and I understand your irritation :) in the case of this article there was no mention of an author but I think he or she is an amateur online contributer to magharebia and do not know too much about the world of blogs. Morevover, I am usually careful to observe such details as article sources, identity of authors, exact web links etc which I think add to the credibility of the blogger and avoid whatever problems that may arise. Finally I hope that the writer of the magharebia article will find out the stir he or she has created among our fellow and dear Tunisian bloggers and write a more accurate and objective piece on the Maghreb blogosphere.

On a side note, Adib, the fact that the comment section is limited to a few was because certain visitors profited from my blog by posting their silly ads which sometimes take you to obscene websites but I will give your suggestion a thought:)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Vatican To Mark 40 Years Of Dialogue With Jews

The Vatican plans to celebrate 40 years of dialogue with Judaism by holding a special conference Thursday to retrace the relationship between the two religions...Via-(ynetnews)

Maghreb Blog Review

Magharebia, a news website sponsored by the US European Command, the joint military command responsible for US operations in Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean Basin, has a piece up on blogging in North Africa and mainly in Morocco.
It is amazing how quickly blogs and bloggers have taken over North African cyberspace. Subjects discussed on blogs by young people range from the mundane to debates about religious and political controversies in the region.

Quote Of The Day

"Life is like an onion, which one peels crying".

~French Proverb

King Tutankhamun Preferred Red Wine

Via Sploid- According to evidence from the tomb of King Tutankhamun,red wine was the King's favourite tipple. Scientists used a new technique to examine residue from a wine jar, or amphora, buried with Tutankhamun more than 3,000 years ago. The result showed that the jar contained red, not white, wine.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Capital Punishment In Singapore

I came across this gruesome story via The Australian about a convicted Australian heroin trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van, who will be hanged in Singapore using a method devised in 19th-century Britain.The author of the article gives a brief history of execution by hanging as well as a meticulous and detailed description of how this capital punishment method is carried out by Singaporian authorities.

Without Your Help, Italy Could Lose Something

NPR has an audio segment about a provocative campaign launched by a private italian Foundation CittàItalia, to urge italians to be more aware of their unique art heritage, something they take for granted.

"I often saw people every day going to work not seeing the Coliseum and suddenly realizing when they have some people visiting them that there is the Coliseum," tour guide Giorgio Sansa says.

The private Foundation CittàItalia has decided to make Italians aware of what's at stake. It's running a TV spot showing famous landmarks without the monuments that made them famous: Rome without the Coliseum, Venice without the Bridge of Sighs, Pisa without the leaning tower.

I wonder how Rome will look like without its Coliseum or Venice without its Bridge of Sighs or even a David with a missing leg! (Senza il tuo aiuto in Italia potrebbe mancare qualcosa)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

BBC World Service To Launch Arabic Language TV Channel

The BBC World Service is to launch an Arabic television news channel in 2007.The channel will initially broadcast 12 hours a day and will be the BBC's first publicly funded global TV service.

Rubens, The Master Of X-Rated Art

Peter Paul Rubens, Persus Liberating Andromeda

A neat article via Arts & Letters Daily about Peter Paul Rubens, as a master of female nudes paintings but also as someone with a much darker side to his psychology.
Rubens wasn't simply an admirer of innocent feminine plumpness. Like a lot of men with a taste for the failed weight-watcher, he had a thick streak of cruelty running through him. His feelings about women were edgy and confused. In Rubens, particularly in his early years, the taste for the multi-pound nude disguises some very unsettling hungers for sex and violence...

R.I.P. Rosa Lee Parks

Rosa Lee Parks, the woman known as the "mother of the civil rights movement," died yesterday at her home in Detroit, she was 92. Rosa Lee Parks turned the course of American history by refusing in 1955 to give up her seat on a bus for a white man.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Is Wikipedia Trustworthy?

Today's The Guardian has an article stating that the founder of the online encyclopedia written and edited by its users has admitted some of its entries are 'a horrific embarrassment'. The Guardian's panel of experts highlight some of the inaccuracies found in certain Wikipedia entries.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Quote of the Day

"A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety."

~Aesop (620-560 BC),Greek writer, Aesop’s Fables: animal stories illustrating human challenges from The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Arabian Sights

The Washington, DC International Film Festival marked on October 14, 2005, its 10th Anniversary of presenting contemporary Arab cinema: Arabian Sights. This year's festival presents some of the newest, most provocative and fun films from and about today's Arab world. Yesterday I went to see the Tunisian film The Prince by Director Mohamed Zran who was present in person during the screening. I have really enjoyed the movie especially the sharp sense of humor of some of the actors.The following is a plot summary:
Adel works at a flower stand on the main boulevard in Tunis. Living with his struggling family and blowing more money than he should on drink, he’s merely coasting through life. Amidst all the commotion at the flower stand, Adel still finds time to daydream and watch the pedestrians walk by. One day, a beautiful lady, Donia, catches his eye and she becomes the object of his dreams. A chance delivery of flowers puts him in touch with her and he learns that she manages a bank. Not knowing any other way to make her notice him, Adel continues to deliver flowers to her office, claiming they come from an anonymous source. His circle of family and friends are wildly split regarding his seemingly hopeless amorous endeavor. Director Mohamed Zran builds a portrait of an entire people searching for something better, yet uncertain how to articulate their desires in this film that Variety has described as “unpretentious and thoroughly winning”.

Hannibal Vs Rome

My friend Don Jim over Dappled Things has a neat link to the upcoming series on Hannibal Barca Vs the Roman Republic. This TV documentary premieres On October 30 th, 2005 on National Geographic Channel. I was afraid that I might have missed the show but now I can't wait to watch it. By the way some scenes were shot in Tunisia and I guess some tunisian actors were also involved.

Friday, October 21, 2005

200Th Anniversary Of The Battle Of Trafalgar

In commemoration of the famous Battle of Trafalgar, The Guardian has an interactive link that will take you back to 1805, date when this Battle took place.The Victory at Trafalgar ensured British dominance over the seas for years to come and forced Napoleon to abandon any plans to invade England.

God And The Right To Be Different

This is the theme of a two-day conference that started Thursday, October 20, 2005 at the Holy Spirit University in Lebanon ( Université de Saint-Esprit-Kaslik).
The conference gathered speakers from different religions from 18 countries, who discussed the role of religion in promoting cultural interaction, as well as how to live in communities that have a wide range of religions and cultures.
The conference will conclude on Saturday with a seminar on "Reconciliation of Faith with Reason."

"Goal !" The Movie

Goal is a new soccer themed movie by director Danny Cannon and which should be in theatres soon.The movie tells the story of an illegal mexican immigrant Santiago Muñez (newcomer Kuno Becker) who swaps the balmy barrios of Los Angeles for a chilly football pitch in Newcastle when he's spotted by a talent coach. Watch the trailer here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Is Dada Still Alive?

A neat article I came across reading Arts & Letters Daily about the Dada movement whose purpose was to protest against society in general and the art world in particular.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Changes To DC's DUI Ok'D

Today's The Express, a daily publication of The Washington Post, reports that:

The DC Council passed emergency legislation Tuesday that would change drunk driving laws in the District to ensure that no one will be arrested for having "a few swallows of wine",said Carol Schwartz, the Council member who introduced the bill.

The Council desided to address the issue after reports last week that a 45-year-old woman was arrested for driving after drinking a single glass of wine with dinner.

Mayor Anthony A. williams criticized the legislation and will review the bill over the next 10 days before deciding whether to veto it.

An now will Mayor Williams do it? I don't think so.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Quote Of The Day

"Money can't buy happiness; it can, however, rent it."

~ unknown

A Short Hiatus

Starting Monday, you won't expect too many posts since I will be really busy due to work. I hope I'll be be back to blogging by next Thursday.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

DC Council To Revise DUI

Today's Washington Post, has an article on the Departement of Police's controversial and little-known zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving.It seems DC council members under pressure from restaurants and bars, felt the immediate need to revise such law. I am sure that my friend Don Jim over Dappled Things will be really pleased with this story.

Arabized Simpsons

Via Sploid- After Fulla the Arabized Barbie Doll, egyptian producers presented an Arabized "Simpsons" -- called "Al Shamshoon". It uses the original "Simpsons" animation, but the voices are dubbed into Arabic and the scripts have been adapted to make the show more accessible, and acceptable, to Arab audiences.In the Arabized version of 'The Simpsons,' Homer's called 'Omar' and drinks Coke, not beer. However it seems that this Arabized version of the Simpsons is not appealing to certain arab bloggers...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Memling's Portraits

Via The New York Times- 20 of Hans Memling's (c. 1430 - 1494) paintings are on view at the Frick Collection, New York.

The NYT indicates that apart from contemporary paintersMemling's paintings were sweet, easy-does-it affairs, gentle, pacific; drowsy, even. If they have an intensity, it's the ungraspable intensity of blank beauty: individual figures are acutely defined; psychological exchange is absent.

State Of Qatar Offers $6 Millions To Israeli Municipality

According to Haaretz newspaper the $6 million donation offered by Qatar to the Sakhnin municipality will be enough to complete construction of the local stadium, with change left over. This is the stadium that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised to build a year and a half ago, after the Bnei Sakhnin soccer team won the State Cup.

Lost Beethoven's Manuscript Found

A Pennsylvania librarian discovered a handwritten score of one of Ludwig van Beethoven's most revolutionary works.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Road-Trip From LA To NY

Reading Logographer, I came across this neat time-lapse video of a road-trip from Los Angeles to New York. Check it out it's really cool!.
( requires Windows Media Palyer).

British Playwright Awarded 2005 Nobel Prize For Literature

Harold Pinter (75), the British playwright, whose works include The Birthday Party, The Dumb Waiter and The Caretaker, has been awarded the 2005 Nobel prize for Literature.
The Nobel jury said that the playwright "uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms".

His efforts in promoting human rights were also praised by the jury, which was rumoured to be split over the decision.

(Via Times On Line)

Apple Introduces Video iPod

Today's Washington Post reports that Apple Computer Inc. introduced a new iPod on Wednesday that is capable of playing everything from TV shows to music videos.

Paradise Now

This is the title of a new movie by holland-based palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad and which will be released on October 28, 2005. The movie tells the story of
two young Palestinian men, Khaled and Said, who are both recruited to carry out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. The two men are allowed to spend what is presumably their last night alive with their families. However, since absolute secrecy must be maintained and they can tell nobody of their mission, theirs can be no proper farewell. The next morning, the men are brought to the border. The bombs have been attached to their bodies in such a way as to make them completely hidden from view. However, the operation does not go according to plan and the two friends lose sight of each other. Separated from each other and left to their own devices, it's up to them to face their destiny and stand up for their convictions...

Watch the trailer here.

10th Annual International Festival Of Comic Arts

The Comic Art Festival starts today, October 13 at the Library of Congress and will end on October 15, 2005.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Lawrence Of Arabia's Vision For The Middle East Revealed

Today'sThe Australian newspaper reports that Lawrence of Arabia's vision for the Middle East has been revealed in a map he created after World War I.
The map shows his proposals for a state in northern Iraq similar to the one now being demanded by Kurdish separatists, and a large territory uniting what is now Syria, Jordan and parts of Saudi Arabia.

Lawrence, who encouraged the Arabs to rise up against their Turkish rulers, wanted to award territories to the sons of his ally, Sherif Hussein of Mecca. He was thwarted by a secret Anglo-French plan to carve up the Middle East. That plan awarded Syria and Lebanon to France, and Palestine, including modern-day Jordan, to Britain. The borders created by the imperial plan survive today largely intact.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Ever wondered what's the meaning of "cyberbludging" well, according to the new edition of the Macquarie Dictionary, the term "cyberbludging" refers to employees who use internet resources provided at work for other than work-related purposes.This term is one of 1000 new words and phrases that will be fresh fodder for Scrabble lovers after they were given the official imprimatur in the fourth edition of the Macquarie Dictionary, due out at the end of the month. ( Via The Australian)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Quote of the Day

"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple."

~ Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Irish writer, & playwright

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Harem, Secret Of The Orient

This the theme of an art exhibition on view in the northern Austrian city of Krems. The exhibition features 80 paintings of French, Italian, Austrian, Hungarian and British artists of the so-called "orientalist" school offer glimpses of the pleasures of the harem, where the wives, mistresses and female relatives of well-to-do Muslims lived.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Quote of the Day

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper."

~ Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
English statesman, lawyer, philosopher & essayist

Friday, October 07, 2005

From Ashes To Precious Gems

For those who do chose to immortalize their loved ones in jewelry, this company can fulfill their wishes. It uses super-hot ovens to transform ashes to graphite and then presses the stone into blue and yellow diamonds that retail for anywhere from 2,700 to 20,000 dollars.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The "Real Bard" Unmasked

According to a new book to be published this month, two academic researchers, Brenda James and William Rubenstein, claim that the works attributed to William Shakespeare were written by Sir Henry Neville (c1562-1615). He was a leading Elizabethan figure, though a minor character in today’s history books.

Italy: Science Versus Faith

Via The Guardian- Members of the Italian Committee for the Investigation of the Paranormal (Cicap) are skeptical regarding the mysterious religious rite in Naples in which the dried blood of San Gennaro, beheaded in AD305 "miraculously" liquefies. Cicap have said the red-coloured contents are a thixotropic substance, based on iron chloride. This means that it liquefies when stirred or vibrated and returns to solid form when left to stand. According to Cicap, the substance was probably stumbled upon by an alchemist or a painter in medieval times.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Truth Of The Bible

Via The Times- The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are warning their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of scripture, that they should not expect “total accuracy” from the Bible.

The Best And Worst Cities

According to a new survey, Vancouver has been nominated as the world's most liveable city, beating Melbourne into second place and leaving London far behind at 47th. ( Via The Independant)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Italian Influence On Tunisian Dialect

I came across this neat post over A Tunisian In Uk. He mentions some of the words found in Tunisian dialect and which he traces back to their origin in similar italian words. I found this really interesting knowing that Tunisia was and still at the criss-cross of various civilizations and cultures. I could mention as well the spanish influence on Tunisian dialect and here just two examples:
-Sinneria (Tun)( sfinneria in other regions in Tunisia)- zanahorias (Sp)- carrots (Eng)-جزر (Arabic).
-Bano (Tun)-Baño (Sp)- bathroom (Eng)-بيت الحمّام (Arabic).

Sufi Islam In The US

My friend Don Jim over Dappled Things has a piece up on an interesting article he came across in today's Washington Post on local members of a Turkish spiritual movement which has its roots in mystical sufi Islam tradition.

Saudi Scholar Calls For Building Worship Sites For Non-Muslims

The arabic news website Elaph reports that during the fifth preparatory meeting on National Dialogue that took place in Saudi Arabia last Saturday, a number of participants raised a sensitive issue by calling for the possibility to build worship sites for non-muslim community living in the Kingdom. The scholar who came up with this revolutionary idea explained his proposal by saying that the Kingdom is host to many foreign workers from various cultures, faiths and countries and it was necessary that those foreign workers are treated in a reciprocal manner and that their rights for a worship site be protected.The Meeting which drained more than 60 participants discussed the following theme " We and the Other: A common National Vision To Deal With World Cultures".

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Holy Month Of Ramadhan

My best wishes to all for a blessed and peaceful Ramadhan!

Israeli Foreign Minister: Islam Is Not An Enemy

The isareli news website has a story on an oped by the Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, he published in the Indonesian newspaper Jakarta Post. In this oped, Shalom calls for dialogue between Israel, Palestinians and Muslim world.
"Israel does not see Islam as an enemy and has never seen it as such. On the contrary, history has shown us that Jews and Muslims lived in peace, harmony and friendship for many years in the past. This should be the aim for the future,"

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Quote of the Day

"Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror."

~ Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
Lebanese mystical poet, philosopher & painter

Oliver Twist: The Movie, Two Thumbs Up!

Yesterday, I watched "Oliver Twist" and I can say I don't regret it. Although Polanski introduced some alterations to the original plot, I found the movie really awesome especially the meticulous choice of scenes from the sordid reality of London's underworld as well as Fagin's den in the city's slums. Ben Kingsly playing the role of Fagin (Kingsly played as well the role of Ghandi), was at his best. Barney Clark, who played "Oliver Twist" excelled as well.One thing is that the scene when Oliver visited Fagin in his prison cell before the latter's execution, was really moving something I didn't really feel when I read the novel. It was, however, hard for me to understand the rough Cockney slang the pauper children used but oddly enough, Oliver who has never been educated, speaks in proper Queen’s English.Ok guys that's enough! this movie is a must so don't miss it!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Democracy Comes Second

This is really interesting. The author of this article discusses the fact that democratization, should follow economic liberalization and not the opposite. He states that
A democracy born in an open economic environment, with a well functioning market system, widespread foreign direct investment, and sizeable international trade, is likely to consolidate economic liberalism, stabilize expectations, and hence lead to more investment and faster growth. Conversely, if an economy is tightly controlled by the state, has protectionist barriers against foreign imports and capital movements, or relies on rents from exhaustible resources to obtain foreign currency, transition to democracy can be plagued by populism and struggles for redistribution, hurting economic growth.
(Via Arts & Letters Daily)

Tunisia: Ties With Israel Serve Palestinian Cause

Subzeroblue has an intresting piece up on an article he came across in the online english version of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth about Turkish and Tunisian ties with Israel. The afore-mentoined article quotes another one published by the Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper about an interview with Tunisian and Turkish Prime Ministers who indicated that their countries' ties with Israel serve the Palestinian cause and are aimed at finding a solution to the conflict.

The Tunisian Prime Minister said during a press conference
that diplomatic relations between his country and Israel also serve the Palestinians. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been invited to the international science summit, to take place in Tunisia in November. Ghanoushe said that the participation of Israel in the summit would not have been possible without the active support of the Arab world, and that the summit would benefit all who were involved.

He added that
there was no direct conflict between Tunisia and Israel, and that his country was fully ready to recognize Israel and normalize ties, but added that this would “only happen when the Palestinian people receive their rights.”

Quote of the Day

"Friendship is Love without his wings!"

~Lord Byron (1788-1824) from Hours of Idleness. L’Amitié