Category Archives: Mosaic
This year marks the centenary of the beginning of World War I. With tensions rising in Europe as they have been lately, many contemporary political commentators look for parallels between our current political crisis and the start of that cataclysmic war. But as historians look at the bigger picture of that conflict in which millions died, sometimes the individual stories are lost.
All the actors in Border give fine performances, which give the film an almost journalistic quality. You feel you are not watching a drama but rather a news story on the ongoing conflict. The director observes: “I wanted the film not to feel in any way like a fictional story but rather one which is as real as possible. Even the actors we used are not professional actors. Firstly, given the chaotic situation in Syria now, it would have been virtually impossible to find professional actors but also I felt it was important to use people whose own lives have been touched by the conflict.
They also performed in India and Pakistan, hardly suspecting that two years later both countries would be at war.
From the Hajar mountains where endangered tahr perch on rocky outcrops, to long sandy beaches where newly- hatched turtles brave numerous dangers to reach the sea, Oman is rich with ecosystems. Its unique array of fascinating and often enigmatic wildlife is attracting increased interest from conservationists. However, the country is also undergoing rapid development, which is encroaching on the natural, rugged landscape. Hotel and resort developments are key to tourism but projects such as the Yiti project, on one of the most beautiful unspoilt beaches in the world, which was aborted due to the Dubai financial crisis in 2009 – leaving behind an unfinished building site as well as a displaced community – do not enhance the future landscape of Oman.
The Franco-Cameroon comedian, starred in French films, appeared on variety shows and was once the toast of the Parisian celebrity scene. His double act with Jewish comedian Eli Semmoun, meant his routine had defined the sophisticated, multi-racial nation France had become. As a deeply committed anti-racist campaigner, Dieudonne used his fame to promote anti-racist causes and denounce the role of the political elites in targeting minorities.
One of his latest paintings is a tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, an extremely moving painting, where Mandela leapt off the canvas at me when I first saw it.
Princess Alice was fortunate in that she was able to document life in the Kingdom as a country on the brink of major change. Her visit coincided with the momentous occasion when Saudi Arabia first discovered oil. The British had previously abandoned their explorations deeming them to be “unproductive” however, the tenacity of their American rivals paid off not long after when “Well No. 7″ came onstream, the first Saudi well ever to produce oil commercially. Princess Alice was there to witness the first pumping of this awe-inspiring discovery that would change the face of the Kingdom and the World so irrevocably.