ELFIS BRISLEY

You walk into a newspaper building in another part of the world, Bahrain, open up the archive of 1971 and there he is: Elfis Brisley. You giggle. And then you stop. You think.
You thought you always knew but you never truly grasped: Histories happen simultaneously. Histories interact.
And traveling is the act of leaving places and histories behind. The act of interfering in another history, creating a new kind. And it, again, makes you appreciate a truth you thought you always knew but never truly grasped: You’ve never been everywhere. You’re constantly missing out. Time goes by unforgivingly everywhere.
And your road is just one of 7 billion other roads.

TRAVEL

 
Traveling teaches you to give, to love and to move. It makes you give love and move your love. Travels give love to you and move you around the world. Travel. Give. Love. Move.

 I love coming home, relishing the steadiness and then slowly discovering how those stories you’ve heard, people you’ve met, experiences you’ve had, pop up in your mind. Ready to be written down. Or put together in a short film.
I have had been traveling a lot recently, hence the few updates. When my camera got stolen in Berkeley, California (that’s another story…) I had nothing but my iPhone left to capture those beautiful landscapes I was quickly moving by. And to my surprise, it turned out to work quite well.
The two last trips to the US have changed my perception of this country. Leaving the big cities to be with the people, to look behind closed sparkling doors to discover darkness, pain, poverty, discovering strength and determination alongside indulgence.

The beautiful and thoughtful music is “Remembrance” by the minimalist instrumental ensemble Balmorhea from Texas.

THOUGHTS ON THEIR WAY

Sometimes I keep some thoughts to myself, because I feel they aren’t complete. Such as this one here. It’s been almost a year when I first wrote this thought down. But then I left it as a draft. It hasn’t made its way to the outside world.

But this time it will make its way. Even if I feel it’s incomplete.

After all, aren’t all our thoughts, whether we consider them complete or not, just a state of mind? Aren’t we in constant change, revising and rethinking who we are, want to be and what we think is right? Or at least: Shouldn’t we aim to be in constant development? Being full of energy and ease – full of energy to develop ourselves; full of ease about our flaws and imperfection. Aren’t we just on our way anyways? We will never be complete. And not even death will bring this to an end.
But it is us all who neglect our imperfection. We – as a whole – don’t give each other the freedom to be a traveller on the path of change.

We falsely believe that every thought we speak has to be armed and shielded against every attack. Sometimes, we feel the pressure to strongly defend every single thought we share. And so: Inner discussions stay inner discussions.

However, isn’t it more interesting to speak out these inner thoughts, fears and voices; to discuss them on a broader scale – just to find out that there are thousands of others who share our inner conflicts? Will this not bring us relief?

But we fear criticism. We fear being sanctioned. We fear judgement. We fear being human, imperfect. Being a traveller. Who we are.
And so, we keep on the safe side. Our thoughts keep running in our head. Our mouth keeps shut. But one day that thought will be gone, without us even noticing it.

So from time to time you will find some of those imperfect incomplete thoughts here, thoughts in progress. A snapshot of inner discussions that have not yet come to an end – and never will.

Because I am a traveller and so are you. Let me lead, let me be led. Don’t chase, don’t let yourself be chased. Watch my way, not the place I stop to take a rest.

I VOTE FOR ZAHNRÄDER

I don’t find football games particularly interesting. Sometimes I get a little enthusiastic, but this year during the UEFA Euro 2012 (EM) I managed to escape most matches. The reason is: There is something else I’m superduper enthusiastic and excited about:
Zahnräder has the chance to win 10.000 Euros from Vodafone Foundation! 
Zahnräder is a non-profit organization and a network of young Muslim social entrepreneurs from all over Germany – that I co-founded in 2010. This opportunity comes perfectly at the right time since we urgently need money to finance our next conferences in which we support projects financially and empower through consultancy and mentoring. Thank you Act for Impact, Vodafone and Social Entrepreneurship Akademie for this opportunity!
I’m constantly checking the voting – it’s a neck-to-neck race. Whoever gets most of the votes will win the money. It feels like a football game, only more exciting since it’s not only a little ball we’re kicking around.
So, please make me cry out of relief and happiness and vote for Zahnräder, here! The voting ends by Monday next week at 4 pm. Further information can be found here and here.
Also I’m very happy to announce that Ashoka Changemaker and Zahnräder are now official partners! Read on, here.
Thank you for your attention. I will now go and check the voting. Again.

Update (1st of July 2012) Yey, we have von 5.000 Euros! Thank you so, so much!

 

GEFILTERTE LEBENSBILDER – EIN MONAT

Nach einer Woche mit meiner Schwester, die mich damals in London besuchte, schrieb ich vor zwei Jahren “Wenn die Zeit wie im Fluge vergeht, dann war sie schön.” Nun schaute ich mir auf dem Handy die Fotos des letzten Monats an, der oft im Flug verging (nicht nur im übertragenden, sondern im tatsächlichen Sinne). Allerdings gefiltert durch diese Hipsterfunktion. Gut, dass das nicht wirklich mein Leben ist, sonst würd ich neidisch werden auf die warme Farbenwelt meines Filter-Ich.

“Sometimes I simply grab my pen and let it move…”, I wrote. What I really ment to say was that the conference I attended was – at that point – superboring.

“Land, ho! / Land in Sicht!” Irgendwann kam ich auf die Idee, beim Fliegen aus dem Fenster zu schauen und entdeckte ganz aufgeregt die Welt von oben. In diesem Fall eine britische Küste.

In Oxford lehrte uns Rafeef Ziadah, palästinensische Wortkünstlerin, das Leben – mit ihrem Stück “We teach life, Sir”  Berührend und sehenswert.

In der diesjährigen Wedding-Ausgabe erschien eine Kolumne von mir zum Thema “Turkish Wedding”, wie ich bereits hier im letzten Satz ankündigte: Klick.
Viel wichtiger: »Der Wedding« #04 wurde für den bundesdeutschen Designpreis 2012 in der Kategorie Kommunikationsdesign nominiert! Glückwunsch!

In einem meiner Aus-dem-Fenster-Kuck-Momente entdeckte ich dieses Mal – wieder ganz aufgeregt – ein anderes vorbeifliegendes Flugzeug. (Hier in groß)

Noch ein letzter Flugzeug-Moment:
Selbst kurz vor der Landung – nach der Technische-Geräte-Bitte-Aus-Ansage (!) der Stewardess – fotografierte ich wagemutig Hamburg.

Auf dem MJD-Meeting in Bad Orb sang die US-amerikanische muslimische Boyband Native Deen. Und ich muss sagen, Bewegungstechnisch unterscheiden sich muslimische Boybands nicht wirklich von dem Rest. Auch sie fassen sich mit beiden Händen an die Brust und schauen sentimental zur Seite, während die anderen in der Band mit ausgstreckter Hand dramatisch in den Himmel schauen oder mit geballter Faust nachdenklich zu Boden.

“Huy! In der aktuellen Cosmopolitan wurde ein Tweet von mir nachgedruckt”, tweetete ich. Der Dank gilt zwei Leserinnen, die mich darauf hinwiesen.

Das Land, in dem Tischdecken, Schneidebrett, Messer und Wurscht für das Frühstück in der Deutschen Bahn mitgebracht werden. Schaffner gespielt empört: “Die Decke ist ja nicht einmal gebügelt!” Großes Gelächter. Dann Mutter: “Doch doch, alles gebügelt…”
Später, als die Bahn überall pünktlich hielt:
Vater: “Sach mir einer die Deutsche Bahn käm spät, kann man ja die Uhr nach stellen!”
Mutter: “Ja, immer wenn wir fahren.”
Vater: “Wir haben das Glück gepachtet.”

Auf dem Katholikentag in Mannheim saß ich auf dem Podium zum Thema “Blogger auf den Barrikaden”. Felix Neumann, der Moderator, hat die Diskussion als Storify zusammengestellt.
Während ich über das Veranstaltungsgelände lief, lächelten mich alle richtig nett an. Ich grinste bei dem Gedanken, das wir Muslime das auch machen, wenn ein Nichtmuslim auf einer muslimischen Veranstaltung an uns vorbeiläuft. Wer weiß, was ein Lächeln alles bewirken kann…
Dort traf ich übrigens diesen netten Herren. Man fragte mich später, ob er ein Rockstar sei. Das lasse ich so stehen.

“Buffallos für nur 30 Euro! Also knapp 60 Mark. Hätt’s das damals für das Geld gegeben…”

Für die aktuelle Zeit Geschichte “Der Islam in Europa” schrieb ich die Geschichte von Molla Mehmet nieder, einem für mich besonderen Mann im Südwesten der Türkei, der lange, sehr lange lebte.

Einer meiner Lieblingsmenschen hat geheiratet. Drei Tage lang, in drei Städten. Sehr schön…

Im Auto meines Onkels entdeckte ich das hier:

“Luxus Duschbad 
DDR
Dusch dich richtig
Eine Hand wäscht die andere

Als mir diese 1987er Ausgabe von Günter Wallraffs “Ganz Unten” in die Hände fiel, wunderte ich mich über den komischen Titel. Ist das eine Satire, fragte ich mich. “Alter Killer” oder so? Und dann fiel der Groschen. Das ist Türkisch.

Seit über einer Woche bin ich nun im Politik-Ressort der “Zeit” und durfte dort Alt-Kanzler Helmut Schmidt erleben. Es war, als säße man mit einem Stück Geschichte in einem Raum. Sehr beeindruckend. Deshalb tweete ich hinterher: “Wow. Die Politische Konferenz mit Schmidt & Co bei “Die Zeit” ist spannender als jeder Film und informationsreicher als jede Vorlesung.”

6. Juni: “Heute morgen von 4 bis 7 Uhr flog die Venus vor der Sonne entlang. Meine Mutter musste das natürlich unbedingt live im Planetarium erleben. Was man nicht alles für Mütter tut. :) (Auf dem Bild seht ihr eine Szene der supercoolen All-Simulationen im Hamburger Planetarium)” Mehr dazu hier.

Bei einem Essen an der Hamburger Alster habe ich mich erkältet. Es will hier einfach nicht Sommer werden. Deshalb liege ich heute krank im Bett und schreibe das hier.

Und in der aktuellen Zeit Campus Ausgabe kickt ein kopftuchtragendes Gehirn Sarrazins Buch.

Mehr Bilder und kurze Sätze auf Twitter (@kuebra) und Facebook.

HIDDEN STORYSYMBOLS FOR THOSE WHO SEE

one of the countless awesome dialogues (edited screenshot from “twelve angry men”).
It was the title that prevented me from watching this movie for all those years: Twelve Angry Men. I could only think of boring adventures by pseudo-heroic action figures. At one point I bothered researching the movie and realised that it might actually be interesting. Twelve jurors are about to file an 18-year-old Mexican-American, guilty of murdering his father. When one juror questions the decision, he opens up a discussion and in its course each juror is confronted with his preconceptions and prejudices.

However when I suggested my husband to watch the movie together, he gave me a painful look, a look generally given when you’ve listened to your favourite song a little too often and you are just about on the edge of disliking it for the rest of your life. When I then finally watched the 1957 version of the movie – alone – he ended up sitting next to me. “12 Angry Men” can be watched over and over again. Why is that?

At times, movies were understood as another form of storytelling, such as a book, poem or picture would do. Embroidered and enriched with symbols and metaphors, every time you watch it, you would dive deeper and discover more of the movie’s secret messages.

I remember watching the 1979-movie adaptation of the book “Woyzeck” by Georg Büchner in school together with our drama-teacher. He would stop every five minutes and ask us to analyse the scene. First annoyed by these ever-chronic-interruptions, we would find it more and more fun discovering the hidden symbols in a scene. I do even recall a small bug that reappeared again and again throughout the movie and our joy whenever we’d encounter it.

I was amazed by this approach on watching (and making) movies. Until then, movies, to me, were representatives of a more simplistic art, taking away the freedom of interpretation, the imagination, dictating the speed, the colours and images. Whereas books would challenge my mind, I felt movies were limiting me. So I found it interesting how “Woyzeck” would give back power to its audience. The power to make more of the movie and the freedom to stay on the surface, if you like.

Ever since, I found independent cinema more entertaining than mainstream/Hollywood movies, which made me feel exploited, dismissed, not taken seriously and even intellectually insulted. Watching “12 Angry Men” reminded me of “Woyzeck” and of the thoughts I had back then.

The last time I really felt both challenged and entertained by a movie was “Incendies” by Denis Villeneuve. “Incendies” is a devastating fiction-drama (“with no historical value” as the director says) about a pair of siblings who undertake “a journey to an unnamed, sectarian-violence-riddled Middle Eastern country in order to fulfil their late mother’s final request.” In a unique way, this film manages to explore symbolically the mysteries of a vicious cycle. You don’t know where evil started and you don’t know where it will end. You don’t even really know how to stop it. And the deeper you dig, the more complex it gets. You stumble upon more holes and more subterranean passageways that again lead to more holes and more subterranean passageways, leading seemingly to the infinite. A vicious cycle.

“Incendies” is worth watching twice, even three times or more – for those who see more than the obvious.

will not tell more about this scene to avoid spoilers :) – screenshot from “incendies”

screenshot from the opening scene “incendies”

another screenshot from the opening scene of “incendies”

I find the following scene – which is the opening scene of the movie – very intriguing. Especially if you watch it again, after having watched the movie. Radio Head!