Yallah, ya Bahariya, Yallah.

In response to continuing and recent violence towards Arabs and Copts and Muslims and Jews (to name just the largest groups), towards civilians (by dictatorial militarized governments), towards the despaired and oppressed self who cries out oh ya baladi, and towards every forgotten being or group caught in the crossfire no matter how big or small, I offer this humble fisherman’s prayer, though I am neither ‘fisher-’ nor man. My distant brothers from Essaouira to Port Said, up and down the Nile through the Mediterranean Red Arabian Sea across the sands and steppes to Konya into the great beyond, called out to me to share its beauty with you. You can read more about the Egyptian brothers, El Tanbura, who are performing this song here: http://elmastaba.weebly.com/el-tanboura.html.

This song is a testament to the tenacity, generosity, and resilience of Egypt’s diverse people and folk traditions, and of the lands and seas that have nurtured them for centuries.

We sweat your salty waters, cry your tears. Sometimes you are vicious, ruthless, destructive, like us; it’s hard to say why. But mostly you gift us cool relief, you offer us  fish, ya Bahariya. They try to extend their borders and zones, their prisons and divisions on you, but you are limitless, expansive, always giving when we remember to sing to you sacred songs of gratitude, to respect and purify your—and our—fluid, shimmering bodies.

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