Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Here is a newspaper about the Aswan Dam from 1956, when the Aswan Dam was being planned:

But was the newspaper report true?

A Nubian village, around 1870:

Partly submerged palms above Nile dam: The first Aswan dam completed in 1902 submerged parts of Egyptian Nubia. The Aswan High Dam, completed in 1971, flooded Nubian land along 500 kilometres of the Nile. Groves of date palms and 45 Nubian villages disappeared underwater.

This music by Hamza El Din is called The Water Wheel, "Escalay" in Nubian

In what once was Nubia, the water wheel was the oldest mechanical device used for farmland irrigation. Nubian musician Hamza El Din sought to recreate both the sounds and the images of that ancient culture. “My country was flooded after the construction of the Aswan dam,” he explained, “and we lost it after a recorded history of 9,000 years, so I have a nostalgia for that place. Escalay is a representation of how to start the waterwheel and let it run.”

“I was in New York when the Aswan Dam was finished. I lost my village. When I went back and saw my village and my people in a different place, I saw in their eyes the loss. I saw my people were lost. They had moved to an almost semi-desert place. When I came back I was lost myself. I was playing my oud, doing nothing except repeating a phrase. I was on the water wheel, the oldest surviving machine in our land. Whoever sits on that machine will become hypnotized by that noise."

Here's some of the same piece played by the Kronos string quartet:

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