Hot Happenings on our side of the Charles: Golden August Begins Tonight
by Amanda McGregor
Cambridge Chronicle Thursday, August 12, 2004 Page 17

Look no further than tonight's event to see what happens when poetry and activism become music.

The Institute of Near Eastern & African Studies kick off its "Golden August" series this evening at 7 at Zeitgeist Gallery where performance and peace activism mingle into harmony.

The event, which is the first of three this month, features Boston musicians Veronique Epitor and David Rovics. "[The events] will meld ethnic backgrounds, music genres and poetry," said Wafaa' Al-Natheema, INEAS founder. "We're trying to send out a statement for our 10th anniversary to reward the public and to celebrate 10 years."

During next week's event on Aug. 19, patrons will be whisked through Cambridge on "the only cultural tour of its kind," from art galleries and the mosque, to local Moroccan restaurant Argana. Topping off the evening will be Saudi Arabian poet Nimah Nawwab and Tunisian musician Brahim Sassi. "He is probably the only Arab to play the Indian sitar," said Al-Natheema, who is originally from Baghdad, Iraq. "It is a very unique thing."

The summer's events aim to raise funds for the nonprofit INEAS, particularly for the ambitious screenwriting workshop coming up in November to be held at Umass-Boston. The symposium is designed to build an international network of people interested in documentary and political filmmaking.

"You see the stereotypes in Indiana Jones or the terrorists within Asia and Africa," Al-Natheema, "but you don't see much in Hollywood as far as [accurate or objective] coverage of the Near east and Africa.

"This will benefit and inform so many talented actors and screenwriters with talent but who lack finances, the background or the connections."

Through Arabic workshops, education and outreach, music and art performances, INEAS aims to educate people worldwide about Asia, North Africa, and the Near and Middle East, said Al-Natheema.


Comments and Corrections by INEAS

1. The following quote, "[The events] will meld ethnic backgrounds, music genres and poetry," said Wafaa' Al-Natheema, INEAS founder" has an error. It should read, "…will melt ethnic backgrounds, music genres…….."

2. The reporter misquoted Al-Natheema in, "We're trying to send out a statement for our 10th anniversary to reward the public and to celebrate 10 years." Al-Natheema said, "We're sending a statement for our 10th anniversary to be rewarded and to reward the public while celebrating 10 years."

3. Al-Natheema said, "He is probably the only Arab to play the Indian sitar" She realized later that the Tunisian sitar player was not Arab, he was Berber.

4. The quote, "This will benefit and inform so many talented actors and screenwriters with talent but who lack finances, the background or the connections" is very weak and it made not much sense. Wafaa' meant to say that the conference will benefit and inform about so many talented screenwriters, producers and actors who are from various backgrounds and who lack finances and/or the connections!

5. In the last paragraph, the reporter wrote, "…..INEAS aims to educate people worldwide about Asia, North Africa, and the Near and Middle East" She forgot to include that INEAS intends to educate people worldwide via email. Also she used the Near and Middle East together, which is redundant. Both phrases (Near and Middle) are used to mean the same area and are politically and geographically incorrect.