Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Role Models

I've been thinking these last couple of days. Growing up in the US, I had a few people I looked up to. They played an important part in my life and shaped my way of thinking. Most of them were composers and filmmakers. I looked up to Michael Kamen, John Williams, Steven Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, and Jerry Goldsmith, James Newton Howard, and even Steven Seagal. They all had one thing in common. They were people who worked hard for their art. Jerry Goldsmith would say that if he didn't compose two minutes of music a day, he didn't feel complete. They were all obsessed with what they did. Steven Seagal was a master Sensei of Aikido that dedicated his life to martial arts. His movies were a side thing. Spielberg and Williams... well, I don't even need to explain. The point is that these people made me aspire to be obsessed with creating.

So this got me to thinking, who do we have in the Middle East to look up to? Who shapes our way of thinking? I would love to hear your feedback. All those annonymous writers, please be honest. You don't have to say who you are. Family doesn't count here.


Anonymous ABU MAJHOOL said...

Tom & Jerry. Embodies Good vs evil yet the worst consequence is a black eye or broken teeth, until the next encounter.

Abu Majhool el Shaffaf

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Tweety is my role model said...

Haik il Role Models willa balash...
Steven Seagal !! That pretty much explains the uncreative terrible things you have been trying to pass as short movies.
You are right. The middle east does not have role models at this essential,influencial life-changing level.

yalla ya seedi, il barakeh feek wa fee kabtin abu raed.from now on you are my role model.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Iman said...

Very interesting question!

For the most part, anything with substance is far away from the limelight...leaving our the younger generation with not so much to look up to...but then this is relative; it goes back to the individual and what he/she is passionate about or what he/she deems as important in their lives...
I am inclined to say that who I look up to would definitely be someone from the older generation or someone who may not be 'universally known' per se... to name a few:

Edward Said - One of the most influential intellectuals of our time.
Amin Rihani - Great Lebanese Arab-American philosopher, poet and novelist!
Hanan Ashrawi - Human rights activist,influential and reasonable voice in middel eastern politics
Steve Sabella - an amazing photographer with endless talents..

I have a lot to say, but time doesn't permit...so I will be back later!
thanks for the intriguing and very important question...too bad some are not really giving it its worth!

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Wahed Ma3roof said...

Nelson Mandela: never compromised his principles. Wasted two decades of his life in White prisons but never gave up his people's rights. Only when he was guananteed the fall of apartheid and the reign of equality and democracy, did the ANC drop the rifle, NOT BEFORE.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Amin Matalqa said...

Thanks Iman,

Great examples with Edward Said, Amin Rihani, and Hanan Ashrawi. However, let's look at them more closely. One is an intellectual, another is a philosopher, and the third a political figure. As a kid, at an age where my interests are in none of the above because my mind is still too simple, I think this leads to a very big question. Do we have good Arab role models for kids? I ask that because there's a lot of cynicism/counter-prodcutive thinking in our part of the world. I wonder if the void in public non-political role models has something to do with that. I will further explore this matter because now I'm just fascinated.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened Amin. You don't like Neslon Mendela?

2:54 AM  
Blogger Miss Tina Sweis said...

I agree with Amin's point, being a teacher and having many experiences where students stand in silence before such a questions, where are those arab or middle east role models that capture the attention of young children with dreams and ambitions? they are either forced to limit those dreams to their parents desires ...doctors, engineers, lawyers politicians! and the beat goes on, an artist is looked at as faddi ash3'al or adabi!
When i actually thought of such names as Jubran and Rihani i stop every time to admire their work, these where Arab-Americas by the way! they lived in the states and were exposed to both cultures of restricted and free... and the influence is clear in their works.
The questions that i want to target after Amin's role modle is if those names you admire came about as your role models , how did they influence what you as are doing today? Simlpy , those producers drove Amins dreams towards film making and HE HAS COME BACK TO HIS COUNTRY JORDAN TO BRNIFIT HIS CULTURE AND PEOPLE AND ASPIRE YOUNGER PEOPLE TO BELIEVE THAT SUCH DREAMS CAN HAPPEN!
Honestly, today whenever my students get the same old composition question about writing about what they want to be or who to name as role models names like Matalqa, Majali ,Bitar,and Al Abdullah come up with pride..Thanks to them and many others in art,music and design, the horizons of many young children have expanded on the local,national and universal levels.

4:04 AM  
Blogger Amin Matalqa said...

Last time I checked, Nelson Mandela was not Arabic.

Thanks Tina for the kind words. I still have quite a road ahead as I still haven't made my feature film yet, but I understand what you're saying. It would be nice for people to follow their dreams as artists. I think it's through art that we can show the humanity in each other.

I think we need role models in the Middle East that children can look up to. That's what Captain Abu Raed is about.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Fadi Sarraf said...

Khalil Gibran, I know its a little cliche but how many arabic authors are published and respected all over the world.
one thing though, we do have alot arabic role models but what we lack today are cultural revolutionaries; atists, poets, writers. People whos influences pass beyond the cultural centers and into peoples home and lives. We're so indoctrinated in business ideals that we have forgotten the arts.
All I can say is Go Amin, your doing a good job.

1:07 PM  

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