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Profile for I. Siddiqui > Reviews

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I. Siddiqui "the editor" (UK)

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Anker 4400mAh Extended Battery with Dark Blue Cover for Samsung Galaxy S3 S III, GT-I9300, fits EB-L1G6LLU, with NFC/Google Wallet Compatibility [18-Month Warranty]
Anker 4400mAh Extended Battery with Dark Blue Cover for Samsung Galaxy S3 S III, GT-I9300, fits EB-L1G6LLU, with NFC/Google Wallet Compatibility [18-Month Warranty]

5.0 out of 5 stars Changed my life..., 20 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a great product. Being able to go all day with everything on, and still have 40 percent power at end of day, is liberating. No more nursing my battery, switching off GPS whenever possible, trying to find placesto top up, carrying a spare for just in case. Yes, the battery is bulkier and heavier but the case is elegant, and phone still feels good in the hand. So thoroughly recommended for anyone with an S3 who likes to use the more power-hungry features.

The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World (Cambridge Illustrated Histories)
The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World (Cambridge Illustrated Histories)
by Francis Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £34.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of a massive subject for general readers, 8 Mar. 2010
This is a book that I, as a Western Muslim who is a student of the history of the Muslim world, often recommend for non-Muslim and non-academic friends. It is not a reference work, or even an academic one, although it is edited and written by academics. (Francis Robinson is a professor of Islamic history at the University of London.)

Rather it provides an excellent overview of the evolution of Islamic culture and civilization in its many different manifestations in different parts of the world over 1400 years. It breaks the period down into manageable chunks, and also discusses different parts of the Muslim world -- the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, North Africa, etc. -- separately. It also discusses art, architecture, Sufism, Islamic science, political Islam, and numerous other subjects thematically.

It is generally well written, easy for general readers (ie. non-academics) to read, and superbly illustrated, providing insights into the Islamic world that would be impossible to convey in more academic texts. Having said that it is non-academic -- it would be a good starting point for undergraduates looking to study this subject for the first time.

Overall -- highly recommended.

Finally I would say -- the criticisms in an earlier review on Amazon seem to me to refer to a completely different book; perhaps the academic reference work that the reviewers expected this to be, rather that the popular history that it actually is.

Three Colours Trilogy [DVD]
Three Colours Trilogy [DVD]
Dvd ~ Juliette Binoche
Price: £14.99

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An immense film-making achievement, 23 Mar. 2005
This review is from: Three Colours Trilogy [DVD] (DVD)
Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colours Trilogy -- Blue, White and Red -- represents a masterful interpretation of the ideals of the French Revolution and modern French society, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity (as represented by the colours of the French flag).
Rather than being politically idealistic, Kieslowski's understandings of these ideals are deeply rooted in the realities of everyday life. In Blue, he sees liberty as young widow's gradual emergence from the grief of the death of her husband. The equality he portrays in White is the way in which the lives of all people are defined by circumstances and forces -- both internal and external -- beyond their control, and what he evidently sees as peoples' impotence in the face of these forces. In Red, fraternity is represented in terms of the invisible ties that link the lives of strangers, and the ways that people can influence each other, directly and indirectly, for better or for worse, without necessarily realising it.
In style, the three movies are very different: Blue is a quiet, profound, observational portrayal of a chapter in one woman's life; White is a dark and subtly subversive comedy; and Red the most straightforwardly dramatic in its structure. All are also movies of many levels, with numerous sub-themes running through the main stories, all as relevant and telling as the main story itself. Throughout the three movies, it seems that no frame is wasted, no movement or gesture without particular meaning and significance, even if the meaning is not immediately apparent. There are also significant themes running through the trilogy as a whole, making it worthwhile for new viewers to make an effort to see them together and in order.
In all three, Kieslowski draws stunning performances from his lead actors, Juliette Binoche in Blue, Zbigniew Zamachowski (a little-known Polish actor) in White, and the unique Irene Jacob in Red. The supporting actors, particularly Julie Delpy in White and Jean-Louis Trintignant in Red, are also brilliant. All clearly appreciate Kieslowski's vision of the trilogy as a whole, and are willing to be part of a greater whole, rather than demanding to be the main charecter.
The final scene of Red, the last of the three movies, has been criticised for bringing the key charecters of the three movies together for no apparent or particular reason. The sense seems to be that, by suddenly putting these charecters together in the same place and at the same time, Kieslowski creates a coincidence that is out of keeping with the deep realism of the films.
This is, however, to miss the point. In fact, this ending -- which encapsulates the main themes of the trilogy as a whole, particularly in its representations of suffering and hope -- should be seen as the starting point of the whole trilogy. What Kieslowski has done, in the three films, is to examine the lives (the back-stories, if you like) of the few very different people who, purely by chance, find themselves in the same place at the same very particular moment of time.
The whole point is that these are ordinary people, total strangers to each other; they could be anybody. And from the lives to these random, ordinary people, Kieslowski fashions a portrayal of the human condition that is perhaps unparalled in modern cinema.
The Three Colours Trilogy is a truly immense film-making achievement, a remarkable example of the possibilities of the medium.

The Bookseller Of Kabul
The Bookseller Of Kabul
by Åsne Seierstad
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

31 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fiction and polemic presented as fact, 1 Jan. 2005
If a book like this had been written about a European family, the author would have been sued to kingdom come. The fact the victims are Afghani should not make it justifiable. Asne Seierstad takes all her prejudices about Afghanistan and Islam and projects them onto these people. The fact that some of those prejudices are entirely justifiable -- Afghanistan is undoubtedly one of the most backward of Muslim societies, and the understandings of Islam and resultant attitudes that prevail there are treated with contempt by Muslims elsewhere -- does not make the approach valid. An example is her account of how the bookseller purchased a twelve-year-old beggar girl for his teenage son to rape. That has subsequently been admitted to have been made up, on the basis of how Seierstad thought they might behave towards women.
According to the Guardian (September 25, 2003), Middle East anthropologists, such as the Norwegian Professor Unni Wikan, doubt the authenticity of much of the book - "especially some of those bits she gives in quotation marks". He said: "There is no way she could have possibly had such access to people's hearts and minds. The moment I saw it in Norwegian, I thought it would be a catastrophe when it came out in English. She has revealed the secrets of the women, which is shameful and dishonourable. It will be regarded as an affront for its lack of respect for Afghans and Muslims."
The way the Seierstad assumes to be able to narrate people's innermost thoughts, feelings and motivations is particularly galling, given that she did not speak their language, and only the bookseller himself knew English. It is unlikely that he explained to her how much his wife hates him, or how much his children resent him. It can only be that she imagined that that was how they must be feeling and projected those suppositions - defined by her own values and assumptions, of course - into the minds and mouths of those people.
Read this book, if you like, not to learn anything about Afghanistan, but to learn just how badly wrong Western observers can get things when they try to understand non-western societies and people, and are arrogant enough to judge them.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2012 1:14 PM BST

Unknown Prophet, The: Forgotten Dimensions of the Seerah
Unknown Prophet, The: Forgotten Dimensions of the Seerah
by Mohammed Al-Asi
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Rethinking early Islamic history..., 26 Nov. 2003
Muhammad Al-Asi is a Washington-based Islamist intellectual, known for his radical reinterpretations of traditional Muslim theology and scholarship. This is an introduction to his understanding of the Seerah, the life history of the Prophet Muhammad, focussing on elements of it which are not discussed in traditional Muslim literature on the subject. It is a small paper, aimed at general readers rather than other intellectuals, and is very readable but thought-provoking and stimulating.

Seerah: A Power Perspective - Papers by Mohammed Al-Asi and Zafar Bangash
Seerah: A Power Perspective - Papers by Mohammed Al-Asi and Zafar Bangash
by Mohammed Al-Asi
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A modern but radical Islamist perspective..., 26 Nov. 2003
The Seerah is what Muslims call the life history of the Prophet Muhammad. Al-Asi and Bangash are contemporary Islamic intellectuals who argue that it needs to be radically reinterpreted for Muslims to draw lessons for contemporary life. In these papers, they present what they call a 'Power Perspective' on the Seerah, examining the Prophet as a political and social leader rather than a religious one. In the process they also provide a modern but radical critique of traditional Islamic scholarship on the Seerah.
Comment Comment | Permalink

Rise and Decline of the Arab-Islamic Reform Movement, The
Rise and Decline of the Arab-Islamic Reform Movement, The
by Basheer M. Nafi
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Clear overview to a complex subject, 26 Nov. 2003
Excellent overview of the place of the contemporary Arab-Islamic reform movement in the history of Muslim intellectual thought. Recommended for students of modern Middle Eastern history, contemporary Islamic thought and Middle East politics. This book is on the reading lists for various university courses.
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L'Appartement [DVD] [1997]
L'Appartement [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ Romane Bohringer
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £13.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could hardly be improved..., 6 May 2002
This review is from: L'Appartement [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
This is a remarkable first movie from director Gilles Mimouni -- an example of the potential of the medium for elegant and effective story-telling. Monica Bellucci's bewitching presence is the icing on what would be a great movie even without her.

For me, the essence of the movie is how lives touch and effect each other over time without people realizing their impact on others, and how individuals are constantly caught between what might have been, what is, and various possible what-might-be-in-the-futures.

The movie revolves around Vincent Cassels as businessman Max, over a four day period in which his life is derailed by a fleeting glance of a girl from his past. His attempts to find her threatens his current happiness and has unforeseeable effects on the lives of others, particularly the woman played by Romane Bohringer. This is the core of the movie; all else, including the murder storyline, is incidental.

But the story is not all; Mimouni's atmospheric imagery and camerawork, his pacing of the movie, and his use of flashbacks to help the viewer understand Max's state of mind and the background to events unfolding before us, are truly masterful.

Another reviewer said that it is a pity we cannot see it again for the first time, which is very true. There is a wonder of discovery and realization that cannot be repeated. But there are enough nuances and layers to the movie to enjoy it again and again, each time finding and appreciating new elements and angles.

This is a movie that should be in the collection of every movie-lover.

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