[dutch]Een gedachte[/dutch][english]Just a thought![/english]

This night Ahmed and me have some preparations for the lecture of next friday.justathought

It will be an interessting gathering with a lot of different passionated people.

The whole process is already a new journey for me. And specially this corporation

with the business world!  But in Ahmed I find a compassionated business men and that is what I appreciated very much.

Agenda presentatie bij ARCAM


lecture on 1 October



On Friday the first of October there will eb a lecture in Arcam in Amsterdam. Arcam is the Amsterdam Architecture Institute. Ahmed Faraj and me will tell about the project Twee Stromen Land (The land between two rivers) and our travel to Mesopotamia in November. Last week Joost Vermeulen was in my studio to interview me about the project. He is writer for the newspaper Het parool.  And also Theo de Feyter the translator of the Gigamesj-epos is very interested and he is coming to read out of his book on the lecture. More people are hooking in and that ’s gives a lot of energy. Mariska van der Brught told me that we even in Holland have a reed museum. Unfortunately I could not find it on the Internet but what I found was a digital hay museum. That reminds me as a kid playing in the hay by my aunt and uncle in fact it was one of best playgrounds for me as a child. An important subject on our lecture will be the mudhif. Almost every village in the marshlands have a mudhif. It is a kind of community house. Not only for the inhabitants of the village but also for travellers. And of course the mudhif was and is hardly always for men. One of the reasons was that the houses (raba’s) where to small to invited guest. The mudhif had an important role in the oral history. It was the place where the news was spread and where people made their gatherings. Imaging me bringing a Mudhif into Amsterdam. That would be great!

So come to the lecture. It starts at 16.00 in Arcam in Amsterdam.


Meet and Greet

To day I was on the Meet and Greet with the new ambassador from Iraqi Z.E. Dr. Saad A.M. Ibrahimin Al  Ali in the Netherlands Council for Trade Promotion in The Hague. I was quiet late and before me I saw a sea of black suits. And before them a powerful men who was explaining the history of Iraq.

His words: the problem in Iraq is not the safety but the lack of investments, the lack of work for the people. So he encouraged Dutch investors to go to Iraq and do business. There are a lot of opportunities like water, oil, infrastructure, health care and education.

Iraq is a country with a lot of money and it needs people to work with the money. At this moment there are already a lot of Chinese and Turkish businesses in Iraq no Dutch company. Where are they? We have a strong history over there. If you say I am Dutch you have one advantage over there in the minds of the people is going to burn a light of Philips. Philips was the first big brand. So the first TV and vacuum cleaners, lights and fridges came from Philips and this has settled in the collective memory of the Iraqi people. So as a Dutch businessman you don’t have to prove your self in that way.  Products from Holland are strong and good. Ahmed Faraj who is the initiator and developer of the housing project in the marshes told about my project and then I got a big applause for going to Iraq- Brave woman-. Not a camera for the war but for the other side of Iraqi.

This afternoon I met a lot of nice people so I think I will see some of them back on the lecture in Arcam on the first of October. Here below you see to images, which pictures the different kind of danger and safety arias in Iraqi in the month of June and July. And as the ambassador spoke: In Augustus there was no red in the whole images. Yesterday I received an email from Linda Rose Smit she lives on the Dutch compound in Basra and she invited me to have lunch with her in November because she was not able to leave her place now because of the danger for kidnapping. Hopefully in November we can meet each other in the middle.






In the mean time they are already safety home in their country Iraq. Mr. Abdul Hassan Obaid Azzouz Al – Ziadi the Deputy president of the Businessmen in Diwaniya

and Mr. Abdul Kareem Hatef engineer. They both living in Diwaniya.

They visited me a couple of days ago to pick up het DVD I made from the day in the workshop in Volendam.

Kareem invited me to go with me to Babylon when we will be there in November.

I also met one of these days Theo de Feyter. He has translated into Dutch the Gigamesj- Epos.

And at the presentation he will reed from clay tablet 11. I am very happy with it and he liked the project very much.

Also to give positive attention to Iraq and especially the Land between the two rivers our heritage! Dorinde is very busy with making connections with the press.

I am very happy with our collaboration it is very inspiring and fortuned to bring our net works together.


Presentation in Arcam

On the first of October at 16.00 there will be a presentation in Arcam (Dutch Architecture institute) in Amsterdam. I am very happy to get the chance to tell about the project .

This I will do in corporation with Ahmed Faraj.

Subjects will be:


Floating islands


A Dutch entrepreneur who is going to build house in Mesopotamia under the guidance of Ahmed Faraj

and of course more.


This was my floating island five years ago.




Here you see the official invitation from Mr. Al Marsome for our project in the Marshlands. I am very exited. The recordings of last week are almost ready into a document done by the cameraman and editor P. Van Gils. I am happy that the Iraqi guest are still here so I can give it to them personally and hopefully at the same time have a little chat with them about my plan of moving a traditional guest house ( Mudhif)  from there to here. What do they think about it? I almost wanted to used the word -really- what do they really think about it but perhaps it takes time to find that out on a more profound level.



Today I spoke with a sad Ahmed. He just found out that there will be a census in Iraqi just when we are there. That means we have to stay in house for these 3 days.

So our travel is again postponed. We leave now on the first of November. Thomas Bartels the cameraman is able to change his program. I don’t know about Sam Simons (sound engineer) and Dorinde De Tempe. Ahmed had a deep sigh and said, “This is Iraq”.  But there is also a good thing on it the climate is less warm then!




breezeAll the lands were sea…

Gilimma bound reeds upon the face of the waters,

He formed soil and poured it out beside the reeds.

He filled in a dike by the side of the sea,

He made a swamp, he formed a marshland he brought it into existence.

quotation out of the Gilgamesj-Epos

This poem left Dorinde on my wall on face book. It is a big contrast

with the situation where I was in today.

Iraqi and Dutch constructors were working on a housing project for the Marshlands in Volendam (small village in Holland). So for the Iraqi engineer it was the first time he was in Europe. And he was experiencing a playground full of possibilities. The drawing of the house became lively and suddenly not right anymore by seeing of the real houses and the possibilities. The kitchen had to move to another place and the windows had to change because of the breeze and the North West.. They also needed double doors because of the dust. The whole day was also a big confrontation with the different attitudes from the East and the West. We assume a lot. On my question why they like to buy houses in the Netherlands they answer that 60 years ago the Netherlands build houses there and they are still there! And people are very enthusiastic when they know that the houses come from the West! I really would like to know more about it but my Arabic is very very poor and I noticed through the translator that they aren’t used to be questioned about these things. I am some times too direct. Philip filmed everything and will make a nice document for them so they have something when they go back. Next time when I see them I want to ask them what they think about my plan bringing a Mudhef (Guesthouse from reed) to here. One thing is for sure when I am in Iraq I want to go deep in the marshlands. Because like I heard to day it is really disappearing very quick.




transplantationTo day on this Memorial Day that the Americans are officially giving back the power to the Iraqi people two men arrived here on Schiphol. They are Mr. Abdulhassan Al Ziadi and Mr. Abdulkarim Hatif Al Zubaidi coming here with a mission. In Volendam are waiting two prefab house on them before they will be shipped to Iraq. These days they have to find out if those house are a solution for the housings problems in the Marshlands. But at the end it is the mission of Ahmed Karim Faraj. He has worked on this plan the last two years and I follow him very intense on this for the last year. Tomorrow very early I go together with my cameraman Philip to document this encounter between the guest from Iraq and the houses. And of course they have to talk with the company Veerman (the inventors of this kind of house with the EPS system). Ahmed told me that this is a unique happening for them and then of course also for us. Visiting a foreign country where a passionate Iraqi fellow makes himself a lot of concerns about the living condition in their homeland. For me I see a similarity with organ transplantation, will the body accepted this strange organ or rejected it. I think this process is starting very visible tomorrow and I am going to watch it in Volendam and following it to Iraq in six weeks time.
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