UAE Organ doning

Strangely enough was only having this very conversation yesterday and here is a piece in the National

It is something that i feel strongly about and have inserted in my will although neither of my children are in agreement
It seems to me only reasonable to provide what is useful to others who will then ahve a better quality of life or life itself.
I can see the concern about ethics but still feel that nurse’s and doctors do their best for us not themselves
And this is an honourable gift to another.
Read below and see what you think.

UAE’s largest organ unit receiving calls ‘every day’ from prospective donors
Abu Dhabi hospital has 250 patients on waiting with list no relative that is a match

Shireena Al Nowais

February 18, 2018
Surgeons perform the UAE’s first full heart transplant at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Photo Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi
Surgeons perform the UAE’s first full heart transplant at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Photo Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi
How Islam’s view of posthumous transplant surgery changed

Transplants from the deceased have been carried out in hospitals across the globe for decades, but in some countries in the Middle East, including the UAE, the practise was banned until relatively recently.

Opinion has been divided as to whether organ donations from a deceased person is permissible in Islam.

The body is viewed as sacred, during and after death, thus prohibiting cremation and tattoos.

One school of thought viewed the removal of organs after death as equally impermissible.

That view has largely changed, and among scholars and indeed many in society, to be seen as permissible to save another life.

The UAE’s largest transplant centre is receiving calls “every day” from prospective donors, providing hope to hundreds of patients on a waiting list for new organs.

Doctors at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) said they have been encouraged by the number of members of the public that have come forward to volunteer to give their organs in the event of their death.

The hospital has conducted four kidney transplants from deceased donors to living patients since a change in the law last year made the procedure possible for the first time.

It also intends to branch out from just kidney operations this year.

But with 1,100 people currently on dialysis and 200 new patients every year in government hospitals, medics want to spread awareness and promote a culture of donating organs.

“There are many people with organ failure in this country, so our job is to promote transplantation and let people know that there are options available,” said Dr Mohamed Al Seiari, consultant physician and a nephrologist at SKMC.

“To my surprise though, there are many families who want to donate. Every day we receive calls from people who want to donate after their death. There is an evident change in culture, but we still need further education and to spread the word.”

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – February 18th, 2018: Mohamed Yahya Al Seiari (Consultant Physician Nephrology). Organ donations and patients on waiting list for donations. Sunday, February 18th, 2018. Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Consultant physician Dr Mohamed Yahya Al Seiari said more and more members of the public are volunteering to donate their organs in the event of their death. Chris Whiteoak / The National
He gave an example of the Emirati parents of a four-year-old boy who died recently.

“Their son was just declared dead and they immediately told us to take his organs. They said that they didn’t want to go feeling that their son’s life has gone to waste. They literally fought with us to take their son’s organs after he was declared dead at the hospital.”

But the recent change means tha tthe UAE is starting a donor programme from scratch.

The deceased donor list is open to nationals and non UAE nationals in the UAE.

However, talks are still going on about the mechanism and how and where people can register to be donors.

Current procedures include hospital staff visiting emergency units and approaching families of eligible donors.

“As times passes and the registry develops, people will understand this concept more and be more than willing to donate,” said Dr Mohammed Badar Zaman, head of transplant and liver Surgery at SKMC.

“In the meantime, the way that it happens is that when someone dies in a hospital, and is confirmed dead, then someone approaches the family to ask for consent.”

He said there is a need to create a larger pool of potential donors.

“Every year 200 new patients are added to that list, so the number of patients who need to be transplanted in this country is quite high,” he said.

Everything you need to know about the UAE’s organ donor transplant programme

Boy gets new lease on life after successful kidney transplant in Abu Dhabi

He said the waiting list for organs reflects the general population, most are expats.

“It is well distributed amongst all nationalities but what we have noticed is that in the past couple of years, there has been a steady rise of Emiratis coming forward for transplantation,” he said.

Dr Mohammed Badar Zaman said a system will soon allow people to identify themselves as a donor, though it is not known if that will involve carrying a card, for example, as in some countries.

“The message is that soon the Department of Health will set up a registry, so national policies and procedures can be set out out,” he said.

“We have actively started the programme at SKMC for anyone who needs a transplant and does not have a living related donor.

“Anyone who wishes to register or needs a transplant can do so without discrimination. Anyone who wishes to donate their organs can contact us directly.

“Transplants are for anyone and everybody who is living in the UAE – whether a UAE national or not.”

what it is to be other and not who we think we are

Growing up as an army ‘brat’ we lived in many places and it wasn’t until I lived here that I had been in any one country for more than 2 maybe 3 years. I have now lived in UAE for more years than I have ever lived anywhere in my entire life. I am currently in my second Emirate and living in the second of the homes I have spent the most of my life in…. UAE since 1995 and how much change and development have we both grown through.
Having just read Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche AMERICANAH and been carried along in a very unexpected way I had to write something to myself and anyone else who might be interested.
I always knew I was white in the various countries I grew up but had never had that experience; she so well describes of finding out I was white! [Often called www as in ‘wicked witch of the west’ and ‘white western woman’] usually tongue in cheek. But as we know many a truth is said in jest. In her case arriving in America and then when Dike visits Nigeria and Lagos for the first time as a young man. The idea of African American and American African was quite remarkable to me but makes immense sense. I have watched Morgan Freeman interviewed on this topic and his response makes sense to me. He is an American and no he does not want is history celebrated in one month he wants it to be celebrated and he is correct. In the same way that Arabs would appreciate having their history and contributions recognised rather than obliterated by the great white
People of USA more than anywhere I have ever experiences are apparently obsessed with ethnicity. More so than my own country which alarms me.
Here in UAE I began to have some limited idea about being marginalised for race, gender an more recently age.

There is a whole different range and variation on the Arabs and whether you are GCC or MENA, from the Levant and indeed many Syrians do not consider theme selves Arabs at all
A saying here is you can take ”the Arab out of the country but you can not take the Arab out of the man”

Reflecting back on Occupational Therapy training and then working in the health service also social services I am now struck by how many people were living this life in the shadows as described by Obinze and how various friends, relatives ahve fared. Young men in particular who came from backgrounds that’Vincent’ would consider soft and privileged. Obinze describes when being deported the unnecessary humiliation and degradation he was subjected to because he wanted a choice for education. So many are now forced to make choices for their lives let alone to experience education and God forbid families, social stability and security.
Here in UAE their are also many and not just from Africa but all nationals of this world living between residency and visitor status. Desperate to stay and live this life of a country that invests in it’s people and expatriates wanting to make their lives here unlike that described by Ifemelu and her first experiences of jobs and ID cards!
And now TRUMPS USA! Boris and MAY’S UK….
Imagine having a choice and USA would be the better choice than your own country – to leave and be forever treated as other is too momentous and indeed monstrous to consider.

This book has been quite a journey for me and remarkable and in some instances revelationery in how connected I feel although I am not from Nigeria and have not traveled [or will ever travel] to USA.

Thank you for the journey and partial arrival

NB. These opinions and thoughts are entirely my own

children are not an insurance policy at any time in your life

I came across this item in today’s BBC World

And was intrigued by it
My elderly aunt never married and never had children that anyone knows about she lives in the North and is now 98
No one of her peer group is still alive and there were never any family where she chose to live and work.
She has retired to her room in residential care and no longer goes to the dining or recreation room. As she does not want to experience the humiliation of incontinence herself or witness another bearing the humiliation.
She reads, watches her favourite programs and that’s the sum of her day.
Occasionally she will pick up the phone when you call but her hearing is not good and she hates the hearing aid
Last time my youngest sister and I took our mother, her sister in law to visit they sat and traded health issues!
Until we said please is this a competition or can we talk about something else?
I cried inside whilst there and then cried unashamedly later.
It was heart breaking but then whom am I to say she is content enough. Chats to the carer’s and knows the teams they favour and the results!
It is not what I have in mind for myself

Children or niece’s and nephews are not an insurance policy

”I didn’t want to go to a pub and have unprotected sex with someone who’d had no STD checks
She had wanted children since she turned 30 and was envious of friends who were starting families. She was also shaken by a visit to her aunt in hospital. Her aunt didn’t have children, and Jessica believed she had been ignored by doctors as there had been no-one to insist on better care.
“I thought there was a risk of me ending up in a similar situation if I had no kids of my own. They can act as insurance for when you get older.””

Mother is now in her 91st year and has resided in a fab mini copy of her home with Daddy [Daddy departed in December 2013]for these past two years
There is a 24 hour alarm and carer’s come in daily
This doesn’t mean that she is ‘safe’ but she has her own home with her furniture and things of importance around her.
Again children are not an insurance policy

I have two children and relationships are difficult with more than 8 hours flight time between us all and it is me that is outside UK.Believe me they are definitely not an Insurance Policy

As Khalil Jibran says and I quote the opening stanza with which i agree

”They are not your children
They are the sons’ and daughters of life’s longing itself
They come through you but not from you
And though they are with you they belong not to you”

Your children are not yours they are theirs and will live their lives not yours.

How do you see yourself ? & how do others describe or see you?

It is the first day of a new year 2018 to be exact
And I was thinking over this past year
My late father always called December 31st OLD YEAR’S Night and i have tended to follow this tradition whimsical as it may appear. I have always thought of News Year Eve being tonight the first night of the new year!

I had a weird experience when calling to greet friends for Christmas in a different time zone and unfortunately hear myself being described as ”Peculiar and very difficult….” I was somewhat hurt

Then I reflected and remembered being described as eccentric late last year as in 2016! And at the time being indignant as I had only heard the word used in a negative context.
So I looked it up and found ‘yes’ indeed I am ‘eccentric’ ALHAMDIL’ALLAH and happy to be this way.
I live out near the mountains, I am unconventional, I travel to places such as Kabul Afghanistan or Erbil Kurdistan to try and make a small difference. Despite safety and security issues.
Life is for living and not a rehearsal and this has been brought home in many ways with extreme health and also early death for people I know well or friends of mine. Big reality check to value what we have.
‘Wanting what we have not wanting what we haven’t and desiring unreachable, unnecessary items’

Some ways of describing ‘eccentric’ are below for your enlightenment

(of a person or their behaviour) unconventional and slightly strange.
“he noted her eccentric appearance”
synonyms: unconventional, uncommon, abnormal, irregular, aberrant, anomalous, odd, queer, strange, peculiar, weird, bizarre, off-centre, outlandish, freakish, extraordinary; idiosyncratic, quirky, singular, nonconformist, capricious, whimsical; outré, avant garde; informalway out, far out, offbeat, dotty, nutty, screwy, freaky, oddball, wacky, cranky, off the wall, madcap, zany; informalrum; informalkooky, wacko, bizarro, in left field
“they were worried by his eccentric behaviour”
not placed centrally or not having its axis or other part placed centrally.
“a servo driving an eccentric cam”
a person of unconventional and slightly strange views or behaviour.
“he’s seen as a local eccentric”
synonyms: oddity, odd fellow, unorthodox person, character, individualist, individual, free spirit, misfit; More
a disc or wheel mounted eccentrically on a revolving shaft in order to transform rotation into backward-and-forward motion, e.g. a cam in an internal combustion engine.

We don’t always know what other people think of us and does it in fact matter

What ever we do we need to be real and true as this is our legacy.
I often say that I may compromise my integrity but I will never compromise my morals

Wishing everyone a safe secure and healthy 2018
Live as if it is your last day

sprouts love them or hate them

OHHHHH not sprouts
Those perfect little cabbages with tough to peel leaves..
Well they are delicious if you cook them a little bit differently from the way your grandmother did
Couldn’t buy loose ones here in RAK so had to buy a bag now thinking and searching ways to use the others
And boy do they taste good

Have several idea’s and hearing fro others also

One Brit/KSA friend roasts them with honey, rosemary and olive oil roasted
Fig balsamic and sea salt
My sister found chestnuts and bacon [will substitute beef bacon] and will try that tomorrow as found loose chestnuts in LUL RAK MALL

Then there was this Jamie Oliver one

MAIN THING is to cut them in half not to do those fiddly little crosses in the abse taught so perfectly by my late father

ENJOY what ever you do with them

Bursting with Middle Eastern flavours, this recipe will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about sprouts.


500g small brussels sprouts
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup (35g) hazelnuts, toasted
3/4 cup (200g) thick Greek-style yoghurt
2 tsp tahini
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp sumac
Coriander, dill and mint leaves, to serve
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1 Preheat oven to 200°C.
2 Parboil sprouts in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes or until almost tender. Transfer to a colander and set aside to drain.
3 Using a mortar and pestle, finely pound the cumin and coriander seeds with a pinch of salt. Transfer three-quarters crushed spices to a large bowl and add sprouts, onion, fennel and oil. Toss to combine, then spread sprouts in an even layer over one roasting pan, and the onion and fennel over a second roasting pan.
4 Roast onion mixture for 1 hour or until caramelised, and sprouts for 40 minutes or until beginning to caramelise. Once roasted, toss onion mixture with sprouts to combine. Cover and keep warm.
5 Meanwhile, using a mortar and pestle, pound sesame seeds and hazelnuts until coarsely ground. Combine with remaining crushed spice mixture and set aside.
6 When ready to serve, combine the yoghurt with the tahini, garlic and lemon zest and juice. Season, and spread evenly over a large serving platter. Sprinkle with sumac.
7 Spoon the warm roasted sprout mixture over the yoghurt mixture, scraping up all the crispy bits left in the pan. Sprinkle with the sesame and spice mixture, and scatter with coriander, dill and mint leaves to serve

Saudi allows women to drive trucks and motorcycles


I have a memory of a picture showing a fully covered lady on a skateboard with the caption
To busy being awesome to be repressed…

And not so long ago a picture of woman wake boarding behind a 4×4
What many don’t seem or are interested to realise that SAUDI woman do drive Just about anywhere other than their own country until now
They study abroad family members have worked abroad
As do most of us

Imagine fully abayaed ladies on motorbikes or drivIng trucks

Saudi allows women to drive trucks and motorcycles
Naser Al Wasmi

December 17, 2017
Updated: December 17, 2017 07:23 PM

Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive from June 2018 in a historic decision as part of the ambitious reforms taking place in the kingdom. Fayez Nuereldine / AFP
Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive from June 2018 in a historic decision as part of the ambitious reforms taking place in the kingdom. Fayez Nuereldine / AFP
Women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to operate commercial vehicles, drive trucks and ride motorcycles on the kingdom’s roads next summer, according to authorities in Riyadh.

Months after the historic decision to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia, the traffic department issued new details on the law expected to come into effect next year, said the state-run Saudi Press Agency (Spa).

Weeks after the announcement, some feared the move would be implemented with strict female-specific laws placing conditions on issuing licences to women in Saudi Arabia.

However, the new regulations, which refer to women “as equal” to male drivers, dispel fears that licences for women will be any different to those for men.

The new regulations also state that GCC-issued licenses could be swapped for Saudi Arabian driving permits, though the details on whether this will apply to expatriate women is still unknown.

The General Authority said there will be no female-specific licence plate numbers, but that traffic violations committed by women will be dealt with by a special police unit.

Three months ago, King Salman issued a royal decree stipulating that women will be allowed to drive as of June next year. The announcement set off a wave of ambitious reforms spearheaded by the king’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The move to allow women to drive has been welcomed by many in Saudi Arabia, where strict regulations on women have been easing in recent years. Authorities mentioned that involving women in the kingdom’s Vision 2030 will likely be a crucial step as the oil-rich state begins to diversify its economy.

Ahead of June next year, the Saudi federal authority of transport has contracted institutions around the country, including the King Abdulaziz University, to provide women with driving lessons that are needed for some of those applying for a driver’s licence in the country.

As millions of women begin to take to Saudi Arabia’s roads, the public authority expects that up to a million foreign workers will be made obsolete as a young female population that was previously reliant on drivers to get around look to drive themselves.

Many women may still choose to employ drivers, however.

Meanwhile, women looking to apply for commercial licences for driving will be asked to go through the same procedures as men, Spa said.

TICKING a box is not enough Right person right time and place

Interesting piece by Hessa Al Ghurair

It is indeed not just about ticking a box
And its not only the private sector that does this. It is also the government
Right person, right job, right place and right time are critical for individual, company and community success

If we don’t grow people to their potential then what are we doing
Having people in a place where they just survive or hibernate is not adding value or providing role models.
The use of psychometric has got out of hand and is manipulated to certain people in all places
It is not personality we recruit for it is behaviours
And behaviour’s can not be changed but we can learn how to harness them to the betterment of all

2018 year of behaviour’s over personality…….

It is not enough to just ‘tick the box’ when it comes to Emiratisation
Organisations need to create a culture of growth for Emiratis, writes Hessa Al Ghurair

Hessa Al Ghurair

December 12, 2017

Updated: December 12, 2017 06:38 PM
A group of young Emirati women attend a careers fair in Dubai. Reem Mohammed / The National
A group of young Emirati women attend a careers fair in Dubai. Reem Mohammed / The National
Earlier this month we celebrated the UAE’s 46th National Day. There is so much that we can be proud of as a country. As chief human resource officer of one of the UAE’s banks, I am particularly proud of the role played by our nation’s leaders in nurturing and supporting such a hardworking and talented Emirati workforce.

They have always recognised that young people are our future. They have the potential to be global citizens who help companies to shape societies and economies by bringing fresh and compassionate points of view, ideas, vigour and passion to the table.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has prioritised building a knowledge-based economy by empowering the national workforce. In 2014, he launched a seven-year nationalisation plan as part of the UAE Vision 2021, which aims to develop the skills of Emiratis and fill senior-level positions with local talent. This is being done through a points system that ranks and rewards performance across key areas, including employing women, supporting education and training, and encouraging flexible working conditions.

This sends a strong message to all industries that it is not enough to just “tick the box” when it comes to Emiratisation. Organisations need to create a culture of growth for Emiratis by taking a long-term view and building integrated and holistic Emiratisation programmes.

Yet Emiratis continue to be under-represented in the private sector. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation found that 38 per cent of Emirati jobseekers felt private sector salaries weren’t competitive enough and that 33 per cent refused a position due to geographical location.

To fix this, the private sector needs to ensure that nationals can gain access to entry-level positions and access the tools needed to build their capabilities, so that they can move on to positions with greater leadership and responsibility. Companies must invest in human capital through supportive infrastructure, personal mentoring, and the development of succession plans for national talent. And they must partner with the public sector and educational institutions so that market needs, industry trends and curriculum can interlink.

My sector, banking, remains an attractive career path for Emiratis, who find it stable, attractive and flexible. Since December last year, the broader financial services sector achieved Emiratisation levels of 20 to 45 per cent. I am proud to say that Commercial Bank International achieved 330 Emiratisation points in September 2017, exceeding the Central Bank target of 208 points by December 2017.

Helping a UAE bank to achieve this has been one of my biggest career achievements to date.

I have the Mother of the Nation, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, to thank for much of my career success. She has been my main role model and a true source of inspiration to me throughout my working life, as she has been for so many other Emirati women.

By positioning the female agenda firmly at the centre of government prioritisation, she has set the foundation for women’s empowerment in the UAE and inspired thousands of other women to each play a role in this progress.

The UAE now sets an example for many countries in the Middle East and across the rest of the world. In 2012, we became the first country in the Arab region and the second country in the world to introduce a mandatory female presence in the boardroom. In February 2015, the UAE formed a Gender Balance Council to oversee government efforts to ensure gender balance and one year later, eight new federal ministerial appointments were announced, five of which were Emirati women.

To continue this powerful momentum in both the public and private sector, we need to prepare women for leadership positions by creating opportunities and developing skills through training and mentorship.

Understanding my professional potential was one of my biggest barriers early on in my career, as I did not have the confidence to take a seat at the table and make my goals known. My mentor at the time motivated me to push myself out of my comfort zone, and I quickly realised that I was limiting my possibilities before. Through self-assessment and feedback from others, I continued to make my career objectives known, and was able to overcome my barriers.

My advice to young Emiratis, male or female, looking to enter the private sector, is to surround yourself with brilliant leaders and learn from their examples. Ensure that you have a formal or informal mentor or coach; their network, advice and resources will be invaluable to your growth early in your career. And say yes to as many things you can. This is the only way to expand your horizon and deepen your business knowledge.

​​Hessa Al Ghurair is chief human resources officer of CBI

circles and nourishment

his is a fascinating article
The whole idea of KARMA and life going in cycle and devouring ourselves or animals devouring themselves
Well worth the read and check out the pictures as well for detail and generational relationships and ideas of the times

Check the link for the images

It is perhaps fitting that the ancient ouroboros marks the beginning – and end – of Never Ending Stories, a major exhibition currently showing at Germany’s Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg. Spanning multiple mediums, time periods, and fields, the exhibition explores the concept of the loop on a hitherto unseen scale. “The loop is very telling for our times,” says curator Ralf Beil, “and the concept of the loop has never been presented in a larger consideration of time and space.” Organised into 14 thematic sections, Never Ending Stories looks at loops in not only religion and philosophy, but also modern and contemporary art, film, music and literature.
(Credit: LIMA, Amsterdam)
For Breathing In Breathing Out (1977), Marina Abramović and Ulay blocked their nostrils with cigarette filters and pressed their mouths together (Credit: LIMA, Amsterdam)
And the ouroboros is one of the most compelling, a symbol that has been the subject of awe and wonder for millennia. Literally meaning ‘tail-devourer’ in Greek, it has appeared in numerous forms in a wide array of contexts and geographies. In its original and most common variation, it depicts a snake eating its own tail in a closed circle. The ouroboros, however, isn’t Greek, and certainly isn’t a celebration of self-cannibalism. What, then, are its origins, and what does it signify?
Here comes the sun
The oldest-known ouroboros appeared on a golden shrine in the tomb of Tutankhamen – ‘King Tut’ – in Egypt in the 13th Century BC, after a brief lull in traditional religion brought about by his predecessor, Akhenaten. According to leading Egyptologist Jan Assmann, the symbol “refers to the mystery of cyclical time, which flows back into itself”. The ancient Egyptians understood time as a series of repetitive cycles, instead of something linear and constantly evolving; and central to this idea was the flooding of the Nile and the journey of the sun.
(Credit: Zentralbibliothek Zürich)
Aurora Consurgens, a 15th-Century alchemical manuscript, features the ouroboros, linked with the symbols of the sun, moon, and mercury (Credit: Zentralbibliothek Zürich)
The flooding of the Nile in summer marked the beginning of the year, and served as a metaphor of cyclical time, flowing “back into itself like a circle … [enabling] renewal, repetition, and regeneration,” as Assmann says. Similarly, the sun was believed to be the source of cyclical time, undertaking a nightly journey to the waters of Nun (a sort of primordial void), fraught with all sorts of obstacles, whence it would find its way back to the sky. As such, the ouroboros in its original Egyptian context symbolised repetition, renewal, and the eternal cycle of time.
Known as the oldest allegorical symbol in alchemy, the ouroboros represented the concept of eternity and endless return
Like the sun, the ouroboros underwent a journey of its own. From Egypt, it found its way to the Greek alchemists of Hellenistic Alexandria. In the Chrysopoeia (transmutation into gold) of Cleopatra, the ouroboros appears slightly differently. A pictorial alchemical papyrus from the 3rd-Century AD, it dealt with the creation of gold, and the ouroboros appears among the mysterious symbols and images encircling the Greek words ‘One is All’.
Known as the oldest allegorical symbol in alchemy, the ouroboros in this context represented the concept of eternity and endless return, as well as the unity of time’s beginning and end, rather than the Egypt-specific journeys of the sun and the Nile. Elsewhere on the papyrus, in a double ring, appears the complete maxim, of which ‘One is All’ is only a part: ‘One is All, and by it All, and for it All’, it reads, ‘and if it does not contain All, then All is Nothing’.
(Credit: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin)
The ouroboros appears in the classic alchemical study, Atalanta Fugiens (1617), by the physician to Emperor Rudolf II, Michael Maier (Credit: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin)
The ouroboros was also of significance to the Gnostics. From a Gnostic viewpoint, the opposing ends of the ouroboros were interpreted as the divine and earthly in man, which, despite being at odds with one another, existed in unison nonetheless. In this sense, it is comparable to the Chinese yin and yang, depicting the harmony of contrary forces, as well as the cosmic dichotomy of light and darkness in Manichaeism and the Zoroastrian philosophy of the farvahar, which first posited that each soul was composed of a pure, divine component, as well as a human one.
The ouroboros also appears in other ancient traditions. In Norse mythology, the serpent Jörmungandr encircles the world with its tail in its mouth, while in Hinduism, the ouroboros forms part of the foundation upon which the Earth rests. In the more widespread Roman variant of Iranian Mithraism, Zurvan, symbolising ‘boundless time’, is depicted with an ouroboros entwined around his body, while the Mesoamerican deity Quetzalcoatl is often seen in the form of an ouroboros.
(Credit: Alamy)
The ouroboros is part of Hindu iconography, as in this drawing of a tortoise supporting elephants upon which the Earth rests, enclosed by the serpent, Asootee (Credit: Alamy)
As if this weren’t enough, the ouroboros went on to enjoy much popularity among Renaissance alchemists. Again representing the infinite nature of time and the eternal, it was seen in the eyes of the alchemists as the ultimate obstacle to be overcome in the Magnum Opus, their incessant struggle; for to become immortal – their chief aim – meant to break the incessant cycle of the ouroboros once and for all. That they would also come to possess, through their experiments, the prized ‘philosopher’s stone’ that would bring them all the bling in the world, was mere icing on the cake.
Around and around
Never Ending Stories begins and ends with the ouroboros because it is a symbol that has resonated throughout so many different eras. “Its fascination derives from the archaic preciseness of the image,” explains Beil, “instantly understandable by every culture, and thus used by a majority of them for two-thousand years”. The exhibition looks at other ways in which the loop has been represented, creating a multi-sensory experience with myriad elements – visual, aural, and physical – repeating ad infinitum.
(Credit: Bridget Riley)
Other loops in Never Ending Stories include hypnotic works like Blaze 4 (1964) by Bridget Riley, which mesmerises with its optical effects (Credit: Bridget Riley)
Beil has placed the loops on display into five categories: continuous circles and squares (like the ouroboros); Möbius strips; infinite cycles produced by the Droste Effect (or, as André Gide called it, mise en abyme); Penrose stairs, never-ending staircases partly inspired by the works of MC Escher (and which, in turn, inspired the works of Escher); and permanent, identical loops of all kinds, irrespective of their elements.
Aside from delving into the nature of loops and their various forms, the exhibition highlights their ubiquity in esoteric and historical, as well as more popular contexts. Take, for instance, the well-known Greek myth of Sisyphus, forever condemned to roll a boulder up a hill in Tartarus, which rolls back down again before it can surpass it. Or, Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Behold, we know what you teach,” says the author to his protagonist (the antithesis, in fact, of the historical Iranian prophet), “that all things occur eternally and we ourselves along with them, and that we have already been here times eternal and all things along with us.”
(Credit: 2017 The MC Escher Company – The Netherlands)
Works by MC Escher, such as Drawing Hands (1948), contain visual paradoxes, creating spirals that have no end and no beginning (Credit: 2017 The MC Escher Company)
In the same setting can be seen the drawings of Escher, Yayoi Kusama’s glittering Infinity Mirrored Roominstallation – “a trance-like, four-by-four-metre infinity of light: a highly cyclical eternity”, according to Beil – Marcel Duchamp’s spiralling Rotoreliefs from the 30s and 60s and architectural proposals by Le Corbusier, while songs like Donna Summer’s I Feel Love and Kraftwerk’s Autobahn form part of the soundtrack.
From the ancient Egyptian journey of the sun to Donna Summer, the loop – so often represented by the ouroboros – has been inextricably bound to our concept of time. The Renaissance-era alchemists saw the ouroboros as something to break out of in pursuit of a linear, rather than cyclical, eternity – and today, it might make us reconsider how we view each moment that passes.


Great work by HH Sheik Hamdan yesterday
BUT this is everyday
AND it is not just about volunteering you should be taking care of yourself, others and the environment everyday
Our survival depends on it
OUr children’s future depends on it as well as animals, sea life, flora and fauna
Put your own oxygen mask on first then assist others and your space
For those who may have missed ti NATIONAL item

Dubai Crown Prince spends day cleaning seabed of rubbish
Sheikh Hamdan sets example of Dubai called UAE residents to adopt environmentally-friendly practices

Caline Malek
Caline Malek
December 5, 2017
Updated: December 5, 2017 05:37 PM

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid, Crown Prince of Dubai, leads volunteers into the water in a marine-clean up drive. Courtesy: WAM
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid, Crown Prince of Dubai, leads volunteers into the water in a marine-clean up drive. Courtesy: WAM
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, spent the day, picking rubbish from the seabed during a dive off the Marina as he sought to deliver a message to protect the environment.

“I heard you. Thank you for your incredible contributions. After careful consideration, I have chosen to dedicate my day to cleaning the sea,” he said.

He had earlier asked social media followers how he should spend International Volunteer Day, and received 6,000 ideas in six days.

“Making a difference to the environment starts with the small changes we make in our everyday lives.”

The ideas were meant to inspire and encourage others to follow suit.

Those who suggested the initiative were also invited to accompany Sheikh Hamdan on his quest.

Sheikh Hamdan expressed his delight in children’s participation, namely Mohammad and Saeed Subaih Al Falasi, and Abdullah Ahmad AlMarri, as well as more than 25 diving experts of different ages and nationalities.

“I was delighted to have received the suggestion of diving and cleaning the marine environment from the Emirati child Rashed Marwan AlMarri and Indian child Hanan Mohammed Ali – both who are not older than 12,” he said.

“This is a testament to our children’s awareness of the importance of preserving marine environment and ensuring that future generations get to enjoy a healthy and clean environment in the years to come. Our city is our home and we are all responsible for its cleanliness and for sustaining its resources.

“The activity conducted today not only raises awareness about the importance of preserving the environment but also effectively marries our vision for environmental volunteering and the country’s efforts in this space,” he added.

“There’s a clear correlation between environmental preservation and volunteer work, in large part because the environment affects all aspects of a community and those in it.

“We have developed rules, strategic plans and programmes that support the preserving of the environment and our natural resources – all in support of the government’s larger vision of investing in people and achieving a happy and healthy community.

“Volunteer work is one of the most important means for advancement in society and its success depends on various factors – most importantly, a driven population that believes in volunteer work and its positive impact on society.”