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Web Critic: a Website about Aleppo

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The best way to experience Aleppo, other than going there, is to view the pages of this website, Historische Alepposeife, which means Aleppo soap in English. The authors are clearly overweening, but their rambles through the city, its history and its specters is entertaining enough.

This is true for the North Arabian Diary in particular, from 2007, with words and pictures, and occasional ideological quarrels between Germans and Arabs, some news (more frequent updates there wouldn’t hurt), and an overview over Syria’s foreign-language media.


Written by taide

November 19, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Vrouw Antje comes to Aleppo

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When people talk about Historische Alepposeife, they mean HISTORICAL Aleppo soap, which means that it is very old and traditional.

But now that Vrouw Antje has arrived in Aleppo…

Vrouw Antje comes to Aleppo

Vrouw Antje comes to Aleppo

things are becoming messy… 

Vrouw Antje: You can look, but you better not touch

Vrouw Antje: You can look, but you better not touch

And when I say messy, I mean REAL messy:

Something's rotten in the souq

Something's rotten in the souq

Actually, even worse…

Aleppo soap spacecakes

Aleppo spacecakes

It’s THAT messy now!

So mind the Dutch, next time you come to Aleppo. Recent excavations suggest that Antje’s been here for a long time:

Aleppo Ancient Boobmonsta Excavation Site

Aleppo Ancient Boobmonsta Excavation Site

And when I say for a long time, I mean for a REAL long time!

(Not) the Queen Diana of the Orient, September 12, 2009
En nu… zit Jesper zelf op de Trekker, June 13, 2008

Aleppo Soap Production

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Last time I was writing about Syria was in Summer 2008, and it wasn’t nice. So today, once again something about the old country’s civilisation. It’s economy and its products. About Aleppo soap and its production. Photos from Historische Alepposeife, used with permission.

Olive Grove close to the Kurdish Town of Afrin

1) Olive Grove close to the Kurdish Town of Afrin, Northwest of Aleppo.

     Pressing the Olives out, First round

2) Pressing the Olives out, First round.

3) Oil from First press (Edible)

3) Oil from First press (Edible).

4) Residue of 2nd pressing (the oil of this is commonly used for Aleppo soap)

4) Residue of 2nd pressing (the oil of this is commonly used for Aleppo soap).

5) Empty Cauldron, before production

5) Empty Cauldron, before production.

6) Boiling and stirring the Soap - still without laurel oil added

6) Boiling and stirring the Soap - still without laurel oil added.

7) A Barrel of Soda ashes (also known as Sodium Carbonate) is opened and added.

7) A Barrel of Soda ashes (also known as Sodium Carbonate) is opened and added.

Sodium Carbonate Unpacked

8) Sodium Carbonate Unpacked.

9) Ready for the Cauldron

9) Ready for the Cauldron.

10) Stoker Entrance - to the fuel room for the Cauldron

10) Stoker Entrance - to the fuel room for the Cauldron.

11) Soap Cutting Tool (Cooling Floor still Empty)

11) Soap Cutting Tool (Cooling Floor still Empty).

12) pipe leading from the cauldron to the cooling floor (one storey up)

12) pipe leading from the cauldron to the cooling floor (one storey up).

13) Laurel Oil added to Boiling Soap Paste

13) Laurel Oil added to Boiling Soap Paste.

14) The Soap Paste, Pumped here from the Cauldron, is Cooling (see photo 11 and 12) - to be cut later (see photo 11).

14) The Soap Paste, Pumped here from the Cauldron, is Cooling (see photo 11 and 12) - to be cut later (see photo 11).

Written by taide

February 21, 2009 at 9:45 am

Aleppo Seife Louise’s (potentially) Sad Story

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“Alepposeife ist schön. Macht Alepposeife auch schön?

The above is from a German article, and it says it better than my post of July 14. So here is a translation of it…

Aleppo soap is beautiful. It is even very beautiful. But does it also make you beautiful?

Something's Rotten in the Souq

Something's Rotten in the Souq

Let’s be logical. When Aleppo Soap Louise says in the Aleppo-soap-makes-beautiful-forum that Aleppo soap makes you beautiful, that means, of course, that Louise is using it for beauty care. And beauticare usually doesn’t mean that Louise is looking at the soap and smiles because of its beauty, and thus looks more beautiful. NO, the Aleppo soap gets into contact with Louise’s skin.

Which puts us right at the centre of a considerable brawl.

The brawl seems to run through every beauty community, and through the European Community, too.

Of course, we’ve been a European Union for a long time already, but back then, when the European Commission was dealing with the possible impacts of laurel oil, it was still a Community. The corresponding documentation is “Council’s Cosmetic directive 76/768/EEC”. EEC stands for “European Economic Community”.

Apparently, different member states take different degrees of liberties in implementing this guideline, and they don’t interpret it in identical ways either. This is true for Aleppo soap, too. The legal status may lead one and the same merchant to sell the same soap with a warning and disclaimer (as for the use of the soap as cosmetics) in one country, and without such footnotes in another EU member state.

Anyway – Aleppo soap, like any cosmetics, is under similarly close scrutiny in Germany as is foodstuff. Registration of cosmetics with the Giftnotzentrale [a literal translation would be poison emergency center] is as essential as at the Amt für Lebensmittelüberwachung [Food Control Office].

Complaints about “bureaucratic juggernauts” or “lobbyism” (“the chemical industry just wants to protect its own interests!”) are regular reactions. On the other hand, Aleppo Soap Louise certainly wants her skin to be protected from inconveniences that might direct themselves against her skin.
Just imagine some laurel-oil Aleppo soap did leave undesired traces in Louise’s face – even just ahead of her next shooting. Than it wouldn’t be fun anymore, and the soap merchant (Aleppo Soap Louise’s best friend only minutes ago) would get a letter from Louise’s attorney.

The hint that life itself leaves traces in faces too would hardly save the merchant. And excuses like “It wasn’t the Aleppo soap at all – Louise better gave her dog an anthelmintic therapy” is just as unlikely to save anyone. The main question probably will be: was the Aleppo soap sold in accordance with legal requirements?

Written by taide

August 10, 2008 at 8:23 am

Posted in society, Syria

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Aleppo soap and its miraculous Effects

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Hi dear reader,
and now for something LIGHT…
I had looked for some Syrian soap, or rather Aleppo soap on ebay. There are several offers there, and some product descriptions are so cool that I can’t help but sharing them here. For example…
Aleppo soap – (…) made of pure olive oil
Aleppo soap has been produced in a high-quality, natural process for millenia. The olive oil cleans the skin and greases back at the same time. As it is so mild (pH neutral), it is applicable to every type of skin. The use of natural ingredients only makes it both outstandingly caring-effective and 100% biodegradable.
From its ochre-coloured surface you can see its gentle air-drying which takes six to nine months. The olive-green colour inside is an indicator for its strong vitamin-E content.
Aleppo soap is purely herbal,  pH neutral, antiseptic, highly efficient, has a high amount of vitamin E, is biodegradable, produced in a gentle way, and free of preserving agents (…)
You are purchasing by auction 1 piece of Aleppo soap, 190 to 200 grammes. This soap emphasizes the properties of laurel oil. It cleans, nourishes, disinfects and calms, invigorates and refreshes. Healing and calming effect on skin problems such as acne, allergies, eczema, and psoriasis. The more dry the skin is, the higher a laurel concentration should be chosen.
An oriental secret for skin and hair care.
Subtly fragrant, 100% herbal and naturally pure olive soap from the Orient, produced just like 1000 years and more ago in Syria, made of 80% olive and 20% laurel oil. The soap is made of 100% renewable ingredients and contains no artificial preserving agents, no ionic tensides, technical colours, flavours (such as perfume), or animal additives. Production is carried out without animal experiments. (…)
This is beautiful too:
In Syria, production of soap was first mentioned on the Ebla Tablets around 1000 B.C. as a medical cure. (…) Laurel soap is a merely herbal soap, without chemical or animal additives. It is good for cleaning and caring for the skin, and also for shaving, and against dandruff (leave it there for two to three minutes). It is refreshing and supports the self-regulating function of your skin. The pH value animates the body to release poison and acids through the skin. The skin can breathe and sweat without losing humidity. The skins acid mantle protection of the skin doesn’t get affected.
In case of hypersensitive skin, allergies, and neuro-dermatological diseases the soap can be used, too. Itching and lotioning is over when using laurel soap. It produces little foam and therefore lasts long. If kept dry, it can be stored for several decades.
Ingredients: 30% native olive oil kba, 30% genuine laurel oil kba, thereof 30% fat laurel oil kba (…)
OK, let’s sum this down: chemotherapeutic agents, penicillin, and sulphoamide? Geez, the Fertile Crescent’s nature and science have blessed us with a completely unobserved substance that doesn’t only help with dry skin, but dandruff, acne, allergies, eczema, and Elephantiasis, too! It’s even antibacterial! That’s probably why Aleppo has never been afflicted by pestilence, cholera, and Berriberri.
Alright, it is still no perpetuum mobile, but you can’t ask everything from a 200 grammes piece of soap.
Time for the United Nations or Bill Gates to test its effect against malaria, yellow fever and tuberculosis.

Hallo meine lieben LeserInnen, heute leihe ich mir mal was.
Am Wochenende habe ich beim deutschen Ebay nach syrischer Seife, oder besser nach Alepposeife gesucht. Es gibt dort jede menge Anbieter und ein paar Produktbeschreibungen sind einfach so klasse, dass ich sie an dieser Stelle wiedergeben möchte:
Aleppo Seife – (…) aus reinem Olivenöl
Die Aleppo-Seife wird seit Jahrtausenden nach einem hochwertigen, natürlichen Verfahren hergestellt. Das Olivenöl reinigt die Haut und sorgt gleichzeitig für deren Rückfettung. Dank der Milde (ph-neutral) eignet sich die Aleppo-Seife für jeden Hauttyp. Die Verwendung ausschließlich natürlicher Zutaten, bewirkt neben der hervorragenden Pflegewirkung auch die 100% biologische Abbaubarkeit.
An der ockerfarbigen äußeren Schicht erkennt man die schonende 6-9 Monate dauernde Lufttrocknung. Das olivgrün im Inneren der Seife ist ein Indikator für den hohen Vitamin-E Gehalt.
(Alepposeife ist)
… rein pflanzlich
… pH-neutral
… antiseptisch
… höchste Ergiebigkeit
… hoher Vitamin-E Gehalt
… biologisch abbaubar
… schonende Herstellung
… ohne Konservierungsstoffe (…)
Oder auch:
Sie bieten auf 1 Stück Alepposeife, Stück zwischen 190 – 200g.
80 % Oliven- und  20 % Lorbeeröl, ca. zwei Jahre alt
Diese Seife unterstreicht die Eigenschaften des Lorbeeröls. Sie reinigt, nährt, desinfiziert und beruhigt, belebt und erfrischt. Wirkt heilend und beruhigend bei Hautproblemen, wie Akne, Allergien, Ekzemen und Psoriasis. Je trockener die Haut, desto höher sollte man den Lorbeeranteil wählen. 
Ein Geheimnis aus dem Orient zur Pflege von Haut und Haar
Fein duftende, 100 % pflanzliche naturreine Olivenseife aus dem Orient, hergestellt wie schon seit über 1000 Jahren in Syrien aus 80 % Oliven- und 20 % Lorbeeröl. Die Seife ist aus 100 % nachwachsenden Rohstoffen und enthält keine künstlichen Konservierungsstoffe, keine ionischen Tenside, technische Farben, Aromen (wie z.B. Parfümierung) oder tierische Zusatzstoffe. Die Herstellung erfolgt ohne Tierversuche. (…)
Und richtig prima:
handgemachte Seife aus Aleppo (Syrien)
In Syrien findet die Herstellung von Seifen erstmals auf den Ebla-Tafeln um 1000 v. Chr. Erwähnung als medizinisches Heilmittel.
Lorbeerseife ist eine rein pflanzliche Seife; frei von chemischen und tierischen Zusätzen. Sie ist Reinigungs- und Pflegemittel für Haut & Haare und zudem geeignet für die Rasur und zur Bekämpfung von Kopfschuppen.(2-3 Min. einwirken lassen). Sie wirkt erfrischend und unterstützt die selbstregulierende Funktion der Haut. Der ph-Wert regt den Körper an, Gifte und Säuren über die Haut auszuscheiden. Die Haut kann atmen und schwitzen, ohne Feuchtigkeit zu verlieren.
Der Säureschutzmantel der Haut wird nicht angegriffen.
Auch bei überempfindlicher Haut; Allergien und neurodermatologischen Erkrankungen, kann die Seife verwendet werden. Jucken und eincremen der Haut entfällt bei Benutzung der Lorbeerseife  Sie produziert wenig Schaum und ist deshalb sehr ergiebig. Trocken gehalten kann sie mehrere Jahrzehnte gelagert werden.
Inhaltsstoffe: 70% natives Olivenöl kbA, 30% echtes Lorbeeröl kbA – davon 30% fettes Lorbeeröl kbA (…)
Also, fassen wir alles das einmal zusammen: Chemotherapeutika, Penicillin und Sulfoamide? Bah, die Natur und die Wissenschaft des fruchtbaren Halmondes hat uns einen bis jetzt völlig übersehenen Stoff geschenkt, der nicht nur gegen trockene Haut hilft, sondern auch bei Kopfschuppen, Akne, Allergien, Ekzemen und Elephantiasis eingesetzt werden kann. Und Antibakteriell ist die Alepposeife auch noch; wahrscheinlich wurde Aleppo deshalb auch nie von Pest, Cholera und Beri-Beri heimgesucht.
Nun gut, ein Perpetuum mobile scheint Alepposeife nicht zu sein, aber sollten die UNO oder Bill Gates nicht endlich ihre Wirkung gegen Malaria, Gelbfieber und Tuberkulose untersuchen lassen?

Written by taide

July 14, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Posted in bs, Germany, society, Syria, UN

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