13 essential blogs and websites to help you understand the Middle East

The Middle East is one of the world’s most complex regions. Media reports struggle to get across the context and nuance needed to get a clear understanding of events on the ground. Meanwhile, books and academic works often seem stuck in time and can be rendered irrelevant overnight in the face of rapid developments. These … Continue reading 13 essential blogs and websites to help you understand the Middle East

What to wear when travelling the Middle East

As a western woman, it can be hard to know what to wear when travelling in the Middle East. After virtually every trip I’ve taken to the region I’ve been asked what I wear and whether I've needed to cover up. I get the impression that confusion over what’s appropriate and what’s not massively discourages … Continue reading What to wear when travelling the Middle East

Stronger Than Bullets: Music on the Frontlines of Libya’s Revolution

“Music gives me power, it gives me hope. It moves hearts… Strings have more power than bullets, stronger than bullets” – Masoud Buisir, the Troubadour of the Libyan revolution. You wouldn’t necessarily expect this statement to come out of Libya, a country that has been torn apart by revolution, counter-revolution, extremism and warring factions since … Continue reading Stronger Than Bullets: Music on the Frontlines of Libya’s Revolution

5 initiatives using food to support Syrian refugees

Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, more than half of the country’s 21 million strong population has been displaced. Around 5 million of these people are living as refugees outside of Syria. While the civil war and the refugee ‘crisis’ have been met with feelings of hopelessness and despair around the world, a number … Continue reading 5 initiatives using food to support Syrian refugees

Leïla Slimani’s Lullaby: A Post-feminist Wakeup Call

By Katie Holland In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, French–Moroccan author Leïla Slimani admitted using the grisly subject matter of her novel Lullaby — the murder of two children at the hands of their nanny — to illuminate the “utterly boring and repetitive” life of a childminder, grounding the brutal crime in a … Continue reading Leïla Slimani’s Lullaby: A Post-feminist Wakeup Call

Caliphate: The addictive ISIS podcast that’s causing controversy

As avid podcast listeners will know, the New York Times recently wrapped up its binge-worthy 10-part podcast series, Caliphate, which delves into the inner workings of the billion dollar operation that is/was the Islamic State. With thousands of 5-star reviews on iTunes, this dramatic podcast has hooked people by sharing unique, first-hand insights into what … Continue reading Caliphate: The addictive ISIS podcast that’s causing controversy

Socotra: Conflict and climate threaten Yemen’s “alien” island paradise

Famous for its bizarre natural life and dramatic scenery, the Yemeni island of Socotra is an almost other-worldly paradise in the Indian Ocean. But this isolated UNESCO World Heritage Site is under threat from extreme weather and a bloody conflict encroaching on its peaceful way of life. (image: Juan Herrero) Nicknamed ‘the Galapagos of the … Continue reading Socotra: Conflict and climate threaten Yemen’s “alien” island paradise