With Christmas just around the corner, we thought we’d put together a Wishlist for Arabic students / anyone interested in the Middle East! We’ve got the perfect selection of stocking fillers from, or inspired by the Middle East and North Africa, with an emphasis on products and brands that support local creatives or social causes. Send it to your nearest and dearest to give them a friendly nudge in the right direction this Christmas!
Don’t worry, Hans Wehr didn’t make the cut (but if you got that reference then this list is definitely for you!).
Inspired by the old-school Arabists like T. E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell, ex-military explorer Levison Wood is back with the story of his latest adventure – a 6 month trek around the Arabian Peninsula. The book combines the adrenaline of his escapades with forays into the complex history and politics of the countries he visited.
This beautiful, colourful collection of earrings is handcrafted by Syrian refugee women in Istanbul. Muhra is a social enterprise that seeks to empower women affected by conflict and help them rebuild their lives.
“Working with this project feels like living as a family, as part of the community center.”
Many a tourist has left Marrakech with a tightly packed Berber rug in their suitcase. For those who didn’t buy one – and regretted it! – Berberology has got you covered. Their gorgeous range of carpets, cushions and throws will help you turn your home (or uni room) into a Berber-inspired paradise.
Intibint, as she calls herself on Instagram, is a talented Yemeni illustrator, singer and proud advocate for women’s rights. In her Etsy shop, she stocks t-shirts and tote bags with her illustrations and donates 50% of her profits to charities in Yemen.
“Women are the future”
This funky, Arabic take on that famous Friends sweater will impress your classmates and keep you warm! All of Velveteee’s products are designed by Fatima, a Syrian illustrator based in Turkey who started the brand with the aim of infusing Western street culture with a Middle Eastern aesthetic.
The 7 Virtues is a fragrance company founded by journalist Barb Stegemann with the mission of supporting communities rebuilding after conflict and disaster. Her work began in Afghanistan, where sourcing legal orange blossom and rose essential oil crops freed Afghan farmers from the illegal poppy crop and liberated their daughters from becoming young opium brides. She has since created perfumes with ingredients from Israel/Palestine, Rwanda, Haiti and India.
“My real job is to make rebuilding more exciting than destruction. I do this through perfume.”
These fun vintage prints offer a visual reminder of a time before the Middle East became synonymous with conflict and violence.
Wear the Peace Clothing was found by two college students in Chicago to promote peace around the world. For every piece of clothing they sell, they donate a piece of clothing to someone in need. They work with Helping Hand for Relief and Development who help refugees across the Middle East.
9. The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State – Book by Nadia Murad
The inspiring story of Nobel Peace Prize Winner and UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad, a Yezidi woman who escaped captivity and unimaginable abuse under the Islamic State and has since dedicated her life to fighting for justice for her people.
Chabi Chic offers a range of stylish clothing, accessories, homeware, and beauty products inspired by Moroccan culture and tradition, but with a distinctly modern twist. Their ceramic products, which are handmade by Moroccan craftsmen in traditional Moroccan patterns, will bring a hint of Marrakech to your home.
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