You may have seen the news of the recent successes of Syrian wife, mother and filmmaker Waad al-Kateab’s remarkable documentary, For Sama. We thought this would be an excellent opportunity to showcase and celebrate Waad’s story and her success, along with some of the other great achievements of Arab women in film in recent years. Below are three incredible films from inspiring female directors from the Arab World that you absolutely need to watch!
When most people in the ‘West’ think of Arabic music, we tend to imagine the deep twanging sounds of the oud and the cliché oriental music of Hollywood films romanticising the ‘East’. Most people outside the Middle East and North Africa have no idea how varied Arabic really music is. It ranges from the old classics like Fairuz to the upbeat dance music out of the clubs of Beirut, and the more relaxed, hipster sounds of up-and-coming young artists bringing reggae, funk, blues and R&B vibes into the mix. If you’re interested in exploring Arabic music, these 7 Spotify playlists will get you well on your way with music for every occasion, from chilled out coffee hour tunes and upbeat workout songs to the perfect dinner and dance party soundtracks.
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.
These 13 English-language Middle East blogs and websites are essential reading for anyone interested in Middle East politics and culture.
If you’re based in London, there are plenty of Middle East-focused events going on throughout November to keep you busy! Top picks: Levison Wood’s speaking tour on 11th – I caught his talk in Manchester and it was fascinating. Don’t miss his brand new book, Arabia! Jon Snow’s talk at UCL on 14th comes at a … Continue reading The Middle East in London: November events calendar
“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
Like its other Gulf cousins (Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi…), the Bahraini capital of Manama is often a pit-stop on a traveller’s journey between East and West. Yet relatively few people venture out of the airport to explore what this tiny island has to offer. With its unique character, fascinating culture, edgy art scene and amazing … Continue reading 24 hours in Bahrain
Nestled in the old souq at the heart of the Lebanese seaside town of Batroun, an old house has been transformed into a beautiful guesthouse. With its minimalist and very “boho beautiful” interiors, which clash stylishly with the grand historical building, Villa Paradiso is the quintessential millennial getaway destination. (image: Lebanon Untravelled) Batroun is a … Continue reading Villa Paradiso – Lebanon’s best kept secret
By Sophia Furber Which city would you visit if you wanted to learn all about the art of bellydance? Cairo (obviously), Alexandria, Istanbul, Dubai and Beirut are the ones that would spring to mind. But London? Although many miles from the Middle East, London is a base for some of the world’s most celebrated bellydancers, … Continue reading Discover the world of bellydance in London
Since 2003, most of the stories and images coming out of Iraq have been of the devastation and despair caused by the conflict and violence that has plagued the country’s recent history. Yet Mesopotamia – modern-day Iraq – is believed to have been home to the world’s oldest civilisation, and the region flourished for years … Continue reading 5 Instagram accounts that show what life in Iraq is really like