The Middle East has been heavily stereotyped and romanticised over the years. Stories of conflict, violence and religious extremism have bombarded the western media in recent decades, shaping a narrow view of the Middle East and its people. The following list contains 8 incredible places that shatter the traditional stereotypes and showcase the remarkable diversity of the Middle East.
These 13 English-language Middle East blogs and websites are essential reading for anyone interested in Middle East politics and culture.
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
Today, millions of Iraqi Kurds will go to the polls to vote on whether they believe Iraqi Kurdistan should become an independent state, in a controversial referendum that could have far reaching implications for Iraq and the Middle East as a whole. Here are 5 things you need to know to understand the “Kexit”: 1. … Continue reading 5 things you need to know to understand the Kurdish independence referendum
Last summer, the Yezidis of northern Iraq marked the third anniversary of the attempted genocide of their people by the so-called Islamic State (ISIL). In August 2014, ISIL rampaged through their villages in Iraqi Kurdistan, killing the men en masse and taking the women and girls as slaves. These women and girls bore unimaginable suffering, … Continue reading Art as a means of recovery for the Yezidi women who escaped ISIL
On World Refugee Day, we think everyone should read An Unsafe Haven by Nada Awar Jarrar. The book is fictional and a relatively easy read, but it contains a clear and important message about the way we see the Syrian conflict and its victims. It shows the destabilising effects of the war on neighbouring Lebanon … Continue reading An Unsafe Haven: Essential Reading on World Refugee Day
The Last Optimist in Baghdad by Dr Brian Brivati is the true story of Ghassan Jawad Kadhim – an optimist, a peacemaker, a father, a friend. An Iraqi. This moving memoir of the resilience of one man manages to tell the tale of the ceaseless endurance of Iraq as a whole, providing a poignant insight … Continue reading The Last Optimist in Baghdad
Any student or observer of the Middle East has likely heard of a young man named T.E. Lawrence, whose integration into the tribes of Arabia in the early 20th century helped shape the current reality of this turbulent region. His famous work, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, has become essential reading for anyone interested in the Middle … Continue reading Letters from Baghdad: The female Lawrence of Arabia that the history books ignored
The death of one man in Saudi Arabia last Saturday has poured petrol on the sectarian fire currently engulfing the Middle East. The Saudi Interior Ministry announced last weekend that it had executed 47 people on charges of terrorism and incitement. Among them was Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric from the restive Eastern … Continue reading Fire in the Desert: Nimr al-Nimr and the Future of Saudi Arabia
The world is reeling in shock this weekend after a series of attacks claimed 129 lives in Paris on Friday evening. Social media activists, hash-tag campaigners and keyboard warriors heralding from the far right to the far left have come out in force to condemn the attacks. Facebook has introduced a tool to superimpose the … Continue reading #dontjustprayforparis