With the outbreak of Corona virus causing havoc around the world, we want to send our thoughts and best wishes to our community at this difficult and confusing time. If you’re staying home at the moment for whatever reason, we’ve put together a list of 6 tips and recommendations to help you look after your mental health and use this time positively for things you might not otherwise have time for, like reading or learning a language.
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.
These five awe-inspiring change-makers are using their platforms - along with their vision, passion and determination - to empower communities and shape culture in the Middle East and beyond, and we’re so excited to share them with you!
Yemen: The poorest country in the Middle East; The corner of the Arabian Peninsula widely ignored as the oil monarchies of the Gulf rose to riches and global prominence; And now, embroiled in a deadly civil war protracted by the interference of external powers, further destabilising an already war-torn region. Yemeni politics can be highly confusing for outsiders. These 10 books will help you understand this complex country and the ongoing conflict.
2020 is already off to a turbulent start, as the world reacts to the news of the death of Qasem Soleimani, the Major General in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps who was killed on Friday by a US missile attack on Baghdad International Airport. America and Iran have since traded threats, with President Trump even … Continue reading 5 spectacular cultural sites in Iran
Halah Al Hamrani is a Saudi martial arts instructor and owner of the FLAG (Fight Like a Girl) Boxing gym in Jeddah. A pioneer in the emerging Saudi women’s fitness industry, Halah teaches women to challenge themselves and push their limits. Women in Saudi Arabia have typically been discouraged from sports, but as the country starts … Continue reading Halah Hamrani: The Saudi boxing instructor teaching women to ‘Fight Like a Girl’
Arabic is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn, but with a little bit of help from these 7 awesome resources you’ll be well on your way in no time. Whether you’re learning Modern Standard Arabic or a dialect, written or spoken, subject-specific or conversational Arabic – this list of books, apps and programmes will save you time, effort and stress – hamdullah!
It’s hard to imagine a society that prohibits the participation and viewing of sports based on gender. Unfortunately, this is the case in Iran. There was a brief period in 2006 when then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that women would be allowed to attend football matches, until Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei intervened and reinstated the ban. … Continue reading The Iranian women’s movement is seeing a slow revolution
Bassem Youssef, a heart surgeon living with his wife and baby daughter in Cairo, was one of millions of Egyptians whose lives were changed forever by the Arab Spring. His story, however, is unique. Nicknamed ‘the Jon Stewart of Egypt’, Bassem shot to fame for uploading political satire videos to YouTube from his laundry room, … Continue reading Revolution for Dummies: The Egyptian heart surgeon exiled for making jokes