Film as a Political Tool: Tracing the History of Cinema in Iran Artistic Production In Iran When Ayatollah Khomeini declared that his reservation was against promiscuity, not film, the ban on cinema eased. The movies produced after the revolution, however, were distinct from their pre-revolutionary counterparts. Today, many Iranian cinemas have been critically acclaimed and […]

After several years of advocacy from Moroccan representatives, UNESCO officially inscribed tbourida, a North African cavalry performance, on their Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2021. Let’s take a look at the history and modern presence of this equestrian art. What is Tbourida? Tbourida, also known internationally as fantasia, is an […]

Saudi Soccer Noor

Saudi Investment in Sports On December 5, 2022, various European outlets rumored that Portuguese soccer player and global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo agreed to play for Saudi soccer club Al-Nassr. Though these reports have since been denied, Saudi’s willingness to spend almost 200 million euros per year on one player is apparent, yet not surprising. The […]

Women, Life, Freedom Protests in Artistic Spaces On September 16, 2022, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in Tehran after being arrested by police. Amini was detained by Iran’s ‘Guidance Patrol,’ the country’s religious morality police who arrested Amini for allegedly not wearing her hijab according to the country’s Islamic dress code. Amini’s death sparked protests in […]

On social media sites and in chat rooms, Arabic-speaking populations could suddenly speak to and entertain each other in their own dialects. But bringing Arabic online wasn’t easy: not only were these dialects spoken, not written, many websites weren’t able to accommodate Arabic script (most social media sites only added Arabic-supported versions in the late 2000s). The solution Arabic-speaking youth developed was Arabizi, a method of transliterating Arabic with Latin letters and numerals to represent letters not present in English.

Aladdin film poster comparison. Screen capture from YouTube. In May 2019, Disney released a live-action version of Aladdin, which tells the story of an affable street-urchin who accepts the services of a trickster genie to win over the sultan's daughter, Jasmine. The film is an adaptation of a folktale from the 18th-century, Arabic-language collection, A [...]

Before the emergence of musical instruments, humans clapped their hands to define and create the rhythm of music. Actually, hand clapping was an art of its own. Dating back to the days of the pharaohs, the art of kaff — Arabic for palm clapping — flourished in the Arabian Peninsula. Improvisational poetry is considered part and parcel of this art. With […]

You have zero interest in algebra, so you grab some alcohol — or maybe a coffee with extra sugar — sit on the sofa or mattress, eat an orange or some candy, and read a magazine or surf the web with Safari and Adobe. And just like that, you’ve used a dozen words that came […]

The Middle East is often characterized by perpetual conflict, religious extremism, poor governance, and people torn apart by sectarian, ethnic and national differences. However, there are a variety of initiatives whose goal is to promote dialogue and peaceful coexistence between groups of diverse backgrounds, demonstrating that divisions and enmity are man-made problems that can be […]

Inspired by the story of her own father’s imprisonment, Tunisian blogger and activist Lina Ben Mhenni is bringing thousands of books to prisoners across Tunisia to in an effort to stem the radicalization of petty criminals from religious literature and Islamist convicts. Excerpts from a profile shed light on the social and political environment in […]