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Sti Fatma Series | The Very Real Side of Tourist Entertainment | My mother and I find ourselves serenaded bank side of a waterfall footpath as we tuck into lunch in the middle of a hiking excursion of the Sti Fatma mountains. The sound is upbeat and airy, with the thud of the bendir (frame drum) played by the gentlemen on the right. In full traditional attire (or Djelleba as they call it locally in most Moroccan regions) he nodsRead more

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Algiers Series | Unexpected Love Story | Didou swore by his love for his wife. So much so that he decorated every corner of his inner city apartment block in ceramic celebrations of her life. After all it was her dying wish. In the entrance hallway of a European build, he has plastered pictures of his beloved, family members and memories from his boxing days. Didou talks through every picture like a tribute, each attached to a story he insistsRead more

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Doha Series | Maghrib |The call to prayer echos throughout the older parts of the city and across the centralised Souq. Men rush to perform oblution before the call is over. It’s a magnetic force of good to remind them all that whatever happens from day to day, a collective prayer keeps them hopefully united, humble and giving.Read more

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Madinat Shamal Series: Wooden Boats l Two wood carvers sit under a tent in the Al Zubarah desert land located on the north western coast of Qatar. They are making miniature model dhow boats – traditional and specific in style to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. These wooden vessels were often used for carrying goods around the Persian Gulf, South Asia and East Africa. Smaller dhows were used for pearling around the peninsula.Read more

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Sti Fatma Series: Flour Grinder l A local inhabitant of the Sti Fatma area in the Atlas Mountains shows me a traditional stone grinder used to make flour. Grains are tossed into the funnel shaped basket which ensures the right amount of grain falls onto the stone grinder. A handle is turned in a circular motion and grains are crushed to produce fresh flour.Read more

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Marrakech Series: Grands Taxis of Morocco l A woman hops into a grand taxi outside the Kasbah in Marrakech. Unlike the petit taxi, the grand taxi is not only useful for short trips across town, but also takes passengers on longer journeys to neighbouring cities and villages. They are often four-door Mercedes-Benz W123 sedans from the 70s and come in a washed out pastel kind of ochre colour. I am on route back from a trip to a small district inRead more

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Beqaa Lebanon Series: Street Fruit Market l July 2015 On the day of Eid Al Fitr, the local Muslim community of Beqaa Valley shop for fresh fruit and groceries for their first big lunchtime feast as Ramadan comes to an end. The market place is set up outside a mosque in a largely Christian area and mountainous region. Nearby is a highway leading from Beirut to Damascus. I am very near the Syrian border which has seen a few clashes inRead more

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Cairo Series: Downtown buildings l January 2015 Images that interlink form a triptych Photograph recollection connected by time in a car journey through Downtown Cairo where 19th and 20th century buildings speak volumes. 20th century European architecture merges with oriental finishings, palm trees and Arabic typography. The loud, hectic, dysfunctional-yet-charming streets of Cairo are witness to the constant movements and shifts the city endures on a regular basis. Old multipurpose apartment blocks, not unlike Alaa Al Aswany’s The Yacoubian Building,Read more

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Muscat Series: The back streets of Muttrah l In the very backstreets of Muscat’s Muttrah Souq, hidden from view, lay stacks of a dying art craft. A shopkeeper standing on the side encourages the small number of tourists that have made it the extra mile to stop and look at water pitchers, storage urns, vases and decorative objects. But it’s to no avail. It’s a ghost town of old pretty buildings, uphill roads and empty streets. Here is a craftRead more

Book

Recommended reading on Critical Thinking in Arab Storytelling: Ibyn Tufayl scrupulously practiced this art of writing. He certainly expressed a wisdom that should have remained hidden, but he did it in an indirect way, behind a veil, as he puts it – in such a way that only those who are equipped to understand it will be able to uncover its secrets. In a word, what he has revealed will remain a secret between him and his brothers: “But weRead more