Book

On the art of Arab story telling: For a very long time, the Arabs have complacently considered themselves to be a people of poets, indeed, the people of poets. Poetry was the record of their lofty deeds, their claim to glory, their secret garden, their diwān (divan), in the several meanings suggested by the term. But since the first centuries of the Hijra, Arabic poetry has been judged untranslatable. All poetry is, to be sure, resistant to translation, but inRead more

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Recommended reading on the Black, Arab & Berber people and diversity of the Sahara | From the Atlas Mountains in the Sahara to the Hoggar plateau, there was a huge desert, where a traveller could see vast areas of land covered by sand: the sand alternated with rocks in many areas of the desert. The sand dunes were at times as high as two hundred metres: the powerful desert storms from the north east along the Gassis corridor contributed immenselyRead more

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Algiers Series | Timimoun Connections | A young boy orders some snacks from the tea hotspot in central Algiers. Customers are plenty at this favourite snack hut in the heart of the capital. Friendly chat is exchanged as people wait for their orders of fresh mint tea. The tea shop resembles a hole in the wall but one that is not easily missed. In a box-like store in the wall, a window allows passersby to peer in from the sidewalkRead more

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Recommended reading on poets that speak hybrid languages: bint il neel I no surprise it was your father started it taught you allah’s word and said sing daughter sing a bird you sang from your belly to soar over all of egypt in the delta’s villages muwlads weddings ramadan breakfasts you flew your voice no surprise it was god started it put a burning in your mouth and said open up and sing you were young and a novelty voiceRead more

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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) and its deep vibration being induced merily from the fibres of the gentlemen on the right. In full traditional attire (or Djelleba as theyRead more

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Recommended reading from feminist narratives in the Arab world: How long had she been living on the top floor of this empty building that stood by the side of the road? Lila couldn’t say. She didn’t question it; why count the days? It might have been before dawn today or yesterday at daybreak or perhaps three or four days ago that she was slinking around and had entered this freshly painted sunny place, as if mere chance had driven herRead more

Poem

Re: Social Displacement | Finding Yasmine | Wish I was called something earthy something flirty something alternative not alternatively spelt so I don’t have to explain the missing J missing May spring bloom when I am supposed to be as pretty and fragrant as my name.   Image: Motorcycle Migration and Baggage, Tassoultante, Morocco. Copyright © 2018 Yasmine Bendjoudi. All rights reserved.Read more

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Algiers Series | Grande Poste Family | Some time has passed and life opens like a beautiful flower. When the people speak of La Grande Poste, my heart flutters with each syllabe as I hang on to every word my father had told of an époque filled with art and creativity. My father spent the best of his youth in an apartment adjacent and arm in arm with the big old architectural beauty that people frequent for their daily mail,Read more

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Marrakech Series: Motorbikes in the Medina I These days the Medina is synonymous with the rumbling sound. Motorbikes whizzing through the narrow streets of the Kasbah, dodging traffic to get to the other side. Brown, blue, white djellabas blowing in the wind.  Apart from being the most conventional way to navigate through heavy traffic, most Marrakechis choose to commute on bikes because they are simply more affordable than cars and marginally cheaper to maintain. This medieval city with a Berber spirit dating back toRead more

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Atlas Mountains Series: Berber Woman make Argan Oil I Berber women in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains show me how to extract argan oil from the argania spinosa fruit using traditional methods. The argan nut is carefully cracked and the containing kernal grinded down to a thick paste using a stone quern. The paste is then squeezed by hand to produce the oil. For making argan cooking oil, kernels are often roasted before the grinding process. These women sit outdoors inRead more