Reviews

Includes Insight From The Karl reMarks Creator

 

Penned by online sensation and the Karl reMarks persona, this little book had me in stitches, thinking, confused, saddened and wondering from where does the self-styled avatar get the genius inspiration. Composed of a collection of quotes and illustrations that originally appeared on Twitter beginning circa 2011, it was the arrival of the Arab Spring that got London-based architect and real name Karl Sharro satirising on the Western media’s coverage of the Middle East and North Africa region.

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Using resentful rhetoric to justify his executive order made early last year - to ban the entry of people coming from seven Muslim-majority countries into the United States - President Donald Trump was indicating that America needs to be protected from these 'other' people on the count of their religion. A religion that is a personal faith to over 1.8 billion worldwide which he simply reduces to an enemy of ‘his’ great nation, using the language of fear and dangerously manipulating the historical context.

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Set against the backdrop of the Algerian la sale guerre, ‘I Still Hide to Smoke’ is a heady cocktail mix of people and events that reflects on how the personal and the sexual can come to hold heavy political import, with the added dangerous ingredient of religion too. 

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A childhood memory urged me to pick up the novel titled ‘Hurma’ by Ali Al-Muqri. I first heard the Arabic word ‘hurma’ being used when I was a young girl on a mini-pilgrimage to Mecca circa 1995. It was being shouted out by an ugly old male guard who was holding a long wooden stick in his hand to usher the women as to where they can stand and pray around the Kabaa. I didn’t know the meaning of the word; but, whatever its definition, I sensed it held negative and oppressive connotations due to the guard’s aggressive physical stance towards us.

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Better late than never. I finally managed to attend and was truly blown away by Hassan Abdulrazzak's latest play 'Love, Bombs and Apples' that was showing at the Arcola Theatre last week. Although the London run has finished, I have been informed that the production will soon be touring York, Bradford, Liverpool, Cumbria and Oldham from 29 June until 22 July, 2016.

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How Middle Eastern Food Became Jafar’s Most Powerful Healer

 

The personal story that precedes the recipes in Sherine Ben Halim Jafar’s new culinary book - ‘Under the Copper Covers’ - is so highly moving and inspirational that I would advise immediate purchase. Offering a beautifully compiled printed edition - with valuable historical and family-related photo-illustrations - this author draws upon strong memories for each dish mentioned and every recipe lovingly included. Jafar takes the reader on a wonderful gastronomic journey that will urge you to get into the kitchen as soon as possible and start cooking or baking.

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Includes: Deep Insight from the Jordanian Author

 

It was still early days for blogging in 2006 but the then 28-year-old Jordanian Fadi Zaghmout decided to experiment with the new world of online publication and with that also the possibility of freely sharing ideas without censorship. At first not revealing his true identity, Zaghmout’s goal was to explore what it meant for him to be an ‘Arab’ beyond stereotypes and also what it would entail for him to be the self-designated ‘Observer’ of his society and culture.

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Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution

 

Charged with feminist arguments and emotional pleas, Egyptian author Mona Eltahawy’s debut book 'Headscarves and Hymens' tackles the explosive subject of what she frames as the ‘misogyny’ of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Filled with harrowing statistics on the fate of Arab women at the hands of men, the state, culture and religion, she proceeds to prescribe no less than a sexual revolution for the masses, but especially for women.

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+ Paintings By Libyan Artist Matug Aborawi

 

19, April 2015 – A 20-metre long fishing boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, carrying over 900 migrants, all of whom were hoping to reach the European shores all in one piece, literally. They all took the long and arduous journey - with all of its known dangers - in chasing the illusive dream of a newer and better life; far away from the poverty, the displacement and the negative impact of the wars plaguing their home countries, from all over Africa - North and Sub-Saharan - as well as the Middle East.

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If you mention to people that there is a new film about the Palestinian struggle showing at a nearby cinema, you will immediately get either weary or awkward sighs; for all the reasons we think we've seen it all and heard it all before. However, when you say that the film is actually about Israeli-Palestinian cows, people will stop to think again and ask if it really is about cows. And, so, yes, it is really about cows but so much more besides.

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