Tag: Arabic

Berlin is a thriving centre of the Palestinian Diaspora. This isn’t surprising and is a result of several important trends, including the large-scale migration (and business success) of Arabic speakers in Europe, and the uniquely friendly atmosphere that the German capital provides for Palestinian culture and politics.  (More…)

The year was 1942 and I was eighteen years old. I was in Cairo on holiday arranged by my mother. She ran a hostel for the expats in Cairo. If I go into detail about mother’s job, I’ll never get to tell how I encountered King Farouk. (More…)

English used to be synonymous with tourism. Visit any European city, and the chances were, if you saw something written in English, it was aimed at foreigners. Or, depending on where you were, American forces stationed in the area. Particularly in Germany, which boasted amongst the largest concentrations of US forces stationed abroad during the Cold War. (More…)

I have not fasted for years. I rejected Ramadan along with the doctrine of Saudi-Pakistani Wahhabism. For me, Ramadan was another reminder of a Salafist ritualistic obsession. I never saw this as inherently a problem. However, I began to note that for the higher classes, Islam seemed to have deteriorated. (More…)

Military occupations bring certain themes to mind: human rights abuses; poverty; crowded refugee camps, and so on. Geographic references are equally synonymous: Palestine, Kashmir or West Papua, to cite the most recent example. Rarely, if ever, is the miserable situation in the sparsely-populated province of Western Sahara cited. (More…)

If you’re a conspiracy theorist, the green probably means Islam. Featuring cartoon depictions of all manner of neighborhood resident, the fact that they are all wearing the same color can only mean one thing. Promote diversity, and everybody crosses over to the other side. The panhandling punk kids, with the red mohawks, included. (More…)

Shall I respond violently? No. The bloody mist that hangs above the ancient cities- Jalalabad, Quetta, Peshawar- reeks of vengeance. Shall I grieve endlessly? No. I am weary of perpetual sadness. I will not pout among clouds of opium like the ghosts of Khorramshahr. (More…)

It’s an instant montage. If you know anything about the neighborhood, the contrast is entirely appropriate. Matching Arabic (Habibi, or “beloved”) with the German spelling for music (the store in the background sells musical instruments and scores,) the combination of words is its own metaphor. Even better, the street this scene is set on goes by the name of Karl Marx Straße. Berlin, anyone? (More…)

Odessa, once the Soviet Union’s largest commercial port, was the funkiest place in the Nazi empire. It is said that the occupying Romanian officers would never consider going out without their make-up on, the better to attract the favors of the city’s belles. That reputation lives on, to this day. (More…)