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Guest Feature: Dina Kesbeh
Next Tuesday, August 3rd, Human Rights Watch will be holding a news conference for the launch of its major investigative report on the Beirut blast titled “They Killed Us from the Inside:’ An Investigation into the August 4 Beirut Blast”
There will be a news conference taking place at 11:00am Beirut time (1am PT, 4am ET, 8am GMT) and you can register here. I’m particularly interested in reading this report and hearing what HRW has to say, and wanted to make a plug for this event in case others are interested.
Okay friends, let’s go ahead and get right into it. I am so excited to introduce our guest feature this week: Dina Kesbeh!
Dina is a Palestinian-American journalist who kicked off her career as a photojournalist in 2014. For two years she produced video packages for a digital news site based in D.C. before traveling to Jordan to work on an independent video project that highlighted the lives of Syrian refugees living outside Zaatari Camp. After returning from the Middle East, she joined the Houston Chronicle as a reporter, where she worked for a year, before taking a leap into radio at NPR. She now works with Al Jazeera's podcast team.
Dina is an incredibly thoughtful reporter and dope human being. She started her own conversation series called “Dina’s Dialogue” where she talks to people about culture, identity, lifestyles, and much more. I had a huge honor of being part of it and nerding out with her about the history of Arabic music (part two coming soon!). I just knew Dina would have a cool taste in music, and that shows in her answers below:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
I love Khalid (eww not DJ Khaled) so much and my fav song at the moment is his song “Keep Me”. His voice is just so magical and I'm addicted to those vocals of his...can't help myself.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
It's obviously going to have to be between Fairuz's “Sallimleh Alayh” or Warda's “Batwanes Beek”, it evokes so much emotion tied to being around family, it takes me back to my summers in Amman as a child. Walking the streets of downtown engulfed in the combination of smog and falafel being fried up!
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
“Sawwah” by Abdel Halim <3 mah heart, my dad is a HUGE fan of Abdel Halim. We grew up to my dad singing any and all Abdel Halim. It reminds me of sunday morning breakfast with the most beautiful spread of hummus, falafel, foul and oh my favorite fried nabulsi cheese...drooling!
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
TLC's “NO SCRUBS”! oh my not ashamed to know all the lyrics to that one.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
“Laissez-moi tranquille” by GIMS. GIMS has some seriously sickkkk beats and there’s not one song that I don’t like his vocals are just so beautiful. You know how there’s a few of those artists with such unique vocals? Kind of like Elyanna and Hamed Sinno? Well GIMS is definitely one of those artists and I do not say that lightly!
Big shout out to Dina for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Dina’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. And please, follow Dina on Twitter and stay tuned for more Dina’s Dialogue!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Flows by Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Artists 🎧
Hassa - Jindi
Youm Wara Youm - Stormy & Tagne
Ma colombe - Nej
Ya Galbi - Balti
Rally - Mansor Unknown featuring Tchiggy
Vanille - Lady Miro featuring NORDO
El koun - Dina El Wedidi featuring DJ Totti
Sharaf - Blu Fiefer featuring Mehrak
Hatha Alhub - Mustafa Al-Abdullah
Enti Mushkila - Daffy featuring Shooji
🎤 Vibes by Latinx & Hispanic artists 🎤
Adios - Angelica Mrtz
Que Te Amo - NOKKI CABRERA
YA - YEИDRY
Mónaco - LAGOS featuring Danny Ocean
Mala - GRECIA featuring Yoss Bones
Ojitos de Aceituna - Marissa Mur featuring Gepe
En Mi Cuatro - Jhay Cortez featuring Skrillex
Conexión Total - Bomba Estéreo featuring Yemi Alade
Baile - DrefQuila featuring LATENIGHTJIGGY
Quizás, Quizás, Quizás - Celia Cruz
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Sho Nuff - Leon Bridges
Beautiful Lies - Yung Bleu featuring Kehlani
Law of Attraction - Dave featuring Snoh Aalegra
Snap It - SR
All on Me - Rutshelle Guillaume featuring Wendyyy
Nirvana - Skepta featuring J Balvin
Only U - Ashanti
Dans ça - Ronisia
Big Zoe - Dutch Rebelle
Billie Bossa Nova - Billie Eilish
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
No happy anniversary for bride caught up in Beirut blast - Yara Abi Nader and Alaa Kanaan, L’Orient Today
It should have been the happiest of times, but the Lebanese doctor Israa Seblani does not even have a photograph of her wedding on display as the memories are so painful.
'Wounded soul': Beirut blast haunts scarred survivors - Hashem Osseiran, Agence France-Presse
With no politicians held to account and the country facing soaring poverty, a plummeting currency, angry protests and shortages of basic items from medicine to fuel, many survivors are simmering in the lead-up to the tragedy's first anniversary.
Lebanon’s year from hell: a diary - Chloe Cornish, Financial Times
Last year’s explosion should have been a nadir. Instead it was the start of a further descent into chaos.
The Elephant in the Room: Confronting Lebanon’s Relationship with Migrant Workers - Nicolas Haddad, Al-Rawiya
Lebanese exploitation of migrant workers amounts to little more than modern day slavery and enables our society to shirk its responsibilities.
Lebanon’s people line up in ‘queues of humiliation’ as their country unravels - Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times
“Every month it’s getting worse, so long as the dollar [rate] gets worse”
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
Power outages cripple parts of the Middle East amid record heat waves and rising unrest - Louisa Loveluck, Kareem Fahim, and Sarah Dadouch, The Washington Post
“It’s aggravated by climate change and increasing temperatures, but the roots of this are poor planning, weak governance and low investment in the power sector”
Countdown to the airstrike: the moment Israeli forces hit al-Jalaa tower, Gaza - Kaamil Ahmed, Joe Dyke, and Anas Baba, The Guardian
First comes the warning call – then the race to evacuate. Residents of a Gaza apartment block recall the frantic minutes before their homes to were turned to rubble (*Warning: this interactive contains audio, photos and videos that some may find distressing)
Tunisia’s Democracy Verges on Collapse as President Moves to Take Control - Vivian Yee, The New York Times
The effort by President Kais Saied threatened the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring protests a decade ago, and his opponents called it a coup.
A 12-Year-Old Syrian Makes Her Olympic Debut - Leila Fadel, NPR
"For the last five years I've been through many different experiences, especially when there was the war happening around the country, with the postponement with funding for the Olympics, and it was very tough. But I had to fight for it and this is my message to everyone who wishes to have the same situation. Fight for your dreams, try hard, regardless of the difficulties that you're having, and you will reach your goal."
As Algerians push France to open its colonial archives, the family of a man who vanished long ago yearns for answers - Siobhán O'Grady and Rick Noack, The Washington Post
French troops arrested Slimane Asselah in 1957. He was among thousands who disappeared during the war for independence.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Digital Liberation - Gaia Caramazza and DJ Nooriyah, Shubbak
Without access to public spaces, some of the artists showcasing their work at Shubbak Festival utilised all they could at their disposal. The most important tool of them all? An internet connection.
The U.K. Rapper Dave Drops a Breathtaking Ten-Minute Track - Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker
“Heart Attack” is the powerful capstone to his new album, “We’re All Alone in This Together.”
The Abundant Heart and Revolutionary Vision of Young Thug - Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone
The Atlanta rap superstar has changed the contours of popular music more than once. With his next album, he's aiming to do it again — and he's intent on sharing the wealth with the people around him.
Forty years ago, MTV changed music forever. These four rock icons remember all too well - Craig Marks, Los Angeles Times
To commemorate MTV’s 40th anniversary, the Los Angeles Times gathered four original stars of the music video revolution — REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin, Billy Idol, Huey Lewis and the Go-Go’s Kathy Valentine — to reflect upon the salad days of music videos and MTV’s unmatched power to make musicians wildly rich and famous.
Longtime GBH children’s show ‘Arthur’ is ending — and fans are not happy - Dana Gerber, The Boston Globe
Executive producer of TV’s longest-running children’s animated series promises ‘Arthur’ programming on different platforms.
📚 Other Reads 📚
Let's Talk About Mental Health - Jay Connor, The Root
Simone Biles' refusal to participate in the Olympic individual all-around competition isn't a sign of weakness. It's a declaration of strength.
Sun, Sand, and Spaghetti - Mike Diago, Eater
For thousands of Dominicans in New York’s Washington Heights, the shores of Lake Welch in Harriman State Park are for family, friends, and giant pots of empaguetadas.
South Africa Is Falling Apart - William Shoki, The New York Times
The deep rot of the country’s social and political order is now on full display.
"You Want To See Your Child Grow Up": Asylum-Seekers Sent Back To Mexico Share Their Stories - Pia Peterson and Hailey Sadler, BuzzFeed News
“We are running away from one place, and we end up coming to an even worse one.”
One on one with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the Bucks’ NBA championship: ‘It’s crazy. It’s f—ing crazy.’ - Eric Nehm, The Athletic
“It’s insane,” Antetokounmpo told The Athletic minutes after hopping on top of the jeep with his brother. “Touch my heart.”