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Guest Feature: Jinan Deena
Tomorrow marks 20 years since the horrific attacks on 9/11. I remember that day literally like it was yesterday. What continues to live with me, though, is the US response to that day.
There always will be a lot of “never forget” language about 9/11, and in that vein we also cannot afford to forget the legacy and aftermath of the US response. Policies and rhetoric targeting Arab and Muslim communities still impact us to this day. The often-violent acts of racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia toward these communities continues and, in fact, have not gone down below pre-9/11 levels since that day. There are many other communities who were also targeted and impacted by this response: Sikh, Indian, Iranian, Central Asian, Black, and other communities.
And we absolutely have to remember how this impacted communities in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and other countries subject to the US military response.
Many of us in any of these communities have personal stories of things that have happened to us. I know I have plenty. I sincerely hope and wish that future generations understand this day with all of this context and in its full totality.
There have been several 9/11 stories over the last few weeks. I want to share some that resonated with me. I hope you take the time to read a few:
Two Decades Later, the Enduring Legacy of 9/11 - Hannah Hartig and Carroll Doherty, Pew Research Center
Two decades after 9/11, Muslim Americans still fighting bias - Mariam Fam, Deepti Hajela, and Luis Andres Henao, Associated Press
They Don't Remember Their Parents Dying On 9/11. But They'll Never Forget - Melissa Block, NPR
Islamophobia Shaped the Lives of Muslim American Students After 9/11 - Vanessa Taylor, TeenVogue
At a College Wounded on 9/11, Memories Endure 20 Years Later - David Ho, Inside Higher Ed
Muslim youth in America: A generation shadowed by the aftermath of 9/11 - Brittny Mejia, Los Angeles Times
How the N.Y.P.D. Is Using Post-9/11 Tools on Everyday New Yorkers - Ali Watkins, The New York Times
The 9/11 Museum Has A Problematic Legacy. Can It Be Saved? - Marina Fang, HuffPost
How The NYPD Infiltrated A Muslim Charity In The Years After 9/11 - Joseph Gedeon, Gothamist
California lawmakers erase Arab American issues. We want to be acknowledged. - Doris Bittar, The San Diego Union-Tribune
Okay my friends, let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce our guest feature this week: Jinan Deena!
Jinan is the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) National Organizer and a Palestinian rights activist. She mobilizes Arab-American communities nationwide while helping to bridge intersectional issues. She has been featured in several articles on community activism and Palestine. As a community activist for over 15 years, Jinan has worked with multiple communities on issues such as Palestinian human rights, intersectional activism, refugee rights, Arab American representation and the Arab/Muslim Ban. She has been quoted by many media outlets including Sky News, Al Jazeera, AJ+, The Washington Post, Arab News, Middle East Eye, and more. In her free time, she is an avid chef, spoken-word artist, and dabka teacher. She currently lives in Washington DC.
Jinan is a fearless fighter for Palestinians and empathetically advocates for all people on a daily basis. She is also a deeply thoughtful and caring friend, and I’m excited that she came through this week to share some of her go-to songs:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
“Big Love” by Havana. It's got a little Arab beat to it and I can listen to it any time of the day. Also, it gets me in my feels if I ever feel the need to cry.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
I have two!
“3 Sneen” by Lina Makoul. It was the perfect song to get over my ex because it fit every aspect of our relationship and break up. She starts off as if she's sad, but it quickly takes on the emo girl vibe which makes me feel like I'm a teenager again. Plus, the dabka beat helps give me a pick-me-up!
“Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence. It's one of those songs that will never go out of style. Once in a while I'll be in a mood and just play it on repeat. So easy to just give into it and be consumed by the words. It's just so beautiful and so heartbreaking at the same time.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
“Fi Youm wi Layla” by Warda. It was a song that my parents played on long road trips. I memorized it without ever really knowing so. Now when I hear it I remember the uncomplicated childhood memories that are so far away. I also just love the pure essence of the love story in the song.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
Ragheb Alama’s “Nassini El Dunya”. Oof, that one is my go to, to belt out loudly like I'm a rockstar. It takes me back to summers in Palestine and Jordan with my cousins. Plus, Ragheb is one of the GOATs (Greatest of All-Time).
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
Has to be “Dammi Falasteeni” by Mohammad Assaf! All my friends know it's my song, and anytime it's ever played, they all point to me and then the dance floor. I can't ever skip a dance to that song.
A major shout out to Jinan for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Jinan’s songs are included in this week’s playlist too, so be sure to take a listen. And please, follow Jinan on Twitter and keep up with all of her advocacy!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Flows by Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Artists 🎧
Yalla - Leil
Manga - El Far3i featuring Zaid Khaled and Idreesi
Resist Your Love - offrami featuring Mougleta
Etlatena - Hend
Berrasmi - Esserpent
Bala Daji - Rola Azar
Fann El Lom (12:01 AM) - Perrie
PAPA - Tiiwtiiw featuring ElGrandeToto
3ayni Fel Goal - Loun
Meri Zindagi - Alrima featuring In-S
🎤 Vibes by Latinx & Hispanic Artists 🎤
Las Olas - Micro TDH featuring Yandel
Este Loko - Ozuna
atrapada en el cielo - María Isabel
Pa’nama - Dalex
Para Verte - Vale
Anillo al dedo - Paty B
Oceans Away - Sofía Valdés
Contra La Corriente - Jaguar
Fácil - Inés Pacheco
Juntos - Ir Sais featuring KILATE TESLA
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
7am On Bridle Path - Drake
Coconut Oil - KIRBY
SLOW - Bisa Kdei
Arcadia - Lana Del Rey
All I Ever Wanted - Yebba
Over You - RAY BLK featuring Stefflon Don
Obsessed With You - Central Cee
Two Worlds Apart - Little Simz
No Chill - Duckwrth
easier said - Kacey Musgraves
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Lebanon as We Once Knew It Is Gone - Lina Mounzer, The New York Times
“In a world where the maximalist pursuit of profit is supreme, such behavior is simply the way the system was built to work. Lebanon is not an exception.”
Never order tabbouleh outside Lebanon - Tony Chakkar, The Economist
“The Lebanese are seasoned travellers. Their national salad less so.”
Economic crisis threatens gains of already struggling special needs students in Lebanon - Tala Ramadan, L’Orient Today
As the school year gets underway, some parents of special needs children in Lebanon are breathing a sigh of relief that their children will return to in-person classes, while many other families — along with the schools that serve them — have been left in a precarious situation.
Lebanon's Unique Terrain Is Helping Hikers Connect With Nature, History And Culture - Ruth Sherlock, NPR
With areas of Lebanon mired in power cuts and a historic economic crisis, some are getting into the mountains where hiking has started to gain popularity.
From Lebanon to London: Beirut Groove Collective find a new home in the UK capital - Layla Maghribi, The National
Founded in 2009 by DJ Ernesto Chahoud, this vinyl DJ collective aims to bring eclectic sounds to those looking for an underground music experience.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
How Alya Mooro Walks The “Talk of Shame” In This Must-Listen Podcast Series - Yassine Harris, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia
The Egyptian-British journalist explores honour, health and healing within the audio series which aired earlier this spring, breaking taboos and initiating conversations that need to be addressed within the region and beyond.
Amnesty: Syria refugees suffered abuse, torture upon return - Zeina Karam, Associated Press
“In a report entitled “You’re going to your death,” the rights group documented what it said were violations committed by Syrian intelligence officers against 66 returnees, including 13 children between mid-2017 and spring 2021. Among those were five cases in which detainees had died in custody after returning to the country torn by civil war, while the fate of 17 forcibly disappeared people remains unknown.”
A Golden Harvest - Jenny Gustafson, Newlines Magazine
Gum arabic is a precious product in Sudan — and the World
As its rivers shrink, Iraq thirsts for regional cooperation - Charlotte Bruneau and Ahmed Rasheed, Reuters
“With this year's lack of rainfall, Iraq is badly short of water, and officials trying to revive rivers like the Sirwan say lower flows from upstream neighbours Iran and Turkey are worsening home-grown problems such as leaks, ageing pipes and illegal siphoning off of supplies.”
We Need To Talk About Qatar - Tim Sparv, The Players’ Tribune
“These last 2½ years I have been on a personal journey to learn more about the situation in Qatar. I’m not an expert, but as the captain of the Finnish national team, I know that I might soon be playing in stadiums that have cost workers their lives.”
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
The New Breed: Young, Revolutionary Iraqi Photographers on the Frontline - Mysa Kafil-Hussain, Tribe Magazine
“What was once a playground for Western NGO and war photographers has been reclaimed in recent years, and these ten photographers – just a fraction of the talented creatives across Iraq – strive to show not just their revolution and the destruction wrought by years of conflict, but also the beauty of every day life in a country which has been overlooked and vilified for decades.”
A case of the Palestinian blues - Henriette Chacar, +972 Magazine
Recording under quarantine, a musical trio gives a classic blues song an Arabic twist, exploring new depths for Black-Palestinian solidarity.
Death of a Storyteller - Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture
Rare is the actor who can locate the specific in the universal and vice versa. Michael K. Williams was that actor.
'Everyone is doing it': How Egypt's indie theatre scene came back from the dead - Bahira Amin, Middle East Eye
A new generation is determined to compete against streaming services and financial insecurity to carve out enclaves of creativity.
How a Beatles-Obsessed Producer Helped Drake Make His Latest Gloomy R&B Hit - Elias Leight, Rolling Stone
23 year-old Monsune co-produced “Race My Mind,” a pulpy highlight from Certified Lover Boy
📚 Other Reads 📚
A message for Naomi Osaka: Take all the time you need - Jerry Bembry, The Undefeated
The four-time Grand Slam champion may need extended time out of the public eye.
National City banned lowriding 30 years ago. These residents want to bring it back - Tammy Murga, Los Angeles Times
A virtual public forum hosted by an ad hoc lowrider committee will explore ways to restore the cultural car tradition of lowriding so it’s legal again.
Where L.G.B.T.Q. Migrants Find the True Meaning of Shelter - Tara Pixley, The New York Times
Casa de Luz, which opened in February 2019, is one of a handful of Tijuana shelters catering to a group that includes trans women, gay men and mothers traveling alone with children — among the most vulnerable and endangered refugee populations.
The Other Afghan Women - Anand Gopal, The New Yorker
In the countryside, the endless killing of civilians turned women against the occupiers who claimed to be helping them.
Boston sheds more light on its relationship to slavery - Tiana Woodard, The Boston Globe
“The image of Northern cities like Boston as centers of abolitionist activity has overshadowed the history of their role in slavery.”