Discover more from Sa'alouni El Nas
Guest Feature: Karim Alammuri
We’ve officially hit the six-month mark of the Port of Beirut blast that took place in August 2020. Still no justice for the victims and the survivors. Still no one truly held accountable. And still it’s the people who pay the price for government neglect, which had already plunged the country into a financial crisis, which was then exacerbated by rising COVID cases.
I reflected a lot on this tweet that my friend Anthony Elghossain shared yesterday. He’s absolutely right. We did not get to this point because of these events alone. This has long been part of decades of government neglect, generations of elite power-sharing, foreign intervention, colonialism, and the resilience of a sectarian system that has stolen from and completely undermined the people.
We have to remember this context when we talk about these events. A government, in theory, is supposed to protect and provide services to its people. The Lebanese state, however, has instead been actively and deliberately killing its people for years.
I could go on about this, but there’s a lot of good content in here that I want to get to. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Karim Alammuri!
Karim is currently the Client Strategy Manager for House of Highlights- the # 1 most followed sports brand in the country on Instagram. Karim has led campaigns such as the House of Highlights Camp, the brand's first-ever experiential event hosted by Chicago Bulls player Coby White during the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend. He also managed a partnership with McDonald's where they sponsored House of Highlights LIVE, a recurring live show streamed exclusively on Twitter featuring athletes and entertainers such Lonzo Ball, Hasan Minhaj, Donovan Mitchell, and more. As a Palestinian and Algerian man from Alexandria, VA, Karim strives to inspire through his work and serve as a living example that you can still be apart of the sports industry without being a professional athlete.
Karim has a really cool presence on Twitter — and a really dope job! House of Highlights is truly the go-to place for hoop-heads. So I needed to know what some of his go-to songs were:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
“Dakiti” by Bad Bunny. He had a crazy run in 2020 dropping three albums which were all 🔥 and this was the latest single from his most recent album that I've had on repeat.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
“Can We Talk” by Tevin Campbell. One of the greatest R&B songs and has been in my rotation since the late '90s.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
”Dig Dug (Shake It)” by Wale. Growing up in the DMV area, Go-Go is a huge part of the culture there. Before Wale blew up and became who he is now, this was his first breakout single in the area that really catapulted his name during the blog era. Every time I hear this song, it reminds me of my high school days.
If I'm tapping into my Palestinian/Algerian roots, I'd go with “Saalouny El Nas” by Fairuz. I feel like every Arab kid has heard their parents blast her catalog growing up.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
“Don't Be Cruel” by Bobby Brown. TBH, I know the lyrics to this whole album, but this is my favorite track so I went with this one since it's the opening song. This project is the greatest R&B album IMO and still has amazing replay value to this day.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
“March Madness” by Future. I always play this before a big presentation or when I'm hitting the gym to really get myself going. He has a lot of hits but this one takes the cake because of the beat drop that Tarantino cooked up in the studio.
Big shout out to Karim for joining and sharing his song selections! Most of Karim’s songs are available on Spotify and will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. And catch Karim on Instagram and Twitter, and connect with him on LinkedIn!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Arab Flows (Middle Eastern & North African artists) 🎧
Man Down - Baila Curry
Law Fina - Mais Harb
Galbi - Tiiwtiiw
Amazighi - Soulja featuring Shaf
Walo - Ghita
Bahebak Bestemrar - Alaa Abd El Khalek featuring Amira
Kelma (Freestyle) - Sanfara
Zina - Champ Ali
Cagoulé - Islem-23
7abibti - Ramriddlz
🎤 Las Vibras (Latinx & Hispanic artists) 🎤
Soledad - Bomba Estéreo
911 - Sech
Conocerte - Paty Cantú
La Gota Fria - Carlos Vives
Balada Para Perrear - Las Villas
Quién Lo Diría - Nicole Zignago featuring LAGOS
Conga - Leslie Grace featuring Meek Mill
Tiene Sabor - Buena Vista Social Club featuring Omara Portuondo
Tu No Ta - Rochy RD featuring Los Del Millero
Se Acabó - YEИDRY featuring Mozart La Para
🎼 Other Music 🎼
Too Good - Arlo Parks
Bringing It Back - Digga D featuring AJ Tracey
Ghetto Story Chapter 2 - Cham featuring Alicia Keys
King - Serena Isioma featuring Saint Lewis
Across The Universe - The Beatles
I Like- ROE
Money Talks - Fredo featuring Dave
Forever - Gyakie
Kisses Don’t Lie - Rihanna
In Her Eyes - The Jungle Giants
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
How private interests lobbied officials to sign off on a holiday nightlife scene ripe for the spread of COVID-19 - Albin Szakola, L’Orient Today
How did Lebanon’s leaders come to the decision to reopen nightlife venues over Christmas and New Year’s, amid a pandemic? The public statements of lobbyists and official bodies tell the story.
Survivors of Beirut’s explosion endure psychological scars - Dalal Mawad, Associated Press
Demand for therapists has ballooned since the August 4th explosion in the Port of Beirut, making it hard to find treatment, especially since many qualified experts are leaving the country.
Tough times for Lebanon’s biggest optimist - Timour Azhari, Al Jazeera
Lebanon’s demise has turned food blogger Anthony Rahayel into an unlikely protagonist in the fight for its future.
The uncowable Lokman Slim - Alex Rowell, Al-Jumhuriya English
Lebanon awoke Thursday to the gruesome news that Lokman Slim, an outspoken Hezbollah critic and pillar of civil society, had been assassinated in his car.
Not hungry, but frustrated: Omar Tayba’s family describes the brother and son who was killed in Tripoli’s protests - Abby Sewell, L’Orient Today
During protests in Tripoli last week, one young man’s life came to an end. Omar Tayba’s family speak about a son and brother who laughed easily but whose modest dreams were derailed by a country in crisis.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
After a decade fighting for acknowledgement, campaign for official recognition of ‘Little Arabia’ progresses - Ben Brazil, Los Angeles Times
Community organizers have been fighting for about a decade for Little Arabia to be officially designated by the city of Anaheim, California.
‘Married to the mountains’: Arab women mountaineers set records despite social restrictions, pandemic - Shirin Jaafari, PRI The World
While the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down climbing season in many parts of the world, Arab women mountaineers are still setting records.
Egyptian charity is an oasis of care amid misery of the pandemic - Sudarsan Raghavan, The Washington Post
The Mersal Foundation has helped thousands of poor Egyptians grappling with the coronavirus and is a trusted voice for information on the outbreak.
Coronavirus in Algeria: 'No-one could travel to say goodbye to grandpa' - Maher Mezahi, BBC News
Algerian-Canadian journalist Maher Mezahi reflects on how coronavirus has increased the separation between families around the world.
In a Baghdad bar, a Syrian serves cocktails to fix war woes - Samya Kullab, Associated Press
“This place is not for everyone,” he said. “We are living in fear, especially in this place... but I have to tolerate it. It’s my job. The workers here, I have to protect them. My clients too.”
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Habibi Collective: Championing indie movies in the region - Rawaa Talass, Arab News
Founder Róisín Tapponi discusses her platform for the promotion of female filmmakers.
‘Anything for Selena’ Examines a Singer’s Legacy and Latino Identity - Maira Garcia, The New York Times
While the podcast is a biography of the Tejano star, it also weaves in the personal story of the host and examines why the singer has had a lasting effect on culture.
Don’t Let Queen Latifah’s Acting Career Overshadow Her Rap Legacy - Clover Hope, Slate
The Oscar-nominated actress remains a godmother of hip-hop, anointed in a new book about the genre’s reigning women.
Showdown, The Caribbean Answer To Verzuz, Is Part Of A Long-Running Musical Exchange - Baz Dreisinger, NPR
The emergence of Showdown (or, officially, Digicel Showdown, after the telecom company that sponsors the series) feels only natural — one more handoff a long-running cultural exchange between Caribbean music and African American traditions.
Cicely Tyson Kept It Together So We Didn’t Fall Apart - Wesley Morris, The New York Times
A wonder of poise and punch, the actress dared to declare herself a moral progenitor, taking on roles that reflected the dignity of Black women.
📚 Other Reads 📚
AOC's powerful plea for Republican accountability cannot be ignored - Moira Donegan, The Guardian
The congresswoman knows impunity for those who incited the Capitol attack just allows them to do the same, or worse, again.
They Called for Help. They’d Always Regret It. - Sarah Shourd, The Atlantic
Two families called 911 to get help for their sons. They didn’t know that they’d be thrusting them into a complex and often brutal system.
“That Could Have Been Me”: The People Derek Chauvin Choked Before George Floyd - Jamiles Lartey and Abbie Vansickle, The Marshall Project
They describe an officer quick to use force and callous about their pain.
The Race to Dismantle Trump’s Immigration Policies - Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker
Trump transformed immigration through hundreds of quiet measures. Before they can be reversed, they have to be uncovered.
Exclusive: indigenous Americans dying from Covid at twice the rate of white Americans - Nina Lakhani, The Guardian
“One in every 475 Native Americans has died since the pandemic began: ‘Families have been decimated’”
If you enjoyed reading this newsletter and want to receive it in your inbox each week, be sure to hit the subscribe button below!