Discover more from Sa'alouni El Nas
Guest Feature: Leena Aboutaleb
Thanks for reading Sa'alouni El Nas! If you haven’t already, please subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
The death toll from the earthquake that impacted Syria and Turkey has now surpassed 41,000. As my friend Farah-Silvana Kanaan put it on Twitter, “how to even process such a number?”
I’m resharing the list of resources from last week’s newsletter for people to donate and help, which is the least we can do (more listed here as well):
Molham: In 2012, Molham Team was founded by a group of dedicated Syrian university students - young men and women who sensed the suffering of fellow Syrians who became refugees in neighbouring countries; namely Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.
Syrian American Medical Society: The Syrian American Medical Society is a relief organization working on the front lines of the crisis. They continue to service the area though at least one of their hospitals has been closed due to damages caused by the temblors.
AKUT: AKUT is entirely a voluntary, non-governmental organization in Turkey involved in searching, assisting and rescuing all who require aid within its authority and means, in mountain or other nature-related accidents, natural disasters and all other emergency conditions by means of trained, disciplined, high-standard personnel and equipment, passing on knowledge to society with no political affiliation.
Turkish Red Crescent: Providing aid for needy and defenseless people in disasters and usual periods as a proactive organization, developing cooperation in the society, providing safe blood and decreasing vulnerability.
The White Helmets: The White Helmets, a nonprofit organization made up of 3,000 volunteers who help the Syrian community, said they need more equipment and supplies to continue numerous search and rescue operations in the region.
I hope this newsletter provides a brief escape from reality, one where it’s okay to smile and enjoy and be happy — even if just for a little bit of time.
Thank you, my friends. Now let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Leena Aboutaleb!
Leena is an Egyptian-Palestinian writer, raised in between the Gulf and East Coast. She is currently based in Amman, Jordan where she spends her time with her research on Palestinian temporality and language, and enjoying the car rides between mountains.
Leena is an incredible poet, and she also has her own dope newsletter where she vulnerably shares her writing. And Leena herself has an incredible taste in music (check her out on Spotify) I’ve been a fan of Leena’s work for some time, and I knew I had to make sure she came through to share some of her go-to songs:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
“ALIEN SUPERSTAR” by Beyonce — the chorus is so hot, it makes me melt. “I'm too classy for this world, forever I'm that girl, feed you diamonds and pearls, I'm too classy to be touched, I pay them all in dust, I'm stingy with my love” kills me.
This is such a hard question though, since it depends on my mood. I’ve been loving “Oh No” by Biig Piig for those soft days, where dusk is early and I feel like I’m floating in the city. “Figario” by MF Doom and Madlib always makes me turn the sound all the way up til I’m shaking. Grimy beats always catch my ear. “RACORE” by Marwan Pablo when I’m homesick, “Bahlam Maak” by Najat al Saghira when I want to feel love everywhere. “Oh, To Be A Rainbow” by Soko and “Icarus” by Fana Hues for a mid-day background echo when I’m working. “Comedown” by Joesef and “Ana Le Habiby” by Fariuz when I’m missing people I love. “Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 (Dance of the Knights)” as well as “Ma Lkit” by Emel for music that holds me in another dimension. The problem is that I have too many songs I love and even more moods so let’s stop here.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
“Home With You” and “Mirrored Heart” by FKA Twigs. I never fully appreciated FKA’s music until last December, when I was swept up in a rush of self-contemplation and spending a lot of time alone trying to figure things out. MAGDALENE as an album sweeps me off my feet and into my heart unashamedly. There’s something about the way she holds her voice, the emotions wrapped around the words in what feels like a true symphony in her music/ality that has me stunned. She’s fantastic. Special shout out to King Krule and Hozier.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
There’s so many — my mom loves ABBA and classical, romantic music while my dad always plays jazz or Santana. Amr Diab and Fariuz constantly hovered in the air, always playing from someone. But I think the ones that instantly transport me back to Kuwait with my parents playing their cassettes in the car is “Money Money Money” by ABBA and “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin (Notable mentions: “I’m Alive” by Celine Dion and “Summer Of '69” by Bryan Adams). The second someone turns those songs on, I’m instantly back in our old ‘95, face half-smushed against the hot window with the sun roof open (I inherited that car funnily enough).
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
“…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears. I’ve known the entire song since I was literally four years old. It was the first CD my dad bought for me and I had a funky little boom-box to match it. Recently, it’s “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
“Bananza” by Akon, immediately. It doesn’t take me a second to start dancing when that track comes on. When I’m getting ready to go out it’s “Top Again” by AUDREY NUNA featuring Saba, “Leih Beydary Keda” by Ruby, “Chief Keef” by HIBA, and “Zoza” by molotof.
Big shout out to Leena for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Leena’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Follow along all of the cool things Leena is up to here. Be sure to check out her chapbook Expeditions of Projection by VIBE — don’t sleep on this! AND, for all of you writers out there, Leena is guest editing a Palestine issue for Sumou Magazine and still accepting submissions!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
MEEN ELI FEENA - Perrie
Wa2t El Sheda - Sal£m featuring Genev
Mama - In-s
EL KHAYANA - Mouh Milano featuring Mohamed Polyphene
J’ai rien choisi - Taxi 404
JOANA - Rubio
Fi Lamane - Numidia Lezoul
Your Machine - Sarah Mansour
7aret Elsa2ayen - 3enba featuring ZIAD ZAZA
Share3 El 100 - Double Zuksh
Shaklo Elhob Bibalash - The Synaptik
Error - Blvxb
what’s it like? - Nxdia
Diva - Sharmoofers
Langa - Tangeel featuring Khayyat
FOUTINI - Bo9al
Ya Nasini - Artmasta featuring Wiem Yahia
wadda3 - Daboor featuring Al Nather
Meta World Peace - Narcy featuring Bu Kolthoum, Al Bara’em, and Thanks Joey
Bladi B3ida - Cafe De Anatolia featuring Momo Ryuk and Khalid Elhamri
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
LOS POBRES Y LOS RICOS - El Alfa featuring Rochy RD
Miami - Mau y Ricky
Felicidades - Lenny Tavárez
Brujeria - Dru Flecha
1,200 Kilómetros - Santiago Cruz
Cupido - TINI
Te Quiero Besar - Fuerza Regida featuring Becky G
TAMO EN NOTA - Rauw Alejandro featuring Angel Dior
Postre - Myke Towers
Santee - Estevie
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Abracadabra - Rexxie featuring Naira Marley and Skiibii
Me & You - Central Cee
Motions - Zacari featuring Ab-Soul
Two Sides - Masego
A&W - Lana Del Rey
Float - Janelle Monáe featuring Seun Kuti and Egypt 80
Buy You A New Attitude - Tianna Esperanza
Lose You - Bully featuring Soccer Mommy
Give Me Love - SPINALL featuring Niniola
Outta My Mind - K1
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Banks set on fire, roads blocked as lira continues freefall - Ghadir Hamadi, Lyana Alameddine, and Zeina Antonios, L’Orient Today
At least six banks — Fransabank, Bank Audi, Creditbank, Byblos Bank, BBAC and Banque Libano-Française — were set on fire in Badaro, while demonstrators threw stones and broke the fronts of other establishments.
Lebanese citizens begin individual initiatives to collect donations to Syria - Dana Hourany, The New Arab
In the wake of a devastating earthquake that levelled much of northern Syria, the Lebanese have been organising small initiatives to help ease the suffering of the Syrian people.
Lebanon’s Public Prosecutor: The absolute ruler and enabler of the system - Elsy Moufarrej, Raseef22
Since Oueidat took office, he has expanded his already broad authority according to the law, so much so that we can now even call him the 'Superman of the country’s judiciary’.
Lebanon: How Stephanie, Nada and Anna Turned Against Banker Riad Salameh - Hazem El Amin, Daraj
As Lebanon’s political elite continues to protect Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, the many women in his life may drive the final nail in his coffin. After Nada and Anna, now Stephanie has opened up about receiving presents and properties. She is unlikely to be condemned. Will he?
In loving memory of Linda Matar: The legacy of a Lebanese women’s rights trailblazer - Anne-Marie El Hage, L’Orient Today
Linda Matar, one of Lebanon's original leading feminists, passed away earlier this month after a long life dedicated to the fight for women’s rights in the country.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
The volunteer gravediggers of Jandaris - Ali Haj Suleiman, Al Jazeera
Volunteers have come from all around Jandaris, Syria, to help bury the hundreds of dead after the earthquakes.
Stigma, prejudice and discrimination: Mental health in Tunisian culture - Mounira Hajlaoui, Raseef22
In Tunisia, mental health issues are seen as a form of "madness", which results in daily suffering for many people.
The effects of waste on Palestinians’ health and environment - Marta Castillo, The New Arab
The lack of an integrated waste management system linked to the occupation context in the country has led to big impacts on the health of Palestinians and their environment.
Egypt’s economic woe spreads across all classes - Heba Saleh, Financial Times
Sixty per cent of population deemed poor or vulnerable as inflation and currency crisis bite.
Saudi Arabia jails nearly 50 tribespeople for resisting displacement - Rayhan Uddin, Middle East Eye
New Alqst report details displacement and arrest of members of Howeitat tribe to make way for megacity.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Trugoy the Dove played the thankless role of hip-hop’s conscience - Marcus Shorter, Andscape
De La Soul lost a member on the eve of their music landing on streaming services.
Nooriyah’s Culturally Diverse DJ Sets are Enriching the Future of Dance Music - Zab Mustefa, Mixmag
Nooriyah shares an upbeat mix and speaks to Zab Mustefa about going viral, how algorithms are affecting musical diversity, and representing music from the SWANA region in her genre-spanning club sets.
Amman’s Electronic Underground Must Be Heard on Its Own Terms - Bertie Coyle, Bandcamp
Ritzy clubs and festivals don’t represent the progressive tendency embodied by the city’s underground artists.
The Obscure J Dilla Beat Tape That Changed Music Forever - Dan Charnas, Pitchfork
Long before Donuts, a passed-around cassette made the Detroit producer a key influence on the sound of hip-hop and soul. The author of the celebrated Dilla Time takes us inside the making of this legendary tape.
Two Decades Later, 50 Cent Still Wants That ‘In Da Club’ Feeling - Andre Gee, Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone talked to the New York rap icon about the 20th anniversary of his debut studio album 'Get Rich or Die Tryin'.
📚 Other Reads 📚
War for control of Haiti’s capital targets women’s bodies - Megan Janetsky and Fernanda Pesce, Associated Press
As Haiti’s toxic slate of gangs continue to plunder the crisis-stricken Caribbean nation, kidnapping, displacing and extorting civilians with nothing left to give, they are increasingly weaponizing women’s bodies in their war for control.
At This Mexican Restaurant, Everyone Is Family - Melissa Guerrero, The New York Times
Sarapes isn’t just a place to be physically fed. It’s an emotional and spiritual hub that brings one Connecticut suburb together.
What happens to social media influencers when inflation hits? - Brian Contreras, Los Angeles Times
“I definitely think the ‘de-influencing’ trend has sparked due to the recession that seems to be coming.”
‘We’ve failed mothers and kids so much:’ One year later, there’s no end in sight to the formula shortage - Chabeli Carrazana, The 19th
Many store shelves remain bare as the private and government response struggles to produce results and federal aid dries up. For parents of color most of all, it’s been a year of pain and panic.
Pharrell Williams brings a long history of fashion collaborations to his new role at Louis Vuitton - Channing Hargrove, Andscape
From Millionaire sunglasses to hats to bags, he’s been creating trends for years.