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Guest Feature: Lina Barkawi
This week, in continuing to highlight awesome organizations and companies during Arab Heritage Month, we’re giving a shout out to the amazing Adabiyat book club!
Adabiyat is a monthly virtual gathering showcasing and discussing novels from Arab authors for those passionate about exploring the Arab world’s history, culture & politics through literature. Run by Sarah Alaoui (previous guest of the newsletter) & Lina Barkawi (today’s guest feature), all are welcome and…they're VIRTUAL!
They’ve graciously shared a list of some of their favorites for everyone to check out:
For those looking for humor and candor in the face of tragedy by brave women: The Locust and the Bird by Hanan Al-Shaykh
For those seeking rich and elegant writing of a historical epic: The Parisian by Isabella Hamad
For those craving Bedouin lore, poetry, and imagery in written form: The Actual True Story of Ahmed & Zarga by Mohamedou Ould Slahi
For those ready to face a biting identity crisis during one of Egypt’s turbulent times: Beer in the Snooker Club by Waguih Ghali
For a look into Moroccan palace life through the eyes of the king’s closest counsel, the fool: The King’s Fool by Mahi Binebine
Now THAT is a reading list! Definitely check out Adabiyat and reach out to Sarah and Lina to join!
Okay friends, let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Lina Barkawi!
In addition to serving as Adabiyat's co-host, Lina is a Palestinian Panamanian based out of NYC currently working on the development of new products and services aimed at solving social and economic problems on a global scale via Mastercard's Foundry (formally known as Mastercard Innovation Labs) following graduation from NYU Stern's Tech & Entrepreneurship MBA program with a specialization in Product Management.
Meanwhile, she's also pursuing an MA in Near Eastern Studies at NYU's Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies part-time, her thesis focused on the intimate story of tatreez, Palestinian embroidery, as a mediator of tensions between and among interpersonal relationships as practiced by Palestinians in the diaspora.
Lina literally does it all. I mean, you HAVE to see her tatreez skills — you can check it out by following @LinasThobe on Instagram (she also shares stitching tips for those looking to get started and other wonderful things related to stitching). Y’all know I had to ask Lina about her go-to songs:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
“Rivers” by Thomas Jack – For some reason this song always hits the spot for me.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
“Las Mañanitas” by Vicente Fernandez / “Leili Nhari” by Amr Diab – the first song reminds me of my grandmother who continues to sing this to me every birthday and the latter throws me back to childhood in Saudi Arabia.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Flows by Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Artists 🎧
Lama Btgheeb - Xena Elshazlii
back and forth - ilham
Makany - Samar Tarik featuring Mahib Sleat
Sheitana - Houssainy
Sahrana - In-s featuring Rayen Youssef
Weino 2 - Dana Salah
Chbik Chfama - Samara
Saat Saat - Sabah
Dalida - Soolking
Taj - Oma
🎤 Vibes by Latinx & Hispanic Artists 🎤
Esa Parte De Mí - Los Ángeles Azules featuring Sofía Reyes and Esteman
PROVENZA - KAROL G
No Me Quieras Tanto - Juliana
Yo No Me Olvido - Cris Mj featuring Gotay “El Autentiko”
Te Guardo - Silvana Estrada
Te Felicito - Shakira featuring Rauw Alejandro
Soy Yo - Don Omar featuring Wisin and Gente De Zona
Moreno - La Perversa featuring Ceky Viciny
NO MIENTEN - Becky G
Agua - Nia Padilla
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Call My Bluff - Pusha T
games - Lisa Onuoha
Hold It Down - Digga D
Datz Me - Youngbloodz featuring Young Buck
Don’t You Know - Tommy Flavour
Where you are - PinkPanthress featuring WILLOW
Tears Are Falling - Black Polish
Roman Holiday - Fontaines D.C.
You’re Makin’ Me High - Toni Braxton
Never Was Wrong - Blxst
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
The Power of Lebanon’s Assassins - Justin Salhani, Inkstick Media
Political assassinations and a lack of justice are part of Lebanon’s post-civil war legacy.
Ansar's quadruple femicide revives the debate on the death penalty in a Lebanon in crisis - Anne-Marie El Hage, L’Orient Today
To relatives of victims who demand the death penalty, abolitionists tirelessly reply that executing a condemned person does not reduce crime.
Bicycling movement sweeps Lebanon - Clement Gibon, Al-Monitor
As Lebanon is hit hard by a series of crises, fuel shortages aggravated by the Ukraine war have pushed many Lebanese to use bicycles as transportation.
Lebanese families forced to rely on food parcels to get through Ramadan - Jamie Prentis, The National
Increasingly families are forced to rely on such food packages for Ramadan and the rest of the year, allowing parents to buy essentials including medicine and fuel.
Lebanon maternal deaths triple, children's health at risk amid crisis, UNICEF says - Maya Gebeily and Timour Azhari, Reuters
The number of women in Lebanon dying from pregnancy-related complications has nearly tripled amid a crushing three-year economic crisis that has seen doctors and midwives leave the country.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
Afro-Palestinians face 'double the harassment and double the racism' - Anjuman Rahman, Middle East Monitor
Nisreen Salem is an Afro-Palestinian from Egypt who has been mocked due to her skin colour and hair for most of her young life.
My Words - Mariam Elba, Raseef22
“When I speak English, my stutter just wants me to slow my words down, or say them differently. But in Arabic, it’s as if my stutter is afraid of something.”
Meet Abou Cocktail, Idlib’s juice king - Kareem Chehayeb and Ali Haj Suleiman, Al Jazeera
A juice purist with his own twist starts again for a third time, bringing colour and flavour to northwestern Syria.
Unsung, unseen and unheard: Kuwait’s stateless Bidoon women speak out - Yousef H. Alshammari, The New Arab
Facing both a complicated set of socio-political obstacles and cultural impediments, women in Kuwait continue to struggle in voicing their political needs in political action. For stateless women, much of that same voice is largely muffled.
Egypt’s Poor Treatment of Pregnant Women - Bahira Amin, New Lines Magazine
High cesarean rate is but one symptom of the routine mistreatment of mothers-to-be.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Meet ilham: the soulful singer pursuing her drewhile navigating an industry with no clear blueprint - Sunayah Arshad, AZEEMA
Hailing from Queensbridge, New York, singer-songwriter ilham is a true testament to her Moroccan-American roots.
The Syrian Cassette Archives Explore a Pivotal Era of Middle Eastern Music - Peter Holslin, Pitchfork
Hear highlights from a new project focused on Syria’s vibrant cassette culture in the 1970s through the 2000s.
How Bend It Like Beckham went from benchwarmer to blockbuster - Neelam Tailor, gal-dem
To mark the 20th anniversary of this British classic, Neelam tracked down the cast and crew to tell them how it all came together.
DJ Kay Slay Was a Hip-Hop Legend - Andre Gee, Complex
The legendary DJ died at the age of 55 on April 17 due to complications from COVID-19.
The actor talks playing the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Arab leading lady, landing her role in Ramy, and bringing a “soft strength” to her roles.
📚 Other Reads 📚
Marine Le Pen Is as Dangerous as Ever - Rim-Sarah Alouane, The New York Times
“At the head of a party that long housed Nazi collaborators, Ms. Le Pen is an authoritarian whose deeply racist and Islamophobic politics threaten to turn France into an outright illiberal state.”
How this Bolivian all-female skate crew is celebrating their indigenous roots - Malaka Gharib, NPR
"Many girls who see us skating feel proud to see us dressed [this way]," says skater Fabiola Gonzales. "Even our own families feel proud we're showing our traditions."
Some women shared the messages they get on Instagram. It’s not pretty. - Taylor Lorenz and Elizabeth Dwoskin, The Washington Post
A study that looked at over 8,700 direct messages to five high-profile women on Instagram finds the platform failed to act on 90 percent of the abuse.
The Female Soccer Players Challenging France’s Hijab Ban - Constant Méheut, The New York Times
“What we want is to be accepted as we are, to implement these grand slogans of diversity, inclusiveness,” said Founé Diawara, the president of Les Hijabeuses, which has 80 members. “Our only desire is to play soccer.”
The quest to save Cantonese in a world dominated by Mandarin - Anh Do, Los Angeles Times
Globally, Cantonese is being swamped by Mandarin. The two languages are as different as Spanish is from French.