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Guest Feature: Mohammed Khader
I want to bring something incredibly important to everyone’s attention: period poverty in Lebanon.
The price of menstrual pads has risen over 500% since the start of the country’s financial crisis. Packs of sanitary towels now cost between 13,000 and 35,000 Lebanese lira -- between $8.60 and $23 at the official exchange rate -- up from just 3,000 lira ($2) before the crisis.
This is truly awful and further demonstrates how the multiple and multi-layered crises disproportionately affect women. I included a story below about this issue so you can read further about it.
If you’re able to help in any way, please consider donating to Dawrati, an organization working to end period poverty in Lebanon and provide women and girls with menstrual products.
Period pads are not a luxury! They are a basic necessity.
Let’s go ahead and get right into it. I am so excited to introduce our guest feature for this week: Mohammed Khader!
Mohammed is a political analyst and strategist based in Washington, DC, where he previously served as a political appointee in the Executive Office of the Mayor in DC Government, and recently served as a Policy Advisor to Mississippi State Representative Jeramey Anderson. His non-traditional path into politics and international relations has been defined by his unique lived experiences against various barriers and adversities. Mohammed's background in foreign policy, government relations, and international politics has allowed him to support global movements, including the recent 2018/19 Sudanese uprisings as an advocate, and approach global issues as a member of a major group in the United Nations. Outside of his work, Mohammed is a foodie, likes to visit museums, and enjoys watching and playing soccer. As a Black and Palestinian American originally from Jackson, Mississippi, Mohammed’s passion for music traces back to his childhood, where he first heard Jay-Z/Roc-a-Fella and Mississippi’s Delta Blues. He also studied music as a violinist in a performing arts school, which gave him an ear for all different kinds of genres of music.
Mohammed truly exemplifies deliberate and intentional advocacy, awareness, and intuition. I’ve personally come to value Mohammed’s analysis on everything happening in Palestine and Black liberation. I was truly honored when Mohammed agreed to share some of his go-to music with me, and let me tell y’all these are some solid picks:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
My favorite song right now is between “Bath Salts” by DMX featuring Jay-Z & Nas and “l e t . g o . m y . h a n d” by J. Cole featuring Bas & 6LACK. Cole’s song has been in heavy rotation and DMX’s passing hit me hard, especially after reminiscing on the time I met him as a kid, so I’ve been sitting with it.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
I’m usually always in my feelings. My go-to song for all my feels is between “Down as a Great” by Nipsey Hussle, “Amsterdam” by Rick Ross, “The Knowing” by The Weeknd, especially with that kind of production, instrumentation, and introspection. It’s fair to say that I’ve been stuck in my feels ever since The Weeknd’s “House of Balloons” released.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
While Mississippi is my home, the permanence and concept of home itself has changed frequently throughout my life and has been shaped by my own lived experiences. That being said, these songs remind me of home in all the forms I’ve known: "Where I’m From" by Jay-Z; "Jesus Walks" by Kanye West; or "Bury Me in Gold" - Big K.R.I.T.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
They Reminisce Over You by Pete Rock & CL Smooth and Dead Presidents by Jay-Z was one of the first rap songs I ever heard when I was very young. Even though “Dead Presidents 2,” which appears on Hov’s first album, is the mainstream version, I strongly prefer the pre-album version of Hov’s first “Dead Presidents'' and the unofficial unreleased “Dead Presidents 3” produced by Young Guru. And yeah, Fairuz’s “Ana La Habibi” is a classic and actually helped me when I was studying Arabic.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
I grew up playing competitive sports, so for me getting hype has always meant getting into another state of mind that blocks out everything around you. Whenever I need to get hyped and get that energy, whether it’s a high-level meeting or competition of any kind, I get in my zone with “Intro (Championships Album)” or “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill.
Big shout out to Mohammed for joining and sharing his song selections! All of Mohammed’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. And please give Mohammed a follow on Twitter for his thoughtful insight and his important perspective.
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Arab Flows (Middle Eastern & North African artists) 🎧
Habeb Hayati - Moustafa Amar
Egypt - Kareem Samara featuring Shireen Lilith and Ryan Harvey
ahwak - Xxehab
Right For Ya - Bea Kadri
DNT - Nouvo featuring ElGrandeToto and Draganov
Mush Baeed - Donia Wael
Yeah, Yeah.. - Bu Kolthoum
Dija La Frati - Art Beatz featuring Rawi
Maladie - Lacrim featuring Soolking
Sehrak Fiyyi - Joudi Nox featuring Aley
🎤 Las Vibras (Latinx & Hispanic artists) 🎤
Goza Pelota - El Taiger featuring Adonis MC
Ahí Va la Loca - Adriana Ríos
Bailalo - Eleá
Dime Dónde - Cazzu featuring Justin Quiles
Corazón De Papel - Leon Leiden featuring Karen Méndez
Gasto - Bad Gyal
Ojitos - The Change
ME PASE - Enrique Iglesias featuring Farruko
KARATE - Nicole Zignago
Apatía (The Beautyscape Remix) - Pitizion featuring Adso Alejandro and Andy Clay
🎼 Other Music 🎼
Wasting Time - Brent Faiyaz featuring Drake
Sometimes - Faye Webster
Love Theme - Nicolas Godin featuring Kadhja Bonet
Wana - Zuchu
More Than A Woman (SG’s Paradise Edit) - Bee Gees and SG Lewis
Must Be Something - Dee Gatti
You Right - Doja Cat featuring The Weeknd
I’m Sprung - T-Pain
Gang Slide - Blxst
IDOL - EB Rebel
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
‘This is the end of times’: Lebanon struggles to find political path through its crisis - Martin Chulov, The Guardian
As the country suffers from hyperinflation and shortages of fuel and medical supplies, pressure is growing at home and abroad to address its governance quagmire.
Diapers and rags: Lebanon crisis plunges women into period poverty - Rouba El Husseini and Yasmine Canga-Valles, Agence France-Presse
The price of menstrual pads, the vast majority of which are imported, has risen by almost 500 percent since the start of a financial crisis the World Bank has dubbed likely one of the world's worst since the 1850s.
This couple is determined to force the Interior Ministry’s hand on civil marriage - Nour Braidy, L’Orient Today
Abdallah Salam and Marie-Joe Abi-Nassif, who got married in Lebanon in 2019, are determined to continue fighting until their civil union is fully registered, armed with letters of support from the Justice Ministry.
Economic crisis, severe shortages make Lebanon ‘unlivable’ - Bassem Mroue, Associated Press
After 20 months of suffering with no end in sight, a new reality is setting in for most of Lebanon’s estimated 6 million people: Days filled with severe shortages — from spare parts for cars to medicine, fuel and other basic goods in the import-dependent country.
A look inside the suitcase of a Lebanese expat - Fatima Al Mahmoud, The National
Travelers pack medicine, food and other basic goods to compensate for shortages in Lebanon.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
An Ode to My Arab Nose - Gail El-Halaby, Azeema
“It took me years to realise then, that the predominant reason for this self-hatred was absolutely nothing to do with an ugly glitch in my genetics, but everything to do with the Western hijacked standard of beauty, which continues to subordinate minority women across the world.”
Meet the Family Taking Palestinian Breakfast From the Farmers’ Market to the Freezer Aisle - Charlotte Goddu, Eater
After building a D.C.-area business around manoushe and za’atar, Z&Z began selling its products online and now ships to 20 states.
Donald Rumsfeld Tore My Country Apart - Rasha Al Aqeedi, The New York Times
“To the extent that he set Iraq on an irreversible course of destruction, he won’t be forgotten. But for many of us still hoping for a better Iraq, he is irrelevant.”
Nadhira Alharthy: Omani climber wants to 'die empty' in her quest to share knowledge - Sana Noor Haq, CNN
It was a chance encounter that would change her life forever. In 2017, Nadhira Alharthy met the first Omani man to climb Everest.
Memes, jokes and icons: Eight ways Palestinians are resisting the occupation online - N.A. Mansour, Middle East Eye
Palestinians are drawing on past resistance for strength and creative inspiration in response to the ongoing insecurity.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
With tragedy often striking the perilous journey to refuge, Algerian visual artist Rachid Koraichi has honored the lost identities of unburied refugees in his 'Garden of Africa' - a poignant commemoration of our collective humanity.
Art on the front lines of a changing Sudan - Antoaneta Roussi and Matteo Lonard, Al Jazeera
Two years on, Sudanese artists who participated in the 2019 revolution fear for the country’s stability.
How this queer, Arab-American choreographer is changing Broadway, one step at a time - Rosie Colosi, NBC News
Sonya Tayeh, the brains behind “Moulin Rouge!” and “Sing Street,” chats with Know Your Value about her journey, the lack of diversity in her industry and how she managed when Covid-19 shuttered Broadway.
Danny Trejo opens up about being typecast — and a close call with the Mexican Mafia - Daniel Hernandez, Los Angeles Times
“Acting wasn’t new to me. I’d acted to survive my childhood,” writes Danny Trejo in his new memoir. He talks with The Times about his incredible life.
Questlove on Restoring Black Music History and Making One of the Year’s Best Films - Clover Hope, Pitchfork
The Roots drummer discusses Summer of Soul, his new documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, and the ongoing fight to give Black musicians their rightful due.
📚 Other Reads 📚
Climate Change Is Destroying My Country. The Nations Causing It Must Help. - Bernard Ferguson, The New York Times Magazine
Islands like the Bahamas are paying the price for wealthier nations’ emissions — an injustice crying out for a global remedy.
In American city with a history of racism, women of color rise in watershed Boston mayor race - Janet Hook, Los Angeles Times
The voters of Boston, a city with a notorious history of racism, face a once-unimaginable political tableau in the mayor’s race this year. For the first time, the four top candidates are all women of color.
Gwen Berry, and the hammers thrown at Black womanhood - Jeneé Osterheldt, The Boston Globe
Democracy depends on Black women, yet America does not see the humanity of Black girls and women.
In Oklahoma, the 1995 bombing offers lessons — and warnings — for today’s fight against extremism - Hannah Allam, The Washington Post
“Look at that scar in downtown Oklahoma City and the 168 lives we lost, and recognize that that’s where this all leads if you pursue this path of extremism.”
Since When Have Trees Existed Only for Rich Americans? - Ian Leahy and Yaryna Serkez, The New York Times
Across the nation, the wealthier and whiter your neighborhood is, the greener the view from your window is likely to be.