Discover more from Sa'alouni El Nas
Guest Feature: Razan Ghalayini
It’s been a heavy and emotional few weeks with what’s taking place in Palestine. The videos and images of families being ripped from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and elsewhere, of people being murdered literally in the middle of the streets — it’s all incredibly horrifying. Just a few weeks ago, I shared in this newsletter the report from Human Rights Watch that labeled Israeli policies toward and treatment of Palestinians as crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution. What we’re witnessing is the most blatant example of Israeli policy.
For this week’s newsletter, I primarily tried to include music either by Palestinian artists or about Palestine itself to showcase its rich artistic culture. You can find those songs under the “Arab Flows (Middle Eastern & North African Artists)” section. Additionally, most of the stories you’ll see this week under the “Middle East, North Africa, and Diaspora” section will be about Palestine by Palestinian writers. If you read anything from the list of pieces here, it should be those.
Let’s go ahead and get right into it. I am so excited to introduce our guest feature for this week: Razan Ghalayini!
Razan is a two time Emmy Award nominated writer, director, and producer. She is a Co-Executive Producer and Director at the late night comedy show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, where in addition to running the field department, she has written and directed over 45 field pieces across nine countries. This piece about the role of Kurdish women in peacebuilding is her favorite. Razan has created short form content for the SundanceNow Doc Club, Bloomberg and The Intercept. Razan co-wrote The Intercept’s investigation into the Fort Dix Five and directed Entrapped, a short documentary about the case. Entrapped premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival before playing at 15 festivals around the country. Previously, Razan served as a supervising field producer for The Trials of Spring (PBS) and Homegrown (HBO). She co-produced and field directed We Are The Giant (Passion Pictures), about non-violent resistance in the 2011 revolutions in Syria, Bahrain, and Libya. She also served as associate producer on Koran By Heart (HBO).
Is there anything Razan can’t do?! She has truly done so much behind the camera uplifting stories and narratives to the forefront. Her work is invaluable, and what Razan has been able to accomplish with Full Frontal — really helping to push that show with its reporting — is remarkable. It’s an honor that Razan shared some of her go-to music this week:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
I've been listening to and watching the music video for “Link” by Tierra Whack on repeat for two weeks. In 2018 she released Whack World a 15-song album consisting of all one-minute tracks along with a music video that depicted each song individually while weaving them together...it's incredible.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
My go to song for all of my feels is “Once There Was A Hushpuppy” from the movie Beasts of The Southern Wild. I listen to it when I'm sad and need to be lifted up. The news out of Palestine this week has been pretty horrible so I've been listening to this a lot.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
Divas! Both American and Arab, lol. Celine, Whitney, Mariah, Tina, Um Kulthoum, and Fairuz were in constant rotation at home, but I think the song that reminds me most of home is “Al Bostah” by Fairuz.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
I know every word to “One Week” by the Barenaked Ladies. I'm not proud.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
Big shout out to Razan for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Razan’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. And follow Razan on Twitter to keep up with what she has in store, and check out her website to watch some of the work she’s done!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Arab Flows (Middle Eastern & North African artists) 🎧
Dammi Falastini - Mohammad Assaf
Enough - Maysa Daw
Mali Huriye - DAM
Jerusalem Freestyle - Marwan Abdelhamid
Run - 47 Soul featuring The Synaptik and Tamer Nafar
Zahrat El Mada’en - Fairuz
Al Rozana - Amal Murkus
KSR KSR KSR - Zenobia
Taal - Lina Makoul
Sawtoka Ya Shaabi - Sanaa Moussa
🎤 Las Vibras (Latinx & Hispanic artists) 🎤
Un Poquito - mariagrep
Al Lau - Lele Pons
EL TREN - Micro TDH featuring Myke Towers
Hielo - Anto Bosman
Tus Ojitos - Samanez
Besarnos de cero - Danny Ocean
EL MAKINON - KAROL G featuring Mariah Angeliq
Bolero a La Vida - Omara Portuondo with Gaby Moreno
Mayor Que Yo 3 - Luny Tunes featuring Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Wisin y Yandel
Corazón Espinado - Santana featuring Maná
🎼 Other Music 🎼
Welcome to Jamrock - Damian Marley
Damaged - Harriis
Woman - Little Simz featuring Cleo Sol
Blossom - AUDREY NUNA
Coming Closer - Duckwrth featuring Julia Romana and G.L.A.M.
Bussdown - Jorja Smith featuring Shaybo
Something About The Way You Look Tonight - Elton John
Motorbike - Leon Bridges
Me, Myself, and I - Beyoncé
l e t . g o . m y . h a n d - J. Cole
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
'We eat and drink from garbage' - Tamara Qiblawi, Muhammad Darwish, and Tariq Keblaoui, CNN
Fasting is simple in crisis-hit Lebanon. The struggle is finding food for Ramadan dinner.
Beirut bakery grows own wheat to combat rising food insecurity - Maghi Ghali, Al Jazeera
Mavia Bakery, a small outfit tucked away in Beirut’s Gemmayzeh district, is trying to ensure Lebanon has better food security and is less dependent on imported flour for its bakeries with a series of humanitarian projects.
With Palestinians in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood facing displacement from their homes, young activists in Lebanon are finding new channels to showcase to a global audience what for Palestinians is an all too familiar scene.
Driven by despair, Lebanese pharmacist looks to life abroad - Zeina Karam, Associated Press
The shelves are bare at the Panacea pharmacy north of Beirut. Its owner, Rita El Khoury, has spent the past few weeks packing up her career, apartment and belongings before leaving Lebanon for a new life abroad.
Palestinian Camps in Lebanon: Reflecting on Patterns of Marginalization, Isolation and Control - Rabie Mustapha, The Public Source
This story is an attempt to understand three patterns of spatial marginalization since the camps’ establishment, and especially after the civil war, to chart their effects and potential repercussions amid the spread of COVID-19, the country's financial collapse, and the rise in poverty and unemployment.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
Sheikh Jarrah highlights the violent brazenness of Israel’s colonialist project - Noura Erakat and Mariam Barghouti, The Washington Post
When will the world open its eyes to this injustice and respond appropriately?
Defiance in the face of Israeli aggression gives Palestinians everywhere hope - Ziad al-Qattan, The Guardian
The violence in Jerusalem is part of a plan to repress Palestinian life in the city. Yet there is a heartening refusal to be cowed.
Young people are leading the Palestinian protests in Jerusalem. And they aren’t going away. - Dana El Kurd, The Washington Post
Four things to know about the recent clashes.
“The Dajanis are one of many families facing eviction from their homes, their plight triggering protests in Sheikh Jarrah and beyond. But what the Israeli government initially called a real estate dispute between private parties has now spiraled toward outright war.”
The Tunisia Heist - Francesca Ebel, Newlines Magazine
Ten years after the first Arab Spring country overthrew strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisians are trying to recover his stolen assets. It’s not going well.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
A Burgeoning Rap Scene Is Breaking Out in Dubai - Rob Nowill, Hypebeast
And it’s ready for global recognition.
Haifaa Al-Mansour Rocks Out to Punk and Cooks With TikTok - Alexis Soloski, The New York Times
With her movie “The Perfect Candidate” arriving in American theaters, Al-Mansour, the first Saudi Arabian woman to become a feature-length filmmaker, discusses her cultural essentials.
Youngest Dubai DJ scratches her way to fame in world contest - Malaka Harb, Associated Press
Michelle Rasul had just learned to read and write and was already spinning turntables, scratching hip-hop records and making the beats drop. Four years later, at the age of 9, she’s one of the world’s top DJs and competed in this year’s global championship.
Meet KMRU, the Ambient Musician With His Ear to the World - Philip Sherburne, Pitchfork
Armed with a handheld recorder and a reverence for environmental sounds, the Kenyan artist is carving out a unique place in electronic music.
The Future of the NBA on TNT - John Gonzalez, The Ringer
For decades, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, and Ernie Johnson have made watching hoops on Thursday must-see TV. Now there’s a new studio show on the network, led by Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker, and Adam Lefkoe, and featuring the controversial and crusty takes of O’Neal. The generational divide is often striking and usually very entertaining.
📚 Other Reads 📚
Colombian Protesters Are Ready for the Long Haul - Christina Noriega, The Nation
After nearly two weeks of protests against neoliberal reforms and police violence, Colombia’s conservative government has refused to make any major concessions. The demonstrations continue.
The Emerging Movement for Police and Prison Abolition - Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker
Mariame Kaba, a New York City-based activist and organizer, is at the center of an effort to “build up another world.”
The GOP’s ‘Critical Race Theory’ Obsession - Adam Harris, The Atlantic
How conservative politicians and pundits became fixated on an academic approach.
Who was the last basketball phenom who needed to be seen in person to be believed? When was the last time a transcendent American player just … appeared? You have to go back, way back — pre-internet, pre-ESPN, pre-everything — to come upon the perfect combination of extraordinary circumstances.
See Fewer People. Take Fewer Showers - Maria Cramer, The New York Times
Some people said they started bathing less during the pandemic. As long as no one complains, they say they plan to keep the new habit.
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