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Guest Feature: Summer Farah
Irina and Kevin McCarthy were among the people killed in the Highland Park shooting in Illinois on Monday.
I am sharing some information in this tweet here for those of who you wish to donate to a fundraiser for their two-year-old son, Aiden, and his caregivers.
Thanks, friends. I do want to also get into it for this week. I am so excited to introduce our guest feature: Summer Farah!
Summer is a poet and editor who currently acts as the outreach coordinator for the Radius of Arab American Writers and co-writes the newsletter Letters to Summer. In 2021, she served as the guest poetry editor for the FIYAH! Lit Palestine Solidarity Issue. She is a graduate of the Winter '22 Tin House Workshop and an NBCC Emerging Critic Fellow. Her work is published in Mizna, LitHub, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere.
First of all, Summer is an incredibly talented storyteller and writer. Her poetry elicits so much emotion and vulnerability — Summer really has a command of language in such a beautiful way. And second of all, Summer’s advocacy is something I truly admire. There isn’t a day that goes by where, in between some of her hilarious tweets, I don't see her using her platform to help the community and her peers.
Given these aspects of Summer’s compassion and empathy, I knew that her go-to music would be carefully selected. You’ll see below that the songs and artists chosen are of particular significance to Summer:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
"Favorite" for me generally means "what song are you randomly singing when performing any task" so that's a big tie between "Ya Wad Ya T'eel" from Khali Balak Min Zuzu which is a movie I have NOT seen, but my mom has been singing it to my niece and now pretty much anytime there's silence in the house we all just start singing. It's a great stress relief! On the other hand, for another song-from-a-movie-I-haven't-seen, there's "This Is A Life" by Son Lux featuring Mitski and David Byrne which is on the Everything Everywhere All At Once soundtrack, and I've had it on repeat for WEEKS and written two poems after it.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
Unfortunately a very difficult question as I listen to almost exclusively indulgent sad girl music! BUT I'll give these two: "I Wish I Was the Moon" by Neko Case, or "A Better Son/Daughter" by Rilo Kiley!
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
Dania Khatib "El Hilwa Di"! This song is in the pits of my earliest memory recesses. I remember sitting in the kitchen while it played on our very cool-looking CD player/radio, being enamored with the "coo coo coo coo!" lines, how silly and beautiful it was. Also, stereotypically, "Ommi" by Marcel Khalife; I listen to it when I miss my mom and remember how she listens to it when she misses her mom.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
Putting aside the countless musical soundtracks running around in my brain at all hours, "It's All Coming Back To Me" by Celine Dion. Excessive, dramatic, the best 7 minute release, you simply must memorize it all.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
"Cherry" by Rina Sawayama! Rina is my go-to whenever I need more energy.
Big shout out to Summer for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Summer’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Keep up with her at summerfarah.com, sign up for her newsletter, and follow her on Twitter too! Summer recently curated a folio at Violet, Indigo, Blue, Etc called ORIGINALITYISDEAD, a collection of referential poetry, and she released a zine to celebrate her 25th birthday, & I was so young when I behaved 25, with poems inspired by Mitski. So obviously, y’all need to check those out immediately!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
Comforter - ElGrandeToto featuring Ayra Starr
Al Amal - Noori & His Dorpa Band
3addiheli - Si Lemhaf
incognita - Raja Meziane
Beautiful - Big Bo
home - Ss.hh.a.n.a
Ya Ghazal - Ortega
2003 - Hafs
Down - Marjana
Waylalah - Synapson featuring Bab L’Bluz
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
Nela - LATENIGHTJIGGY
Bandolera - Nyno Vargas featuring Omar Montes
Bajo El Mar - Mendez
¡Ay, Ay, My Love! - Marissa Mur
LUV - RaiNao
Comentario - Melaner featuring Lachi The Real Melody
El Mellao - Voltio
Lluvia - Sunsplash featuring Pedrina
Dame Break - Darell featuring Sech
La Loto - TINI featuring Becky G and Anitta
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Vanilla - Burna Boy
Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) - Kate Bush
WATAWI - CKay featuring Davido, Focalistic, and Abidoza
Bounce - Ms Banks
Summer in the Ends (Zikomo Remix) - Juls featuring Jaz Karis
Throw Your Hands Up - 8Ball & MJG featuring Outkast
3 Peat - Ambré
Survivors Guilt - Joey Bada$$
Ungowami - Sha Sha featuring Soa Mattrix
ALL MINE - Brent Faiyaz
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Lebanon's Muslims locked out of Hajj by rising costs and collapsed lira - Adam Chamseddine, Middle East Eye
While Lebanese have seen their savings evaporate in an economic crisis, pilgrimage prices have gone through the roof.
In crisis-hit Lebanon, mobile phones and broadband are now only for the rich - Clément Gibon, The New Arab
With the new decision of the Ministry of Telecommunications to increase the prices of fixed internet and mobile phone networks, a part of the population will now find it impossible to afford telecommunication services.
Indie artist paō talks about death anxiety, producing his first single, and leaving Lebanon - Romy Khneisser, Beirut Today
Beirut Today sat with paō to talk about his musical journey, the first release, and his future plans.
As more Lebanese ditch their cars for motorcycles, refugees become even more vulnerable - Farah-Silvana Kanaan, L’Orient Today
“Scooters are the unsung heroes of transportation. And so they should be affordable and accessible to all of us.”
Forced Return of Syrians by Lebanon Unsafe and Unlawful - Lama Fakih, Human Rights Watch
Plan to Deport 15,000 Monthly a Breach of Lebanon’s Obligations
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
When 'if you see something, say something' goes wrong: Unfounded reports of suspicious activity overwhelmingly target Arabs, Muslims doing routine activities, new report shows - Samah Assad and Megan Hickey, CBS News Chicago
A new report by the Arab American Action Network and the Policing in Chicago Research Group at University of Illinois Chicago shows strong evidence a federal government program that encourages reporting "suspicious" behavior is disproportionately targeting and racially profiling Arab and Muslim Americans for seemingly everyday activities.
Sudan protesters sceptical military will step aside - Mat Nashed, Al Jazeera
Civilian blocs and resistance committees are rushing to build a new front to assume executive functions.
Weathering sandstorms, Iraqis grit teeth and battle on - Tony Gamal Gabriel, Agence France-Presse
Irs now facing new environment challenges on an unprecedented scale: since mid-April it has weathered a dozen dust storms that have often shrouded it in an otherworldly orange glow.
Egypt family keeps alive tradition behind hajj centrepiece - Bahira Amin, Agence France-Presse
Under the steady hum of a ceiling fan, Ahmed Othman weaves golden threads through black fabric, creating Koranic verses, a century after his grandfather's work adorned the Kaaba in Mecca's Grand Mosque.
'Harraga' in Tunisia: The burning desire for a better life - Basma El Atti, The New Arab
More young Tunisians are choosing to battle death in the Mediterranean Sea, feeling trapped in an increasingly autocratic state where censorship, poverty, and unemployment have soared.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
‘Beja Power!’: Music as resistance on Sudan’s Red Sea coast - Amar Diwakar, Al Jazeera
The long-marginalised Beja people seek to keep their culture alive through music, with a new album bringing their distinctive melodies to an international audience.
Pain and Pressure: Khtek Opens Up About How Sadness Inspired Some of Her Best Creations - Yassine Hariss, Mille World
The Rabat-based rapper bares all.
At Madrid's Amor de Dios flamenco center, dancers are finding their rhythm again - Michel Martin and Cat Sposato, NPR
Some members of NPR's All Things Consideream got a better understanding of flamenco and its impact on the dancers.
Ravyn Lenae Is Making Timeless R&B at Her Own Pace - Eric Torres, Pitchfork
With the singer’s long-awaited debut album HYPNOS finally out in the world, she talks about creating art that’s built to last in an age of instant gratification.
James Caan, Actor Who Won Fame in ‘The Godfather,’ Dies at 82 - Clyde Haberman, The New York Times
A Bronx native, he starred in countless movies and TV shows, but was most closely identified with the volatile character Sonny Corleone.
📚 Other Reads 📚
I was at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade. I saw the horror unfold. - Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times
“I just wanted to go to this parade and enjoy the day. And then the shooting started.”
A Oaxacan community prays for two brothers — one dead, one alive — who were in the San Antonio trailer - Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times
Two brothers who left their homes in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, were smuggled in the trailer found in San Antonio. Their families are now leaning on their faith.
The Archnemeses of War Rugs - Decca Muldowney, The Verge
War rugs are a traditional Afghan art — how’d a guy in Brooklyn end up with their copyright?
When abortion clinics close, low-income people will also lose access to other reproductive care - Chabeli Carrazana, The 19th
In many areas of the South and Midwest, abortion clinics are often the only place low-income, uninsured people can go to get reproductive care, including birth control and HIV, prenatal and gender-affirming care. Now many of those clinics are set to close.
Haiti a Year After the Presidential Assassination - Edwidge Danticat, The New Yorker
Justice evades Jovenel Moïse’s family and the rest of the country.