Roula Roukbi is among the few Damascus socialites who created an alternative space for art, culture, and some politics in the city. She excelled at living as if Syria was a free country, and in many respects, her hotel came to embody a microcosm of what freedom might one day look like.
Sea shanties provided solace and strength for sailors on merchant ships across the world. Until well into the 20th century, their haunting melodies were sung by Gulf sailors all across the Indian Ocean. Today, they are being rediscovered and adapted as a modern form of cultural expression.
The language used by early Arab poets to appraise wine shows striking parallels to the style of wine criticism we know today. Arab and Muslim poets writing hundreds of years ago used a vocabulary to evaluate wine that would only become current in the West in the late 20th century.