Culture

How Arabs Have Failed Their Language

How Arabs Have Failed Their Language

Arabs damned their own language through diglossia and denial. They have tried to elevate fus-ha, the only so-called true or pure Arabic, while working to discredit, disable, and even destroy dialects.

How the Eggplant Conquered Arab Cuisine

How the Eggplant Conquered Arab Cuisine

Today, it is hard to fathom any cuisine we consume in America without eggplants (from Indian and Chinese to Italian and Arab). But eggplant was not always popular, until Italian and Arab immigrants brought it, along with chickpeas and peppers.

The Seven Hanging Odes of Mecca

The Seven Hanging Odes of Mecca

Seven ancient Arabic odes are still unknown to the West despite having a bedrock status as “Beowulf” does in English: the mu’allaqat or hanging odes, so-called because they were allegedly stitched in gold and draped on the shrine of the Kaaba at Mecca as masterpieces.

Kevin Blankinship
The Folkloric Stories Behind Kurdish Secularism

The Folkloric Stories Behind Kurdish Secularism

Even though Kurds produced many legends in Islamic history, like Saladin, contemporary Kurds invoke folkloric figures and battles. The central role of these legends explains the secularism of Kurdish resistance and why Islamism has not gained ground among Kurds today

Hussain Jummo
Recipes for Disaster

Recipes for Disaster

Food nationalism started with the formation of nation states and the breakup of empires in recent centuries. Cuisine, like political borders, became an effective tool for marking new distinctions, used by chauvinists and genocidaires as a weapon.

Riada Asimovic Akyol
Hip Hop Finds Its Groove in North Africa

Hip Hop Finds Its Groove in North Africa

North African rappers and emcees are boldly approaching hip-hop and the larger Arabic music landscape by exploring taboo themes and proactively deconstructing societal markers of North African identity.

Danny Hajjar
The Wine Critics of Early Islam

The Wine Critics of Early Islam

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.

Alex Rowell