The Sexy Business of Political Uprisings: Sijal Hachem’s “Khalas”

I lived through a revolution. I saw my 21-year-old brother holding a gun. I slept with a knife under my pillow. I have a close friend who was shot and is now blind in one eye.I was lucky. I didn't have thugs break into my house. I wasn’t tear-gassed. I wasn’t shot at. But I have friends who were. I have friends who have friends who died.And compared to the revolutions going on in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, and Libya, Egypt was lucky.Today I heard a new song by Sijal Hachem, a Lebanese singer I’ … [Read more...]

Is Harassment Hilarious? Nile Comedy TV Thinks so

There's a new government-sponsored comedy channel in Egypt, Nile Comedy TV, which has created a humorous series of "non-commercial breaks." One memorable example that made me laugh went like this: Buy the Chinese sheep! It weighs 12 kg when alive, and 55 kg after being slaughtered. It's fed on a diet of chips, so you can control the taste of the sheep by controlling the types of chips it eats. It comes in three colors: green, red and blue! It has two hearts, two livers, two stomachs and it has … [Read more...]

Let the Funky Arabs Turn you On!

Sexy Girls. Arab Beauty that'll rock your world. Sea, sex and sun. Let the funky Arabs turn you on! The new "Funky Arabs" single by Jad Choueiri, the Lebanese singer known for crooning love ballads, has had over 150,000 views on YouTube in one month.Choueiri spends four and a half minutes singing about how Arabs are not the evil figures typically portrayed in Western media. "We're not what you see on CNN and the BBC. […] Ain't no bombers, we've got the guts," starts off the track. So far, so … [Read more...]

The Hole Story: Sexual Abuse in a “Strict Muslim” Household

"Sexual Abuse in Islamic Society" is the title of a recently published BBC article.* Right away, I knew it wasn't going to be a good story (and by "good", I mean objective, balanced, etc.). "Islamic society," says the title, not an Islamic society, whatever that is. There is so much wrong with this BBC story and it's upsetting on so many levels, it's hard to know where to start.Here's the story: Fatima, who is 26, was raised in a "strict Islamic family" in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Her stepfather … [Read more...]

The Ideal Egyptian Woman, According to CityStars Mall

For those who don't know, CityStars mall in Cairo was the biggest mall in the Middle East until it was surpassed by Dubai Mall in November 2008.Nevertheless, it's still a huge mall, with (according to their website) over 550 stores, 6,000 parking spaces, three hotels, two indoor theme parks, and a 21-screen cinema complex. Over $800 million has been invested in it to date and it is visited by approximately 45,000 people each day. On the weekends, visitors range from 50-75,000, and last Eid, 8 … [Read more...]

The Age of Innocence: the Mistreatment of an Elderly Woman in Saudi Arabia

The internet is abuzz with talk of Khamisa Sawadi, a 75-year-old Syrian widow living in Saudi Arabia who was sentenced to 40 lashes and 4 months in jail for the crime of khalwa, being alone with a man who is not her relative. The verdict, issued on March 3rd, also demands that Sawadi be deported after serving her sentence. Sawadi's husband was Saudi Arabian.According to Arab News: The elderly woman met the men [...] after she asked one of them to bring her five loaves of bread. [...] The men — … [Read more...]

What’s Love Got to Do With It? Amours Voilees’ Representations of Love and the Veil

There's a new Moroccan movie out that, on the surface, seems to tackle the issue of pre-marital sex in the country. They're a dime a dozen these days, but this one is stirring up controversy like crazy. Why?I'll give you a hint: The name of the movie is Amours Voilées,  Hijab al-hob, which translates as Veiled Love in French, and The Veil of Love in Arabic.Ta da! Once more, we have proved what is now fact: plug in the world 'veil' to anything, and you will immediately gain an audience: With h … [Read more...]