More than a Song: Domestic Violence Tackled in Elissa’s Ya Merayti

 Lebanese superstar Elissa’s most recent music video is also her most serious: “Ya Merayti” (“My Mirror”) features Elissa as a domestic abuse survivor. Shunning the romantic lovey-dovey storylines popular with Arab music videos the clip, shot on location in Serbia, brings to light a problem that is all too familiar for plenty of Arab women, yet, … More More than a Song: Domestic Violence Tackled in Elissa’s Ya Merayti

‘Happy’ Videos Take over the Middle East

Pharrell Williams’ song ‘Happy,’ which I love, is everywhere. The phenomenon of groups of people (often by city) filming themselves dancing to the song has spread around the world, and the world’s Muslims and Middle Easterners are not to be left out. Of course, much like that now-infamous ‘Mipsterz in America’ video that featured trendy … More ‘Happy’ Videos Take over the Middle East

Charlie Hebdo pt. 2 & the MTA: the catastrophe continue…

“J’appelle à ne pas verser de l’huile sur le feu,” a dit Dalil Boubakeur, recteur de la grand mosquee de Paris. In other words, don’t add fuel to the fire, especially when it is already particularly incendary, flaming out of control. But once again, French magazine Charlie Hebdo, he of the infamous cover cartoon of Mohammed that … More Charlie Hebdo pt. 2 & the MTA: the catastrophe continue…

Contradiction and Hypocrisy in ‘Saudi Arabia Exposed’

Contradiction is common in many governments, and the Middle East is no exception: interpretations of the Qu’ran seem to have secret agendas and rules apply only to plebians, not the rulers (cue Gaddahfi and family partying it up with expensive booze, while alcohol was officially illegal in Libya). Nowhere do contradiction and hypocrisy reign supreme, as uchecked … More Contradiction and Hypocrisy in ‘Saudi Arabia Exposed’

Arabian Music Through Music Videos, Pt. 1

Forget video killing the radio star: MTV has since killed the video star, what with the fact that it no longer plays anything remotely resembling, well, music! Music videos are still being made—and at high quality, if you take a gander at Lady Gaga’s over-the-top glamorous vids—but where are people watching them? Online? Singers may … More Arabian Music Through Music Videos, Pt. 1

Struggling for Song in “No One Knows About Persian Cats”

The other night I watched the film No One Knows About Persian Cats, a 2010 Iranian film released by IFC which, like most foreign films, is completely unknown to American viewers and thus totally dishonored.  The film, which highlights actual Iranian bands as it follows the loosely-scripted real-life story of the band Take It Easy Hospital … More Struggling for Song in “No One Knows About Persian Cats”