We have fine and talented artists in the Arab world but circumstances are not in their favour. We reside in a spiritual part of the world and the soil of our region breathes culture. Culture is ingrained in us. Old Damascus is an accumulation of culture and civilisation throughout the ages. How do you expect artists not to emerge from this land? Our artists are committed to their humanitarian causes and those of their countries. They are mirrors of their societies.
Razan Chatti, a set designer and scenographer, is cultivating young talent under the auspices of the Afak (Horizons) foundation, which she launched in 2011.
Through Afak, she organises traveling exhibitions for artists from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, whose works carry powerful humanitarian messages.
All this may seem touching – yet the projects and the people behind them command respect. Instead of running away, more and more young Lebanese like Najwa, Hind and Ziad are fighting for futures in their own country. And showing greater enthusiasm and responsibility than the state has seen for decades. Who can say what they might yet achieve?
Inspiring, Lebanon’s Young Fight for the Country’s Future with Thought & Vision
Business Innovation in Lebanon The Other Spring by Mona Sarkis
Translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire
Eight Arab writers reflect on the Arab Revolution:
Tamim al-Barghouti, a Palestinian poet. He is a visiting assistant professor at Georgetown University’s Centre for Contemporary Arab Studies.
Laila Lalami, a Moroccan-born writer and critic, and associate professor at the University of California, Riverside.
Alaa Abd el-Fattah, an Egyptian blogger. He was jailed for 56 days for refusing to recognise the authority of the military prosecutor. He was released on December 25.
Mourid Barghouti, a Palestinian poet.
by the Dubai School of Government
The societal and political transformations sweeping the Arab region have empowered large segments of the region’s population. Many stereotypes have been shattered, with Arab youth, “netizens” and women becoming the main drivers for regional change. Arab women in particular have become more engaged in political and civic actions, playing a critical leading role in the rapid and historic changes that have swept the region. Meanwhile, the debate about the role of social media in these transformations has reached policy making circles at the regional and global levels.
Throughout 2011, social media usage continued to grow significantly across the Arab world, coupled with major shifts in usage trends. From merely being used as a tool for social networking and entertainment, social media now infiltrates almost every aspect of the daily lives of millions of Arabs, affecting the way they interact socially, do business, interact with government, or engage in civil society movements. By the end of 2011, Arab users’ utilization of social media had evolved to encompass civic engagement, political participation, entrepreneurial efforts, and social change.
I see the role of a writer, especially now and especially coming from an Arab country, as quite heavy… The people practically invested us with tackling problems that affect them directly. I’m a writer but I’m also a citizen affected by what’s happening. This is how I see being a writer.