Reviews

Searching for Hope in the Middle of a War Zone

 

Journey of Hope is the 40-year-old Libyan American psychiatrist Omar Reda’s bold and courageous pledge to firstly dedicate himself as a mental health doctor to the cause of post-Revolution Libya.

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Nahla Ink Stars - 3 out of 5!

 

With its bright yellow cover and a back page that reads very much like the synopsis of a great romance, I thought this book was some kind of chick-literature. However, opening the front page and reading the introduction, it is clear that the book is based on the true memoirs of the English Dorothy Al Khafaji, who was born and bred in Somerset, England but through extraordinary fate, had to travel to and live almost two decades in Baghdad, Iraq between 1962 to 1980.

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Nahla Ink Stars - 5 out of 5!

 

If you have ever wondered about the sex lives - or shall we say the sex secrets? - of the Arabs, then this book by Shereen El Feki is for you. In her subject choice of the intimate lives of the Arabs at this unusual and historic time of political revolution across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, she comes with a hefty mission as well as vision, theory and a hypothesis regarding the sexual future of the people of the MENA region.

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Modest World Premiere in Brighton, UK

 

You don’t expect to attend the world premiere of a very important, culturally significant and fascinating anthropological film experiment in a medium-sized lecture hall in the city of Brighton, UK. In a room of about forty tops, a group of international women were attending the Women in Art, Science and Research Conference and pleasantly surprised to be the very first audience to see the film adaptation of the scandal causing and goose-pumps’ creating BuSSy Monologues. Khalid Abol Naga, the multi-award winning Egyptian director of the film adaptation, and Sondos Shabayek and Mona El-Shimi, two of the creative members of the BuSSy Project, were personally present and super nervous and excited to gage our response. 

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Hailing a cab in a hurry to get to my scheduled interview with the Iraqi artist Halim Al-Karim, I thought I'd need to apologise. However when I arrived at the Artspace London Gallery, he was busy with another journalist, offering me some time to look around and survey the exhibition.

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One has to wonder what kind of Art would come today from the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Indeed, would there even be room for it in a place reserved just for Muslim pilgrims who arrive at least once in their lifetime to pray, face God and do the necessary rituals to get closer to the Divine.

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Libya Before the Arab Spring

 

The Gaddafi Archives is a controversial new exhibition taking place at the Slade Research Centre as part of the London Festival of Photography 2012. It draws upon original archives unearthed by a team of Human Rights Watch during the Revolution in Libya. The material is mainly photographs of originals discovered and therefore, they are not in any way of an artistic bent taken to humanise Gaddafi.

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Nahla Ink Stars – 4 out of 5!

 

I owe my dear friend Magda a big thank you for letting me borrow her treasured copy of Mustafa Ben-Halims’s 'Libya - The Years of Hope', for it is not easy to come by. Although dense and heavy at 343 pages, it does add an extra dimension to the recent February 17 Libyan Revolution with Ben Halim's heartfelt recommendations, especially for the younger Libyan generation, when he wrote the book.

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Review and In Conversation with the Author

 

The Libyan academic Mabroka Al-Wefalli took a big personal risk when she first conducted a local survey in 2001, to question the Libyan respondents’ attitude towards their political regime and participation - or lack thereof - in the system’s so-called grassroots democratic organs. She also examined their views as to how the regime must legitimize its rule – or not - to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

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Nahla Ink Stars – 4 out of 5!

 

This novel is about an author’s incredible restraint. Hisham Matar, who has in real life suffered a publicly documented tragedy – the loss and disappearance of his father – doesn’t in 246 pages mention the word Libya, the true source of his grief and misery. Easily, he can blame, accuse and point the finger; but rather, Matar in this novel reclaims the personal, ignores the current political and rises above the sordid history.

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