The one big television hit in this part of the world recently has been the entertainment show "Star Academy" (something like American Idol) which is broadcast on the Lebanese Broadcasting Network or LBC. In Arabic, people like to joke by pronouncing the station’s initials elbasi (meaning "get dressed") because of the scantily dressed women who usually appear on LBC’s entertainment shows to target Saudi men.
Culture and Society Archives
April 10, 2007 4:53 PM
May 8, 2007 10:38 AM
I never thought I would be saying this but -- with the way the Arab world has gone -- a stable, serious and relatively open monarchy would be more favorable than the supposedly open rule and equal opportunity to rule that a republic is supposed to provide.
May 24, 2007 8:54 AM
All of the discussion on immigration (including this question) focuses too much on issues like amnesty and high walls. We need to change the debate to include the need for rich countries to invest in poorer countries, so that people will find jobs at home and will not have to risk life and limb in order to get to the first world countries.
June 11, 2007 10:59 AM
Richard Gere came to visit the Middle East a few years ago and attracted more attention than most politicians. Both Israelis and Palestinians flocked to every location he stopped at, eating up everything he said.
July 23, 2007 12:17 PM
If you have been following the news over the past few decades, Sari Nusseibeh's autobiography "Once Upon a Country" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007, 542 pages) definitely fits the category of learning material. It would only fit the category of escape if you have not followed the news, or have no interest in Arab, Islamic or Middle Eastern issues.
December 24, 2007 10:46 AM
The Question: Is Christmas a bigger event in your country than it was ten years ago? Is this a sign of Westernization or just commercialization?
Christmas is celebrated in Palestine on three dates: December 25th for Protestants and Catholics, January 7th for Orthodox Christians, and January 18th for Armenian Christians. Christmas Eve in Bethlehem is an international event in the birthplace of Christ, even though the city has long lost its Palestinian Christian majority. Today the Wall chokes off the city physically, economically, and socially from Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the north of the West Bank. This Christmas looks like it might be better than the few previous years, but still nowhere near it has been in the past.
As to the effects of westernization I don't know that Christmas is bigger or the same. But the biggest westernization event in the Middle East has been Valentine's Day, which comes a couple of months after Christmas. Not only has it become a huge business venture (the price of a single rose on that day goes up to the equivalent of $2 in a developing country like Jordan.) Valentine’s Day has no religious basis, thus allowing all peoples to celebrate it. The population of the Middle East and North Africa under age 30 is nearly 40%. Valentine is also used as a verb in Arabic (valntinent), in the context of, "Did you valentine" your friend or not?
January 2, 2008 4:09 PM
The biggest news story in Palestine lasted one day: it was the Annapolis Conference, held at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland. It launched yet another attempt at peacemaking after seven bad years of almost daily killing and fighting. The jury is still out on this story, which if completed as its architects intend should make 2008 the year of the Palestinian state.
But much more effort, sacrifice and unfortunately deaths will probably occur in the coming year before this remote dream will come to fruition. The politicians have now given their vision, the ministers of finance around the world have pledged the money for the state, and all that remains is its implementation. As New Year's resolutions go, it is unlikely that this one would do any better than the routine resolution of going to the gym or stopping smoking. But let us not be negative. Palestine and Israel exist on what many consider holy land, where miracles happen.