“Al Liwan” and the Construction of the National Narrative

Television programs are an important part of Ramadan across the Arab world. Every year, different shows compete against each other to win the loyalty of viewers, promising daily doses of entertainment for thirty consecutive days. This Ramadan, however, television programs have been tainted by the political climate in the region. Some shows went the extra […]

Bu Rashid, Dawood Al-Shirian and the Importance of Talk Shows in the Gulf

Talk shows can play an important role in influencing public opinion and providing platforms for discussion. They are even more crucial in societies that lack alternative means for free expression. In the UAE and Saudi Arabia, talk shows have been instrumental in allowing some room for debate while also absorbing public anger and discontent. Bu […]

The Gulf (of Mexico) Crisis

Disclaimer: The following text is not purely fictitious, but loosely based on history and recent events around the Gulf of Mexico. Any resemblance to persons or actual events in any other Gulf is purely coincidental. The current stand-off between the US and Venezuela over the constitutional crisis in the latter demonstrates how long-simmering tensions can quickly escalate, […]

Into the Twilight Zone

When satellite dishes began to appear on the rooftops of Saudi homes in the early 1990s, entertainment options were scarce but managed to deliver to the eager audience. On MBC, Rania Barghout would read letters written by Arab viewers with song requests. ART’s Liliane Andraos would engage in small talk with callers, mostly from the […]

Why the Outrage? The Case of Rahaf Al-Qunon

The case of Rahaf Al-Qunon, the Saudi woman who fled to Canada earlier this month, generated public and private debate among Saudis. The international support she received was faced with equal criticism at home. The social media outrage demonstrates the various constrains women face in the patriarchal society. Saudi Feminism as Radicalism Saudi feminists have […]