This has been a long time coming. There can’t be a more exciting, important and imperative time for The Arab Edition to exist than now. And here it is. Welcome.
If someone has shared one of our stories with you, if you’ve purposely sought us out, if you’re snooping over someone’s shoulder or exploring the endless maze of the world wide web and found yourself here, you might be wondering who are we? What is The Arab Edition all about?
The Arab Edition is a collection of all our stories and we are the storytellers. This is a space for the third culture kid in New York or London who can speak better Arabic than an Arab raised in the Middle East. This is also the platform for the Arab who never left the village they were born in whether in Libya, Yemen, Lebanon or any other Arab country across the Middle East. This is for the Arabs who aren’t really that Arab at all.
At The Arab Edition, the Arab who listens to contemporary Arab Pop in Sweden can learn more about the Arabs who own a Kunafa restaurants in Australia. If you’re in Baghdad you can learn about the new wave of Arab artist in Italy, Brazil and the United States. Maybe you’re just learning English, maybe you’re learning Arabic, maybe you aren’t fluent in either. If you’re more Arab then the most Arab person you know, if you aren’t sure what it means to be an Arab, if you’re the child of immigrants, a refugee, if you’re young, old, if you exist in the margins, if you’re highbrow or mainstream, if you’re curious about our culture, heritage and history if you want to celebrate our stories then The Arab Edition is here for you.
The tradition of storytelling is seeped in Arab history. From bedouins retelling the oral tales of the past, to Arabs reciting poetry and writing epic novels, making films, sharing statuses on Facebook, creating moments and capturing each other on Instagram, recording their thoughts on Twitter and making movies on YouTube and the silver screen – Arabs have a story to tell and we are here to share it.
From facts, fiction, cult, underground and contemporary news, arts, culture, food, fashion we are curating and creating well researched pieces for you to discover more about each other and yourself and all the ways we are the same and different, all the ways we can define what being an Arab means.
In the same month, the media revealed that Cheddar Man, Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton, had dark skin, curly hair and blue eyes we were also presented with the first reconstruction of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti who looked like a white woman. Both stories created a lot of debate. And despite what each story may say about how we view race and how race has been presented to us, what these two stories prove is the simple fact that race and perception of it is a complete construct.
None of us can or should have the right to determine and decide what the definition of any race is. As Arabs, we are constantly being told by the media that we exist in a specific way, adhere to certain rules and act in extreme ways. Even between one another we are still confused, misunderstood our perceptions of each other are skewed. Instead of sitting back and letting the world tell us who we are, we thought it made a lot more sense that that we discover for ourselves who we are through the power of story and to share it with each other and the world.
If you’re from one of the 22 Arab countries across the Middle East and North Africa or one of the millions of Arabs across the world who have been living in diaspora for generations we want to know more about you and what you see. Instead of pointing out our differences, let’s share them. Our diversity is our strength.
Arabs like any group of people have meaningful experiences, unique traditions, rich cultures, profound histories and huge successes that need to be celebrated and shared.
But we need a little bit of a rebrand. Let’s redefine what Arabs are and start with the obvious. We are interesting, we are diverse, we have a voice, we are talented, we can change the world, we are a special edition, we are The Arab Edition. And we want to hear from you. It’s time we change the narrative.