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On August 2nd 1990, the Iraqi military invaded Kuwait City overnight, and its residents woke up to a city under occupation. The only airport was put on lockdown, and the Iraqi military set up checkpoints on the city’s streets. The US, UK and Russia condemned the invasion, and some British and American citizens were taken as hostages. But the Indian…
 
Ahmed Twaij explores an often-overlooked issue in the Arab world; racism towards Black Arabs. In this episode, he looks at racism in his own community, taking us from his Iraqi roots, through to modern day slurs still commonly used in many Arab communities around the world. This episode was produced by Ahmed Twaij, with editorial support from Dana …
 
As 2020 brought us countless examples of injustice and pain, it brought remembrances that we live in a world in need of more - well, work. And that means scrutinising the cities we live in, the homes we rest in, and… the streets we live on. Today on Kerning Cultures, we’re bringing you two stories about two streets - and the justices and injustices…
 
After the Armenian Genocide, in which over 1.5 million Christians from the Ottoman Empire were killed by the Ottoman government, the main group of Ottoman leaders behind the atrocities were never made to face justice. They escaped Constantinople in the middle of the night and began new lives undercover in Europe. So, a small group of regular Armeni…
 
Since 2012, Korean pop culture has captured the imagination of people across the Middle East: from K-pop and K-dramas to Korean language classes and even to Korean fried chicken. It’s everywhere! But how did we become so obsessed with a culture so different from our own? And how much do we actually know about how it spread to our region? This week …
 
We're excited to announce that season 2 of Kerning Cultures starts next week. Each Thursday, we'll be bringing you new stories from around the Middle East and North Africa. Here's a taste of what's to come... Episode 1 drops on January 28th. Be sure to subscribe to this feed so that you never miss an episode. Support this podcast on patreon.com/ker…
 
Our winter season is coming very soon, but while you’re waiting just a little bit longer we wanted to share an interview with Kerning Cultures’ CEO and Co-Founder Hebah Fisher on the Da Miri Podcast. Tariq Elmiri, who hosts the show, spoke to Hebah about her personal journey in building Kerning Cultures from one show to the podcast network it is to…
 
Today on al empire, our season finale and last episode. So who better to end it with than the person who made this all possible? Hebah Fisher, KC Network’s co-founder and CEO, demystifies her name, shares beautiful family stories, and reveals a love for kickboxing. Through the highs and lows of building KC Network, Hebah tells us what kept her goin…
 
Omar went from being an investment banker to adventuring around the world. He’s been on adventures climbing the highest mountains in the world, attempting to row across the Atlantic Ocean, skiing in the North and South Poles, and a lot more, like starting his travel and adventure business, Wild Guanabana. Omar walks us through life’s eccentric high…
 
While we’re gearing up for our next season, we wanted to share a behind the scenes look at what goes into making our episodes. Hear Trancing with the Zars here, and Zabelle here. This behind the scenes episode was produced by Alex Atack with Zeina Dowidar and Nadeen Shaker. Editing by Dana Ballout, and mixing by Mohamad Khreizat. Kerning Cultures i…
 
Ghizlan Guenez always loved fashion. But, as she entered the corporate world, Ghizlan could never find modest yet fashionable clothing to suit her style and the women around her. In 2017, she founded The Modist, the first online luxury site for modest fashion. This episode was produced by Hebah Fisher and Alex Atack with editorial support by Dana B…
 
You may know Bernard Khoury from Johnnie Walker advertisements. He is the man behind some of Lebanon’s most iconic structures. Bernard takes us back to his childhood and the beginning of his architecture career, with his first major project, B 018, an underground nightclub that made global headlines, and tells us the impact that fame had on his wor…
 
Mona Ataya, a serial entrepreneur, started early by selling chewing gum in grade school. Now, she runs the region’s largest online baby store, Mumzworld. She talks about the balancing act of being a mom and running a leading e-commerce company and how her Palestinian background contributed to her entrepreneurial spirit. This episode was produced by…
 
For his entire life, Maysam has lived in Dubai. His parents are from Syria, a place he hasn’t visited since he was a young child. If you ask him, the UAE is his home. But on paper it isn’t, and likely never will be. So what do you do when your home can’t be your home forever? This episode was originally broadcast in March 2018, and last week we cal…
 
Host and co-creator of Radiolab, More Perfect, Dolly Parton’s America, and more, Jad Abumrad has inspired the sounds of thousands of podcasts and radio shows around the world (Kerning Cultures Network shows included). In this episode, he opens up about being raised in a Lebanese household in Tennessee, curious about the intersection of music and st…
 
Nadine chats with us about how her love for film began, the years of preparation and work for her 2018 film Capernaum, and her journey to becoming the first Lebanese woman in history to be nominated for an Academy Award. Note: The first airing of this episode mistakenly claimed Nadine was the first Arab woman to be nominated for an Academy Award. T…
 
The Palestine Broadcasting Service started airing in 1936, from a brand new transmitter tower in Ramallah. It was a British station in three languages, aimed at promoting the message of the mandate government throughout the region. But over the following decades, as Palestine saw political upheavals, bloody conflicts and power shifts, the radio sta…
 
In our day-to-day lives, it’s a drink. But for some people, it is not as simple as that. It’s a Sufi’s spiritual companion, an Emirati’s keeper of tradition, and a Yemeni’s connection to his homeland. Today, we dive into three stories about coffee, exploring the tradition, culture, and spirituality of this simple bean. This episode was produced by …
 
The lower west side of Manhattan used to be home to the biggest population of Arab immigrants in the US. In the early 20th century, streets were full of people speaking Arabic, with street vendors selling ka’ak, storefront baklava displays; this was New York’s “Little Syria”. Today though, it’s all gone. This week on Kerning Cultures, America’s fir…
 
In 1979, Iftah Ya Simsim - the Arabic version of Sesame Street - aired for the first time. Over the next ten years, the show was loved by children across the Arab world, until 1990, when the show was pulled off the air as a result of the Gulf War. But Ammar Al Sabban, a young boy growing up watching the show in Jeddah, never forgot the impact his f…
 
Faysal Bibi and his team of palaeontologists have been captivated by this one particular moment that took place in the Abu Dhabi desert seven million years ago. This week, a journey back to a time before the desert was the desert... when elephants, crocodiles and monkeys reigned supreme in the UAE. This episode was produced by Alex Atack, with edit…
 
In 1968, a trio of Palestinian filmmakers began making films about life under Israeli occupation. Almost 15 years and over 90 films later, their film unit became a dominant force in the Arab film industry. But in 1982, their film reels disappeared. Overnight, decades of footage and thousands of hours of archives were gone. Today on Kerning Cultures…
 
This week, a special collaboration with one of our all time favourite podcasts: Radiolab. We produced the episode - Lebanon USA - last year, and Radiolab have taken that original story and elevated it to a whole new level. This is a story of a road trip. After a particularly traumatic Valentine's Day, Fadi Boukaram was surfing google maps and notic…
 
This week on Kerning Cultures, two short stories. Producers Alex and Zeina uncover why Egyptians are so good at playing squash, and look at a businessman’s unlikely dream to tow an iceberg from Antarctica to the shores of the UAE. This episode was produced by Alex Atack and Zeina Dowidar, with editorial support from Dana Ballout, Tamara Rasamny, Na…
 
We’re heartbroken by what happened in Beirut on Tuesday, August 4. Many of us at the Kerning Cultures team are Lebanese, or have close ties to Beirut. So we’re taking a break from publishing our episode this week. Instead, we’d like to use this platform to ask you to consider donating what you can to relief efforts like the Lebanese Red Cross. You …
 
In the 1960s, a college professor and his group of students were determined to build and launch rockets into space. And so, they did. This week, on Kerning Cultures, a story about the first-ever rocket launched from the Arab world into space. This episode was produced by Tamara Rasamny with editorial support from Dana Ballout, Zeina Dowidar, Alex A…
 
In 1917, a musical prodigy called Zabelle Panosian recorded a song that captured the heartbreak of a generation of Armenian Americans in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide. She toured the world, selling thousands of records. And then, she was almost completely forgotten. This is her story. This episode was produced by Alex Atack with editorial …
 
For centuries in Egypt, Zar was a music and dance ritual believed to heal women from unwanted spirits that possessed their bodies. But as time went on and ideologies changed, the practice became controversial and deeply feared. And now, it’s mostly gone. Today on Kerning Cultures, join producer Zeina Dowidar on a journey of music, spirits, and tran…
 
This is the ugly truth: racism and anti-Blackness in the Arab world is a common practice and a subject so taboo that many have convinced themselves that it doesn’t even exist. But for those of us who live in these societies, and who are caught at the intersection of Black and Arab identities, it is undeniable. Today on Kerning Cultures, producer Sa…
 
Our producer Nadeen Shaker takes us on her own personal journey in trying to discover why she felt excluded because of her hijab. In Egypt, things are more complex than they seem; history, politics, class, and money all played a hand in changing how people perceive veiled women. This week on Kerning Cultures, a story about what it’s like to feel li…
 
Last year, our producer Darah Ghanem stumbled upon an obscure blog on a nearly forgotten corner of the internet. On it were hundreds of historic photographs of a Christian missionary school in Khartoum called Unity High School. But as she looked closer, she started to see something else: the blog’s writers were trying to tell the world about an all…
 
Last year, our producer Darah Ghanem stumbled upon an obscure blog on a nearly forgotten corner of the internet. On it were hundreds of historic photographs of a Christian missionary school in Khartoum called Unity High School. But as she looked closer, she started to see something else: the blog’s writers were trying to tell the world about an all…
 
While we're working on the upcoming season of Kerning Cultures, we wanted to share with you another show we've been making. It's called al empire, and it tells the stories of exceptional Arabs and their journeys to the top. The show is in its second season, and in this clip from a recent episode, a voice you might already recognise: Jad Abumrad, th…
 
All of our lives have changed. In this unprecedented time, we wanted to make something to reflect this moment. So today, our Kerning Cultures quarantine special: stories of staying at home, lockdowns from history, creative ways of escaping boredom... and for everybody’s sanity, a few things that have nothing to do with the coronavirus. You can hear…
 
The Kerning Cultures Network has a new Arabic show we're excited to share with you. Listen to B'Hob here, or wherever you get your podcasts. B'Hob tells stories about the force that drives the universe. We explore love in all its forms through stories from across the region. Join us for a journey through the pain, happiness, inspiration, and someti…
 
While we’re working on our summer season, we’re going to be dropping some bonus episodes into your feed over the next few months. Starting with this one: a special conversation featuring producer Alex Atack, who you’ve heard telling you all these stories, but you probably don’t know much about him. So this his backstory, and a sneak peek into what'…
 
Today, an update on a story from the Kerning Cultures vault. The little-known, intertwining of history between Yemen and Vietnam, told through the lens of a single family. Then, a story of modern Arab migration. This story originally aired in December 2018. Thank you to Faraj and his family for being so open and warm with us despite us poking aroun…
 
In 1942, Lebanon’s National Museum opened in Beirut, celebrating the country’s golden age and inside, it housed some of the region’s most important artifacts. So when the Lebanese war started in 1975, the museum staff came up with a risky and elaborate scheme to save everything inside the museum. This week on Kerning Cultures, the story of how a sm…
 
Today, an update on a story from the Kerning Cultures vault. Elie was a journalist looking for her next story when she met Ziad at a party in Istanbul. Ziad was a Syrian refugee hoping to travel to Europe and apply for asylum. Elie asked Ziad if she could follow him to Norway, his final destination, and document the journey. He said yes. So commenc…
 
Asmaa al-Ghoul was an ambitious young journalist when she started reporting on Gaza – her hometown – for the newspaper she’d dreamed of working for in high school. But through the trauma of uprisings, wars, and a failed marriage, she began to question how much journalism really matters. This week on Kerning Cultures, a special collaboration with Za…
 
On October 17, people in Lebanon hit the streets to call for a new government. The revolution’s slogan, “all of them means all of them”, spares no political party that has been a part of the sectarian-based government. This week on Kerning Cultures: how the revolution is changing people's relationship with their country. This episode was produced b…
 
In our season finale, Hatoon talks about the video that accidentally went viral and made her famous. From being named as BBC’s 100 Women in 2014 to dealing with trolls, this is the journey of Saudi’s first female comedian. Follow Hatoon Kadi on social media: @hatoonkadi. This episode was produced by Hebah Fisher and Dana Ballout, with editorial sup…
 
Andre talks about growing up during the Lebanese civil war and how discovering The Economist at age 13 inspired a spirit of entrepreneurship in him early in his life. Fleeing the violence of Beirut, Andre moves to France where his love of music led him to build his first company. From there, his journey towards success had only just begun. Update: …
 
A special feature of Kerning Cultures Network's newest podcast, al empire. Episode 4 features comedian Bassem Youssef. Bassem reflects on the moments that inspired him to leave behind 19 years in medicine for political satire, a show that was watched by 40 million people every week. Now, he tells us about what it’s like reinventing a career for him…
 
Dina, now an acclaimed actress with shows on Amazon and Hulu, initially set out to become a professional dancer, despite trying to quit ballet as a child. In this episode, she talks about the critical moments that propelled her acting career forward and the rewards of pushing the envelope. This episode was produced by Hebah Fisher and Dana Ballout,…
 
His whole life, Walid Waked had been told that his great grandfather invented the Arabic typewriter. And then, one day, he learned that another family - the Haddads - believed they invented it. This week on Kerning Cultures: the contested history of the Arabic typewriter. Thank you to everybody we spoke to for this story: Ahmed Ellaithy - for every…
 
Bassem reflects on the moments that inspired him to leave behind 19 years in medicine for political satire, a show that was watched by 40 million people every week. Now, he tells us about what it’s like reinventing a career for himself in the US, and about the time long ago when he raised baby chicks. This episode was produced by Hebah Fisher and D…
 
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