Books (and movies) for the Arab World in Troubled Times

by pen4hire / Apr 08, 2011 /
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Wandering Educators exposes us to the cultures of many different people. That is just one of the things that makes this site so important. We are part of the whole world, and the more we travel and the more we read about places where people see the world differently, the better we are as people. It is sad to think that the United States, considered a world leader, has a population who seems to have flunked geography.


In the past months, we have not been able to ignore the headlines about struggles going on in countries that we know little about.  Africa is one big "dark continent" -- invisible to many outside that land.  The Arab lands are a mystery to majority Christian countries. But if we get to know their people, we will find common bonds and understand at least a little about how they got to be the way they are, and why so many uprisings are demanding changes across the Middle East and northern Africa. It would be foolhardy to actually book travel to some of those countries now, but they will open up again in the future, and we need to understand them now more than ever.


I believe that we can improve our knowledge through reading of good literature (and movies)--fiction or high quality non-fiction, particularly biographies and memoirs that tell of individuals lives. And because I believe that, I have been offering books for the Arab World in Troubled Times on each Monday at A Traveler's Library.


Read about the favorite movies set in Egypt, chosen by a teacher who lectures on film, as that country works to get back to business as usual.


** See inside the city of Damascus, Syria in a novel by an ex-patriot Syrian as we discuss The Calligrapher's Secret.

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/elifayse/79621792

Calligraphy photo used with Flickr Creative Commons

http://www.flickr.com/photos/elifayse/79621792

 

 

"Allahoma barek lana fi shamena" means: "O Allah, bless our Sham" (Sham is Damascus, or the Bilad Al Sham in general: Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine) This artwork is situated in the Hajj (Pilgrim) room, in the Qaser Al-Azem museum in Damascus.

"Allahoma barek lana fi shamena" means: "O Allah, bless our Sham" (Sham is Damascus, or the Bilad Al Sham in general: Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine) This artwork is situated in the Hajj (Pilgrim) room, in the Qaser Al-Azem museum in Damascus.

 Photo used with Flickr Creative Commons,

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alazaat/

 

 

 


** Come along on the journey as we look at Afghanistan, through a classic travel book by Freya Stark. She visits the Minaret of Djam, a world wonder that still stands in that war-torn country, and on April 11, see a video from Al Jazeera English about the destruction and rebirth of the Buddhas of Bamiyam.

Minaret of Djam 

 


** Meet an amazing Libyan-born author, whose novel In the Country of Men brings home why the people in Libya are willing to fight against a dictator.

In the Country of Men 

 


** I'll soon re-run a review of an American's stay in Yemen, one of the first countries to join this wave of unrest that is sweeping the area. The book is The Woman Who Fell From the Sky.

The Woman who fell from the Sky 

 


I hope you'll come along on this journey, and I also am looking forward to your recommendations for more reading (and viewing) of books and movies for Arab countries in troubled times. Can you suggest books to help us understand Tunisia, Palestine, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries?


Vera Marie Badertscher blogs about books and movies that inspire travel at A Traveler's Library.com, and is our Traveler's Library Editor for Wandering Educators