Greed, extremism and corruption appear to run a rampant area that, not so long ago, was renowned for its incredible architecture, literature, cuisine and music. Will the Middle East ever recover from these adverse associations?
With Shakti, I watched videos of her dance and I felt increasingly connected to this girl. She was a little less than a month older than me, we were both born in 1985 in vastly different parts of the world and here she had traveled thousands of miles to create something with me.
Leyya Tawil and Mike Khoury are two avant-garde artists featured at DIWAN5 whose solo work is challenging conventions in dance and music, respectively. As kindred spirits in creative inquiry, their collaborations with each other beget a third realm of expression.
There's hardly a Middle Eastern percussionist who hasn't heard of his instruments or desired one. Close imitations have failed to achieve the same exact sound quality even by copying all of its dimensions.
In a city where the term "Arab" is heavily politicized, it's refreshing to attend an event where simple things like music and traditional dances do more to bring people together than a seasoned politician can muster.
Thanks to social media and talent competition shows like Super Star, Star Academy and now, Arabs' Got Talent, many young Palestinians are getting prime time exposure and introducing the Arab world to their voices and their art.