Here We Start – Issue # 61

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)
Reading Time: 6 minutes

The crazy month of March is finally over, and I say it with all the love. Every year, March gets filled with more and more big scale events in almost all the different fields of interest. This March we had the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature, Art Season with all what it includes from Sikka, Design Days Dubai, Art Dubai and so much more art events, Fashion events, STEP conference, few design conferences, Arab Social Media Influencers Summit, Dubai World Cup, and the list goes on.

Having this growth of events is a great indicator of a thriving community with diverse growing interests. Growing to the extent that we are careful about who we contract from abroad to speak at those events to add to that knowledge and interest, and document the achievements from within the community in those interests.

However, it’s easy to be dragged to all those events, and spread yourself thin across them that you might lose focus on what really matters to you and your business or personal interests. It gets extra easy to be dragged to those events when it becomes a matter of a popular event, and the urge to see and be seen. I believe we need every now and then to reflect on what we attend, assess the value we may have acquired from attending each event, to decide better if it’s an event you’d like to attend again or would you rather focus your energy elsewhere.

It sure differs from a person to another, and even from a time to another. There are always times when you can entertain multiple events that are more about networking rather than content, but there are times where you need to focus on your business or career, and your personal growth that you’ll have to limit what you attend to what is really relevant to your current domain of interest. But you’ll never reach this conclusion if you don’t continuously assess what you attend from those diverse events and how they impact your time. Make the time for that assessment more often, and you’ll reap better results of your time and the events you attend.

In this issue, we are joined with two new talented artists as part of our creative team:

Aalaa Albastaki, a graphic designer and photographer who’s an Applied Communications Graduate (with distinction) from HCT-Dubai. Aalaa creates simple creative designs from corporate identities to posters and packaging. She takes personal and professional photos almost every day and shares them on Instagram. She likes to inspire, spread creativity, broaden imagination, and most importantly increase awareness of various issues. Aalaa is a simple creative quite person who always wants to make a difference.

Amna Al Saleh, a graphic design senior at Zayed University in Dubai. Graphic design is not only her main field of study, but also a great passion of hers. History and culture play a great role in her design process. Next to being interested in her own Emirati culture; Japanese culture and art are some of which she greatly appreciates and are inspirations to her work. Aside from graphic design; illustration, digital collage, handcrafts, and self-generated textures are some of the things she considers as her hobbies.


And now to our 61st issue for the month of April 2015:

Hats off to our amazing editorial team: Aida Al Busaidy, Dhabya AlMuhairi, and Deena Rashid. Enjoy our reads, and don’t forget to check out the inspired artworks by our talented creative team: Aalaa AlBastaki, Amna AlSaleh, Dana AlAttar, Hayat AlHassan, and Marwa Fuad.

To keep up with our monthly-published issues and to know about any of our coming events, make sure you register with us by clicking here

Help us spread the word about the magazine and share the articles with your friends!

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

Design Interactions in @DesignDaysDubai

Moza Almatrooshi (@mozaalmatrooshi)

Moza Almatrooshi (@mozaalmatrooshi)

Column: The Heart of Making
Moza Almatrooshi is an Emarati artist and designer. After attaining a BA from Zayed University Dubai in Interior Design in June 2013, Moza began her journey in trying to find a place in the creative industry in the UAE, starting with catching a plane to Italy to intern in the UAE Pavilion in the Venice Art Biennale 2013. Since then Moza has dabbled in several experiences such as architecture, design, event planning, art exhibitions, and writing for independent publications. Moza continues to journey through life, art, and design.
With mass production sweeping the globe, artisanal talents struggle to retain relevancy. This column celebrates the beauty and human value added to a product that is created with skilled hands.
Moza Almatrooshi (@mozaalmatrooshi)

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

Article in brief: Being a part of Design Days Dubai 2015 as an exhibitor, as opposed to being part of the organizing team or being an intern, gave a fresh perspective on how the design pieces inform an interaction between the object and the viewer without any preconceived notions.

Design Days Dubai unfolded its contents yet again this year, for the fourth time since it was launched back in 2011. This annual fair is known to be the leading design fair in the Middle East and South Asia, and its main aim is to showcase collectible and limited edition furniture and design objects. The fair also extends a noncommercial branch in the form of a public program consisting of workshops, talks, screenings, and live design performances, that were running throughout the duration of the fair.

Walking through the fairgrounds and browsing through the various works, I allowed the designs’ different forms and materiality lay their impact on me and form their own conclusions in my mind. There was an endless array of artworks, which I narrowed down to these key pieces that left big impressions on me.

Aljoud Lootah

Debuting her new studio, Aljoud Lootah displayed the “Oru” series, which is adapted from the designer’s origami explorations. Aljoud even laid out some samples of the origami paper that inspired the series, which clarified her initial design development process, and served as an inspiration to the audience. It highlighted that simple forms can materialize into functional and aesthetically pleasing objects.

Oru Mirror by Aljoud Lootah - Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Oru Mirror by Aljoud Lootah – Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Oru Lamp by Aljoud Lootah - Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Oru Lamp by Aljoud Lootah – Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Broached Commissions

Australian designer Trent Janson, who is represented by Broached Commissions, a gallery from Melbourne, Australia, exhibited a portrayal of an Australian family in the form of a tea set. The Briggs Family Tea Service came about after Janson studied this particular family’s history and their interaction with one another and with the Australian society during the colonial period. The parental figures come from a European and Aboriginal backgrounds, and as a result the children were biracial; the designer incorporated Australian wallaby fur in the tea set to point that out.

The Briggs Family Tea Service by Trent Janson-Broached Commissions - Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

The Briggs Family Tea Service by Trent Janson-Broached Commissions – Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Gallery S. Bensimon

Hideki Yoshimoto, a Japanese designer represented by Gallery S. Bensimonfrom Paris, France, placed an interactive light piece that can easily be adapted outdoors and indoors. The stems of the Indho Light Installation move when they sense passersby. The piece extracts the balance between the fragility and the lightweight of the plant it mimics, and plays on the concept of what is manmade and what is natural.

Indo Light Installation by Hideki Yoshimoto Gallery S. Bensimon - Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Indo Light Installation by Hideki Yoshimoto Gallery S. Bensimon – Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Indo Light Installation by Hideki Yoshimoto Gallery S.Bensimon - Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Indo Light Installation by Hideki Yoshimoto Gallery S.Bensimon – Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Gallery FUMI

In Studio Markunpoika’s Engineering Temporality, the metal cabinet appropriates the shape of a classical wood cabinet, and the process in fact involves just that. Metal rings are welded with one another around a wooden cabinet. Once the whole piece has been cast in metal rings, the designer sets the wooden cabinet on fire and eliminates its existence, leaving the metal shell as the sole functional remainder. The piece and the process are both inspired by the designer’s Alzheimer-stricken grandmother, who is blissfully unaware of her condition and still believes that she is young and beautiful. The metal shell of what was once inside is a direct response to the grandmother’s condition.

Engineering Temporality Cabinet by-Studio Markunpoika Gallery FUMI - Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Engineering Temporality Cabinet by-Studio Markunpoika Gallery FUMI – Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Engineering Temporality Cabinet by Studio Markunpoika - Gallery FUMI - Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Engineering Temporality Cabinet by Studio Markunpoika – Gallery FUMI – Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Studio Markunpoika’s representatives, Gallery FUMI from London, UK, also showcased the work of a number of other designers. Among them was Study O Portable, who produced a series of tables that are created by layers and layers of rings, each painted separately and added one by one, to allude to a natural looking finish that could resemble wood or a precious stone. The materials used are all manmade.

Fuzz-D by Study-O portable Gallery FUMI - Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Fuzz-D by Study-O portable Gallery FUMI – Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Fuzz-D by Study-O portable Gallery FUMI - Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Fuzz-D by Study-O portable Gallery FUMI – Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi


LITHIC by artist and designer Talin Hazbar is a product of a design program that was initiated by Tashkeel in Dubai, UAE, where four designers were paired to local based artisans and manufacturers to bring their ideas into being. Talin’s light installation was inspired by a local legend in one of the remote towns in the mountains of the emirate of Fujeirah, where it is believed that a creature resides in one of the caves, and throws stones at whoever steps foot in his cave. The harsh protruded stone forms with cracks of light of the piece run parallel to the theme of the story.

LITHIC by Talin Hazbar - Tashkeel - Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

LITHIC by Talin Hazbar – Tashkeel – Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

The Crafts Council

The Crafts Council joins together independent designers and design studios from the United Kingdom and provides them with a platform to exhibit their work. Among the exhibiting designers was Stefano Santilli, who looked at how furniture was made through the availability of resources in the forest in the UK in the past, and adapted the same ideology of making use of the available materials that can be found utilized, and so, he incorporated bits of broken car headlights and side mirrors that got knocked off and thrown on the side of the road in the country side, with his wooden Long Bench.

Long Bench by Stefano Santilli - Crafts Council - Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Long Bench by Stefano Santilli – Crafts Council – Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Another exhibiting designer is Nicholas Gardner, who exhibited Corporate Marble, a rectangular coffee table that makes use of marble that is no longer needed in corporate companies and is discarded. The designer relinquishes control over how the marble breaks, and surrounds the surface of the table with the marble.

Corporate Marble by Nicholas Gardner- Crafts Council - Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

Corporate Marble by Nicholas Gardner- Crafts Council – Picture taken by Moza AlMatrooshi

When going to a design fair either as a collector, a student, or simply as a person who possesses interest in looking at design, one might search for something that is exceptionally large in scale, has new cutting edge technologies warping through it, or something that is perceived to be completely unfamiliar. The pure exploration of stories and interactions that can stem out of familiar or small objects can be easily overlooked and can escape us. But if we pause, interact with the object and with the person, who either designed it, or who represents the designer, the image of the work begins to shift, as it gains more depth that is caused by the tale or anecdote that sparked it.

Success Stories From @DesignDaysDubai

Alwid Lootah (@AlwidLootah)

Column: Lost in Reverie
Alwid is a young lady who aims to become the change she wants to see in this world by spreading positivity and leading youth towards the road of unlimited possibilities. She recently founded her own website through which she aims to become the voice of youth and share unrecognized talents. Her column “Lost in reverie” is a place where she allows her thoughts and emotions to flow and a place where she can hopefully create a change.

Latest posts by Alwid Lootah (@AlwidLootah) (see all)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: The author searched deep into Design Days Dubai to find three inspiring participants of the exhibition with inspiring stories to share.

Dubai Art Season is one of the most exciting seasons for not only artists and designers but also people with an eye that loves to see beauty. Design Days Dubai was a pleasant event that made every lover of art and design well-fed with beauty.

Different design studios and individual designers from all over the world showcased their art with an aim to share a little bit of themselves with the world of art in Dubai. As all art pieces have a story behind them, the designers’ success stories were exceptionally inspiring.

Shamsa Al Abbar, Designer of Shamsa Al Abbar Jewelry

Shamsa Al Abbar is a young lover of Arabic calligraphy, who started her career by simply experimenting with words and letters. Shamsa’s first project consisted of her playing around with Arabic letters with the aim of creating a sentimental gift for one of her friends. After posting the picture of the final product Shamsa created, a necklace with the name Alia on it, she was surprised to see how much positive response her design got.

This response encouraged her to actually consider jewelry designing as a business and with the support of her loved ones her dream came true. Shamsa believes that the key to success is confidence, and that experimenting and exploring are how one’s true talents reflect. At Design Days Dubai she showcased her beautiful pieces of jewelry that were designed with love and meaningfulness.

Shamsa AlAbbar Jewelry - Picture taken by Alwid Lootah

Shamsa AlAbbar Jewelry – Picture taken by Alwid Lootah

Hessa Al Ghazal and Afra Al Ghurair, Designers and founders of Kadi Flower Boutique

Hessa and Afra’s vision started with a common love for flowers; they believe that flowers have the power to add beauty to anything. After graduating with a degree in Marketing, they realized that they wanted to do something different and something creative enough to reflect their inner beauty. Before Kadi boutique, Hessa and Afra used to spend hours in flower shops just to make sure that the flower arrangement they’re sending out to their loved ones is exactly how they want it to be. From that point on, they realized that Dubai needs more creativity when it comes to flowers, they wanted to be something that would be creative and artistic. Kadi boutique was born with the potential of spreading beauty through flowers. Metal By Kadi was a symbol of delicacy that definitely stood out among other designs at Design Days Dubai.

Kadi Boutique - Picture taken by Alwid Lootah

Kadi Boutique – Picture taken by Alwid Lootah

D04 STUDIO, Design studio based in Dubai and designers behind Dubai Culture booth at Design Days Dubai 

Fresh university graduates joined forces together to create D04 design studio through their passion for designing. After working together multiple times at university, the two Sudanese ladies and two Emirati ladies became familiar with working with one another and open communication and constructive criticism is what drove them up the ladder of success. Noora, one of the designers at D04, believes that there’s always an opportunity to take and that by putting yourself out there while still preserving your identity as a designer you’ll most defiantly succeed. At Design Days Dubai, they were selected to create the Dubai Culture booth. They were inspired by the craft of basket weaving to create a design that mirrored Dubai Culture’s three pillars; Culture, Heritage and Art.

Dubai Culture booth by D04 - Picture provided by D04 team

Dubai Culture booth by D04 – Picture provided by D04 team

Finally, I took this event as a chance to meet new, talented people that thrive towards success. It was a rather inspiring experience to meet all those incredible people and hear their stories. The people I met made me realize that the strangest things could lead you towards success and that one should embrace their talents and abilities and wear them as a badge of pride.

E7- Banat Al Emarat (@e7summit)

Alwid Lootah (@AlwidLootah)

Column: Lost in Reverie
Alwid is a young lady who aims to become the change she wants to see in this world by spreading positivity and leading youth towards the road of unlimited possibilities. She recently founded her own website through which she aims to become the voice of youth and share unrecognized talents. Her column “Lost in reverie” is a place where she allows her thoughts and emotions to flow and a place where she can hopefully create a change.

Latest posts by Alwid Lootah (@AlwidLootah) (see all)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Article in brief: the article features the e7 summit organized by POAG, the purpose behind it, and the aspired results from it.

In order to achieve your vision, sometimes all you need is a push towards taking that very first step, and e7 is an initiative that aims to direct you towards it. With the rise of women’s achievements in the UAE came e7 (or Banat Al Emarat); promising to support community-driven young women and mentor them to become confident enough to recognize their abilities.

E7 is an initiative that branched from POAG (Promise of a Generation), which was established based on the concept of a majlis to bring together people who seek dialogue on pressing issues that affect our daily lives and communities. POAG founders created e7 with the idea of bringing together young women in order to make a difference in our community, by focusing on inspiration, training, connection and commitment.

Through a yearlong summit, Banat Al Emarat – e7 brings together 35 female students from local universities aged 18 to 25 (5 from each emirate) and encourages them to develop existing community-based projects or launching new ones. The young women are then paired with mentors who will guide them towards being successful and socially aware. E7 stands out between other initiatives because it works as a platform for the participants and gets them to become positively involved in their community. Potentially, e7 aims to expand to becoming Banat Al Khaleej and even be a part of world forums such as Girls 20.

The e7 team strongly believe that young women have ideas that could create positive change, and a small idea that might seem like a distant dream could, with the right support, become something amazing. They hope that many more young women will get involved in creating the future of the UAE.

“No idea is too big or too small. Start with baby steps and a puddle can turn into a pool of difference,” says Tahzeeb Ahmad, a member of the Executive Board at e7. Such active projects will surely make us young women more confident when it comes to having the confidence and motivation to achieve our goals.

To learn more about e7

UAE Vision Invite

Understanding Your Back Pain

Dr. Mariam Ketait (@ebbbndflow)

Dr. Mariam Ketait (@ebbbndflow)

Dr. Mariam Ketait is a general practitioner specializing in family medicine, with masters in quality in healthcare and various alternative healing certifications including Theta Healing, Spiritual response therapy, Pranic healing and Access consciousness.
Mariam looks at health from a holistic perspective and believes that our bodies respond to our thought patterns and emotional behaviors. She also believes that health is attainable and that a happy life is a healthy one. Mariam created the concept of "ebb and flow" to reflect how we can deal with the various tides of life by flowing in harmony with our inner wellbeing to achieve health. The column will cover common health topics with an approach to conditions in a mind body spirit framework.
Dr. Mariam Ketait (@ebbbndflow)

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Article in brief: the author gives us an overview of lower back pain and ways to overcome it.

Artwork by Marwah Fuad (Twitter: @marwah_f1, Instagram: @ElMeem_Artistry)

Artwork by Marwah Fuad (Twitter: @marwah_f1, Instagram: @ElMeem_Artistry)

In family medicine, one of the most common complaints is lower back pain. People complain of different forms of pain in the back ranging from a mild ache to a sharp stabbing pain which might extend to the thighs and legs.

In order to understand back pain, we have to look at the physical causes of back pain. Our spine is comprised of bone, cartilage (discs), muscles, tendons, blood vessels and nerves. Any ailment in any one of those structures can cause back pain. Bad posture or sudden twists can result in muscle spasms which can be quite painful for some time. A slipped disc can press on a nerve end and result in sharp pain, which can radiate to the thighs (this is also known as sciatica). Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies can also cause back pains and aches.

Once the physical cause has been identified, then various methods can be used to lessen the back pain.

For Bones; calcium and vitamin D supplements can help maintain healthy bones.

When it comes to muscles & ligaments, maintaining a healthy body weight is the first step to ensure the back is not over worked. Secondly, back-strengthening exercises can be done with a physiotherapist, and other alternative options such as acupuncture are beneficial especially if there was nerve involvement.

As for disc prolapse, posture modification can be beneficial, but depending on the extent of the prolapse, surgery might be needed.

Various methods can be used for pain management – mild analgesics such as breathing exercises, yoga or mindfulness can help alleviate the pain. Getting educated on posture and what movements to avoid can also prevent such recurrences.

Psychological factors have been associated with back pain. People with anxiety and depression have been found to have back pains amongst other symptoms. From a mind-body standpoint, lower back pain is often associated with feeling unsupported in life, and this can mean a lack in financial, emotional or spiritual support. If one feels unsupported in life or is fearful of losing a support system, this can cause the energy to shift around the spine in order to alert the person of the importance of being supported in life.

Remembering that we are resourceful on our own beyond imagination, and having faith in our resourcefulness can shift this instantly. Also, having an active healthy lifestyle ensures a healthy flow of energy and aids the healing.

Stay supported and keep moving!

Is It Clear? – Tuning TV’s to Appropriate Channels

Abdulla Alwahedi (@Alwahedi)

Abdulla Alwahedi (@Alwahedi)

Column: Emirati Reflections
Abdulla holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration. His abstract passion for history and literature with a hint of photography adds to his noble enduring quality. Abdulla enjoys visiting museums, art exhibitions and likes to spend his spare time in the outdoors. His column “Emirati Reflections” is a mixture of stories from the past and insights of the present, which blend together and formulate his understanding of the UAE’s culture.
Abdulla Alwahedi (@Alwahedi)

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Article in Brief: the author talks about his experience through the fast developing media sector and the need for control and content monitoring.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

A few days ago, a friend of mine sent me a cartoon that made me smile and brought back some of my childhood memories. My 12 years old daughter was sitting next to me and noticed my smile. She immediately asked me why I was smiling. I showed her the cartoon, but looking at her facial expression, I knew that she didn’t understand the reasons behind my smile.

The cartoon showed two kids, one sitting near the TV in her living room and the other one was on the roof trying to rotate the TV antenna and asking the one in front of the TV if the screen was clear. Back in the old days, rotating the TV antenna was a manual process, and you would need to guide the person rotating it, and tell him when the desired TV channel is clear. In the 70’s and early 80’s there were two TV stations in the UAE, and only during summer months would we get the feed of the Saudi Arabian and Omani TV channels.

In those days, the TV channels used to operate from 10 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm until 11 pm. Cartoon shows were limited to half an hour every day and after that we would have either news or educational programs.

My late grandfather used to call me “Abdulla the engineer”, as I was the only one who could tune his TV. I must admit that I did enjoy being the “engineer” and used my knowledge for blackmailing my sisters at certain times. At the end of the day, getting a free bag of chips and a soft drink was not a bad idea for TV tuning service.

Today, when I look back at those days it draws a big smile on my face. We were so simple and peaceful, and our parents were not as worried as we are today about our kids and the things they see on TV. Kids today have access to hundreds of channels either through the internet or satellite TV. They can watch any cartoon they like at any point in time.

TV time is no longer limited to half an hour every day, and if kids are left without monitoring they could spend the entire day going through different channels and programs.

Spending long hours in front of TV can affect children’s health because of their reduced physical activities in the outdoors. Therefore, it is very important for parents to monitor and control the shows their children watch on TV. TV time should also be restricted to certain hours during the day to avoid having the kids continuously watching TV. This may sound difficult to implement, but it is really necessary for the safety and security of our children.

The Smurfette Principle – Debunking Male Specific Cartoons

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Column: Hidden Promises
Alia is an AUS student double majoring in International Studies and English literature. She is also the author of Alatash fictional novel. Her main goal is to make a change and empower the youth. Her column is meant to help the younger generations deal with tough situations. It was given that title as hidden promises is what us teenagers often believe; false promises.
Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Article in brief: The author discusses the importance of acknowledging the power of television on the minds of children.

Artwork by Amna Al Saleh (@Tepingi)

Artwork by Amna Al Saleh (@Tepingi)

People often underestimate the power television has over children. The things we grow up watching and learning are the things that often shape us as we grow older.

Like every child out there, I had my fair share of TV time. I grew up in front of a TV set that mostly showed a set of cartoon shows that only had one female character. I’m talking about the Animaniacs, The Muppets and The Smurfs.

I never really paid any attention to it until I recently stumbled upon an article written by poet and essayist Katha Pollitt for The New York Times entitled “Hers; The Smurfette Principle”. An interesting term that can be defined as having a work of fiction star an ensemble of males, and contain only one female that is way less significant than the male characters. That single female character usually tends to be irrelevant and not carry that big of a storyline but is merely a follower of the male characters.

What struck me the most is that this article was written in 1991. It is quite upsetting to realize that in 2015, not much has changed. Modern cartoon shows mostly star male characters and have them do all the action, whereas female characters are left to be part of the action.

I’m not saying that nothing has changed; plenty of shows have introduced several female characters. To be fair, there are a few shows out there that star female characters. But the thing is, those shows’ target audience happens to be female only. Shows that target both genders rarely have a female star.

Still, it gets you to think: does it have an effect on children developing gender stereotypes? The answer to that is a definite yes. Children’s way of thinking gets molded before they actually understand what is going on.

TV shows that contain such components only make young girls feel like they are followers and not leaders. They make girls believe that they can never be the face of anything, but mere participants. In the same way, it makes boys feel that dominance belongs solely to them and that girls are nothing more than what the male gender chooses to involve them in.

Looking back at the 90s, there are sadly more similarities than differences. The issue is anything but extinct. It still exists and little children across the world watch this phenomenon on a daily basis. It is vital to watch what enters the minds of the people who will grow up to make up future generations. Something as silly as a cartoon show can affect the way a future politician, a writer and even a businessperson thinks.

It is up to us to prevent mistakes made over two decades ago from reoccurring. In addition, it is very necessary to look into things on a deeper level and recognize their effects. Our children are our future, and as such we should work hard on providing appropriate entertainment for them in hopes of avoiding them growing up and producing negative and biased ideologies.

A Divided Unity

Nasser AlFalasi (@nassakb)

Nasser AlFalasi (@nassakb)

Column: Just A Nassasary.
Nasser AlFalasi was born the year the cold war ended. For those who don’t know the year the cold war ended, Nasser’s columns in SAIL is exactly for that reason. Nasser’s undergrad was in Financial Services at the Higher Colleges of Technology. He then pursued his graduate studies at NYU, NYC concentrating in global affairs with a specialization in international relations and transnational security. His major interests include history and global affairs. Most of his columns will be in regards to those topics. By the way, if you haven’t already found out the year Nasser was born, its 1991.
Nasser AlFalasi (@nassakb)

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

Article in brief: No matter what race, religion, or culture you are, there is more that unites us than that which divides us.

Artwork by Aalaa Albastaki (Instagram:@lalaa_albastaki, Twitter: @AalaaAlbastaki)

Artwork by Aalaa Albastaki (Instagram:@lalaa_albastaki, Twitter: @AalaaAlbastaki)

There are four things that I think unites a region: physical barriers, social development, political union, and interdependence. Today, ISIS is destroying physical barriers between Iraq and Syria, claiming the “End of Sykes-Picot”. In their perspective, it’s the almost 100 year policy, Sykes-Picot, that carved up the Middle East into French and British colonies and caused the Middle East to be in the state it is in today. Although the Sykes-Picot did play a role, however, it is not the reason as to why the Middle East is in the state it is today. The Sykes-Picot is just a quarter of the problem, and physical barriers are a minor contributor to division in the Middle East. To understand what the Sykes-Picot agreement is, one must go back to the 1900’s and look into the history of the Middle East.

The history of modern states and physical barriers in the Middle East goes back to the 1900’s. In 1915, the British made an agreement with the Arabs, in what is known as the McMahon-Sharif Husayn correspondence letters ( United States Department of State 1969). The letters state that if the Arabs revolt against the Ottomans they will be given their own independent state from Damascus, Baghdad, and all the way to Aden.

However, at the same time, there was a secret agreement known by the name of the British and French representatives, Sykes and Picot. It was an agreement between these two states in 1916 to carve up and divide the Middle East into their own spheres of influence or colonies. Led by Lawrence of Arabia, the Arabs revolted against the Ottomans in what was known as the Arab Revolt in 1918. However, the Arabs never got what they were promised, and the dream of an independent state began to slip away. Shortly after the fall of the Ottomans, lands throughout the Middle East were up for the taking by British and French powers. So when Middle Eastern people, specifically the Gulf, state that their countries are young, they are merely stating the time of which they left from the divisional power of Britain and France.

After the Arab revolt, the social development of nationalism started to rise between states, and before you know it, we had Saudis, Bahrainis, Syrians, or Emiratis. A national identity grew within these states that brought them together in a unique setting as opposed to the historic use of a religious identity in the region. This caused a tension point within communities, especially those who believe in a regional Islamic identity as opposed to a national, or ethnic identity. ISIS, AlQaeda, Boko Haram, amongst other organizations believe that they must destroy these national states in order to unite the Middle East. However, history teaches us that there are other possible ways to unite a people than to destroy their identities.

In 1958, Jamal Abdul Nasser, president of Egypt and Shukri AlQuwatli, president of Syria established the first nationalistic united state, known as the United Arab Republic (UAR). However, due to various political events, including the death of Jamal Abdul Nasser and the Syrian coup, the state only lasted three years. Jamal Abdul Nasser acknowledged the existence of national identities and adapted to modern realities. Do you know who also adapted to modern realities? Our very own founding father, Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan (may Allah rest his soul). It is with the same perspective of UAR that one can easily derive the establishment of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. Seven different emirates throughout a region, united to a single state entity. One thing that Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan learnt from the UAR is how to preserve ones sovereignty while contributing to a greater unity. Today, the United Arab Emirates is a perfect example of what a national unity can achieve, if done correctly.

With that political sense of unity, interdependence also plays a major role in the Middle East. Interdependence is a term popularized by the famous American economist Richard N. Cooper. It is a situation where two states are highly dependent on each other, that any military transgression between each other is far too risky and costly for both parties. However, unlike the example given with political unity, economic interdependence does not mean that both states are now united as one. But rather that both states are working strongly together and the consequences of not working together will damage both economies. This is mostly achieved by high economic cooperation and integration of markets between the states.

Today, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE have funded the Egyptian economy with approximately $23 billion USD (Daily News Egypt 2015). This is an example of rising economic interdependence between states in the Middle East. Although still short handed, the Middle East has a long way to go if they want to achieve economic interdependence.

According to The Observatory of Economic Complexity, a project by MIT University to track economic activity, most Middle Eastern states don’t trade as heavily with one another. Take Saudi Arabia, UAE, or even Algeria for example; none of the top five importers or exporters is an Arab state (MIT 2015). This can be troublesome to the region, because if a neighboring state falls, having no economic ties may mean caring less for the misfortune of others. One of the world’s richest countries, Saudi Arabia, neighbors one of the poorest countries, Yemen. Surely this example alone tells us how far behind the region may be in regards to economic interdependence.

Physical barriers, social development, political union, and interdependence are all examples of the different forms of unity the Middle East has witnessed in its modern era. The destruction of states and the demolition of physical boundaries are not the answer to a united region. Unity comes in various shapes and forms, and a united Middle East does not come by force. War, murder, and terrorism are not means of uniting the region, rather, we should start at a smaller yet significant onset: a working social structure.


  • United States Department of State. Jordan – Syria Boundary. Intel, Washington: United States Government, 1969.
  • Daily News Egypt. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait strong backers of Egypt’s economy. March 14, 2015. (accessed March 15, 2015).
  • The Observatory of Economic Complexity. 2015. (accessed March 22, 2015).

Constantly Adapting Your Business to Change

Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90)

Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90)

Column: Musings of An Entrepreneur

Sidiqa is 25 years old and is half-Emirati and half-Pakistani. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the American University of Sharjah and a Master’s degree in Conflict Prevention, Sustainable Peace, and Security from the University of Durham in the UK. Sidiqa owns and manages the boutique-café concept store “Spontiphoria” in Wasl Square, Jumeirah.
Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90)

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: This article deals with the fluid nature of business processes and dependent success is on the ability to adapt to changing environments.

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

When you read interviews of owners of successful businesses, one thing is almost certain. When asked about the path their business has taken, many will respond by saying that the tasks they’ve done over the past years weren’t even in the original business plan, or that they had never considered going down the path they did.

No matter what comes your way, be it a project or business, there’s always that pearly, glistening image of your final creation. Keeping that vision in mind helps you stay determined and on track. But it can also detract you from the essential process of the journey that eventually leads a person there.

The business process is never a smooth, straight-sailing one. According to the business plan you spent months researching and carefully considering, getting from point A to B and finally Z seems fairly straightforward. But theory and practice are never the same and if you aren’t prepared for that, get ready for a wake-up call.

Things you hadn’t anticipated can be needed, and during the actual experience of setting up your business you will realize that there are perhaps other, more efficient ways for your business to function. Sometimes that can mean deviating from your initial plan and maybe changing some of your long-term goals.

Flexibility in business is key – if you aren’t able to adapt to the changing needs of an ever-rapidly evolving society, then your success will be limited and hard to come by. That is why it is important not to hold steadfast with tunnel vision to your original goals. If you were to focus solely on your original long-term goal, you risk two things:

Firstly, you may not be in that psychological mind-set to recognize potential fruitful endeavours. These opportunities may not be anything you initially had in mind for your business but embarking on them can lead to promising future partnerships.

Secondly, by focusing solely on your final goal, you won’t pay enough attention to the little details that are important in making up the final picture. So many things are required to feed into the bigger picture and it is sort of like a domino effect in the positive sense.

In light of all this, what’s the best way to approach goals in business? It is very important to have, from the outset, your long-term future plan. The plan not only includes an overarching vision, but also details such as statistics to be achieved. Leading up to that long-term goal must be several short-term goals to help achieve this. Thinking about and creating these short-term goals is a mental exercise in anticipating future scenarios. It also helps think of the long-term goal as a sort of synergy of different parts and helps you think outside the box when it comes to achieving these goals.

At the end of the day, it is vital to see the business process as something fluid, as something that has to change and adapt to the surroundings in order to succeed. Having long-term goals help give a business that determined edge but can also detract from fully utilizing the current environment. The best solution is to have a long-term plan made up of several short-term plans that feed into it but also to understand that sometimes, what you initially had in mind will be quite different from the end result and you just might end up preferring this path to the one you had originally conceived.

Book Review: Mornings in Jenin

Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

Column: Pocket Full of Books
An avid reader, Maitha has always dreamt of being a recognized novelist and poet. For the last decade she focused on HR as a career, which has taken her away from her dream, but it’s never too late. Her column Pocket full of Books focuses on book reviews and doesn’t necessarily focus on a specific genre.
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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Article in brief: the author gives us her review of Mornings in Jenin and how she felt about reading the book.

Book cover of "Mornings In Jenin", published by Bloomsbury Paperbacks, 2011 issue

Book cover of “Mornings In Jenin”, published by Bloomsbury Paperbacks, 2011 issue

“The reverse side of love is unbearable loss.” -Susan Abulhawa.

“Mornings in Jenin” by Susan Abulhawa doesn’t end happily. The novel tells the story of the never-ending struggles of Palestine. It opens with a scene from the present, and then Susan Abulhawa takes her readers back in time and back to the beginning of the Israeli occupation.

The Abulheja family is forcibly removed from their ancestral home in the village of Ein Hod and sent to a refugee camp in Jenin. The characters may be fictional, but their struggle is real. The pain, the loss, the tragedy and death are not only descriptive and graphic, but they’re also brutal and raw.

The novel is well-written and Abulhawa succeeded in shaping her novel to tell a love/horror story. The four generations of the Abulheja family love one another, love their homeland and love the freedom they hope to have one day. Yet, it’s mixed up with the horrors of death and the horrors delivered by war and loss. The novel extends over a period of sixty years, taking us from Ein Hod to Jenin to Jerusalem to the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila and none of those locations is saved from the horrors of the war against the people of Palestine where the survivors of the holocaust performed their own genocide against Palestine and its people.

The novel is a reminder of the massacre that doesn’t seem to end against the people of Palestine. The characters are fictional, but their stories are real and we are all aware of the pain being endured by Palestinians on a daily basis. Their loss is real, their pain is real, and the horrors they have to endure are real and have been happening since the beginning of the Israeli invasion.

“Mornings in Jenin” isn’t just a fictional literary piece. It’s a political statement targeted at the western media, which has been taking sides with the Israeli version of the story. Abulhawa tells the Palestinian version of the story. The version the western world purposely overlooks. The brutality of this version doesn’t only lie in the deaths witnessed by the characters of the book, but it also lies in the knowledge of how slim the chances are for hope, and how bleak the near future is.

I found this book to be a page turner. It was a very depressing read. “Morning’s in Jenin” is a reminder of how we sleep and avert our eyes from what is happening in Palestine. The book will leave you gutted and heartbroken. It’ll leave you wondering about how many of those characters have existed, how many of them still exist and how many of those children will be killed by Israeli soldiers. An easy 5 out of 5 for how honest and realistic this book is.