Kerning Cultures | كيرنينج كلتشرز

A weekly Society and Culture podcast featuring
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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 Armenians decided to take justice into their own hands. This week on Kerning Cultures, the secretive operation to avenge the Armenian Genocide, and how it changed our relationship with the idea of justice in the modern world. Images courtesy of Marian Mesrobian MacCurdy. Her book is called Sacred Justice: The Voices and Legacy of the Armenian Operation Nemesis. Eric Bogosian's book is Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot that Avenged the Armenian Genocide. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 on Kerning Cultures, we dive into the highly calculated forces behind the K-pop craze. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 alleged corruption scandal that they thought had taken place at the school nearly a decade ago. This week on Kerning Cultures, a story of loose ends, conflicting sources, and half-truths. Part 1 of 2. This episode was produced by Darah Ghanem and Alex Atack, with editorial support from Dana Ballout and Hebah Fisher. Fact-checking by Zeina Dowidar, sound design by Alex Atack and mixing by Mohamed Khreizat. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 government had no stake in the conflict, and around 165,000 Indian citizens living in Kuwait were caught up in a situation that didn’t involve their country. Which left the Indian government with a question they'd never had to face before: how do we evacuate tens of thousands of our citizens from a foreign country, all at once? Today on Kerning Cultures, the story of one family’s escape from Kuwait during one of the largest government evacuations in history. This episode was written and produced by Alex Atack and Shraddha Joshi, and edited by Dana Ballout with support from Nadeen Shaker, Zeina Dowidar and Abde Amr. Fact checking by Shraddha Joshi, sound design by Alex Atack and mixing by Mohamed Khreizat. Bella Ibrahim is our marketing manager, and Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 Ballout, Nadeen Shaker, Zeina Dowidar and Alex Atack. Fact checking by Shraddha Joshi, sound design by Alex Atack, and mixing by Mohamad Khreizat. Music in this episode was by Ahmed Moneka and Blue Dot Sessions. Special thanks to Noon Salih and Sara Elhassan. Our marketing director is Bella Ibrahim, and Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 hidden in their names. Follow us to Tehran and Khartoum as we uncover two histories brought together by one common denominator. This episode was produced by Zeina Dowidar, with editorial support from Alex Atack, Nadeen Shaker, Dana Ballout, Shraddha Joshi and Abde Amr. Editing by Dana Ballout, and fact checking by Shraddha Joshi. Sound design by Zeina Dowidar and Alex Atack, and mixing by Mohamed Khreizat. The article Zeina reads throughout this episode is ‘How to Rename a Street’ by Malia Wollan from the New York Times. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 today. The Da Miri Podcast releases episodes in Arabic and English, and hosts guests who have had journeys that are crucial to a better society – activists, feminists, journalists and marginalised groups. Their journeys are different but they have similar goals: of communities that are inclusive, diverse, equal and equitable. Previous guests have included Pulitzer Prize winning Author Hisham Matar and Bafta winning filmmaker and refugee activist Hassan Akkad. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
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 is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 called Maysam up to hear what’s changed for him since the story aired. This episode was produced by Hebah Fisher and Alex Atack, with editorial support by Dana Ballout, Percia Verlin, Laura Saab, Razan Alzayani, and Jackie Sofia. Sound design by Alex Atack and Fady Garas. Mixing by Mohamad Khreizat. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 station found itself in the middle of it all... and became a unique capsule of the events that lead up to the Nakba. This episode was produced by Shahd Bani-Odeh, Alex Atack and Darah Ghanem, with editorial support from Dana Ballout, Nadeen Shaker, Tamara Rasamny, Zeina Dowidar and Dina Salem. Fact-checking by Zeina Dowidar and Dina Salem. Sound design by Alex Atack and mixing by Mohamed Khreizat. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 Noon Salih, with editorial support from Alex Atack, Dana Ballout, Zeina Dowidar, Nadeen Shaker, and Dina Salem. Fact-checking by Dina Salem. Sound design by Alex Atack and mixing by Mohamad Khreizat. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 first Arab neighbourhood, and the final attempts to save it. This episode was produced by Hager Eldaas, with editorial support from Tamara Rasamny, Dana Ballout, Zeina Dowidar, Alex Atack and Nadeen Shaker. Fact-checking by Dina Salem and Zeina Dowidar. Sound design and mixing by Mohamed Khreizat. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 favourite characters had on him. This week, a little boy’s dream to become his favourite Muppet, and the making of a show that revolutionised children’s television. This episode originally aired in September 2018. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.
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 editorial support from Dana Ballout, Nadeen Shaker, Tamara Rasamny and Zeina Dowidar. Fact-checking by Zeina Dowidar and Dina Salem. Sound design by Alex Atack and mixing by Mohamed Khreizat. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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, the search for the Palestinian Film Unit’s lost archives. For the list of films and other resources mentioned in this episode, visit our blog: https://kerningcultures.com/kerned-and-cultured/palestinian-film-unit This episode was produced by Zeina Dowidar, with editorial support from Alex Atack, Nadeen Shaker, Tamara Rasamny, Dana Ballout, and Hebah Fisher. Fact-checking by Zeina Dowidar. Sound design and mixing by Mohamed Khreizat. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 noticed that there was a town called Lebanon... in Oregon. Being Lebanese himself, he wondered, how many Lebanons exist in the US? The answer: 47. Thus began his journey to visit them all and find an America he'd never expected, and the homeland he'd been searching for all along. The original "Lebanon USA" story was produced by Alex Atack with editorial support from Bella Ibrahim, Dana Ballout, Zeina Dowidar and Hebah Fisher. Sound design by Alex Atack. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. The new update of the story was produced and produced by Shima Oliaee and Jad Abumrad, with original music by Thomas Koner and Jad Atoui. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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, Nadeen Shaker and Hebah Fisher. Fact-checking by Zeina Dowidar, and research help from Noha Fayed. Sound design by Alex Atack and mixing by Mohamed Khreizat. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 can find a more thorough list of resources on our blog by clicking here.
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 Atack, Nadeen Shaker, and Hebah Fisher. Sound design by Mohamed Khreizat, and fact-checking by Zeina Dowidar. Bella Ibrahim is our marketing manager. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 support from Dana Ballout, Tamara Rasamny, Nadeen Shaker, Zeina Dowidar, and Hebah Fisher. Sound design by Alex Atack and Mohamed Khreizat, and fact-checking by Zeina Dowidar. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.
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 trance.  This episode was produced by Zeina Dowidar with editorial support from Dana Ballout, Tamara Rasamny, Nadeen Shaker, Alex Atack, and Hebah Fisher. Sound design by Tamara Rasamny and Mohamed Khreizat, and fact-checking by Zeina Dowidar. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 Sara Elhassan on racism in the Arab world. This episode was produced by Sara Elhassan, with editorial support from Dana Ballout, Tamara Rasamny, Zeina Dowidar, Alex Atack, and Hebah Fisher. Fact-checking by Zeina Dowidar and sound design by Mohamed Khreizat. Episode artwork is illustrated by Enas Satir. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 like an outcast in your own country. This episode was produced by Nadeen Shaker, with editorial support from Dana Ballout. Tamara Rasamny, Zeina Dowidar, Alex Atack, and Hebah Fisher. Fact-checking by Zeina Dowidar. Sound design by Alex Atack and Mohamed Khreizat. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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 alleged corruption scandal that they thought had taken place at the school nearly a decade ago. This week on Kerning Cultures, a story of loose ends, conflicting sources, and half-truths. Part 2 of 2. This episode was produced by Darah Ghanem and Alex Atack, with editorial support from Dana Ballout and Hebah Fisher. Fact-checking by Zeina Dowidar, sound design by Alex Atack and mixing by Mohamed Khreizat. Kerning Cultures is a Kerning Cultures Network production. Support this podcast on patreon.com/kerningcultures for as little as $1 a month.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Kerning Cultures | Middle East
Podcast Status
Active
Started
Sep 23rd, 2015
Latest Episode
Feb 25th, 2021
Release Period
Weekly
Episodes
99
Avg. Episode Length
29 minutes
Explicit
No
Order
Episodic
Language
English

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