Alia Yunis

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Alia Yunis, a writer and filmmaker based in Abu Dhabi, recently completed the documentary The Golden Harvest.

Articles by Alia Yunis

Preserving Arabia’s Bedouin Poetry

Preserving Arabia’s Bedouin Poetry

Throughout central Saudi Arabia, Bedouin tribal histories and folklore lie largely in oral poetry known as Nabati. In 1989, diplomat and linguist Marcel Kurpershoek set out to meet poets and record their verses. It became a lifetime project that continues to illuminate roots of the Arabic language and Arabian Peninsula cultures.

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Of Spice, Home and Biryani

Of Spice, Home and Biryani

Slow-cooked with meats, vegetables and spices that vary all across the subcontinent of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, biryani “speaks to love, time and patience” for those who grow up with it, and to dazzling, addictive blasts of flavor to everyone else. No wonder it’s a rising global food star.
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A Palette in White

A Palette in White

There is no official count of how many varieties of cheese the Arab world produces. Although each is unique, all are white. Don’t even begin to think that makes them boring. 
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The Handwritten Heritage of South Africa’s Kitabs

The Handwritten Heritage of South Africa’s Kitabs

One heirloom connects Muslim families of Cape Town to heritage more than any other: a kitab. Historians and linguists value them, too, as some preserve the first written form of the Afrikaans language, which was in Arabic script.

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Sirens of the Seagrass

Sirens of the Seagrass

Gentle and at times curious, dugongs likely inspired the first tales of mermaids. Once widely hunted, they are now globally protected, but their food—seagrass—is in decline, and from East Africa to the Pacific Islands, conservationists and communities are taking action.
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Epic Nation

Epic Nation

The script could have been lifted from one of Central Asia’s traditional oral epics: A nomad woman spends her 97-year lifetime defending, ruling and ultimately uniting dozens of tribes, losing a husband and a son to enemies while laying the foundation for a nation. But it’s true: Kurmanjan was her name, and her country is Kyrgyzstan, where a new film tells her story to the world.
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