I hadn’t. And I probably never would have were it not for staying somewhat in touch with MENA news since leaving Cairo. It’s a weird ambition, trying to ‘stay in touch’. But I find that scanning newspaper headlines, staying subscribed to some newsletters from organizations that struck me as interesting when I came across them living somewhere, and/or staying in touch with friends still in situ, is a great and easy way to remain aware of the very small slice of reality that dominates the media landscape of any particular locale. Not that I have illusions that reading Dutch, Chinese, Nepalese newspapers and otherwise staying in touch with Egypt/MENA, Cambodia and India is a real antidote. It’s just a constant reminder of how little I know about what goes on anywhere, and how distorted impressions must be that I have. If I have any at all that is because large parts of the globe are just an impenetrable blur to me. All that I know and pursue is purely driven by my personal history, and the urge to keep the joy I experienced in these places alive by exposing myself to sounds, images, and remember smells and tastes. Pretensions to knowledge on that basis would be absurd.
Anyways, this morning Your Middle East‘s newsletter introduced Moroccan popstar Saad Lamjarred. He managed 31 million youtube views in one month, tops the regional charts and is reported to have an impressive social media following. Enjoy: