Qawliya

YouTube has this great video of the Saddam era's greatest qawliya dancers (gypsy girls spinning their long hair) entertaining top regime figures. Cheesy but fascinating.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.