Kerning Cultures

Kerning Cultures

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The Things That Can't Speak

Ronnie Chatah started giving his walking tours of Beirut in 2008, during a period of stability for the city. He would guide tourists through the city, telling stories of Phoenician ruins, French architecture and Ottoman houses. He’d also talk about Lebanon’s civil war, and the pr ...   Show more

Dear Listeners

If you have been enjoying this podcast, we want to hear from you! ⁠ ⁠Understanding who you, our dear listeners, are helps us make decisions as we continue to grow at the Kerning Cultures Network. Help us understand you better by filling this short survey linked below, it won’t ta ...   Show more

The Missing Archives

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 a ...   Show more

Escape to Cairo

In October 1960, the walls were closing in for Patrice Lumumba. Months earlier, he had been celebrated as the Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister after decades of brutal colonial rule. But now, he had been overthrown in a coup and was being kept under house arrest ...   Show more

Abandoned Ships: Part 2

After their employer abandoned the vessel they was working on, Vikash Mishra and his crew spent nearly three years stuck on a slowly sinking ship off the coast of the UAE. This week on Kerning Cultures: Vikash’s ordeal, and how he eventually made it back home to his family in Ind ...   Show more

Jerusalem Calling

Because of what's happening in Palestine this week, we're holding off airing our usual programming. Instead we're going to re-air one of our favourite episodes from last season: Jerusalem Calling. With this episode, we hope to remember the rich history of Palestine, and that the ...   Show more

Abandoned Ships: Part 1

When seafarer Mehmet Gulsen stepped on board the Kenan Mete, he thought he was signing up to a pretty standard 7 month contract, and then he’d be home in Ukraine with his young daughter and his dog. But a few months in, things started going wrong, and he ended up abandoned with h ...   Show more


Loving Lebanon is one thing; living there is another. Generation after generation, surviving in the homeland sometimes costs too much. This essay was written and read by Zahra Hankir, and it was originally published in Guernica. The episode was produced by Alex Atack with support ...   Show more

Found Sound

Two stories of music getting lost… and then found again. A record producer unearths a Moroccan masterpiece in the back of a dusty electronics shop in Casablanca, sending him on a long and complicated mission to find out what happened to the artist. And, a song that was never mean ...   Show more

Collateral Damage

In 1942, Lebanon’s National Museum opened in Beirut, celebrating the country’s golden age, and inside, it housed some of the region’s most important artifacts. So when the Lebanese war started in 1975, the museum staff came up with an elaborate scheme to save everything inside th ...   Show more

Viva Brother Nagi

Nagi Daifallah was a young farm worker from Yemen who moved to California in the early 1970s, when he was just 20 years old. He went on to become one of the organisers of the influential 1973 grape strike in California, led by Cesar Chavez. But one night, after a day of striking, ...   Show more

Flagged and Stamped

Over the last half century, as many nations around our region have gained independence or been through regime change, they’ve have had to ask themselves big questions. Like, what makes our country, our country? What are the symbols that define us? And, who gets to decide the answ ...   Show more

No Victor But God

The graceful courtyards of Mexico and Puerto Rico aren’t the first places you’d go looking for a secret Islamic history. But a closer look at the tiles and teacups reveals a bloody, beautiful and largely forgotten past. This episode was produced by Alice Fordham and edited by Dan ...   Show more

In Case of Death

What happens when somebody dies in a country that’s not their home? In the UAE, the answer to that is complicated. This week on Kerning Cultures, stories about the families who've had to go through the experience, and the group of volunteers who help repatriate the bodies of fore ...   Show more

Celebrating Women: Nadine Labaki on al empire

In celebration of International Women's Day, we're bringing back our interview with Lebanese director Nadine Labaki on Al Empire, another Kerning Cultures Network show. Nadine chats with us about how her love for film began, the years of preparation and work for her 2018 film Cap ...   Show more

Whose Genizah?

In 2015, our producer Nadeen Shaker visited the Cairo Genizah in one of Egypt’s oldest synagogues. It was the place where, thousands of years ago, the Jews of Egypt literally stored any papers with God’s name on them instead of throwing them away. After a prominent Egyptian Jew, ...   Show more

Evacuate Kuwait

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 som ...   Show more

The A-Word

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 ...   Show more

Word on the Street

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 bring ...   Show more

Operation Nemesis

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 beg ...   Show more

The K-Pop Wave

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 ...   Show more

This season on Kerning Cultures...

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 t ...   Show more

Hebah on the Da Miri Podcast

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 b ...   Show more

Behind the Scenes: Zar and Zabelle

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. Editi ...   Show more

Update: Where the Heart Is

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? Thi ...   Show more

Jerusalem Calling

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 ...   Show more

More Than A Buzz

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, cultur ...   Show more

Little Syria

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”. Tod ...   Show more

Open Sesame

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 ...   Show more

Elephants in the Desert

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 ...   Show more