Editor’s Note – December 2012

Asfar was established for two key reasons. First, to promote interest in the Middle East in a full range of subjects, beyond politics and international relations. Second, to encourage aspiring writers; photographers; thinkers; editors; and others to develop their skills and promote their talents on an accessible platform – an online journal. The e-Journal is … Continued

Is there any ‘green in the Gulf’? : the case of Abu Dhabi

Energy, and the global demand and reliance on fossil fuels, is at the heart of many environmental debates. Scientists are continuously trying to find new, cleaner methods of producing the energy needed to sustain our current lifestyles. However, in discussing the importance of this need, the environmental concerns of the oil-producing states are often overlooked. … Continued

Forgotten Lebanon

Lebanon is one of the smallest Mediterranean countries in the Middle East. With a population of over 4,224,000 people and 18 different sects/ethnicities, there is little wonder that in many ways it unlike any other Middle Eastern state. Elsien Van Pinxteren, and George Mghames toured rural Lebanon in 2010 in search of it’s forgotten past.

Slaughtered Innocence

The Syrian uprising has dominated Middle Eastern news headlines for the last 18 months. International audiences have viewed the conflict through an “Arab Spring” paradigm, which simply paints rebel fighters against a corrupt dictator. However, the systematic torture and murder of children by the Al-Assad regime separates the Syrian conflict from regional generalisations. Torture of … Continued

One year on in Oman after the Arab Spring: A generation on hold

The autumn of 2010 saw the small gulf state of Oman united in celebration. It marked the 40th anniversary of the accession of Sultan Qaboos to the throne, the moment at which Oman’s steady march towards modernisation began. Distinguished guests such as Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain and King Abdullah of Jordan attended the festivities: … Continued

Alchemy in the Middle East

I have always been fascinated by the history of alchemy, especially in connection to the Middle East: from its conception, its development from Ancient Egyptian times, to the early Islamic world and finally its decline in the 12th century onwards. What has particularly amused me, in my studies of alchemy, has been people’s ideas of … Continued

Al-ardha in Oman

Larissa Normanton, a student at the University of Cambridge, studying Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, spent her ‘Year Abroad’ in Oman. In October 2011, at the beginning of her year in the Sultanate, Larissa paid a visit to the Wahiba Sands in the Sharqiyya region. These pictures depict a uniquely Omani cultural event called al … Continued

British Pakistani Muslims in Search of a True Islam

When I return home I always drink from the same mug. It has the perfect dimensions, squatness, distance between handle and mug. But more than anything, scrawled on its body are the words ‘Medical Aid for Palestinians’. I’m not Palestinian by origin, but I cannot shake its resonance. A connection to the Middle East has … Continued

All writers' views in articles are their own and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Asfar team.

Published by Asfar in London, UK - ISSN 2055-7957 (Online)