A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Wild Discovery: Arabic-American celebrity interviews

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 13, 2009

I remember reading lots of celebrity interviews in Arabic magazines in Beirut and Damascus, while waiting for a pedicure, a facial, or a “brushing” (a blow-out). They were useful as a way to pass the time and to work on my Arabic, but they weren’t very exciting. Most of them talked about the celebrity’s closeness to his or her family, strong work ethic, and concern about humanitarian or other non-political issues.

Here in New York, I subscribe to Aramica, a monthly-ish Arabic/English publication that covers everything from Middle Eastern politics to New York health care; from parenting advice to horoscopes. And it has an extensive celebrity section.

This past month, Aramica‘s main Arabic-language interview was with a man I don’t know: Elie Nahass, an actor who had apparently been to Cannes this past spring. I should have been tipped off to the fact that this interview would be a bit different from the ones I have read before: after all, the cover described the interview as a “حوار متفجر” – an “explosive dialogue”.

Here’s one of the call-outs from that interview. You don’t need to know Arabic – just read the English words, and you will know what the editor meant by “explosive”:


You can read the full interview (and the rest of the magazine) online here.

(I’ve called this post “Wild Discovery” in honor of my pedicure spot, which was located near Beirut’s main Wild Discovery office. And also because learning about the relative wildness of Arabic publications here in the US was quite a discovery for me!)

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