The Aib Issue

Letter from the editors

(Left to right): Sharifah Alhinai, Managing Storyteller at Sekka. Manar Alhinai Storyteller-in-Chief at Sekka.

We start the New Year, and our third volume, with a slight rebranding and facelift that you will notice through our website.

We have expanded our opinion section and introduced our podcast segment, Sekka Podacasts. We have also launched our Arabic website to cater to our ever-growing Arabic content consumers.

At Sekka, one of the most challenging aspects of sharing stories from our rich Arabian Gulf Region is introducing international readers to our people and our traditions, and presenting them with stories they may have never read about before through an authentic narrative.

It is an exciting part of our journey, but also one where responsible journalism is critical. How can we uncover topics in a true, unbiased manner? And what’s the best approach to uncover cultural topics and issues that some members of the society perceive as culturally sensitive?

This issue’s theme of Sekka revolves around the concept of aib, or shame in Arabic; a term that guides many of our people’s daily interactions and behaviour, which makes these questions all the more relevant.

In that light, we decided to start a conversation about aib, and examine it through a psychological as well as a cultural lens.

Our Aib Issue, available in both English and Arabic. Cover art by Omani artist Rawan Al Mahrouqi.

Our issue’s contributors who come from psychology, research, art, and academic backgrounds, provide interesting perspectives on this important cultural aspect.

We begin the conversation with Emirati Cultural Consultant, TV Host and Author Ali Al Saloom, in which we discuss the challenges and responsibility of approaching sensitive cultural topics such as aib , as well as ways to preserve our traditions in an increasingly globalised world.  An excerpt of our video story is below. You can watch the full story at the end of this page.

Sharifah Alhinai: What is aib to you?

Aib doesn’t have one definition. It has multiple definitions in terms on the real intention of using it.

Sharifah Alhinai: What does it mean to stick to our traditions?

Ali Al Saloom: To stick to your traditions means that we are continuing to live properly in this planet, because we need to be different in order for us to have a beautiful mosaic, that we need to see the future very clearly.

Sharifah Alhinai: What is the best approach to discuss cultural topics such as changing traditions?

Ali Al Saloom: It’s about the how and not the what. If you say whatever you want, say it. But how you say it, is what makes a difference.

Sharifah Alhinai: In an increasingly globalised world, how do we preserve our traditions?

Ali Al Saloom: Simple. Live it. But before you live it, you need to believe in it. If you don’t believe in it, you’re not going to live it. And if you don’t live it, it will become history.

Story by Sekka. Film by Jacqueline V. Belizario.

We hope that you enjoy our issue. As always, we look forward to hearing your feedback.

Much love,

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The views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees, and affiliates.