At the end of every year, we sit together with our team to discuss and set the themes that the quarterly issues of Sekka Magazine will tackle in the subsequent year. Last year, our discussion was unlike any other we had had before, not only because we were conducting our big annual meeting virtually, but because 2020 had been an exceptional year, and we knew that 2021 would be too. As we collectively reflected on current events and the discussions the people (especially the youth) of the Arab Gulf States and wider Arab world have engaged in, as we normally do, one theme continuously surfaced and resurfaced during our conversations: love.
Al hub. Ishq. Piyar. L’Amour. Love. There are hundreds of languages and even more expressions to verbally communicate love to our partners, family members, friends, fellow humans and pets, but at the end of the day, it is a universal emotion that any of us can understand without words, and it is one that has been an essential feature of the COVID-19 crisis. We all personally know or have heard of individuals who have put themselves in self-quarantine since the onset of the crisis, depriving themselves from the physical company of their friends, attending social or other personally important events, or accepting opportunities in order to protect more vulnerable loved ones at home. You may have even been that person yourself. Here at Sekka, all of our team members (ourselves included) have at times months in a row at home in order to keep their loved ones as safe as possible. And when they have ventured out into the outside world, they have primarily done so on behalf of their more at risk loved ones, and have put their own lives to conduct their tasks.
Whether we have realized it or not, for more than a year now, our lives have been increasingly dictated by love, whether it’s through our mobility, immobility, action, or inaction . Thus, through this issue, we are honoring love, the emotion that has kept us going through these challenging times just like it has during wars, natural disasters and difficult conditions prior.
All of the stories that have been carefully curated for the issue, from our feature stories that and opinion articles that explore the worlds of love in the Arab world, to our profile interview with H.H. Sayyida Meyyan Shihab Al Said from Oman on her first solo digital gallery in our sister venture, the Khaleeji Art Museum, explore the theme of love in their own unique way. We present them to you, for the first time in Sekka’s history, in a downloadable digital issue format, allowing you to read the issue anywhere, at any time.
We hope that you enjoy this issue. As always, we look forward to your suggestions and feedback on how we could further improve your experience with us at Sekka.
Manar and Sharifah Alhinai