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Alia Yunis

A Leopard in Winter: An Interview with Syrian Director Nabil Maleh

[Nabil Maleh. Image from Alia Yunis]

In early January, more than 1,500 people packed three nights of screenings in Dubai of Syrian director Nabil Maleh’s film The Road to Damascus (‘A al-Sham ‘A al-Sham, 2006), a filmic journey across Syria that includes stops at its historical ruins and economically strapped towns. The screenings were sponsored by the local Syrian Business Association to raise money for Syrian refugees, and Maleh was on hand to introduce the film. For many in the audience it was their first ...

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Searching for Peace Lamps

[The Latin parish in Taybeh. Photo from the author.]

Nothing says a summer day in Palestine like searching for peace lamps fueled by olive oil —sold to you via a French nun at a Latin Parish in small town most famous for being the home of the country’s only artisan beer brewery. Well, perhaps that’s not such a typical day. But that July afternoon, it is the word French that I am stuck on. Because the day I found the peace lamps was more like a chapter from A Year in Provence than 45 Years Under Occupation.   There ...

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Alia Yunis


Alia Yunis was born in Chicago. She is an award winning journalist, author and filmmaker who grew up in the Midwest, Lebanon and Greece but spent the longest time calling Los Angeles home.  A Pen Emerging Voices fellow, her debut novel, The Night Counter (Crown/Random House 2010) has been critically acclaimed by the Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and several other publications. It was also chosen as a top summer read by the Chicago Tribune and Boston Phoenix.  In 2012, she produced Dreams in the Eyes, a documentary about the week in the life of a US NGO running international medical missions for sick and injured children in the refugee camps in Lebanon.  It will debut at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.  Her work has appeared in several journals and anthologies, including this year the nonfiction book The Mad Game and Guernica Magazine. Her journalism includes articles for The Los Angeles Times, Saveur, SportsTravel Magazine, and Aramco World.  Alia currently teaches film at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. For more, visit