One Saturday in the summer of 1971, my aunt took me to her gym in Tel Aviv. The scene was familiar, like a Baghdad swimming pool in the sixties. I sat in a comfy chair and turned my little transistor radio to Voice of Israel, playing a song by Egyptian singer Umm Kalthoum. My aunt swiftly asked me to turn the volume down.
Egyptian diva Umm Kalthoum projected in a special tribute at the opening night of the Baalbek International Festival in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley on July 20, 2018. (File photo: AFP)
Israeli orchestra group Firqat Alnoor's performance on YouTube of Emirati singer Hussain al-Jassmi’s song Ahibak. (Screengrab)
A lone tourist makes her way along a market street in the nearly deserted Old City of Jerusalem on March 12, 2020. (AFP)