What does London look like through Arab eyes?
Journalist Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of the Al Arabiya English news service, aims to document this in a new book slated for publication in early 2017.
The book – written in Arabic and with the working title of “London through Arab Eyes” – aims to combat misconceptions and stereotypes between Arabs and the West.
It will chronicle Abbas’ time in the UK and seeks to explain what it means to live as an immigrant in a major Western capital.
Abbas announced the title during a panel discussion on the closing day of the recent Emirates Airlines Literature Festival in Dubai.
“London has opened its arms to me and changed the way I look at life and the way I live my life,” Abbas told the British Council’s Adrian Chadwick, who moderated the discussion.
Abbas lived, worked and studied in the UK for nearly a decade before taking up his role at Al Arabiya English in Dubai. During his time there he wrote in Arabic for the London-based pan-Arab daily newspaper Asharq Al Awsat, and in English for the renowned US news blog, The Huffington Post.
“London through Arab Eyes” is to be published in Arabic, given Abbas’s view that he wants it to serve as a window to another culture for those who don’t necessarily speak English, or those who never had the means to visit the UK and experience it for themselves.
“The book is a humble attempt to try and say things the way they are. One of the definitions of experience is an accumulations of mistakes and this is a book about mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes and we can relate to each other’s as well,” Abbas said.