Love your inner habibi! These 10 celebs will make you proud to be an Arab

Published July 22nd, 2015 - 11:22 GMT

While gay pride is having its moment around the world, we at Al Bawaba are celebrating the lesser-known concept of ‘Arab Pride’!
 
There are countless reasons for us to be proud of our heritage, despite the pervasive negative portrayals of Arabs in the Western media.

There’s no denying that Middle East politics are messy - and brutal jihadists don’t help our image any - but beyond the battlefield are notable Arabs who have shaped our world in various ways.

From groundbreaking discoveries in science, literature, astronomy, maths and medicine in the Muslim Golden Age to contemporary contributions to literature, fashion, music, philosophy, architecture and sports, we take a look at 10 celebrities who make us Proud with a capital P!

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Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid: The British-Iraqi architect’s creations have changed the face of modern architecture with her futuristic designs. She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011. Currently, she’s designing the controversial stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane: Born to Algerian Kabyle immigrants in France but widely claimed by the Arab world as one of their own, the former Juventus, Real Madrid and France striker is a football legend. Beckham called him "the greatest of all time" for his elegance, technique and control. Among his many honors, Zidane has won FIFA World Player of the Year.

Umm Kulthum

Umm Kulthum: Nicknamed “Kawkab al Sharq” (Star of the East) and “The Lady of Arab Singing,” this Egyptian star died in 1975 but remains the most iconic singer in the Middle East. Her intense stage presence and powerful voice give her a timelessness that Arabs of all ages adore to this day.

Gibran Khalil Gibran

Gibran Khalil Gibran: Lebanon’s literary genius is the third best-selling poet of all time. The Prophet and other philosophical essays dwelled on the themes of universal love, and went on to inspire American pop culture from Elvis to Johnny Cash. Gibran famously said, “We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”

Gamal Abdel Nasser

Gamal Abdel Nasser: The second President of Egypt has been described as the first leader of an Arab nation who challenged western dominance of the ME. The outspoken politician led the revolution against the monarchy in 1952, whereby he formed the United Arab Republic with Syria (1958–1961), overseeing a cultural boom and modernizing Egypt.

Mahmoud Darwish

Mahmoud Darwish: This immensely quotable, award-winning Palestinian poet became “the poet of the resistance” while exiled in Israel. Hailed as “the savior of the Arabic language” for his metaphoric and prophetic writing style, Darwish uses his artistic intuition and political acumen to create fascinating images in his readers’ minds.

Edward Said

Edward Said: This Palestinian-American intellectual was one of the leading literary critics of the late 20th century. He helped found the critical-theory field of postcolonialism with his book "Orientalism." A vocal supporter for Palestinian rights, Said was also an opera critic, pianist, tv celebrity, politician and media expert.

Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Reem Acra, Georges Hobeika

Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Reem Acra and Georges Hobeika have been dazzling international Fashion Week catwalks for years with their stunning, elaborate and unique creations. Favored by celebrities on the red carpet, royalty and socialites worldwide, these Lebanese fashion designers are bringing a touch of Arab flair to haute couture.

Naguib Mahfouz

Naguib Mahfouz: One of the earliest Arab writers to explore themes of existentialism, this Egyptian was the only Arab to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. He went on to write 40 novels and short-story collections and dozens of screenplays.“The Thief and the Dogs” and “The Cairo Trilogy” are some of his most known works.

Ahmed Zewali

Ahmed Zewail: Known as the "Father of Femtochemistry," Zewail became the first Egyptian scientist to win a Nobel Prize in science. Zewali is also a Physics professor, Chair Professor in Chemistry and Director of the Physical Biology Centre for the Ultrafast Science and Technology (UST) at the California Institute of Technology.

Soad Hosny

Soad Hosny: A classic beauty, Soad was one of the most influential and beloved actresses in the Arab world. During the 1950’s, the Egyptian starlet quickly shot to stardom and was nicknamed the “Cinderella of Arab Cinema,” but sadly committed suicide in 2011. She left behind a legacy of over 80 films that are still watched today.

Zaha Hadid
Zinedine Zidane
Umm Kulthum
Gibran Khalil Gibran
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Mahmoud Darwish
Edward Said
Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Reem Acra, Georges Hobeika
Naguib Mahfouz
Ahmed Zewali
Soad Hosny
Zaha Hadid
Zaha Hadid: The British-Iraqi architect’s creations have changed the face of modern architecture with her futuristic designs. She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011. Currently, she’s designing the controversial stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane: Born to Algerian Kabyle immigrants in France but widely claimed by the Arab world as one of their own, the former Juventus, Real Madrid and France striker is a football legend. Beckham called him "the greatest of all time" for his elegance, technique and control. Among his many honors, Zidane has won FIFA World Player of the Year.
Umm Kulthum
Umm Kulthum: Nicknamed “Kawkab al Sharq” (Star of the East) and “The Lady of Arab Singing,” this Egyptian star died in 1975 but remains the most iconic singer in the Middle East. Her intense stage presence and powerful voice give her a timelessness that Arabs of all ages adore to this day.
Gibran Khalil Gibran
Gibran Khalil Gibran: Lebanon’s literary genius is the third best-selling poet of all time. The Prophet and other philosophical essays dwelled on the themes of universal love, and went on to inspire American pop culture from Elvis to Johnny Cash. Gibran famously said, “We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser: The second President of Egypt has been described as the first leader of an Arab nation who challenged western dominance of the ME. The outspoken politician led the revolution against the monarchy in 1952, whereby he formed the United Arab Republic with Syria (1958–1961), overseeing a cultural boom and modernizing Egypt.
Mahmoud Darwish
Mahmoud Darwish: This immensely quotable, award-winning Palestinian poet became “the poet of the resistance” while exiled in Israel. Hailed as “the savior of the Arabic language” for his metaphoric and prophetic writing style, Darwish uses his artistic intuition and political acumen to create fascinating images in his readers’ minds.
Edward Said
Edward Said: This Palestinian-American intellectual was one of the leading literary critics of the late 20th century. He helped found the critical-theory field of postcolonialism with his book "Orientalism." A vocal supporter for Palestinian rights, Said was also an opera critic, pianist, tv celebrity, politician and media expert.
Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Reem Acra, Georges Hobeika
Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Reem Acra and Georges Hobeika have been dazzling international Fashion Week catwalks for years with their stunning, elaborate and unique creations. Favored by celebrities on the red carpet, royalty and socialites worldwide, these Lebanese fashion designers are bringing a touch of Arab flair to haute couture.
Naguib Mahfouz
Naguib Mahfouz: One of the earliest Arab writers to explore themes of existentialism, this Egyptian was the only Arab to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. He went on to write 40 novels and short-story collections and dozens of screenplays.“The Thief and the Dogs” and “The Cairo Trilogy” are some of his most known works.
Ahmed Zewali
Ahmed Zewail: Known as the "Father of Femtochemistry," Zewail became the first Egyptian scientist to win a Nobel Prize in science. Zewali is also a Physics professor, Chair Professor in Chemistry and Director of the Physical Biology Centre for the Ultrafast Science and Technology (UST) at the California Institute of Technology.
Soad Hosny
Soad Hosny: A classic beauty, Soad was one of the most influential and beloved actresses in the Arab world. During the 1950’s, the Egyptian starlet quickly shot to stardom and was nicknamed the “Cinderella of Arab Cinema,” but sadly committed suicide in 2011. She left behind a legacy of over 80 films that are still watched today.

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