The Khaleejesque team continually ponders with the barrage of research, commercial trends, and click bait articles that have called ‘time of death’ on our respective field of publishing. With our collected knowledge, network, and experience in what is seemingly a “dying field,” we set to formulate our own research more focused on the MENA publishing scene on a global scale—namely, niche and independent publishing platforms, whether print or online, founded and staffed by young Arabs and Muslims from around the world.
As a platform that strives to amplify the voices of creatives and activists alike, we are dedicated to sharing our findings on a burgeoning field amongst creatives of the MENA region and beyond. As traditional publishing houses increasingly diminish, these independent platforms are paving the way for a new movement—heralding a cultural paradigm shift towards an egalitarian voice in publishing far from the constraints of traditional print and online media.
As a result, we’ve published a MENA Indie Zines and Platforms feature which can be accessed here.
In addition we’ve reached out to individual Zines who have shared with us their intricate workings and their missions and visions for their platform.
On behalf of Khabar Keslan, Omar Alhashani (Managing Editor) has answered below.
- About the Platform:
Khabar Keslan arose out of a perceived need to shift the representation of the region, both inside and out. There are some rather difficult boundaries that all publications from the region face: censorship, funding, etc. However, by exploring/pushing these limitations, we attempt to broaden the Middle East’s image. So far, we’ve worked with contributors from North Africa, East and Central Africa, South Asia, and South East Asia — because the region isn’t in a vacuum, it is influenced by the regions around it (and vice versa). What has been truly inspirational is that so many people (both established professionals and otherwise) have been incredibly supportive. At a time where journalism, news, and online media are dictated by their access to funding, we have built a community that believes in content unmarred by political or financial influence. That’s not to say that we reject money (we’re actually taking steps to monetize), but to do so independently and with integrity will be a challenge.
- Content: what is your publication concerned with and what kind of content does it feature?
Art, creative writing, and critique.
We try to be political sometimes, but it can be tough. We love working with creatives on issues of identity, media, history, and power. In general, we prefer to not explicitly describe or categorize our content because, in a very real sense, the ambiguity serves as a safety net.
- The team behind the platform:
We operate as an Editorial Collective. I [Omar Alhashani] am the Managing Editor, and work with a great team of editors, designers, administrators, and solicitors. We always reach out to others for feedback, edits, critiques, connections, consultancy, etc. but we keep all of the heavy lifting within the family (so to speak).
Right now, we have an amazing in-house designer, Knar Hovakimyan, who has taken the lead on most design-related tasks. That being said, we’ve worked with and will continue to work with countless designers from all over (Paloma Martinez Miranda,
Adnan Samman, Salma Noor, Leila Peinado, and more). Again we’re volunteer-based!
While the editorial collective reaches out to specific groups/individuals we'd like to work with, our call for submissions generates a large amount of content from writers and photographers we’ve never worked with before.
- Work Space:
We have always been very dispersed. I started the platform in DC with a group of friends—some of whom are still here—but the rest of the members are all across the world and region (NYC, Beirut, Istanbul, Jeddah, Sharjah, etc.) Khabar Keslan is online-based, but we are interested in having more of a base to operate out of.
Images courtesy of Khabar Keslan.