A new four-part, monthly series The Far Becomes Near archives the history of radio broadcasting in the United Arab Emirates, as radiophonic experiments punctuated by oral histories from local historians, academics, cultural commentators and the federation’s earliest broadcasters.
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, the archive describes a Gulf at the turn of the 20th Century tuned, via radio, to a world outside. Sources are early memories following on from Emirati traditions of oral history, with both the original voices and with some translated from Arabic.
The first episode (1/4): ‘When Iron Speaks’ – an audio archival transmission from the future. Beamed to the present day as an artifact from a future database, the United Arab Emirates’ recent history, stored by people of another millennium, is sent as a missive to the ears of today.
This episode features contributions from Dr Zaki Nussaibeh, Salim Obaid Al Alelee, Dr Yousef Aydabi and Dr. Arif Al Sheikh. Voice overs of the Arabic translations are by Frank Key and William English.
The titles come from an interview with Salem Obaid a junior broadcaster at Ajman’s first homegrown radio station, one of the earliest locally run stations in the Emirates. Salem Obaid refers to a reported hadith in the Koran, predicting a future “When the near becomes far, and the iron speaks.”
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