Chicago Arabesque festival starts today: look for “Amal” vendor to support women survivors of war

Oh, goody, Arabs again. Last year’s Arabesque festival in Chicago’s Daly Plaza was perfect. The weather was gorgeous, there was plenty of Arab music, calligraphy, henna hand painting, flavored tobacco for your hooka pipe and a line of graceful guys with those gorgeous Arab eyes getting up on the empty stage to dance a little impromptu Dubka arm in arm.

This year one of the vendors is Amal which is promoted as a supplier of unique jewelry which gives ten percent of its proceeds to Women for Women, a highly rated not-for-profit organization for women survivors of war. Highly appropriate, as this week the U.N. finally declared rape as a weapon of warfare. Says the Amal “about” page:

We believe in honor, respect and love.
We are a company designed to help women by combining the modern techniques of jewelry with the historical evil eye protection to provide everyone an item to wear with pride.

Ah, the evil eye protection. There’s something to that, you know. A friend of mine in the middle east had an evil eye on her kitchen wall that faced anyone entering her apartment. A week before she was assaulted, the eye, and nothing else, disappeared from her apartment.

If you go into the right shops, away from the tourist section, you can even find blue plastic eyes about the right size for sheep and cows.

I just happen to have two eyes that guard me as I sleep. Are they just nice to look at, or are they something else?

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