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Volume 54, Number 3 May/June 2003

In This Issue

May/June 2003
Cairo Cats
Written by Annemarie Schimmel
Photographed by Lorraine Chittock

Some 4000 years ago, Egyptians learned that cats could protect stored grain against voracious mice, and cats learned that Egyptians would treat them well when they did. Over the centuries, Egyptians even created feline deities and built temples to them. Though such practices are long past, Egyptians have kept a soft spot in their hearts for cats, photographed here in the streets, markets and shops of the Arab world's largest city, where their human neighbors welcome and love them like nowhere else.

Doctor, Philosopher, Renaissance Man
Written by Caroline Stone

Both the Islamic and the European worlds used his medical writings for more than 700 years. His commentaries on Plato helped sow the seeds of the European Renaissance and won him both admiration and—briefly—exile. His names were household words: In the West, he was called Averroës; in the East, Ibn Rushd. From where he worked, in 12th–century al-Andalus and Morocco, he could hardly have imagined the influence of his legacy.

Medical Mission to Baghdad
Written and photographed by Thorne Anderson

Since April 22, as many as 1000 people a day have received medical care at a Saudi field hospital set up in Baghdad. Fifteen trailers parked in a hollow square are fitted out as triage centers, operating rooms, recovery rooms, wards and examination rooms. Treating shrapnel and gunshot wounds amid common ailments and widespread malnutrition, a team of eight surgeons, 24 doctors and some 200 nurses and support staff is serving an achingly long queue of patients at what is, for now, the city's most active hospital.

Reclaiming Our Past
Written and illustrated by Samia El-Moslimany

For two generations, a wealth of traditional embroidery and design lay forgotten, folded up with sweet herbs in mothers' and grandmothers' storage trunks. But since 1999, a group of women has been rediscovering a complex, often spectacular, Saudi national costume heritage, and they are training young women to preserve it. The results are selling as fast as the women can sew.

The Soul of Kazakhstan
Written by Alma Kunanbay
Photographed by Wayne Eastep

Sprawling over the heart of Central Asia, Kazakhstan is the world's ninth-largest country. People first rode horses in this land between the glaciers of the Tien Shan Mountains and the Volga River, and from here travelers along early trade routes first carried the apple to the outside world. Since independence in 1991, Kazakhstan has been rediscovering and reinterpreting its unique blend of nomadic roots and influences from China, Russia and the Islamic world to create a modern culture of its own.