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Volume 41, Number 4 July/August 1990

In This Issue

July/August 1990
Agatha Christie: Mysteries and the Middle East
Written by Arthur Clark

An impulsive decision to head for the Middle East brought Agatha Christie to a dig at Ur in 1928. There she found the setting for her next novel, and met Max Mallowan, a young archeologist who proposed to her shortly afterward. For the next 40 years both the man and the Middle East were fixed points in her peripatetic and productive life.

Finding the Range
Written by Ron Morris
Photographed by David Klutho

For three years it looked as though the talented Alaa Abdelnaby was going to leave Duke University as a young man with a great future behind him: a hot basketball prospect who never lived up to his potential. But Alaa's father had sacrificed to find opportunity for himself and his family in the United States, and the young man admired his father's pride and fire. "I decided to show myself that I had another side" he said - and he did.

Fishing in the Pondo
Written by Pierre Maas and Geert Mommersteeg

Between Segou and Timbuktu, the Niger River slows and divides its waters among dozens of braided streams and shallow lakes scattered across the flat land. Here in the Pondo, compact villages rest on island-like mounds, each crowned by the towers of its distinctive mud-built mosque. Farmers, herders and fishermen, linked in traditional patterns of trade and craft, share the bounty of the river's annual flood and, in dry years, the pain of drought.

G.C.C.: The Next Decade
Written by John Christie
Illustrated by Norman MacDonald

A forum for consultation, a hotbed of cooperation, and a framework for multinational ventures, the Gulf Cooperation Council will soon be 10 years old. It links Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates in a multidimensional relationship that includes economic and industrial ventures, cultural ties and political cooperation, and its imitators elsewhere are only one sign of its success.

Poetry in the Blood
Written by Lynn Teo Simarski
Photographed by Chad Evans Wyatt

An Arab literary pioneer in America feared that the new country's beauty would make his compatriots forget their native land. Eight decades later, a prolific crop of Arab-American poets is proving him wrong, writing moving and lucent verse that - whether they are immigrants or American-born - carries in it their memories of the Arab world, their love of language, and their belief in poetry "as indispensable to life as bread."

Remaking Istanbul
Written by John Roberts
Photographed by Ergun Çağatay

Istanbul's legendary beauty, and the glories of its centuries as the capital of three empires, contrasted starkly with its 20th-century ills: urban sprawl, sclerotic traffic, and overtaxed water, gas and sewage systems. The city of 7,000,000 people needed a thorough modernization, and it is getting one. Bridges, highways, a subway system and hydrofoil ferries are going in - and some say that charm, grace and amenities are going out.

Small Creatures of Bahrain
Written by Mike Hill
Photographed by Michael Hill Jr.

Whether they have two legs or four - or six or eight -the wild creatures of Bahrain are one of the island's attractions, especially for long-time residents who can invest the time and patience necessary to make their acquaintance. Most are small and shy of humans, though many are fierce enough on their own diminutive scale, and an observant eye - or camera lens - can capture details of their personalities and behavior.

Three From Jerusalem
Written by Anne Mullin Burnham
Photographed by Nik Wheeler

Exile breaks hearts, and makes art. Three painters who, as children, breathed the same air and saw the same colors, now work in three widely separated parts of the world, unable to return to the soil that nourished them. Their work is different, yet in some ways the same, because exile, for each of them, became a central fact of life and of their painting: Where they are is no more important to them than where they cannot be.