Here is a bizarre little clipping from more than forty years ago. The tongue-in-cheek pop-culture reference immediately caught my colleague's eye. Here is the translation:
Elvis really loves the Arabs!
That is because girls and boys buy hundreds of his records, dance to his tunes at clubs, and at home, and flock to see the latest of his movies. AND to show his affection for them he's... recently donated $3 million to... to (I'm sorry!) Israel.
Back then, newspapers and magazines in the UAE were comparatively basic, but keen to experiment: not just with new kinds of writing, graphic design and typography, but also with humour. In this case, the magazine used the King of Rock and Roll to make a politically loaded statement about the 'hidden' political and moral values of foreign pop culture, especially from the United States. Essentially, the piece functions as a warning, a jeer and a reproach aimed at people who consume Western cultural goods regardless of the ideological implications; without 'reading the label', so to speak.
About the magazine: Al Shorouq was launched by the Emirati brothers Taryam Omran Taryam and Abdullah Omran Taryam, the founders of Al Khaleej newspaper. It was one of the first widely popular weekly magazines produced in the UAE. As I've found out over the last year, it's extremely difficult to verify facts about media history in the UAE. But here is what I've learned from a variety of sources (including veteran Emirati journalists I spoke to): just like the first incarnation of Al Khaleej newspaper, the initial version of Shorouq Magazine only survived briefly, probably from 1970 to around 1972, due to a combination of financial and political troubles associated with costly printing in Kuwait, on the one hand, and the publishing house's stance on regional politics, on the other. Both the newspaper and the magazine were eventually relaunched and still exist today.