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New Additions to the Literature on Cairo

Nezar AlSayyad. Cairo: Histories of a City. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011. David Sims. Understanding Cairo: the Logic of a City out of Control. Cairo; New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2010. Nezar AlSayyad’s Cairo: Histories of a City and David Sims’ Understanding ...  Read More »

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A Creature Which Would Be Impossible If It Did Not Exist: "Midnight's Children" Turns Thirty

Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, which turns thirty this year, opens with one of the most celebrated bouts of throat-clearing in literary history: I was born in the city of Bombay...once upon a time. No, that won’t do, there’s no getting away from the date: I was born in Doctor Narlikar’s Nursing Home on August ...  Read More »

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Haletna bel Romancy

Concert Review and Interview: Mashrou' Leila, Beirut Hippodrome, July 29, 2011. Yalla, conjure your stereotype. Humid, jasmine-scented nights; hot, diesel-loaded days; pockmarked buildings; the blue Mediterranean crashing on the popular Corniche boardwalk; Lebanese women; Lebanese men; the middle of 2011 in the ...  Read More »

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Rap Rage Revolt

Two months ago the private radio station Mosaïque FM asked Rachid Ghannouchi whether he preferred rap music or mizwid (Tunisia’s most popular sha‘bi or folk music, whose name derives from the main instrument that accompanies the singing, i.e., the goatskin bagpipe). Ghannouchi, leader of Ennahda (Renaissance), the ...  Read More »

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Bodies Moving to Memory

antinormanybody. Curated by Barrak Alzaid. Organized with the support of Kleio Projects & International Resource Network. June 23 – August 10, 2011. Kleio Projects: 153½ Stanton Street, New York, NY. I wandered the Lower East Side on a sweaty summer morning in search of Kleio Projects Gallery, curiously located ...  Read More »

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Hope, Translated

Laila Lalami, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin, 2005. Tahar Ben Jelloun, A Palace in the Old Village. Translated by Linda Coverdale. New York: Penguin, 2011. Already, the narratives of the Arab Spring dominating the American media have a nebulous relationship with the human stories ...  Read More »

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Sowing the Arab Spring

Rami Zurayk, Food, Farming and Freedom: Sowing the Arab Spring. Charlottesville, VA: Just World Books, 2011. Is there a link between the decline in the availability of hearty village bread in Lebanon and the Arab revolutions of the past several months? In Food, Farming, and Freedom: Sowing the Arab Spring, Rami ...  Read More »

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Yaffa is not an Orange: The Limits of Archetypes

Salt of this Sea [Milh Hadha al-Bahr]. Written and directed by Annemarie Jacir. Palestine/Belgium/France/Spain/Switzerland, 2008. Salt of this Sea (Milh Hadha al-Bahr), released in 2008, is Annemarie Jacir’s first feature film, and her second work to debut at the Cannes Film Festival. An epic work, the concerns of ...  Read More »

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عند حافة الجرح

  في غاليري « آرت لابوراتري»  البرلينية إلتقى الألم العراقي بالفلسطيني في معرض جمع أعمال كل من الفنان العراقي فاضل العكرفي ( مواليد 1957، البصرة) والفنان الفلسطيني عيسى ديبي (مواليد 1967، حيفا). تجارب مختلفة للتعبير عن الألم  تميزها محاولة الجمع بين الشخصي والسياسي والإجتماعي على نبض الألم. ...  Read More »

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Palestine in Scare Quotes: From the NYT Grammar Book

When I feel the need for my blood pressure to go up, I read the New York Times’ coverage of Israel-Palestine. The extent to which the Times’ reporting (or misreporting) is deeply slanted, selective, and misleading has been thoroughly documented in Richard Falk’s and Howard Friel’s Israel-Palestine on Record: How the ...  Read More »

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سوريا تشهد ثورة شعبية سلمية لأجل الحرية والكرامة

  أكد الكاتب والمفكر السوري جاد الكريم جباعي أن الاحتجاجات التي تشهدها سوريا لم تنحسر لأن إصلاحات النظام مراوغة وغير مقنعة، معتبراً أن السلطة لم تقم بأي إصلاح سياسي جدي حتى الآن.. وهي تعلم جيداً أن الإصلاح السياسي الجدي سينهي النظام الشمولي الذي تنتمي إليه وتدافع عنه، وسيضع حداً لرموز الفساد ...  Read More »

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Traffic Jam

Pardis Mahdavi, Gridlock: Labor, Migration, and Human Trafficking in Dubai. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011. In the ten years since Bill Clinton signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) into law, human trafficking has been transformed from a public policy backwater into a critical component ...  Read More »

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آصف بيات في كتابه "الحياة كسياسة: كيف يغير أناس عاديون الشرق الأوسط"

آصف بيات باحث متميز في الحركات الاجتماعية ونشاط الطبقة العاملة والفقراء وسياسات المكان في الشرق الاوسط وقد صدر له حديثاً كتاب بعنوان "الحياة كسياسة: كيف يغير أناس عاديون الشرق الأوسط" . بيات متخصص في علم الاجتماع وكانت أعماله نتيجة بحوث ميدانية كما أنها، في ذات الوقت، متطورة من الناحية النظرية. وتعد ...  Read More »

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From Dance to Transcendence

Dunia: Kiss Me Not on the Eyes. Directed by Jocelyn Saab. Egypt/Lebanon/France, 2005. It might seem that a dance film about female circumcision can only devolve into a cliché-laden take on an over-exhausted (and over-analyzed) subject, but Dunia: Kiss Me Not on the Eyes manages to encompass both the drama of dance ...  Read More »

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Revisiting Arna's Children

Arna’s Children. Directed by Juliano Mer Khamis and Danniel Danniel. Israel-Palestine, 2004. It has now been two months since the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis. I have not yet found the words to follow that statement. For me, as for many, the horror of this assasination has compelled a revisiting of Arna’s Children, ...  Read More »

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Algeria's Impact on French Philosophy: Between Poststructuralist Theory and Colonial Practice

Pal Ahuluwalia. Out of Africa: Post-Structuralism’s Colonial Roots. New York: Routledge, 2010. Jane Goodman and Paul A. Silverstein (eds). Bourdieu in Algeria: Colonial Politics, Ethnographic Practices, Theoretical Developments. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009. Christopher Wise. Derrida, Africa and the ...  Read More »

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Translating Palestine: Dispatches from the 2011 Palestine Festival of Literature

Finally, on our way to Jerusalem, the first stop of Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest). There are some twenty of us mainly from the UK, persons engaged in literature, writing, publishing, and teaching. We’re young and old; white and black; from the US, UK, Pakistan, and beyond; speakers of smooth-English as ...  Read More »

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Essential Readings: Iran

In recent years, there has been a deluge of popular English-language writings by Iranians in exile, as well as hand-wringing public policy books by U.S.-based think tank pundits, all insisting on the same basic message: Iran represents a geo-political problem of unparalleled importance. While the stated goal of these ...  Read More »

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Prose of a Growing Movement

Yassin Alsalman, The Diatribes of a Dying Tribe. Write or Wrong / Paranoid Arab Boy Publishing, 2011. www.iraqi­sthebomb.com It’s a good time for a lyric exposé from an Iraqi-Canadian aged 25. Not that there could be such a thing as a bad time for one. With the “Arab Spring” turning the volume up, so to speak, of ...  Read More »

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A Critique of Reporting on the Middle East

I’ve spent most of the last eight years working in Iraq and also in Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, and other countries in the Muslim world. So all my work has taken place in the shadow of the war on terror and has in fact been thanks to this war, even if I’ve labored to disprove the underlying premises of this war. In a ...  Read More »

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The Long and Invisible Road

Route 181: Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel. Directed by Michel Khleifi & Eyal Sivan. Belgium/France/Germany/UK, 2003 Today Palestinians commemorate the nakba, or day of catastrophe. At the same time, the state of Israel seeks to criminalize this expression of an autonomous Palestinian national ...  Read More »

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Jadaliyya Review Roundtable on "The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict"

“Reports come and go. This is one of the tragic truths of the literature of human rights violations. Hard-working researchers scour the rubble of war zones for fragments of evidence — of war crimes, crimes against humanity, other violations of life and freedom — only to watch their findings sink into the oblivion of ...  Read More »

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Review Roundtable Part I: Goldstone and International Law

The Goldstone Report gained its prominence because of its UN auspices and the high credibility of Richard Goldstone as the Chair of the Fact Finding Mission appointed by the Human Rights Council. Other reputable inquiries (John Dugard’s parallel mission set up by the Arab League, Amnesty International, Human Rights ...  Read More »

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Review Roundtable Part II: Goldstone and Accountability

On December 27, 2008, Israel began aerial strikes on the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, three-quarters of whom are refugees, who could not, because of Gaza’s sealed borders, become refugees of war. Within a week, amidst the rubble of hospitals, mosques, government ministries, factories, and schools, ...  Read More »

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Review Roundtable Part III: Goldstone in Political Context

The political dymamics surrounding the report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (commonly known as the Goldstone Report) provide a number of interesting insights into the recent evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It bears recollection that the report was produced during a ...  Read More »

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From Gun to Pen: The Palestinian Revolution Lives

This Is My Picture When I Was Dead. Directed by Mahmoud Al-Massad. Netherlands/Jordan, 2010. ‘If you don’t know Ma’moun Mreish, you don’t know the history of the Palestinian Revolution.’ This line is key to the mixture of personal and national history presented by director Mahmoud Al-Massad in This Is My Picture ...  Read More »

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"Budrus": The Potential and Limits of Non-Violent Popular Struggle

Budrus. Directed by Julia Bacha. 2009. Budrus, an award-winning film directed by Julia Bacha and produced by Ronit Avni, documents the struggle of a small West Bank Palestinian village of the same name to prevent Israeli security forces from building the separation wall through its property. Through its struggle, ...  Read More »

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Two Films for the Syrian Unraveling

A Flood in Baath Country. Directed by Omar Amiralay. 2003. Tea on the Axis of Evil. Directed by Jean Marie Offenbacher. 2009.   As detentions of Syrian activists escalate and reports surface of nearly 500 dead, it is worth recalling that during the throes of Tahrir Square three months ago, all seemed quiet in ...  Read More »

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Aesthetic Uprisings

Signs of the Times: The Popular Literature of Tahrir: Protest Signs, Graffiti & Street Art. Curated by Rayya El Zein and Alex Ortiz. Special Issue of Shahadat, April 2011. Full issue available here.   In the heady days that followed the January 25 demonstrations in Egypt, the air seemed to crackle with ...  Read More »

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Essential Viewing: Five Tunisian Films from a Postrevolutionary Perspective

It is impossible to watch a Tunisian film today from an exclusively prerevolutionary perspective. The present historical juncture will stealthily thrust itself to center stage. Besides, the value of film does not reside solely in its appropriateness to its own historical moment of production, but equally in its ...  Read More »

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