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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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Urge (to Keep) Going

Urge for Going. By Mona Mansour. Directed by Hal Brooks. Through April 17, Public LAB, The Public Theater, New York, NY. Urge for Going, Mona Mansour’s new work in development, is a coming-of-age story built from the outside in. Her 90-minute play follows Jamila, a seventeen-year-old Palestinian preparing to take the ...  Read More »

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Essential Readings: Reading Pakistan

Here are the stripped down facts: Pakistan is roughly 165 million people. Most of us are young: 69 percent of the population is under age 30. And we’re poor. Almost a quarter of the people here live below the poverty line. As I write, the quarter-finals for the cricket world cup are underway. Pakistan’s ...  Read More »

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Roundup on the Goldstone Controversy

While the impact of Justice Goldstone’s op-ed on accountability and justice remains to be seen, one thing has already been made clear: his contentious and vague editorial has worked to place Israel’s Winter 2008/09 offensive back on center stage. Like Israel’s fatal attack on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010 that ...  Read More »

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In the Shadow of Words: Le Trio Joubran in Memoriam of Mahmoud Darwish

It is inevitable that a dancer watching a dance performance, a film-maker watching a film, a musician watching a concert will take notice of details and little tricks that are not available to most others. A skilful camera movement, a new interpretation of a well-known choreography, a note that is played with a new ...  Read More »

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At the Table: Sharif Waked's Khumus

Just outside a Palestinian restaurant, named “al-Bayt” in the recently recognized village of Ayn Hawd southeast of Haifa, a table and two chairs stand precariously balanced on a steep slope. From a distance it is a pretty scene that promises the serenity of a picnic. On closer look, there is deformity and fragility. ...  Read More »

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Essential Readings: Bahrain: Origins of a Crisis

This Essential Readings post is written by Sandy Russell Jones. [Editors' Note: This is the third in a series of "Essential Readings," in which we ask contributors to choose a list of must-read books, articles, and new media sources on a variety of topics. These are not meant to be comprehensive lists, but ...  Read More »

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Essential Readings: Counterinsurgency

This Essential Readings post is written by Laleh Khalili. [Editors' Note: This is the second in a series of "Essential Readings,"  in which we ask contributors to choose a list of must-read books, articles, and new media sources on a variety of topics. These are not meant to be comprehensive ...  Read More »

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"A Space Exodus": A Truly Palestinian Film

Larissa Sansour, A Space Exodus. Video (5' 29"). 2009. “Jerusalem, we have problem,” a woman’s voice says, as female fingers run over the controls of a space ship. “No . . . We are back on track,” she then mutters, breathing heavily; the only response from Jerusalem is a deafening silence. In a white spacesuit ...  Read More »

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Essential Reading: State Building and Regime Security in Jordan

[Editors’ Note: This is the first in a series of “Essential Readings,” in which we ask contributors to choose a list of must-read books, articles, and new media resources on a variety of topics. These are not meant to be comprehensive lists, but rather starting points for readers who want to read more about particular ...  Read More »

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Narrating the Past, Confronting the Present

The Kingdom of Women: Ein El Hilweh. Directed by Dahna Abourahme. Lebanon, 2010 Could I do today what I was able to do then, questions Nadia, one of the women in Dahna Abourahme’s latest documentary film The Kingdom of Women: Ein El Hilweh. Based on stories of the women of Ein El Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp in ...  Read More »

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Elia Suleiman's Time

The Time that Remains [Al-Zaman Al-Baqi]. Written and directed by Elia Suleiman. UK/Italy/Belgium/France, 2009. An early scene in The Time that Remains [Al-Zaman Al-Baqi], Elia Suleiman’s latest film, reveals a great deal. The scene begins with a shot of the harried-looking mayor of Nazareth banging open a door at ...  Read More »

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French Wildflowers and Algerian Gangsters: Humanism and Violence at the Movies

Des hommes et des dieux (Of Gods and Men). Written and directed by Xavier Beauvois. France, 2010. Hors la loi (Outside the Law). Written and directed by Rachid Bouchareb. Algeria/Belgium/France, 2010. Recently, two movies have offered Algeria a starring role at the post-colonial box-office. Des hommes et des dieux ...  Read More »

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What is a Sari Nusseibeh For?

Sari Nusseibeh, What is a Palestinian State Worth? Cambridge, MA: Harvard Belknap Press, 2011. Among Palestinians there may well be a more fundamental underlying cultural or religious disposition to believe in the reality of death so strongly as to view life as being on a par with death, or even of far less value. ...  Read More »

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