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إسرائيل الثقافة نوشيروان مصطفى: تاريخ مكتوب بدماء The Master Plans of Baghdad: Notes on GIS-Based Spatial History رسالة إلى كامو Media on Media Roundup
[AKP supporters at a rally following the July 2016 coup attempt. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

Paradoxes of ‘New Turkey’

“New Turkey” has become since 2014 a popular slogan employed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to express its political project of remaking the nation. However, it has been in a political abyss since the parliamentary elections on ...

[Highway view of the National Archives building. Image by author]

Finding Your Way Around Tehran's Public Archives

Going to archives in Iran—the capital specifically—remains obscure to a great number of PhD students and researchers based outside of the country. Often, senior academics from whom students seek advice have not been to Iran’s archives for ...

[Image from Wikipedia.]

Yemen's War [Ongoing Post]

[This is an ongoing post that will be updated regularly. It was first published on 6 December 2016. The updates appear at the bottom.] The conflict in Yemen seems set to intensify as 2016 draws to a close. The deposed president Abd ...

[نوشيروان مصطفى. الصورة من ويكيبيديا]

نوشيروان مصطفى: تاريخ مكتوب بدماء الضحايا

مات نوشيروان مصطفى (١٩٤٤-٢٠١٧) الذي كان نائباً للسكرتير العام للاتحاد الوطني الكردستاني، ومن ثم أسّس حركة التغيير «گوران». وبموته تطوى صفحة أخرى من صفحات الجريمة التي كتبت بدماء الضحايا، فكانت عرضة للتجاهل والنسيان!  موته يفضح دنس ...

It’s Not The Morality Police, Stupid

[Al Hai'a Headquarters in Mecca: Image From]

It is becoming increasingly more common to blame Saudi Arabia’s social, economic, and political ills solely on Wahabiyya and its official enforcers, the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, also known as al hai’a, al mutawa’a, or simply the morality police. In Washington D.C., London, Beirut, Damascus, or Riyadh, we learn that Saudi Arabia is stuck in the Dark Ages because of the conservatism and “backwardness” of Wahabiyya. That is, until king Abdullah assumed the throne in 2005. Since, we have heard more and more about this man’s struggle against the religious and conservative camps to eradicate the so-called stagnancy that has plagued ...

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Why, What, Where To, and How? Tunisia and Beyond

[Image from author's archive]

[Admittedly, I wrote this post before Bin Ali fled, and before the Tunisian protests escalated. It was kind of interrupted by the events on the ground and, so, not much due jubilation here. I added some references posthumously but kept its pre-government collapse spirit at the expense of dampening the mood: Where to? . . . even if dictatorships fall. Where to? Oh, I don’t provide an answer]   The problem is that once it happens [when a dominant form of oppression collapses], it might happen for the wrong reasons, but everyone will claim victory. Everyone will be a hero. And a new "team" will probably proceed to disempower the majority, except in softer ...

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Tunisia Unraveling: "I Got You" Was Two Decades Too Late Mr. Zein al-`Abideen

[Image from The Guardian]

Last night (Thursday, January 13th) Zein al-`Abideen Bin `Ali addressed the Tunisian people and said: انا فهمتكم, “I got you,” or more literally, “I understood you.” I started writing this post while watching his address, and titled it “Too Late.” But I did not imagine what would transpire directly after the speech, at least not the speed in which it took place. Watching the brutal Tunisian regime unravel at 9:30 pm (2:30 pm, Washington DC time) from the Syrian capital, Damascus, is surreal to say the least. As most readers know by now, after nearly two weeks of social protest in which more than 66 protesters were killed, the Tunisian regime began gradually to ...

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Islam in American Barrios & Prisons: Converts Reclaim Moorish Spain, Reject Church

[Image by SpearIt]

For those in the US typically designated as “Latino” or “Hispanic,” the historical legacy of Islam plays a role similar to that in the African-American context. As the term “Moor” was embraced by various African-American leaders to unite poor, disenfranchised blacks with the glory of Islam, the connection to Moorish Spain provides a powerful tool to re-imagine Latino identity. Converts learn that popular Latin American terms like ojala (“may God will”) derive from the Arabic allah and that their African ancestors used to chant “Allah, Allah, Allah,” which in Spain became “Ole, Ole, Ole.” Such connections offer evidence of Islam’s influence on Spanish pedigree, regardless ...

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Palestinian Refugees and the Peace Process: Caught between Israeli Xenophobia and Palestinian Political Expediency

[Image from]

2011 will mark the 63rd year of the Palestinian refugee crisis. Driven out of their homes during the course of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Palestinian refugees fled to neighboring Arab countries and territories where they expected to remain for only a short period until the end of military conflict and the restoration of calm that would facilitate their collective return. However, that “short period” has become an indefinite timetable as the newly established Israeli state defined itself as a Zionist one that necessitated a Jewish majority in order to maintain its Jewish character. In an effort to maintain its demographic majority, established initially by displacement ...

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Football and Violence in Jordan

[From left to right: logos of the al-Faysali and al-Wihdat teams. Image from]

On Friday December 10, 2010, Jordanian and international media reported on “clashes” after a football match between two teams that make up the biggest rivalry in the Jordanian Football Association (JFA): al-Faysali and al-Wihdat, both of which serve as the main recruiting pools for Jordan’s national team. Popular support for each of the teams is at least as indicative of political allegiances as it is of football appreciation. The al-Faysali team has popularly come to represent Jordanians of East Bank origin while the al-Wihdat team has similarly come to represent Jordanians of Palestinian origin (also known as Jordanians of West Bank). While the incident itself speaks ...

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Entrapping American Muslims

[Image from Beyond the Curtain]

2010 will likely be remembered by American Muslims as the most challenging year since 2001.  While anti-Islamic rhetoric has been part of American culture for quite some time, this year brought a massive resurgence in Islamophobia.  Less than ten months before the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, civil rights for Muslims in America have perhaps never been in greater peril than they are now.  In addition to hate crimes like pipe bombs and arson at American mosques, recent revelations of FBI counter-terrorism “sting” operations that appear to discriminate against Muslim American communities is a cause for great concern.  After “stings” in Maryland ...

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Neoliberal Pregnancy and Zero-Sum Elitism in the Arab World (Part 4)

[Image from (oh yes)]

Implications of the New Nexus of Power This is the fourth and last installment in a series of posts on the new nexus of power in the Arab world, between the political and economic elite (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Alternatively, we can call it the new elitism, characterized by neoliberal political-economic features that pervade much of the rest of the world, including the global north. But there’s at least one serious difference: the new elitism in the developing world, and certainly in the Arab world, is emerging at the expense of the rest of society, with hardly any benefits to the overwhelming majority of concerned populations. While close observers are aware that ...

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The Modernization of Bribery: The Arms Trade in the Arab Gulf

[Image from]

The New York Hall of Science in Queens is currently showcasing “1,001 Inventions,” an exhibit documenting scientific advances made in the Islamic World while Europe was mired in the Dark Ages. The standards are all there – the advances in surgery, astronomy, and mathematics without which we might still be engaged in trepanation, the reading of animal entrails and addition by abacus. But there is another pioneering regional development not on display: the modernization of the ancient art of bribery. Predictably, this innovation involves the global arms market, which by all accounts is the source of more bribes than any other sector. And although most ...

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A Legal Guide to Being a Lebanese Woman, Part 2

[wedding rings. Image from unknown archive]

In Part 1 of A Legal Guide to Being a Lebanese Woman, I represented graphically a number of the laws that constitute Lebanese male and female citizens differently. I meant to show how the Lebanese legal system as a whole is built to produce categories of citizenship that are differentiated according to sex. In this post I build on this argument and question why religious personal status is often posited as the “problem” for women in countries where the secular state is just as, if not more, discriminatory. I illustrate this point with a comparison of how the Lebanese state differentiates between married and unmarried female citizens within particular laws.  Despite ...

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Neoliberal Pregnancy and Zero-Sum Elitism in the Arab World (Part 3)

[Image from]

This is the third and next to last entry in a series of posts on the emergence and consolidation of a new nexus of power between the political and economic elite across much of the Arab world (See Part 1, Part 2). This development extends far beyond the Middle East, influenced for the most part by the overlap of interests between global neoliberal economic policies/institutions and various manifestations of local power structures (primarily political and economic).[1] For instance, both international financial institutions and local elites after the 1980s were interested in having markets play a bigger role alongside the state—irrespective of the “democracy” ...

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عودة الروح لحديث المقاطعة الوهمي [The Return Of The Illusory Boycott Rhetoric In Egypt]

[نواب الإخوان يعترضون على تجديد قانون الطواريء في الدورة الماضية؛ لن تتكرر مثل هذه الفعاليات الاحتجاجية داخل البرلمان بعد إسقاط كل نواب الإخوان والمستقلين في الانتخابات الماضية-مصدر الصورة غير معروف]

تمر الساحة السياسية المصرية الآن بصدمة ما بعد الانتخابات، التي تتجلى في أشكال عدة وتفرض نفسها على كافة المستويات. فلأسباب لازلنا نجهلها شعر غالبية الناس بصدمة شديدة بسبب ما حدث من تزوير، وذلك على الرغم من ترقبهم مقدما لانتخابات مزورة بشكل غير مسبوق. فلم تزد نسبة الذين تطلعوا إلى انتخابات نزيهة عن ٥٪ في كافة استطلاعات الرأي التي أجريت قبل الانتخابات، لكننا رأينا كيف شاعت مقولات من نوع <<شفت اللي حصل>> في كل مكان لتعكس رد فعل مصدوم من تكرار نفس التزوير الذي ظل ينظم حياتنا السياسية على مدار ثلاثة عقود. وفرضت هذه الصدمة نفسها على المثقفين أيضا، فأنهكتهم في تحليل ما حدث من تزوير، وإذا بهم يتبارون في إعلان زوال شرعية النظام، ويختلفون حول تحديد سبل التعاطي مع ...

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The Tunisian Revolution: Initial Reflections [Part 1]

At the moment it is abundantly easy to sense everywhere in the Arab World elation at what appears to be one of greatest events in modern Arab history. A genuine popular revolution, spontaneous and apparently leaderless, yet sustained and remarkably determined, overthrew a system that by all accounts had been the most entrenched and secure in the whole region. The wider implications beyond Tunisia are hard to miss. Just as in the case of the Iranian revolution more than three decades ago, what is now ...

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Jordan's "Day of Anger"

On Friday, January 14th 2011, protests of varying sizes were held across Jordan as part of a call for a “Jordanian Day of Anger.”  While undoubtedly a response to the failed promise of economic reforms enacted in Jordan over the past twenty years, the call specified the series of government increases in the price of gasoline, diesel, and gas. Government control of these commodity prices are some of the last vestiges of the social safety guarantees offered by the Jordanian state in the face of ...

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Lebanese Ideology and Boutros Harb: Separate, But [ Kind of] Equal

For over a week now, the debate on a draft law proposed by Lebanese Minister of Labor and former presidential candidate Boutros Harb has been heating up. If passed by the Lebanese state, this law would make it illegal for a period of 15 years for Christians to sell land, apartments, houses or commercial property to Muslims, and vice versa. The draft law has won the support of the Maronite Patriarch, Samir Geagea, Amin Gemeyal, and Future party MP Ahmad Fatfat. Harb has stated that the law is meant to ...

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وحدة عداء المسافات الطويلة [The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner]

 يبدو أنه سيحقق وقتاً جيداً اليوم. الميل الأول انتهى. ٥ دقائق. يعدو ويعدو ويعدو. تنطلق أفكاره. يفكر أنه فعلاً محظوظ ليتم اختياره للمشاركة بالسباق. يفكر أن صحته تتحسن، ونفسيته تتحسن. يفكر أن هذا كله لن يعني شيئاً بعد بضعة أشهر. ينظر مرة أخرى إلى الساعة. حان وقت الغيار الثاني. الغيار الثاني صار أسهل. أصبح أكثر قدرة على السيطرة على جسده. في البداية كان يشعر أن جسده عدوه. أنه في معركة دائمة معه. أن جسده يخذله في أي فرصة تسنح له. أما الآن فجسده قطع خط الحصار وأصبح حليفه. كأنهما رفيقان في تنظيم، يتعاونان ...

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"ما خفي كان أعظم: عن "خائف إلى الأبد [Sayed Kashua - Forever Scared]

” إنني أخاف من السيارات، من الكلاب، من الأفاعي، أخاف من الطائرات، والمروحيات، من الدبابات والجنود. أخاف من العمليات الإرهابية. أخاف من اليهود، أخاف من العرب، واخاف أن يضعونا يوماً ما في مخيمات لللاجئين.“ (سيد قشوع، صحيفة هآرتس، 2002) بهذا الإقتباس يبدأ أول مشهد في الفيلم الوثائقي ”خائف إلى الأبد“ (2009) وهو من إخراج الإسرائيلية دوريت تسمباليست (العنوان بالانجليزية يختلف عن العنوان العبري للفيلم وهو ”خائف منذ الطفولة“) ومدته 50 دقيقة تقريباً ويعرض في الكثير من المهرجانات الأوربية هذ العام. يأخذنا الشريط ...

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Divine Failure & A Letter to my Ancestor

Divine Failure He always sat in the front row in that divinity school in a faraway galaxy. He listened devoutly to the teacher and wrote every word that came out of his mouth. He was a diligent god who memorized all the secrets and tricks of creation by heart, but he lacked talent. And thus, when he was given all that space after graduation, he took a jab at creating the Sun, just as he’d learned in Genesis. But he created dead stars instead and dumped them into the garbage bin of eternity. After ...

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The Year in Torture

As 2010 winds to an end, it is time to reflect on the year in torture. Let’s review, shall we? January marked the end of Barack Obama’s first year in office; while the president may still be smoking cigarettes, he did keep his 2009 New Year’s “looking forward, not backward” resolution not to prosecute any US officials for the crime of torture. Unaccountability for all, and a happy new year! What about his promise (enshrined in a 2009 executive order) to end torture? Depending on how one looks at it, the ...

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A Day in the Wilderness of Judea

Let’s say that you have a plot of land in Germany, and you don’t work it. Someone else does. You don’t pay attention because you aren’t using it. Then you return and claim the land. When the German legal authorities look into it they will say it is no longer your land. It belongs to the one who worked the land for ten years.    This is how Yochanan, a resident of the unauthorized “outpost” of Mitzpe Ya’ir explains why he has the right to put a fence in the middle of ...

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The Problem is the Israeli Occupation: al-Nabi Saleh

Early in the morning a car packed with Israelis and internationals leaves Tel-Aviv for al-Nabi Saleh, a small village about 30 kilometers northeast of Ramallah in the central West Bank. Our objective is to observe and participate in the weekly Friday demonstration in the village. We leave very early because Israeli military forces have been sealing off all the entrances to al-Nabi Saleh by 9:30 am, hours before the demonstration begins. The occupation forces hope to deter people from ...

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Zapping and Groping are Bad Enough Already; Emulating Israel Will Only Make Them Worse

About a month ago, one of my colleagues was describing to me a forthcoming trip, when he paused and reflected, “I’m still not sure whether I want to be groped or zapped.” It is a question many Americans have contemplated in recent weeks, “groping,” of course, being the instantly-infamous “enhanced pat downs” airport travelers can opt for if they refuse a “zapping,” the new X-ray backscatter or millimeter-wave machines that provide TSA shockingly clear body images. Both types of machine are ...

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Locations [Gone to Palestine: 5]

We chose the hamlet of Beit Jeez in from the hundreds of Palestinian villages that were cleansed in 1948. Maryam was scouting locations for her film, and she was looking for a ’48 village where one scene in particular needed to be shot. It was the scene where the protagonist and his girlfriend go after robbing the bank, the place they hole up while they decide whether to continue going on with their crime spree, or to leave for good. It was important that it take place in the ruins of a ’48 village. Her ...

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Urban Scars, An Unfinished Essay: Jaffa/Tel Aviv

Urban scars, cutting deep into the flesh of the city. Lines of division that linger through the civic body, long after their political and social meaning was lost. Areas of inexplicable void within a thriving city. Areas that are constantly on the drawing tables of architects and city planners, who seek to redeem the past, to bring closure to whatever conflict there were, to move on, god dammit. The property value is huge. The return on investment promising. So why do they still stand empty and dead, ...

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