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Stuff White People Like n.135 Humanitarian Intervention Egypt Media Roundup Donald Trump’s “Unbelievably Small” Attack on Syria مقابلة مع الشاعر رامي العاشق Moment of Glory

Arab Studies Journal Announces Spring 2017 Issue: Editor's Note and Table of Contents

Arab Studies Journal Volume XXV, no. 1 (Spring 2017) EDITOR'S NOTE Since the November 2016 elections, the dying gasps of US exceptionalism has meant the intensification of attacks on the lives and movement of people from the Arab ...

[Cover of Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment]

Foucault, the Iranian Revolution, and the Politics of Collective Action

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part five of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic ...

[Helen Zughaib's Syrian Migration series #2 (2017). Image copyright the artist]

April Culture

The great American Pop artist James Rosenquist (who died on 31 March) once said "History is remembered by its art, not its war machines." With this in mind, Jadaliyya's Culture Bouquet returns with new art reviews, ...

[Left to right: Brian Edwards and Bassam Haddad.]

Bassam Haddad and Brian Edwards Discuss Middle East Studies and Public Scholarship

This conversation between Bassam Haddad of George Mason University and Brian Edwards of Northwestern University addresses the role of public scholarship and its relation to print publication within the climate of Middle East Studies. The ...


Burn Baby Burn

[Image from unknown archive--Protest in Beirut]

I have been thinking a lot about electricity. A couple of nights ago, I spent 24 hours without it. At ten pm the lights went out, and they did not come back on until the next evening. With the lights went the air conditioner, the television, the refrigerator, the internet, the fan, my stove, and finally, my computer and my telephone. That night, I put a puzzle together by candlelight, opened all my windows, sat naked on my couch, and re-learned the value of a summer breeze. I slept on the marble floor of my bedroom.

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.. مستوطنة اريئيل والأمير الضفدع

[Image from Jadaliyya]

 إنضمت وزيرة الثقافة والرياضة الإسرائيلية ليمور ليفنات إلى جوقة المنددين برسالة وقع عليها 53 ممثلاً وكاتباً مسرحياً إسرائيلياً يعلنون فيها عن رفضهم الإشتراك في أي فعاليات فنية أو عروض مسرحية ستقام في أي مستوطنة بنيت في الأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة، بما في ذلك مستوطنة اريئيل. وبحسب مركز"بتسيلم"م لحقوق الإنسان في الأراضي المحتلة، فإن المستوطنات الإسرائيلية في الأراضي المحتلة يفوق عددها ال 150  مستوطنة إضافة إلى أكثر من  100 بؤرة إستيطانية. يعيش قرابة النصف مليون مستوطن في هذه المستوطنات التي يقع تحت سيطرتها  أكثر من 40 بالمئة من أراضي الضفة. بنيت مستوطنة اريئيل هذه عام 1978وتعد رابع أكبر مستوطنة في فلسطين ...

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What is Good Sex?

[Image from unknown archive]

I am sure we all have our own answers to this question. While I can only imagine how interesting these answers may be, the answer according to the Lebanese state (or any other state) is much more complicated. This answer is refracted and expressed through various mediums, including the law. One way to understand what "good sex" is according to the Lebanese state is to study the way that sex is regulated in the Lebanese legal system. In order to do this, the legal system in its entirety must be taken into account. 

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Neoliberalism's Populist Engine and Race in America

[Image from Manishtama.blogspot.com]

What began as an entertaining spectacle of Americans reenacting the Boston tea party across the country in early 2009 has congealed into a viable and tangible political force. In the recent primaries leading up to the November mid-term elections, Tea Party candidates both challenged long-time Republican incumbents, and dominated the terms of reference thereby forcing Republican nominees to shift to the right. Senator John McCain’s bid for the Republican Senatorial nomination in Arizona is especially telling. Despite serving as a senator for four terms and securing the Republican Party’s Presidential nomination in 2008, McCain went head to head against his Tea Party ...

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The Politics of Power Cuts In Egypt (Part 1)

[Image from Jadaliyya]

Egypt has been suffering from an exceptionally hot summer, with record temperatures observed all over the country. The “terrible heat wave” mantra, thus, grew to become what is probably the most pressing issue in Egypt today. The advent of Ramadan obviously could only but emphasize this problem more, as people now have to fast through long and exceptionally hot summer days. Naturally none of this is unique to Egypt: the entire region suffers the same heat wave. But unlike its neighbors Egypt has been suffering also from long, systematic, nationwide power cuts. Facing sudden shortages in the country’s electric generation capacity, the authorities began to reduce demand ...

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To Stay Modern

BP WWII advertisement (company website)

On 4 August, after more than five million barrels of oil battered the Gulf of Mexico for over 100 days, BP proclaimed the success of its “static kill strategy.” Pumping the blown out well with mud and cement was working to stop what BP calls the “leak” or alternatively, “the Gulf of Mexico incident.” The company, its website explained, was “doing everything we can to make this right.” In the meantime, the environmental and economic devastation of the worst spill in US history and the world’s largest accidental release of oil, promises to outlive both BP and its relentless search for petroleum.

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The Safety of Objects

[Jadaliyya Image]

I am making a list. A list of objects needed when the next war begins in Lebanon. I am not being morbid. I am being realistic. After all, it has been over four years since the last “big” war in this country (July 2006), and over two years since the last “mini war” (May 2008). Still more ominously, nothing seems to have changed since those past two wars. The same inept politicians are still arguing over the same issues, the country is still tiptoeing on the double-edged sword of corruption and inefficiency, the gulf between rich and poor continues to widen, Israel is still desiring the destruction of the last non-Palestinian armed resistance group in the Arab ...

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Al-Tahir Wattar (1936-2010)

Al-Tahir Wattar [private bootleg image]

Al-Tahir Wattar, one of Algeria’s most influential writers died on the 13th of August, after a two-year battle with colonic cancer. He was a foundational figure in the Arabophone novel in Algeria and widely recognized and celebrated in the Arab world. Some of his ten novels were translated into ten languages. Wattar was born to an Amazigh family in Suq Ahras, in eastern Algeria in 1936. After a traditional education, his father sent him in 1950 to Qasantina (Constantine) to study at the Bin Badis Institite. He later studied at the Zaytuna in Tunisia, but he abandoned his education it to join the National Liberation Front in 1956 in its struggle against French ...

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Reich Is No Marxist, But...

[from www.cbpp.org]

Robert Reich is no Marxist, but the data on income disparities in the United States since the 1970s are staggering. The post below, as well as a flurry of articles and studies linked underneath, tell a better story than I can here in just a few words. In any case, we have become desensitized to these abstract pieces of data. “One percent of the richest owns x percent of the . . . “ Asserting observations regarding income disparities is becoming increasingly innocuous and counter productive, kind of like the last couple of wars the US engaged in: numbers of the dead--when they were counted--became akin to video game abstractions, where objective reality is filtered as ...

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An Incredible Finding in Israel's Investigation of Itself

 National Lawyers Guild members interview Majdi Abed Rabbo in Jabaliya in February 2009

Israel has just released an update in its ongoing investigation of itself during Operation Cast Lead. This Report Update is the third of its kind, the first two released in July 2009 and January 2010. While one cannot expect much from an investigation that lacks independence, some of the Report's findings are especially alarming.

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Another Credible Israeli Investigation

Image of Israeli commandos aboard the Mari Marmara

A state's investigation of its own armed forces and their conduct is not absurd--or at least it shouldn't be. In fact, the practice is encouraged in international law, which seeks to balance a state's sovereignty with universally applicable laws so to speak.  However, in the case of Israel, which has empowered its military to investigate itself on the one hand and whose recent investigations have done more to justify its foreign policy than it has to uphold principles of international law, absurdity is an understatement.

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Fadlallah and Abuzeid Die Within Two Days

Nasr Hamid Abuzeid

Within the past two days, two influential Arab figures died: Sayyid Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah and Nasr Hamid Abuzeid. Fadlallah is a prominent Shi`i cleric whose influence stretched much farther than his Lebanese home and Abuzeid's critical writings on literalism in Islam brought him a deluge of condemnation as an apostate. Their legacies are certainly divergent but they both adopted critical forms of thinking and broke with their respective establishment in various ways. Fadlallah broke with the wilayat al-faqih in Iran and Lebanon, and Abuzeid broke with various literalist approaches to interpreting the Qur'an in Egypt.

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Egypt's Power-Cuts (Part 2)

In part one we saw how exceptional heat wrecked havoc on Egypt this summer, as it supposedly increased demand for electricity beyond the national generation capacity. This prompted the authorities to cut power off whole cities and neighborhoods for long durations everyday to bring demand down to a level within the network’s capacity. As we have seen, the social and economic cost of doing so have been plain huge. And as such, they signalled the state’s failure to all. But the reason why all of this ...

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Presumed Intelligent

If you gave an exam with 779 questions and the test taker got anywhere from 36 to 84 of the answers “not totally wrong”—not 36 to 84 percent but actual answers—you would regard said test taker as not the master of this domain, right? Of course, right. (You might even advise said taker to find another major.) Well, that’s the US government’s score on the test that is the Guantánamo Bay (GTMO) detention facility. The total number of foreign prisoners ever detained at GTMO is 779. Or ...

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An Open Invitation to An Occupation Masquerade

       دعوة مفتوحة إلى حفلة احتلال تنكريّة    نائب الرئيس الأمريكي جو بايدن في بغداد (ليشرف على مفاوضات تشكيل الحكومة العراقية التي قد تستغرق قرناً). ووزير الدفاع الأمريكي روبرت غيتس وصل هناك صباح اليوم في زيارة مفاجئة للمشاركة في الطقوي الاحتفالية. مساء أمس وجّه أوباما خطاباً إلى الشعب الأمريكي من مكتبه في البيت الأبيض وهو تقليد مهم في السياسة الأمريكية وهي المرة الثانية فقط التي يستخدم فيها أوباما هذا المنبر بالذات. والمناسبة هي  “الاحتفال بانتهاء المهام القتالية في ...

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The Predicament of Independent Opposition (Part 1)

In Sunday's New York Times article on Syria (August 30, 2010) , “Doors Start to Open for Activists in Syria,” we hear of a mix of change and age-old obstacles. The story is short and sweet, with a mixture of sound observations, levelheaded optimism, and critique. There is nothing particularly striking about the report, except the anticipation of responses from various sides. I’ll take up two of these. But first, a quick look at the record of “change” or “political liberalization” in Syria since 1991.

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My Great and Terrible Obsession: Torture

Every single day I think about torture. Some days I write about it, or teach about it. Every day I read about it. I can turn any social conversation with any friend or relative to the topic. (Keep that in mind if we meet for coffee.) Torture is my obsession. I can trace my obsession back at least to college; I wrote my senior thesis (at Tufts circa 1983) on human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza, among which torture featured prominently. When it was time to select a subject for my ...

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Endless Negotiations: Palestinian Quicksand

News of resumed peace talks have hit the headlines--on September 1st, international leaders will break bread and on September 2nd, ostensibly well-rested and full-bellied, they will resume direct peace negotiations. Sadly, the photo opportunity will provide little more than the occasion for spectators to juxtapose this photo alongside similar ones over a span of nearly two decades. While this may make for a lovely Sunday afternoon activity with our children as we instill in them their first lesson in ...

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The Poet Lives

Two years have passed since the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) died at a hospital in Texas from complication of heart surgery on August 9, 2008. His death left a considerable void in Palestine and the Arab world. He was, after all, a unique figure by any measure. By the end of his life he had been widely recognized and admired as a great world poet who left behind an oeuvre of staggering beauty and sophistication. He was the most popular and inventive Arab poet in the last three decades. ...

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Arabic Comes to Jadaliyya

!جدليّة . . .  الآن بالعربيّة We are now able to post in Arabic and host guest postings in Arabic. If you are interested in sending us material or useful posts in Arabic (or in English for that matter), please so so here. Here's a sample (and, by the way, regarding the text below from a translation of Financial Times, way to go Obama, that's the way to do it . . . شاطر) كشفت صحيفة «فايننشل تايمز»، اليوم، أن الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما «حذّر شخصياً رئيس الوزارء التركي، رجب طيب أردوغان، من أن فرص ...

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Good News From Iraq

Even when critical of the tragic situation in Iraq, mainstream media outlets cannot wean themselves away from the official master narrative and must slip in idiotic statements such as the one in today’s New York Times story about electricity in Iraq. Please note the second half of the title “ Electrical Grid Fails Iraqis.” So it’s the electrical grid, a neutral non-human element, which has failed Iraqis and not the superpower, which dismantled their state and replaced it with chaos! Yes, electricity is ...

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Anniversary of Salah al-Bitar's Assassination

Salah al-Bitar was the cofounder, along with Michel Aflaq, of the Ba`th party, later called the Arab Socialist Ba`th Party when it merged with Akram Hourani's Arab Socialist Party in 1953.

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More than a stain

The Israeli Army’s recent killing of nine activists on the Gaza Flotilla has sparked a wave of contemplation on Israel’s morality. These questions are not new. Since the inception of the Zionist enterprise in the late nineteenth century, intellectuals such as Asher Ginsberg, known by his pen name Ahad Ha’am, fretted over how European Jews could realize their national project with the presence of a majority Palestinian population on the land they understood as promised. The question of these ...

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A Portrait of an Iraqi Person at the End of Time

A Portrait of an Iraqi Person at the End of Time by Sargon Boulus [Translated by Sinan Antoon]  

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