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call for pa “Til Sect Do You Part?” On Sectarianism and Intermarriage in Lebanon Israel’s Big Business of War قصائد مختارة للشاعر والروائي تشارلز بوكوفسكي 'The King

“Til Sect Do You Part?” On Sectarianism and Intermarriage in Lebanon

In August 2017, a Christian man and a Muslim woman (Boutros and Marwa) made headlines when they married in Lebanon. Why? One might assume that the interreligious nature of the couple prompted this media attention. However, that was far ...

[المصدر موقع المواطن]

آخر أيّام المدينة - الجزء الاول

"آخر أيّام المدينة" أو "الحضارة في آخر أيامها" كما قال "آخر الرجال المحترمين" بدأ حضور "المدينة" في السينما المصريّة يأخذ شكلًا مميزًا خلال السبعينيات كنتيجة للفترة الساداتيّة التي وُعدت ووعَدت ...

[An image of Ahmed Ouyahia, current Algerian prime minister. Image from Wikimedia Commons]

Game of Mustaches: A Song of Mustache and Technocracy

It was the second unexpected sacking of an Algerian prime minister in less than three months. After Abdelmalek Sellal, Abdemajid Tebboune's turn came with no going-away party. The prime ministers fell one after the other, and one wondered ...

Istanbul: A Megacity in the Light of Turkey’s Political Transformation

Jean-François Pérouse, Istanbul Planète, La Ville-Monde Du Xxie Siècle. Paris: La Découverte, 2017. This book is the result of more than twenty years of social, economic, and urban observations and investigations by a geographer[i] ...


Saleh Defiant

[President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Image from unknown archive.]

In the face of popular protests as well as defections by Yemeni diplomats, government ministers, and military leaders, President Ali Abdullah Saleh yesterday invited the Yemeni youth to participate in a “transparent and open dialogue.” He also announced that he would step down as president by the end of this year, and not—as he had promised earlier—when his term expires in 2013. It is tempting to understand Saleh’s obstinance as detached from reality given the protests and defections. However, a closer examination of these developments might offer a different take on both Saleh and the nature of his regime. Studying the context in which protests and defections are taking ...

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Of Principle and Peril

[Voting at UN Security Council. Image from politics365.com]

Reasonable, principled people can disagree about whether, in an ideal world, Western military intervention in Libya’s internal war would be a moral imperative. With Saddam Hussein dead and gone, there is arguably no more capricious and overbearing dictator in the Arab world than Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi. The uprising of the Libyan people against him, beginning on February 17, was courageous beyond measure. It seems certain that, absent outside help, the subsequent armed insurrection would have been doomed to sputter amidst the colonel’s bloody reprisals. But the world is not an ideal one. It is not clear what principle differentiates Libya from other countries in ...

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The Alternative Opposition in Jordan and the Failure to Understand Lessons of Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions

[

In Jordan, no one seems to have learned from the lessons of Tunisia and Egypt. Especially not the “opposition,” which can be divided into the “official” opposition and the “alternative” opposition. The "official" opposition—comprised of the legalized opposition parties and professional associations—still seeks weak reformist goals that constitute a continuation of its collapsing course that began in 1989 (the year marking the end of martial law in Jordan and the onset of the so-called “democratic era”). This official opposition is made up of three broad sets of groups: the Islamists, featuring the Muslim Brotherhood and their political wing the Islamic Action ...

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When Petro-Dictators Unite: The Bahraini Opposition's Struggle for Survival

[Bahraini protesters being confronted with armored vehicles. Image from bbc.com]

For at least several decades, geopolitical, economic, territorial and ideological considerations have led to serious tensions, if not outright feuds, between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. In recent weeks, however, the regimes of GCC states have shown their citizens that when their authoritarian rule is at stake, they will put aside their differences and put up a united front. Exceptional times, it seems, do call for exceptional measures. As such, the GCC endorsed NSC Resolution 1973–authorizing “all measures necessary” in Libya, including a no-fly zone. Indeed, while some GCC states have agreed to send troops to help overthrow one brutal dictator ...

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How it Started in Yemen: From Tahrir to Taghyir

[Image from the open source, New Yemen Photo collection]

On February 11 after the Friday noon prayers Yemeni students and activists organized a demonstration in the capital city of Sanaa in solidarity with Egyptian demonstrators frustrated with Mubarak’s refusal to resign. At about 1 PM they met in front of the small roundabout by the new campus of Sanaa University and marched through town chanting slogans and carrying pictures of Gamal Abdel Nasser the Egyptian hero of Arab nationalism. Less than 200 people took part and only two were women. Slogans chanted included: “Awaken! Awaken oh youth!” “Long live Egypt!” “Down Hosni Mubarak!” “Egypt mother of the free! Mother of the revolutionaries”  And they sang an ...

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[Between Ignorance And Fraudulence: The Yes Vote Campaign In Egypt] حملة التصويت بـ<<نعم>> بين الجهل وتدليس الثورة المضادة

[صورة لأحد ملصقات الحملة القومية لرفض التعديلات الدستورية]

يقوم مؤيدو التعديلات الدستورية المقترحة الآن بالترويج لواحدة من أكبر حملات التدليس التي عرفتها مصر. وتتجلى أولى صور هذا التدليس في تسويقهم لفكرة ساذجة مفادها أن التصويت بـ<<نعم>> على التعديلات الدستورية هو توكيد للديمقراطية، وأن من يرفضونها إنما يرفضون بذلك الديمقراطية نفسها. أو على الأقل يدعون أن من يرفضون هذه التعديلات إنما يبنون موقفهم على الخوف ممن سيفوزون في الانتخابات البرلمانية القادمة--خصوصا فلول الحزب الوطني السابق الذين يقومون الآن بإعادة إنتاج أنفسهم في أشكال جديدة، وجماعة الإخوان المسلمين، والجماعات السلفية--وبذلك يصورون من سيرفضون التعديلات على أنهم لا يثقون في قدرة الشعب على تحديد مصيره ويتعالون على الديمقراطية على نهج <<حسني مبارك>> ...

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A State of Violence [Notes from the Bahraini Field- Update 7]

[Photo being circulated by Bahraini security officials,

In the early hours of the morning on Wednesday March 16th, the Bahraini army attacked and “cleansed” (the word used on national TV was تطهير) the Pearl roundabout using helicopters, tear gas and live ammunition. Below is a first-hand account from a Human Rights Watch Correspondent in Bahrain: "At 7.30 this morning I tried to go to Salmaniya hospital. But the whole area is surrounded by riot police diverting cars away from the area. I walked around for a little while trying to assess the situation. There were scattered gangs of youth covering their face on one of the main streets close to the hospital. There was tear gas in the area - I couldn't tell if it was ...

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It's Official: In 2006, The Lebanese Government Was Hoping Israel Would Disarm Hezbollah For them

[Lebanon, August 2006. Moments after an Israeli air strike destroyed buildings in Dahieh: Image by Paolo Pellegrin]

So now we know. In 2006, as Israel was bombing Lebanese highways, power supplies, the airport, and oil reservoirs, the Lebanese Prime Minister was hoping that Israel would finish “the job” quickly and successfully. Now we know. As over a quarter of the population was displaced from their homes under the threat of missiles, tank fire and artillery, the then commander of the army and now president of Lebanon, was letting the Israeli government know that the Lebanese army would stand down. As 10,000 homes were destroyed and over 1,300 Lebanese citizens (1/3 of them children) were killed, the Lebanese government's main concern was that that this very real and very brutal ...

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Solidarity and Intervention in Libya

[Image from unknown archive.]

The Libyan uprising is entering its fourth week. The courage and persistence of the Libyan people’s efforts to overthrow al-Qaddafi have been met with ongoing regime brutality ranging from shoot-to-kill policies to the indiscriminate use of artillery against unarmed civilians. When we last wrote on this subject, we already recognized that the situation in Libya was dire. Since that time the violence of the regime’s unhinged bid to subdue the armed insurgency has only escalated. The mounting civilian death toll resulting from regime brutality has amplified previous calls for international intervention. The Security Council unanimously issued a resolution imposing tough ...

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Abduh al-Fallah: Elite Myths and Popular Uprisings

[Image from unknown archive]

The refrain “al-sha‘b/yu-rîd/is-qât/al-ni-zâm” has proven resiliently mobile: it rang out in Tunisia, echoed in Tahrir, traveled west to Libya and Algeria, and east to Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. A central part of this poetic and exhilarating refrain is al-sha’b: the people. How do we understand the people today when the term has come to be at best a glorified, naïve idea and at worst a stale concept? As we witness popular mass mobilization overthrow some of the most entrenched and ostensibly stable regimes in the region, the time has come to revisit the political meaning of al-sha’b. Giorgio Agamben reminds us: “Any interpretation of the political meaning of the ...

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After Tunisia and Egypt: Palestinian Neoliberalism at the Cross-roads

[Salam Fayyad and Tzipi Livni at the World Economic Forum in 2010. Image from unknown archive.]

A spectre is haunting the Middle East – the spectre of popular revolts against autocratic governments. Listening to the loud chants from demonstrators in Algiers to Sana’a asserting their political and economic demands, it is clear that exorcising this spectre needs more than just political regime change: they are demanding the change of the system that has produced poverty, unemployment and vast income disparities. These phenomena did not occur spontaneously or as a natural stage of development. Rather, they are among the outcomes of an economic policy model widely adopted in the region over the past decades and shaped by the neoliberal Washington Consensus advocated by ...

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Of Predators and Radicals: King's Hearings and the Political Economy of Criminalization

[The witness table at Peter King's first

To understand Congressman Peter King’s (R-NY) hearings on the “extent of radicalization” of U.S. Muslims before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, one need not go so far back as the McCarthy era or Japanese interment (At the same time Congressman Mike Honda of California’s public stance connecting the King hearings to internment is worth noting here – and a powerful statement). Listening to the few, highly-orchestrated testimonies King assembled, I was brought back to a much more recent historical moment, growing up in early 1990s Los Angeles. In those (quite recent) days, a national discourse – marked, overall, by hysteria – emerged over what do with the ...

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Missing: Agency and Alternative in the Anti-Intervention Critique

The Libyan people’s revolution against Muammar al-Gaddafi has been called the February 17th revolution. It has been named – like Egypt’s January 25th revolution – after the day on which protests were called for demanding freedom and an end to a brutal and long-standing regime. In Libya, however, the protests erupted before schedule. They began two days ahead of time in response to the arrest and imprisonment of Fathi Terbil – the lawyer representing the families of the victims of the Abu Salim prison ...

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في الثورة; الحرية السياسية لا تكفي [In Revolution; Political Freedom is not Enough]

  استحوذ الجدل حول تعديلات الدستور والاستفتاء الذي جرى أمس على عقل وحركة المصريين خلال الأسبوعين الماضيين ليتراجع كل شيء آخر أمام تلك القضية السياسية الدستورية الهامة. ومع اتخاذ المصريين قرارهم بلا أو نعم يتوقف مستقبل الثورة على أن يجسد هذا الموقف نفسه في صورة موقف واضح من باقي مطالب الثائرين، التي لا يمكن فصمها عن السياسة، وهي المطالب التي طرحوها تحت شعار العدالة الاجتماعية.   توصف الثورة بأنها ذلك الدخول القسري للجماهير إلى عالم الحكم، عالم تقرير مصيرها. وفي هذا فإن اهتمام جماهير الثائرين ...

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Preliminary Historical Observations on the Arab Revolutions of 2011

Towards the end of his long, eventful life, in 1402, the renowned Arab historian Ibn Khaldun was in Damascus. He left us a description of Taymur’s siege of the city and of his meeting with the world conqueror. None of us is Ibn Khaldun, but any Arab historian today watching the Arab revolutions of 2011 has the sense of awe that our forbear must have had as we witness a great turning in world affairs. This juncture may be unprecedented in modern Arab history. Suddenly, despotic regimes that have been ...

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Regional "Contagion" in the Arab World: For "Good" or "Worse?"

Although predicted by few, the current upheavals in several Arab countries reinvigorate commonplace perceptions of the countries and peoples in the Arab world and the Middle East at large as constituting a densely intertwined, interconnected and bounded region. When Tunisian protestors expelled their dictator, parallels were quickly drawn with Mubarak’s rule in Egypt, prompting mass mobilization there and causing a similar exit of this country’s long-standing ruler. In their wake, anti-regime protestors ...

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Saudi Arabia's Week of Shame

Since King Abdullah returned to Riyadh last month, members of his ruling family have resorted to myriad political, economic, and personal measures to prevent public expressions of dissent against the Al Saud. The Ministry of Interior issued a statement warning that any act of public protest is prohibited in Saudi Arabia and punishable by law. The country’s senior ulema were quick to legitimize this criminalization of protest with religious justifications, reminding everyone that “conspiring” against the ...

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الذين غيروا كل شيء ومع ذلك لا نثق بهم [Those Who Changed Everything Yet We Still Don't Trust Them]

  "الشعب المصري غير ناضج بعد للديمقراطية". يبدو أن هذا التصور المثير للجدل لرئيس الوزراء السابق أحمد نظيف في 2005، والذي عاد على لسان نائب الرئيس السابق عمر سليمان خلال ثورة يناير في حوار مع شبكة إيه بي سي الأمريكية، يمثل فكرة متجذرة بعمق لدى النخبة المصرية. في المرتين، أثارت التصريحات الصحفية للمسئولين موجة من الاستنكار، رسمت علاقة متوترة مع الأول وحكومته، وساهمت في تدهور رهيب لشعبية الثانية وسقوط سريع من الحياة السياسية. لكن هاهي الفكرة تعود لنا بأشكال مختلفة وصور مغايرة، وإن بصور ...

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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 (Of Gods and Men), which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes film festival and César award for Best Film, is the story of seven Trappist monks who lived in Algeria during the civil-war of the ...

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Darker Than Black Tuesday [Notes From the Bahraini Field- Update 6]

Amid an atmosphere of extreme tension a number of Asian men, mostly from Pakistan, have reportedly been attacked with swords and iron rods during the last two days. The government seems to have taken up their cause to point blame at opposition protesters although as of yet the circumstances in which they were attacked, and who attacked them are not clear. The men attacked were all civilian residents who have in the past borne the brunt of anti-government sentiment. Mostly Pakistanis, they are often ...

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More Than a "Personal Error of Judgment": Seif Gaddafi and the London School of Economics

“Seif is committed to resolving contentious international and domestic issues through dialogue, debate, and peaceful negotiations.” These were the words with which Professor David Held introduced a public lecture by Seif al-Islam al-Gaddafi at the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2009. Last week, British media revelled in replaying Held’s words, before cutting to Seif Gaddafi’s February 21, 2011, speech on Libyan state TV in which he predicted "rivers of blood" and vowed: "We'll fight ...

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Focus on Freedom: In Solidarity with Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Panahi

In December 2010, a court in the Islamic Republic of Iran sentenced filmmaker Jafar Panahi to six years in prison for collusion against the government. Even after his body is released from prison, the government wants to control his thoughts, his dreams, his words and prevent him from expressing them in cinematic form. The court also banned him from writing scripts, making films, traveling abroad, and speaking with any media for twenty years. “It’s depressing,” said director Martin Scorsese, “to imagine ...

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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. (189) Late-style Benny Morris? Thomas Friedman? That would be Sari Nusseibeh, President of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem and professor of philosophy. It comes in what purports to be, inter ...

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من يوميات صحفية عن ثورة تونس [From the Diary of A Journalist in the Tunisian Revolution]

اليوم وقد نجحت ثورة تونس في إحداث أول ثقب في جدار القمع العربي، وأبهرت العالم وألهبت خيال الحرية لدى العرب، فقد آن الأوان لطرق أبواب الفضاء الإعلامي بعد أن عمته موجة من الهواء النقي المعتق برائحة الياسمين الثائر. هواء الحرية والديمقراطية حرر الألسن والأقلام وجعل الصورة تحاكي وتحكي. وأطلق عنان الصحفي ليرتوي ويروي محيطه، فقد تفنن النظام السابق على امتداد 23 سنة بإجلاء الصحفيين من مجال الابداع الاعلامي. اليوم وقد تحررنا من النسور والعقبان المحوّمة في بياض أوراقنا بحثا عن ...

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