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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup rana bechara ماذا أطعم النور؟ Palestine Media Roundup Musaddiq’s Spectre: On the Recent Declassification of US Documents
[Gemmayze Graffiti. Beirut, Lebanon. May 2017. Image by Camille Reynolds.]

Vox Populi Relaunches on Jadaliyya!

The new and refreshed Vox Populi page has officially relaunched as of 21 August 2017. In the rejuvenation process, we focused on building on our existing mission but made some adjustments in order to ensure sustainable content. ...

[L'homme à la moustache de fer, Ahmed Ouyahia, est de retour. À l'heure de l'urgence économique, le voilà en première ligne, et ce n'est sûrement pas pour rigoler.]

La moustache de fer (A Song of Mustache and Technocracy)

C'est le deuxième limogeage en moins de trois mois. Après Abdelmalek Sellal, c'est au tour d'Abdelmadjid Tebboune de prendre la porte sans pot de départ. Les Premiers ministres algériens tombent donc comme des mouches, et l'on se demande ...

مشاهدات يومية واجتماعية من السويداء: من حركة الاعتصام... إلى اغتيال البلعوس

تعود مدينة السويداء لتظهر من جديد في ساحة الخبر السوري مع مشهد اعتقال الناشط المدني والمعارض جبران سلامة مراد. الشاب الثلاثيني الذي ألقت دورية تابعة للمخابرات العسكرية القبض عليه، على الطريق بين مدينَتَي السويداءــ القريَّا، له سجلٌ حافل ...

[المصدر موقع رصيف 22]

تونسيات محرومات من اختيار أزواجهن

تشهد الساحة الحقوقية في تونس جدلاً واسعاً ومتواتراً بشأن منشور لا زال يثير حفيظة المنظمات الحقوقية. فمن فترة لأخرى تصدح أصوات المدافعين عن حقوق المرأة التونسية تطالب بإلغاء منشور يصفه البعض بأنه منشور ظالم ومجحف. المنشور الصادر ...


Rigging The Egyptian Elections: The Organizing Narrative (Why The Wafd Has To Participate In The Upcoming Elections-Part 1)

[The Mubaraks, father and son, voting in the last upper-house elections. Image from Marawi.com]

On 17 September, a number of opposition movements organized a “youth” protest in front of the headquarters of the Wafd Party (the old liberals) to persuade it to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections. The protest was set to coincide with the Wafd’s general assembly meeting that gathered to determine the party’s position on the elections. The protestors chanted slogans against taking part in the upcoming “charade of elections,” threatening the party that participating in these elections would be “a shame that will scar its history forever.”  Meanwhile, a group of party members that calls itself Wafdists Against Inheritance(i.e. Gamal Mubarak inheriting ...

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Jaffa, with Jellyfish [Gone to Palestine: 2]

We decided to walk around the old Arab city of Jaffa, which Rachel described as “a lanced boil on Tel Aviv’s thigh.” It was a hot July day, and we were happy to take a walk after our leisurely lunch on Sheinkin St. We asked to be seated as far away from the door as possible, and preferably behind one of the concrete pillars. Though my companion told me that I had no reason to worry nowadays, I was incredibly nervous about the possibility of exploding people. I had the gazpacho and yam fritters, while my friend had the basmati rice with grilled vegetables. The lunch was perfect, even though the owners’ present of a free “iced tea,” made for some reason with ...

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حاضرون غائبون: الفلسطينيون في الداخل [Present Absent: Palestinians in Israel (Part 2)]

[Jaffa. Image from unknown archive]

 حاضرون غائبون: الفلسطينيون في الداخل(٢)  كنا نمشي بمحاذاة الشاطئ اليافاوي وقد أدرنا ظهرنا لتل ابيب. وجهتنا يافا والفنادق الفاخرة تمتد على يسارنا وكأنها أسود رابضة. خلفها كان يقع حي المنشية الذي ولد فيه ابو حسن. لا يعرف ابو حسن الحي جيداً حيث  كان قد أكمل سنواته الخمس الأولى عندما غافلته النكبة. لكنه يتحدث عن الحي وكأنه قضى كل شبابه فيه.  ” اصبحت الصباحات بائسة فأنت لا تعرف من سيأتي للعب من رفاقك في اليوم التالي ومن سيذهب إلى الغيب. أراد أبي الرحيل وقال لأمي بأنه علينا الذهاب إلى لبنان حتى تهدأ الأوضاع لكن أمي كانت عنيدة ورفضت. كانت حبلى في شهرها السابع أو الثامن وقالت إنها لا تريد أن تلد على قارعة الطريق ولا تفضل أي مدينة أخرى على يافا ...

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Conquering The Sky [Gone to Palestine: 1]

[Image from author's archive]

[The first installment of Gone to Palestine]     When we arrived at Ben Gurion, we were immediately overcome by strange emotions that affected us in different ways. This was partly because we didn’t know what to expect, partly because we knew they were turning so many people away at the airport these days. Some tensed up and practiced their stories. Others seemed to be meditating and relaxing as they waited in line for the initial conversation, then for the secondary questions and unpacking of the bags, the analysis of chemical traces, and then for some of us even another round of questioning and so on. For me, the arrival occasioned a giddy sense of ...

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Thanksgiving In Beirut

[Mass Grave at the Massacre of Wounded Knee: Image from Wikipedia, Indian Costume: Costumes Galore]

On November 24, people from across the United States will gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. They will travel (on the busiest travel day of the year), they will eat turkey and pumpkin pie, and they will shop at the orgiastic sales that are a fixture of what is perhaps the most widely celebrated holiday in the USA. Like all ideologically inflected nationalist myths, holidays such as Thanksgiving or Columbus Day both commemorate and mask the histories of violence that build and sustain nations. Such masking enables us to know that people lived on and were removed from the land but also allows us to disregard the fact that the descendants of those ...

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The Liberal Ideology of Torture: A Critical Examination of the American Case

[Image by Deesillustration.com]

In recent days, George W. Bush has put American torture back in the news again as he flaks his new memoir, Decision Points. On November 8, NBC interviewer Matt Lauer questioned Bush about authorizing waterboarding, to which he responded, “Damn right.” Richard Falk characterized this admission of criminality as an “uncoerced confession.” Waterboarding is torture, and torture is a crime. In fact, torture is not just a run-of-the-mill crime; it is a gross crime under international law, in the same company with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. What does it say about the state of American democracy when a former president can proudly and publicly admit to ...

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Jordan, Liberalism, and the Question of Boycott

[Riot police on election day. Image from 7iber.com]

In the build-up to the 2010 Jordanian parliamentary elections (see slogans and posters here), a lively debate has taken place in Jordan about the efficacy of elections as a form of political practice. This article will discuss some of the major issues animating such debates, with a particular interest in critiquing the discourse emanating from the liberal elite circles in Amman (most represented by a diverse array of English-language magazines and blogs). The Jordanian liberal discourse posits the elections as an opportunity for change and development in Jordan, as it is framed within a teleology of progress anchored in neo-liberal reform and the expansion of the ...

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Slogans and Posters of the 2010 Jordanian Parliamentary Elections

In November 2009, King Abdullah II of Jordan dissolved the Jordanian Parliament (elected in 2007) and called for early elections to be held on November 9th, 2010. These new elections feature various amendments to the previous set of laws governing elections. However, several opposition groups, including the Islamic Action Front (IAF), have boycotted the 2010 elections citing the lack of an independent monitoring mechanism and bias in the redistricting of the electorate that continues to provide rural areas (traditionally supportive of the regime) greater representation than they deserve. The Jordanian National Assembly is comprised of an elected lower house (Majlis ...

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They Kill Christians (Too)

[Residents carry a coffin at the funeral for Our Lady of Salvation victims. Image from unknown source]

The attack on the Sayyidat al-Najat (Our Lady of Salvation) Church in the al-Karradah district in Baghdad on October 31st was not the first on churches in Iraq in recent years. However, it’s certainly the most lethal in terms of casualties, let alone its deleterious effects on Iraq’s already damaged social space. The Islamic State of Iraq, some of whose members stormed the church and took the congregation hostage and killed some of them before being attacked in turn by government troops, is now threatening more attacks on Christians unless the Coptic Church in Egypt releases two captive women who've converted to Islam they are supposedly holding. The attack left 58 ...

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Zindeeq: Film Review

[Mohammafd Bakri. Image from Unknown Source]

Zindeeq, directed by Michel Khleifi. Palestine/UK/Belgium/UAE, 2009. Michel Khleifi is the acclaimed Palestinian filmmaker, director and producer of such award winning films as Wedding in Galilee (1987) and Route 181 (2004). His films and work as professor at the Belgian Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle helped him become one of the mentors for the new generation of Palestinian filmmakers today. Given this reputation it comes as no surprise that his most recent film, Zindeeq (2009), was chosen to be screened at the historical inauguration of the Columbia University Center for Palestine Studies—the first center of its kind in a US university. ...

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Aftermath . . . America's Wars in the Middle East (Part 2)

[A mural in A`dhamiyya's main square depicting many slain Awakening commanders, including Abu Omar, on the bottom right corner. Image by Andrew Henderson]

Over the years it seems like every time I visited Iraq I had to remove names of friends or contacts from my mobile phone because they were dead. Perhaps so death seemed as foretold as that of Abu Omar, an Awakening leader I met in Baghdad's Aadhamiya district in 2009. His predecessor (also called Abu Omar) was killed by a suicide bomber. When I first met Abu Omar he seemed confident and marched around like the local warlord that he was. In February of 2010 I had to meet him in hiding, his son sneaking me through an alley. When I returned in August of 2010 he was dead, shot by a sniper, replaced by a younger man called Abu Amna, whose life expectancy was sure to be ...

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The Politics of Reconciliation: Secularism and Tolerance

[Image from Payvand.com]

Looking at recent events in Iran, we may contrast the predominant views of Green Movement activists participating inside Iran and the attitudes of many Iranians observing these events from abroad. Iranians inside Iran show no strong interest in defining the movement in totalizing terms as either Islamic or secular, and nor do they oppose the movement to secularism or Islam. By contrast, many Iranian intellectuals and activists outside of Iran (and other interested intellectuals) are visibly eager to place the Iranian democratic movement within one of the two either/or categories. What is surprisingly missing from our discussion is the call for tolerance, inclusion, and ...

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Choking Mecca in the Name of Beauty — and Development (Part 2)

Mecca During the Hajj  As the annual hajj draws to a close, millions of Muslim pilgrims in Mecca celebrate the four-day Eid al Adha together ritually, festively, and with a jubilant spirit of giving. They will pray, eat, and spend time with loved ones. Those who can afford it will give alms to the less fortunate. Most will resist the temptations of sleep in order to enjoy every remaining hour they have in the holiest of all Muslim places. Thousands of medical doctors and nurses flown in from the ...

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Mubarak's "Mubarak?" (Part 3)

[Note: This is the third in a series of posts titled “Mubarak’s “Mubarak?”” Click here to view the first post and here for the second post in the series] In my last post I argued that there are some signs that individuals within the opposition are starting to believe that Mohammed ElBaradei’s initiative to offer an alternative to Egypt’s de facto royal family is not working. Since then, ElBaradei announced that he is no longer attempting to run for the presidency, conceding what everybody has known for ...

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Review: The Burden of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 2010 Report, Adva Center

The Adva Center, an Israeli think tank dedicated to studying equality and social justice, recently published its second issue of a bi-annual report entitled, The Burden of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The report seeks to examine the costs of occupation on Israel in economic, social, military, political, and diplomatic terms and concludes that Israel would be richer socially and economically if it ended the occupation. In its own words,  The prolonged conflict with the Palestinians ...

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عدمية فيض المعنى عند الإسلاميين [The Nihilism of Excess Meaning Among Islamists]

صعدت فكرة العدمية في أوربا الغربية في القرن التاسع عشر كأثر مباشر للحداثة وتقدم العلوم والعلمانية. وبمجموعها أقصت هذه العمليات الأسرار والأشباح والقوى المتعالية من مفهومها للعالم، السيرورة التي سيسميها ماكس فيبر "نزع السحر عن وجه العالم". لقد برز عالم جديد غير مكفول إلهيا. بل إن "الله مات" كما قرر نيتشه. وسيبدو هذا العالم الذي هجرته الأرواح والأشباح منظما وحسن الإضاءة، لكن معوزا للمعنى بصورة جذرية. وقد أخذ الإنسان يقف في عالم انسحب منه الإله أمام خبرة موته دونما عزاء. وبعد أن كان ...

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"It's Important to Remember Their Names:" Review of Midnight on the Mavi Marmara

Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How it Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict. Edited by Moustafa Bayoumi. Chicago: Haymarket Books / New York: OR Books, 2010. First things first: Midnight on the Mavi Marmara is necessary reading. It also provides a strong model for the practice of combining scholarship and activism, and for future endeavors in left publishing more generally. Published as a collaboration between OR Books, a new progressive ...

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Israel’s Challenge to the International Legal Order (Gaza Part II)

In Part I of this series, I explored the illegality of the Gaza blockade irrespective of whether or not it amounts to collective punishment. I also posit that Israel’s blatant refutation of the International Court of Justice’s holding on the scope of legal self-defense and its non-applicability to occupied territories amounts to a direct challenge to the international legal order. Namely Israel challenges the scope of permissible use of force during an occupation as well as the legal definition of ...

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What's in a City? (Part 2)

(see Part 1) Last summer, a friend (under some coercion… not from me) gave me a valuable gift – a 1954 Guide to World Travel issued by Pan Am airlines. In the section on Lebanon, it listed the average temperature in August as 83º Fahrenheit (~28º C). August, by far the hottest and most humid month, only 83 degrees? I mean, if you needed any further proof that the world is heating up, consider that the average temperature in Beirut this past summer was well about twenty degrees hotter. For a while ...

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Israel versus Universal Jurisdiction: A Battle for International Human Rights Law

On October 31, 2010, Spanish Judge Ferdinand Andreu refused to grant former Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter immunity from prosecution during his trip to Spain where he planned to participate in an international peace summit. Dichter faces charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the 2002 targeted assassination of Salah Shehade, former senior Hamas member. Under Dichter’s supervision, the Israeli Air Force dropped a one-ton bomb on Shehade’s home located in ...

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Tweeting from Guantanamo: Recording History 140 Characters at a Time

Starting in the spring of 2009, whenever the Guantánamo (GTMO) military commissions hold hearings, there is usually a journalist or two—or more for high profile cases when the press pool is larger—tweeting from the Media Operation Center (MOC). The court proceedings are broadcast to the MOC on closed circuit TV. Journalists who opt not to go into the court, where all electronic devices are prohibited, can tweet a real-time record of interactions and quotes 140 characters at a time. To appreciate ...

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Gynecology, Honor, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Last week Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech on honor. However, this speech was not about the honor of resisting occupation or the honor of the Palestinian cause. The Sayyed’s speech, rather, focused on how the Special Tribunal For Lebanon had threatened the honor of Lebanese citizens by requesting gynecological files from a women’s clinic in the southern suburbs of Beirut. The day before, when the STL investigators arrived at the women’s health clinic, a group of women attacked them and confiscated ...

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The Increasing Absurdity of the "Terrorism" Accusation . . . in Light of “Democracy” and Resistance

The only thing more sickening than the United States cracking down on groups/human beings it does not like in the name of fighting terrorism is when Arab regimes do it. The same goes for Israel except that one should be increasingly prepared to expect literally anything, no matter how morally or politically reprehensible, from its governments. In any case, for those interested in the struggle for any number, or kind, of rights in the Arab world, that phony specter has come to reek of hypocrisy and ...

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Aftermath . . . America's Wars in the Middle East (Part 1)

In my new book “Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World,” I look at sectarianism, civil war, occupation, resistance, terrorism and counterinsurgency from Iraq to Lebanon to Afghanistan. While half of the book looks at how the civil war in Iraq began and how it came to an end, other chapters look at the Taliban, the American military in Afghanistan and the Afghan police. The two chapters I am proudest of however deal with Lebanon, where I lived with my wife and son during ...

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