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[Image from PLO Research Center publication showing their empty shelves in Beirut after looting by Israeli soldiers. Title of the publication, showing in Arabic in the image, reads: “A crime against culture.”]

Voyages of the Palestinian Archive: An Interview with Hana Sleiman and Ahmad Barclay

The exhibition “Sea of Stories: Voyages of the Palestinian Archives” was presented at Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture, Beirut, Lebanon (5 October – 15 November 2016), as part of the Qalandia International (Qi)’s third edition, “This Sea ...

Maghreb: l'Etat d'injustice en question

Irene Bono, Béatrice Hibou, Hamza Medded, Mohamed Tozy, L'État d'injustice au Maghreb. Maroc et Tunisie (Karthala: Paris, 2015) Fruit du partenariat noué entre les équipes de recherche de l’AFD d’une part et le fonds d’analyse des ...

غلاف الطبعة الثانية من رواية غوابا 2016

مقطع مترجم عن اللغة الإنجليزية من رواية غوابا للكاتب سليم حداد

  [مقطع رواية غوابا الصادرة بالإنجليزية للكاتب سليم حداد ترجمة ديمة ياسين]    ابتدأ هذا الصباح بالعار. لم يكن هذا بالشيء الجديد، سوى ان إحساسي بالعار هذه المرة يتعمق بشكل مخيف كلما تذكرت أحداث الليلة الماضية. يتجهم وجهي، ...


Vox Populi's September/October Issue Is Here!

For Vox Populi’s September/October issue, we chose to focus on the LGBTQ+ community, highlighting themes of activism, expression, and representation. Now more than ever, we must recognize the fight for queer justice as an ...

The Long Shadow of the 1952 Revolution

[Cover from Ruz al-Yusuf magazine on the 1952 Revolution. From the Bibliotheca Alexandrina's

Almost exactly fifty-nine years ago, on January 26, 1952, downtown Cairo was in flames. Cinemas, department stores, and hotels were set alight by rioters in the streets. The identity of these rioters would become the focus of enormous speculation: Were they revolutionaries who sought the expulsion of British colonial rule from Egypt, or rather, were they counterrevolutionary forces who were giving the then-Egyptian regime or the army a pretext to intervene? Whatever the case, within a matter of six months, that regime – which the vast majority of Egyptians saw as corrupt, unrepresentative, and brutal in its repression of peaceful protest – was overthrown by a cadre of ...

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The Workers, Middle Class, Military Junta, and the Permanent Revolution

[Image from unknown archive]

Since yesterday, and actually earlier, middle class activists have been urging Egyptians to suspend the protests and return to work, in the name of patriotism, singing some of the most ridiculous lullabies about "let's build new Egypt," "Le'ts work harder than even before," ect . . . In case you didn't know, actually Egyptians are among the hardest working people around the globe already. Those activists want us to trust Mubarak’s generals with the transition to democracy–the same junta that has provided the backbone of his dictatorship over the past 30 years. And while I believe the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, who receive $1.3 ...

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Egypt's Revolution 2.0: The Facebook Factor

[Image by Carlos Lattuf]

The call for a Day of Rage on January 25, 2011 that ignited the Egyptian revolution originated from a Facebook page. Many have since asked: Is this a “Facebook Revolution?”  It is high time to put this question to rest and insist that political and social movements belong to people and not to communication tools and technologies. Facebook, like cell phones, the internet, and twitter, do not have agency, a moral universe, and are not predisposed to any particular ideological or political orientation. They are what people make of them. Facebook is no more responsible for Egypt’s revolution than Gutenberg’s printing press with movable type was responsible for the ...

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Celebrations Shake Saudi Capital

[Image from unknown archive]

Tonight, We Are All Egyptian. For the first time in decades, Arabs the world over will unite in celebration, not in protest against this imperial war or the next. We will dwell in victory, not in the shadows of yesteryear’s defeats. We will pontificate the future and its many possibilities, not arguments against the mere idea of “what went wrong.” For some time to come, we will see Egyptians for the heroes that they are, and ignore that their laborers will continue to inhabit the lowest scales of human hierarchy in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Lebanon. Tonight, we will forget all our differences and prejudices, and rejoice publicly to show the ...

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The Egyptian Revolution: First Impressions from the Field [Updated]

[Image from unknown archive]

Al-Qahira, The City Victorious, February 11, 2011 Never has a revolution that seemed so lacking in prospects gathered momentum so quickly and so unexpectedly. The Egyptian Revolution, starting on January 25, lacked leadership and possessed little organization; its defining events, on Friday, January 28, occurred on a day when all communication technologies, including all internet and phones, were barred; it took place in a large country known for sedate political life, a very long legacy of authoritarian continuity, and an enviable repressive apparatus consisting of more than 2 million members. But on that day, the regime of Hosni Mubarak, entrenched for 30 years and ...

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Egypt, and the Post-Islamist Middle East

[Image from unknown archive]

For years, western political elites and their local allies have charged the Arab peoples with political apathy and lethargy. The argument that Arabs are uninterested in seeking to wrest greater democratic freedoms from their authoritarian rulers always rested on shaky foundations. But now that millions of Egyptians, following the Tunisians’ example, have proved it wrong by mobilising against power, the sceptical ground has adjusted: toward the murmured fear that Egypt’s uprising would develop into an “Islamist revolution” along the lines - demagogic, violent, intransigent, expansionist, anti-western - of that of Iran in 1979. The idea of an “Islamic revolution in Egypt” ...

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Recuperating the Democracy Narrative: Fareed Zakaria and Preparing for a Post-Mubarak World

[Image from]

On February 8, 2011 Secretary of Defense and ex-CIA chief Robert Gates urged “ governments in the region” to “take measures to begin moving in a positive direction toward addressing the political and economic grievances of their people."[1] The mantra has droned out of  Obama administration corridors for weeks including Hilary Clinton’s now infamous and indeed racist admonition of Arab regimes to reform in early January. In Doha, the Secretary of State criticizes the “corrupt institutions and stagnant political order,” which are “sinking into the sands.” For anyone vaguely familiar with the modern history of the Middle East, the rhetoric of reform espoused ...

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The Arab Pro-Democracy Movement: Struggles to Redefine Citizenship

[Image from unknown archive]

  We are witnessing a historic moment in Egypt and the Arab world. The youth of the region have a revolutionary opportunity to enfranchise citizens---this is the antithesis of the entire post-colonial formula. I am trying to identify the tangible but radical changes that can take place. Clearly there are many forces in Egypt that might undermine this revolutionary situation. The old political parties, and most importantly the Muslim Brotherhood—might try cutting deals. I think the most that may come out of this is a serious democratic revolution--not a small achievement--to alter relations of power, and promote a serious agenda for socio-economic justice. The role ...

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The naysayers who had been suggesting (or, in some cases, hoping) that the protests in Egypt were running out of steam have been proven wrong, once again, by the Egyptian people. By some accounts, the crowds in Midan Tahrir today were the largest yet — “hundreds of thousands,” according to the Guardian’s live reports — and many of those protesting today were coming out onto the streets for the first time. As I write this, protests continue in front of the Parliament building, with the possibility of a sit-in there; one tweet, from an Al-Jazeera producer, reported that a protester had “climbed on the front gate of parliament to put up a sign saying ‘closed until the ...

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ثورة...وأشياء صغيرة أخرى [A Revolution. . . and a Few Other Things]

 [Tahrir Square Image from unknown archive]

 طيارة ورق بدت أصابع رجب أرقّ من سيقان الورود، وهي تلف الخيوط السوداء والبيضاء حول العيدان بعزم وحذر متلعثم. استوطنت بقايا شحم السيارات تحت أظفاره، فصبغتها بالسواد ولم يساعده غسلها كل يوم إلا قليلاً. شحم السيارات التي يفك قطعها منذ خمسين عاماً لا يمر مرور الكرام فوق هذا الجسد، فيبدو رجب كأنه ولد بأظفار يتمدد تحتها سوادٌ أفحم من الليل . «أنفخ معايا في الهوا يا عم، يمكن طيارتي تطير فوق الرؤوس»، قالت له الصغيرة بصوتها المشدوه الذي كان يبحث عن مكان له في زحمة الهتافات في الميدان. ترك رجب الجمع الذي كان قد انضم إليه بحثاً عن ابنته التي خرجت منذ يومين إلى الميدان ولم تعد، ويقولون إنها تركب أكتاف الشباب وتهتف بإسقاط النظام. أشاح رجب برأسه عن بحر الجموع وجلس أرضاً إلى ...

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Making History in Tahrir

[Protesters in Cairo, Image from Unknown Archive]

Nightingale, do not fear your song Speak your complaint and tell of your ordeal The song will not kill you but Holding back song is what will kill you I wonder! Salah Jahin (1930-1986)  Watching Egyptians protest today is a sight I never thought I’d witness. Having studied urban protest in Egypt and Syria in the late Middle Ages, like other Arabs of my generation I had been beguiled by our political quietness, our seemingly unending, bottomless stoicism. I chose to work on premodern protest to say something about the present and argue for something in the future. The late middle ages offered a case of medieval Islamic regimes cente

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Egypt's Three Revolutions: The Force of History behind this Popular Uprising

[Scene of the 2011 revolution; image from Getty Images / Peter Macdiarmid]

When the Egyptian Uprising of 2011 began, we heard media pundits, friends, and colleagues milling about in search of apt metaphors to describe the mass protests and revolution in Egypt. In so far as “history” was mobilized in these discussions, it was generally as repetition or analogy. Hence: the Berlin Wall; Tiananmen Square; the first Palestinian Intifada; the Iranian Revolution; the Paris Commune; and the French Revolution, as well as Egypt’s own 1919 and 1952 revolutions. But do these vivid comparisons conceal more than they reveal? Indeed, one could argue that one of the most striking aspects of the contemporary media discussions surrounding Mubarak’s Egypt is the ...

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العراق وساحة تحريره [Iraq and Its Tahrir Square!]

[A slightly updated and edited English translation of this article is avaiable on Jadaliyya and can be found here.] كان لافتاً غياب العراق عن خريطة "اليوم مصر، غداً العالم"(١) (نشرت بعد اسبوع من مسيرة ٢٥ كانون الثاني (يناير)) والتي ضمت مواعيد المظاهرات في عدد من البلدان العربية. وهذا الغياب لم يقتصر على التأريخ وإنما على ذكر البلد كذلك. وكأن غياب الأحتجاجات كناية عن غياب البلد برمته، وكأن العراق غير معني بما يحصل في تونس ومصر على الأخص. ويعود هذا الغياب الصارخ الى طبيعة النظام السياسي في ...

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Five Questions on Jordan

In the shadow of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, social mobilizations and political developments in Jordan have prompted a significant amount of attention on the Kingdom. Below are the five most common questions I’ve received from both friends and reporters as well as composites of my responses. (1) Will we see in Jordan the type of upheaval we are witnessing in Tunisia or Egypt? To date, what has happened in Jordan does not compare to what is happening in other parts of the Arab world neither ...

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The Art of the Impossible

Like millions of people around the world, I’m deeply inspired by the great victory that was won by the Egyptian people today, and deeply humbled by their magnificent power. Eighteen days, without a moment of respite, spent in the streets (not to mention the years of struggle by human rights and democracy activists against the regime that helped lay the groundwork for the latest protests) has made the impossible come true. “Look at the streets of Egypt tonight; this is what hope looks like,” as Ahdaf ...

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"Crapping in Their Pants:" Israeli Responses to Democracy in Egypt

Last Sunday night the Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman submitted to a Q&A after a showing of The Time That Remains, his latest feature, at Columbia. (If you’ve not seen it yet: do.) The first question was a classic: ‘Have Israelis seen this film? What did they think?’ The answer was more so. (Tone: utterly gracious.) “It is amazing that, even with what is happening in Egypt, the first thing we have to do is to ask the Israelis what they think. Whether they are scared. Whether they are terrified. ...

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Imperial Feminism, Islamophobia, and the Egyptian Revolution

". . . I’m making this video to give you one simply message: We want to go down to Tahrir Square on January 25. If we still have honor and want to live with dignity on this land, we have to go down on January 25. We’ll go down and demand our rights, our fundamental human rights...The entire government is corrupt—a corrupt president and a corrupt security force…If you stay home, you deserve what will happen to you…and you’ll be guilty, before your nation and your people…Go down ...

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From the Blogosphere to the Street: The Role of Social Media in the Egyptian Uprising

While the uprising in Egypt caught most observers of the Middle East off guard, it did not come out of the blue. The seeds of this spectacular mobilization had been sown as far back as the early 2000s and had been carefully cultivated by activists from across the political spectrum, many of these working online via Facebook, twitter, and within the Egyptian blogosphere. Working within these media, activists began to forge a new political language, one that cut across the institutional barriers that had ...

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Tahrir's Other Sky

The Earth is closing on us pushing us through the last passage and we tear off our limbs to pass through. Where should we go after the last frontiers? Where should the birds fly after the last sky? -- Mahmoud Darwish Egypt’s exhilarating call for freedom, as Elliott Colla recently noted is an astonishing moment of poetry. The refrain, "Ish-sha‘b/yu-rîd/is-qât/in-ni-zâm” (The People Want the Fall of the Regime) resoundingly rings for millions in the Arab world and beyond. With ...

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إلى أين تتجه الثورة المصرية؟ [Where is the Egyptian Revolution Heading?]

يقدم النظام الحاكم في مصر تنازلات يومية كبرى كل يوم للانتفاضة المصرية، التي نجحت في تثبيت أقدامها على الأرض. ما حققته الانتفاضة حتى اللحظة لم يكن يحلم به أحد: تعهد مبارك بعدم الترشح، إنهاء مشروع التوريث، السقوط السياسي للحزب الحاكم بكل عفنه، والتخلص من قيادتي حرسه القديم والجديد، الاعتراف بأكبر جماعة معارضة في مصر كانت محظورة منذ أسبوعين مما يفتح الباب لكل القوى الوطنية خارج الشرعية، الموت السياسي بالسكتة للمشروع النيوليبرالي المعادي للفقراء في السياسات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية، اهتزاز المجالس البرلمانية ...

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It's Not About Islam, Stupid!

“Yes We Can” Since the flight of Tunisia’s Ben Ali on January 14th, there has apparently been a breakthrough in the imaginary of the possible in the Arab world.  I was in Egypt at the time, and reeling as everyone seemed to be from the bombing of the Coptic church in Alexandria, attention soon became fixed on Tunisia, and a moment of national unity in reaction to the tragic event in Alexandria, soon developed into a movement of national unity that dared to conceive of and act toward an alternative ...

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Why Egypt's Progressives Win

On 6 February 2011, Egypt’s hastily appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman invited in the old guard or what we could call the Businessmen’s Wing of the Muslim Brothers into a stately meeting in the polished rosewood Cabinet Chamber of Mubarak’s Presidential Palace. The aim of their tea party was to discuss some kind of accord that would end the national uprising and restore “normalcy.” When news of the meeting broke, expressions of delight and terror tore through the blogosphere. Was the nightmare ...

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Revolutionary Contagion: Morocco and a Plea for Specificity

Since January 15th, media discourse on the Arab world has almost uniformly coalesced around a single term, “contagion.” This is a telling semantic choice given the word’s broader associations with disease; a synonym for “infection” or “contamination,” it carries rhetorical connotations that are hardly subtle. The Wall Street Journal has analyzed Egypt’s “contagion risk” (Feb. 1st) and in the past two and a half weeks The New York Times has published at least half a dozen articles on the topic, with the ...

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Little Protests, Big Erasures

In a recent interview with Carol Rosenberg, Joint Detention Group Commander Col. Thomas’ has stated that, contrary to reports issued by the Center for Constitutional Rights and CUNY Law School, detainees at Guantanamo Bay are not, in fact, engaged in protests. According to Col. Thomas, detainees are neither holding sit-ins, nor particularly moved by the events unfolding across the Middle East. Instead, Col. Thomas -- in an attempt to “set the record straight”-- tells us that detainees are actually ...

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