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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] ...


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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Present Absent: Palestinians in Israel (Part 1)

[Jaffa. Image from unknown archive]

The color of the Jaffa sea was reflected in his blue eyes so that they were even bluer. He had six decades behind him and was in his seventh, but was still laboring as a construction worker in order to pay for his youngest son's tuition at Tel-Aviv University. The campus of Tel-Aviv university is in the Ramat Aviv area or, as he calls it, Al-Shaykh Mwannis. Al-Shaykh Mwannis is a name engraved in Abu Hasan's memory. Whenever he mentions the university's name he mentions it, as if it were a synonym. So many names! Some are engraved in memory, others on street signs. Palestinians in Israel live between two names. Names that once were, and names that refer now to all that ...

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Reporting From Guantanamo: The Prison Tour (Photos)

[A Prisoner at GTMO. Image from Anonymous Source]

Twenty-five journalists flew on a chartered plane down to Guantánamo Bay on October 22, 2010, to report on the case of Omar Khadr, the Canadian 24-year-old who has been in US custody for one-third of his life. We would have been on the island (Cuba) a week earlier but for a sudden change of plan—again. The original original plan, let’s call it Khadr Trial 1.0, had a start date of August 12, and indeed the trial did start on that day. But at 4:00 p.m., Khadr’s military defense lawyer, Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, collapsed in the courtroom. The trial was suspended. Khadr Trial 2.0: The Resumption would have begun on October 18. But on October 14, word came down: a plea ...

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Beyond Ghailani: The Implications of Kaplan’s Ruling for Ahmed Abu Ali’s Case

[Leon Golub's

At one level, Judge Lewis Kaplan’s decision, to render coercively procured evidence inadmissible in courts, can be read as unremarkable. After all, the ruling naturally extends from the fifth-amendment right that protects against self-incrimination. Public responses to Kaplan’s ruling, however, suggest otherwise; the decision seems to have come as a surprise to folks on all sides of the political spectrum, suggesting that many have become accustomed to the idea that terrorism-related issues elicit ‘exceptional’ responses, all too often arrived at outside of and in exception to the rule of law. These reactions might also be explained by the fact that, just a few months ...

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Two Poems by Sargon Boulus

[Sargon Boulus. Image from Samuel Shimon]

Railroad    The glass of the subway windows is foggy. Shapes escape across it, as if from a demon, and are sorted out behind us as “bygones.”   The shrieking of the wheels on the rail. The appearance of the next station, at the bend of a tunnel full of wailing. A few vagabonds on the platform gulping alcohol from bottles hidden in paper bags.   It is the same void rising from night’s end in any city overstuffed with the living and the dead: Paris, Berlin, London, New York.   The end of the west. The end of the line. The end rail.      A Pouch of Dirt   Um Muhammad, the fortuneteller, the woman ...

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Apologizing for Human Experimentation: Not Finished Yet

[Image from Glossynews.com]

On October 1, 2010, President Barack Obama issued an official apology for secret US medical experiments in the 1940s in which 696 Guatemalan prisoners were infected with syphilis and gonorrhea to test the effectiveness of penicillin. The objective of these experiments, according to Susan Reverby, the Wellesley College medical historian who uncovered documents about this study, was to keep American soldiers safe from sexually transmitted diseases. In a joint statement, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said, “Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible ...

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Three Poems by Saadi Youssef

[Image from unknown archive]

Fulfillment I used to, I often used to hope as autumn painted forests with gold walnut brown or muted crimson, I so hoped to see Iraq’s face in the morning to loosen water’s braids over me, to satisfy its mermaids with salty tears, to float over Abu l-Khaseeb’s rivulets to ask the trees: Do you, trees, know where my father’s grave is? . . . I often used to hope! Let it be . Let autumn finish its cycle. Iraq’s trees will remain naked. Iraq’s trees will remain high. Iraq’s trees will be secretly in the company of my father’s face.   London, 5-21-2003   Conversation As fall winds wailed in the surrounding hills he ...

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The Predicament of Independent Opposition (Part 4-Final)

[From a protest. Image from Reuters]

In the first three posts (1, 2, 3), I discussed two significant liberalization phases and the succession struggle/period. As promised, this is the last post where I discuss the most recent phase of liberalization as a detour into the structural limitations of change and the predicament of independent opposition. Since the adoption of the “Social Market Economy” at the 10th Ba`thist Regional Command Conference in 2005, the economic “face” of Syria has begun to change decisively, no matter what observers, including myself, might say about the nature of the transformation. What we have been witnessing since 2005 is irreversible (less so in the “civil society” sphere, ...

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"The Corpse" by Sargon Boulus

[Sargon Boulus. Image from Samuel Shimon]

They tortured the corpse until dawn broke down and the rooster rose up in protest. They thrust nails in its flesh. They whipped it with electric cables. They dangled it from the ceiling fan.   When the torturers were finally tired and took a break, the corpse moved its little finger, opened its wounded eyes, and muttered something.   Was it asking for water? Did it perhaps ask for bread? Was it cursing them or asking for more?  

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The Egyptian Regime's Crack Down On The Media Is Much More Than What You Think

[حتى المذيع الكروي علاء صادق أصبح خطرا على أمن الدولة-الصورة من موقع مصريات]

   ما يحدث الآن في مصر يتجاوز إشكالية التضييق على الإعلام بمراحل حملت الأسابيع القليلة الماضية العديد من نذر الشؤم التي تؤكد أن مساحة التعبير السياسي المستقل في مصر تدخل الآن مرحلة مقلقة للغاية. جاءنا النذير الأول عندما أكدت أحزاب المعارضة عزمها على المشاركة في الانتخابات المقبلة، وهو ما يعني المشاركة في مسرحية هزلية ومزورة بشكل غير مسبوق، وفي ذلك من تزوير للوعي كان يجب على أمثالهم التعفف عنه. وجاء النذير الثاني عندما باع <<عصام إسماعيل فهمي>> صحيفة <<الدستور>> لتحالف من رجال الأعمال يقوده الدكتور <<السيد البدوي>>، رئيس حزب الوفد. ثم توالت نذر الشؤم بسرعة مذهلة لم تتح للمعارضة المستقلة أي فرصة لالتقاط الأنفاس، فما بالكم ...

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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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Register: Exile + 1

The hallway felt increasingly smaller, tighter. Every minute drew in the baby blue trimmed walls closer to one another compressing me and my breath in between their administration. I tried to distract myself in David Harvey’s analysis of neoliberalism—yes uneven geographical development in China, Deng like Reagan like Thatcher...accumulation of wealth or was it capital accumulation or does he mean all out theft? The theories couldn’t embrace my imagination which fought against itself as it flew to the ...

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Collective Punishment or Not, Gaza Blockade Illegal (Part I)

Israel’s blockade of Gaza is illegal irrespective of the manner in which it is imposed because a blockade is an act of war and an occupying power cannot declare war upon the territory it occupies. To do so would conflate the right to initiate war (jus ad bellum) with the laws of occupation (jus in bello) and render useless the distinction of the permissible use of force in each case. This analysis is different in kind from the one that characterizes the blockade as illegal for its contravention of ...

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Choking Mecca in the Name of Beauty--and Development (Part I)

In the last decade, Mecca, Islam’s birthplace, has been the target of some of the world’s largest commercial development schemes. Over one hundred buildings are under construction around the Grand Mosque (Masjid al-Ḥarām) and will soon replace the historical, architectural and socioeconomic landscape of this rapidly developing city. Whole neighborhoods have been completely gutted out, their residents displaced to the outskirts of Mecca and other neighboring cities.[i] The once-heroic mountains on which ...

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A Meditation on the Importance of the Perpetrator-Centered Perspective to Theorizing about Justice

My research and writing tends to focus on gross injustices, specifically on gross crimes—war crimes, torture, crimes against humanity and genocide. The perpetration of most kinds of crimes—and certainly these—is, by definition, “legal injustice.” While we may quibble about and legitimately criticize various standards and models of criminal justice, when it comes to gross crimes, as I argue here, the prosecution of perpetrators is an essential if elusive means to produce “justice.” To tip my hand to where ...

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حاضرون غائبون: الفلسطينيون في الداخل

  حاضرون غائبون: الفلسطينيون في الداخل (١)  وكأن لون البحر اليافاوي انعكس في لون عينيه فازدادت زرقتهما زرقة. قطع عقده السادس واقترب من السابع وما زال يعمل في البناء ليؤمن لإبنه الأصغر الذي يدرس في جامعة تل أبيب جزء من تكاليف التعليم الباهظة. جامعة تل ابيب الواقعة في منطقة رمات افيف، الشيخ مونس. الشيخ مونس إسم محفور في ذاكرة أبو حسن ويذكره كلما ذكر  إسم الجامعة، حتى ليبدو وكأنه إسم مرادف لإسم الجامعة. أسماء وأسماء، بعضها محفور على اللافتات والبعض الآخر في الذاكرة. بين إسمين يعيش ...

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Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject

Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. Much of the implicit political background—the staging-point—of Saba Mahmood’s highly acclaimed ethnography of the women’s mosque movement in Egypt, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject, is laid out in the brief preface to the book. In a couple of pages, Mahmood discusses the sense of embattlement and alienation experienced by an entire generation of ...

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Guilty of Being Muslim: Review of “Entrapped”

Review of "Entrapped" (Produced by Anjali Kamat and Jacquie Soohen) The new documentary “Entrapped,” which was aired as a special report by Democracy Now! on October 6 and is due to be released on DVD by Big Noise Films, is that rare documentary that not only informs us about an issue, but in doing so, actually transforms our understanding of this issue.   “Entrapped” is a thirty-five-minute documentary that encapsulates months of investigations and interviews by the filmmakers — Anjali ...

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Good Morning Palestine

For four days last week, I drank my morning coffee while gazing at Palestine. I was spending the weekend with friends at a house in a border village between Lebanon and what is now the State of Israel. Every morning, I walked from the bed I was sleeping in, to the kitchen to make a cup a coffee, then out onto the balcony where there was a cool breeze. The village is old, its remaining permanent inhabitants are mostly old, but its roads are new. The asphalt is still black in its newness, and its geometric ...

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American Innocence and Its Victims (Part 2)

[See Part 1 here]   For a literary editor, Chotiner is quite selective in his application of interpretative skills. When the Granta contributors touch on what we are already programmed to understand as the ills of Pakistani society—misogyny, for example, or religious fundamentalism—he is fully prepared to accept this as a transparent rendering of “the crueler, more vicious aspects of Pakistani society.” When the same writers represent the widespread discontent with the role played by U.S. foreign ...

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