From the Editors
Only days prior to the 23 October elections for a national constituent assembly, Tunisia continues to be an embattled and profoundly polarized terrain. Since the ouster of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January, peaceful and less than peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins have routinely taken place throughout the country, particularly in the capital, Tunis. The most memorable of these remains the second sit-in protest in the Qasbah Government Square (Feb. 20th to March 3rd), which ...Keep Reading »
Two months ago the private radio station Mosaïque FM asked Rachid Ghannouchi whether he preferred rap music or mizwid (Tunisia’s most popular sha‘bi or folk music, whose name derives from the main instrument that accompanies the singing, i.e., the goatskin bagpipe). Ghannouchi, leader of Ennahda (Renaissance), the previously banned Islamic party and now one of the major players in Tunisia’s postrevolutionary political scene, did not hesitate to say “rap.” This is, perhaps, ...Keep Reading »
It is impossible to watch a Tunisian film today from an exclusively prerevolutionary perspective. The present historical juncture will stealthily thrust itself to center stage. Besides, the value of film does not reside solely in its appropriateness to its own historical moment of production, but equally in its relevance to other, yet to come, historical moments. It becomes highly productive, not to say inevitable, that we rethink postcolonial Tunisian film through the ...Keep Reading »
Now that world attention has irresistibly moved on to the next hotspot, Egypt, it is crucially important not to forget Tunisia. In the very same manner that revolutionary change in Tunisia has spread to Egypt and Yemen and, hopefully, will continue to travel to other parts of the Arab world, any setback in Tunisia may set in motion a reverse effect and may prove counterproductive in the long run. Failure is no less contagious than freedom. While our hearts and minds are with ...Keep Reading »
Nouri Gana is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature & Near Eastern Languages and Cultuers at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has published numerous articles on modernist, postcolonial and comparative Arab literatures and cultures; Arab film; comparative ethnic, Muslim and Arab diasporas studies; narrative poetics; psychoanalysis and deconstruction in, among others, American Imago; Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East; Comparative Literature Studies; CR: The New Centennial Review; James Joyce Quarterly; The Journal of North African Studies; Law and Literature; PMLA and Public Culture. He contributed op-ed pieces on recent developments in the Arab world to such magazines and international newspapers as The Guardian, El Pais, The Electronic Intifada, and CounterPunch, among others. His book, Signifying Loss: Towards a Poetics of Narrative Mourning, was just published by Bucknell University Press, 2011.