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Maya Mikdashi

Co-Founder

Let Us Now Praise Murderous Men; Lebanese Presidential Candidates, Considered

[Left to Right: Gemayel, Geagea, Maronite Patriarch Rai, Michel Aoun, Suleiman Frangieh. Image from marada.com]

Lebanon is slated to hold presidential elections next week, despite the fact that the parliamentary elections have yet to be held and it is the Lebanese parliament that elects the Lebanese President. Last year elections were postponed for the first time in the state’s history, and parliament illegitimately extended its own term in the absence of elections. This further throws into doubt the legitimacy of the looming presidential contest. Thus far, several ...

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Moral Panics, Sex Panics and the Production of A Lebanese Nation

[Snapshots from Lebanese Ministry of Tourism Videos, Compiled by Maya Mikdashi']

In the past few months sex panics and moral panics, centered on gendered bodies and abuses, have rocked Lebanon.  In this article I want to revisit three of these panics: photos of a semi-nude Lebanese Olympic Skier’s body and reactions to it; the impunity of wife murderers and wife abusers; and the razing of a Syrian makeshift refugee camp after (ultimately false) accusations of sex abuse by a camp resident of a mentally disabled Lebanese man. I bring these three cases ...

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داخل سيرورة الحلم: تخيّل لبنان مختلف

[منارة، بيروت 2011. تصوير فرنسيسكو انتونيس ]

لبنان محطّم سياسياً واقتصادياً واجتماعياً. بالإضافة إلى العنف الذي يستهدف اللبنانيين يومياً لأنهم يعيشون في مناطق يُقال إنها "تنتمي" إلى هذه الفئة السياسية أو تلك، فإن الحقد الديني والطائفي في تصاعد،  ويُدفع المزيد من الناس إلى البؤس والبطالة، فالمواطنون واللاجئون والعمال المهاجرون على حد سواء يتجمدون حتى الموت، أو يسحقهم الموت في الشوارع والخيام، وفي أبنية غير صالحة للسكن. ليس هناك حكومة لبنانية "شرعية"، ولا آمال لتشكيل واحدة في المستقبل المنظور. في ...

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Within The Dreaming: Imagining a Different Lebanon

[Manara, Beirut. 2011. Image by Francisco Antunes]

Lebanon is broken politically, economically, and socially. In addition to the violence that daily targets civilians for living in areas that are said to “belong” to this or that political faction, religious and sectarian hatred is on the rise, more and more people are pushed into poverty and unemployment, citizens, refugees, and migrant laborers alike freeze to death or are crushed to death on streets, in tents, and in unsound buildings. There is no (legitimate) Lebanese ...

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Teaching Thanksgiving

[Thanksgiving Crafts For Children, Draw The Indian Face. Image from Artists Helping Children]

On Thursday millions of families and friends and colleagues will gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. Universities will be closed, and classes will be cancelled. Every year, this holiday weekend poses challenges to professors and students who are critical, and critically aware, of the fact that Thanksgiving is, foundationally speaking, a celebration of the ongoing genocide against native peoples and cultures in the United States. As a newly-minted ...

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Saudi Cleric Confirms That Being a Woman in Saudi Arabia Sucks, Big Time

[The Mufti of Saudi Arabia Smells Something Funny While Issuing Important Fatwas]

While all Saudis live under a hyper capitalist, sectarian and brutal authoritarian regime, a Saudi cleric has issued a fatwa making it official that being a woman in Saudi Arabia sucks extra bad. This fatwa comes after some confusion surrounding the physiological effects of driving. Last month a Saudi cleric issued a fatwa warning that driving effects the hips and pelvis of women, and thus their reproductive efficacy. After (some) men began worrying about the effects of ...

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A Siren Song For Lebanon

[Cars Burning and Vegetables. Image from Al-Manar]

On Thursday my friend invited us over for a home cooked meal and a card game (tarnib), combining two of our favorite recreational activities. In preparation, she had gone to one of our favorite dessert stores known for their almond ice cream. Two hours later, a car laden with over sixty kilograms of TNT exploded on the street that she drove home on. There are countless stories like these. They embody a macabre spin on “missed connections.” After all, the car bomb had a ...

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War's Yawning Mouth

[Lebanese army differs to militiamen and beats up civilian protesters]

I sat down today to write an article on proposed legal reforms to both the personal status and the electoral system in Lebanon. I have been meaning to write this article for over a month, and have it sketched out on paper, and half written it in my head. Its sentences haunted me while preparing for class and its arguments interrupted my thoughts, demanding to be written down. But it is hard to see the utility of writing on the legal system, or on a feminist approach to both ...

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Thinking Citizenship in a Revolutionary Arab World: The Intransigence of Difference

[The Perfect Arab Citizen. Illustration by Khalid Albaih]

The ongoing Arab uprisings that began in Tunisia in late 2010 have demonstrated that citizenship in the Arab Middle East is a subject in need of much critical scholarship and intervention. Many scholars, working from an archive of political philosophy that begins with Rousseau's social contract, have assessed the Arab national project of producing citizens skeptically, as Suad Joseph has demonstrated. Moreover, there is tendency in political theory to view members of ...

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The Gendered Body Public: Egypt, Sexual Violence and Revolution

[Women March to Tahrir; Image by Gigi Ibrahim]

We must acknowledge, sit with, and address the sexual violence that has, is, and will occur in and around Tahrir Square. How do we do this work in a responsible and ethical manner that is in solidarity with Egypt's ongoing (and multiple) revolutions? How do we retain and respect political, economic, and social complexity in the face of the horrors of mass and public sexual assault? How to write when all you want to do is shout? Friday, 25 January 2013 was the second ...

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Translation of Statements Made by Minister of Electricity Gebran Bassile and MP Nayla Tueni

[Minister Bassile and MP Tueni send telepathic messages to each other about important stuff]

There are over 170,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. These men, women, and children have come to Lebanon fleeing the ongoing and deteriorating violence in Syria. In addition, thousands of Palestinians have fled their refugee camps in Syria to brother camps in Lebanon. These people have no other place to go. Since arriving in Lebanon, Syrian and Palestinian refugees (it is worth noting that Palestinian refugees in Syria and in Lebanon have suffered multiple removals and ...

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Exile, Part One

[Still number 72. Image by Randa Mirza]

My mother's mother tongue is not Arabic. This singular fact shaped much of my life and my education in Lebanon. When she moved to Beirut, she had two children, and then me in her belly. She met a student named Maya and thought the name sounded beautiful and strange. She has not lived in the country in which she was born - the country in which her family lives, celebrates holidays, and has grown older - for over three decades now. This fact terrifies me. Prior to her moving ...

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From Gebran Bassil To Con Edison: Ten Lessons New Yorkers Can Learn From Beirutis About The Dark

[Beirut Skyline Without Electricity, Image by Illustir. NY Skyline Without Electricity, Image by Reeve Jolliffe]

This week, Hurricane Sandy devastated large swaths of New York City's electrical grid, and almost a million city dwellers were left without power and/or water. With electricity gone and much of the city's infrastructure damaged, no internet or phone service was available. South of Thirty-fourth Street on the East and West sides, most stores were closed, and those that were open quickly ran out of supplies. People used their flashlights to scan the shelves of these stores, to ...

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What is a Car Bomb?

[A Lebanese fire-fighter carries an injured boy from the scene of car bomb Achrafiyeh, Beirut. Hussein Malla/AP Photo]

It is surreal to wake up to news of a car bomb back home, now thousands of miles away. Immediately, the war-shaped body is both numb and preoccupied with images of death and destruction. The mind wanders and sutures the past, present, and future seamlessly. Phone calls, emails, and texts begin. The space between a call and its response seems immense, and the time it takes to hear from blood and choice family--particularly when they live or work or frequent the targeted ...

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#MuslimRage, #Propaganda, #Empire

[Subway ad, still from Innocence of Muslims.]

I would like to address the ways in which paid advertisements recently mounted on the New York City public transportation system are connected to the release and circulation of the “Innocence of Muslims” video. Both are made legible through the now-hegemonic grammar of the War on Terror and an archive of Orientalist tropes and themes. It is that same grammar that scripts the protests and violence that erupted across Muslim majority states in reaction to the video (a reaction ...

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Beirut: Security, Surveillance, Navigation

[Security Deployment, Beirut. Image by IsmailKupeli]

This essay was originally part of a collection of writing on the securitization of Beirut's landcape. In this publication, the proliferation of security measures was examined through the use of both mapping techniques and the narration of life as it is lived under these circumstances. Such a document serves as a call to all those who move through, and those who police, that lived space of the city, a space which is always already refracted through gendered, economic, ...

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ما هو الاستعمار الاستيطاني؟

[الأجداد. الصورة من أرشيف الكاتبة]

في أسبوع الرابع من تموز في كل عام تقريباً تقوم عائلتي برحلة الساعات الإثنتي عشرة من منزلهم في ميشيغان إلى مكان يسمونه "المزرعة". امتلكت أسرتي هذه الأرض منذ أن أنشئت محمية " قبيلة باد ريفر" على بحيرة سوبيرير بموجب معاهدة 1854 بين أوجيبوي والولايات المتحدة. تملك عائلتي وثائق تثبت حقها في الأرض التي تحاذي نبع بير، ولكن، وحسب نصوص المعاهدة، فإن الولايات المتحدة تحتفظ بالملكية الكاملة للأرض وقد قامت بتأجيرها للسكان الأصليين وورثتهم مدى الحياة، طالما أن هؤلاء ...

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What is Settler Colonialism?

[Ancestors. Image From Author Archive]

Almost every year, for the week of the Fourth of July, my family makes the twelve-hour drive from their homes in Michigan to what they call their “farm.” The land has been in my family since the 1854 treaty between the Ojibwe and the United States created the Bad River Tribe Reservation on Lake Superior. My family has papers “proving” their rights to land that borders Bear Creek, but according to the treaty the US government retains ultimate ownership over the land and has ...

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No Comment

[Ahmadinejad blow-up doll at San Francisco Gay Pride 2011. Image by AGrinberg]

  Crowds cheer as a blow-up doll of Iranian President Ahmadinejad gets raped/sodomized with a nuke by a dungeon master Gay Pride San Francisco 2011

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Blaming Others: A History of Violence in Lebanon

[A gunman near a burning building during clashes in Tripoli, Lebanon, June 2, 2012. Image by Bilal Hussein/AP Photo. ]

Violence has defined the seven years since the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. But there are ruptures in the now familiar landscape of burning tires; Israel’s abduction of Lebanese citizens, its invasion of the country’s airspace, mounting casualties from Israeli land mine and cluster bombs; the abuse and killing of migrant workers, and the sound of lonely machine gun fire somewhere in the night. This is a list of the most discernible violence in ...

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Bio

Maya Mikdashi

  

Maya Mikdashi received her PhD from Columbia University's Department of Anthropology. She is Co-Director of the documentary film About Baghdad. Maya is currently a Faculty Fellow and Director of Graduate Studies at the NYU Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. She  is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine.

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