From the Editors
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With Status turning one, and just prior to a major overhaul of our online platform, we are proud to present our latest installment of interviews in our most stellar issue yet! This issue will be remembered for being the one with the most Arabic language interviews to date. This is not an arbitrary coincidence, but rather a testament to our commitment to ground the topics we discuss in regional dynamics and local intricacies. Along with partner organizations, we are happy to announce the release of STATUS/الوضع Issue 3.1 [See Arabic here], our most ambitious issue yet.
The breadth and depth of this issue offers our listeners with diverse tastes extensive interviews and conversations about a wide-ranging array of topics and issues including current events, history, culture, poetry, music, and much more. We are very grateful to our guests, hosts, and team for delivering this behemoth batch!
It is not possible for us to review or even outline an issue of this size and breadth. From Toby Matthiesen discussing sectarianism in the Gulf and Naima Benwakrim's assessment of the progress of the Moroccan women's movement to Rami Khouri outlining the short-sightedness of the bombing campaigns against ISIS and Khaled Fahmy analytically unpacking the muscular resurgence of a securitized counterrevolution in Egypt, this is an issue that leaves few stones unturned.
For now, we offer you a quick glimpse to highlight some of the many issues, topics, regions, and countries that featured prominently in this latest collection of interviews.
Starting with most underreported and under-examined conflict in the region, we were keen to bring forth a rich, nuanced, and contoured discussion of the struggle in Yemen. In this issue, we spoke to journalist and filmmaker Safa Al-Ahmad about her most recent BBC films on Taiz and Aden. We also spoke to London School of Economics' Martha Mundy about her anthropological examination of the political economic circumstances in the country. One of the most captivating aspects of the Yemeni physical landscape, much of which is bearing the brunt of war today, is the architecture. This is the topic of our discussion with Salma Sarhar Damluji who tackles people-based architecture, Yemeni people's passion for urban aesthetics, and the worldliness of transnational architecture studies.
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Syria's thus-far intractable war is approached with the finest of combs, ensuring the interviews are nothing short of sophisticated and informed. This includes a captivating series of interviews with Saber Darwish, Alia Ahmad, and Sami Abdul-Karim about the the challenges of education during the conflict in areas under government, opposition, and ISIS control. The massive displacement of Syrians and the arrival of refugees to Europe is the topic of great import given the political problematics and platitudes that it has produced thus far. This is the substance of a compelling interview with journalist Alia Malek who discusses her recent essay in Foreign Policy on this matter. A unique angle on the displacement of Syrians comes courtesy of an interview with Greek journalist Kostas Kallergis who speaks to us about the coverage of the migration crisis in the national press and its immediate and long-term implications in Greece and beyond. Beirut-based Syrian rapper Hani Al-Sawah talks about displacement and discipline in his latest album. As part of our latest issue of our Quick Thoughts program, we speak with Rabie Nasr who talks to us about the Syria Policy Research Center, its mandate, obstacles, and future plans. We also feature an assessment of the state of the conflict in Syria and a retrospective look at what has transpired in the last five years with a lecture by George Mason University's Bassam Haddad. He discusses the implications of a conflict that began as a civil protest movement and became a massive international war-zone.
Of the many noteworthy interviews, Sawt Al-Niswa, a Lebanese feminist collective, discuss the unrelenting problematics of patriarchy and the need for intersectional feminist activism from the Lebanese prism and beyond.
Our segments on poetry continue to grow and get richer with the third installment of In Their Own Voices: The Audio Divan of Modern Arabic Poetry which features Abdul Baset Abu Bakr Mohammed who speaks to us about the poetic scene in Libya and an interview with Mohammed Oudaimah on the intersections of Western-Arab encounters in poetry, Arab and Japanese intersections, and the genre of poetic anthology. This is done against the backdrop of uprising, war, displacement, division, and the rise of social media. Meanwhile, Egyptian poet Ibrahim Al-Masri reflects on his poetic method and his work with Egyptian prose.
In our latest installment of the program Reclaiming Academic Freedom, we have a special episode entitled "The Panoptic Gaze and the Ivory Tower" which features interviews with guests Muna Sharif, Arshad Ali, Jared Austin, and Danya Zituni. In this rich conversation, they discuss the trend of excusing widespread surveillance in the name of countering violent extremism. The theme of surveillance comes back again in a discussion of how monitoring classroom dynamics and how this serves as a chilling effect that stifles education. Finally, we talk about the curious case of the University of South Florida.
For shorter snapshots at pressing and relevant issues, our program Quick Thoughts features latest reports from Kristina Stockwood on the perilous state of human rights in the Gulf, the landmark Palestinian teachers' protest movement courtesy of Omar Assaf, and Laila Shereen Sakr discussing social media fatigue in/on the the region.
And perhaps our most exciting feature comes courtesy of our program Independent and Alternative Music Scene in the Arab World. In this issue, we talk to underground Arabic rappers who convened in Beirut to discuss what inspires them, their fans, and missions. Other interviews on music include the latest episodes of our series on "Underground Iraqi Music," this time featuring a discussion with Beshar Al-Azzawi on his hybrid musical works and spiritual intonations and the fusion musician Nova Emad who reflects on nostalgia and how she confronts the realities of war in her work. We will continue to publish more interviews in the coming weeks with a forthcoming collection on the music production cycle in Palestine and Samer Jararat's "Letters to Palestine." So be sure to watch out for that.
Finally, we are very excited about our growing "Panels, Conferences, and Lectures" section, which is becoming a big hit with educators as well as interested listeners. A unique panel in this batch is one dealing with Black-Palestinian Solidarity and features remarks from Kristian Davis Bailey, Ajamu Baraka, and Glen Ford. The full content of this section will be forthcoming and we continue to publish material in the coming days and weeks.
The Arabic version of this announcement will be up shortly! Here's a glimpse of the arabic section!
We wil leave you with this thought: the next time we launch Status, it will be a different ballgame altogether. Feel free to hold us to it!
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