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September Culture Bouquet

[Safwan Dahoul,

Almost a decade ago, Saadi Youssef began his poem "Imru' al-Qays' Grandson" by asking: "Is it your fault that once you were born in that country? / Three quarters of a century / and you still pay from your ebbing blood / its tax." He ended the poem with an even more vexing question: "What is it to you / now when you are asked to do the impossible?" As this long hot summer ends, we would not be mistaken to imagine these lines could be about Gaza, Mosul, or Ferguson. Maymanah Farhat contributes a recent essay from a monograph on Syrian painter Khaled Takreti. Excerpts from Khalil Sweileh's Barbarians' Paradise, trans. ...

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Samih al-Qasim: I Will Engrave Our Names on the Wind

[Samih al-Qasim and Mahmoud Darwish, Image from Qadita.net]

[While well-known as a poet, the late Samih al-Qasim was also a talented essayist, writing regularly in the Arabic-language press of Palestine/Israel. He was also a remarkable public speaker and letter writer. Over a period of two years—from May 1986 to May 1988—al-Qasim exchanged a series of extraordinary letters with Mahmoud Darwish. The letters are monuments to poetry and language and also friendship and love and, not surprisingly considering the authors, contain some of the most moving discussions of home and exile in the Arabic language. Published as a series of "packets," the collection of letters instantly became a classic of modern Arabic ...

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Samih al-Qasim: Two Poems

[Mahmoud Darwish (l.) and Samih al-Qasim (r.) with Muhammad Mahdi al-Jawahiri, c. 1968-9, image from Isqineeha]

1. “RAFAH’S CHILDREN” (1971) To the one who digs his path through the wounds of millions To he whose tanks crush all the roses in the garden Who breaks windows in the night Who sets fire to a garden and museum and sings of freedom. Who stomps on songbirds in the public square. Whose planes drop bombs on childhood’s dream. Who smashes rainbows in the sky.   Tonight, the children of the impossible roots have an announcement for you, Tonight, the children of Rafah say: “We have never woven hair braids into coverlets. We have never spat on corpses, nor yanked their gold teeth. So why do you take our jewelry and give us bombs? Why do you prepare orphanhood ...

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من إنجيل العراق الضائع

[اللوحة للفنان السوري يوسف عبدلكي]

عراقنا الذي في الهباءاتِ، ليَتَقَدّسِ اسْمُكَ، ليأتِ جحيمكَ، لتكُنْ مشيئتُكَ، كما في السماء كذلك على الأرض. موتنا كفافنا أعطِنا كلّ يومٍ. ولا تغفر لنا خياناتنا، لأننا لا نغفر لمن خاننا. ولا تدخلنا في التجربة، فقد تعبنا. . . آمين  

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Khalil Sweileh: from Barbarians' Paradise

[Cover of Khalil Sweileh's Jannat al-barabira by Dar Alain]

[The following excerpts are from Khalil Sweileh’s Barbarian’s Paradise (Jannat al-barabira) (Cairo: Dar Al-‘Ayn, 2014). The book is structured as a journal chronicling life in Damascus; the entries start in April 2012 and end in December 2013. The narrator moves through Damascus, both present day and past, describing scenes of daily life, both the mundane and the newsworthy, cataloguing the destruction and suffering of the country and its people, and recording the evolution of the conflict. Woven into the narrative are passages from historians who have described other periods in Syria’s history as well as the voices of writers and artists from around the world who have ...

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نفس الكتاب".. جرحٌ تعجز الكتابة عن لَأْمِه"

[شترهاكس

المراسلات دوائر لا تكتمل بغير العداوة أو الموت، تُشبه حركتها خفقان القلب ومداعبة اليد لكلب الزّمن، يجري لاهثا خلف حلول الطّريق، دون أنْ يجد الماء في البئر. هكذا يؤوب الجنس الرّسائليّ دوماً إلى صيغة من صيغ العطش: الرّسالة الأولى، ثمّ ماذا؟ الرّسالة الأخيرة، ما الحلّ؟ أيّا يكن الحلّ المفترض، فإنّ كلّا من عبد الكبير الخطيبي (1938-2009) وجاك حسّون (1936-1999)، على مدار خمس سنوات، بين 29 يوليوز/يوليو 1980 و17 مارس/آذار 1985، لم يكُفّا عن تبادل رسائل متقاطعة بلغت 45 رسالة، عبَرت مكاتب البريد في باريس والرّباط ونيويورك وطنجة والإسكندريّة والهرهورة...، وساءلت بصرامة معرفيّة، ودُعابة أدبيّة ونوستالجيّة أحياناً، رموز الكتابة الدينية في التّراثين العبريّ والإسلاميّ، وعلامات النّزاع ...

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New Texts Out Now: Erin Runions, The Babylon Complex: Theopolitical Fantasies of War, Sex, and Sovereignty

[Cover of Erin Runions,

Erin Runions, The Babylon Complex: Theopolitical Fantasies of War, Sex, and Sovereignty. New York: Fordham University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Erin Runions (ER): Living in New York City in 2001 and after, I was involved in the anti-war movement that protested the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I wanted to understand what compels people in the United States to accept war, occupation, and torture. Religion is one such driving force. The Bible provides much of the religious narrative that shapes opinion and debate in the United States. People may have a vague sense that the Bible drives politics, war, homophobia, attitudes toward law and ...

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Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab: A Profile from the Archives

[Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab. Source: Wikimedia Commons]

[”A Profile from the Archives“ is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally published in Arabic and was translated by Mazen Hakeem.] Name: Badr Last Name: Al-Sayyab Father’s Name: Shakir Mother’s Name: Karimah Al-Sayyab Place of Birth: Jekor Date of Birth: 1925 Date of Marriage: 1955 Date of Death: 1964 Wife’s Name: Iqbal Taha Abd Al-Jalil Nationality: Iraqi Education: Bachelor’s degree from the Higher Institute for ...

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An Excerpt from Sinan Antoon's "Ave Maria"

[Cover of

[The events of Ave Maria take place in a single day. Two characters from an Iraqi Christian family who are drawn together by the situation in the country under the same roof in Baghdad narrate these events. Youssef is an elderly man in his seventies. He refuses to emigrate and leave the house he himself built and where he has lived for half a century. He still clings to hope and memories of a happier past. Maha is a young woman whose life has been torn apart by sectarian violence. Her family is displaced in the north. She is living temporarily in Youssef's house until she finishes her studies. Maha feels that she has become a refugee in her own country. She and her ...

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لا أسئلة شائكة في بيت غسّان كنفاني: آني وليلى في نضال الماضي والحاضر

[آني تتوسط ليلى (اليسار) وفايز وابنته (إلى اليمين) في 8 تموز العام 1997، خلال حفل وضع حجر الأساس لمركز

يدخل المرء إلى منزل عائلة غسّان كنفاني في ساقية الجنزير في بيروت، شاعراً بالهيبة. ففي هذا البيت التي تسكنه الزوجة آني والإبنة ليلى، لم يتحوّل النضال إلى ذكريات. هنا، التتمة تسبق الذكرى. السياسة لم تتوقف عند زمن الفدائيين الأوائل، وإنما استمرت في الطباعة والنشر، في التعليم والتربية، وفي المقاطعة والعيش. هنا، لا يتهيّب الحديث أمام توازنات الحاضر والأسئلة الشائكة، من شروط التطبيع إلى يد الثقافة في السياسة، ومن جواز السفر الأجنبي إلى المخيّم. وعند الخروج من بيت كنفاني المتوسط الحال، المليء بالـــلوحات الآســــرة والتفاصيل الدافئة، لا مفر من فكرةٍ تخطر على البال: بينما نكبر نحن، يبقى هو متيناً في شبابه. مَن عرفوا اســــمه أطـــــفالاً كأديبٍ شهيد، باتوا اليــوم أكبر منـــه ...

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Ismail Shammout: A Profile from the Archives

[Palestinian artist Ismail Shammout]

[”A Profile from the Archives“ is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally published in Arabic and was translated by Mazen Hakeem.] Name: Ismail Last Name: Shammout Date of Birth: 1930 Date of Death: 2006 Nationality: Palestinian Place of Birth: Lod Wife’s Name: Tamam Al-Akhal (plastic) Profession: Artist     Ismail Shammout Born in Lod, Palestine in 1930. Displaced by the Nakba of 1948. He ...

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Magdi Mostafa: The Surface of Spectral Scattering

[From above, Magdi Mostafa's installation offers a birds eye view of a familiar city. Image courtesy of Medrar TV.]

  Magdi Mostafa: The Surface of Spectral Scattering May - June 2014  Townhouse Factory Space, Cairo   For his latest project, Egyptian sound artist Magdi Mostafa created a multi-channel, site-specific sound and light installation spanning six hundred square meters at the Townhouse Factory Space. The installation translates the city of Cairo into a high energy discharge system with boundaries dictated by a poetic physics of transmission, where human actors play the role of inert conduits charged by abstract, external forces of zeal and fury. Electric currents pulse through roughly ten thousand hand-embroidered LED lights, pumped by fifteen ...

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Khaled Takreti: Modern Life

Syrian artist Khaled Takreti has spent the greater part of his twenty-year career exploring a personal history that stretches between Beirut, where he was born in 1964; Damascus, where he lived before moving to the United States in his early thirties; and Paris, where he has resided since 2004. The episodic nature of the painter’s oeuvre dates back to the 1990s, when he began to address self-reflexive themes through autobiographical composites. The culled figures of his canvases are based on his family ...

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Samih al-Qasim: The Last Train

[The late Palestinian poet, Samih al-Qasim, was also a talented essayist, writing regularly in the Arabic-language press of Palestine/Israel. He was also a compelling orator and correspondent. The collection of his letters with Mahmoud Darwish is a uniquely great accomplishment of modern epistolary literature. Al-Qasim's correspondence with Rashid Hussein is slim by comparison, yet this 1990 "letter"—addressed on the thirteenth anniversary of Hussein's tragic death—stands out.] Rashid, my ...

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ABOUNADDARA’s Take on Images in the Syrian Revolution: A Conversation between Charif Kiwan and Akram Zaatari (Part Two)

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Revolutionary Street Art: Complicating the Discourse

The graffiti and street art of revolutionary Egypt have been researched many times over by now. Journalists and scholars have explored the phenomenon in its many aspects—as evolving visual text, as political rhetoric and as an act of protest in its own right. The claims about the protest street art and graffiti that have proliferated across public Egyptian walls since 2011 have been many, and include: the spread of revolutionary graffiti in Egypt was a sign and act of citizens reclaiming public space ...

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Call for Submissions: Rhonda A. Saad Prize for Best Graduate Paper in Modern and Contemporary Arab Art

Rhonda A. Saad Prize for Best Graduate Paper in Modern and Contemporary Arab Art Submission Deadline: 1 December 2014 Description The Association of Modern and Conctmporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey (AMCA) is currently accepting submissions for the 2015 Rhonda A. Saad Prize for Best Graduate Paper in Modern and Contemporary Arab Art. In its fourth year, the award aims to recognize and promote excellence in the field of modern and contemporary Arab art. The prize is offered to a graduate ...

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Call for Artists: International Juried Exhibition—Focus Iran: Contemporary Photography and Video (Deadline: 21 September 2014)

For Immediate Release Contact: Sasha Ali | Exhibitions Manager pr@cafam.org | 323.937.4230 x25 Call for Artists: International Juried Exhibition—Focus Iran: Contemporary Photography and Video LOS ANGELES — The Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) and Farhang Foundation announce a collaboration for a juried exhibition of contemporary photography and video works relating to Iranian culture and heritage. The exhibition Focus Iran: Contemporary Photography and Video is an opportunity to expose and feature ...

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ملف من الأرشيف: محمد شكري

["ملف من الأرشيف" هي سلسة تقوم "جدلية" بنشرها بالعربية والإنجليزية بالتعاون مع جريدة ”السفير“ اللبنانية. الملفات لشخصيات أيقونية تركت أثراً عميقاً في الحقل السياسي والثقافي في العالم العربي.]           الاسم: محمد شكري الشهرة: الشحرور الأبيض تاريخ الولادة: ١٩٣٥  مكان الولادة: قرية بني شيكر في محافظة الناظور شمال المغرب الجنسية: مغربي المهنة : أديب

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Studio Visit with Doa Aly

Doa Aly May 2014 Cairo, Egypt   In May, Egyptian artist Doa Aly opened her Cairo studio to the crews of Medrar.TV and Vernissage TV for a day. Aly shared with us her artistic processes and how her interests have developed since her first painting show in 2002 to her more recent drawings and performance videos. Much of Aly's work is inspired by her interest in aberrations of the human form, archaic literature, and classical dance. She often uses an interdisciplinary ...

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New Texts Out Now: Anthony Alessandrini, Frantz Fanon and the Future of Cultural Politics

Anthony C. Alessandrini, Frantz Fanon and the Future of Cultural Politics: Finding Something Different. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Anthony Alessandrini (AA): This book started as a way to bring together and expand on a lot of pre-existing work I had been doing on the life and work of Frantz Fanon. As I worked on the book, though, I came to realize that the larger topic I was dealing with was the question of how to address the work of a political ...

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The Wonder Box

The Wonder Box Traveling Peep show  April - May 2014 Cairo Mahatat, a Cairo-based initiative for “community art” and art in public spaces, brought together a group of artists, technologists, architects, musicians, and storytellers to revive the bygone traveling peep show genre in Egypt. “The Wonder Box,” which toured Cairo’s streets this summer and will travel to the Delta region next year, presents the stories of local cab and microbus drivers who are fictionalized to become ...

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It Might Be Too Late To Save Iraq's Christians

It Might Be Too Late To Save Iraq's Christians, Says Author Author of a Booker-nominated novel on the plight of Christians in Iraq, Sinan Antoon says the forced eviction of Mosul’s Christians "was coming" for many years. On his Facebook page at the beginning of the week, novelist and professor Sinan Antoon posted a video of an elderly Christian woman who has been recently forced to leave her house in Mosul by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria for having declined to convert to Islam. In ...

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Anis Sayigh: A Profile from the Archives

[”A Profile from the Archives“ is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally published in Arabic and was translated by Mazen Hakeem.] Name: Anis Last Name: Sayigh Date of Birth: 1931 Date of Death: 2009 Nationality: Lebanese Place of Birth: Tiberias, Palestine Wife’s ...

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