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Composer Maurice Louca on Salute the Parrot

Composer and musician Maurice Louca is an exciting and distinct voice coming out of Cairo, Egypt. Having been part of numerous bands over the past decade including: Bikya, Alif Ensemble and Dwarfs of East Agouza, in addition to his solo compositions (Garraya, 2011), he has made a name for himself locally and internationally. In November 2014, Louca released his second solo album, titled 'Salute the Parrot'. As he explains in this interview with musician and critic Rami Abadir, Louca developed the project following a non-conventional approach of live performance and improvisation with carefully composed sets that were recorded over and over in a studio over the past three ...

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January Culture Bouquet

[Painting by Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, image from Najeeb Farraj, www.blog.amin.org]

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind / If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? — Shelley Even in winter, some flowers will bloom. Their blossoms may be fragile, sad and short-lived, but the strongest of all flowers are those which fight the ice. Each petal reminds us that the dead land is yet not dead, and that dull roots soon will stir with spring rain and with that, memory and desire may mix. Here is a bouquet of long-stem pieces that do not fear the frost.  — Zein El-Amine recounts a distant evening of television watching, fueled by zajal and arak.  — Maymanah Farhat explores the sculpture of Sahand Hesamiyan.  — Mona Abaza reports on the ...

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Jabra Ibrahim Jabra: Ramparts

[Image of Jabra Ibrahim Jabra from al-Quds al-Arabi]

Beneath the walls, walls. And beneath them, walls. Ur, Jericho, Ninevah, Nimrud— On the debris where the sighs of lovers went to die Where chattered then vanished the teeth of captives, stripped bare There, now are hills that bloom each spring Now home to crickets and ants, Refuge to sparrows in the late morning Feeling the last traces of the evening dew Through tattered feathers Beneath their tails lies a head Before which millions once kneeled Which ladies’ hands once anointed with perfume. Hide the laments of your heart in light song. You son has come to stay in the valley. Then to wander through the wilderness Where ladies, wrapped in ...

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‘A Distinctly French Universalism’: Translating Laïcité after Charlie

[The Grande Mosquée de Paris. Photo by Arthur Asseraf.]

Mayanthi L. Fernando, The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. Naomi Davidson. Only Muslim: Embodying Islam in Twentieth-Century France. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012. Joan Wallach Scott. The Politics of the Veil. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007. It was impossible to avoid the discussion, despite my repeated protests. In Lyon, as in the rest of France, there was nothing else to talk about—especially when I found myself seated across from a colleague who teaches at an international lycée, the crucible of Republican education. He was visibly emotional as he said: “I told my ...

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Rap as Activism in Morocco: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Mouad Belghouate (El-Haqed) and Samia Errazzouki

In this interview, Mouad Belghouate, who also goes by El-Haqed, discusses his work as both a rapper and activist in the Febraury 20th Movement in Morocco. Samia Errazouki asks Mouad to reflect on his time in prison, his relationship with other prisoners, and the growth of the rap industry in Morocco.  Please find the English transcript of the interview below the player, where you can listen to the interview in Arabic. The interview includes four parts that you can click on separately. Mouad Belghouate (El-Haqed) is a Moroccan rapper and activist involved with the February 20th Movement. From Casablanca, Mouad began writing and performing his songs during protests ...

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Jadaliyya Co-Editor Sinan Antoon Wins 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize

[Cover of

[Jadaliyya co-editor Sinan Antoon wins the 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for The Corpse Washer. Here are excerpts from the press release] The 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation was awarded to Sinan Antoon, for his translation of his own novel The Corpse Washer, published by Yale University Press. It is the first time the award goes to a self-translated text. Paula Haydar is highly commended for her translation of June Rain, by Jabbour Douaihy, published by Bloomsbury Qatar Publishing Foundation. The judging panel comprised literary translator and joint winner of the 2013 Prize Jonathan Wright, translator ...

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عمر» لهاني أبو أسعد: قوة السينما من دون تابوهات»

يُشكّل «عمر» (2013)، الفيلم الجديد للمخرج الفلسطيني هاني أبو أسعد، لحظة سينمائية متفرّدة بحدّ ذاتها في المشهد السينمائي الفلسطيني العربي. لحظة متفرّدة، لأنه يُساهم في تفعيل آلية اشتغال سينمائيّ فلسطيني متحرّر من سطوة التقاليد الصارمة في مقاربة الموضوع الفلسطيني، ومتفلّت من خطابية تُسيء إلى «القضية» وناسها أكثر مما تفيدهم. لحظة متفرّدة، لأنه يغوص في تمزّقات الفرد، ويتيح لهذا الفرد إمكانية قول انفعال، والتعبير عن موقف أو حالة، كجزء من بلد ومجتمع وناس، لكن أولاً وأساساً كفرد له استقلاليته التامة وسط هذه الجماعة نفسها. لحظة متفرّدة، لأنه مبني على نص سينمائي متماسك البنية الدرامية والجمالية، وعلى حوارات «عفوية» مأخوذة من واقع الحال اليومي، وعلى هذا المزيج الهادئ والمضطرب في ...

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Rana Hamadeh: Alien Encounters

“And Before It Falls, It Is Only Reasonable to Enjoy Life a Little” is one of several episodes making up Rana Hamadeh’s long-term research project “Alien Encounters”. “Alien Encounters” was initially inspired by Sun Ra's 1974 film ‘Space is the Place’, which proposes an African-American exodus towards outer space in response to racial injustice. It came to life with the beginning of the Arab revolutions, and contemplates the notion of 'alien-ness': the outcast with regards to the law versus the extraterrestrial by bringing together elements, from science fiction film and literature, contemporary migration, capital flows, colonial legacies, mining and transport histories, ...

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Charlie Hebdo et les limites de la République

[Une manifestation après les attentats à Paris. Image par canal6hn/Flickr]

Tout de suite après le massacre aux bureaux de Charlie Hebdo, les commentateurs se sont émus d’une attaque sur « l’Occident et la démocratie » « les valeurs fondamentales de la République française. » Ces valeurs « républicaines » sont invoquées avec unanimité, sans débat, comme si elles étaient d’une origine parfaitement pure. Mieux, les requêtes se multiplient pour exiger des musulmans qu’ils démontrent qu’ils partagent les valeurs sacrées de la laïcité et de la liberté d’expression. Par une ironie dévastatrice, on exige que les musulmans prouvent leur allégeance à des valeurs qui ont historiquement été construites pour les ...

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Khalvat: Towards Meaning

[Sahand Hesamiyan's Khalvat (metal prototype) (2014). Image copyright the artist. Courtesy of The Third Line gallery, Dubai.

Sahand Hesamiyan’s Khalvat (2014) resembles a futuristic vessel. Composed of a circular shell, the thin ribs that begin at the work’s oculus create a sense of propulsion as they extend into narrow piers. With triangular pieces adjoined to its lattice frame at forty-five degree angles, the projectile sculpture appears to spin in space, defying the spatial and temporal limitations of a stationary object. In several recent works, Hesamiyan selects an element of Islamic architecture then reconfigures its traditional design in order to broaden its function—a process that allows him to identify the conceptual potential of a given motif. Khalvat represents a ‘hidden, private ...

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Gheith Al-Amine: Artist, Musician and Radio Host

Lebanese artist, musician, filmmaker and radio presenter Gheith Al-Amine takes us on a tour of his home-studio in Beirut, Lebanon. He talks about his latest video work which was shown at the 2014 Berlinale. It is a performative audio-visual tribute to Egyptian composer and singer Sheikh Imam, performed with a piano-forte, a smartphone, an old bulb TV, and a few lines written on two masking-tape strips, and is shot in one continuous sequence. Al-Amine also explains the vision for his daily Jazz program on the Lebanese Radio Service and shows us his unique collection of music instruments and some of his earlier projects. Amira El Masry translated the interview to ...

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Mona Marzouk’s ‘Trayvon’ Takes Inspiration from Egyptian Courtrooms

“Trayvon”, a solo show by Alexandrian artist Mona Marzouk, takes its name from the much publicized Trayvon Martin case. But the inspiration for the new painting series was Egyptian courtrooms, the roles they have played over the past four years in supposedly “upholding” justice and their representation in local media. Marzouk was interested in exploring courtrooms as a “psychological space, as a space of argumentation, and as a problematic” and embarked on extensive research in the history of courtrooms and contemporary trials and problems both in Egypt and other parts of the world. Her research resulted in this new series of paintings, shown at Gypsum Gallery in ...

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STATUS/الوضع: Episode -3

Status is an evolving, critical, collaborative, and independent monthly Audio Journal combining analysis, reporting, and satire. It will feature interviews/conversations, on-the-scene reports, reviews, informed commentary, and readings. Interviews from the region and beyond feature activists, journalists, scholars, and citizens. With every Status Audio Journal issue, there will be an accompanying Status Hour show hosted by Bassam Haddad and Sinan Antoon. In this first Status Hour show, Bassam and ...

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Zajal on Arak

I remember when electricity came to my village. I must have been about seven or eight.  The government installed a transformer in the village center. The thing was housed in a metal locker. The villagers called it ‘The Clock.’  At first, The Clock was a thing of contention. It was installed in the winter and was prone to overloading. Villagers would shout to each other from their warm perches, urging each other to flip the switch so they could enjoy the warm distractions of their new electric ...

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Jabra Ibrahim Jabra: Jerusalem, Time Embodied

[This translation is an excerpt of Jabra Ibrahim Jabra’s twenty-page essay, “Jerusalem: Time Embodied.” It was published by the Modern Library (al-Maktaba al-‘Asriya) press in Beirut in 1967 in a collection of his literary and social criticism entitled, The Eighth Journey. Jabra wrote these recollections of his childhood in Jerusalem before the 1967 war when what we now call East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel. Until Israel captured these neighborhoods (along with the West Bank and Gaza) during ...

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مجلة الدراسات الفلسطينية العدد 101: تطورات القدس ومسألة السلفية الجهادية

صدر العدد 101 (شتاء 2015) من مجلة الدراسات الفلسطينية متضمناً عدداً من المقالات والدراسات والشهادات والتحقيقات، وتناول بشكل خاص التطورات في القدس، في مقالة في باب "مداخل"، لنظمي الجعبة، وتحدث فيها عن استيطان القدس، بعنوان: "استيطان القدس: تنفيذ خطط قديمة"، وتحقيق لعبدالرؤوف أرناؤوط بعنوان: "القدس: هبّة شعبية بلا قيادة" جال فيه على التطورات التي حدثت في القدس في نهاية العام المنصرم. كما توقف  أمل جمال في باب "مداخل" أمام قانون الدولة القومية اليهودية، تحت ...

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الجسد والسلطة في السينما

لا ينج الحديث عن الثقافة والأدب والفنون، باعتبارهم "تعابير" ثقافية عن مجتمعاتها من سؤال "الجسد"، فإذا كان الفن يُنظر إليه "على أنه مرآة للقدرات البشرية في مرحلة تاريخية معينة، بوصفه الشكل المتفوق الذي تُعرف فيه ثقافة ما عن نفسها"، وجب علينا تناول تمثلات الجسد في كل هذه الأجناس الثقافية، باعتبارها أنماطًا خطابية، تعكس موضعه –الجسد- في الفكر والتعبير، وبالذات في عصر الصورة.  السينما، وهي مجال حديثنا هاهنا، تتأثر –كغيرها من أنماط الخطاب الثقافية- بانعكاسات الأوضاع ...

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Third Eye: Photography

Third eye is a group exhibition, showcasing the work of five upcoming Egyptian photographers. Photographer and curator Hala Elkoussy selected Tasnim Abdelrahman, Amr Adel, Sherifa Hamed, Nadia Mounier and Ziad Hassan to take part in a three-month workshop and the exhibition, hosted by Mashrabia Gallery in December 2014. Their artistic practice exudes with a maturity that is above their years. For all five, the camera is an inseparable companion that bears witness to their experience of the world as it is ...

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From Nadah El Shazly's New Music Album: Ateyaton

Egyptian singer, producer and actress Nadah El Shazly performed parts of her new album in the making at 100Copies Music Space in March. Shazly has a formal education in community psychology and theater, but she has been developing her musical talent since she was a child. She used to sing in her school choir, then as a teenager got more interested in punk rock, jazz, blues and classical Arabic music which she studied at Beit al-Oud in Cairo, until she more recently developed her own ...

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The 25th Youth Salon

The 25th edition of The Youth Salon (Salon of Young Artists) is curated by Egyptian artist Khaled Hafez and showcases over four hundred works at the Cairo Opera House Grounds and Mahmoud Mokhtar Museum in Cairo. The salon is an annual competition and mega exhibition started by the Culture Ministry in 1989 to support and promote experimental work by artists under the age of thirty-five. Three hundred and ten artists were accepted this year from over one thousand applicants. In addition to exhibition ...

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The Worker’s Trap: An Interview with Sara Rahbar

Dirty gold is the color that smothers every surface of Sara Rahbar’s New York City studio. Disembodied casts of the artist’s own anxiously clenched hands and feet are laid out, clinically, on long tables alongside bullet casings, rifle butts, chains, and other found objects. With the same studied intensity that won her the art world’s lofty recognition for her earlier textiles, Rahbar spent the past two years with her ebony hair pulled back out of her face, hunched over these tables, teaching herself how ...

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New Texts Out Now: Hisham Aidi, Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture

Hisham Aidi, Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture. New York: Pantheon, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Hisham Aidi (HA): This book grows out of two experiences. The first: in the early 2000s, I was working as a cultural reporter covering Harlem and the South Bronx, writing about migration, youth culture, and gentrification. Back then, I was also doing some work as a DJ and concert-promoting. Harlem is a cultural cauldron—you have these dizzying flows between ...

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يدي شجرةٌ، فاستظلّ بفيئها

              إنْ أكلتني الرّيحُ ، أصير كثيباً، تمرّين بي كغزال أَحفظُ لدمِها من ذئب الغضا، تلتقط  الكلأ بشفاهٍ ذاهلة عن الكلام. تهبني العتمةُ عينَيْ بومةٍ ترى فأرَ غيابكِ ، فقلبي كفكِّ عجوزٍ، أُسْقِطُه بكأسِ بكاء قبل النّوم ، فلا أجترّ كبقرة حلوبٍ الأحلام. أرفعُ بصمتكِ دخانَ محرقة عن الأشياء، فتخلع النّداء، تدخلُ في الغياب. هذا الفراغ المزيف. قالوا: صدرُه كالتّنور، تُلْقِمُه زهورَها، تُشعل نارَه بعود ثقابٍ حكّته بنهدها، فتخفق النّارُ ...

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Badr Shakir al-Sayyab: Fifty Years On

The great Iraqi poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab died fifty years ago today, on December 24, 1964. During his short life, Sayyab changed the language and form of Arabic poetry for good: in part, by breaking centuries' old meters and remaking the rhythms of verse; in part, by engaging intensely with a number of traditions and world literatures at the same time; and always, by engaging with the political, cultural and social dynamics of the moment he lived in. During his early years, Sayyab carried on a lively ...

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