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Waiting for Death: I Will Not Carry Flowers to my Grave

[Protesters near the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. Image from AP]

It’s not true that, when Death comes, it will have your eyes! And it’s not at all true that the desire for love resembles the desire for death. It’s not the same moment - maybe those desires are similar in nothingness because both are swimming in dissipation. In love, we merge with the other. In death, we merge with existence and transform from the tangible, the material into an idea. Humans’ ideas have always been nobler than their existence. Otherwise, what’s the meaning of that sacredness surrounding our dead? One of them could have been among us only moments ago; when he disappeared, he became a flash! I won’t say that I am calm now. I am truly silent. I listen to ...

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Two Poems by Rashid Hussein

[1980 Land Day Poster by Abed Abdi. Image from Unknown Archive]

March 30th is Yam al-Ard (Land Day). It marks the general strike and marches organized in Palestinian towns in Israel on that day in 1976 to protest the Israeli government’s expropriation of thousands of dunams of land for “security and settlement purposes.” Six Palestinians were killed in the confrontations. The day and its events marked a turning point in national mobilization and the relationship between Palestinian citizens and the Israeli state. It became an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians everywhere. Rashid Hussein (1936-1977) was born in Musmus, Palestine. He published his first collection in 1957 and established himself as a major Palestinian poet ...

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Elia Suleiman's Time

[Still from Elia Suleiman's film

The Time that Remains [Al-Zaman Al-Baqi]. Written and directed by Elia Suleiman. UK/Italy/Belgium/France, 2009. An early scene in The Time that Remains [Al-Zaman Al-Baqi], Elia Suleiman’s latest film, reveals a great deal. The scene begins with a shot of the harried-looking mayor of Nazareth banging open a door at the end of a long hallway. We have some sense of why he is so harried: we have just watched the car that was driving him to the meeting being repeatedly menaced by a low-flying propeller plane. The airplane sequence has a recognizably Suleimanian feel, racing along somewhere between physical comedy and horror: at one point, the white flag of surrender being ...

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Focus on Freedom: In Solidarity with Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Panahi

In December 2010, a court in the Islamic Republic of Iran sentenced filmmaker Jafar Panahi to six years in prison for collusion against the government. Even after his body is released from prison, the government wants to control his thoughts, his dreams, his words and prevent him from expressing them in cinematic form. The court also banned him from writing scripts, making films, traveling abroad, and speaking with any media for twenty years. “It’s depressing,” said director Martin Scorsese, “to imagine a society with so little faith in its own citizens that it feels compelled to lock up anyone with a contrary opinion. As filmmakers, we all need to stand up for ...

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عصافير العقيد [The Colonel's (Gaber) Asfours]

[Sketch of al-Qadhdhafi. Image from Unknown Archive]

في لحظات احتضار نظامه، وسط الجنون والخراب، لا يبقى من العقيد الليبي سوى صورة المهرّج. مهرّج مغطى بالدم والريش والدولارات، يعيش الوحدة محاطاً ببعض ابنائه، عاجزاً عن التصديق بأن الزمن انقلب به، والهاوية في انتظاره.الاحتضار الدموي الطويل لنظام 'الكتاب الأخضر'، يأتي في سياق ثورة شعبية تجتاح العالم العربي، وتؤسس لشرعية سياسية جديدة، تقطع مع الانقلاب العسكري، ومع نظام الجمهوريات الوراثية، القائم على القمع والنهب والخوف. يستدعي هذا التحول نقداً جذرياً للخيانات الثقافية، التي اتخذت اشكالا مختلفة، في الزمن الانقلابي. الصدمة بدأت بقبول جابر عصفور منصب وزير الثقافة في الحكومة الأخيرة التي شكلها الديكتاتور المصري المخلوع. وانتهت الى اعلان عصفور استقالته 'لأسباب صحية'، بعد ...

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Don't Blame the King for Islamophobia, Blame the Kingdom

[Image from unknown archive]

Peter King and the Homeland Security Committee’s hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims are upon us. Mainstream op-ed pieces have increasingly suggested the "divisiveness" of this New McCarthyism, especially after the Southern Poverty Law Center listed Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s Stop Islamification of America as a hate group and after the Nuremburg-like Tea Bagging of a Yorba Linda Mosque.       Muslim-baiting is not new nor is the strategy to divide and quarantine immigrant communities. Daniel Pipes has long portrayed the Muslim and Arab American communities as a seditious “Danger Within.” Tea-Baggers, pro-Israel ...

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The Peter King "Radicalization of Muslims" Hearing and American Democracy

[Peter King. Image from AP.]

Republicans clearly think that they have found a political winner in Muslim-bashing. Peter King, Republican representative from New York’s Third Congressional District (in Long Island), is the new chair of the House Homeland Security Committee. He was way ahead of the Muslim-bashing curve. Most Republicans didn’t get excited about the possibilities of using an anti-Muslim platform as a wedge issue until 2010, after the wild popularity of the "Obama is a secret Muslim" meme and the meteoric rise of the anti-"Ground Zero Mosque™” and "stop Shariah Law" campaigns – all of which conveniently coincided with the Republican gains in the 2010 election. ...

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Iraq Too?

[An Iraqi waving the Iraqi Flag at Tahrir Square. Image from unknown archive]

Many cast doubts that the lung through which Tunisia breathed freedom could give birth to kindred lungs in Arab lands to the east or west. Even after Egypt shook the earth to dethrone its last Pharaoh, doubts were cast again as to the mobility of the phenomenon. Then came Libya, which is on the verge of casting away its dangerously delusional and brutal despot. Tunisia is everywhere. The spirit of the mythical bird, al-Bouazizi, hovers, together with those of other martyrs, in every Arab sky, from Bahrain to Morocco and from Oman to Amman. They said that the flood would not reach Iraq. Its complex history and disastrous past and present kept it at a significant ...

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The Fabric of Democracy

[Photgraph by Frederic Neema.]

When disturbed, they usually escape by running and rarely take to flight. (The Common Peacock) In Rogues, his 2003 volume on rogue states,[1] Jacques Derrida looked to Plato's Republic in order to assess the Grecian syntagma of democracy as ‘democracy to come.’ Passages from the Republic referring to ‘democratic man and his freedoms’ hold special relevance; Derrida used it to examine the rise of Islamism in Algeria but I would like to focus on the relationship between clothing, democracy and Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s embattled colonel-leader Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi. The Greek origin of aesthetics (aisthētikos) was largely ...

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Bad Faith at the Book Festival

[Logo of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel]

“Everywhere you look the boycott debate is in the news,” Joseph Dana notes in a recent article on his blog. The most prominent example involves British novelist Ian McEwan, who rejected calls to boycott the 2011 Jerusalem Book Festival after being awarded the Jerusalem Prize. Instead, McEwan, in his acceptance speech last week, offered some words of criticism for Israeli policies, including settlements and the siege of Gaza, while simultaneously paying tribute to “the precious tradition of a democracy of ideas in Israel”; he also attended the weekly Sheikh Jarrah protest against settlement building in East Jerusalem. As Dana notes, Italian writer Umberto Eco also ...

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Qaddafi: "Song of the Rain"

[Image design by Ibtisam Barakat]

  This cartoon in Arabic is about Qaddafi's speech last night in response to the Libyan people's revolution which is at its height this week. Amid rumors that he fled to Venezuela and much news that the Libyan people have secured control on many of the cities, to give a speech and claim that he is still in control, Qaddafi appeared in a jeep! He opened the door only to acknowledge that it was raining outside, so he folded back his giant umbrella and decided not to give the speech. And there was absolutely no one to whom he would speak except the man holding the long microphone! The filmed scene of Qaddafi's appearance for the speech was strangely quiet, as though a ...

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The Marriage of Sexism and Islamophobia; Re-Making the News on Egypt

[Online Real Time Sexual Harassment Map of Egypt; Image by Harassmap.org]

I find myself intermittently infuriated and nauseated by the news coverage of the sexual assault on a female CBS reporter in Tahrir Square during the celebrations the day that Husni Mubarak resigned. This coverage has ranged from the disappointing silence of Al-Jazeera to the blatant racism of Fox News. What actually happened that day to Lara Logan, chief foreign correspondent for 60 Minutes, is not yet known and I have no interest in speculating over the lurid details of a sexual and physical assault, particularly while the victim remains in recovery. In this post, I want to focus on how much of the coverage of this “affair” has revealed the ways in which female ...

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The Arab Spring: Two Dictators Down, Twenty To Go

Dictators in Libya, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Jordan, Syria and other Arab countries have resorted to increasingly repressive and brutal tactics to hold on to power. Khalil Bendib's two cartoons succinctly portray the current state of the 'Arab Spring' as well as its future prospects.      

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Narrating the Past, Confronting the Present

The Kingdom of Women: Ein El Hilweh. Directed by Dahna Abourahme. Lebanon, 2010 Could I do today what I was able to do then, questions Nadia, one of the women in Dahna Abourahme’s latest documentary film The Kingdom of Women: Ein El Hilweh. Based on stories of the women of Ein El Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp in South Lebanon, between 1982-4 during the Israeli invasion and the imprisonment of the majority of the male population (those between the ages of 14-60), the film is also a reflection on the ...

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French Wildflowers and Algerian Gangsters: Humanism and Violence at the Movies

Des hommes et des dieux (Of Gods and Men). Written and directed by Xavier Beauvois. France, 2010. Hors la loi (Outside the Law). Written and directed by Rachid Bouchareb. Algeria/Belgium/France, 2010. Recently, two movies have offered Algeria a starring role at the post-colonial box-office. Des hommes et des dieux (Of Gods and Men), which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes film festival and César award for Best Film, is the story of seven Trappist monks who lived in Algeria during the civil-war of the ...

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Mahmoud Darwish: Standing Before the Ruins of Al-Birweh

March 13th is Mahmoud Darwish’s birthday. He departed on August 9th, 2008, but he is seventy today and his poems are t/here for us. Jadaliyya celebrates his presence by publishing this translation.   Standing Before the Ruins of Al-Birweh   Like birds, I tread lightly on the earth’s skin so as not to wake the dead I shut the door to my emotions to become my other I don’t feel that I am a stone sighing as it longs for a cloud Thus I tread as if I am a tourist and a correspondent for ...

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Intervention, Libya, Jadaliyya: A Documentary Remix

The following is an audio-visual documentary remix by VJ Um Amel of "On International Intervention and the Dire Situation in Libya," an article by Asli Bali and Ziad Abu-Rish originally published on Jadaliyya on February 23, 2011. See video below. 

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الخروج من الميدان [Exiting the Square]

لم نكن نسمع بكلمة «ثورة» سوى في الكتب والأفلام. الثورة الفرنسية، الثورة البلشفية، الثورة الإسلامية، الثورة الثقافية، الثورة الكوبية، ثورة الطلبة... كل ثورة كانت تزيد مهابة الكلمة، وتجعلها ـــــ بفضل جسامة أحداثها وعظمة أفكارها، ثم ما آلت إليه مصائرها ــ مشحونةً وملتبسة. وشقّت الكلمة حياةً لها في مخيّلاتنا. كانت الثورة تلوح في أذهاننا كاستدعاءات متخيلة للحظات استثنائية «يكافح» الجميع فيها لـ «صنع التاريخ». لحظات تشبه مرجلاً ضخماً يتضاءل حجمنا بجانبه، وينصهر فيه الجميع. لذلك، كنا في حيرة ونحن نضع الكلمة ...

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"The Poetry of Revolt" by Elliott Colla Nominated for Award - Vote Now!

We are very excited that Elliott Colla's article, "The Poetry of Revolt," (published by Jadaliyya on January 31, 2011), has just been nominated for the Three Quarks Daily Prize in Arts and Literature. Show your support of Elliott Colla's piece and Jadaliyya by participating in the public voting for "Best Blog or E-zine Writing on Arts and Literature." Public voting will narrow the list of nominees down to the top-twenty, from which the editors of Three Quarks Daily will select the ...

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And the Late Night Comedians Shall Lead Us

For those of you lucky readers who are able to access Al Jazeera or Al Arabiya on your televisions, you can stop reading now. This is for those of us, in the US, who either have to sleep with our laptops streaming the “real” news or who, for fear that our batteries may die, have to set our cell phone alarm clocks to wake up at 3:00 a.m. to watch reporting of a firefight in Benghazi or the de-powerification of another corrupt politician in (pick one) Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain ...

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من يخاف من أحلام جعفر بناهي؟ [Who is Afraid of Jafar Panahi's Dreams?]

 ست سنوات سجن وعدم مزاولة الإخراج لعشرين عاماً وعدم الاتصال بالصحفين هي بعض الأحكام الصادرة بحق المخرج الإيراني جعفر بناهي (ت. 1960) ومجموعة من زملاءه عن محكمة إيرانية في العشرين من ديسمبر الماضي. والتهمة المساقة هي تشويه صورة إيران والقيام بدعاية مغرضة ضد النظام. نظام يبدو أنه أفلس إلى هذه الدرجة فأصبح يخاف من أفلام بناهي التي تتناول بالدرجة الاولى قضايا إجتماعية. وكأن هذا النظام يريد أن يطلق رصاصة تغتال أحلام جعفر بناهي، الأحلام المستوحاة من الواقع، كما يقول في الرسالة التي وجهها إلى مهرجان ...

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Map of Libya According to Qaddafi Imagi-Nation

[This cartoon was prepared after Qaddafi's third speech on February 25, in which he equated Libya with himself . . . ]

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Egypt: A Multi-Generational Revolt

In the mainstream Western and Arab media, Egypt’s revolution is often presented as a revolution of the youth. While it is true that young activists planned the January 25th demonstrations and organized and raised support throughout much of the process leading up to that day, this uprising would not have succeeded in ousting the President and Cabinet, and would not be continuing, were it not for older generations of Egyptians. Many of us living in Egypt during the first massive demonstrations ...

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How Egyptian Women Took Back the Street Between Two “Black Wednesdays”: A First Person Account

On February 16, Roger Ebert, an American film critic and commentator, tweeted: "The attack on Lara Logan brings Middle East attitudes toward women into sad focus." While the attack on CBS News correspondent Lara Logan was a tragic and upsetting event, it needs to be understood in its political context. Any attempt to propound this in such familiar orientalist terms would be offensive and unfair, not only to Egyptians protesting for democracy, but to Logan herself. She was not attacked as a ...

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