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STATUS/الوضع: Issue 4.1 is Live!
Our 4.1 Issue of Status Audio Magazine is live! So much to go through! Click!
STATUS/الوضع: Issue 4.1 is Live!
This issue was curated to locate the voices that speak to communities in flux and see the local for what it is—simultaneously rooted & uprooted.
STATUS/الوضع: Issue 4.1 is Live!
Status does not observe radio silence on Yemen! We constantly speak to Yemeni journalists and activists about conditions in their country

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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What If the Egyptian Protesters Were Democrats?

[Image from unknown archive]

Their recent upheaval would certainly have been different, perhaps dramatically different.  In the past month, the people of Egypt—inspired by the recent democratic revolution in Tunisia and preceding emergent revolutions in Libya, Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen, and Syria—have undertaken a revolt of truly stunning proportions, one that includes men and women from all class strata, religious and ethnic origins, and ideological commitments. They managed to rid themselves of a longstanding and brutal dictator worth over $40 billion and supported by the collective power of the United States, European Union, Israel, and the Arab Gulf States.  Now that two ...

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Morocco on the Eve of the Demonstrations

[Image from the Mouvement du 20 Fevrier Facebook site]

“When I go out in the street, no cares about #feb20, I connect and boom, the revolution is brewing” (Qd je sors ds la rue, no one cares about #feb20, je me connecte et boom c'est la révolution qui couve). The above, tweeted yesterday in the style of much that’s being produced on the internet about the demonstrations on Sunday — a combination of text message French and English (and often transliterated Darija) — is a perfect encapsulation of the immediate situation, at least in Rabat (as I write this, demonstrations have just turned to riots in Tangier, to which I’ll return below). Here, however, on the streets, little is visible, in the air an almost palpable lack of ...

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King Abdullah Announces a Discount for Dictators

[King Abdullah, Image from Unknown Archive]

Two Arab dictators are out of the game, but there are others. Here is a cartoon by Khalil Bendib about possible efforts to accomodate future ex-presidents.  

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The Long Shadow of the 1952 Revolution

[Cover from Ruz al-Yusuf magazine on the 1952 Revolution. From the Bibliotheca Alexandrina's

Almost exactly fifty-nine years ago, on January 26, 1952, downtown Cairo was in flames. Cinemas, department stores, and hotels were set alight by rioters in the streets. The identity of these rioters would become the focus of enormous speculation: Were they revolutionaries who sought the expulsion of British colonial rule from Egypt, or rather, were they counterrevolutionary forces who were giving the then-Egyptian regime or the army a pretext to intervene? Whatever the case, within a matter of six months, that regime – which the vast majority of Egyptians saw as corrupt, unrepresentative, and brutal in its repression of peaceful protest – was overthrown by a cadre of ...

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Imperial Feminism, Islamophobia, and the Egyptian Revolution

[Image from unknown archive]

". . . I’m making this video to give you one simply message: We want to go down to Tahrir Square on January 25. If we still have honor and want to live with dignity on this land, we have to go down on January 25. We’ll go down and demand our rights, our fundamental human rights...The entire government is corrupt—a corrupt president and a corrupt security force…If you stay home, you deserve what will happen to you…and you’ll be guilty, before your nation and your people…Go down to the street, send SMS’s, post it post it on the ‘net. Make people aware…you know your own social circle, your building, your family, your friends, tell them to ...

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From the Blogosphere to the Street: The Role of Social Media in the Egyptian Uprising

[Image from unknown archive]

While the uprising in Egypt caught most observers of the Middle East off guard, it did not come out of the blue. The seeds of this spectacular mobilization had been sown as far back as the early 2000s and had been carefully cultivated by activists from across the political spectrum, many of these working online via Facebook, twitter, and within the Egyptian blogosphere. Working within these media, activists began to forge a new political language, one that cut across the institutional barriers that had until then polarized Egypt’s political terrain, between more Islamicly-oriented currents (most prominent among them, the Muslim Brotherhood) and secular-liberal ones. ...

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Why Egypt's Progressives Win

[Women protesting in Tahrir Square; Image from AP]

On 6 February 2011, Egypt’s hastily appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman invited in the old guard or what we could call the Businessmen’s Wing of the Muslim Brothers into a stately meeting in the polished rosewood Cabinet Chamber of Mubarak’s Presidential Palace. The aim of their tea party was to discuss some kind of accord that would end the national uprising and restore “normalcy.” When news of the meeting broke, expressions of delight and terror tore through the blogosphere. Was the nightmare scenario of both the political left and right about to be realized? Would the US/Israel surrogate Suleiman merge his military-police apparatus with the power of the ...

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State Culture, State Anarchy

[Gaber Asfour Sworn in as Minister of Culture. Image from Alarabiyya]

Mubarak told Christiane Amanpour that Egyptian “culture” was anarchic in nature—and that chaos would break out if he stepped down. So, Egyptians are barbaric and can be tamed only by the strong hand of a loving father—what else is new? This is not just what Lord Cromer used to say, it is exactly what the autumnal patriarch has been saying for twenty years now, channeling the stark (and false) choice once proposed by Matthew Arnold, "culture or anarchy." The slogan analog appeared on signs carried by Mubarak’s goon squads this week: “Thirty years of stability, Nine days of chaos.” While “culture” has little to do with the underlying demands of the people ...

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Impromptu: The Cairo Commune

[Egyptian protester hooked to an IV drip, image from unknown archive]

They fought tooth and nail Wednesday night and defended al-Tahrir Square after a long day during which the last Pharao played his last card by unleashing his hired dogs to attack unarmed protesters who shook the earth in Egypt under his throne. When darkness fell, those heroes persevered despite a rain of rocks, Molotov cocktails and sniper bullets. They barricaded themselves and sealed the entrances to al-Tahrir. Their real barricades, however, were their hearts and spirit and those supporting them. Hundreds were wounded and some lost their lives. Their spirits were hovering over al-Tahrir, waiting and looking down at their comrades who were determined to defend the ...

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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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A Word on Africa: Djibouti

“Arab world unrest reaches Horn of Africa” was how the Israeli website Ynet led off its coverage of the demonstrations that began in Djibouti yesterday. On Friday, thousands of protesters — 6,000, according to the Independent, in a country with a population of less than a million people — demanded the resignation of President Ismail Omar Guelleh, among other political reforms. Authorities used batons and fired tear gas grenades at demonstrators; by the end of the day, according to official reports, one ...

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Iraq and Its Tahrir Square

[This article is a slightly updated and edited translation of the original Arabic version that was posted on Jadaliyya and can be found here.] Iraq’s absence from the “Egypt Today, Tomorrow the World” map, published a week after the massive demonstration in Egypt on January 25th and which included the dates of planned demonstrations in different Arab capitals, was striking. The absence was not limited to the dates listed. Iraq as a country was not included. It is as if the absence of protests indicated ...

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Iranians In Solidarity with Egyptians and Tunisians Need Your Support, Now

While celebrating the exhilarating achievements of the popular democratic uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, I have also been consumed with a restless hope and deepening concern for Iranians with parallel dreams of realizing a free and democratic society. Iranian pro-democracy activists and opposition figures Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi have called for peaceful rallies across the country today, on the 25th of Bahman (February 14), to express solidarity for the spreading democratic movements in ...

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Egypt's Revolution 2.0: The Facebook Factor

The call for a Day of Rage on January 25, 2011 that ignited the Egyptian revolution originated from a Facebook page. Many have since asked: Is this a “Facebook Revolution?”  It is high time to put this question to rest and insist that political and social movements belong to people and not to communication tools and technologies. Facebook, like cell phones, the internet, and twitter, do not have agency, a moral universe, and are not predisposed to any particular ideological or political orientation. ...

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New word added to Oxford Dictionary: Mubarak (v.): To stick something, or to glue something

[Circulating in the Egyptian Public Space] New word added to Oxford Dictionary:  Mubarak (v.): To stick something, or to glue something.  Example: “I will punch you and mubarak you to the wall”; or “You can mubarak the pieces to hold them together”.     لوحات طريفة يحملها المعتصمون في ميدان التحرير  إمشي بقى إيدي وجعتني! إمشي بقى مراتي وحشتني! إمشي بقى عايز أروح أحلق! إمشي بقى عايز أدخل الحمام!   أحد المعتصمين وقف وقد خلع قميصه وكتب على ظهره: "يسقط ...

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Non-Negotiable

The naysayers who had been suggesting (or, in some cases, hoping) that the protests in Egypt were running out of steam have been proven wrong, once again, by the Egyptian people. By some accounts, the crowds in Midan Tahrir today were the largest yet — “hundreds of thousands,” according to the Guardian’s live reports — and many of those protesting today were coming out onto the streets for the first time. As I write this, protests continue in front of the Parliament building, with the possibility of a ...

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Revolutionary Contagion: Morocco and a Plea for Specificity

Since January 15th, media discourse on the Arab world has almost uniformly coalesced around a single term, “contagion.” This is a telling semantic choice given the word’s broader associations with disease; a synonym for “infection” or “contamination,” it carries rhetorical connotations that are hardly subtle. The Wall Street Journal has analyzed Egypt’s “contagion risk” (Feb. 1st) and in the past two and a half weeks The New York Times has published at least half a dozen articles on the topic, with the ...

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Looking to Egypt, Again

I grew up hearing about Egypt.  The Egypt of those stories, woven inextricably into the memories of my father and his brothers and sisters, was always one of strength, inspiration, beauty and steadfastness. It was the Egypt of Nasser and Um Kulthoum, of Arab Nationalism and of the Bandung Conference. It was the Egypt of solidarity with Palestine. As a child in Beirut, that place seemed as close as the catch in my father’s voice when he would talk about hearing Nasser on the radio. As I grew older, I ...

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Everything Is Illuminated

Everything is exposed. Every crack is showing. Protesters throughout Egypt have put their bodies on the line day after day, their vulnerable, breakable bodies, and with their bodies, they have forced, each day, a bit more of the story to become illuminated. Anyone familiar with the combination of brutality and tactical expertise possessed by the Mubarak regime could not have been surprised by the savage strategy that has been aimed at unarmed protesters in Cairo and throughout the country over the past ...

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Jadaliyya’s Culture page is an open space for creative, original and creative texts about culture(s). Jadaliyya understanding of culture encompasses the production and dissemination of meanings in all sites, contexts and in a variety of media and genres.

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