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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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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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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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