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Equality-Social Justice

The Light Bulb and the Oak Tree: Politics of Space Meets the Ballot Box

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Browsing the depths of social media for alternative and local takes on politics is not merely a form of procrastination but also, and more so, a great way to learn about unpublished concerns, rumors, and disappointments. And the fact that they are all untamed by political correctness is surely a big plus. Since the 7 June elections that ended the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) thirteen-year-long single party rule in Turkey, I have been heavily involved in such social media digging, mostly on Facebook, which offers more room for local-scale interaction. Following the election, as was the rule for the last couple of elections, my newsfeed and the activist ...

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HDP’nin programina evet diyen muhafazakarlar, kadin, Alevi ve LGBTI’lerle esitlige de evet diyor

[Image via Wikipedia Commons.]

HDP’nin programına evet diyen muhafazakârlar, kadın, Alevi ve LGBTİ’lerle eşitliğe de evet diyor Bu seçimleri değerlendirirken en önce şunu söylemek gerekir: Kazanan her şeyden önce gönüllü müşahitlik yapan, oyları son dakikaya kadar koruyan, halkın iradesi tam olarak sonuçlara yansısın diye uğraşan, tabandan örgütlenmiş, genç ve kadın ağırlıklı sandık hareketleridirz. Seçim sonuçlarına güvenimiz tam, uzun yıllardır ilk kez ana gündem sandık çalmalar değil. Üstelik bu sandık hareketleri ne parayla, ne pulla, ne de ideolojik adanmışlıkla bir arada durdular. Hakiki bir gönüllükle, inançla tabandan demokrasiyi yarattılar. Teşekkür ederiz. İkinci kazanan Kürt halkı. ...

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Sweeping Waste Under the Oriental Rug

[Toxic Waste. Image by drp]

 "Just between you and me shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the Least Developed Countries? […] I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that […] I’ve always thought that countries in Africa are vastly under polluted; their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles."  Lawrence Summers, leaked World Bank memo, 1991. The Trade in Toxic Waste Throughout the 1980s, the cost of hazardous waste disposal within developed countries rose dramatically. Luckily for waste-intensive ...

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Paradigms Lost in Morocco: How Urban Mega-Projects Should Disturb our Understanding of Arab Politics

[A picture of the Casablanca Marina project under construction (2013), and the slums right across it. Image by author.]

When you enter Casablanca by train along the coastal track, you can see the new high-rises of Casablanca Marina appear in the distance. Although still under construction, it has already radically transformed the skyline of Casablanca. The Mrina project is situated just in front of the old medina between the harbor and the magnificent Hassan II Mosque. The medina, the traditional part of the city, with its robust stone walls, its narrow streets, and its numerous small shops, will be hidden from now on behind a new city-panorama of concrete and glass. A new beachfront reaches out to the Atlantic Ocean, and to the rest of the world. It will consist of yachting marinas, ...

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Her Yerdeyiz!

HER YERDEYİZ! 27 Mayıs 2015 Yaşıyorsak ve hala nefes alıyorsak, bilinmelidir ki o güzel çocukların gülen yüzü hürmetinedir!     Herkes biliyor, son iki yıldır artık farklı bir ülkede yaşıyoruz. Havası, suyu,  sesi,  kokusu farklılaştı bu ülkenin. İktidarı, muhalefeti, meslek odası, sendikası, genci, yaşlısı, işçisi, işsizi, Türkü, Kürdü artık farklı… Kabul eden için de etmeyen için de hayat farklılaştı… Bu ülke GEZİ’yi yaşadı. Haziran’ın sıcağını iliklerine akıttı.  Milyonlar şarkılarını dillerinden düşürmeden kararlı ve direngen bir duruşu tarihin içinden geçerek yaşadılar. Cesur yürekli kadınların ve ...

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New Texts Out Now: Olfa Lamloum and Mohamed Ben Zina, Jeunes de Douar Hicher et d’Ettadhamen. Une enquête sociologique

[Cover of Olfa Lamloum and Mohamed Ben Zina,

Olfa Lamloum and Mohamed Ben Zina, dir., Jeunes de Douar Hicher et d’Ettadhamen. Une enquête sociologique. Tunis: Arabesques / International Alert, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): Qu’est-ce qui vous a fait éditer ce livre? Olfa Lamloum (OL) : Le projet de ce livre collectif a été conçu et soutenu dans les différentes phases de sa réalisation par International Alert (IA), une ONG internationale présente dans plus de 25 pays, qui œuvre en faveur de la consolidation de la paix et du soutien aux transitions démocratiques, en produisant des expertises sur les conflits et en appuyant les revendications des sociétés civiles locales.  Présente en Tunisie dès 2012 ...

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Statement on the Anniversary of the Gezi Park Uprising

[This statement was released by the Taksim Gezi Park Association in May 2015.] Gezi Park Is an Indestructible Momumental City Park. Come and Breathe Freely Here As the symbol of the great Uprising of Turkey (2013), Taksim Gezi Park is a city park within the borders of Beyoğlu, a historically cosmopolitan urban district in Istanbul. Located between Taksim Square and Elmadağ, Gezi Park is well known as the first park of the Republican Era. Likewise, Taksim Square, bordering the park on the south side, is the first square that was designed as an open public space. The story of Gezi Park began in ...

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On May Day, We Are in Taksim and We Are Everywhere!

[Image via mustereklerimiz.org]

[This statement, by Müşterekler (Our Commons), was first published in Turkish on 28 April 2015. The original version can be found here. It was translated into English by Cihan Tekay.] We Have Been Here for a Thousand Years! On May Day, We Are in Taksim and We Are Everywhere! Look there, there, under that tree There, under that tree We are the there, rising from nature in that square. Look closely there, at that square, and you will see... Because we have been here for almost a thousand years!  Our voices, which have been bottled up in factories, offices, campuses, and homes, are filling the streets to the brim. Our anger resonates in Soma, Yırca, Akkuyu, ...

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Let Us Make a New Beginning: Speech for the Armenian Genocide Centennial Commemoration in Istanbul

[Commemoration ceremony in Istanbul, 24 April 2014. Photo by Heghnar Watenpaugh.]

[The following is a speech delivered by Heghnar Watenpaugh in Armenian and Turkish on behalf of Project 2015 at a ceremony commemorating the centenary of the Armenian Genocide. The ceremony was held in Taksim Square in Istanbul on 24 April 2015. Project 2015 has been a two-year-long effort to organize members of the Armenian diaspora and others committed to human rights and genocide prevention in the US, Europe, and the Middle East to travel to Turkey to join this centennial commemoration.] Let Us Make a New Beginning: Speech for the Armenian Genocide Centennial Commemoration in Istanbul Heghnar Watenpaugh 24 April 2015 We are here today to mark the one hundredth ...

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الفن الحيّ وفائدته السياسية: مقابلة للوضع بين تانيا الخوري و بسام حداد

تعالج هذه المقابلة مع تانيا الخوري فكرة الفن كسياسة وسيرورة صناعة أدائها المنفرد ومشاريع فنها الحي القائمة على التعاون المشترك تانيا الخوري تانيا الخوري فنانة تعمل في مجال العروض الحية بين مدينتي لندن وبيروت. أعمالها الفردية تعرض في مهرجانات عالمية عديدة وهي ترتكز على الشراكة والتفاعل مع الجمهور وعلى أفكار تتحدى تمركز السلطة  تانيا عضو مؤسس في مجموعة الدكتافون التي تقوم ببحوث عن المكان الفضاءمن أجل خلق عروض حيّة من شأنها أن تفتح نقاشاً في المدينة    

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Those Who Want To Build, Those Who Want To Fight: The World Social Forum with a North African Twist

[Logo of the 2015 World Social Forum. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

Holding the World Social Forum (WSF) in Tunisia, for the second time, is doubly significant. It is right on target, since Tunisians have toppled a neoliberal dictator. It is also a painful reminder of capitalism’s power, as Tunisian neoliberalism (along with the dictator’s entourage) is still intact. Not only are the main contours of Ben Ali’s policies still in place, his top bureaucrats are in command. Moreover, they have come back through elections. Voters replaced them for a secular liberal-Islamic coalition, partially due to worries regarding increasing conservatism and a deteriorating security situation. That coalition was also deeply neoliberal. In short, Tunisians ...

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After the Elections: Solidarities Old and New

[Poster created by the the Palestine Solidarity Committee of South Africa. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

It is no exaggeration to say that some of the most positive assessments of the recent election results in Israel have come from within the Palestine solidarity movement. “Positive” is, of course, not quite the right word, since no one serious about justice in Palestine would suggest that there is any bright side to the fact that Israeli voters rewarded Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party for a campaign that was deeply, viciously, and explicitly racist even by the degraded standards of contemporary Israeli political discourse. That said, there has been a strong sense that Netanyahu’s victory represents a clarifying moment, especially for those viewing the results from ...

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النجاة بمصر – ملاحظات تأسيسية

بين صخب فاسد للسلطوية الجديدة تنتجه دوائر رسمية ونخب اقتصادية ومالية وإعلامية وحزبية تقبل استتباعها للحكم نظير الحماية والعوائد، وبين نزوع البعض داخل الحركة الديمقراطية المصرية إلى التورط في استدعاء سلطوي ومزدوج المعايير لفكرتي المصداقية الأخلاقية والاتساق الفكري على نحو يمارس ديكتاتورية الرأي الواحد باسم الحق ويرتب رفض الاختلاف باسم الحرية ويحدث باسم العدل ضجيجا لا ينتهي من المزايدات فارغة المضمون، تختلط القيم والمبادئ والمفاهيم على الناس وتتداخل مضامينها لتنفر الكثيرين من مواصلة الاهتمام بالشأن العام ...

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Salma Hayek and the Sexist Lebanese Citizenship Law

Last month, Salma Hayek visited Lebanon to promote the world premiere of The Prophet, the new animated film based on the poetry of Khalil Gibran. It was her first ever visit to the country.  The Lebanese greeted her with open arms as a long-lost daughter. The visit culminated with the rumor that Hayek had been offered Lebanese citizenship. The gesture is not surprising in and of itself. Lebanese citizenship is transmitted through paternal blood and Hayek’s paternal Grandfather was Lebanese. But ...

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Between 'Reality' and Memory: An Interview with Palestinian Filmmaker Michel Khleifi

Isis Nusair (IN): How did you start making movies? Michel Khleifi (MK): It happened by chance. There was nothing in our life in Nazareth that would have prepared me to be a filmmaker. The films we saw, like all the children our age in the 1960s, were popular and commercial. This was our only chance to breath in the “Nazarene ghetto.” Closure was imposed on us by the Israeli occupation through its cruel military rule that banned us from leaving Nazareth without permits. The world used to come to us ...

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The Politics of Gendered Violence in Lebanon

Ali al Zein murdered his wife Sara Al-Amin on 18 May 2015. Her murder was shocking in its brutality. It is only one link in a long chain of visible and invisible violence against women in contemporary Lebanon. Structural conditions give birth to this violence. These conditions enshrine the legal impunity and social acceptability of female vulnerability to violence. Amin’s murder is an instance of intimate partner violence, the latest in a spate of wife killing across Lebanon. In addition to ...

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Press Freedom on Trial in Turkey: A Statement from BirGun

[The following statement and call to action was issued by BirGün, an independent left daily newspaper in Turkey that is being prosecuted for covereage of then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan.] On 2 June, a trial will begin in Caglayan Istanbul Second Criminal Court. Baris Ince, the editor-in-chief of the Turkish independent daily newspaper, BirGün, is being sued under Article 229 of the Turkish Criminal Code for “defamation of the President.” The newspaper printed an acrostic ...

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Video: Do Black Lives Matter in Israel?

In this three-minute episode, originally aired on AJ+ Labs, host Dena Takruri explains how thousands of Ethiopian Jews are protesting police brutality and racism in Israel after a video of a police officer beating up an Israeli Ethiopian went viral online.    

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67. Filistin ‘Nakba Gunu’ Etkinlikleri

67. Filistin “Nakba Günü” Etkinlikleri 15 Mayıs 1948; İsrail bağımsızlığının değil Siyonist işgalin yıldönümü 15 Mayıs 1948’de modern tarihin en önemli felaketlerinden biri yaşandı. O gün bir milyona yakın Filistinli, İsrail silahlı güçleri tarafından, tarihsel Filistin’deki evlerinden zorla çıkartıldı ya da kaçmak zorunda kaldı. Bu olayın öncesinde birçok köyde aynı güçler tarafından katliamlar yapılmıştı. Birçok Filistinli terk ettikleri evlerine bir süre sonra dönebileceklerini düşünüyordu. Aradan ...

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AAUP Findings on the Steven Salaita Case

[The following announcement and referenced investigative report on the case of Steven Salaita was issued by the American Association of University Proffessors (AAUP) in April 2015] Today, we are releasing the report of a committee that investigated the case of Steven Salaita (http://www.aaup.org/report/UIUC). The report finds that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) administration and the board of trustees of the University of Illinois violated principles of academic freedom when they ...

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Reflections on Public Spaces in Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary Tunis

Chiara Sebastiani, Una città, una rivoluzione. Tunisi e la riconquista dello spazio pubblico. Cosenza: Luigi Pellegrini Editore, 2014. Collective, Au centre de Tunis: Géographies de l’espace public après une Révolution, available online here. The question of public space has been among the most discussed ones during the short and often tragic season of the so-called "Arab Spring." From Cairo’s Tahrir Square to the streets of Damascus, researchers and commentators have examined the logics of ...

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The Present and Future of Climate Change in Turkey and Beyond: An Interview with Umit Sahin

[In this interview, Dr. Ümit Şahin, an Sabanci University Istanbul Policy Center Senior Scholar and an ecological, anti-nuclear, and human rights activist in Turkey, discusses the politics of climate change in Turkey and the globe. In November 2014, Şahin published a thorough report called “Mapping the Actors of Climate Change Policies in Turkey.” Şahin explicitly states that Turkey’s antidemocratic and neoliberal developmentalist policies are in stark contrast with what is needed to fight climate ...

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The Economy of Mental Health: Inequalities in Access to Care in Morocco

In 2005, Morocco’s Ministry of Health (Ministère de la Santé) carried out its first-ever epidemiological survey of mental illness in the country. As a Bulletin de Santé later reported, the study found that about fifty percent of the population had suffered from at least one minor psychiatric ailment over the course of their lives: … one in two Moroccans presents with at least one significant sign of impaired mental health, regardless of its degree of severity, ranging from a simple nervous tic ...

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Palestine Becomes a State Party to the ICC: An Occasion to Return to the Register of Israel’s Racialized Violence

Today, Palestine will formally become a member of the International Criminal Court. This will give it the authority to refer a situation in its territory for investigation as well as give the Office of the Prosecutor the authority to initiate an investigation based on her discretion (propio motu). When Palestine, or the representatives of a shadow of a state, submitted an application for ad-hoc jurisdiction as well as acceded to the Rome Statute in late December 2014, analysts wrote a flurry of articles ...

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