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Questioning Social Inequality and Difference in the Arab Region
Selected Presentations from ACSS Conference
Sandy Tolan on Music under Occupation
Interviewed by Malihe Razazan

Equality-Social Justice

The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the US

[Image from]

This report, released by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal in September 2015, documents for the first time the widespread and growing suppression of Palestinian human rights advocacy in the United States. Between January 2014 and June 2015, Palestine Legal responded to nearly 300 incidents of suppression; 85% of those incidents targeted students and professors, on a total of more than 65 US college campuses. This trend has significant implications for both the First Amendment and democratic principles like academic freedom, not to mention the mission of higher education to help develop critical thinking. The report outlines the tactics – including ...

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Leila Sansour’s Open Bethlehem: Making Palestine Legible and Bethlehem Accessible

[Leila Sansour/Open Bethlehem]

Open Bethlehem. Directed by Leila Sansour. Palestine, 2014 Towards the end of her new documentary Open Bethlehem (Palestine, 2014), filmmaker Leila Sansour discusses her aim to make Palestine “more important and palatable” to the White House and to US citizens. She stands outside the gated capitol of the United States, knowing that the future of her hometown of Bethlehem is directly connected with policies that are in some ways more significantly determined, not in Ramallah, but in Washington. Sansour’s ambition extends a long lineage of Palestinian documentaries that have appealed for broad international support since the Nakba of 1948. Establishing a place for ...

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Ghaib Tu`ma Farman: The Old Man's Word

[Ghaib Tuma Farman. Image from unknown source]

The Old Man’s Word Ghaib Tu`ma Farman Translated by Khaled Al-Hilli [As a pioneer of contemporary Iraqi fiction, Ghaib Tu`ma Farman (1927-1990) may have been too geographically removed from the literary center to enjoy the critical acclaim offered to authors of his stature. Born in Baghdad 1927, he came of literary age in the 1950’s with the publication of his first short story collection in 1954 and formed friendships with other literary figures of his time such as Fuad al-Takarli and Abd al-Wahhab al-Bayyati. He studied Arabic literature in Cairo and worked for several newspapers and publishing houses in Iraq and Egypt. After a number of perilous encounters with ...

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How Did Social Insurance in Egypt Become a Problem Rather Than a Solution?

[Source: Mustafa al-Sheikh, Al-Wafd, 2010. The umbrella represents government subventions on consumption goods, the door is that of the government and the rain represents prices. Caption: just like subventions, social policies in Egypt, including social insurance, health insurance and assistance measures, hardly protect vulnerable citizens.

On 31 March 2015, Egypt’s Minister of Transitional Justice announced that the committee for legislative reform was working on a draft decision to amend some provisions of the laws currently regulating social insurance. Not much attention was paid to this announcement, in which plenty of other projects were mentioned. Over the past decade, little attention has been paid in general to social insurance in Egypt, despite the significant relationship between its inefficiency and increasing poverty.  Imagine the following scenario: Umm Mohammed’s husband worked as a janitor in a Gulf country. He passes away, leaving behind children who are still at school. The newly ...

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Is the U.S. Left Truly Anti-Zionist?: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation with Ilan Pappe

In this interview with Ilan Pappe, Khalil Bendib asks Pappe about his new book On Palestine, co-authored with Noam Chomsky. Pappe discusses issues debated in the book, spanning from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and the one-state solution to a paradigm shift and discussion of old and new Left perspectives.  Ilan Pappe is chair of the Department of History at the University of Exeter and author of many books on Palestine-Israel, including The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. The interview below includes three parts that you can click on separately. Please find the transcript of the interview below the player. 

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Quick Thoughts: Moe Ali Nayel on Lebanon’s Garbage Crisis and Protest Movement

[Graffiti on the wall erected by Lebanese government around the Office of the Prime Minister to prevent protesters from reaching it. Artists took to spraying, drawing, and painting various artwork critiquing the status quo. In this mural, various political parties are represented as silencing the people. Photo by Joelle Boutros]

[On 22 August 2015, what had in previous weeks been a small protest against the breakdown in garbage collection in Beirut turned into a major anti-corruption demonstration calling for fundamental political and economic change in Lebanon. The protesters have been met with escalating repressive violence, and the movement has thus far caught both coalitions of the severely polarized political establishment by surprise. Jadaliyya asked Moe Ali Nayel, a Beirut-based journalist, to explain the background and current dynamics of the protest movement and the reactions of various groups.] Jadaliyya (J): How and why did Lebanon's "garbage crisis" develop, and why has it ...

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المجاري في مائة عام: تتبع آثار شبكة الصرف الصحي التاريخية لمدينة القاهرة

[الصورة للكاتب ]

مرت بهدوء متوقع في مارس الماضي مئوية مشروع أثر كثيراً على حياة القاهريين، ألا وهو مشروع الصرف الصحي لمدينة القاهرة، والذي تم افتتاحة في 22 مارس 1915. يتتبع هذا المقال المصور شبكة مجاري القاهرة ويلقي الضوء على تاريخها كما يتجول بصرياً بين بقاياها التي ترجع إلى عام 1915. يكشف المشروع الذي خططه وأشرف على تنفيذه المهندس الإنجليزي تشارلز كاركيت جيمس عن عدد من الإشكاليات الهامة لفهم تاريخ القاهرة في عصر الاحتلال البريطاني الرسمي (1882-1923)، فمن ناحية كان إنشاء شبكة الصرف الصحي ضرورة ملحة للحد من تأثير أوبئة الكوليرا التي كانت تفتك بمصر والقاهرة بصفة دورية خلال القرن التاسع عشر وحتى أول القرن العشرين، وبلا شك فقد أثر إنشاء المجاري إيجابياً على صحة القاهريين بشكل عام. ومن ناحية ...

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Quick Thoughts: Hugh Lovatt on Calls for European Union “Differentiation” in Relations with Israel

[On 22 July 2015 the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) issued “EU Differentiation and Israeli Settlements”, a report that called upon the European Union (EU) to take a more robust approach to Israel and foreign institutions implicated in the occupation and specifically Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territories. Jadaliyya asked Hugh Lovatt, Israel/Palestine Project Coordinator at ECFR, to explain the logic behind the report and particularly its calls for sanctions against the Israeli financial sector] Jadaliyya (J): "Differentiation" is perhaps the key concept in the European Council on Foreign Relations’s ...

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'What Does the State Want from Dead Bodies?': Suruç and the History of Unmournability

[Protestors in Istanbul carry coffins of those who died in the suicide bombing in Suruç, 23 July 2015.]

Since 20 July, when a suicide bomber in the town of Suruç killed thirty-two socialist activists on their way to help rebuild Kobanê in northern Syria, Turkey has devolved into a de facto state of emergency. While Turkish police began operations across the country and have arrested approximately one thousand leftist activists and revolutionaries affiliated with the Kurdish movement under the guise of disarming and dismantling ISIS on the domestic front, protests over the Suruç Massacre have been brutally suppressed by the same security forces. At least seven civilians in Turkey have been killed by the police operations and during the protests. The Turkish Armed Forces ...

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Gay Hanging in Iran: Atrocities and Impersonations

[Image shown 17 July 2015 on Gay Star News ]

Everybody on earth knows that a deal on Iran’s nuclear program was announced in mid-July. Everybody also knows that this apparent step toward peace launched a new stage in an old war: of propaganda.Proponents praise the possibility of a historic opening. Opponents—who include Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Republican Party—warn of disaster. Both sides want to expand their constituencies. In Western countries, gay communities—small but politically influential—are more and more the target for just this courtship and recruitment. The right-wing pundit Amir Taheri greeted the nuclear deal with a storm of tweets and screeds condemning it. One ...

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Beirut Event -- Lebanon in the 1940s and 1950s: A Panel Discussion (28 July 2015)

[Beirut Town Hall circa late 1940s. Image from

Join us in Beirut for a panel of presentations dealing with state formation, public institutions, and social mobilizations in the first fifteen years since the formal end of the French of mandate in 1943. This event is the public component of a two-day research workshop on the early independence period of Lebanon. Co-convened by Ziad Abu-Rish and Mona Harb, the workshop brings together fourteen scholars of diverse disciplinary training and topical foci whose research directly addresses the institutional dynmaics of state formation and social mobilizations in Lebanon during the 1943-1958 period. In order to highlight some of the research questions and analytic findings of ...

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


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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LCPS Interviews Jadaliyya Co-Editor Ziad Abu-Rish on Electricity in Early Independence Lebanon

In the following interview with the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS), Jadaliyya Co-Editor Ziad Abu-Rish discusses the history of electricty in Beirut during the early independence period, and some of the legacies and insights of the period. The interview was conducted over email, and first published on the LCPS website. It follows up on an earlier interview on the history of state instutituions in the early independence period. Lebanese Center for Policy ...

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You Have, We Have

For the past several weeks I have sat alone in front of two screens: that of my television following the news, and that of my computer reacting to the news. I have written and drawn my anger, and shared it with friends—both on line and in person. I have gone down to the streets, with thousands of others. Now, at this historical moment of the country’s movements and struggle, I am now part of an “us.” We take back our streets, sea, and forests, and we leave them the walls, the parking meters, ...

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Ekumenopolis ve Otesi: Imre Azem ile bir STATUS/الوضع Soylesisi

Ekümenopolis ve Ötesi: İmre Azem ile bir STATUS/الوضع Söyleşisi Bu röportajda kent antropoloğu Duygu Parmaksızoğlu, Ekümenopolis filminin yönetmeni İmre Azem ile kentsel dönüşüm ve son filmi Yeniden İnşa Çağı konusunda söyleşiyor. Azem bu filminde küresel sermayenin kentleri nasıl şekillendirdiğini ele alıyor. Aşağıdaki röportaj ayrı ayrı dinlenebilir dört parçadan oluşuyor. Ses kaydının dökümü ve İngilizce diline çevirisi aşağıdadır. İmre Azem 1975 yılında İstanbul'da doğdu. 1998'de New Orleans'daki ...

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Turkey's Night of the Firebombs

Across Turkey, coordinated attacks took place on 8 September against offices of the HDP—the People's Democratic Party. The HDP is not, strictly speaking, a Kurdish party—although that is how it is often described in the media. It was formed in 2012 when a group of left-leaning political organizations—all with firm pro-Kurdish views—decided to form an electoral coalition. The similarity with Greece's Syriza would not be unkind. The HDP holds fairly conventional leftist positions—against ...

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The Property Regime: Mecca and the Politics of Redevelopment in Saudi Arabia

The 1990 Gulf War was a watershed in the history of the modern Middle East, one that altered the political economies of the region as well as state-society relations therein. In Saudi Arabia, the anti-regime popular mobilizations that had emerged during the war, coupled with the post-war global economic recession, shaped the ways in which the ruling Al Saud monarchy managed its monopoly on power and economic resources. On the one hand, the rulers adopted multi-pronged strategies of coercion and ...

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Ekin Wan’in bedeninde ifsa olan devlet ya da kadinlar sira bizde

Ekin Wan’ın bedeninde ifşa olan devlet ya da kadınlar sıra bizde Antropolog Veena Das, tüm savaşların ancak özellikle etnik gruplar arası cereyan eden iç savaşların kadın bedeni üzerinde gerçekleştiğini söyler. Ulus devlet ulus kimliğini kurarken cinsiyet kimliklerini de kuran bir yapıdır: yasalar dahil olmak üzere ulusu betimleyen tüm metinler cinsiyetlendirilmiştir ve aynı zamanda milli kadınlık ve milli erkekliği de tanımlar. Polis ve asker milli kimliği korurken aynı zamanda milli kadınlık ve ...

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Has Amnesty International Lost Its Way? A Forensic Analysis of Amnesty’s Reports on Operation Protective Edge (Part 3)

Hamas War Crimes and Violations of International Law The allegation that not just Israel but Hamas as well committed massive war crimes underpins Amnesty’s “balanced” indictment of both sides.  Amnesty’s accusations that Hamas was guilty of  “flagrant violations of international law”—that is, war crimes—fall under two heads: (1) its use of inherently indiscriminate weapons, and (2) its indiscriminate or deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians and civilian objects.  In addition, ...

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Letter from Rojava

[Writer and filmmaker Önder Çakar travelled to Kobanê during the first days of the resistance. First he had to stay for a while in Suruç, where the brutal massacre that killed thirty-three took place a few weeks ago. When he arrived at Kobanê, he was wounded by an ISIS bomb attack and was hospitalized for more than two weeks. When he finally set foot in Rojava, he embarked on establishing a Film Commune along with other filmmakers there. Just two days before the Suruç massacre, he sent a letter ...

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Catismalar arasinda bir akil sagligi denemesi

Çatışmalar arasında bir akıl sağlığı denemesi Bütün barış süreçleri birer mücadele sürecidir. Devletlerin süreçten beklentisi ve örgütlerin beklentisi örtüşmez. Devletler süreç sonunda savaş sonucu kaybettikleri bazı şeyleri geri almak ister. Bunlar hukuğun tekrar devlet elinde tekelleştirilmesi, çoğullaşmış farklı hafıza ve anlatıların tekleşmesi ve sermayeye kapanmış olan coğrafyanın tekinleşerek sermayeye açılmasıdır. Bu açıdan barış süreçleri sadece sermayeci-milliyetçi ya da süreç içerisinde ...

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Attacks against Solidarity with Kobane: The Suruç Massacre of Young Revolutionaries

A suicide attack killed at least thirty young revolutionaries in Suruç in Urfa, the Turkish city near the Syrian border, on 20 July 2015. The attack on the Amara Culture Center, where at least three hundred young people affiliated with the Federation of Socialist Youth Association (SGDF) were staying, was committed just before their departure to Kobane. The young revolutionaries had departed from Kadikoy, Istanbul yesterday, presenting themselves as the children of Gezi, the wave of protests that ...

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Muslims in Quebec, Belonging to an Intercultural Society: An Interview with Charles Taylor

Hicham Tiflati (HT): In my research on identity formation and the sense of belonging of young Muslims in Quebec, I have been finding that most of my participants deny their Quebecness and insist on being only Canadians. However, some of them cannot be anything else but Québécois because of the visible Quebecness in their character. Moreover, most of them are caught between Quebecness and Canadianness. Whether it is true or not, they believe that multicultural English Canada is more compatible with their ...

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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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