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Iraq

Beyond Authenticity: ISIS and the Islamic Legal Tradition

The Atlantic thinks ISIS is Islamic. President Obama and countless others disagree. As the debate rages on with no shortage of interlocutors, one must stop to ask, what is the utility of making such pronouncements? Is the simple binary of whether ISIS is Islamic or not an effective way to discuss and understand the various questions at stake concerning the Islamic tradition, its authenticity, continuity and change? In response to this basic question, Muslims globally have gone on the defensive, denying any relationship between the religion and the group. Whether it be the eighteen-page open letter issued by prominent Muslim clerics globally, the statement of the twelve ...

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Jadaliyya Co-Editor Sinan Antoon Reading and Book Signing (24 February, London)

[The cover of The Corpse Washer. Image from Yale University Press]

In Conversation: Sinan Antoon Winner of 2014 Saif Ghoibash Prize for Arabic literary Translation for The Corpse Washer 6:30-9:00 pm Waterstone’s Picadilly (4th Floor), 203/206 Picadilly, London W1J 9HD Sinan Antoon will be in conversation with Paul Blezard, from the judging panel. The event will also feature: * A reading from the novel, The Corpse Washer, a Q&A, followed by book signing and a reception *  Special performance by virtuoso oud player Khyam Allami. * This is a free event, but please reserve your place by e-mailing: picadilly@waterstones.com For more details click here.

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Manufacturing Silence: On Jordan's ISIS War, Arab Authoritarianism, and US Empire

[Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircrafts fly alongside a US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft while waiting to connect for fuel over Jordan on 19 October 2009.]

On 24 December 2014, ISIS reported and the US-led coalition confirmed that a Jordanian fighter pilot, Mu‘ath al-Kassasbeh, had crashed in Syria and was now in ISIS custody. On 3 February 2015, ISIS released a video showing its own members murdering the pilot by immolation. The Jordanian regime vowed revenge. Some Jordanians took to the streets in grief and anger. The Jordanian Armed Forces, for its part, intensified its bombing campaign in Syria. Media outlets and Middle East analysts have expended considerable energy assessing whether and how Jordan’s war on ISIS in the aftermath of the Kassasbeh capture and death represents a game changer. It is difficult to find a ...

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الأقلام: ذاكرة أخرى لثقافة في العراق

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ترى كم تاريخٍاً للثقافة في العراق "وهل العراق بدع من البلدان ليكون له تواريخ ثقافية عديدة!؟" شخصياً لا أدري؛ مادام أن للثقافة تاريخياً شخصياً: تاريخ أفراد بعينهم، كثيرون يعضون على نواجذهم قائلين، لأنفسهم ربما، أن الثقافة شان ذاتي، بول ريكور، مثلاً، يشدد في مدونته الكبرى، أن الذاكرة شان السرد، إنما تتعلق بذات تتكلم وتتذكر وتحكي، لكنه لم يقل مطلقاً: اننا أمام طوفان من التواريخ، لكني أرى، للأسف، ان الثقافة ربما تكون سجلاً ضخماً يشكل، بمجموعه، طوفاناً من التواريخ الشخصية للمثقفين في العراق. أتصور أننا، هنا، إزاء سيل عارم من الأمزجة والمصائر الشخصية التي تدعي، بحق أو سواه، أنها بصدد إنتاج الثقافة في بلادنا. السنوات السالفة، بدء من 9، 4 تكشف عن ترسخ هكذا توجه؛ ...

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مجانين بغداد يروون سيرتها

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لا تختلف قصص فقدان العقل في العراق عن مثيلاتها في العالم، لها أساطيرها ونجومها اللامعون، ولأبطالها حكايات لا تنتهي. هؤلاء الذين تركتهم عقولهم لتتنزّه في البرازخ الضائعة لفترة طويلة، لهم أسبابهم، والسلطة في العراق - بكلّ أشكالها - عملت على تكوين الصور النمطيّة حولهم. لكن الجنون في العراق تغيّر بين نظامين سياسيين: أحدّهما أمعن في الديكتاتورية حتّى دجَّن مجانينه، والآخر أمعن في الفوضى والخراب حتّى رفضه مجانينه.  ما من خلاص لم يجد الكثير من العراقيين بمواجهة سلطة دكتاتورية عاتيّة مثل نظام صدّام حسين، في التسعينيات على وجه الخصوص، إلا الجنون "خيارا" أخيرا للتمسك بالحياة – ولو بنصف عقل - حتى طفحت العاصمة بمجانينها. فكان أن جنّ المثقفون على تخوت ...

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ISIS in the News: Extensive Media Roundup (November-December 2014)

[Editorial Note: This is not a "Best of," only a roundup of significant pieces. See here for an introduction to this roundup series] English Articles        ISIS threatens the Islmaili capital of Syria (30 October 2014) The fear of ISIS continues to haunt the local residents, especially in Silmiya. Citizens believe the Syrian regime will shelter them from harm Syria: ISIS Tortured Kobani Child Hostages (4 November 2014) According to Human Rights Watch, “Kurdish children from the Syrian city of Kobani (or Ain al-`Arab in Arabic) were tortured and abused while detained by Islamic State (also known as ISIS).”  ISIS ...

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Jabra Ibrahim Jabra: Ramparts

[Image of Jabra Ibrahim Jabra from al-Quds al-Arabi]

Beneath the walls, walls. And beneath them, walls. Ur, Jericho, Ninevah, Nimrud— On the debris where the sighs of lovers went to die Where chattered then vanished the teeth of captives, stripped bare There, now are hills that bloom each spring Now home to crickets and ants, Refuge to sparrows in the late morning Feeling the last traces of the evening dew Through tattered feathers Beneath their tails lies a head Before which millions once kneeled Which ladies’ hands once anointed with perfume. Hide the laments of your heart in light song. You son has come to stay in the valley. Then to wander through the wilderness Where ladies, wrapped in ...

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Jadaliyya Co-Editor Sinan Antoon Wins 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize

[Cover of

[Jadaliyya co-editor Sinan Antoon wins the 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for The Corpse Washer. Here are excerpts from the press release] The 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation was awarded to Sinan Antoon, for his translation of his own novel The Corpse Washer, published by Yale University Press. It is the first time the award goes to a self-translated text. Paula Haydar is highly commended for her translation of June Rain, by Jabbour Douaihy, published by Bloomsbury Qatar Publishing Foundation. The judging panel comprised literary translator and joint winner of the 2013 Prize Jonathan Wright, translator ...

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هَلْوَسَة

[لوحة للفنانة العراقية ليلى كبة ]

في الوقتِ الذي كانت تسيلُ فيهِ دماءُ الكتابةِ إليكِ على أوراقي .. تكوّنتْ من الريحِ شجرة، قطفتُ صوركِ منها ثماراً... ثم جلستُ في الظلّ كمن ينذر نفسه للعاصفة... بكل ما أُوتي من عاطفة... فانهمرتِ على قلبي بغزارة أمطارٍ جاءت بعد صلاة استسقاء... ما من صوفيٍّ في الأرض تخلّفَ عنها... وتشكّلَ من قناديل السماء طيفكِ في الفضاء،  فتسلّقتُ على ظهور أحلامي لأصفع الوهم بكفّ قبلة الحقيقة! وفي خِضمِّ كلّ ذلك... نَبَتِّ زهرةً في أَقبيةِ ذاكرتي السحيقة... وأنا مُحاطٌ بكِ في اللامكان , خرج صوتكِ من الجدران .. كنتِ تقولين كل الكلماتِ التي أُريدها في وقتٍ واحد&

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Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab: The Balcony of the Nobleman's Daughter

[Image from Raseen.com]

I remember the village winter, where drops of light came sprinkling Through the gaps in the clouds, like melodies Sliding between the strings of an instrument set atremble by the darkness It had sung before--in the morning...why am I being so calculating?...as a child I would simply smile At my nights and days, their exultant boughs thickly laden with houri eye flowers. And we--as our booming grandfather laughed or sang in the shade of the reed pavilion And his tenants waited for “Your bounteous rain, O Lord,” and my brothers in forest haunts Hunted rabbits and butterflies, and Ahmad the caretaker-- We would gaze into the reed pavilion’s tawny reflection in the ...

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Badr Shakir al-Sayyab: Crutch in Hell

[Image of Sayyab, from Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, ed. Majid Salih al-Samara'i]

[This poem is purported to the be the last Sayyab composed during his life. We each translated it independently. Here, we present the two results, side by side. Between them and beyond them somewhere lies the beauty of the original.] 1. A Crutch in Hell I continue to circle Round the millstone of my pain A blindfolded bull, like a stone, how foolish to think it would rise up! While the people march onward to the mountain summits I cannot march—Woe unto me!—on my feet. And my bed is my prison, my coffin, my place of exile unto pain And unto nothingness! And I say: a day will come to me, after several months Or several years of sickness, Or several ...

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مومس السياب وأيامي العمياء

[لوحة للفنان العراقي صدام الجميلي]

هو الشعور ذاته ينتابني عندما أكون أمام طلب أو رغبة في الكتابة عن أسماء خلدت نفسها بنفسها بأعمالها، وهذا ما حدث مع بدر شاكر السياب أيضاً وأنا أحاول جاهدة أن أكتب شهادتي عنه. بعدما كتب الكثيرون وكُتب الكثير عنه ما الذي سأكتبه لم يُكتب وما الذي سأضيفهُ! ورغم ذلك أجد أن ذاكرتي تلحّ علي لأبدأ في نقطة بدأ منها معظم جيلي. لقد فتح جيلي عينيه على قصائد السياب في كتب المناهج المدرسية وكانت أول أبجدياتنا بعد الشعر الجاهلي وعصور ما بعد الإسلام ليكونَ  اسمه إلى جانب أسماء من جيلهِ وعصره. كانت لأنشودة المطر الأولوية في كتبنا، على اختلاف المراحل الدراسية، إذ لم أعد أذكر بالضبط في أية مرحلة بدأنا دراسة الشعر الحر. لكن ما استوقفني وقتها هو قصيدته "المومس العمياء" ابتداء ...

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London Event: Jadaliyya Co-Editor Sinan Antoon Reading and Book Signing (February 24)

In Conversation: Sinan Antoon Winner of 2014 Saif Ghoibash Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for The Corpse Washer Sinan Antoon will be in conversation with Paul Blezard, from the judging panel. The event will also feature: A reading from the novel, The Corpse Washer, a Q&A, followed by book signing and a reception Special performance by virtuoso oud player Khyam Allami. This is a free event, but please reserve your place by e-mailing: ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (21 February)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week.] Chapel Hill Shootings The Race Hate We All Know, Nima Azmi Azmi, former president of the Harvard Muslim Law Students Association, writes for ...

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ISIS Kills Gays: A History of Violence

Hands shove them forward, bound and blindfolded. Then comes the step when the stone beneath them stops and nothing is there. The photographs appall but they have the solidity of things you can see; they suggest but cannot summon the feel of one terrifying lurch in darkness when all that is solid falls away. Death is what happens when you are there, alone, and the world disappears. ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which now styles itself just the Islamic State. Many ...

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Representing Iraq and its Diaspora: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Samir and Sinan Antoon

In this interview, Samir, an Iraqi filmmaker, discusses what has influenced and shaped his aesthetic, spanning from various film techniques to the shifting terrains of Middle East politics. During the interview, Jadaliyya co-editor Sinan Antoon asks Samir to reflect on history and memory in Iraq, examining the ways in which these themes have contributed to representations of Iraq and its diaspora. Samir's latest film, Iraqi Odyssey (2014), has been nominated for the Swiss Film Award.  Please find ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (29 January)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week.] Law From Inside Prison, a Terrorism Suspect Shares His Diary, Scott Shane The New York Times covers a recently published diary of Mohamedou Ould ...

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January Culture Bouquet

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind / If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? — Shelley Even in winter, some flowers will bloom. Their blossoms may be fragile, sad and short-lived, but the strongest of all flowers are those which fight the ice. Each petal reminds us that the dead land is yet not dead, and that dull roots soon will stir with spring rain and with that, memory and desire may mix. Here is a bouquet of long-stem pieces that do not fear the frost.  — Zein El-Amine recounts a ...

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Coming Soon! Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle In Iraq

A subsidiary of the Arab Studies Institute, Tadween Publishing seeks to institutionalize a new form of publishing press by contributing to breaking down barriers and preconceived notions of the publication world. Release Date: Late Spring 2015  E-book: $8.99 Print: $11.99 Book Description:  Collected from dozens of interviews with, and reports from, Iraqi feminists, labor organizers, environmentalists, and protest movement leaders, Against All Odds presents the unique ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (28 December)

 [This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week.] Palestine/Israel Why I Want Obama to Veto Abbas' UN Resolution on Palestine, Ali Abunimah Abunimah, writing for his blog on Electronic ...

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Badr Shakir al-Sayyab: Fifty Years On

The great Iraqi poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab died fifty years ago today, on December 24, 1964. During his short life, Sayyab changed the language and form of Arabic poetry for good: in part, by breaking centuries' old meters and remaking the rhythms of verse; in part, by engaging intensely with a number of traditions and world literatures at the same time; and always, by engaging with the political, cultural and social dynamics of the moment he lived in. During his early years, Sayyab carried on a lively ...

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Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab: The Poem and the Phoenix

From the new room, my bier calls on me to write a poem. So I write what’s in my blood, and I cross out until the unruly idea gives in. My new room is spacious, more spacious than my grave. If fatigue descends over wakefulness, sleep is sweeter— springing up even from eyes of stone, even from the lonely fireplace set up in the far corner. Then the dry, dilapidated bier lifts up its head and gazes at the walls, the ceiling, the mirror, and the vials. How dark the corners are, as earth is ...

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Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab: Three Letters

[Sayyab's correspondence contains some of his most profound statements on poetry, modernity and contemporary politics of the era. Here, we present to you three letters, addressed to Suhayl Idris, Yusuf al-Khal, and Adonis, respectively.] 3/25/1954 To My Brother Dr. Suhayl Idris: Greetings! The letter that you just sent to me has left an indelible impression on my soul. It is yet another witness to the nobility of your soul, the greatness of your heart and the sincerity of your personal pledge to serve ...

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السياب.. جدول النواح

(1) لم أتعرّف على شعر بدر شاكر السياب إلا من باب التدرّب، كنت فتى في الخامسة عشر من عمره يحاول أن يكون ممثلاً مسرحيّاً، ولم يختر مدرّبي على الإلقاء –آنذاك- سوى قصيدة "المومس العمياء" لما تحمله من صعود درامي، وكلمات "أصيلة" بإمكانها مساعدتي على نُطق الأحرف بشكلها الصحيح والرصين، وكنت حينها اقرأ القصيدة وألهج كلماتها من دون فهم شيء، فراح المدرّب يشرح لي ما تحمله من دراما، ولم يبالغ وقتها حين أخبرني بأن هذه القصيدة لا تقلّ أهميّة عن أي نص لشكسبير لما فيها من "هياج" درامي، وجمل ...

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