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Turkiye'nin Anayasa Referandumu: Elestirel Bir Forum

[Pazar günkü referandumunun içerdiği Anayasa değişiklikleri TBMM'de oylanırken, Ocak 2017, Yıldız Yazıcıoğlu.]

Foruma Giriş Büyük gün yakın. Önümüzdeki Pazar günü Türkiye hükümetinin yapısını baştan aşağı değiştirecek olan anayasa referandumu oylanacak. Önerilen 18 maddeden oluşan bu referandumun esas hedefi yürütme erkini elden geçirmek olup, en dikkat çeken değişim hedefi ise Başbakanlığı tamamıyla yok etmektir. Dolayısıyla Cumhurbaşkanlığı sadece sembolik bir pozisyonda kalmayıp, tam aksine yürütme erkinin tek liderine dönüşecek. Önerilen maddeler kapsamında, Cumhurbaşkanı tek başına bakan, yargıç ve diğer hükümet yetkililerini seçme ve çıkarma hakkı kazanacak. Muhalif siyasetçiler ve gazetecilere göre bu referandum Erdoğan’ın tek adam iktidarını pekiştirmeyi hedefliyor. ...

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Media on Media Roundup (April 4)

[Portrait of Taha Hussein. Wikimedia Commons]

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup discusses several important stories affecting the MENA mediascape. According to CNN and CBS, the recent “electronics ban” by the Trump administration was largely prompted by intel that al-Qaida and ISIS militants are developing ways to plant explosives in electronic devices. VICE Media are looking to expand their website and digital channel to the Middle East, aiming to open approximately fifty new staff positions in Dubai. Suppression of free speech persists, as Lebanese citizen Ahmad Amhaz faces trial following his publication of a Facebook post deemed offensive to members of government and Egyptian author Ahmad Naji ...

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With Muslim Ban, Trump and Bannon Wanted Chaos, but Not Resistance

[Protesters outside the US Embassy in London, 4 February 2017. Photo by Alisdare Hickson, via Flickr]

The Trump executive order that puts into place a series of unconstitutional restrictions on migration of citizens of seven Middle Eastern and African countries is anything but an instance of harried incompetence by an inexperienced White House staff. Rather, it is, like so many other Trump executive orders and presidential memoranda, a malignant, strategic attack on democracy. A closer look at the pre-history and logic of the ban reveals that the Muslim Ban executive order is one among many drastic measures that Trump and his strategists and advisers are deliberately enacting in order to consolidate their power in the face of Trump's lack of electoral mandate. On 7 ...

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New Texts Out Now: Karim Makdisi and Vijay Prashad, eds. Land of Blue Helmets: The United Nations in the Arab World

Karim Makdisi and Vijay Prashad, Land of Blue Helmets: The United Nations in the Arab World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Karim Makdisi (KM): This book was in the pipelines for a very long time! It began with my renewed interest in the politics of the UN following Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon and Israel’s various Gaza wars. Before that I had been working at the UN regional commission for West Asia (ESCWA), based in Beirut. I had an inside view of how the UN was trying to deal with the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, George Bush’s threats to make the UN irrelevant, and most importantly then the ...

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An Open Letter to Kwame Anthony Appiah, President of the Modern Language Association

[Summer art class in an UNRWA school. Image by Kristian Buus.]

The Modern Language Association (MLA) will be voting on a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions at its upcoming convention, to be held 5-8 January 2017 in Philadelphia. The vote represents the culmination of a three-year process that began in 2014. The organizers describe the process in the following way: In Fall 2014, David Lloyd and Rebecca Comay submitted to the Organizing Committee of the Delegate Assembly a resolution and supporting documents calling upon the MLA to endorse the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The resolution was proposed for discussion at the 2015 meeting of the Delegate Assembly. At that same time, two other ...

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Conflict Medicine: A Manifesto

[Palestinian surgeons operating in Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip, July 2014. Image: Ghassan Abu-Sittah.]

Contemporary protracted conflicts across the Middle East have presented health systems and professionals with unprecedented challenges. The objective of this manifesto on conflict medicine is to highlight the need for a better understanding of the different pathways of injury and re-injury within the changing ecology of war. Ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen are taking place in urban settings and result in high casualties among civilians and combatants alike. In fact, the distinction between combatants and civilians is increasingly blurred, making the injuries they suffer similar. In such settings, the delivery of treatment is often partial and ...

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An Emergent Political Icon on the Landscape of Istanbul: The Palace of (In)Justice

[A protest outside the Palace of Justice. Photograph by Ayşe Öncü.]

[A protest outside the Palace of Justice. Photograph by Ayşe Öncü] All the anomalies of authoritarianism in contemporary Turkey seem telescoped, or short circuited in Istanbul’s “Palaces of Justice” (Adalet Sarayı). One of these “palaces” is on the Anatolian side in Kartal, and two in Europe, in Çağlayan and Bakırköy. These are all brand new buildings, inaugurated one after another by the incumbent AKP (Justice and Development Party) during its ten-year tenure in office. Monumental in scale, they have been designed to centralize all thirty-five district courts dispersed in different parts of the city under one roof. And, akin to many attention-grabbing construction ...

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التحريض والإهمال والتواطؤ: كيف وصلنا إلى اغتيال حتّر

[صورة الكاتب الاردني ناهض حتر. المصدر موقع جوجل]

افتتاحية لم يكن أشدنا تشاؤمًا ليتوقع أن نستفيق اليوم على خبر جريمة اغتيال الكاتب ناهض حتّر بإطلاق النار عليه أمام قصر العدل؛ بيت القانون ومخزن «هيبة الدولة» الهشّة. هذه الجريمة جاءت بعد أسابيع من التحريض والتهديد على الكاتب منذ أن شارك على صفحته على الفيسبوك كاريكاتير بعنوان «رب الدواعش»، زُعمت «إساءته للذات الإلهية» بسبب تصويره رؤيةَ أنصار داعش لله، ليتم توقيفه بإيعاز من رئيس الحكومة هاني الملقي، ويبدأ التحقيق معه في الثالث عشر من آب الماضي، ثم يفرج عنه بكفالة بعد أكثر من شهر على اعتقاله. اليوم، إن كانت الدماء قد لطخت يدي القاتل الذي أطلق على ناهض حتّر أربع رصاصات، فأيدي الدولة والمحرضين ليست نظيفة منها. منذ اعتقال حتّر حاولت الدولة «إرضاء الجميع» مصدّرة خطابين ...

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The Anti-Colonial Origins of Humanitarian Intervention: NGOs, Human Rights


The decade-long Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-1989) does not usually figure into conventional narratives of precedents for humanitarian interventions. When the Kremlin opted to dispatch a “limited contingent” of tens of thousands of soldiers to liquidate the erratic leadership of one wing of the ruling People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan and replace it with another wing, it was to protect the prospects for socialism within what Moscow understood as its sphere of influence, not to halt a genocide. This makes the Soviets’ intervention look much more like a repeat of Budapest in 1956 or Prague in 1968: the Soviet Union retained the right to intervene in socialist ...

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Media On Media Roundup (August 12)

[Screenshot of the deleted tweet by Virgin Ticketing Box Office with image of Israeli soldier used in an ad for the Lebanese Army. Photo: Virgin Ticketing Box-Office/Twitter

This week’s Jadaliyya media on media roundup is set against the backdrop of a variety of issues. In Lebanon, an ad celebrating the country’s army was heavily criticized and eventually retracted after it was revealed that the soldier in the image was an Israeli, prompting a quick apology from the company. Elsewhere, Pokemon GO’s popularity has finally reached the point where it has been banned for the first time in a country. Iran issued a ban that outlawed the augmented reality video game. In more progressive news, the International Federation of Journalists reported that Palestine became the first Arab country to sign the Declaration on Media Freedom in the ...

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Arab Studies Institute Announces Release of Gaza in Context Pedagogy Project

Title Page for Gaza in Context

Israel does not have a Hamas problem, it does not have a Gaza problem, it has a Palestine problem. It has been two years since Israel’s most brutal attack on the Palestinian people of Palestine in its history. Despite overwhelming evidence of the disparity of power between Israel and all Palestinians and the aggressiveness of Israel's exercise of its power, including excessive and brutal violence and collective punishment in Gaza in the form of occupation, siege, and frequent military assaults against dense and captive civilian populations, mainstream media and educational materials continue to frame Israel as the victim. This pedagogical project aims to correct the ...

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The Nakba and Anti-Blackness

African asylum seekers on the Egypt/Israel border (credit: Hillel Assaf, Wikimedia commons)

The Nakba marks a momentous rupture in the history of Arab connection to the land of Palestine. The forcible, mass removal of native Palestinians in 1948 thus overwhelms the history, literature, activism, and memory regarding the Palestinian Question. To begin in 1948 is to narrate a story of collective loss, one that gives vivid expression to the collusion of state powers, the asymmetric capacities between industrialized and developing nations, the unyielding sway of nationalism, and to the remarkable expendability of certain human life.  While these expressive lessons are particular to Palestine and Palestinians, they are also plainly unexceptional. The question ...

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Turkey’s Constitutional Referendum: A Roundtable

Roundtable Introduction The day is near. This coming Sunday, 16 April 2017, citizens of Turkey will make their way to the polls to vote on a constitutional referendum that will inexorably alter the Turkish government. The referendum, which consists of eighteen proposed amendments to the Constitution of Turkey, has as its main goal the overhaul of the executive branch; perhaps most drastically, it would do away with the position of prime minister, thereby transforming the presidency from being a ...

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The Policing of the Palestinian Minority in Israel: An International Law Perspective

In January 2017, the Palestinian Member of Knesset (MK), Haneen Zoabi, commissioned a report detailing multilayered omissions by the Israeli police force in combating the increasing crime rates within the Palestinian minority in Israel.[i] While the Israeli police force has prided itself in the last couple of years with halting the overall rate of violent crimes in the country, the report suggests that the police has failed miserably in halting violent crimes within Arab localities. Currently ...

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New Texts Out Now: Helga Tawil-Souri and Dina Matar, eds. Gaza as Metaphor

Helga Tawil-Souri and Dina Matar, editors. Gaza As Metaphor (London: Hurst, 2016).  Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Helga Tawil-Souri and Dina Matar (HTS and DM): During and in the immediate aftermath of the Israeli attacks against Gaza in July 2014, we shared a sense of anger and a responsibility to respond to the ways in which Gaza was a target of both military and representational violence. We were struck by the disconnect between how mainstream media, for example, talked ...

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Sir Nigel Rodley versus Donald Trump on Torture

Donald Trump is a man who defines himself by the number of norms he violates, according to Michael D’Antonio, the author of a biography, The Truth About Trump. “He's always refused to be like other people when it comes to manners and respect for others and loyalty to the truth…He's kind of a barbarian in that way—he gets a thrill out of disturbing other people and proving that he doesn't have to go along with what other people expect.”  One issue most people expect a US president to go along ...

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Making American Torture Great Again

Early on in Donald Trump’s bid to be the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States, he pledged to bring back the waterboard and “a whole lot worse.” (Waterboarding is a torture technique that involves strapping a person to a board and dousing his cloth-covered face with water to cause the sensation of drowning.) Like most of the other Republican contenders who vied for the 2016 nomination (and eleven of the twelve Republican contenders in the 2012 race), Trump ran on promises to ...

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Migrant Worker Repression and Solidarity in Lebanon

In the weeks and months following the al-Qa` bombings that occurred near the Lebanese-Syrian border on 27 June 2016, the Lebanese government has intensified its repressive measures against Syrian refugees. This has taken place in the form of illegal curfews, political hate speech, and arbitrary arrests. In the week following the attacks, checkpoints were established all over the country, mainly targeting Syrian refugees, although other undocumented migrant workers were arrested as well. According to the ...

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Empty Promises? Radical Policy Shift Needed on Refugees and Migrants

On 19 September 2016, the UN General Assembly brought together for the first time all UN Member states to work on a more “coordinated and humane approach” to large movements of refugees and migrants. Described as an “historic opportunity to come up with a blue print for a better international response,” the timing of this high level meeting could not have been better. With millions of refugees and migrants on the move and a deadly epidemic of restrictive migration and asylum policies spreading from ...

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Why the Life of Haytham Matters

Haytham is a war child who lives with his family in Khan Eshieh camp, home to some nine thousand Palestine refugees and one of the most embattled areas of the Syrian capital, Damascus.  His story is increasingly common among UNRWA students in Syria. "I had to escape and hide when rockets fell near the school," he says. "It was horrifying. The fighting intensified and we lived in constant fear of bombing and violence. I studied in a state of high anxiety with the sounds of bullets and ...

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Treating Terrorists

On 15 August 2016, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit the Abs hospital in the Hajjah governorate of northwestern Yemen, killing nineteen people. The hospital, whose GPS coordinates were known by all parties to the conflict, was full of patients and staff at the time of the airstrike. This is the latest in a string of attacks on health facilities run and supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). In the past year, MSF hospitals and supported facilities have been attacked in Afghanistan, Syria and ...

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The Western Sahara and Football: A Path toward Self-Determination?

In April this year, a story appeared on an Algerian football website,  Le Competiteur, noting that the country’s national football team was planning a friendly match against Western Sahara. The question for the article was how Algeria’s regional rival Morocco would respond. Following incomplete decolonization by Spain in 1975, Western Sahara--which borders Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania--was occupied by Morocco and Mauritania despite the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rejecting the ...

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The Gulf Centre for Human Rights' 2015 Report: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation with Kristina Stockwood

In this Quick Thoughts interview for STATUS/الوضع, Nour Joudah speaks with Kristina Stockwood about the Gulf Center for Human Rights' 2015 report entitled "Human Rights Defenders in Prison and in Peril throughout the Gulf and Neighboring Countries." Kristina Stockwood is a human rights advocate who has been Chair of the Advisory Board of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) since 2011. Specialising in support to human rights defenders, women’s rights and freedom of expression, she also ...

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The Nakba Files: An Inaugural Editors' Roundtable

The Nakba continues, and an important site of its persistence is in the law. This was the idea behind The Nakba & The Law project that gave rise to The Nakba & The Law. Below, three of the site’s Editors — Hassan Jabareen, Katherine Franke, and Suhad Bishara — share their thoughts on the Nakba, the law, and what lies in between.    Hassan Jabareen: Jewish Privilege and Palestinian Dispossession Cannot be Separated The Nakba continues to haunt the law in Palestine/Israel in ...

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