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Fractured Space: The Case of Souk al-Ahad, Beirut

[Entrance to Souk al-Ahad. Picture by R.Pelgrim]

Beirut’s weekend market Souk al-Ahad attracts about thirty-five thousand visitors a day and has four hundred registered stalls, providing a living to five thousand families. It is located on the eastern edge of the city near its river and a highway (Figure 1). Beyond the physical collection of stalls, vendors, and affordable goods, the Souk is also the locus of a long conflict over land ownership between the Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water and the municipality of neighboring Sin el-Fil. In the case of Souk al-Ahad, “the state” that designates what is legal or illegal is not a unified front. Rather, two public bodies belonging to the state employ the designation of ...

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Do Not Compel Me to Sing

[Still image from

I Left My Shoes in Istanbul, directed by Nigol Bezjian. Lebanon/Turkey, 2013. Nigol Bezjian’s I Left My Shoes in Istanbul begins with its protagonist protesting that he has no desire to go on the journey that lies at the heart of the film. It ends with the haunting voice of a singer, begging the listener, “Do not implore me, I will not sing.” Between these two attempts to escape from a story that nevertheless must be told, Bezjian presents us with a vision that is deeply personal, not always coherent, but remarkably unsparing in documenting the presence of an enforced Armenian absence in Istanbul. Bezjian, who has written, directed, and produced for film and television ...

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عن إقتحامنا لبرنامج 'كلام الناس': التطوير العقاري لن يحقق أحلام الشعب اللبناني

[ اللافتة التي تم انتزاعها قبل ظهورها على الكاميرا. الحملة الأهلية للحفاظ على دالية الروشه ]

قام ناشطات وناشطون من «الحملة الأهلية للحفاظ على دالية الروشة» "باقتحام" حلقة الخميس 26 حزيران 2014 من برنامج «كلام الناس»، والتي كانت تتناول موضوع التطوير العقاري في لبنان، ببث مباشر للحلقة من معرض ”DREAM REAL ESTATE EXPO“ في البيال (وسط بيروت). وقد صبّت جميع مُداخلات المدعوّين لهذه الحلقة الخاصة من البرنامج، في تصوير الملكية السكنية كحلم جميع اللبنانيين وكحلّ لمشاكلهم السكنية يسعى القطاع العقاري الى تحقيقه. إضافة لذلك تم مُحاولة طرح هذا القطاع على أنه الركيزة الأساسيّة للإقتصاد اللبناني، وبأن نموّه يزيد فرص العمل، يحّل مشكلة السكن، ويشكّل سنداً أساسيّاً للدولة اللبنانية. كما عرضت الحلقة أهمية جمعية المطورّين العقاريين التي أُنشأت حديثاً من أجل ...

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Quick Thoughts: Maya Mikdashi on the Current Situation in Lebanon

[The Corniche of Beirut. Image by Roba Al-Assi]

[Amidst growing political polarization in Lebanon the term of President Michel Suleiman expired on 24 May with no successor in sight. Jadaliyya asked Co-Editor Maya Mikdashi to comment on the reasons for the vacuum, its ramifications and broader context]: Jadaliyya (J): Why has a new Lebanese president not yet been selected?  Maya Mikdashi (MM): I think everybody believed that Michel Suleiman, the outgoing president, would accept an extra-constitutional extension of his term, as has each of his predecessors since the 1989 Ta’if Agreement that ended the Lebanese Civil War. That somehow a deal between rival Lebanese factions would be reached to this ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (13 June)

[President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office Thursday, May 28, 2009. The man sitting between them is an interpreter. Image by Pete Souza via Wikimedia Commons.]

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions,and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post with your bio and a release form to [click "Submissions" on the main page for more information]   Egypt-Palestine How Israel and ...

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O.I.L. Monthly Edition (May 2014)

[Graffiti on the separation wall in the West Bank. Image by

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions, and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post with your bio and a release form to (click "Submissions" on the main page for more information).] Quick Thoughts: Khalil Shaheen on ...

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مينا: أجساد موشومة

[مقطع من غلاف رواية

(قراءة نقدية في رواية "مينا" للكاتبة اللبنانية/المصرية: سحر مندور– دار الآداب اللبنانية – بيروت – 2013) تبدأ الرواية بسؤال السرد النسوي الذي يجعل من الجسد والسلطة وتداعياتهما مركزًا ديناميًا للسرد، باعتبارهما منطلقًا نقديًا لكل الأبنية السلطوية الذكورية ومرجعياتها الثقافية، سؤال يؤسس للحفر في اليومي من الحياة اليومية، المار كبديهيات سائلة في مكاننا، لا ظل لها، فتقول مينا (الشخصية الرئيسية في السرد/الرواية): "كل حياة تستأهل أن تُروى. لكن، هل في نائج السرد ما يستأهل الإقدام عليه؟" السؤال على بداهته يجعل من "السرد" بكل تمثلاته وما قد يندرج تحته من تعاريف وانعكاسات، كشفًا للعلاقة بين السارد أيًا كان والمسرود أيًا كان، وهي الحالة التي تضمن ...

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New Texts Out Now: Gulcin Erdi-Lelandais, Understanding the City: Henri Lefebvre and Urban Studies

[Cover of Gülçin Erdi-Lelandais,

Gülçin Erdi-Lelandais, editor, Understanding the City: Henri Lefebvre and Urban Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Gulçin Lelandais (GL): The idea of this book was born during a panel session on Henri Lefebvre at the 2011 Congress of the European Sociological Association, during which researchers from Hungary, the UK, France, and Turkey presented their approaches on Lefebvrian concepts like the right to the city, rhythmanalysis, and the production of space in their empirical research. Since I was working on urban transformation in Turkey, I was very interested in the ideas of Henri ...

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Sargon Boulus: An Attempt to Reach Beirut by Sea

[Artwork by Youssef Abdelke.]

An Attempt to Reach Beirut by Sea Sargon Boulus   One distant evening while I smuggle a fountain through the wreckage or bribe a night with a mediocre poem You bleed in the cold trenches of the ceasefire from your thousand battlefronts I wanted to lay out a path with a carpet of my breaths to where you still stand Your barricade a dove’s skeleton Your face a wounded paradise I wanted to burn a little between your hands No place dreams of my arrival and Life My frightened fugitive: When it opens its eyes every moment gets ready to be born in its cradle floating between my bones I wake upon foreign seas and my life braces itself against ...

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Revolution and Return: Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon and the End of Politics

Diana Allan, Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2013.   For some reason while reading Diana Allan’s wonderful new book, Refugees of the Revolution, I had the idea that its title was Ghosts of the Revolution. I am not sure why. It may be because that revolution, in its silences and absences, so insistently haunts the pages of this study, its traces scattered and lingering in the lives of those who lived it and created it and were left behind by it. And how else could it be? For it is of the past, and it is the past that has brought the Palestinians living in Shatila to where they are today. A ...

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هذا البحر لي: قطعة صوتية وكتيب البحث

 [حدود خريطة شاطئ بيروت]

"هذا البحر لي" هو عرض حيّ جرى في بيروت خلال صيف 2012 تضمَن رحلة على متن قارب صيد من ميناء عين المريسة حتى ميناء الدالية. اعتمد هذا "العرض الإعتراضي" في مضمونه على بحث مديني عن شاطىء بيروت كاشفاً للجمهور ملكية هذه الأماكن وممارسات مستخدميها والقوانين التي تحكمها. "هذا البحر لي" هو جزء من جهد مستمر تقوم به "مجموعة الدكتافون" للربط بين البحث المديني والفن الحيّ من أجل فتح نقاش عن علاقة الناس بحيّزهم العام في لبنان وإمكانية إعادة تصور المدينة.     كتيب البحث      يعرض كتيَب بحث "هذا البحر لي" معلومات عن ملكية الأراضي على شاطىء بيروت وعلاقتها بالأنظمة ...

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Quick Thoughts: Paul Sedra on the Pope’s Visit to the Middle East

[A welcome banner for Pope Francis with his picture hangs on a building in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on 19 May 2014. Image by Nasser Nasser via Associated Press]

  [On Saturday 24 May 2014, Pope Francis embarks on a three-day visit to Jordan, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in his first tour of the Middle East since his installation as head of the Catholic Church in 2013. Jadaliyya asked its Contributing Editor Paul Sedra to reflect on the broader issues the pope is expected to address, including the position of Christians in the Middle East.] Vatican watchers and Middle East analysts alike will examine the Pope’s movements and statements intently, much as they have already examined the planned composition of his delegation for purported indications of Francis’s political leanings. ...

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On Our Intervention in Kalam al-Nas: Real Estate Development Will Not Realize the Dreams of the Lebanese

On Thursday 26 June 2014, a number of activists from the Civic Campaign for the Preserve of Dalieh infiltrated a live broadcasting of an episode of LBC’s Kalam al-Nas in Downtown Biel’s “Dream Real Estate Expo.” The particular episode tackled the topic of real estate development in Lebanon, and aired live from from Downtown Biel’s “Dream Real Estate Expo.”  This special episode brought together a number of real-estate developers who participated in the Expo, showcasing ...

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New Texts Out Now: Melani Cammett, Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon

Melani Cammett, Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Melani Cammett (MC): The aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq first got me thinking about the connections between identity politics and social service provision. Years of war with Iran as well as more than a decade of sanctions after the First Gulf War had eroded the public welfare infrastructure in Iraq. The dismantling of the state in ...

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هل خفف العمال السوريون من أزمة الاقتصاد اللبناني؟

"دعوة لإعادة قراءة الآثار الاقتصادية للهجرة السورية للبنان" لا نتساءل في هذه الورقة عن تأثيرات الأزمة السورية (1) بكل تفاصيلها في لبنان ولكن يقتصر تساؤلنا علي المهاجرين أو النازحين إلى لبنان. هل خفّفوا من آثار الأزمة الاقتصادية اللبنانية أم ضاعفوها؟ يطرح هذا السؤال نفسه في ظلّ الهجمة المسعورة التي يتعرّض لها المهاجرون السوريون في لبنان، وارتفاع معدلات العنصرية لتصل إلى درجة أن تقوم بلديات عديدة بمنع السوريين من الخروج من منازلهم في غير أوقات العمل. فمنذ أيام قليلة قامت بلدية برج ...

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Zeid Hamdan

Zeid Hamdan 2010-2013 Beirut, Lebanon   In this video, Medrar.TV takes you on a trip through the inspiring practice of Lebanese musician and producer Zeid Hamdan, who is credited as the main force behind developing electro Arab pop music. Since the mid nineties, Hamdan (b.1976) has either founded or produced music for some of the most successful underground bands in the region, including the Arabic trip hop band Soap Kills, The New Government (Pop rock), Katibe5 (Arabic hip-hop), ShiftZ (Arabic ...

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The End of Rent Control in Lebanon: Another Boost to the “Growth Machine?”

It is an open secret that, given the political instability of the past three years, the Lebanese real-estate sector has suffered a sharp decrease in demand for upmarket property. In spite of this, giant construction cranes, and glass-and-steel towers continue to dominate the Beirut skyline—something that is unlikely to change anytime soon. In this context of decreased demand and continued supply, the Lebanese Parliament opened a Pandora’s Box on the first of April 2014, when it voted for a new law ...

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نقاش - لهذه الأسباب أصبحت المدينة متوحشة وبهذه الشروط نوقف التوحش

مسؤولون إما بإصدارهم القوانين والأنظمة غير الملائمة، وإما بمقاومتهم أي تعديل لما هو غير مناسب ومسيء للمدينة، وإما بصمّ آذانهم عن سماع صوت العارفين والاختصاصيين، وإما بالقيام بالأعمال "المتوحشة" في حق المدينة أو تشجيعها، وإما بالسكوت وإغماض العيون عما يجري، بمن فيهم أولئك الأنبياء الكذبة الذين يحاضرون عن الأخلاق في الصالونات ويقدمون أنفسهم رسلاً للمحافظة على البيئة والتراث وجمال المدينة، لكنهم يتحولون إلى وحوش ضارية، وينسون المبادئ التي يبشرون بها عندما يتعلق الأمر بمصلحتهم المادية. بل إن بعضهم ...

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Dodging City Archive / Beirut Chapter

(Photos and text by Giulia Guadagnoli, unless otherwise noted.) I started walking around Beirut in 2010. An initial feeling of exhaustion by overwhelming physical obstacles and blind corners evolved into an enthusiasm for the solutions adopted by inhabitants to rest, trespass, bypass, and envision. This collection of pictures is the result of such enthusiastic and ongoing explorations. My curiosity for trying different trails and paths in my daily trips first led me to discover the alleys created when ...

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Mohamed Said Baalbaki: Fictional Museum

Mohamed Said Baalbaki: Fictional Museum May 2014 Viennoise Hotel, Cairo   In his two-part series titled Al Buraq (The Pegasus), Lebanese artist Mohamed Said Baalbaki questions the authority of the museum as an institution and the ways in which histories are written and presented to the public. The series takes the shape of a museum setting, with each gallery focusing on a particular moment in the region's modern history. Al Buraq I begins with the story of two German scientists finding ...

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Decentralization in the Arab World Must be Strengthened to Provide Better Services

Introduction: Decentralization on the Agenda One of the major features of democracies is the extent to which the state is decentralized. With the advent of democratic transformations in the Arab world, decentralization already is or will soon be on the reform agenda. Decentralization is desired for two reasons: one, it enhances democracy, and participation in managing local affairs; two, it consequently leads to better developmental outcomes. The assumption here is that delegating authority to lower ...

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Lebanese Judges and Journalists: Breaking the Stereotypes

On 24 February 2014, a Lebanese court ruled in favor of Judge Randa Yaqzan in her case against al-Akhbar newspaper and journalist Mohamed Nazzal. Following the ruling, the convicted media outlet (al-Akhbar) criticized the court, going as far as questioning the legitimacy of the court’s right to examine other cases pending before it. [1] By doing so, al-Akhbar seemed to switch roles with the court: turning the newspaper’s trial by the court into a “trial” of the latter.  The newspaper’s ...

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This Sea Is Mine: Sound Piece and Research Booklet on Beirut Coastline

Dictaphone Group announces the release of a sound piece based on their summer 2012 performance, This Sea Is Mine. The research-based and site-specific performance explored the concepts of public space and seafront access in Beirut through the city’s coastline. In the performance, the audience was invited to take part in a journey on a small boat going from the Ayn al-Mrayse fishing port to Daliyeh in Rawshe. The boat stopped at each of the different seafront properties exploring its land ownership ...

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Job Opening: Lebanon Specialist at Human Rights Watch (Beirut Office)

ONE YEAR FULL-TIME JOB VACANCY LEBANON SPECIALIST Middle East and North Africa Division (Beirut Office) Application Deadline: May 23, 2014 Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking a one-year full time specialist to assist in monitoring the human rights situation in Lebanon. This position will be based in Beirut, Lebanon. Responsibilities Monitor and document human rights abuses in Lebanon by collecting and analyzing information from a wide variety of sources including governments, local ...

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