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Lebanon

El Rass

[Image from video below.]

November 2013 Beirut, Lebanon Over the past three years, Mazen El Sayed, aka El Rass, has risen to the forefront of the contemporary Arab hip-hop scene. He stood out, along with a few others, for his focus on the Arabic language and poignant criticism of contemporary societies. Whereas hip-hop might have been his starting point, El Rass (meaning The Head) managed to expand beyond it to other genres, and is quick to assert that he is not limited by any one of them.  In late 2013, Medrar.TV visited El Rass in his Beirut studio, where he worked on his second album featuring a range of Arab musicians. In this interview, El Rass speaks of his beginnings and ...

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Muhammad Abduh: A Profile from the Archives

[Public intellectual Muhammad Abduh]

[”A Profile from the Archives“  is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally published in Arabic and was translated by Mazen Hakeem.] Name: Muhammad Abduh son of Hussein Khair-Allah Date of Birth: 1849 Place of Birth: Born to a prominent rural family in the village of Mahellet Nasr, Beheira Governorate, in the Nile Delta region of Upper Egypt, during a time when farmers suffered from heavy taxes and unjust laws imposed upon them by ...

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لا أسئلة شائكة في بيت غسّان كنفاني: آني وليلى في نضال الماضي والحاضر

[آني تتوسط ليلى (اليسار) وفايز وابنته (إلى اليمين) في 8 تموز العام 1997، خلال حفل وضع حجر الأساس لمركز

يدخل المرء إلى منزل عائلة غسّان كنفاني في ساقية الجنزير في بيروت، شاعراً بالهيبة. ففي هذا البيت التي تسكنه الزوجة آني والإبنة ليلى، لم يتحوّل النضال إلى ذكريات. هنا، التتمة تسبق الذكرى. السياسة لم تتوقف عند زمن الفدائيين الأوائل، وإنما استمرت في الطباعة والنشر، في التعليم والتربية، وفي المقاطعة والعيش. هنا، لا يتهيّب الحديث أمام توازنات الحاضر والأسئلة الشائكة، من شروط التطبيع إلى يد الثقافة في السياسة، ومن جواز السفر الأجنبي إلى المخيّم. وعند الخروج من بيت كنفاني المتوسط الحال، المليء بالـــلوحات الآســــرة والتفاصيل الدافئة، لا مفر من فكرةٍ تخطر على البال: بينما نكبر نحن، يبقى هو متيناً في شبابه. مَن عرفوا اســــمه أطـــــفالاً كأديبٍ شهيد، باتوا اليــوم أكبر منـــه ...

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New Report: Housing, Land and Property Issues in Lebanon

[Cover Page of the Housing, Land and Property Issues in Lebanon Report]

The UNHCR and UN-Habitat have recently launched a new report assessing the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon by studying issues of housing, land and property. Entitled Housing, Land and Property Issues in Lebanon: Implications of the Syrian Refugee Crisis, the report is authored by lawyers Nizar Saghieh and Karim Nammour and Mona Fawaz, associate professor of urban studies and planning at the American University of Beirut, and is accessible through UNHCR’s “Syria Regional Refugee Response” sharing portal. The report is organized in five chapters: the first presents key findings and recommendations (and is available in Arabic), the second discusses the context of housing, ...

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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 post@jadaliyya.com [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 post@jadaliyya.com (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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Ghassan Salhab: Making of 'The Valley'

November 2013 Al Beqaa, Lebanon In November, Lebanese director Ghassan Salhab was busy with his crew, filming 'The Valley', the second film in his triptych inspired by long suffering in Lebanon's modern history, which he compares to feelings of an eminent apocalypse. The film was shot on a vine farm in Al Beqaa region on the border with Syria. In this video interview, Salhab talks of his conceptual approaches to filmmaking in general and in relation to 'The Valley' which premiered at the ...

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بدايات، فصلية ثقافية فكرية: لكل فصول التغيير

صدر العدد ٩/٨ من مجلة ”بدايات“، وهي مجلة ثقافية فصلية أُطلقتْ استجابة للتحولات التاريخية التي نتجت عن الثورات العربية. كتب فوّاز طرابلسي، رئيس تحرير المجلة، افتتاحية العدد تحت عنوان ”حروب الردة أو أغتيال المستقبل” وركزت المجلة في عددها الراهن على الأوضاع في سوريا ولبنان والعراق.      محتويات العدد ٨/٩ ربيع-صيف ٢٠١٤ الافتتاحية: حروب الردّة او اغتيال المستقبل من باب اولى:  ·  سليمان تقي الدين: العرب مطلع الالفية · الياس خوري: ثلاثة اسئلة فلسطينية من وحي غزة · سنان ...

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Enhancing Municipal Capacities in Lebanon

The Civil Society Knowledge Center (CSKC) of Lebanon Support featured last month a paper by Marwa Boustani discussing the potential role of Lebanese municipalities and unions of municipalities in addressing needs generated by the Syrian refugee crisis. The author advocates the strengthening of their capacities through establishing Regional Technical Offices (RTOs)—an institution previously established by UN-Habitat in 2006 in the aftermath of the Israeli war on Lebanon. The role of municipal unions ...

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Boom: A Photo Essay

When I visited Shatila last week two topics dominated conversation: the carnage in Gaza and the deleterious effects of the construction boom underway in the camp. I’ll take them in turn, though Shatilans usually don’t; for them, each topic seems the underbelly of the other. Building in Shatila has long been described by residents as a kind of cancer, its growth both irregular and hazardous. The waves of Syrians and Palestinians fleeing Syria since 2011 have caused it to metastasize. Two years ago its ...

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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 Preservation 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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