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Zajal on Arak

[Image of zajal performance in Byblos from The Times of Malta]

I remember when electricity came to my village. I must have been about seven or eight.  The government installed a transformer in the village center. The thing was housed in a metal locker. The villagers called it ‘The Clock.’  At first, The Clock was a thing of contention. It was installed in the winter and was prone to overloading. Villagers would shout to each other from their warm perches, urging each other to flip the switch so they could enjoy the warm distractions of their new electric luxuries. Before the arrival of The Clock, we used kerosene lamps for lighting and wood stoves and charcoal grills for heating. Some villagers would throw in lemon peels ...

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Rana Hamadeh: Alien Encounters

“And Before It Falls, It Is Only Reasonable to Enjoy Life a Little” is one of several episodes making up Rana Hamadeh’s long-term research project “Alien Encounters”. “Alien Encounters” was initially inspired by Sun Ra's 1974 film ‘Space is the Place’, which proposes an African-American exodus towards outer space in response to racial injustice. It came to life with the beginning of the Arab revolutions, and contemplates the notion of 'alien-ness': the outcast with regards to the law versus the extraterrestrial by bringing together elements, from science fiction film and literature, contemporary migration, capital flows, colonial legacies, mining and transport histories, ...

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بيان مشترك لمؤسسات ومحلات في شارع الحمرا (بيروت) رداً على مقال جريدة النهار

[Image by ghazayel via]

[صدر هذا البيان عن مؤسسات ومحلات في شارع الحمرا (بيروت) في تاريخ 6/1/2015]  بحزن واشمئزاز قرأ الكثيرون مقال حسين حزوري في صحيفة «النهار» الصادرة اليوم السادس من كانون الثاني (العدد 25575). في المقال المذكور أساء الكاتب ليس لمنطقة فقط بل لشعب بأكمله، بلغة عنصرية مهينة.منطقة من بيروت صنعت تاريخها على الانفتاح وتقبّل الآخر واحتضانه هاربا من الظلم، حتى في اسوأ أيام الحرب الأهلية اللبنانية. تاريخياً بنى لبنان سمعة على أنه الملجأ والمقصد لكل مضطهد هارب من الظلم. ولا شكّ بأن راس بيروت – الحمرا اختصاراً – أصاب في العقود الماضية السابقة للحرب الاهلية نصيبا أساسيا من هذه السمعة التي لطالما تغنّى وتباهى بها مثقفوا لبنان وأدبائه بل وسياسييه ايضاً وفي ...

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Gheith Al-Amine: Artist, Musician and Radio Host

Lebanese artist, musician, filmmaker and radio presenter Gheith Al-Amine takes us on a tour of his home-studio in Beirut, Lebanon. He talks about his latest video work which was shown at the 2014 Berlinale. It is a performative audio-visual tribute to Egyptian composer and singer Sheikh Imam, performed with a piano-forte, a smartphone, an old bulb TV, and a few lines written on two masking-tape strips, and is shot in one continuous sequence. Al-Amine also explains the vision for his daily Jazz program on the Lebanese Radio Service and shows us his unique collection of music instruments and some of his earlier projects. Amira El Masry translated the interview to ...

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Open Letter to Mr. Rem Koolhaas

[Banner facing the Raoucheh Rock:

We have recently learned that the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has been commissioned to develop a design for a projected development on a prime sea-front location in Beirut (Lebanon): the Dalieh of Raoucheh. Proposing a private development over such a prime social, national, archeological and geological landmark in Lebanon has generated an ongoing public outcry, in the form of protests, letters to officials, discussions, and media mobilization. We are writing today to alert you to the disturbing facts behind the project, and solicit your support in outlining an alternative vision for Beirut’s seafront. Here are the facts fuelling the dispute over the ...

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Making Sense of Tripoli II: The Institutional Catch 22

[Tripoli. Image by author]

Root Causes: What They Are Not Tripoli’s conflict is not well understood. Media, and even many policy accounts, often focus on either a simplistic sectarian explanation or “Syrian spillover.” Yet, these two explanations are as inaccurate as they are common. Neither of them accounts for the timing of the conflicts. Part 1 of this two-part series explained why neither sectarianism nor spillover adequately explain the conflict. It also challenged the emphasis on militias, arguing that such an emphasis conflates cause and effect. This second installment identifies the political institutional roots of the ongoing crisis. Root Causes: The Confessional Wound at the Heart of ...

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Lebanon: Rejecting the New Rent Law: An Open Letter to the Parliament


[After twenty-four years of putting forth different rent bills, the Lebanese Parliament has issued a law to liberalize old rent contracts, published in the Official Gazette on 26 June 2014. A committee to protect the rights of tenants in Lebanon has been formed to oppose this new rent law, and has organized a number of protests throughout Beirut to demand its revision. A blog providing information about the law and documenting activists' initiatives against the new law has also been set up.  Protests have been multiplying over the past week, and a march towards the Speaker's House in Ain el-Tineh is organized on Wednesday 10 December to further pressure on ...

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سعيد عقل والأسئلة التي يثيرها الموت


بعد أن يموت شاعر يبقى حياً في القصائد التي يبدعها، وفي الأصداء التي يولّدها، وفي الحساسيات التي يُغْْنيها، وفي القراءات المتعددة التي يُتيحها نصه الإبداعي. غير أن سعيد عقل لم يُقرأ بعد قراءة نقدية عميقة ومعظم ما كُتب عنه يندرج في إطار نظرة توفيقية تسامحية لا تمتلك رؤية حول ما هو فني أو غير فني على المستوى الشعري، أي أنها قراءة صحفية وهي الآن مرتبطة بموته أكثر مما هي مرتبطة بأي شيء آخر، وقد يكون السبب في هذا تدهور الجامعات لدينا والتي لا تكترث بتدريس الشعراء الكبار أوبدراستهم، وبغياب الفكر النقدي أيضاً. وهذه النظرة التسامحية تشمل مواقفه السياسية المثيرة للجدل والتي عكست نظرة لا تليق بشاعر كبير مثله، بل كانت كفيلة بأن تلغي أهميته كشاعر، ذلك أنه لم يعتذر عن هذه المواقف، ولم ...

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A Poem by Wadi Saadeh

[Wadi Saadeh. Image from]

An Attempt to Reach Beirut from Beirut Wadi Saadeh Dedicated to Sargon Boulos Did I have to step out today to stroke the enemies’ rocket with my small fingers to embark upon a road whose asphalt is melting as I recall the workers in its mine who were dismembered by dynamite as I recall its blind, its ancient bohemians who observe the earth being stripped of its skin like an immolated pirate Did I have to go to you After the last of my wrists died my feet, my hands embracing each other like a bride and groom shot by bullets before evening After I was stripped of all my weapons, in a valley where the Mongols play I go to You now, I try to go to You with ...

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New Texts Out Now: Lina Khatib, Dina Matar, and Atef Alshaer, The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication

[Cover of Lina Khatib, Dina Matar, and Atef Alshaer,

Lina Khatib, Dina Matar, and Atef Alshaer, The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication. London: Hurst UK and New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Lina Khatib, Dina Matar, and Atef Alshaer (LK/DM/AA): The idea for the book was born out of an intellectual as well as methodological interest in the relationship between politics and communication in non-Western contexts, and particularly in relation to Islamist movements and non-state actors. When we conceived the idea for the research on which this book is based, Hizbullah had just emerged from the 2006 war with Israel. The group and its media billed the war as a ...

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هذا البحر لي

[من مشروع

[تنشر جدلية بالاشتراك مع مجموعة الـدكتافون ومؤسسة "آرت-ايست" نصوصاً تتناول الحق في الوصول إلى الشاطىء في العالم العربي تحت عنوان "من هنا البحر". نشرت هذه النصوص باللغة الانكليزية على موقع آرت-ايست. تنشر سلسلة "من هنا البحر" تباعاً على موقع جدلية خلال الأسبوع القادم. ] التقينا أبو حسين عندما كنا مرة جالسين في مقهى "أبو عضل" في الدالية في بيروت. أخبرنا بأنه من الصيادين العشرة الذين طردوا من غرفهم المطلة على البحر التي كانت تقع تحت مقهى "جراند كافيه" على الساحل الجنوبي لبيروت. لقد استخدم الصيادون هذه الغرف على مدى السنوات الأربعين الماضية وهي أيضاً مدة وجود المقهى هناك. لكن المقهى لم يكن يبدو مثل اليوم. منذ أن قرر ...

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A Politics of Hope: A Tribute to Brief Lives at a Time of Perpetual Death

[Beirut, 1991. Image by Gabriele Basilico]

Sara Khatib died on 5 September. The last time I saw Sara, she was lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by a worried and loving grandmother, a selfless mother camouflaging her sense of helplessness with a comforting smile, and an older sister who was silently battling a feeling of impending tragedy. Sara had undergone surgery to remove a recurrent tumor in her arm. A post-operation infection had brought her back to the hospital where doctors were unable to diagnose the cause of infection.  Less than a year later, Sara died of cancer. She was twenty-two. Approximately two weeks before her passing, she gave a speech at a Tedx event at the Lebanese American University ...

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Tripoli’s Unseen Faces

Over the last six years, violence has sporadically burst out in Tripoli’s impoverished neighborhoods. Walking the narrow alleys, one starts to feel the ongoing discontent of angry men who, like glowing embers, constantly flare up in conflict. Whether it is through political-sectarian agitation and/or the work of manipulation by local politicians, people remain hostage to their wretchedness. After years of political violence that has engulfed the poverty-stricken neighborhoods, a broken and alienated ...

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حول تفكك الدولة اللبنانية. محادثة لـ" الوضع" بين رانية المصري وشربل نحاس

يناقش شربل نحاس في هذه المقابلة المؤلفة من أربعة أجزاء:  ١- غياب الحكم في لبنان: من الاستقلال حتى اليوم   ٢- مفهوم الدولة المعطلة ومعانيها الضمنية    ٣- لبنان اليوم: الانتخابات، الموازنة الوطنية، الإعلام وصناعة القرار    ٤- استجابة المواطن ولجنة تنسيق النقابة في لبنان    السيرة الذاتية  تخرّج شربل نحاس من كلية الفنون التطبيقية والكلية الوطنية للجسور والطرق بشهادة في الهندسة، وحصل على الدكتوراه في الأنثربولوجيا الاجتماعية، ...

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بيان مقهى التـاء مربوطـة في بيروت ردا على مقال جريدة النهار

[صدر هذا البيان عن ادارة مقهى التـاء مربوطـة في تاريخ 6/1/2015] - ذكر المقال المنشور في جريدة النهار بتاريخ 6/1/2015 بقلم حسين حزوري، والذي تضمن كماً من العبارات العنصرية، مطعم تاء مربوطة وأحد موظفيه احمد الحفار ونسب اليهما مواقف عنصرية مرفوضة اتجاه المواطنين السوريين. - ان ذكر مطعم تاء مربوطة وأحد موظفيه ونسب موقف عنصري اليهما امر كاذب وغير صحيح ولم يحصل اصلاً ان زار حسين حزوري المطعم والتقى بأي شخص من إدارته عدا عن انه كذب ايضاً حين نسب وظيفة مدير الى النادل احمد الحفار، وان حقيقة عدم علاقة ...

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ملف من الأرشيف: نظيرة زين الدين

[ينشر ملف من الأرشيف عادة بالتعاون مع جريدة السفير. لكن المادة أدناه من تأليف بنان غرامش]       نظيرة زين الدين  الاسم: نظيرة زين الدين الحلبي. تاريخ الولادة: ولدت عام 1908 لعائلة لبنانية. والدها شيخ ورئيس أول محكمة استئناف في لبنان، وهو القاضي سعيد زين الدين. مكان الولادة: من عائلة ريفية في قرية "محلة نصر" بمحافظة البحيرة في منطقة الدلتا في وقت عانت فيه أسر الفلاحين من الضرائب والقوانين المجحفة التي فرضتها الحكومة في مصر بحق ...

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في الإعتراض على قانون الإيجارات الجديد: رسالة مفتوحة الى المجلس النيابي

بعد ٢٤ سنة من طرح مشاريع قوانين إيجار مختلفة، إعتمد المجلس النيابي إصدار قانون تصحيح الإيجارات القديمة، والذي نشر في الجريدة الرسمية في تاريخ ٢٦ حزيران ٢٠١٤. منذ العام ١٩٩٢، تم وقف العمل بنظام ضبط الإيجارات للعقود الجديدة، في حين بقي ساري المفعول لكافة العقود المبرمة قبل ذلك التاريخ. أما تحرير الإيجارات القديمة تم ربطه بخطة سكنية شاملة (لم تتحقق) تتيح الوصول الى السكن الملائم بأسعار مقبولة‪. أثار صدور مشروع قانون الإيجارات الجديد في العام 2014 تساؤلات عدة، أهمها: هل يعتمد القانون على معايير العدالة ...

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Making Sense of Tripoli I: The Security Trap or Conflating Cause and Effect

Although there are periodic respites, the conflict in Tripoli, Lebanon has become almost routinized with sporadic outbreaks in clashes—some more intense than others. Coverage of “the conflict” has also become routinized, with bursts of reporting, some stronger than others. Generally, analysis revolves around the three S’s: Spillover, Sectarianism, and Salafists. This trifecta of reductionist analysis problematically misrepresents the unfolding situation in Tripoli. To the extent that the causes of the ...

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Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: Racism, Alliances, and Misery: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Moe Ali Nayel and Bassam Haddad

Moe Ali Nayel, a freelance journalist, fixer, and translator based in Beirut, Lebanon, discusses the question of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and how the landscape of Lebanon receives them. In addition to his insights and observations, Moe Ali provides signs, posters, warnings, and maps from Beirut. Please find the transcript of the interview below the player. The interview includes three parts that you can click on separately. Moe Ali writes for Lebanese-based and International English publications. ...

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Farewell Sabah, 1927-2014

Jeanette Feghali, known to millions across the world as Sabah, died last week at the age of 87.  By the time of her death, she had been a star for almost seven decades. Sabah began her career while still a teenager, moving from Lebanon to Cairo during the 1940s, the golden age of Egyptian cinema. Her image and voice are stored in more than eighty films, and by the time of her death she had recorded over three thousand songs written by generations of the region’s best poets, songwriters, and ...

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Le Père Lebret, chroniqueur de l’Etat libanais en construction

Prêtre dominicain, fondateur d’Economie et Humanisme (1941), directeur de l’IRFED (Institut de recherche et de formation en vue du développement) depuis 1958, le père Louis-Joseph Lebret est une grande figure du Tiers-mondisme catholique dont l’itinéraire et la pensée ont été magistralement étudiés par l’historien Denis Pelletier dans son ouvrage Économie et Humanisme: De l'utopie communautaire au combat pour le tiers-monde (1941-1966). En opposition avec les deux modèles idéologiques dominants de son ...

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New Texts Out Now: Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab, The Shi‘ites of Lebanon: Modernism, Communism, and Hizbullah’s Islamists

Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab, The Shi‘ites of Lebanon: Modernism, Communism, and Hizbullah’s Islamists. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab (RJA & MA): There were several reasons for writing the book. In the last two decades we had read several books on Shi`i Islamist movements, particularly Hizbullah, which presented secular ideologies and Communism simply as those forces and ideas that the Islamists ...

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Call for Applicants: Director of Women and Gender Studies (American University of Beirut)

The American University of Beirut invites applicants for a position in gender and sexuality studies, preferably at the associate or full professor level, to begin fall 2015. The successful applicant will serve as director of the new Women and Gender Studies Program at the American University of Beirut and work to coordinate the development of gender and sexuality studies as a specific research concentration, as well as a transdisciplinary formation distributed across multiple departments and faculties. ...

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Call for Applicants: Director, The Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for American Studies and Research (American University of Beirut)

Director, The Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for American Studies and Research The American University of Beirut  The Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) at the American University of Beirut is searching for a new director to begin September 1, 2015. CASAR is an interdisciplinary research and academic center that offers an undergraduate minor and a new MA in Transnational American Studies. CASAR hosts visiting lecturers and organizes an international, bi-annual ...

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