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Remembering Husayn Muruwwah, the ‘Red Mujtahid’

[Husayn with his wife, Fatima, 1980. With thanks to Ghassan Nasser]

On 17 February 1987, during one of the bloodiest periods of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), the prominent journalist, literary critic, intellectual, and activist Husayn Muruwwah (or Hussein Mroué[i]) was assassinated at his home in Ramlet al-Baida, West Beirut. Muruwwah left Lebanon at the age of fourteen to train at the Najaf hawza (seminary) in Iraq. He intended to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was a respected religious scholar and cleric. Yet after a multifaceted intellectual journey that spanned several decades and multiple locations, Muruwwah went on to become a celebrated Marxist philosopher and senior member of the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP); ...

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Growing Sustainability at Beirut Design Week 2016 (Video)

[Screenshot from video below]

Growing Sustainably is a documentary film made during Beirut Design Week 2016. It focuses on four initiatives that took place over the course of that year. Each project represents a certain aspect of sustainability. The Beirut Makers, a collective of over a dozen designers and makers, are featured as an example of economic sustainability for the Lebanese design industry. TheOtherDada, an architectural studio, represents the importance of environmental sustainability through their Beirut River 2.0 installation. The Alonsor project shows the value of design in cultural sustainability, where the aesthetics of African diaspora become a tool for engagement. ...

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Call for Applicants--2017 Doctoral Dissertation Summer Institute: Researching Lebanon

The Arab Studies Institute (ASI) and AUB’s Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES) are pleased to announce the second Doctoral Dissertation Summer Institute on Lebanon, to be held 12-23 June 2017. The program aims to provide a framework for facilitating and advancing rigorous inter-disciplinary doctoral dissertation research on Lebanon. Scholarly literature on Lebanon is seldom fully integrated into the graduate coursework of PhD students focusing on the Middle East and North Africa. Furthermore, such students rarely find themselves at institutions with access to a scholar of Lebanon to fulfill the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nadya Hajj, Protection Amid Chaos: The Creation of Property Rights in Palestinian Refugee Camps

Nadya Hajj. Protection Amid Chaos: The Creation of Property Rights in Palestinian Refugee Camps (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Nadya Hajj (NH): My book was motivated by something I heard in more than two hundred interviews in Palestinian refugee camps across Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The central Palestinian refugee narrative was that the community searched for ways to find communal protection in the midst of fawda or chaos in the camps. Refugees felt the camps were chaotic because there was no central authority governing the camps. Property rights were one tool, among many, that Palestinians used to ...

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De l’impuissance des citoyens libanais face au système. "Powerless," les ambiguïtés d'un documentaire

[Le Robin des bois de l'électricité dans le film Powerless. Crédit : Road 2 Films]

Compte rendu: Powerless ('Indama ya’ti al-zhalam), documentaire réalisé par Cynthia Choucair (2012) (arabe, sous titré en anglais) La fin de l’année 2016 a été porteuse de nombreuses déceptions pour les militants libanais qui luttent pour la préservation du littoral et son accès libre à tous les publics, avec la construction d’un complexe touristique sur une partie de la plage de Ramlet el-Bayda à Beyrouth. De même, la (ré)ouverture de décharges sur la mer à Borj Hammoud et à Costa Brava, sur deux autres tronçons déjà dégradés du littoral de l’agglomération de la capitale libanaise, en principe temporaire, n’en signale pas moins l’échec des ...

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Media on Media Roundup (December 14)

[Students and supporters protest the arrest of Lebanese University student Bassel Elamin for a Facebook status defending Syrian refugees against mistreatment. Photo by Richard Samour]

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup features stories on the manufacturing of media narratives during war, Egypt’s media laws, and a new ISIS radio show for concerned jihadis. The New York Times has scrutinized Bana Alabed’s Twitter account. A seven-year-old girl from East Aleppo who tweets with the help of her mother and has gained massive popularity online, although some question the authenticity of the account. Moreover, Jadaliyya has published an article calling for free and open debate on Syria, in reference to the frequently intolerant propaganda war being waged for the dominant media narrative. In Egypt, the press syndicate continues its struggle ...

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The Five-Square-Meters Maid's Room: Lebanon's Racist, Gendered Architecture

[Worker's room. Image by Bassem Saad]

Pick any mid- to upper-class residential project in Lebanon and you will more often than not find the floor plan featuring a small room with the label of “maid’s room.” Through ubiquity, this label and the architecture it signifies have long passed the stage of normalization not only in Lebanon but also in other parts of the Arab world such as Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia where middle and upper class families rely on cheap manual labor in the form of predominantly female foreign workers to maintain households. The Lebanese case, however, serves as one where (a) land per capita is one of the lowest in the world and (b) a neoliberal construction law that is deliberately ...

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Report: Tripoli City Profile

[Tripoli City Profile. Credit: UN-Habitat]

UN-Habitat just released a report on the city of Tripoli (Lebanon), entitled Tripoli City Profile. This is the first of a series of City Profiles UN-Habitat, Lebanon will be publishing in the following months. City Profiles are a multi-sectoral spatial tool to improve understanding of vulnerabilities in specifically urban settings, and to inform the response. Developed in close collaboration with municipal unions, municipalities, humanitarian partners, and other stakeholders, the profiles are based on currently available data, and will be updated online to take account of new information, including information gathered from UN-Habitat Neighbourhood Profiles, and ...

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Report: Table ronde de lancement de L'Atlas du Liban. Les nouveaux défis

Couverture de Atlas du Liban. Les nouveaux défis (CC/by Institut français du Proche Orient)

L'Institut fraçais du Proche-Orient vient de publier, sous la direction de Eric Verdeil, Ghaleb Faour et Mouin Hamzé Atlas du Liban. Les nouveaux défis. Le livre est publié en même temps en version arabe(أطلس لبنان. تحديات جديدة). Une table ronde est organisée au Salon du Livre de Beyrouth pour présenter et débattre de ce livre, le 11 novembre 2016 à 18h, au BIEL. Après des présentations de Mouin Hamzé, Henri Awit (pour le comité libanais de l'UNESCO), Eric Verdeil et Ghaleb Faour, la discussion sera introduite par Jad Chaabane. Résumé de l'ouvrage Après une quinzaine d’années de reconstruction dans un climat de paix relative, de 1990 à 2004, le Liban a connu ...

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Media on Media Roundup (November 2)

[A 2015 photo of the Michel Aoun who was elected President of Lebanon on 31 October 2016. Photo by Imadmhj via Wikimedia Commons]

In this week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup, the war of words over the push for a US-backed “no fly zone” in Syria continues as an extension of the war on the ground: Alternet scrutinizes mainstream media’s “high-octane push for war,” using the 2011 war in Libya as a lesson. Lebanon’s presidential nominee General Michel Aoun has a history of recurring clashes with the press, which, in a country where it is technically illegal to disparage the head of state, does not bode well for the concept of media freedom. “Alan Kurdi’s death was a critical juncture in refugee portrayals worldwide,” states a recently published study that explores the political maneuvering ...

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Beirut Event: Public Utilities & Popular Protests in the Wake of Lebanese Independence (7 October 2016)

The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy & International Affairs at AUB In co-sponsorship with The Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies Cordially invite you to a lecture:           Electrifying the History of Lebanon: Public Utilities and Popular Protests in the Wake of Independence by Ziad M. Abu-Rish Affiliated Scholar at the Issam Fares Institute and Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Ohio University   Friday, October 7th, 2016 | 12:00 - 2:00pm Issam Fares Institute Conference Room (4th floor) AUB (Green Oval) The main purpose of this presentation is to highlight the ways in which public ...

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لمّا يسارع الرجال لتصويب كلام النساء

[لوحة للفنان السوري ادهم اسماعيل]

اعتاد الكثير من الرفاق في التقدّمية والطليعية، من أصحاب مطالب الحرية والعدالة والمساواة عامةً، على أن النساء يتوجّهن إليهم بالكلام لما يطالبن بحقّ من حقوقهن. اعتادوا، كما المسؤولين، لغةً تطالب وقد ترتجي، يجب أن تفنّد وتبرهن، تسوق الأمثال الدالّة على الأهلية، تعد بعدم الخروج عن "الإجماع والتوافق"، تتبنّى وتفاوض، ... لغةٌ، إذا حضر في عبارةٍ من عباراتها طفلٌ ذكرٌ بين مئة ألف أنثى، تنتقل إلى صيغة المذكّر. لغةٌ، إذا خرجت عن اللائق في المطالبة، تُدان بالعنف، وتساق كدليلٍ على عدم الأهلية، الخروج، والتطرّف. المرأة التي تطالب بحقوقٍ وتصيح بها وتغضب لأجلها، لا تولد كذلك. هي تكون قد وضعت موضع المساءلة كميّةً من الإعتداءات اليومية التي تستهدف النساء حكراً، من المشي في ...

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Specters of Palestine: Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

There are at least 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, a number that represents a quarter of Lebanon’s total population. This is the highest concentration of Syrian refugees in the world. Syrians are not the only refugee population in Lebanon. When considered alongside Palestinian, Iraqi, Kurdish, and Sudanese refugees, the total refugee population easily represents a third of Lebanon’s current residents. Lebanon had no revolution, or sustained uprising, to contribute to the regional fervor that ...

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Call for Volunteers: LEAP Summer English Program with Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon (Deadline: 17 February 2017)

Apply Today Deadline: February 17, 2017  ABOUT LEAP  Learning for the Empowerment and Advancement of Palestinians (LEAP) is an educational empowerment program for Palestinian refugee-youth in Lebanon dedicated to nurturing the intellectual growth and creative curiosity of our students. LEAP encourages youth to become agents of change by supporting them in their educational pursuits during their most formative years. 
LEAP aims to illuminate ...

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Camp Pause: Stories from Rashidieh Camp and the Sea

We know very little about why Palestinian camps are located where they are in Lebanon. We also know little about the trajectories of their communities. We often assume that, upon their arrival, refugees were directly transported to tents that later became “camps.” Reflecting on ideas of refuge and ways of writing alternative histories of Palestinians camps in Lebanon, Dictaphone Group created a project entitled Camp Pause, commissioned by Dar El-Nimer in Beirut for Qalandia International Festival ...

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Beirut Conference: Rethinking Media Through the Middle East

Organized by the Media Studies Program at the American University of Beirut in collaboration with the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and AUB’s Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies--American University of Beirut on 12-13 January 2017. Within the field of media studies, Middle Eastern media is often treated as a domain of interest only to area specialists. If knowledge about Middle Eastern media usually serves only to supplement dominant frameworks and paradigms, we are interested in ...

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استراحة مخيّم: روايات من مخيم الرشيدية والبحر

لا نعرف الكثير حول سبب تواجد المخيمات الفلسطينية حيث هي اليوم. كما لا نعرف المسارات التي اتخذها سكانها من فلسطين إلى تلك المخيمات. كثيراً ما نظن أنّ اللاجئين، نقلوا عند وصولهم، مباشرة إلى الخيام التي أصبحت في وقت لاحق "مخيمات." انطلاقاً من أفكار حول اللجوء وسُبل كتابة تاريخ مغاير للمخيمات الفلسطينية في لبنان، عملنا في مجموعة الدكتافون على مشروع "استراحة مخيم" الذي تم تطويره بتكليف من مقر دار النمر للفن والثقافة في بيروت خلال فعاليات مهرجان قلنديا الدولي لعام 2016. عملُنا في مجموعة ...

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بيان: أوقفوا ترحيل الناشطتين في نقابة عاملات المنازل في لبنان

بيان مشترك بيروت، في 9/12/2016 نحن الجمعيات الموقّعة أدناه، علمنا أن السيدتين سوشيلا رنا المعروفة باسم سوجانا رنا، والسيدة روجا مايا ليمبو والمعروفة باسم روزي ليمبو، من الجالية النيبالية وعضوتان في نقابة عاملات المنازل قد تم توقيفهما في الاسبوع الماضي لأسباب غير معروفة بعد، وهما قيد الاحتجاز من قبل المديرية العامة للأمن العام في بيروت، لبنان. كما علمنا أن سوجانا معرّضة للترحيل نهار السبت الواقع في 10 كانون الاول 2016، ولم تردنا أي معلومات حول مصير روزي. إن سبب توقيف سوجانا وروزي لا يزال حتى ...

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Quick Thoughts: Maya Mikdashi on the Lebanese Presidential Elections

[On 31 October 2016, Michel Aoun was elected to the Lebanese presidency by a parliamentary majority. Aoun’s election ended a period of two years during which Lebanon functioned without a head of state on account of the inability of the country’s rival political coalitions to agree on a candidate. Jadaliyya Co-Editor Maya Mikdashi, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies and Middle East Studies at Rutgers University, elaborates on this crisis, its resolution, and the broader implications for the Lebanese ...

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Mapping New Constructions in Beirut (2000-2013)

In a world of rapidly modernizing and globalizing cities, Beirut does not stand out as an exception. Spreading citywide since the early 2000s is an urban renewal process sparked by a well-resourced Lebanese diaspora and foreign investors, and influenced by an ambitious, controversial project to rebuild Beirut’s war-devastated central district (Solidere’s project). Indeed, over the past fifteen years, most neighborhoods in municipal Beirut have undergone conspicuous transformations that have dramatically ...

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Media on Media Roundup (November 8)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup revolves around a number of issues dealing with freedom of expression, dictators on social media, and memes as a political vehicle. A newly published report entitled “140 Characters” claims that Arab gulf states are surveilling, imprisoning, and silencing activists for social media posts, citing testimony from Human Rights Watch that a number of journalists and activists have been tracked down using high-tech social media surveillance. Moreover, with 2 ...

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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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قصائد مختارة للشاعر يحيى لبابيدي

الشاعر يحيى لبابيدي Yahia Lababidi في فضاء التواصل الاجتماعي تعرّفتُ على الشاعر الأميركي من أصل عربي يحيى لبابيدي، وتعقبت أخباره. ونشأت بيني وبينه بداية صداقة دفعتني إلى قراءته والتعرف عليه أكثر، فهو شاعر عابر للحدود واللغات، ما تزال تصرخ في دمه لغة الأجداد بأصوات شعرائها ومتصوفيها ومشاهدها التي تنجبل مع مؤثرات أخرى وحساسيات مختلفة في أفق لغة شعرية يفتتحه باللغة الإنكليزية. يحيى لبابيدي ليس مجرد شاعر ينشد رؤيته للعالم منطلقاً من رؤى ذاتية ونبرة غنائية، أو يعقّد تفاصيله بمطولات سردية تخلو من ...

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Amman Event: Rethinking the History of State Building in Lebanon (21 September 2016)

Sijal Institute for Arabic Language and Culture presents               Rethinking the History of State Building in Lebanon A lecture by Ziad Abu-Rish Date: Wednesday 21 September 2016 Time: 6:30pm Location: Sijal Institute for Arabic Language and Culture (ground level) 15 Umar Bin Al Khattab Street [Off of Rainbow St., in front of Books@Cafe and next to the Royal Film Commission) Lecture Abstract: “Wayn al-Dawleh?” is a common refrain to anyone familiar ...

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