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Lebanon

Lebanon: What Do You Mean There Is No State?

[Graphic by Jana Traboulsi]

[Introductory text by Ziad Abu-Rish. All graphics by Jana Traboulsi] This past week, thousands of Lebanese citizens took to the streets under the banner of “You Stink” to protest political and economic corruption in the country. They did so in the face of a brutal attempt to disperse the protests and silence those partaking in them. The mobilizations have their origins in the July 2015 garbage crisis, but also the broader dismal condition of public services as well as the profit-seeking networks and political stalemate that underpin it. Yet 19 August 2015 proved a turning point, when videos of demonstrations that day went viral showing Lebanese security forces ...

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Open Letter to Mr. Bilal Hamad, President of the Municipal Council of Beirut

[Overflowing trash in the Hamra neighborhood of Beirut in late July 2015. Image by Ziad Abu-Rish]

[The following open letter by Lebanese economist Jad Chaaban was originally published on his website on 27 August 2015.] Beirut, 27 August 2015 Open Letter to Mr. Bilal Hamad, President of the Municipal Council of Beirut Dear Mr. Hamad, I am writing to you as a Lebanese citizen and taxpayer, and a permanent resident of Beirut. I did not vote to elect you for the Municipal Council, because of our country’s twisted and sectarian election laws that do not allow us to elect our representatives based on our main area of residence. But nevertheless I believe it is my right to address you as the only elected municipal representative in the city where I live. And my main ...

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Lebanon, August 2015: Notes on Paralysis, Protests, and Hope

[Protestors Clashing With Police: Image from AP]

The past ten years in Lebanon have been a study in political paralysis and escalating anger and frustration among citizens and residents of the country. To recap only the most basic of facts, since 2005 the country divided and polarized into two “camps”—March 14 and March 8, led by the Future Movement and Hezbollah, respectively. In these ten years there has been a war with Israel, armed clashes between these two camps, and a series of political assassinations. These years have also brought the military destruction of a refugee camp (Nahr Al-Bared), armed clashes between the army and Islamists in Saida and Tripoli, a war in Syria that has again polarized the population, ...

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Protests in Beirut: Quick Background and Some Videos

[Image of sign held at Saturday's protest:

Updated: 11pm Sunday 23 August (Beirut Time) For the second night in a row protestors have clashed with riot police and armed forces in downtown Beirut. Yesterday security forces attempted to violently disperse protestors at a demonstration called for by the You Stink movement using water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets. In response, Lebanese television stations reported that over fifteen thousand people from all over the country congregated in downtown Beirut to continue to demand accountability for government and elite corruption, a plan to provide affordable and reliable public goods (garbage disposal, running water, and electricity), and the immediate ...

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New Texts Out Now: Franck Mermier, Récits de villes: d’Aden à Beyrouth

[Cover of Franck Mermier,

Franck Mermier, Récits de villes: d’Aden à Beyrouth. Arles: Actes Sud/Sindbad, 2015.         Jadaliyya (J): Qu’est-ce qui vous a fait publier ce livre? Franck Mermier (FM): Après des recherches sur la ville de Sanaa et sur l’édition dans le monde arabe, particulièrement à Beyrouth, j’ai réalisé des enquêtes sur cette dernière ville où j’ai vécu de 2002 à 2009. Je me suis intéressé notamment à la question des perceptions et pratiques de l’espace urbain dans une ville divisée en différents territoires politico-confessionnels. J’ai aussi enquêté sur la construction de la mosquée Muhammad Al-Amin et du campanile de la ...

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Call for Papers — Towards Engaged and Responsible Research in the Palestinian Refugee Camps of Lebanon (Beirut, 18-19 March 2016)

The Institute for Palestine Studies, founded in Beirut in 1963, is an independent nonprofit Arab research and publication center that is not affiliated to any political organization or government.  Call for Papers Towards Engaged and Responsible Research in the Palestinian Refugee Camps of Lebanon Beirut, 18-19 March 2016 Submission Deadline: 31 August 2015 The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the most protracted conflicts of our time and has produced one of the largest refugee crises in contemporary history. In the continued absence of a political solution Palestinian refugees remain in exile for over six decades. Reflecting the importance of this ...

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Alif: Aynama-Rtama

[Courtesy of Alif]

Alif, a band of five musicians at the forefront of the Arab underground music scene, is launching its debut album Aynama-Rtama (Wherever It Falls) on the 4 September 2015. Conceived in 2012 and taking its name from the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, Alif features Khyam Allami (Oud), Tamer Abu Ghazaleh (Vocals/Buzuq), Bashar Farran (Bass), Maurice Louca (Keys/Electronics), and Khaled Yassine (Drums/Percussion). Recorded in Beirut and Cairo in 2014, the album reflects a long process of experimentation that underwent different stages over the past three years. It uses contemporary Arab poetry by late Iraqi poet Sargon Boulus (1944–2007) and renowned late ...

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Planning Beirut during the French Mandate: The Construction of a Modern City and its Legacy

Marlène Ghorayeb, Beyrouth sous mandat français, construction d’une ville moderne. Paris: Karthala, 2014.   This is a wonderful addition to our knowledge of Beirut’s early days of modern planning, during the transition from Late Ottoman to French Mandate, and later. In the lineage of Jens Hanssen’s Fin de Siècle Beirut, Eric Verdeil’s Beyrouth et ses urbanistes, Carla Eddé’s Naissance d’une capitale, and Robert Saliba’s Beyrouth architectures: Aux sources de la modernité, the book is a must-read for those interested in the key spatial transformations of Beirut during the first part of the twentieth century. It nicely complements and enriches earlier texts by ...

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Sweeping Waste Under the Oriental Rug

[Toxic Waste. Image by drp]

 "Just between you and me shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the Least Developed Countries? […] I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that […] I’ve always thought that countries in Africa are vastly under polluted; their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles."  Lawrence Summers, leaked World Bank memo, 1991. The Trade in Toxic Waste Throughout the 1980s, the cost of hazardous waste disposal within developed countries rose dramatically. Luckily for waste-intensive ...

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Revisiting Dalieh: Beirut-Based Events, 31 May - 12 June 2015

The following are a list of events we invite the public to attend and participate in as part of our broader campaign around saving the Dalieh. Sunday May 31, 2015: Join us at Dalieh Campaign Kiosk, 10:00am - 11:00pm Ahla Fawda ''Tout Tout a Beirut " Hamra Street Festival Monday June 1, 2015: Revisiting Dalieh Competition Open Ideas Competition, 11:00am Press Conference Announcing Projects Selected by Jury Ministry of Environment, Lazarieh Center, Green Room  Thursday June 4, 2015: Revisiting Dalieh Open Ideas Competition - Opening Evening, 7:00pm Display of Selected Projects by Jury (displaying throught Friday June 12, 2015) ALT CITY, Hamra ...

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Studio Visit: Lebanese Artist and Musician Raed Yassin

In this video, we visit Lebanese artist and musician Raed Yassin in his studio in Beirut. He tells us about his ongoing interest in Egyptian cinema and how he uses it as a reference for many of his art projects be they video, photography, sound, installation or his well known neon signs. Yassin has been interested in Egyptian cinema because of its wide appeal in the Arab region. He borrowed a line from the famous Lembi film series to name the artist collective he formed with artists Vartan Avakian and Hatem Imam (Atfal Ahdath), and he has been mixing story lines and characters from various films with his own personal history, creating fictional memories, ...

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Call for Papers: Fragments of Empire after the American Century (Beirut, 13-16 January 2016)

CASAR’s 6th International Conference: Fragments of Empire after the American Century January 13-16, 2016 Beirut, Lebanon  Abstracts are due on 30 April 2015 The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research is now accepting abstract submission for its 6th international conference, titled “Fragments of Empire after the American Century,” which will be held at AUB next January.  The conference will provide a forum to focus on and debate the consequences and residues of imperial (and neo-imperial) presences across the Middle East, as well as the legacies of empire in the so-called metropoles or in ...

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Beirut Revolt: What Is to be Done?

[The following reflection on protests in Beirut was written and circulated by Nadia Bou Ali on 27 August 2015] Beirut Revolt: What Is to be Done? What we have witnessed over the past two days on the streets of Beirut is both exhilarating and potentially debilitating for the current social struggle against neo-liberal capitalism in Lebanon. An uprising is indeed called for in the face of a rampant neo-liberal state that has a remarkably resilient ideological apparatus supported by a highly militarized ...

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Quick Thoughts: Moe Ali Nayel on Lebanon’s Garbage Crisis and Protest Movement

[On 22 August 2015, what had in previous weeks been a small protest against the breakdown in garbage collection in Beirut turned into a major anti-corruption demonstration calling for fundamental political and economic change in Lebanon. The protesters have been met with escalating repressive violence, and the movement has thus far caught both coalitions of the severely polarized political establishment by surprise. Jadaliyya asked Moe Ali Nayel, a Beirut-based journalist, to explain the background and ...

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في تعاقب المنافي، ستحملنا الريح إلى الوطن

دمشق، الاغتراب المٌبكر ولدتُ وترعرت في دمشق، لم أعرف مدينةً سواها حتى انتصف عقدي الثاني. معرفتي بسوريا كانت كمعرفة سائر سكان دمشق، ممن لا يضطرون إلى الخروج منها إلا بقصد سياحةٍ مُحددة المقاصد، أو لرحلات عملٍ سريعة. لم يكن يحرك سكان العاصمة فضولٌ كبير للتعرف على بقية البلاد. سأفعل ذلك لاحقاً بفضل العمل، ومن ثم بفضل الثورة. قسمٌ من الوافدين إلى دمشق كانوا يذهبون لزيارة مدنهم وقراهم التي قدموا منها إما طلباً للعلم أو العمل، أو رغبةً في حياةٍ أفضل. أما «الشوام» أمثالي، فلم يكن لهم ضيعة ولا مدينة أخرى ...

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أن نرسم بيروت من رويات مستأجريها - دعوة للمشاركة في 6 ورش عمل

​مساحة بحثية تشاركية لتفعيل الحق في المدينة والسكن  من خلال ٦ ورش عمل تركز على تجارب المستأجرين القدامى في أحياء المدينة المختلفة من يشارك في الورشة؟ تتوجّه ورش العمل إلى مجموعةٍ مختارةٍ من الشبان والشابات ممن لديهم/ن اهتمامٌ في القضايا المدينية، والبحوث، ورسم الخرائط، وكذلك روايات أحياء بيروت وتاريخها. نشجع من لديهم خبرة في مجالات الدراسات المدينية، العمارة، التصميم الغرافيكي، الأنثروبولوجيا، وإختصاصات أخرى ذات صلة، كما سكان الأحياء الى التسجيل في الورشة. سيتم ...

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Beirut Event -- Lebanon in the 1940s and 1950s: A Panel Discussion (28 July 2015)

Join us in Beirut for a panel of presentations dealing with state formation, public institutions, and social mobilizations in the first fifteen years since the formal end of the French of mandate in 1943. This event is the public component of a two-day research workshop on the early independence period of Lebanon. Co-convened by Ziad Abu-Rish and Mona Harb, the workshop brings together fourteen scholars of diverse disciplinary training and topical foci whose research directly addresses the institutional ...

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Report: The Bird's Nest Armenian Orphanage in Byblos (Lebanon)

The Bird’s Nest in Byblos (Jbeil, Lebanon) was an orphanage built to house the Armenian refugees who had escaped the 1915 Genocide. It served generations of Armenian children. The southern part of the plot includes the Saint Kayaneh chapel, built by the orphans themselves in 1921. That chapel is the only place of worship for the Armenians of Byblos On 21 February 2015, the Armenian Catholicosate of the Greater House of Cilicia, keeper of the Bird’s Nest since 1967, announced that it will ...

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في العودة إلى تاريخ مؤسسات الدولة اللبنانية خلال السنوات الأولى بعد الانتداب: حوار مع زياد أبو الريش

[في المقابلة التالية مع المركز اللبناني للدراسات السياسية، يناقش محرر جدلية زياد أبو الريش تاريخ مؤسسات الدولة في بدايات الاستقلال في  لبنان وبعض الموروثات التي خلفتها. وقد أجرت المقابلة عبر البريد الإلكتروني ونشرت على موقع  المركز اللبناني للدراسات السياسية]                   ناقش المركز اللبناني للدراسات مع الدكتور زياد أبو الريش تاريخ مؤسسات الدولة في بدايات الاستقلال في لبنان وبعض الموروثات التي خلّفتها. الدكتور أبو الريش هو محاضر في مادة ...

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Salma Hayek and the Sexist Lebanese Citizenship Law

Last month, Salma Hayek visited Lebanon to promote the world premiere of The Prophet, the new animated film based on the poetry of Khalil Gibran. It was her first ever visit to the country.  The Lebanese greeted her with open arms as a long-lost daughter. The visit culminated with the rumor that Hayek had been offered Lebanese citizenship. The gesture is not surprising in and of itself. Lebanese citizenship is transmitted through paternal blood and Hayek’s paternal Grandfather was Lebanese. But ...

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The Politics of Gendered Violence in Lebanon

Ali al Zein murdered his wife Sara Al-Amin on 18 May 2015. Her murder was shocking in its brutality. It is only one link in a long chain of visible and invisible violence against women in contemporary Lebanon. Structural conditions give birth to this violence. These conditions enshrine the legal impunity and social acceptability of female vulnerability to violence. Amin’s murder is an instance of intimate partner violence, the latest in a spate of wife killing across Lebanon. In addition to ...

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Then and Now: LCPS Interviews Jadaliyya Co-Editor Ziad Abu-Rish on State Institutions in Lebanon

In the following interview with the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS), Jadaliyya Co-Editor Ziad Abu-Rish discusses the history of state institutions in early independence Lebanon, and some of the legacies they left behind. The interview was conducted over email, and first published on the LCPS website. Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS): There have been discussions over the last few years concerning the Lebanese state, or lack thereof, in terms of public policy, public ...

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National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies Annual Conference Endorses Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

[The following press release was issued by The National Associate of Chicana and Chicano Studies on 19 April 2015] The National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies Annual Conference took place in San Francisco from April 15-18, 2015. The business meeting, open to all members, took place on Saturday evening at the close of the conference. At the business meeting, the membership gave unanimous support to the Resolution to Support the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions. In ...

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O.I.L. Monthly Edition (March 2015)

 [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 Jadaliyyastrives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your ...

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