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Soma, Ermenek, Yirca: Can Anti-Coal Activists Defend Coal Miners and Olive Farmers?

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The coal-mining town of Soma in the western Aegean region of Turkey hardly made headlines until last May. A mining disaster that took the lives of 301 mine workers in Soma on 14 May 2014 brought forward the country’s fragile mix of social injustice, lack of occupational safety, and a fossil-fuel-dependent energy policy. This was by no means the first time that miners had died in a coal pit several hundreds of meters beneath our feet. Indeed, as İş Güvenliği Meclisi reports, 1,235 workers were killed while working in 2013, ninety-three of whom were from the mining sector. Many more followed in the months preceding the Soma disaster. Yet what further made Soma a tragedy ...

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A French Atlas of the Gulf States

[Cover of Philippe Cadène and Brigitte Dumortier,

Philippe Cadène and Brigitte Dumortier, Atlas of the Gulf States. Leiden: Brill, 2013. Mapping as a French Academic Tradition and its Critics It seems that English-speaking geographers and urbanists publish many fewer atlases, and draw fewer maps, than their French and—at least until recently—German counterparts. In France, there has been a frenzy of publishing atlases of everything and everywhere since the 1990s. What was first, at the advent of digital cartography, limited to academia, soon became a larger movement covering many topics and countries or regions of the world. The academic tradition of regional geography contributed to the launching of scientific books ...

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Yirca'da Acele Kamulastirma, Hukuksuzluk ve Direnis: Olcay Bingol ve Deniz Bayram ile Roportaj

[Image by Ayşegül Ersoy.]

Yırca'da Acele Kamulaştırma, Hukuksuzluk ve Direniş: Olcay Bingöl ve Deniz Bayram ile Röportaj [Boğaziçi Üniversitesi öğrencileri Çiğdem Artık ve Mustafa Kaba'nın Yırca'da zeytinliklerinin bölgeye termik santral yapımı için kamulaştırılmasına karşı direnen köylülerin yanında gönüllü olan ekoloji aktivisti Olcay Bingöl ve Greenpeace Akdeniz avukatı Deniz Bayram ile Yırca’da devam eden direniş ve acele kamulaştırma süreci hakkında Boğaziçi Mensupları Tüketim Kooperatifi için yaptıkları röportajı burada yayımlıyoruz.] Mustafa Kaba (MK), Çiğdem Artık (ÇA): Acele kamulaştırma ne zaman oldu? Çiftçiler bilgilendirildi mi? Ne zaman haberleri oldu? Deniz Bayram (DB): Acele ...

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Djerba, Tunisia: Garbage Disposal, the Environmental Crisis, and the Awakening of Ecoconsciousness

[An Italian restaurant-owner chains herself to a traffic sign to protest the burning of trash in front of her property in Djerba. Image via mosaiquefm.]

Djerba is an island in the south of Tunisia, often referred to as “the island of dreams.” In Homer’s Odyssey, Djerba is the enchanting land of the lotus-eaters; the land whose flowers charmed the companions of Odysseus and made them forget all thoughts of return. Today Djerba is one of Tunisia’s top tourist destinations. Home to al-Ghriba, Africa’s oldest synagogue, the island annually attracts hundreds of Jewish pilgrims from all over the world. Djerba also boasts fifteen centers of thalassotherapy and is branding itself more and more as a bio-friendly destination. For the past few weeks, however, tension has been mounting in the island over what seems to be the worst ...

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New Texts Out Now: Pascal Menoret, Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism, and Revolt

[Cover of Pascal Menoret,

Pascal Menoret, Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism, and Revolt. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Pascal Menoret (PM): I started working on the urbanization of Riyadh in 2001. I initially came to the city to teach French as a second language, and I was blown away by the place. With its single-family houses, its endless grid of avenues, and its absolute reliance on cars, the landscape of Riyadh looked very American to me. Yet it was a Greek urbanist, Constantinos Doxiadis, who designed the city, and a French company, SCET International, who revised its master plan. How did these people end up working ...

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Soma Katliami Tanikliklari (Interview with Selcuk Kozagacli with English Subtitles)

[Still image from the video]

Soma Katliamı Tanıklıkları Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği Başkanı Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Soma'daki madenin çalışma prensiplerini, olayın neden kaza değil cinayet olduğunu anlatıyor. Rödovans sistemi nedir, Soma'da olanlarin sorumluları kimlerdir, katliamı hazırlayan düzen nasıl bir şey, hükümet sistematik problemleri nasıl örtbas edebilir, bunları merak edenlerin izlemesi gereken bir röportaj. Selçuk Kozağaçlı, President of the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD), was among the lawyers violently detained in Soma by the police on Saturday. Here he speaks about the conditions that paved the way for last week's mining disaster and explains why it should be referred to as a ...

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New Texts Out Now: Valeska Huber, Channelling Mobilities: Migration and Globalisation in the Suez Canal Region and Beyond

[Cover of Valeska Huber,

Valeska Huber, Channelling Mobilities: Migration and Globalisation in the Suez Canal Region and Beyond. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Valeska Huber (VH): The origins of this book lie in my general interest in the history of mobility, particularly as it connects to justice and equality. Does globalization—in the present day or historically—mean that everyone can move at an ever-quicker pace? I wanted to unpack this story for the period around 1900 by showing that of course not everyone travels with the same speed; instead, there are very different mobilities and many issues of regulation and ...

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EIPR Report Reveals $10 Billion Lost in Corrupt Gas Contracts as Daily Blackouts Spread in Egypt

[Logo of Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. Image from eipr.org]

[The following report was published by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights on 13 March 2014] Egypt lost $10 billion in gas revenues from 2005-2011, according to a report launched yesterday by EIPR. Contracts signed during the Mubarak years allowed the export of billions of cubic metres of underpriced gas to Jordan, Spain and the Israeli state. Some of the individuals behind these deals were convicted of corruption. EIPR's new report uses court data to quantify the revenues lost to Egypt by exporting under-priced gas. One of the report’s findings is that during the six year period (2005-2011) of selling gas abroad for a very low price, Egypt lost more than ...

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New Texts Out Now: Claire Beaugrand, Amélie Le Renard, Roman Stadnicki, Villes et dynamiques urbaines en péninsule Arabique / Cities and Urban Dynamics in the Arabian Peninsula

Claire Beaugrand, Amélie Le Renard, and Roman Stadnicki (eds.), "Villes et dynamiques urbaines en péninsule Arabique / Cities and Urban Dynamics in the Arabian Peninsula." Special issue of Arabian Humanities 2 (2013). Jadaliyya (J): Can you first tell us about Arabian Humanities, and why you chose to publish this collection of essays in this particular journal? Claire Beaugrand, Amélie Le Renard, and Roman Stadnicki (CB, ALR, and RS): Arabian Humanities is a newly launched, peer-reviewed online journal covering academic research on the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, in all disciplines of the social sciences (ranging from archaeology to contemporary ...

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Ethiopian and Yemeni Migrants under the Saudi Crackdown

[Migrant Rights. Image from migrant-rights.org]

[This report was originally published by Migrant Rights under the title of "Spotlight on Ethiopian and Yemeni Migrants" on 6 December 2013.] The Saudi crackdown has impacted migrants across a spectrum of nationalities, but here we focus on two groups facing particularly adverse reverberations of Saudi’s unrelenting crackdown, in part due to pre-existing predicaments and mismanaged policies of their origin countries. Saudi’s deportations compounded the pre-existing humanitarian crisis at the Yemen-Saudi border, a frequent crossing-point for economic migrants prior to post-nitaqat securitization.  Over fifty-one thousand Ethiopian migrants arrived in North ...

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جولة عبر محطات خط سكة حديد درعا ـ حيفا

[مصدر الصورة أرشيف الكاتب]

[مرّت في الرابع من أكتوبر/تشرين الأول ذكرى افتتاح خط السكّة الحديدية الواصلة بين المدينتين حيفا ودرعا في العام 1905. كانت انطلاقة هذا الخط في عهد الدولة العثمانية جزءاً من مشروعها الحداثي لتعزيز سلطتها عبر ربط المناطق الاستراتيجية في هذا الشق من امبراطوريتها المتداعية حينذاك. حمل القطار معه تغييرات حياتية اجتماعية واقتصادية وسياسية شتى إلى المدن والقرى التي مر بها وساهم في تطورها وتطور أهلها. إلا أنه، كما هو الحال في بقاع أخرى، كان أداة وظفها الاستعمار لبسط سيطرته ونفوذه في الأراضي التي احتلها. ولم تكن أرضنا استثناء في حقبة الاستعمار البريطاني في فلسطين والاستعمار الصهيوني الذي واكبه وأعقبه، كما يبيّن المقطع التالي من كتاب "الخط الحديدي الحجازي/ تاريخ ...

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Vineyards of Colonial Algeria: A History of French or Algerian Wine?

[1910 postcard displaying an image of wine shipments departing from Oran, Algeria for France. Image from Wikimedia Commons.]

The history of wine production in Algeria during French colonial rule reflects the role of food and drink in enhancing, building, and contrasting national identities, and in mirroring the power relationship that connects the colonized to the colonizer. Algerian wine represents a particularly interesting example of the gap between the role that the colonizer intended for wine to serve and the ambiguous consequences of wine production in French Algeria. Wine also offers an acute illustration of the multi-faceted perception and relation to wine production among the native Algerian elites and peasantry. From 1830 to 1962, France exercised a large control over Algerian ...

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Expropriation, Lawlessness, and Resistance in Yirca's Olive Groves: An Interview with Olcay Bingol and Deniz Bayram

[This interview regarding the ongoing resistance and expropriation processes in Yırca (Soma) was conducted by Boğaziçi University students Çiğdem Artık and Mustafa Kaba. The interviewees are Olcay Bingöl, who is an ecological activist resisting in solidarity with the villagers in Yırca against the expropriation of their olive groves for a coal power plant, and Deniz Bayram, who is a lawyer for Greenpeace Mediterranean, which is following the case. This interview was originally conducted for the ...

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Migration, Fisheries, and the Supremacy of European Interests in Mauritania

A breakdown recently occurred in negotiations between the European Union (EU) and Mauritania over a new fisheries protocol; the protocol is a cornerstone of relations between the two, albeit a contentious one. The previous partnership agreement (expiring at the end of 2014) contained somewhat progressive measures, thanks to the lobbying efforts of local fishermen and activists. However, these measures may now be at risk of reversal due to the breakdown in recent negotiations. Having ...

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New Texts Out Now: Myriam Ababsa, Atlas of Jordan: History, Territories, and Society

Myriam Ababsa, editor, Atlas of Jordan: History, Territories, and Society. Beirut: Presses de l’Institut Français du Proche-Orient, 2013. أطلس الأردن - التاريخ، الأرض والمجتمع Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Myriam Ababsa (MA): Jordan lacked a synthetic book about its historical resiliencies and social dynamics. The Royal Jordanian Geographical Center published the first two-volume Atlas of Jordan in 1984, but this series was dedicated to the country’s physical geography and lacked any ...

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Sharing the Nile Waters According to Needs

A ministerial-level meeting in Khartoum including Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to establish mechanisms for further investigations of the consequences of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) downstream has concluded, on Tuesday 26 August. The gathering took place two months after Egypt and Ethiopia had issued ajoint communique that stressed the importance of the contested water of the Nile River for the two countries and outlined general principles for future moves to resolve disagreements. The ...

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Miners and the Ottoman State: Ryan Gingeras Interviews Donald Quataert

With the official death toll having exceeded three hundred, the Soma mining disaster has raised new questions about the conditions and rights of laborers in Turkey. Amidst the darkly farcical internet circus surrounding the rescue efforts, public outcry, and official reaction to this catastrophe, one of the more surreal moments has been the Prime Minister’s citation of nineteenth-century mining disasters as examples of the natural and inevitable nature of mining accidents in general. This statement, ...

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Abdullah Al-Tariki: A Profile from the Archives

”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: Abdullah Last Name: Al-Tariki Father’s Name: Hammoud Mother’s Name: Lo’lo’a Date of Birth: 1919 Date of Death: ...

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ACRI Petitions High Court: Restore Water to East Jerusalem

[The following press release was issued by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel on 25 March 2014] For some three weeks now, tens of thousands of residents of Jerusalem neighborhoods east of the Separation Barrier have been without running water. In response, local residents, community leaders and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) have filed a petition to the High Court of Justice. In the petition, ACRI Attorney Karen Tzafrir noted that most of the homes in the neighborhoods of Ras ...

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Ghaniyeh bil miyah (Riche en eau): Un film sur la réforme de l’eau au Liban

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Where the Tigris Flows: Water Security in Post-War Iraq and Turkey

Media coverage of Iraq in recent years has been dominated by the horrifying images of the American occupation, its impacts, and its aftermath. Sometimes lost among the political turmoil are the stories of how daily life continues and persists and how it is affected by the issues of the day. What will be the legacy of the past decade in the eyes of the future? One issue that has gained attention from scholars of the Middle East in recent years is ecology. Historians have come to view the relationship ...

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Drug Trafficking in Northwest Africa: The Moroccan Gateway

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, West Africa has become a pivotal platform and crossroads for terrorism, drug and human trafficking, crime and insurgency. However, in analyzing drug trafficking in the Sahel, it is paramount to also look at the role and geographical location of Morocco, where Moroccan drug barons are increasingly linked to their African and Latin American counterparts. Indeed, the Moroccan kingdom plays an important role between the African continent and Europe. The ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nelida Fuccaro, Histories of Oil and Urban Modernity in the Middle East

Nelida Fuccaro, editor, Histories of Oil and Urban Modernity in the Middle East. Special issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (April 2013). Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this issue? Nelida Fuccaro (NF): It was my interest in the urban history of oil producing countries, combined with the availability of stimulating interdisciplinary research on oil cities, a topic that is relatively new to Middle Eastern studies. I find this research very appealing. ...

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The New European Union and Mauritania Fisheries Agreement: Between Sustainability and Vested Interests

On 29 May, the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament voted to reject a new European Union-Mauritania fishing agreement, negotiated in July 2012. The grounds for rejection were that the new clauses regarding licensing for European fleets to fish in Mauritanian waters would be neither profitable nor to the benefit of either party.  The waters off the coast of Mauritania are some of the richest and most biologically diverse in the world. As a result, they are of great importance to European ...

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