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Tahrir, Taksim, Tempelhof: Between Political Fields

[Tempelhofer Park. Image by author.]

Sitting in Engels—one among many of Neukölln's cosy, candlelit, hipster-friendly cafés—I read on a sticker the slogan: “Tah[r]ir, Taksim, Tempelhof: Das Feld gehört uns allen!” (Tahrir, Taksim, Tempelhof: The Field belongs to us all!). Tempelhof itself is a former airport located in former West Berlin, famous for its mythological role in the Berlin airlift during the Cold War. The airport was closed in 2008, but its vast runways and grass fields were re-opened to the public in 2010. People have adopted these as a space for outdoor sports, from kiting to cycling, while some skateboarders make best use of Tempelhof’s almost perfectly flat runways by attaching wind surf ...

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Press Release: Bahrain Activists Return from Korea Seeking to Ban Tear Gas Exports

[Logo of Bahrain Watch. Image from]

[The following press release was issued by Bahrain Watch on 26 March 2014] A Bahrain Watch delegation has returned from a weeklong visit to Seoul, at the invitation of South Korean civil society activists.  The purpose of the trip was to educate the government and public about ongoing human rights violations and misuse of tear gas in Bahrain, in support of a draft legislative amendment to block arms sales to human rights violators.  The amendment, sponsored by MPs Kim Hyun and Jang Hana, would block sales like last year’s bid by Dae Kwang Chemical Corporation to export 3 million tear gas canisters to Bahrain.  That proposed sale was successfully halted ...

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MEETING POINTS 7: Ten Thousand Wiles and a Hundred Thousand Tricks

[Artist Jumana Manna looks at the contradictions and possibilities of the middle class in Palestine through a historical masquerade.]

MEETING POINTS 7: Ten Thousand Wiles and a Hundred Thousand Tricks February — March 2014 Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo   Meeting Points 7 is a series of exhibitions taking place between September 2013 and June 2014 in Zagreb, Antwerp, Cairo, Hong Kong, Beirut, Vienna, and Moscow. Organized by the Young Arab Theatre Fund, Meeting Points is a biennial program of exhibitions, screenings, and performances held at several international venues over the course of several months. This latest installment of the touring festival was organized around two themes: the unfinished social and political processes of the recent Arab uprisings and the current ...

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Ghosts of Yogas Past and Present

[Adivasi Ekta Parishad (Conference of Adivasi Unity) gathering in Rajasthan, India. Photo by Satish Londhe.]

My Facebook feed has recently been saturated with posts and articles regarding yoga in the United States. It has been very frustrating to read about how white people teaching and doing yoga is apparently “traumatic” for South Asian Americans. I grew up in a village eight hours away from Mumbai. As someone from a Bahujan (lower-caste) farmer family in rural India, “yoga” was something very distant to me. It lived in the culture of the brahmanic upper middle class of urban India. Only recently, I have seen formal yoga being introduced into the vocabulary of the people I grew up with, and see “yoga mats” for sale in stores in some of the bigger towns near my village. This ...

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تأملات في الجسد

[مشهد مواجهة الجدار من

لأجسادنا وجهان/جلدان، وجه/جلد على العالم الخارجي، في الـ"هناك" البعيد القريب، حيث يتماس "الآخر" مع سطحه، فنعرف به ذواتنا وحدوده، ووجه/جلد على ذواتنا يطل في الـ"هنا"، هو الوجه القريب للمسافة البعيدة التي تهجس فيها أرواحنا بما يضج فيها وبها، هي المسافة الرمزية للأنا، فهيها –مثلًا- يرتع "إسمنا" بما يحمل لنا من خارجنا إلى داخلنا والعكس، هناك تتراتب أسئلتنا الوجودية في مقاعدها بوجاهة طفل، وفوهتها إلينا، وإن أخطأت إلى الـ"هناك". ************************************* بقراءة بسيطة –وإن مختزلة كانت- لأعمال أحد أشهر الفنانيين الأوروبيين في فترة "مابعد الحرب" وهو إيف كلاين (بالفرنسية إييف كلييه) 1928 – 1962 والذي يعد ...

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حوار مع ديبيش شاكرابرتي القانون هو الذي يحمي الأسس الحقيقية للحداثة

[المؤرخ الهندي ديبيش شاكرابرتي]

ديبيش شاكرابرتي Dipesh Chakrabarty من مفكري الحداثة وهو يدعو إلى فهم جديد لها في سياقاتها المختلفة، ويدعو أيضاً إلى "حداثة بديلة" يتحدث عنها باستفاضة في كتابه ”مواطن الحداثة: مقالات في صحوة دراسات التابع“، الذي صدر حديثاً في ترجمة عربية لمجيب الرحمان وصدر عن ”كلمة“. بالإضافة إلى ذلك، هو مؤرخ متخصّص في تاريخ الأديان، ودرس العنف الطائفي الذي عايشه شخصياً في الهند، كما أنه مفكر يعيد النظر في المقولات السائدة ويفكك التمركز الأوربي فاتحاً الحداثة على إعادة التشكل الكوني خارج المركزية الأوربية. ديبيش شاكرابرتي أستاذ التاريخ واللغات والحضارات في شرق آسيا في جامعة شيكاغو، من مؤلفاته كذلك:  ”إعادة التفكير بتاريخ الطبقة العاملة: البنغال: ...

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A Portrait of Kuwaiti Artist Monira Al Qadiri

[Much of Monira Al Qadiri's work is inspired by research on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle East. Image copyright the artist.]

 A Portrait of Kuwaiti Artist Monira Al Qadiri Monira Al Qadiri's diverse background and personal history are reflected in much of her work, yet in the most unexpected ways. Her parents--an ex-diplomat and a visual artist--had lived in Russia before she was born in Senegal. Al Qadiri grew up in Kuwait, and at the age of sixteen set off to Japan to study animation. She now lives in Beirut, Lebanon. Al Qadiri has spent years studying the aesthetics of sadness in Eastern cultures. Her work in animation, film, performance, and mixed media continues to evoke an eerie sense of humor while reflecting on her surroundings and the region's history and various social norms, ...

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India's Iran Policy: Between US Primacy and Regionalism

[World map showing Iran and India in green and orange, respectively. Image by Bazonka via Wikimedia Commons]

Abstract Standing at a press conference with Turkmenistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Rashid Meredov on January 22, 2013, India’s President Pranab Mukherjee committed India once more to a natural gas pipeline to run from Central Asia to South Asia. “India is deficient in energy resources,” said the President, “whereas Turkmenistan is rich in hydrocarbons.” The economic complementari­ties are obvious, but not so clear are the political ramifications. The President said that the pipeline is “important for bringing peace and development to our common region,” signaling that such projects are as much about regional stability as they are about resource exchanges. Talk of ...

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Co-Editors Mouin Rabbani and Noura Erakat, and O.I.L. Page Co-Editor Max Ajl, on “What Comes Next?: A Forum on the End of the Two-State Paradigm”

[These posts are part of “What Comes Next?: A forum on the end of the two-state paradigm.” This series was initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace as an investigation into the current state of thinking about one state and two state solutions, and the collection has been further expanded by Mondoweiss to mark 20 years since the Oslo process. The entire series can be found here. These original pieces were originally posted here, here, and here.] Strategy Before Solutions, Mouin Rabbani It has in recent years become increasingly fashionable to compare Israel with South Africa during the apartheid era. Extending beyond an analysis of similarities in the origins and ...

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Quebec’s Charter of Values: Citizenship, Patriarchy, and Paranoia

[Examples of ostensible signs that will not be allowed for the state personnel.]

On 10 September 2013, the Quebec government led by the Parti Quebecois introduced its Charter of Quebec Values, that it hopes to implement in that Canadian province. If passed, the charter would, among other things, forbid government employees from wearing “conspicuous” religious symbols in the workplace and citizens from receiving government services while wearing those symbols. The charter is currently polarizing Quebec society. What follows is an attempt to historicize the conversation over “Quebec values,” in light of the recent developments and the province’s history of marginalization. It proposes a broad overview of the various ...

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[An attendee of the 2nd Downtown Cairo Arts Festival uses VR/Urban's SMSlingshot to project a message onto a city wall. Image courtesy of Medrar TV.]

SMSlingshot An interactive show by VR/Urban - Germany 2nd D-CAF Festival, Downtown Cairo, Egypt April 2013   VR/Urban is a German collective of artists, designers, and researchers focusing on technology, media sciences, and architecture. Since 2008, the collective has been working on empowering the public by designing creative tools that encourage interaction with their environment, particularly with advertising screens and billboards in major cities. Unlike print ads on billboards, recent changes in the technology used in campaigns by governments and private corporations has made it difficult for the public to respond and express themselves with simple tools ...

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Kashmir Mass-Rape Survivors Struggle as Kafkaesque Justice Reigns

[Protesters at India Gate in Delhi demanding the government to take action after the 2012 New Delhi gang rape. Image by Ramesh Lalwani]

Twenty-two years and six months is probably enough time for India to think it has policed memories and fostered institutionalized forgetfulness in Indian-administered Kashmir. But such efforts have proven counterproductive. On the wintry night of 23-24 February 1991, an Indian Army unit systematically executed a mass-rape in Kunan and Poshpora villages in north Kashmir’s Kupwara region. The Army cordoned the villages, forced the men out of their houses and then took them into custody. The troops barged into houses under the guise of a search operation and raped the women. Survivors and human rights organizations report the number of raped women— between the ages of ...

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Partha Chatterjee on 'Nationalism, Internationalism, and Cosmopolitanism: Some Lessons from Modern Indian History'

On 3 April 2014, Partha Chatterjee gave a lecture on "Nationalism, Internationalism, and Cosmopolitanism: Some Lessons from Modern Indian History" at the London School of Economics. The lecture inaugurated the Internationalism, Cosmopolitanism and the Politics of Solidarity research group convened by Ayça Çubukçu at LSE's Centre for the Study of Human Rights. Below is the audio recording of that event. The lecture deals with four strands of trans-regional ...

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New Texts Out Now: India: Wounded States (Special Issue of Warscapes)

India: Wounded States. Special issue of Warscapes, edited by Bhakti Shringarpure and Aruni Kashyap. February 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this special issue? Warscapes (W): Since the inception of Warscapes we have had a stream of submissions from India that recount experiences of military occupation and state violence in places like Assam and Kashmir. Meanwhile, if you look through the pages of most western mainstream media, as well as Indian outlets, they are projecting a ...

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New Texts Out Now: John Tofik Karam, On the Trail and Trial of a Palestinian Diaspora: Mapping South America in the Arab–Israeli Conflict, 1967–1972

John Tofik Karam, "On the Trail and Trial of a Palestinian Diaspora: Mapping South America in the Arab–Israeli Conflict, 1967–1972." Journal of Latin American Studies 45.5 (November 2013). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? John Tofik Karam (JTK): I didn’t set out to do the kind of research that resulted in this article. I was on leave in 2008-9, during which time I worked in some archives in Asunción, Paraguay for my current book project on Arab diasporic networks at the ...

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العمل المشترك بين القوى اليسارية والعلمانية والديمقراطية

يتم الفصل في المجتمعات الحديثة ما بين الذاكرة وعلم التاريخ، الذي أصبح هو الذي يحدد ويفسر أحداث الماضي. وينتقد الفيلسوف نيتشه، المؤرخين الذين ينتهجون ذاكرة انتقائية في ٳختيارهم، فقط لما يعتبرونه مفيداً للمجتمع وللإنسان. فقد شهد القرن العشرين اهتماماً ملحوظاً بمسألة الذاكرة. فبحسب أبحاث سيجموند فرويد، فإن (الذاكرة الواعية) لا تمثل أبداً ماضي الإنسان، حيث يمكننا الوصول ٳلى الحقائق فقط عن طريق ٳعادة ترتيب بعض التجارب المكبوتة. ومن ناحية أخرى أدت الأحداث العالمية في القرن العشرين وبالتحديد بعد الحرب العالمية ...

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On Protests in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Quickly and Darkly

Two Vignettes Conversation One was with the waiter in a large Sarajevo hotel, where we were generally a bit sheepish to be attending our conference (the deciding factor was that it was big enough for all of the participants, the down side was its odd business history and the fact that the main conference room was also where Radovan Karadžić liked to hold his soirees with the media). A colleague and I had heard that the employees of the hotel had not been paid for several months, so we asked. It was ...

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A Bomb, With Ribbon Around It

South Asian Women’s Creative Collective, A Bomb, With Ribbon Around It. Queens Museum, Queens, New York, 14 December 2013 – 18 January 2014. A Bomb, With a Ribbon Around It, at the Queens Museum through 18 January 2014, is an eclectic collection of contemporary works from the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective, more commonly known as SAWCC. The show is part of SAWCC’s ongoing work—since its inception sixteen years ago as a grassroots, feminist arts collective in New York—to magnify the voices of ...

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New Texts Out Now: Ralf Brand and Sara Fregonese, The Radicals’ City: Urban Environment, Polarization, Cohesion

Ralf Brand and Sara Fregonese, The Radicals’ City: Urban Environment, Polarization, Cohesion. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Sara Fregonese (SF): The book is based on the research project “The Built Environment: Mirror and Mediator of Radicalization?” which ran from 2008 to 2010 at the University of Manchester, UK. It builds strongly on the significant amount of primary research data that the project produced. Our aim was to tell about radicalization and ...

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Lessons from the Campaign for Sanctions on Apartheid South Africa

Campaigns for freedom usually seem impossible at the start and inevitably successful at their conclusion. It has become common for opponents of the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to insist that it cannot emulate the success of the fight to isolate apartheid South Africa. The South African sanctions campaign, we are frequently told, enjoyed moral legitimacy in the West that the Palestinian cause is denied. BDS is thus doomed to fail. This shows deep ignorance of the obstacles which the ...

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Covering One's Back: An Exhibition Curated by Maha Maamoun and Ala Younis

Covering One's back May 2013 Gezira Art Center in Cairo, Egypt   In this interview filmed at Cairo’s Gezira Art Center, curators Maha Maamoun and Ala Younis discuss the inspiration behind their group show, Covering One’s Back, which featured an international lineup of artists. Through installation, video, and photography, Maamoun and Younis explored the concept of endurance and how it might manifest in visual culture through the constant negotiation of social, cultural, and political variables. ...

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From Reagan to Obama: Secrecy and Covert Operations in the Fight against “Terrorism”

Ronald Reagan was the first American president to put “terrorism” at the heart of his foreign policy discourse. During his first term, Reagan did so mostly in reference to conflicts in Central America. In El Salvador, his administration presented US military aid as necessary to help the Salvadoran armed forces fight the “terrorist threat” posed by the FMLN (Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional, an umbrella group of leftist guerilla organizations). In neighboring Nicaragua, Reagan repeatedly ...

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Open Letter and Petition to Revoke Ban of SAIA and Hammam Farah at York University

[The following open letter was issued by Students Against Israeli Apartheid - York University to York University in Toronto, ON on August 7, 2013] RE: Attempted intimidation of student activists, anti-democratic invocation of University regulations, and abuse of administrative power, April 30, 2013 and May 3rd 2013 The York University community of progressive student activists and allies around the world have documented your dissemination of messages of intimidation to participant speakers of the ...

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Mutual Opportunism in Ugandan–Israeli Relations

Israel’s relations with Uganda over the past five-plus decades epitomize how military ties and business investments ebb and flow with the currents of regional politics. These are halcyon days for mutual opportunism in Israeli-Ugandan relations.  In some ways, the cooperative present harkens back to the early 1960s. In that decade of African independence, Israel was eager to win friends and influence economics on the continent. According to Arye Oded, a former Israeli ambassador to various African ...

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