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Three Travelling Plaques Become Four in Mohamed Mahmoud Street

[The Arabic reads:

This article should be read as the continuation of a series I wrote for Jadaliyya on art and the Egyptian revolution, the most recent of which was posted on 25 January 2013 and entitled “The Dramaturgy of a Street Corner”. For the past three years, graffiti in Egypt has drawn a record level of attention from the international media. If one performs a Google search using the keywords “graffiti Egypt”, about 10,900,000 results appear. If one searches for the same keywords on youtube, there are 396,000 results. The immediate impression one gets, not only from the Internet, but also when following the cultural scene in Cairo, is that since January 2011 nothing has become ...

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Sisi Mania in Photos

[An Egyptian voter takes a photo of her son with an army conscript outside a polling station in the Cairo suburb of Rod al-Farag. Cairo, Egypt – 27 May 2014. Photo by Jonathan Rashad.]

Expressions of support for former army chief and the presumed presidential election winner Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have reached new heights during the lead-up to the 26-28 May 2014 vote. His name and image can be found on billboards all over the buildings, posters plastered on the walls coffee shops, and photos on display at street vendors’ stands. As I covered the elections over the course of the past week in Cairo, I encountered pro-military songs everywhere—coffee shops, driving cars, public transportation, television, outside of polling stations, and even inside of them. Most notably, one could hear the loud tunes of "tislam al-ayyadi" (blessed be the hands), ...

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Morsi Trial Protest in Photos

[Standing in front of riot police during a protest outside the Police Academy in Cairo, a supporter of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi doing the “Rabea” gesture, in reference to Rabea sit-in, which security forces cleared up violently last August. 4 November 2013. Photo by Jonathan Rashad]

On 4 November 2013, supporters of Egypt's deposed President Mohamed Morsi protested outside the Police Academy in Cairo as they awaited his trial. Due to chants by the defendants, including Morsi and fourteen other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, the trial was adjourned until 8 January 2014. Morsi, along with the other defendants, are accused of inciting murder against opposition during his year as president.              

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Intimidation and Resistance: Imagining Gender in Cairene Graffiti

[Caption: “Don’t categorize me”. Photo by Mona Abaza (Captured 13 September 2012)]

The issue of women’s empowerment continues to be of paramount significance in determining the future of the incomplete Arab revolutions. Numerous scholars, activists, and feminists have commented with concern about the precarious position of women after the contagious revolutions, which started in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Many have expressed anxiety that the controversial gender issue in the Middle East will dominate the coming years, as even Christian leaders transmit Islamists’ pressure on women to dress “more modestly” to their communities. Others have remarked that misogynist attitudes are observable today across the post-revolutionary Arab states, because the ...

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Port Said in Revolt

[A protester throws a tear gas canister back at police during street battles outside Port Said's Security Directorate. On the right, poster of a protester killed in January's clashes visible. 7 March 2013. (Photo by AFP/Jonathan Rashad)]

Tears in the eyes, bullets on the ground, and blood on the pavements - as injustice prevails. That is Port Said. The city has witnessed unrest again in March in response to an Egyptian court ruling that sentenced twenty-one Port Said residents to death for alleged involvement in killings that happened during a 1 February 2012 football riot, which left seventy-four dead . More than forty-six were killed in Port Said over the past two months during clashes.                        [Riot police throw rocks at protesters from the rooftop of Port Said's Security Directorate. 7 March 2013      ...

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Alexandria Re-Imagined: The Revolution through Art

[Revolutionary martyrs painted on walls of Alexandria. Photo by Amro Ali]

On 24 January 2011 – a day before the arc of Egyptian history would be altered – the film Microphone was screened. Microphone documents Alexandria’s pre-revolution underground scene of artists and musicians fighting a passive oppression that suffocates their ability to nurture their creativity. Khaled (played by Khaled Abol Naga), who has returned to Egypt from the US, wishes to aid the youth by providing them with a venue and funding for nurturing their talents. In one scene, Khaled is conversing with an official at the state’s cultural office to request support for his project. The dialogue proceeds as follows: Official: What is this graffiti? Is our role to ...

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The Swallows of Syria

[Jdeideh, Lebanon - Karam, twenty-eight, from Homs]

[Note: The views and testimonies herein are the refugees’ own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author or of Jadaliyya.] Somaya left Homs, Syria after finding the corpse of her tortured son in a sewage ditch. Zaynab escaped with her family when she discovered that Syrian soldiers kidnapped, raped, and killed three of her schoolmates. Aziza fled after snipers killed both her husband and sister-in-law. Reports indicate that refugees and residents have also been subjected to abuse and assault by unknown, non-regime, fighters. Thousands of other Syrian women like them have escaped to Lebanon and are hiding in small villages within a few kilometers of the ...

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Living Under Threat of Expulsion: Palestinian Women Photograph Life in Susiya Village

[Members of the Nawaja family in their tent. Image by the women of Susiya/Activestills.]

These photographs were taken by women residents of Susiya village from the Nawaja family, ranging from teenagers to the elderly. Here are their names: Wadcha, Basma, Iman, Iam, Hitam, Ula, Rabicha, Samicha, Sane, Samma, Hadija, Sanaa, and Khitam. In 2011, the women of Susiya documented their lives as a part of a participatory photography project conducted by Activestills photographer Keren Manor and guest photographer Mareike Lauken. This project was one of many activities of the village’s Creative and Learning Center. The Palestinian West Bank village of Susiya is again under threat of demolition by Israeli government authorities. 

Around four hundred people ...

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The Syrian Refugee Crisis Intensifies

[A Kurdish flag waves as Syrian refugees arrive in the Domiz refugee camp in Dahuk, Iraq, Aug. 13, 2012. Image by Khalid Mohammed/AP Photo.]

Over three hundred thousand refugees have fled across Syria’s borders to Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon, according to the latest UNHCR statistics. This number accounts for only those who have registered with the UN or are waiting to register. The UN also estimates that one to one and a half million people are internally displaced within Syria. If correct, then nearly ten percent of the population of the country (twenty-two million) no longer lives in their homes. Inside Syria as of mid-September, the World Food Program increased its target for food rations from 850,000 to 1.5 million people in all fourteen governorates. According to the UN Office for the ...

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Families of Kidnapped Lebanese in Syria Cut Off Access to the Airport in Beirut

[The Moqdad familly and eleven kidnapped Lebanese block the old airport road in Beirut. Image by Natalia Sancha.]

In an irony of history, the old Lebanon, feared in the decade of the 1970s for its hijackers, is now the victim of kidnappings. The confusion is greater when Lebanese are kidnapped in Syria and Syrians are kidnapped in Lebanon as a deliberate proxy war between pro-Syrian regime groups in Lebanon, and detractor groups in Syria. [Families of the eleven Lebanese kidnapped respond to press and ask for immediate release of their relatives.]   The media reports began to filter in on Wednesday afternoon with the news that either four or eleven of the Lebanese kidnapped last May in Syria had died after the shelling of Izaaz by the Syrian army. Relatives of the eleven ...

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Recalling the Past: The Battle over History, Collective Memory and Memorialization in Egypt

[A memorial in Tahrir Square, February 2011. Image by YasminMoll/Flickr.]

History is inescapable in Egypt. Foreign tourists drawn to the abundant physical remains of Coptic, Pharaonic, Hellenic, and Islamic cultures are reminded of the contemporary past as they head downtown from the Cairo airport past the triumphant October War Panorama, a war museum commemorating the 1973 war with fighter jets parked out front. Numerous place names—Sadat City, the Twenty-sixth of July Street, Talaat Harb Square, the Sixth of October Bridge—are constant evocations of persons and events raised to iconic status by former regimes. In the past year, a new, unsanctioned layer of historical memory has been added to Egypt’s villages, towns, and cities in the form ...

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Tahrir Protests Continue (Photos and Video)

[Talaat Harb Square. Image by Hossam El-Hamalawy.]

Hundreds of thousands took part Tuesday in protests across Egypt, calling for a "political isolation" law to be implemented against General Ahmad Shafiq and remnants of the old regime. Protesters in Tahrir Square and elsewhere demanded the retrial of Hosni Mubarak, his sons, and the police leaders in front of revolutionary courts. [Protesters denouncing Shafiq in Talaat Harb Street. Image by Hossam El-Hamalawy.] [Talaat Harb Square. Image by Hossam El-Hamalawy.] [Tahrir Square. Image by Hossam El-Hamalawy.]   [Protestors in Tahrir Square on 2 June 2012. Video by Hossam El-Hamalawy.]

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Sub-Saharan Migrants’ Quest for Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

[This article is the fourth in a Jadaliyya series that addresses the present sociopolitical landscape of migration in Morocco. Read the previous installments in the series by Sébastien Bachelet: "Cynical and Macabre 'Politics of Migration' at Morocco’s Borders;" by Anna Jacobs: "Creation and Cooptation: The Story of Morocco’s Migration Reform;" and by Allison L. McManus: "Subaltern Is Not Voiceless – They Sing: Learning from Migrants’ Cultural ...

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غزة قبل الشتات

[ هذا المقال جزء من ”أصوات من أجل غزة" وهو ملف خاص تنشره جدلية على مدار شهر كامل. للإطلاع على بقية المقالات اضغط/ي هنا]  هذه الصور من كتاب ”قبل الشتات: التاريخ المصوّر للشعب الفلسطيني ١٨٧٦-١٩٤٨“ تأليف وليد الخالدي، صدر عن مؤسّسة الدراسات الفلسطينيّة. صدر الكتاب بطبعة أولى عام ١٩٨٤ وطبعة إلكترونية متاحة للجميع للتصفح. وجاء في التقديم للكتاب أنه يروي ”رحلة صورية مرئية، عبر ستة عقود من تاريخ فلسطين قبل سنة ١٩٤٨، وهي حكاية فلسطين قبل التقسيم، الطرد والشتات... يظهر الكتاب كل جانب من جوانب ...

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Al-Manial’s Tragedy in Photos

Hundreds of people, including supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and residents of Cairo's al-Manial district, clashed for hours on al-Gamaa bridge on the night of 5 July 2013, using rocks, sticks, and guns. The chaotic scene started around 10 p.m., as Morsi's supporters were returning from a march nearby Tahrir Square. The violence dragged on for hours, as victims were being carried away to the hospital every few minutes, and as the terrifying sound of gunfire echoed through the ...

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The Last Colony: Photo Essay on Western Sahara

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] [The photos above were taken by Andrew McConnell, who also wrote the following text.] The territory of Western Sahara is Africa's last open file at the United Nations Decolonization Committee. The year ...

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The Dramaturgy of A Street Corner

Much like the ongoing revolutionary struggle in Egypt, this short piece is part of an in-progress work to chronicle the evolution of revolutionary art on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, also known as the “street of the eyes of freedom”—nicknamed as such since many protesters lost their eyes on that same street after being targeted by professional snipers during protests in 2011. (See previous articles on this subject by clicking here, here, here, here, and here. Also see interview with artist Alaa Awad on the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nadje Al-Ali and Deborah Al-Najjar, We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War

Nadje Al-Ali and Deborah Al-Najjar, editors, We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Nadje Al-Ali and Deborah Al-Najjar (NA and DA): The idea for this book first emerged in 2006, when Iraqis were generally portrayed either as passive victims or as perpetrators of horrific violence. In the midst of an ongoing humanitarian crisis and the violence, destruction, killings, and widespread sufferings ...

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Imagining Tahrir

I. Egyptians saw themselves for the first time through their own eyes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in January and February 2011, and reveled in that encounter. Participating in and recording that experience was to become part of the consciousness of a community that was ready to move heaven and earth to restructure Egyptian society for the better. The consciousness was individual in that it established one person’s experience among the crowd, it was moral because recording everything became imperative for ...

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City, Space, Power: Lahore’s Architecture of In/Security

Casualties of War Lahore today looks like a city at war. One of the greatest unacknowledged casualties of the United States’ “war on terror” has been the cities—and citizenry—of Pakistan. The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the Taliban from power in response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.[1] In 1985, sixteen years prior, President Ronald Reagan equated the Taliban mujahideen who had defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan as “the moral equivalent of America’s founding ...

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Demolishing Palestine

Since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967, Israel has demolished about 27,000 Palestinian homes and other structures crucial for a family’s livelihood, according to Israeli government statistics (Compiled by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions). Almost half of these were carried out in just the last twelve years. So far this year, 702 people have been displaced and 140 homes demolished. The government categorizes many demolitions as the consequence of not ...

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Syrian Refugee Photo Essay

As the crisis in Syria continues to escalate, refugees are fleeing to the surrounding countries in huge numbers. According to the UNHCR, as of August 8 there are over one hundred thirty-eight thousand refugees registered for assistance – roughly fifty thousand in Turkey, thirty-nine thousand in Jordan, thirty-five thousand in Lebanon and twelve thousand in Iraq. Many other displaced Syrian civilians are not registered, and perhaps over one million are displaced within Syria. Neighboring countries, local ...

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The Revolution's Barometer

The Mohammed Mahmud wall remains alive and kicking through its graffiti, which is getting altered by the hour. The walls continue to be whitened thanks to the efforts of Egyptian authorities. Yet drawings keep on appearing layers after layers to cover the older ones and the white paint. Not only have the walls of Mohammed Mahmud Street become “a memorial space,” as I have noted in a previous contribution, but also a barometer of the Egyptian revolution. The murals seem to be vividly narrating the most ...

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Anti-Shafiq Protest in Tahrir

Hundreds of protesters marched on Tahrir today, calling for the execution of presidential candidate General Ahmad Shafiq, Mubarak's former prime minister and head of the air force. The demonstrators accused the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces of rigging the vote in the first round of elections.  [Abu Mustafa, father of one of the martyrs who fell on Egypt's Friday of Anger, 28 January 2011, taking part in protests in Tahrir Square. Image by Hossam El-Hamalawy]

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