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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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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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Statement from Academics in Turkey on the Peace and Solution Process

[Image via Wikipedia Commons.]

[This statement was released on 8 August 2015.] Support Us in Our Call! Declaration to the Peoples of Turkey and the World, Like many people in Turkey, we, as academics, were emboldened by the peace/solution process between the Turkish state and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) officially initiated in January 2013, hoping for a new era that would end the conflicts continuing for over thirty years in Turkey. We have repeatedly stated, especially in our works on Turkey’s history, economy, and social relations, that the conflict has affected every aspect of Turkey, turned people into enemies, and increased inequality, discrimination, and violence. We have been of the ...

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A Call from the Women’s Freedom Assembly (Turkey)

[Suruç, 21 July 2015. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

[This statement was first released on 4 August 2015.] Legends, myths, and folk tales are full of stories of women banned from burying their dead. In one of the best known, Antigone revolts against the regime that forbids the burial of her brother. How can the state claim a right to ordain by its law rules and restrictions over a much more ancient form of relationality existing long before the state was ever thought of—namely, the bond of brotherhood/sisterhood? What sort of state can take away the right of the dead to be buried, ban this communion of earth and man? What sort of state can sink so low as to usurp the peace and tranquility of the dead, and the right to ...

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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 اختيار 12 مشارك لكل ورشة. ما هو موضوع الورشة؟ تتناول ورش العمل بشكل رئيسٍ إشكالية السكن في بيروت، مع التركيز على تجارب المستأجرين/ات القدامى في تأمين السكن في المدينة، ...

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

[Beirut Town Hall circa late 1940s. Image from

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 dynmaics of state formation and social mobilizations in Lebanon during the 1943-1958 period. In order to highlight some of the research questions and analytic findings of ...

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

[Memorial stone on graves with Armenian inscription:

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 be renting out the southern section of the plot to real-estate developers who will transform the area into a beach resort. The Catholicosate's statement specifies that the ...

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The Constant and the Changing 2015: The Gulf and the Other

[The following is the 2015 executive summary of the Gulf Centre for Development Policies' third annual report The Constant and the Changing.] In the third annual volume of The Constant and the Changing publication series, the Gulf Centre for Development Policies renews its call for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to address the chronic disorders that ail their development trajectory. The objective of this series of publications is to contribute to finding a path toward building independent states based on sustainable development, a democratic political culture, and the integration between Gulf Countries.  The four key disorders may be summarized as ...

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Call for Papers -- Five Years after the Arab Revolutions: The Arduous Road of Democratization and Future Prospects (Beirut, 21-23 January 2016)

Call for Papers Five Years after the Arab Revolutions: “The Arduous Road of Democratization and Future Prospects” In association with the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS), the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) is pleased to announce “Five Years after the Arab Revolutions: The Arduous Road of Democratization and Future Prospects”, an academic conference to be held in Beirut from January 21-23, 2016. The conference’s organizing committee welcomes submissions which respond to the below mentioned focus areas, and which presents original research that drives forward the understanding of the Arab ...

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NYC Event -- Against All Odds: A Night Celebrating Iraq (25 June 2015)

[Cropped image of book cover.]

Join War Resisters League & Center for Constitutional Rights for an evening of music, art & activism as we jointly launch Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq, a new book bringing the unique voices of progressive Iraqi organizing on the ground to NYC!  We are honored to have hip hop artist & performer the Narcycist join us & feature the work of Sundus Abdul Hadi, as we all celebrate Iraqi culture, art & movement building! Date and Time: Thurs June 25th @ 6:30PM (doors open @ 6PM) Location: Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10004 Featuring: Hip hop artist The ...

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Report: Criminal Revenues and Warlords in Syria

The Netherlands Institute for International Relations (Clingendael) features a paper authored by Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj entitled The Balance-Sheet of Conflict: Criminal Revenues and Warlords in Syria, written for the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF). The paper argues that as forms of territorial control have changed, the Syrian political economy has transformed alongside them, and examines the implications of this process for peacebuilding. The first section covers the collapse of the social contract in Syria at the start of the war, particularly in terms of the role played by bribery and patronage in the years preceding the conflict. The second section ...

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Dispatches from the 2015 Palestinian Festival of Literature

[This and all images in this post by Sarah Carr]

I am lucky enough to have been invited to the 2015 Palestinian Festival of Literature. Here is a despatch from days one, two, and three. Lego State Israel happens so suddenly. There we were one moment on the coach in Amman. Our tour guide, Ruby, started talking about crossing the border into the West Bank at exactly the same moment as the coach suddenly started reversing, a possibly inauspicious sign. Then we sped through Amman and its pleasant emptiness into the Jordanian countryside as Ruby gave us an introduction to the country that lasted about five minutes. “Jordan is the ‘safety bulb’ of the region”, she declared. It is the only Arab country that has peace ...

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Vangelis Kehriyotis anisina

Vangelis Kehriyotis anısına Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Tarih Bölümü öğretim üyesi ve Tarih Vakfı Başkan Yardımcısı olan Vangelis Kehriyotis hayatını kaybetti. Bugün kaybettiğimiz tarihçi Vangelis Kehriyotis'in Türkçe'de yayımlanan son makalelerinden biri Osmanlı Meclis-i Mebusan üyesi Pavlos Karolidis'in yaşamına ve farklı aidiyetlerine dairdi. Kehriyotis, "Atina'da Kapadokyalı, İzmir'de Atinalı, İstanbul'da Mebus" olarak görülen ve hayatını sürdüren Karolidis'in ve onun iç içe geçen, çoklu ...

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Urgent Call from Women in Turkey: Help Us Prevent Massacre!

[The following statement was issued by the Women's Freedom Assembly in Turkey] Urgent Call From Women in Turkey: Help Us Prevent Massacre! Last week Silopi, a city close to the Iraqi and Syrian borders of Turkey, was placed under siege by the Turkish military. Many civilians were wounded and killed with no accountability whatsoever, neighbourhoods were set on fire by the police and military. A delegation organized by the Women's Freedom Assembly was on its way to Silopi in order to investigate what ...

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Al Jazeera America Interviews Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat About Arson-Murder of Baby Ali Saad Dawabshe

At roughly 4 AM on Friday 31 July 2015, Israeli settlers burned to death eighteen-month old Palestinian baby boy Ali Saad Dawabsheh by setting fire to his family's home while they slept. The family rushed out of their burning home and saved their 4-year old son who was suffocating from smoke inhalation. This is not an outlier in the West Bank or throughout Israel, Palestinians are dehumanized as a matter of instituionalized racism.This attack is among the 11,000 settler attacks against Palestinian bodies ...

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Call for Papers: Ohio Symposium on Middle East Studies (Dayton, 8-9 April 2016)

Call for Papers: Ohio Symposium on Middle East Studies (April 8-9, 2016) Beyond the Margins: Researching and Teaching the Middle East in Ohio Abstracts due Septemnber 1, 2015 Over the past several years, numerous universities, colleges, and community colleges across the state of Ohio have hired new faculty whose research focuses on the MENA region. Some have created minors, majors, and/or public events programs that center on the topic. Nevertheless, many scholars of the MENA region that are based ...

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Boycotting Israeli Academic Institutions: Advice for Anthropologists

Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions is a group of concerned scholars, part of the growing global movement calling for Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel. The boycott movement seeks to end Israel’s widespread, systematic, and long-standing violations of the rights of the Palestinian people whether in exile, under occupation, or consigned to second-class citizenship. The academic boycott is particularly concerned with Israel’s violations of ...

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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 ...

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Against Terror, No Way Forward Without Respect for Human Rights

[The following is the text of a presentation given by Bahey Eldin Hassan, Director of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) during the EU Parliament Human Rights Subcommittee Session of 28 May 2015 in Brussels] Last week the student union at Ain Shams University’s School of Engineering issued a statement announcing their resignation in protest at the killing of Islam Atito, one of their peers, by security forces. The Interior Ministry had just claimed Islam was suspected of having ...

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Besieged: The Economic Impact of the Israeli Siege on Gaza

The second in a series of infographics on the Palestinian economy, "Besieged" highlights the scale of the economic impact of the Gaza blockade. Aided by their Egyptian counterparts, Israeli authorities heavily restrict the movement of people and goods into and out of the territory, whilst Palestinians are denied access even to their own natural resources, including farmland, fishing waters and valuable offshore gas reserves. While Palestinians in Gaza face a 45% unemployment rate, Israeli ...

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Discussion: Gulf Youth and the City (17 June 2015, AGSIW)

Gulf cities have followed similar paths of urbanization and architecture shaped by state planning and commercial development. While local differences exist, all reflect the demands of government and business, with little attention paid to civic requirements and public spaces. Recent events across the globe, from the Occupy movements to the 2011 Arab uprisings, have brought the role of cities in political life to the forefront. However, with few exceptions, Gulf cities are known more as glittering global ...

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Introducing Fikra Space: Where Iraqi Youth Can Take Fate into Their Own Hands

It is an unusually hot day in February in Baghdad, even for a city where February is usually hot. But everything else is business as usual. Traffic jams. Car horns. Street vendors. Security situation. Chaos. Except for maybe one thing. In downtown Baghdad, Ahmed Ramz, a twenty-two-year-old electronics engineering graduate, is holding an event on microcontrollers. “Microcontrollers are very simple yet very powerful instruments” Ramz starts the event. “They can be built to control any electronic system. ...

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AMCA Statement on Artistic Freedom in the United Arab Emirates

[The following statement was issued by the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art in the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey on 29 May 2015] The Association for Modern and Contemporary Art in the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey (AMCA) condemns the entry ban UAE authorities have imposed on artists Walid Raad and Ashok Sukumaran and calls on UAE-based art institutions, including in particular the Guggenheim Museum, to convey their disapproval to UAE authorities and vocally dissociate themselves from the ...

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Her Yerdeyiz!

HER YERDEYİZ! 27 Mayıs 2015 Yaşıyorsak ve hala nefes alıyorsak, bilinmelidir ki o güzel çocukların gülen yüzü hürmetinedir!     Herkes biliyor, son iki yıldır artık farklı bir ülkede yaşıyoruz. Havası, suyu,  sesi,  kokusu farklılaştı bu ülkenin. İktidarı, muhalefeti, meslek odası, sendikası, genci, yaşlısı, işçisi, işsizi, Türkü, Kürdü artık farklı… Kabul eden için de etmeyen için de hayat farklılaştı… Bu ülke GEZİ’yi yaşadı. Haziran’ın sıcağını ...

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