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Questioning Social Inequality and Difference in the Arab Region
Selected Presentations from ACSS Conference
Sandy Tolan on Music under Occupation
Interviewed by Malihe Razazan

United Kingdom

'Lines Drawn on an Empty Map': Iraq’s Borders and the Legend of the Artificial State (Part 1)

[Lawrence Map, 1918. “Lawrence of Arabia, The Life, The Legend,” Imperial War Museum, London, 2005/UK National Archives. From the BBC.]

It may be that no modern nation-state has been called “artificial” more times than Iraq. While most scholars are quick to admit that all nation-states are artificial, in the sense that they are created by humans, Iraq, it would seem, is more artificial than most. The story invariably begins with the post-World War I peace settlements, during which the borders of Iraq, along with those of the other Arab Mashriq states, were purportedly created, more or less out of thin air, by Europeans. As David Fromkin writes, in his widely read A Peace to End All Peace: It was an era in which Middle Eastern countries and frontiers were fabricated in Europe. Iraq and what we now ...

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Public Hearing Notice: UK Court to Look Into FCO Secret Document on Bahrain

[The following report was originally published by Bahrain Watch on 9 March 2015.] Judge to Decide on 18-Month Battle to Release Secret British Documents on Bahrain On 10 March, the Information Rights Tribunal in London will consider whether to order the Foreign Office to reveal 40-year-old secret communications between Foreign Office officials. In June 2013, Marc Owen Jones, a Durham University PhD student and member of the NGO, Bahrain Watch made a Freedom of Information Request to the FCO, requesting a secret file entitled “Bahrain: Internal Political situation 1977.” The FCO refused to disclose the full file, arguing that to reveal the information would ...

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Jadaliyya Co-Editor Sinan Antoon Reading and Book Signing (24 February, London)

[The cover of The Corpse Washer. Image from Yale University Press]

In Conversation: Sinan Antoon Winner of 2014 Saif Ghoibash Prize for Arabic literary Translation for The Corpse Washer 6:30-9:00 pm Waterstone’s Picadilly (4th Floor), 203/206 Picadilly, London W1J 9HD Sinan Antoon will be in conversation with Paul Blezard, from the judging panel. The event will also feature: * A reading from the novel, The Corpse Washer, a Q&A, followed by book signing and a reception *  Special performance by virtuoso oud player Khyam Allami. * This is a free event, but please reserve your place by e-mailing: For more details click here.

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London Palestine Film Festival (28 November - 11 December, 2014)

From November 28th to December 11th 2014, the London Palestine Film Festival (LPFF) returns with the finest new docs, dramas, and shorts on and from the region. Festival programme:  The two week programme, at the Barbican Cinema and University of London venues, showcases over 40 international titles accompanied by director Q&As, panel discussions, and research presentations. Along with hard-hitting docs and political thrillers, audiences can expect comedies, family-friendly adventures, and stoner capers to rub shoulders with the archival and the avant-garde. The Festival opens with the UK Premiere of Najwa Najjar’s Eyes of a Thief – ...

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بغايا بغداد التعيسات


الى بدر شاكر السياب الذي قال "بغداد مبغى كبير" في ليلة حالكة من عام 1938، كانت العاصمة العراقيّة معرّضة للطوفان بسبب ارتفاع منسوب المياه في نهر دجلة. في حالات كهذه، تستعين الشرطة بالمارّة من أجل حثّهم على إنقاذ مدينتهم. إلا أن شوارع المدينة كانت خالية بسبب البرد القارس وتأخر الوقت، فسارع عدنان محيي الدين، معاون الشرطة، إلى التفكير بمنطقة قريبة من النهر ومن "السدة"، مكمن الفيضان، لا تنام بسبب طبيعتها. إنها منطقة "الكلجيّة"، الحاضنة الرئيسة لبيوت الدعارة في جانب الرصافة من بغداد آنذاك. ذهبت سيارات الشرطة إلى "الكلجيّة" ودعت الجميع هناك إلى العمل على إنقاذ العاصمة من خطر الفيضان. لبّى الطلب كل من كان سهراناً في تلك الليلة. ...

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إضاءات على الحياة والمجتمع العربي في القدس خلال الحرب العالمية الثانية


يوميات طاهر عبد الحميد الفتياني وإضاءات على الحياة والمجتمع العربي في القدس خلال الحرب العالمية الثانية الحلقة الأولى مقدمة: تمتاز اليوميات الشخصية (1)، وإلى حدّ ما كتب الذكريات، عن الوثائق الرسمية والمنشورات السياسية، سواءً الصادرة منها عن جهات حكومية أو عن جهات وحركات وأحزاب سياسية، في قدرتها على أن تنفذ إلى أعماق الحياة المجتمعية لتصورها بمختلف تجلياتها ومكوناتها التفصيلية، بعيداً عن اللغة الرسمية وضوابطها وقيودها، بحيث يقترب قارئ اليوميات من الإحساس بها، وكأنه يعيش زمانها ويلامس أشياءها ويشترك في الحياة مع أشخاصها، فاليوميات الشخصية تتضمن نصوصاً كان كاتبها قد انطلق بحرية في التعبير عن نفس

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Gezi Resistance, Police Violence, and Turkey’s Accession to the European Union

[Riot police attack protesters in Gezi Park, 31 May 2013. Photo by Eren Aytuğ/Nar Photos.]

Many stakeholders inside and outside Turkey are waiting for the 2013 European Union (EU) progress report on the country, which is scheduled to be released on 16 October. According to the news leaks that have started to appear in various media outlets, the report is expected to contain fierce criticisms regarding the government’s handling of the Gezi Park protests, limits on the freedom of expression and freedom of press, and the deceleration of the reform process in the country. For a long time now, the EU Commission’s annual progress reports have been picked up by various progressive circles in Turkey to push for government accountability and to demand substantial ...

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New Texts Out Now: Ayca Cubukcu, The Responsibility to Protect: Libya and the Problem of Transnational Solidarity

[Cover of the

Ayça Çubukçu, “The Responsibility to Protect: Libya and the Problem of Transnational Solidarity,” Humanitarianism and Responsibility, special issue of Journal of Human Rights 12 (2013). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Ayça Çubukçu (AÇ): This article originated in a piece I wrote for Jadaliyya during the vitalizing days of the Arab Spring, in the heat of debate about the virtues of an international military intervention in Libya. As Jadaliyya readers would recall, following the February 2011 uprising against Colonel Qaddafi in eastern Libya, there were calls for the international community to intervene, if necessary with violence, into Libyan affairs. A ...

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Open Letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron Regarding UAE President's Visit

[Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Image via Wikimedia Commons]

[The following letter was issued by a group of human rights organizations, including the Alkarama Foundation, on 25 April 2013. UAE President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is scheduled to visit the United Kingdom today.]  Dear Prime Minister, We are writing to urge you to express the UK government's grave concern in relation to human rights abuses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when you meet the country's president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in the course of his forthcoming state visit to the United Kingdom. The UAE's discriminatory and disproportionate response to peaceful criticism, its severe violations of due process and fair trial rights, ...

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Seule la vérité

[David Cameron avec Premier ministre Abdelmalek Sellal à Alger. Image par Number 10/Flickr.]

À l’occasion de sa visite à Alger, David Cameron a souligné la détermination du Royaume-Uni à aider l’Algérie dans sa lutte antiterroriste. « Lorsque le terrorisme se développe dans différentes parties du monde, il atteint nos peuples et nos intérêts non seulement dans ces parties du monde, mais également chez nous, dans notre pays », a-t-il déclaré. Plus de quinze jours après son « coup de gueule » concernant la gestion de l’attaque du site gazier d’Ain Amenas par les militaires algériens, Mr. Cameron rend visite à l’Algérie officielle pour décider de la stratégie sécuritaire à suivre dorénavant. Le Premier ministre britannique est clair : ...

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UK Spyware in Bahrain: Company's Denials Called Into Question

[Malware Hazard. Image from PBCrichton/Open Clip Art Library]

[The following press release was issued by Bahrain Watch on 6 February 2013.] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:
: New Evidence Suggests Gamma Sold FinSpy to Bahrain [Manama] In July 2012, Bahrain Watch reported that the Government of Bahrain was targeting activists with the FinSpy/FinFisher “lawful interception” computer spyware, programmed by UK company Gamma International. An analysis revealed that the spyware steals passwords and can record screen shots, Skype calls, and audio from a computer’s microphone. The spyware sends the data ...

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Rhetoric or Critical Action? The Role of Human Rights in EU-UAE Relations

[Emirati security forces crackdown on activists in Dubai, 2012. Image from Gulf Center for Human Rights.]

An EU resolution passed in October 2012, which condemned human rights abuses in the United Arab Emirates, caused outrage among defenders of the Emirati regime and gave hope that human rights may play a greater role in EU foreign policy. Several months on, has this resolution proved to be anything more than empty rhetoric? The resolution criticized repression of political activists in the United Arab Emirates, where seventy-seven individuals have been detained without charge in the past year. It also called for authorities to conduct impartial inquiries into alleged physical attacks on prominent Emirati activist Ahmed Mansoor. Politicians and Emirati commentators ...

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Academics for Palestine Ireland supports the organisers of the Southampton conference

Academics for Palestine, a group of Irish academics – from both the Republic of Ireland and the North of Ireland – set up to create awareness and build the academic boycott of Israel campaign in Ireland, expresses its support for the organisers of the International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism conference which was due to take place on 17-19 April 2015, at the University of Southampton, UK. The University blocked the conference citing reasons of ‘health and ...

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London Event: Jadaliyya Co-Editor Sinan Antoon Reading and Book Signing (February 24)

In Conversation: Sinan Antoon Winner of 2014 Saif Ghoibash Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for The Corpse Washer Sinan Antoon will be in conversation with Paul Blezard, from the judging panel. The event will also feature: A reading from the novel, The Corpse Washer, a Q&A, followed by book signing and a reception Special performance by virtuoso oud player Khyam Allami. This is a free event, but please reserve your place by e-mailing: ...

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القواعد البريطانية الجديدة في الخليج

تفاجأ كثيرون بالإعلان، المصحوب بضجة إعلامية كبيرة، عن توقيع اتفاقية بين البحرين وبريطانيا تتيح لهذه الأخيرة "إقامة قاعدة عسكرية في البحرين لمواجهة التهديدات التي تتعرض لها المنطقة". وأشارت شعارات الاحتجاج التي رفعها المتظاهرون في البحرين إلى إن الاتفاقية هي إيذان بـ "عودة الاستعمار إلى المنطقة"، وانها "جزء من الثمن التي تقبضه بريطانيا نظير دعمها السياسي للنظام البحريني وصمتها تجاه ما يرتكبه من انتهاكات لحقوق الإنسان". وعلى الجهة المقابلة، أوضحت التصريحات الرسمية إن إنشاء ...

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New Texts Out Now: Paul Kelemen, The British Left and Zionism: History of a Divorce

Paul Kelemen, The British Left and Zionism: History of a Divorce. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Paul Kelemen (PK): I am of the generation, coming to adulthood in the late 1960s, which was deeply influenced by the Vietnamese struggle and by national liberation movements in Africa. Yet most of us knew next to nothing of what the clashes between Israel and Palestinian guerrilla fighters along its borders represented. The 1967 war and ...

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(2) إضاءات على الحياة والمجتمع العربي في القدس خلال الحرب العالمية الثانية

يوميات طاهر عبد الحميد الفتياني وإضاءات على الحياة والمجتمع العربي في القدس خلال الحرب العالمية الثانية  الحلقة الثانية [اضغط/ي هنا للحلقة الأولى]  تناولت الحلقة الأولى من هذه الدراسة والتي نشرت في العدد الثاني عشر من حوليات القدس (شتاء 2011) أوضاع مدينة القدس خلال الحرب العالمية الثانية استناداً ليوميات المقدسي طاهر عبد الحميد الفتياني، وقد عرَّفت باليوميات وصاحبها، وعرضت للأحوال العامّة التي سادت المدينة خلال الحرب، ولانقسام الشارع الفلسطيني تجاه تأييد إحدى القوتين المتحاربتين، كما تناولت ...

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Saloua Raouda Choucair: Reinventing Abstraction

Saloua Raouda Choucair. Edited by Jessica Morgan. London: Tate Publishing, 2013. One of the many myths of the Western canon is that European modern artists invented abstraction. Despite the known existence of pre-modern non-objective art among a number of non-Western cultures, twentieth-century European forays into pure abstraction are isolated as having developed radically new pictorial stances that changed worldviews across continents. That is not to say that what these artistic innovators formulated ...

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New Texts Out Now: Selma Dabbagh, Out of It: A Novel

Selma Dabbagh, Out of It: A Novel. London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2012. Selected as a Guardian Book of the Year, 2011-2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Selma Dabbagh (SD): All writers are driven by a sense of compulsion. This compulsion has component elements of arrogance and vanity, as well as an artistic desire to put the messy rush of everyday life into a dignified, meaningful form. Out of It was my first novel, although I had published short stories previously, and the seeds ...

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Nabil Goes In: Woolwich Attack Response (Video)

[The following video was issued by Nabil Abdul Rashid via UpshotTV on 23 May 2013. The video is a response to the recent murder of a British soldier in London.]    

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London Event -- Algeria, Mali: Another Chapter in the “Global War On Terror”? (9 March)

Algeria, Mali: Another Chapter in the “Global War On Terror”? 9 March 2013, 4:30 p.m.  Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, London As the dreadful hostage crisis at the BP-operated In Amenas gas plant in Algeria came to an end on January 19th, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron claimed, like George Bush Jr and Tony Blair before him, that the country faced an "existential" and "global threat" to "our interests and way of life". Ten years after the ...

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Call for Papers -- Difficult Transition: Iraq's Road to Democracy (2 March, London)

Difficult Transition: Iraq`s Road to Democracy 2 March 2013 SOAS, University of London           This one-day conference will bring together academics, policy-makers, politicians, journalists and civic organisations from both inside and outside of Iraq to examine the country's experiences with democratic governance since the fall of the Baath regime in April 2003. The relationship between democracy and the country's political, social and cultural trends will be explored ...

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UN Counter-Terrorism Expert Launches Inquiry into the Civilian Impact of Drones and Other Forms of Targeted Killing

LONDON (24 January 2012) - UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson QC will be formally launching an Inquiry into the civilian impact of the use of drones and other forms of targeted killing, focusing on the applicable legal framework, a critical examination of the factual evidence concerning civilian casualties, with a view to making recommendations to the UN General Assembly concerning the duty of States to conduct effective independent and ...

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"Light From the Middle East: New Photography" at the Victoria and Albert Museum: A Review

Light from the Middle East: New Photography Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK 13 November 2012 – 7 April 2013 The photographer Abbas’s images of the Iranian revolution have been described as “the memory of the event.”[1] I certainly remember them. Or I remember the event. I remember anyway my parents deciding that we had seen enough of these images on the streets, so they folded up their newspapers and unplugged our television at home. Abbas's images are the first ones you see ...

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