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A Moveable Feast? Reflections on the French Coverage of the Paris Attacks

[Image of the Eiffel Tower illuminated with the Tricolor following the Paris attacks. Image by Passion Leica/Flickr]

Writing on the relationship between acts of terror and the mystification of liberalism in 1947, Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote that, “cunning, violence, propaganda, and realpolitik” appeared “in the guise of liberal principles” and were “the substance of foreign or colonial politics, and even of domestic politics.” [1] He was not writing about religious fanatics, but he was rather concerned with another specter that once faced Europe: Communism. Unlike the Cold War, if France is indeed “at war,” one is at a loss to characterize what kind of war it is, or against whom it will be fought. Perhaps we are in what Jean Baudrillard categorized as a “Fourth World War,” in which the ...

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Turkey Could Cut Off the Islamic State’s Supply Lines. So Why Doesn’t It?

[Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaking at the World Economic Summit in Davos, 2009. Image via Wikipedia.]

In the wake of the murderous attacks in Paris, we can expect western heads of state to do what they always do in such circumstances: declare total and unremitting war on those who brought it about. They don’t actually mean it. They’ve had the means to uproot and destroy Islamic State within their hands for over a year now. They’ve simply refused to make use of it. In fact, as the world watched leaders making statements of implacable resolve at the G20 summit in Antalaya, these same leaders are hobnobbing with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a man whose tacit political, economic, and even military support contributed to ISIS’ ability to perpetrate the atrocities ...

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Misprints: An Interview with Paul Qaysi

[Paul Qaysi,

The beginnings of this conversation took place over a year ago when I met Paul during my Architecture of Memory exhibit at the Middle East Center for the Arts at MANA Contemporary in New Jersey. Paul came out to see the exhibit and we spent a long time talking about our works, shared experiences, and relationship to Iraq, war, displacement, photography, video, and issues of mis/representation.  I invited Paul to participate in my next performance piece, which brought together a diverse group of exiled/diasporic Iraqis—from various personal and professional backgrounds, including the arts, activism, academia, journalism, and ...

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Libya: The Forgotten War of the Tebu and Tuareg

[Tuareg children on the remains of Tuareg houses in the Tayuri neighborhood of Sebha, destroyed during clashes in July 2015. Image by author]

In the midst of the Libyan desert, a thousand kilometers south of Tripoli, a war divides two communities that had been living a brotherly life until the post-revolutionary vortex carried away their friendship. The Tebu, an ethnic group that traces its roots to the Tibesti Mountains in Chad, and the Tuareg, the “Berbers of the desert” spread throughout the Sahel-Saharan region, had been living side by side since having signed a peace treaty in late nineteenth century. In August 2014, however, violence broke out in the Ubari oasis, where the increased influence of the Tebu community had generated tensions with the Tuareg majority. A year later, in July 2015, the clashes ...

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Quick Thoughts on Sanctions and Elite Factionalization in Syria: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation with Samer Abboud

In this Quick Thoughts conversation for Status/الوضع, Samer Abboud outlines the impact of sanctions on the rise of social actors in Syria who facilitate transactions as intermediaries and assist in providing access to parts of the country afflicted with conflict. As producers and distributors, these elite networks are helping provide access to otherwise unreachable areas in the country. Much of this involves close coordination with armed groups to ensure transfer of goods, products, personnel, etc., making them an integral lifeline for many communities and locales. Before the conflict, much of these groups constituted middle to lower strata. But with ...

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Cemile Cagirga: A Girl is Freezing Under State Fire

[The body of Cemile Çağırga in a deep freezer. Image courtesy of Sol]

Cemile Çağırga: A Girl is Freezing Under State Fire “As a child born in the southeast, after the ‘90s, you’re not really a kid. During your infancy, you’re really a child between 1-5 years old. As a 6-year old, you’ve actually grown up and are considered to be 15 years old. When you turn 10, you’re actually 20. After 15, you feel like you’re 40 years old.” İmren Demirbaş, 16-year old Kurdish girl, Diyarbakir [1] “Look here, here, underneath this black marble A child is buried; if he had lived for one more recess He would have risen from nature to the blackboard. He was killed in a lesson of the state.” Ece Ayhan “The photograph is like a quotation, or a maxim or ...

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سَلَميّة، أمُّ القاهرة

بين انقضاء أجل ربيع وبدء فصلٍ حائرٍ من الغبار، بين انتصارات أحلام اليقظة وفوحانات الهزائم الدهرية القِدم، بين أنهارٍ ممددّةٍ على خرائط دروس الجغرافية وعطشٍ طفوليِّ الشغف، بين قصائد وأغانٍ تمشّط شعر الريح الضجرة وحناجر تصرخ بجمرٍ مطفأ .. بين هذا الركام الآدمي المدثّر بسماءٍ مشققة ذات عيون من طين وآذانٍ لم تند منذ عصورٍ لفحيح الابتهالات .. وسط هذا العبث، تجثمُ سلمية على سفرها المكتوب بمناديل التلويح التي ربما كانت ذات وجدٍ مضى أو ذات وجدٍ آتٍ زرقاء .. هنا الأخضر دقّ أوتاد خيامه، هنا كانت قنوات الكسل تجري وتجري لا تلوي على غياب، هنا كتب العصاة أسفارهم، هنا شغفُ المتنبي .. وهنا سكب بعضهم ماء وجدهم الإلهي حتى اخضرت كفّا الله .. وهنا الأخوة أراقوا دم الذئب على قميص أخيهم ...

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Understanding the Migrant & Refugee Crisis in the Mediterranean: Interview with Omar Dahi

[image from]

[Omar Dahi, Co-Editor of Jadaliyya’s Syria page, addresses the current refugee crisis at 33:37] On today’s show, we’re looking at the ongoing crisis in Europe as thousands of people are making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. We get into the politics of what exactly to call this crisis with Al-Jazeera English online editor Barry Malone, who recently wrote about that outlet’s decision to stop using the word “migrant” in favor of the word “refugee.” Has “migrant” become a dirty word in Europe, or should it be reclaimed, as some advocates argue? [2:00] We also go in-depth on the role of Germany in this crisis, to ask how a country that sees a historic duty ...

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Turkey's Night of the Firebombs

[Turkish nationalists marching in Ankara, 8 September 2015. Image via al-Araby al-Jadeed.]

Across Turkey, coordinated attacks took place on 8 September against offices of the HDP—the People's Democratic Party. The HDP is not, strictly speaking, a Kurdish party—although that is how it is often described in the media. It was formed in 2012 when a group of left-leaning political organizations—all with firm pro-Kurdish views—decided to form an electoral coalition. The similarity with Greece's Syriza would not be unkind. The HDP holds fairly conventional leftist positions—against nuclear power, for LGBT rights, against discrimination of minorities, for women's equality. So why have its offices from Ankara and elsewhere been rampaged and firebombed? ...

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Turkey’s Three-Front War?

[Recently constructed Turkish military post near the Iranian border, an area recently declared a temporary security zone due to guerilla activity. Image by Firat Bozcali.]

On 20 July, ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) attacked a press conference organized by the Socialist Youth Association Federation and killed thirty-three socialist activists in Suruç. On 22 July, a clash broke out between ISIS militants and Turkish soldiers near Kilis. The following day, Turkish authorities confirmed Turkey’s participation in the US-led international coalition against ISIS and bombed ISIS targets in Syria. That same day, Turkish authorities also initiated multi-faceted operations against Kurdish and leftist circles, including police operations in which more than a thousand activists were detained, as well as air bombardments targeting PKK ...

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The Reality of Ethnic Cleansing and Kurdish State in Syria

[Image from]

In the past weeks several Syrian-Arab media outlets reported charges of ethnic cleansing against Arab and Turkmen residents of Tell Abyad on the hands of Kurdish militias. Various international media outlets later picked up and circulated these charges, which have now come to be accepted as fact despite a lack of a full investigation and dubious evidence.  The result has been further cementing the idea that there is a zero-sum conflict between Kurds and Arabs in Syria. While charges of ethnic cleansing should be taken seriously and an independent investigation should verify these accounts, this article will shed some light on what took place in Tell Abyad to provide ...

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سوريا خارج الإطار

[اللوحة للفنان السوري نهاد الترك]

التأطير هو فن الاختيار، فن تضييق الفضاء، فن تحديد ما هو في الخارج وفي الداخل وإعطاء هذا الأخير السلطة المطلقة للتحدث في حين يبقى السابق صامتاً. يصف الفيلسوف الفرنسي جيل دولوز الإطار بأنه "نظام مغلق، وهو في جوهره كاشفٌ. حيث أنه ينقل البيانات والمعلومات البصرية للمشاهدين الذين، في الحقيقة فهمهم للعالم مؤطر، ومع ذلك فإن دولوز يلاحظ أن كل التأطير يحدد مسمّى خارج الحقل “يتواجد في مكان آخر". المكان الآخر للصورة هو موضوع معرضنا "سوريا خارج الإطار". هو وجود مؤرق، لأننا حتى لو كنا لا نراه فمع ذلك هو هناك. خارج الإطار يشير إلى أن الصورة تستمر، فهي تمد نفسها على حواف ما نراه، وتقطن مساحة إضافية يمكن العثور عليها في مكان ما خارج الإطار. رحلتنا البصرية من ...

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في العلاقة الشائكة بين التاريخ والتطرّف

استهلال: سيبدو من السذاجة والتبسيط أن نردّ ظهور، ومن ثم تنامي وتعملق، تنظيم كـ"الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام"، (داعش) بالاختصار العربي، إلى سبب واحد، حتى لو رجحت كفة سبب على آخر. ولنعترف بأن ظهور تنظيم مشابه لن يكون بسبب واحد محدّد ومنجز. وباعتقادي فإن الأسباب المتعددة تلك تتفرّع في عدة محاور: المحور الإيديولوجي/ الثقافي، والمحور السياسي/ الاستراتيجي السلطوي، والمحور الاقتصادي/ الطبقي، وكذا المحور الإنساني النفسي/ التربوي، إن صحّ أن نعتبره محوراً خاصاً. هذه المحاور تتداخل وتتمازج في معظم ...

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New Wars and Autonomous Self-Defense

A number of scholars working in the fields of geography, sociology, and political science have developed the concept of “new wars” to talk about the state we are living in the last two decades.[1] These scholars claim that currently, we are going through a fourth world war—that is, of course, if we would call the cold war a third world war—and argue that after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the politics of controlled conflict and tension has been replaced by continuous, scattered, and extending small ...

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Can Total War in the Middle East Be Prevented?

Three weeks ago, Russia started to directly intervene in Syria. The proxy war between Russia and Iran on the one hand, and the United States and Saudi Arabia on the other, threatens to turn into an actual war. Having lost control over its “victories” in the last fourteen years, the United States would rather keep this a proxy war. Nevertheless, it is not clear how long it can permit Russian galloping in what was once simply and only America’s backyard. Russia, long denied a major role in the Middle East, ...

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The Ankara Massacre and the State as a Serial Killer in Erdogan’s Turkey

Shortly after the news of the Ankara massacre started circulating on social media, a video surfaced, showing the very moment of the first explosion, foregrounded by a group of young peace rally participants on a line of halay. The protesters were singing and dancing to prominent ozan Ruhi Su’s “Ellerinde Pankartlar,” composed to commemorate the bloody May 1 Labor Day celebrations in Taksim Square in 1977—when at least 42 people were massacred and more than 120 people were injured. When the first bomb ...

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Turkey in Times of War

The Justice and Development Party (AKP), ruling Turkey as the sole party since 2002, finds itself in a deep and longstanding crisis of hegemony. The first blow it suffered from below was the June Uprising in 2013. Ever since, the AKP and first Prime Minister then President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who de facto owns the party, have been dealt serious strikes: for instance, from the open conflict with the Gülen Movement since the end of 2013, its former brother in arms—and most importantly from the rise of ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (September 15)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Saudi diplomat 'raped Nepali maids' in India Police in India are investigating allegations that a Saudi diplomat raped two ...

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Academics Call for Peace and Justice (Turkey)

[This statement was released on 11 September 2015. To sign this statement, click here.] We, the undersigned academics, are deeply concerned about the escalating violence after the general elections held on 7 June in Turkey. After these elections, AKP, the previously ruling party, has lost its absolute majority status and yet appears to act as if its status has not changed, undermining the electoral votes. The transition government put together with the AKP-appointed ministers has embarked upon a ...

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On Post-Election State Violence in Turkey

On 7 June, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) won 13.1 percent of the vote in national parliamentary elections and was widely seen as having denied the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party the parliamentary majority it was seeking. For the first time, a pro-Kurdish party had succeeded in getting past the extraordinary ten-percent threshold in Turkey’s elections. The run-up to the elections had witnessed violence against the HDP, but that was nothing compared to the unprecedented ...

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Quick Thoughts on Tragedy and Treachery in Yemen: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation with Sheila Carapico

In this Quick Thoughts conversation for Status/الوضع, Sheila Carapico discusses the recent turmoil in Yemen, and describes the growing entrenchment of factionalism and sectarianism in Yemen as a result of growing local fissures and proxy interests. She argues that the complexity of Yemeni political terrain and the increasing levels of violence on all sides leave one with little sympathy for all of the warring groups in the country. Carapico also raises concerns about the consequences of limited ...

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في تعاقب المنافي، ستحملنا الريح إلى الوطن

دمشق، الاغتراب المٌبكر ولدتُ وترعرت في دمشق، لم أعرف مدينةً سواها حتى انتصف عقدي الثاني. معرفتي بسوريا كانت كمعرفة سائر سكان دمشق، ممن لا يضطرون إلى الخروج منها إلا بقصد سياحةٍ مُحددة المقاصد، أو لرحلات عملٍ سريعة. لم يكن يحرك سكان العاصمة فضولٌ كبير للتعرف على بقية البلاد. سأفعل ذلك لاحقاً بفضل العمل، ومن ثم بفضل الثورة. قسمٌ من الوافدين إلى دمشق كانوا يذهبون لزيارة مدنهم وقراهم التي قدموا منها إما طلباً للعلم أو العمل، أو رغبةً في حياةٍ أفضل. أما «الشوام» أمثالي، فلم يكن لهم ضيعة ولا مدينة أخرى ...

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Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani Interview by France24 on Gaza Disengagement and Its Aftermath

In this interview with France 24 television, Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani explores the background and impact of Israel's 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Rabbani notes that Israel's motivations for disengagement were to deepen the fragmentation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and further isolate the Gaza Strip, while continuing its policies of colonial expansion in the West Bank. The interview view was conducted on 15 August 2015.   Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin ...

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دمشق في اللباس الموحّد

تبدو مناظر الشوارع في دمشق، تلك التي كانت تنتمي إلى فترة العهد الوطني بعد الاستقلال، أشبه بالبطاقات السياحية بالأسود والأبيض، في الوقت نفسه لا تنقصها الألوان الطبيعية، حتى أن اللون الأسود يبدو دخيلاً عليها، مشرقة على نحو يدعونا إلى الحنين إليها، لا سيما وداعتها الآسرة، التي بتنا نفتقد إليها في زمن الصخب، ليس صخب الموسيقا، وإنما أصوات تحليق الطيران الحربي وقصف راجمات الصواريخ، التي لا تتوقف طيلة النهار والليل، حتى اعتدنا على أن نصحو عليها صباحاً وننام على وقعها ليلاً. تركز الكاميرا على ساحة المرجة وعربات ...

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