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Sexual Violence, Women’s Bodies, and Israeli Settler Colonialism UCLA's Center for Near East Studies Response to Smear Campaign Tunisia: The Victory of Secularism over Islamism? Gulf Women's Writing: On Slavery, Migrant Labor, and Statelessness Maghreb media roundup
[Image of dugout canoes on the beach at Iconi, the onetime capital of Grande Comore, Union of the Comoros. Image from David Stanley/Flickr]

On the Margins Roundup (November)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti, and Comoros Islands and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the On the Margins ...

I am Rama. I wish I could have my old classroom back. I am 10 years old and in fifth grade. My classroom in Gaza has been destroyed. I hope that it is rebuilt one day soon so I can study with my friends inside it once more. I have so many fond memories in this place. Photo by UNRWA.

Give Palestinian Children a Voice

Twenty-five years ago today world leaders adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most complete statement in history of humanity’s aspiration to give children universal rights protection to achieve their full potential. This ...

[Protest for victims of US drone strikes, downtown Chicago, Illinois. Image by Debra Sweet.]

O.I.L. Media Roundup (23 November)

 [This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may ...

[Artist Michael Rakowitz, Dar Al Sulh, 2014. Photo by Kamel Rasool. Image courtesy of Creative Time Reports.]

Arab Jewish Identity and the Art of Hospitality: A Conversation with Michael Rakowitz

In the media clips below (produced by Creative Time Reports), the artist Michael Rakowitz speaks with independent curator Regine Basha and scholar Ella Habiba Shohat about the disappearance of Arab Jewish identity, in the context ...

January 2013 Culture


Jadaliyya's first monthly culture bouquet of 2013 has arrived! Painters Samia Halaby and Athir Shayota contribute to Visuals in 1500, a new series of profiles that takes a single work of art as the starting point for larger discussions on aesthetics. Marilyn Hacker translates a poem by Taher Bekri. Maia Tabet translates a chapter from Sudanese novelist Amir Tag Elsir's "Ebola '76." Alia Yunis interviews Syrian director Nabil Maleh. Iraqi artist Sadik Kwaish Alfaraji contemplates the plight of the Arab Sisyphus. Spread the word and enjoy! Samia Halaby, "Homage to Leonard" Athir Shayota, "From Baghdad to New York: Reflections on ...

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A Leopard in Winter: An Interview with Syrian Director Nabil Maleh

[Nabil Maleh. Image from Alia Yunis]

In early January, more than 1,500 people packed three nights of screenings in Dubai of Syrian director Nabil Maleh’s film The Road to Damascus (‘A al-Sham ‘A al-Sham, 2006), a filmic journey across Syria that includes stops at its historical ruins and economically strapped towns. The screenings were sponsored by the local Syrian Business Association to raise money for Syrian refugees, and Maleh was on hand to introduce the film. For many in the audience it was their first glimpse into his nearly fifty years of filmmaking. His films are not easy to find in the Middle East or beyond, but since the release of the landmark, The Leopard (Al Fahd, 1972), Maleh has been Syria’s ...

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From Baghdad to New York: Reflections on Painting

[Detail of Wafer Shayota's

In Daryle Halbert’s 1987 painting “Leon” one encounters multiple things at once, as a history of painting is revealed—but not without being turned on its head. The portrait is deeply humane and complex. It is infused with weight and foreboding. Leon is but nine years old. The angst in his shoulders and body, in his clasped hands, are depicted with a stylization that is sustained throughout. One is reminded of Soutine’s many quarter length portraits. Van Gogh is also very present. Cezanne, as in the painting of his wife at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), is undeniably here. In “Leon”, as in the work of the modernists, the illusionistic and philosophical lie in ...

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Sisyphus Goes on Demonstration

[Sadik Kwaish Alfaraji. Image from Wikipedia]

 Animation/video installation 2012 Artist statement: "You are to suffer, to carry your burden and the weight of your existence on your back forever. And on this rough road you are to travel. You walk, with blackness round your eyes blocking your entire vision, and a hole in your head preventing you from knowing. You are not to learn, to see or to understand. You are to travel the path Sisyphus, this is your fate and this is how you are destined to exist. Note 1: We are all Sisyphus. Note 2: Sisyphus, at this moment, has the face and the tongue of an Arab. Note 3: Sisyphus can go on a demonstration and cry out loud against his destiny."

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A Nation Derailed

[The inside of a destroyed train car following its derailing at Badrashin. Photo by Jonathan Rashad]

Just ten days before the second anniversary of the 25 January revolution, Egyptians awoke to another railway tragedy. A train loaded beyond its capacity with security forces recruits heading from Sohag to Cairo derailed in the Badrashin area of Giza leaving nineteen dead and over 120 injured, adding to the toll of deaths on train tracks in Egypt. It was only a month earlier that a rushing train in Asyut obliterated a bus full of children, killing fifty of them. In the late night hours of 14 January, Badrashin was awoken by the news of the tragedy. Those who had arose to attend to their morning prayers were called upon to act as rescue workers to save the many who were ...

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Palestinian Refugees in Jordan and the Revocation of Citizenship: An Interview with Anis F. Kassim

[Palestinian Refugees, 1948. Public Domain. From Wikimedia Commons.]

[Anis F. Kassim is an international law expert and practicing lawyer in Jordan. He was a member of the Palestinian legal defense team before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the 2004 landmark case on Israel’s separation wall, and that led to the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  The following interview was originally published by BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights in their quarterly magazine al-Majdal.] Hazem Jamjoum: What legal status was afforded Palestinians who came under Jordanian control after the 1948 ...

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The Meaning of Revolution: On Samira Ibrahim

[Graffiti of Samira Ibrahim and Khaled Sa‘id on Mohamed Mahmoud Street. Photo by Sherene Seikaly]

At that thin membrane, the hymen, narratives unfold and lives are determined. There, the binaries of the clean and the stained, the righteous and the debauched, the honorable and the shamed flourish. There the blurry border between the civilized and the backward, the liberated and the oppressed, the East and the West, pretends to lie. There the claims to flesh as an evidentiary terrain stand. For the last year and a half, one woman has chipped away at this edifice erected on her hymen. The task is larger than her. Yet whatever its outcome, her battle bares the force and the meaning of revolution. Samira Ibrahim, like hundreds of thousands of her compatriots, reclaimed ...

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Protesting Is Not Enough

[Protesters set fire to tires near State TV building in Maspero on 25 January 2013. Photo by Wael Eskandar]

Another January 25 marked the third year of continued protests in the hopes of finding our way to a successful revolution. On Friday, I joined the Shubra march to Tahrir Square where I saw many the familiar faces along with many other protesters once again. This was not like last year’s march. This year there was certainly less energy and even less cohesiveness in the very long march that extended along Shubra’s streets. The street was laden with pockets of protesters. The pockets could be identified from a distance along the road by the endless density of flags. They were flags of 6 April Movement, Revolutionary Socialists, and the big white flags with the iconic faces ...

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Will Civil Marriage End Lebanon’s Confessional System?

[Chart showing confessional allotment of parliamentary seats in Lebanon. Image from]

In tying the matrimonial knot last week, Kholoud Succariyeh and Nidal Darwish sliced through a cultural, legal, sectarian knot of Gordian proportions. The pair became the first couple in history to be wed in a civil marriage on Lebanese soil. Until last week, Lebanese citizens (or, only those who can afford it) have generally traveled to Cyprus to get hitched. The only way to do the deed inside Lebanon requires a contract issued by religious personal status authorities, with all the legal implications and bureaucratic entanglements that such a requirement presents. The civil society group that facilitated the union—al-Markaz al-Madani li-al-Mubadara al-Wataniyya (The ...

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The Revolution Will Not Be Celebrated

[A protestor encourages others to defy the police, Cairo, 26 January 2011. Photo by Pauline Beugnies]

The common, seemingly benign question, “where were you during the revolution?” leaves most partisans of the January 25 Revolution with a strong sense of unease. While it is obvious that the question, whenever it comes up, is almost always posed in reference to 2011's eighteen days of national protests that led to the end of Hosni Mubarak’s thirty-year rule, this innocent query fails to do justice to the belief that the revolution and the eighteen-day uprising are not one and the same. The phrasing of the question, moreover, proceeds on an assumption that the revolution ended with Mubarak’s departure, and that what followed was “politics as usual.” This assumption happens ...

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Brothers and Officers: A History of Pacts

[Former Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, left, receives a high medal from Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt, 14 August 2012. Egypt's president has given awards to the nation's two top military commanders, two days after he ordered their retirement. Photo Source: AP]

The politics of the past two years have generated widespread interest in the historical relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Egypt’s wielders of power, especially at a time when observers are eager to understand the prospects for accommodation (or adversity) between the MB and traditional bureaucratic powers inside the Egyptian state, such as the military establishment. For instance, the circumstances surrounding the election of President Mohamed Morsi in June 2012 have raised numerous questions about the MB’s relationship with Egypt’s military rulers. During the lead-up to the announcement of the election results, it seemed that the Supreme Council of ...

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التحرير لامركزية الميدان

على مدار عقود عانى فيها المصريون من حكم استبدادي جثم على الصدور لم يترك لهم فرصة لإلتقاط الأنفاس ولا مخرج فانصرفوا إلى متابعة أمور حياتهم اليومية، بينما انصرف آخرون إلى الهجرة. هجرة خارج حدود الوطن، وأخرى خارج حدود الزمن فعادوا القهقرى إلى الوراء حيث أزمنة غابرة خلت كنوع من الهروب من واقع قاتم وكمحاولة أيضاً لاستعادة هذه الحقب الزمنية الفائتــة لتطبيقها فى الواقع بالقوة، إن اقتضــت الضرورة ذلك. في إطار الحديث عن وطن تبدو ملامحه بين أبناء هجروه خارح الحدود سواء كانت هذه الحدود جغرافية أو تاريخية، وبين كتلة جماهيرية عريضة مهمشــة، ونخبة بدلاً من أن تمارس دوراً فى تحريك وتشكيل هذه الكتلة انصرفت عنها متوقعقة على ذاتها فى أبراجها العاجية "بكل تنظيراتها" أو بتملق ...

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Amir Tag Elsir: Ebola '76

A Chapter from Amir Tag Elsir’s  Ebola ‘76 Translated from the Arabic by Maia Tabet   In times of Tragedy, Things seem real. Eyes are real. The hand that greets a neighbor is real, And the moon is real, not just a fantasy in the distance. My sweetheart asks me about the meaning of reality, I refer her question to Tragedy, Passers-by ask me about the meaning of real blood. It is that which is sown by Tragedy, I say.  Cautionary Note In August 1976, the deadly Ebola virus ...

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Homage to Leonardo

Leonardo Da Vinci first impressed me when one of my art history professors, while earning my MFA at Indiana University in 1963, described a certain spot in the room of “The Last Supper” as the ideal place for a viewer to stand. He explained that this was Leonardo’s visualization of the Renaissance concept of man as the center. This room at Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan had not been intended as the monk’s dining hall but was converted to this purpose later, as it was traditional that a painting of ...

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Taher Bekri: Epic of the Thyme of Palestine

  Epic of the Thyme of Palestine By Taher Bekri In memory of Mahmoud Darwish Translated by Marilyn Hacker   I perfumed the hills and plains Nourished by brilliant light Accompanied wanderers’ steps Through the earth’s ancestral rites All those domes, bell-towers, temples Offered up for a thousand prayers   That sudden rain which mingled My scent with the steadfast stones Alert for gaping rifts The rocks grasp leaves that I dropped In the dusk of centuries ...

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Another Year of Rage

The date 28 January 2011, also known as the “Friday of Rage,” holds a special place in the hearts of many Egyptians and is widely seen as the turning point at which the “January 25 protests” turned into the “January 25 uprising.” Some associate that day with the image of flames emanating from government buildings and the National Democratic Party headquarters near Tahrir Square, along with the looting and the condition of lawlessness that swept the country shortly thereafter. However, many Egyptians ...

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Last Week on Jadaliyya (Jan 21-27)

This is a selection of what you might have missed on Jadaliyya last week. It also includes a list of the most read articles and roundups. Progressively, we will be featuring more content on our "Last Week on Jadaliyya" series. The Revolution Will Not Be Celebrated Was There A January 25 Revolution? The Invisible Link: Honor Killing and Global Capitalism Brothers and Officers: A History of Pacts The Naked Bodies of Alia Habits of French ...

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The Gendered Body Public: Egypt, Sexual Violence and Revolution

We must acknowledge, sit with, and address the sexual violence that has, is, and will occur in and around Tahrir Square. How do we do this work in a responsible and ethical manner that is in solidarity with Egypt's ongoing (and multiple) revolutions? How do we retain and respect political, economic, and social complexity in the face of the horrors of mass and public sexual assault? How to write when all you want to do is shout? Friday, 25 January 2013 was the second anniversary of the outbreak of the ...

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حالة الإسلاميين في مصر بعد عامين على الثورة

بالأرقام يمكن معرفة الحالة التي وصل إليها الإسلاميون في مصر بعد عامين على قيام الثورة. فقد وصل عدد الأحزاب التي تنطلق من خلفية إسلامية إلى حوالى عشرين حزباً سواء مسجلين أو غير مسجلين رسمياً. ناهيك عن عشرات التكتلات والحركات والشبكات التي تنتمي إلى التيار الإسلامي والتي تنشط بوضوح في المجال العام ولكنها لا تزال في مرحلة سيولة وليس لديها هيكل أو إطار تنظيمي أو حزبي محدد. فقد كانت الثورة المصرية بمثابة المفتاح الكبير الذي نزع القيود السياسية والأمنية عن التيار الإسلامي بمختلف أطيافه ودفع بقياداته وكوادره ...

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First Jordanian Elections post Arab Uprisings; Challenges of Reporting from Syria

This week, Amman-based activist and writer Hisham Bustani updates VOMENA on the first Jordanian parliamentary elections since the Arab uprisings, and what they mean for the country. More than thirty journalists were killed in Syria in 2012 alone. Istanbul-based freelance journalist Justin Vela talks about the challenges and pitfalls of reporting from a Syrian warzone. [Correction from Hisham Bustani: To correct a mistake I made in the interview regarding the number of the Jordanian ...

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Reports Roundup (January 26)

[The following list is a compilation of the reports, statements, and other materials featured on the Jadaliyya Reports Page this past week.] Kuwaiti MPs Propose a New Bedoon Law reports on a newly proposed Kuwaiti law that would redefine the term "bedoon" and grant stateless individuals access to health care and education. Arrested Bedoon Activist Goes on Hunger Strike Kuwaiti activist Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli addresses Kuwaiti citizens, the Bedoon people, and the ...

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Was There A January 25 Revolution?

The “January 25 Revolution” has already taken its place in Egyptian national historical memory along with the “1919 Revolution” and the “July 23 Revolution.” Assigning dates to these events, whose significance in the modern history of Egypt is undeniable, is perhaps a necessary convenience. Calling them all “revolutions” emphasizes their popular character and, at least in 1919 and 2011, the political mobilization of large parts of the nation. However, this form of dating and naming also encourages ...

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Meet AbdelRahman Mansour Who Made 25 January A Date to Remember

AbdelRahman Mansour is the cyberactivist who set the date of 25 January for the Egyptian revolution. It is time for you to meet him. In June 2010, Wael Ghonim set up the Facebook page and anti-torture campaign in honor of Khaled Said, the Alexandrian killed at the hands of police. Abdulrahman joined him as a co-administrator (admin) on the page three days later. The two had been working together on Mohamed ElBaradei’s Facebook page and were ready to take their cyber-campaigning to the next level. The ...

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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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