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إسرائيل الثقافة نوشيروان مصطفى: تاريخ مكتوب بدماء The Master Plans of Baghdad: Notes on GIS-Based Spatial History رسالة إلى كامو Media on Media Roundup

New Texts Out Now: Sami Hermez, War is Coming: Between Past and Future Violence in Lebanon

Sami Hermez, War is Coming: Between Past and Future Violence in Lebanon. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Sami Hermez (SH): I wrote this book because I felt there was a ...

[Image from Wikipedia.]

Yemen's War [Ongoing Post]

[This is an ongoing post that will be updated regularly. It was first published on 6 December 2016. The updates appear at the bottom.] The conflict in Yemen seems set to intensify as 2016 draws to a close. The deposed president Abd ...

[نوشيروان مصطفى. الصورة من ويكيبيديا]

نوشيروان مصطفى: تاريخ مكتوب بدماء الضحايا

مات نوشيروان مصطفى (١٩٤٤-٢٠١٧) الذي كان نائباً للسكرتير العام للاتحاد الوطني الكردستاني، ومن ثم أسّس حركة التغيير «گوران». وبموته تطوى صفحة أخرى من صفحات الجريمة التي كتبت بدماء الضحايا، فكانت عرضة للتجاهل والنسيان!  موته يفضح دنس ...

[A Painting by the Iraqi Artist Ahmad al-Soudani]

When I Failed to Say Farewell to You…

It was winter and my Berlin nights were crowded with people yet full of loneliness. I don’t know what year it was. Maybe 2008. I was working as a journalist and producer for a German television station in Berlin.  My schedule used to ...

Celebrating Illiberal Liberalism: The Egyptian Elections (Why The Wafd Has To Participate In The Upcoming Elections-Part 2)

[Police arresting an activist in an election rally. Image from unknown archive]

In Part 1 we saw some of the salient features of the story that punctuate Election representation and politics in Egypt. This narrative presumes that the ruling regime is conspiring to reduce the Brotherhood’s share in the parliament form 88 seats to maybe 15, and divide the rest between itself and the “official opposition parties,” especially the Wafd (for a plethora of reasons that were detailed in Part 1). Only two days ago, Al-Youm Al-Saibi’ estimated that regime will take away 61 seats from the Brotherhood, 33 of which it will supposedly give to the Wafd and 7 to the Naserites (both the main party and Karama), keeping most of the what remains to itself. Noteworthy ...

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Neoliberal Pregnancy and Zero-Sum Elitism in the Arab World (Part 1)

[Image from, well,]

[This post will probably burst the sweet (though serious) bubble generated by Lisa’s semi-comical/semi-sad post below. So toggle back and forth to withstand the dryness here.]  Beneath the surface and behind the scenes, though smack in the middle of consequential developments, we are witnessing the slow but steady emergence of a new and increasingly fortified nexus of power between the political and economic elite in much of the Arab world. Far deeper than the everyday talk about the “marriage of power and money” in countries like Egypt and Syria, this intersection is driven less by state officials and businesspeople trying to maximize profit, or even simply ...

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Lordy, Lordy, I Declare! Big Brother Is in My Underwear

[Junk inspection at an American Airport. Image from AP.]

If you are traveling by air in the United States, your “junk” will be inspected visually or manually by agents working for the Transportation Security Agency. Junk is hipster code for your butt, although it doesn’t discriminate against your balls and/or breasts. Non-hipsters learned the term when a traveler named John Tyner used his cell phone to record his own physical pat-down, during which he balked at the professional groping and said, “If you touch my junk, I’m going to have you arrested.” Tyner’s confrontation with TSA agents didn’t go well for his travel plans, but his video went viral and made him the new symbol of “don’t tread on me” resistance to governmental ...

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Choking Mecca in the Name of Beauty — and Development (Part 2)

[Open quarters at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, across from Jabal Shamiyya Construction project. Image from author's archive]

Mecca During the Hajj  As the annual hajj draws to a close, millions of Muslim pilgrims in Mecca celebrate the four-day Eid al Adha together ritually, festively, and with a jubilant spirit of giving. They will pray, eat, and spend time with loved ones. Those who can afford it will give alms to the less fortunate. Most will resist the temptations of sleep in order to enjoy every remaining hour they have in the holiest of all Muslim places. Thousands of medical doctors and nurses flown in from the world over to run the temporary hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities for the month of hajj will begin returning to their everyday jobs. An even larger number of Asian ...

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Mubarak's "Mubarak?" (Part 3)

[President Hosni Mubarak's sons Alaa (right) and Gamal (left) attend the 2010 World Cup qualifying playoff soccer match between Egypt and Algeria in Khartoum, November 18, 2009. Image from Reuters]

[Note: This is the third in a series of posts titled “Mubarak’s “Mubarak?”” Click here to view the first post and here for the second post in the series] In my last post I argued that there are some signs that individuals within the opposition are starting to believe that Mohammed ElBaradei’s initiative to offer an alternative to Egypt’s de facto royal family is not working. Since then, ElBaradei announced that he is no longer attempting to run for the presidency, conceding what everybody has known for quite some time: the next president will come from the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). Since his return to Egypt, the regime never gave him a chance—for obvious ...

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Review: The Burden of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 2010 Report, Adva Center

[Image from]

The Adva Center, an Israeli think tank dedicated to studying equality and social justice, recently published its second issue of a bi-annual report entitled, The Burden of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The report seeks to examine the costs of occupation on Israel in economic, social, military, political, and diplomatic terms and concludes that Israel would be richer socially and economically if it ended the occupation. In its own words,  The prolonged conflict with the Palestinians undermines sustainable economic growth, burdens the budget, limits social development, absorbs most of the energies of the political leadership, calls into question the ...

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عدمية فيض المعنى عند الإسلاميين [The Nihilism of Excess Meaning Among Islamists]


صعدت فكرة العدمية في أوربا الغربية في القرن التاسع عشر كأثر مباشر للحداثة وتقدم العلوم والعلمانية. وبمجموعها أقصت هذه العمليات الأسرار والأشباح والقوى المتعالية من مفهومها للعالم، السيرورة التي سيسميها ماكس فيبر "نزع السحر عن وجه العالم". لقد برز عالم جديد غير مكفول إلهيا. بل إن "الله مات" كما قرر نيتشه. وسيبدو هذا العالم الذي هجرته الأرواح والأشباح منظما وحسن الإضاءة، لكن معوزا للمعنى بصورة جذرية. وقد أخذ الإنسان يقف في عالم انسحب منه الإله أمام خبرة موته دونما عزاء. وبعد أن كان الدين الموحى يتكفل بنسبنة الموت، بل بإماتته، انفلت هذا الآن حدا مطلقا، عدما قاسيا، ساخرا، غير قابل للاختزال أو التخفيف. مات الله فعاش الموت. وستغدو الحياة ثمينة وبلا معنى في ...

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"It's Important to Remember Their Names:" Review of Midnight on the Mavi Marmara

[Cover of the book, Midnight on the Mavi Marmara]

Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How it Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict. Edited by Moustafa Bayoumi. Chicago: Haymarket Books / New York: OR Books, 2010. First things first: Midnight on the Mavi Marmara is necessary reading. It also provides a strong model for the practice of combining scholarship and activism, and for future endeavors in left publishing more generally. Published as a collaboration between OR Books, a new progressive publishing company specializing in print-on-demand and e-books, and the venerable Haymarket Books, the collection appeared at the beginning of September, barely three months ...

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Israel’s Challenge to the International Legal Order (Gaza Part II)

[Image from]

In Part I of this series, I explored the illegality of the Gaza blockade irrespective of whether or not it amounts to collective punishment. I also posit that Israel’s blatant refutation of the International Court of Justice’s holding on the scope of legal self-defense and its non-applicability to occupied territories amounts to a direct challenge to the international legal order. Namely Israel challenges the scope of permissible use of force during an occupation as well as the legal definition of self-defense. As noted by George Bisharat, et. al. in their comprehensive law review piece on Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s offensive against Gaza, Israel’s attempts to ...

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What's in a City? (Part 2)

[Get your tour on. Source unknown]

(see Part 1) Last summer, a friend (under some coercion… not from me) gave me a valuable gift – a 1954 Guide to World Travel issued by Pan Am airlines. In the section on Lebanon, it listed the average temperature in August as 83º Fahrenheit (~28º C). August, by far the hottest and most humid month, only 83 degrees? I mean, if you needed any further proof that the world is heating up, consider that the average temperature in Beirut this past summer was well about twenty degrees hotter. For a while it hit a record high of 120ºF, completely unheard of in those parts.

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Israel versus Universal Jurisdiction: A Battle for International Human Rights Law

[Image from and]

On October 31, 2010, Spanish Judge Ferdinand Andreu refused to grant former Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter immunity from prosecution during his trip to Spain where he planned to participate in an international peace summit. Dichter faces charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the 2002 targeted assassination of Salah Shehade, former senior Hamas member. Under Dichter’s supervision, the Israeli Air Force dropped a one-ton bomb on Shehade’s home located in Al-Daraj, a densely populated residential neighborhood in Gaza, killing fourteen civilians, including eight children, and injured at least 150 other civilians. The attack on ...

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Tweeting from Guantanamo: Recording History 140 Characters at a Time

[Guantanamo Bay prison. Image from Lisa Hajjar]

Starting in the spring of 2009, whenever the Guantánamo (GTMO) military commissions hold hearings, there is usually a journalist or two—or more for high profile cases when the press pool is larger—tweeting from the Media Operation Center (MOC). The court proceedings are broadcast to the MOC on closed circuit TV. Journalists who opt not to go into the court, where all electronic devices are prohibited, can tweet a real-time record of interactions and quotes 140 characters at a time. To appreciate why tweeting is an important means of reporting from this place raises the larger issue of the indispensible role that journalists play in shedding light on how “justice” ...

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ماذا تفعل الأنظمة المزورة في يوم الانتخابات؟ [What Will Forging Regimes Do on Election Day?]

علمتنا التجارب التي مررنا بها، وكذلك تجارب الدول الأخرى، أن الأنظمة المستبدة عامة ما تتعامل مع يوم الانتخابات بشكل شبه نمطي. وأظنكم تعرفون جميعا جوهر هذا التعامل من واقع خبراتكم الطويلة به، والذي يعتمد على آليات تزوير محددة باتت مكررة مثل "اللبانة الممضوغجة،" مثل تسويد بطاقات الاقتراع، وتزوير بطاقات الانتخاب، وتقفيل الصناديق، والتلاعب بالنتائج، وغير ذلك مما تعرفونه جيدا. لكن الأنظمة المزورة تواجه خطرين آخرين عليها أن تتعامل معاهما ببعض الحنكة ليس فقط في ذلك اليوم وإنما في الفترة السابقة عليه ...

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Lessons in Morphology [Gone to Palestine: 3]

It was a strange but mutually beneficial arrangement. I needed to travel north through a number of checkpoints to visit a town that had borne the brunt of the occupation and I needed to get back to Ramallah at a decent hour so as to see friends before I left the next day. They had a service taxi for hire, but little business and few customers. I hired the taxi for a day, and the driver asked if his best friend and his best friend’s son could come along. I said, “The more the merrier.” As we left ...

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Rigging The Egyptian Elections: The Organizing Narrative (Why The Wafd Has To Participate In The Upcoming Elections-Part 1)

On 17 September, a number of opposition movements organized a “youth” protest in front of the headquarters of the Wafd Party (the old liberals) to persuade it to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections. The protest was set to coincide with the Wafd’s general assembly meeting that gathered to determine the party’s position on the elections. The protestors chanted slogans against taking part in the upcoming “charade of elections,” threatening the party that participating in these elections would ...

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Jaffa, with Jellyfish [Gone to Palestine: 2]

We decided to walk around the old Arab city of Jaffa, which Rachel described as “a lanced boil on Tel Aviv’s thigh.” It was a hot July day, and we were happy to take a walk after our leisurely lunch on Sheinkin St. We asked to be seated as far away from the door as possible, and preferably behind one of the concrete pillars. Though my companion told me that I had no reason to worry nowadays, I was incredibly nervous about the possibility of exploding people. I had the gazpacho and yam ...

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حاضرون غائبون: الفلسطينيون في الداخل [Present Absent: Palestinians in Israel (Part 2)]

 حاضرون غائبون: الفلسطينيون في الداخل(٢)  كنا نمشي بمحاذاة الشاطئ اليافاوي وقد أدرنا ظهرنا لتل ابيب. وجهتنا يافا والفنادق الفاخرة تمتد على يسارنا وكأنها أسود رابضة. خلفها كان يقع حي المنشية الذي ولد فيه ابو حسن. لا يعرف ابو حسن الحي جيداً حيث  كان قد أكمل سنواته الخمس الأولى عندما غافلته النكبة. لكنه يتحدث عن الحي وكأنه قضى كل شبابه فيه.  ” اصبحت الصباحات بائسة فأنت لا تعرف من سيأتي للعب من رفاقك في اليوم التالي ومن سيذهب إلى الغيب. أراد أبي الرحيل وقال لأمي بأنه علينا ...

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Conquering The Sky [Gone to Palestine: 1]

[The first installment of Gone to Palestine]     When we arrived at Ben Gurion, we were immediately overcome by strange emotions that affected us in different ways. This was partly because we didn’t know what to expect, partly because we knew they were turning so many people away at the airport these days. Some tensed up and practiced their stories. Others seemed to be meditating and relaxing as they waited in line for the initial conversation, then for the secondary questions and ...

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Thanksgiving In Beirut

On November 24, people from across the United States will gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. They will travel (on the busiest travel day of the year), they will eat turkey and pumpkin pie, and they will shop at the orgiastic sales that are a fixture of what is perhaps the most widely celebrated holiday in the USA. Like all ideologically inflected nationalist myths, holidays such as Thanksgiving or Columbus Day both commemorate and mask the histories of violence that build and ...

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The Liberal Ideology of Torture: A Critical Examination of the American Case

In recent days, George W. Bush has put American torture back in the news again as he flaks his new memoir, Decision Points. On November 8, NBC interviewer Matt Lauer questioned Bush about authorizing waterboarding, to which he responded, “Damn right.” Richard Falk characterized this admission of criminality as an “uncoerced confession.” Waterboarding is torture, and torture is a crime. In fact, torture is not just a run-of-the-mill crime; it is a gross crime under international law, in the same company ...

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Jordan, Liberalism, and the Question of Boycott

In the build-up to the 2010 Jordanian parliamentary elections (see slogans and posters here), a lively debate has taken place in Jordan about the efficacy of elections as a form of political practice. This article will discuss some of the major issues animating such debates, with a particular interest in critiquing the discourse emanating from the liberal elite circles in Amman (most represented by a diverse array of English-language magazines and blogs). The Jordanian liberal discourse posits the ...

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Slogans and Posters of the 2010 Jordanian Parliamentary Elections

In November 2009, King Abdullah II of Jordan dissolved the Jordanian Parliament (elected in 2007) and called for early elections to be held on November 9th, 2010. These new elections feature various amendments to the previous set of laws governing elections. However, several opposition groups, including the Islamic Action Front (IAF), have boycotted the 2010 elections citing the lack of an independent monitoring mechanism and bias in the redistricting of the electorate that continues to provide rural ...

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They Kill Christians (Too)

The attack on the Sayyidat al-Najat (Our Lady of Salvation) Church in the al-Karradah district in Baghdad on October 31st was not the first on churches in Iraq in recent years. However, it’s certainly the most lethal in terms of casualties, let alone its deleterious effects on Iraq’s already damaged social space. The Islamic State of Iraq, some of whose members stormed the church and took the congregation hostage and killed some of them before being attacked in turn by government troops, is now ...

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Zindeeq: Film Review

Zindeeq, directed by Michel Khleifi. Palestine/UK/Belgium/UAE, 2009. Michel Khleifi is the acclaimed Palestinian filmmaker, director and producer of such award winning films as Wedding in Galilee (1987) and Route 181 (2004). His films and work as professor at the Belgian Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle helped him become one of the mentors for the new generation of Palestinian filmmakers today. Given this reputation it comes as no surprise that his most recent film, Zindeeq (2009), was ...

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