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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
[Highway view of the National Archives building. Image by author]

Finding Your Way Around Tehran's Public Archives

Going to archives in Iran—the capital specifically—remains obscure to a great number of PhD students and researchers based outside of the country. Often, senior academics from whom students seek advice have not been to Iran’s archives for ...

[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 ...


At The Beach With Nancy Ajram

A few weeks ago, I found myself sitting next to Nancy Ajram at a beach/restaurant in Batroun-a lazy town in the north of Lebanon. No, not the Nancy Ajram, star of the stage, Melody TV, and many a teenage boy’s fantasy. I was sitting next to an attempt at Nancy, an approximation of her or rather, a mold of her made of plasticized flesh. My friends and I had gone to a restaurant that is situated inside a hollowed out rock cove in the sea. There are caves lining the cove that you can swim into and explore. And the food is quite delicious, even if exquisitely overpriced. We arrived first, claimed our plastic table in the shallow water, and promptly went for a swim. When I ...

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Can A Muslim Truly Be An American?

[Image from CAIR]

There are numerous ways to approach this question.  From a legal standpoint, many Muslims are American, having been born in the United States.  Many Muslim immigrants are in possession of a United States passport, an item that ideally would be the only criterion by which one is judged “American.” National identity is only partly informed by formal citizenship, however.  In the United States today, as throughout its history, citizenship is invested with crucial symbolic features. Most of the symbolic features of proper American-ness involve race or religion (wherein, say, Jews or African Americans aren’t seen to be fully American ...

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Egypt's Power-Cuts (Part 2)

[Image from Jadaliyya]

In part one we saw how exceptional heat wrecked havoc on Egypt this summer, as it supposedly increased demand for electricity beyond the national generation capacity. This prompted the authorities to cut power off whole cities and neighborhoods for long durations everyday to bring demand down to a level within the network’s capacity. As we have seen, the social and economic cost of doing so have been plain huge. And as such, they signalled the state’s failure to all. But the reason why all of this happened remained a matter of speculation, as people explaining it in terms of increased demand only failed to hold any water. Thus the question remained, why did this collapse ...

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Presumed Intelligent

[Image from Propublica.org]

If you gave an exam with 779 questions and the test taker got anywhere from 36 to 84 of the answers “not totally wrong”—not 36 to 84 percent but actual answers—you would regard said test taker as not the master of this domain, right? Of course, right. (You might even advise said taker to find another major.) Well, that’s the US government’s score on the test that is the Guantánamo Bay (GTMO) detention facility. The total number of foreign prisoners ever detained at GTMO is 779. Or rather, 778 foreigners plus one naturalized American (that latter, Yaser Hamdi, was moved stateside to a brig and released to Saudi Arabia in 2004 on the condition that he ...

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An Open Invitation to An Occupation Masquerade

جو بايدن مع المالكي وهوشيار زيباري، وزير خارجية العراق، في بغداد

       دعوة مفتوحة إلى حفلة احتلال تنكريّة    نائب الرئيس الأمريكي جو بايدن في بغداد (ليشرف على مفاوضات تشكيل الحكومة العراقية التي قد تستغرق قرناً). ووزير الدفاع الأمريكي روبرت غيتس وصل هناك صباح اليوم في زيارة مفاجئة للمشاركة في الطقوي الاحتفالية. مساء أمس وجّه أوباما خطاباً إلى الشعب الأمريكي من مكتبه في البيت الأبيض وهو تقليد مهم في السياسة الأمريكية وهي المرة الثانية فقط التي يستخدم فيها أوباما هذا المنبر بالذات. والمناسبة هي  “الاحتفال بانتهاء المهام القتالية في العراق.” والخطاب السياسي المستخدم لتسويق هذه المناسبة وتبعاتها يستدعي وقفة لتبيان ما يتم تسويقه وتعليبه بأغلفة جديدة ربما بهدف تغيير مدة صلاحيته وأبقائه على الرف السياسي ...

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The Predicament of Independent Opposition (Part 1)

[image from Jadaliyya]

In Sunday's New York Times article on Syria (August 30, 2010) , “Doors Start to Open for Activists in Syria,” we hear of a mix of change and age-old obstacles. The story is short and sweet, with a mixture of sound observations, levelheaded optimism, and critique. There is nothing particularly striking about the report, except the anticipation of responses from various sides. I’ll take up two of these. But first, a quick look at the record of “change” or “political liberalization” in Syria since 1991.

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My Great and Terrible Obsession: Torture

[From ScienceBlogs.com]

Every single day I think about torture. Some days I write about it, or teach about it. Every day I read about it. I can turn any social conversation with any friend or relative to the topic. (Keep that in mind if we meet for coffee.) Torture is my obsession. I can trace my obsession back at least to college; I wrote my senior thesis (at Tufts circa 1983) on human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza, among which torture featured prominently. When it was time to select a subject for my doctoral dissertation (at The American University circa late 1980s), I was guided by a wise adviser (Talal Asad) NOT to pursue my original idea--a study of the Unified ...

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Endless Negotiations: Palestinian Quicksand

[Image from MSNBC.COM]

News of resumed peace talks have hit the headlines--on September 1st, international leaders will break bread and on September 2nd, ostensibly well-rested and full-bellied, they will resume direct peace negotiations. Sadly, the photo opportunity will provide little more than the occasion for spectators to juxtapose this photo alongside similar ones over a span of nearly two decades. While this may make for a lovely Sunday afternoon activity with our children as we instill in them their first lesson in distinction versus difference, it can only signal worsening conditions for the Palestinians whose livelihoods deteriorate in the cold and ominous shadows of diplomatic ...

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The Poet Lives

[Image from unknown archive-Mahmoud Darwish and Edward Said]

Two years have passed since the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) died at a hospital in Texas from complication of heart surgery on August 9, 2008. His death left a considerable void in Palestine and the Arab world. He was, after all, a unique figure by any measure. By the end of his life he had been widely recognized and admired as a great world poet who left behind an oeuvre of staggering beauty and sophistication. He was the most popular and inventive Arab poet in the last three decades. But he was also a political and cultural icon whose symbolic capital and influence were quite immense. His name and poems became synonymous with Palestine and the epic ...

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Arabic Comes to Jadaliyya

[من عنّا]

!جدليّة . . .  الآن بالعربيّة We are now able to post in Arabic and host guest postings in Arabic. If you are interested in sending us material or useful posts in Arabic (or in English for that matter), please so so here. Here's a sample (and, by the way, regarding the text below from a translation of Financial Times, way to go Obama, that's the way to do it . . . شاطر) كشفت صحيفة «فايننشل تايمز»، اليوم، أن الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما «حذّر شخصياً رئيس الوزارء التركي، رجب طيب أردوغان، من أن فرص أنقرة ستكون ضئيلة في الحصول على أسلحة من الولايات المتحدة ما لم تغير موقفها حيال إسرائيل وإيران»، مشيرة إلى أن تركيا «تريد شراء طائرات أميركية من دون طيار لاستخدامها في شن ...

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Good News From Iraq

One of the New Schools in Iraq, (From Al-Jazeera.net)

Even when critical of the tragic situation in Iraq, mainstream media outlets cannot wean themselves away from the official master narrative and must slip in idiotic statements such as the one in today’s New York Times story about electricity in Iraq. Please note the second half of the title “ Electrical Grid Fails Iraqis.” So it’s the electrical grid, a neutral non-human element, which has failed Iraqis and not the superpower, which dismantled their state and replaced it with chaos! Yes, electricity is still below pre-war levels and Baghdad residents got five hours of it a day in July, but rejoice, readers, because “Iraq now has elections, a functioning, if imperfect, ...

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Anniversary of Salah al-Bitar's Assassination

uuh, Salah Bitar (Wikipedia)

Salah al-Bitar was the cofounder, along with Michel Aflaq, of the Ba`th party, later called the Arab Socialist Ba`th Party when it merged with Akram Hourani's Arab Socialist Party in 1953.

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Laugh! There is a Bomb in your Car

Ramadan is a very special time of year for Muslims and it is impossible to overestimate its socio-cultural importance. Additional time and effort are invested in its daily rituals and practices. Familial and social bonds are augmented and celebrated. Traditional games used to be an important facet of the month’s celebratory and festive mood culminating in the feast marking the month’s end. While these games are still popular and are still played in many parts of the Islamicate world, they have been ...

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Burn Baby Burn

I have been thinking a lot about electricity. A couple of nights ago, I spent 24 hours without it. At ten pm the lights went out, and they did not come back on until the next evening. With the lights went the air conditioner, the television, the refrigerator, the internet, the fan, my stove, and finally, my computer and my telephone. That night, I put a puzzle together by candlelight, opened all my windows, sat naked on my couch, and re-learned the value of a summer breeze. I slept on the marble floor of ...

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.. مستوطنة اريئيل والأمير الضفدع

 إنضمت وزيرة الثقافة والرياضة الإسرائيلية ليمور ليفنات إلى جوقة المنددين برسالة وقع عليها 53 ممثلاً وكاتباً مسرحياً إسرائيلياً يعلنون فيها عن رفضهم الإشتراك في أي فعاليات فنية أو عروض مسرحية ستقام في أي مستوطنة بنيت في الأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة، بما في ذلك مستوطنة اريئيل. وبحسب مركز"بتسيلم"م لحقوق الإنسان في الأراضي المحتلة، فإن المستوطنات الإسرائيلية في الأراضي المحتلة يفوق عددها ال 150  مستوطنة إضافة إلى أكثر من  100 بؤرة إستيطانية. يعيش قرابة النصف ...

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What is Good Sex?

I am sure we all have our own answers to this question. While I can only imagine how interesting these answers may be, the answer according to the Lebanese state (or any other state) is much more complicated. This answer is refracted and expressed through various mediums, including the law. One way to understand what "good sex" is according to the Lebanese state is to study the way that sex is regulated in the Lebanese legal system. In order to do this, the legal system in its ...

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Neoliberalism's Populist Engine and Race in America

What began as an entertaining spectacle of Americans reenacting the Boston tea party across the country in early 2009 has congealed into a viable and tangible political force. In the recent primaries leading up to the November mid-term elections, Tea Party candidates both challenged long-time Republican incumbents, and dominated the terms of reference thereby forcing Republican nominees to shift to the right. Senator John McCain’s bid for the Republican Senatorial nomination in Arizona is ...

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The Politics of Power Cuts In Egypt (Part 1)

Egypt has been suffering from an exceptionally hot summer, with record temperatures observed all over the country. The “terrible heat wave” mantra, thus, grew to become what is probably the most pressing issue in Egypt today. The advent of Ramadan obviously could only but emphasize this problem more, as people now have to fast through long and exceptionally hot summer days. Naturally none of this is unique to Egypt: the entire region suffers the same heat wave. But unlike its neighbors Egypt has been ...

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To Stay Modern

On 4 August, after more than five million barrels of oil battered the Gulf of Mexico for over 100 days, BP proclaimed the success of its “static kill strategy.” Pumping the blown out well with mud and cement was working to stop what BP calls the “leak” or alternatively, “the Gulf of Mexico incident.” The company, its website explained, was “doing everything we can to make this right.” In the meantime, the environmental and economic devastation of the worst spill in US history and the world’s largest ...

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The Safety of Objects

I am making a list. A list of objects needed when the next war begins in Lebanon. I am not being morbid. I am being realistic. After all, it has been over four years since the last “big” war in this country (July 2006), and over two years since the last “mini war” (May 2008). Still more ominously, nothing seems to have changed since those past two wars. The same inept politicians are still arguing over the same issues, the country is still tiptoeing on the double-edged sword of corruption and ...

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Al-Tahir Wattar (1936-2010)

Al-Tahir Wattar, one of Algeria’s most influential writers died on the 13th of August, after a two-year battle with colonic cancer. He was a foundational figure in the Arabophone novel in Algeria and widely recognized and celebrated in the Arab world. Some of his ten novels were translated into ten languages. Wattar was born to an Amazigh family in Suq Ahras, in eastern Algeria in 1936. After a traditional education, his father sent him in 1950 to Qasantina (Constantine) to study at the Bin Badis ...

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Reich Is No Marxist, But...

Robert Reich is no Marxist, but the data on income disparities in the United States since the 1970s are staggering. The post below, as well as a flurry of articles and studies linked underneath, tell a better story than I can here in just a few words. In any case, we have become desensitized to these abstract pieces of data. “One percent of the richest owns x percent of the . . . “ Asserting observations regarding income disparities is becoming increasingly innocuous and counter productive, kind of like ...

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An Incredible Finding in Israel's Investigation of Itself

Israel has just released an update in its ongoing investigation of itself during Operation Cast Lead. This Report Update is the third of its kind, the first two released in July 2009 and January 2010. While one cannot expect much from an investigation that lacks independence, some of the Report's findings are especially alarming.

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Another Credible Israeli Investigation

A state's investigation of its own armed forces and their conduct is not absurd--or at least it shouldn't be. In fact, the practice is encouraged in international law, which seeks to balance a state's sovereignty with universally applicable laws so to speak.  However, in the case of Israel, which has empowered its military to investigate itself on the one hand and whose recent investigations have done more to justify its foreign policy than it has to uphold principles of international law, absurdity ...

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