[This is a monthly roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Resistance, Subversion and Social Mobilization in the Arab world and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the DARS Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each monthly roundup to DARS@jadaliyya.com.]
News & Commentaries
The “Anti-Imperialism” of Idiots, by Leila Al Shami
Leila Al Shami makes a critique of what she calls the “Western ‘anti-war’ left” and some of its mobilizations against Western interventions that followed chemical attacks in Syria over the past seven years. She argues that these mobilizations are not about ending the war and often turn a blind eye to the actions of Al Assad regime and “any form of imperialism that is non-Western in origin.”
Who Is Really to Blame for the Failure of the Syrian Revolution? by Basheer Nafi
Basheer Nafi explores the various actors and their responsibility in the failure of the Syrian revolution. Apart from the responsibility of other Arab states (especially the ones of the “counterrevolution camp”), Nafi argues that “Western support for the Arab revolutions and for the process of democratic transformation was slow and reluctant. It soon turned into indifference, or a return to the policy of ‘the devil we know.’”
“Treachery Is Not a Perspective:” Boycotting Israel in Lebanon, by Sahar Mandour
Sahar Mandour discusses the Lebanese boycott movement today, especially after Lebanese fil director ZIad Doueiri was accused of normalization with Israel and Lebanese playwright Ziad Itany was declared innocent of treason. She argues that “the slogan ‘treachery isn’t a perspective’ overshadowed any nuanced discussion on normalization.”
“Only Arabs Go to Jail:” Israel Convicts Palestinian Over Poem, by Al Jazeera
Israel has convicted Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet, for inciting violence and supporting a "terror organisation" after she published poems on her Facebook page along with images of Palestinians protesting Israeli occupation.
The Trial of Dareen Tatour and the Madness of Being Israel, by Kim Jenzel and Yoav Haifawi
The authors argue that the case against Dareen Tatour is built on distortion. The write “The most obvious flaw in the case is the lack of any evidence that Tatour provoked an act of violence or that her work contains ‘a direct call for violence.’ Instead of presenting proof, Hardak has instead resorted to vilifying Tatour and systematically demonizing three key words she uses in her work: qawim, intifada, and shahid.”
Why I March in Gaza, by Fadi Abu Shammalah
The executive director of the General Union of Cultural Centers in Gaza, Fadi Abu Shammalah, eloquently describes the reasons why he participated in the Great Return March in Gaza. He writes that “Israel assumed that once the generation who experienced the Nakba died, the youth would relinquish our dream of return. […] The march is proving that my generation has no intention of abandoning our people’s dreams. The Great Return March has kindled my optimism, but I am also realistic. Alone, the march will not end the siege and the occupation, address the huge power imbalance that exists between Israel and the Palestinians or right the historical wrongs. The work continues until everyone in the region can share equal rights.”
Forty Dead, 5,511 Wounded: UN Releases Figures on Palestinian Casualties in Gaza's Mass Protests on Israel Border, by Jack Khoury
Forty Palestinians have been killed and 5,511 were wounded in the mass protests along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel since March 30, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on April 24.
The Gaza March Is A Wake-Up Call to the World, by Tareq Baconi
Tareq Baconi argues that the “greatest driver” of the Great March of Return is the tragedy the Gaza Strip is going through today. “Rather than address the political issues that underpin Gaza’s misery, the US and Israel recently embarked on a humanitarian mission to alleviate suffering in Gaza while paradoxically sustaining the blockade. […] With this march, Palestinians in Gaza are reminding the world that they cannot be “managed”. They and their fellow Palestinian refugees continue to hold rights under international law. UN resolution 194 affirmed the Palestinian right of return.”
Running as Resistance in Occupied Palestine, by Joshua Stacher
Through a description of the Palestine Marathon, Joshua Stacher highlights the political meaning of this special sport event and growth of the “Right to Movement” running groups throughout Palestine.
For Israel, There Is Little Political Cost in Killing Palestinians, by Ishaan Tharoor
With dozens of protestors killed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during mass demonstrations in Gaza, there have been calls for an inquiry into their deaths. Yet the Israeli government continues to take a firm stance that the IDF acts to protect the security of its citizens even as videos have emerged showing snipers targeting unarmed protestors. As Tharoor writes, the current geo-political environment is what allows the Israeli government to be "comfortable in its defiance."
Israel’s Relentless Land Grabs: How Palestinians Resist, by Yara Hawari
Yara Hawari gives a brief overview of Israel’s land acquisition methods since 1948 until today and presents various examples of Palestinian “spatial resistance,” such as Bab al Shams and Al Araqib.
Birzeit: How Palestinian Students Became the Next Generation of Resistance, by Mustafa Abu Sneineh
Birzeit University, as one of Palestine's most prominent seats of learning, has become a focus for resistance for many living in the West Bank. As an educational institution, Birzeit comes from a history of political resistance and great difficulty in establishment. Today, the student body serves as a vital barometer of wider Palestinian politics, but is also seen as a threat to the Israeli authorities.
“We Are Human and We Have Rights:” LGBT Activists Speak Out Across the Middle East, by Sheefah Shiraz
In collaboration with Human Rights Watch and the Arab Foundation for Freedoms, LGBT activists from the Middle East and North Africa are sharing their stories of support and encouragement on sexual orientation and gender identity. The HRW report, Audacity in Adversity: LGBT Activism in the Middle East and North Africa and the video series, No Longer Alone, aim to confront myths and counteract the isolation many LGBT people in the region endure, offering messages of support and encouragement.
Two Years Ago Nationalism Sparked Major Protests in Egypt. Could It Happen Again? By Jannis Grimm
In the Egyptian context, nationalism is often understood as a tool wielded by the state to co-opt and redirect street pressure for reform into support for a strong state. By using populist nationalist discourse, some claim that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi seemed to have struck a “winning formula” for popular support and legitimacy. However, Jannis Grimm’s research on “opposition protests and alliance building in Egypt demonstrates that reliance on his nationalist discourse is a double-edged sword. As the April 2016 ‘island protests’ show, nationalism may not only support authoritarian domination but also inspire powerful resistance to such projects.”
Rights for the Disabled in Tunisia: Inching Towards Inclusion, by Wolfgang Kuhnle
Yassine Rihani, a Tunisian human rights activist, lost his eyesight in 2006 and has been working as a physiotherapist ever since. He works to promote the rights of people with disabilities. Tunisia has had a new constitution – considered to be one of the most progressive in the Arab world – since 27 January 2014. Yassine Rihani is particularly pleased about Article 48 of the new constitution, as he fought for it for many years in his capacity as a human rights activist. For the first time in Tunisia's history, it now says: "The state protects people with disabilities from all forms of discrimination. Every disabled citizen is entitled to services that ensure his or her full integration into society. The state shall take all necessary measures to achieve this". A milestone, as Rihani calls it, which was only made possible by the constant pressure put on parliament by activists.
The Struggle of Refugee Women Across the Sea, by Marta Bellingreri
Bellingreri describes the gendered dimension of migration through the efforts of Watch the Med Alarm Phone, an international collective that primarily supports and monitors rescue operations at sea. Alarm Phone works to highlight voices and stories of women who have struggled across sea and borders, inspired by their disobedient movements, strengths and resistance specifically against forms of sexual violence and exploitation.
Detained Photojournalist Shawkan to Receive UNESCO’s 2018 Press Freedom Prize, by Mada Masr
Detained photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (Shawkan) was chosen as the recipient of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) 2018 press freedom prize on Monday, according to a UNESCO statement. Maria Ressa, the jury’s president, said in the statement, “The choice of Mahmoud Abu Zeid pays tribute to his courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression.”
معاقترابالذكرىالمئويةلثورة 1919 المصرية،يسألالمؤلفعبدالعظيمحماد "ماأكبرإسهامقدمتههذهالثورةفيتاريخمصر." فيهذةالمقالة،يستكشفحمادعدداًمنالموضوعاتالهامةبمافيذلكالمواطنةوالدينوالوطنيةوكيفتطورتهذهالقضايا معمرورالأعوام.
بعداحتجاجاتعديدةمنذديسمبر 2017 تطالببالتنميةالاقتصادية، نشطاءفيمدينةجرادةالمغربيةيحصلونعلىفرصةحضورجلسةحوارمعالسلطاتالمحلية. يريدالناشطونمناقشةالمطالبالاجتماعيةوالاقتصاديةلسكان جرادة بالإضافةإلىملفالذينتماعتقالهمخلالالاحتجاجاتالسابقة. فيحينحكمتمحكمةمحليةعلىأربعةمتظاهرينبالسجن،وافقتالحكومةعلىالاستثماراتالزراعيةفيالمنطقةوقداتخذتخطواتنحوتنظيمأكثرصرامة معالشركاتالتعدين.
أصدررئيسالسودانعمرالبشيرمؤخراًمرسوماًبإطلاقسراحجميعالسجناءالسياسيينالذينتماعتقالهمبسببمشاركتهمفيمظاهراتسلميةفيالعامالماضي. رحبالبعضبهذاالمرسوم ولكنيقولآخرونبمنفيهمالنشطاءإنهملميرواأيإصلاححقيقي.
أعضاءنقابةالصحفيينالمصريينيحتجونعلىمعاملةالحكومةللصحفيين. فيظلالسيسي،تمإسكاتالصحفوتماعتقالالصحفيينوالمحررين. لكنالاتحادغيرمتحدفيهذاالاحتجاجحيثقام 5 أعضاءفقطمنأصل 12 بالتوقيععلىبيانيدعوإلىحريةالصحافةفيمصر.
Art & Culture
Behind the Lens as a Woman: Yemen’s Female Photographers Strive to Overcome Barriers, by Khalid al-Karimi and Weam Abdulmalik
Several Yemeni women photographers are profiled for their work and passion in picturing life on the streets of Yemen. They speak of their different experiences and challenges in risking personal safety and encountering harassment when taking photos, especially due to Yemen being a male-dominated society and a war-ravaged country.
Tent City Nights: Gaza’s Dance of Resistance Unites Palestinians, by Amjad Ayman
Alongside protest efforts, the Great Return March is embedded with Palestinian culture, featuring nightly Dabke dances, singing of folklore songs, and shared meals over the campfire with families and neighbours. At the camp, the older generation of Palestinians educate the younger generation on their right of return and their history, as well as understanding the peaceful resistance through which they can fight the Israeli occupation.
A General’s Daughter: Meet the Filmmaker Who Defied Lebanese Censors, by Joseph Fahim
Rana Eid is a Lebanese filmmaker whose latest documentary Panoptic was banned in Lebanon, denying her the closure she sought over her late father, who was an army General and functions as the anchor of her film. Panoptic features footage on Beirut’s army-controlled detention centres, exploring the shady foundation of Lebanon’s post-war military institution, the "slave society" the country has been transformed into, and the grand state of hypnosis engulfing the generations of today.
New Books & Reviews
Subversives and Mavericks in the Muslim Mediterranean: A Subaltern History, by Odile Moreau and Stuart Schaar
This book brings together the life stories of 11 individuals from the Muslim Mediterranean, such as Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, who helped organized the resistance against ruling regimes in the late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries. These men and women held prominent and important roles in the movement for change against a variety of forces including European colonialism and patriarchy. This book also highlights the connections subversives were able to make with those outside their immediate localities.
Faith and Resistance: The Politics of Love and War in Lebanon, by Sarah Marusek
Sarah Marusek 's new book looks at Islamic Activism in Lebanon. While this work is based on ethnographic research on religion and resistance in the daily lives of Shi'i activists in Lebanon, Marusek also traces the intellectual lineage of ideas and practices of the Islamic resistance, thereby drawing transnational connections with other social movements rooted in religion, such as in South Africa and Latin America.
Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel, by Ben White
This book looks at the current challenges facing the Israeli apartheid state from both within its traditional support system and from the growing offensive outside these networks. Ben White looks at an array of factors shaking the foundation of the Israeli state including increasingly critical Jewish opinion, the American political climate post Trump's election, and the growing strength of the BDS movement.
Events & Conferences
Social Movements and Protest: Race, Ethnicity, and Radicalism, 4-5 May 2018, San Diego State University, San Diego, US.
The Reception of Images: Realities and Fictions in North/South Relations, 8-9 May 2018, University of Oran 2 Mohamed Ben Ahmed, Oran, Algeria
Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism and Post-Orientalism in African, Middle East, Latin American, Asian/Chinese Studies, 17-18 May 2018, Center for Global Studies, Shanghai University, China.
Serbest Kurdish Studies Conference, 1-2 June 2018, Buffett Institute for Global Studies, Northwestern University, US.
International Palestine Summit 2018: Israeli Settlement and the West Bank Barrier in Palestine, 21-22 June 2018, Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies, Istanbul, Turkey.
Re-Imagining Cultural Histories of the Middle East and North Africa, 28 June 2018, University of Westminster, UK.
Political Violence in Syria: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, 14-15 September 2018, Ultrecht University, Netherlands. (Call for Papers Deadline: 15 April 2018)
Cinema-Going in The Arab World: Exhibition, Distribution, and Audiences, 14-15 September 2018, Netherlands-Flemish Institute, Cairo, Egypt. (Call for Papers Deadline: 30 April 2018).
Workshop: Digital Media, Islam, and Politics in the Middle East, 28-29 September 2018, University of Basel, Switzerland. (Deadline for Applications: 5 July 2018)
The Biannual Conference of the Middle East Studies Forum: Trump and the Middle East, 29-31 October 2018, Deakin University Burwood, Victoria, Australia.