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Lebanon

إيتل عدنان عن فدوى سليمان

[مصدر الصورة موقع قنطرة]

     نعلمُ إن القدر قاسٍ، ولكنه دوماً أقسى مما ظنناه. تعرّفتُ إلى فدوى مؤخراً، ورأيتُ شدّة التزامها بكلّ ما يؤثّر فيها. أثناء محادثتها، رأيتُ إلى أيّ حدّ لم تكن تحتمل الظلم في هذا العالم. كانت قد كرّستْ نفسها من أجل سورية مفتوحة للجميع، سورية السلام. كانت قد كرّستْ نفسها للشعر أيضاً. لقد فقدنا بوفاتها شاعرة كبيرة وضوءً أمامنا. أرجو منكم قراءة شعرها، بانتباه، والإنصات إلى صوتها عبر كلماتِها وأفكارها، ونشدان العدالة، على منوالها، عبر اللاعنف. أقول لها إننا لن ننساها أبداً. -إيتل عدنان-  

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New Texts Out Now: Bashir Saade, Hizbullah and the Politics of Remembrance: Writing Nations

Bashir Saade, Hizbullah and the Politics of Remembrance: Writing Nations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Bashir Saade (BS): This book is based on my PhD dissertation and the research I had done at the time, from 2006 to 2011. I started after the July 2006 war, which was the trigger for an already growing interest in understanding the phenomenon of Hizbullah. I was mostly interested in questioning the way Hizbullah had been studied so far, and I was not satisfied with any of the paradigms that plagued the literature on the subject. My project was two-fold. One was to understand Hizbullah and the other which ...

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George Wassouf: the People's Champ

[Album cover: Shei Ghareeb (Something Strange) by George Wassouf. Release date: 1993. Image by Moe Ali Nayel.]

Whenever memories take me back to the time when the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) had just ended, one sound always echoes along the scenes: it is the special voice of that one singer who will always function as an anchor pinning down that particular slice of my remembrance of the past. Born in 1961 Kafroun, a Syrian village located in the countryside of Homs, George Wassouf came from a modest family. At the age of sixteen, he moved to Lebanon on his own and managed to find the space to shine as the star singer from within the Lebanese music scene. However, the young singer’s move to Beirut in search of his artistic path was far from a story of easy victories and ...

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War is Here: The Lebanese Political Elites Unite Again

[Syrian Refugees Wait in Line to Register with UNHCR in Arsal, 2013. Image by UNHCR]

War is often understood as a temporally bounded event. A war begins, and eventually it ends. In the process, people are killed, maimed, starved, and traumatized; infrastructure is damaged; and life-worlds are destroyed. In such context, survival, not life, becomes the goal. Yet such an understanding of war is often duplicitous. For example, one might look to the Gaza Strip, where slow death under a globally-sanctioned siege under the temporality of a “ceasefire” is easily as violent, as final, as the next “war” with Israel.  In Lebanon whispers of the war to come have intensified in ways that go beyond the constant anticipation of violence that characterized the ...

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Des déchets aux remblais: imaginaire aménageur, corruption et dérèglements métaboliques à Beyrouth

[La décharge de Borj Hammoud vue du port de pêche avant les récents travaux de démantèlement - Photo Eric Verdeil - CC-ND-NC]

Les scandales à répétition qui éclatent à propos de la gestion des déchets au Liban et plus particulièrement dans l'agglomération de Beyrouth mettent en évidence les montants énormes des contrats en question et leur opacité, et donc plus largement la corruption qui joue un rôle déterminant dans l'organisation de l'action publique. Les débats de l'été 2015 ont ainsi permis d'exposer publiquement les zones d'ombre, anomalies et irrégularités concernant les contrats successifs de Sukleen, et de pointer vers un ensemble de bénéficiaires indirects de cette rente. La réorganisation en principe provisoire de la gestion des déchets à Beyrouth et dans le Mont Liban s'est traduite ...

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New Texts Out Now: Hannes Baumann, Citizen Hariri: Lebanon's Neoliberal Reconstruction

Hannes Baumann, Citizen Hariri: Lebanon’s Neoliberal Reconstruction. Hurst: London, 2016. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Hannes Bauman (HB): On 14 February 2005 I was preparing my PhD proposal in the library of IFEAD, the French research institute in Damascus. During a break I noticed that people were huddling around a portable TV in the lobby, transmitting grainy images of a bomb explosion. It was the Beirut blast that killed former billionaire-prime minister Rafiq Hariri. A month later, on 14 March I witnessed the Beirut rally calling for a withdrawal of Syrian troops, which later gave its name to the “March 14” coalition led by Sa’d ...

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Lebanon's New Electoral Law: Proportional in Form, Majoritarian at Heart

The Lebanese government and parliament finally approved an electoral law on 16 June 2017, “averting” a political and constitutional crisis. Political parties have congratulated themselves for this “achievement,” despite being four years late and creating a dangerous precedent by illegally extending the parliamentary mandate three times since 2013. While the long-awaited electoral law contains elements of a proportional representation (PR) system, its soul is majoritarian and its districts are crafted according to a political and sectarian calculus. Furthermore, the law carries no reform provision such as a women’s quota, an independent electoral commission, or adequate ...

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Municipal Politics in Lebanon

The municipal system has been a key pillar of debates on administrative decentralization, economic development and political participation in Lebanon. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, activists sought to stop the demolition of the 1924 Barakat Building on the basis that it was a heritage site. In response to public pressure, the Municipality of Beirut expropriated the building in 2013, and has since overseen a contentious process of transforming the space into a memory museum. International donors have increasingly directed aid flows for Syrian refugees in Lebanon through municipalities instead of the central government. Concomitantly, many of these municipalities ...

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Along What Lines Are Lebanon’s Political Elite Divided?

Eight years on and Lebanon still does not have an electoral law. Despite the many draft proposals and meetings by the Council of Ministers (COM) and parliamentary sub-committees, political parties appear more likely to either hold elections according to the so-called 1960 law or illegally extend their mandates than pass a new electoral law. Granted, a new electoral law would determine who has the power to nominate a prime minister, form a new government, issue a vote of confidence and oversee government’s performance, and initiate or approve pieces of legislation. But, the failure of political elites to pass a new electoral law after more than eight years of talking ...

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Media on Media Roundup (April 25)

[Hezbollah flag in Baalbeck, Lebanon. Photo by yeowatzup, Wikimedia Commons]

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup tackles several important themes shaping the Middle East mediascape. A leaked video allegedly showing Egyptian soldiers killing detainees in the Sinai Peninsula caused a great deal of debate surrounding Egypt’s human rights record. In Lebanon, a Hezbollah-organized media tour of the country’s demarcation line with Israel generated controversy regarding Lebanon’s relationship to Israel and Hezbollah’s military power. Following a referendum extending President Erdogan’s ruling powers, the Turkish government detained the editor-in-chief of leftist website Sendika.org for denouncing  Erdogan’s win as illegitimate. The New ...

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Two Video Installations by Dictaphone Group (Houston, 18-23 April 2017)

This year's installment of Houston's CounterCurrent Festival will feature two video installations by the Lebanon-based Dictaphone Group, a research and performance collective that creates live art events based on multidisciplinary study of space. The two video installations on display in Houston tackle different aspects of displacement, refuge, and urban space, taking on the experience of individual Syrian and Palestinian refugees. Both installations are showing every from 12pm to 8pm, 18-23 April 2017. Admission is free, but reservations are required. Below are brief descriptions of each instllation, including location and a URL for additional information as ...

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جلد وحبر: مقابلة لمجلة الوضع مع طه سمور

أجرى محمد علي نايل لمجلة "الوضع" هذا الحوار مع طه سمور، متخصص بوشوم المدرسة القديمة والحديثة، وفن الخط الياباني والعربي. درس في الجامعة اللبنانية، كلية علم الاجتماع والدراسات الإنسانية. يعمل كفنان وشم منذ أيلول ٢٠١١ وأستاذ للغة والأدب الإنكليزي منذ ٢٠١٢. تركز المقابلة على استعادة الحروفية في فن صناعة الوش.

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La crise des déchets, le Liban et son territoire

 [Le texte qui suit correspond à une intervention prononcée le 28 novembre 2015 lors d’une table ronde sur la question de l’environnement au Liban organisée par la Maison du Liban à la Cité universitaire internationale de Paris et son comité des résidents. Les autres participants à la table ronde étaient Ghaleb Faour et Eric Verdeil] Il y a dix ans, nous achevions de présenter le schéma d’aménagement du territoire du Liban et démarrions, dans la continuité de ce travail, un projet consistant à ...

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“Til Sect Do You Part?” On Sectarianism and Intermarriage in Lebanon

In August 2017, a Christian man and a Muslim woman (Boutros and Marwa) made headlines when they married in Lebanon. Why? One might assume that the interreligious nature of the couple prompted this media attention. However, that was far from the case. In my current research on Lebanese social responses to interreligious and intersectarian marriages/long-term relationships, I have had no difficulty locating people to interview. Mixed couples are more common than people often imagine, and exist to varying ...

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The Changing Face of Street Art in the MENA Region: Diminishing the Voice of the People?

Street art in all of its forms has long been associated with subversive goals and a compelling aesthetic. Created by individuals and communities who strived to push back against oppressive systems of power, contribute to civil and political discourses they were otherwise excluded from, and expand upon the boundaries of artistic expression, street art has always been a highly inclusive, accessible, and often effective method for those in a society to amplify their voice. Political actors across the ...

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Statement of Condemnation and Clarification by the Socialist Forum in Lebanon

[The following statement was issued by Socialist Forum on 16 July 2017 in response to its decision to cancel a demonstraiton it had organized in response to the recent actions taken by the Lebanese government (through the military) within the Syrian refugee communities of Arsal.] On Friday June 30th, 2017 at dawn, a faction of the Lebanese Army raided two Syrian refugee camps (Nawar and Qareiah) in the town of Arsal, in what was officially designated as a "preventive raid" in search of ...

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بيان المنتدى الاشتراكي رداً على هجمات ضد اللاجئين السوريين في منطقة عرسال

[أصدر المنتدى الاشتراكي هذا البيان في ١٣ تموز، ٢٠١٧، رداً على هجمات ضد اللاجئين السوريين في منطقة عرسال] فجر نهار الجمعة 30 حزيران 2017، قامت قوة من الجيش اللبناني بمداهمة مخيمي النور والقارية للاجئين السوريين في بلدة عرسال، ضمن ما اعتبره الجيش "عملية استباقيّة" ضد "إرهابيين" موجودين في المخيم. نتج من ذلك مقتل عدد من الأشخاص بينهم طفلة، وإصابة عدد من العسكريين بجروح بسبب تفجيرات انتحارية. وشٌنّت حملة اعتقالات طالت ما يزيد عن 350 شخصاً من اللاجئين السوريين، على أساس الاشتباه بانتمائهم ...

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Life in a Street: How Informal Mechanisms Govern Scarce Public Spaces in Nabaa, Beirut

The informal mechanisms of organization in everyday public life have been at the core of concerns of many researchers and practitioners (e.g., Rukmana and Hegel in Indonesia, Mehrotra in India, and Nagati in Egypt). While examining these processes in different contexts, the focus was typically on their interplay with "formal" regulations or in relation to the private built environment. Few highlighted the significance of these informal arrangements per se and their importance in governing ...

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Survivor: Life After Cluster Bomb

Survivor is a decade-long documentary photography project following the story of Mohammed, a young cluster bomb survivor. During the summer 2006 Israel-Hizbollah war in Lebanon he was riding as a passenger on his father's motorbike when it struck a cluster bomb. Over the past 10 years I have documented how Mohammed, like so many other survivors around the world, lives with the horrifying repercussions of cluster munitions. Mohammed was eleven years old when he lost both legs during the last week of the ...

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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 story that needed to be told of how people in states of protracted conflict live their lives with the specter of war continually hovering in the background, akin to the sounds of Beirut traffic. The potentiality of a coming war during my research in Lebanon moved in ...

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New Texts Out Now: Toufoul Abou-Hodeib, A Taste for Home: The Modern Middle Class in Ottoman Beirut

Toufoul Abou-Hodeib, A Taste for Home: The Modern Middle Class in Ottoman Beirut. Stanford University Press, 2017. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Toufoul Abou-Hodeib (TAH): The book started with the idea of using extant homes as a material archive, which grew out of my experience as an architecture student and a practicing architect in Beirut in the 1990s and early 2000s. The frantic post-war reconstruction of Beirut in the 1990s was accompanied by a pace of deconstruction that literally ...

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The Origins of the Lebanese National Idea, 1840-1920

Carol Hakim, The Origins of the Lebanese National Idea, 1840–1920. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. [This review was orginally published in the Spring 2017 issue of the Arab Studies Journal. For more information on the issue, or to subscribe to ASJ, click here.] Against teleological accounts that locate the origins of national ideas in a distant past and trace their evolution along a linear path into the present, Carol Hakim’s Origins of the Lebanese National Idea cautiously ...

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Woman Healers - A STATUS/الوضع Interview with Rola Yasmine

In this interview for STATUS/الوضع, host Mohamad Ali Nayel speaks with Rola Yasmine about women’s health issues in Lebanon and the impact of patriarchy within the medical field.   Rola Yasmine is a feminist, nurse and researcher based in Beirut and working on sexuality and gender and their intersections. For 3 years in youth sexual and reproductive health research at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and co-published peer reviewed papers on youth sexuality. Rola has a Master of Science ...

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Media on Media Roundup (March 30)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup covers several important topics affecting the MENA mediascape. A terror attack in London prompted the British government to ask that its security services be granted access to encrypted applications like Whatsapp, thought to be essential for planning the assault. In other news, Forbes Middle East comments on a British and US-issued electronics ban that prohibits the use of laptops and tablets on board direct flights from several Middle Eastern ...

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