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call for pa “Til Sect Do You Part?” On Sectarianism and Intermarriage in Lebanon Israel’s Big Business of War قصائد مختارة للشاعر والروائي تشارلز بوكوفسكي 'The King

“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 ...

[المصدر موقع المواطن]

آخر أيّام المدينة - الجزء الاول

"آخر أيّام المدينة" أو "الحضارة في آخر أيامها" كما قال "آخر الرجال المحترمين" بدأ حضور "المدينة" في السينما المصريّة يأخذ شكلًا مميزًا خلال السبعينيات كنتيجة للفترة الساداتيّة التي وُعدت ووعَدت ...

[An image of Ahmed Ouyahia, current Algerian prime minister. Image from Wikimedia Commons]

Game of Mustaches: A Song of Mustache and Technocracy

It was the second unexpected sacking of an Algerian prime minister in less than three months. After Abdelmalek Sellal, Abdemajid Tebboune's turn came with no going-away party. The prime ministers fell one after the other, and one wondered ...

Istanbul: A Megacity in the Light of Turkey’s Political Transformation

Jean-François Pérouse, Istanbul Planète, La Ville-Monde Du Xxie Siècle. Paris: La Découverte, 2017. This book is the result of more than twenty years of social, economic, and urban observations and investigations by a geographer[i] ...


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

[Image from Adva.org]

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 nytimes.com]

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 Haaretz.com and ynetnews.com]

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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Gynecology, Honor, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

[Lead Investigator of the STL D.A Bellmare: Image from Unknown Archive, Female Reproductive System: McGraw Hill Companies]

Last week Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech on honor. However, this speech was not about the honor of resisting occupation or the honor of the Palestinian cause. The Sayyed’s speech, rather, focused on how the Special Tribunal For Lebanon had threatened the honor of Lebanese citizens by requesting gynecological files from a women’s clinic in the southern suburbs of Beirut. The day before, when the STL investigators arrived at the women’s health clinic, a group of women attacked them and confiscated one of their briefcases. Finally, the STL investigators retreated. Of course, when the Sayyed said that the honor of Lebanese citizens had been violated by the STL, he ...

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The Increasing Absurdity of the "Terrorism" Accusation . . . in Light of “Democracy” and Resistance

[Image from Unknown Archive]

The only thing more sickening than the United States cracking down on groups/human beings it does not like in the name of fighting terrorism is when Arab regimes do it. The same goes for Israel except that one should be increasingly prepared to expect literally anything, no matter how morally or politically reprehensible, from its governments. In any case, for those interested in the struggle for any number, or kind, of rights in the Arab world, that phony specter has come to reek of hypocrisy and imbecility. For at least three decades now, from Jordan to Egypt, and from Morocco to Bahrain, government crackdowns on dissent have run out of any semblance of excuse and are ...

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Aftermath . . . America's Wars in the Middle East (Part 1)

[Bombed building in Baghdad, 2003. Image from

In my new book “Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World,” I look at sectarianism, civil war, occupation, resistance, terrorism and counterinsurgency from Iraq to Lebanon to Afghanistan. While half of the book looks at how the civil war in Iraq began and how it came to an end, other chapters look at the Taliban, the American military in Afghanistan and the Afghan police. The two chapters I am proudest of however deal with Lebanon, where I lived with my wife and son during the period I reported from there. I found that while the country was oversaturated with journalists (both local and foreign) and during times of crisis even more ...

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Register: Exile + 1

[Image from guardian.co.uk]

The hallway felt increasingly smaller, tighter. Every minute drew in the baby blue trimmed walls closer to one another compressing me and my breath in between their administration. I tried to distract myself in David Harvey’s analysis of neoliberalism—yes uneven geographical development in China, Deng like Reagan like Thatcher...accumulation of wealth or was it capital accumulation or does he mean all out theft? The theories couldn’t embrace my imagination which fought against itself as it flew to the outer limits of a horizon of worst case scenarios whose farthest tip was etched with a merciless stamp weighed heavy by memories of present absentees and refugees lined up ...

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Collective Punishment or Not, Gaza Blockade Illegal (Part I)

Image of Palestinian boys protesting the blockade of Gaza, BBC

Israel’s blockade of Gaza is illegal irrespective of the manner in which it is imposed because a blockade is an act of war and an occupying power cannot declare war upon the territory it occupies. To do so would conflate the right to initiate war (jus ad bellum) with the laws of occupation (jus in bello) and render useless the distinction of the permissible use of force in each case. This analysis is different in kind from the one that characterizes the blockade as illegal for its contravention of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting collective punishment.    The prohibition on collective punishment stipulates that if indeed Israel is ...

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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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Aftermath . . . America's Wars in the Middle East (Part 2)

Over the years it seems like every time I visited Iraq I had to remove names of friends or contacts from my mobile phone because they were dead. Perhaps so death seemed as foretold as that of Abu Omar, an Awakening leader I met in Baghdad's Aadhamiya district in 2009. His predecessor (also called Abu Omar) was killed by a suicide bomber. When I first met Abu Omar he seemed confident and marched around like the local warlord that he was. In February of 2010 I had to meet him in hiding, his son sneaking me ...

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The Politics of Reconciliation: Secularism and Tolerance

Looking at recent events in Iran, we may contrast the predominant views of Green Movement activists participating inside Iran and the attitudes of many Iranians observing these events from abroad. Iranians inside Iran show no strong interest in defining the movement in totalizing terms as either Islamic or secular, and nor do they oppose the movement to secularism or Islam. By contrast, many Iranian intellectuals and activists outside of Iran (and other interested intellectuals) are visibly eager to ...

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Present Absent: Palestinians in Israel (Part 1)

The color of the Jaffa sea was reflected in his blue eyes so that they were even bluer. He had six decades behind him and was in his seventh, but was still laboring as a construction worker in order to pay for his youngest son's tuition at Tel-Aviv University. The campus of Tel-Aviv university is in the Ramat Aviv area or, as he calls it, Al-Shaykh Mwannis. Al-Shaykh Mwannis is a name engraved in Abu Hasan's memory. Whenever he mentions the university's name he mentions it, as if it were a synonym. So ...

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Reporting From Guantanamo: The Prison Tour (Photos)

Twenty-five journalists flew on a chartered plane down to Guantánamo Bay on October 22, 2010, to report on the case of Omar Khadr, the Canadian 24-year-old who has been in US custody for one-third of his life. We would have been on the island (Cuba) a week earlier but for a sudden change of plan—again. The original original plan, let’s call it Khadr Trial 1.0, had a start date of August 12, and indeed the trial did start on that day. But at 4:00 p.m., Khadr’s military defense lawyer, Lt. Col. Jon ...

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Beyond Ghailani: The Implications of Kaplan’s Ruling for Ahmed Abu Ali’s Case

At one level, Judge Lewis Kaplan’s decision, to render coercively procured evidence inadmissible in courts, can be read as unremarkable. After all, the ruling naturally extends from the fifth-amendment right that protects against self-incrimination. Public responses to Kaplan’s ruling, however, suggest otherwise; the decision seems to have come as a surprise to folks on all sides of the political spectrum, suggesting that many have become accustomed to the idea that terrorism-related issues elicit ...

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