Cultural Briefings

Broadway’s ‘Oslo’ Highlights Human Drama of Famous Peace Accords

By 
Naomi Pham

With two nations at odds for more than half of a century, different major power players brought all types of peace attempts to the table, but to no avail, with two significant exceptions. The Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty of 1979 stands as a lonely, if successful peace attempt, while the 1993 Oslo Accords represent the second, partially successful and incomplete effort. As a result, Palestinians and Israelis formally recognized each other’s existence, and committed themselves to working together to resolve the conflict in a non-violent manner.

Ancient Classic Expresses Modern Tragedy of Syria’s 'Trojan Women'

By 
Naomi Pham

Amidst the ruins of Troy, Queen Hecuba declares, “Lift up your head from the dust! Heave up from the earth the weight of your misery, you whom the Gods have cursed. Some agonies are beyond telling, and some must be told.” One of the acclaimed works of ancient Greek playwright Euripides tells the tale of Hecuba, Andromache, Cassandra and the other women of fallen Troy, who, after their husbands die in battle, now face being sold into slavery with their families. Although this war assuredly takes place in the past, director Zoe Lafferty’s reworking of the ancient play reveals a haunting similarity with the wars we wage today.

Syrian, Palestinian and Afghan Stage Artists Cross Oceans to Land in Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin

By 
Al Jadid Staff

Despite being so far from their homes, a group of actors and actresses come together at Germany’s Maxim Gorki Theater to present a story near and dear to their hearts. “Winterreise” (or, “Winter Journey”), performed by the “Exil Ensemble,” tells of 24-year-old Syrian actress Kenda Hmeidan’s journey with her fellow six performers as they take a bus tour through Germany during the brittle cold weeks of January. Each an exile from Syria, Palestine, or Afghanistan, these actors have left their home countries in pursuit of their art, all while struggling with the transition from departure to settlement.

New Issue of Al Jadid

By 
Al Jadid

Al Jadid is just out (Vol. 19, No. 68). The cover (“Encoded History 1” 2015) by Doris Bittar. Al Jadid is a Review & Record of Arab Culture and Arts (www.aljadid.com). As usual, the new issue is rich with essays and features, book, film and TV reviews, fiction, poetry, and a substantive editor's notebook.
ESSAYS AND FEATURES: ‘My Story With You is Different’ by Rima Assaf; ‘Sabah Zwein (1955-2014): An Innovative And Haunted Poet’ by Mike D’Andrea; 

Al Jadid is just out (Vol. 19, No. 68). The cover (“Encoded History 1” 2015) by Doris Bittar. Al Jadid is a Review & Record of Arab Culture and Arts (www.aljadid.com).

Al Nakba at 67: Generations of Catastrophes

By 
Elie Chalala

I rarely passed on an Al Nakba remembrance, an event which was pivotal in forming my political and moral consciousness during my early days in Beirut and in my academic diaspora. Nowadays, I reserve my aggravation for those intellectual cowards who saw nothing in Al Nakba except a shelter to hide from their shameful silence on one of the most horrific “Nakbas” in modern Arab history.

I rarely passed on an Al Nakba remembrance, an event which was pivotal in forming my political and moral consciousness during my early days in Beirut and in my academic diaspora. Nowadays, I reserve my aggravation for those intellectual cowards who saw nothing in Al Nakba except a shelter to hide from their shameful silence on one of the most horrific “Nakbas” in modern Arab history.

Sorry Abu Al Ala: In Revolution, There's Little Time to Mourn

By 
Elie Chalala

A jihadist group launched an "operation" against the statue of the philosopher and poet Abul Ala al-Maari (973-1057) in Maarat al-Nouman, a city in northern Syria. The beheading of the statue, built to honor a 10th century poet known for his rationalism and anti-religious rhetoric, has provoked the ire of more intellectuals than the beheadings of thousands of Syrian civilians. While the complaints are mostly justified, the dismay of some at the single lifeless "beheading" raises questions about the intellectual  commitment to the freedom of speech and religion.

A Sister Mourns a Martyr

To Sawsan Hakki: "O Sawsan: Your Smile Shines from Beneath Syria's Dust."
By 
Hala Mohammad, Introduction and translation by Elie Chalala
Right

Sawsan Hakki, an architectural engineer, was killed in her car when Aleppo University was bombed from the air. (Yes, a university campus bombed!)  Many students of history might confuse what the Assad air force has done with attacks by an external enemy opposing a war of liberation.  But this thought lasted briefly! The target was Syria's second largest city, occupied (partially now) by Assad's loyalists, Shabiha and non-Shabiha.  Sawsan Hakki was the sister of Syrian director Haitham Hakki, and the sister-in-law of poet Hala Mohammad, Haitham's wife.

Culture of the Abyss

New generation of Lebanese politicians reveals further decline in quality of leadership
By 
Elie Chalala

Hussam Itani, former editor of the opinion pages of As Safir and currently a columnist for Al Hayat,  has always distinguished himself with his daring and unapologetic opinions. Equally important is the intellectual appeal of his newspaper columns. The latest by this Lebanese columnist is "The Culture of the Bottomless Abyss" (Al Hayat, November 13, 2012) in which he sums up the decadent state of culture and politics in today's Lebanon. 

Right

Hussam Itani, former editor of the opinion pages of As Safir and currently a columnist for Al Hayat,  has always distinguished himself with his daring and unapologetic opinions. Equally important is the intellectual appeal of his newspaper columns. The latest by this Lebanese columnist is "The Culture of the Bottomless Abyss" (Al Hayat, November 13, 2012) in which he sums up the decadent state of culture and politics in today's Lebanon.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Cultural Briefings