Essays and Features

The Egyptian Contemporary Novel:

A Survey of a Revolutionary Endeavour
By 
Nada Ramadan
Right

One of the recurrent discussions in literary circles in Egypt is whether a new literary movement has started and whether we can dub it “Revolution Literature.” It was on the 25th of January, 2011, that the Egyptian Revolution was hailed as successful, and why not, President Mubarak’s abdication was celebrated till the early hours of dawn in the streets and squares across the country.

The Eye of the Needle

By 
By Hanna Saadah
Right

1970:

“Why are you blushing?”  I asked, as her blue eyes gazed obliviously into the tepid afternoon.

“I’m just worried,” she sighed, and said no more.

“Are you worried about the king or the paupers,” I teased.

“What king and paupers?  What on earth are you talking about?”

“King Hussein, of course, and the Palestinian resistance fighters, whom he has just evicted...”

The Sword of Amin Maalouf

By 
Abduh Wazen
5

Politicians recognized the position Amin Maalouf occupies in France and the francophone world well before the Academy; these politicians include the Presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy who made the author of “Leo Africanus” (Leo the African) accompany them in their visits to Lebanon. And how embarrassing it seemed when President Chirac, in his 1996 visit to Lebanon, introduced his “friend” Maalouf to the three presidents of Lebanon: President Elias Hrawi, Prime minister Rafik Hariri, and House Speaker Nabih Berri. Can you imagine that scene? Lebanese top officials waiting for a French president to convene a meeting between them and a renowned Lebanese author. Perhaps these men found it strange for a novelist to accompany presidents in political missions?

Amin Maalouf,  perhaps the most famous and popular member of the French Academy, is a best-selling author and known as an intellectual whose works “honored” the French language. Maalouf’s contributions are considered an answer to the call of the Academy, whose exclusive and main concern is safeguarding the French language and preserving French culture.

Youssef Abdelki’s Homecoming

By 
Mohammad Ali Atassi
Right

…Damascus

Youssef Abdelki, the Syrian painter, has completed his journey. He has returned to his homeland, Syria, and to his city, Damascus, after a quarter century in Parisian exile. Without compromise or flattery and without state security agencies obstructing his arrival.

It was an emotional scene in which about 100 friends gathered at the Damascus airport to welcome Youssef, his wife, filmmaker Hala Abdallah, and their daughter Layla.

'The Image of the Slain Child in Banias'

By 
Elie Chalala
Right

Why would a child be slaughtered? What threats does he pose to the Assad regime or any tyrannical regime? Yassin al-Haj Saleh tackles these difficult questions in his article, "Image of the Slain Child in Banias," published in Al Modon, the electronic Lebanese newspaper on May 21, 2013. 

The horrific image of a slaughtered child becomes transfixed in many a viewer’s mind; it is a picture powerful enough to be eternally memorized.

Horrors on the Syrian Coast:

Sectarianism, Savagery, and Silence
By 
Elie Chalala
Right

After watching and reading coverage of Assad’s Shabiha massacre of more than 360 people in Banias, Ras al-Nabeh, and the village of Bayda, and after comments by some  people who apparently enjoyed hearing the news,  I felt all the more saddened. As the killers paraded and humiliated their victims before pro-Assad sympathetic crowds, their euphoric reaction displays the alarming rise in the sectarian hatred in Syrian society.

Syrian Refugees Thrust into Lebanon's Politics of Bigotry

By 
Elie Chalala

The talk of the town—or rather the country—in Lebanon has fixated on the great influx of Syrian and Palestinian refugees. Sadly, such talk is not about their physical, social and psychological suffering, but largely about their very presence in Lebanon and what it means to a delicate demographic and sectarian balance.

The talk of the town—or rather the country—in Lebanon has fixated on the great influx of Syrian and Palestinian refugees. Sadly, such talk is not about their physical, social and psychological suffering, but largely about their very presence in Lebanon and what it means to a delicate demographic and sectarian balance.

The Arab Spring Hasn’t Bloomed Yet… But Hegel’s “Philosophy of History” Says it Will!

By 
Elie Chalala

Those bemoaning the death of the Arab Spring must read what Hashem Saleh has to say. Unlike the apologists for Arab dictatorships who are reading the Arab revolts from ideological and political perspectives, Saleh is analyzing the Arab Spring from a philosophical perspective, according to Karam al-Helou.

Those bemoaning the death of the Arab Spring must read what Hashem Saleh has to say. Unlike the apologists for Arab dictatorships who are reading the Arab revolts from ideological and political perspectives, Saleh is analyzing the Arab Spring from a philosophical perspective, according to Karam al-Helou. Those nostalgic for the reigns of oppressive systems like the one still destroying Syria like to spend their free time coming up with terms like “fall” and “winter” to substitute “Spring.”

Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya Face Criticism... But of Network Ownership or Syrian Coverage

By 
Elie Chalala

Some of the criticisms directed at major Arab media networks that support Syrian revolution are unwarranted. Critics argue that the stories of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya are often politically motivated, influenced by the networks’ owners.

Some of the criticisms directed at major Arab media networks that support Syrian revolution are unwarranted. Critics argue that the stories of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya are often politically motivated, influenced by the networks’ owners. It is no secret that they are alluding to Al Jazeera's Qatar and Al Arabiya’s Saudi Arabia. Since the onset of the Arab Spring, I have not stopped watching satellite TV networks like Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and BBC.

"No Shame in Apologizing!"

By 
Elie Chalala

An essay, titled "No Shame in Apologizing," written by Lebanese columnist Hussam Itani, caught my attention a few months ago. I was reminded of it last Sunday, when I  read another lengthy essay in the Sunday New York Times by Iraqi-American scholar and intellectual Kanan Makiya.

 An essay, titled "No Shame in Apologizing," written by Lebanese columnist Hussam Itani, caught my attention a few months ago. I was reminded of it last Sunday, when I  read another lengthy essay in the Sunday New York Times by Iraqi-American scholar and intellectual Kanan Makiya. In this essay, Makiya does something different from many Arab intellectuals and politicians when he apologizes or admits miscalculations and errors of judgment he made regarding American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

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