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.
Essays and Features
“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...”
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.