Essays and Features

The Wedding

HANNA SAADAH

When I picked up the phone that Monday evening in August of 2011, I thought I was hearing the voice of my hero, Ghalib, Mirza Assadullah Khan (1797-1869) oboing across the half-night, 

 

When I picked up the phone that Monday evening in August of 2011, I thought I was hearing the voice of my hero, Ghalib, Mirza Assadullah Khan (1797-1869) oboing across the half-night, “Ghalib, I think we have caught sight of the road to death now.  Death is the string that binds together the scattered beads of the universe.”

The Donkey Killers

Elie Chalala

One might wonder about the title of this article at a time when Syria is paying a heavy human cost on a daily basis. The environment of killing created by the Assad regime is producing a culture of death, as many of us have witnessed via graphic images on satellite TV, Facebook and YouTube, video which amounts to some sort of terrible Reality Television.

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One might wonder about the title of this article at a time when Syria is paying a heavy human cost on a daily basis. The environment of killing created by the Assad regime is producing a culture of death, as many of us have witnessed via graphic images on satellite TV, Facebook and YouTube, video which amounts to some sort of terrible Reality Television.

Fadwa Sulayman: Syrian Heroine Beyond Glamour and Gender

Alexandra Stanisic

Fadwa Sulayman has captured popular attention in both Arab and world media. Her pictures together with her actions and remarks are all over facebook, sattellite TV, youtube and other new media outlets.  This attention has shown her to be a remarkable individual within the Syrian revolt. However, what the media highlights as newsworthy in Sulayman are in fact the same attributes and actions found in novelist and journalist Samar Yazbeck, as well as the courageous poet and author, Hala Muhammad...

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In the midst of the Syrian uprising, Fadwa Sulayman has captured popular attention in both Arab and world media. Her pictures together with her actions and remarks are all over facebook, sattellite TV, youtube and other new media outlets.  This attention has shown her to be a remarkable individual within the Syrian revolt.

An Hour In Hama

Nancy Penrose

Hama is the city where I stopped on a journey from Palmyra to Aleppo, where I photographed the ancient wooden water wheels that jigsaw the curving riverbed of the Orontes...

     Hama is a city in Syria.

The Arab Spring—The Original Arab Revolution?

Elie Chalala

In my Middle East politics class, I used to tell my students that, aside from the 1979 Iranian case, there had been no genuine popular revolution in the modern Middle East. Now, I can lengthen that list to include the Tunisian, Egyptian, Libyan, Yemeni, and Syrian revolutions, regardless of whether they are ultimately successful or not.

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I have read a sizable part of the literature on the Arab Spring, in addition to having watched scores of documentaries and what seems like hundreds of hours of news footage of this most unprecedented event in modern Arab history. In my Middle East politics class, I used to tell my students that, aside from the 1979 Iranian case, there had been no genuine popular revolution in the modern Middle East. Now, I can lengthen that list to include the Tunisian, Egyptian, Libyan, Yemeni, and Syrian revolutions, regardless of whether they are ultimately successful or not.

Presently Reading the Past: A Look at Early Arab-American Literature

Theri Alyce Pickens

In his article “Ethnic Identity and Imperative Patriotism,” eminent Arab-American literary critic and scholar Steven Salaita explores the question: “How has the pedagogy of Arab American Studies changed?” Salaita suggests that it has changed considerably, and that Arab- American Studies now receive the sort of attention for which its scholars once clamored.

In his article “Ethnic Identity and Imperative Patriotism,” eminent Arab-American literary critic and scholar Steven Salaita explores the question: “How has the pedagogy of Arab American Studies changed?” Salaita suggests that it has changed considerably, and that Arab- American Studies now receive the sort of attention for which its scholars once clamored. However, he is quick to point out that attention alone is not the goal of Arab-American Studies.

Saad Ardash: Life in the Theater and in Exile

MICHAEL TEAGUE

One would be hard-pressed to overstate the role of Saad Ardash as a pioneer of modern Egyptian theatre; indeed, throughout a five-decade career he was unarguably its principal architect. As a young man and founder of Egypt’s Free Theatre he was the first to introduce both traditional and experimental forms of western theatre to Egyptian audiences.

One would be hard-pressed to overstate the role of Saad Ardash as a pioneer of modern Egyptian theatre; indeed, throughout a five-decade career he was unarguably its principal architect. As a young man and founder of Egypt’s Free Theatre he was the first to introduce both traditional and experimental forms of western theatre to Egyptian audiences. Indebted to the ancient Greek idea of the theatre as a means of public enlightenment, Ardash adapted the themes and mechanisms of European absurdist and epic productions to the context of Nasser’s revolutionary Egypt.

Doublespeak on Syria by Lebanese “Rejectionists”

Elie Chalala

Unquestionably, the state-run Syrian media, print and TV, has become a laughing stock of most observers, including the pro and anti-Assad forces. But perhaps most perplexing in the midst of the Arab Spring have been the positions taken by sections of the Lebanese media, mainly those allied with the Assad regime.

Unquestionably, the state-run Syrian media, print and TV, has become a laughing stock of most observers, including the pro and anti-Assad forces. But perhaps most perplexing in the midst of the Arab Spring have been the positions taken by sections of the Lebanese media, mainly those allied with the Assad regime.

On Arkon’s “Towards a Critique of Islamic Reason”

HASHEM SALEH

When Mohammad Arkon published his book, “Towards a Critique of Islamic Reason,” in French in 1984, he intended to subject Islamic thought to the same type of intellectual criticism.

I recently translated a book by Mohammad Arkon titled “Towards a Critique of Islamic Reason.” The title of this book is controversial, as many traditional Muslim scholars would argue that “critique” should not apply to religious thought, let alone to Islamic religious thought, and therefore would consider the book an affront against religious beliefs.

Persecution Complex: Arab Intellectuals Remain Apart from Arab Spring

Michael Teague

Whether in Egypt or in Syria, intellectuals are rarely paid any attention by the state, and the reason for this is that they have never been allowed to be part of a civil society.

The “Arab Spring”-- the new sensational shorthand employed by frenzied observers and scholars to describe the massive cry for freedom in the Middle East-- has shown not only the cruel nature of the Arab state in its treatment of ordinary citizens, now constantly on display on Arab satellite TV stations, new media outlets, and press reports, but also its humiliating treatment of Arab intellectuals.  As painful and positively nauseating as it is to see this reflexive practice of torturing and terrorizing protestors, it is much more immediately comprehensible and a little less complex than wha

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