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Remembering Latifa al-Zayyat

Arab cultural circles have recently mourned the loss of the prominent Egyptian intellectual Latifa al-Zayyat, who died of cancer in Cairo on September 10, 1996. She was 73 years old. Her death came soon after she had received Egypt ’s highest State Prize for literature. While the state’s acknowledgment of her achievements was long overdue, al-Zayyat had much popular and collegial support throughout her often difficult life-journey.

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Etab Hreib on Conflict, Commercialism , and Sexism in Syria’s Current Art Movement

By: 
Rebecca Joubin

In the this interview with the critically acclaimed Syrian watercolorist, Etab Hreib, she discusses the interrelated nature of the arts in the context of her own love for the theater and set design, and details various influences on her work.

Critically acclaimed Syrian watercolorist, Etab Hreib, a native of Der-Ez-Zor, graduated from the Graphic Arts Department of the University of Damascus. Since then, she has exhibited her work in various parts of the world. She was the recipient of the Al-Mahros Golden Award in Tunisia, a Golden Award from the Chinese Ministry of Culture, and an award from the Ministry of Culture in Algeria.

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Evelyn Shakir: Memoirs of an Arab-American Writer, Teacher, and Humanist

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By Lynne Rogers

 The World lost a great writer, teacher, scholar, and humanist when Arab-American Evelyn Shakir finally succumbed to breast cancer in 2010. Fortunately, Shakir bequeathed a rich literary legacy to her students, family, and admirers, one that reached its pinnacle with the publication of her final book, "Teaching Arabs, Writing Self, Memoirs of an Arab-American Woman," which is reviewed by Lynne Rogers for Al Jadid. The work documents her experiences growing up as a Lebanese American, as well as her adventures teaching abroad in Lebanon, Bahrain, and Damascus. Interesting characters, observations, and experiences, all related in her gentle, humorous, and often ironic style, make this book one readers will not want to miss. Shakir avoids the pitfalls of being overly didactic through the simple but profound expediency of revealing the social history and politics of each particular moment through a wealth of human interaction.

Teaching Arabs, Writing Self, Memoirs of an Arab-American Woman
By Evelyn Shakir
Olive Branch Press. 2014. 170 pp.  

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'Realist' Scholar's Argument Delights the Syrian Regime: 'To Crush ISIS, Make a Deal With Assad"!

By: 
Elie Chalala

"It feels surreal to even contemplate the possibility of Western powers crushing ISIS while allying with a regime that has facilitated the deaths of more than 200,000 of its citizens, displaced half of Syria's population, and transformed more than half of the country's infrastructure into a pile of rubble. How could the oppressed and marginalized Sunni communities ever trust in an alliance made with their tormentors?" (From The 'Realist' Scholar's Argument Strikes Delight in Syrian Regime: 'To Crush ISIS, Make a Deal With Assad"!)

One will hardly find a legitimate religious or secular authority supporting ISIS. But we also can hardly find an authority who discounts the importance of a political solution, either preceding or simultaneously implemented with an all-out anti-ISIS war. Exceptions do exist, and one in particular perplexes, since the scholar in question has closed his eyes and turned a deaf ear to what in Arabic is called (البيئة الحاضنة)--the communities that support ISIS, or otherwise constitute its popular constituency.

Documentary Film Gives Voice to the Erotic Body

By: 
Kim Jensen

Joumana Haddad, Lebanese feminist, author, and poet, founded Jasad, the Arabic Journal of Erotic Arts, in order to advocate for the sexual liberation for the Arab World. In her film, “Jasad & The Queen of Contradictions” Amanda Homsi-Ottosson combines interviews with Haddad, Jasad journal contributors, and critics, as well as reactions from the street, and footage taken from the literary salons of Beirut, the Queen of Contradictions herself.  

Jasad & The Queen of Contradictions
A film by Amanda Homsi-Ottosson
Women Make Movies,  2011, 40 minutes 

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