Essays and Features

The ‘Grand Compromise’ Between Lebanon’s ‘Strong Presidency’ and Iran’s 'Rejectionists' Hastens the Demise of Lebanon’s Economy

By 
Elie Chalala


In early July, we wrote about two suicides in Lebanon while holding off on a third until we fact-checked it. Subsequently, the Beirut-based Al Modon newspaper wrote about a total of four suicides, including the two reported here. The article’s author deliberately stressed the reasons behind the suicides were not personal, but rather related to deteriorating economic conditions and the loss of dignity.

ESSAYS IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 24, NO. 78, 2020

How Lebanon’s ‘State within a State’ Escalated Financial Disaster: Two Beirut Landmarks – AUB, and Le Bristol Hotel – the Latest Collateral Damage
By 
Elie Chalala

It is painful to witness, even from afar, what recently befell Lebanon. This agony springs from the memories of my formative years during Lebanon’s post-independence era, when resentment of its ruling elites consolidated my belief in the necessity of change. I left the country without the reform wish fulfilled, and later watched the flames of civil war consume hopes of change – even when guns fell silent after the country’s second constitution in 1989. While the Lebanese started to come together to embark on reconstruction of the country, corruption, sectarianism, and the plundering of state’s resources soon took over.

ESSAYS IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 24, NO. 78, 2020

Farah Al-Qasimi: Between Two Worlds: Arab Americans in Detroit
By 
Al Jadid Staff

The works of photographer Farah Al-Qasimi touch on the intricacies of life as an Arab American in Detroit, with each frame capturing both Arab and Western aesthetics. Of the 22 countries belonging to the “Arab World,” as defined by membership in the League of Arab States, seven – Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen – are prominently represented by immigrants in Metro Detroit. The Arab American community is also diverse in its religious representation, with Islam and Christianity in their Middle East iterations represented by a variety of sects and denominations including Chaldean, Coptic, Druze, Greek Orthodox, Maronite, Melkite, Shi’a, Sunni, and Syrian Orthodox.

ESSAYS IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 24, NO. 78, 2020

Award-Winning Amin Maalouf Sees World Civilization on the Edge of the Abyss!
By 
Elie Chalala

Amin Maalouf recently received the National Order of Merit from the French government, earning the second-highest status in the title of Grand Officer. The author’s other decorations include the Prix Goncourt in 1993, as well as his induction into the Academie Francaise in 2011, filling the seat of Claude Levi Strauss. His books have been translated into 50 languages. His most recent work, “The Sinking [or Drowning] of Civilizations” (Le Naufrage des Civilisations, Grassat 2019), takes up Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis, but shifts the focus from a clash between civilizations to a crisis that affects all aspects of human civilization as a whole. In the age of globalization and technological development, Maalouf claims that peoples and civilizations cannot be separated from each other in the way Huntington’s thesis suggests. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to add credence to the author’s claim.

ESSAYS IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 24, NO. 78, 2020

Bandar Abdel Hamid (1947-2020): Editor and Poet Transformed His Humble Damascus Apartment into Inspiring ‘Literary Salon’
By 
Elie Chalala

The “beautiful Bedouin poet” Bandar Abdel Hamid passed away at the age of 73 on February 17, in his Damascus home from a heart attack. He died quietly, discovered 16 hours later to have had a heart attack, without anyone being able to help him. His death sent a painful shock to his many friends in Syria and throughout the Arab world. A leading poet of the 1970s, Bandar’s work contributed to Arab culture and enriched film criticism while encouraging creativity in his peers;  he transformed his humble apartment in Damascus into a stage for all forms of art and dialogues among intellectuals, friends, and strangers.

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