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Once Hopeful Lebanon Faces Crises and Hopelessness as it Marks First Anniversary of its 17th October Uprising!

By 
Elie Chalala

Those who are looking for signs of Lebanese hopelessness need only look out over the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean sea, or to the doors of Western embassies in Beirut. The sea is where the Lebanese tragedy is really being played out, as hundreds board rickety vessels for the perilous journeys to neighboring Cyprus. We need to abandon the illusions that such deadly trips originate from countries other than Lebanon. A brief glimpse at the news, with all the stories of drowned and dead Lebanese, is more than enough to liberate us from the delusions of Lebanon’s “exceptionalism.”

ESSAYS IN FORTHCOMING AL JADID, VOL. 24, NO. 79, 2020

Lebanon, Corrupted, Blasted, Burning, ‘Celebrates’ in Irony the Centennial of Its Foundation
By 
Elie Chalala

The Lebanese political scene has a melancholy and desperate mood. The country suffered shock after shock, from the economic-financial meltdown to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the way to the explosion at its main port, a significant economic lifeline disabled when most needed. Most heartbreaking is watching and listening, even from afar, as Lebanon celebrates its centennial birthday while lacking the resources to extricate itself from its present predicament and being left to plead with foreign countries and economic institutions for humanitarian and economic assistance. Aside from the legitimate requests needed to address the consequences of the port explosion, Lebanon lacks the essential prerequisites of a functioning and legitimate state.

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.

Play Reveals Wounds of Palestinian Occupation

By 
Bobby Gulshan

An event hosted by the Voices from the Holy Land Film Series will focus its next Online Discussion Salon on director Pamela Nice’s "It’s What We Do: A Play About the Occupation" on June 14, 2020 at 2 pm EST. The event will feature guest speaker Yonatan Shapira, a former IDF helicopter pilot, who has been involved in speaking out against the abuses of the IDF since his service. Please register for the one-hour discussion, which will be in a Zoom format, at this link. Organizers are asking all registrants to view a 55-minute video beforehand. You can access it at www.iwwdplay.org.

Earlier this year, the Israeli Knesset passed a law barring “Breaking the Silence” from presenting in schools, universities, or any other non-profit institutions. The initiative to enforce a ban on the group came from Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who accused “Breaking the Silence” of denigrating the reputation of the Israeli Defense Force in the eyes of Israeli youth.

 

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.

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