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Lebanon Still Overshadowed by Oblivion As Port Blast Aftermath Enters Fourth Year

Art has played an influential role in making sense of the loss felt after the August 4 explosion. Tom Young’s “Strong Angels” and other paintings show a human dimension of the tragedy and its civilian heroes, who “join forces to lift the city’s grief,” writes Darine Houmani of Diffah Three (The New Arab). “Despite all its devastation, the August 4 explosion brought greater impetus to preserve our heritage and brought about a database of our historical buildings that hadn’t been done before,” states Mona Hallak, an architect, heritage activist, and director of the American University of Beirut’s Neighborhood Initiative, as cited in The New Arab. Several weighed in on the rebuilding efforts, including Lebanese architect Jad Tabet, who proposed “rehabilitation” rather than “reconstruction,” focusing on preserving the city’s existing social fabric and inhabitants alongside the architecture (for further reading on Jad Tabet and architectural heritage, see Al Jadid, Vol. 4, No, 25, Fall 1998; Vol. 5, No. 26, Winter 1999; and Vol. 24, No. 79, 2020). As art historian and gallery owner Andrée Sfeir-Semler says, “You need to nourish people with art and culture because that is what feeds their souls.”


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The American Mirage: Immigrant or “Un-American?”

By Francis Khairallah Noble

Carlos ben Carlos Rossman, a Puerto Rican Jew, is in for a surprise. When he lands in New York Harbor in 1950, he realizes that the American melting pot is more fable than fact. In many cases, diversity is likely to make one “Un-American” rather than American. Language, culture, religion, or even something as simple as a green baseball bat, when all of the other kids own plain pine bats, can result in ostracism.

In the House UN-AmericanBy Benjamin Hollander
By Benjamin HollanderClockroot Books, 2013
Clockroot Books, 2013

The Uncompromising Voice of Syrian Screenwriter Fouad Hamira

Rebecca Joubin

A Study in Courage: Screenwriter and Activist Fouad Hamira

Cinematic activist, Fouad Hamira, who began his career working for the National Theater, has become one of the leading voices for justice in Syrian television. Despite all attempts to silence him, this man of courage and conviction remains as vocal as ever. Since the current uprising in Syria, he has denounced injustices such as the government’s attempts to reframe the battle for Syrian freedom as a sectarian uprising. 

Fouad Hamira, who began as an employee in the National Theater, has gone on to become one of the leading voices in Syrian television drama. He is renowned for his unwillingness to compromise with the forces of societal and political oppression. His controversial “Ghazlan fi Ghabat al-Dhi‘ab” (Gazelles in a Forest of Wolves), which was filled with a poignant critique of corruption and the abusive nature of power, was finally allowed to air  in 2006, although he had written the miniseries 15 years earlier.

Wives in Tension

Rebecca Joubin

In this exemplary documentary film, women (both veiled and unveiled, religious and secular) discuss the presence of Islam and secularism in contemporary Turkish ...

Women of Turkey: Between Islam and Secularism
A film by Olga Nakkas
WMM, 2006