• New Texts Out Now: Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab, The Shi‘ites of Lebanon: Modernism, Communism, and Hizbullah’s Islamists

    Simultaneously, a field study by a group of Syrian and foreign researchers addressed truce and reconciliation processes that either succeeded or failed, as well as the prospects and conditions of the settlements. Although the study, issued by the Madani Foundation, relies on opposition sources and lacks an accurate documentation when compared with the surveys by the International Crisis Group, it has enumerated the most important obstacles that hampered the settlements in Syria.

    The almost 60-page study said that the most important obstacles to settlements in Syria are “the regional intervention, the presence of fighters from other areas, the absence of independent reliable mediation and independent control, the presence of pro-[regime] paramilitary factions, as well as military tactics (as a temporary situation that requires the presence of a truce and that ends as [the truce] ends) and finally a growing economy of war,” which is considered by government officials as one of the main problems that hinder the achievement of reconciliation at a broad level.

  • New Texts Out Now : Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab, The Shi‘ites of Lebanon : Modernism, Communism, and Hizbullah’s Islamists

    A propos d’un livre qui vient de sortir :
    Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab, The Shi‘ites of Lebanon : Modernism, Communism, and Hizbullah’s Islamists. Syracuse : Syracuse University Press, 2014.

  • New Texts Out Now: Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab, The Shi‘ites of Lebanon: Modernism, Communism, and Hizbullah’s Islamists

    This book invites scholars to rethink, first of all, the separations and the contrasts that we draw between religious movements and secular ideas. We cannot give the secular and the secularists generic descriptions or assign them peripheral roles in shaping the public and private worlds of the Lebanese. This study hopes to open a new space for studies that stress the pervasiveness of particular secular ideas and processes in Lebanese society and their complex interface with sectarianism and religion.

  • Imperialist Liberalism and the Egyptian Revolution

    By “imperialist liberalism,” I mean that loose US-European academic tradition, whose defense of liberalism, especially of representative democracy and individual freedom, is inextricably tied to a colonial, Western-centric conceptual toolbox that sometimes reaches the limit of directly and unashamedly defending US global interests.

  • The Alawite Dilemma in Homs

    This study is based on observations and interviews conducted with members of the Alawite community in the Homs area during the summer of 2012. The interviewees range from army officers to paramilitaries and civilians, including students, academics, businessmen and individuals from diverse backgrounds. While some identified themselves explicitly as religiously observant Alawites, others consider themselves trapped in the »Alawite box« as a result of the current crisis. Some interviewees were aware of the research, whereas others were not aware of the aims of our discussions. This was particularly true of the Shabiha with whom I spent time as a »participant observer«. Some of the interviews and observations gathered in outlying villages were provided by intermediaries. The interviewed sample is not representative in that it does not reflect a broad cross sectional range of views by Alawites, although it nevertheless provides some insight into the Alawite community in Homs. The objective is neither to censure nor to defend but to shed light on the multifaceted and often complex political and social realities of the Alawite community in Homs today.

  • Point de vue particulièrement pertinent : Has Citizenship Got a Future in Egypt ? - Paul Sedra

    I have written before in these pages about Egyptian sectarianism, its modern origins and recent manifestations. The impulse to lay the blame for this sectarianism at the feet of the Muslim Brotherhood is strong and, in my view, not without justification, particularly given the sectarian incitement in which the organization has engaged since its rise to power. Indeed, only two weeks ago, Amnesty International issued a press release directed at Egypt’s rulers whose title read, “Egypt’s Coptic Christians must be protected from sectarian violence.”

    But the language of that title points to a tendency that, I would venture, bears nearly as much responsibility for the current violence as the Brotherhood. The notion of “protection” referenced by Amnesty conjures up an image of Coptic Christians in Egypt as an inert, monolithic bloc – a bloc whose leadership is assumed to reside with the Church. What is missing here is the notion of citizenship – the notion of Copts as Egyptian citizens, equal before Egyptian law and the Egyptian state to their Muslim compatriots. 

    The irony of this language of “protection,” as deployed not only by Amnesty but a wide variety of human rights organizations, is that this language is central to the Muslim Brotherhood’s own conception of Copts and their place in Egyptian society. Indeed, if one is to take the constitution produced by a Brotherhood-dominated assembly as a guide, Egypt’s current rulers conceive of Copts not so much as equal citizens but as a distinctly sectarian constituency that is best left in the hands of the Church. For instance, Article 3 of the constitution vouchsafes control of the personal status affairs of the Coptic Orthodox to the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, regardless of whether particular Copts are, in fact, believers or not.

    All in all, the way in which Copts are discussed, both in Egyptian public discourse and in the international media, seems stuck in the nineteenth century, with commentators still relying on the conventional wisdoms of the millet paradigm – according to which Ottoman rulers relied upon clerical leaders to represent the political interests of their respective sects. Under these circumstances, how can one possibly have a meaningful conversation about citizenship – about how the Egyptian revolution might shape conceptions of Egyptian identity?

  • Not Enough Water in the West Bank?

    Friday is World Water Day and an opportune time to highlight the gross misallocation of water resources between Israel and the Palestinians.


    This info graphic is created by Visualizing Palestine and EWASH, an international coalition of thirty humanitarian organizations including Oxfam and Save the Children. It depicts the abundance of available water in the occupied West Bank, its appropriation, and ethno-national based distribution between Palestinians and Jewish-Israeli settlers. EWASH will be using this image to highlight the inequitable access to water among other humanitarian organizations during President Obama’s visit to the region.

    Voir aussi http://visualizingpalestine.org/infographic/wb-water


  • Elliott Colla: “The Poetry of Revolt” in the New Egypt | Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon


    This is a new generation, a generation of activists who are not ideological. In other words, they have looked at the struggles of their parents and even grandparents against imperialism, against capitalism, against all the “isms.” By and large, they are saying that’s not how they want to understand the world, and that’s not how they’re going to organize their response to the problems that they face. In this sense, many in the leadership have no ideological platform; they are starting their analysis and their project from how they live their daily life, what they see, what they experience, what they would rather have. …

    #egypte #poésie #ElliottColla

  • Clashing with the Ultras : A Firsthand Account

    Témoignage du journaliste Wael Eskandar - manifestation du 15 mars 2013 où les Ultras ont empêché les manifestants de leur groupe de scander des slogans anti-régimes, n’autorisant que les slogans anti-SCAF et anti-police, confirmant leur identité anti-autoritaire et non-partisane. (révolutionnaire ?)

    The march (which felt like more of a sprint) was unusually silent, apart from the interludes performed by the Ultras Ahlawy. As we tried catching up with the swiftly moving crowds, reports were circulating that Ultras members were silencing any chants expressing opposition to President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. There had been numerous disagreements on the Facebook wall of the event page announcing the march about the chants and whether or not people would chant against Morsi. As the march drew closer to the Ministry of Defense, it grew more silent and the reports of efforts to suppress anti-regime chants began circulating more widely.

  • حوار موسّع مع فواز طرابلسي عن الثورة السورية

    واز طرابلسي: من البداهة القول أن الأزمة السورية الدموية شديدة التعقيد. لكن التعقيد لا يعني استحالة التفكير فيها وتفكيكها إلى عناصرها الأولية ومحاولة رصد اتجاهات تطورها. في العام المنصرم، الذي لم يختلف كثيراً عن العام الذي سبقه، وتحديداً منذ اندلاع الاحتجاجات السلمية التي طالبت بإصلاحات محدودة، أبرزها إلغاء حالة الطوارىء، كانت إجابة النظام ومنذ البدء هي نفسها. بدايةً رفض النظام الاعتراف بوجود قضايا داخلية يجب علاجها. جاءت المقاربة الأمنية الأولى صريحة ومباشرة. استُبدلت حالة الطوارىء بقانون مكافحة الإرهاب، قبل أن تُتوج المقاربة الأمنية بمجزرة ساحة الساعة في حمص، في نية واضحة لمنع تكرار ما حصل في تونس ومصر وحتى اليمن من احتلال حركات الاحتجاج للساحات العامة.

  • GCC and the Sacred Right to Punish

    Intriqués aux marchés mondiaux et ancrés dans des réseaux qui rassemblent certains des États les plus puissants de la terre, les régimes du CCG peuvent violer les droits les plus fondamentaux de leurs citoyens-sujets, en toute impunité. Ils possèdent suffisamment de puissance financière et militaire pour apaiser, coopter, acheter, et / ou bloquer- mais pas indéfiniment- une opposition locale croissante et une chute imminente. Même si un sérieux revers n’est pas à portée de vue, des mesures aussi sévères face à la dissidence- que ce soit sous la forme d’un poème, d’un tweet, d’un film, ou d’une désobéissance civile organisée pacifique-sont à la fois le signe de la forme des choses à venir et du mouvement grandissant contre diverses formes d’exploitation.

  • HOLLYWOOD ET LES IRANIENS : Ben Affleck’s “Argo”: A Movie about a Movie

    Affleck’s film sets out to bring the CIA’s role in the operation out of its obscurity. There’s a deep irony in this project that no major reviewer of the film seems to have noticed. Iran experts broadly agree that there is a direct line between the CIA’s overthrow of the progressive, nationalist, anti-colonial, and pro-democracy Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953—replaced by the ruthless dictatorial Shah, who remained in power until the 1979 revolution—and the storming of the US Embassy shortly after the Shah was deposed.

    Media studies experts have also documented that t his link was systematically erased in the American public sphere’s packaging of the story. (In this vein, Argo begins with an historical montage referring to the Mossadegh coup as precursor so briefly that no one with the bad luck of encountering a long popcorn line will catch it).

    The immediate cause of the storming of the US Embassy in late 1979 was overwrought protesters’ anger over the Shah being given refuge in the United States after the revolution, but for the many Iranians who would not have agreed with the violation of the diplomatic sovereignty of the Embassy, there no doubt remained a creeping sense that the Embassy represented a threat to Iranian sovereignty and that the CIA would try once again to reinstate the Shah as it had done a quarter of a century earlier.

    Argo not only thrills its American viewers, it also proves that these Iranian suspicions were at least partially correct in that the CIA was active in Iran before, during, and after the revolution.

    • je viens de le voir et je trouve que cette critique relève de la mauvaise foi, en tout cas pour ce qui concerne ce passage :

      Argo begins with an historical montage referring to the Mossadegh coup as precursor so briefly that no one with the bad luck of encountering a long popcorn line will catch it

      tout au long du #film en effet on voit des Iranien(ne)s à la télévision qui expliquent pourquoi ils gardent les otages, qui rappellent les #tortures, à plusieurs reprises des agents de la CIA évoquent les atrocités commises par [leur] « ami »

      ensuite on peut regretter plein de choses, notamment le fait que « la rue » est uniformément hostile, passant son temps à brailler, etc (même si, là encore, les personnages iraniens ne sont pas tous caricaturaux, on retrouve le bon gros tropisme habituel).

  • Why Did Bulgaria Link Hizballah To The Burgas Bus Blast? http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/10153/why-did-bulgaria-link-hizballah-to-the-burgas-bus-

    Bulgaria – A Smokescreen for US-Israel?

    The statement released by the Bulgarian government has sparked a great deal of speculation. It marks the end of a hectic three-months in which Tsvetanov, the Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Mladenov spent a considerable amount of time shuttling between the US and Israel. The high-level visits included meetings with the US President Barack Obama, his chief counterterrorism advisor John Brennan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    This all makes it easy to speculate that the US and Israel have been heavily involved in the investigation and invested in any possible outcome that sought to hasten blame on Hizballah.

    The US Congress adopted a declaration in December urging the EU to denounce Hizballah as a terrorist organization and asking Obama to provide all necessary support to Bulgaria to conduct its investigation. As the Bulgarian opposition suspected, it is highly possible that government officials were under considerable pressure from the US and Israel, which are trying to use the bombing as a smokescreen to further complicate the intricacies in the Middle East in view of the current situation in Syria and Lebanon.

  • Was There A January 25 Revolution ?

    Pas vraiment long and worth it ! Par Joel Beinin, « la révolution du 25 janvier [en Egypte] n’est pas finie. » En fait, elle n’a pas encore eu lieu. Très décoiffante lecture en écho à 1919 et 1952 du 25 janvier 2011.

    The January 25 Revolution is not over. Rather, it has not yet occurred. There was a popular revolutionary upsurge that until now has been outmaneuvered by the military and the Muslim Brothers. There have been repeated popular upsurges – most recently the massive protests against President Mohamed Morsi’s anti-democratic constitutional declaration of 22 November 2012 and the new constitution – that have registered some successes and limited or rolled back regressive measures favored by the Brothers and the army.

    #egypt, #révolution

  • Meet AbdelRahman Mansour Who Made 25 January A Date to Remember

    Suite de la « découverte » de Abdelrahman Mansour, avec cette présentation dans Jadaliyya (où je retiens que le jeune homme a fait ses premiers pas dans les groupes d’action sociale (appelons-les comme ça !) de ’Amr Khaled et qu’il vient d’un milieu de militants Frères musulmans : preuve de la porosité des frontières politiques). A la fin une petite vidéo sous-titrée en anglais.

    Since the age of seventeen AbdelRahman Mansour has been involved in some of the most pioneering and popular Arabic new media initiatives of the times. He lives online and says, “For me, the internet, technology, is like water. It is part of anything I do in my life.” His first professional job in 2004 was working with the website and television show of the wildly popular televangelist, Amr Khaled. He then went on to be one of the founders of Wikileaks Arabic. At the same time he was an active blogger and a contributor to “Kulina Layla,” an annual feminist event. He also worked as an online reporter with Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.

    #égypte_révo, #égypte_tic

  • Visualizing Human Rights for Migrant Workers in Lebanon

    Five decades after the development of the kefala [sponsorship] system, Lebanon’s 200,000 migrant domestic workers continue to be denied their inalienable rights, including freedom of movement, just conditions of work, the right to marry and to found a family, the right to legal recognition, and freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment. In recognition of International Migrants Day on 18 December, Migrant Workers’ Task Force, AltCity.me, and graphic designer Joumana Ibrahim worked with a group of young graphic designers to visualize migrant workers’ rights and hardships. The result is a series of images that illustrate the human rights abuses brought about by the sponsorship system.

    The sponsorship system was developed in the 1950s to provide temporary labor during economic booms that could then be expelled during periods of economic downturn. Yet, rather than providing temporary labor, migrant workers remain in Lebanon for years in vulnerable conditions with the threat of detention, unpaid wages, arrest, and deportation should they demand their rights.

    The root of the problem is that migrant domestic workers’ immigration status is bound to their sponsor. Migrant domestic workers cannot enter the country, transfer employment, travel within the country, or leave the country without permission from their sponsor. The sponsor almost always confiscates the passport and travel documents of the worker, restricts their contacts outside the home, and often prevents them from leaving the home entirely. Migrant domestic workers are thus completely dependent on their sponsor for food, housing, healthcare, wages, leisure, communications, and other basic freedoms.

    This system violates basic human rights as guaranteed by Lebanese ratification of various human rights treaties. Under Lebanese and international human rights law, individuals cannot be held in conditions of slavery or servitude, cannot be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, have the right to work, the right to free choice of employment, the right to just conditions of work, and the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limits on working hours and holidays with pay. In recognition of International Migrants Day, we call for migrant domestic workers to be covered under the Lebanese labor law, to have their immigration status decoupled from their employer, and to be given the same rights and protection as Lebanese citizens.

    The workshops are a part of AltCity’s “Media for Human Rights” program that is supported by the Netherlands Embassy in Lebanon.


    #Lebanon #migration #migrant_workers #human_rights