art of resistance

Playlist: Acid Arab.

Formed in 2012 by Parisian DJs Guido Minisky and Hervé Carvalho, Acid Arab patiently honed their style by meeting with scores of artists from all over North Africa and the Middle East.

Born in the transcultural cauldron that is Paris, their concept was to create a space for Arab culture in the world of contemporary electronic music. They laid down groundwork by releasing several EPs (the Collections series) on electronic music label Versatile, featuring collabs, remixes and tracks by other artists.

Latley I became quite addicted to their track Stil (ft. Cem Yildiz), from the album Musique de France. You can listen to it here.

 

Previous Playlist:

Kamilya Jubran & Werner Hasler

La Bel Haki by Adonis

Suhaiymah Manzoor Khan

PJ Harvey & Ramy Essam

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art of resistance, Iraq

Books For Mosul | Restocking The University of Mosul Library.

//Al Mutanabbi Street by Art Hazelwood//

Once a major center of learning in the Middle East, the library at the University of Mosul was destroyed in 2014.

The Iraqi-American Reconciliation Project (IARP) is holding a book drive for Mosul to restore the library as a credible resource center at one of the Middle East’s most important universities. Community members can donate books or funds for shipping and handling costs.

IARP’s goal is to collect 15,000 books to help restock the shelves of the University of Mosul library and $15,000 to pay for shipping and handling costs. They are collecting good quality university-level books in English and Arabic on the following subjects: engineering, mathematics, humanities (history, art, music, literature, classics, etc.), medical school texts and references, references (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.).

Books can be sent to:

IARP
2021 E. Hennepin Ave, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55413.

You can also donate to support the project here.

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art of resistance

Playlist: Kamilya Jubran & Werner Hasler.

kamilya_jubran/Kamilya Jubran, photo via Mosaic Rooms/

Kamilya Jubran is a beloved Palestinian musician who has been voice of resistance for decades now. Elias Jubran, her father, an authentic instrument maker and a music teacher; was her first source of classical Arabic musical education.

For two decades, Kamilya was Sabreen’s lead song performer, and player of Oud, Qanoon, and other oriental instruments. From 1982 to 2002, they represented the voice of resistance; struggle for freedom, and a deep and dynamic artistic-political process that created a new style of a modern Arabic song.

Jubran did many great solo performances in the last decade, but also mesmerizing new collaborations. Here you can listen to her and Werner Hasler, performing the song Wahdi from the album Wanabni.

Previous Playlist:

La Bel Haki by Adonis

Suhaiymah Manzoor Khan

PJ Harvey & Ramy Essam

Basel Rajoub

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art of resistance, Yemen

Yemen | How To Help.

Mideast Yemen/Photo: CodePink.org/

The crisis in Yemen continues. Near famine conditions developed in many parts of the country. Just this month, UNICEF’s Middle East director, Geert Cappelaere said that 11 million Yemeni children are now in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

How can we help, how can we get involved constructively? Here’s a little list of what we can do, put togehter on PRI + some of Middle East Revised‘s additional inputs.

MonaRelief

Fatik al-Rodaini has been called a hero by Yemenis. He collects funds, buys food from local vendors, and creates batches of food (the term of art is “baskets”) for families who his group has identified as needy. These days there is no shortage of need.

Yemen Hope and Relief

Ahmad Algohbary helps children suffering from severe malnutrition. Families request his help, and he uses donated funds to transport and house them for weeks while their children are treated at nutrition clinics in major Yemeni cities.

Yemen Aid 

This group, founded by a Yemeni American, provides assistance and resources to Yemeni people, regardless of their race, political affiliation, ancestry or religion, in order to positively change, and ultimately save, lives.

Yemen Our Home

The United Nations Development Project set up Yemen Our Home to help people outside Yemen, especially the Yemeni diaspora, support in-country projects.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)

MSF has nearly 1,600 staff members across Yemen, including 82 staff members from abroad, working in 13 hospitals and supporting 18 more. MSF medical workers have shored up Yemen’s failed public health system and has been instrumental in combating the cholera epidemic that swept the country this year.

INTERSOS

Since the spring of 2015, this Rome-based organization has provided humanitarian aid to thousands of displaced persons and refugees fleeing ongoing clashes and bombings. Some of the work they’ve done has been to provide medical and food assistance, support and organize school and professional classes for children and teenagers, and provide psychological care and protection for the most vulnerable women and children and for the victims of abuse and violence.

Mwatana Organization for Human Rights

This group is headquartered in the Yemeni capital Sana’a. Mwatana programs defend and protect human rights. Its researchers conduct field investigations to detect and stop human rights violations. The organization also attempts to provide support and justice for victims, to hold accountable those in violation of human rights, and to help craft legislation and policies that prevent such violations.

Yemen Peace Project

The US-based advocacy group Yemen Peace Project is dedicated to supporting Yemeni individuals and organizations working to create positive change; advancing peaceful, constructive US policies toward Yemen; defending the rights of Yemenis in the diaspora; and increasing understanding of Yemen in the wider world.

Yemen News Today

A Facebook page which brings daily news from Yemen in English. Started by Judith Brown, activist and aid worker from United Kingdom. Brown worked with refugees in Yemen from 1998 until 2001 and has visited the country every year from 2001 until 2014. (You can read Middle East Revised’s interview with Brown here).

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art of resistance, Palestine

The Humanism Of Edward Said.

edward_said_jeremy_pollard_copy76925/photo: Jeremy Pollard/

The end of September marked fourteen years without Edward Said, literary theorist and an intellectual of a wide range. To commemorate Said and recall the magnitude of his works, we are in conversation with Judith Butler, Laleh Khalili, Avi Shlaim and Illan Pappé, asking them what they find most relevant and important in/about Edward Said’s work in this day and age.

Judith Butler, philosopher and gender theorist, professor at Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory, University of California: Said unerstood the work of imagination

“Said was able to imagine a world in which the legacy of colonialism could come to an end and a relation of equality in difference could take its place on the lands of Palestine. He understood the work of the imagination to be central to politics, for without an ‘unrealistic’ vision of the future, no movement could be made in the direction of peace based on a just and lasting solution.

He lived in the midst of conflict, and used the powers of art and literature, of the archive, testimony, and public appeal, to ask the world to imagine a future in which equality, justice, and freedom finally triumph over subordination, dispossession, and violence. Sometimes I think he was perhaps too good for this world, but that incommensurability between what he could imagine and what actually exists accounts in part for the power of his writing and his presence in the world.”

Laleh Khalili, researcher and professor of Middle East politics,  SOAS, London: The tender cadences and prophetic brilliance of Said’s prose

“Said’s Orientalism seems never to lose its relevance, even decades after its publication. In fact, the transformations (and failures in transformation) that have happened in the Middle East since the 2011 Arab Uprisings seem to give orientalist policy-makers and pundits another excuse to trot out the same old cliches.

But as I get older, I also become profoundly appreciative of Said’s insights into literature and the arts. His work on beginnings – and endings – his close and extravagantly generous reading of novels and stories, the insights he imparts about the social and political from the slightest sentences or paragraphs in the classics of English or French literature, make him ever more relevant. And as one reads more and more turgid academic and non-academic writings, one becomes ever more appreciative about the tender cadences and prophetic brilliance of his prose.”

Illan Pappé, historian and professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of Exeter: Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism still relevant today

“I think Said’s two major contributions to knowledge are still relevant today as they were during his life time. His seminal works, Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism, which exposed the racist, reductionist and harmful Western discourse on the Orient, is still a crucial part of life. It is still the best analytical took we have for understanding how both the aggression of the West in the Middle East (the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan) and the reactions to it are still sustained as acceptable and legitimate through the power of this discourse.

Similarly, Said’s message in the various books and articles on Palestine is still valid today. In these works he exposed the level of fabrication and ignorance about a suffering of a people for more than a century and warned that this state of affairs will affect the Middle East and beyond. Both contributions are about power and knowledge and his legacy is still with us, give power to truth and you may be able to use knowledge for peace and reconciliation; leave at the hands of cynical stakeholders and conflict would continue to rage on.”

Avi Shlaim, historian and emeritus professor of International Relations, University of Oxford: Intellectual who never gave up hope on coexistence and peace

“Edward Said was an extraordinarily versatile and prolific scholar. His book Orientalism exposed the ideological biases behind Western perceptions of ‘the Orient’ and helped create a distinctive sub-field of what came to be called post-colonial studies. In addition to these literary pursuits, Said was a pianist of concert-playing standard and a leading music critic. Last but not least, he was a politically engaged intellectual and the most eloquent spokesman on behalf of the dispossessed Palestinian people.

Although Said’s calls for accommodation and peaceful co-existence earned him the displeasure of Arab radicals and few adherents on the Israeli side, he never abandoned the struggle. On the contrary, he continued to articulate his inclusive vision at every conceivable opportunity.  The world must see, he wrote, that ‘the Palestinian idea is an idea of living together, of respect for others, of mutual recognition between Palestinian and Israeli.’ This one sentence encapsulates the essence of Edward Said’s thinking. It is the most consistent theme in his voluminous writing on the subject, from The Question of Palestine to the last article.

He spent the last few years of his life trying to develop an entirely new strategy of peace, a new approach based on equality, reconciliation, and justice. ‘I …see no other way than to begin now to speak about sharing the land that has thrust us together, and sharing it in a truly democratic way, with equal rights for each citizen,’ Said wrote in a 1999. He was an intellectual who spent a lifetime grappling with the complexities and contradictions of the Arab-Israeli conflict and yet never gave up hope on coexistence and peace.”

• • •

This text was first published on H-Alter, in English and in Croatian.

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art of resistance, Syria

Paintings By Boutros Al-Maari.

boutros//all images © Boutros Al-Maari//

Boutros Al-Maari was born in Damascus in 1968. He has held several solo exhibitions in Paris and Damascus, and participated in a large number of group exhibitions in Damascus, Beirut, Alexandria, Hanover and Paris. Al-Maari currently lives and works in Hamburg, Germany.

Through his paintings he transmits a feeling of the contemporary and the traditional, all on the same canvas. In a way, his paintings are an exaggerated drawings of the typical characters from the Syrian daily life, with a twist of magic in them.

boutros3

boutros5

boutros4

• • •

For more on Al-Maari and his work, and many other great Syrian artists – follow the page Syria.Art on Facebook.

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art of resistance

Call For Papers: Towards An Arab Left Reader.

borovoy-169hero-5mffnanowrimo-istock//illustration: iStock.com/Marvid//

Why is there as yet no reader or anthology of Arab leftist thought in English translation? If that question is of interest to you, read on.

The workshop will take place at the University of Cambridge, from 12- 14 April 2018. It will bring together an international group of scholars and translators from a wide range of disciplines to identify, discuss and translate a selection of documents that have played a pivotal role in the formation of socialist, anti-colonial and democratic thought in the Arab world.

The ultimate outcome of this gathering will be the publication of the first English-language Arab left reader, in which translated documents will be accompanied by essays that locate them within a larger historical, political and translational context. The collection aims to bring Arab leftist traditions into conversation with other non-Western and international political texts now available in English, as well as to function as a pedagogical tool and a resource for those interested in political thought in the Arab world.

The workshop will be comprised of six panels on the following themes:

1) Political Mobilization & Muslim Societies

2) Turath: Heritage and Cultural Decolonization

3) Literary Aesthetics and Politics

4) Nation, State and Liberation

5) Feminism and Gender Equality

6) Political Economy

Call for papers:

Proposals for texts on one of the above panel subjects (including party or anonymous tracts, collectively authored documents, etc) are invited for inclusion in the reader. After the workshop, participants who will contribute to the reader should be prepared to translate the entirety of their proposed text, and offer a short summation of its location in broader Arab leftist thought and political practice.

You should submit the following by October 15, 2017:

  • 400 word abstract with the following: description of the text and its author, including bibliographic information (date of production, length, publisher (if any), etc; and political location of text (i.e. when and why was it written, intended audience, distribution method), as well as the relevance of the text to the topic of your chosen panel (please state clearly on which panel you wish to present)
  • 1-2 paragraphs of proposed text in original Arabic and English translation.

Send the proposals to arableftreader@gmail.com.

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