- Number of Syrian Refugees Climbs to More Than 4 Million
- Quick Thoughts: Nathan Thrall on the Gaza Strip One Year After Israel’s Operation Protective Edge
- Facts and footballers | Inanities
Nice vignette of Egyptian media vulgarity
- Egypt Wants To Jail Journalists For Not Falling In Line. It's Been Trained By A US Nonprofit.
- Exclusif. Forces armées/ Plusieurs changements au DRS et mécontentement du général Toufik
Exclusif. Plusieurs changements au sein du DRS/Et le général Toufik boycotte la remise de la médaille de Bravoure
- A Detailed Look at Hacking Team's Emails About Its Repressive Clients - The Intercept
- Small Arms Survey - 2015 YB released
"Business as usual for small arms exports to ‘Arab Spring’ states"
- Egypt anti-terror bill speeds trials, tightens hand on media
This ought to end terrorism in Sinai
- Egypt Warns Journalists Over Coverage of Militant Attacks
Sisi compares report to a “fourth generation of warfare, and even fifth.”
- Egypt’s Coming Chaos Steve Cook
- Egypt's Brotherhood calls for uprising after killings
It has been calling for an uprising for a while, mind.
- Assault in Sheikh Zuweid: A turning point in Egypt's fight against terrorism
- Widespread Graft Benefited Tunisian Leader’s Family, Study Says - NYT
- BREAKING: Egypt's top prosecutor killed in bomb attack
- In Morocco, It’s Jennifer Lopez Versus Jihad
Worst article I've read on Morocco in a long time. Full of errors and clichés. Reporter was flown to Morocco by PR firm.
- Alexandria's iftar event breaks world record despite the mayhem
"Scuffles broke out among attendees of the event, who smashed chairs and tables and threw them at each other."
- Senussi “claims” US offered pardon and job in new government
Claims that in 2011 US offered to drop ICC charges (improbable...)
- ‘He’s Jesus Christ’
Kristof on the Nuba Mountains conflict.
- The Massacre of Druze Villagers in Qalb Lawza, Idlib Province
By "moderate jihadi" Jubha an-Nusra
Our own Nour Youssef has a piece in the Guardian about the Egyptian media, the role it has played in the events of recent years, and the complicated system by which it stays in alignment with regime interests. It has interviews with a who's-who of prominent TV hosts and is chock-full of incredible quotes.
“I would say anything the military tells me to say out of duty and respect for the institution,” says Ahmed Moussa, one of the most popular TV presenters inEgypt.
Moussa has no qualms admitting on air his relationship with the authorities – and his vocation to serve them. He claims he would also extend the same courtesy to the police, he said but he “might stop and think a little first”.
Sharing Moussa’s sense of duty towards the military is the veteran talk show host Mahmoud Saad, from Al-Nahar TV. “The military should never, ever, ever be covered,” he says, shaking his head. “You have to let them decide what to say and when to say it. You don’t know what will hurt national security.”
But it’s also the power to influence people that appeals to him, he says. “It’s a beautiful feeling knowing that when you swing right,” he says as he swivels his upper body right, “the people will swing right. “And when you swing left,” he goes on, swivelling in the opposite direction “the people will swing left.”
The number one topic of conversation in Morocco in the last few weeks has been the film Much Loved, by director Nabil Ayouch. The film tells the story of prostitutes in Marrakesh; it premiered at Cannes and some scenes were leaked -- and widely viewed -- online. These include a scene featuring a gay prostitute, rich Gulf clients who mock the Palestinians as a bunch of parasites, some explicit dancing, and some more explicit dialogue (I believe the words the women speak are the most shocking element in fact).
Judging from the snippets I've seen, the movie's style is naturalistic, almost documentary; the dialogue is reportedly based on research the director and lead actress carried out with sex workers.
Before the director even presented his official request to screen the movie in Morocco, it was banned here, for being "une atteinte a l'image du Maroc," ("an insult to Morocco's image"). The lead actress has received death threats.
The director's protestations of shock sound hollow to me; you don't screen a movie with this style and subject at Cannes and expect no blowback back home. But of course the ban is ridiculous. Those who support the director -- like the editorialists of the liberal magazine Tel Quel -- have pointed out that as usual decision-makers and public opinion are much more concerned with the representation of social problems than with the problems themselves (an attitude that is frequently found in the Arab world). There is a significant amount of prostitution in Morocco, and Moroccan women have a reputation of being both terribly attractive and immoral in other more conservative Arab countries (whose men come here to take advantage of these qualities). But as Omar Saghi writes in Tel Quel, Moroccan women are considered "loose" only by the standards of Gulf Arabs, and why should they interiorize these views? He writes that "Egypt, close to the Gulf, has long paid dearly for this comparison: after having veiled its women, decreased salaried female employment, and lowered a lead cloak on its beaches, Egypt remains, for the Gulf, a pagan country with shameless women who speak too loud and have the regrettable tendency to go out in public. To fix the problem of prostitution in Morocco, we should abandon an apocalyptic vision and come back to our senses: end the prostitution of minors, punish pimps and trafficking networks, spread information about health hazards...As far as defending the image of Moroccan women, let's stick to two things: keep demagogues out of this, and stop comparing ourselves to Yemenis."
I have a new piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education about the spread of English at universities in the middle east. This is a world-wide phenomenon, and the main reason for it is that working in English helps academics access the latest research and to publish (because most journals are in English). It also often helps students land better jobs after graduation. And there are other more ambiguous gains to English: access to Western culture generally, a different and often more open teaching style (since more professors might be foreign), and a general aura of "modernization."
I reported in Qatar, Egypt and Morocco, and there are some big variations -- in the Gulf the concerns regarding English are tied up with anxieties about identity, being a minority in one's own country and the pace of change. In Egypt English has theoretically been part of the curriculum and a language of instruction for decades but the real problem is the abysmal quality of education, growing privatizations, and the gap between rich and poor (which foreign language universities and programs can exacerbate). In Morocco there is a growing interest in introducing English -- something that is somewhat surprising given that the country is already dealing with a very complicated post-colonial linguistic tangle, with the educational system divided between Arabic and French and with the place of darija (the local dialect) and Berber languages (recently recognized) to be ascertained. In all countries the feelings about languages taught and used at schools are of course passionate, because they are feelings about identity and the future opportunities of one's children.
The piece is behind the paywall. For those interested (in this and other coverage of scholarship, ideas, academia, including my own reporting on the Arab world and the debate over rules on sexual conduct, feminism and freedom of speech on campus triggered by this essay), think about subscribing.
I had the pleasure of seeing the movie Timbuktu recently at the Cinematheque of Tangier (a beautifully restored old movie theater). It's not to be missed. A film full of grace and depth. I wrote about it for the LRB blog:
In his film Timbuktu, Abderrahman Sissiko shows a traditional Muslim society overrun by outsiders claiming they have the God-given authority to tell everyone what to do. The film is inspired by the 2012 takeover of much of Northern Mali by jihadist and other rebel groups. It is both specific to its setting and raises questions about struggles playing out across the Muslim world. I can’t think of another creative work that takes such an imaginative, subtle, assured look at Islamist militancy and its effects.
The landscape that Sissiko films, dramatic and simple as a stage, is naturally abstract: a lake with perfectly flat shores; a hillside of dunes with a few tents and a few trees; a city of narrow sandy lanes and earth-colored rooftops (Oualata in Mauritania, standing in for Timbuktu).
At first the masked outsiders with their flags and announcements seem bumbling and almost ridiculous, actors playing their part with fragile confidence. A veteran jihadi tries and fails to coach a young member into recording a convincing recruitment video. Fighters track forbidden music floating over the rooftops, only to have to call their superiors for instructions, at a loss when they realise the criminals are singing the praises of the Prophet.
The Arabist's editors have been on the move lately, traveling and showing visiting friends around Morocco. Hence, a few pictures and a very late, large set of links.
- The Algerian Exception by Kamel Daoud - NYT
- Battle to write constitution for a Libya at war with itself - FT
- Missed this interview with Tarhouni
- Egypt: 2,600 Killed After Ouster of Islamist President
- Entangled | The Economist
America and the the Middle East.
- Syria’s Sunnis and the Regime’s Resilience | Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
On Sunni support for Assad.
- Yemeni officials under ex-president Saleh 'worked with al-Qaeda' | Middle East Eye
- CIA duped.
- Matariyya, Egypt's New Theater of Dissent | MERIP
- Good reporting by Amira Howeidy
- Saudi Arabia Shoots Down Missile Fired From Yemen - NYT
- Surprising Saudi Rises as a Prince Among Princes - NYT
On Muhammad bin Salman
- Why Jihadists Write Poetry - The New Yorker
- The Administration Should Not Meet With the Muslim Brotherhood in Washington - WINEP
Because if you ignore it all will be well?
- Mohamed Morsi is no Nelson Mandela
@belalfadl on MB: "All they have left now is empty threats of revenge against everyone, if their deluded fantasy of returning to power ever comes true"
- Illegally detained activists summoned by prosecutor amid wave of forced disappearances | Mada Masr
- Orwellian Times in Egypt: A Conversation with Emad Shahin - YouTube
- Saudi Arabia's Widening War - Gary Sick - POLITICO Magazine
- Rethinking nations in the Middle East - The Washington Post
POMEPS collection of essays on nationalism.
- Defense Minister exempts 574 military installations from real estate tax | Egypt Independent
- Moroccan Film About Prostitution Creates Uproar - NYT
- Congress seeks to lift last restrictions on aid to Egypt - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East
No longer requires HR progress, free elex.
- New Left Project | The End of Empire?: Violence and US Hegemony in the Middle East
Gilbert Achcar on Kaplan's plea for a more assertive US imperialism in the Middle East
- A League of His Own | Bloomberg Business
Great profile of Sepp Blatter, much mention of Arab money in FIFA.
- From Belgium to ISIS
Great, strange, sad story of one wannabe jihadi
- Partition en vue d’une succession contrôlée - Actualité - El Watan
- U.S. citizen Mohamed Soltan freed from Egyptian prison
After such an ordeal
- Opening the black box of Egypt's slush funds | The Angaza File
- Egypt's military establishes multi-industry company - Ahram
- Egypt's new justice minister called for hardline Sharia - Telegraph
And considers citizens "slaves".
- Libyan Prime Minister Survives Assassination Attempt Amid Protests - NYT
Just as likely Haftar as it is Fajr Libya
- It’s Time to Bring Imperialism Back to the Middle East | Foreign Policy
Robert Kaplan, being a silly neocon.
- Maybe He Found Gaddafi's Billions. Or Maybe It’s All a Giant Scam
Bizzarre con seems to have worked in Washington
- “Cairo," cityscapes by cartoonist Mohamed Wahba Elshenawy
I want this.
- Islamic State "institutionalizes sexual violence" and sexual slavery
Interview with head of UN sex crime investigators
- Obama to the Arabs: We don’t care - Al Arabiya
- Obama Upgrades Tunisia’s Status as a U.S. Ally - NYT
- الدولة ترد على تحركات شفيق «المريبة»: إنسى - بوابة الشروق
Sisi regime tells Shafiq to fuggedaboutit.
- Egypt Nile water pollution on the rise - Al-Monitor
- The challenged kingdom | The Economist
- World's biggest hotel to open in Mecca
Saudis go on desecrating holy city with crassness
- Egypt’s cyber crime bill
It's open season on all forms of online expression
- Egypt: Rape and sexual violence perpetrated by security forces 'surges' under el-Sisi's regime
But nobody wants to know
- Egypt Tax Delay Means Rich Pay Less to Cut Deficit: IMF
- Clinton Friend’s Memos on Libya Draw Scrutiny to Politics and Business - NYT
- Elite Iraqi units abandon Ramadi in biggest Islamic State win since Mosul
- Meet the director of the BuSSy Project, Egypt's answer to the Vagina Monologues
Good interview with Sondos Shabayek
- Egyptian court labels Ultra soccer fans as terrorists
Why not, who's next?
The latest mass death sentence handed down in Egypt received a fair amount of press. (Enough to incense Egypt's Foreign Ministry, which has released its usual ridiculous statement sniffily calling for the respect of non-existent "international conventions" not to ever question the ruling of any judge anywhere).
I wrote about mass sentences and the role of the Egyptian judiciary over a year ago. Since then the sentences have continued apace. The only reason this one has received particular attention, in fact, is because the convicted included former president Mohamed Morsi. Those sentenced to death also include Freedom and Justice Party spokeswoman Sondos Asem and Professor Emad Shahin who having fled the country is currently teaching at Georgetown. The Atlantic Council's EgyptSource blog has an excellent round up of the cases, charges, and reactions here.
As I've written before, I can think of few things more destructive to a social peace than the belief that there is no possible recourse to justice. All judicial systems are imperfect, but citizens must at least harbor the hope, the delusion even, that there are avenues for redress.Read More
- Diary: In Sanaa
The lead-up to the current war, by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
- Syria’s truth smugglers
Very worthwhile read on the effort to document Assad's and others' crimes
- Wadi Barada: Snapshot of a Civil War
- Leaks Gain Credibility and Potential to Embarrass Egypt’s Leaders
If they were susceptible to embarrassment
- Promises and figures from Sisi's latest speech
- To Make the World a Better Place, Teach Arabic
- Mafia in Africa
- Egyptian Journalist Mohamed Fahmy Sues Al Jazeera for $83 Million in Punitive Damages
- Ursula Lindsey on Correspondents Club
ABC Melbourne interviewed me on being a journalist in the middle east these days
- Egypt’s Megafantasies
Good review of David Sim's latest book on desert development
- Tunisian novel wins ‘Arabic Booker’ in Abu Dhabi despite UAE ban
Sounds like the ban has already been lifted though
- Al Jazeera America, Its Newsroom in Turmoil, Is Now the News
Are they extra dysfunctional or just extra scrutinized?
- Why Peter Kennard's montages are political dynamite
Can't believe I'd never seen his Blair "Photo Op"
- A French Freelancer in Lebanon on the ‘Slow Death’ of Foreign Correspondents
- Progress in Tunisia, but much still to be done
Op-ed by Rached Ghannouchi.
- The Day After · LRB 4 May 2015
Neve Gordon on the IDF’s new tactics
- Fear Makes Everything Possible
Wael Eskandar on Egypt today
- Saudi-Led Group Said to Use Cluster Bombs in Yemen - NYT
- Aleppo’s Real-Life Soap Opera « The Majalla Magazine
- Repression in Egypt: Worse than Mubarak | The Economist
The team at Industry Arabic -- look to them for all your Arabic translation needs -- brings us the latest installment of our In Translation series. Abdullah al-Sinnawi is the editor of the socialist newspaper Al Araby and one of the many public intellectuals who supported Morsi's ouster and the ascension of Abdel-Fattah El Sisi, couching his support in terms of restoring the authority and prestige of the state. Now he harsh words for a regime that he describes as rudderless if not deeply disingenuous. The title used a particularly loaded term: the word "normalization" in Egypt usually refers to normalization of relations with Israel, something much of public opinion does not really accept and much of the leftist intelligentsia has always viewed as a humiliating capitulation.
Normalization with the Past
Abdullah al-Sinnawi, al-Shorouk, 6 May 2015
“Why are we protecting Mubarak?....You’re accusing us of being traitors.”
With this unequivocal expression, he tried to dispel any suspicions as to why the Military Council was putting off trying a president who had been ousted by his people.
During the first weeks of the January 25 Revolution, public squares full of anger were calling for the past to be put on trial for its sins. They called for all issues to be opened to questioning and accountability, so that Egypt would not be governed in the future in the same careless manner as before.
This forthrightness was not customary in other leaders and gave the strong impression that the young general who made this statement might be the future of the military establishment.
It did not occur to him, during this lengthy meeting in April 2011 that was attended by six journalists and military figures, as he made this firm response to the questions and doubts raised by the protests, that the question of the past would rear its head again, with greater anxiety and more serious misgivings, four years later when he would be president of Egypt.Read More
- Mauritanian film-maker gets death threats from Salafis for film about violence against women (Arabic)
- New secular party to 'challenge religious dominance'
Interesting if probably not influential
- Egyptian Chronicles: Another Blow to Online Media in Egypt Coming on the way !!
- Souad Massi’s New Album: Interpreting Classic Arabic Poems
Love her, can't wait.
- Conflicting reports over Tarabin ‘war’ on Sinai militants
- A Saudi Royal Shake-Up With a Goal of Stability - NYT
- Understanding the Saudi king’s succession bombshell
- Renowned U.S. Arabist Is Second Witness to Refuse to Appear With MEK Leader | Foreign Policy
- Congress Moves to Protect Israeli Settlements
- Egypt’s revolution will get a shot in the arm with data that shows how government spends money
Uhmm, very skeptical.
- The human 'mules' of Morocco
So many countries run of women's cheap suffering..
- Efforts to Fight Extremism in Education Misses the Point, by Ursula
- Invisible Atheists: The Spread of Disbelief in the Arab World
Interesting article on atheism in the middle east
- Gone Girl: An Interview With An American In ISIS
And her distraught family
- Deport me!
Another post that must be read on Paper Bird
- Secret Files Reveal the Structure of Islamic State
And how much it borrows from Saddam's security services
- Islamic State leadership in Libya | TheMagrebiNote
- A Saudi war going badly wrong | Middle East Eye
- Mali: On the CMA’s Refusal to Sign the Algiers Accord
For three years, film-maker Kim Beamish hung out with the tent-makers in the Khaimiya district of Cairo. Three turbulent years, spanning the aftermath of the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and the election of Mohamed Morsi, and the protests and coup that led to the presidency of military leader Abdel Fattah El Sisi. In Beamish' film, The Tentmakers of Cairo, all of this unfolds in the background -- most often, on a TV screen. Although their contempt for the Muslim Brothers is palpable and their relief at the ascendancy of a strongman who can restore order is clear, the men in the alley focus largely on thei craft and their business. This is a movie in which very little happens, whose highlights are snippets of overheard conversation (my personal favorite is a father yelling at his young son, while the usual nationalist anthems blare on the TV: "Put down that book and watch TV! Don't you love your country?"). The ease with which these middle-aged, reasonable, well-intentioned men can be down to earth and funny, and then repeat silly rumors or put forth nonsensical arguments, is quite dispiriting. And as the film patiently documents their largely non-eventful lives, some may hanker for a bit more narrative, a bit more drama. But for those who are interested in what the January 25 uprising felt like to the majority in Egypt who watched anxiously and rather suspiciously on the side lines, this understated film offers many insights.
The film will have its world premiere this Tuesday, 21 April in Nyon, Switzerland at the Visions du Reel Film Festival. Beamish is also hoping to organize screenings in Cairo in June or July. What follows is an email conversation between Beamish and myself.Read More
- A review of the award-winning novel The Bamboo Stalk
Set in the Philippines and Kuwait, translated by Jonathan Wright
- In Syria's war, Alawites pay heavy price for loyalty to Bashar al-Assad
- The United States and Palestine
- The Islamic State in Libya, TheMagrebiNote | Articles, Translations, Analysis, Reports on the Islamic Maghreb
- Geoff D. Porter on the price of stability in Algeria
- Her Majesty’s Jihadists
On British Muslim foreign fighters in Syria.
- The Authoritarian Resurgence: Saudi Arabia’s Anxious Autocrats - Carnegie Endowment
- Gasser Abdel Razek: Interview with prominent Egyptian human rights activist
The first in a series by Mada Masr
- NBC Alters Account of Correspondent’s Kidnapping in Syria
Seemingly only after other media investigates
- Egyptian court sentences American to life in prison
Mohammed Soltan is the son of an MB leader
- 7 books to help you understand Libya
- Police allowed to deport gay foreigners, rules Egypt court
- Confusion regarding Egypt's new capital after Sisi announces lack of funds
- Syria: Death from Assad’s Chlorine by Annie Sparrow | The New York Review of Books
- Putting Palestine on the Map…and the Jersey
Great long read about Palestinian-Chilean soccer team
- Understanding Kafala: An archaic law at cross purposes with modern development | Migrant Rights
- Yémen : une faillite américano-saoudienne
- Saudi Shiites worry about backlash from Yemen war - The Washington Post
- In Egypt, ex-military men fire up Islamist insurgency | Reuters
- Arab Peacemaker
Cairo Review interview with Lakhdar Brahimi
- Expedited Weapons Deliveries to Saudi Arabia Signal Deepening U.S. Involvement - NYT
Sending weapons but not bothering to help stranded Americans.
- What really happened in Tikrit after ISIL fled - Al Jazeera English
- 600 days in jail for taking pictures: A letter from an Egyptian prison
- Perfectly Reasonable Question: Did The Times ‘Self-Censor’?
In the UAE, its partner did.
- The Unknown Man, and the Deaths at Abu Zaabal
Excellent reporting on a massacre of Egyptian prisoners
Northwestern University in Qatar has just released its latest survey on media use and attitudes in the Middle East. It finds, among other things, that:
The survey is full of nifty graphics and has a lot of interesting findings. Folks say they support freedom of expression and internet regulation. They are increasingly worried about surveillance and hesitate to share their views online. Egyptians have a low opinion of their media, Emiratis think very highly of theirs. A majority of Saudis and Lebanese believe the international media is biased against them. The most in-demand content is comedy. The #1 media source remains television. (Unfortunately, given what TV talk shows in the Arab world are). There is a section just on Qatar (in which citizens are asked if they are comfortable criticizing "powerful institutions" rather than, as with other countries, "the government" -- and of course forget about the emir).
The artist Sandow Birk spent 9 years handwriting and illustrating an American Quran, featuring scenes from his native California. From the artist's site:
I love this, and you can see it all here. HT Simon.
The Palestine Museum -- a new museum that should open in Birzeit in 2016 -- has created a collection of images that mash up contemporary photographs with Baroque religious paintings. (Another series, also at this link, juxtaposes photos from the refugee camps today and decades ago).
The Deposition (c. 1507) Raphaello Sanzio da Urbino
Photo: Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian and detain others, downtown Ramallah. 31 Mar. 2002
In a new book, Au sujet de l'Islam ("Speaking of Islam"), Rachid Ghannouchi, the head of the Ennahda party in Tunisia, give his opinions on a number of contemporary issues. Here are a few quotes translated from a press summary:
On blasphemy: "It's forbidden in Tunisia, although freedom of conscience and opinion are protected by the Constitution. You have the choice to be Muslim or not, but you don't have the choice to mock the beliefs of others."
On homosexuality: "We don't approve it. But Islam does not spy on folks. It preserves privacy. Everyone leads his/her life and is responsible before his/her creator."
On equality: "Inheritance does not reflect the value of women versus men. They are equal in terms of their human value, but don't have the same rights and responsibilities in society."
I wonder if the seemingly liberal position on homosexuality is a reaction above all to the pervasive spying under Ben Ali and the way the intelligence services used people's private lives, including real or false sexual allegations, as ammunition against them. On the old Islamist chestnut that men and women don't need to be equal in everything, just to have an equitable distribution of obligations -- What about the many men who live off their wives' work, or systematically refuse to pay alimony? Shouldn't they lose the rights of "breadwinners" when they shirk their obligations?
The Algerian writer Kamel Daoud's Meursault, contre-enquete is one of the best books I've read in a while. Inspired by Camus' The Stranger, it is a brilliantly written, sharp, sad, angry look at colonialism, religion, and the limits of "liberation." It is narrated by the brother of the unnamed Arab killed and quickly forgotten in Camus' novel. Adam Shatz has a great profile of Daoud, the city of Oran, where he lives, and the Algerian literary scene in the New York Times magazine.
After college, Daoud took a job as a crime reporter for a monthly tabloid called Detective. (“What made ‘The Wire’ so great,” he told me, “is that it’s a collaboration between a writer and a policeman, the dogs of the world.”) It was through traveling to small, remote towns, where he wrote about murder trials and sex crimes, that Daoud discovered what he calls “the real Algeria.” When Detective folded in 1996, he went to work for Le Quotidien d’Oran. While other journalists complained of the danger they faced from Islamist rebels, Daoud rented a donkey and went out to interview them. He reported on some of the worst massacres of the civil war, including the 1998 killings in the village of Had Chekala, where more than 800 people were slaughtered. His work as a reporter, Daoud told me, left him suspicious of “hardened positions and grand analyses,” and that sensibility infused the column he began writing for Le Quotidien. Daoud upheld no ideology, spoke in no one’s name but his own. To his new admirers, this was something to celebrate: the emergence of an authentically Algerian free spirit. To his adversaries, Daoud became the face of an Algerian Me-Generation: selfish, hollow, un-Algerian.
The New Yorker has also just published a short interview with Daoud and more importantly an excerpt from the forthcoming translation of his novel.
Musa was my older brother. His head seemed to strike the clouds. He was quite tall, yes, and his body was thin and knotty from hunger and the strength that comes from anger. He had an angular face, big hands that protected me, and hard eyes, because our ancestors had lost their land. But when I think about it I believe that he already loved us then the way the dead do, with no useless words and a look in his eyes that came from the hereafter. I have only a few pictures of him in my head, but I want to describe them to you carefully. For example, the day he came home early from the neighborhood market, or maybe from the port, where he worked as a handyman and a porter, toting, dragging, lifting, sweating. Anyway, that day he came upon me while I was playing with an old tire, and he put me on his shoulders and told me to hold on to his ears, as if his head were a steering wheel. I remember the joy I felt as he rolled the tire along and made a sound like a motor. His smell comes back to me, too, a persistent mingling of rotten vegetables, sweat, and breath. Another picture in my memory is from the day of Eid one year. Musa had given me a hiding the day before for some stupid thing I’d done, and now we were both embarrassed. It was a day of forgiveness and he was supposed to kiss me, but I didn’t want him to lose face and lower himself by apologizing to me, not even in God’s name. I also remember his gift for immobility, the way he could stand stock still on the threshold of our house, facing the neighbors’ wall, holding a cigarette and the cup of black coffee our mother brought him.
- Yemen: The Houthi Enigma
- Salafists and Sectarianism: Twitter and Communal Conflict in the Middle East
- ‘ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror,’ and More
Steve Negus reviews this very good new book on ISIS, and others
- Wadha et Ibrahim Abdhalla: affreux, sales et marrants
Refreshingly off-beat portrait of Iraqi refugees
- TSA’s Secret Behavior Checklist to Spot Terrorists
Includes being nervous, being late, being arrogant, whistling, yawning, staring, gazing down...
- Gaza family 'tricked' into selling Banksy painting for $175
- Palestine ICC entry to shake up peace process
- Obama Removes Weapons Freeze Against Egypt
- Moroccan free press activist accused of adultery, given 10 month jail sentence
Another dissident framed and smeared
- Yemen and Iran: What's really going on?
Brian Whitaker tries to assess how serious alleged Iranian involvement is
- Witnesses, Who Say Police Killed Activist, Are to Be Charged in Egypt
More judicial bullying
- Diplomatie, retenue militaire et patience sont les seuls remèdes pour la Libye
Jean Marie Guéhenno and Issandr El Amrani op-ed in Le Monde.
- US Couple Spends Millions To Save Migrants In The Mediterranean
Have spent $8 million and helped 3,000 so far
- An Interior Ministry runs through it
Blogger Sarah Carr takes a Nile taxi
- Is it a coincidence that one of the world's most feminist countries is having a fight with one of its most misogynist ones?
- Reading al-Koni in English — Elliott Colla
The great Libyan writer is a Booker finalist this year
- A Policy Puzzle of U.S. Goals and Alliances in the Middle East
- Majority of Egyptians Believe Muslim Brotherhood Should Be Allowed Participation in Politics
More accurately, believe everyone should be allowed.
- Yemen becomes new front in the war between Saudi Arabia and Iran
- Road to Extremism for Tunisian Museum Gunmen Went Through Libya
Investigative report in the WSJ
- Islam’s Improbable Reformer
Portrait of Sisi by Bret Stephens, improbable journalist
- I Am Norman Finkelstein
Norman Finkelstein does Reddit's Ask Me Anything.
- Egypt enters Guinness Book of Records with 4-ton ful platter