Links September 19th to September 21st

Links from my del.icio.us account for September 19th through September 21st:



  • Arts and Letters: Freeing the Elephants: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker - Oh, lighten up: "Babar, such interpreters have insisted, is an allegory of French colonization, as seen by the complacent colonizers: the naked African natives, represented by the “good” elephants, are brought to the imperial capital, acculturated, and then sent back to their homeland on a civilizing mission. The elephants that have assimilated to the ways of the metropolis dominate those which have not. The true condition of the animals—to be naked, on all fours, in the jungle—is made shameful to them, while to become an imitation human, dressed and upright, is to be given the right to rule. The animals that resist—the rhinoceroses—are defeated. The Europeanized elephants are, as in the colonial mechanism of indirect rule, then made trustees of the system, consuls for the colonial power. To be made French is to be made human and to be made superior. The straight lines and boulevards of Celesteville, the argument goes, are the sign of enslavement."

  • Artists take cue from Egypt’s sombre tone - The National Newspaper - Egypt is getting so fucking depressing it's not even funny

  • Bill and Kathleen Christison: The Making of Recent U.S. Middle East Policies - "Sniegoski’s new book demonstrates clearly how U.S. and Israeli policies and actions with respect to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the other Gulf states, and even most recently Georgia are all tied together in a bundle of interrelated linkages, each of which affects all the others. The right wing of Israeli politics, the neoconservatives in the U.S. who strongly support Israel, and the aging Israel lobby in the United States all have worked together, and are still doing so, to bring about more wars, regime changes, and instability, specifically the fragmentation of any Middle Eastern states that might ever conceivably threaten Israel."

  • Le Figaro - International : L'émir du Qatar, médiateur des crises internationales - Profile of Qatar's Sheikh Hamad al-Thani

  • Pow! Take That, Old Superhero Clichés! - Forward.com" - A review, in comic form, of a new book that (poorly) revisits the theory that American superhero comics are all about immigrant Jewish issues, i.e. that Superman is actually Supermensch. Or something like that.

  • Adrian’s Take on the War on Terror in The Sahara « Arabic Media Shack - Lengthy, detailed post on Algeria and counter-terrorism -- good stuff!


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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.