Breaking Point

The Crisis of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

by Omar S. Dahi | published September 25, 2013

One of the many plot lines lost in the summertime discussions of a US strike on Syria is the pace of refugee movement out of the country. As it stands, the refugee crisis is overwhelming and likely to stay that way. Another external military intervention would further accelerate the mass flight and exacerbate what is already a humanitarian emergency.

Graham-Brown, Education, Repression and Liberation

by Munir Fasheh
published in MER136

Sarah Graham-Brown, Education, Repression and Liberation: Palestinians (London: World University Service, 1984).

“Whenever I hear the word culture,” said an occupying officer during the Spanish conquest of South America, “I pull out my gun.” Foreign invaders are often quick on the trigger, and quick to assert their “superior” culture. Indigenous culture, after all, is a rallying point for popular resistance. What the invaders cannot suppress outright, they try to ignore, belittle, distort and dehumanize.

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A Separation at Iranian Universities

by Nazanin Shahrokni , Parastou Dokouhaki | published October 18, 2012

On August 6, with the new academic year approaching, the government-backed Mehr News Agency in Iran posted a bulletin that 36 universities in the country had excluded women from 77 fields of study. The reported restrictions aroused something of an international uproar.

The National Islamic Front and the Politics of Education

by Ali Abdalla Abbas
published in MER172

In a country like Sudan, those with access to education become the object of intense competition on the part of political parties of all stripes, especially those with no traditional base of support. Secondary schools and especially universities become the hunting ground -- and sometimes the killing ground -- for groups whose success on campus represents a shortcut to political hegemony in the country. Whatever the nature of their rhetoric about “the people,” these parties rely on elites, recalling the crucial role that the Graduates Congress played in Sudan’s struggle for independence. Sections of the elite were again instrumental in toppling military regimes in October 1964 and April 1985. [1]

Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

What Is Wrong with What Went Wrong?

by Adam Sabra | published August 2003

It is no exaggeration to say that Bernard Lewis is the most influential writer on Middle Eastern history and politics in the United States today. Not only has he authored more than two dozen books on the Middle East, he trained large numbers of two subsequent generations of historians of the region. Lewis is a public figure of the first order, publishing widely read articles on Middle Eastern politics. He is perhaps the only scholar of the Middle East to be well-known outside the field -- most academics would be hard pressed to name another historian of the Middle East or the Islamic world, excepting colleagues at their own university. This is ironic, since, as we will see, his interpretation of Islamic history is essentialist and ahistorical. Furthermore, Lewis is greatly respected in US policymaking circles. His opinions on policy matters have been sought by governments run by both major American political parties, and by all reports have been especially heeded by the administration of George W. Bush. An August 29 op-ed by Lewis in the Wall Street Journal concisely states positions which are articles of faith for the Bush administration’s neo-conservatives -- notably that the problems of post-war Iraq are caused by anti-American fascist or Islamist forces seeking to defeat Western Christendom, and that the Westernized former banker Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress are the best candidates to govern a stable Iraq in the future.

Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Behind the Battles Over Middle East Studies

by Zachary Lockman | published January 2004

An ideological campaign to reshape the academic study of the Middle East in the United States has begun to bear fruit on Capitol Hill. In late 2003, the House of Representatives passed legislation which would, for the first time, mandate that university-based Middle East studies centers “foster debate on American foreign policy from diverse perspectives” if they receive federal funding under Title VI of the Higher Education Act. The new legislation, which the Senate could consider in 2004, came after conservative allegations about abuse of Title VI funding by “extreme” and “one-sided” critics of US foreign policy supposedly ensconced at area studies centers across the country.

Education, Control and Resistance in the Golan Heights

by Bashar Tarabieh
published in MER194

Discussions of the Israeli-occupied territories generally treat the Golan Heights in terms of strategic significance and water resources, seldom in terms of the 16,500 Syrians living under Israeli rule today. [1] While in some ways their experiences are comparable to those of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, in other ways the Golan occupation illustrates a unique formulation of Israel’s neocolonial ambitions in the region.

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Tourists with Agendas

by Salim Tamari
published in MER196

One bizarre aspect about life in Palestine is the scrutiny to which we are subjected by journalists, researchers and political tourists who descend daily. Birzeit University is particularly attractive to researchers who come to “do Palestine.” At first glance, the benefits would seem great: publicity, access to the media and protection against institutional harassment by the Israelis. Indeed, this was important during the intifada, when the university was closed for four and a half years.

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Bringing the Peninsula In from the Periphery

From Imagined Scholarship to Gendered Discourse

by Gwenn Okruhlik
published in MER204

Research on the political and economic development of the contemporary Arabian Peninsula is often relegated to the fringes of general comparative and Middle Eastern scholarship, isolated from larger theoretical debates and narrowly defined in terms of threat typologies, regional security alliances and the stability of major oil-exporting states. The intellectual marginalization of the Peninsula is the result of a monopoly on access.

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