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.

Off the Grid

Reading Iranian Memoirs in Our Time of Total War

by Negar Mottahedeh | published September 2004

Air-conditioned transportation in Tehran is notoriously difficult to find. For pampered visitors such as the cultural anthropologists and documentary filmmakers from New York and Los Angeles who seem to converge on the Iranian capital every summer, a cool taxi ride to the northern parts of town recalls something of the charmed life they left behind in the United States, a life some refer to offhandedly as “the grid.”

Marxism and Postmodernism

by Joel Beinin
published in MER187

During the Thatcher-Reagan-Bush era, just as critical intellectuals and left political activists had won a small place for the concepts of political economy and class analysis in academia, postmodernism and post-structuralism replaced Marxism as the favored mode of Anglo-American intellectual radicalism.

Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature

by Salah Hassan
published in MER189

Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature Edited
by Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. 744 pages.

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Terrorism, Class and Democracy in Egypt

by Joel Beinin
published in MER190

During April 1994, armed actions of the radical Islamist opposition in Egypt achieved a new level of lethal efficiency. One Gama‘a Islamiyya (Islamic Group) hit squad killed Maj. Gen. Ra’uf Khayrat, who was responsible for conducting undercover operations against them; another assassinated the chief of security of Asyout province, the Islamist stronghold in upper Egypt; a third shot at a train transporting tourists to the Pharaonic monuments of upper Egypt; and two or three ordinary policemen were shot each week.

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Men, Women and God(s)

by Persis M. Karim
published in MER203

Fedwa Malti-Douglas, Men, Women and God(s): Nawal El Saadawi and Arab Feminist Poetics (California, 1995).

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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.

The Fiction (and Non-Fiction) of Egypt's Marriage Crisis

by Hanan Kholoussy | published December 2010

In August 2006, a 27-year old pharmacist started blogging anonymously about her futile hunt for a husband in Mahalla al-Kubra, an industrial city 60 miles north of Cairo in the Nile Delta. Steeped in satirical humor, the blog of this “wannabe bride” turned into a powerful critique of everything that is wrong with how middle-class Egyptians meet and marry. The author poked fun at every aspect of arranged marriage -- from the split-second decisions couples are expected to make after hour-long meetings about their lifetime compatibility to the meddling relatives and nosy neighbors who introduce them to each other. She joked about her desperation to marry in a society that stigmatizes single women over the age of 30. She ridiculed bachelors for their unrealistic expectations and inflated self-images while sympathizing with the exorbitant financial demands placed on would-be husbands. Thirty suitors and four years later, the pharmacist remains proudly single at 32, refusing to settle for just any man.

Baghdad Diaries, Then and Now

by Salah Hassan
published in MER227

Rosemary O’Brien, ed. Gertrude Bell: The Arabian Diaries, 1913-1914 (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2000).

Nuha al-Radi, Baghdad Diaries (London: Saqi Books, 1998).

Paul Rich, ed. Arab War Lords and Iraqi Star Gazers: Gertrude Bell’s The Arab of Mesopotamia (Lincoln, NE: Authors Choice Press, 2001).

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Women, War and Exile

Literary Reflections

by Anita Vitullo Khoury
published in MER214

Miriam Cooke, War's Other Voices: Women Writers on the Lebanese Civil War (Syracuse University Press, 1996).

May Ghousoub, Leaving Beirut (London: Saqi Books, 1998).

Emily Nasrallah, Flight Against Time (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997).

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Challenging the Embargo

Arabic Literature in the US Market

by Hosam Aboul-Ela
published in MER219

What impresses one is the will to ignore and reduce the Arabs that still exists in many departments of Western culture, and the unacceptable defeatism among some Arabs that a resurgent religion and indiscriminate hostility are the only answers.

— Edward Said (1990)

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Take Them Out of the Ballgame

Egypt's Cultural Players in Crisis

by Samia Mehrez
published in MER219