Lamb, The Arabs

by Lee O'Brien
published in MER150

David Lamb, The Arabs: Journeys Beyond the Mirage (New York: Random House, 1987).

More accessible than academic or political studies, journalism has long been the vehicle for most popular knowledge of the Middle East. Recently, with the increase in the number of foreign correspondents writing full-length books on their experiences in the Arab region, journalistic writings have also supplanted another genre: the once common travelogues of Western Orientalists, tourists and colonial officers. David Lamb’s book falls squarely within this “new” tradition, as even its title proclaims. (The tendency to journalistic history is not limited to the Arab world, as Lamb’s previous book was titled The Africans.)

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The Uprooted Cinema

Arab Filmmakers Abroad

by Miriam Rosen
published in MER159

My friend Jacques got as far as a screenplay when he died. He was Palestinian (Armenian) from Jerusalem, a photographer by trade, and after his family moved from occupation to Australia, Jacques made his way to the States on a tourist visa. Settling in New York, he found work in a series of custom photo labs where employers were more than willing to overlook his illegal alien status if he was willing to take the midnight shift. At the last job, there was a vague promise that something could be done to get him a green card; in the meantime, he lived his inverted life on the margins of the margins.

Al Miskin

published in MER159

These days the mainstream media in the US generally thinks twice before publishing crude slurs against entire ethnic or racial groups. But there remain those whom it is still apparently respectable to denigrate, foremost among them Arabs and Iranians.

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Conflicts and Crossroads

by Mohamed Sid-Ahmed
published in MER158

On February 16, 1989, the leaders of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and North Yemen signed an agreement forming the Arab Cooperation Council (ACC), a four-country economic trading bloc, and expressed the hope that it would lead to an Arab common market. On the same day, the leaders of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania agreed to form a Maghrib Union, the first step toward a Maghrib common market.

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Sharabi, Neopatriarchy

by Peter Gran
published in MER161

Hisham Sharabi, Neopatriarchy: A Theory of Distorted Values in Arab Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.)

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Consequences of Perestroika

by Mohamed Sid-Ahmed
published in MER164

Arab progressives tend to view the changes initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika as harmful to the cause of Arab national liberation. One leading pan-Arab statesman privately described the rapprochement between East and West as portending the disintegration of the Communist bloc and the total hegemony of the United States. In his opinion, far from favoring global peace and stability, this situation threatens new global conflagration and cataclysms in the Third World.

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Culture, State and Revolution

by Sonali Pahwa , Jessica Winegar
published in MER263

The Arab uprisings have brought major challenges, as well as unprecedented opportunities, to the culture industries. According to a flurry of celebratory news articles from the spring of 2011 onward, protest art is proliferating in the region, from graffiti in Egypt to hip-hop in Morocco to massive photographic displays and political cartoons gone viral in Tunisia. These articles then adopt a predictably ominous tone to express the concern that resurgent Islamist forces represent a danger to arts and culture writ large.

The New Arab Cold War and the Struggle for Syria

by Curtis Ryan
published in MER262

In his classic study, The Arab Cold War, Malcolm Kerr charted the machinations of inter-Arab politics during an era dominated by Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser. In another renowned work, The Struggle for Syria, Patrick Seale documented the links between Syria’s tumultuous domestic politics and the broader contest for supremacy in the region, stemming from factors ranging from inter-Arab conflicts to the global cold war. [1] Today, amid the chaos in Syria and the transformations in the region, these texts, both originally published in 1965, seem all too contemporary. Once again, regional politics shows many signs of an Arab cold war and, once again, that broader conflict is manifesting itself in a struggle for Syria.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER262

Are the upheavals in the Arab world revolutions? Uprisings? Revolts?

Perhaps all these terms are misnomers, because they imply an end point, a moment when the event will be over, its historical task finished, if not completed. It is increasingly apparent, however, that the Arab world is witnessing not discrete events, but the advent of a new era in which participatory politics has taken on much more immediate relevance. No end point has come into view -- and none is necessary.

A Year After Tahrir

by Chris Toensing | published January 30, 2012