Writing about Violence

A Joint Reflection from Latin America and the Middle East

by Hiba Bou Akar , Roosbelinda Cárdenas
published in MER284

Although we cannot pinpoint the exact origin of the idea to co-teach a comparative course on contemporary politics in the Middle East and Latin America, we remember well what followed from that initial decision in late 2015. First there was the excitement that accompanies an emergent sense of possibility. As we reviewed the literature while designing the course, we found numerous connections and continuities that allowed us to place Latin America and the Middle East in joint focus. But resonance and similarity were not the only promise, so we developed a syllabus that also explored the differences and disjunctures. We discussed the state’s role in gendering, as people in the informal sector stake their claims to livelihoods in Egypt and the Dominican Republic.

Reading César Vallejo in Arabic

On Poetic Affinity and Solidarity

by Sinan Antoon
published in MER284

The Poets

The Syrian Uprising and Mobilization 
of the Syrian Diaspora in South America

by Cecília Baeza , Paulo Pinto
published in MER284

The Syrian uprising against President Bashar al-Asad’s government that began in 2011, and the armed conflict that followed, has generated a strong reaction among the large populations of Arabic-speaking immigrants and their descendants in both Brazil and Argentina. Institutions and community members mobilized in the past around political issues of the Middle East, such as the Palestinian question, the US-led invasion of Iraq and the Israeli bombing of Lebanon in 2006.

South-South Solidarity and the Summit 
of South American-Arab Countries

by Paulo Daniel Farah
published in MER284

A sense of deep connection has reverberated between South America and Arab countries since the early waves of Arab migrations to South America in the late nineteenth century. The Arabic language also played an important role in Brazil’s history. Most of the Muslim African anti-slavery activists and revolutionaries in nineteenth century Brazil wrote and spoke Arabic, or Portuguese and African languages using Arabic letters. Although there are more than 16 million Arabs and their descendants in Brazil, which constitutes the largest Arab community outside the Middle East, no Brazilian president had ever visited the region until President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2003.

Puerto Rican Decolonization, Armed Struggle and the Question of Palestine

by Sara Awartani
published in MER284

Lolita Lebrón, 24 years after unfurling the Puerto Rican flag and opening fire in the US House of Representatives in 1954, [1] once again cried out against Puerto Rico’s colonial status in 1978. “The liberation movement of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico,” declared Lebrón, “conscious of its historic responsibility to the Fatherland, aspires to, advocates and work through [sic] all means of struggle possible—including armed revolution, if it were necessary to constitute Puerto Rico as a free, sovereign and independent republic in accordance with the Principles of Nationalities.” [2]

Latin America-Middle East Ties in the New Global South

by Omar S. Dahi , Alejandro Velasco
published in MER284

Over the past several years, posters of a gray Chinese terracotta warrior have caught the eyes of travelers in international airports. Hung on walls alongside moving walkways, the posters advertise the London-based bank HSBC and feature photographs ironically labeled with a sentence starting, “In the future.” The campaign was designed to portray HSBC at the cutting edge of banking and commerce worldwide. In one particular poster everything about the image was similar to the famous terracotta warrior statues except for one detail: instead of boots the warrior wore bright yellow and green flip-flops.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER284

This double issue of Middle East Report, “The Latin East,” is a collaboration with the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA). We publish it in tandem with the current issue of NACLA Report on the Americas, which is available for free online at 
www.tandfonline.com/toc/rnac20/50/1. With the kind permission of Routledge, we reprint in this magazine two essays originally appearing in NACLA’s issue of “The Latin East.”


Palestinians and Latin America's Indigenous Peoples

Coexistence, Convergence, Solidarity

by Cecília Baeza
published in MER274

Palestinians have found an ally in the indigenous peoples of Latin America. Over the last decade, indigenous movements have been among the most vocal supporters in the region of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Bolivia’s Evo Morales, the first self-identified indigenous president in Latin America since colonization, has broken off diplomatic relations with Israel, endorsed the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, called Israel a “terrorist state,” and denounced Israeli “apartheid” and “genocide in Gaza.” No other Latin American head of state has gone so far in supporting the Palestinian cause.

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER127

This issue examines the political impact of the economic crisis that has wracked Tunisia and Morocco over the first half of this decade. Even as we prepared this issue, the combustible recipe of austerity decrees and popular desperation exploded into violence in neighboring Egypt, in the industrial town of Kafr el-Dawar, near Alexandria. The decision in mid-September to double the government-controlled price of bread touched off the seething resentment of poor and working class Egyptians at the galloping price increases of uncontrolled market items over the last year. The final blow was a three percent increase in payroll deductions for all state workers.

Solidaridad con Gaza, La Segunda Parte

by Cecília Baeza | published August 1, 2014 - 4:25pm

Latin American solidarity movements with Palestine are starting to win important political battles.