The Afterlife of al-Andalus: Muslim Iberia in Contemporary Arab and Hispanic Narratives

A Synopsis

by Christina Civantos
published in MER284

The Afterlife of al-Andalus [1] examines medieval Muslim Iberia, or al-Andalus, in twentieth and twenty-first century narrative, drama, television and film from the Arab world and its diaspora, as well as from Spain and Argentina. My focus in this book is on the role of contemporary representations and invocations of al-Andalus in relation to questions of cultural translation, postcolonial identity construction, empire, migration, gender, sexuality, metafiction and tolerance.

Juan Goytisolo

Tangier, Havana and the Treasonous Intellectual

by Hisham Aidi
published in MER282

For the past 25 years, every evening around sunset, an elderly man could be seen gingerly crossing the Boulevard Pasteur, Tangier’s busy main thoroughfare. Shuffling toward the Grand Poste, he would walk slowly down the pavement to Café Maravillosa. Regulars would stand up to shake his hand. “Marhba, Si Juan.” Waiters would greet him, “Ja’izat Nobel dyalna, our own Nobel laureate,” and set him up at a table with a pot of green tea. For the next two hours, a steady rotation of old acquaintances, students and tourists would stop by to chat or take a photo.

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Remember the Solidarity Here and Everywhere

by Barbara Harlow
published in MER229

With the loss, on September 25, 2003, of Edward W. Said, the front lines of struggle—over Palestine, for global justice, for “just causes and noble ideals”—in our contemporary world have been desperately depleted. But Said’s example remains, an example of the critical—indeed vital and vivid still—importance of comrades-in-arms to reinforcing and rearticulating those very lines, lines that Edward Said both wrote and lived, and continues to stand for.

Le Carre, The Little Drummer Girl

by Fred Halliday
published in MER119

John Le Carre, The Little Drummer Girl (Random House, 1983).

Le Carre has forsaken the world of the Circus and its post-imperial wiles to explore the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, particularly that between the underground agencies of the two sides. The central character is a young English actress named Charlie: At first sympathetic to the Palestinians, she is elaborately “turned” by the Israeli agents. After many weeks of interrogation and briefing, and several identity changes, she leads the Israelis to their Palestinian prey in southern Germany.

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Hadi al-`Alawi, Scion of the Two Civilizations

by Mohammed al-Sudairi
published in MER270

In the 1950s, the People’s Republic of China began to host a small community of Arab scholars and journalists, recruited mostly through “revolutionary” channels like the FLN, the PLO, and the Iraqi and Sudanese Communist Parties. These experts were brought to China with the explicit purpose of editing and translating texts, as well as providing Arabic-language instruction at Chinese media, propaganda and educational institutions. This select group included a number of writers and intellectuals, such as Kadhim al-Samawi, Hanna Mina, Sheikh Jalal al-Hanafi and Hadi al-‘Alawi, the last of whom left the deepest mark on twentieth-century Arab intellectual life.

Changing Modes of Political Dialogue Across the Middle East and East Asia, 1880-2010

by Cemil Aydin
published in MER270

East Asia’s relationship with the Middle East today is based mainly on economics and is devoid of grand political projects of solidarity and intellectual dialogue. Countries such as China, Japan and Korea present the Middle East with a model of neoliberal economic development. At the same time, the redemptive transformation of East Asia from a Western-dominated region to a globally powerful one offers a trajectory of development diverging from the Middle East, which struggles with political turbulence, regime crises and regional wars both cold and hot.

West Bank Journal

by Anita Vitullo Khoury
published in MER112

Raja Shehadeh, The Third Way: A Journal of Life in the West Bank (London: Quartet Books, 1982).

My problem with the newspapers is that I can’t settle on the right time to read them. In the morning they darken the day, at noon they kill my appetite, after lunch they make me sick, and in the evening they set the pattern of my nightmares.

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Spring Break Reading Guide

by The Editors | published March 14, 2014 - 1:56pm

For those fortunate enough to find a bit of time to read books not directly related to work over spring break or the summer, MERIP solicited recommendations from editors and contributors. Reading is often part of daily professional work, even a form of drudgery. Instead, we asked for titles that would be enjoyable as well as edifying, so the responses tend toward fiction or works with strong narrative voices.

Adnan, Sitt Marie Rose

by Lee O'Brien
published in MER118

Etel Adnan, Sitt Marie Rose (trans. Georgina Kleege) (Sausalito, CA: Post-Apollo Press, 1982).

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Kemal, Anatolian Tales

by Shouleh Vatanabadi
published in MER122

Yaşar Kemal, Anatolian Tales (trans. Thilda Kemal) (London: Writers and Readers, 1983).

As the problems of Third World countries have intensified, modern Third World writers, committed to a realistic literary style, have been playing an important role in providing a more comprehensive view of their societies to readers worldwide. Yaşar Kemal, whose novels and short stories deal primarily with the social relations in Turkish villages, is among these writers. Born in a village in southern Anatolia, Kemal struggled to learn to read and write, and he knows firsthand the conditions under which the characters of his stories live.

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