Cairo's Poor

Dilemmas of Survival and Solidarity

by Asef Bayat
published in MER202

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Diminishing Possibilities in Algeria

Interview with Salima Ghezali

by Geoff Hartman
published in MER203

Selima Ghezali was born in Bouira, Algeria in 1958. After obtaining a degree in literature, she began working as a teacher of French at the Khemis el-Khechna high school, where she was active in the General Union of Algerian Workers. In the 1980s, Ghezali joined the Algerian feminist movement then fighting the implementation of Algeria’s repressive family code. She later became president of the Women’s Association of Europe and North Africa and chairwoman of the Association pour l’Emancipation des Femmes (Association for the Emancipation of Women).

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Myths and Money

Four Years of Hariri and Lebanon's Preparation for a New Middle East

by Volker Perthes
published in MER203

“The price of prosperity has already been paid,” read an ad that Lebanon’s Investment Development Authority ran in the summer of 1996. “Now is the time to harvest.” The ad also mentioned, euphemistically, that the price had been “a period of unrest.” The message was meant to convince international investors that Lebanon has reemerged as a stable location for big finance and capital. At the same time, it reflected the feeling of many Lebanese that the civil war (1975-1990) had been due to external, regional, rather than internal, domestic circumstances, and that Lebanon therefore ought to be compensated for all the suffering.

Syria Between Two Transitions

by Hisham Melhem
published in MER203

In the recent years, Syria has inhabited the two processes of fundamental transition. The first is a transition from a statist economy to a greater liberalization or, to use a more accurate term, intifah (open-door policy). The second of these transitions is from a state of belligerency with Israel to one of coexistence with the possible eventuality of peace. Although not organically linked, the two reinforce one another. The interplay among the dynamics both have created profoundly shapes state and society in Syria, as it has the politics of the Eastern Mediterranean.

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Understanding the Political Economy of the Arab Revolts

by Omar S. Dahi
published in MER259

The revolts sweeping the Arab Middle East and North Africa in early 2011 have been characterized as uprisings against neoliberal economic policies as well as authoritarian rule. But while there is widespread agreement on the political dimension of the revolts, there has been some confusion regarding the role played by economic grievances. The confusion is due not merely to the pace of events, but also to the fact that the region’s actual economic record is somewhat contested.

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Historical Road Maps for the "New World Order"

by Chris Toensing
published in MER208

Peter Gran, Beyond Eurocentrism: A New View of Modern World History (Syracuse University Press, 1996).

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Algeria's Rebellion by Installments

by Azzedine Layachi | published March 12, 2011

In mid-February, with autocratic rulers deposed in Tunisia and Egypt, and another tottering in Libya, the National Coordination for Change and Democracy took to the streets in the capital of Algeria. The organization, which was created on January 21, following a series of riots in several cities across the country, is led by the Rally for Democracy and Culture (RCD), an opposition party whose narrow constituency includes mainly Berber-speaking people in Algiers and the nearby Kabylia region. The Coordination includes other small political parties, as well as the National League for the Defense of Human Rights, the National Association of Families of Missing Persons (those who “disappeared” during the internal war of the 1990s), an association of the unemployed and many other groups. It called for “change and democracy, the lifting of the state of emergency, the liberalization of the political and media fields, and the release of people who were jailed for having protested or for their opinions.”

Jordan's Balancing Act

by Nicolas Pelham | published February 22, 2011

When anti-monarchical revolution swept the Middle East in the 1950s, Jordan was one of the few populous Arab states to keep its king. King ‘Abdallah II, son of Hussein, the sole Hashemite royal to ride out the republican wave, has all the credentials to perform a similar balancing act. Aged 49, he has been in charge for a dozen years, unlike his father, who was just 17 and only a few months into his reign when the Egyptian potentate abdicated in 1952. And the son has grown accustomed to weathering storms on the borders, whether the Palestinian intifada to the west or the US invasion of Iraq to the east.

Room to Breathe

Creating Space for Independent Political Action in Morocco

by Daniel Burton-Rose
published in MER209

Less than a block from the seventeenth-century walls that surround Rabat’s medina (old city) is the Association Tamaynut. Inside the three-room office one can attend meetings, listen to lectures and participate in passionate discussions. A young man, Ibrahim, is there every weekday from morning until night. One of Morocco’s many thousand unemployed college graduates, he spends his free time doing volunteer work that he finds gratifying.

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