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Posts tagged "middle east"
In Israel, they talk of “mowing the lawn” in Gaza, a callous idiom used to refer to the periodic bombardment of a besieged territory in the hopes of reducing the capacity of militant groups every few years. Each time they “mow,” however, they sow seeds of hatred for the next generation. How successful, morally or militarily, is a war whose repetition is planned?
Yousef Munayyer  on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Continue reading. (via newyorker)

(via newyorker)

Sara Yasin, you are officially my hero. Dear. God.

Dispossessed and dispersed, they embodied the Palestinian plight.

While civil war rages on the Syrian battlefield between regime loyalists and myriad rebel factions, another battle is taking place in the media world. Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera, the two Gulf-based channels that dominate the Arabic news business, have moved to counter Syrian regime propaganda, but have ended up distorting the news almost as badlyas their opponents. In their bid to support the Syrian rebels’ cause, these media giants have lowered their journalistic standards, abandoned rudimentary fact-checks, and relied on anonymous callers and unverified videos in place of solid reporting. 


White privilege is echoing oppressive dichotomies about Islam that lead to the discrimination and death of Middle Eastern people, and then instantly becoming the victim when you get death threats because of it.

Last week’s revelation that an official Israeli civics exam instructed Jewish girls not to ‘hang around with Arabs’ is part of a long-running, systemic pattern of racism and dehumanisation against the Palestinians that must be exposed and addressed, argues Ali Hocine Dimerdji.


This is happening right now.

Get your shit together US media.

(via halalsin)

Muslims today are young, sexually and politically frustrated. This isn’t the strapline of a new reality show, but the conclusions of stereotype-laden analysis from the Daily Beast.

Largely assigned the role of being either a victim or a housewife in her native homeland, the international media has overlooked a radical change in the face of revolutionary politics in the Middle East. Names like Wedad Demerdash, Asmaa Mahfouz, Mona Seif, Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakel Karman, and Zainab al-Khawaja have been largely overshadowed by western mainstream media attention on body counts, beards, and bombs. They are mentioned solely in passing as something of interest, but often pushed into the background by media seeking the more sensational story of how Islam is “coming to get you.” They, however, are leaders among thousands of women who are part of the same struggle for political and economic equality that has so enflamed the region.


In February 1982, Syria’s late president Hafez al-Assad ordered his army, under the direct supervision of his younger brother Rifaat, to destroy the town of Hama which had been a major source of opposition to the Ba’ath regime since the mid-1960s. Besieged by 12,000 troops, the fighting lasted for three weeks. Robert Fisk, in his book Pity the Nation, describes how civilians began fleeing the town just as tanks and troops started moving in. According to Amnesty International, the Syrian army bombed the old city from the air to allow infantry and tanks through the narrow streets. By night, they destroyed buildings and places of worship. There were also reports of the use of hydrogen cyanide by government forces. After these attacks, military and security personnel were dispatched to comb through the rubble for surviving insurgents and their sympathisers. Torture and mass executions were prevalent throughout. The total number of deaths has been estimated at between 10,000 and 40,000; the vast majority civilians. Rifaat boasted of killing 38,000 people. I visited Hama a few days after Ramadan in December 2001. All that remains of the old city is a wall, a chilling reminder that in the Syria of the Assads, treachery comes at a heavy price.



Ghada Karmi and Ellen Siegel in front of London’s Israeli embassy in 1973. They started quite a tradition.

Haitham El-Zabri and Anna Baltzer in front of the University of Texas in 2009.

And some others:

(via maghrabiyya)

Students at Bahrain Polytechnic are being silenced and expelled for social media posts. Sara Yasin reports

Hardline Muslim groups often portray the Ottoman empire as a magic template for a global caliphate. This is then used as a springboard for grandiose arguments that paint a caliphate as viable, and deem it as the only credible model of governance for the future. These arguments are based on a belief that the empire adhered to a single interpretation of sharia (Islamic law) for over 600 years, and – crucially – that its success was contingent on this.

But a paper by Ishtiaq Hussain, published by Faith Matters on Saturday displays a very different picture. Ottoman sultans, or caliphs, in the 18th and 19th centuries launched secular schools and promoted the education of women. The period of reformation known as the Tanzimat saw customary and religious laws being replaced in favour of secular European ones. More surprisingly, homosexuality was decriminalised in 1858 (long before many western states took their cue, and over a century before the American Psychiatric Association declassified it as a mental illness in 1973). Contrary to the claims of hardline groups, religious authorities approved many of these measures.