The article aims at reading Bahaa Taher's ( ) through Ernst Bloch's notion of the simultaneity of the nonsimultaneous ( ), which foregrounds the existence of a multilayered temporality in the now, together with its inherent contradictions. By deploying the hermeneutical capacity of the simultaneity of the nonsimultaneous, the article shows how Taher highlights the condition of a nation in crisis, through its social and cultural strata that are out of sync. The simultaneity of the nonsimultaneous is, therefore, the underlying logic of the content as well as a form of expression. By analyzing the multilayered temporality, the article argues that Bahaa Taher introduces a multivoiced dialectic, that brings all contradictions to consciousness without mastering and controlling them under a grand narrative.
Philip K. Hitti was the first scholar to study Arab-American immigration to the United States. Highly influential during the twentieth century, his ideas have lost much of their appeal to current interpreters of the early diaspora of Arab-Americans called Syrians at the time. This article revisits Hitti's thought, focusing on the issues of Palestine and Arab identity. Using primary source material from Hitti's archived papers, plus multiple secondary sources, I argue that Hitti maintained consistency, both in his advocacy of the general Arab stance opposing a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and in his construction of Arab identity as different from Syrian identity. On Palestine, Hitti clashed with Albert Einstein, in public discourse and in an acerbic private exchange of correspondence. On Arab identity, Hitti held firm to a strict interpretation, distinguishing Syrians, conceptualized as Christian, from Arabs, conceptualized as Islamic.
This article examines the role that empathy played during the US intervention in the Lebanese civil war of 1958, also known as Operation Blue Bat. Through deep readings of public texts, it explores how a minority of Americans empathized with Lebanese opponents of President Camille Chamoun. After the arrival of US forces, Lebanese anti-Chamounists made their voices heard and feeling felt in the USA via global information providers, enacting cultural interventions. Lebanese dissent was headline news, engendering empathetic processes that reoriented US ways of feeling, thinking, and acting. By using empathy as a point of entry into historical intercultural relations, this article unearths how genuine transnational understandings were socially formed during a moment of conflict. Ultimately, it argues that a focus on empathy gives foreign relations scholars an avenue eschews nefarious Orientalist binaries and their powers in the process.
This article discusses China's economic development and political influence in the Middle East, and the construction of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It also discusses Xi Jinping's vision for relationships with the Middle East states as its natural partners, the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF), the law of value, and the antagonistic contradictions China will encounter in its path to accumulation with US hegemony in the region.
This article will address two major related issues regarding Arab culture as an integral part of the globalization ethos. In order to expand the conceptual parameters of globalization and cultural studies, the exclusivity of political and economic globalization will be interrogated in favor of a more diverse, humanitarian definition of the term. At the heart of this argument, inflected by interdisciplinarity and the literature and theory of postcolonial studies, is tolerance, respect, and recognition of difference and for the marginalized voices of the “other.” The theoretical framework challenges the stereotyping, homogenization, and misrepresentation of Arabs, colonialist ideas that have been carried over into the practice of globalism and the marginalization of Arab history and culture within world heritage. It is my hope to correct the negative perceptions about the Arab people, mainstream misperceptions of politicians, the media, and public discourse. The article will underscore the diversity and complexity of the identity and history of people in the Middle East and North Africa. Although in the West Arabs are usually synonymous with Muslims, a discussion of Islam and/or Islamophobia will not be addressed in this article. The first part will elaborate on the historical context of the creation of the modern Arab world. Next, various definitions of the main domains of globalism and their correlation to the contemporary Arab world will be summarized. Integrated into both sections are two major issues: the creative resistance that has accompanied the founding of the modern Arab world and the impact of globalization on Arab society, concepts that have played out in the containment of this region.
The Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef urgently asks, “Why are the poets silent?/Where have they gone?” These questions underscore the compelling need for the guiding voices of Arab intellectuals at this deeply divided present moment in the Arab world that has effectively seen the destruction of seemingly stable nations and identities. It is important to understand why and how easily “things fell apart” for Arab nations and peoples under the destructive influence and direct intervention of imperialist and Zionist agendas and forces. What does it mean to speak truth to power in the current Arab and global context where the destruction of Arab nations, such as Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen has become the all too familiar, convenient, and accepted status quo, which is marked by destructive and exclusionary discourses? It has become incumbent upon the Arab intellectual/writer/poet to lead the self-examination process in order to provide an understanding of the current Arab situation within its greater global context and construct a revolutionary and insurrectionary discourse that would expose and dismantle the current defeatist and divisionary discourses. Antonio Gramsci's concepts of hegemony and consent, Louis Althusser's ideological state apparatuses, and Edward Said's important ideas on the intellectual's critical consciousness, secular criticism, and beginnings are the theoretical lenses used to help decipher the catastrophic happenings in the Arab world. This study also examines excerpts of literary works by important Arab poets/intellectuals, such as Mahmoud Darwish, Mourid Barghouti, Bader Shaker Al-Sayyab, Saadi Youssef, and Yusuf Al-Ani.
This article addresses the issue of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, their camps, their resistance, and the challenges they have been facing “as refugees” to survive in the deeply divided state of Lebanon and to return to Palestine. Currently there are about 450,000 Palestinian refugees scattered among 12 official and recognized Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon as well as many refugee gatherings; this number is part of the 6 million Palestinian refugees who are scattered in the world as a result of the establishment of the Zionist entity in 1948. However, on December 11, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly issued the UN resolution 194, during its third session, which stipulated that Palestinians have the right of return to their homes in Palestine. The Palestinian right of return is a Right and therefore it is not negotiable and cannot be compromised under any condition and/or circumstance. There have been continual attempts and proposals to terminate this Palestinian right of return to historic Palestine. To stop these toxic proposals from reaching their goals and to achieve their strategic goal, the Palestinian resistance has the legitimate right to use any means necessary, including armed struggle against the occupiers. The Palestinians in Lebanon are part of this process and they have been struggling on all levels to achieve their civil and human rights in order to improve their social and economic conditions in their refugee camps. Furthermore, the Palestinians have the legitimate right to continue their national struggle against Israel, which is the only way for the Palestinians to achieve their national goal for total liberation. However, there have been additional challenges affecting the Palestinians and their refugee camps in Lebanon post 1990; by the end of the Lebanese Civil War, the Palestinian refugee camps witnessed the emergence and growth of groups. Consequently, the Palestinian refugees have been sandwiched between oppressive Lebanese rules and the rise of the inside the camps. The article attempts to answer the following questions: What are the challenges affecting the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon? How can the Palestinians protect their identity from erasure and achieve their right of return to Palestine? Which internal and external groups currently control the camps? In what ways has ideology impacted the Palestinian identity? How can the Palestinian refugees and their camps survive under such conditions?
This article will discuss Israeli machinations to covet substantial areas of the Lebanese maritime exclusive economic zone, while knowing full well that international law has sided with Lebanon in this matter. The conflict between Israel and Lebanon will be discussed in the context of the relations among regional states and the conflict of East Mediterranean states over maritime oil and gas fields. Main questions that arise in this regard are as follows: First, is it a matter of oil and gas reserves over and above its share that Israel is seeking to capture or does the controversy have to do with regional domination or both? Second, what is the significance of the US envoys’ visits in early 2018 to Beirut, presumably to resolve the disagreement between Lebanon and Israel? Third, have those visits defused the situation between the two states involved or added fuel to the fire? Fourth, what is the significance of Israel's occupation of parts of Lebanon's territory to the issue of offshore oil and gas and how might it relate to the cement wall that Israel has been constructing partially in Lebanese territories? Fifth, what is the probability of an Israeli attack on Lebanon that could quickly transform into a regional conflict?
This article examines the US government's targeting of Arab Americans for surveillance and harassment in the wake of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and the Palestinian terrorist group Black September's murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. In the late 1960s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) included Arabs as targets of its COINTELPRO surveillance program, and in 1972 the Nixon administration created the Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism and the visa check system Operation Boulder to monitor Arab residents and Arab Americans. The federal government overstepped its constitutional boundaries and used its powers to repress Arab American activism on behalf of Palestine. The article explores Arab Americans' responses and resistance to government violations of their civil liberties. Ironically, the government's attempt to divide and intimidate Arab Americans actually served to heighten their unity and advance their activism.
The events and reasons behind the closure of the AAUG Washington DC office and the subsequent disbanding of the entire organization, with the notable exception of the is described here by the last acting Executive Director. This essay helps to fill a major lacuna in the written history of a major Arab American activist organization.
In this highly personal firsthand account, a leading Arab American activist traces his history as a child in a small town in northern Michigan to his growing political activism spurred on by experiences in the Middle East and the 1967 war. He places particular emphasis on the Association of Arab American University Graduates (AAUG) and National Lawyers Guild (NLG). Both of these organizations, very early on, took principled, yet highly controversial stances in favor of a Palestinian state.
This article provides a first-hand account of Arab American activism from the 1967 war to the present. It focuses on the development and activities of Arab Americans in the metropolitan Chicago area, with particular emphasis on the activities of Arab American and Arab students in the decades after the '67 war. It also describes the alliances forged between African Americans and Arab Americans during those tumultuous decades, as well as offering suggestions for what Arab American activists should do in the future.
In this article, Aswad describes how she became involved in the Middle East and her ongoing commitment to organizations and programs working for Arab Americans and Palestine. She focuses on the Dearborn area and the ultimately successful struggle to prevent the destruction of the largely Arab American community in the Southend through a program of “urban renewal” which was actually one of “urban removal.”
Nakba means "catastrophe" in Arabic. Since 1948, it has come to denote the permanent expulsion and dispossession of more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and lands, and the rape, pillage, and massacre of thousands more, by Zionist militias during the years leading up to the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel in historic Palestine. The Nakba caused a large proportion of the Palestinian population to become refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt and produced a significant Palestinian diaspora spanning Europe, the Americas, North Africa, and the Middle East. This ethnic cleansing of Palestine was denied until recently by the dominant forces within the international community, the neoimperialist agenda of which was bolstered most notoriously by former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir's 1969 excoriation of the then-alliance between Egypt and the Soviet Union: the political front against the advance of communism and radical labor was for her-and in large part remains-the suppression of Palestinian liberation. Forty-two years later in 2011, Israel, politically much further to the right than it was during Meir's time, passed a law that denies state funding to any public or government entity that memorializes the Nakba as an occasion for mourning.
These memoirs of the AAUG by one of its leaders, and a former president, focus on its shortcomings, as well as the role of women within the organization. It also addresses the issues of secular Arab nationalism and the more recent phenomena of Islamophobia.
This article proposes an alternative analytical model to examine the shifting devaluation of racialized, classed, and gendered lives in Randa Jarrar's As the novel depicts powerful instances of nonnormative practices, it lends itself to new analytical approaches for understanding the relationship between power, normativity, and value in Arab American fiction. The intellectual and political frameworks that inform this reading of the novel draw on Arab and Arab American feminisms, women of color feminisms, and queer of color critique. This emphasis marks a shift from existing criticism in proposing to interpret the characters' experiences, not as struggles of identity and belonging but as tense processes of gendered and classed racialization, self-representation, and political determination. In doing so, the discussion moves toward a critique of coercive practices that render Arab and Arab American lives in the United States vulnerable to threats of violence/exploitation in the context of neoliberalism.
I focus on multilingual usages, specifically code-switching between English and Arabic, in Lebanese American Rabih Alameddine's 1998 novel While the novel portrays English as the emancipatory language of coming out and self-acceptance for gay Lebanese men living in the United States between the late 1970s and mid-1990s, Mohammad, a painter, only comes to terms with his impending demise by reverting to Arabic during the final stages of his losing battle with AIDS. Drawing on findings from psycholinguistic, sociolinguistic, translation, and medical/neurological studies, I compare and contrast verbal encounters between Mohammad and various Lebanese and American characters to foreground strategies intended to exclude and/or include certain parties, be they characters or readers. While Arabic words actually employed are few, I argue that implied code-switching and the dynamics of speaker(s), interlocutor(s), setting(s), and context(s) establish links among AIDS, Arabic, art, and acceptance of death; Arabic resurfaces, when Mohammad is on his deathbed, as the language of his childhood and even serves as the bridge toward his “afterlife.” The primary theoretical impacts of my reading are twofold: minimal code-switching does not, as some claim, showcase shallow multilingualism, and a language-minded approach adds a new dimension to the definition of Lebanese (Arab) American literature by focusing on the emotional rather than the national/ethnic facets of the embedded native language.
Shakespeare's has been reimagined, adapted, and appropriated by Arab playwrights and poets. The Arab Jordanian poet ʿArār (Mustafa Wahbi Al-Tal; 1897–1949) appropriates Shakespeare's anti-archetype of the figure of the Jew, Shylock, to criticize two local issues in the early twentieth-century context in Jordan and Palestine. First, the phenomenon of money-lending by Jordanian merchants, which led to the confiscation of the poor peasants' lands in the early twentieth century. Second, the condemnation of Zionism and its association with Western colonialism. Shakespeare's Shylock, on one hand, is recreated as a Jordanian Shylock, who is a usurer, and, on the other, as a Zionist Shylock. This remoulding of Shakespeare's Shylock as an Arab and Zionist reveals the post-Shakespeare Arab audience's new perception of as a play about the political and behavioral affiliations of Shylock rather than about his Jewish ethnicity.
Scholars in Arab post-colonial literature have spoken of the lure of the West for immigrants in terms of the West's superiority of education, technological development, military prowess, political weight, and economic clout. Sudanese novelist Tayeb Salih presents a different, but not inconsistent, narrative: his novel suggests that the lure of the West, in the case of England, consists in its accommodation of emotional distance. Even though Tayeb Salih's literary work acknowledges the role of emotional detachment in undermining the notions of community, home, and integration, asserts that emotionlessness is the source of gratification for the transnational protagonist Mustafa Sa'eed. In so doing, argues against the immigrant and transnational notion of emotional apathy being a source of pain for diasporic subjects. Mustafa Sa'eed's lack of emotions allows him to interact with the fiction of West through embodying Oriental and other performances. The protagonist's emotional detachment from English society, its women, and preconceived notions about the Orient, paradoxically, enables him to derive pleasure from his physical trysts, nomadism, anti-colonial revenge, and pretend play.