Thousands of Palestinians Risk Displacement

Via The Electronic Intifada: Thousands of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley risk forced displacement, says UN body Submitted by Adri Nieuwhof on Sat, 02/11/2012 – 16:46 Sixty thousand Palestinians live under harsh conditions in the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area – one of the most isolated and restricted areas in occupied Palestine. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has summarized their humanitarian situation … Read more Thousands of Palestinians Risk Displacement

Happy B-Day Tunisia!

It was a year ago today that the Arab Spring saw its first victory when Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia following the protests that had broken out on 18 December 2010 with a people’s loud & proactive chlass, ras-le-bol, basta, enough-already! of revolutionary proportions. Here’s a poem by Tunisian poet Tahar Bekri from the forthcoming (November 2012) Poems for the Millennium IV: The University of California Book of North … Read more Happy B-Day Tunisia!

Israeli Poet Almog Behar on his Mashreqi Roots

More from the sickbed — where cut-and-paste is the best I can do — this piece from an unlikely source, The Jerusalem Post: The Resurgent Mizrahi Voice 01/04/2012 18:26   By KAMOUN BEN-SHIMON Poet Almog Behar epitomizes the move of some Israelis to embrace their Middle Eastern roots. Photo by: SARAH DEMMI LEVIN One evening during the summer’s months of unrest, Almog Behar walks into the protest tent camp … Read more Israeli Poet Almog Behar on his Mashreqi Roots

Uri Avnery on Newt

Uri Avnery writes: December 17, 2011   “With Friends Like These…” MY GOD, what a bizarre lot these Republican aspirants for the US presidency are!  What a sorry bunch of ignoramuses and downright crazies. Or, at best, what a bunch of cheats and cynics! (With the possible exception of the good doctor Ron Paul). Is this the best a great and proud nation can produce? How frightening the thought that … Read more Uri Avnery on Newt

Tunisia, Elections, & Women’s Rights

Today Tunisians vote to elect an assembly charged with drafting a new constitution that may help bring the hopes of the Jasmine Revolution of last February to fruition by creating the basis for a truly democratic state.  The fear is, of course, that the better organized & financed religious groupings — locals such as Rachid al-Ghannouchi & his “Renaissance Party” & their supposedly “lite” version of Islam, or the foreign-financed Salafis, … Read more Tunisia, Elections, & Women’s Rights

Fisk on Amin Maalouf

Interesting article by Robert Fisk in The Independent this morning, on the election of Lebanese-French author Amin Maalouf to the Acedémie Française. I do remember the latter’s first book — a novelized life of the great Maghrebi historian El Hasan ben Muhammed el-Wazzan-ez-Zayyati, better known by his pope-imposed name Leo Africanus — as a very enjoyable summer “fiction” read. I agree with Fisk that Maalouf’s best book is his non-fiction account … Read more Fisk on Amin Maalouf

Ibn Darradj al-Qastalli (2)

  Ode in praise of al-Mansur al-‘Amiri, Emir of Cordoba  (Mu’arada of Abu-Nawas)(Extract)   O wife! Set the will of the unjustly treated free            so that it may rise into the desert’s immensity and take flight! Perhaps what pained you after separation            will make the lowly stronger or free a prisoner. Don’t you know that to settle down means to die            and that the homes of those who have … Read more Ibn Darradj al-Qastalli (2)

Ibn Darradj al-Qastalli (1)

From the DIWAN IFRIKIYA anthology, a poet of the early glorious days of al-Andalus (given the limits of blog formatting & text width, the final layout will be slightly different to indicate the hemistiches of the original Arabic lines):   Ibn Darradj al-Qastalli (‘Umar Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Sulayman ibn Darradj al-Qastalli) (958-1030) Ode  In praise of Khaïran al-‘Amiri, Emir of Almeria (Extract) In the folds of … Read more Ibn Darradj al-Qastalli (1)

A year in jail for a poem

Via “The Arabist“: Bahrain: A year in jail for a poem By Ursula Lindsey June 14, 2011 at 4:32 PM Share On Sunday a court in Bahrain sentenced Ayat Al Qurmazi, a 20-year-old education student, to a year in prison for insulting the king and inciting hatred. Al Qurmazi became famous after reciting poetry Pearl Square that includes the lines such as: We are the people who will kill humiliation and assassinate misery We … Read more A year in jail for a poem