Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: anti-america, bebsi bolitics, gadyanloo, iran, karim khan avenue, mehdi qadyanloo, murals, revolution, street art, tehran, twitter, us embassy, vanak square
I came across these charming trompe l’oeill murals on Wooster today, who say only that they are to be found on the streets of Tehran, Iran. The internet doesn’t say much either, except to suggest they are a collaboration between painter Mehdi Qadyanloo and city officials as part of a beautification drive. One that, of course, looks to spread hope, peace and other accoutrements through public art. This one in particular is on a building at Karim Khan Avenue; a particularly busy intersection of the city. It replaces a fairly infamous ‘Down With America’ mural that featured skulls and bombs in place of the stars and stripes.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: activism, anarchism, anthropology, arabic, ⚑, BDS, bebsi bolitics, books, brotest, cairo, dissent, egypt, gender, maps, palestine, space, state security, summer, surveillance society, traces, up the broletariat
No hyperinsightful solutions, unfortunately. I don’t actually know too much about bolitics in Egypt right now at that, though I really should. ‘Egyptian freedoms’ are probably more of an oxymoron than I realise. This illustration though, lovely no? From a 2nd grade Arabic language reader from 1938, it was donated by Christian Awaraji in Beirut 1997, and used to belong to his aunt, Flavie Awaraji who was born in 1938 and died in 1947 in a bicycle accident. Its inside cover reads “This book belongs to the honorable mademoiselle Flavie Awaraji, 11th (2. elementary) 1944, Lycée Français in Beirut”. I am slightly overwhelmed by these kind of traces of unknown people, like forgotten pressed flowers in the pages of old books. Traces of the geographical kind are becoming fascinating too, after burying (bunkering?) self in Paul VIrilio’s work lately (and of course the recycked Weizman fetishisation. I need to segue away from print back to image though, perhaps even film (which shouldn’t fizz out with a castrated film major?)
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ally, ☭☭☭, bebsi bolitics, carlos latuff, gaza, israel, not-trot, palestine, passport privilege, semantics, solidarity, we are all, we are all german jews
What does it mean to say ‘we are all Palestinian’, or ‘we are all Gaza‘? (And for many now, ‘we are all Hamas‘ – is this a popular semantic de-bantustanising?) Because we’re not. I really don’t know what I understand by the concept of solidarity anymore. There’s different forms and gradations, sure, ranging from statements and Facebook updates, to protests, boycotts and direct action, perhaps all the way to using your passport privilege to plant yourself in front of an Israeli or Mexican tank or bulldozer. And not to knock or denigrate that in any way, but I wonder if there can be real solidarity until you’re standing at either end of a gun? Or perhaps solidarity must instead be defined by its very passive nature – of relative privilege and thus allyship – always in solidarity but never in the struggle? (With an emphasis on the relative as opposed to absolute, tied to [blank] oppression – there’s of course cross-solidarity between differently oppressed peoples).
Maybe this is stemming from frustration, at being in Dubai-not-DC tomorrow, at lacking the aforementioned passport privilege and protection that my decidedly not navy blue passport will never afford. (If you’re not Rachel Corrie, that is). Thinking of the ‘we are all’ standard phrasing though, where does it come from? I can’t seem to find out, though there are suggestions of it coming from Paris 1968, with the denizens of the Quartier Latin’s slogan, “We are all German Jews” in solidarity with the banned Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Or maybe it comes from anti-Nazi peace activist Rev. Martin Niemöller’s famous statement?
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: anthropology, bebsi bolitics, fashion, femme fatale, gaza, glamour, herbert friedman, idf, israel, israeli defense forces, mata hari, michael taussig, palestine, propaganda, sex, war, war machine, ww2
Is this the new face of war? It’s no secret that the Israeli Defense Forces could probably do with a PR boost these days. Their solution? A new glammed up self-refreshing banner on their english language website, featuring a slew of sexy soldier femme-fatale types, smiling and pouting at the camera, sometimes in fields of red flowers. Some of them look almost editorial, replete with artfully smudged warpaint, and the kind of careful dustings of grainy sand that you most often find in swimwear shoots. The image above is particularly striking, with its sweeping bullets and row of machine gun ammunition. Out of context, I would personally find it very difficult to identify the bullets as anything but jumbo crayon oversized sticks of kohl, perhaps the shimmery highlight kind. Sex sells, sure, but can it really sell occupation and massacre?
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: academic, academic essay, anthropology, ☭☭☭, bebsi bolitics, columbia, darfur, denial, ehud barak, ethnic cleansing, eyal weizman, gaza, gaza strip, genocide, ICC, idf, israel, mahmood mamdani, massacre, palestine, politics of naming, semantics, wall, west bank, zionism
Is Gaza a genocide; is Darfur a genocide? Where do you draw the lines between ‘land conflict’, ‘ethnic cleansing’ and genocide’, and what are the political value(s) of doing so? And how does something get designated as genocide anyway – is it, legally, only when the ICC at the Hague says so?
These are a couple of things I’ve been thinking through lately, having just taken a fairly broad based intro course with Mahmood Mamdani, which ended by looking at Darfur. To be fair, his somewhat controversial views did not come out explicitly in lecture, but having looked them up, I found myself agreeing, at least in part. With Darfur, as with Palestine I admittedly know only smidgens of the context from what I have read, but even in a vacuum, there’s value in the consideration that naming something a ‘conflict’ or ‘genocide’ has very real political affects. (The above is a real ad by the way, not a culturejam riff on Miranda July as I first thought. It ran in the New York Times Magazine, on April 10, 2008).
It’s especially interesting then as I just wrote a paper on said politics of naming in both Darfur and Palestine. (And ‘interesting’ is such a strange go-to-in-order-to-highlight word, one that I awkwardly cycle with ‘fascinating’, and even the aggrandising ‘significant’. Because it is not strange, but indeed heart wrenching and what else can you do in powerlessness but a detatched and masqued quasi-academic commentary?
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: arab world, art, ☭☭☭, bebsi bolitics, dubai, dubai + middle east, gaza, gulf news, hamas, israel, latuff, massacre, media, media terrorism, ny times, palestine, solidarity, third intifada, uae
|There was a crazy fog today and tonight – lower than I’ve ever seen it in the daytime-, covering everything with muffled dampness. Kind of like the Arab response, then? Dubai in particular usually drops big money on fireworks displays and the like yet this year festivities have been subdued or, like the fireworks, cancelled. I believe a bunch of other Arab states are doing the same, all in solidarity with Gaza. Shame that’s about as far as it will probably extend, humanitarian aid aside. And while people rally to protest at Israeli embassies around the world, here it happens at the Palestinian embassy instead. With no embassy in much of the Arab World, I did wonder where people would mobilise to, save for angry letters-to-the-editor invectives – L’Oreal counters perhaps? Libyans, however took to the Egyptian embassy instead, while others opted for the streets. From what I’m reading, Amman saw upwards of 20 000 taking to the streets demanding an end to the 1994 peace deal with Israel.|