Bahraini protesters carry rocks in a clash with riot police during a demonstration against the ongoing parliamentary elections in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama on November 22, 2014. AFP/Mohammed al-Shaikh
Wed, 2014-12-31 18:17
This year was a powerful amalgamation of torment, dissent, and small victories – a mixture of struggles, oftentimes intersecting, which will shape the new year.
The political transition in Saudi Arabia may not have been as smooth as it has been made out to be. Muhammad Bin Nayif’s selection as the Crown Prince of the Crown Prince was intended to solidify the Sudayri clan’s hold on power. Furthermore, the news that Khalid At-Tuwayjiri (whose father, `Abdul-`Azis ran the diwan of `Abdullah for decades before he was succeeded by his son) fled the country indicates that Salman and his allies moved quickly to eradicate the power center of Abdullah and his sons. It is not unlikely that Prince Muqrin will soon be replaced as Crown Prince.
"Black Lives Matter" is drawn on the ground in chalk as protesters demonstrate against racism in the "Reclaim MLK" march January 19, 2015
the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Missouri. AFP/Michael B. Thomas
Thu, 2015-01-22 18:24
William C. Sullivan, former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation intelligence operations, once called Martin Luther King Jr “the most dangerous Negro in the future [of the United States of America]” in a memo to J. Edgar Hoover titled “Communist Party, USA, Negro Question.” In the years since Dr. King’s death, the official riff on his legacy has undergone a marked shift; and, accordingly, the reverend’s message has been simplified and stripped of its radical elements. Revolutionary components of his philosophy have been wiped away or tamed, his subversive declarations ignored. Now, for the national holiday that bears his name, activists around the United States responded to this white-washing with a campaign to reclaim the legacy of the civil rights leader (#ReclaimMLK).
“Cyprus is close,” Lebanese Interior Minister Nohad al-Machnouk said in a recent televised interview, referring to the island that Lebanese citizens still have to seek out as a refuge in case they wish to marry under civil rather than religious law. Though legal in Lebanon now, the implementation of civil marriage is still being delayed by the Ministry of Interior for no publicly-stated reason. Instead, Mr. al-Machnouk asked the Lebanese people to obtain one of their simplest, most basic civil rights, the right to marriage, outside their own country.
A couple of nights ago, while having a drink in Hamra, a friend of mine said, “What’s nice about this place is that it’s always there when you need it.” There’s something soothingly constant about the seemingly ever-changing Hamra Street that we’re losing elsewhere in Beirut. While the public conversation about Hamra has lately been about its alleged transformation into Beirut’s ‘Little Syria,’ the truth is that it still remains what it always has been, a place that allows you to belong.
There is so much to say about the crime against Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical newspaper, AND the ensuing affair. Much has been said already, and protests were held, and pens were brandished all over the world. One of the more curious reactions can be found in an article in Dissent magazine by Michael Walzer, in which he reproaches the left for failing to take on Islamic fundamentalism or radicalism or whatever people call it (the official danger in France is now labeled “radical Islam,” provided that radical Islam does not have oil and gas wealth to buy arms from the French government).
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up ‘Inside the Dream Palace,’ a book by Sherill Tippins on the life and death of New York City’s Chelsea Hotel. I had never heard of the hotel, but the delicious back cover description promised a detailed narrative touching on sociology’s influence on architecture, architecture’s effect on people and people’s impact on their city.
There is always a story or an angle about Hezbollah that gets the attention, first, of the Saudi media, and then consequently of the Western media. Readers of Arabic are struck by how the themes, stories, and perspectives of the Saudi/Hariri media invariably become the stories of the Beirut correspondents of US (and to a lesser degree, French and British) media. The Hariri assassination story always originated from rumors and leaks in the Saudi royal yellow press, and was regurgitated by the Western media’s Beirut correspondents.