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Castration in the Name of Precaution

As of last week, my parents’ house, the house I grew up in, changed forever.

Although it’s normal that things change all the time, there are benchmarks by which one can define somewhere or something. One day last week was one of those times worthy of cementing an inflection point, a benchmark in defining “home.” Before that, the house I grew up in was safe from everything. It was safe from politics, when politics went very wrong. It was safe from religion, when the latter became unquestionable. It was safe from the conceptual and physical turmoil resulting from the ups and downs of the world outside, and contained within an unburstable bubble of sanity we actively upkeep as a family.

Hezbollah and the New Rules of Engagement

Israeli calculations don’t always meet their goals. In 1982, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon and killed more than 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinians — mostly civilians, as usual — in the hope of ridding Lebanon of the Israeli occupation’s enemies. The results of that invasion are well-known, but let’s just say that Israel never had more formidable opponents and resisters than the ones that its own brutality and savagery produced in Lebanon. Furthermore, Israel often casually invades and bombs for electoral benefit. Shimon Peres could never run a campaign without engaging in a massacre or bombing campaign. Crimes and massacres are part of Israel’s electoral politics.

The Hidden Normalization: The Muslim Leadership Initiative’s Zionist Trip

Most of the discourse about the occupation of Palestine is conducted without Palestinians — instead, it is largely discussed via external parties, contrived negotiations, and elaborate but empty peacemaking efforts. Over time, approaches to exploring the Palestinian question have changed. Recently, they have grown more insidious and less inclusive.

The Crippling Present: Questioning the Route to a Unified Arab Identity

Living at home has become scarier than ever. Until now, I have considered Lebanon and the neighboring nations of the Arab world my home. This understanding consisted of a mash-up of different realities — all these Arab countries moving in parallel. I cared about women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, freedom in Jordan and activism in Egypt, as if they were all part of my country. I cared about Syria’s right to peace, Palestine’s right to exist, and Tunisia’s steps towards victory. I thought I had a role in affecting them positively. “I am an Arab,” I would say, quite proudly, expressing a vivid part of my geopolitical and cultural identity. I still say this, but it is aspirational, not a description of my present situation.

Saudi Political Dilemmas

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 Power Matters

"Black Lives Matter" is drawn on the ground in chalk as protesters demonstrate against racism in the "Reclaim MLK" march January 19, 2015 outside the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Missouri. AFP/Michael B. Thomas

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).

On Civil Rights Tourism

“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.

Obtaining Respect and Acceptance in Western Countries: a Guide for Muslims

1) They should never try to produce their own leaders and representatives. Western governments can do a far better job in that respect.

2) They should never try to sympathize with the Palestinian people and their cause. They should realize that identifying with Zionist crimes is part of being Western.

3) They should be aware that they are not white and that they will never be treated as white. Bleaching won’t work.

What’s a Muslim to do without the iCondemn?

Where are the moderate Muslims? Why aren’t Muslims speaking up? Muslims should be out in the streets condemning these attacks!

Beautiful Hamra Belongs to all of us

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.

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