Essays and Features

Homage to Early Lebanese Immigrants

Eugene Paul Nassar

I grew up and still live in the upstate New York City of Utica, on the East side, which is largely an Italian American neighborhood intermingled with a small percentage of Lebanese Americans. The “Americans,” as we called them, lived on the other side of town and were largely unknown to the children of East Utica. Our community was a wonderful place to grow up, and it provided a most happy childhood.

Burning Questions – Review Debunks Honor-Crime Memoir

Therese Taylor.

“Burned Alive” is a best-selling memoir that recounts an Arab woman’s survival of an honor killing.  It has been translated into numerous languages, is in school libraries, on university reading lists and recommended to anyone seeking the “truth” about Middle Eastern women’s life stories.  Despite its wide circulation, “Burned Alive” has never been authenticated.  Australian historian Thérèse Taylor describes how she came to doubt every word of it.

AAUG and ADS Conventions Beirut Hosts Two Arab-American Events

Samar Barakat

Two weeks after the Association of Arab-American University Graduates' first convention in Lebanon, the local press still reverberated the event's impact, with the Daily Star, the local English-language daily, featuring an interview with three convention speakers on the damage caused by sanctions against Iraq. The article was one of several in the Lebanese press on the AAUG convention, held in Beirut in late June 2000 and co-hosted by CAUS, the Center for Arab Unity Studies, which has its head office in Beirut.

Alfred Basbous (1924-2006): Legacy of Three Brothers Turns Lebanese Village of Rachana into a Global Center of Sculpture

Nancy Linthicum

The name Rachana originally resonated only with this coastal Lebanese village’s population of less than 1,000 inhabitants; now, however, for people around the world, Rachana immediately calls to mind the Basbous brothers – Michel, Youssef, and Alfred – who were amongst Lebanon’s finest sculptors and the source of Rachana’s fame. As Alfred Basbous once said to writer Yaqzan al-Taqi, who like so many others had come to witness the renowned sculptures on display in Rachana, “Much sculpting is taking place here and it is being felt at an international level.

TV Documentary Series on Nezar Kabbani: Exercise in Commercialization by Sanitization

Mohammad Ali Atassi

A few months ago, a private Syrian television company began shooting a 30-segment television series about the life of the great poet Nezar Kabbani. The television company plans to air the program during the month of Ramadan. The series has been creating much tension between the production company, Sharikat al-Sharq Lil Intage Alfani, and the heirs of the poet, who refuse to relinquish Kabbani's copyright to the production company. The family has turned to the courts to stop the filming, which continues nonetheless in more than one country in the Arab world and abroad.

Circumnavigating Islam

Judith Gabriel

 Many Arab intellectuals responded to the awarding of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Literature to V. S. Naipaul with dismay. Criticism of the Trinidad-born British writer, an often abrasive chronicler of the postcolonial Third World who has long argued that Islam has been as "calamitous" for the world as imperialism, is nothing new, but the timing of the prize opened the floodgates of speculation and debate.

Drawing Out Displacement

Catherine Hamel

Being anchored by a sense of loss and longing is common for those who have experienced forced displacement. They live an unresolved existence, oscillating between the dangerously manipulative memories of a lost place and the difficulty of adaptation to new cultures and their accompanying space. It is a rich existence that defies stale comfort. Nothing is clearly understood.


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