Many visitors to Damascus today are amazed to see how the practice of veiling has become so widespread, especially when compared to twenty or thirty years ago. It is as if the veil has imprinted the Syrian capital with its image. This is the case in the city’s streets and markets, its restaurants and parks, its schools and universities, its public offices and private companies, not to mention the homes that confine women within their walls in the name of the veil.
Essays and Features
During the past 16 years of Al Jadid, I have not once allowed the personal to intrude upon the pages of this magazine. However, I am making an exception to reflect on the loss of my wife, Samira Chalala, who was killed as she was crossing the street on her way home from work on February 24th, 2010.
The December 2009 issue of Qantara, the Paris-based Institut du Monde Arabe’s magazine of Arab culture, is devoted almost exclusively to a reassessment of the current predicament of Christians in the Arab world. Whereas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Christians found themselves at the forefront of the Arab nationalist movement and were instrumental in helping significant portions of the Arab world to appropriate and benefit from modern political, cultural and artistic developments, today the case could not be more different.
Michael Suleiman and Evelyn Shakir, who passed away within weeks of each other last spring, left behind legacies of dedication and intellectual achievement that will be long remembered. As scholars and writers of distinction, each made a significant impact on the field of Arab-American studies. And each offered inspiring visions of what Arab America has offered and what it might become.
I take my title from an essay by Salman Rushdie, in which he reflects on the need many expatriates, exiles, and just plain emigrants feel to look over their shoulder at the land that they have left behind and that now seems lost to them. And, if they’re writers, to try to recreate it in the literature they produce.
A New Book Debunks Muhammad Abd al-Jabberi’s Theory, Sources, and Interpretations
It was on a day, much like today (Saturday, June 30), the day of the Gay Pride Parade in Paris, that I met my friend, the writer Ilfat Idilbi, for lunch at Les Deux Magots a few years ago. I had not realized that the Gay Pride Parade would be taking place when I’d first proposed that date for our meeting – I dreaded crowds and noise, both things that did not bother Ilfat Idilbi in the least. As soon as we settled on the terrace, the parade floats began turning down Boulevard St. Germain.
A painting, in its most basic form, is a piece of colored canvas pulled taut across a wooden frame. The history of canvas painting has yet to be told, for while we can identify the beginnings of painting in the Italian Renaissance, we still do not have an account for its spread to studios, homes, and various other venues where it is housed around the world. Indeed, the painted canvas has spread among so many cultures and peoples that, today, it has come to represent the most widely accepted understanding of painting.