The Cultural View from Within and Without

Casey Kasem, 1932-2014: The Golden Voice

Discrimination against Arab Americans was a blight he devoted good part of his energy to combating. He continues to speak out against anti-Arab stereotyping and discrimination in the entertainment industry. His involvement began when his son Mike (then 12) said to him, “Dad, I hate Arabs,” although Mike knew of his Lebanese heritage. Kasem was shocked. His son explained that he saw images of what terrible people the Arabs were on television and in films.

A Tale of Two Lies: 'Transfer' of Homs Population Sold As 'Victory'

I have been watching and hearing too much about Assad's military and political victories, especially his spurious electoral 88 percent landslide. Watching Lebanese TV rarely gives you a break from the news of Assad's various and sundry supposed victories, especially in the neighborhoods of Homs. As if this were not enough, three days ago I was treated to Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's televised speech where he cited Homs as evidence of the regime's "victorious" performance, the likes of which will soon follow in other cities.

Shakespearean Tragedy Brings Hope to Syrian Children of Al-Zaatari Camp

While reviewing readings I had missed, some photographs in the New York Times caught me off guard. Tricked by Ben Hubbard's lead to the April 1 news story ("Behind Barbed Wire, Shakespeare Inspires a Cast of Young Syrians"), I initially believed the King in the camp to be King Abdullah II, and the king’s daughters to be Abdullah’s own (although I did not know if he actually had any daughters). Were they there to comfort the Syrian refugees whose camp has become the equivalent of the fourth largest Jordanian city?

The Passing of Unsi al-Haj

The Lebanese poet Unsi al-Hajj passed away on February 18, 2014. No one who cared about Arab and Lebanese letters could be unaware of Unsi al-Hajj's contributions. He distinguished himself as a modernist poet (especially by his association with the avant-garde journal Shi’ir--"Poetry"), art and cultural critic, essayist, and editor of what used to be one of Lebanon's most important dailies, An Nahar. He closed his career writing for the polemical pro-Hezbollah and pro-Assad regime Al Akhbar newspaper in which his silence on Syria's crimes against humanity perplexed many of his admirers.

No More Fence Sitting: Intellectuals all the Way With the "Secular" Leader In Damascus

I have been observing a phenomenon, the existence of a sizable number of political and intellectual bystanders or spectators of the Syrian scene. They appear to be waiting for the right moment or event to provide the needed rationalization to jump into the Assad camp without remorse or inconvenience. These spectators are not hypothetical, but actual human beings, some of whom I know personally, and others whom I have been following through their columns, posts, and interviews via new social media, daily press and TV networks.

HAMA 32 YEARS LATER

HAMA32 YEARS LATER. February 3 was the 32nd anniversary of the Hama massacre. One post caught my attention, as it asked a question that has become both familiar and justified since the onset of the Syrian Revolution: How could such a massacre take place without any mass condemnation, either Syrian, Arab or international? For whatever it is worth, the fault may lie in the absence of today's social media, among other forms of modern media technologies.

THE PICTURE OF A WOMAN FROM ALEPPO!

THE PICTURE OF A WOMAN FROM ALEPPO! Every time I watch the images from Aleppo or hear the news that the poor suburbs of the city have again been the targets for Assad's bombs, I recall the mumanah or "leftist" diatribe of their championship of the downtrodden and the impoverished, the students, workers and peasants whose interests the Assad regime claims to have at heart.

Assad's New Front: When Words Become Weapons

In addition to being a prominent Syrian leftist with a significant presence in the revolution, Michel Kilo is also a great short story teller. His anecdotes are found not in novels, but in newspaper columns, which Kilo calls "Stories from the World of Ghosts." These stories are multi-dimensional: funny, ironic, tragic, real, and autobiographical. Ahmad, a character from "Stories from the World of the Ghosts," published in a column in Asharq Alawsat, has a gripping story. The story, I recall, featured Kilo himself in the same Al Maza prison as Ahmad.

Adonis the Disingenuous! Youssef Abdelke Deserves the Truth from Adonis and Khalida Said

BY ELIE CHALALA

A great majority of Syrian and Arab intellectuals and artists have rallied to protest the abduction of Youssef Abdelke, one of the best living Syrian artists, whose life could be wasted like many others behind bars until their "natural" death in Syrian prisons. This happened recently to one of Abdelke's friends, Abdel Aziz al-Khair, an opposition figure who was arrested last year, and, according to unconfirmed reports, died or was killed in prison.

As World Vacillates, Syria Agonizes

"Before we go on holiday, we should all make a donation to humanitarian relief for Syria,” writes Los Angeles Times columnist Timothy Garton Ash ("No relief for Syria"). Do not allow this concluding remark to mislead you from Ash’s main point. Humanitarian relief alone will not solve the Syrian conflict. Syria needs a political solution, including some form of military intervention, to provide lasting relief for the Syrians. Sadly, none of which is forthcoming.

Arab World Proves That All Exaggeration Is Circular

Exaggerate everything; progress not at all. "Exaggeration is a widespread epidemic in 'our country,'" writes Syrian director Haitham Hakki on his Facebook. I intentionally put "our country" in quotations, as I believe his reference goes beyond the national borders of Syria. I agree with Hakki and believe that exaggeration has infected the Arab world, including my home country, Lebanon, which is branded with all sorts of embellishments from the Land of the Alphabet to the "Paris" and "Switzerland" of the Middle East.

Will Al Quds Al Arabi Readers be Treated Like Al Jazeera's Viewers on June 30th?!

By Elie Chalala

Press reports claim that Qatari capital acquired Al Quds Al Arabi: if so, can Al Quds readers expect the same intellectual disrespect as Al Jazeera viewers got on June 30th? I must admit that I am not and never was a follower of Abdel Bari Atwan’s columns for Al Quds Al Arabi, especially his writing on Arafat, Kaddafi, Saddam and, of course, Osama Bin Laden.

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