Book Offers Oral Histories of Five Diverse Egyptian Men

Caroline Seymour-Jorn

Shahaama: Five Egyptian Men Tell Their Stories
By Nayra Atiya
Syracuse University Press, New York, 2016

Nayra Atiya has compiled a fascinating selection of the life stories of five Egyptian men belonging to a variety of sub-cultural, socio-economic and religious backgrounds. She conducted the interviews during the period from the late 1970s to the early 1980s with men who appear to have been born between the 1940s and the 1950s. Each life history provides details about the men’s childhoods, educations and adult lives during the period from the early decades of the Republic through the early Mubarak period, with these oral histories reflecting a great deal about the many socio-economic and political changes that accompanied those decades.

‘Egyptian-American’: The Hyphenated Experience

Priscilla Wathington
Looking Both Ways
By Pauline Kaldas
Cune Press, 2017
Something about Pauline Kaldas’ new memoir makes you feel both adrift and at home – sensations normally at war with each other. Yet, somehow, in her rounded phrases and softly imparted narratives, the elements of surprise and familiarity find balance in each other.
Composed of a string of personal essays, her history unfolds over many moments, rather than the narration of a single breath.

‘Traveling Scholar’ Ella Shohat: The Contradictions and Challenges of Being an Arab Jew

As a public intellectual, Ella Shohat has found that her personal history profoundly informs her scholarship. Born in Israel to Iraqi parents who had migrated to that country after 1948, Shohat grew up in an Israeli culture that discriminated against Mizrahi Jews. Living a life of contradictions and tension as an “Arab-Jew” – a person of the Jewish religion whose culture and primary language are Arabic, she has found herself on countless occasions having to explain an identity that seemed like an oxymoron, an impossibility, to academics and others.

Chronicling Syrians’ Personal Stories of Struggle to Reach Safe Refuge

Sarah Rogers

On Friday January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that, for a 90-day period, suspended immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States from Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen. It also, for a period of 120 days, suspended the Refugee Resettlement Program, placing an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. “Leaving Syria: Seeking Refuge in Greece” makes clear the plight of Syrian refugees traces back to a much longer and tragic history.

Leaving Syria: Seeking Refuge in Greece
By Bill Dienst, MD and Madi Williamson
Cune Press, 2017


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