An Open Letter by Senior Middle East Scholars to the New York Times Regarding its Thomas Friedman's column, "Saudi Arabia's Arab Spring, At Last."

published November 30, 2017 - 11:10am

We write as scholars of the Middle East and the Muslim world with long, collective experience on Gulf and Arabian Peninsula policy issues to express our amazement, concern and anger that the New York Times would publish Thomas Friedman's recent essay "Saudi Arabia's Arab Spring, At Last."

Islam in the News

by Sarah Graham-Brown
published in MER107

Edward W. Said, Covering Islam (London: Routledge & Regan Paul, 1981).

Edward Said’s Covering Islam is one part of his project to analyze aspects of the Western view of Islam and the Middle East. Orientalism, the first and most substantial of these books, traced the evolution of European attitudes to the cultures of the Middle East from medieval times to the present. It examined specifically how US academics and policymakers adapted the legacy of European orientalism to the needs of US imperialism in the post-1945 era.

“Think Again, Turn Away”…from Lousy Public Diplomacy

by Amanda Rogers | published October 21, 2015 - 9:50am

CIA black sites. “Extraordinary rendition.” The PATRIOT Act. Massive NSA surveillance. The 2003 invasion of Iraq. Abu Ghraib. Torture. Religious and racial profiling. FBI entrapment. Drones, “kill lists” and civilian casualties. “Terror Tuesdays.”

Whatever the successes of US public diplomacy since the attacks of September 11, 2001, they pale in comparison to the cavalcade of scandals. And all these foreign policy “missteps” or manifestations of “imperial hubris”—take your pick—predate the rise of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS, the latest fixation of State Department attempts at counter-radicalization through messaging.

The Responsibilities of the Cartoonist

An Interview with Khalid Albaih

by Katy Kalemkerian , Khalid Mustafa Medani
published in MER274

Khalid Albaih is a political cartoonist “from the two countries of Sudan,” in his words, who is now based in Qatar. His drawings appear at his Facebook page, entitled Khartoon! in a play on the name of the Sudanese capital. Katy Kalemkerian and Khalid Medani spoke with him in Montreal on November 9, 2014, and conducted a follow-up interview by Skype after the January 2015 attack on the offices of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, notorious for its regular caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in degrading or humiliating poses.

The Wretched Revolution

by Yasmin Moll
published in MER273

“We live in a country where liberals renege on democracy, Islamists harm Islam and human rights activists champion oppression,” an Islamic television producer cynically remarked three months after Muhammad Mursi was ousted from Egypt’s presidency in July 2013. That summer, the televised images of multitudes of flag-waving protesters were uncanny in their resemblance to those of the 2011 revolution that forced Husni Mubarak from power. The arc of the unfolding political drama, it seemed, was also strikingly similar: The people took to the streets peacefully; the president was unmoved, vowing to complete his term and threatening chaos if removed; the military decided to side with the people; the revolution was saved.

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An Interview with Mohamed Elshahed

by The Editors | published November 7, 2014 - 2:48pm

Mohamed Elshahed is a young, dynamic architect and researcher who is documenting changes to urban space in Egypt at his highly popular blog Cairobserver. Elshahed completed a doctorate in Middle East studies at New York University and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien. He also holds a MA in architecture studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His dissertation is titled, “Revolutionary Modernism?

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER272

In the last week of August, after several false starts, a ceasefire finally halted the summertime slaughter in Gaza. Israel’s bombs stopped falling, Palestinians stopped dying and the world media stopped its round-the-clock coverage. And, just like that, Gaza was again yesterday’s news.

Another Benghazi

by Chris Toensing | published August 9, 2014 - 3:52pm

“We didn’t want another Benghazi.” Oh no, is that really why the Obama administration decided to bomb Iraq?

Do we have another bunch of fools in the White House who learn precisely the wrong lessons from their mistakes?

Covering the Coverage

by Bayann Hamid | published July 30, 2014 - 6:55pm

Three weeks into Israel’s military campaign against Gaza, media and observers are turning the lens inward on the coverage itself. NBC was the focus of the conversation after the network recalled its correspondent in Gaza, Ayman Mohyeldin, shortly after he filed a powerful report on the killing of four boys playing on a Gaza beach. A barrage of criticism on social media spurred network executives to return Mohyeldin to his post, but MSNBC’s Rula Jabreal was not so lucky. Jabreal lost her contract with the network after she criticized its bias and that of American media on the whole.

Beneath the Gray Lady’s Flak Jacket

by William Lafi Youmans | published July 28, 2014 - 2:16pm

The New York Times is the most prestigious of the prestige press in the United States. The famed “gray lady” is the newspaper of record, a citadel of objectivity, it is said, where the first draft of history is crafted. It sets the agenda for other newspapers, for the broadcast news programs and even for cable TV news.