Éloge de la Naïveté

by Paul Silverstein | published March 30, 2016 - 9:00am

In the week since the attacks on Brussels Zaventem airport and the Maelbeek subway station, there is an atmosphere of deep mourning in Belgium, where I am spending the year as a Fulbright scholar. While I happened to be out of the country on the day of the attacks, I returned shortly thereafter to memorials to the victims marking the urban landscape. Moments of silence have become de rigueur additions to formal gatherings, and public declarations and acts of compassion and solidarity abound, most of them heartfelt and touching. In the university town of Leuven, where I live, many students—even those who knew none of the victims—broke down in grief and fear, their world evidently shaken to the core.

The Immigrant Experience in Sweden

by
published in MER123

Mahmut Baksi was born twice. The first time, in Kozluk, a village in Turkish Kurdistan, in 1944. His left-wing and nationalist activities brought him into conflict with his landowning family and with the Turkish authorities. Mahmut chose to leave, and he sought political asylum in Sweden in 1971, where he was born the second time. The metaphor of a second birth comes from the introduction to his book of short stories, Hasan Aga, published in 1979. “I will be eight this year. I came here [to Stockholm] on May 25, 1971. This is my new birthday.

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The Grand (Hip-Hop) Chessboard

Race, Rap and Raison d'Etat

by Hisham Aidi
published in MER260

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Rethinking Jews and Muslims

Quincentennial Reflections

by Ella Shohat
published in MER178

“Your Highness completed the war against the Moors,” Columbus wrote in a letter addressed to the Spanish throne, “after having chased all the Jews...and sent me to the said regions of India in order to convert the people there to our Holy Faith.” [1] In 1492 the defeat of the Muslims and the expulsion of Jews from Spain converged with the conquest of the so-called New World. The separate quincentenary commemorations in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, however, have seldom acknowledged the linkage between these events. Although intellectually challenging and politically inspiring, “goodbye Columbus” counter-quincentenary debates have, for the most part, followed the same easy path of separating these issues.

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The Europe of Columbus and Bayazid

by Charles Tilly
published in MER178

From the perspective of Sultan Bayazid II, the Ottoman ruler in Istanbul, Columbus’ expeditions may have been a distant diversion. In fact, they belonged to a set of profound changes in relations between Islamic and Christian territories on a world scale. For the 500 years before 1492, the fortunes of Europe depended heavily on Muslims -- Arabs, Turks and others -- who in various guises linked Europeans to the rest of the Eurasian system of trade and empire.

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Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Urban Violence in France

by Paul Silverstein , Chantal Tetreault | published November 2005

Dorénavant la rue ne pardonne plus                                              From now on the street will not forgive
Nous n’avons rien à perdre car nous n’avons jamais rien eu            We have nothing to lose for we have nothing

New North African Immigration to Spain

by Mary M. Crain
published in MER211

In June 1998 the Spanish government began constructing several 12-foot high fences to halt African immigrants from illegally entering Europe by way of Spain’s North African enclave territory in Melilla. Running along the ten-kilometer border separating Morocco from Melilla, these fences were scheduled for completion by January 1999. They are to be patrolled by members of the Spanish civil guard and monitored by the latest in surveillance technology: cameras, sensors and armed guards stationed in lookout towers. These rigorous new border controls are required by the European Union’s adoption of stricter measures to regulate the inflow of individuals from non-EU nations.

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"Let Us Be Moors"

Islam, Race and "Connected Histories"

by Hisham Aidi
published in MER229

Seamos moros!” wrote the Cuban poet and nationalist José Martí in 1893, in support of the Berber uprising against Spanish rule in northern Morocco. “Let us be Moors...the revolt in the Rif...is not an isolated incident, but an outbreak of the change and realignment that have entered the world. Let us be Moors...we [Cubans] who will probably die by the hand of Spain.” [1] Writing at a time when the scramble for Africa and Asia was at full throttle, Martí was accenting connections between those great power forays and Spanish depredations in Cuba, even as the rebellion of 1895 germinated on his island.