Race—Legacies and Challenges

 

This issue of Middle East Report, “Race—Legacies and Challenges,” highlights the historical and cultural specificity of racial formation, racialization and racism in the Middle East and North Africa. Histories of Western imperialism, indigenous legacies of enslaved labor and ongoing postcolonial nation-building projects have configured race and racism differently than across the West. This issue demonstrates the need to analyze race and racism locally. Racial categories continue to be shaped and reshaped by migration and labor. They intersect with other categories of social difference including gender, language, culture, nationality and socioeconomic status. At the same time, anti-racist mobilization and rhetoric anchored in the West holds political currency. In tracing the social movements that have arisen in response to racism in the region, this issue also shows how activists and citizens are making strategic connections across geopolitical borders in their struggle for anti-racist futures.

Issue Editors: Elif Babül, Muriam Haleh Davis and Jessica Barnes with Guest Editor Alex Lubin

 

CURRENT ANALYSIS

Populist Passions or Democratic Aspirations? Tunisia’s Liberal Democracy in Crisis

Populist Passions or Democratic Aspirations? Tunisia’s Liberal Democracy in Crisis

Tunisia’s political system is in crisis after President Kais Saied concentrated power in his office in July 2021. Robert P. Parks and Tarek Kahlaoui delve into the reasons why so many citizens support his moves and explain why they have become so disenchanted with Tunisia’s democratic system. The authors find that the governments’ emphasis on the electoral process and political theater over solving socio-economic problems and giving voice to the people are crushing the aspirations of the 2011 revolution.

Capturing the Complexity of Lebanon’s Civil War and Its Legacies

Capturing the Complexity of Lebanon’s Civil War and Its Legacies

Najib Hourani 10.6.2021

The current political and economic crises in Lebanon reveal the myriad ways that the Lebanese continue to deal with the effects of the 1975–1990 civil war. Najib Hourani explores MERIP’s deep coverage of Lebanon since the early 1970s. He finds that “MERIP’s commitment to foregrounding local social struggles and their links to the global political economy, along with a sensitivity to historical context, has provided a powerful antidote to mainstream reporting and analysis.” Forthcoming in the Fall 2021 issue “MERIP at 50.”

Understanding the Diversity of Political Islam

Understanding the Diversity of Political Islam

Francesco Cavatorta examines MERIP’s 50 years of covering the complex phenomenon of political Islam and finds that much of it is based on field research, participant observation, interviews and ethnography. The result has been a rich diversity of approaches that comprehend the plural nature of Islamism, directly engage the words and deeds of Islamists and provide insights that prepare readers to understand real-world events. Forthcoming in the Fall 2021 issue “MERIP at 50.”

Covering Surveillance, Struggles and Solidarity in the Arab American Community

Covering Surveillance, Struggles and Solidarity in the Arab American Community

Pamela Pennock 09.14.2021

Although issues of domestic surveillance and discrimination faced by Arabs living in the United States became more prominent after the attacks of September 11, 2001, MERIP has been covering them continuously since the organization was founded 50 years ago. Pamela Pennock surveys how MERIP has written about issues of surveillance, struggles for justice and solidarity in the Arab American community. Forthcoming in the Fall 2021 issue “MERIP at 50.”

Refusing Imperial Amnesia in the War on Terror

Refusing Imperial Amnesia in the War on Terror

Darryl Li 09.7.2021

Twenty years after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the US invasion of Afghanistan, Darryl Li surveys how MERIP’s deep and insightful coverage of the resulting War on Terror countered the “willful amnesia of American nationalism with a rigorous insistence on illuminating the historical continuities of imperial violence.” This essay is the first in a series reflecting on MERIP’s hard-hitting coverage of a wide range of topics since 1971, forthcoming in the Fall 2021 issue “MERIP at 50.”

FEATURED PRIMER

One of MERIP’s signature issues over the years has been the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict—partly because of its intrinsic interest but largely because so much myth and cant clouds the mainstream media coverage of this subject that independent analysis is particularly necessary. This primer by Joel Beinin and Lisa Hajjar is a good place to start in understanding what is at stake as events unfold.
(Photo of Israeli separation barrier by Alfonso Moral.)

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