The Life and Times of Al Miskin

It may come as a surprise to some readers of Middle East Report that, long ago, when it was exclusively a print publication, the magazine featured a more or less regular column devoted to an eclectic mixture of media criticism, exposé and humor. (Other columns...

It Was Beirut, All Over Again…Again

One night in August 2021, I fell through a portal. It was hot, and there was no electricity. I had already missed the de facto bedtime of 1am set by our generator’s regimen. My portable fluorescent lantern was fully charged. The stale, heavy air of a cooled-down,...

Putting Workers on the Map

When the first issue of MERIP Reports was published in May 1971, discussions of labor relations and workers were common in the New Left circles from which its editors emerged but were nearly invisible in debates about the Middle East and North Africa among American...

The Enduring Question of Palestine

The guiding mission of MERIP’s founders was not centered around cultivating a better understanding of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. Rather, their magazine consciously emphasized the range and diversity of progressive and revolutionary struggles...

MERIP’s Unfinished Mission

The Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) was established in 1971 by young anti-war activists who sought to push the New Left to engage with the region through the same analytical lenses that it used to challenge US policy in Southeast Asia and Latin America. In this issue, we look back to reflect on MERIP’s 50-year history of speaking truth to power and evaluate its continuing legacy. We are proud that a scrappy monthly newsletter written by and for activists not only endured, but evolved into Middle East Report, a unique source of news and analysis that features essays informed by rigorous scholarship and detailed field research while remaining committed to a progressive political mission.

The Politics of Commemorating the Abolition of Slavery in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia

In 2019, eight years after the Arab Spring uprisings, President Béji Caïd Essebsi declared that Tunisians would commemorate the abolition of slavery on January 23 each year. It was on this date in 1846 that the then-governor of Ottoman Tunisia, Ahmad Bey, signed a decree authorizing enslaved Black people to request manumission certificates. Dating back to the medieval period, this region—like other parts of the Mediterranean and the Muslim world—had relied on the work of African as well as European enslaved men and women.

Tracing the Historical Relevance of Race in Palestine and Israel

The global conversation about race and racial oppression in recent years, which has reached new levels of visibility since the summer of 2020, has emerged largely as a reaction to police violence in the United States and the work of the Movement for Black Lives coalition. Its global reverberations have often been distinct, however. Activists are not only making connections between US practices and patterns of racial oppression and those in their own countries; they are also highlighting features of racial violence that are unique to different contexts.

Writing Ourselves into Existence with the Collective for Black Iranians

The groundbreaking work of the Collective for Black Iranians is the first and only effort of its kind in Iran that brings together the voices of Black and Afro-Iranians, sharing their stories and experiences to foster greater racial consciousness and combat the anti-Black racism endemic to the Iranian community. Beeta Baghoolizadeh interviewed a founding member of the Collective, Priscillia Kounkou Hoveyda, in April 2021.

Remembering Slavery at the Bin Jelmood House in Qatar

Memories of enslavement are often silenced and yet suffuse everyday life in the Gulf. As governments across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries memorialize a maritime, pre-oil Indian Ocean past as part of their nation-building projects, the Bin Jelmood House—a museum in the heart of Doha—stands as a potentially subversive space. The museum forces visitors and Gulf residents to reckon with slavery and the exploitation of labor, in the past and present. Yet the larger context around the museum begs the question: How are national imaginaries produced and deployed in the international arena through museums and heritage projects and do they illuminate or obscure historical and contemporary injustices?

Who is “Indian” in the Gulf? Race, Labor and Citizenship

How do race and racism operate in the Gulf? Neha Vora and Amélie Le Renard closely examine how the term “Indian,” as it is used in the United Arab Emirates, refers to much more than national origin. They trace the role of colonialism, capitalism and the state in creating “Indian” as a racialized category in contrast to an imagined pure Gulf Arab identity. Attempts to police the boundaries between citizens and non-citizens obscures the Gulf’s truly multicultural and multiracial history and present.

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