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The slaughter of innocents and the moral burden

| Feb 25, 2015

One does not need a fertile imagination to imagine the extent of misery that forces breadwinners to leave their country to try and eke out a living in far-away Libya - even in the dire circumstances currently prevailing there. Much harder to imagine, however, is what might motivate those who not only slaughtered them with such brutality more...

Yemen and the manufacture of sectarianism

| Jan 26, 2015

Yemen has in recent years provided a live practical demonstration of the maxim that political sectarianism is manufactured, rather than inherent. It is acquired rather than natural. Historically, Yemen was never party to the confessional conflicts between Sunni and Shia, to the extent that some considered the Zaidi tradition, which was indigenous to Yemen, shortly after it sprang up, as the Shia of the Sunni, or as the Sunni of the Shia more...

Conspiracy theories: Critique and mythology

| Jan 21, 2015

Political action, as with other types of human action, seeks to achieve a goal departing from an existing situation, including those which arise from the overlap of wills and the confluence of other human deeds and their effects more...

It's not about free speech, it's about murder

| Jan 14, 2015

The Arabs as a nation, and many Arabs as individuals, are victims of some of the most horrific crimes - in Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere more...

Iran and the sick man of the Middle East

| Jan 09, 2015

The Islamic Republic of Iran succeeded in consolidating an existing nation-state, and in establishing a system of government with a modicum of political pluralism within the confines of a religious-confessional government presided over by a clergy more...

On the internalisation of slavery

| Jan 08, 2015

Slavery is a network of social relations, and not a state of mind. Nonetheless, repression alone is not enough to secure the endurance of the master-slave relationship, because it can never be absolute and total, except in death. Even in the most extreme cases more...

No happy ending for a failed love

| Dec 31, 2014

A number of important Arab countries were witness to mass popular mobilisations aimed at the overthrow of tyranny between 2011 and 2012.The calls for the overthrow of the regimes also communicated calls for freedom, dignity and social justice. Any mass mobilisation that begins outside of the confines of the ruling regime and aims to change it is by definition a revolution more...

PLO UN bid: deceiving reality, not changing it

| Dec 28, 2014

The PLO leadership fell into a trap when it tried to replicate the Egyptian approach of achieving a unilateral, negotiations-based peace accord with the Israelis. Unlike the Egyptians, the PLO was never speaking on behalf of a country which was seeking to renegotiate its borders more...

On political culture and stalled democratisation

| Dec 27, 2014

I have never accepted the notion, that “political culture” determines the success or failure of democratic transition. Indeed, I devoted an entire chapter to this question in my 2007 book On the Arab Question, where I argue for the existence of an Arab exceptionalism more...

On the nature of the Said Akl debate

| Dec 16, 2014

I often try to avoid taking part in debates surrounding well-known literary figures, especially those that take place following their deaths. In such discussions, eloquent tributes and the usual enumeration of the feats of the deceased combine with attempts to say something new and different on the back of the flurry of eulogies filling the newspapers more...

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