Perhaps the most critical and least acknowledged impediment to the negotiation of a conflict is the manipulation of language. No peace process can come to fruition when representatives from conflicting parties are embroiled in debates on semantics, yet individuals in both government and media inevitably employ strategic language at various stages in the process.
While these divisions, as evidenced by the racial and xenophobic violence in Libya, are real and destructive, they are not eternal. Rather, they are the result of a particular historical narrative that has constructed Arabs and Africans as intrinsically different and eternally divided.
In the past year, revolutions have swept through Northern Africa and the Middle East in what has been dubbed the Arab Spring. How has this wave of reformative spirit affected the condition of countries around the Middle East, either in terms of internal or diplomatic change? What do you foresee as potential reconciliation for the instability and popular dissatisfaction that persists?
Jad Abumrad, a Lebanese-American radio host and producer, was awarded the 2011 MacArthur Fellowship, nicknamed the Genius Award, for “showing exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work.” He is the co-founder of the widely acclaimed Radiolab, a radio show and podcast that weaves stories and science into sound and music-rich documentaries. His 2004 Radiolab special, “The Ring [...]
The pyramids are the only Wonder of the Ancient World still standing. For most people, they are an exotic symbol of Egypt and the ancient mythos the name of that nation conjures up—the embellished and aggrandized tales of curses, ancient gods, slavery and hidden treasure that captivate children the world over. But when I visited Egypt in March, I did [...]
On November 29, 2010, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan received an international human rights award named for Colonel Muammar Qaddafi in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
On October 7, 2010 the peace of the Sufi shrine in Karachi, a building with green and white mosaics ascending to a cupola, shattered in a double explosion from two suicide bombers, killing seven civilians and injuring 65 others. As the shrine’s tiles lay smashed in the street, the destroyed temple provided a visual symbol of a derelict Pakistani government torn apart by a new wave of violent domestic terrorism.
The age of the Arab dictator is over. The current wave of unrest sweeping the Middle East has deposed two dictators, spilt much blood and fundamentally shaken the status quo. Already, the movement that began with a few street demonstrations in Tunis has led to a regime change in Egypt and threatens to overthrow the monarchy in Bahrain, a military regime in Libya, a dictatorship in Yemen and many other governments throughout the region. What could possibly have caused this stunning political shockwave across the Arab world?
In July 2010, the monsoon rains began in Pakistan. Most people within Pakistan took the rains as a matter of course, ducking inside and waiting it out. But this time the rains did not stop. The waters crept over the banks of the Indus River, submerging farms and homes, destroying the livelihood of thousands. 1.2 million homes have either been damaged or destroyed; today 4 million Pakistanis are homeless; and 8 million remain dependent on aid, but as the effects of the flood gradually unfold, those numbers will almost inevitably rise.
Three years ago, 17-year-old Ogün Samast entered the upscale Sisli district of Istanbul, Turkey, wearing a white beret and carrying a gun. He turned onto the street of Sebat Sokak, reached the publishing house of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, and waited. Moments later, when the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Hrant Dink stepped out, Samast shot him dead in broad daylight.