Links for February 28th

Links from my account for February 28th:

  • Can Israel make peace with Syria without leaving Golan? – Haaretz – Israel News – In which the various previous tries and likely future attempts at achieving this are explained.
  • Top Syria-based Hamas leader secretly visits Gaza – Did Egypt let Moussa Abu Marzouk into Gaza and back?
  • Those two months made all the difference – Marc Lynch reminds us that not too long ago many were boo-hissing Obama's pullout of Iraq plan: "The process has really been amazing to watch. Obama consulted widely, commissioned a whole range of strategic reviews, and listened carefully to the commanders on the ground. And the result was that he built a wide internal and public consensus for essentially the same policy which not too terribly long ago was viewed in polite circles as irresponsible, naive, and reckless. The SOFA certainly helped in this regard, since it had already committed Bush and the U.S. military to the principle of withdrawal. But still, watching Republicans and the Washington Post editorial page falling over themselves to associate themselves with what is essentially the same Iraq withdrawal plan they used to savage is a sight to behold — if it was just two months that made the difference, think of all the trouble we could have saved ourselves."
  • Think like an Egyptian – Haaretz – Israel News – Akiva Eldar, on a visit to Cairo, looks at Egyptian annoyance with Israel's weathervane government on the 'Giladayn' affair.
  • Just like us they are born and die – The National Newspaper – Lalila Lalami on al-Tayyib Salih.

Links February 26th to February 28th

Links from my account for February 26th through February 28th:

Links February 25th to February 26th

Links from my account for February 25th through February 26th:

“Enemy” Arab books in Israel

Interesting article on the difficulties of Arab book-sellers in Israel in getting Arab-language books published in Lebanon, Syria, etc. (countries still officially at war with Israel) into the country. The Israeli authorities recently invoked a British-mandate-era law called the “Trade with the Enemy Ordinance” to ban these books. The case is now in the courts. It’s important because it affects the cultural horizons of Israel’s million-plus Arab population. 

Of course, as part of their ongoing cultural boycott of the state of Israel, I don’t think Arab countries let any books published in Israel in.

(Thanks, Sumita)

Links for February 24th

Links from my account for February 24th:

Saudi lit

The Review at The National has a piece on the flourishing of the Saudi lit scene, in part spurred by the international success of “Banaat Riyadh” (“Girls of Riyadh”). 

The last few years have witnessed what one critic has called a tsunami of Saudi writing: some 50 to 100 novels published each year, up from five to 10 in years past. That’s partly due to the 2007 release of Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea, a diaristic account of four upper-class young women and their illicit love affairs, set here in the capital. Trashy? Maybe. But also a rare look into a once-forbidden realm of experience, and an undeniable catalyst.

“It’s not good literature,” Ahmed says. “But it did create a lot of controversy and encouraged people to write their own novels.”

Censorship or self-promotion?

The Literary Saloon follows up the censorship snafu at the Dubai Lit Festival that lead Margaret Atwood, in solidarity with a supposedly “banned” British author, to withdraw. Atwood has bone back on her decision and will now lead a panel, appropriately enough, on the issue of censorship. The book in question appears to have never been actually “banned” and the author and her publishing house seem to have used the charges of censorship as a PR strategy.

Links February 22nd to February 23rd

Links from my account for February 22nd through February 23rd: