At And Far Away: The internet as a last resort

On one young woman’s fight to get out of Saudi Arabia, and how it has become an internet phenomenon.

At Muslimah Media Watch: MMW Call for Writers

MMW is looking for new contributors!

My Moveable Feast

I spoon you into my mouth,
Fingers twitching
At the handle.

Tablecloth violated
By sweet little drops
And spills.

Until the moment
Of no more,
No more.

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Throw me a fag

Throw me a fag.

You know what? Just get over here.

I’ve been thinking… Remember those days? When we moved seamlessly through life, often asking ourselves if it could possibly be any better? If the passersby, the colossal statue we shared with them and the same one we fought over, were true to reality? Was it merely an attempt of evading a series of conventional bores? Or did we really come across love in its most infant form?

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A Happy Surprise

You say you wanted a happy surprise,
A jewel in a piece of sugared dough,
Something to crack a molar on and more.

A life that’s a feast fit for a troll,
A grain of sand that’s bursting with the world,
– All the things you say you want.

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At the Black Iris of Jordan: Transformers 2 Review

Nas takes a moment to reflect on the film and the odd choice of attributing filming locations.

A Palestinian State? Interpreting Netanyahu’s Speech

Professor Nigel Ashton, who recently spoke to Jonathan Mok about the life and legacy of King Hussein, returns to answer questions about Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent speech and what it means for the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jonathan Mok: How should the Netanyahu speech be interpreted?

Nigel Ashton: Beyond uttering the words ‘Palestinian state’ Netanyahu has not yet conceded the creation of an entity which would have genuine sovereignty. His concept of ‘demilitarisation’ is so wide ranging that any Palestinian state created under it could not be deemed to have full control over its territory and would therefore not be sovereign. Nevertheless, he has at least conceded that peace negotiations cannot proceed on the basis of his opening position which amounted to little more than a form of economic autonomy. So there has at least been some movement in his position even if so far this is limited.

JM: It appears that the Arab world has been silent in response to Bibi’s speech. How do you perceive the apparent lack of interest?

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On King Hussein and the Search for Peace: An Interview with Nigel Ashton

Nigel Ashton’s latest book is entitled King Hussein of Jordan: A Political Life.

Jonathan Mok: Why and when did you get interested in the life of King Hussein?

Nigel Ashton: I’ve been interested in King Hussein ever since I was a PhD student back in the 1980s working on British and American policy in the Middle East during the Suez crisis. I was fascinated from an early stage by the way the King successfully negotiated a series of dangerous challenges to his position and the way in which he managed his relations with other powers in the region.

After King Hussein died in February 1999, I felt it was a good time to start researching a biography of him. Up to that point there had been no full biography written with the benefit of access to his papers and interviews with his close friends, family members, and confidants. Thereafter I made more than a dozen trips to Jordan between 1999 and 2007, carrying out a range of interviews with former political leaders and his close family members, including his wife Queen Noor and his eldest son, King Abdullah of Jordan.

Jonathan: King Hussein seemed never to employ anti-Semitic rhetoric to condemn the Israeli occupation and Jewish lobby in the United States. In fact, he was believed to be good terms with leaders such as Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin. How did the King view Jews and the Jewish state?

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At Rantings of a Sandmonkey: The speech!

Sandmonkey went to Cairo University and saw Obama live. Details are in the post.

Murder in the Name of Honour: an Interview with Rana Husseini

When I first met Rana Husseini, I was struck by how forthright and open she was – a firm handshake, a piercing, inquisitive stare and the no-nonsense way in which she chose her words and spoke them. I quickly understood how men who are convinced of women’s inferior nature would be intimidated by someone like Husseini – and that’s besides all of the work she has done in support of women’s rights.

Rana Husseini, whom I first interviewed in 2007, is an investigative reporter and world-famous campaigner against the cruel phenomenon known as honour killing – both in Jordan and beyond. Her book, Murder in the Name of Honour, recently sold out upon its launch in Amman. Before the launch, I sat down with Rana to talk about everything from local politics to Orientalist imagery.

Natalia: So, this book was a real labour of love!

Rana: Yes. I wanted to get this one just right. I wasn’t about to let anyone sensationalize the subject matter. Thankfully, Oneworld Publications worked out really well for me and my agent, because they understood where we were coming from.

N: The cover looks great, by the way. It’s so different from the usual covers that are used on books about this region.

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