328 posts tagged with MIDDLEEAST.
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Live Fast, Die Young

M.I.A. has released a new single called Bad Girls. The music video, another collaboration with Romain Gavras (previously on Metafilter), features a Middle Eastern style of drifting called hagwalah and a see-through glow-in-the-dark car inspired by Prabhu Deva dancing on a see-through bus in the Tamil film Kadhalan. Some believe M.I.A. is making a statement against the Saudi Arabian law banning women from driving, others see it as a relatively positive view of today's Middle East, and still others fear M.I.A. is misappropriating stereotypes for the sake of creating controversy. But maybe you'd just like some more lighthearted information on the making of the video. M.I.A. herself delivers. (More M.I.A. on Metafilter: 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, most recently)
posted by sigmagalator on Feb 20, 2012 - 90 comments

Anthony Shadid, 1968-2012

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Shadid has died on assignment. (NYTimes) Shadid, 43, died of an asthma attack while reporting in Syria. His colleague, photographer Tyler Hicks, carried his body over the border into Turkey. [more inside]
posted by Madamina on Feb 16, 2012 - 50 comments

Photographs of Palmyra

Photographs and more photographs of the ancient city of Palmyra, seat of the Palmyrene Empire and home to Queen Zenobia.
posted by Rumple on Dec 15, 2011 - 13 comments


Tomorrow marks the official end of the Iraq war. The Obama administration describes it as a 'promise kept'. The war resulted in a great many casualties. Although the final troop movement out of the country is not scheduled to begin for a few days, history will record December 15 as the end of the war, as the flag of the American military mission in Bagdhad is lowered and returned to the US. Scholars at Brown University estimate the total cost of the war at 265,000 dead and $3-4 trillion dollars. The main contenders for the Republican party's 2012 nomination both expressed approval and disapproval. Previously, 339 times.
posted by anigbrowl on Dec 14, 2011 - 95 comments

"I felt like I'd been catapulted from one end of the universe to the other"

This weekend marks the time of the Hajj, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God. Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat and the ritual stoning of Shaitan to the circling of the sacred Kaaba (the shrouded cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily) and kissing the Black Stone (colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite). While the city has modernized to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich, and tent cities the size of Seattle -- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders. Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise to write a rare travelogue, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt], a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey. Browse the manual to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 4, 2011 - 31 comments

Borders. Security. Refugees. Jerusalem.

The Atlantic is in the middle of a four-part special report on the Israel / Palestinian peace process, called "Is Peace Possible?" which features multimedia presentations on and analyses of what they believe are the four core issues of the conflict: Borders, Security, Refugees, and Jerusalem. (The latter two will be released on Monday, November 7 and 14th, respectively) The report was put together in collaboration with the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 1, 2011 - 21 comments

Palestine accepted into UNESCO.

Despite political pressure, UNESCO has approved full membership for Palestine. Opposition remains and a major funder may withdraw.
posted by griphus on Oct 31, 2011 - 85 comments

Over Netanyahu’s Shoulder: A (Telephoto) Analysis of the Prime Minister’s U.N. Speech Edits

Photographer Mario Tama positioned himself over Netanyahu's shoulder at the UN General Assembly, and photographed hand-written edits he made to his speech. Here's what he saw. (via The Browser)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 29, 2011 - 18 comments

"For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside."

Obama calls on Assad to step down. The US and EU announce sanctions on Assad's regime. The New York Times looks at the resistence in Homs. Al Jazeera has an ongoing Syrian Live blog. Enduring America continues to cover the Arab Spring.
posted by empath on Aug 18, 2011 - 65 comments

Iran and the West

While not being an outright example of a clash of civilizations in the Huntingtonian sense, elements of cultural misunderstanding and fears about the system-challenging tendencies of Iran do affect Western perceptions and influence Western behavior toward Iran. Furthermore, these kinds of reciprocal identity-based fears and projections of the other side’s presumed malevolent intentions tend to be mutually reinforcing. The risk is that they eventually become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Iran and the West - Regional Interests and Global Controversies [PDF]. [more inside]
posted by klue on May 23, 2011 - 4 comments

Im in ur base, killing ur doodz

West Censoring East: The Use of Western Technologies by Middle East Censors, 2010-2011.
Meanwhile a British firm has been found to have offered spying software to the Egyptian regime – Gamma International's Finfisher program would have enabled government spies to monitor activists and censor websites.
posted by adamvasco on Apr 28, 2011 - 6 comments

She is not the one you should fear.

Amina A. is a Gay Girl in Damascus. On Tuesday, she was visited by the Syrian security services.
posted by Rumple on Apr 27, 2011 - 71 comments


Nawaat, a Tunisian group blog (mostly in French).
posted by nangar on Apr 3, 2011 - 3 comments


Revolutionology is the blog of a sociologist in Libya.
posted by serazin on Apr 2, 2011 - 5 comments

Angry Birds Middle East Mashup

Russian designer Egor Zhgun (LiveJournal) remixes pop culture and politics, to humorous effect. His latest is a mashup of "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"; the game Angry Birds; and current Middle Eastern politics into an animated political cartoon: Three Big Pigs.
via Eathan Zuckerman and Cartoon Brew
posted by artlung on Mar 30, 2011 - 9 comments

Caution: Middle East under construction

Aluf Benn from Ha'aretz asks if the middle east is breaking apart. [more inside]
posted by beisny on Mar 26, 2011 - 32 comments

Timeline of Middle East protests

Arab spring: an interactive timeline of Middle East protests.
posted by homunculus on Mar 22, 2011 - 17 comments

Bahrain explodes (part two)

Government of Bahrain declares state of emergency. Mixture of Saudi, UAE, and other GCC troops enter Bahrain upon invitation. [more inside]
posted by asymptotic on Mar 15, 2011 - 41 comments

Bahrain explodes

Protests erupt in Bahrain. [more inside]
posted by asymptotic on Feb 15, 2011 - 54 comments

Camel Beauty Contest

What's a Bigger Draw Than a Camel Fight? A Camel Beauty Contest, of Course To the uninitiated, what makes a camel beautiful isn't exactly obvious. But organizers of the Selcuk championship hope the addition of a pageant will draw new enthusiasts to the sport of camel fighting, which is struggling to stay relevant in an increasingly modern and urbanized Turkey.
posted by jason's_planet on Jan 22, 2011 - 9 comments

The Truth about Suicide Bombers?

Growing evidence suggests suicide bombers may be just ... well, suicidal. The idea is controversial and contentious, to be sure, but there is a small but growing movement among social scientists that the reasoning behind suicide bombing might be more mundane than religious "fanaticism" or "deluded" ideology. [more inside]
posted by zooropa on Dec 12, 2010 - 22 comments

Potentially sinister

Security alerts have been declared at Airports in the US, UK and Middle East after the discovery of suspicious packages originating in Yemen. The packages, modified toner cartridges, have been described as "definitely not a complete bomb" but being "potentially sinister".
posted by Artw on Oct 29, 2010 - 291 comments

The Force of Virtue

The 99 (previously), the Islamic-inspired superheroes which have met both praise and somewhat batshit controversy, are crossing over with the DC Universe.
posted by Artw on Oct 25, 2010 - 22 comments

"I cannot even contemplate this reality or love, hatred and pain."

More videos by Grant Slater.
posted by andoatnp on Oct 24, 2010 - 11 comments

Landmark of the Resistance

Lebanon has one tourist attraction that's making money, the Hezbollah financed "Landmark of the Resistance", a theme park commemorating multiple wars with Israel.
posted by mikoroshi on Oct 2, 2010 - 38 comments

The Point of No Return

The Point of No Return. In the gap between Washington’s and Jerusalem’s views of Iran lies the question: who, if anyone, will stop Iran before it goes nuclear, and how? As Washington and Jerusalem study each other intensely, here’s an inside look at the strategic calculations on both sides—and at how, if things remain on the current course, an Israeli air strike will unfold.
posted by lullaby on Aug 11, 2010 - 91 comments

Freedom of the Press vs. Israel's Military Secrets

An Israeli journalist, Anat Kam (23), has been under secret house arrest since December on charges that she leaked up to 1,000 highly sensitive, classified military documents suggesting the IDF breached a court order against assassinations in the occupied West Bank, to Ha'aretz reporter Uri Blau. A court-imposed gag order first proposed by the Israeli government and now apparently supported by Kam's lawyers is preventing media investigation and coverage of both her arrest and the charges of espionage and treason against her in Israel. Blau is reportedly now self-exiled in London, and negotiating his return with Israeli authorities. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 5, 2010 - 38 comments

The first attempt at organizing all the world's information

Knowledge and Power in the Neo-Assyrian Empire may sound like a dry website, but its subject and content is fascinating. In the 7th Century BC King Assurbanipal of Assyria built a library that was to contain all the world's knowledge. Destroyed by the Medes in 612 BC, the library was not rediscovered until the 1840s. 28000 clay tablets written in Akkadian have been found. 1600 can be read online, all translated into English. It's a somewhat overwhelming amount, but there's a lovely highlights section, which even includes pictures of the pillow-shaped writing tablets. For a thorough overview, you can listen to the In Our Time episode about the Library of Nineveh. The most famous text to have been found in Nineveh is undoubtedly the Epic of Gilgamesh. The story of its decipherment and the controversies that ensued, is interesting in its own right.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 25, 2010 - 24 comments

Are Peace Negotiations in the Cards?

Are Peace Negotiations hosted by Russia and France in the cards? Today, President Obama is meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu and the Palestian Authority's Abbas and then hosting a three-way meeting with both leaders. Officially all parties claim they have "low expectations." [more inside]
posted by Ironmouth on Sep 22, 2009 - 38 comments

Etisalat's Trojan BlackBerries

UAE phone company pushes BlackBerry update with embedded spyware. The United Arab Emirates phone company Etisalat recently sent out a firmware update to its BlackBerry-using customers, billed as a “performance enhancement patch”. After customers reported the patch degrading their handsets' performance and draining their batteries more rapidly, a programmer examined it and found that it contained spyware from a US company, which could be remotely activated to forward all emails and text messages to a third-party server. [more inside]
posted by acb on Jul 15, 2009 - 31 comments

Watch Laleh Seddigh's dust

"I like competition in everything ... I have to move whatever is movable in the world." Say hello to Laleh Seddigh, Iran's top rated female race car driver. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 9, 2009 - 23 comments

wetness ... pours onto my paper out of my pen

Suheir Hammad, a Palestinian-American poet and activist now based in New York, writes about being a Muslim immigrant and also a woman challenging conventions. Spotted by Russell Simmons for Def Poetry Jam, she has performed pieces about love in the time of war, exoticising beauty, and a touching ode to her father, among many others. Suheir has just produced and released her first feature film Salt of This Sea, up for the Cannes Films Festival and possibly an Oscar, and recently performed in Ramallah for the 2009 Palestinian Festival of Literature.
posted by divabat on Jul 7, 2009 - 5 comments

Rebooting the US relationship to the Muslim world.

Obama speaks in Cairo: "I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world." Text is here. He quoted the Koran and highlighted a subject he avoided during his campaign - his own family's ties to Islam, his youth in Muslim Indonesia and even Chicago's Nation of Islam. An early roundup of US right wing reaction, and US left wing reaction, and the Middle East.
posted by CunningLinguist on Jun 4, 2009 - 135 comments

A chance for a Middle East peace

Syria Calling: The Obama Administration’s chance to engage in a Middle East peace.
posted by homunculus on Mar 30, 2009 - 17 comments

"We Should Kill Everyone There"

IDF in Gaza: Killing civilians, vandalism, and lax rules of engagement. "During Operation Cast Lead, Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians under permissive rules of engagement and intentionally destroyed their property, say soldiers who fought in the offensive." Can Israel dismiss its own troops' stories from Gaza? [Via]
posted by homunculus on Mar 19, 2009 - 106 comments

Historical Maps of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Holy Land Maps and Ancient Maps of Jerusalem both showcase parts of Eran Laor Cartographic Collection. Both collectiona can be browsed by cartographer and date. Here are some of my favorite maps: 1497 perspective map of Jerusalem, Jacotin's 1818 map of Nazareth, Jordan and Acre, 1685 perspective map of Jerusalem, 1482 Ptolemy of the Middle East, 1751 map of Egypt, Arabia and the Middle East and 1928 perspective map of Jerusalem (complete with Hebrew guide). [Another part of The Eran Laor Cartographic Collection previously on MetaFilter]
posted by Kattullus on Mar 2, 2009 - 5 comments

Turkey: A Return to Power at Considerable Cost?

"Turkey is emerging as the crucial power in the Muslim world." But after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent walkout from a Davos panel discussion and his confrontational words to Israeli leader Shimon Peres, some wonder whether Turkey is forfeiting its role as a peace-broker, attempting to smoke-screen its own oppressive actions against press, intellectuals, and ex-military, and possibly hurting its chances for full EU membership.
posted by terranova on Feb 3, 2009 - 32 comments

Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East.

Work by more than 20 contemporary artists from the Middle East is being showcased at the Saatchi Gallery.

"Their art isn't (like so much western art) about consumerism or celebrity or art itself; it's about suicide bombers, religious police, unending war, and the denigration of women in Islamic societies."
posted by gman on Jan 29, 2009 - 5 comments

Middle East Travel Photography

Momentary Awe ― travel photography from more than 20 countries by Catalin Marin. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 26, 2008 - 10 comments

Middle Eastern Body Art

Staining the nails, skin and hair with henna is the favorite way of enhancing beauty amongst women in the Middle East. It is used as a hair treatment as well as a dye to make decorative designs on the skin. The art is known as mehndi. Henna markings remain on the skin for about twenty or thirty days. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Aug 13, 2008 - 36 comments

To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.

Women Explorers and Travellers of Asia and the Middle East - In an age where women struggled for basic human rights, these individuals were literal trailblazers. Leaving their homelands for varying motivations (but often due to dissatisfaction with their social lot in life), they devoted their lives to "explore these antique lands before they are irretrievably caught up in the cacaphonic whirl of the modern world." [more inside]
posted by ikahime on Aug 1, 2008 - 10 comments

A Social History of the Surge

A Social History of the Surge by Juan Cole.
posted by homunculus on Jul 29, 2008 - 33 comments

Magnum Photos' two newest nominees

American-Dutch photographer Peter van Agtmael and English photographer Olivia Arthur are the two newest nominees recently welcomed into Magnum Photos. Agtmael's images of Afghanistan and Iraq are very powerful - he discusses his work in Conscientious. Arthur's recent work has focused on women's experiences in what she calls the Middle Distance. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 8, 2008 - 8 comments

Birthright Israel

Birthright Israel, funded by the Israeli government and Jewish philanthropists, provides free all-inclusive 10-day trips to Israel for Jewish young adults. The program's goal is to promote Israel along with general Jewish unity and engagement. The blog Jewlicious has a category about these trips. (Scroll down past many promotional entries for the interesting stuff.) Some question its efficacy and results, while some Jews subvert the program. The trips end with a "Mega Rally" featuring entertainment, giant inflatable Stars of David, and speeches by dignitaries including PM Ehud Olmert. Here is video coverage (FLV) of the most recent rally. There is also a satirical Something Awful report.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim on Jun 26, 2008 - 43 comments

"Orientalism" and its Discontents

Historian Robert Irwin reviews two books critical of Edward Said's Orientalism. Irwin's own critique received positive and mixed reviews. In this brief interview, Said explains what he was trying to do in Orientalism.
posted by ibmcginty on May 24, 2008 - 8 comments

Skyscrapers or Souks?

Two visions of the ideal city rise in the Persian Gulf: "Waterfront City will probably be where a lot of Middle Eastern investors will put their money—and where international architectural stars will build their putative landmarks—but if little Masdar develops successfully, it may hold much more important lessons for us all."
posted by Non Prosequitur on Apr 27, 2008 - 23 comments

A Summit of 57 State Leaders doesn't happen every day.

Leaders and Representatives of 57 Islamic countries (one exception is Mr. M. of Pakistan) and other dignitaries (including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon are meeting in Dakar, Senegal from March 8th-14th (link to flash video) for the 11th summit of the organization of the Islamic Conference. The OIC "combine their efforts and speak with one voice to safeguard the interests and secure the progress and well-being of their peoples and of all Muslims in the world." Topics to be discussed at the summit also include brokering a peace deal between Chad and Sudan . Some of Dakar's residents1 (2, both in French) are not happy about the summit. [more inside]
posted by fizzix on Mar 8, 2008 - 14 comments

Admiral Fallon

The Man Between War and Peace. "As head of U. S. Central Command, Admiral William 'Fox' Fallon is in charge of American military strategy for the most troubled parts of the world. Now, as the White House has been escalating the war of words with Iran, and seeming ever more determined to strike militarily before the end of this presidency, the admiral has urged restraint and diplomacy. Who will prevail, the president or the admiral?" [Via Think Progress.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 5, 2008 - 50 comments

The Gaza Bombshell

Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 3, 2008 - 94 comments

Once, sure. Twice, Maybe. Three? Four!?!

Much of the Middle East has been without reliable internet access recently due to the somewhat suspicious cutting of four seperate underwater cables, in seperate locations, within a few days of each other. The problem has been alleviated by re-routing of traffic until ships can reach the cables to repair them, a process which may take several weeks. The problem was initially believed to be caused by anchors of passing ships, but that has since been retracted and deals have already been signed by several companies for new cables. [more inside]
posted by Dillonlikescookies on Feb 5, 2008 - 68 comments

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