Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Book: What's Wrong with the One State Agenda? by Hussein Ibish

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ATFP presents a new Task Force book publication:

What’s Wrong with the One-State Agenda?

Why Ending the Occupation and Peace with Israel is Still the Palestinian National Goal
by ATFP Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish

Whats Wrong with the One State SolutionIn this new book, Dr. Ibish examines the arguments generally put forward by Palestinian and other Arab American proponents of abandoning the goal of ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state and instead seeking to promote a single, democratic state in all of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The book also looks at differences between the deployment of the one-state idea by some Palestinian figures in the occupied territories as a diplomatic "threat" intended to spur greater Israeli seriousness about a negotiated agreement and the diasporic discourse that drives most one-state rhetoric. Finally, Dr. Ibish explains in some detail why ending the occupation and peace with Israel, while difficult to achieve and thus far elusive, are the only plausible and practicable Palestinian national strategy.

The book also includes a preface by ATFP President Ziad J. Asali.

For more information visit

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Zeitoun: a fascinating look at an Arab American experience during Hurricane Katrina

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During the coverage of Hurricane Katrina, I recall writing about the Muslims living in New Orleans who were among those devasted by the conflict. No one really wrote about them. The only time anyone writes about Arabs and Muslims is when there is some negative controversy and we are being attacked and criticized.

Recently, I picked up a copy of the book by Dave Eggers called "Zeitoun," the story of one American Arab from Syria married to an American wife and their experience during Hurricane Katrina. I am working through it -- it's a bit labored in the bigeninning but the writing is starting to loosen up with the story.

The most disturbing part fot he book is not Egger's fault, but a fault of American society and the media that covers American Arabs. The mainstream news media does not "see" American Arabs any more as a community. Rather, we have been morphed into the larger community of Muslims. All Arabs are Muslims. Christian Arabs don't exist or create a blimp on the radar screen. Although Eggers approaches it from the narrative of a writer documenting the life of a family, the Muslim character of the story's protagonists seem to trump the Arab side of the experience.

Despite some issues I have with the way we in America approach stories about American Arabs -- wanting to cast them as Muslims in a religious conflict between Islam and the West rather than as a more natural relationship between Americans, the West and the Arab World -- this is a must read book. Well written. And one of the only efforts to document an aspect of Hurricane Katrina that impacted many American Arabs that was ignored by most of the media.

I urge you to buy it and read it. I am finishing it now.

Here is an interview with the author published in the Pittsvurgh Post Gazette on why he wrote the book and some background. Click to read the full interview.

Excerpt from interview:

"Zeitoun" is the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-American Muslim
living in New Orleans who was incarcerated with no due process in the aftermath
of Hurricane Katrina. But the majority of folks affected by Katrina were
African-American. Why did you choose this story?

A: Before Katrina, there were 10,000 Muslims in New Orleans, so it's not so
rare. Coverage of Katrina has rightfully focused on the effect of negligence and
inaction and the latent effects of systemic neglect and racism that gave rise to
what happened to the largely black population of New Orleans, (but) I hope that
there are dozens more (books) that represent the city and its mosaic.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Inside Fallujah: The Unembedded Story, by Ahmed Mansour

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Newly released from InterLink Publishing: Inside Fallujah: The Unembedded Story by journalist Ahmed Mansour

Fallujah first entered America’s public consciousness on March 31, 2004, following the murder of four Blackwater USA security guards. During the subsequent April siege of the city by US troops, all roads entering Fallujah were blocked, but one courageous journalist, Ahmed Mansour of al-Jazeera, was able to slip through with his crew.

The images they broadcast during the six-day siege shocked the world, showing the excessive use of force by US troops, the heartless destruction of a city that had previously resisted the US occupation, and the unedited brutality of the Iraq war as seen by unembedded media. Inside Fallujah: The Unembedded Story, by Ahmed Mansour, tells the terrifying story of what it was like to be inside Fallujah during Operation Vigilant Resolve.

The second half of the book deals with the political fall-out from Mansour’s coverage of the siege. Journalism during the Iraq war had already been the subject of criticism, both for the practice of embedding journalists and the incredibly high number of journalists killed, wounded, or kidnapped in the conflict. Following his dispatches from inside Fallujah, Mansour, a respected veteran journalist who covered the Soviet–Afghan war and the Bosnian war, became a target of the Bush administration; several al-Jazeera bureaus were bombed by the US; and five months after the siege, the Baghdad bureau was closed under orders from the occupation-friendly interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Blending his personal account of the first battle of Fallujah with the politics of the Iraq war, the Bush administration’s determination to remove Mansour from the city, the repression of freedom of the press in Iraq, and the harrowing, heartbreaking stories of Fallujah’s residents, Mansour’s Inside Fallujah is a gripping account of one of the most controversial battles of the Iraq war.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Best of Mahmoud Darwish published in "Almond Blossoms ad Beyond"

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Interlink Publishing Group, Inc.
46 Crosby Street • Northampton MA 01060-1804
Tel: (413) 582 7054 • Fax: (413) 582 7057
Publicity Contact: Moira Megargee, extension 202 •

Almond Blossoms and Beyond
by Mahmoud Darwish
translated by Mohammad Shaheen

“A brilliant poet—certainly the most gifted of his generation in the Arab world.”
—Edward Said

Almond Blossoms and Beyond is one of the last collections of poetry that the internationally acclaimed Palestinian exile poet Mahmoud Darwish left to the world. Composed of brief lyric poems and the magnificent sustained Exile cycle, Almond Blossoms and Beyond holds an important place in Darwish’s unparalleled oeuvre. It distills his late style, in which, though the specter of death looms and weddings turn to funerals, he threads the pulses and fragilities and beauties of life into the lines of his poems. Their liveliness is his own response to the collection’s final call to bid “Farewell / Farewell, to the poetry of pain.”

Mahmoud Darwish, (1941–2008) born in the village of al-Birweh, Palestine, authored over two dozen volumes of poetry and prose. When he died last summer, he was mourned throughout the world as the voice of the Palestinian people and the author of their official declaration of independence, and most importantly, a poet of the highest invention and beauty.

Mohammad Shaheen holds a PhD in English literature from Cambridge University. He is a professor of English at the University of Jordan where he teaches literary criticism, 20th-Century English, and Comparative Literature. He is the author of many articles and books, including E.M. Forster and the Politics of Imperialism and The Modern Arabic Short Story: Shahrazad Returns.

Almond Blossoms and Beyond
by Mahmoud Darwish, translated by Mohammad Shaheen
Interlink Books, an imprint of Interlink Publishing Group, Inc.
Poetry • 6” x 9” • 128 pages
ISBN 978-1-56656-755-8 • $25.00 hardback