Lebanon


For anyone doing research on the Middle East for the past two centuries, there is an incredible archive online. Details below:

Alphabetical List of Open Access Historical Newspapers and Other Periodicals in Middle East & Islamic Studies

Below is a list of Open Access historical newspapers and other periodicals in Middle Eastern Studies.
Most titles on the list have been digitized by independent projects across the globe and may not have been fully cataloged. It is often difficult to find and access them on the web or through catalogs such as HathiTrust, AMEEL, Gallica, Revues, WorldCat, etc.
We welcome your comments and suggestions of additional titles to include. Please use the comment feature at the bottom of the page.

For the list of active Open Access journals follow this link:
Alphabetical List of Open Access Journals in Middle Eastern Studies

132 titles as of May 14, 2015.

For my post on the Arab youth views of democracy, click here.

The Library of Congress has a very nice website with online resources regarding its collection of Near Eastern materials.


This is Ali Issa’s face. It deserves to become imprinted in our collective memory as a nation.

State of Mind, January 12, 2015

Two days ago, Tripoli got hit with death yet again as a terrorist attack took place in its Jabal Mohsen neighborhood.

The politics and intricacies of the attack are many, but there is one story of heroism springing out of the horror that took place on Saturday that no one is talking about. I figured I will, because this particular story about these kinds of people are the ones that make you see that faint silver lining in all the mayhem.

Many have wondered how come a café as crowded as the one attacked in Jabal Mohsen only amounted to less than 10 casualties. That’s because the suicide bombing attack didn’t go according to the two terrorists’ plans.

Among those was a brave, courageous, heroic man called Abou Ali Issa. He was a father of seven. When the first suicide bomber detonated himself, people started gathering at the site. Abou Ali Issa who wasn’t even at the café at the time rushed to the site to see what was happening. It was then that he saw the second suicide bomber approaching the premises to detonate himself and kill much more people than the first one did. The bomber shouted “Allahou Akbar.” Abou Ali Issa rushed at him and tackled him, preventing the bomber from reaching the café, killing the people inside. The bomber then detonated himself, killing them both.

He didn’t care about the sects of those in the cafe. He didn’t care if he was saving the lives of Sunnis, Shia, Alawites or Christians. Abou Ali Issa did not care about his own life as he was faced with a choice most of us would never face: save others or save yourself. He chose the former.

This man who saved hundreds of life will never become a viral sensation. His funeral was broadcast yesterday, along with that of the 7 other people that died with him, on a split-screen on Lebanese TVs, not even worthy of full screen treatment.

In a few days from now, no one will remember that there were two suicide bombers in Tripoli who targeted innocents, let alone the existence of a man who prevented those terrorists from doing so much more harm hadn’t he sacrificed his own life to save everyone else.

Today, there are hundreds of families in Tripoli and Jabal Mohsen who owe their wholeness to Abou Ali Issa. They owe him the presence of their fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. They owe him the sheer relief they felt when their loved ones came back home that day.

Abou Ali Issa’s family, his wife and seven children, did not get that same sense of relief and happiness. Their family will never be whole again, and justice for their father and husband will probably never come.

This is my attempt to make the memory of their father and husband that of a national hero, as it should be, as he is the kind of people who deserve to be paraded around as national symbols, as household names who should never be forgotten, because people like him are rare to come by and they should always be cherished and honored and respected.

May he rest in peace. There are fewer people deserving of such peace.

Update: The Daily Star has covered the story here and here.

Here is a short review of an exciting new book:

Marwa Elshakry, Reading Darwin in Arabic, 1860-1950 University of Chicago, 2013.

by Carla Nappi on May 23, 2014, New Books in Science, Technology and Society

The work of Charles Darwin, together with the writing of associated scholars of society and its organs and organisms, had a particularly global reach in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Marwa Elshakry’s new book offers a fascinating window into the ways that this work was read and rendered in modern Arabic-language contexts. Reading Darwin in Arabic, 1860-1950 (University of Chicago Press, 2013) invites us into a late nineteenth-century moment when the notions of “science” and “civilization” mutually transformed one another, and offers a thoughtful and nuanced account of the ways that this played out for scholars working and writing in Syria and Egypt. The early chapters of Elshakry’s book focus on the central role played by popular science journals like Al-Muqtataf (The Digest) in translating and disseminating Darwin’s ideas. We meet Ya’qub Sarruf & Faris Nimr, young teachers at the Syrian Protestant College who were instrumental in translating scientific works into Arabic there and, later, in Egypt. An entire chapter looks closely at Isma’il Mazhar’s work producing the first verbatim translation of Darwin’s Origin of Species into Arabic, but the book also looks well beyond Darwin to consider broader Arabic discourses on the relationship between science and society, as those discourses were shaped by engagements with the work of Herbert Spencer, Ludwig Büchner, and many others. Elshakry pays special attention to the ways that this story is embedded in the histories of print culture, the politics of empire, and debates over educational reform, materialism, and socialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and concludes with a consideration of the continuing reverberations of these issues into late twentieth century Egypt and beyond. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the entanglements of science, translation, and empire in the modern world, and it will change the way we understand the place of Arabic interlocutors in the history of modern science.

What is the religion of George Clooney’s fiancé, Ms. Amal Alamduddin? Druze? Muslim?
by Omid Safi, What Would Muhammad Do, April 29, 2014

The news that George Clooney, the perpetual bachelor, had gotten engaged to Amal Alamuddin, a stunning Arab beauty, who (ahem, ahem) is also a badass brainy Oxford-educated international human rights lawyer—pardon us, barrister—has now officially gone viral. Here and here and here.

On social media, many professional women, in their 30s and 40s, have expressed joy that Clooney was wedding a brainy (Ok, and stunning) professional woman.

Many human rights activists see this as an opportunity to bring attention to catastrophes like Syria.

Many Arabs are naturally seeing this as a confirmation of the attractiveness of Arabs. [Just check out the outburst of pride on FB!] (more…)

How people in Muslim countries prefer women to dress in public

By Jacob Poushter, Pew Research Center, January 8, 2014

An important issue in the Muslim world is how women should dress in public. A recent survey from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research conducted in seven Muslim-majority countries (Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey), finds that most people prefer that a woman completely cover her hair, but not necessarily her face. Only in Turkey and Lebanon do more than one-in-four think it is appropriate for a woman to not cover her head at all in public.

The survey treated the question of women’s dress as a visual preference. Each respondent was given a card depicting six styles of women’s headdress and asked to choose the woman most appropriately outfitted for a public place. Although no labels were included on the card, the styles ranged from a fully-hooded burqa (woman #1) and niqab (#2) to the less conservative hijab (women #4 and #5). There was also the option of a woman wearing no head covering of any type. (more…)


On Marriage by Khalil Gibran

The following is a response by Dr. Najib Sifri of Lebanon to the post and poem entitled “The Collapse of Tradition” by George Elhage.

كتت أعتقدُ انني لن أقرأ لجورج نقولا الحاج قصيدةً مثل ” عقدة الجنس ” بعدما حملنا العمر ستة عقودٍ من الاعوام واكثر . ولكنه يبدو ان شعر جورج كالنبيذ الغالي كلما تعتق في خوابي السنين صار أطيب وارحب واكثر تأثيرا في معناه وفي مبناه ..
لقد حملتني هذه القصيدة الى سنوات الشباب الثائر على التقاليد الجوفاء وعلى الممنوعات السوداء وعلى المتاجرة بمصير النساء , وكأننا نعيش في زمنٍ غابرٍ اكل الدهرُ عليه وشرب !
صحيحٌ أنني وهو في ذلك الزمن قد قطفنا الرمان وتلذذنا بملمسه ومذاقه , ودخلنا فيما دخلنا اسرة الصبايا من كل نوعٍ ولونٍ وجنسٍ ولعلنا كنا من الاستثناءات التي ساعدنا فيها كوننا درسنا في مدارس مختلطة يجلس فيها هذا قرب هذه , وانتقلنا الى جامعة هي ايضا تقدس الحرية الشخصية لكل فرد رجلا كان او امرأة , اضافة الى اننا ننتمي الى طائفة دينية غير متعصبة ونسكن ايضا في امكنة لا حجاب فيها ولا نقاب .
هذه القصيدة التي انشدها جورج في القرن الواحد والعشرين تدلنا على انه حتى في ايامنا كان الامر افضل مما نحن عليه اليوم , فبدل من ان يكون القول الى الامام سر اصبح الى الوراء در …
جورج من الذين يتقنون صبّ المعاني في قوالبها فهو مهندس بارع في سبك العبارة وتحميلها لصدر وعجز مناسبين تمام التناسب , وهو فنان في ضبط الايقاع عدا انه مصور ماهر ذات خيال خصب وهذا ما يميز هذه القصيدة حيث ان هناك كثيرين ممن كتبوا في هذا الموضوع لكنهم اخفقوا , ولعل كل بيت من أبيات هذه القصيدة يحتاج الى صفحة اواكثر تدقيقا وتمحيصا وليس هنا المكان المناسب لهذا الامر , فليست هذه سوى رسالة شخصية لصديق يرسل الى اخيه خواطر من القلب الى القلب .
هي الثقة مشكلتنا في هذا الشرق , فلا ثقة لامٍ بابنتها , ولا ثقة لاخٍ باخته , ولا لزوج بزوجته , ولا بامة بنسائها , ولالرجل بنفسه ,لان تواريخ الشعوب مكتوبة على وجه نسائها فأين تقع هذه التواريخ واين نجدها واكثر نسائنا تضع الاقنعة السوداء على وجهها رحمنا الله وهنيئاً لجورج الحاج …..

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