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Al Jazeera


  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Q&A: France's connections in Africa w/ Lansine Kaba

    In January 2013, France sent a few thousand troops to Mali in a bid to combat rebel fighters who had seized control of the north of the country and were threatening to advance on the capital.The intervention shed light on some of France's historical relationships with its former colonies. But what do the country's historic ties with Africa say about its recent political moves?Dr Lansine Kaba is a distinguished scholar, writer and professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. He is the recipient of the distinguished Melville J. Herskovits Prize for best work in English in African Studies. Al Jazeera's Heather Roy spoke to this leading historian on Africa about the France-Africa connection and what role, if any, this relationship plays today.Al Jazeera: What does the term 'Francafrique' mean?Lansine Kaba: Francafrique involves a complex web of relations that have made France a major player in the affairs of many African countries and even of the African Union. Through the networks of this largely “opaque conglomerate”, France, a founding member of the UN Security Council and the World Bank, can boast a significant global influence that extends far beyond the French-speaking states.

  • Originally published 07/18/2013

    Mark LeVine: Flamenco, Car Bombs and a 'Happy' Future for Iraq

    Mark LeVine is professor of Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine, and distinguished visiting professor at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden and the author of the forthcoming book about the revolutions in the Arab world, The Five Year Old Who Toppled a Pharaoh.I don't remember if it was my second or third hospital visit of the day. But the scene will remain etched in my memory. Before me was an Iraqi political activist, roughly my age, lying in what passed for an intensive care ward (less than half the beds have sheets, doctors have to rely on adult-sized IV tubes for children, and hardly any patients receive proper pain or antibiotic medications). He was in tremendous pain from several gunshot wounds, and yet he couldn't stop repeating to me that I shouldn't interpret his shooting as an act of sectarian violence. This is despite the fact that he was Shi'a and his shooter was Sunni, and that the morgue downstairs was overflowing with less fortunate victims of the same kind of violence.

  • Originally published 07/11/2013

    Abdullah Al-Arian: Frankenstein's Constitution in Egypt

    Abdullah Al-Arian received his PhD from Georgetown University and is currently an Assistant Professor of history at Wayne State University, where he specialises in the modern Middle East.If the vacuous civilian leadership and the military’s recent brutality were not enough to demonstrate the shortsighted nature of the “people’s coup” in Egypt, the constitutional declaration issued by army-backed interim president Adly Mansour certainly does. From the moment the Egyptian military deposed Mohamed Morsi and announced its roadmap for yet another transition, major questions emerged concerning the imposition of a new political process and how inclusive that process would be.The resulting declaration incorporates a patchwork of various elements of the previous transition, including some of the most troubling aspects of the Morsi presidency that prompted the mass protest movement that led to his removal in the first place. With the Egyptian opposition’s disparate parts already voicing strong objections to its content, the declaration also promises to be as divisive as any decree issued over the last thirty months.

  • Originally published 07/11/2013

    Humayun Ansari: Islamophobia Rises in British Society

    Humayun Ansari is a Professor of History of Islam and Culture in the Department of History at Royal Holloway, University of London. On the 8th anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings, and in the aftermath of the killing of British army soldier Lee Rigby, it is timely to assess how Islamophobia within Britain’s political landscape has evolved since that tragic day in July 2005. Much evidence suggests that Islamophobia has moved beyond small fringe far-right groups to being far more widespread across broad sections of the population.

  • Originally published 07/11/2013

    Bosnians rebury Srebrenica victims

    Tens of thousands have gathered in Bosnia to rebury 409 newly identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre on the 18th anniversary of the atrocity in which about 8,000 Muslims were slaughtered.Among the victims are 43 teenage boys and a baby that was born during the ordeal. They are being laid to rest at a special cemetery near Srebrenica where victims are buried as their remains are gradually found in mass graves."This year we are going to bury the youngest victim of the genocide, the Muhic family's baby," Kenan Karavdic, the official in charge of the burial ceremony, said on Thursday....

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    Q&A: Israeli historian Ilan Pappe

    The work of Professor Ilan Pappe - an advocate for an international boycott against Israel and the establishment of a single state for Israelis and Palestinians - has drawn praise as well as harsh criticism in academic and political circles.The criticism is not surprising, given that Pappe's work has sought to challenge the accepted truths of a divided land, and led to him being forced to resign from the University of Haifa in 2007....Al Jazeera and Professor Pappe discussed the stalled "peace process", along with Palestinian unity and the successes of the push for a one-state solution.Al Jazeera: How do you assess the recent efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry to restart negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians?

  • Originally published 07/05/2013

    Mark LeVine: Who Will Control the Egyptian State?

    Mark LeVine is professor of Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine, and distinguished visiting professor at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden and the author of the forthcoming book about the revolutions in the Arab world, The Five Year Old Who Toppled a Pharaoh.After 887 days of protests, tear gas, tanks, camels, horses, tent cities, marches, birdshot, live ammunition, ultras, great music, torture, rape, disappointments, spears, knives, Facebook campaigns, undercover thugs, military detentions, men with scimitars, show trials, elections, referendums, annulments, arson, police brutality, negotiations, machinations, committees, strikes, street battles, foreign bailouts, extreme theatre, revolutionary graffiti, television drama, Leninist study circles, and Salafi sit-ins, Egypt's young revolutionaries have managed to do the near impossible: force the “nizzam” - the system - to restart a deeply flawed transition process in a manner which, at least at the surface, puts civilians in charge of a fraught transition process that was likely doomed the first time around the moment SCAF took control....

  • Originally published 07/05/2013

    Abdullah Al-Arian: Egypt's Democratic Outlaws

    Abdullah Al-Arian is an Assistant Professor of History at Wayne State University, where he specialises in the modern Middle East. The Muslim Brotherhood has been here before.In the fall of 1954, the Muslim Brotherhood put its faith in the revolutionary transition in place after the 1952 military coup, backing the wrong horse in General Muhammad Naguib, and was ultimately outmaneuvered by Nasser. In one fell swoop, the organisation was outlawed, its offices burned down by angry mobs, its newspapers shut down, and its leaders imprisoned, executed, or exiled....But if Mohamed Morsi’s rise to the presidency was a remarkable achievement for a once outlawed opposition movement, his sudden fall at the hands of a military coup backed by a mass revolt in some ways signifies an unprecedented low point in the history of the Muslim Brotherhood. Not only does it face the prospect of enduring banishment at the hands of a cold and calculating military regime yet again, it will do so to the thunderous applause of millions of Egyptians.

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    Manuel Barcia: Niall Ferguson Does a Romney

    Dr. Manuel Barcia is Deputy Director at the Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at the University of Leeds.Over the past few years as gays, lesbians and transsexuals made social gains across the world, they have found themselves at the end of all sorts of accusations from those who see these advances as a threat to their precious status quo. They have been blamed for earthquakes, hurricanes and terrorist attacks. Now, in a very subtle way, the responsibility for the current economic crisis has been blamed on one of them, the famous and well-respected 20th century economist John Maynard Keynes. This time, however, the gay bashing did not come from some religious extremist in the American Midwest or Indonesia, but from Professor Niall Ferguson, a well-known British historian who plies his trade at Harvard University. 

  • Originally published 04/21/2013

    Sarah Kendzior: The Wrong Kind of Caucasian

    Sarah Kendzior is an anthropologist who recently received her PhD from Washington University in St Louis.In 1901, a 28-year-old American named Leon Czolgosz assassinated US President William McKinley. Czolgosz was born in America, but he was of Polish descent. After McKinley died, the American media blamed Polish immigrants. They were outsiders, foreigners, with a suspicious religion - Catholicism - and strange last names.At a time when Eastern European immigrants were treated as inferior, Polish-Americans feared they would be punished as a group for the terrible actions of an individual. "We feel the pain which this sad occurrence caused, not only in America, but throughout the whole world. All people are mourning, and it is caused by a maniac who is of our nationality," a Polish-American newspaper wrote in an anguished editorial.

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