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juhood v o l u m e

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ZEINA BASSIL featured artist


JUHOOD v o l u m e

s e c o n d

Containing six essays regarding

THE MIDDLE EASTERN REGION which shall be considered to include the

NORTH OF AFRICA , TURKEY and IRAN edited by GIACOMO MCCARTHY , and his merry team.

WE HAPPILY PRESENT this journal ;

C O N S I S T I N G O N L Y O F U N D E R G R A D U AT E W O R K , to our esteemed readers.

D U R H A M,

In the year two thousand and nineteen P u b l i s h e d a t D u ke U n i ve r s i t y b y t h e D u ke A s s o c i a t i o n f o r t h e M i d d l e E a s t

1 Acknowledgements Editor-in-Chief

Giacomo McCarthy

Associate Editor

Hannah Kaplon

Editorial Board

Gianna Affi Nayla Boorady Hana Hendi Nour Kanaan Ayesham Khan Bryan Rusch Jordan Diamond Ava Erfani


Masha Feingold

Featured Artists

Waseem Marzouki Zeina Bassil

Our Sponsors

John Spencer Basset Fund Student Organization Finance Committee (SOFC) Duke University Middle East Studies Center

The information provided by our contributors is not independently verified by Juhood. The materials presented represent the personal opinions of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Juhood, DAME, or Duke University. Juhood: The Journal of Middle Eastern and North African Affairs Volume 2, Issue 1, Fall 2019 • Copyright Š 2019 Duke University


From the Editors... We’re absolutely thrilled to bring you the first issue of the second volume of Juhood. Though it’s been a rocky semester for Middle Eastern Studies here in Durham thanks to the Department of Education’s investigation, Juhood has nonetheless improved, undergoing a more rigorous editorial process, developing a larger and more involved staff, and producing an expanded publication. This year, we’re featuring two artists – Zeina Bassil on the cover and Waseem Marzouki throughout. Zeina is a hotshot illustrator in Beirut whose piece reflects on Lebanese current events as a “women’s revolution.” Waseem is a Syrian artist living in Los Angeles whose work emphasizes the global oil industry and the mechanisms of the Syrian War. Our authors have produced excellent work and hail from four American universities—Duke, UT Austin, UChicago, and USC (California). They offer analyses of diverse topics from far right-wing sympathy for the Assad regime to the role of commoners in Ancient Egyptian literature. These pieces provide meaningful contributions to the field and emphasize the value of undergraduate thought. As always, we maintain our commitment to an honestly undergraduate style and assume its requisite humility. None of us hold degrees beyond a high-school diploma. As such, there is imperfection and youth embedded in our efforts as authors, designers, editors, and illustrators. We try to capture this spirit throughout the journal, from its bright colors and graphic illustrations to the unmodified writing styles our authors demonstrate. Even as undergraduates, however, we strive to be conscientious in our role in producing knowledge about the Middle East. The irony is clear: as students of the region, we often learn to problematize the Middle East as a coherent geographical unit, yet in producing this journal we perpetuate the terminology. We have chosen to classify Juhood as a journal of Middle Eastern Studies to align ourselves with the existing field and to create continuity with our work and our professors’. However, we welcome alternative geographical designations and accept a gray definition of the region according to authors’ preferences. Furthermore, while we recognize our fallibility as undergraduates, we nevertheless are in a position of discursive privilege. We often remind ourselves that while a PhD candidate would likely not cite papers in Juhood, fellow undergraduates and high schoolers might. As such, we must acknowledge our biases as a publication from an elite American university and commit ourselves to elevating marginalized voices, especially those within the region. Similarly, we refuse to publish work that perpetuates hostility towards any marginalized group. We hope that Juhood offers space for undergraduate thought on the Middle East to coalesce, evolve, mature, and interact across university boundaries and regional divisions. To achieve this goal, we welcome all contributions or suggestions. Visit us at

- Hannah and Giacomo

_ 05 _ 25 _ 37 _ 55 THE SIEGE OF BARBASTRO Medieval HispanoArabic Love Poetry, Troubadors, and Courtly Love

REPRESENTATION IN THE AGE OF INSTAGRAM Travel Blogging and Agency on Global Social Media Platforms

THE FARRIGHT’S ASSADOPHILIA Understanding Western Far-Right Support for the Syrian Regime

DIAGNOSING LEBANESE PRE-HOSPITAL MEDICINE Emergency Procedure and the Future of Mobile Health





_ 65 _ 79 _ 93 _ 97 WOMEN’S STORIES


Female Agency and Transitional Justice in Iraq

The Commoner in Ancient Egyptian Literary Frameworks of Harmony





THE SIEGE OF BARBASTRO Medieval Hispano-Arabic Love Poetry, Troubadors, and Courtly Love



he culturally vibrant, politically tumultuous eleventh century in Iberia marked a turning point in European history: this century saw the fall of the powerful Umayyad caliphate of Cordoba, its fracture into rival Muslim taifas (independently-ruled factions or kingdoms), the disintegration of the convivencia (the culture of tolerance between Iberian Muslims, Christians, and Jews), and the increasing strength of the Christian kingdoms in the north of Spain—all of which worked to usher in the long-desired goals of a Christian reconquista of the peninsula. Muslim Spain—al-Andalus as it was known, established after the Umayyad invasion of Spain in 711 and in its prime until the fall of the caliphate in 10311—was the epicenter of a rich and unique culture that flourished during Islam’s Golden Age. Amongst other things, the cultural identity of al-Andalus, with its intellectual wealth, religious tolerance, and openness to different cultures, produced an abundance of scholarly and philosophical works and distinctively Hispano-Arabic art forms, among which was the love poem, an art form that was long emphasized in Arab culture. Despite the eventual success of the Reconquista in creating a unified Christian Spain, Hispano-Arabic love poetry would come to have a lasting and powerful (although until very recently, largely ignored or denied) influence on the development of medieval European literature and sensibilities—particularly on troubadour poetry and the concept of courtly love. When discussing the impact of Arabic love poetry on Europe, one event in particular stands out: the 1064 siege of the tiny, Muslim-held city of Barbastro, in the taifa of Zaragosa. This city would unknowingly become the site of a great cultural exchange between Muslim Spain and Western Europe, one that would break down the religious and cultural walls that had formed along the border of the Pyrenees. Although the Crusades and Reconquista would try to eradicate the Muslim identity of Spain, its influence—and that of the events of Barbastro in 1064—persists to this day. The cultural transmission that occurred at Barbastro would be made possible by the vernacular revolutions occurring throughout Iberia, the capture of hundreds of qiyan (singing girls) as spoils of the siege, and, surprisingly, the adaptable, culturally open nature of Barbastro’s conquerors. The ramifications of the siege of Barbastro, and in particular the transmission of Arabic love poetry that resulted from the siege, would have a lasting and integral impact on the development of medieval troubadour poetry. Most notably, Hispano-Arabic poetic forms and views on love—as a deeply spiritual force, ennobling and uplifting yet humbling and maddening—would influence the troubadours’ ideals of courtly love, ideals that persisted even after the troubadours’ prominence faded, subtly pervading European poetry, literature, song-writing, courtship behaviors, and sensibili-

1 “Al-Andalus,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2019, Al-Andalus.

7 ties to this day. THE SIEGE OF BARBASTRO Barbastro—outside of Zaragosa in the east of modern-day Spain, near the border of the Christian kingdoms of Aragon, Navarre, and Castile2—during this time was a small yet bustling and prosperous trade center. In 1064 Christian forces besieged the city in a trial run for the Crusades and as an early conflict of the Christian Reconquista to regain Iberia from Muslim rule. The Muslim-held city underwent a forty-day siege from June to August of that year, led by the Aragonese King Sancho Ramirez I, the Normans under Robert Crispin, and the Aquitanians under Duke William VIII.3 Their victory left Barbastro under Christian rule. Because Pope Alexander II had offered a remission of sins to any knight participating in the siege, later scholars identify the conflict at Barbastro as a “crusade before the crusades.”4 Barbastro in many ways was like any other city in Muslim Spain, in that its cultural and artistic output was the legacy of the intellectually vivid and progressively tolerant culture of al-Andalus, in which poetry was a valued and prominent art form that persisted in the taifas as they competed to exert cultural superiority over each other. Taifa kings encouraged literature, science, and the arts as the means of demonstrating the power of their kingdoms, and this period thus saw rich cultural and artistic outputs.5 The culture of Barbastro that would be transmitted out of Iberia after the siege was representative of the multilingual, multicultural Andalusian society from which it had derived. While there were many means of cultural exchange possible between Muslim Spain, Christian Spain, and Christian Europe—trade and pilgrimage routes, military campaigns, intermarriage, and the outflow of Arabic translations of classical texts6—the singularly unique circumstances of the siege of Barbastro allowed for a mass outflow of Andalusian culture on a scale never before seen. This would mark an expansive new era of cultural interaction between Iberia and Western Europe, and initiate the “beginning of the end of the long period during which neighbors, al-Andalus on this side and Latin Christendom be2 Jesús Brufal, Map 2.2: The taifa’s kingdoms in Al-Andalus and the Christian kingdoms and counties in the North of the Iberian Peninsula in mid-eleventh century, in The Crown of Aragon: A Singular Mediterranean Empire, ed. Flocel Sabaté (Boston: Brill, 2017), 61. 3 Clifford J. Rogers, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology Volume 1 (New York: University Oxford Press, 2010), 123. 4 Ramón Menéndez Pidal, quoted in Rogers, 123. 5 John Jay Parry, introduction to The Art of Courtly Love, ed. Austin P. Evans (New York: Columbia University Press, 1941), 7. 6 Magda Bogin, The Women Troubadours (New York: Norton, 1980), 46.

8 yond the Pyrenees, glimpsed each other rarely, and to little effect.”7 Barbastro was the marker of a new age, one defined by the breaking down of walls and the opening of pathways that allowed for formative cultural exchange. While there are very few primary sources existing from the siege, Muslim historian al-Bakri recounts that the victors “massacred the men and took a countless number of Muslim children and women as prisoners.”8 Chief among the spoils of the Christian victory at Barbastro—and what would have a significant impact on troubadour poetry—were the qiyan, or Muslim singing girls. Qiyan were trained female vocalists and entertainers, usually slaves (captured or indentured servants); they danced, played instruments, knew an abundance of songs and melodies, and in some cases even composed their own songs.9 Christian sources document that around 2,000 qiyan were captured in the battle; it is probable that William VIII of Aquitaine (or Occitania, modern-day Provençe, in southern France) went home with hundreds of these women as part of his spoils. His son, William IX (considered today to be the first troubadour poet), likely grew up in the presence of these women.10 More than just being spoils of war, the qiyan transferred out of Iberia were vehicles of cultural transmission, carrying the traditions of Arabic poems, songs, and music into the highest court of Occitania and to the listening ears of its early poets.11 This not be without its impact on the budding Occitanian genre of lyric poetry and song. One of the song forms transmitted was the muwashshaha, a relatively new, but vitally important, art form that arose during the time of the taifas. An innovative art form, the muwashshaha broke all the rules of classical Arabic poetry. Their complex rhyme schemes alternated between stanzas, abandoning the mono-end-rhyme of classical poetry.12 The songs were meant to be enjoyed, sung and danced along to. Most importantly, however, they included a simple refrain repeated at the end of each stanza (similar to the choruses in our modern songs) that was written, not in Arabic, but in the Romance vernacular of its time and place, Mozarabic.13 These muwashshaha 7 María Rosa Menocal, The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain (Boston: Back Bay Books, 2002), 124. 8 Lynn Tarte Ramey, Christian, Saracen and Genre in Medieval French Literature: Imagination and Cultural Interaction in the French Middle Ages (New York: Routledge, 2001), 20. 9 Reynolds, “Interview: Dwight Reynolds.” 10 Dwight Reynolds, interview by Banning Eyre, “Interview: Dwight Reynolds: Al-Andalus 1: Europe,” Afropop Worldwide, 2004, 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid.

9 “brought the mother tongues of the Andalusians up to share the stage with classical Arabic poetry, a language and a poetry that had never had to share the stage before.”14 Not only were these songs representative of the distinctive, multilingual, and hybrid identity of Andalusia, but they were a key part of the vernacular revolutions arising in Iberia. Love is a universal sentiment, and the desire to express love is universal, and this new vernacular poetry allowed for this expression by all people. It is likely that these muwashshaha were an inspiration for William IX of Aquitaine when he began to compose his own poems. Following the lead of the muwashshaha, William IX “rebelled vigorously against the strictures of a Latin that was no longer the mother tongue” and instead wrote his love poems in the vernacular of Occitania, langue d’oc.15 In doing so, and with other troubadours following his lead, William IX, with his poems that would come to influence medieval and modern European sensibilities, ushered in the new age of European vernacular literature. THE TROUBADORS AND COURTLY LOVE The troubadour poetry that emerged in Occitania around the year 1100 was a new and dramatically different form of poetry (as opposed to the epic poems and chansons de geste that existed up to this time), never before seen in Europe.16 They were lyric poems, meant to be sung, dealing almost exclusively with the topic of love—writing of unrequited love for aristocratic, virtuous, beautiful women, and addressing themes such as the ennobling, yet also sickening and maddening, force of love, and the lover as a servant to his beloved (who was usually of a superior social class, and, what’s more, married). The themes addressed in troubadour poetry formed a set of social and literary conventions that would come to be defined by Gaston Paris in 1883 as ‘courtly love’17 and which would come to influence the medieval code of chivalry.18 Troubadour poetry is known as the oldest form of all European lyric poetry and modern love poetry; it is a pioneer, not only in its theme of courtly love, but also in its form (the canso, or song, combined with the end rhyme, likely borrowed from Arabic poetry), and thus it held a prestigious and highly-imitated role in Occitanian society.19 William IX, Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitiers (1071-1127), is 14 Menocal, The Ornament, 126. 15 Ibid, 125. 16 Reynolds, “Interview: Dwight Reynolds.” 17 Ian Ousby, ed., The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 213. 18 Reynolds, “Interview: Dwight Reynolds.” 19 María Rosa Menocal, The Arabic Role in Medieval Literary History: A Forgotten Heritage (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 71.

10 considered to be the first troubadour poet.20 Most troubadours were courtiers, members of the upper classes, or like William, even nobles, writing poetry in highly refined, feudal, and often religious language to entertain court nobility and visitors.21 In writing these lyric poems, William IX of Aquitaine and the troubadours of Occitania ushered in a cultural awakening in Europe, likened to a “Renaissance of the twelfth century.”22 The poems of courtly love would come to have a lasting impact on European literature: from them “derived any number of the distinguishing characteristics of the lyric forms” that are “so vital and so lustrous a part of the literary heritage and makeup of Western Europe’s vernacular traditions.”23 Chief among these defining characteristics are the poetry’s depictions of what the troubadours called “fin’ amors,” meaning “fine love” (or, in other words, courtly love), something spiritual and inspiring.24 There are two key and defining paradoxes in courtly love: even while the lover submits himself to his beloved, his mind and spirit are ennobled; even while the experience of his love brings him intense joy, the unattainability of this love causes him extreme suffering. While William likely penned hundreds of poems, only eleven remain to us today.25 The following poem, classified as number nine, depicts these paradoxes: Every joy must abase itself, and every might obey in the presence of Midons for the sweetness of her welcome, for her beautiful and gentle look; and a man who wins to the joy of her love will live a hundred years. The joy of her can make the sick man well again, her wrath can make a well man die, …the courtliest man can become a churl, and any churl a courtly man…26 20 Matthew Steel, “Troubadours and Trouvéres,” Medieval Studies, Oxford Bibliographies, 2014, 21 “Provençal Literature,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2018, https://www.britannica. com/art/Provencal-literature. 22 Bogin, 37. 23 Menocal, The Arabic Role, 71. 24 Bogin, 38. 25 “Provençal Literature.” 26 William IX of Aquitaine, quoted in Bogin, 38.

11 Fin’ amors requires that even a noble man like William humble and submit himself, serf-like, to “Midons,” or “my lady,” a curious inversion of feudalist hierarchies, but a prominent theme throughout troubadour poetry.27 Yet it should be noted that the sentiments of courtly love are not just reserved for aristocrats. The conventions of courtly love offer a chance for even men of the lowest classes to elevate and ennoble themselves spiritually through love. In William’s poems can also be seen certain recurring dichotomies, such as life and death, sickness and medicine, delight and torment.28 These dichotomies arise from a key characteristic of courtly love poetry: the unattainability of the poet’s love. His beloved is almost always married, and because of this his love can only bring him endless suffering in this world. Because of this, too, his love must be kept secret from the outside world, and there is always the danger of discovery by spies.29 This tormented love is expressed in Can vei la lauzeta mover (“When I see the lark move”), the most famous poem of one of the other great troubadours, Bernart de Ventadorn (1145-1200): Alas! how much of love I thought I knew And how little I know, For I cannot stop loving Her from whom I may have nothing. All my heart, and all herself, And all my own self and all I have She has taken from me, and leaves me nothing But longing and a seeking heart.30 Even with the pain love can bring, the conventions of courtly love insist on the lover’s faithful devotion to and veneration of his lady. In this way, courtly love poetry reverses traditional gender roles, according women the preeminent position in the activity of courtship.31 The poetry of the troubadours flourished for around two hundred 27 Michael Barry, “In the Worlds of Nizāmī of Ganjeh: Layli and Majnūn and the riddle of courtly love,” in The Routledge Companion to World Literature and World History, ed. May Hawas (London: Routledge, 2018), 102. 28 Ousby, 213. 29 Ibid, 212. 30 Bernart de Ventadorn, quoted in Todd Tarantino, “Bernart de Ventadorn: Can vei la lauzeta mover,” Todd Tarantino, 2012, html. 31 “Courtly Love: Medieval View of Love: General,” adapted from A Guide to the Study of Literature: A Companion Text for Core Studies 6, Landmarks of Literature, English Department, Brooklyn College, 2000, melani/cs6/love.html.

12 years until the Albigensian Crusade beginning in 1209 ruined many Occitanian nobles, making the profession of the troubadour no longer lucrative or necessary.32 Some troubadours migrated north, but by the onset of the Black Death in the 14th century, troubadour poetry had essentially died out. Its influence, however, did not die out. Courtly love offered to Europe a refined literary language in which to express love, which would be imitated by many authors and poets to come. Dante, in particular, expressed interest in the poetry of the troubadours. His essay De vulgari eloquentia (“On eloquence in the vernacular”) is often considered the first work of scholarship on the troubadours.33 At a time in Italy when Latin was the dominant language of literature, Dante, viewing the troubadours as models for the vernacular tradition, defended the writing of literature in the vernacular, as he himself would eventually do in the Divine Comedy.34 Petrarch would follow suit, using the Italian language for a new purpose: love poetry.35 In this poetry, Dante expresses his love for Beatrice, and Petrarch for Laura. These women, although unattainable because married, would be their reasons for living, and the poets elevate Beatrice and Laura to spiritual heights—Beatrice, to Dante, being the symbol of salvation and the “Supreme Beloved.”36 Beyond Dante and Petrarch, the influence of courtly love permeates much of medieval European literature. The rules of courtly love would become a part of medieval chivalric romances, one of the earliest of which is the story of Tristan and Isolde, and perhaps the most famous of which is the romance of Lancelot and Guinevere.37 Both romances would be retold in various forms and languages throughout the medieval era and into the present. The knight of the chivalric romances is courteous and noble, he is devoted to his lady, and he fights for love against all obstacles, even if that love is never fulfilled.38 These themes and motifs persist beyond the medieval period, notably being satirized by Cervantes in Don Quixote’s idolization of Dulcinea. The theme of unattainable, forbidden love characteristic of the troubadours’ poetry would become perhaps one of the most common themes of literature, from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to the books and movies of 32 “Provençal Literature.” 33 Menocal, The Arabic Role, 71. 34 Ibid, 74. 35 Ibid. 36 Roger Boase, The Origin and Meaning of Courtly Love: A Critical Study of European Scholarship (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977), 66. 37 Barry, 101. 38 Laura Ashe, “Love and chivalry in the Middle Ages,” Discovering Literature: Medieval, British Library, 2018,

13 modern day. The sentiments of courtly love would have profound cultural effects in Europe, developing into courtship rituals—proscribing proper social interactions between men and women eventually leading to marriage—that persisted into the eighteenth and nineteenth century and perhaps have not completely gone away today.39 A modern revival of interest in the troubadours began after the French Revolution, when scholars again began studying Provençal literature and poetry.40 The fascination with troubadour poetry has continued into more recent times. In the twentieth century Ezra Pound studied and translated troubadour poetry, even referring to them in his Canto VII: “And Poictiers, you know, Guillaume Poictiers, / had brought the song up out of Spain.”41 Recently renewed interest in Hispano-Arabic influences on the troubadours ensure that this fascination and study will continue. The origin of troubadour poetry—in particular, whether it was newly invented by the Occitanians or borrowed from some older tradition—is perhaps one of the most debated and contentious topics in Romance studies.42 Parallels—in rhyme, poetic forms, melodies, characters, themes, and motifs— exist between Arabic love poetry traditions and courtly love, yet a Hispano-Arabic theory of origin has largely been resisted or displaced by a distinctly European origin story that in effect ignores any Arabic influence on European culture. ARABIC LOVE TREATISES AND POETRY To understand the influence of Arabic love poetry on the troubadours, it is important to provide background on the Arabic views on love, which shine through in all of the profuse works of Arabic love poetry from this time. The Andalusian views on love are brought together in the seminal 1022 work of Ibn Hazm, the Tawq al-Hamāma (also known as The Ring of the Dove or The Dove’s Neck-Ring). Ibn Hazm (994-1064), born in Cordoba, was a leading Andalusian philosopher, theologian, and historian.43 During his life he witnessed the fall of the caliphate, and a sense of longing for an unattainable, lost love—“our beloved Andalusia”— subtly pervades his work.44 Combining both prose and poetry, this treatise on the nature of love, in which Ibn Hazm describes every 39 Ibid. 40 “Provençal Literature.” 41 Ezra Pound, The Cantos of Ezra Pound (New York: New Directions Books, 1996), 32. 42 Reynolds, “Interview: Dwight Reynolds.” 43 A. J. Arberry, preface to The Ring of the Dove (1951), http://www., 2-3. 44 Ibn Hazm, The Ring of the Dove, trans. A. J. Arberry (1951), http://www., 8.

14 aspect, form, cause, and means of love, became a “handbook of sorts” of the “phenomenon” and “elaborate codes” of love in Andalusian culture.45 It includes thirty chapters considering such issues as “The Signs of Love,” “On Falling in Love at First Sight,” “Of Breaking Off,” and “Of Fidelity.” Throughout The Ring of the Dove, a cast of characters appears who are consistent players in any love affair: the (often tormented) lover, his beloved, “the helpful brother” (the lover’s trusty friend), the spy, the slanderer, and the reproacher (these last three working to impede the union of the lovers).46 Almost all Hispano-Arabic love poems share themes with Ibn Hazm’s treatise and anticipate the basic motifs of courtly love poetry, “fidelity, suffering, secrecy, servitude, and submission.”47 Ibn Hazm reminiscences of when he had “trodden the carpets of caliphs, and attended the courts of kings,” but yet never has he “seen reverential awe equal to that which the lover manifests to his beloved”48—the beloved is so highly elevated in the lover’s mind, and because of this the “lover submits to his beloved, adjusts his own character by main force to that of his loved one.”49 To Ibn Hazm, true love is deeply spiritual; it does not ignore physical beauty, but rather transcends it. Love in itself is divine and sinless: it “is neither disapproved by Religion, nor prohibited by the Law; for every heart is in God’s hands.”50 Ibn Hazm pictures love as a “conjunction between scattered parts of souls that have become divided in this physical universe.”51 True love is something “within the soul itself;”52 it is “life renewed, pleasure supreme, joy everlasting, and a grand mercy from God.”53 Often the union of two lovers is never achieved—the beloved is already married, or else a slanderer or spy puts insurmountable obstacles in the way—and this is deeply devastating and agonizing for the lover—but at the same time it elevates his life. Love is ennobling: “How often has the miser opened his purse strings, the scowler relaxed his frown, the coward leapt heroically into the fray, the clod suddenly become sharp-witted, the boor turned into the perfect gentleman, the stinker transformed himself into the elegant dandy, the sloucher smartened up, the decrepit recaptured his lost youth…and all because of love!”54 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54

Menocal, The Ornament, 116. Ibn Hazm, 8. Boase, 65. Ibn Hazm, 71. Ibid, 42. Ibid, 8. Ibid, 9. Ibid. Ibid, 58. Ibid, 14.

15 This is one of the most important themes later to be found in courtly love. Along with this spiritual aspect of love, there is a deep religious subcurrent in Ibn Hazm’s treatise and much of Arabic poetry. Ibn Hazm’s reverence for the Quran and Muslim values are prominent throughout the text. These religious values blend with Ibn Hazm’s spiritual understanding of love to create an Islamic framework for human love as a religious act. Perhaps one of the most influential Andalusian poets was the scholar and mystic Ibn Arabi (1165-1240).55 His collection of poems, the Turjuman al-Ashwaq (The Translator [or Interpreter] of Desires) evinces many similar themes as described in The Ring of the Dove. In his poem “Gentle now, doves” can be seen the transformation of love into a religion: I profess the religion of love. Wherever its caravan turns along the way, that is the belief, the faith I keep.56 The beloved becomes a deity—Divine—and the lover remains faithful both in his love and his religion of love. The theme of the longing lover also recurs throughout Ibn Arabi’s poems, in the figure of Qays, a seventh-century Bedouin poet said to have gone insane out of his thwarted love for his beloved, Layla (and from which he received the name Majnun Layla, or ‘mad for Layla’).57 This longing lover evokes similarities with Dante’s and Petrarch’s loves for Beatrice and Laura. The dichotomies of love presented in Ibn Arabi’s poetry—enrichment and distress, delight and torment, medicine and sickness, freedom and slavery, life and death—can be found in troubadour and later medieval European poetry.58 The French counterpart to The Ring of the Dove is Andreas Capellanus’s De Amore (known in English as The Art of Courtly Love). Little is known about Andreas Capellanus (or, Andrew the Chaplain) except that he wrote his treatise and rule-book around the end of the twelfth century to describe the codes and conditions of love that prevailed at the royal court of Countess Marie de Champagne (a granddaughter of William IX of Aquitaine), of which he was a courtier.59 While hardly a literary masterpiece, its importance lies in it being “one of the capital works which reflect the thought of a great epoch, which 55 Michael A. Sells, Stations of Desire: Love Elegies from Ibn ‘Arabi and New Poems (Jerusalem: Ibis Press, 2000), 28-29. 56 Ibn Arabi, quoted in Sells, 73. 57 Sells, 144-45. 58 Boase, 68. 59 Parry, 17.

16 explain the secret of a civilization”60—in this case, the thoughts and secrets of courtly love (what Andreas deemed “pure love”61), whose ideas had been first spread throughout France by the troubadours. Andreas in many ways mocks the concept of courtly love, but his work nonetheless preserves the ways in which it was regarded and practiced in 12th-century French courts. Evidence of translations into Italian, Catalan, and German during the medieval period attests to the fact that it was widely read throughout various parts of Europe.62 Some scholars believe De Amore to be the first work to put into writing the rules of courtly love (the troubadours never produced any type of treatise on the art of courtly love, although its ideas pervade their poems),63 yet in his book can be seen many of the themes of love earlier described in The Ring of the Dove. Again one of the most important themes is the ennobling nature of love. Compare Andreas’s belief in the transformative power of love to Ibn Hazm’s: “Love causes a rough and uncouth man to be distinguished for his handsomeness; it can endow a man even of the humblest birth with nobility of character; it blesses the proud with humility; and the man in love becomes accustomed to performing many services gracefully for everyone. O what a wonderful thing is love, which makes a man shine with so many virtues and teaches everyone, no matter who he is, so many good traits of character!”64

True love makes the lover a better man, bringing out all of his good qualities and inducing him to noble (even chivalric) activities and displays of love in order to attain his beloved. Andreas delineates twelve chief rules of love. Among these include “thou shalt keep thyself chaste,” “thou shalt not have many who know of thy love affair,” and “thou shalt ever strive to ally thyself to the service of Love.”65 In these rules appear the cornerstones of courtly love, such as chastity of soul, secrecy, servitude, and submission, that are also present in The Ring of the Dove. Even in its format does The Art of Courtly Love resemble The Ring of the Dove, breaking descriptions of love into chapters like “What Love Is,” “In What Manner Love May be Acquired,” “In What Ways Love May Be Decreased,” and “If One of the Lovers is Unfaithful to the Other.” 60 Robert Bossuat, quoted in Parry, 4. 61 Parry, 22. 62 Ibid, 23. 63 Ibid, 6. 64 Andreas Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love, trans. John Jay Parry (New York: Columbia University Press, 1941), 31. 65 Ibid, 81.

17 Parry suggests that Andreas’s De Amore found its largest source of influence in Ovid’s Ars amatoria (“The Art of Love”) and Remedia amoris (“The Cure for Love”).66 Indeed, Andreas does quote and allude to Ovid several times throughout his book. While it is likely that Ovid was an inspiration for Andreas, there are key differences between Andreas’s and Ovid’s ideas of love— differences that are not distinct to Andreas, being also found in Ibn Hazm’s Ring of the Dove. The spiritual nature of love (the reunion of souls) that is so distinctive in Ibn Hazm and Ibn Arabi is not seen in Ovid, whose view of love is sensual, unromantic, extramarital, and even warlike.67 Furthermore, while Ovid believes that love “levels all ranks,”68 Andreas’s and the troubadour’s courtly love defines the beloved as superior to her submissive lover—a distinction that can be similarly interpreted as between the worshipper (lover) and God (as the beloved); this is also key in Hispano-Arabic poetry. This is what makes Arabic ideas of love stand out as so original: they deviate from the classical views of love and women articulated by Ovid, making their influence on troubadour and courtly love poetry that much more pronounced. BACK TO BARBASTRO It is an interesting question, why the Arabic ideas of love and their forms of love poetry had such an appeal for and impact on European audiences. Perhaps the answer is simple; as Menocal remarks of the cultural exchange that occurred at Barbastro, it “may well turn out that a moving love song captivates the men who have come to capture a city.”69 A famous account of the aftermath of the siege describes a Jewish merchant’s shock upon visiting the home of a Muslim gentleman in Barbastro, which had been taken over by a Norman nobleman, to find this Christian nobleman arrayed in Arab clothes, married to the Muslim gentleman’s daughter, and requesting performances of the songs of the qiyan.70 The chronicler describes that “even though he knew no Arabic, and could not understand the song, he wept at the beauty of the singing.”71 The Normans (and not just in their siege of Barbastro, but also equally evident in their conquests of Sicily and England)72 were a remarkably adaptable people. As Menocal describes, these Normans “walked into this first Andalusian city they had ever seen and immediately went native...with alacrity and ease adopt[ing] the ways and unexpected pleasures of this pre66 67 68 69 70 71 72

Parry, 4. Ibid. Ibid. Menocal, The Ornament, 124. Ibid, 120-21. Reynolds, “Interview: Dwight Reynolds.” Menocal, 124.

18 viously unknown land.”73 The absorbing, assimilating, and mobile nature of the Normans—who, importantly, set boundaries between politics and culture, realizing that political enemies were not cultural enemies—played a pivotal role in familiarizing Western Europe with Islamic Europe. The Normans were entranced by the beauty of the love poetry of Andalusia; they were also able to recognize the superiority of the Arabic art and culture that they encountered, and thus they embraced this cultural interaction. William IX displays a similar “optimism in the outcome of such interaction,” depicting as he does love between people of different races, cultures, and languages in his poems.74 The Hispano-Arab love poets present love in all its moving beauty and rawness: love ennobles and enriches the lover; it is created by God and thus cannot be wrong; it is available to everyone in the world, each person being connected in soul to another. Ibn Hazm, in The Ring of the Dove, describes love stories between noblemen and cheesemonger’s daughters or slave girls, painting love as something that can bridge social classes and unite even the most different of people. There is something incredibly appealing and beautiful about this equalizing, difference-dissolving nature of love; this ideal of love would appear in the later courtly love poetry. Prominent among both Hispano-Arabic love poems and courtly love poems is the exaltation of women. The Arab poets, as Bogin notes, “had been worshipping their ladies for at least 200 years;” when the troubadours followed suit, their courtly love poems gave to women a new and more elevated status in society that had never before been seen in Europe.75 More than that though, courtly love extended to all men the possibility of loving a noble woman and becoming enriched through her. Any man could achieve love and nobleness if he were ‘courtly.’ As an enriching, ennobling, equalizing force, courtly love was attainable to all men, and the troubadours writing of this love “extended to their audience an intuition of equality and freedom that was unheard of in the Middle Ages,” although long codified in works such as The Ring of the Dove.76 Who knows how different the outcome of the siege of Barbastro, and the literary history of Europe, would have been if the Normans and Aquitanians had not been the ones to conquer the city, and had not been so open to the culture they discovered there. THE HISPANO-ARABIC ORIGIN THEORY OF COURTLY LOVE The origin of troubadour and courtly love poetry has been a hotly contested debate among Romance scholars for centuries. Nonetheless, the 73 74 75 76

Ibid, 119. Ramey, 22. Bogin, 45. Ibid, 56.

19 influence of Spain’s Arab poets on courtly love and the troubadours has long been recognized. The first scholarly work to suggest a Hispano-Arab theory of origin of troubadour poetry was Dell’origine della poesia rimata by the Italian historian Giammaria Barbieri, written in the sixteenth century but not published until 1790.77 Its publication was followed by a host of scholarly works reiterating Barbieri’s theory. Scholars including Juan Andrés, Simonde de Sismondi, and Stendhal all supported the idea that the origins of the troubadour’s poem lay in the courts of Andalusia. The Hispano-Arabic theory reached the height of its support in the mid-nineteenth century, even becoming a “conventional maxim of criticism.”78 At the same time, other origin theories were popping up that denied firmly the legitimacy of the Hispano-Arabic theory. According to Menocal, two French works—Madame de Staël’s De la littérature considérée dans ses rapports avec les institutions sociales (1800) and François-René de Chateaubriand’s Génie du Christianisme (1802)—laid the groundwork for a distinctly European origin theory.79 According to them, troubadour poetry was a Christian European creation that also had influences in the Greeks and Romans, notably Ovid. Medieval Andalusia, on the other hand, was considered a hostile and opposing culture “with marginal connections or no connections at all with what was clearly becoming the ‘real Europe.’”80 These nineteenth-century scholars were firmly and unchangeably opposed to the idea of a Hispano-Arabic origin, even going so far as to say that “Arab society was too repressive toward women to have produced courtly love.”81 Menocal cites two main causes factoring into academic denials of Muslim Spain’s influence on courtly love: a belief that, “as an appendage of the Oriental world of Islam, the civilization of Spain did not constitute an integral part of Europe,” compounded by an “anti-Semitic prejudice…that does not admit the possibility of an important Oriental component” in such a founding branch of European literature.82 Many challengers to the theory suggest that the parallels between Arabic love poetry and courtly love poetry are purely coincidental.83 Others affirm that contact between troubadour poets and Arab poets would have been 77 Menocal, The Arabic Role, 79-80. 78 Ibid, 80. 79 Menocal, 80-81. 80 Ibid, 81. 81 Ibid. 82 María Rosa Menocal, “Close Encounters in Medieval Provence: Spain’s Role in the Birth of Troubadour Poetry,” Hispanic Review 49, no. 1 (1981), doi:10.2307/472655, 5051. 83 George T. Beech, “Troubadour Contacts with Muslim Spain and Knowledge of Arabic : New Evidence Concerning William IX of Aquitaine,” Romania 113, no. 449-450 (1992), doi:, 15.

20 near impossible.84 However, the siege of Barbastro, along with the existence of intermarriage and trade routes across the Pyrenees, makes evident that cultural diffusion was indeed occurring. For many of those who adhere to the belief that courtly love has distinctly European origins, there is a certain pride in the notion that the troubadour’s courtly love poetry, being the influential first of its kind in the history of medieval and modern European lyric poetry, is a “pure” Western European literary innovation and tradition.85 As Menocal states in The Arabic Role in Medieval History (one of the revolutionary works to argue for this Hispano-Arabic origin theory) there exists a notion that the Western world has a “distinctive cultural history” that is in “necessary and fundamental opposition to non-Western culture and cultural history.”86 Traditional literary history depends on the ‘Westernness’ of European literature and the ‘Otherness’ of non-Europeans, denying the influence of, in particular, the Islamic world on the cultural foundations of Europe. Menocal’s theory shatters the very notions of what it means to be “European,” suggesting as it does that Western literary culture derived from the culture of medieval Muslim Spain and displacing ingrained Western concepts of cultural lineage. It illuminates the fundamental and long-standing tension between Christian Europe and an Islamic ‘Other.’ It is important to note that these European origin theories of courtly love were emerging at the same time as the European empires were colonizing the Middle East and Africa. The study of the Arab world, which was becoming popular amongst European scholars of Orientalism, reinforced the ideologies of colonialism and imperialism in the nineteenth century.87 European views on the Arab world were defined by misconceptions and stereotypes that persisted for centuries to come, and even today have not been completely eradicated. Orientalists, fueling their own narratives of European cultural superiority, retained deep anti-Arab and anti-Islam prejudices, and viewed Arabs as irrational, vengeful, depraved, and even childlike.88 Cultural differences between Europe and the Middle East were used to justify the division between the two, allowing Europe to define itself as superior to the Oriental ‘Other.’89 During this time, the Hispano-Arabic origin theory became “virtually taboo,”90 and remained that way into the twentieth century. Added to this, the Francoist 84 Ibid. 85 David A. Wacks, “María Rosa Menocal’s Ornament of the World, courtly poetry, and modern Nationalism,” David A. Wacks, Research and Teaching in Medieval Iberian and Sephardic Culture, 2013, 86 Menocal, The Arabic Role, 1-2. 87 Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979), 41. 88 Ibid, 40. 89 Ibid, 5. 90 Menocal, The Arabic Role, 82.

21 regime in Spain (1939-1975) promoted an ideal of Spanish nationalism that suppressed the country’s cultural history and diversity, and institutionalized a “forgetting of the presence and contribution” of the Muslims in Spain.91 Only beginning in the mid-twentieth century did scholars (including A. R. Nykl, Ramón Menéndez Pidal, and Menocal herself) initiate a revitalization of Hispano-Arabist theory. CONCLUSION The parallels between courtly love poetry and the Arabic love poetry transmitted out of Barbastro and to the first troubadours of Occitania are profound, even if the Hispano-Arabic origin theory is still rejected by some. Yet the effects of this influence and transmission on Europe cannot be understated: the ideas of courtly love, even after troubadour poetry faded in the thirteenth century, would have an impact on later European writers, from Dante to Shakespeare; it would shift medieval attitudes towards women, and would help shape later European lyrical poetry, modern song-writing, and European sensibilities on love (especially the courtship rituals that form the subject of much of Western literature and would define societal interactions and norms). The singular circumstances of that fateful 1064 siege of Barbastro, a city molded by the complex and unique history and culture of al-Andalus—the adaptable and culturally-open nature of its conquerors, the transfer of thousands of qiyan out of Iberia and into Southern France, and the increasing desire for both literary and social vernacular revolutions throughout Iberia—would allow for this influential cultural exchange. In studying both the short- and longterm results of this cultural exchange at Barbastro, as well as the influence of Hispano-Arabic love poetry on European literature, Barbastro reminds us of the failures of the Reconquista to eradicate Arabic influence and identity; even further, it serves as a multicultural example for modern times—and in this way, Arabic love poetry will continue to have lasting impacts into the modern day.    To understand the relationship between medieval Islamic and European literature and the influence of the Arabic culture on the West requires a paradigm shift in the basic perceptions of Western European culture, and especially of the foundations of that culture. Studying Barbastro and Hispano-Arabic love poetry, and understanding the influence of Arabic culture on European literature and sensibilities, provides a historico-cultural necessity to this shift in how we view ‘Eastern’ versus ‘Western’ civilizations, criticizing the notion of Eastern cultures as ‘Other’ and reconciling Islamic and European cultures by realizing and emphasizing their similar building blocks. We currently live in a time of increasing racial and cultural prejudice, nationalism, 91

Reynolds, “Interview: Dwight Reynolds.”

22 and isolationism—a time obsessed with building both literal and figurative walls to keep other peoples and cultures out, without regard for the ways in which those peoples and cultures could enhance our own lives and cultures. In our current time, the 1064 siege of Barbastro, although rooted in the anti-Muslim and intolerant goals of the Crusades and Reconquista, stands out as a moment when walls were broken down between religions, ethnicities, and cultures—a moment when military and political leaders were so moved by the love songs of their enemies as to adopt and absorb the artistic traditions they encountered—a moment of cultural exchange that would lead to a transmission of ideas, art forms, languages, and people that would have lasting impacts on European literary history. Within the enmity and hatred that fueled the siege emerged a model of the lasting value of cultural exchange and of the importance of writing non-binary history.

Julia is a current undergraduate at Duke University.



REPRESENTATION IN THE AGE OF INSTAGRAM Travel Blogging and Agency on Global Social Media Platforms



t was, initially, an accident. As Russian-born Murad Osmann (né Murad Osmanov) paused to take photograph after photograph, his then-girlfriend (now wife), Natalya Zakharova grabbed his hand and dragged him behind her—and Osmann continued to photograph. This was the first picture from the couple’s #followmeto series, which would launch them to international fame and render them two of the most well-known travel bloggers in the world.1 Today, Osmann, posting under the handle @muradosmann, has 4.2 million followers on Instagram and was named one of Forbes’ top influencers of 2017. However “accidental” their fame is, it has roots in a longer history of travel, photography, representation, and East-West dynamics. This history can be mapped in Osmann’s photographs—regardless of whether the artist himself is aware of its influence in his work. Osmann’s Instagram account thus becomes a microcosm of this history as well as a testament to the continued power of these dynamics. Three scholars in particular—Mary Pratt, Timothy Mitchell, and Ariella Azoulay—have examined the historical forces affecting travel, travel writing, and photography; taken together, we can begin to understand how Instagram has conformed to—and challenged—the legacy of history. Instagram boasts over one billion monthly users;2 geographically, the largest share of users (34%) comes from the Middle East and Africa3. Since Instagram’s founding in 2011, the platform has come to house more than 30 billion photographs, and has become an essential element of the social media landscape.4 Osmann was an early user, having begun to post heavily-filtered, captionless shots of his travel destinations in mid-2011; his iconic #followmeto series began just a few months later.5 In recent years, Osmann has strayed from the distinctive composition which characterizes the #followmeto project, gradually moving toward video and panorama. As such, Osmann’s photographic journey, in style and in his sense of himself as an artist, is archived in his feed.6 Scrolling through 1 “Murad Osmann,” Avant Gallery, 2019, 2 Josh Constine, “Instagram hits 1 billion monthly users, up from 800M in September,” TechCrunch, 20 June 2018, 3 Eunji Lee et al., “Pictures Speak Louder than Words: Motivations for Using Instagram,” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 18, no. 9 (2015): 552. 4 Eunji Lee et al., “Pictures Speak Louder than Words: Motivations for Using Instagram,” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 18, no. 9 (2015): 552. 5 Murad Osmann, “@muradosmann,” 2019, muradosmann/?hl=en. 6 Murad Osmann.

27 Osmann’s feed exemplifies the historical evolution of online photo sharing. Even so, Instagram is but a moment in the long history of travel and photography and must be seen within its broader historical and theoretical context. Osmann’s page is a digital manifestation to the ways that Westerners have, throughout history, grappled with their relationship to the East, forcing us to think critically about the digital media with which we are presented. Through thorough review of Osmann’s photography, it is possible to trace a historical legacy of the effects of western authority over representative media, and examine whether, in the post-colonial age, these influences retain their potency. MARY PRATT, TRAVEL WRITING, AND AESTHETICIZING INTERACTIONS Pratt has taken a particular interest in travel journals written by Europeans in the 19th century as they explored “exotic” lands far from home. Instagram may be seen as the modern equivalent. Today’s users grapple with many of the same themes—consciously or not—that 18th century explorers considered in their writings, including how to understand and represent cultures, people, and places to which they do not belong. Osmann’s Instagram page is a testament to the globalization of the modern world. From shot to shot, he and Zakharova jump from Kazakhstan to Ethiopia to Paris with as little effort as it takes the viewer to scroll from post to post (Appendix A, B, C). This phenomenon of cultural encounter may be accelerated by increased globalization, but it is nothing new. One such example is what Pratt calls the “contact zone.” For Pratt, the contact zone is a space of discord, one in which unequal power dynamics are exposed and exploited, and individuals must contend with the significance of these representational inequalities.7 Notably, Osmann’s photography infrequently depicts the couple’s interactions with other people. Within the context of Instagram, the real contact zone is in the comments section. In one example, Zakharova stands before the Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, her long, blonde hair flowing in loose waves down her back (Appendix D). Osmann’s caption describes being “blown away” by the mosque’s architecture. However, commenter @nihal_sinan_1842 is less focused on the mosque’s construction. In Turkish, he writes, “lütfen camii avlularimizda saygi duyaraktan giyinelim.. nacizane fikrim..yinede basarilar diliyorum.” Translated, this commentor is expressing his concern that Zakharova’s hair is uncovered in the mosque’s sacred space. This debate over the headscarf is not only one occurring between Turks (like @nihal_sinan_1842) and non-Turks (like Osmann and Zakharova), but within Turkey as well. Norms of veiling are often political, as well as 7 Mary Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London: Routledge, 2008): 4.

28 cultural and religious. For instance, during the Kemalist movement in the early 20th century, Turkish women were encouraged to reject the headscarf in a display of “modernity,” or a European affiliation.8 The rejection of the headscarf was symbolic of the broader repudiation of the Ottoman Empire and a renewed focus on secularism and the adoption of European social, cultural, and economic principles.9 The Kemalist push for a Western secularism has been challenged by a revitilization of Islam within the nation sporadically throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, and has been regaining strength through Erdogan’s administration. Once again, the headscarf has become a symbol of this transition. Indeed, a lengthy ban on the wearing of headscarves in public spaces was mostly lifted in 2013, in part signaling changing attitudes toward secularism in the country.10 Although secularism and Islam are often characterized as mutually-exclusive, an increasing proportion of the Turkish population is challenging this view, arguing that Islam and modernity in Turkey can, and do, coexist.11 The role of the headscarf is debated in Turkey, and @nihal_ sinan_1842’s comment does not reflect a universality in opinion among Turks. Still, it represents a case in which Osmann’s photography has inadvertently involved itself in a broader debate taking place within a society of which he is not a member. The interaction between @nihal_sinan_1842 and Osmann’s work exemplifies the “reciprocal vision” in which a member of the photographed culture has agency to return the gaze and reflect back on the photographer. This power to return the gaze is enabled by instant feedback platforms such as Instagram that have low geographical and economic barriers to entry. On social media platforms, the subject and the gazer are brought together by the “private interest of each.”12 Unlike travel literature of the past, social media opens a platform for two-way discourse between the subject and the gazer. While Osmann’s picture remains the feature, subjects like @nihal_sinan_1848 can include their own representations in the post’s narrative. At the same time, we can question whether, buried deep in the comments setion, this dialogue has any influence. The nature of Instagram’s platform ensures that the image is the medium through which content is shared. Text is of secondary importance. As a result, the poster retains control of what 8 Mary Lou O’Neil, “Being Seen: Headscarves and the contestation of public space in Turkey,” European Journal of Women’s Studies 15, no. 2 (2008): 101. 9 O’Neil, 102. 10 Zeynep Akbulut, “Veiling as self-disciplining: Muslim women, Islamic discourses, and the headscarf ban in Turkey,” Contemporary Islam 9, no. 3 (2015): 433. 11 Fuat E. Keyman, “Modernity, Secularism, and Islam: The Case of Turkey,” Theory, Culture, and Society 24, no. 2 (2007): pp. 215-234. 12 Karl Marx, cited by Pratt, 85.

29 the viewer sees. This allows Osmann to embody the “anti-conquest narrative.” According to Pratt, this narrative reinforces Western dominance while purporting separation from the colonial project.13 This is illustrated by Osmann’s ability to distance himself from a larger history of European cultural hegemony: in a caption written under a video taken in India, Osmann writes, “I don’t think any words can express our relationship with India. Wherever we travel — It is always in our hearts” (Appendix E). This “relationship” is not between Russia, Europe, and India, or between Europeans and Indians but is rather one couple’s personal relationship with an entire country and all the things and people contained within it. This personal relationship with a larger culture is characteristic of anti-conquest narratives.14 Depictions of this relationship characterize Osmann and Zakharova as what Pratt calls “sentimental hero[es],” controlling the course of representation.15 To control the narrative is to gain mastery of it. What is represented is always “anchored in the seer,” who, in the act of seeing, gains “mastery” over where he gazes.16 The ability to see, and thus to represent, becomes the tool of the individual, Western hero in the face of unfamiliar cultures. In alignment with the narrative of the “sentimental hero,” Osmann and Zakharova almost always appear alone in the photographs. From Angkor Wat to the Taj Mahal to Petra—all places typically teeming with visitors —Osmann’s shots are devoid of other people (Appendix F, G, H). This occurs in the same way that 19th century travel writers described the scenes they visited as “unpossessed, unhistoricized, unoccupied.”17 In both examples, the discrepancy between representation and reality is jarring for those who are familiar with the usual hustle and bustle. On a video series taken at the palaces of Bangkok, user @squeelyinc comments, “You guys must of got to the palace at the crack of dawn, usually swarming with people (sic)” (Appendix I). This representation of “unoccupied” land, regardless of the representer’s intentions, creates a space within history that allows for the Western body to insert itself into a non-Western frame. Spatial emptiness becomes a tool of rewritten history and crafts a new narrative in which Western influence is a corporeal presence. The exception to the rule of emptiness is the inclusion of individuals who essentially complement the landscape: dancers in Taiwan, flower sellers in Cuba, or “Go” players in China. (Appendix J, K, L). They appear, according to Pratt, as nothing more than “traces on the landscape.”18 The distinction is that 13 14 15 16 17 18

Pratt, 7. Pratt, 78. Pratt, 78. Pratt, 205, 209 Pratt, 51 Pratt, 59

30 the local people are not the subject of the photograph; in the photograph’s composition, other people are included in order to contextualize and aestheticize. According to Pratt, these factors work together as part of a “transformative project.”19 In particular, the aestheticization of non-Western countries is a tactical strategy that establishes an apparent need for the “benign and beautifying intervention.”20 In some ways, Osmann, or the traveler in general, is the implementer of this “beautifying intervention.” Using color alteration and strategic photographic construction, Osmann is improving the s’ aesthetics, implying that beauty is the product of the Western presence. TIMOTHY MITCHELL, REPRESENTATION, AND MISREPRESENTATION Instagram is, by its nature, a tool of representation, which Timothy Mitchell defines as what is “set up” to conjure “some larger truth.”21 Osmann’s account is no exception. Instagram imparts onto the viewer a sense of the “world as a picture,” capturing even that which is outside its frame.22 Moreover, in this construction of the world, the viewer is distanced, set apart from, and invisible to what is observed.23 Per Mitchell, the seer believes that his gaze is innocuous; this validates his “separation” from what he observes and corresponds to a “position of power.”24 In short, the viewer’s illusion of separation from that which he is observing is also that which allows him to represent it. In one such post on Osmann’s account, Zakharova stands atop a hill in Rio de Janeiro, looking down on the city and the blue waters beneath her (Appendix M). The image does not show the slums that exist just next to the skyscrapers, nor does it reveal that it is sponsored by @visitbrasil, the country’s official tourism page; it is, after all, a representation. In this example, we also see the fetishization of materialism at work. With the introduction of the advertisement, the photograph becomes the location of material trade, rather than the exchange of cross-cultural contact. Commodity fetishism through advertisements on Instagram is the modern equivalent of the exhibit and its display of the world’s “conversion” to a capitalist economy.25 Tools allowing users to shop directly from the application, targeted advertising, and paid product placements produce the effect that, on Instagram, something is always being sold. This infusion of capitalism 19 Pratt, 61 20 Pratt, 205 21 Timothy Mitchell, “Egypt at the Exhibit,” Colonizing Egypt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 6. 22 Mitchell, 6. 23 Mitchell, 24. 24 Mitchell, 26. 25 Mitchell, 16.

31 into representation results in what Mitchell calls the “effect,” or appearance, of reality.26 Travelers are possessed of a “passive curiosity” that allows them to perceive the real world in the same manner as its photographic representations; likewise, the world is consumed as a commodity in a digital marketplace.27 Osmann’s feed is a global exhibition in its own right, with each photo representing something that the viewer, too, can aspire to possess. A modern traveler can follow Osmann on his adventures and visit the same sites, documenting his own travels in photographs. Unlike the socially, culturally, and economically diverse followership of Osmann’s digital account, these physical trips are only available to the wealthiest crust of society--these new pictures are as much symbols of wealth as they are nostalgic mementos. As Mitchell claims, the revelation of misrepresentation often fails to expose the inadequacies of representation.28 In other words, the exposure of historical inaccuracies can hide the mechanisms of power than underly seemingly “neutral” representations. There is a certain acceptance of innocuousness that underlies Osmann’s photography, one that is only challenged in the face of a blatant moral dilemma. In one such photo, Zakharova, robed in a dramatic, ancient Egyptian-style cloak, leads Osmann toward the Sphinx (Appendix N). Osmann captions this photograph, “Do you think @natalyaosmann looks like a Queen of Egypt?” A number of commenters took offense to this question as an appropriation of Egyptian heritage. In the words of commenter @hebabkir, “You need black hair to be the queen of Egypt.” Egypt has long been subject to a romanticized western narrative. An unbridled fascination with Egyptology, coupled with a perception of that Egypt is politically stable and geographically isolated from the influence of other cultures, has created the dominant heuristic of “Egyptian culture.”29 Comprised of myths and idealization, this heuristic denotes a schema of Egyptian religiosity, archaeology, history that is, in the Western mind, inextricably linked with the modern Egyptian nation. Such a heuristic acts as created knowledge, enabling a discursive power dynamic that privileges Western mischaracterizations of both ancient and modern Egypt. Egypt’s geographical proximity to Europe, Mediterranean accessibility, and control over the Sinai Peninsula and Nile Delta rendered it an object of extreme European colonial interest.30 The colonial project to gain mastery over Egypt’s economic resources uncoincidentally 26 Mitchell, 12. 27 Mitchell, 20, 13. 28 Mitchell, 18. 29 Thomas Schneider, “Foreign Egypt: Egyptology and the concept of cultural appropriation,” Egypt and the Levant 13 (2003): 155. 30 Diego Saglia, “Consuming Egypt: Appropriation and the Cultural Modalities of Romantic Luxury,” Ninteenth-Century Contexts 24, no 3 (2002): 318.

32 coincided with the 19th and 20th century fascination with Egyptology. As a result, foundational Western scholarship on Egypt is inextricable from colonial interests and oppressions. The legacy continues today, as Egypt is still the subject of appropriation and distortion in the service of power. In the case of Osmann’s photograph, the appropriation of the ancient symbol of the “Egyptian queen” alludes to a romanticized Western narrative of ancient Egyptian history. In assuming the role of the mythologized Egyptian queen, Zakharova perpetuates this appropriated tradition and borrows from this bastardized history. In Osmann’s photograph of Zakharova in front of the Sphinx, the misrepresentation is evident and exposed by commenters calling out Zakharova for assuming this mythicized role; the commenters chip away at the Western myth of Egyptian culture. Yet, in numerous other examples, Zakharova is clothed in the dress of cultures that are not her own (Appendix O, P, I). These are accepted as representation, rather than misrepresentation, and thus do not elicit the same response—even if the represented photograph may be doing the same ideological work as the Egyptian photograph. According to Mitchell, for the European traveler to feel that what they are seeing is reality and not merely an effect, it is necessary to “excise the European presence altogether.”31 For Osmann and the viewer alike to believe that what is depicted is “reality” and not merely an artificial representation, each must adopt a disguise. The result is that the photographer, in seeking to represent other cultures, walks a fine line between immersion and appropriation. This, according to Mitchell, is the “contradiction” faced by the travelling Westerner. In the same moment, this traveler wants to distance himself from reality in order to “render it up as an object of representation” and wishes to “experience [the world] directly.”32 In Osmann’s photography, we see this internal battle play out, forcing the viewer to grapple with the role of the photographer and his responsibility toward his subjects. ARIELLA AZOULAY, CITIZENSHIP, AND THE PHOTOGRAPHIC SITUATION The unique problem of photography is that it is often understood to represent the complete truth. Ariella Azoulay challenges us to upset this complacency toward the photograph, to “pull on one of its reopen the image...and renegotiate what it shows.”33 As viewers, we have the power to “produce a meaning” for what is presented to us, even if the meanings we derive differs.34 We—as individuals and as a collective—have a responsibility 31 32 33 34

Mitchell, 26. Mitchell, 27. Ariella Azoulay, The Civil Contract of Photography (Boston: MIT Press, 2008): 13. Azoulay 14.

33 toward the photographic subject; indeed, this is what grants us our membership in the citizenry of photography.35 This “citizenry” is a stateless concept. It is dictated by our willingness to consider all that surrounds and contextualizes the picture itself as existing outside the confines of the frames, and to use these considerations to acknowledge the dignity of the photographic subject. Citizenship is “a tool of a struggle or an obligation to others to struggle against injuries inflicted on those others”; it is a reciprocal responsibility, a duty that the viewer must realize if she wishes to enjoy the benefits of citizenship.36 Azoulay provides us with a number of tools to do this. For one, the viewer must“reconstruct...the photographic situation”; this is a “civic skill, not an exercise in aesthetic appreciation.”37 In other words, the viewer is charged with the task of seeing what is not pictured. In one of Osmann’s recent photographs, Zakharova stands in the midsts of the umber clay as a newly dug well spurts water (Appendix Q). The photograph is intended to promote their partnership with charity:water, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing access to clean water. Behind the well stand dozens of villagers, who watch with expressions that cannot be determined. The photograph does not depict the complex history leading up to this point. The villagers in the back are treated as little more than accessories in the photographic composition; the photograph does not depict the years of trauma of neocolonialism and parasitic activities in Africa at large. The photograph cannot “speak for itself.” To see the photograph as nothing more than an image of water coming from a well is to do an injustice to the photographic subject.38 Beyond reading the photographic context, it is our duty to identify injury, or a violation of citizenship, when and if one has occurred. In one photograph, Zakharova sits cross-legged on a stone block at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, engaged in the usual pose of reaching back to grab Osmann’s hand (Appendix R). A number of spectators to this photographic act immediately sensed that an injury had taken place, provoking various criticisms from commenters. @enkeli_engel asks, “How is this appropriate?...This memorial is for people who died during a war. You took this picture so you could get Instagram likes.” User @kat.uren puts it more concisely: “Bad pic 0/10 disrespectful.” Something in this photograph—a violation of some moral principle—compelled these users to act. Even in the seemingly small manner of a comment on a photograph, these users are partaking in the mutual act of conferring citizenship, and, in their recognition of an injury committed against another, working to correct a violation. 35 36 37 38

Azoulay, 144. Azoulay, 14. Azoulay, 14. Azoulay, 27.

34 The medium of Instagram complicates the exchange of citizenship. A user may see hundreds of posts a day and undertaking the task of dissecting the context and reading the injury is no small undertaking. For Azoulay, though, our ability to do so is a precondition of our “right” to see.39 If we are not willing to engage with the complex and often challenging nature of photography, then we cannot claim a space in the citizenry of photography. In fact, Azoulay sees the widespread adoption of the camera as an opportunity, establishing “a new form of encounter” and one which creates “new possibilities of political action and forming new conditions for visibility.”40 The prolific nature of photography and photo-sharing technologies is not a burden. Rather, it is an opportunity to extend the citizenry of photography--and thus the larger narrative--to those for whom it was previously inaccessible. In some ways, Osmann has done a great service to the citizenry of photography, even if he “remains totally unaware of the violence involved.”41 With each of his photographs, the spectator encounters new possibilities for action and forming conditions for “visibility,” a new opportunity to engage in exchanges of citizenry with people all over the world.42 Instagram, and, more specifically, Osmann’s account, creates a space that is not governed by political power, but is rather controlled by the masses. CONCLUSION As such a novel medium, Instagram presents a challenge to well-established theories of travel and photography. In an increasingly globalized and photo-centric world, Instagram operates as a litmus test for how these theories operate in reality. A common motif is that the act of representation is perceived by the representer as one which does not interfere, which remains separate from the object represented. Pratt, Mitchell, and Azoulay have all taken interest in this phenomenon, speaking in distant terms of the writer or photographer as a separate actor. However, Instagram (and digital culture more broadly) has complicated the notion of separate actors. In the modern age, anyone with a camera phone or access to the internet is capable both of spectating and of producing representation. No longer is this reserved for the explorer who travels to far-off lands and records his observations in a notebook, the exhibitioner who, at great expense, replicates with extreme detail the streets of another city with the authority of accuracy, or the photographer who lugs his bulky camera equipment to photograph a distant region. Today, most people 39 40 41 42

Azoulay, 144. Azoulay, 24. Azoulay, 13. Azoulay, 24.

35 carry our tools of representation with us in our pockets all the time. At any point, we can snap a photograph on our phone, tweet, or post on Facebook. This has become reflexive, and often we do not think about the complexities of our digital actions. This democratization of representation means that each user has an unprecedented degree of responsibility. No longer are we merely spectators of representation; we are also producers of representation. We may not understand the full function dual capacity; yet it remains our duty to exercise our ability to represent what we see in a thoughtful manner. As we adapt to our role as producers and consumers, we can learn from Pratt, Mitchell, and Azoulay to understand ourselves as creators of representation, even as their theories are complicated by the new digital medium. At the same time, production entails a duty to acknowledge power. When we stop to snap a picture, we must acknowledge the complex historical forces that have brought us to this moment. Our unprecedented capacity to interact with people all over the world has enormous potential to unite us, but if we engage in these relationships improperly, we have the potential to do harm and subjugate others by ignoring the legacies of power. Instagram and digital networks carry enormous potential, and also enormous danger—especially in the context of global travel. As technology continues to evolve, constant evaluation of the ability to represent and be represented is the mandate of the individual and of society.

Caroline is a Duke senior majoring in International Comparative Studies with a certificate in Markets and Management Studies. She plans to pursue a career in international law after graduation.

THE FAR RIGHT’S ASSADOPHILIA Understanding Western Far-Right Support for Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Regime



n the Facebook page of James Alex Fields Jr., the man who drove his car into a group of counterprotesters at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was familiar farright imagery: swastikas, Adolf Hitler, and Pepe the Frog.1 Among these appears an image of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in military uniform with the word “undefeated” inscribed underneath.2 It is this — the far-right’s fascination with and support for Assad, exemplified in this anecdote, yet not limited to it, that I aim to explore and contextualize in this paper. Who are Assad’s fascist supporters? What drives their support? How does their rhetoric seep into mainstream right-wing discourse? What implications does it have in terms of the “Syrianization” of the world?3

I center my research on the Western far right because of its political relevance and its adept use of online technology to disseminate its ideology and grow its community. This right has maneuvered its ideological-political goals into the rhetoric of mainstream right-leaning political figures, and, therefore, mainstream discourse. This rhetoric is not relegating itself to niche chat rooms or political margins, but rather expanding to become normalized and palatable. In this paper, I argue that the far right has translated its anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, and anti-globalization rhetoric, as well as its masculinist fascination with violence, into support for the regime and policies of Bashar al-Assad both online in popular far right forums and social media pages and in ‘real-life.’ UNDERSTANDING THE FAR RIGHT Before I continue, however, I must explain what I mean by ‘Western far right.’ As I understand it, the far right in the West encompasses bodies and movements that “[equate] the people with the ethnic nation and thus [strengthen] the eternal value of the organic community and [reinforce] its exclusionary nature,” situating themselves in opposition to both the capitalist elite whose neoliberal, globalist policies threaten their traditional livelihoods as well as the black and brown poor whose very existence threatens their imagined nation.4 This opposition manifests itself in critiques of capitalism and the economic inequity that it fosters, as well as proposals to strengthen 1 Claudia Koerner, “Here’s What We Know About The Man Accused Of Killing A Woman At A White Supremacist Rally,” BuzzFeed News (BuzzFeed News, August 14, 2017), 2 Ibid. 3 Yassin Al-Haj Saleh. The Impossible Revolution: Making Sense of the Syrian Tragedy (London: Hurst and Company, 2017). 4 Gabriella Lazaridis, Giovanna Campani, and Annie Benveniste, The Rise of the Far Right in Europe: Populist Shifts and Othering (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016), 8.

39 the welfare state. Here the far right differs from the far left because the left has historically been inclusive of immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, and women, while the right has created a narrative of a “homogenous people standing against an elite,” thereby advancing the economic and political interests of whites at the exclusion of non-white citizens and immigrants.5 In this way, leftist criticism has largely targeted the bourgeoisie and neo-liberal capitalist policies. Its anti-capitalist support for working people is open to diverse identities, while the right has created two enemies situated on opposite ends of the class hierarchy – the mostly white elite and the nonwhite ‘Other.’ In the far-right’s self-understanding, it exists in the inbetween, exploited by both. The fight of this right is a battle for a new society rooted in neo-Nazi principles, in the separation, and sometimes extermination, of those deemed inferior, of a white working class socialism and an elevation of ‘Judeo-Christian heritage’ at the exclusion of all others. This right, unlike the mainstream political right, which has often been eager to militarily intervene in the affairs of ‘rogue’ Global South nations, has turned inwards, broadly accepting the idea that the rest of the world should sort out its own problems without the expectation of Western solidarity or aid. This hatred they harbor for the ‘Other’ has come out in their anti-Muslim politics and rhetoric, a unifying factor amongst these groups that otherwise share varying philosophies regarding women’s rights, gay rights, secularism, etc. THE FAR RIGHT AND ISLAM The far right’s white supremacist hatred of Islam engenders its support for the Assad regime. Although Assad is a Muslim, he is of a minority sect — an Alawite. Therefore, to far right activists, he represents the umbrella of minority rights, under which Syrian Christians fall, that are besieged by Sunni Islamists. For this reason, in the Syrian case, these neo-fascists have strategically painted an image of radical Islamists on one side and vulnerable Christians (and ‘good Muslims,’ like Assad) on the other. Examples of these groups are not difficult to find. CasaPound, Forza Nuova, the French National Front, Golden Dawn, the British National Party, the UK Independence Party, Vlaams Belang, Alternative für Deutschland, and high-profile members of the Trump-wing of the Republican Party, which all perpetuate anti-Muslim myths, have come out in support of Assad, whether through denying his use of chemical weapons, hailing him as the defender of the Middle East’s Christians, applauding him for his anti-Zionism and resistance to Western interference, or asserting that he is the only entity preventing Syria’s surrender to the Islamic State.6 CasaPound’s prime 5 Ibid., 4. 6 Miriam Elba, “Why White Nationalists Love Bashar Al-Assad,” (The Intercept, September 8, 2017),

40 ministerial candidate during the 2018 Italian elections, Simone Di Stefano, said this of the group’s support for the Syrian government in an interview with al-Jazeera: “‘Under the Assad regime, people can celebrate Christmas openly and women are not forced to wear a headscarf.’”7 Here, he reduces the conflict to one of minority-majority power struggles, in which repression is justified as long as there exist unveiled women. Di Setfano has also insisted that most Syrian refugees “‘flee from rebels and ISIL’” despite a 2015 poll of about 900 Syrian refugees in Germany that revealed that half would return to Syria were Assad to lose power and that the regime and its allies are responsible for up to 94% of the conflict’s civilian death toll, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.8 Another Italian, self-identified fascist and Forza Nuova party leader Roberto Fiore, has also come out in support of Assad, tweeting “‘Forza Nuova defends Assad and the Syrian people against attacks by ISIS and the USA,’” adding a picture of party activists holding a pro-Assad banner.9 In France, Marine Le Pen, who has consistently stoked fears about mass Muslim migration into Europe, Muslim women who cover, and the ostensible Islamisization of Europe, asserts that Assad is the only “solution” to Syria’s civil war.10 Across the English Channel, Nigel Farage says to a congregation of EU member state leaders: “I represent a group that is against military action in Syria. We’re against it not because we’re pacifist… we’re against it because we think there’s some pretty poor thinking going on. This idea that somehow the rebels are the good guys and Assad are the bad guys really is oversimplifying a situation where of course we know that al-Qaeda has significant representations amongst those rebel groups… Assad has a chance to prove to all of us whether he is a good man or a bad man…”11 love-bashar-al-assad-charlottesville/; Alex MacDonald, “Europe’s Far-Right Activists Continue to Throw Their Weight behind Syria’s Assad,” Middle East Eye, January 29, 2019, 7 Patrick Strickland, “Why Do Italian Fascists Adore Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad?,” (Al Jazeera, February 14, 2018), 8 Strickland, “Why Do Italian Fascists”; “Who’s Killing Civilians in Syria?,” (Who’s Killing Civilians in Syria, accessed November 11, 2019), http://whoiskillingciviliansinsyria. org/ 9 Strickland, “Why Do Italian Fascists.” 10 Rose Troup Buchanan, “The Alt-Right Is In Love With A Brutal, Arab Dictator,” BuzzFeed News. (BuzzFeed News, September 22, 2017), article/rosebuchanan/the-alt-right-is-in-love-with-a-brutal-muslim-dictator.; Aurelien Mondon, “Le Pen’s Attacks on Islam Are No Longer Veiled,” The Independent (Independent Digital News and Media, September 27, 2012), https://www.independent. 11 UKIP MEPs, “Nigel Farage Lambasts ‘Extreme Militarists’ during Syria Debate,”

41 Farage then goes on to admonish several EU member states for their role in arming the rebels, “something that struck [him] given… al-Qaeda’s involvement,” again highlighting the presence of the violent Islamist group over the opposition’s more moderate to progressive elements.12 Across the Atlantic, white supremacist Richard Spencer glows about the Syrian president, saying that “Assad is a British-trained physician, one of the most civilized leaders in the Middle East” to Assad promotes “‘a civilized variant of Islam,’” using anti-Muslim constructions of civilized (Christian) versus uncivilized (Muslim, Eastern) faiths to lend his support to the civilized dictator.13 More than just outright offensive, however, what these sloppily created dichotomies of civilized and uncivilized, moderate and extreme, good and bad, and the subsequent uplifting of ‘civilized,’ ‘moderate,’ and ‘good’ Muslims do is render Islam, in its most acceptable rendition, something of a passive force, a dead religion. Muslims are permitted, though with some distaste, to be Muslim as long as that Islam does not manifest itself physically, does not influence one’s political beliefs. It is an Islam that the Muslim must claim reluctantly, as something simply inherited; an Islam that is not seriously engaged with or an elevated aspect of one’s identity. In his deconstruction of America’s tendency to categorize Muslims into the aforementioned binaries, specifically in the post-9/11 era, Mahmoud Mamdani attributes the formation of this ‘good’ Muslim/‘bad’ Muslim dichotomy to orientalist Bernard Lewis, who argued that the West must not entangle itself in the internal wars of Muslims; instead, Lewis suggests, it should wait for the ‘good’ ones to prevail over the ‘bad.’14 Lewis’s favoring of caution when approaching conflict in the Middle East and his distinguishing of ‘good’ from ‘bad’ Muslims worked its way into the language of Western leaders such as Tony Blair and George W. Bush, argues Mamdani, indicating, to these politicians, that “Islam must be quarantined and the devil exorcized from it by a Muslim civil war,” a war between good and evil factions of the faith.15 Mamdani also notes that this sort of rhetoric has permeated multiple levels of society, from D.C. think tanks that claim that the roots of terrorism can be traced to a sect of Islam, Wahhabism, to widely distributed publications such as the New (Youtube, September 11, 2013), 12 Ibid. 13 Buchanan, “The Alt Right is in Love”; Richard Spencer (@RichardBSpencer), “Assad is a British-trained physician, one of the most civilized leader in the Middle East. Why is Trump fighting his instincts and doing the bidding of the Deep State?,” (Twitter, April 8, 2018, 9:28am), Tweet. 14 Mahmood Mamdani, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror (New York: Pantheon Books, 2004), 24. 15 Ibid.

42 York Times, which “now include regular accounts distinguishing good from bad Muslims,” with good Muslims being “modern, secular, and Westernized” and bad ones characterized as “doctrinal, antimodern, and virulent.”16 Mamdani’s primary issue with distinctions between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Muslims is that these categories “refer to Muslim political identities, not to cultural or religious ones,” thus politicizing a Muslim’s relationship with her faith.17 Similar language, of ‘moderate’ versus ‘extreme’ Muslims, plays a comparable role in politicizing expressions of faith. We must ask, what is a ‘moderate Muslim’ – one who believes in his religion, but only moderately, who perhaps observes the annual fast, but will skip a prayer on occasion? Again, as Mamdani states, these adjectives do not describe cultural or religious attributes and identities; rather, they are used to provide insight into a Muslim’s political leanings, with ‘good’ or ‘moderate’ Muslims being those who attempt to disappear any semblance of Islam from their public or political lives, broadly accepting of Western conceptions of secularism, and ‘bad’ or ‘extreme’ Muslims being those whose Islam presents itself in a public or political manner, whether or not that display of Islam manifests itself violently. Ultimately, we can understand binary constructions of Muslim identity to be problematic and reflective of a Western desire to civilize, to increase to ranks of ‘good’ Muslims so that they may suppress the ‘bad.’ This status quo-upholding, secularized Islam, then, is ultimately the “civilized variant” that Spencer speaks of; any other show of Islam becomes threatening and in conflict with the West and Christianity in a harkening back to Crusades-era hostilities. Ultimately, to Spencer “‘the question really is whether [he] support[s] Assad or ISIS.’”18 In this manner, this polarity, of good Muslims and bad Muslims, is further entrenched, and there is no middle ground, no third way, nothing that exists between (ostensibly) progressive and regressive, the option of brutal regime or terrorist opposition. Twitter and 4chan trolls are popularizing and disseminating the positions and prejudice of these far right leaders. Syria General, a sub-thread within 4chan’s larger /pol/ - Politically Incorrect imageboard, contains an assortment of memes, ‘facts,’ and links to far right conspiracy sites and YouTube channels, all aimed at obfuscating the line between fact and fiction in Syria, and creating an army of pro-Assad trolls.19 On Twitter, formerly big names on the far right have become more difficult to find given the company’s 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid., 15. 18 Buchanan, “The Alt Right is in Love.” 19 “/Pol/ - Syria General /Sg/ - 2128 Edition - Politically Incorrect,” 4chan, accessed November 11, 2019,

43 suspension of a number of hate and troll accounts. Yet, screenshots of tweets by these fascist figures routinely pop-up on other sites, including 4chan and Facebook. Buzzfeed, which published a piece investigating the motives behind far right support for Assad, came across one of these now-suspended accounts: @IWillRedPillYou, once a popular troll account, tweeted “‘Without Assad Muslims would conquer and likely decimate those remaining Christians,’” demonstrating the far right’s rigid, dichotomous construction of the Syrian population.20 This user has also tweeted that “‘Bashar al Assad is a hero’” and “‘The protector of Christians in the Middle East.’”21 Moreover, a quick overview of right-wing Assadist Facebook reveals an even greater lack of concern for the Syrian masses. Meme pages entitled “Aesthetic Al-Assad Memes,” “Uncle Bashars bizarre adventures: Barrel bomb boogaloo,” and “Syrian Memes,” all of which have shared anti-Muslim content, have between them 52, 595 followers at the time of writing.22 Ultimately, for political party leaders to independent white nationalists to trolls with Wi-Fi, anti-Muslim prejudice has been a driving force in support for Assad, so much so that they are able to reductively essentialize all of the anti-Assad groups as al-Qaeda or IS-affiliated militants. No concern or attention is placed on the more moderate militias of the Free Syrian Army, on the soldiers and some high-ranking officers who have defected from the Syrian Arab Army, or on the Kurdish militias. While this is not to say that anti-regime armed groups have not committed crimes against innocent civilians as the regime has, or an endorsement of one group’s violence because it happens to be of a lesser degree, but simply to note that a wide array of Syrians came out in March 2011 to protest repression, and some of that diversity, particularly in the remaining nonviolent groups and Syrian organizations in exile, can still be seen today. Ultimately, this is to say that the condemnation of an entire opposition movement based on the ideology of a subset of its participants stems from the right’s anti-Muslim prejudice, in which demonstrated religious affiliation or the use of religious language as justification for protest legitimizes the opposition’s violent suppression by a ‘secular,’ ‘nonsectarian’ regime, regardless of the civilian deaths that result. THE FAR RIGHT AND ANTI-SEMITISM Yet Islam is not the only faith the far right despises, and a considerable 20 Buchanan, “The Alt Right is in Love.” 21 Ibid. 22 “Aesthetic Al-Assad Memes.” Facebook. Accessed November 11, 2019. https://; “Syrian Memes.” Facebook. Accessed November 11, 2019.; “Uncle Bashars Bizarre Adventures: Barrel Bomb Boogaloo.” Facebook. Accessed November 11, 2019.

44 amount of its support for Assad stems from its anti-Semitism and perception that Assad is standing up to Israel. The far-right’s anti-Zionism can in large part be attributed to its anti-Semitic belief that Jews hold the strings of power in most industries, from banking to news media. The belief manifests rhetorically in the claim that Jews have profited off and become more powerful than white Christians. The same banned Twitter user mentioned above, @IWillRedPillYou, tweeted that Assad has “‘been targeted by Zionist expansion for the better part of a decade.’”23 Another Twitter user, Lue-Yee Tsang, has said “‘Even those who know very little about Assad see [being pro-Assad] as part of a culture of opposition to both Daesh and the Jewish state of Israel.’”24 Additionally, after the 2013 chemical attacks on Ghouta, far right accounts were able to generate some buzz among right-wing outlets with the hashtag #CantMossadTheAssad, making reference to Israel’s national intelligence agency and the anti-Semitic trope of Jews both controlling the show in Syria and the Western response.25 Jews have long been a scapegoat for the far right, and, after chemical attacks like the ones on Ghouta, have been accused of making up any chemical weapons-related claims. In response to the April 2018 U.S.-led strikes on Syria as punishment for Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Douma, far right podcaster Mike Peinovich tweeted “‘(((neocon))) bullshit,’” using three parentheses, a common symbol among the far right as a visual reference to Jewish people.26 Richard Spencer has similarly attempted to scapegoat Jewish people for the wave of condemnation that met Russia’s 2015 intervention in Syria, stating that “‘there is a Jewish element (who thinks) Russia is fundamentally illegitimate,’” and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke calls this US-UK-French coalition against Assad the “Zio Goon Squad.”27 In fact, Duke, a Holocaust denier, has even stronger ties to the regime in Damascus than one may initially suspect. Back in 2005, he visited Syria and gave a televised speech in its capital, in which he stated to a crowd of Assad-supporters “It is only – in America and around the world – it is only the Zionists who want war rather than peace.”28 He went on: 23 Buchanan, “The Alt Right is in Love.” 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid. 26 Jason Wilson, “Why Is the Far Right so against US Intervention in Syria?” The Guardian, (Guardian News and Media, April 13, 2018), 27 Wilson, “Why Is the Far Right”; David Duke, “Syria, Russia, North Korea, and Making ‘Make America Great Again’ Great Again,” (David, May 4, 2017), https:// 28 “David Duke Speech in Damascus, Syria,” dailymotion (dailymotion, 2015),

45 “It hurts my heart to tell you that part of my country is occupied by Zionists, just as part of your country – the Golan Heights – is occupied by Zionists. The Zionists occupy much of the American media and now control much of American government.”29

Duke’s statements are steeped in anti-Semitism, as he makes clear references to the stereotype that Jews control both the media and policy. His argument does not consider the Palestinians’ struggle as a justification for his condemnation of Israel, and he instead shows greater contempt for Israeli Jews than concern for the displaced Palestinians. Furthermore, even if the right’s anti-Zionism did stem from an investment in the safety and wellbeing of the Palestinians, then they still should be critical of Assad: despite the regime’s displays of ‘resistance’ – its participation in the various Arab-Israeli wars and its support of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon – it does not genuinely care about Palestinians’ dignity. As Syrian authors Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila al-Shami note: “The [Assad] regime policed its own frontier with the occupied Golan Heights so obediently that it remained more peaceful than the borders of states that had signed peace agreements with ‘the Zionist enemy.’ Whenever the enemy chose to strike deep inside Syria – destroying a suspected nuclear reactor in 2007, for instance, or assassinating Muhammad Suleiman, ‘Special Presidential Advisor for Arms Procurement and Strategic Weapons,’ in 2008 – the regime announced its attention to respond ‘at a time and place of its choosing.’ The time never arrived.”30

The regime has strategically used the threat of Israel to, until 2011, maintain a state of emergency, which “suspended due process and political life,” and prioritized the development of a strong military over social programs.31 Ultimately, instead of engaging in more concentrated efforts to liberate the Golan Heights or better the conditions for Palestinian refugees, the regime developed a security apparatus that would be used to crush internal dissent, not counter Israeli encroachments, thus furthering the notion that far-right support for Assad comes not from a nuanced exploration as to how the regime has or has not furthered the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, but rather its longstanding anti-Semitic positions and its fascination with strongmen. ANTI-GLOBALIZATION SENTIMENT AMONG THE FAR RIGHT In addition, beyond prejudiced views of Jews and Muslims, anoth29 Ibid. 30 Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami, Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War (London: Pluto Press, 2018), 214. 31 Ibid., 213.

46 er common thread stitching the statements of far right activists together is anti-globalization. In the opinion of the right, globalization has brought with it immigrants and refugees who “steal jobs,” drain state resources, and lower standards of living. And the very real exploitation inflicted onto them by the capitalist and elite classes, in addition to the outflow of once respectable and decent-paying jobs, makes their anger a justified, albeit misdirected one. From these struggles stem an adamant defense of isolationism and a rejection of entangling one’s country, whether militarily or through aid, in global conflicts. This rejection manifested itself clearly in the aftermath of the April 2018 strikes on Assad’s chemical weapons facilities. Nigel Farage came out against the strikes, commenting “‘I think a lot of Trump voters will be waking up this morning and scratching their heads and saying ‘where will it all end?,’’” also adding that “‘Previous interventions in the Middle East have made things worse rather than better.’”32 Furthermore, Farage said in a speech to the European Parliament about Assad’s use of chemical weapons that: “I am cynical and skeptical, as are much of the European public, about who has used weapons until we get the full report… We went to war in Iraq being told that Saddam had weapons of…,”

abandoning the rest of the sentence in order to instruct the former prime minister of Belgium to silence himself (he had attempted to interrupt Farage).33 Yet, Farage is inconsistent on this issue, for if we suppose that his main concerns with military intervention are the casualties and destruction that result, then defending or denying the Assad regime’s role in massacring its own civilians demonstrates the same disregard for civilian suffering that those calling for military intervention often display, thereby revealing a political expediency rather than honesty. Thus, Farage’s main concern is not the suffering of Syrian civilians; his skepticism regarding intervention is rooted in his belief that Britain has previously intervened on the side of the Islamist rebels. Moreover, he has hardly condemned Russian involvement in prolonging the Syrian crisis. Farage is not alone on the far right is his opposition to the strikes. Paul Joseph Watson, a writer at right-wing conspiracy site Infowars, stated “‘I guess Trump wasn’t ‘Putin’s puppet’ after all, he was just another deep state/ Neo-Con puppet. I’m officially OFF the Trump train.’”34 Far-right author and 32 Helena Horton, “Nigel Farage and Other Right-Wing Populists Turn on Donald Trump after Missile Strikes,” The Telegraph, (Telegraph Media Group, April 7, 2017), www. 33 UKIP MEPs, “Nigel Farage Lambasts.” 34 Horton, “Nigel Farage and Other Right-Wing Populists.”

47 frequent Fox News guest Ann Coulter tweeted “Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast. Said it always helps our enemies & creates more refugees. Then he saw a picture on TV,” referring to images of the attack and its aftermath.35 Former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannapolous lamented “‘There comes a day in every child’s life when his Daddy [Trump] bitterly disappoints him’” while fellow Brit Katie Hopkins tweeted “‘Who stole my President #Syriahoax,’” attaching a picture of a Trump tweet reading “‘Many Syrian ‘rebels’ are radical Jihadis. Not our friends & supporting them doesn’t serve our national interest. Stay out of Syria!’”36 These dramatic reactions to the strikes illuminate the break between the far right and traditional conservatives. While the far right would like to see complete disengagement in Syria, more moderate members of the right, for example, now deceased John McCain, have called on Trump to continue arming the FSA and commit himself to removing Assad from power.37 The far right has demonstrated that its policies are not blanket anti-war., It has demonstrated enthusiasm for Russian bombs and Assad’s own use of force against Syrians as proof of their violent militarism. In fact, in a video taken at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist Anthime Gionet, popularly known as Baked Alaska, is seen shouting “Support the Syrian Arab Army. Fight against the globalists” and “Assad did nothing wrong and replacing Qaddafi was a fucking mistake.”38 Another unidentified man repeats “that’s true, that’s true. You’re absolutely right.”39 Then, drawing attention to his shirt, which reads “Bashar’s Barrel Delivery Co.,” Gionet states “Two chemical bombs would’ve solved this whole ISIS problem.”40 Ultimately, the far right demonstrates a deep aversion to globalism, both in the sense of accepting refugees and also in committing their states to fighting more wars abroad. However, these figures are not opposed to war on the belief that wars produce greater cycles of violence – they have expressed disinterest in the daily violence visited on Syrians; rather, their anti-war activism stems from a desire to invest state resources in state citizens, not on foreign Others. 35 Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter). “Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast. Said it always helps our enemies & creates more refugees. Then he saw a picture on TV,” (Twitter, April 6, 2017, 11:25pm), Tweet. 36 Horton, “Nigel Farage and Other Right-Wing Populists.” 37 Eugene Scott, “McCain Rips Trump Administration over Syria Policy,” CNN (Cable News Network, April 5, 2017), 38 Brandon Wall (@Walldo), “‘Assad did nothing wrong’ - Baked Alaska at UVA tonight. ‘Barrel bombs, hell yeah!,’” (Twitter, August 11, 2017, 8:32pm), Tweet. 39 Ibid. 40 Ibid.

48 Thus, they abandon Syrians altogether. THE FAR RIGHT AND THE MASCULINE FASCINATION WITH VIOLENCE Lastly, it would be wrong of me to overlook the fact that some of right-wing support for Assad can simply be attributed to the right’s plain fascination with strongmen, violence, and the Muslim bodies that suffer from that violence. This enchantment with violence is seen in Gionet’s aforementioned statements. It is also seen in the German far right group, Alternative fürDeutschland, and their “‘fact-finding’” trip to Syria, in which members of the party pointed out that they had to purchase their own drinks, in contrast to the “‘so-called refugees from Homs drinking coffee in Berlin at the expense of the German taxpayer.”41 It is seen in the numerous examples of far-right figures denying the regime’s use of chemical weapons, or worse – justifying the regime’s use of these weapons.42 Ultimately, it stems from a perception of the Syrian Arab Muslim as Other; it is what makes it easy for these figures to claim “‘it’s a civil war unfortunately’” while offering no solution or means through which Syrians can find refuge or take the regime to court for its crimes.43 Violence against Muslim and Arab bodies has long been something these groups have been apologists for, promoted, and carried out themselves, and Syria represents no diversion in their thought and practice. ‘ABSOLUTE ARABISM’S’ FASCIST UNDERTONES Yet, while anti-Muslim prejudice, anti-Semitism, anti-globalism, and a love of violence largely motivates right-wing support for Assad, we must also consider the ideological overlaps between the Syrian state’s brand of pan-Arab nationalism and fascism. Recall that the far-right parties I describe favor an expansion of social services to check the rampant inequality that capitalism fosters. Recall also that they simply want that equality to be limited to those whites within the borders of their nation-states rather than immigrant and non-white populations. This constructs an image of a homogenous population, essentialized to one identity, positioned in conflict with some other identity, or combination of identities. For the far right in the West, immigrants, nonwhites, Muslims, Jews, the ‘elite,’ and leftists have all come to represent that threat. In Syria, it is “absolute Arabism” – a Baathist understanding of Arab nationalism – that essentializes all Syrians, and much of the ‘Arab world’ to one 41 Josephine Huetlin, “The European Far-Right’s Sick Love Affair With Bashar AlAssad,” The Daily Beast, (The Daily Beast Company, March 28, 2018), www.thedailybeast. com/the-european-far-rights-sick-love-affair-with-bashar-al-assad. 42 Buchanan, “The Alt Right is in Love.”; Horton, “Nigel Farage and Other RightWing Populists.”; Kester Ratcliff, “International Assadists References Directory,” (Medium, August 24, 2018),; Wilson, “Why Is the Far Right.” 43 Strickland, “Why Do Italian Fascists.”

49 identity – an Arab one – at the exclusion of the many non-Arab identities that exist within these constructed borders.44 Syrian political dissident Yassin al-Haj Saleh notes that this “doctrine” of absolute Arabism renders Syria an “Arab country,” part of a larger “Arab homeland,” language that has permeated a variety of state-controlled institutions and society at large (“The Syrian Arab Army, Syrian Arab TV, the Syrian Arab National Anthem, the Syrian Arab citizenry…”).45 Back in 1958, Syria officially adopted Arab nationalism as a policy via the unification of Syria and Egypt under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser.46 Under this United Arab Republic, backlash against non-Arab ethnic minorities, specifically Kurds, rose and continued rising even after its 1961 collapse: “In October 1962, Syrian authorities issued a so-called special census in Hasakah province, the northeastern Syrian province in which the majority of Kurds have their origins. The authorities then produced statistical reports on the pretext of discovering people who may have crossed illegally from Turkey to Syria. As many as 120,000 Kurds—nearly 20 percent of Syria’s Kurdish population—were denationalized as a result, losing all rights of citizenship, including the right to vote and participate in public life, the right to travel outside the country, the right to private ownership, and the right to employment in the public sector.”47

Since 1962, the Syrian government has grouped Syrian Kurds into three demographic categories: Syrian Kurds, foreign Kurds, and ‘concealed’ Kurds.48 The distinctions here are that Syrian Kurds have been allowed to maintain their Syrian nationality while foreign Kurds were stripped of citizenship and officially registered as foreigners. Concealed Kurds, on the other hand, have not been registered in official records and therefore do not have Syrian nationality; they are essentially stateless. Moreover, there are about 280,000 other undocumented Kurds in Syria, according to Kurdish groups.49 In addition to dividing them and stripping them of their nationality, the Baathist government that arose in 1963 attempted to further marginalize Kurds: “Kurds experienced a lack of political representation, poor economic development, and reduced social services. Important elements of Kurdish cultural identity, such as language, music, and publications, were banned. Political parties were forbidden and their members incarcerated. The Syrian government also began to replace the names 44 Saleh, The Impossible Revolution, 92. 45 Ibid., 92-93. 46 Radwan Ziadeh, “The Kurds in Syria: Fueling Separatist Movements in the Region?,” (United States Institute of Peace, April 2009) uploads/files/English%20Content/Policy%20Papers/SR%20220%20KurdsNSyria.pdf, 2. 47 Ibid. 48 Ibid. 49 Ibid.

50 of Kurdish villages and sites with Arabic ones.”50

To this day, the Syrian government continues to view Kurds as pawns in the larger battle for regaining lost Syrian territory, rather than as sentient beings striving toward self-determination and equality. Naturally, as Saleh argues, from this attempted construction of a pure Arab state, within a larger Arab homeland, came a separation of the Arab world and its supposed homogeneity from the rest of the world.51 In this way, Saleh contends that “absolute Arabism floats on a sea of doubt about the world. It thrives on an atmosphere of war, of psychological and intellectual conscription, of hostility toward strangers and suspicions regarding infiltrators at home… Such an atmosphere makes it possible for transgressions on the part of the rulers not only to be rendered invisible but also unimaginable: it eliminates all barriers that limit the ruling elite’s fascist domination of the ruled, and institutes the justification for a violated society, one that is continually suspected of betraying the homeland.”52

Both Hafez and Bashar al-Assad have strategically constructed the threat of Israel and further Israeli encroachment into Syria in order to create a security apparatus and a state of emergency that places the political liberties of the Syrian people second to building state influence. The right sees how Assad has used the threat of the Zionist Other to consolidate his own power and applaud him, either ignorant of the notion that the Syrian people are not so much endangered by Israel as they are by their own leader or understanding of this principle, yet choosing to disregard it because it does not serve their ideology. Perhaps this is why numerous representatives from European fascist groups, from Greece’s Golden Dawn to Belgium’s Vlaams Belang to the French National Front, have traveled to Syria during the civil war to meet with representatives of the Assad regime. Ultimately, Assad’s view of the events unfolding in Syria can be summed up by this statement he gave to a group of Arab diplomats in Damascus: “‘We lost many of our youth and infrastructure, but we gained a healthier and more homogenous society.’”53 The far right would love this language, for it caters to their own desire to create homogenous societies in which minorities are either forced to assimilate, deprived of all rights, or shipped back to their ‘home’ states. THE MARGINS GO MAINSTREAM And while it is convenient and comforting to claim that this rhetoric 50 51 52 53

Ibid. Saleh, The Impossible Revolution, 95. Ibid. Elba, “Why White Nationalists Love Bashar al-Assad.”

51 is largely confined to obscure online far right publications, blogs, social media pages, and chat rooms, this is not the case. Globally, we have witnessed the rise of far-right populism, the center’s movement further right, and the creation of platforms for fringe ideologies to be disseminated as if they were mainstream. Thus, not only have fringe right-wingers made appearances ‘in real life,’ but their rhetoric has also seeped into the language of mainstream right-wing personalities who are afforded the platforms and political legitimacy that those on the far right have largely been denied. Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy has spread Russian propaganda regarding the Syrian Civil Defense, better known as the White Helmets, claiming that the White Helmets stage fake bodies and that the chemical attack in Douma was a false flag operation, stating “you’ve got Russian media saying, ‘We sent investigators in… and they could not find any traces of toxins or gas on any of the bodies,” willfully ignorant of the Russian government’s ongoing alignment with the Syrian regime.54 Asked by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, himself a defendant of the Assad regime and routine denier of its use of chemical weapons, about Trump’s April 2018 strikes on regime-owned chemical weapons facilities, Ann Coulter stated “for that region of the world, Assad is one of the better leaders… it will deplete our country if we keep doing these wars,” again ramping up the isolationist, America First rhetoric that has been on the rise since the 2016 U.S. presidential election.55 And while the right’s bright new star Tomi Lahren, now a Fox News contributor, acknowledged the regime’s use of chemical weapons, she similarly demonstrated a turn to America First rhetoric in response to the attacks: “This conflict is less about overthrowing a savage dictator and is now more about a struggle among branches of Islam that goes back more than a thousand years. How do we win that… We’ve given the so-called moderate opposition in Syria weapons, funding, and training – not to mention the support of American troops, one of whom was just recently killed there. That’s the spilling of American blood, sweat, and tears. And for what?... When are we going to put Americans first?”56

The comments section of that video, which Lahren posted to her Face54 Nick Fernandez, “Fox’s Steve Doocy Uncritically Pushes Russian Smear about Syrian First Responders,” (Media Matters for America, April 12, 2018), www.mediamatters. org/blog/2018/04/12/fox-s-steve-doocy-uncritically-pushes-russian-smear-aboutsyrian-first-responders/219923. 55 Peter Weber, “Ann Coulter Is Puzzled Why Trump Would Hit Syria’s Assad, ‘One of the Better Leaders’ in the Region,” (The Week, April 13, 2017), speedreads/692021/ann-coulter-puzzled-why-trump-hit-syrias-assad-better-leadersregion. 56 Tomi Lahren, “How many times are we going to stick our fingers in the fire before we realize democracy-spreading in the Middle East does NOT work!!” (Facebook, April 11, 2018),

52 book page, is littered with statements denying the regime’s use of chemical weapons, other regime atrocities, and a general lack of care toward Syrian suffering.57 The anti-war stance is used to foster nationalist pride and ironically justify a total disregard for suffering abroad. Motivation matters: it does little good to Syrians if the anti-war stance is rooted in a lack of concern regarding their fate. We may not be coming at their country with bombs and bullets, but our silence, complicity, and apathy is a violence of its own kind. Not only does it breed the atrocity denials that we have seen coming from both the right and the left, but it also inhibits partnership and solidarity, creating a worldwide attitude of isolationism, ostensibly rooted in the noble principles of opposing war and caring for our people at home. FROM SOLIDARITY TO PARTNERSHIP Ultimately, I cannot and will not make a liberal argument for military intervention in Syria. Liberals have often been too quick to cave to the demands of fascists by allowing them access to platforms due to ‘freedom of speech’ protections, without much thought to the harm that that freedom can then perpetuate. But I cannot wholly side with the left as it exists today either. Prominent and respected leftists such as Patrick Cockburn, Robert Fisk, Jon Queally, Ajamu Baraka, Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton, and many others have all come out in support of the Assad regime, with some arguing that it is either Assad or IS, and others going as far as to suggest the White Helmets are supported by terrorist organizations, making them legitimate military targets.58 Rather, I still argue for a leftist approach to Syria, but one that is rooted in the principles of partnership across racial, ethnic, and religious lines, a leftism that does not shed the principles of humanitarianism simply because the West has used the language of human rights to achieve its geostrategic aims. Ultimately, we, and the left in particular, must not be so vehemently against American imperialism or globalization, despite the horrors imperialism and globalization have wrought on the world’s most vulnerable communities, that we forget that imperialism is not only perpetuated by Western states and that globalization can also transform the Syrian cause into the Turkish cause into the Brazilian cause into the German cause, uniting people against state oppression.59 It is a leftism that, as Syrian activist Yassin al-Haj Saleh argues, eschews traditional leftist/Marxist ideas of solidarity and moves instead toward partnership.60 Left-wing solidarity has often been expressed by Western leftists toward Global South states (ex. Solidarity with Syria, Solidarity with Venezuela, Soli57 Ibid. 58 Ratcliff, “International Assadists References Directory.” 59 Yassin al-Haj Saleh, “A Critique of Solidarity,” (Yassin Al-Haj Saleh, July 17, 2018), 60 Ibid.

53 darity with the DPRK) as a solidarity whose object is states rather than people, creating neither peace nor justice.61 Today, with states and their leaders doing much of the damage, we must divest from state-centric rhetoric and approaches to peace, instead striving to work with ordinary people in rebellion, learning how their religion can be used as a tool for liberation, and how their diverse identities can foster a positive multiculturalism. From there, leftist and humanitarian organizations can work with each other to arrange boycotts, make demands of their governments, send aid, pressure international organizations into action, give platforms to refugees, and, at the very least, convey true information. This is Saleh’s vision of partnership, and the only one that can create the necessary environment for people to understand that we all do share the same cause. Not everyone faces repression at the level that Syrians do, but in every nation, there are people struggling for justice and liberation. Understanding these struggles as global ones, we can then strive toward an internationalism that is not homogenizing, but one that recognizes both the uniqueness of and overlaps between our passed-down histories and popular struggles, that understands each person as having duties toward another, that allows us to organize globally against fascisms, unburdened by Westphalian understandings of statehood, sovereignty, and citizenship.

Sama is a Project Associate with the Chemical Security Practice Area at CRDF Global, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes safety, security, and sustainability through science and innovation. She graduated from USC with a BA in Political Science and minors in both Middle East Studies and Business Economics. At USC, she was a Research Fellow with the USC-UNESCO Journal for Global Humanities, Science and Ethical Inquiry; the Deputy Editor of the Social Justice Review; and a recipient of the Provost Fellowship for her research on the Syrian revolution. You can reach her at



DIAGNOSING LEBANESE PRE-HOSPITAL MEDICINE Emergency Medicine and the Future of Mobile Health in Lebanon



he Lebanese government currently lacks legislation to fund prehospital emergency medical services.1 The bulk of the responsibility for supplying these services falls to humanitarian organizations, chiefly the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC). The LRC and other agencies operate largely as a result of grants and donations from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as the service and commitment of their volunteers.2 While donations have kept these groups afloat, their reliance on competitive funds and charitable acts creates a fragile situation for the Lebanese people. Without sufficient economic support, the Lebanese government and these humanitarian organizations constantly struggle to deliver sufficient prehospital emergency medical services. Developing a new system through cooperation and collaboration with regional and international powers would prove to strengthen and secure a promising future for prehospital emergency medicine in Lebanon. Although political hurdles impede progress in this domain, there is much potential for Lebanon to construct an efficient and capable system. This paper addresses the following questions: Why does the Lebanese government primarily rely on volunteers for prehospital emergency medicine services and what problems does this create that need to be addressed? The Lebanese government tacitly relies upon the incomplete prehospital emergency medical services of humanitarian organizations and their volunteers as a result of its dependence on these services in the Lebanese Civil War. It has since made little progress in acknowledging and addressing the need for change. The question of precisely why there has been no centralized, government-directed system of response is beyond the scope of this paper, lying perhaps more properly in the field of political science. It is worth noting that the fractious history of Lebanon itself could provide clues to the origin of this puzzle, but this is, again, a topic for a different discussion. The primary issues within the current context that need to be addressed are the current critical shortfalls in Lebanon’s prehospital emergency medical system, its division and disorganization, and its ultimate need for regulation. Since the Lebanese Civil War, political and cultural realities have delayed progress in the medical arena (as well as many others), resulting in further national crises such as the Lebanese Waste Crisis. Secondarily and critically, this paper will illustrate that

1 El Sayed, Mazen J, and Jamil D Bayram. “Prehospital Emergency Medical Services in Lebanon: Overview and Prospects.” Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, vol. 28, no. 02, 20 Dec. 2012, pp. 163–165., doi:10.1017/s1049023x12001732. 2 Moucharafieh, Ramzi, and Rayana Bu-Haka. “Development of Emergency Medicine in Lebanon.” Annals of Emergency Medicine, vol. 28, no. 1, 1996, pp. 82–86., doi:10.1016/s0196-0644(96)70141-5.

57 the government’s dependence on humanitarian organizations to maintain the stability of its frontline of healthcare is a radical pitfall for the future development of Lebanese society. BACKGROUND As defined by the National Institutes of Health, prehospital emergency medical services encompass the totality of the aid provided from the scene of a disaster until the patient is delivered to a hospital.3 In Lebanon, NGOs provide the majority of the country’s prehospital emergency medical services. The largest of these providers and the focus of this paper is the LRC. The LRC exists as a branch of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and it has served as the country’s officially delegated agency since 1964.4 Despite this delegation, Lebanese legislation does not recognize the LRC or any other agency as the leader of Lebanon’s prehospital emergency medical services. The LRC and the government agency Civil Defense provide roughly 98% of Lebanon’s prehospital emergency transports, and although Civil Defense is government-run and tasked with providing these services, it only carries out 28% of these transports while the volunteer-led LRC covers 70%. Civil Defense is followed by many smaller organizations, themselves funded by a myriad of for-profit companies as well as religious, political, social, and charitable groups that account for the rest of the emergency prehospital care provided in Lebanon.5,6 Troublingly, despite the array of organizations working to provide care, few of them actually offer any medical assessments or treatment and only supply transportation from the place of the emergency to the hospital.5 The Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) radically shook the field of prehospital emergency medicine, and there have been virtually no further modifications since that conflict. During the Civil War, the needs of the country far exceeded its resources, and prehospital emergency medical service providers were forced to accommodate for the flood of patients with more severe wounds. To combat the shortage of available prehospital providers and scarci3 Committee on Guidance for Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations. “Prehospital Care Emergency Medical Services (EMS).” Crisis Standards of Care: A Systems Framework for Catastrophic Disaster Response., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 21 Mar. 2012, 4 “Lebanese Red Cross: Emergency Medical Services.” Lebanese Red Cross, www. 5 Jamil, Bayram D. “Emergency Medicine in Lebanon: Overview and Prospects.” The Journal of Emergency Medicine, vol. 32, no. 2, 27 June 2006, pp. 217–222., doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2006.12.007. 6 Kronfol, N.M., Rebuilding of the Lebanese health care system: health care sector reforms. East Mediterranean Health Journal 2006;12(3-4):459-473

58 ty of ambulances, agencies implemented a completely new tactic: patients no longer received medical care in the ambulance, freeing the volunteers and ambulances to return to the field and bring in more casualties. The trade-off for this loss of care during patient transport was a dramatic reduction in the time it took to deliver patients to the hospital.7 While this reduction in delivery time was helpful and necessary during the Civil War, lack of care during transport became a permanent aspect of Lebanon’s prehospital emergency medical system. Almost thirty years later, the same system of rapid delivery and neglect for medical attention continues. Lebanon faces a number of critical threats: a lack of medical attention in prehospital care , a scarcity of ambulances, as well as the dearth of education regarding emergency medical services in Lebanon. As a result of these factors, 80% of critical cases are transported to hospitals by way of private vehicles, rather than ambulances.(Sayed, 2012) CRITICAL SHORTFALLS Paradoxically, hostile conditions have contributed not just to setbacks, but advances for medicine in Lebanon as well. During the war, changes to prehospital emergency medical services placed all medical responsibilities in the hands of the hospitals. Despite virtually denying immediate care to seriously injured or ill patients, the flood of critical cases afforded Lebanese doctors irreplaceable experience with severe war wounds. Through their valuable insights and increased understanding of conflict medicine, Lebanese doctors are better equipped than ever before. As a direct result of encountering such critical cases during the Civil War, they are able to educate the following generations of physicians about treating such conditions.8 One permanent result of this development is the American University of Beirut’s Conflict Medicine Program. Defining a new field, this innovative program is a response to war’s ever-changing ecologies.9 This progress has come at a tragically high price, though. While organizations providing prehospital emergency medical services made adjustments throughout the Civil War, they have shown a collective inability to effectively respond to Lebanon’s needs during and after a disaster. Nevertheless, Lebanon continues to lean on this incapable system.10 7 Pane GA. Emergency Medical Services System: Assessment and Recommendations. World Bank- Health Sector Rehabilitation Project; 1999:1-7. 8 Moucharafieh, Ramzi, and Rayana Bu-Haka. “Development of Emergency Medicine in Lebanon.” Annals of Emergency Medicine, vol. 28, no. 1, 1996, pp. 82–86., doi:10.1016/s0196-0644(96)70141-5. 9 Saleh, Shadi. American University of Beirut Global Health Institute: A Component of the HEALTH 2025 Vision. 2018, CS_10%20Menaza.pdf. 10 Ghossain, Antoine, et al. “Surgery in Lebanon.” JAMA Surgery, vol. 138, Feb. 2003, pp. 215–219., doi:10.1001/archsurg.138.2.215.

59 Moving away from the transportation techniques adopted during the Civil War while holding on to the innovative treatments developed since then could prove to increase success in handling these critical cases. Unfortunately, there are currently no standards for medical oversight, meaning that medical treatment protocols during patient transport vary among agencies. Moreover, many agencies limit themselves to providing the absolute basic treatments: first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and automated external defibrillators (AED) when available.11 Increased medical oversight and physician involvement is necessary to improve prehospital emergency medicine in Lebanon.17 DIVISION AND DISORGANIZATION Lebanon’s prehospital emergency medical system is stressed in part by the unpredictability of volunteers, and many of its critical shortfalls result from a lack of regulation. As described in the introduction, there are a number of agencies that try to provide prehospital emergency medical services throughout the country; however, they do not function at the same level because of the absence of a regulating body. Consequently, the standards to which each agency is held varies widely throughout the country, leaving medical supervision – viewed as a luxury rather than a necessity – languishing by the wayside. The majority of these agencies function through the participation of volunteers, and while these volunteers offer invaluable time and labor, there are many concerning issues that come with the prevalence of volunteers in an unregulated prehospital emergency medical system.12 Professionalism, commitment, continuity, and availability all come into question.13 Generally, volunteer providers and ambulance drivers receive only basic training and oftentimes do nothing other than transport the patients. They are rarely given paramedical training or even taught proper patient transportation practices. While these agencies provide the majority of prehospital emergency medical services, their locations are unequally distributed throughout the country, pointing to social and economic inequities. The Civil War played a fundamental role in the geographical expansion of medical care throughout the country. Road blockages and divided territories led to the establishment 11 El Sayed, Mazen J, and Jamil D Bayram. “Prehospital Emergency Medical Services in Lebanon: Overview and Prospects.” Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, vol. 28, no. 02, 20 Dec. 2012, pp. 163–165., doi:10.1017/s1049023x12001732. 12 Jamil, Bayram D. “Emergency Medicine in Lebanon: Overview and Prospects.” The Journal of Emergency Medicine, vol. 32, no. 2, 27 June 2006, pp. 217–222., doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2006.12.007. 13 Moucharafieh, Ramzi, and Rayana Bu-Haka. “Development of Emergency Medicine in Lebanon.” Annals of Emergency Medicine, vol. 28, no. 1, 1996, pp. 82–86., doi:10.1016/s0196-0644(96)70141-5.

60 of new medical centers outside of the capitol – an uncommon occurrence at the time. Along with new experience in treating traumatic injuries, these new medical centers served the population and improved health outcomes. After the Civil War, however, just as abbreviated procedures for patient transfer continued, so did the establishment of the new medical centers, and because certificates of need do not exist in Lebanon, private companies continued to build medical hubs.14 Many poor regions in Lebanon remained without access to care while more wealthy areas saw continued expansion. Proper prehospital emergency medical care remains inaccessible in many parts of the country, and the free market economy will continue to drive this trend forward unless there is intervention.15 There is not enough money for prehospital care, the supply of money is unstable and unpredictable, and it is distributed unequally. This unequal distribution is a result of many other factors as well: the LRC (entirely) and Civil Defense (in part) depend financially on Lebanese governmental agencies such as the Ministry of Health, on other countries, and on national and international NGOs. As the country’s largest provider of prehospital emergency medical care, the LRC functions only as a result of the scattered funding that it receives, which is inconsistent at best.16 While some money is put aside for the LRC by the Ministry of Health, this funding generally comes in the form of grants and is not promised for the future, so the LRC relies on donations of equipment such as ambulances and emergency gear, in addition to supplementary grants to provide the very basic training that their volunteers do receive. Lebanon needs a planned, funded, centralized system of delivering prehospital care, but political fractures and social inequalities leave the nation relying on unpredictable gifts. The reliance on donations puts the LRC and other prehospital emergency medical agencies at the mercy of charity. Without a centralized system, the division and disorganization that exists in Lebanon’s prehospital emergency medical system will continue to result in the inefficient use of funds and equipment, confusion within the population, and ultimately worse health outcomes. Examples of this dependence on a national scale are grants and equipment donations from the Kuwaiti, French, and 14 A Certificate of need is a statement issued by the government for proposed construction of a health facility that ensures that the facility will be needed at the time of its completion. 15 Ghossain, Antoine, et al. “Surgery in Lebanon.” JAMA Surgery, vol. 138, Feb. 2003, pp. 215–219., doi:10.1001/archsurg.138.2.215. 16 Jamil, Bayram D. “Emergency Medicine in Lebanon: Overview and Prospects.” The Journal of Emergency Medicine, vol. 32, no. 2, 27 June 2006, pp. 217–222., doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2006.12.007.

61 Italian governments in 1996, 1999, and 2000, respectively.17 These contributions funded research and development carried out by the Ministry of Health for the purpose of creating a new prehospital emergency medical system, provided ambulances and other equipment, and offered support for additional analyses. Despite these donations, the government has struggled to make use of the resources that it gained. Ten years after the last of these donations were made, none of the completed studies had been implemented.24 In addition to extended delays in executing these funded research projects, the equipment that these countries donated went almost completely unused. A portion of the 2000 donation from Italy went towards the establishment of an emergency training center, and while the ministry went as far as to build the infrastructure, it was not until seven years after its establishment that the ministry first utilized this new wealth of resources.18 NEED FOR REGULATION The current prehospital emergency medical system in Lebanon is characterized by a lack of collaboration between government agencies, such as the Ministry of Health, and non-government agencies such as the LRC.19 Regulation and unification of agencies that provide prehospital emergency medical services in Lebanon is the key to increasing efficiency, simplifying access to emergency care, and better health outcomes. The predictable provision of funds will offer opportunity for both the provider and the recipient to direct the future of the system. For reasons that remain unclear, legislation in Lebanon does not currently reserve any funding specifically for emergency prehospital care; consequently, the Ministry of Health and the Lebanese government have little influence on the system’s future.20 To properly protect and provide for the country, however, it is critical that the government take action in allocating resources specifically for this system. While many political and cultural obstacles currently exist, the development of a centralized agency is necessary, and it would create the first-ever opportunity to pool funds and other resources, appropriately redistribute emergency centers, and untangle 17 Zied I, Abu Dubai H Emergency Medical Services in South Lebanon (Thesis). Sidon, Lebanon. Lebanese University Nursing School; 2001:59-65 18 Jamil, Bayram D. “Emergency Medicine in Lebanon: Overview and Prospects.” The Journal of Emergency Medicine, vol. 32, no. 2, 27 June 2006, pp. 217–222., doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2006.12.007. 19 Ocallaghan, Sorcha, and Leslie Leach. “The Relevance of the Fundamental Principles to Operations: Learning from Lebanon.” International Review of the Red Cross, vol. 95, no. 890, 2014, pp. 287–307., doi:10.1017/s1816383114000228. 20 El Sayed, Mazen J, and Jamil D Bayram. “Prehospital Emergency Medical Services in Lebanon: Overview and Prospects.” Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, vol. 28, no. 02, 20 Dec. 2012, pp. 163–165., doi:10.1017/s1049023x12001732.

62 the confusion surrounding how to access necessary services.21 Creating a centralized system is the only way to ensure that the needs of the country are sufficiently accounted for; furthermore, only a centralized system could then be held accountable for efficiently responding to the assessed need. This structure would have the potential to minimize overlap that currently contributes to the waste of resources (time, property, equipment, etc.), as well as the potential to begin the construction of an equitable distribution of emergency centers throughout the country.31 FRAGILITY AND VULNERABILITY Lebanon’s dependence on humanitarian organizations and volunteers reveals a vulnerability in its ability to care for its citizens in the case of a national emergency.22 The majority of the labor force necessary to operate and maintain the country’s current system is comprised of volunteers; however, should a disaster (natural or man-made, internal or international) strike, the question as to what portion of that volunteer population would be willing or even able to continue serving will arise. This limitation would leave the country unable to adequately respond to a national emergency, particularly because of shorthanded prehospital emergency medical agencies and their inability to provide ample care without a steady supply of trained personnel. In response to the Civil War, procedures changed dramatically to accommodate the hostile conditions and soaring rates of traumatic injury.23 While the modifications made during that time allowed for escalated patient intake, these procedures neglected the patients’ immediate needs. Left practically untouched for thirty years, these procedures continue to be inadequate. If the system remains unchanged, a national emergency will result in dependence on unreliable foreign aid and, ultimately, worse health outcomes for the Lebanese people. Increased governmental funding is critical to the establishment of a new, self-sufficient system that is anchored by adequately compensated and well-trained prehospital emergency medical care providers. CONCLUSION Despite the evident need for funding the establishment of a centralized prehospital emergency medical system, the Lebanese government has failed 21 Moucharafieh, Ramzi, and Rayana Bu-Haka. “Development of Emergency Medicine in Lebanon.” Annals of Emergency Medicine, vol. 28, no. 1, 1996, pp. 82–86., doi:10.1016/s0196-0644(96)70141-5. 22 Viswanathan, Kristin, et al. Crisis Standards of Care: A Systems Framework for Catastrophic Disaster Response. National Academies Press, 2012. 23 Ghossain, Antoine, et al. “Surgery in Lebanon.” JAMA Surgery, vol. 138, Feb. 2003, pp. 215–219., doi:10.1001/archsurg.138.2.215.

63 to address these pressing problems and, consequently, has positioned itself to depend on outside groups for aid in the event of a national emergency. Until a centralized system is established and appropriately funded, there will not be a comprehensive structure of adequate training, licensure, and education – the three principal criteria for the delivery of sustainable care.24 The lack of formal funding and the overdependence on donor assistance results in the system’s inability to establish new standards and even threatens to deconstruct the current organization of health care delivery. Maintaining the stability of the frontline of healthcare is vital to Lebanon’s resilience in the face of a national emergency. Despite historical negligence of these issues from the government, there is hope for improvement through examination of and response to the three issues that demand attention: the critical shortfalls in Lebanon’s prehospital emergency medical system, entrenched division and disorganization, and clear need for regulation. National efforts to tackle these issues have come and gone, demonstrating the need for urgency.25 Seemingly intangible political and cultural obstacles inhibit progress in this arena, and as a result, a national prehospital committee has been in the conceptual stages for over ten years now. 26 Currently, many groups are working individually to extend their reach and increase the quality of care that they can deliver. The LRC is introducing new training courses for its volunteers and those of a select group of other providers in Lebanon, thanks to a grant from an international ally. Further research could analyze the ways in which influential institutions such as the American University of Beirut may contribute to these efforts, and while dependence on other countries for assistance may expose Lebanon’s current limitations, partnering officially and reliably through diplomatic channels with nearby nations could prove to be momentous with respect to sustainability of the system as well as with regard to international relations.27 Iraq and Jordan stand as excellent candidates for comparison and collaboration with Lebanon, as they stand as neighbors that have shown the ability to improve their prehospital emer24 El Sayed, Mazen J, and Jamil D Bayram. “Prehospital Emergency Medical Services in Lebanon: Overview and Prospects.” Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, vol. 28, no. 02, 20 Dec. 2012, pp. 163–165., doi:10.1017/s1049023x12001732. 25 Jamil, Bayram D. “Emergency Medicine in Lebanon: Overview and Prospects.” The Journal of Emergency Medicine, vol. 32, no. 2, 27 June 2006, pp. 217–222., doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2006.12.007. 26 El Sayed, Mazen J, and Jamil D Bayram. “Prehospital Emergency Medical Services in Lebanon: Overview and Prospects.” Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, vol. 28, no. 02, 20 Dec. 2012, pp. 163–165., doi:10.1017/s1049023x12001732. 27 Zaatari, Ghazi S. Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the American University of Beirut 1866-2015. American University of Beirut, 2015.

64 gency medical systems after conflict.28 While political hurdles impede progress in this domain, there is much potential for Lebanon to construct an efficient and capable system, and it is essential that this be done as soon as possible.

Andrew is a current undergraduate at The University of Texas at Austin.

28 VanRooyen, Michael. “International Emergency Medical Services: Assessment of Developing Prehospital Systems Abroad.� The Journal of Emergency Medicine, Elsevier, 9 July 1999,

WOMEN’S STORIES Female Agency and Transitional Justice in Iraq



he International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) commitment to recognizing the dignity of individuals “ensur[es] that women and marginalized groups play an effective role in the pursuit of a just society.”1 The ICTJ attempts to fulfill this through “truth seeking,” finding and recording victims’ stories to document their experiences and therefore work towards a justice-oriented solution.2 I explore this concept with the question: how do women’s stories serve as a form of testimony in the context of transitional justice? To answer this question, I examine the role of women’s voices during Iraq’s period of transition circa 2003 to argue that a comprehensive justice must include the documentation and amplification of women’s voices. The historical context of women’s rights in under Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime is foundational to this study as actors that facilitated transition claimed to value the inclusion of women’s voices in the formation of government, yet in reality, ignored many women’s rights groups and testimonies.3 Iraqi women have a century long history of active and successful campaigns for their rights.4 However, circumstances of wartime, poverty, and political upheaval had adverse impacts upon the socio-cultural climate that was once safeguarded for women. These ‘adverse impacts’ are humanized through stories. Stories of women couple with transitional justice when they are recorded and identified as testimony. This paper will explore the shapes and forms testimony can embody as well as how testimony can inform the major areas of society which require reform. Specifically, the majority of testimonials from this analysis have focused around the following three areas: mistrust of government, gender violence, and the patriarchal structure of society. Though my analysis is focused on Iraqi women post-Saddam Hussein, I nevertheless extend my general argument to assert that women’s testimonials must play an active role in all transitional periods in order for adequate justice to be attained. LITERATURE REVIEW There is legal precedent for the importance of amplifying women’s testimony in an effective transitional justice process. Olivia St. Clair posits that during periods of transition, new governments often set out with the goal to include women’s voices in the constitution creation process, yet in practice, women are often left out of conversations about their own rights. Specifically, during Iraq’s transition through US occupation, St. Clair argues “U.S. constitution-makers ignored Iraqi women’s groups and their representatives” at the 1 “What is Transitional Justice?” International Center for Transitional Justice. 2 Ibid. 3 Olivia St. Clair, “Building Backwards: Helping Heal Iraq Through Women’s Rights,” (Texas Journal of Women and the Law, 2010), 82. 4 Ibid.

67 time of formation, and often traded away women’s rights for political gains.5 The U.S. occupation indeed sold away women’s rights in exchange for political support for the stable, democratic government from the Shi’a clerics majority, the same tactic Saddam Hussein used in the 1990s to appease Islamist fundamentalist groups.6 Under both the U.S. occupation and the Ba’athists, the progress that women’s rights groups had made in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly in the form of Personal Status Laws (PSL), was stunted and even reversed.7 Throughout the occupation, women’s rights groups and NGOs were eager to protest, participate, and raise their voices.8 However, generally speaking, instability“silences women and threatens their ability to participate in society,” and further threatens their personal safety if they attempt to speak out.9 St. Clair asserts that transitional government members need to do more than just listen to women’s stories. They need to amplify women’s stories to understand their priorities and encourage them to participate in democracy.10 The first step in amplifying women’s voices is recording their stories so that they may serve as documented testimony and impact the considerations of a new government. St. Clair engages with Valentine M. Moghadam’s works by supporting the claim that women were worse off under the U.S. occupation than the Ba’ath regime. Moghadam’s work “Peacebuilding and Reconstruction with Women” recounts the history of Iraqi women’s rights groups, their gains and losses, and the use of women as “pawns during conflicts or in post-conflict agreements.”11 She continues the conversation by emphasizing women’s experiences of inequality as a foundational way to reconstruct social and gender relations.12 Women “have a stake in reconstruction that is woman-friendly,” therefore demonstrating the need for women’s testimonies to be amplified during transition.13 Moghadam believes in women’s testimony because one cannot separate women’s rights from human rights: “there cannot be meaningful reconciliation without gender justice.”14 She makes the broad claim that in order to achieve general stability and security for a transitioning nation, women’s rights and concerns must be at the forefront of social, political, eco5 St. Clair, “Building Backwards…,” 82. 6 Ibid, 83. 7 Ibid, 82. 8 Ibid, 85. 9 St. Clair, “Building Backwards,” 85. 10 Ibid, 96-97. 11 Valentine M. Moghadam, “Peacebuilding and Reconstruction with Women: Reflections on Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine,” (Development, 2005), 70. 12 Ibid, 71. 13 Moghadam, “Peacebuilding and Reconstruction…,” 71. 14 Ibid.

68 nomic, and cultural resource allocation.15 Moghadam uses a feminist lens to describe the patriarchal violence and heightened insecurity during times of instability during the U.S. occupation. This concept is explored further in Fionnuala Ní Aoláin’s analysis of the patriarchy is upheld as international concepts of transitional justice acculturate. Insofar as the structural exclusion of women exists in peacetime, it is only exacerbated during methods of transition that incorporate a Western patriarchal approach: there is a “lack of naming” of harms against women, and on the “hierarchy of harms,” gender violence ranks low.16 Methods for amplifying women’s experiences are disregarded in the framework of human rights.17 Aoláin argues that “women have an expansive notion of what and where transformation is required.”18 Their understandings are based on lived experiences which are often ignored. However, it is these understandings that should be informing the policy changes of a transitional government, especially regarding the institutional gender transformations needed in order for women to live in safety. Aoláin critiques transitional justice processes as narrow minded- failing to encourage broad social-structural change, and inaccurately measuring the impact of reforms.19 It is imperative that transitional justice representatives directly converse with Iraqi women about the difference between goals and tangible outcomes. Primary source interviews are the first method of testimony that will be analyzed, and from these, special attention is drawn to the themes of distrust of legal systems, gender violence, and patriarchal systems. The second form of testimony under analysis is photography. Pablo Hernández Hernández writes about the importance of visual testimony in the discussion of justice; photography can be used as evidence in legal settings as well as for historiography records.20 Applying his conceptual perspectives to the context of Latin American countries post-guerilla warfare of the twentieth century, Hernández Hernández connects photography, testimony, and transitional justice: …Taking the picture, disassembling, assembling and reassembling it, signing it and creating an adequation between what is shown, what is lived and what is understood, is an act, an action which, in certain social and cultural planes… can produce dis15 Moghadam, “Peacebuilding and Reconstruction…,” 70. 16 Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, “Women, Security, and the Patriarchy of Internationalized Transitional Justice,” (Human Rights Quarterly, 2009) 1057. 17 Ibid, 1056. 18 Ibid, 1084. 19 Aoláin, “Women, Security, and the Patriarchy…,” 1057. 20 Ibid.

69 courses and representations alternative to the law. This action is part of a social struggle, a social dispute for the word and the image which are the foundations of law and right, and they are another force for insisting, from the speakable and the imaginable, on the impossible experience of justice.21

His words summarize the unique function of a photograph to display experiences outside of legal jargon that then contribute to the restorative justice process in the social sphere. This is especially relevant because transitional justice believes in relying on more methods than just a judiciary system; it aims to humanize victims, preserve their stories, and rebuild trust within communities. The photograph collection I examine is taken by Iraqis themselves, crediting their experiences with even more authenticity as they are formed closer to the source of truth. Although photography is a far from perfect source as we cannot assume the intentions of the photographer, photographical analysis is still useful to acknowledging the autonomy of documentation one holds with a camera. Internet blogs, the final form of testimony I analyze, are especially compelling in relation to Middle Eastern women. Most female Middle Eastern bloggers write in English, are highly educated, and many have been threatened for their writing.22 Technology allows these educated women to participate in the blog community to express their views and engage in dialogue while consciously disseminating their stories in an accessible way.23 Because they are live accounts of day to day life from an inside perspective, they serve as a counter narrative to the lens projected by Western media.24 The authors are able to define their identity themselves as women, Arab citizens, and/or Muslims. This self-expression of identity for a public audience serves as testimony. Identity exploration humanizes Middle Eastern citizens in conflict zones as everyday people with dreams, thoughts, humor, and hardships. Most importantly, blogs create space that does not otherwise exist for women in their lives. In her analysis of the extraordinary explosion of female bloggers in Iran, Fereshteh Nouraie-Simone states, “lack of privacy in public space and constant surveillance to ensure correct moral behavior foster an atmosphere of fear and paranoia, reinforcing the need to create separate public and private existences.”25 Blogs provide a digital public space with more freedom and security than physical public spaces, allowing young women to 21 Ibid. 22 Kimberly Wedeven Segall, “Baghdad Blogs and Gender Sites: An Iraqi Spring for Youth Culture?”, (Syracuse University Press, 2016), 78. 23 Fereshteh Nouraie-Simone, “Wings of Freedom: Iranian Women, Identity, and Cyberspace,” (Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 2014), 62-63. 24 Segall, “Baghdad Blogs…,” 80. 25 Nouraie-Simone, “Wings of Freedom…,” 69.

70 share their stories with autonomy and anonymity. These intimate releases of experiences from uncensored Iraqi women serve as the transformative space in which testimony can thrive. Before we implement transitional justice practices, and before we amplify women’s voices to inform such practices, we must allow women the sovereignty to own their voice. INTERVIEW ANALYSIS Testimonies contains the stories of ten Iraqi civilians selected out of 7,000 testimonials known as the Iraqi History Project. The International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul University Law created this project in 2005 to document Iraqi testimonials of the former regime’s human rights violations and create a database of stories available to the Iraqi people and the world.26 Their greater aim was to prove the need for transitional justice practices and serve as a medium for the public to begin to reconcile with past atrocities.27 The American team from DePaul Law embodied a unique perspective as outsiders free from political ties, only recording testimonials from victims. The interviews ensured their subjects’ comfort and were conducted in the subjects’ native languages in familiar places. Similarly, victims were matched with interviewees of shared identity groups (women interviewed by women, Kurds by other Kurds, etc.).28 By utilizing local NGOs and social networks, the team was able to expand to ensure a diverse volunteer group so that anyone who wanted to share their story could do so in a comfortable atmosphere. As stated above, Testimonies is a published work that contains only ten selected interviews, reading like stories with no interrupting questions. They are translated into English and edited for a Western audience. I read knowing that the stories were most likely selected because of their shock value, their moral reasoning, and/or inspiring messages. In my analysis, I will focus on the major themes that appeared in the women’s testimonials and how male testimony engaged with women’s issues. The men have an interesting perspective as they describe what happens to the women around them, often in more detail than in women’s recounts. The men describe everything from highly sexualized slurs, rape, and genital torture to psychological and familial issues directly related to women. The effects are long-lasting dehumanization that intentionally destroys family units. A common family related thread was that the wives were simply unaware of their husbands’ participation in politics, particularly with the Islamic Dawa Party and the Kurdish Peshmurga.29 There was a certain disbelief that the horrors they had heard about could be happening to their families. Under 26 27 28 29

“Testimonies: Iraqi History Project,” (DePaul University College of Law, 2007), 8. Ibid, 8. Ibid, 7. “Testimonies,” pp. 80, 46, 31, 68, 66, 63.

71 Saddam Hussein’s regime, anyone who worked outside of the Ba’ath party was subject to arrest. Often, despite any lack of involvement, the state connected women to the political party of their husbands, sons, or fathers. Women with no political connections often pleaded with guards, with one on record having said “I have no control over my husband. He won’t even listen to what I say,” using their secondary role in the home as a source of innocence.30 In the end, even the most politically sheltered women were often subject to brutal torture because of familial connections to political prisoners. The women in prisons often vouched for one another and did their best to help each other. In one poignant example, a female Arab doctor assured a pregnant Kurdish woman’s health and safety by requesting that the guards move her to a proper maternity ward and release her chained hands.31 This doctor even scolded officers, saying, “you shouldn’t beat people like that” at the sight of the pregnant woman’s condition.32 Women and children were often placed together in the same areas of prisons. The account under the name Banaz shows the desperation of any mother to reunite with any child after families had been separated: “We were all looking for our children, feeling around for them like animals, touching their hair and bodies. All the women grabbed onto the children they touched.”33 The women also put their children’s health first, working together to divide any food equally amongst the children.34 The kindness extended beyond the women and their families. In another testimony, a civilian woman hid two injured men that had crawled out of a mass grave, giving them shelter, medical care, and food for the night.35 The cultural status of women played a central role in how female prisoners were treated. Every account by a female prisoner and one male described the systematic rapes of women. The women were called sluts, whores, bitches, pigs, and blamed for their punishment because of their accused affiliations. If the women were perceived to be exceptionally beautiful, they were targeted by the torturers: “She’s a great find!” they proclaimed as they observed their prey.36 One man told an officer that his wife had diseases so that they would not rape her after discovering her beauty and proclaiming, “I’m going to punish that shit!”37 Widad, a victim of systematic rape by multiple officers, had the courage to confront an officer to question their honor as sons and husbands of 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

Ibid, 66. Ibid, 62. Ibid. “Testimonies,” 78. Ibid. Ibid, 88. Ibid, 16. Ibid, 34-35.

72 women. One replied, “our sisters and wives are not like you, you’re a slut and a whore!”38 This dehumanization allowed the officers to excuse their actions. They convinced themselves that they were raping animals, not women. Women’s stories also show rape and torture interfere with a woman’s domestic life. The testimony given by a former torturer named Jasim describes how his experience caused him to abuse his wife by beating her often, eventually divorcing her and losing relationships with his children as well.39 The Kurdish woman Banaz attempted to return home after her imprisonment, but was rejected by her family because she “dishonored them in prison,” failed to upkeep her Kurdish tradition by not wearing black clothes while mourning her husband, and accused her of collaborating with the regime.40 Banaz had nowhere to go with her eldest children after losing her eight month old baby. She faced rape, brutal torture and beatings for six months in prison. Her surviving children were taken in by family members, but Banaz continued to be rejected and was separated from her children permanently. Banaz’s family member said, “They’re not her children…If she returns, I’ll kill her.”41 She suffered from mental illness following these traumatic events, left alone to think about the children she had lost.42 It is stories like Banaz’s and Jasim’s wife’s that illuminate how gender norms in domestic life, culture, and religion changes the way torture effects women differently than men. A second form of interview that I analyzed was an ethnographic study of Iraqis conducted by the International Center for Transitional Justice during the summer of 2003. The study consisted of seventeen focus groups of key informants and are clustered by ethnicity, social status, or victims’ affiliation, and then further subdivided by gender,age, and hometown. The participants in the groups were interviewed together and are identified anonymously with a designated number (for example, “Lady 1,” “Woman 5,” or simply “3”). The groups I chose to focus on was a mix of Sunni women of various ages and who were students at the University of Mosul, Shi’ite women ages 16-30, and female lawyers. Unlike Testimonies that reads as individual stories, these interviews contain the questions and comments of interviewers, translators, and interviewees. The participants statements have not been edited or interpreted in any way besides translation.43 St. Claire and Moghadam’s shared concern that women’s voices are subdued in times of transition is demonstrated in each of the selected inter38 39 40 41 42 43

Ibid, 18. “Testimonies,” 35. Ibid, 81. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid.

73 views. The women seem surprised, humbled, and curious as to why they are being interviewed, even asking “to what extent is it helpful?” regarding their answers.44 They claim, “women are not listened to,” and mostly blame the government authorities, both Ba’athist and U.S. occupational forces, for this: “Our ex-government who makes decisions never ever took our opinions. Do you think our opinions have effect on another governments and on our own government?”45 The researcher attempts to ease the women’s woes, claiming that groups such as Human Rights Watch changed their approach in Iraq after speaking with women, and that ICTJ wants their input to “deliver them to the decision makers.”46 One Shi’ite woman asked the investigator to put himself in her shoes, to which he replied, “I did not undergo these experiences…We have come to hear from you.”47 The woman’s reply encompasses the worry that many women expressed: “It is possible that our experience is not strong enough.”48 These doubts and concerns testify to the importance of valuing women’s voices in the public sector. These women believe the opposite of what scholars believe to be true: that experiences alone are testimonial evidence to inform the policies of the future. These women have grown up in a time with limited freedom of speech and expression, as well as patriarchal influences upon their social roles- thinking their voices do not matter because “the decision is issued by the man.”49 These mindsets, so deeply engraved in Iraq’s culture, support Aoláin’s argument that transitional justice should better address comprehensive socio-cultural changes that need to be made while rebuilding the structure of a historically patriarchal society. A second common thread throughout the interviews is mistrust of the judicial system. The women’s understanding of the problems within the judicial system underscores the value of women’s input in transitional justice procedures.50 When asked if they trust Iraqi lawyers, the Sunni women laughed, one replying, “they are all thieves.”51 The female lawyers mentioned corruption of judges, that the law only applies to the poor or weak, and that Iraqi judges 44 Group 332, Focus Group Interviews, (International Center for Transitional Justice Records, 2003). 45 Ibid. 46 Ibid. 47 Group 121, Focus Group Interviews, (International Center for Transitional Justice Records, 2003). 48 Ibid. 49 Group 182, Focus Group Interviews, (International Center for Transitional Justice Records, 2003). 50 “What is Transitional Justice?”, International Center for Transitional Justice. 51 Group 332, Focus Group Interviews, (International Center for Transitional Justice Records, 2003).

74 and lawyers should learn from international judicial guidance to better their own system.52 The Shi’ite females had similar views, saying “there is no trust.”53 These findings can inform future decisions on how to move forward with legal proceedings as well as reform the judicial system. Without trust in the law, there can be no justice. The women responded to questions about testimony, reparations, lustration, and other forms of “justice.”. Most of the women agreed that records of past injustices should be kept in order to maintain awareness and understanding of their struggles and insights.54 Some of the women’s suggestions include international trials, compensation for victims, correcting reparation levels for martyrs and their families, ridding the government of all Ba’ath members, and holding the government accountable for follow-through of renewed promises.55 Evidently, these women have a plentitude of recommendations for achieving justice, rebuilding trust, and creating a society that is safe and healthy, supporting Aoláin’s point that women know more than most what needs to be done in order for society to be safe and inclusive for their gender. Outside of transitional justice efforts, they simply are not asked or are ignored when offering their concerns. To Moghadam’s argument that there can be no human rights without the inclusion of women in every aspect, the women acknowledge their unique suffering due to their gender: “Because we are women, women’s simplest rights were lost.”56 Their interviews serve as testimonies to the real challenges faced by the Iraqi nuclear family. PHOTOGRAPHY ANALYSIS Next, I will analyze a selection of seven photographs from the “Photographs by Iraqi civilians” collection in the Rubenstein archives. This collection comes from a number of Iraqis in Baghdad and Fallujah who were armed with disposable cameras during 2003-2004. The only piece of information we know about the photographers that collectively captured over four hundred images is that they are Iraqi citizens.57 By choosing the subjects, angles, and artistic vision of the photographs, these Iraqis created a discursive framing of regime change and American occupation around their individual perceptions of the 52 Ibid. 53 Group 121, Focus Group Interviews, (International Center for Transitional Justice Records, 2003). 54 Group 182, Focus Group Interviews, (International Center for Transitional Justice Records, 2003). 55 Groups 121, 182, and 332, Focus Group Interviews, (International Center for Transitional Justice Records, 2003). 56 Group 332, Focus Group Interviews, (International Center for Transitional Justice Records, 2003). 57 “Guide to the photographs by Iraqi civilians collection,” 2004.

75 events.. The aim of the project was to glimpse into everyday life experiences of ordinary civilians following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and to offer “a point of view unavailable to the foreign press.”58 Much like other testimonials, these photographs humanize the subjects by exhibiting their relationships, struggles, daily activities, and feelings. The collection of twenty-three prints by nine photographers displayed in a travelling exhibition in 2004 paint a bleak picture: men digging graves, children in dire need of medical care, banners protesting the occupation, funeral processions, and bomb craters filled with water and trash. However, within the desolate scenes emerge hopeful stories of real people who continue to live their lives despite all this. I chose to focus on seven photographs that captured women in this intimate context (see Appendix A for photographs and captions). I originally observed the photographs through Hernández Hernández’s lens of visual testimony; the stories that the images confer open a window to see the everyday experiences that are the foundation of successful transitional justice procedures. I saw women holding their children tight, teaching in schools, working in hospitals, and walking down empty streets wearing solid black burkas. I understood their lived experiences to be testimony to a new normal wrought by the confusion of the post-regime military occupation. Life carries on with the same feelings of faith, desire, and love. However, reading the captions changed my point of view. For example, upon first observing image twenty-one, I saw a woman holding her son amidst a solid gray background.59 The boy appears older than a toddler, perhaps five or six years old, yet he is still held in his mother’s arms like a younger child. He has a gash on the inner side of his right knee. The boy smiles for the camera, posing with a grin that looks directly at the camera. The mother struggles to hold him, concerned but still gazing at the camera. They appear in a concrete corridor, a door open behind them. Water stains the concrete floor beneath them, most likely residue of mopping the tile inside. Then, the caption: “Abd-Allah, an Iraqi child, who is disabled and very sick,” reassembled the image and the story. Is the child actually okay, despite his delightful smile? Was he born disabled or does he have a condition caused by the war? Is his knee injury caused naturally by his illness, simply a scrape from playing on the concrete, or was it induced by other, more violent methods? Does he have access to proper medicine and treatment? Is he living a life that is restricted by his illness? We do not know if his illness has been exacerbated by the U.S. sanctions of medical supplies. Does he go to school like the boys in photograph 58 59

Ibid. Print RL11106-P-21, Photographs by Iraqi civilians collection, 2004.

76 twelve, and if so, is his classroom and teacher properly equipped to support his needs?60 Unlike the interviews, we cannot determine the implications for the future conversation about achieving justice and what the victims wish from a future government; we can only deduce from the message conveyed in a snapshot of their present. I was struck in a similar manner by a second image of a mother holding her son. Photograph ten shows a young woman holding a small child in a jumpsuit, both smiling as she gazes up at him. In front of a blue ceramic tile background with a tree’s leaves peaking in from above, the scene reads pleasantly, with the reflection of the flash telling us it is night. The caption reveals that Alaa Kamel, the mother of young Hammodi, is attempting to calm him down after he awoke frightened by the sound of a bomb.61 This photograph now speaks to the interruption of security for Iraqis who once knew peace. It demonstrates the psychological trauma that affects young children as well as the emotional energy it drains from parents to support themselves and their families in a time of anxiety. This picture is a snapshot of a common experience, supported by one woman’s tesimony from the ICTJ interviews about former security: “The Iraqi people… learned to be safe. Since the beginning of the nineties and until the war, they banned fire shootings. We have six children since the year ninety, and they become surprised from the fire shooting, and they do not know what these noises are.”62 Multiple women across testimonial mediums said that their children were fearful during the time of the U.S. occupation. Because security can apply to the physical, mental, emotional, and social capacities, the photographs open up a mode of understanding the role of women’s testimony in transitional justice. This phenomenon can apply to the entire set of photographs as we continue to question them as testimonials. In each case, an Iraqi citizen felt that these were important enough stories to document with a camera. The viewer should seize the opportunity to hear and amplify the voices from the photograph, and search to answer questions that the caption information fails to provide for us: in the hospital, are the women trained doctors in need of lifesaving medical equipment?63 Does the female art student feel hopeful about her future employment opportunities as an artist in Iraq?64 What is the teacher struggling with as she attempts to maintain order in the classroom 60 Print RL11106-P-12, Photographs by Iraqi civilians collection, 2004. 61 Print RL11106-P-10, Photographs by Iraqi civilians collection, 2004. 62 Group 332, Focus Group Interviews, (International Center for Transitional Justice Records, 2003). 63 Print RL11106-P-09, Photographs by Iraqi civilians collection, 2004. 64 Print RL11106-P-09, Photographs by Iraqi civilians collection, 2004.

77 amidst outside chaos?65 These are the people whose stories provide evidence for the atrocities committed under authoritarian regimes, while at the same time demonstrating the bravery of normal life activities for women and their children. BLOG ANALYSIS Finally, I examine women’s testimony through blogs. The blog “Riverbend” documents a young woman’s story from 2003 to 2004, compiled into a book entitled Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq.66 Because this particular blog has become so popular and has already been analyzed for content (see “Baghdad Blogs and Gender Sites”), I will focus on how the themes and ideas relate to the discussion of testimony and transitional justice. For one, River writes as a twenty-four-year-old computer programmer whose Sunni Islam informs her feminism. As she allows the reader into her world, she simultaneously defines her identity, creates the space in which she can openly discuss the issues she faces and thinks about, and challenges the Western lens by supporting her religion as a way of life. Her blog creates an open criticism of the U.S. occupation. She notes the loss of rights for women specifically under the occupation, as St. Clair and Moghadam both recognized: she was fired from her job because men refused to interact with her, she could no longer leave the house wearing pants due to the policing of extremist women’s groups, and, in response to the Western occupation, women were targets for heightened policing, fought over locally and politically, and lost rights that usually secured their freedom, such as divorce and inheriting land.67 River uses her computer as a witness. She records her testimony without being asked or interviewed. River defends her religion despite the growing extremism, embracing her identity as a Muslim woman, and relying on her faith to keep hope alive for the return of her rights.River is unafraid to call out the institutions that played a role in the destruction of security and rights. This is a transitional justice method of holding institutions accountable for their actions, the first step needed for eventual confidence restoration.68 River shares her opinions on the actions that will lead to justice, including respect for the rule of law, reparations for victims, and rebuilding of the society that once functioned inclusively and securely for her and other women. River’s testimony allows Western audiences, as well as the rest of the online world, to better understand an authentic and personal impact of war, occupation, and attempted reconciliation. The basic act of speaking her truth to the world 65 66 67 68

Print RL11106-P-09, Photographs by Iraqi civilians collection, 2004. Riverbend, “Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq,” (Feminist Press, 2007). Segall, “Baghdad Blogs…,” 86. “What is Transitional Justice?”, ICTJ.

78 completes the act of truth-seeking for us. River names the harms to identify specific problems that transitional justice actors can use as evidence for recommendations to achieve justice. CONCLUSION Through the three media of stories analyzed in this paper, two things are extremely clear: Iraqi women have suffered, and Iraqi women know what change needs to take place to ease their suffering. Whether it be recovering from torture, psychological effects of imprisonment and rape, dealing with the loss of loved ones, rejections by their own family members, not having the opportunity to advance their education, careers, or even walk freely alone for fear of kidnapping or worse- women are informed, living and breathing bodies of testimony. For transitional justice, the aim of including women and women’s rights groups in the discussion of their own rights is imperative to healing the wounds caused by such abuses. Not just their recorded stories, but also their amplified voices need to lead the way in the implementation of a comprehensive plan for achieving justice in times of transition, and for the prevention of further atrocities.

Sarah is a Duke junior from Jacksonville, Florida. She is an International Comparative Studies Major focusing on the Middle East and Jewish Studies. Sarah is currently studying abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to continue her exploration of Middle East cultures and politics. You can reach her at

RULES OF GOLD The Commoner in Ancient Egyptian Literary Frameworks of Harmony



n analyses of ancient Egyptian literature, one implicit condition is often hidden under rich narrative embellishment: the intended audience is always the aristocracy. As I approach the Egyptian commoner through literary frameworks of harmony, my impulse is to use the phrase “Egyptian perspective.” But seeing as the “Egyptian perspective” is expressed only through texts written by and for a literate, elite minority, the literary voice is a stumbling block for one considering illiterate characters. How does this aristocratic lens warp the depiction of commoners in literature, and what role do commoners play in the type of moral frameworks recommended by the aristocracy? To unpack the role of commoners in paradigms of harmony, I will first discuss autobiographies of nomarchs from the Old Kingdom - a genre which rhetorically relies on a structure of harmony informed by norms of reciprocity. Next, I will look at chaos texts whose anxiety over social inversion draw from a hierarchical and aristocratic notion of harmony. And lastly, in two steps I will explore which traits a “good” commoner exhibits - by dissecting instruction texts which presuppose an existing harmonious environment and by analysing The Eloquent Peasant, in which ma’at has already been disturbed. I will argue that although tension exists between the grand structures of justice and harmony that each genre espouses, the practical application of the corresponding behaviors do not contradict one another. The Egyptian texts do concern themselves with compassionate treatment of the laboring classes, though there is virtue attached to the disempowerment of commoners. MA’AT AS A CONCEPT

Before diving into any historical or literary analysis, we ought to first get a glimpse into what the term harmony - or more accurately ma’at - implies in Egyptian literature. The meaning of the Egyptian word ma’at is nebulous; in English, it’s translated variably as truth, order, justice, harmony, righteousness, and law, but none of these are complete renderings. Indeed, ma’at has myriad contextual implications, appearing in juridical and political literature as well as religious and moral texts. At its broadest, ma’at is a fundamental basis for Egyptian cosmology along with its counterpart isfet, usually translated as “chaos.” And Ma’at the goddess, usually depicted as a woman with an ostrich feather on her head, complicates an understanding of the term’s significance, loaning it theological weight. Those familiar with the Weighing of the Heart ceremony will recognize Ma’at and her iconography. Some Egyptians during the Second Intermediate Period and New Kingdom1 believed that once a person died, their heart would be weighed on the scale of Ma’at against the feather of truth to determine if the deceased were virtuous enough in life to earn an 1

Quirke and Spencer. The British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt, 99.

81 afterlife. Book of the Dead papyri like those of Hunefer and Ani2 - compilations of spells intended to help the deceased with trials in the afterlife - illustrate the potential consequences of failure: the demon Ammut, a cross between a lion, a hippopotamus, and a crocodile, waits in the wings to devour an impure soul. Although a canonical depiction of Ma’at and her iconography may suggest doctrine, dogma, or a sense of divine moral authority to a modern Western audience, one should be careful to consider what the anthropomorphized manifestation of ma’at meant to the Egyptians. According to Vincent Tobin, “the gods of Egypt...must be understood on a higher level as component parts in a wider mythic system of thought,” “even though they were worshipped and portrayed as individual personal deities.”3 Considering also that, as Emily Teeter suggests, “there was no ‘secular’ realm in Egypt because all aspects of the society and culture were outgrowths of religion,”4 it is appropriate to consider all of the aspects of ma’at, from the banal to the divine, contributions to the overall meaning of ma’at as a cosmological principle. The Egyptians’ duties to uphold harmony - from the citizen’s obligation to act lawfully to the king’s charge to champion national unity to the layperson’s moral and spiritual responsibility to act ethically - all contribute to an Egyptian cosmology concerned with the victory of order or harmony over chaos. HISTORICAL CONTEXT In order to provide historical context to the texts I will reference later in this paper, I will include an extremely brief overview of Egyptian history here, starting from the beginning of the Dynastic Period and ending with the fall of the New Kingdom.5 Why is it appropriate to consider such a wide a historical window? Does ma’at as a concept retain meaning over three millennia? In Emily Teeter’s words, “with Maat’s emphasis upon tradition and unchanging values, she provided the sense of continuity that ensured the permanence of many features of ancient Egyptian culture.”6 In this overview, I will highlight only the most important recurring political concerns in Egyptian history and patterns of shifting power, developments which shape the material reality of Egyptian commoners and participate in the conception of ma’at and isfet as competing historical forces. A more specific discussion of Egyptian intellectual history and its effect on our ability to interact with the literature will follow 2 Faulkner, The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, 60-61. 3 Tobin, “Mytho-Theology in Ancient Egypt,” 70. 4 Teeter, Religion and Ritual in Ancient Egypt, 4. 5 This historical overview is mainly for readers unfamiliar with ancient Egyptian history. If you would like to skip ahead to literary analysis, go to the section titled “Scribal Practices.” 6 Teeter, “The Presentation of Maat: Ritual and Legitimacy in Ancient Egypt,” 1.

82 the chronological details. From the genesis of the Egyptian state, Egyptian royal ideology was styled in the language of unification and reunification, or ma’at embodied in the single state. The famous first representation of Egyptian unification, the Narmer palette, celebrates both the victory of King Narmer over foreign enemies and the political merging of Upper and Lower Egypt around 3100 BCE.7 With the help of geographical luck and a literate administrative class, the early Egyptian state rapidly developed into a complex, centrally-organized political entity during the Early Dynastic Period. This classically harmonious state witnessed over nine centuries8 of material prosperity, self-sufficiency, and political stability by the end of the Old Kingdom. It was during this time that some of the most enduring symbols of Egyptian culture and stability, the pyramids at Giza and Saqqara, were constructed, and the names of their commissioners would be enshrined in Egyptian religion and literature as guardians of ma’at for millennia. Toward the end of the Old Kingdom, an administrative shift and a weakened economy eventually led to the collapse of the Sixth Dynasty’s authority from Memphis, and nomarchs, the regional governors of Egypt’s provinces, gradually grew in power and influence until their localized rule all but supplanted any royal claim to dominion by 2150 BCE.9 A century of fractured rule between provincially focused nomarchs and two competing dynasties, the Herakleopolitan in the north and the Theban Eleventh Dynasty in the south, followed the collapse of the Old Kingdom.10 The First Intermediate Period would be characterized by later literature as an epoch of isfet, starvation, and immorality, although there is little evidence to suggest that the era was particularly difficult or chaotic. In fact, surveys of graves from the late Old Kingdom and First Intermediate period indicate that during this time, the economic status of provincial regions improved, as objects found in funerary contexts showcased relatively expensive and high-quality goods used in day-to-day life.11 As Stephan Seidlmayer remarks, “Texts deriving from the First Intermediate Period itself are entirely lacking in that very note of despair that is the hallmark of Middle Kingdom ‘pessimistic’ literature. They do talk about crisis, but crisis brilliantly overcome.”12 Eventually, the commoner-oriented First Intermediate Period and any Herakleopolitan claim to authority came to an end when Mentuhotep II brought all of Egypt under the 7 Schlögl, Das Alte Ägypten, 24. 8 Malek, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt ed. Shaw, 107. I use Shaw’s dates in the rest of the paper. 9 Bommas, Das Alte Ägypten, 32-36. 10 Quirke and Spencer. The British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt, 37-38. 11 Seidlmayer, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt ed. Shaw, 113. 12 Seidlmayer, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt ed. Shaw, 135.

83 control of the Eleventh Dynasty, officially founding the Middle Kingdom before 2050 BCE.13 The Middle Kingdom ruling class had learned its lesson from the collapse of the Old Kingdom and took measures to avoid a similar fate. First, Mentuhotep reduced the number of nomarchs in the land and limited their authority to individual towns, shifting power away from the provinces and reinstating a rigid hierarchy with commoners far from centers of priority.14 Secondly, the royal family asserted more direct authority over government officials through the creation of new administrative offices. This way, the Eleventh Dynasty defended their divine right to uphold ma’at and initiated a royal renaissance, undertaking grandiose construction programs and resuming military and diplomatic campaigns into neighboring lands. These ambitious programs, like the Faiyum irrigation scheme, required an updated system of taxation based on agricultural yields and corvée labor. Such measures cultivated what Gae Callender calls the “growth of the ‘middle class’ and the scribal sector of society, which increased literacy to unprecedented levels.”15 Perhaps most importantly, culture shifted toward the personal “in the pervading sense that individual human beings had become more significant in cosmic terms, whether in terms of their obligations to the state… or their increased presence in the literature.”16 These remarks sum up important cultural shifts by the end of the Middle Kingdom: while the provincial political focus of the First Intermediate Period had been replaced by bureaucratic royal rule - evidenced by the return of Old Kingdom literary traditions - focus in literature fell on the individual, allowing the now larger literate class to sympathize with protagonists from a variety of classes. After four hundred years of Middle Kingdom bureaucracy, the state succumbed again to fractured, individually-ruled spheres of control. The Second Intermediate Period was characterized even more intensely than the First by authoritative division. By 1650 BCE the Hyksos, a group of Asiatics likely hailing from the Levant, had taken over Lower Egypt and ruled from Avaris.17 In the south, Kerma Nubians enjoyed their status as a powerful and expansive military force, having overtaken Middle Kingdom cataract forts.18 From Thebes, the Seventeenth Dynasty Egyptian ruler Kamose expressed his dismay: “Why do I contemplate my strength while there is one Great Man in Avaris and another in Kush, sitting united with an Asiatic and a Nubian while each 13 14 15 16 17 18

Schlögl, Das Alte Ägypten, 45-46. Bommas, Das Alte Ägypten, 47-50. Callender, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt ed. Shaw, 170. Callender, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt ed. Shaw, 171. Van De Mieroop, A History of the Ancient Near East, 132 and 141. Quirke and Spencer. The British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt, 40.

84 man possesses his slice of Egypt?”19 Within a generation his heir Ahmose and his military would trigger the Hyksos’ mass exodus from Avaris and reunify Egypt once again, laying the foundation for the most expansive and imperial era of Egyptian history. Though the Hyksos have been described as “peculiarly Egyptian,” they represent in later literature the essence of isfet, an embodiment of foreign loathsomeness and chaos, even centuries after they were repelled around 1550 BCE. The early New Kingdom featured many of the same bureaucratic elements of the Middle Kingdom, with additional steps taken to secure ma’at and insulate the royal family from threats to their hegemonic power.20 Amenhotep I’s successors in the Eighteenth Dynasty include some of the most wellknown kings in Egyptian history, thanks to expansionist imperial ambitions which exceeded the aspirations of any other preceding dynasty. For instance, Thutmose I’s profitable campaigns in Kerma-controlled Nubia and the Mitanni-controlled Levant enabled Hatshepsut to forge her kingly legacy through diplomacy and trade with Punt. Their successors continued to venture north and south - Thutmose III even crossed the Euphrates! - while campaigning to expand Egypt’s borders and control trade routes in the Levant.21 At the end of Amenhotep III’s reign, the Egyptian Empire was following an upward trajectory, enjoying the spoils of war, diplomatic peace, and a huge sphere of influence in the Near East - all favorable indications of the traditional cosmological harmony. His son Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten), however, would shepherd in an entirely new era, one which would change the religious and cultural landscape of Egypt for the rest of pharaonic history. Akhenaten’s religious and political reforms were numerous and bizarre, and his exclusive worship of the sun disk Aten was only one aspect of his radical program of political overhaul. The Amarna period lasted a mere twenty or so years, and Akhenaten’s immediate successors hastened to restore ma’at, reverting the state religion and capital back to their previous, harmonious conditions, but the cultural shift which Aten-centered henotheism had set in motion was irreversible.22 Throughout the Ramesside period to follow, an era characterized still with conquest and material wealth until its decline, the king would never again be able to claim the role of intermediary between the people and the gods, and funerary culture and religiosity among commoners changed dramatically to favor personal piety and the cult of Osiris.23 Considering that the latest text I will reference comes from the Ramesside era, we should conclude the histor19 20 21 22 23

Bourriau, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt ed. Shaw, 172. Bryan, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt ed. Shaw, 212-213. Bryan, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt ed. Shaw, 222-254. Teeter, Religion and Ritual in Ancient Egypt, 188. Schlögl, Das Alte Ägypten, 82-98.

85 ical overview here before the Third Intermediate Period and the Late Bronze Age Collapse. SCRIBAL PRACTICES Knowledge of chronology is essential if we want to understand the cultural context of the texts we read. It’s no surprise that the material reality of a period - for example, that class distinctions in the First Intermediate Period were less pronounced - would determine the tone of the literature produced during it, but there are a few scribal practices which complicate interpretation and periodization of Egyptian texts. First, the tendency of state-sponsored scribal schools was often to produce literature in archaic traditions in order to appeal to a sense of permanence and stability. Just as Middle and New Kingdom rulers would intentionally style architectural projects after Old Kingdom buildings, Middle and New Kingdom texts would set narratives, especially propagandistic or “prophetic” stories, in a bygone era. The second trend which complicates dating and illustrates the dangers of taking literary texts as literal representations of history is the penchant for texts written during a newly-reunified period to depict the preceding intermediate period in apocalyptic terms. It is not hard to imagine why a government which conceived of its power to maintain ma’at as the basis for its authority would commision literature mourning the state of Egypt under fractured or foreign rule. “The Prophecy of Neferti,” a text written to legitimize the rule of Amenemhat I, a Twelfth Dynasty king of the Middle Kingdom, employs both of these literary devices. The tale takes place in the court of Snefru in the Old Kingdom as the sage Neferty laments the calamity to come - that is, the First Intermediate Period - and predicts the coming of a great king from the south named Ameny who “shall united the Two Powers…[so] Ma’at will return to her throne and Isfet will be driven off.”24 Here we see the cultural hegemony of the Egyptian ruling class expressed through literature through archaism and pessimism toward a time when the king did not reign over both Upper and Lower Egypt. AUTOBIOGRAPHIES AND NORMS OF RECIPROCITY At the risk of leaning into the banal, a relevant moral framework which should initiate our discussion of literary harmony is the “Golden Rule,” the basis for moral arguments we find in Old Kingdom autobiographies. Though its expression may change across cultures and time, what the Golden Rule always expresses is a norm of reciprocity, the notion that by virtue of possessing personhood and empathy, if one wishes to be treated with respect or dignity, one ought to treat others with the same. Apparently noble and internally consistent, adherence to norms of reciprocity emerges as a highly-regarded personal 24 209.

Tobin, “The Prophecies of Neferty,” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson,

86 trait in ancient Egyptian texts as early as the Sixth Dynasty. In autobiographies of Old Kingdom nomarchs, a popular boast meant to prove fitness of authority is the responsible and compassionate allocation of wealth and resources to the benefit of all in the nome, especially the poorest of subjects. Harkhuf, an Upper Egyptian nomarch whose autobiography is famous for its mention of a pigmy from Punt, testifies “I gave bread to the hungry and I clothed the naked. I brought to land the one who had no rowboat.”25 The same trope appears more intensely in the autobiography of Qar, nomarch of Edfu, who claims “I gave bread to the hungry and clothing to the naked of those I found in my nome, I gave jugs of milk. I measured out southern grain from my own estate.”26 He continues to boast of his magnanimity: “As for every man whom I found in this nome with a loan against him…it was I who repaid it to its owner from my (own) estate. It was I who buried every man of this nome.”27 We see that these leaders use their generosity toward commoners as a rhetorical demonstration of their legitimacy as local rulers, behavior which maintains harmony if we rely on a moral framework informed by norms of reciprocity. It is important to keep in mind however, that these autobiographical accounts are mainly found in funerary contexts and are highly idealized, programmatic texts addressing living passers-by.28 Therefore, we might want to take these braggadocious accounts of largesse as indications of morality-as-rhetoric rather than reflections of the truth. This is not to diminish the role of the Golden Rule in the Egyptian idea of justice. After all, autobiographies are not the only Egyptian genre which expresses this norm! Scholars point to the Middle Egyptian text The Eloquent Peasant as one of the first works of literature to include a version of the Golden Rule: “Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.”29 CATASTROPHE TEXTS AND INVERSION A telling indicator of what the Egyptians believed constructed ma’at can be found in the expression of its counterpart isfet in literary narratives of national calamity. Though the genre of catastrophe texts, described as the “world turned on its head” by Paul Kruger, is particularly important to ancient Near Eastern literature, the allegorical world in disarray will be recognizable to 25 Simpson,“Three Autobiographies...(Harkhuf)” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 408. 26 Simpson, “Three Autobiographies...(Qar)” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 413. 27 Simpson, “Three Autobiographies...(Qar)” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 413. 28 Von Lieven, “Zur Funktion Der ägyptischen Autobiographie,” 54-69. 29 Tobin, “The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 32.

87 a modern reader who has never heard of the likes of Ipuwer or Telipinu. From Shakespeare’s Macbeth or Hamlet to Oedipus Rex to Arthurian legends like the Fisher King, cosmic disorder projected onto a topsy-turvy or barren world is a powerful literary device. The root of chaotic degeneration in these stories is also fundamentally similar in Near Eastern renditions of the trope: the natural structures of power are out of order. As Kruger observes, ancient Syro-Anatolian sources tend to cast divine abandonment as the source for literary calamities, whether they be droughts or plagues.30 Hittite myths like the story of the vanishing god Telipinu describe the anger of a deity, his departure, and the ensuing inversion of all aspects of the natural world: “the fertility of animals and seeds...he took away...Cattle, sheep, and human beings didn’t become pregnant anymore and the pregnant ones didn’t give birth.”31 In the Old Testament and Sumerian city laments as well, it is often as the result of human error that the earth finds itself punished by divine forces. In chapter 14 of the book of Jeremiah, we see Judah mourn as the ground is cracked and wells dry due to the impiety of the people of the land.32 In all of these Near Eastern chaos texts, the victims of the reversal of the natural world are everyone. The misfortune strikes all classes, and even erases some class distinctions. In Egypt, however, the victims in calamity texts are exclusively aristocrats while the poor tend to benefit from the reversal of the natural order. And rather than emerging as a response to the sinful or displeasing character of the entire population, chaos in Egypt presented itself in “der Zustand, in dem sich das Land ohne Maat befindet...ohne Königtum [the instance in which the land was without ma’at...without kingship].”33 Comparing the chaos genre as it manifests in Near Eastern cultures serves to underscore the cosmological importance of royal authority and social hierarchy in the Egyptian worldview, as other civilizations tend to place blame elsewhere and witness a universally devastating calamity. If the hallmark of Near Eastern chaos literature is the lamentation of the direct inverse of the ideal world, then we can assume that the complaints made against the status of commoners in Egyptian calamity texts reflect a moral desire for commoners to assume a specific and static role in a social hierarchy. We see such complaints in the text Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage, in which the sage Ipuwer ruminates on Egypt’s descent into chaos, likely based on the speculative disorder of the First Intermediate Period,34 though the text’s 30 Kruger, “A World Turned on Its Head in Ancient Near Eastern Prophetic Literature.” 31 Reyhan, “The Missing God Telipinu,” 88. 32 The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1069-1161. 33 Sitzler, “Vorwurf gegen Gott,” 38. 34 Goelet, “Memphis and Thebes: Disaster and Renewal in Ancient Egyptian Consciousness,” 21.

88 periodization is still disputed.35 Mourning lawlessness and social upheaval, Ipuwer criticizes the nameless king for neglecting to honor established traditions and shirking his royal responsibility to correct chaos: “What Ipuwer said when he answered the majesty of the Lord of All: You have deceived the whole populace! It seems that (your) heart prefers to ignore (the troubles).”36 What is most enlightening in this text in reference to the role of the commoner is the reversal of social status which characterizes the cataclysm. It is not enough for the noble classes to be cast into poverty, for the soft-handed to toil as menial laborers, for the once well-fed to experience hunger! Just as disturbing as the plight of “the possessors of wealth [who] now sell their children in exchange for provisions” and “the children of rags”37 is the good fortune of the former peasants and laborers. The mere fact that now “he who (once) begged dregs for himself has overflowing bowls,” and that “he who could not build for himself a (single) chamber is now the owner of a mansion” is cause for dismay because it breaks the paradigm of social hierarchy that informs the Egyptian concept of justice. Similar sentiments are expressed in the Lamentations of Khakheperre- Sonbe, a text likely composed in the Middle Kingdom or the Second Intermediate Period.38 Also written to describe a state of unrest and evil, Khakheperre-Sonbe describes a descent into chaos with language of social reversal, remarking that “the one who gives commands / is (now) one to whom commands are given...everyone is based in crookedness.”39 These calamity texts conjure up quite a different spirit of harmony than texts which conform to norms of reciprocity. In the calamity texts, we see that Egypt in proper order relies on commoners remaining commoners, and on the nobility’s power not only to distribute resources but to simply possess wealth and enjoy luxury as their right. We might characterize this new moral framework as another Golden Rule, or perhaps more appropriately a Rule of Gold, in which the stability of Egypt is predicated on an aristocratic or royal ideology of divinely sanctioned wealth. INSTRUCTION TEXTS AND HUMILITY Now that we have constructed two frameworks for morality with which autobiographical texts and cataclysm texts interact, we can ask the 35 Van Seters, “A Date for the ‘Admonitions’ in the Second Intermediate Period,” 1323. 36 Tobin, “The Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 209. 37 Tobin, “The Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 200. 38 Parkinson,”The Text of “Khakheperreseneb,” 68. 39 Simpson, “The Lamentations of Khakheperre-Sonbe” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 213.

89 question more generally “what behaviors - both by and toward commoners do authors recommend to support social harmony?” The most useful, though admittedly broad, approach is to analyze instruction texts from the Old Kingdom to the New Kingdom. After all, the purpose of this genre is to provide a model for upright conduct. The Maxims of Ptahhotep, likely written in the Sixth Dynasty, provides a set of commendable traits which appear as culturally valued attributes in Egyptian texts for thousands of years. The vizier Ptahhotep here outlines good behavior, notably emphasizing humility, advising “do not be haughty because of your knowledge, but take counsel / with the unlearned man as well as with the learned”40 and patience or dutifulness by asserting that “it is God who promotes one’s position, and that men should force their way is not done.”41 As seen in the calamity texts, The Maxims of Ptahhotep also provides support for the wealth of the nobility and the fixed lower status of the common classes, by characterizing a covetous commoner, who “says,/ ‘I will procure (wealth) for myself.” But in the long run it is ma’at which endures, “And an (honest) man may state: ‘This is my ancestral property.’”42 The advice in The Maxims of Ptahhotep is echoed in the voice of the Everyman in The Instruction of a Man for his Son (First Section) which espouses loyalty to the king and a dutiful soft-spokenness, explaining that the virtuous man is a “silent, just man, well disposed, who bends the arm, one who carries out what is said.”43 In the Ramesside text The Instruction of Amenemope, these motifs of acceptance of status - “do not exert yourself to seek out excess and your allotment will prosper for you”44- and thoughtful sincerity - “take care of speaking thoughtlessly; when a man’s heart is upset, words travel faster than wind over water”45- appear in conjunction with advice for treatment of commoners. As Amenemope holds a job as a tax-collector, an occupation reputed to fleece the vulnerable, his care to condemn taking advantage of the poor is especially meaningful.46 Among his advice for those of higher status interacting with commoners with compassion, he advises “do not covet the proper40 Tobin, “The Maxims of Ptahhotep” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 131. 41 Tobin, “The Maxims of Ptahhotep” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 136. 42 Tobin, “The Maxims of Ptahhotep” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 132. 43 Simpson, “The Instruction of a Man for his Son” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 176. 44 Simpson, “The Instruction of Amenemope” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 230. 45 Simpson, “The Instruction of Amenemope” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 231. 46 Washington, Wealth and Poverty in the Instruction of Amenemope, 101.

90 ty of the dependent nor hunger for his bread,”47 and “if you find a large debt against a poor man, make it into three parts; release two of them and let one remain.”48 Even outside of instruction texts, we see these personal values stated repeatedly as obvious iterations of the natural order of things. For example in the Israel Stela, detailing Amenhotep III’s triumph over Libyans in the Delta, we see the assumption that those who possess wealth naturally deserve it and that the authority of the king protects this state of justice: “See, only in the vicinity of the energetic one do people dwell at ease...Wealth is made to flow only to the just person.”49 THE ELOQUENT PEASANT AND SELF-ADVOCACY So far we have remarked that the Egyptian worldview as expressed through the lens of aristocratic literature values traits of patience and humility. We have also witnessed that an imagined social cataclysm from the aristocratic perspective necessarily involves the elevation of the class of commoners over the fallen nobility. These values seem to rely on ma’at as a form of social hierarchy which is defended by the aristocracy and more specifically, by the unifying power of the king. But what happens when the powerful fail to properly defend ma’at? Are there situations in which a commoner is justly defiant of status? In The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, the text where we began our analysis of norms of reciprocity, the commoner is empowered to find fault with authority and take measures to defend harmony. In this Middle Kingdom text, a peasant named Khunanup has been robbed of his belongings on his way to town by Nemtynakhte, a man of superior status. From this instance of injustice on, the narrative revolves around Khunanup’s search for the restoration of ma’at by appealing to the Chief Steward Rensi, and by extension, the king. Quite clearly, those in power are abusing the wronged commoner, making him perform eloquent speeches under duress for their enjoyment while intending all along to restore justice after their fun has been had. This is expressed by the king explicitly when he remarks to Rensi after the peasant’s first petition, “cause him to remain here...And so that he may keep on/ speaking, remain silent.”50 The reader is meant to sympathize with Khunanup and his frustrations, and indeed cheer him on, even as he subverts the traditional values of obedience and gentle humility. Khunanup’s great gift of gab and grasp of “how things should be” excuse him from the normal expectations of demure deco47 Simpson, “The Instruction of Amenemope” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 233. 48 Simpson, “The Instruction of Amenemope” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 235. 49 Wente, “The Israel Stela” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 359. 50 Tobin, “The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 31.

91 rum, especially because he begins his petitions politely, albeit ironically,51 by addressing the Chief Steward as “a noble unpolluted by vice, who nurtures Ma’at, one who answers the plea of him who raises his voice,”52 and only after correctly assessing the refusal of his superiors to restore justice does he raise his voice, pleading “let your eyes see! Let your heart be instructed! Do not be tyrannical in your power.”53 In the case of Khunanup, we see the most active role a commoner may take in restoring ma’at: only after a demonstrated inability of those in power to recognize injustice and defend order from the chaos of tyranny, and only when the commoner in question holds an extraordinary command of language of justice and harmony himself, is it appropriate to break from the prescriptive norms of humility and soft-spokenness to actively seek justice and reciprocity. From taking a look at the literature above, I have begun to develop a framework to judge the code of behavior involving the commoner: while attestations of charity or compassion for the commoner serve mainly as tropes and the Egyptian national catastrophe is characterized by the comfort of the laboring class, there is yet an active role for the commoner in maintaining harmony. As we see in various instruction texts and the Eloquent Peasant, a good subject is one who dutifully attends to his or her daily goings-on, and a good ruler is one who takes care of commoners. But if this duty is breached, a commoner may firmly assert an authority’s duty to serve his people, or at least as a literary figure this commoner figure would be commended. While the social elevation of, and perhaps to a certain degree respect for, commoners threatens the Egyptian notion of harmony, the rights of a commoner are nonetheless to be upheld, and that justice is to be served is the responsibility of the nobility. In conclusion, norms of reciprocity upheld by the Golden Rule may seem in direct conflict with a “Rule of Gold,” by which the concept of ma’at is at least in part rooted in the naturally ordained supremacy of one class over another. But only in extreme circumstances is the behavior recommended by either framework contradictory. In keeping with a traditional Egyptian contentment with two notions which, to the modern observer, might seem mutually exclusive, these rather different moral frameworks work hand-in-hand in the majority of every-day cases: as long as there is no danger of breaching social class or a reversal of roles in society, the preservation of the dignity of all Egyptians, common or noble, is essential to maintaining ma’at. 51 Parkinson,”Literary Form and the “Tale of the Eloquent Peasant,” 165-168. 52 Tobin, “The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 29. 53 Tobin, “The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant” in Literature of Ancient Egypt ed. Simpson, 37.

Grace is a fourth-year student at the University of Chicago majoring in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Germanic Studies. Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, her interests include ancient Egyptian literature and bluegrass music. She will remain at the University of Chicago next year to work on an MA in Middle Eastern Studies. You can reach her at

Interview with Cover Artist Zeina Bassil Can you tell us about your Lebanese background? I am Lebanese, and I live in Beirut. I do illustration; I study illustration at Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts, which is one of the art schools here. I just specialize in arts. I do illustrations and comics, and then I have a stationery brand which is called Zenobie. And that’s where I posted the illustration that you saw on the account. How has your daily life been shaped by the revolution, and in general, how do you perceive the protests? Well, actually, it’s very funny because we all feel that we now live in a bubble. Like nobody can remember what we were doing before the revolution. It’s really like we’re living in a parallel life, like everything seems just not so important in your daily life anymore. It’s like really building a country from scratch, building a system from scratch. I don’t know if you’re familiar with how politics work here and how the system is constructed so yeah we’re trying to move from At-Taif, which is really something we would like for us to have a more secular state, and people are protesting, but we know this is something we will not get right away. It’s a long process also for people to understand. Like they have rights and they should be treated as such because the country is fragmented on confession and religion. The main problem here. This revolution is the first time — you have 2 million five hundred people who came on the streets and said we don’t want to live apart from each other and we are all citizens of Lebanon and we all want to have the same rights. And this is why it is an important step because people just awoke from a long sleep of accepting the unacceptable as schisms and not having any rights for more than 30 years. This is why it’s unfortunate for us. And we are protesting every day, uh, we are scattered everywhere in the country. So you have everyday protests. The lovely thing is that you go to a space we here there are protesters in the tents, and in these tents, you have people that are specialized in their fields and they talk about your right and how you move from one state to another, they talk about environmental issues, they talk about the civic problems that we have. Like any subject that interests the youth today. This is why it is cool because you have a tent

for psychological aid like people are having this crisis that we are very much afraid of what is going to happen. Like you walk into that alone. In your eyes, what is the end goal of the revolution? I think the end goal of today is to shake the system that is aging and corrupted and rusted. Like everything here is corrupted, from schools to universities. The system is a cancerous tumor that is everywhere around us. Even in jobs today, when you go to work somewhere, they can also ask you: “who do you belong to? Which riot or which political party?” And it is becoming very heavy on the people here because, and also with economic crises, people are speaking out loud. You know that Lebanon has many incomes from countries around us that have hands, mingles, in the country. So when you’re having economic problems everywhere in the world, these sources of money started to dry, and these political parties can’t pay the Lebanese people anymore from these sources. So the Lebanese people face the side that they have to be more independent because they don’t have any source of money anymore and the income is being cut. So this is why we have a heavy economic crisis today and this crisis has led to the pollution that everybody awoke from their long sleep of ignor-

ing the fact that we’re heading towards a dead end with this system.

Can you describe to us the purpose of your piece and its role within the revolution?

The issues that Lebanon is struggling with today is affecting the people of Lebanon in different ways. So can you speak a little bit about the different ways that people become part of the revolution, and if you have taken part in it at all?

Actually, it’s very critical. Because I’ve been wanting to draw or do stuff, but I am afraid to ride the wave of the revolution. It is very tricky here because you don’t want to ride the wave. This revolution is for everyone. Being productive at this time, for me you see there are illustrators that just draw every day and express themselves. And I’m more like protesting every day and I need things to think in order to produce. I cannot be like first-level. I cannot draw the Lebanese flag. I don’t feel like I am comfortable with this, like drawing someone with a flag or maybe the Pheonix, because the Pheonix is the symbol of Lebanon, a country that is reborn from its ashes for years. Like these symbols, I am not very comfortable drawing them because I feel like they are so first-layer. And it’s difficult to express myself during these protests because I’m really in a second state all the time. Nothing makes sense anymore actually. I don’t know, I’m talking to you like my psychologist or something. It’s another kind of reality really. There are a lot of things to say. Every day you wake up, there are news, there are new things happening. It’s euphoric, actually. I’m so stressed when I’m alone. I’m afraid. I just don’t understand where this is heading. The bank is closed. The schools are closed. I’m also a teacher at the school for the arts, but I haven’t seen my students for a month now. I don’t know how I can be productive with these things happening. Or if I’m wasting time, but then I say no I am not wasting time because I am gaining a country. And it’s very good because I’m protesting, and they are protesting anyway. But when you’re in a room it’s hard and heavy but when you go to the streets and you meet people, you mingle with people, you just feel so euphoric and comfortable and happy knowing that there are a lot of people having the same struggles and the same fear. And joining forces is really an experience.

Uh, I’ve been protesting very often, maybe every day. You see that there are young people who cut roads, they put tires, or they do sit-ins on sensitive points in the city, like highways or the front of the electricity company that doesn’t work. The problem is also that people are getting more and more aware of how this system has been robbing the people for years and if we calculate our 30 years how many millions and billions have been stolen from the Lebanese people by this system which is completely affected, maybe 30 electricity generators industries here — our electricity doesn’t work. We don’t even have electricity for 24 hours a day. You see there is a gap between the cultivated Lebanese people and their state — the people that govern them. I don’t know if you’ve been to Lebanon... Like in Beirut and in big cities people are very much educated and they do not resemble their state anymore. There are people who are completely disconnected, and they don’t even vote. I think that also people are protesting in different ways — we do sit-ins, really really peaceful walks. We are being very creative with a peaceful revolutionary — we do sit-ins, we light candles and do long walks, we cut roads. There really are no violent protestors.

Is it possible to separate your experience as an artist from the revolution, especially since you were saying it’s hard to remember a time before the revolution? And could you speak about your experience as an artist in general? I think we have the same struggles everywhere in the world. The problem is that Lebanon is a small

talism, what other people want to search in your culture, it’s not what I want to give them. I just don’t want to be a first player, and this is why it’s hard to produce in these times, because I don’t feel comfortable selling others what they expect me to show them and give them. When we look at the photo, we see the red background and your use of the work “bang.” Could you speak of your decision to use that color and that word? And in general, how did that image come to you?

country, so the market is really tiny, and you usually have to define yourself. Everywhere in the world you have to have a certain style; at first when you start working in illustration, everybody in the world is commissioning you work that they want done, and with time when you start defining yourself, what you do, and what you like to do, people start contacting you for what you do. This is what’s amusing with Zenobie, which is my stationery line that I launched in 2015. It allows me to produce what I want to produce without being commissioned by someone else, and this is why it’s interesting for me, because I get to share emotions with people that just buy these cards or notebooks. Every collection has a story, and I really go into concepts before producing, for example, a love card or a happy birthday card. For instance my last collection was about nostalgia, or remembering when you go through nature and you go hiking, which is what you do in summer usually, and then you remember all the connections you had with people, and this connection is really about love messages, and I try as much as possible to introduce Arabic, which is the language of the country, but that’s not really used today you know, since we mix three languages all the time, and I try to have this three language based collection every time, with the sentences that are poetic and just romantic that make us remember stuff that we live every day, and then try to escape from the cliché, because this is not really our culture. As young people, we are influenced by everything. When they ask me what makes my work Lebanese, it is because I am Lebanese, and I work from Lebanon; I hate the orien-

At first when the revolution started happening, I started with posting a quirky line; I just posted a really funny French sentence that said “I can’t go to your event, I have my revolution to make,” and then I started planning on playing with these sentences according to what’s happening; for instance, “call me a badass,” because people started criticizing other people on the street, like the people who would burn tires or other stuff, or they wanted certain etiquette for revolution, and they weren’t getting that it’s a revolution, that people are just angry and they will break stuff, and it’s ok, and it was to emphasize this. This illustration came when the revolution started becoming a woman’s revolution; you start having things being said on the street like, “‫ثورة‬,” because a revolution is a feminine word. You’d see designers and women were all excited about this idea of the women of the culture that do not really have their rights, because their rights are inferior in heritage, and they can’t give their nationality to their kids, and they have a struggle of their own in their country, which is parallel to the struggle of the citizens in general. And people started to be proud, and you see that men started being proud of their mothers, their wives, and their sisters, and I think also in the time of revolution you accept the clichés more. It’s really funny because some people were like “yes, I could totally understand you, women have always been in the front in the society and they were always productive, so why just now are we putting them on a pedestal?” The woman [in the illustration] is just shooting on someone out of frustration when they tell her that this is a women’s revolution. And other people were like “oh yes, the women are active, and are shooting because they’re bad-asses” so I feel like it was an image that speaks to the people who are pro these statements, and that for people who

are con these statements, like “okay, women have always been here, why are we now posting them now, because everyone is looking at us, it’s kind of cliché,” and you have the other kind of people who are proud of the fact that women are activists, and I just put the illustration there and didn’t comment. I didn’t say what I really think. That’s all the questions we had, but is there anything else you’d like to touch on? The revolution was not expected at all, and it’s amazing how things just unfold every day. There are a lot of things happening right now, and everything should really sink in before we can really define what happened. What I love is that people became citizens and proud of their country when the whole time the Lebanese were doing everything they could to leave the country when they graduate because there’s no future in us, and now you see all the Lebanese people coming back just to support. Like I had a lot of friends who just bought tickets just to come and protest, who took off from their job and they said that they now belong to this country. And this is really important; this is a feeling that we never really have, that we belong to a community or to people that are like us or who think like us, because it’s as if we were all living in bubbles. If you visit Lebanon, you must have felt this, that the culture changes from one street to another, and for the first time we’re like, “ok, we’re all Lebanese, and it’s ok if we’re different.” When you said the word bubble, it brought up one more question that I had. I think there’s a tendency for foreign audiences watching these things from abroad to misunderstand Hezbollah’s role in the revolution. Could you speak to that dynamic a little bit, and maybe talk to us about what your views on Hezbollah are? Well Hezbollah are for me a part of the society. They are among us, they are Lebanese, they are people who have suffered a lot of losses, and it’s because of the weak and corrupt government that we have that they grew. It’s just a really sad thing; let’s suppose you grow up in a neighborhood where you don’t have electricity, you don’t have water, you don’t have chances to work, or you don’t have anything, you’re just poor and miserable and the country can’t help you. And then this guy comes,

or this state comes, and tells you, “You know what? We have a cause. Our cause is existence, survival, and there is money, and I’m going to educate you and give you hospitals and schools and salaries,” and so you follow them because it’s your only choice, and this is why they exist. For me Hezbollah are just young people looking for a future, looking for inspiration. And the first day, the first hours of the revolution, were people from Hezbollah who are poor that felt like they couldn’t handle it anymore. And I think we were all in the streets together before the political parties started calling in and trying to manipulate us, because I suppose you know that during a revolution we are being manipulated, we are being told that you are spies, or that you don’t belong to this country, and we’re like, “Okay, we’re not going to listen to this, we can’t focus on this if you want to go further with this revolution.” But this is harming with the revolution, because they try to change you, send people to beat protestors, they tried everything, and the protestors have been acting really amazingly peacefully. Every time there was an incident where these random people came and started beating protesters, the protesters were just calm, and I received messages from my friends saying, “come down, we can’t be alone, we have to be together and we have to be many.” So, I came down, and these people left after scratching everything in their way, and people started irrigating the tents again, they cleaned the floor, they cleaned the things they burned, as if nothing happened. And it was really amazing and heartwarming to see; I would have never thought that the Lebanese people were capable of this with all their anger and oppression. They just amaze me every day – we amaze each other every day, we’re like “oh wow, I can’t believe it’s happening.”

Interview with Featured Artist Waseem Marzouki Hi Waseem, thanks so much for talking with me today! To start, can you tell us a little bit about your art background? Hi Hannah! Yes, there are some artists in my family. My father as well. He used to be a photographer and a painter. I went to the Faculty of Fine arts in Syria in Damascus. I graduated in 2007. Then I moved to Qatar. I worked in TV for 9 years in Qatar as an animation producer. My graduation project was in animation film. During my whole time working in TV I was making exhibitions and films. I have done films that have been shown in some festivals, museums, galleries. Whenever I do a film, I do paintings related to the film. My graduation project was a film and I was inspired by the backgrounds of the film, so I made the paintings after the film. Then I came to the US in 2012/2013. I studied cinematography. And then I moved back to Qatar. And then you know what happened in Syria. It was actually, like, happening. When I found out it became serious, I had to move to California in 2016. Do you like California? Uh, its hard honestly. Life in Qatar was way easier. How has your nationality and your upbringing in Syria influenced your artwork? I used to make regular art. Beautiful, colorful. Regular art. But when the revolution started in Syria, I stopped working actually, for maybe three years.

And then, when I started working again, I found myself doing something totally different. I worked for the Syrian Revolution. I have done comic books, sketches, cartoons, some paintings related to the Revolution. And then I found myself doing something more international. Because Syria was never a domestic issue. They called it a “civil war,” but you can’t call it a “civil war” if it’s between Americans and Russians and Iranians and Turks and Saudis and Israelis, you know. It’s a world war. It’s not about Syria anymore. It’s about the whole world. The international community found themselves between two options, Assad or ISIS, and of course they choose ISIS. When the refugee crisis started, people were running away from Assad. Now they are running away from Assad and ISIS. And they started flooding to Turkey, millions of refugees. Then Turkey decided to open the borders and they went into Europe. You can’t blame the European people because they became so scared with lots of people, different cultures, different religions, you know. And the right wing in almost every European country was against immigration and refugees. And then comes Brexit and Donald Trump here. It’s actually the change of all the world. Some thinkers thought it was the beginning of the end of Western civilization (laughs). That’s what they call it. So that is when your work came into the picture? Yeah, actually I started my first exhibition at that time. It was in Paris. And then I got an offer from a gallery, one of the prestigious galleries in the Middle East. And that exhibition I focused on the oil in the Middle East. Our area in the Middle East is actually called the “third world.” And you have the “second world” and then the “first world,” which is America and part of Europe. But to control the second world, you have to control the wealth of the third world that’s in the oil. When you control the mainstream of the oil, then you find yourself controlling China, Asia, Europe, even sometimes Russia. So, you have to control that area to control the second world. That was what my exhibition was about in Dubai. Then I started working on the Syria War. But I tried to tell the story of the proxy war. Some nice people here, they ask me, if the war ended in Syria, would you go back? Which part of Syria do you want to go back to? The Russian part,

the American part, the Iranian part, the Turkish part? The Americans control like a third of Syria that’s the size of Portugal. It’s all the oil and gas and agriculture and water. You know, the US interests. On a larger scale, what needs to happen for the current generation of college students and young adults to become more aware of events in Syria and the Middle East? Honestly, I thought would come here and find that lots of people are interested in knowing what’s happening back there. But, lots of the people here are more interested in knowing the state of their mortgages and the inflation rate. There are other things that are more important for their day-to-day living. I found out that people here have lots of things to care about. What I believe, is that you have to be free and independent. You never want to be part of any kind of agenda. You need to doubt everything, even the things you believe in. I used to think that freedom is something beautiful and easy. But I found out that it’s something so difficult. It requires a lot of experience, lots of reading, and lots of knowing information, to be free. Especially if you are surrounded by a community where you see lots of people doing something which you are not doing. You feel like you are wrong, and they are right. But if you know the piece of information that tells you, “No, this is wrong. Don’t do it,” you will stand for it. That is my experience. When you talk to the fighting groups in Syria, on Facebook or on the ground, one by one you find very decent good people. But when they become groups, they become so evil. For example, you get an order and the order is to kill everyone, women, children, and old people on this side of the village. Everyone you see, just kill all the people. If you get the order by yourself, you will never do it. You’ll never do it. But if you go with a group, the group will do it. And you will see them doing it and since you don’t have the piece of information that you can’t do it, you will do it as well. You know.


Appendix A

Appendix D

Appendix B

Appendix E

Appendix C

Appendix F

100 Appendix G

Appendix J

Appendix H

Appendix K

Appendix I

Appendix L

101 Appendix M

Appendix N

Appendix O

Appendix P

Appendix Q

Appendix R

102 Women’s Stories - Sarah Jacobs Selections from “Photographs by Iraqi civilians collection” with Captions

Abd-Allah, an Iraqi child, who is disabled and very sick, 2004 April-May (13 x 19 inches) Box 1 Folder 7, Print RL11106-P-21

Alaa Kamel and her younger son, Hammodi. She was trying to calm him down since he got scared by one of the bombs that happened in Baghdad, 2004 April-May. (13 x 19 inches) Box 1, Folder 4, Print RL11106-P-10

Inside Al Hussein’s classroom (Baghdad), 2004 April-May (13 x 19 inches) Box 1 Folder 4 Print RL11106-12

103 After the girls finish the school there are family members waiting to take them back to the house or they wait for the school bus to take them to the house (Baghdad), 2004 April-May (13 x 19 inches) Box 1 Folder 6 Print RL11106-P-18

Jassim Mohammad’s sister took this picture of her art teacher Eman who is 25 years old and lives in the Al-Bnuk Quarter of Baghdad. The other girl is his sister’s friend Shfa’a who is 15, 2004 April-May (13 x 19 inches) Box 1 Folder 1 Print RL11106-P-03 This is Hamed Salman’s sister, wife, and brother Mohammed. They live in the garbage dump with more than 500 families. Every family has cows that live with them, 2004 April-May (13 x 19 inches) Box 1 Folder 1 Print RL11106-P-01

My friend Riad has something wrong in his stomach and went to Dijla Hospital in Baghdad, 2004 April-May (13 x 19 inches) Box 1 Folder 3 Print RL11106-P-09


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WOMEN’s stories - Sarah Jacobs

Aoláin, Fionnuala Ní. “Women, Security, and the Patriarchy of Internationalized Transitional Justice,” Human Rights Quarterly, vol. 31 no. 4, 2009, pp. 1055-1085. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/hrq.0.0114. Group 121, Focus Group Interviews About Human Rights, International Center for Transitional Justice Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Group 182, Focus Group Interviews About Human Rights, International Center for Transitional Justice Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Group 332, Focus Group Interviews About Human Rights, International Center for Transitional Justice Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. “Guide to the photographs by Iraqi civilians collection, 2004 April-May,” Photographs by Iraqi civilians collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Hernández Hernández, Pablo. “Justice and Testimony between Image and Word. Foundations for a Photographic Study of Guerrilla Movements in Central America,” Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos, 2014. ICTJ Roundtable with Higher Council for Reparations, International Center for Transitional Justice Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Meeting to Discuss Sectarian Violence, International Center for Transitional Justice Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Moghadam, Valentine M. “Peacebuilding and Reconstruction with Women: Reflections on Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.” Development 48, no. 3 (09, 2005): 63-72. Nouraie-Simone, Fereshteh. “Wings of Freedom: Iranian Women, Identity, and Cyberspace.” On Shifting Ground: Muslim Women in the Global Era, Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 2014, pp. 61–79. “Preface,” Folder 1, Focus Group Interviews About Human Rights, International Center for Transitional Justice Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript

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Rules of Gold - Grace CLements

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Profile for Juhood Magazine

Juhood Magazine: Volume 2, Issue 1  

Juhood Magazine is Duke University's Undergraduate Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. It is published semesterly - visit us at juhoodmagazin...

Juhood Magazine: Volume 2, Issue 1  

Juhood Magazine is Duke University's Undergraduate Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. It is published semesterly - visit us at juhoodmagazin...