bulletin_board_70-71_December 2010 Bulletin Board 10/27/10 10:10 PM Page 70
Upcoming Events & Obituaries —Compiled by Andrew Stimson Upcoming Events The Middle East Studies Association Annual Conference will take place Nov. 18-21 at The Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Place, San Diego, CA. For details visit <www.mesa.arizona.edu> or call (520) 626-4753. The Middle East Children’s Alliance Holiday Bazaar, featuring Palestinian crafts, will be held Sunday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Live Oak Park Recreation Center, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA. For more information contact <events@ mecaforpeace.org>. Alwan for the Arts will present Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians with author Ilan Pappé, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., at 16 Beaver St., 4th floor, New York, NY 10004. For more information call (646) 732-3261.
Obituaries Vance Bourjaily, 87, the Lebanese-American novelist and educator, died Aug. 30 at Marin General Hospital after suffering a bad fall at his home in San Rafael, CA. A contemporary of such post-World War IIera authors as Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut, Bourjaily’s autobiographical novels, Confessions of a Spent Youth and The End of My Life, depicted his life in America and the Middle East, as his characters grappled with questions of identity. Born in Cleveland, he was the son of Lebanese immigrants who were productive writers themselves: his father a journalist who eventually owned United Features Syndicate, and his mother a features writer and romance novelist. After serving in World War II and completing college, Bourjaily lived in San Francisco, where he was a feature writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. He then moved to New York, where he became an important literary socialite. Later, he spent more than 20 years teaching at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and was director of the creative writing program at Louisiana State University in the 1980s and 1990s. He is survived by his wife, Yasmin Mogul, and their son, Omar, of San Rafael; a brother, Paul Webb, of Yellow Springs, OH; and two half-sisters, a stepdaughter, four grandchildren and a step-granddaughter. Riad al-Saray, 35, an Iraqi television host, journalist, lawyer and politician, was as70
sassinated Sept. 7 in Karbala on his way to work. Since 2005, al-Saray had been a high-profile presenter at the state-run broadcaster Iraqiya. His programs often addressed contentious religious and political topics, although he was not generally seen as a controversial figure. Instead he was known as a patriot who detested sectarianism and racism. Prior to his time at Iraqiya, al-Saray served on the local council in the Shi’i neighborhood of Al-Shu’ala in northwest Baghdad, and for a time served as its mayor. He was killed in his car by a group of unknown gunmen, becoming the 15th Iraqiya employee and 230th journalist to be killed in Iraq since the U.S. invaded in 2003. Since his murder Iraqiya has lost another five journalists. Al-Saray was buried in the holy city of Najaf, where a mourning ceremony was held at the local governor’s office. He is survived by his wife and three young children. Israel Tal, 85, a prominent Israeli military strategist known as the father of the Merkava Tank, died in Rehovot, Israel on Sept. 8 after a prolonged illness. Raised during the British Mandate in the small Zionist settlement of Be’er Tuvia, he enlisted in the Jewish Brigade British Army unit and fought in Italy during World War II. He later joined the Jewish Haganah militia, a precursor to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and rose to the rank of platoon commander during the 1948 war. As commander of the fledgling IDF Tank Force, he developed the “pure tank” doctrine that placed the use of tanks at the heart of an offensive, aggressive and mobile IDF. This doctrine saw its heyday during the 1967 Six-Day War. As commander of Israel’s southern front during the 1973 Yom Kippur war, Tal refused an order by both the IDF chief of staff and the Israeli defense minister to engage Egyptian forces after the war had ended, insisting on receiving authorization from then-Prime Minister Golda Meir and the Supreme Court. Later assigned to head a tank design committee, in 1979 he introduced the Merkava, unusual in that the turret and crew compartment were placed in the rear and the engine in front—thereby improving the crew’s chances of survival if the tank took a hit from the front. Later nominated deputy minister of defense under Shimon Peres, General Tal also advised David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin. In 1999 he suffered a stroke following an argument THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
BulletinBoard over the Yom Kippur War. He is survived by his wife, a son and daughter, and several grandchildren. Mohamed Fathi Osman, 82, the Egyptian scholar, author and advocate for cooperation between Islam and other religions, died Sept. 11 of congestive heart failure at his home in Montrose, CA. Dr. Osman spent a lifetime explaining Islam to both Muslims and non-Muslim Westerners, publishing 40 books in Arabic and English which challenged the distorted versions of Islam promoted by ill-informed Westerners and radical Islamists alike. Born in Minya, Egypt, he earned a degree in history from Cairo University in 1948, a law degree from Alexandria University in 1960, and a master’s degree in Islamic-Byzantine relations from Cairo University in 1962. In 1940 he joined the Muslim Brotherhood and became a friend and colleague of Sayyid Qutb, one of the founding fathers of radical Islam. Osman later broke with Mr. Qutb and the Brotherhood and published Islamic Thought and Change, setting forth his more moderate version of Islam. During the 1960s, he held several positions at Al-Azhar University, and subsequently taught at universities in Algeria and Saudi Arabia before enrolling at Princeton, where he earned a doctorate in Near Eastern studies in 1976. In 1987, he became a scholar in residence at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles, where in 1997 he published his most influential work in English, the monumental Concepts of the Quran: A Topical Reading. He was also the founder of the Institute for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, part of the Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation, and a senior scholar at the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement at the University of Southern California. He is survived by his wife, Aida Abdel-Rahman Osman, and daughter, Ghada Osman. Imran Farooq, 50, a leading member of Pakistan’s Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) party in Pakistan, was murdered Sept. 17 outside his home in London, where he had been living in self-imposed exile since 1999. Born in Karachi to parents who migrated to Pakistan during the 1947 partition of India, Dr. Farooq was completing his medical degree when, in 1978, he began his political career as a founding member of the All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organization (APMSO), the first political movement representing Urdu speakDECEMBER 2010
Published on Nov 1, 2010
Published on Nov 1, 2010
Published to help provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states.