Saturday, December 31, 2011

Raafat Majzoub's Book Reviewed in Kalimat Magazine

Original Post may be found in Issue 04 (Winter 2012) of Kalimat Magazine

Book Review of Raafat Majzoub's Book Fetish Systems

It was the writer Italo Calvino that suggested a writing that—rather than pointing at or recreating an object or character—envelops, surrounds like a fine mist. This
suggests their existence rather than attempts to simply recre- ate them, allowing the reader a measure of engagement and creation with the text. The writing in Fetish Systems, a new written work by multi-talented Lebanese author Raafat Majzoub, warrants this comparison. His bio alone which adorns this slim volume is merely suggestive: “he is trained as an architect, yet refuses the title – he is currently working on several construction projects, a few books, something that might be a painting, a table and would like this bio to end with an et cetera.”

“To live in Beirut, is to know that one must accept circumstance. We have become numb—all of us—numb—in a state of trance, where ‘elastic’ would describe our functional execution of our everyday...”

The work begins with curious jump-starts into a loosely shaped narrative that can be described as extremely subjective. There is no clear and formal introduction of characters or plot, but rather the text quickly makes it clear to the reader that this is more akin to the highly personal literary experiments of the past century than anything else. The language resembles somewhat the erotic poetic sketches of Georges Bataille, although more cohesive, more drawn out, but similar enough in near- destructive exploratory eroticism to draw the comparison. The fragmented flow of the narrative often times resembles poetry, with alliterative flurries of words provide rough outlines of occurrences that bring to mind a defective photography which only hints at shapes, colours and movement, with the Majzoub’s Beirut always vaguely in the background.

“It has become instinct to absorb, shock, absorb, trau- ma, react, trauma, shock, absorb shock. It is something, a trait that we contain—for so—we all are nothing...We claim that we have lost our identity, we claim the right to construct a holistic monotone remedy to unite us—to homogenize us.”

This work is certainly not for the casual reader; there is no quick drawing-up and resolution of characters and plot. Rather, this work has something intensely therapeutic, describ- ing personal relationships with mysterious “others” and places in intimate detail in a way that is, once again, acutely subjec- tive. One gets the impression that even the most innocent of exchanges between the narrator and a lover will show up on the page as darkly dissatisfied, anxious graspings for understanding and rejection of understanding, spiralling outward and inward simultaneously. Majzoub’s language, word choice, and cadence is curiously playful, vacillating within single sentences between the vulgar and the academic, sometimes with seeming deliberate focus on the rhythm and the sound of the passage rather than the written meaning, making it somehow visceral and physical and something that attempts to refuses rational deliberation.

“We are only afraid of our naked bodies in the mirror. We define our curves from our audience’s point of view, from their eyes, from between their eyelashes—so we struggle to title us, to make it easier for them to comprehend, easier for us to make them believe—for our actions and words—not the same.”

The success of Majzoub’s experiment is difficult to gauge. Yet as a text, the sustained formal and subjective effort makes this author one to keep an eye on in the coming years.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

List of Top 20 (alternative) Arabic Songs for 2011 at Stanford University

The Season Finale of my radio show Hi, Keefak, Ca Va? counted down the Top 20 Arabic songs according to an unofficial poll by/with students at Stanford University.  To hear the songs (listed below) and commentary about each, feel free to download the Podcast in 2 Parts at

You can also Listen to Part 1 at and Part 2 at

My Season Finale Podcast Counts Down Top 20 Arabic Songs 2011

THIS WEEK (Season 2 Episode 11/ Dec 15, 2011): The Final Episode of my radio show Hi, Keefak, Ca Va? counts down the Top 20 (alternative) Arabic songs of 2011 according to an unofficial tally by/of Stanford University students. Download at


Listen to Part 1 at


Listen to Part 2 at

Lebanese Film Titled 'Beirut Hotel' Banned in Lebanon

Beirut Hotel, the third long feature film by Lebanese director Danielle Arbid, is a 2011 Lebanese film. It has just been banned in lebanon. The film premiered during the 2011 Locarno International Film Festival.

One evening, a married young singer Zoha meets the French lawyer Mathieu in a night club in Beirut. Mathieu will become suspected of spying, while Zoha is trying to flee from her husband. Despite these problems, the two will witness a love story for few days mixed with violence and fear.

Darine Hamze as Zoha
Rodney El Haddad as Hicham
Charles Berling as Mathieu
Karl Sarafidis as Rabih
Fadi Abi Samra as Abbas

Nominations: Golden Leopard during the 2011 Locarno Film Festival

Here is a note from the Director about the ban:


To support Director Danuielle Arbid go to this Facebook page:

Here is an article from The Daily Star about the movie and its ban in Lebanon:

Welcome back to spy central

December 17, 2011
By Jim Quilty
The Daily Star

DUBAI: Beirut’s reputation as a hub of international intrigue – a place populated by crafty spies, brutal intelligence agents and hapless journalists – has had a strong echo in the film made in, and about, Lebanon.

These genre pictures reached their apogee after the outbreak of Lebanon’s 1975-1990 Civil War, which inspired a whole range of thrillers to place foreign agents within Beirut’s confusing conflict – a-la Tony Scott’s 2001 blockbuster “Spy Game.”

Yet filmmakers, some of them Lebanese, depicted Lebanon as spy central long before 1975. Witness Mohammad Salman’s “The Black Jaguar.” With its muscle cars, smart suits, swinging, sex-drenched lifestyle and Stratocaster-driven theme music, this 1965 Lebanese feature looks like a James Bond rip off. This all makes it both awful and awfully fun to watch.

Echoes of the 60s-era Beirut spy thriller are evident in “Beirut Hotel,” the 2011 feature by Lebanese writer-director Danielle Arbid, which just screened as part of the feature film competition of the Dubai International Film Festival.

The film centres on the story of Zoha (Darine Hamze) a torch-song singer who – backed by Marc Codsi and soundtrack composer Zeid Hamdan – performs reworked Arabic-language classics in one of Beirut’s 5-star hotels. She’s estranged from her thuggish husband Hicham (Rodney El Haddad) who cheated on her after a few years of marriage.

One evening Zoha encounters a mysterious Frenchman, Mathieu (Charles Berling). She is both attracted to Mathieu and repelled by him but, as you might expect, they end up in each other’s arms soon enough and – once it’s been established that he’s divorcing his wife – enjoy healthy sex.

It turns out Mathieu’s a lawyer who’s nowadays in the employ of a French oil company negotiating a contract in Syria. A couple of years before, he worked for the French government, to rescue the son of a diplomat who’d been arrested with a cache of heroin in hand.

This assignment drew him into the Lebanese demi-monde, assisted by Abbas (Fadi Abi Samra). A member of a large drug-smuggling family from Lebanon’s rural Bekaa, Abbas is comfortable navigating the marchlands between legality and illegality.

Abbas wants to renew his business relationship with Mathieu. He says he knows a guy who was the friend of the suicide bomber who assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. He wants to sell this information to the French government in return for a visa to France. He isn’t a traitor, he insists, but finds himself being threatened by unspecified seedy elements, who accuse him of being a spy for Israel.

Mathieu insists he has no intimate connections with French intelligence, but he does speak to someone at the French embassy on Abbas’ behalf.

In no time at all Mathieu is carrying a double tail – being followed both by Hicham and by a pair of harmless-looking guys who turn out to be agents of Lebanon’s security apparatus (at times they seem to be from General Security, at others the Internal Security Forces).

In an inspired comic moment, one of these fellows pulls out his pistol to save Zoha from a Lebanese jagal (Karim Saleh), as Lebanese rakes are called, then orders him to do up his shirt buttons for good measure.

From this point forward Mathieu and Zoha’s romance, the real center of the film, is thrown into uncertainty as he is at various stages threatened by Hicham, Lebanese security agents and Abbas himself.

A co-production of Lebanon’s Orjouane Productions and the Franco-German television network Arte, among others, “Beirut Hotel” had its world premiere in the competition of the Locarno Film Festival earlier this year.

There is a strong element of genre in “Beirut Hotel” and, on balance, it’s more gripping than boring. The film doesn’t simply reproduce the genre formula, however, but unhinges it even as it works within its conventions. There is some precedent for this in Arbid’s previous works.

“In the Battlefields,” her debut feature, tells a story from Lebanon’s testosterone-driven civil war from an adolescent female perspective. Similarly, “Beirut Hotel” can be read as a contemporary update of the political thriller.

Arbid’s new film is more interested in its self-possessed female lead than it is in manly spies. Indeed, the foreigner who’s accused of being a spy isn’t a spy at all. Instead, the film works with the tropes of spy movie and film noire to mythologize Lebanon’s contemporary political realities.

Arguably, it’s a mark of Arbid’s success that Lebanon’s censor last week decided to ban “Beirut Hotel,” whose theatrical release was scheduled for next month. Arte is slotted to air the film on January 20, 2012, with, by producer Sabine Sidawi’s estimates, an audience of some 1.5 million viewers.

Based on Sidawi’s press release, General Security’s censorship committee argued that “The film’s depiction of the political situation would endanger Lebanon’s security” and that all sequences mentioning the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri should be removed.

For the record, in a tweet dated “12/15/11 8:27 p.m,” MP Saad Hariri, the son of the assassinated former prime minister and the present leader of his Future Movement, wrote that “I have nothing to do with [“Beirut Hotel”] being censored, and I believe its a crime against freedom what they did.

In an interview after the film’s Middle East premiere, Arbid stresses that her film was neither documentary nor reportage and that, as such, it contains no revelatory information about Rafik Hariri’s assassination.

“I wanted to make a genre film,” she says, a film that works with Lebanese realities. “It’s a paranoid film, a film about suspense and betrayal.”

The writer-director says that Lebanon’s censor wanted to delete parts of her film, a demand that she resists as a matter of principle.

“I refuse to allow my film to be cut after shooting,” she says. “This idea, which has become normal in Lebanon, doesn’t exist elsewhere in the world. Either you rate the film [PG, R, PG-18, etc] or ... you ban it. You don’t cut it.

“They aren’t producers, the people in General Security. They don’t give us money [and so have no rights] to the final cut.”

Arbid’s previous work has also run into problems with the censor. While her 2004 feature film debut “In the Battlefields” was rated PG-18, authorities demanded she excise several parts of “A Lost Man” (2007), her second feature, which consequently has never had a theatrical release in Lebanon.

“They wanted to cut and I didn’t accept,” Arbid says. “‘Okay we’ll cut this and this and this,’ they said, ‘so it can be released.’ They wanted to cut the sex scenes. I didn’t do anything about ‘A Lost Man’ because there were a few scenes that were heavy for the Middle East. So I said to myself, ‘This is a moral battle.’

“But for ‘Beirut Hotel,’ this isn’t a moral battle. It’s a battle of principle. There is nothing offensive in it. We don’t accuse anybody [of anything]. We don’t insult anybody. We don’t work for anybody. We don’t speak about religion. There are a few sensual scenes. If they want to rate them, okay, rate them. But cutting? No.”

“It’s important to note that the film is programmed to be broadcast on Arte at 8.30 p.m.,” says Sidawi. “That’s prime time. If there’s something in it that’s shocking for viewers, they wouldn’t slot it at 8.30.”

“The film is going to be screened theatrically in ten other countries in Europe, Turkey and Latin America,” Arbid continues. “There is a Middle East distributor too, though we don’t yet know where it’ll be sold.”

“Ten times they asked [Arbid] to come back to speak about the film,” Sadawi says. “Several times they said, ‘This is a very dangerous film.’ They think it may push people to do something like 7 May [2008].”

“The problem is that they’re not realising the difference between a film and reality,” Arbid continues. ... None of them have studied art. I want to talk to people who know cinema. I don’t want to talk to a guy who says, ‘Ah you said something about Hariri!’ Yes let’s take any newspaper today and see how many times the word ‘Hariri’ comes up.

“They have the right in Lebanon to put you as a laboratory rat and to serve you their bull**it. Any guy can go on television and say ‘I hate the other guy’ or ‘You should hate your neighbour’ because he’s different, because he’s from another religion, because he’s from the 8 March or 14 March.

“The way they express their hatred of people, this is allowed. You, the Lebanese people, should accept what they say. We should hear them on television and on radio and read them and give them two hours of your life every day to their bull**it.

“But when you make something of it, when you use it as material for art, they go crazy. If you [reflect] what they say back upon them like a mirror, they say, ‘How can you do this? You’re just the subject. You have to shut up and listen to us.”

“The problem is that the whole of General Security, they know more than the director,” Sidawi says. “They are more intelligent, more artistic. This is why they help the director make a better movie ... They treat us like dogs.”

Muslim comedians fighting prejudice on NBC

For original article see: 

By Sharaf Mowjood
Rock Center

Jihad, homegrown-terrorism, Sharia law, and mosques. Mention any of these terms and most people in America will associate it with Islam and Muslims. Say the word "Muslim Comedian" and most will think it is an oxy-moron. Can Muslims really be funny? Dean Obeidallah, and Negin Farsad are not only professional comics, they are also Muslim and are quite funny.

"It could be more challenging for us, they could give us hurricane names," says Dean Obeidallah. "Turn on the news, ‘Hurricane Mahmoud is coming! Run for your life, Mahmoud’s a killer’".

Born in New Jersey and living in New York City, Obeidallah, a former attorney, has found his calling as comedian. Addressing controversial issues and stereotypes through the lens of comedy, he has created a niche as an Arab-American comedian, working both the west and east coasts.

Not everything has been funny though. According to Obeidallah, and fellow comedian Negin Farsad have both felt a rise of Islamophobia.

According to recent polling, nearly half of all Americans admit to feeling some prejudice towards Muslims. Both comics felt inspired to do something about it. They figured that the best way to deal with intolerance is to make fun of it.

"We realized that most people who are against Muslims had probably never met a Muslim before," says Farsad. "So we thought we go to them and introduce ourselves."

Instead of performing at the cosmopolitan comedy club circuits like most comics, Obeidallah and Farsad along with fellow comedians Maysoon Zayid and Omar Elba organized a comedy tour called, "The Muslims Are Coming!" They took their act to southern Bible-Belt states, where some of the strongest feelings, actions and responses of Islamophobia have occurred.

"We really wanted to put our comedy where our mouth is," says Obeidallah. "Go to the areas where no comedians every venture to, no non-profit, or progressive cause would ever organize or engage in."

The inspiration for the comedians to embark on a tour like this came from the 1960’s Civil Rights movement. "Brave people like ‘The Freedom Riders’ and other civil rights groups went down to places like Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia to engage with people they did not understand, or have stereotypes with," says Farsad.

Armed with punch-lines and jokes, they drove from small town, to small town, throughout Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee performing free shows at local venues.

"It’s challenging now to have a Muslim last name, but there is one benefit- we are probably immune to identity theft," quips Obeidallah in an Alabama show. "Criminals want to take easy names that don’t get attention, not Abdul Musa Rahman Abdallah. I have an Arab-American friend born in the US whose first name is Osama. He can leave his driver’s license and credit cards in a crack house, no one wants to be him."

The Muslims found southern hospitality and provocative conversation with the people they encountered. They set up booths in town squares with banners and fliers passed around saying, ‘Ask a Muslim,’ inviting residents to ask them anything, even about their own identity as Americans.

"You know there’s only one kind of American, and that’s American," says a local resident to Farsad, to which she responded that she is an American Iranian. The resident replied, "If you want to be mainstream then you are no longer an Iranian American. You are an American."

After touring the south, the comedians took their act to Arizona, Utah, Idaho and various parts of the Midwest, with free shows and booths.

"We want to answer the tough questions, we encourage people to ask the tough questions, talk about the stereotypes that are lingering in your mind," says Obeidallah. "I think comedy is a fun way to try and do just that."

Editor's Note: Harry Smith's full report, "Laughing Matter," airs Monday, Dec. 19, on Rock Center at 10pm/9c.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Top 20 Arabic Songs Counted Down on Season Finale of my Radio Show

Top 20 Arabic Songs of 2011 counted down on this season's final episode of my radio show 'Hi, keefak, Ca Va?'  The episode aired on December 15, 2011.
Listen to Part 1 at 

Listen to Part 2 at

Fairuz Performs in Lebanon this Month, Adds Extra Concert

Fairuz in concert at Platia Jonieh, Lebanon.  December 2011

The long awaited concerts of Fairuz started this week at Platia Jonieh, Lebanon, one year after her concert in Biel where her album “Eh Fi Amal” was launched.

Fairuz is performing for 4 nights this month: last Friday and Saturday the 9th and 10th of December plus 2 more concerts on December 16th and 17th--all at 8:30 pm.

It seems that all 4 concert dates were not enough for every single Fairuz fan out there and so many did not get the chance to buy their tickets because they were sold out so quickly. As a result, a fifth concert date has just been announced. That concert will be held on December 23rd, 2011 same place, same time, Platea, Sahel Alma, Lebanon.

You can watch a segment from this live concert (courtesy of Fairuz's daughter Rima Rahbany)  at this link:

Tickets are on sale at all Virgin Ticketing Box Offices.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Syrian "Pressure Pot" Band to Perform Live in Lebanon

Under a series of international, and especially Arabic, humanitarian pressures, a Syrian pressure pot emerged translating this state into musical expression. The band is known as Pressure Pot - طنجرة ضغط and they will be performing Live at Walimat Wardeh Restaurant in Lebanon on Tuesday December 20, 2011 at 9:30 pm.

Sofar al falahin e From: PressurePotband | Dec 9, 2011

Genre: Progressive Rock
Members: Khaled Omran: Bass and Vocals. Tarek Khuluki: Guitar and Vocals. Nareg Abajian: Keys. Dany Choukri: Drums

The cooking duo in Lebanon:  Khaled Omran and Tarek Khuluki
Hometown: Damascus / Beirut
Record Label: eka3

Khaled Omran -1982 (Bass – Vocal)
Graduated from the higher institute of music in Damascus (the conservatory)
He played with several bands and famous artists in Syria and around the world like:
- The Syrian Symphony Orchestra
- The Syrian Jazz Big Band
- Fattet Le3bet
- Hiwar Band
- Lena Chamamian
Khaled was a player, arranger and composer in many projects, at the Syrian Culture.
He composed music for advertisements and series and short films .

Tarek Khuluki :1989
Electric Guitar. Vocal
He learned music all by himself.
He played and composed with several bands in Syria like: Unrated . Vanadium . .Strange Family. Fattet Le3bet And Lots More .
He composed music for cartoon short movies and worked as a band technician

Nareg Abajian:1982
Piano and keyboard player.
composer and arranger for a lot of contemporary music styles. born in Aleppo. later moved to Damascus and graduated there from the highest institute of music on pipe organ .currently is working with a lot of Syrian bands like. Toxido .
Fattet laabet. pals'n puls. and conducting for the Syrian Jazz orchestra.

Dani Shukry :1989 of the most talented drummer.
had a lot of workshops with a lot of international drummers .playing with a lot of Syrian Bands like. Toxido .Fattet laabet. pals'n puls .and the Syrian Jazz orchestra.
Current Location
Beirut - Lebanon

Press Contact
Booking Agent

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How will Egyptian Election Results Impact Women?

 December 13, 2011

With the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections drawing to a close, the Global Fund for Women asked Mozn Hassan, who’s based in Cairo, for her feminist perspective and analysis on results to date.

Mozn, who will vote in the second round, is an Egyptian activist and executive director of grantee-partner, Nazra for Feminist Studies. Since the January uprisings, Egyptian women and girls have taken center stage in the country’s democratic revolution, challenging the common stereotype of Arab women as being powerless, submissive and isolated from political events. Nazra embodies the spirit of the Egyptian revolution. The group is bold, fearless, and hungry for justice and equality.

Global Fund: Are women turning out in higher numbers to vote?
Mozn: My analysis is that women in rural and Upper Egypt were used to vote, and that men mobilized those women to vote. This time, the number [of women voters] was higher in these places. While there is no gender analysis yet for [why] they went to vote, or who they voted for, it is significant that middle and upper middle class women went to vote for the first time.

Global Fund: Did Nazra receive any news from people who protested voting, or had difficulty voting?

Mozn: Some people did boycott the elections after mass violence happened in Tahrir Square days before the election, but this was not a huge number. Women human rights defenders who answered Nazra’s hotline [received calls about voting] violations and [complaints about] people handing out [campaign] materials.

Global Fund: It looks like the Muslim Brotherhood will come out strong in the election. What does this mean for women’s rights in Egypt?

Mozn: Islamic groups like the Muslim Brothers and Salafists will get a high number in parliament. Salafists are more radical, and I think this could be dangerous for women on social levels. People who voted for these groups are going to put moral and social pressure on women in the public space and on a political level.

I don’t think we will lose the laws we’ve gained [such as divorce rights, custody rights and inheritance laws], but we will definitely not gain more. [These groups] are also creating legal discourse against women, civil liberties and human rights defenders, especially women human rights defenders.

Global Fund: You were recently quoted in Al Jazeera by saying, “I'm worried about the kind of women that will join parliament. Many of them are women who are against women." What is your opinion of the quota for female parliamentarians?

Mozn: This is about not seeing women’s participation as only numbers. It is important to see their discourse and engagement on a political level. This will make people trust women to represent them [in regards to] women's issues… It is always harder to have women against women' rights than men who are doing so.

Global Fund: How does Nazra's Women Political Participation Academy support female candidates?

Mozn: Through training, empowerment and capacity building, we supported Sanaa Al Said, a woman from Upper Egypt who has won in her district. She now has a chance, through the proportional representational electoral law, to gain a seat in parliament on behalf of the labor contingent. This work is an added value to the feminist movement.

Sniper's New Song & Video Clip 'Arabia' about Arab Spring

French hip-hop group Sniper formed in the suburbs of Paris in 1997. Rappers El Tunisiano (born Bachir Baccour) and Aketo (Ryad Selmi), dancehall toaster Black Renega (Karl Appela), and DJ Boudj originally adopted the moniker Personnalité Suspecte, but changed the name prior to the 2001 release of their debut album, Du Rire aux Larmes. Following the release of 2003's Gravé Dans la Roche, Sniper came under attack from French Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy, who filed a lawsuit to combat their street-smart, often political lyrics, which he dubbed "violent, racist and abusive." A judge later dismissed the case, but the resulting controversy made the group a cause célèbre and galvanized record sales. Trait Pour Trait followed in 2006. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

Here is their video clip "Arabia" عربية followed by the lyrics (in French):

CONCERT à LA CIGALE le 3 février 2012 :
Album disponible sur iTunes:

Le titre Evénement ARABIA , le deuxieme extrait du nouvel album SNIPER à venir rentrée 2011.
ARABIA sur iTunes :
BLUES DE LA TESS sur iTunes :
Retrouve-nous sur


Arabia, arabia el arabia…

Apprendre à être libre
Coeur et poings serrés
Se sentir considéré
Pour réapprendre à vivre
Manifestations tempérées
C’est loin d’être possible
Quand le peuple est pris pour cible
Y a pas de révolution modérée
Oui il marche pour leurs intérêts
L’État contre le sinistre
Oui ils font couler le sang
Et ont la mort pour ministre
Arabia triste bilan
Va du Maroc à l’Iran
L’espoir remplies des cercueils
Et porte le deuil des tyrans
Il ne parle jamais de misère
Ne montre que les bonnes facettes
On voit les stations balnéaires où les touristes font bronzette
Ils pillent les matières premières
Garde ta langue dans son fourreau
Car le moindre contestataire aura à faire à son bourreau
Alors que le peuple crève de faim, de tout
Rien ne sert de faire gréve donc autant mourir debout
Arabia est le combat
Oui triste est la prose
Le sang rouge est la terre
Mais noble est la cause

Arabia, el arabia, arabia…

Une poudrière finit forcément par s’embraser
Il suffit d’une étincelle
Le feu se propage et rien ne pourra l’entraver
Navré pour ces journalistes qui parlent de contagion
Il s’agit pas d’une maladie il s’agit de révolution
Fuck leur vision colonialiste
Le peuple a ses raisons
Que l’oppresseur ignore
L’envers du décor [...] des hôtels et des touristes
Les uns se privent
Quand d’autres se gavent comme des porcs
Un occident paternaliste
Mais bien complice
Le sort que ces gens subissent
Ils applaudissent dernière leur démocratie déguisée
Se désolidarisent de ceux qui portent leur top’ devant l’Élysée
Lorsque le peuple souffre
Le vent de la révolte souffle
Pour que de nouvelles portes s’ouvrent
Et ne plus rester dans ce gouffre
De milliers de diplômés sans travail et sans espoir
Humiliés, ces jeunes paumés finissent par marquer l’histoire
Par renverser ce pouvoir qui sème la discorde
Les tyrans sont contraints de prendre la fuite par la petite porte

Arabia, el arabia, arabia…

En hommage à tous les civils qui sont tombés sous les balles
Qui se sont battus pour être libre
Qui se sont battus contre un système totalitaire
Et qui pour changer leur histoire y ont laissé des êtres chers

Combien de civils tombent sous les balles des armes
Fournis par les mêmes qui prétendent leurs venir en aide
Bizarre que personne ne les blâme
La certitude plane sur l’issue de cette révolte
Va-t-elle ouvrir de nouvelles portes ou rester presque morte


Arabia, el arabia, arabia..


Color Divine – Zeid and the Wings

This is the new video clip by Zeid and and the Wings:

Museum as Hub: Beirut Art Center

Museum as Hub: Beirut Art Center

New Museum, New York
December 14, 2011 - February 5, 2012

Tony Chakar.
A Retroactive Monument for a Chimerical City 

"Museum as Hub: Beirut Art Center” is a project which includes an exhibition, the presentation of Beirut Art Center’s Mediatheque and a series of events.
The exhibition entitled “Due to unforeseen events …”, examines specific cases in which the production or presentation of an artwork in Lebanon was altered from its original idea, hence raising unexpected questions and unfolding new meanings. The exhibition features descriptions of each case in addition to new commissions, in which artists respond to the alteration of their original ideas or intentions, using archival documentation as well as new texts, images, and objects. The aim is to question issues that are relevant to contemporary art practices and the recent history and politics of Lebanon, such as the relation between art and public spaces, the critical reception of works, and censorship. The exhibition features works by Ziad Abillama, Tony Chakar, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Rabih Mroué, and Kirsten Scheid.
In the resource center, Beirut Art Center will also present theirMediatheque, a digital archive that offers public access to works —including video, image, sound, and text—by artists from Arab countries, Iran, Turkey and Armenia. The mediatheque alos includes a selected archive of events that took place at Beirut Art Center since its opening.
Beirut Art Center has also organized a series of public performances and screenings in conjunction with the exhibitiion.
“Museum as Hub: Beirurt Art Center” is organized by Sandra Dagher and Lamia Joreige.

Program of events
Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 7pm
Old and New Acoustics: A Solo Performance by Sharif Sehnaoui
For more info: click here
Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 3pm
“Closer”: Screening Program
For more info: click here
Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 7pm
“Horror is Universal” (The End),
a video and music performance by Raed Yassin
For more info: click here
To visit the New Museum's website page: click here

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lowe's Pulls Out Ads from TLC's 'All-American Muslim'

Parts of this article appear at

Lowe's Home Improvement has found itself facing a backlash after the retail giant pulled ads from a reality show called All-American Muslim about American Muslims. The show airs on TLC (The Learning Channel) Sundays @ 10/9c and, in my opinion, is eye-opening and respectful to Muslims as well as all Americans without advocating any kind of violence or alleged 'Islamic agenda.'  The reality show simply shows 5 American Muslim families leading their lives in Dearborn, Michigan--a Detroit suburb with a large Muslim and Arab-American population--and is both educational and entertaining. 

Lowe's stopped advertising on TLC's "All-American Muslim" after a conservative Florida group known as the Florida Family Association complained, saying the program was "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."

Calling Lowe's decision "un-American" and "naked religious bigotry," Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, told The Associated Press he would also consider legislative action if Lowe's doesn't apologize to Muslims and reinstate its ads. The senator sent a letter outlining his complaints to Lowe's Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Niblock.  It is now up to Lowe's to respond and they seem to sadly be sticking to their decision.

"The show is about what it's like to be a Muslim in America, and it touches on the discrimination they sometimes face. And that kind of discrimination is exactly what's happening here with Lowe's," Lieu said.

Read more at :

WATCH THE TRAILER (see above) FOR THE SHOW "ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM" which airs on TLC on Sundays on TLC at 10/9c then, if you like, sign the petition to call on Lowe's to REJECT  CALLS TO STOP ADVERTISING DURING TLC'S "ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM"

To Sign the petition, go to

To to learn more about Islamophobia in America and what people are doing to stop it go to:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Dec 8 Podcast ft Interview with Director Najwa Najjar

The Dec 8 Podcast from my show 'Hi, Keefak, Ca Va?" (Season 2, Episode 10) includes my exclusive interview with Najwa Najjar, Director of the Palestinian movie "Pomegranates and Myrrh." (see pics and film trailer below).

This Podcast also includes a reading excerpt from Arin Mango's essay "Wearing the First Amendment on My Head" (published in Avicenna Autumn 2011 Vol 2 No 1). To see full essay, click here.

To download the Podcast (in 2 Parts):
To directly listen to Part 1 Click below:

To directly listen to Part 2 Click below:

mor.romman2.JPG DSC06357.JPG

Interviewing Najwa Najjar in Amman, Jordan (Summer 2011)


Trailer for the film Pomegranates and Myrrh directed by Najwa Najjar

Playlist for Hi, Keefak, Ça Va?/DJ: Ramzi S./Thu, 8 Dec 2011 / 1600-1800

1.  Rousan, Yazan And Autostrad/Ya Salaam (Wow)/Autostrad/Planet Records
2.  Interview with Najwa Najjar/Interview Part 1/KZSU
3.  Al-Madfa'i, Ilham/Dishdasha/Dishdasha/Rip Cat Records
4.  Banna, Rim/ Miraya Al-Ruh (Mirrors Of My Soul)/Al-Rawa'i (Greatest Hits)/Laser
5.  Interview with Najwa Najjar/Interview Part 2/KZSU
6.  Norden, Adam/A prayer/Zozo Sountrack/Warner Brothers Records
7.  Mouzanar, Khaled/Yammi/Et maintenant on va ou (soundtrack)/naïve
8.  Homsy, Imane/Sara/Seigneur Kanoun/Lord Kanun/Institut Du Monde Arabe & Harmonia Mundi
9.  Interview with Najwa Najjar/Interview Part 3/KZSU
10. Mashrou' Leila/Wajih/El Hal Romancy/Mashrou' Leila
11. Atlas, Natasha/Taalet (Zab Spencer Remix)/Mounqaliba Rising: The Remixes/Six Degrees Records
12. Interview with Najwa Najjar/Interview Part 4/KZSU
13. Le Trio Joubran/L'art d'aimer (shajan)/À l'ombre des mots (feat. Mahmoud Darwich)/Randana
14. Wlad hara ft Abeer/Sawt El Samt/Sabreena Da Witch/DAM
15. Fairuz/Kunna Nitlaqa/The very best of Fairuz/EMI
16. Audio Reading from Arin Mango's Essay/Avicenna/Autumn 2011 Vol 2 no 1/Stanford University
17. Faqir, Omar/Ramallah/Jeeran/Moonlight Recordings

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Hijabi at Stanford University

aHMAD AT sTANFORD (883).jpg
It's not what's ON your head; it's what's IN your head"
December 1-2, 2011 saw two important events at Stanford.  The first was World AIDS Day which is celebrated on December 1 each year around the world and has become one of the most recognised international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services. (see pics below).

The second event was titled “A Day in the Life of a Hijabi," (see pics below) which a campus-wide challenge that encourages Stanford students to explore a Muslim woman’s choice and decision to wear the hijab, or Islamic headscarf, while upholding her right to choose her form of dress and self-expression.  This day of activism challenges Stanford females to wear a scarf around their head in solidarity with the right of women to choose, as an opportunity to explore a culture that many times is portrayed as “foreign,” and to make a stance against the rising number of discrimination and employment cases in which women who wear the hijab are prevented from applying for certain jobs within the United States. The dayalso incorporates the support of Stanford males by providing them with a free pink t-shirt (with the slogan “It’s about what’s in your head, not on it”) and asking them to wear said shirt on the awareness day in increased solidarity.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

American Student of Arabic Offers Arabic One-Liners to Hit on Arab Girls.

'The Arabic Student' has been been blogging or about 3 years now and has had a great response from Arabs and those learning Arabic alike. On his blog,, he often teaches and discusses various phrases in Arabic and English in a often humorous and poignant ways.

Here, he offers one liners in Arabic to hit on Arab girls:

Check out thearabicstudent's blog at

Check out his YouTube Channel (user name saxquiz) at

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Dec 1, 2011 Podcast includes Interview with Jordanian Artist Sadouf Salem

December 1, 2011 Podcast Hi Keefak Ca Va? (Season 2 Episode 9, 2 Parts)
This episode features my exclusive interview with Jordanian artist Sadouf Salem plus Ahmad Q report plus segment on World AIDS Day.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Red Bull Music Academy in Beirut- Bass Camp

A documentary about the Redbull Music Academy held in Beirut during the spring. The RB Bass Camp brought an eclectic group of talented musicians and artists from all around the world together with established pioneers of the industry such as Jazzy B, Toufic Farroukh and Peter Zinovieff. 

Directed, shot and edited by:
Merass Sadek

Assistant Editor: 
Leah Magoye

Art Department:
Lamia Choucair
Fares Sokhn
Valentina Vera


Thank you:
Fouad Karam
Zeid Hamdan

My Next Radio Show Features Jordanian Artist Sadouf Salem

Tune in to my radio show Hi, Keefak, Ca Va? this Thursday December 1, 2011 for great new music from Lebanon and the region plus my exclusive interview with Jordanian artist/painter Sadouf Salem.  The interview was conducted this past summer at Sadouf's Gallery in Amman, Jordan where the pictures below were taken.

You can tune in to the live broadcast on Thurs Dec 1 via KZSU 90.1 FM (San Francisco bay area) or via internet at this link:

DJ Ramzi interviewing Sadouf at her gallery in Amman, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Radio Show Today includes interview with Remi Kanazi

Today's episode of my radio show Hi, Keefak, Ca Va includes my exclusive interview with Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi, author of Poetic Injustice.

The interview was conducted in October 2011 after Mr. Kanazi's performance at Skyline College in San Bruno, California.

Here are some pictures from the event, followed by Remi Kanazi's contact info.

Remi Kanazi's book signing at Skyline College, Oct. 2011

Remi Kanazi performing at Skyline College Oct 2011

Poet Remi Kanazi's Website etc.

His email Email is
His Facebook Page is at

You can order Remi Kanazi's book at

The Narcicyst featuring Shadia Mansour "Hamdulillah" Official Music Video

Original post appears on the Fen Magazine Web Site at

Ridzdesign Presents
The Narcicyst featuring Shadia Mansour - "Hamdulillah" (Official Music Video)
Directed and Edited by Ridwan Adhami
Written by Yassin Alsalman and Shadia Mansour
Original Track produced by SandhiLL
Piano by Stefan Christoff
Additional production and arrangement by Doctor Dinar and The Narcicyst

To say 'Hamdulillah' is to be grateful for what one has.


Info below comes from The Narcicyst's YouTube Channel

Directed by Ridwan Adhami
Follow The Narcicyst
To buy 'The Narcicyst' LP, please go to


Bismillah, like the feeling when I miss Falah,
then wish to God in clouds to lift us all
wonder if Bibi can ever see me, and
if I back to Basrah will it ever receive me,
homies that have the time to talk,
Now I wish to stars that angel find Nawaf.
I stand awed at the strength of my sister 
Kiss her and thank God our mission is planned for us.
mamati inti hayati, 
moms the best one, hold her close to heart like my left lung
for the truth in a being as beaming the moon queen you blessed my future to be with
for the souls anguish, love, 
and the moment my brothers programmed these drums,
We put the truth to the test, proof that we're blessed students of this music at best.

Before I spit this bar, way Before Militants tried to split this law
for every living day that we spend in the rays of the Shams,
why we praise the condemned...
wish I could take it back and lift the harm, make a track erase the past that we miss and gone...
He Spoke So Right we listening wrong living raw, more than a livid song Give it all
So I don't rely on an image or Man made divisions for land slave prison fraud,
Excuse Me, If I use it loosely, forget to bow down and pray, how proud are they?
hope you hear the whispers lil nas which stance should i sway when betrayed by wiswases....
forever hope this lasts and we live classic....

means to will in God's name, without the ball and the chain a slave falling to claim,
will forever hold inner peace, Wicked streets cripple little being rippling through the middle east
may God bless the dead and gone, forever strong a better song, breaking bitter bonds
for this world, in this spot to this song with these words for hip-hop say
stay humble in rhymes in eyes that hate your hunger
its like a jungle sometimes it makes you wonder

10th Anniversary of Dr. Ramzi Salti's Arabology Program Features All Episodes on Soundcloud + YouTube (Click here)

All 13 seasons of Dr. Ramzi Salti's  Arabology  podcasts  are now available on Soundcloud, for a total of 101 episodes. Additionally, al...