Kamel Daoud, Algerian journalist and author of The Meursault Investigation, gives a talk in French, moderated and with translation by Youssef Ben Ismail, CMES AM '14 and PhD candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University.... Read more about Video: Is the Other necessary?
CMES awarded a first prize and three honorable mentions in the 2014–15 Harvard College International Photo Contest for photos taken in the Middle East region. Vanessa Rodriguez (’16), a sociology concentrator with a history secondary, received first prize for an image she captured while studying abroad last summer in Turkey. Her bright and energetic photo of a gay pride parade in Istanbul captured for her “the nation’s unique intersection of modern and traditional institutions.”... Read more about Photo Gallery: 2014–15 Harvard College International Photo Contest
Last Friday’s battle for Cairo’s Midan Tahrir will go down as one of the most important events in Egypt’s modern political history. Not only was it a day when the demonstrators fought the city’s riot police to a standstill after Friday prayers, but it also took place in what Nasser and the other leaders of the 1952 military coup had renamed Liberation Square as a symbol of their revolution against the old order. Since then it has been the stage for an open-air theatre involving many dramas consisting of a trial of strength between the regime and its people.... Read more about Freedom Means Dignity in the Battle for Midan Tahrir
Revolutions are always made by people in the name of the people, with the latter imagined as a single entity with a single set of interests. So too in Midan Tahrir, where the anthems sang of the need for Egyptian unity and an end to the "I, I, I" of a leader like Mubarak. This was echoed in the army’s talk of the national interest and the speeches of many politicians young and old.
But if you want to work towards a plural democracy, you also have to develop genuine political parties with different programs that represent the interests of...
The city of Boston where I live is going though one of its periodic confrontations with the endemic corruption of its political and administrative systems. Three successive speakers of the Massachusetts lower house have been indicted for taking bribes in exchange for favors. And now comes the trial of Boston’s most notorious criminal, James Bulger, who, apart from his many murders, also managed to corrupt the local agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for almost twenty years.
Given the blatant illegality of most of Bulger’s crimes, it...
The first anniversary of the Arab revolutions presents a mixed picture, the popular movements largely contained in the Arab East but with considerable success to their credit in Egypt and its two western neighbors, Libya and Tunisia. Even if, as always seems to happen in human history, events have not turned out as well as many people might have hoped. All revolutions have to be institutionalized at some stage.... Read more about Year One of the Arab Revolution: Some Pointers to the Future
Egypt’s Muslim Brothers describe themselves as a “society” and Tunisia’s Ennahda as a “movement.” Yet, due to the particular circumstances triggered by the Arab Uprisings of January 2011, both have also become political parties. And this, in turn, has raised many problems both for them and their members, as well as for the general public.
As is well known, the creator of the Muslim Brothers, Egypt’s Hassan al-Banna, aimed for his movement to act as the conscience of the nation, a stance which worked best in the years when the Brothers were part...
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor in Contemporary Islamic Thought and Life; Affiliated Professor of Government in the Government Department Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Committee on the Study of Religion Acting Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Near Eastern Languages