Blog entries from: MEI Editor's Blog

A Blog by the Editor of the Middle East Journal

1 to 10 of 305

April 22 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Tue Apr 22 2014, 21:11:00

Tomorrow, April 23, is Saint George's Day; St. George is of course a patron saint of England (and many other places including Georgia), and the BBC notes "Why St. George is a Palestinian hero." I suspect my readers may already know what the BBC may assume its listeners do not: because he was a local boy, of course.

The early martyr and reputed dragon-slayer was traditionally born to a father from Cappadocia and a mother from Roman Palestine, and closely associated with the town of Lydda (today known as Lod).

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From MEI Editor's Blog Tue Apr 22 2014, 17:19:00

Yesterday Syria announced that it will hold Presidential elections on June 3. I am not making this up; Bashar al-Asad plans to hold elections in the midst of the Syrian civil war.

Bassam Haddad has an interview with NPR which you can listen to at Jadaliyya.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Tue Apr 22 2014, 08:45:00

Not Actually a Wanted Poster: Gemayel, Geagea, Cardinal Raï, Aoun, Frangieh

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April 21 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Mon Apr 21 2014, 18:51:00

British Pathé, the famed newsreel company, has made what it describes as 85,000 historical films available online at YouTube.

This is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in history (at least, history filtered through British Imperial lenses), and for a blog like mine. A few quite random Middle East selections from the searchable site are blow (the first one, from 1922, is silent of course.)

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From MEI Editor's Blog Mon Apr 21 2014, 17:59:00

Over the weekend, Egypt's recently declared third Presidential candidate, Mortada Mansour; withdrew from the race, saying God had revealed to him that Field Marshal Sisi is going to win.

That means that, as I noted last week, it's a two-candidate race in which the motto might be "Vote for the Nasser of your choice. Sisi,widely praised as the New Nasser, will be running against Hamdeen Sabahi, who actually defines himself as a Nasserist.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Mon Apr 21 2014, 08:47:00

Today is Sham al-Nassim, the ancient Egyptian spring holiday celebrated on the Monday following Coptic Easter Sunday. It is not a Christian holiday; its origins are said to be with the Ancient Egyptian Shemu or spring holiday, later in the Christian period localized around Easter; Muslims celebrate equally with Christians and, until their exodus in the Nasser era, Egyptian Jews.

It's usually said that only two Egyptian holidays date back to the days of the paharaohs: Sham al-Nassim and Wafa' al-Ni8l in mid August, which marks the Nile flood (though the Aswan High Dam ended the annual inundation in the 1960s.) Both, like so much of Egyptian history, center on the Nile. On Sham al-Nassim Egyptians picnic on the river, stroll in parks, gardens, or the zoo, and eat seasonal foods: a dried ...

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April 20 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Sun Apr 20 2014, 10:17:00

This is one of those years when both the Eastern and Western churches, Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, Oriental Orthodox (Copts, Armenians, Ethiopians, Syriac, some Assyrians), the Church of the East (other Assyrians), the Indian churches and everybody celebrate Easter on the same day. To the troubled Eastern Christians in particular, greetings!

Christ is Risen!

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April 18 2014

From MEI Editor's Blog Fri Apr 18 2014, 16:37:00

Most years I have to do two sets of Easter Greetings since some Middle Eastern and most Western Christian readers celebrate on the Latin date, while most of the Middle East observes the Eastern date.

This is one of the years when the dates coincide, however, so I can offer Easter greetings to Christian readers everywhere on the same date.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Fri Apr 18 2014, 16:29:00

Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy has a piece at Foreign Policy with the title "How to Get a Job in the Middle East (in Washington, D.C.)" It's useful advice for aspiring college students, including such obvious advice as visit the region, study a language, do an internship, etc. Recommended reading for college students, interns and others trying to build a career in the policy field.

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From MEI Editor's Blog Fri Apr 18 2014, 15:45:00

Egypt has sacked the Governor of Wadi al-Gadid Governorate for openly endorsing Field Marshal Sisi, when government instructions had promised strict neutrality in the Presidential campaign,

The official neutrality is doing little to dampen the enthusiasm of the media and other institutions, however. The latest instance is an endorsement from Egypt's most influential Sufi order, the Rifa'iyya. (Link is in Arabic.) Sufi institutions came under attack during the Muslim Brotherhood control, so this is hardly surprising, but adds to the support already expressed by Christian and Establishment Muslim leaders. At the announcement of military intervention last July 3, the Coptic Pope and the Sheikh al-Azhar both stood with Sisi, and have continued to voice support for him:

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