March 20, 2019

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  • Arab in NYC: So many lines, so little time

    BY ALI HAZZAH A few days ago, I was sitting with some friends in my favorite qahwa, somewhere in Little Egypt, Astoria, NY, watching TV. Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu was giving his now famous Wile E. Coyote speech.  It was clear that Bibi wanted to either scare the pants off his audience — or have them die laughing, as we say in Egypt — from his latest presentation of the coming Armageddon. Frankly, the volume was a bit low, so it was impossible to hear everything he was saying in that almost, but not quite American accent of his,…

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    Arab in NYC: An Arab-American superhero?

    BY ALI HAZZAH Yesterday an Arab teenager rushed into my favorite ahwa in Little Egypt, NY, with a DC comic book under his arm. He sat down at a table near me and immediately started reading. “Mish ma’oul! ” I soon heard him exclaiming. “Ya kharachi!” Now, ordinarily, I don’t pay much attention to uncouth Astoria punks, who ought to respect their elders and study the Quran, or at least follow the latest exploits of Mona Eltahawy, instead of wasting their free time on trifles like comic books.  Ahem. Okay, it’s true: I once was an avid comic book fan…

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    Arab in NYC: Yom Kippur

    BY ALI HAZZAH New Yorkers have always accepted that there will be a certain amount of rough-elbowing between the various races, ethnicities and sometimes even competing religions that underlie the complicated social fabric of their city. Christmas is still big, for example. Ditto Yom Kippur, the Jewish Holy Day of atonement. Ramadan is not officially observed, nor are any of the other holidays in Islam (but then again, neither is, say, the Chinese New Year). No big deal, except perhaps when raw pork was found strewn on the grounds of a public park where New York City Muslims this year…

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    Arab in NYC: Morsi comes to town

    BY ALI HAZZAH The other day, I was smoking shisha and sipping ahwa at my favorite ersatz Middle Eastern café on Steinway Street, NY. Due to my advancing years, I must confess that I was quite exhausted from all the excitement in the last day or so, namely, the news that President Morsi was coming to NY, where he would be meeting with several world leaders at the UN, including French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron, but not, alas, President Obama, who was going to be too busy doing other things to have time for him….

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    Arab in NYC: On ‘Muslim Rage’

    BY ALI HAZZAH The other day, I was sitting around in an ersatz Middle Eastern coffee shop in Little Egypt, Astoria, NY, with my good friend Mo. We were of course combing each others’ gray beards, smoking nargil, and eyeballing the undercover NYPD agents, who were taking pictures of us with their new super secure iPhone 5s. “Ya Ali,” said Mo, as his face turned into a barely concealed mask of twisted rage. “Did you see this new story in Newsweek on the Internet, by that strange woman whose last name is the same as your first?” “It’s not her…

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    Games that are a little like life

    BY CHITRA KALYANI But That Was [Yesterday] is a game that heals you as you play, through a simple interface dealing with complex emotions of depression, loss, and heartbreak. Egypt Monocle spoke to the young game-maker in his mid-twenties about this prize-winning game and his upcoming release BasketBelle.”An idea for a game usually starts with an emotion or set of feelings,” says creator Michael Molinari, who often goes by the moniker, OneMrBean. Applying the principle of ‘write what you know,’ the 25-year-old game-maker says, “I would look at my own feelings and find ways to express them through game-play.”“[Yesterday] wasn’t…

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    Media and Egyptian identity

    BY KATHARINA GOETZE Bookstores have seen a flood of publications on media and popular culture in Egyptian society since the revolution, some more profound than others. Ziad Fahmy’s recent book provides an enlightening read for all those interested in the role played by popular media in Egypt long before the “Facebook revolution.” In “Ordinary Egyptians,” Fahmy takes a few steps back to examine the five decades between 1870 and 1919 when the modern Egyptian nation was forged. Against the backdrop of British colonial power in Egypt, growing centralization and the rise of the urban middle class, new forms of mass…

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    Reel Estate: Arabs in Sight & Sound poll

    BY JOSEPH FAHIM The Sight & Sound greatest movies of all time poll, which was published earlier this month, is unparalleled in its ability to seize the attention of movie critics the world over. Conducted every 10 years, the survey is the most prestigious, most highly regarded in the world, acquiring its importance from the fact that only film professionals (critics, writers, academics and directors) are eligible to vote. This year, the venerable British Film Institute publication invited 846 film critics, writers and academics and 358 directors, up from 145 critics and 108 film directors who voted for the last…

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    Rediscovering the soul of Italy

    BY ANGELA BOSKOVITCH With the never-ending Euro-crisis slashing state budgets, especially in research and education, Italians are again turning to life abroad as the answer. Despite the resignation of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in November last year, the country is ruled by an old political class more interested in serving their own interests than those of the public. Shot in 2011, the film “Italy: Love It or Leave It” is as current as ever, documenting the journey of filmmakers Gustov Hofer and Luca Ragazzi as they travel their country from North to South. The film — which had its Egyptian…

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    Yasmine Hamdan in times of Ramadan

    BY CHITRA KALYANI Cairo: That we live in surreal, schizophrenic times has never been more evident. Picture this: the first Ramadan season in the era of Mohamed Morsi, and in this desert that is Egypt, appears a mirage of shimmering sensuality: Yasmine Hamdan. The befuddlement was not simply caused by witnessing two young men who had smuggled in rum-flavored Coca-Cola at Geneina Theater on this Thursday night in the dry season of Ramadan; the performance too carried an air of Bacchic revelry as men and (some) women thronged around the Lebanese artiste, eager to swing and sing along. “Unique” said…

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