The Markaz, Arts Center for the Greater Middle East (formerly the Levantine Cultural Center) is pleased to cosponsor The Untold Story of Iran at the Last Bookstore. If you'd like an alternative to the Fox News version of what Iran is all about, this is where you want to be on the 10th of July. The evening features Dr. Nina Ansary (Jewels of Allah: The Untold Story of Women in Iran), Cyrus M. Copeland (Off the Radar: A Father's Secret, a Mother's Heroism, and a Son's Quest) and international vocalist Sussan Deyhim (as special musical guest) in a conversation about "The Untold Story of Iran." Guests will engage the audience in a humanist perspective on Iran—through personal experience, scholarly expertise, and musical expression—and a discussion aimed at shattering long encrusted stereotypes, taking us from the ancient Iran that issued the first charter of human rights to the patriarchal society of the present.
Women Bought and Sold: Voices United Against Violence—a weekend film salon showcasing short films by women of the Arab/Muslim world—aims to portray a deeper understanding of the worldwide issue of sexualized violence against women. Subjects broached in this film salon weekend include trafficking, slavery, domestic, servitude, forced marriages, sexual harassment, sexuality, and sexual freedom. Join us in viewing and discussing these films in the fight against these obstacles to peace, prosperity, and the dignity of women.
On the menu and included in the price of the ticket area choice of feta cheese and spinach fatayer, cheese fatayer, beef fatayer, bastilla, grape leaves, falafel, hummus and salmon mousse on cucumber. Catering by Bouchra Azizy.
Women's Voices Now seeks to empower all women living in Muslim-majority societies by promoting their free expression, thereby giving voice to the struggles for civil, economic, political, and gender rights. Learn more at Women's Voices Now.
Your film ticket includes a delicious homestyle meal catered by Bouchra Azizy featuring cheese and spinach fatayer, ground beef and veggie rolls, hummus, falafel, salmon mousse on cucumber a bastilla, a delicious Moroccan speciality, plus for dessert, fruit or baklava. See below for each evening's full schedule.
Saturday, June 6
Theme: States of Violence
Chronicle of Tahrir Square by Nour Zaki
Final Moments by Shadi Amin
Mohtarama by Malek Shafi'i and Diana Saqeb
Take Care by Afrooz Nasersharif
Theme: Conditions of Culture
Breaking the Silence by Rajae Hammadi and Global Girl Media
Vomit II - Celia Elslamieh Shomal
Swap - Sayed Masoud Islami
Shadow of the Stone by Fatemeh Keihani
Guest speakers: Nausheen Sheikh (UCLA), Zeena Aljawad (Arab Youth Collective), and Sabreen Shalabi (activist / aid worker)
Sunday, June 7
Theme: Body Talk
Blobfish by Urgur Ferhat Korkmuz and Atilla Borutcu
In the Name of Tradition by May El Hossamy
The Reflex by Ali and Hussein Mousavi
Get Along by Parya Vatankhah
Theme: Women without Men
Aabida by Maaria Syed
The Virginity Minarets by Farhad Rezaee
Behind the Wheel by Elise Laker
Guest speakers: M. Shadee Malaklou (PhD Candidate, UC Irvine) and Umayyah Cable (PhD Candidate, USC)
On May 5th, join us at the Levantine Cultural Center to hear from two NGOs in Los Angeles that are providing services to Syrian immigrants: Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Free information and refreshments provided. You'll hear information about:
Electronic Intifada editor and author Nora Barrows-Friedman leads a public forum with special guest Ronnie Barkan, cofounder of Boycott From Within, on "U.S. Students and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement," with particular emphasis on Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) and attempts to stifle or silence Students for Justice in Palestine. This is an open forum, all are welcome.
According to Samantha Brotman writing in Mondoweiss, "Nora Barrows-Friedman's In Our Power: U.S. Students Organize for Justice in Palestine, published by Just World Books, is a timely and powerful read, detailing the scope and substance of the Palestine solidarity movement in the United States. Barrows-Friedman situates the movement across both time and space, providing historical and contemporary context to the individual activists whose voices make up the book's primary content. As a result, In Our Power is at once practical and inspiring for anyone involved in Palestine solidarity or interested in becoming involved."
Detractors of student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine, chapters of which are now found at hundreds of college campuses across the U.S., suggest that SJP is "anti-Semitic" or that they "invite speakers linked with terrorist groups." These two contentions are demonstrably false and are in fact desperate attempts to stifle critical thinking and public debate about Israel and the Palestinians. See related Mondoweiss article.
Critics of Islam ask why Muslims themselves don't speak out often enough against extremism. The Levantine Cultural Center and Bana Hilal invite you to a salon, "When People of Muslim Heritage Challenge Fundamentalism," the subject of law professor Karima Bennoune's prize-winning book, and her Ted talk (March 2014). Of course, many Muslims like the young Malala Yousafzai and countless others around the world oppose Islamic fundamentalism, but they rarely make the news. Karima Bennoune, a native of Algeria, is a human rights lawyer and UC Davis law professor. Her book Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism, just won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for 2014. It was named one of the top ten books of the year on religion and spirituality by Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association. Read an excerpt on how Muslim artists battle fundamentalism.
Watch Karima Bennoune's Ted talk.
"Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here should be required reading, not only for those of us who are professionally involved with Muslim-majority societies, but also for anyone who mistakenly believes that Muslims are doing nothing to end fundamentalist violence." —Rachel Newcomb, The Washington Post
One of the biggest uncovered stories in the Middle East is the chasm between Israel's Euro-American Jewish population (Ashkenazim), and the Jews from the Arab/Muslim world, the Mizrahim. Deep-rooted racism continues to play a role in Israeli society between Ashkenazim and Mizrahim (sometimes called Sephardic Jews). Indeed, often there is a direct relationship between how Israel treats the Palestinians and the way Israeli society stratifies its own Jewish population, with Ashkenazim occupying more seats in the Knesset and more overall government control now than at any time since 1977, according to anthropologist and Professor Smadar Lavie.
Smadar Lavie suggests that there is a direct correlation between social protest movements in Israel, Ashkenazi-Mizrahi relations, and attacks on Gaza. Her talk will address Gaza 2014 and the Mizrahi predicament, right-wing politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Author most recently of Wrapped in the Flag of Israel, Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture, Smadar Lavie is a Scholar in Residence at the Beatrice Bain Research Center, UC Berkeley's feminists of color think tank, and at the Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century, University College Cork (Ireland). Her book looks at the role of gender in the Mizrahi-Ashkenazi divide with particular emphasis on how Mizrahi women (whose roots are in Arab countries, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East) navigate right-wing politics in Israel, noting that many Mizrahim vote for right-wing parties.
Professor Lavie will give a rare talk in Los Angeles on the relationship between the Mizrahi-Ashkenazi divide and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, on Thursday, Nov. 6, 7 pm. Book signing and reception to follow.
Many times we have heard the question, "Where are the peaceful Palestinian protesters, who advocate for their cause non-violently?" Infrequently profiled in the mainstream media, such Palestinian activists are legion. Like Bi'lin peacemaker Emad Burnat—who made the fabled doc 5 Broken Cameras—Bassem al-Tamimi (Arabic: باسم التميمي, born c. 1967) is one such Palestinian activist. He is an organizer of protests against Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. He was convicted by an Israeli military court in 2011 for "sending people to throw stones, and holding a march without a permit." Tamimi's lawyers denied those charges saying, "He believes in passive resistance and says he never asked anyone to throw stones."
Jewish Voice for Peace-Los Angeles and the Levantine Cultural Center present this program in an on-going series of talks that examine the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Past speakers include Leila El-Haddad, Eran Efrati, Sami Shalom Chetrit, Ghada Karmi, Laila Al-Marayati, Miko Peled, Basem Ra'ad, David Sheen and many more.
The class is designed to familiarize children ages 2-5 with the Persian language and culture through music and play. Each ninety minute class will be conducted completely in Farsi, and will include: (1) a Persian story time; (2) a craft inspired by Persian folklore or culture; (3) music and song; and (4) free play. Children will also be provided with a Persian snack in all classes.
Chapman University, Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dept. of Political Science, History and Peace Studies and the Levantine Cultural Center present present a rare evening with celebrated author and blogger Juan Cole (The New Arabs; Engaging the Muslim World), introduced by political science associate professor Nubar Hovsepian. The talk is on "How the Arab Millennial Generation is changing the Middle East." There will be Q & A and a book signing, along with a light reception. All welcome, free to the public. Copies of Juan Cole's books will be available for purchase and signing.
In line with the Levantine Cultural Center's exploration of American foreign policy, this forum asks, How does the C.I.A. play a role in the Middle East and North Africa? Was Robert Ames, the subject of Kai Bird's bestselling biography, The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, actually an ambassador for peace, particularly with respect to the Israelis and Palestinians? The book offers a "compelling portrait of the remarkable life and death of one of the most important operatives in CIA history— a man who, had he lived, might have helped heal the rift between Arabs and the West." The forum includes a book signing with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Kai Bird and public Q & A. This forum picks up where our previous forum in March 2014, America's Great Game: The C.I.A. and U.S. Middle East Foreign Policy, left off.
Read a Washington Post review of The Good Spy.