What shaped the C.I.A., and how does the agency play a role in our foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa? The Levantine Cultural Center presents a public forum and book signing with intelligence historian Hugh Wilford and former C.I.A. case officer Robert Baer, in conversation about the history of the agency's Arabists and the direction of U.S. Middle East foreign policy, particularly with respect to Israel, Iran and Syria. The discussion will be moderated by journalist and political commentator Robert Scheer. The program is made possible in part by Truthdig and LA Jews for Peace. KPFK Pacifica Radio 90.7 FM is a media sponsor.
Hugh Wilford's new book is America's Great Game, The CIA's Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East. Robert Baer is a former CIA case officer who served everywhere from Iraq to the former Soviet Union. (The 2005 film Syriana, starring George Clooney, was an adaptation of several of his books about the intelligence world.) Baer is the author of See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism; Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude; and The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower. Robert Scheer is the editor-in-chief of the online news magazine Truthdig and a regular commentator on KCRW's Left, Right and Center.
Limited seating for this long-running and inspired comedy show-come enjoy a healthy dose of comic relief, laugh about life and the Middle East with one of L.A's hottest comedy troupes, the Sultans
Critics of Islam ask why Muslims themselves don't speak out often enough against extremism. The Levantine Cultural Center and Muslims for Progressive Values invite you to a public forum on Muslims like the young Malala Yousefzai and countless others around the world who oppose Islamic fundamentalism. Featured guest speaker is human rights lawyer and UC Davis law professor Karima Bennoune, whose book Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism, 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. Cosponsored by Muslims for Progressive Values. Moderated by MPV cofounder Ani Zonneveld (bio follows).
"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
Come participate in a dynamic Middle East rhythm and drum circle, facilitated by Rowan Storm, Saturday from 1:30 -3:30 pm, Feb. 8, 2014 (repeats on March 15, 2014). Beginners welcome. For all ages. Family friendly. Various hand drums and percussion provided, or bring your own. The Levantine Cultural Center is located at 5998 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles 90035 between La Cienega and Fairfax. Info/reservations 323.413.2001 or just show up. Grab a drum or bring your own and join the fun! Visit carpetconcert.com or rowanstorm.com.
Suggested contribution Part One ~ Basic Lesson: $10. Part Two ~ Rhythm Circle: $10. Suggested contribution for both parts: $15.
Limited seating for this long-running and inspired comedy show—come enjoy a healthy dose of comic relief, laugh about life and the Middle East with one of L.A's hottest comedy troupes, the Sultans of Satire. Hosted by Sheno Khal, this show features several of the funniest young comedians on the circuit today. Headliner MIKE BATAYEH, with K-Von, Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Omid Singh, Melissa Shoshahi and, joining the Sultans for the first time, DJ Sandhu! Come early, have dinner in the café, spend a warm evening with us...
The Sultans of Satire are seriously funny—if you need to laugh, you'll appreciate this show with its satirical insights and fresh perspectives on American and Middle Eastern life. The humor is universal; the comedans hail from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. Founded in 2005, The Sultans of Satire is the longest-running Middle Eastern stand-up comedy show in the U.S. with some of the best young stand-up comedians from diverse faiths. This show cosponsored by Freedom Theatre West. Show $15 general admission, $12 members, $18 at the door. Middle Eastern and North African dishes, signature drinks and more served by Café Rumi. Tickets/info 323.413.2001. Watch video clips at sultansofsatire.com.
Janet Sternburg and Steven Lavine host the Levantine Cultural Center's second exclusive new dinner salon series, "Iconoclasts and Visionaries," a private dinner and book signing with author Tamim Ansary. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the most expensive in U.S. history, costing an estimated $4-6 trillion over time. Was it worth it? What should we know about our involvement in Afghanistan? How can we avoid repeating the mistakes of the past? RSVP today and meet Tamim Ansary on the evening of Wed., Sept. 25th in a beautiful Encino hills home, near the intersection of the 405 and Ventura Blvd.
Writes Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan, "In Games Without Rules, Tamim Ansary has written the most engaging, accessible and insightful history of Afghanistan. With gifted prose and revealing details, Ansary gives us the oft-neglected Afghan perspective of the wars, foreign meddling and palace intrigue that has defined the past few centuries between the Indus and Oxus. This brilliant book should be required reading for anyone involved in the current war there—and anyone who wants to understand why Afghanistan will not be at peace anytime soon."
Join us to celebrate Tamim Ansary's Games Without Rules, The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan. You'll learn a great deal, enjoy a delicious dinner with a cosmopolitan crowd, and help support the Levantine Cultural Center—one of the most active and vital nonprofit organizations for Middle East arts and cultures in Southern California. Levantine Cultural Center is a non-profit organization and these fundraising dinners are an important part of underwriting public programs and services to the community. Read an NPR report on Tamim Ansary.
Afghan American author Tamim Ansary will speak in a public forum on the themes of his two most recent books, Destiny Disrupted and Games Without Rules, on Afghanistan, giving a perspective on Middle East and foreign affairs from an Islamic perspective. There will be a book signing afterward and light refreshments will be served. Of his book Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes, former Abu Dhabi Film Festival director Peter Scarlet says, "A magnificent, beautifully written work that helped change my way of looking at the world. I can't tell you how many people I've told about it or given copies as a gift."
Limited seating for this comedy cabaret that includes a healthy Lebanese dinner (vegetarians welcome, but let us know in advance). We invite you to enjoy a healthy dose of comic relief, come laugh about life and the Middle East with one of L.A's hottest comedy troupes, the Sultans of Satire, in a special performance featuring guest Aron Kader. The Sultans include Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Mike Batayeh, Nöel Elgrably, Sheno Khal, Mona Shaikh and Omid Singh.
Jodie Evans reports back from a peace mission to Yemen, along with attorney Steve Rohde speaking on "Drones Abroad & Spying at Home: What's Happening to Our Democracy?" Evans traveled to Yemen in June on a peace mission with CODEPINK: Women for Peace, with Medea Benjamin (author most recently of Drone Warfare, Killing By Remote Control), Ann Wright and others. These American activists went to discover Yemen for themselves; they wanted to meet the families of Yemeni detainees at Guantánamo, many of whom have already been cleared for release after more than 10 years under lock-down. They went to meet as well the families of drone victims. Jodie Evans will share eyewitness accounts and personal stories.
Can you believe it?!
We are just starting our 12th year serving greater Los Angeles. Don Heckman wrote the first LA Times article about us, positively reviewing our first public program, in a Calendar review published June 25, 2001. (We received another thumbs-up review in December 2001 by theatre critic Don Shirley and many more LA Times articles since.)