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Iraqi

America’s Great Game: The C.I.A. and U.S. Middle East Foreign Policy

Subtitle: 
a public forum and book signing on the shaping of the Middle East/North Africa

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? On Thursday, March 6, 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 PeaceKPFK 90.7 FM Pacifica Radio is a media sponsor.

America’s Great Game: The C.I.A. and U.S. Middle East Foreign Policy

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Mar 6 2014 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested $15 donation ($12 members/students), $30 with signed book
RSVPs strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve your seat/book
Where: 
Westwood Hills Congregational Church
1989 Westwood Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90025
At the corner of La Grange, south of Santa Monica Blvd.
Lot and street parking
Subtitle: 
a public forum and book signing on the shaping of the Middle East/North Africa

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 PeaceKPFK 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 TerrorismSleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude; and The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian SuperpowerRobert Scheer is the editor-in-chief of the online news magazine Truthdig and a regular commentator on KCRW's Left, Right and Center.

Sultans of Satire: Middle East Comic Relief!

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Feb 21 2014 8:00pm - 10:30pm
Price: 
$15 advance ($12 members), $18 at the door
RSVPs strongly advised: 323.413.2001

Doors open 6 pm for dinner, show starts 8:30 pm
Click here to buy tickets
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center/Café Rumi
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
Street parking
Subtitle: 
humor by young comedians from across the Middle East/North Africa

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

"Heroes" Mural to Feature Middle East Cultural Icons

Heroes of the Middle East & North Africa Mural, 99 Cultural Icons

a mural project including life-size portraits of all the greats

The Levantine Cultural Center has unveiled The HEROES OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA mural initiative, which proposes to create a large mural depicting cultural icons such as Rumi, Khalil Gibran, Fairuz, Naguib Mahfouz and other poets, writers, filmmakers, musicians and artists who are symbols of peace through the arts.

LA Review of Books Presents Kirk Johnson on Iraq

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Oct 30 2013 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Fundraiser, suggested donation $25
$50 with signed copy of "To Be a Friend is Fatal"

Click here to buy tickets
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
explores post-war reality for America's Iraqi allies

"A truly incredible story," says Ira Glass of This American Life. Kirk Johnson is the author of To Be a Friend Is Fatal: The Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind, a moving, hard-hitting book about the plight of Iraqis who worked—often as interpreters—with the US Army and its affiliates. A memoir and a call to action, the book details his work in Iraq and his struggle to rescue the Iraqis who risked their lives to help rebuild the country, only to be branded collaborators and marked for assassination after being abandoned by the US. 

Writing in the Boston Globe, Rayyan Al-Shawaf notes, "Part memoir, part impassioned plea, Johnson's book traces his experiences in Iraq, his personal breakdown, and his struggle to rescue the legions of young, idealistic Iraqis left behind by US administrations plagued by post-9/11 paranoia and gridlock. Because militants continue to kill such people despite the US withdrawal, it is difficult to imagine a book more urgent than this." 

Johnson will discuss his book and his organization, The List Project to resettle Iraqi allies. This event is a benefit for the Los Angeles Review of Books and the Levantine Cultural Center, two nonprofits that champion literacy. More.

The Sultans of Satire with Tehran SoParvaz

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Oct 11 2013 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Price: 
$15 general admission/$12 members
RSVPs strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to buy tickets
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
Street parking or in CVS lot (till 10 pm only!)

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, in a special performance featuring headliner Tehran SoParvaz. Hosted by Sheno Khal, this show features Paul Elia, Nasry Malak, Zara Mizrahi and Eman Morgan.

"We Are Iraqis" A Literary & Music Tribute to Saadoun Al-Bayati

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Sep 22 2013 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Price: 
Free to the public, donations gratefully accepted.
Reservations strongly suggested, 323.413.2001.
Program schedule: reception 5-5:45 pm, readings 5:45-6:30 pm
book signing, 6:30-6:45 pm, music 7:00 pm
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90035-2657
Between La Cienega & Fairfax Ave
ample street parking or in CVS underground lot (till 10 pm only)
Subtitle: 
for Iraqis and their friends

The Levantine Cultural Center presents WE ARE IRAQIS, a literary and music tribute for Iraqis and their friends devoted to the beauty of Iraq's culture, in memory of Sufi music maestro Saadoun Al-Bayati, who left earth on July 25, 2013. Authors/editors/contributors of three new or recent books will perform readings. Deborah Al-Najjar and a designated actor (TBA) will introduce us to the anthology We Are Iraqis, while poets Dima Hilal and Sholeh Wolpé will read from the anthology Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here; and novelist Leslie Cockburn will present her exciting new novel, Baghdad Solitaire. Refreshments will be provided and a live musical tribute to Saadoun Al-Bayati will follow the readings. All welcome, but space limited and reservations are strongly suggested, 323.413.2001. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

The Levantine Cultural Center would like to thank and acknowledge the support of Dr. Yasin Al-Khalesi, Barbara Al-Bayati, and Poets & Writers, without whom WE ARE IRAQIS would not be possible.  

L.A.'s Middle East Cultural Arts Center Fêtes 12th Year!

Subtitle: 
our new fiscal year starts July 1st, we seek your support

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.) 

New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema series

The fourth season of the New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema series will present as many as two dozen features, documentaries and short films in Los Angeles and Orange County, to foster a greater understanding of the Middle East and North Africa, and to afford provocative opportunities for meaningful dialogue, while working with major partners including the Arab Film Festival, UCLA, USC, Chapman University, the University of California at Irvine, and others.

Poets, Writers Mark 6th Anniversary of Iraq's Al-Mutanabbi Street Bombing

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Mar 5 2013 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Free to the public
Where: 
New Roads School
Capshaw-Spielberg Center for Arts and Educational Justice
Moss Theatre
3131 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica CA 90404
just west of Centinela
free parking is available on school grounds
Subtitle: 
New Roads Students and Poets Join in Remembrance of Victims of the Bombing of "the Street of Booksellers"

On March 5, 2007 a massive car bomb was detonated on Baghdad's al-Mutanabbi Street—for centuries the heart of Baghdad's intellectual and literary community—killing 30 and injuring 100. On Tuesday, March 5, New Roads School will host a poetry reading, involving both professional poets and New Roads High School students, to mark the sixth anniversary of the bombing that decimated "the street of booksellers" and its bookstores, outdoor book stalls, small print shops, and cafes. Poets participating in the reading include Tania Baban, Jordan Elgrably, Majid Naficy, Jim Natal, and Janet Sternburg—all contributors to Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, a new anthology of poetry written in response to the attack.

A selection of letterpress broadsides from the internationally-touring show, Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here will be displayed in conjunction with the New Roads reading. The full show consists of 130 broadsides—one for each victim of the—all of which were created as collaborations among artists, poets, and writers responding to an international call put out by San Francisco bookseller Beau Beausoleil, the project's founder and guiding force.

In addition to the reading at New Roads School, al-Mutanabbi Street reading events are being held in Washington D.C., Boston, San Francisco, and in the U.K to commemorate the anniversary.