A conference including documentary and feature screenings, panels and symposium, organized by Levantine Cultural Center and the University of California, Irvine, the
Since the tragic events of 9/11, there has been an upsurge in ethnic comedy by Arabs/Muslims in America. More and more Arab/Muslim individuals and groups such as "Allah Made Me Funny," the "Sultans of Satire" and "Axis of Evil" are appearing on stage with comic routines and they are attracting larger and larger non-Muslim audiences. Paradoxically, a tragedy that triggered widespread Islamophobia in American society seems also to have opened the field for Arab/Muslim comedy.
This panel discussion and lecture series, sponsored by The Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania, will explore the landscape of American Middle Eastern ethnic comedy and its intricate relationship with Islamophobia. Cosponsored by U Penn Jewish Studies, the South Asia Center, and African Studies.
The Sultans of Satire show features some of the best stand-up comedians today who happen to be of Arab, Iranian, Turkish, Greek, Armenian and Middle Eastern Jewish heritage. In “West Meets East: The Inauguration Tour,” Sultans regulars Mike Batayeh, Noel Elgrably and Elham Jazab, plus special surprise guests, will perform live in Philadelphia on January 16, 2009 and in Washington DC on January 18, when they’ll offer their own brand of outrageous comedy, along with satirical insights on the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama.
Even as the United States finds itself increasing enmeshed in the Arab/Muslim world politically, Hollywood exports a great deal of film and television programs watched in the Middle East. We are indeed the dominant cultural force in many Arab/Muslim countries. Meanwhile, Americans are finding more and more Arab/Muslim characters in their film and TV programming…
Read Andrew Gumbel's L.A. Weekly feature, Arab Adventures in Hollywood.
INTERNATIONAL CALL FOR SHORT FILMS
Short-shorts and shorts: docs and features: 1m-15ms
After decades of war in the post-colonial Middle East, statesmen and women of the region—particularly the battle-fatigued Israelis-have finally understood something about war and peace that most of us have known all along: there is no military solution to our problems. Lines will be drawn and peace will be achieved through negotiated agreements—or there will be no lasting peace for anyone...
By Alfred Madain
I was recently enlightened about the idea of collective guilt while watching a documentary on people who are attempting to make peace between Israelis and Palestinians. A former Israeli hardliner mentions in the documentary that he had always felt the burden of having to carry the weight of the persecution of all Jews throughout history and that is the reason that he felt that he had to protect Israel at any cost.
I very much empathized with these words for as I was growing up in Jordan the ideals of Arab nationalism had seeped into me. I later learned that most Arabs, from Morocco to Iraq, feel the same guilt and sense of responsibility for the oppression of all Arabs through Turkish and European colonialism and of course dealing with the immediate persecution of our fellow Arabs, the Palestinians. It was clear to me as a child to feel united with a collective Arab identity for two specific reasons: my dislike of Israel and my Arab nationalistic identity through my dislike for nations like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait where it is felt “Arab money” is being wasted instead of being used to help the Palestinians.