Blog by Ryan Torok, Jewish Journal
The event, a fundraiser for the nonprofit, Free Tunisia, also featured Egyptian and Tunisian speakers, who spoke about their countries histories and their revolutions - propelled by youth determined to oust their longtime autocrat leaders. Levantine Center co-founder Jordan Elgrably, whose recent opinion piece in Al Jazeera says, among other things, that "Israel should be integrated into the mosaic of the Middle East. It is time to end the conflict that began with the belief that Arabs and Jews are historic enemies," helped organize the event.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [Los Angeles, Feb. 28] Turkish author Yilmaz Alimoglu will present his book, Deserts and Mountains, at the Levantine Cultural Center, March 10, 7:00 pm, 5998 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90035.
I have not yet been able to digest the magnitude of what has happened in Tunisia, Egypt, and is happening now Iran, Syria, Yemen, and other Arab countries. As an Egyptian-American VJ and media artist whose work concerns the Arab world, the revolutions of 2011 have deeply impacted me professionally, artistically, and personally. There is something extremely poignant for Egyptians living outside of Egypt at this exact moment in history. Most of us who emigrated from Egypt often did so for the same reasons that incited millions to rise and cause revolutions. Perhaps there is lingering guilt that stays with the emigrant for not having stuck it out--on top of repercussions of Diaspora accumulated over decades. Still, there is no doubt that all Arabs living in and outside of the region have been extremely inspired and mobilized by the collective power of the people in the region. I keep hearing, repeatedly: the time is now.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [Los Angeles, Feb. 24] The MEPEACE Organization will hold an interactive peace celebration at the Levantine Cultural Center on March 9, 2011, 7:30-9:30pm, 5998 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90035.
This year several Middle Eastern countries submitted feature films to compete for nominations in the category of Best Foreign Film Oscar, among them Algeria, Turkey, Iraq and Israel (a country that rarely misses a chance to compete in the annual Oscar lottery). Egypt had skin in the game with Daoud Abdel Sayed's Messages From the Sea, and there were films from Greece, Azerbaijan and Iran (Mehdi Naderi's Farewell Baghdad). Only one film has a chance on Sunday.
While browsing the book fair at AWP (the Association of Writers Program) in Washington D.C. this month, I came across Khaled Mattawa's recent book of poems, Tocqueville. I've always been a big fan of his poetry and translations, particularly his beautiful renderings of the Iraqi poet, Saadi Youssef—whose work I plan to (re)introduce to you later this year.
Thirty years ago the Soviet Union was at the beginning of a long campaign in Afghanistan, the average person was lucky to have an advanced recording technology called a "VHS tape," and Mohammad Hosni Mubarak took control of Egypt, the most populous nation in the Arab Middle East. This week, the last of these beginnings came to an end when millions of Egyptian protestors succeeded in toppling one of the longest standing rulers in the 5,000-year history of Egypt.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [Los Angeles, Feb. 14, 2011] The Levantine Cultural Center and Folk Art Everywhere will give a free arts workshop on Feb. 26, 2011 from 2-4:00 pm at the Levantine Center, 5998 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90035.