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Levantine Review


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    exploring the Middle East and North Africa
    We are especially pleased to present our November 2014 line-up to you. As you know, we founded the Levantine Cultural Center during the summer of 2001, dedicating ourselves to a cultural and community center that champions a greater understanding of the Middle East and North Africa, from Afghanistan/Pakistan in the east to Morocco in the west. We are also dedicated to exploring our communities in diaspora.
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    largest independent annual showcase of Arab films
    The 17th Annual Arab Film Festival (AFF) opens in Los Angeles on October 18, 2013 at the Harmony Gold Theatre. Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is the 7th annual Los Angeles edition of the AFF and includes several Los Angeles premieres with the films' directors. Local organizations supporting the AFF include the Levantine Cultural Center, the Muslim Public Affairs Council Hollywood Bureau, and Women in Film.
  • Ben Affleck in "Argo"; an Arab terrorist in "Iron Man"
    It's time for a conversation in the film industry about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Every now and then a little sunshine breaks through, and Palestinians enjoy the light. Thanks to occasional complex portrayals in film, television and documentary reporting, they become real people with a cause we can all relate to, seeking justice and freedom. That was true of the Palestinian characters in Steven Spielberg's "Munich" (2005), who weren't cardboard villains, but human beings. It was even more apparent the same year in Hany Abu-Assad's "Paradise Now," which was the first Palestinian film to land an Oscar nomination and win a Golden Globe.

Music & Dance

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    It's time for a new vision of Palestinian identity-one that celebrates the creativity and resourcefulness of its people. As well, let us agree that when Palestinians enjoy peace and justice under the law, Israelis and the international community will be liberated from the conflict that has caused so much destruction and heartache.
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    Akram Khan brings one of his latest creations to America
    Founded in August 2000 by Choreographer Akram Khan and Producer Farooq Chaudhry, the Akram Khan Company "journeys across boundaries to create uncompromising artistic narratives," according to the company's web site.

Op-Ed & Satire

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    Memorial Day is a national holiday that serves to remember American dead who served in our armed forces. For me it has become a day to meditate more broadly on the worldwide culture of war and our role in it.
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    For Arts and Free Expression—as a Counterweight to Extremism, Islamophobia, Media Bias and Racism
    Charlie Hebdo, ISIS, Gaza, Ferguson, the Taliban, drone attacks killing families in Afghanistan and Pakistan... I can't remember another time in my life when violent extremism and malevolent hatred against others seemed quite so prevalent—can you? With ISIS we have the wild-eyed persecution of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, and the beheading of western journalists and aid workers.
  • wide-ranging testimonials
    I originally entered the Levantine Cultural Center to attend a workshop on world peace. I left that night enrolled in a beginning Arabic class. There are many words to describe who I am: white, woman, American, European ancestry, Roman Catholic. None of these connect me to the Middle East or North Africa. I have no familial roots in the ME/NA region. Yet, my passion for politics and poetry provided me a fascination with places I did not grow up in but have been intrigued by for a long time. The LCC has given me a space to develop my understanding of the region and to nurture my appreciation for great art, past and present.
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    And How You Can Make It a Reality
    In a world dominated by news and entertainment media, we find ourselves constantly bombarded with negative representations of Arab/Muslim culture. Extremist groups like ISIS and the Taliban dominate the discourse, while Palestine, Iran, Iraq and other countries are painted with a shallow brush. Events like the Charlie Hebdo attack and films like American Sniper can feed Islamophobia and cause anti-Arab/Muslim behavior. But why allow extremism and discrimination to define our communities, when arts and education can help us humanize our voices?


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    Miko Peled sets the record straight on the dispossession of Palestine
    My review of "The General's Son," by Miko Peled, cannot be separated from what I've come to know about the author. After all, this book is about Peled's own life, and his journey to a new understanding of the conflict that has defined so many of our lives. It is a narrative of the author's transformation from an ardent Zionist, born into a revered military Israeli family, to a human rights activist and advocate of a single binational state. In addition to reading this book, I attended one of Peled's lectures and watched another online, and I've had a chance to speak with him in person and at some length. At each of these junctures, my reaction to his narrative changed to some degree.
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    This Angelic Land is a novel set in Los Angeles during the 1992 Rodney King riots— the largest, most destructive civil uprising in American history. Adam Derderian, the central protagonist, is a 27-year-old Lebanese Armenian bar owner. The narrative shifts back and forth from his perspective to that of his brother, a New York-based artist five years his senior. The backdrop is their youth during the Lebanese civil war in Beirut—the longest civil war in modern history.
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    a travel writer returns to Lebanon after a life in the United States
    The motif of home and more specifically "the Return" home (Al-Awda in Arabic) recurs throughout world literature. Home as a place (as opposed to a state of mind or of being) comprises the central conflict in Salma Abdelnour's memoir, "Jasmine and Fire." Abdelnour was born in the United States of Lebanese parents, but returned to Lebanon when she was two, the summer before the 15-year Lebanese civil war ignited. After six years of war, the family decided to move back to America. However, Abdelnour's conscious memories of childhood, her sense of home, remained in Beirut.
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    wanted: social impact investors to back the new Levantine Cultural Center coming in 2013
    Founded 11 years ago as a grassroots nonprofit organization that champions a greater understanding of the Middle East/North Africa and our communities in diaspora, we are building a new, more self-sustaining cultural arts center for the Middle East and North Africa in Los Angeles. Southern California is home to the largest community of people from the Middle East and North Africa in the United States. It is high time that we had a multidisciplinary arts center that will serve as a focal point and hub for our many cultures.