Forthcoming

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

 

Nov 5, 2018 A report on two pstate NY races:--CD 19, and NY State Senate 42. From Egypt and Tunisia new films by and about women-- "Youm el-Setat" and "El-Jaida"

Sept 24 Do war memoirs really advance education? Attacks on BDS and Americans' freedom of speech continues.

Sept 17-- Sport stars and politcal dissent stemming from Kaepernick's actions. NY State's Sept 13 Primaries

Sept 10  Assessing Muslim Americans' ongoing fight for Muslim rights, and in the context of today's election cycle.

Aug 27, Where are Muslim Americans in the US administration's immigrant purge?

Aug 20 Celebrating achievements-- Sam Anderson and Rosemari Mealy. And still more published memoirs fro Middle East peoples

August 1- The inexorable struggle for Palestinian rights

July 2, WBAI Radio  Exploring EXILE in American literature:--  "Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits", and "In The Light of What We Know".

June 25 EXILE in literature: a review of the novels "Cutting For Stone" and "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers".

June 18, The vicissitudes of Nepal's fledgling democracy. And a review of White House Ramadan "iftar" ceremonies.

June 11 The rentier economy of Jordan and current public protests. How the UK and US use Jordan. And celebrities' role in news.,

June 4 "Naila and The Uprising" a film memory of Palestinian resistance. And: why is Tariq Ramadan imprisoned?

April 30 How could detante in Korea affect other conflicts? And a look at our own role in plastic pollution.

April 23  The US mission creep into Syria, and more reviews of children's books about refugees. 

April 16  Why are Islamist rebels are being escorted out of the so called liberated areas, and where are they going? and a review of new Arab American memoirs 

April 9; Saudi Arabia's long and deep times with the US film industry. And we review the plethora of Arab women's memoirs

April 2 documenting war trauma. Do some war traumatized matter more than others? 

March 26 Iraq's neglected agricultural industry, and the persecution of Swiss-Arab Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan

March 19, Iraq today. And the legal challenges facing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against apartheid Israel.

March 12,Commentary on the fall of Myanmar's Ang Sang SuKyi; and recent observations for Iraq.

Jan 8, 7:45 am Film review of "Land of the Pomegranates", and an introduction to the American organization "Muslimish"

Nov 27, Russia and Syria: commentary on this longstanding relationship in the current international scene

Nov 20. A look at the new crisis created around Lebanon PM Hariri's resignation. Comments on a culture that's infused and spilling over with sexual predators.

Nov 13 Update on Kirkuk, Iraq. Veterans Day USA: Is celebration of war heros increasing?.

Nov 6, WBAI  News of Kirkuk, N. Iraq after the failed Kurdish referendum; Accusations towards male religious figures in ongoing sexual abuse exposes.

Sept 25: Syria update: the changing status quo and resulting change in US media coverage.. The Kurdish referendum

Sept 18: Myanmar's Ang San Su Kyi's eary history; beware of simplistic sectarian analyses

Sept 11: women as pawns in justifying American "wars to protect"

August 28, 7:45 am WBAI. Linda Sarsour, Arab American and US Muslim community leader: in her defence. Margo Shetterley author of "Hidden Figures"

Aug 21, WBAI Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh, stripped of citizenship and deported this week.

Aug 14: BN Review of the anti-Israel boycott action in the US Congress. WBAI, 90.5 fm

July 10:  Nepal just completed its first election in 20 years for nationwide local admin posts.

July 3, WBAI Radio. "All politics is local":-- the hard work of using local news resources.

June 26: WBAI Radio We ask why is there no anti-war movement in the US? And: “Martyrdom”—an archaic phrase but a concept we need to think about today.

June 19  On the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war, and Israel's seemingly unstoppable political, diplomatic and territorial march, it’s remarkable that the Palestinian voice is heard at all.

June 12  The dilemma of 'moderate Amercian Muslims; following ReclaimNY , a child of Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer.

May 1, Workers Day, WBAI 99.5 fm. BN Aziz highlights the rise of the 'gig economy'

April 24, 7:45 WBAI 99.5 fm. A check on our progress as American Muslims; and, Lynne Stewart: the Peoples' Lawyer. 

See Ramzy Baroud's assessment on how our Muslim community misuses celebrity Muslims as surrogates for their own stuggle.

 

Monday April 17 WBAI Radio, NYC. Why is there essential no anti-war movement in the USA?

April 10;  A critical look at media coverage of the US assault on Syria; and an update on ReclaimNY.

B. Nimri Aziz weekly radio commentary on events around the globe and in the USA. Listen in at 99.5 fm, or online www.wbai.org where we are livestreamed.

"We are more alike than we are different"

  Maya Angelou

March 8, Women's Day Radio Specials  10-11 am on WJFF Radio, 90.5 fm, and 11:am on WBAI, 99.5 New York: B. Nimri Aziz interviews director Amber Fares about her new film "Speed Sisters" and exerpts from 2009-2010 interviews with professional women in Syria, Nadia Khost and Nidaa Al-Islam.

 

 

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singer at 89

 

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain

 

You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore

 

 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:

 

"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.

 

“Lost in Damascus—at year’s end”

2012-01-02

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Mass arrests, fuel shortages, power cuts; and now: suicide bombings! Has Damascus reached a point of no return?

It took a long time coming, for a place renowned as the world’s oldest continually inhabited city. But by 2010  Damascus was once again an international crossroads. On my visit barely a year ago, foreigners moved through every corner of the city—the cobbled quarters of Bab Touma, the open avenue of Mezza, the clustered neighborhood stretching up Muhajirin onto Damascus mountain.

Thousands of young idealists crowded classes at the city’s renowned language institutes and Islamic academies, and huddled with Qur’anic teachers. As young as 16, joining others into their 60s, they came from Japan, Malaysia, Korea, Turkey, Italy and Russia, from across Europe in fact. Even an occasional American and Australian too.

Syrian Arabic had become the preferred form of Arabic language instruction and Damascus boasted the best institutes that by now had more students than they could handle.

Besides the students, hopeful travel agents foresaw a soaring future in tourism; expatiates were moving into the capital’s burgeoning private sector; there were now good schools for their Brazilian, Canadian and French-born children. Women and men who had married Syrians abroad were settling here. Syrian children from California and Sussex were with grandparents in Syria for the summer. Amended laws regarding banking and military service attracted those it had once send away cursing the country. Opportunities in Syria seemed unlimited… if you had a foreign bank account, parents with a spacious apartment, a viable business partner, or a study grant.

Those thousands of young people here last year reminded me of Kathmandu in the 1970s. Huddling in street cafes, they offer advice on visa extensions, on cheap rooms in quaint stone houses, ice cream specialties, cheap authentic eateries, and bus schedules to enchanting ancient Christian monasteries in the hills and roman ruins across the desert.

On weekends, many of these students fled the capital to spend a night in Aleppo, or the desert city of Tadmoor. A Danish lad grabbed his knapsack and joined his girlfriend from Moscow for a weekend in Beirut. (They could be back for their university classes by Sunday.) Bruce, from Virginia, never hid his history as a U.S. marine in Iraq before he began language studies here; he was a hard worker in class, his pleasures confined to weekend cruising bars and discos they were open until two a.m. in the old city.

Local youths mingled freely with foreign students and tourists -- in the universities, in cafes and discos. Fear of shared secrets seemed absent. Indeed Syrian lads in particular roamed the campus and cafes in search of work as language tutors, an occasional lucky one finding a European girlfriend among them, even a fiancé. 

The pleasures of restaurants and discos were not limited to foreigners, for by this time, the children of an expanding middleclass could afford an occasional night out. Thursday evenings, thousands crowded into the old city.

Not to forget the tourists. Jumbo buses carried them from city to city, and maneuvered the narrow lanes of the old town. They filled charming hotels—European alongside Arabs from Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Kuwait whose favorite summer vacation spot was Syria, with its open, tolerant atmosphere.

Damascus’ many centers of art, music and theater were supplemented by the foreign embassies. From Pakistani to Spanish, Russian, British and American, they ran language classes for Syrians, and schools for the children of expatriates and wealthy locals. Most notably the embassies sponsored cultural events. A Spanish theater group this week, a film festival at the Dutch cultural center, a jazz band, an art exhibition. They featured Syrians as well as their own artists. There was plenty to enrich one’s creative life in the city every evening and in the daytime too.

That’s all in the past. Many embassies have closed. Hardly a foreign-sponsored event can be found now; language classes at culture centers have halted. Graduate students and unemployed actors who depended on part-time work tutoring foreign students are miserable; they miss these stipends and their foreign peers who made their lives bearable and hopeful.

On the surface, Damascus may appear normal. But say the young, and their parents: “We just don’t feel like going out now”; “We stay at home”; “We watch news, share rumors about roundups and checkpoints, search for gaz tanks and diesel fuel for winter”; “We phone relatives in besieged cities”;  “We escape into the glamorous Turkish TV dramas.”

Damascus has become a city of endless rallies, widely distributed by state TV. One resident says, “We show the world we are one, that we are strong”; another admits “We go to the rallies not only to defend our nation, but to burn off nervous energy”, and others who became protestors “because I was pulled from a bus and jailed for 40 days… for doing nothing”.

Everyone is nervous nowadays, seeing the news, watching friends depart, hearing nothing from detained relatives. Damascus is today a weary city..waiting for no one is sure what… and when.

 

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“Scatter your good deeds all around,

not caring whether they fall on those near or far away,

Just as the rain never cares where the clouds pour it out,

whether on fertile ground or on rocks.”

 

 

Ibn Siraj (Cordoba, d. 1114 CE)

Tahrir Diwan

a poem.. a song..
poem "Obama"poem (Arabic)

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praises to the Prophet, from Nazira CD, female voices

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Book review
Karen Armstrong's
Fields of Blood: Religion and The History of Violence
reviewed by BN Aziz.

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