Forthcoming

June 26, 7:45 am 99.5 fm, WBAI Radio Regular daily news tells us how the US is at war,—yet, there’s no sign of an anti-war movement in the US. Commentator B Nimri Aziz asks: Why the silence?  Then, we reflect on “martyrdom”—an archaic phrase but a concept we need to think about today.

June 19 7:45 am 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, Monday 7:45 am. The dilemma of 'moderate Amercian Muslims; following ReclaimNY , a child of Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer.

May 1, Workers Day, 7:45 am WBAI 99.5 fm. BN Aziz highlights the rise of the 'gig economy' and what it means for workers rights. Also: a reflection on free speech on American campuses when Berkeley students opppose right-wing media personalities.

April 24, 7:45 WBAI 99.5 fm. A check on our progress as American Muslims in the spotlight. Then her report from Lynne Stewart's April 22nd memorial in NYC:  Lynne, 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 7:45 am, 99.5 fm on WBAI Radio, NYC. Why is there essential no anti-war movement in the USA? BNAziz raises this question with host MG Haskins, then offers her doubts about the authenticity of the US backed White Helmets, the award-winning.Syrian humanitarian agency.

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

B. Nimri Aziz continues her 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" --a profile of 5 Palestinian car racers. Orther segments are from 2009-2010 interviews with professional women in Damascus 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.

 

 

 

Select Books

Scheherazade: Tell Me A Story

by Yousry Nasrallah, Director, Egypt
Reviewed by BN Aziz

Is this film a story about women in Arab society? Or about corruption?

Yousry Nasrallah’s 2009 film “Scheherazade: Tell Me A Story” is billed as a tale about women in Cairo. I disagree.

True, women’s lives define the narrative of “Scheherazade". But I wonder if the main message of this film lies elsewhere. The misreading of the story is important because, given prevailing images of women in Arab society, I fear that viewers in the West will walk away talking about abuse Arab women encounter at the hands of men rather than the deeper social message.

First of all, let me say that this “Scheherazade” is a powerful work and should be seen. Writer Wahid Hamed is to be congratulated along with director Nasrallah. It is a moving and brilliantly performed production, with first class acting. Shown in Egypt to wide acclaim, the film has also won several major international awards, another testimony to its excellence. Even so, New York audiences only had an opportunity to see “Scheherazade” this August, two years after its release, at the Africa Diaspora Film Festival.

In a panel discussion with the audience after the film was screened in New York, questions focused exclusively on the relation of Arab women to Arab men and their Arab society. The cultural stereotypical imprint of gender inequality in Arab culture, so deeply embedded in the western mind, threatened to dominate the dialogue. My co-panelist Ginan Rauf rightly asks: “If this were set in another place, would we not be able to see the narrative as a ‘story’ of individual lives rather than a portrayal of a culture?” She asks that audiences try to see the individual people in this story. Rauf added to our understanding with details about Nasrallah’s past work, his early training as an economist, his career in journalism and his wider philosophy. Nasrallah, she points out, has emerged as a major world director, with his special imprint.

Fellow panelist Aydin Baltaci widened the issues further with his comments on artistic strategies used by the director to achieve the dramatic effect. For him the main drama was the compelling and tragic story of three sisters who fought over the affections of a simple but opportunistic young laborer running their deceased father’s shop. Baltaci drew parallels between this and other well known dramas focused on the dynamic of three sisters.

Most of us agreed that, as portrayed in the stories told to heroine Hebba, a Cairo talk show host in “Scheerazade”, in the course of her live interviews with three women, men are domineering, cruel and selfish. All the women are engaged in a constant battle for their rights. We find no redeeming male anywhere in the story.

The three cases, relived through dramatic flashbacks, revealed by the women, each telling her story on TV, are threaded together by interludes where we witness the relation of heroine TV host Hebba and her ambitious husband, a not very successful print journalist. It is in these episodes, that the real plot of the story unfolds. Here the corruption of Egypt’s media industry is exposed. Hebba has been attacking politicians head on in her interviews, but under pressure from her husband re the danger (to his career) of these confrontations, she agrees to abandon this theme out of affection for her young, seductive husband.

Hebba continues the live TV show, but now focuses her investigations on the lives of women. The three women she chooses are bold and frank. Invariably their histories all lead back to the issue of exploitation by men, and their stories either finger prominent men in the capital or the corrupted system of family values. Although Hebba feels she is simply revealing these women’s private lives and not dealing with politics, her angry husband shouts back the truth: “Everything is political”. Meanwhile his career prospects are sinking.

The summary: three women, each from a different background, and with different experiences, find their lives are circumscribed, at one level or other, by the ambitions of men, and the wider culture of corruption in which they must operate. The women are abused—although all fight back—but the men are perhaps abused even more by their deep and direct involvement within the corrupt system, currying favor with officials and bosses, asserting their prowess.  In the end Hebba too cannot escape its grip on her marriage. For me this film as essentially a story about corruption in the male dominated society, and how, it reaches, by one means or another into every home, and into every marriage and thereby to every woman.

The redeeming message could be “women fight back, whereas men do not”, this even though women pay heavy price for their resistance. Nawaal Saadawi could have written this film. So I ask, why is it that so much good fiction, or pseudo-fictional stories on gender are produced by men?



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Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hate, and hate leads to violence. This is the equation.  

Ibn Rushd

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

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poem Azan
Call to Prayer: reciter, Mor Dior Bamba, Senegal

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Book review
LailaLalami's
The Moor's Account
reviewed by BN Aziz.

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