About

KHALDOUN is an interdisciplinary group blog. Our name (and inspiration) comes from the famously multi-disciplinary Ibn Khaldoun, the 14th century Arab social scientist who is variously described as a philosopher, sociologist, demographer, geographer, historian, economist, linguist, political theorist, and statesman. Our aim in this blog is to provide scholarly commentary on current issues in Middle East politics, society, culture, and media representation.

Contributors:

Noah R. Bassil is a lecturer in the Politics and International Relations Department at Maquarie University. His current research interests are political crises in postcolonial states, international political economy, and Sudanese and African politics. He is also the Deputy Director of Macquarie’s Centre for Middle East and North African Studies.

Jumana Bayeh is a Postgraduate Fellow in Macquarie University’s Department of English. Her research and teaching interests include the third-world literatures, post-colonial studies and Middle East politics and society. She is currently working on her dissertation focusing on the literary works of Lebanese diasporic authors.

L.L. Wynn is a lecturer in the Anthropology Department at Macquarie University. She is the author of Pyramids and Nightclubs: A Travel Ethnography of Arab and Western Imaginations of Egypt, from King Tut and a Colony of Atlantis to Rumors of Sex Orgies, Urban Legends about a Marauding Prince, and Blonde Belly Dancers. In addition to her interests in tourism and transnationalism in the Middle East, she researches reproductive health technologies in the U.S., Canada, and the Middle East. She also contributes to Culture Matters.

Joseph Pugliese is Associate Professor in Macquarie’s Department of Critical and Cultural Studies. His research interrogates Orientalist constructions of the Middle East, imperial relations of power in the context of the ‘war on terror’ and the war in Iraq; the geopolitics of torture and terrorism; and Orientalist stereotypes in diasporic contexts. He is also Deputy Director of Macquarie’s Somatechnics Research Centre.

Maryam Khalid is a PhD student at UNSW.  Her research and teaching interests include gender and postcolonial studies, imperialism, and Middle East politics. Her doctoral research investigates the ways in which neoimperial power relations are legitimated through the prism of gender, with a particular focus on the ‘war on terror’, Iraq and Afghanistan. She is a former contributor of Khaldoun.

Feedback, suggestions, and contact info:
We love to see feedback and suggestions in the comments field following our blog postings. But if you need to contact us outside of the comments format, or if you would like to suggest articles or media for us to cover in the blog, please feel free to e-mail Lisa Wynn at lisa.wynn [ at ] mq.edu.au (remove spaces and convert “at” to @). (Other blog contributors can be found by searching for their names on the Macquarie University website.) We can’t promise that we’ll be able to write or comment on the topics you want to see covered, but we appreciate your suggestions!

17 Responses to About

  1. I am trying to submit a comment but I get a ‘discarded’ message. This is in relation to the Richard Falk article. Can you please explain why?

  2. llwynn says:

    Hi Stewart,

    I’m not sure why you’re getting that message, I’m really sorry. There are no particular settings to block comments from that or any other article. As you know, all comments are moderated on this website, but we try to approve them as quickly as possible. So I have no idea why it’s not working for that post. If you’d like, you can e-mail me your comment and I can try posting it myself with a link to you and your blog.

    lisa.wynn@mq.edu.au

    best
    Lisa

  3. Papachango says:

    Hi there –

    genuine question to the contributers on this blog:

    do you believe Israel has a right to exist?

  4. Dr. K.A. Weinmann says:

    Since you are supposed to honor free speech then hear this.

    1) I am tired of palestinians blaming the rest of the world, and Israel in particular for their stupidity. Perhaps the only statement that can truely reveal the disgust I have for arabs/palestinians is the fact that the thugs that murdered athletes and tried to destroy the olympic spirit in Munich ’72 are treated as heroes by the Arabs. As was the child murderer Kuntar. Dont worry – the single surving terrorist from 72 and his supporters such as Abu Doud, have not been forgotten by Mossad or by us and we are very patient.

    2) I am tired of a few ill-informed and ill-motivated people supporting the integration of muslim thugs into our societies. What happened at Christmas a few years ago in Sydney will happen again and this time (the signs are there, in Europe and Australia, and other countries where the right to free speech is respected) Australians will stand up against these muslim thugs and either remove them to their place of origin or terminate them. I am no longer willing to accept muslim thugs into Australia and this is because of their behaviour in Australia, in Europe and in every non-muslim country where these parasites take hold.

    When 2) happens, the first people who will be put up against the wall will be the selfish idiots from the left (that would be many of you) , who have been willing to sacrifice the chances of our next generations so that they can test their theories of social evolution or some such!!!!

    The patience of the public is not infinite, and we have had enough of you trying to force acceptance of muslim thuggery down our throats. You have been warned.
    Australia’s multiculturalism will NOT be bought be destroying our country and your support for a significant and violent muslim majority shows that you are acting as traitors to the people of this country. I am not interested in a pointless discouse with you – you are acting to destroy my home and my country. Take this is a warning – the choices you will now take remain yours to take — for the moment.

    BTW Perhaps you should ask your Al Jazeera thug friends why they decided to throw a party for a muslim thug whose sole claim to fame is the beating to death of a four year old girl, after drowning her father whilst holding a gun to the little girls head.

  5. llwynn says:

    Papachango: I am perplexed by your question. What do you mean by “a right to exist”? I think that the existence of Israel, like the U.S. and Australia and other colonies founded on the oppression of a group of native peoples, is not founded in *right*. But that does not mean that I think that the people actually living in any of those countries should be driven into the sea, or whatever useless drivel is called for by extremists of various backgrounds, or that a country that exists should somehow cease to exist (as though such a thing were possible!). Israel, like the U.S. and Australia, are historical facts. They exist. They will continue to exist. I am personally not interested in the rights of nation-states. I am not a nationalist or chauvenist of any sort. I am a humanist. A nation is a concept. Does a concept have rights? No, human beings have rights. I fiercely support the rights of all human beings living in the contemporary state of Israel to exist and to be free.

    By the way, as a huge fan of cheesy merengue tunes, I love the pseudonym that you took on for this comment. It transports me back to Venezuela circa 1988, riding on a bus and hearing the words of the popular song, “Ay, papachango, dame un beso, de cereza… dame un beso (eso, eso!) dame un beso (eso eso!) papachango (hongo, hongo!), papachango (hongo, hongo!). OK I know that they weren’t really ending each stanza with a refrain of “fungus, fungus!” but that’s how the song sounded to me.

    cheers
    Lisa

  6. llwynn says:

    Dear Dr Weinman,

    Thanks for the warning. We actually do NOT have a policy of “honor[ing] free speech” on this blog site, but we decided to publish your comment anyway as it’s a fine example of the astonishing bigotry that we strive to educate against.

    ALLAHUAKBAR!

    Sincerely, Dr L.L. Wynn

  7. jbayeh says:

    Might I also add in support of Lisa’s (aka Dr L.L. Wynn) point above that part of what we hope to achieve at this blog is an ‘ethics of speech’. Clearly Dr K.A. Weinmann’s post is very unethical to say the least. In fact it is insulting, driven by bigotry and encourages a kind of racism that we here at the blog would NEVER support.

    Finally I also wonder about this mantra “freedom of speech” and its close cousin “I have a right to express my opinion”. If your opinion is not informed, or misinformed, should it not be your duty to seek more information before you express your opinion in a public forum? I would like to think that it is. So, in light of this Dr K.A. Weinmann perhaps you should go and read some challenging texts on Australian multiculturalism in order to gain a better understanding of what our multiculturalism entails and why it is (or is not) under threat. And also, while you’re at it, perhaps you should review the footage of the Cronulla riots of a few years ago and see where that “thuggish” behaviour came from.

  8. llwynn says:

    Thanks Jumana, very good points.

  9. Papachango says:

    lisa – thanks for the response to my simple question. I gather your answer is a long-winded “no” then?

    I haven’t heard that cheesy Venezuelan tune – my nic came from a Manu Chao song!

  10. llwynn says:

    Papachango, I urge you to read again. My answer was a long-winded “yes.” But I was simultaneously challenging the phrasing of the question which seems to somehow suggest that it’s more important to give “rights” to the abstract concept of a nation than to real human beings, which in my opinion are a lot more important.

  11. Rosalyn says:

    Perhaps this Dr. K.A. Weinmann can marry Pauline Hanson or France’s Le Pen? Or Alan Jones – or better still – Andrew Bolt!

  12. Peter Sheldon says:

    I came onto this site by almost chance and find it utterly unscholarly and also intellectual uninteresting except as example an of the moral degeneration of various forms of New Leftism. It is just one more of myriad examples of “anti-colonial” Israel-bashing agitprop. No facts, no context, no analysis, no scholarly curiosity. You guys have all the easy answers but never appear to have asked yourselves an unfashionable question. Self-referential, smug, self-congratulatory, self-righteous. There must be better work that you can do!

    To quote at length the viciously anti-Israel Kasrils on the correctness of the anti-semitic Verwoerd on the horribleness of the zionists/Jews was just a treat! Sounds like South African politics just gets more interesting.

    For the record, though – and just in case facts might matter – Israel’s non-Jewish population ARE citizens, do have democratic rights, vote for either mainstream or anti-mainstream parties, including some dedicated to the destruction of Israel – the equivalent of which would be banned in most other democracies. Those minorities – Christian, Moslem and Druse – supply judges, cabinet ministers, army officers, academics, journalists, diplomats, professionals of all types as well a the full gamut of other employment categories. Unlike other countries with significant minorities (except eg Belgium), two of its major minority languages – including ARABIC – appear on Israel’s coins and banknotes, stamps and street signs.
    What might that suggest to you guys? An interesting research question? Some historical analysis perhaps that did not just fawn over the usual happy-clappers of the anti-zionist “left”? Engagement with real scholarship within Israel – duh, the only middle eastern or north african country with academic freedom and academic excellence. Oh, no, another unfashionable reseach question just jumped up!

    I am not talking about the West Bank here – which I do not consider to be part of Israel (for what my opinion is worth). That is a different story and it is important to make that distinction. Oh, no, another critical research question and again perhaps uncomfortable for the anti-colonialists?

    Is there discrimination within Israel proper? Yes of course – and not only affecting non-Jews.It is also a class-fractured society. But that is a whole different story to calling Israel a racist state or racist society or likening it to apartheid. I have lived in a number of countries and have yet to find one with ethnic or religious minorities that did not suffer some form of discrimination. Very few suffer the existential pressure cooker facing Israeli society. But, hey,just to be scholarly, you might wish to compare employment, health and literacy outcomes for Israel’s non-Jewish minorities with indigenous Australians, north Americans or New Zealanders. Or might that get uncomfortable?

    Yet, only Israel suffers the ideological propaganda pogroms from the left and right, nationalist arabs and muslim fundamentalists. Only Israelis get called nazis, their state called a nazi state. Now isn’t that an interesting piece of projection (or guilt transfer). As allegedly critical academics you might wish to enquire why?

    Maybe you should get someone to translate “ebrei ai forni” for you and then have a look who – fascists, islamists and “anti-zionist leftists” alike felt comfortable marching in rallies in Italy where that slogan was in evidence. All you can think of is Pauline Hanson … . How provincial.

  13. llwynn says:

    Hi Peter, thanks for your comment. Not sure what you mean when you say “no analysis” — I guess you mean “no analysis of the type I’d like to see.”

    I find it amusing that you seem to use the phrase “anti-colonialists” as though it were an insult. I think that most of us who contribute to Khaldoun would be proud to claim to be anti-colonialists: here in Australia, in Israel, and in the Sudan, to name just a few places we’ve posted about.

    And the claim that Israel is the only Middle Eastern or North African country with academic excellence is patently absurd. What you may mean is that they’re the only country in the region with academic excellence where many of the scholars publish in English in journals read by North American, European and antipodean audiences. Clearly nobody who is a scholar of the region would make such a grotesquely uninformed sweeping claim about the intellectual vibrance of so many countries.

    – L.L. Wynn

    PS How delightful that you have called us provincial! Since I’m American and only came to Australia a couple of years ago (after spending 1/3 of my life living outside of the U.S.), this seems to be a fine indication that I am assimilating well.

  14. mustafa ramadan says:

    Zionist Mantras
    To Peter
    21-June 2009
    The core of the Palestinian problem is the creation of Israel on the skulls of the Palestinians and usurping their land since 1948 and up to now. It is destroying the Palestinian nation and society. It is demolishing 500 of their villages in and after 1948 and the current demolishing of their homes and stealing their land. It is harassing them and humiliating them and treating them as third class citizens.
    So, talking about Israel’s democracy after committing all these atrocities and injustices is terribly funny and annoying.

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