Critical Reflections on the recent bombings in Paris (and Beirut and other less known places)



Where Does It Hurt, O City of Light


Upon receiving the news from Paris, I did what I often do in moments of crisis. I turned off the TV — and sat with the grief. I turned, as I often do, to poetry, nature, scripture, and prayer. I retreated to solitude, leaving time for sorrow to sit with me before having to answer the inevitable crush of media speculation.

In those early hours there is no real analysis, only a parroting of ideological perspectives. I find it more fully human to welcome grief, and connect with the humanity of those for whom these tragedies are even more personal, more intimately destructive.

The poem that I turned to was yet again from the amazing Somali-British poet, Warsan Shire:

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered

Everywhere, everywhere. Everybody hurts. It hurts everywhere.

Read full post here:


Research engines and strategies

To sum up what we discussed in class:


Anthrosource is a good search engine to look for some of the most up to date publications in different anthropological journals. You might want to use this site to search a topic then look for the titles in the search engine at Alden.


Annual Reviews of Anthropology

A journal that publishes reviews of literatures. The articles are great maps for navigating the current contributions on a specific topic or place.


Cultural Anthropology journal. I mentioned this a few classes back. In addition to the hot spots that we read in class, the journal is searchable by topic or region.


Open Anthropology is a new initiative by the American Anthropological Association that compiles articles from various  anthropology journals (often cutting across subfields) organized around specific themes. Since this is a new initiative, unfortunately, there are not many thematic issues (and none that applies to our course) but this is useful in general for research purposes for other anthro courses.


The final true and tried strategy is tracing the bibliography of an author that you like. Look at their references cited and pick the titles that seem useful for your project.

Suleima – a Syrian/Lebanese production


Syria/Lebanon, 2014, Colour and B&W, 15 min

Suleima sticks to her convictions. She is a woman in her late forties who joined the Syrian revolution from its beginning. She chooses to separate from her husband, who is also in the opposition, but who disapproves of her activism, and is rejected by her son and daughter when asking for divorce. Both vulnerable and strong Suleima remains true to her stands and carry on with what she sees as acts of solidarity towards her fellow citizens. Twice during sit-ins in Damascus she is detained while trying to rescue protestors from the hands of the security forces and their henchmen. “I’d rather die than see them arresting someone without trying to help” says Suleima.

From Jason

Building the New Egypt

When I was in High school I remember seeing this revolution on the news and thinking how strong these people must be to stand for what their freedom and seeing these images through the television. As I read these articles I see how much of the exposure this got through the form of media and how powerful it can be. This article brings to light how strong media can be when combined with a religious view especially and when it is showed to the population. This article brings to light the want for a cultural change on the Muslim faith and becoming better people in the process. Through these televangelists I saw how strong the youth were enthralled with the revolution as this article speaks about having the next generation change themselves and the environment around them.

Watching Cairo From Beirut

Anthropologist Joanna Randa Nucho was shares an interesting point of perspective also being in a country so close but yet seemed so far distanced from all the chaos. The people she talked to showed that there was hesitation in the country of Lebanon because of the fighting that happened a few decades ago. She also talked about some peoples opinion in Lebanon was that this could only bring suffering and difficulty to the common people. This Anthropologist’s views on the events happening in Cairo showed through her fascination with the research done through the media.

Far Outside Cairo: A Graffiti Campaign to Denounce the SCAF 

Anti-SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) graffiti show how young protesters show their own form of voice with the use of political graffiti. My first reaction to these was the influence from the popular street artist Banksy and how it showed political problems and satire against inhuman treatment. I think this is a very effective way of spreading an idea due to the large number of people in cities and the location of the art, as well as the stand out appearance of the graffiti.

Jadaliyya: A New Form of Producing and Presenting Knowledge in/of the Middle East

Bassam Haddad talks about how the news media format of Jadaliyya came to be made and that there needed to be a middle ground between academic journals and individual blogs about the events happening in the revolution. This new medium would be progressive in fashion as to show a western way of freedom to information without segregation or discrimination. They wanted a format that fitted everyone’s needs and not to have sections of it split up but to have it all at once on the main page, but eventually decided to have country pages to separate the writings from country to county. This new form of media spread throughout and filled a gap and vacuum much needed in the world.

Translating Truths (from Sarah)

I enjoyed reading this article over some of the other readings we’ve been asked to read. I think that this is mostly because I’m also interested in Archaeology but on top of that, I like that it takes a different view point of Israel’s history. Most of the historical background of Israel is based on the knowledge that we have from biblical references or even just a historical aspect. This reading takes the knowledge a little deeper; to be able to associate a spear with a human and imagine a scenario of these two things being, at one time, together.

I also was interested by the process of how to dig and what they’re digging with. When I took a class on archaeology, it was taught when you find the region you’re going to dig, to do so with care. I think of this as I’m reading about them using bulldozers to get into the ground and, honestly, finding it a little amusing. It’s once they find themselves in the level of earth that they begin to use smaller, more expected, tools.

Overall, this read was interesting; I found enjoyment in the different stories and ways to look at this historical region of the world.

Sarah Palmer

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