Pop Culture and Social Media in the Arab World

I was interviewed by Terrance Mintner about Pop Culture and Social Media in the Arab World. Here are excerpts of the interview: 

Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, a Beirut-based writer and activist, told The Media Line that young people in the Arab world are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp and Snapchat at an increasingly faster rate despite government controls and restrictions.

“Several studies conducted in the last decade have shown that pop culture and social media have helped Arab youth express and promote alternative political and social discourses and practices to the ‘official, normative, and institutional’ ones,” she said.

Although social media offers opportunities for creative expression and interaction, Chrabieh explained, there are many young people who must use these mediums while constantly negotiating complex and layered pressures to maintain online identities that meet the expectations of their societies, especially in the Gulf region.

“Fageeh’s work [generating online videos, for example] is one of many initiatives in the Arab world that addresses social and political issues. In fact, there has been an explosion of artistic and cultural productions since the 2000s in the forms of music, poetry, theater, graffiti, movies, etc.,” Dr. Chrabieh noted.

“There are of course cultural icons or ‘figureheads’ but we are witnessing the rise and proliferation of cultural democratization and transnational cultures [global cultures], especially when it comes to street art, videos and digital expression.”

Popular culture in the Arab world should not be viewed as byproduct of the Arab Spring, she explained. Even before the uprisings, it played a significant role in creating social and political transformations in response to what she termed “Ottoman and European colonialization.

“Lastly, it is hard to characterize Arab pop culture as one category given the diverse political institutions, regional history and the many different discourses about identity. Nevertheless, popular culture can help make sense of this complexity.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Du choc des titans et de la culture de la guerre

Mon article paru ce matin dans l’Orient-le-Jour (Beyrouth – Liban) sur la nécessité de déconstruire la culture de la guerre et d’édifier une culture de la paix. C’est le énième article que je publie sur ce sujet depuis les années 90. La guerre est continue au Liban. Elle n’est pas que physique, elle est surtout psychologique et culturelle.

Voilà des années que le Liban vit au rythme de guerres de paroles, de mémoires meurtries, d’identités meurtrières, d’autoritarisme et de crises sociopolitique, économique et environnementale.

Dans cette saga libanaise aux allures de choc de titans, les héros ont bel et bien disparu, laissant la place aux fanatiques, démagogues, corrompus, méduses, sorcières du Styx, montagnes de détritus, scorpions monstrueux, sacrifices humains et maléfices de Hadès.

Près de trois décennies après la fin des combats, il est triste de constater que le pays n’est pas en mode « postguerre ». En fait, la guerre est continue, et les leçons qui auraient dû être tirées n’ont pas pu l’être, justement parce qu’une véritable construction de la paix n’a pas eu lieu, et ce en dépit des initiatives de certains groupes et individus œuvrant pour la convivialité et un système sociopolitique aconfessionnel assurant l’unité dans la diversité des voix(es) libanaises. Une chose est de faire taire les canons, de faire disparaître les frontières territoriales et de constamment faire miroiter bonheur et prospérité ; une autre est de renouer le contact entre les communautés et d’établir des liens solides au-delà des dissensions et des clivages.

Comment penser et vivre une catharsis salutaire lorsque le Kraken de la culture de la guerre constitue la toile de fond du Liban contemporain? Cette culture s’impose comme réalité du quotidien physique et virtuel. Avec son cortège de djinns et de démons, elle enflamme les esprits, sème la zizanie et ravage les vies. Elle est à la fois le produit et le producteur de choc de titans, un cercle vicieux formé d’oppresseurs et d’opprimés, d’accapareurs de pouvoir, de démunis et de boucs émissaires.

Chaque instant qui passe sous l’emprise de la culture de la guerre creuse davantage le fossé entre Libanais, sanctifie l’assassinat du semblable et du différent, transforme le meurtre en devoir, banalise les suicides individuel et collectif, et interdit toute réflexion critique, toute évolution et toute richesse émanant de la diversité.

Tant que la culture de la guerre sévit dans les cœurs, les criminels continueront de perpétrer leurs crimes et les victimes de mourir par omission. Tant que cette culture existe, l’étripage des dieux se poursuivra. Tant que l’hégémonie culturelle est celle de la guerre et non de la paix, on ne pourra garder l’espoir face aux bouchons inextricables du passé et à la léthargie étouffante du présent, révéler les non-dits, muer la douleur en souvenir fondateur et retenir la principale leçon de la guerre, de toute guerre : qu’elle ne se reproduise plus.

SOURCE: https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1157956/du-choc-des-titans-et-de-la-culture-de-la-guerre.html

CAFCAW Meeting in Jordan: Working for the Renewal of Religious Thought in the Arab World

It’s a wrap! #CAFCAW meeting @Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa, Jordan, January 2019 
CHRISTIAN ACADEMIC FORUM FOR CITIZENSHIP IN THE ARAB WORLD
– FOUNDING MEMBERS/BOARD
لتجديد الفكر والخطاب الديني في العالم العربي وتعزيز الوجود الفعال المسيحي والعمل من أجل مواطنة الوحدة في التنوع وكرامة الإنسان


Dr. Atef Gendy, Dr. Victor Makari, Maya Khadra, Dr. Mitri Raheb, Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, Mary Mikhael
Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people sitting, table and indoor

Successful International Conference held on Migration in/from the Arab World

The International Conference “A Century of Migration, Displacement and Diaspora: Demographic Shifts in the Arab World 1917-2017” convened in Limassol-Cyprus (November 30- December 3, 2017) and was hosted by the Bethlehem-based Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in collaboration with the Christian Academic Forum for Citizenship in the Arab World (CAFCAW).

Academic researchers from 11 countries and 24 regional and international universities participated in the conference” that provided a forum for sharing numerous approaches of migration studies in an ecumenical and intercultural atmosphere. Papers ranged from demographic and socio-economic researches to anthropological and political analyses, and religious/spiritual responses to changing contexts.

The first session on Lebanon and Syria introduced the audience to the refugee crisis in Lebanon, and forced migration and international law with a special focus on the Syrian refugee crisis. The second session on Sweden was about the identity and mission of expatriate/diaspora Churches from the Middle East, and the work with asylum seekers and newly settled persons in the Church of Sweden’s Parishes in 2015 and 2016. The third session, dedicated to Germany and Austria, tackled the issues of border discourses, asylum and neo-colonial modernity and Arab refugees in Europe (the German case), Palestinian refugees from Lebanon in Germany – narratives, realities, perspectives: the case of Berlin in the 1980s, a study of failed integration and its consequences -, and Middle Eastern communities in Austria after 2015. The fourth session was about Egypt with a focus on Coptic migrants – immigration and diversity of discourses, followed by “The Parrot” film screening produced by Deema Azar on stories of displacement in 1948 Palestine. The fifth session on the Gulf included the following topics: Art, Peace and Migration in Dubai – the title of my paper -; and Economic migration in the Arabian Gulf: The religious and socio-cultural impact off the Expatriate Church in a multi-national community. The sixth session was about the presentation of the findings of the latest poll regarding the migration of Palestinians from the West Bank. The seventh session was about migration viewed from Europe and the US, and the Humanitarian Corridors project. The last session was dedicated to a Youth Forum on Migration.

Scholars, researchers and activists sparked multilayered debates on current migration situations, dynamics and perceptions in Southwestern Asia, North Africa, Europe and North America. Panel discussions broke away from the norm and shook up the audience.  Stories of empowerment, empathy and cooperation were shared, as well as stories of discrimination, exploitation and marginalization. Certainly, the conference organizers succeeded in facilitating meaningful interchanges of varied viewpoints and brought the participants to a place where they felt confident in expressing their opinions while recognizing the fact that there was still so much that needed to be done.

IMG_20171201_125135_283

IMG_20171201_125135_284
Reverend Mitri Raheb

IMG_20171201_125135_288
Reverend Victor Makari

IMG_20171201_125135_331
Session 1 chaired by Mary Mikhael

IMG_20171201_164900_615
Session II chaired by Hilary Rantisi, and Session III by Martina Wasserloos-Strunk

IMG_20171201_191142_885
Session 4 with Khaled Elsayed

IMG_20171201_203648_953
The Parrot film by Deema Azar

pamela-chrabieh-cafcaw
CAFCAW EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LUNCH – November 30, 2017 with Mitri Raheb, Victor and Peter Makary, Mary Mikhael and Pamela Chrabieh

pamela-chrabieh-cafcaw-2017
CAFCAW EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING with Mitri Raheb, Victor and Peter Makary, Mary Mikhael, Pamela Chrabieh and Maya Khadra

pamela-chrabieh-conference-art-peace-migration-dubai
Session 5 – Gulf – with Pamela Chrabieh on Peace, Migration and Art in Dubai

pamela-chrabieh-cyprus-2017
Dr. Pamela Chrabieh

pamela-chrabieh-cyprus-conference-2017
Pamela Chrabieh, Viola Raheb and Maya Khadra

pamelachrabieh-marymikhael-mayakhadra
Pamela Chrabieh, Mary Mikhael and Maya Khadra

conference-migration-cafcaw-2017
Source: Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture

conference-migration-cyprus-pamela-chrabieh-2017
Source: Reverend Mitri Raheb Facebook Page

conference-cyprus-migration-2017-pamela-chrabieh

 

 

 

 

Youth and Citizenship in the Arab World

facebook_1480754550990

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at AUD Dr. Pamela Chrabieh and a member of the Christian Academic Forum for Citizenship in the Arab World (CAFCAW) Executive Committee met her peers and presented a communication on the challenges of citizenship at a two-day conference and workshop held in Cyprus on Youth and Citizenship in the Arab World.

This initiative followed a series of academic gatherings, international conferences and youth workshops in 2014, 2015 and 2016 in Lebanon, Egypt, Cyprus and Turkey, co-organized by CAFCAW and Diyar’s Consortium – CAFCAW is one of Diyar’s initiatives. It gathered more than 60 young academics and activists and included trainings and conferences tackling the issues of citizenship and youth initiatives.

Four young activists and social change makers were awarded Best Citizenship Awards: Yorgui Teyrouz from Lebanon for ‘Donner sang compter’, a non-governmental organization which promotes responsible citizenship through raising awareness on and encouraging safe blood transfusions in Lebanon. The second place went to Randa Farah from Lebanon for Lebtivity, a social events calendar that gathers people from different socio-economic backgrounds and religions. Two projects shared the third place: Ghadeer Najjar from Palestine for her research and upcoming publication to preserve Bethlehem’s social and architectural history, and Peter Magdy from Egypt for empowering marginalized groups.

According to Dr. Chrabieh: “youth in the Arab World are facing numerous challenges, including unemployment with a 30 to 35% rate (compared to a global rate of 14%), political oppression in most countries, socio-economic disparities, gender injustice, corruption, forced migration, physical and psychological wars, etc. However, young Arabs positively engaged in their societies and in diaspora are many. They are change makers who offer an alternative to the disenchantment nowadays experienced at different levels. This alternative, as I mentioned it in previous publications and conferences, is about taking small, varied, contextual and diffuse but continuous steps, and about recognizing and appreciating the many lights that help us walk through the tunnel.’

President of Diyar’s Consortium Dr. Mitri Raheb comments: “one out of five youth in the Arab World belong to the creative class. The Arab world has seen a surge in the arts, encompassing film, visual art, poetry, and music.”

University enrollment in the occupation-torn Palestine exceeds that of Hong Kong. Female university graduates outnumber male graduates in the Arab world. In the UAE female count to 70% of the student body; 77 % of Emirati women are educated. Globally 10% of entrepreneurs are women, in Lebanon over 30%. 60-80% of the people in the Arab world used to work in the public sector. In 2012, 55% of Arab youth wanted a public sector job, in 2014 only 43%. The Arab world experienced a surge in higher education: since the early 2000s the number of universities in the Arab region has doubled from 178 to 398, if one adds colleges and institutes, the number rises to 1139. This is higher than the population growth. There is hope in spite of all challenges. It is imperative to combat the image of the violent Arab youth and to replace it with that of the creative class,” he continued.

pamela-chrabieh-and-maya-khadrapamela-chrabieh-cafcaw-cyprus-2016

Shifting Identities, Changes in the Social, Political and Religious Structures in the Middle East

Proud to have contributed to this wonderful collective work and excited about its publication:

This book contains the proceedings of the International conference, “Shifting Identities: Changes in the social, political, and religious structures in the Middle East”, which was held in Cyprus in July 2015. The conference brought together around 50 professors, historians, theologians, social scientists and researchers from over 15 countries including Europe, the USA, and the Middle East. Case studies from Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, and Sweden were presented. Some of these case studies focused on particular community like the Armenians, Syrian orthodox, or Protestants while others studies chose to tackle issues like feminism or Arabism in the Middle East. Several of the articles struggled theologically to find a meaning to what is happening in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring showing a way forward. Shifting identities is not a pure theoretical exercise but are related to shifts that were experienced by several of the authors in the course of their biographical journeys.

Edited By Dr. Mitri Raheb, Diyar, 2016.shifting-identities-pamela-chrabieh

For more information: AMAZON.COM

 

Policy, Global Citizens and World Peace. Case studies: Lebanon, Canada and the UAE

Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Dr. Pamela Chrabieh was invited as a special guest speaker to give a lecture entitled “Policy, Global Citizens and World Peace: How can Governments influence policy to create better Global citizens and work towards World Peace? Case studies: Lebanon, Canada and the United Arab Emirates”.

Dr. Chrabieh introduced first her audience to the concepts of policy, glocal citizen instead of global citizen and the peace process as she defined it based on four interdependent dynamics: peacekeeping, peacemaking, peacebuilding and inner peace. She then identified the major core values that drive or should drive Lebanese and Canadian foreign policies such as interreligious dialogue, democracy, human rights and interculturalism. She also tackled the issue of internal policy while focusing on the social-political diversity management systems in Lebanon, Canada and the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Chrabieh concluded with the UAE Ministry of Tolerance as an important example of how peace can be adopted as the organizing frame for governments’ policies.

“Tolerance is one of the major pillars in preserving and expanding peace. Definitely, citizens and expatriates are called to be agents of peace, peace builders, and to help the government in its task, first internally, and second, in exporting the model outside of the Emirati boundaries. Dubai in particular, where hundreds of ethnicities, religious and cultural identities are learning to coexist and more, to live with one another – just like we are trying to do at the American University in Dubai -, where glocal identities are reshaping their belongings and relationships, promises to offer this model to the region, and to the world.”

The Harvard College in Asia Program (HCAP) is an initiative in which Harvard University partners with higher education institutions in Asia to tackle key issues relevant to today’s world of increasing challenges, while simultaneously expanding the cultural and educational horizons of participating student delegates. This year’s Conference theme organized by the HCAP at the American University in Dubai is “Equality, Tolerance and Freedom: the Effect of Culture and Policy on a Globalized World.”

20160314_134038
SOURCE:

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN DUBAI NEWS: http://www.aud.edu/news_events/en/view/1164/current_upcoming/policy-global-citizens-and-world-peace