Tadamon! Statement in solidarity with Al Adab Magazine
The Tadamon! collective wishes to express its full solidarity with Mr. Samah Idriss, editor of Al Adab (“Literature”) Magazine.
About Al Adab
Since its inception in 1953, this important Arabic cultural magazine has played a key role in encouraging progressive thought and debate in the Arab world.
Published in Beirut, Lebanon, Al Adab magazine has become a meeting place for critical reflection on grassroots democratic movements and a platform for voices decrying both colonization and dictatorship throughout the Middle East.
Al Adab creates space for meaningful political dialogue while actively promoting the development of progressive ideas free of the influence of political or religious institutions. As an independent publication, Al Adab does not rely on corporate funding, which allows the magazine the freedom to publish articles and commentary which challenge imperialism in the Arab world. The contributors and editors of this publication use words as weapons against the Israeli apartheid system, the US military occupation of Iraq and the many other situations of social injustice that shape life for many across the Middle East.
The Lawsuit against Samah Idriss, Al Adab’s editor
Tadamon! has followed the lawsuit filed in Lebanon against Al Adab editor Samah Idriss with great interest. Mr. Idriss was sued by Mr. Fakhri Karim, a senior advisor of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, who supports the US occupation of Iraq.
In the spring of 2007, an editorial entitled “A critique of pseudo-critical consciousness: Kurdistan – Iraq: A case in point” appeared in the pages of Al Adab. This article underlined the active complicity of some so-called “progressive” Arab intellectuals with the US military’s ongoing crimes in occupied Iraq. Idriss specifically criticized Karim for remarks he made at a cultural festival in Iraq in which Karim, a so-called “progressive,” praised the US-backed Talabani regime.
Tadamon! was shocked to learn that in March 2010, a Lebanese court found Al Adab editor Samah Idriss guilty of the defamation of Mr. Fakhri Karim due to the content of the aforementioned article.
One of Tadamon’s basic goals is to promote solidarity with progressive movements for social justice in the Middle East. We therefore stand in solidarity with Al Adab Magazine. This case sets a dangerous precedent towards criminalizing critical progressive thought in the Middle East, which would represent a serious step backwards for freedom of speech in the region.
When we consider the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi women, men, and children who have lost their lives since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the reality that the occupation continues to fuel sectarian strife across Iraq, we recognize that Al Adab’s support of a policy of non-cooperation towards US occupation forces is critically important and is in line with the opinions of the vast majority of Iraqis today, who are calling for an immediate withdrawal of occupation forces.
Tadamon’s main project of building local support for the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid is rooted in the collective’s commitment to standing in solidarity with popular movements resisting colonial military occupation in the Middle East. It is this resistance that Al Adab Magazine keeps alive in its articles and it is this resistance which inspires us in our daily work to create a better, more just world.
Solidarity without borders!
Tadamon! August 2010
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