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Book Review: De Niro's Game by Rawi Hage
Cultureby Susan Abraham

44-year old Rawi Hage, a Lebanese journalist and an emigrant to Canada once lived through nine horrifying years of the tragic Beirut war. In later life, the author would rely on a similar tale featuring both discord and enlightenment in his debut novel and world bestseller, De Niro's Game. He would go on to win the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for 2008 early this year.

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Book Review: Sharon and my Mother-in-Law (Ramallah Diaries) by Suad Amiry
Cultureby Susan Abraham

Women friendships may often afford themselves from unlikely places.

If I had earlier trekked the tempestuous and highly rebellious schoolgirl friendships in Rajaa Alsanea's Girls of Riyadh, I would then find myself an awed guest at Asya's kitchen table in Elif Shafak's The Bastard of Istanbul where a noisy family of Turkish women ruled a household complete with a high clamour of quarrels, mishaps and feasts that masqueraded as mealtime rituals.

Note: Sharon and my Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries is available at Amazon.com and other booksellers.
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Barack Obama Now Holds Historic Lead Among Arab American Voters
NewsWASHINGTON - October 28, 2008 - Democratic candidate Barack Obama's substantial lead among Arab American voters has almost doubled since September. This was one of the findings of a poll of Arab American voters conducted by Zogby International for the Arab American Institute.

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Award-winning Egyptian Filmmaker Youssef Chahine Dies at age 82
NewsBy The Associated Press
July 27, 2008

Youssef Chahine, one of Egypt's most lauded movie directors whose nearly five decades of films went on Fellini-esque flights of fancy and tackled social ills and Islamic fundamentalism, died Sunday in Cairo. He was 82.

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The "Greatest surgeon ever", Lebanese-American Michael DeBakey, Dies at 99
NewsJuly 13, 2008
Michael DeBakey, Rebuilder of Hearts, Dies at 99
The New York Times

Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, whose innovative heart and blood vessel operations made him one of the most influential doctors in the United States, died Friday night in Houston, where he lived. He was 99.

His death at the Methodist Hospital was announced by the hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, where Dr. DeBakey was chancellor emeritus.

“Many consider Michael E. DeBakey to be the greatest surgeon ever,” The Journal of the American Medical Association said in 2005.

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Award-winning Film from Beirut: Caramel
CultureMarch 2, 2008

In Select Cities in the US.
In Beirut, five women meet regularly in a beauty salon, a colorful and sensual microcosm of the city where several generations come into contact, talk and confide in each other. Layale loves Rabih, but Rabih is married. Nisrine is Muslim and her forthcoming marriage poses a problem; she is no longer a virgin. Rima is tormented by her attraction to women and especially to a lovely client with long hair. Jamale is refusing to grow old. Rose has sacrificed her life to take care of her elderly sister. In the salon, their intimate and liberated conversations revolve around men, sex and motherhood, between haircuts and sugar waxing with caramel.

For current schedule, see


Critically acclaimed, and a hit at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, CARAMEL went on to win the Audience Award at The San Sebastian Film Festival. It was Lebanon's Official Submission to the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008).

CARAMEL is an Arab film that is not only directed by a woman, it also features an all-women cast.

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Clinton's Big Lie from Last Night
NewsFriday, February 1, 2008

"We bombed them for days in 1998 because Saddam Hussein threw out

-- Hillary Clinton, Jan. 31, 2008

NORMAN SOLOMON, norman@accuracy.org,

Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, is the author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." He said today: "If facts matter, then it should matter that Hillary Clinton chose to rely on such a basic falsehood during the debate when she flatly stated: 'We bombed them for days in 1998 because Saddam Hussein threw out inspectors.' In fact, just prior to the Clinton administration's several days of bombing Iraq in December 1998, the U.N.'s UNSCOM weapons inspectors left Iraq when UNSCOM head Richard Butler withdrew them -- because the Clinton administration made it clear that the U.S. government was about to start bombing."

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Middle East filmmaking @ Sundance
CultureKarin van der Tak
January 29, 2008

I just came back from the Sundance Film Festival, and I felt compelled to write my experience of Middle East filmmaking that was represented in the mountains of Utah...

The Sundance Film Festival 2008 was a mix of snow, filmmakers from all over the world, celebrities, hundreds of features and shorts and thousands of festival goers. And Middle Eastern filmmaking was present, very present.

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Axis of Evil in the Middle East
CultureThe linked story about Maz Jobrani, Aron Kader, and Ahmed Ahmed's Axis of Evil Comedy Tour aired on NPR on December 21, 2007. After a very successful tour of the US, the 3 comedians took their show to the Middle East.
Comedic Trio Takes Tour to Middle East
from NPR
Morning Edition, December 21, 2007
It's Thursday night at the Casino du Liban.

The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour is warming up for a performance in Beirut, with a bottle of vodka, ACDC's "Back in Black" blaring from one of the dressing rooms and a cheer dedicated to an old Lebanese man who served the comedians homemade arak earlier in the day.

Tonight's show, like preceding performances in Dubai, Kuwait City and Cairo, is sold out. The latest experiment at selling comedy in a conflict-ridden region like the Middle East is a commercial success. Due to high demand, producers have added shows to the tour at the last minute.

Largely because of their mixed heritage, the Axis of Evil comedians can stand in front of an audience of Arabs in a politically and culturally sensitive region, skewer both America and the Middle East, and get away with it.

To listen to or read the rest of this story, and to listen to a few short clips of the comedy, go to

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TSA Hajj Travel Guidance for Pilgrims
NewsADC Update:

Washington, DC | December 11, 2007 | www.adc.org | The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued guidance for travelers performing the Hajj. The advisory describes what to expect at security checkpoints, including preparations that can help travelers move quickly and efficiently through the security process. It notes that pilgrims wishing to bring Zam Zam water, Muslim holy water, should adhere to TSA's liquid regulations by packing it in their checked baggage if the container is larger than three ounces. This important information can be viewed on the TSA website at: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/hajj.shtm

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