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Ideas, personal, opinion and the unclassifiable



title. My elusive pain

published. Aeon Mag

quote. "The widespread marginalisation and discrimination against Arabs and Muslims during those days meant that I started thinking politically about my ancestors, and me through them. I grew aware of living historically and I learned that pain encapsulates a somatic parable for the complicated lives of North Africans in France."

title. Blood Antiquities, Arab Tears

published. Ploughshares


title. Underneath the Volcano: Why Structural Factors of Fragility, Conflict, and Violence Matter

published. World Bank Blogs

quote. "This web of connections between past and present, structural, and more acute experiences of state formation and contestations, illustrates that societies are not frozen in time—they live, breathe, and evolve. They also remember."

title. Haiti Is a Cautionary Tale for Any Earthquake Recovery

published. Democracy for the Arab World Now

quote. "When confronted with the painful images coming out of Turkey, Syria and now Morocco, I consider what changed and what didn't from 13 years ago."

title. Good Riots, Bad Riots

published. The Aidem

quote. "But when people celebrate an aggrandised version of France; they do so on the back of a very historical event that highlights recent contradictions."

title. Finding Zenobia

published. Adi Magazine

quote. "I often think about the shipwrecks; it’s hard not to. I imagine the passengers’ dread, distress, hunger, impatience, and their last breaths, as they visit the forgotten depths of Atlantis. Locally, we know these one-way voyages as harga which means burning."

title. Postcard from Jeddah

published. The New Arab

quote. "These are the memories that flashed before me when I came across the photo that represents so eloquently the betrayal and vestiges of those days."

title. Paul Klee's Tunisia Epiphanies and the Gravitational Pull of the Sublime

published. Democracy for the Arab World Now

quote. "Stars are human friends—hundreds of them were named by Islamic astronomers, consigned for many in Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi's 10th-century astronomy text, The Book of Fixed Stars."



title. Exile and life: Harissa encompasses Tunisian heritage

published. The New Arab

quote. "I first came across garlands of sun-dried red chilli peppers during my first visit to Tunisia, my father’s native country, when I was child and we drove around the countryside."

title. La harissa, or rouge tunisien, patrimoine culturel immatériel de l’humanité

published. Middle East Eye (FR)

quote. "L’occupation espagnole au XVIe siècle de la région de Tunis ainsi que l’expulsion des morisques d’Espagne au XVIIe ont initié puis développé l’implantation du piment et de la harissa en Tunisie."

title. North of North Africa

published. Berfrois

quote. "I confront the multi-layered meaning of being one more other, barbarian, and savage body strolling through these fields. I whisper—sounds, blurred incantations—between tired breaths, my heart opened to a Carthaginian Sea, a Punic continent worshipping Tanit, Baal, Astarte…"

title. Pliny Redux

published. The Georgia Review

quote. "I splashed myself with the bucket for a last time. The child giggled and his friends joined him; I was an overruled adult taking the space of their playground. On the way back to the house, with a towel covering my shoulders and the wet modesty cloak in my hand, I paid attention to my feet and refrained from a last profane glance at the sky. Something had transformed the dirty path—lit from the constellation of an immeasurable past—stars that are but no longer, with their lengthy sigh as their brightness grows and dies. One day, I will run out of fuel too."  

title. For the Berlin Biennale, decolonisation is nothing more than a catchy slogan

published. The New Arab

quote. "The show glides over localness and reminds that these surveys of contemporary art are global profitable events geared to a largely white gaze and audience, not artist-driven dialogue of equal voices and disruptive counter-narratives."

title. Court of Nothing

published. The Markaz Review, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "Fathers, sing, sing / Restless, angry, I stand at a graveyard of cyanic pity / Cards of magic, a curse of plenty shuffling / A last dance of our headless mass / To the streets!"

title. White gold: Why Tunisians love floral waters

published. Middle East Eye

quote. "I remember seeing plenty of fechkas in my family’s house in Tunisia. As a child, I wasn’t allowed to touch them, because they were so valuable."

title. Posidonia oceanica: The sea plant protecting life in and around the Mediterranean

published. Middle East Eye

quote. "Posidonia oceanica, therefore, is imbued with a symbolism that speaks to great mythical floods, submerged dreams of eternity, and mysteries of wonderful creatures, such as mermaids."

title. Egyptomania: Enough with the West's mummy obsession

published. The New Arab

quote. "This sadly points out to a deeper problem, which is that the West commonly prefers our past to our present and conveniently adores our dead more than our living bodies – especially if they commit the crime of leaving hardship in their homelands for a better life. We’re more endearing as bizarre creatures than relatable humans."

title. No Stone Unturned

published. Berfrois

quote. "The sun blinds me. I’m getting tired. In this sepia universe, it’s as if the wall has absorbed the missing colours of nature. The wind, gentle at first, now roars and pinches my face on the hill’s summit. The slopes are unforgiving but each stone, tree, mound and flying bird whisper that the limitless exists; it’s right here, there."



title. What is Guilt?

published. Philosophy Now

quote. "What change would emerge if we also considered prospective responsibility, that is to say, saw the present in the light in the future and what future generations might justly say of our deeds, individual or collective? If one chooses accountability, duty, and bearing responsibility, then living the ‘consciousness of guilt’ that Jaspers describes can be a transformative and healthy incarnation of self-awareness."

title. In Combourg (On Chateaubriand)

published. Berfrois

quote. "I meandered my way through the medieval city streets of Saint-Malo until I climbed stony stairs down a beach where young people played football and volleyball and older people sunbathed. On that late September afternoon, the last hours of summer were kind and offered a different vista than the regular storms and restless waves which had lulled Chateaubriand to sleep before his encounter with Combourg’s nightly, spectral terrors."

title. Pandemic Diversions: On the Modern Day Myths and Freaky Folktales of The Siberian Times

published. Literary Hub (LitHub)

quote. "I’ve looked for a mental escape this past year; and I found one, a perfect antidote to the anguish, in a meta-space opposing the many non-places surrounding me. I could momentarily lose myself in cognitive dissonance limbo. The Siberian Times is, in a way, an endless book of fiction in serialized form, where pretense is at times convincing enough to fool, where no narrator is truly reliable."

title. In Yemen, Women are the Heroes

published. The Markaz Review, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "Katyusha rockets, she whispered in a broken voice. By then, after a few weeks of war, we had become experts at distinguishing artillery sounds, suicide bombings and air strikes. I heard her sobbing and shrieking when rockets landed nearer to her building. We stayed on the phone silent for a while until she said, I think it stopped now. At that time, the Saudi-led coalition waged a street-by-street battle to retake control Aden from the Houthis and my friend’s home was right in the middle."

title. The Jasmine Revolution: Requiem for a Spring

published. The Markaz Review, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "It’s happening, I told everyone. It’s happening! We were the children of Harun Al-Rasheed’s exuberant tales, the children of his Ali Baba and we would retake stolen treasures from the thieves. I wanted to see you again and measure how tall you’d become. I imagined a future."


title. Bahamut, or the Salt of the Earth

published. The Markaz Review, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "Each visit brought greater oddity and unfamiliarity. I’ve concluded in my mind that the Dead Sea is an abnormality, a problem. To understand why, I went back to the past, to myths and recollections."

title. Into the Darkest Moment of a Dark Year Comes the Saturnalia, a Time for Drinking, Swearing, Gambling, and the Circle of Life

published. Religion Dispatches

quote. "There’s nothing more appropriate to reflect on in a pandemic year of grief which has forced us to reconsider fragility, finitude and time. During these shorter days and longer nights, as we may or may not put up a Christmas tree in our homes, we can think of ancient rites and mythology as a guiding light amid uncertainties."

title. We Need Air. Now.

published. The Philosophical Salon, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books, and a commentary published in Philosophie Magazine (in French)

quote. "A purple cloud carries Air, and he is surrounded by other purple clouds and various birds, against a royal blue sky. Air extends his gaze towards a green chameleon sitting on its right hand. The animal stands for an ethereal symbol of all-seeing. Collart modelled his prints on an art piece painted by his contemporary Maerten de Vos, which one can admire at the Prado Museum in Spain. In the oil original, called “The Air” a draped divine figure reminiscent of Aeolus, the keeper of winds, no longer looks to his chameleon pet but gazes into a higher distance. His background contains no blue sky, and the saturating clouds point to a single source of light – the sun? paradise?"

title. Our Tunisian Summer

published. Newlines Magazine (followed by a Live event)

quote. "Even my father had never been that far away from the Gulf of Tunis – or from Paris. We had never before spent so much time together, and I leaned back and listened to the stories he told and held my arm out the window and felt the wind. It was divine."

title. Nietzsche in Gramercy Park

published. 10:30pm Midsummer Night

quote. "On my latest stroll to Gramercy, early morning this time to apply new social distancing recommendations, I soaked in the sun, commanding from the eastern side. It casted zebra stripes on the familiar bloc."

title. An Impossible Joy

published. BestDamnWriting

quote. "My name, happy and cheerful, became a place of caustic coordinates and destruction. It no longer embraced mysterious corridors of Persian palaces pre-1979. It was all tints of lapis against dusty villages. A new mission to empower Afghan women through tanks and democracy. It would begin in Farah."

title. In Bangkok with A.

published. The Philosophical Salon, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "The sand from Siwa carried his mystery. I woke up before dawn. During the week between Christmas and the New Year, desert nights iced my limbs and skeleton. The sky turned purple, an oasis laid under an irenic spell. I left my squeaky bicycle against one of the mud fences. I broke into the Temple of Ammon through an unintended passage. There was no one; the tours would cram the main entrance gate in several hours. In the courtyard, the same venue he had walked in, the sun began to rise."

title. Looking for the Signs

published. The Nonconformist

quote. "The Empire State Building dressed in red imitates the flashing light of an ambulance beacon in a nod to first responders. Sirens resonate, always more disturbingly than their regular pre-pandemic occurrence, annunciating a wave of fresh martyrs. They used to howl eerily before too, but who remembers that?"

title. Solitude, Dasein, and a Pandemic

published. The Philosophical Salon, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "Being-towards-death is at the heart of Dasein, for as soon as we exist, we are bound to die. This is hardly a novel idea, but one which could be traced back to oriental philosophies. In my certainty of death, I carry the future, and I am an existential embodiment of time. The future, through death and possibilities, is a driving force; it opens itself in the present."

title. Coronavirus isolation is an opportunity to face our fear of death, and make peace with ourselves (Op-Ed)

published. South China Morning Post

quote. "The Meditations opens with Aurelius thanking friends, the gods, peers and family, all listed in a gratitude-filled prelude. He encourages us to “clear the clouds from the mind”. This is not a bad start, as confinement measures spread across cities, countries and continents, forcing unintended occurrences of daunting reflection."

title. Down the Ganga

published. Mekong Review

quote. "Travelers have fallen to various ailments when confronted to altering experiences impossible to transcribe – the Stendhal syndrome, the Jerusalem syndrome, for some even, a Paris syndrome. I had never heard of a Varanasi syndrome before, yet my incapacity to attain closure might be this abstract missing piece, self-attributed to an elusive oceanic feeling, triggered by a river that carries the divine."


title. What does the G7 in France have to do with Cambodia? (Op-Ed)

published. Phnom Penh Post

quote. "The G7 discussions recalled significant short to medium-term global risks which could directly exacerbate Cambodia’s existing vulnerabilities and slow down the progress towards the reduction of inequalities – a global recession and accelerated climate change."

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