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Inicio arrow Representaciones Árabes contemporáneas arrow Critical discourses and political thinking

Critical discourses and political thinking

Direction: Gema Martín Muñoz
Venue: Arteleku-Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa, Kristobaldegi, 14 Loiola E-20014 [Donostia. Gipuzkoa]
Date: 14th - 19th of June 2004
Participants: Salima Ghezali, Aboubakr Jamai, Michel Khleifi, Gema Martín Muñoz, Rafael Ortega, Tariq Ramadan, Eyal Sivan, Nadia Yassine




© Randa ShaathContemporary Arab Representations is a long-term project that includes seminars, publications, performances and presentations of work by various authors ­visual artists, architects, writers, poets and intellectuals, but also leading personalities from the political and social sphere­ with the aim of facilitating the production, circulation and exchange of ideas between the various cultural centres of the Arab world and the rest of the world. This project, then, aims to deal with a variety of situations and contexts that are conflictive and at odds on occasions, to acquire more accurate knowledge of what is currently happening in various regions of the Arab world, to consider the complex aesthetic dimensions of social and political situations, and to help us reflect more deeply on the role played by cultural practices in our own countries today, in the situation that we are in.

The project began with a seminar devoted to Beirut/Lebanon that was first held at the International University of Andalusia (UNIA) (22nd -26th of October 2001) and continued at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart with a discussion (7th -9th of February 2002) and a dossier published by Zehar magazine at Arteleku, in San Sebastián (February 2002). After passing through the Antoni Tàpies Foundation as an exhibition (3rd May­14th July 2002), the following phases of the project took place at the Witte de With in Rotterdam (15th of September-24th of November 2002), and then, coinciding with the worsening of the situation caused by the violent cynical dismantling of Iraq and the emergence of another colonial occupation in the region, a temporary presentation of Contemporary Arab Representations was held at the Venice Biennial, where it was conceived as an information platform and a possible meeting point that might allow going beyond this. This wasn't just a restaging of previous phases of the project nor was it an exhibition either; it was more a project of projects, in which a certain number of authors presented works in progress and documentation connected with their research.

Within the general framework of Contemporary Arab Representations, Arteleku will be offering a series of discussion forums and public lectures with various leading personalities from the world of Arab politics and culture under the title of Contemporary Arab representations. Critical discourses and political thinking, coordinated by Gema Martín Muñoz, as well as a presentation of various pieces of work from the Beirut-Lebanon and Cairo-Egypt exhibitions. This seminar aims to debate - with leading personalities involved in the different spheres of discussion- many of the questions that run through our relations with the Arab world, the Middle East and Islam: the consequences of the occupation of Iraq and the Palestinian territories; an analysis of the political evolution in this region to find a way out of the crisis; the role played by the international community and the western powers, as well as the role it should play; a study of the political parties and the options that represent a political alternative at the moment; the role of Islam in this alternative; the role of human rights and also opinions on the "War on Terrorism".



From the 14th to the 19th of June 2004
Place: Arteleku. Lecture hall (Kristobaldegi, 14. Loiola)

The seminar will take place on two different levels:
- Discussion Forums in the mornings exclusively for people who have enrolled for them. These will be given by guest speakers: Eyal Sivan and Michel Khleifi, Salima Ghezali, Aboubakr Jamai, Tariq Ramadan and Nadia Yassine on the subjects to be discussed at the seminar.
- Public lectures in the evenings with free admission.

Simultaneous translation into Spanish will be provided at all the session

Discussion Forums
From the 14th to the 19th of June 2004
· 10:30 a.m.
Attendance by enrolment only


Monday 14th of June 2004
· 6:30 p.m.
Presentation of the Contemporary Arab Representations project by Catherine David, Nuria Enguita and Santiago Eraso
Presentation of the Contemporary Arab Representations/ Critical Discourses and political thinking seminar by Gema Martín Muñoz.
· 7:30 p.m.
Route 181: the recovery of historical memory in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Eyal Sivan and Michel Khleifi.

Tuesday 15th of June 2004
· 7:30 p.m.
Democracy. The rule of law and international politics in the Arab world.
Salima Ghezali.

Wednesday 16th of June 2004
· 7:30 p.m.
Palestine and Iraq: the tragic experience of occupation and its consequences. Aboubakr Jamai.

Thursday 17th of June 2004
· 6:00 p.m.
Being a Muslim in Europe today after the terrorist attacks of the 11th of March.
Tariq Ramadan.

Friday 18th of June 2004
· 7:30 p.m.
Islamist parties and the democratic alternative in Arab countries.
Nadia Yassine.

Saturday 19th of June 2004
· 7:30 p.m.
Contemporary voices in critical Arab thinking
. Video produced and presented by Gema Martín Muñoz and Rafael Ortega.


From the 10th of June to the 30th of September 2004
Place: Exhibition hall in the Kubo Kutxa Kursaal (Av. Zurriola, 1)

The contemporary art Biennial, Manifesta 5, in collaboration with Arteleku-Gipuzkoa Provincial Council will include in its programme the screening of the film:
Route 181, fragments of a journey in Palestine-Israel
, by Eyal Sivan and Michel Khleifi
France 2003
Duration: 270'
[Daily screenings in the original language, subtitled in Basque, Spanish and English. Ask about screening times]

From the 14th to 19th of June 2004
Place: Arteleku. Multipurpose area (Kristobaldegi, 14. Loiola)
Presentation of various works from the Beirut-Lebanon and Cairo-Egypt exhibitions



Salima Ghezali (Bouira, Algeria, 1958)
She is a journalist and writer. She began her career in journalism by publishing the magazine Nissa´ (Women), and since then she has played a highly representative role in the feminist movement in Algeria, as a member of the Association of Women of Europe and the Maghreb and as president of the Association for Women's Emancipation. Alongside these activities she has stood out as an important spokeswoman for democracy human rights and she has played an active part in the political development of her country. In 1994 she began to run the newspaper La Nation, which made her the first woman to edit a newspaper in the Arab world. La Nation was banned by the Algerian government because of its critical analysis and the freedom with which it expressed its views on all matters. She has received various awards for her work in favour of human and women's rights, including: Editor of the Year, New York, 1996; Sakharov Human Rights Award from the European Parliament, 1997; International Alfons Comín award and the Olof Palme Award, 1997. She has written the books Sherezade's lovers (Ed. Martínez De Roca, 1999) and The darkness of war: Algeria and Kosovo (Christianity and Justice, 1999), as well as several books of poetry.

Aboubakr Jamai (Morocco)
He is the editor of the Moroccan weeklies Le Journal Hebdomadaire and Assahifa al Ousbouiya, that are noted for their independence and critical spirit. They produce the most important professional and investigative journalism in Morocco today. In 2003 he won the International Press Freedom Prize, awarded by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists in New York.

Michel Khleifi (Nazareth - Galilee, Palestine, 1950)
He studied theatre at the National Institute of the Performing Arts (INSAS) in Brussels, where he currently teaches cinema. He has made and produced several documentaries and fictional films. His work has been awarded various prizes at international festivals, including: the International Critics' Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Shell at the San Sebastián Film Festival in 1987, with the film Noces en Galilée (Wedding in Galilee). He has written, directed and produced a number of films, including: La mémoire fertile, (The fertile memory) 1980; Maaloul fête sa destruction, (Maaloul celebrates his destruction) 1985; Noces en Galilée, 1986; Cantique des Pierres (Song of the Stones) 1990; L'Ordre du Jour, (The business of the day) 1992; Conte des trois diamants (Tale of 3 diamonds), 1994/5; Mariages interdits en Terre Sainte, (Forbidden marriages in the Holy Land) 1995. Between 1978 and 1981 he produced and directed a series of weekly documentaries for the programme À suivre for Belgian television (RTBF). In 1998 he produced and directed the play La Fuite au Paradis (The Flight to paradise) for the Festival of the Arts (Brussels).

Gema Martín Muñoz (Madrid, 1955)
She is professor of Sociology of the Arab and Islamic World at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Her main field of study are the political processes of social change in Arab and Muslim countries, in which she has stayed on many occasions to carry out research. She has taken part as an international observer in electoral processes in Algeria, Palestine, Egypt and Iran. She has also carried out research on the Muslim dimension of immigration in Spain. She is a founder member of the Network On Comparative Research On Islam and Muslims In Europe, coordinated by the Religion and Secularism Sociology Group at the Sorbonne University in Paris. She writes articles expressing her opinions on subjects concerning the Arab and Islamic world for the newspaper El País, and she is the author of numerous publications, including: Politics and elections in modern Egypt (1922-1990) (AECI, 1992); Islam, Modernism and the West (IB Tauris, 1999); The Arab State: Crisis of legitimacy and the Islamist opposition (Edicions Bellaterra, 2000); Iraq, a Western failure (1920-2003) (Tusquets, 2003), and Moroccans in Spain. A study on their integration (Fundación Repsol, 2003).

Rafael Ortega (Valencia, 1963)
He is graduated in History at Valencia University. From 1988 to 1995 he lived in Cairo, where he worked as an Arab translator and interpreter and taught translation at Cairo University. He then moved to Granada, where he worked until 2004 as a translator in the Arab Service of the EFE Agency. He is currently preparing his doctoral thesis on political Islam in Sudan at Granada University. He collaborates with various Arab media and his work as a translator has led him to work and get to know various countries such as Yemen, Sudan or Egypt.

Tariq Ramadan (Geneva, Switzerland, 1962)
He is graduated in Philosophy and French Literature and earned a doctorate in Arab Islamology at Geneva University. He went on to study Islamic Sciences in greater depth in Cairo (1992-1993). He was Dean of Geneva College from 1988 to 1992, and during this period he founded and presided over the Association for the promotion of "solidarity-based pedagogy " (Cooperation Coup de Main). At the moment, he teaches philosophy at Geneva College. For several years he has been heavily involved in the debate on Islam in Europe and the world, and has taken part in several work groups in Europe connected with this subject, among which it is worth mentioning: Deutsche Orient-Institut, British Council, Vienna Peace Summit, Barcelona 2004. He is a specialist advisor on various committees dependent on the Parliament in Brussels and a member of the Secularism and Islam Commission of the French Education League. His publications include: Globalisation, Muslim Resistances (Tawhid, 2003); Les musulmans d'Occident et l'avenir de l'Islam (Western Muslims and the future of Islam) (Actes sud, 2003); Les Musulmans dans la Laïcité, responsabilités et droits des musulmans dans les sociétés occidentales (Muslims in secularism, responsibilities and rights in Western societies) (Tawhid, 1994); Islam, le face à face des civilisations, Quel projet pour quelle modernité? (Islam, the clash of civilisations, what project for what modernity?) (Les Deux Rives, 1995); Être Musulman Européen (Being a European Muslim) (C. Dabbak, Tawhid, 1999); Aux sources du renouveau musulman, un siècle de réformisme islamique (To the sources of the Muslim revival, a century of Islamic reformism) (Bayard-Centurion, 1998); Muslims in France (Islamic Foundation, 1999); Entre l'Homme et son coeur (Between man and his heart) (Tawhid, 2000); De l'Islam (About Islam) (Tawhid poche, 2002); Musulmans d'Occident, construire et contribuer (Muslims in the West, constructing and contributing) (Tawhid poche, 2002); La foi, la voie, la résistance (Faith, path, resistance) (Tawhid poche, 2002); Dar ash-shahada, l'Occident, espace du témoignage (The West, a space for testimony) (Tawhid poche, 2002); Jihad, violence guerre et paix en islam (Jihad, violence, war and peace in Islam) (Tawhid poche, 2002); Les Musulmans d'Occident et l'Avenir de l'Islam (Western Muslims and the Future of Islam) (Actes Sud, 2003).

Eyal Sivan (Haifa, Israel, 1964)
He grew up in Jerusalem, and moved to France in 1985. He has produced and directed numerous documentaries; many of which have been awarded prizes at international festivals. In 1987 he made his first film Aqabat Jaber, vie de passage on the displaced Palestinian communities and he received the Grand Jury Prize at the Cinéma du Réel festival, at the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris. His documentaries include: Izkor, les esclaves de la mémoire, (Izkor, the slaves of memory) 1991; Israland, 1991; Itgaber, le triomphe sur soi, (Itgaber, the triumph over oneself) 1993; Jérusalems, le syndrome borderline, 1994; Aqabat-Jaber, paix sans retour? (Aqabat-Jaber, Peace for ever?), 1995; Populations en danger, 1996; Burundi, sous la terreur y Itsembatsemba, Rwanda un génocide plus tard, (Burundi, under the terror and itsembatsemba, Rwanda, a genocide later) 1997; Un specialiste, (A specialist) 1999; Au sommet de la descente, (At the top of the descent) 2001. In 1988 he made some television advertisements for the Progressive List for Peace, in Israel. Together with Rony Brauman he wrote the book Éloge de la désobéissance (In praise of disobedience) (Ed. Le Pommier/ Fayard). Through his publications, lectures and work as a filmmaker he has taken an interest in the political use of memory in Israel, civil disobedience and the exploitation of genocide and its representation.

Nadia Yassine (Casablanca, Morocco, 1958)
She is the spokeswoman and head of the women's section of the Moroccan Islamist movement Justice et spiritualité (Justice and Spirituality) and the daughter of Sheik Abdesalam Yassin, the leader and founder of this movement whose aims are: to promote dialogue between cultures, to prepare a non-violent alternative to the rise of xenophobic madness in different communities, to serve the cause of women and promote a comprehensive interpretation of Islam. She graduated in Political Science at Fez University (Morocco), has taken part in various congresses and international forums and has given numerous lectures in Paris, Lyon, Brussels, Chambery, accepting invitations from various associations. She is the author of the book Toutes voiles dehors (Alter Editions, 2003) and works with various media where she writes articles providing political analysis.