This section contains some highlights from Ali’s writings on a diverse range of topics. Please visit his blog to read more of his work: http://frombeyondthemargins.blogspot.ca/
Reporting From the Inside: Interview with Ali Mustafa
ALI MUSTAFA and STEFAN CHRISTOFF | July 2013
Independent journalist Ali Mustafa traveled to Syria earlier this year to witness the war and provide a firsthand perspective on what is happening on the ground. Stefan Christoff interviewed Ali Mustafa in July 2013 about his two-month trip and his views on the potential for solidarity between Syrians and radical activists in North America.
Film Review: Dirty Wars
ALI MUSTAFA | August 21st 2013
In Dirty Wars, acclaimed investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill takes on what is likely the most important story of his career. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Rick Rowley, the film follows Scahill to Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and beyond to reveal a new kind of frontline in the global ‘war on terror’—one led by a secret army in the shadows where the basic rules of war do not apply. According to Scahill, “this is a story about the seen and unseen, and about things hidden in plain sight.”
Film Review: A Steady Lens and a Dangerous Weapon
ALI MUSTAFA | March 1st 2013
As soon as residents of the Israeli-occupied West Bank village of Bil’in learned of plans to build a wall on their land to make way for a Jewish-only settlement in 2005, non-violent demonstrations erupted. During the same year, Emad Burnat, a local villager, purchased his first video camera to record the birth of his youngest son, Gibreel. From the beginning of the film5 Broken Cameras, co-directed by Burnat and Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, these two events are inextricably entangled.
The “Ultras” and the Egyptian Revolution – An Interview with Ali Mustafa
ALI MUSTAFA | March 1st 2013
Last month marked the one year anniversary of the massacre at Port Said in Egypt. Though much was made in the North American media of the so-called “Arab Spring,” attention quickly turned away as the politics became demonstrably more complicated than a simple narrative of liberal, democratic demonstrations (using twitter and facebook, we are always reminded) against military dictatorships. Ali Mustafa is a Toronto-based journalist who has spent much time in Egypt covering the ongoing and complicated Egyptian Revolution, and here he answers some questions about the role of football fans – the “Ultras” – in the movement in Egypt.
Kafka in the courts: The account of Canada’s longest-serving security certificate detainee
ALI MUSTAFA | January 20th 2013
TORONTO — Mohammad Mahjoub first arrived in Canada in December 1995, fleeing political persecution in his native Egypt, where he was imprisoned and tortured by the Hosni Mubarak regime. He was granted refugee status in 1996.
The Egyptian Revolution Continues: An Interview with Hossam El-Hamalawy
ALI MUSTAFA | December 10th 2011
Hossam el-Hamalawy is a leading Egyptian journalist, photographer, and socialist activist from Cairo who maintains the widely followed blog 3arabawy. He is also actively involved in the Revolutionary Socialists, the Center for Socialist Studies, and the Workers Democratic Party. I had the fortunate opportunity to sit down and talk with him about his views on the current state of the Egyptian revolution following the latest revolt in Tahrir Square this past November, arguably the fiercest and most important display of popular resistance to the ruling military regime to take place since the January 25th uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak some ten month ago.
The Crisis in Libya: Caught between Qadafi and Imperialism
ALI MUSTAFA | March 31st 2011
The current popular uprising against Colonel Qadafi in Libya is part of a wider revolutionary wave occurring all across the Middle East and North Africa that deserves our unconditional support. Any victory of the Qadafi regime over the rebellion would no doubt represent a devastating blow not only to Libya’s own future but to the revolutionary process in the region as a whole. As NATO’s no-fly zone over Libya increasingly looks to transform into a long and protracted military operation, it is important now for social justice advocates across Canada, of all viewpoints, to reflect critically upon why the decision to intervene was made, who exactly stands to benefit, and what the likely consequences will be.
‘No Fare is Fair’: A Roundtable with Members of the Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly Transit Committee
ALI MUSTAFA | March 15th 2011
The Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly (GTWA) is a promising new initiative aiming to build a united, non-sectarian, and militant anti-capitalist movement in the city among a diversity of rank-and-file labour unionists, grassroots community organizers, and youth alike. Since the GTWA’s inception in early 2010, mass public transit has emerged as one of the organization’s key political battlegrounds. In this in-depth roundtable discussion, members of the GTWA’s transit committee Jordy Cummings, Lisa Leinveer, Leo Panitch, Kamilla Pietrzyk, and Herman Rosenfeld explore both the opportunities and obstacles facing the campaign Towards a Free and Accessible TTC.
Revolutionary Hope and Change Across the ‘Arab World’: 10 Questions with Gilbert Achcar
ALI MUSTAFA | March 1st 2011
Gilbert Achcar is a Lebanese writer, socialist, and antiwar activist. He is also a professor of Development Studies and International Relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, and author most recently of The Arabs and the Holocaust: the Arab-Israeli War of Narratives. In this interview, he discusses the significance of the ongoing revolutionary wave of mass protests occuring across the Middle East with one of the New Socialist webzine editors Ali Mustafa.
A Tribute to Tahrir Square: This is What Democracy Looks Like!
ALI MUSTAFA | February 18th 2011
Since the Egyptian revolution’s first mass protests exploded throughout the country on January 25th, many so-called pundits and analysts have frantically struggled to find a suitable historical parallel in order to make sense of the situation to the outside world: France 1789; Iran 1979; and Tiananmen Square 1989 are just a few of the many analogies that have dominated popular discourse in the West. Meanwhile, the US government and its allies have predictably continued to emphasize familiar concerns over ‘stability’ and ‘order,’ the broader regional implications for neighboring Israel, and the specter of an ‘Islamist’ takeover. But it hardly matters to any of these foreign players, of course, that in the end the people of Tahrir Square and all across Egypt do not seem to be thinking about any of these concerns at all, nor do they particularly care about any ongoing speculation surfacing from outside of the country at the moment.
Where Do We Go from Here? The G20 Summit, Black Bloc, and the Canadian Left
ALI MUSTAFA | September 1st 2010
Public outcry continues to grow across Canada over the widespread abuse of civil liberties during the recent G20 Summit in Toronto. Over 1,000 people were rounded-up and arrested between June 26th- 27th, resulting in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. While the majority of those arrested have since been released, at least 16 people remain under strict bail conditions and face a variety of serious criminal charges. Countless others who managed to avoid arrest were indiscriminately searched, detained for hours, and even violently attacked by police.
The Gaza Freedom Flotilla Attack: Arrogance of Power or Paranoia of Apartheid State on the Brink?
ALI MUSTAFA | September 7th 2010
Shock and outrage continues to grow worldwide over Israel’s deadly attack on a humanitarian aid convoy bound for Gaza a week ago. Over 600 civilian activists from at least 40 different countries took part in the convoy, carrying 10,000 tons of vital aid, including food, medicine and medical equipment, reconstruction materials, as well as various other basic goods that are arbitrarily banned entry into Gaza by Israel. Israeli naval commandos raided all six ships of the convoy 70 nautical miles offshore in international waters, killing 9 people (8 of which were Turkish citizens) and seriously wounding others. Following the attack, hundreds of the activists were detained but have since been released and deported back home, along with the injured and the bodies of those killed.
‘For Venezuela, There is No Going Back’: A Discussion with Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke
ALI MUSTAFA | March 22nd 2010
As Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution enters a new decade of struggle and defiantly advances towards its goal of ’21st Century Socialism,’ serious challenges to the future of the process emerging from both inside and outside the country still abound. As a result, key questions surrounding Venezuela’s mounting tensions with the West, the role played by its fiery and outspoken leader Hugo Chavez, and the future of the process itself remain as relevant today as ever before. Australian-based journalists and long-time Venezuela solidarity activists Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke have been carefully following Venezuela’s ongoing political transformation for several years now, countering mainstream media Spin and providing invaluable on-the-ground coverage and analysis about the process as it unfolds. I had the fortunate opportunity to sit down and speak with them both in Toronto before they were set to return to Caracas, following a 10-day Canadian solidarity tour.
The ROM Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit: Re/Mapping Identity, Culture, & Colonial Discourse
ALI MUSTAFA | August 16th 2009
Even before the highly anticipated six-month, $3 million collaboration between the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) showcasing the Dead Sea Scrolls was officially launched in late June, the exhibit was already the subject of growing controversy. ‘Dead Sea Scrolls: Words that Changed the World’, as the exhibit is entitled, first attracted international attention in April when Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and executives at the ROM were each sent letters of protest from senior officials of the Palestinian Authority (PA) – signed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khouloud Diabes, respectively – declaring that the scrolls were in fact illegally seized by Israel following its occupation and subsequent annexation of the West Bank in 1967. The PA not only called for the repatriation of the scrolls but further argued that they merely represent one example of possibly millions of other artifacts that have been systematically looted by Israel from occupied Palestinian territory over several decades, a message that has since been echoed by a chorus of supportive community groups who continue to organize weekly pickets outside of the ROM in protest.
The MST & the Political Economy of Agrarian Reform in Brazil: 25 Years of Resistance to Neoliberal Rule
ALI MUSTAFA | June 11th 2009
This essay is dedicated to all my friends and comrades of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil. A special dedication with love and solidarity to: Osvaldo, Andreia, Aline, Ammine, Michel, Romolo, and Tim Balada of the Assentamento, Professor Luiz D. Macedo. Until we meet again soon. A luta continua!
“Boycotts work”: An interview with Omar Barghouti
ALI MUSTAFA | June 1st 2009
Omar Barghouti is an independent Palestinian researcher, commentator and human rights activist and a leader of the Palestinian campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to force Israel to uphold international law and universal human rights. Barghouti discussed the growing worldwide campaign with The Electronic Intifada contributor Ali Mustafa.
An Interview with Political Cartoonist Carlos Latuff
ALI MUSTAFA | May 22nd 2009
Brazilian political cartoonist Carlos Latuff is no stranger to controversy. His provocative and unapologetically graphic cartoons have been enjoyed, freely reproduced, and inviting debate internationally for years now. To those of us here in Canada, however, Latuff is probably better known over his recent poster design for ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ (IAW) which was deemed ‘hateful’ and subsequently banned by the administrations at the University of Ottawa, Concordia, and numerous other campuses across the country. I had the extreme privilege of meeting and speaking with him, some time before the latest controversy surrounding him and his work, this past summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We met inside a favela (Brazilian slum) called Nova Holanda on the city’s outskirts where I was visiting a local NGO. Abandoning his scheduled plans and taking a bus from downtown Rio to meet with me just one day before I was set to leave back to Canada, the impromptu setting would prove a fitting backdrop to the discussion that followed.
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