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[Thursday, Sept 14] Inside the Battle of Algiers: Memoir of a Woman Freedom Fighter & [Monday, Sept 18] Media, Misrepresentation, & the MidEast

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   :  @nyuKEVO
INSIDE THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS:
MEMOIR OF A WOMAN FREEDOM FIGHTER
THURSDAY, SEPT 14, 12:30-1:45 PM
The Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, 255 Sullivan Street (at Washington Square South)

SYNOPSIS
This gripping insider’s account chronicles how and why the author, as a young French-educated woman in 1950s Algiers, joined the armed wing of Algeria’s national liberation movement to combat her country’s French occupiers. When the movement’s leaders, driven underground by the French security services, turned to Drif and her female colleagues to conduct attacks in retaliation for French aggression against the local population, they leapt at the chance, engraving their names among Algeria’s most iconic historical figures. (Their actions were later portrayed in Gillo Pontecorvo’s famed film “The Battle of Algiers”.)

When first published in French in 2013, this intimate memoir met with great acclaim—and no small amount of controversy. It is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand not only the anti-colonial struggles of the twentieth century and their relevance today, but also the specific challenges that women often confronted (and overcame) in those movements.

Zohra Drif is a hero of Algeria’s war of national liberation. Born in 1934 in Tiaret, in western Algeria, she studied law at the University of Algiers before joining the National Liberation Front. As a core member of the movement’s armed wing in Algiers, she conducted or supported several high-profile operations that advanced the revolutionaries’ struggle to draw international attention to France’s abuses against the local population and the Algerians’ need for freedom. Ultimately captured by the French and condemned to twenty years of forced labor for “terrorism”, she spent five years in prison in Algeria and France, during which she continued her legal studies and her activism. In 1962, upon her country’s independence, she was freed from prison, and was soon elected to Algeria’s first National Constituent Assembly. She co-founded an organization to support youth orphaned in the liberation struggle, and went on to practice as a criminal lawyer in Algiers for several decades. A senator in Algeria’s Council of the Nation from 2001 to 2016, she served as a senate vice president from 2003 onward. In 1962 she married Rabah Bitat, one of the founding architects of Algeria’s liberation movement, with whom she had three children. Today she lives in Algiers and has five grandchildren.

Andrew G. Farrand, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, is fluent in French and North African Arabic. Since moving to Algiers, Algeria in 2013, he has worked as a writer, photographer, and freelance translator alongside his day job managing youth exchange and training programs. He blogs at ibnibnbattuta.com.

William B. Quandt is an Emeritus Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Virginia, where he spent 20 years teaching after a distinguished career in government and public affairs. Two of his nine books have dealt with political developments in Algeria. They are: Revolution and Political Leadership: Algeria, 1954–1968, (MIT Press, 1969), and Between Ballots and Bullets: Algeria's Transition from Authoritarianism, (Brookings, 1998.)

The New Book Series at the Hagop Kevorkian Center features new publications in the interdisciplinary field of Middle East Studies.  

Cosponsored by Just World Books

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MEDIA, MISREPRESENTATION, AND THE MIDDLE EAST:
A COVERSATION WITH THE EDITORS OF MUFTAH.ORG
Coverage in Context brings together journalists and academics of the Middle East region to foster cross-contributions among these two fields and to inform public discussion of issues pertaining to the Middle East. 
MONDAY, SEPT 18, 6:00-7:30 PM
The Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, 255 Sullivan Street (at Washington Square South)
To really understand the world, we need to hear from different people with different perspectives. Unfortunately, though, conventional media sources in the West often fail to provide an array of diverse viewpoints. Women, minorities, and other marginalized groups in particular continue to be underrepresented in bylines across the industry. In the process, those seeking credible, reliable, quality information are being short-changed. Muftah is dedicated to transforming this situation by producing original content from diverse individuals about global events that matter. Muftah launched in May 2010 to provide English-speaking audiences with incisive analysis on countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that eschewed the Western media’s focus on terrorism, oil, and Islamism, and highlighted the complex factors that shape and influence regional countries and populations. Since then, we have extended our coverage to Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and plan to keep expanding to other parts of the globe that are similarly misunderstood and misrepresented by mainstream media outlets.

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