From The Editors
(Vol. XXIV No. 2)
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A wedding party walks the shattered streets of Aleppo. A flash mob dances in a public square in occupied Ramallah. These scenes inspire the imagina-tions of millions as they travel through social media. They are shocking and comforting at once. The Arab world we are accustomed to seeing is one of accumulating catastrophes, multiple wars, occupations, and unprecedented authoritarian and sectarian militarization. By all counts, the conditions of people, as varied as they may be, in places like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, and Palestine appear to only be getting worse before, and if, they will get any better. These conditions target the very possibility of life. Yet despite these hardships and amidst the varieties of dispossession and injustice we are now witnessing, people continue to live, to create, and to love.
It is in the spirit of honoring this will to live that we present this issue of Arab Studies Journal. We are proud to feature articles that explore the history of modern Assyrian and Chaldean appellations, contribute a literary analysis of Cairo in a time of intense political change and upheaval, and present a historical study of Arab nationalism in the “Trucial States.” A special section titled “Love in the Arab World” includes a rich body of ethnographic studies on compatibility and marriage in Jordan; Valentine’s Day in Egypt; and the politics of desire in post-uprising Syrian television drama. As always, we are pleased to accompany our articles with a review section that engages a number of recent contributions to the field. Together these pieces testify to the resilience of the everyday and the significance of untold stories that are perhaps best represented in the words of Mahmoud Darwish, “One day I will be what I wish to be.”