Adoption Initiative Conference

SAVE THE DATE: June 9–11, 2016

THEME: Myth and Reality in Adoption: Transforming Practice Through Lessons Learned

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On counter-revolution, Lebanese style.

The following essay, entitled: “May 15: The Third Intifada, Maroun Ar-Ras/Palestine” was written after the Right of Return March to the border of Palestine took place in 2011. I was reminded of it while re-reading Edmund Wilson’s To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History which I have been turning to during the blackouts at night, reading by candlelight. I came across this quotation:

The dominant class of the capitalist era had never willingly done anything but rob the poor in the interests of the well-being of their own group…

I was struck by this phrase, written in 1940 because then, as now, we hear the most vulgar of accusations that have become the trademark of bourgeois counter-revolution: “rabble, thugs, troublemakers, etc.” now directed at the lowest rungs of Lebanese society. At the same time, the local bourgeoisie was delighting in what it deemed to be “accomplishments”: hashtags at the top of global retweets; mentions in the execrable New York Times. The colonized native speaks, and one can only wish he wouldn’t. I am grateful to Monthly Review Zine which originally published this piece [link to Monthly Review article].

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The seeker and the sought.

Update: I’ve uploaded the foreword to

I was honored to be asked to provide the introduction to an anthology of writing concerning adoption reunion: Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age, an Anthology, edited by Laura Dennis. The compendium of recountings speaks to the testimony each of us gives to adoption experience, and in the greater expanse, a historic witnessing as to what the legacy of adoption practice will have been, once all is said and done. Summing up from the announcement of the book’s release:

This anthology gives voice to the wide experiences of adoptees and those who love them; examining the emotional, psychological and logistical effects of adoption reunion. Primarily adult adoptee voices, we also hear from adoptive parents, first moms and mental health professionals, all weighing in on their experience with reunion. The stories run the gamut, and I think even non-adopted people are likely to find something in here to which they can relate. The memories of adoption reunion in this anthology are joyous and regretful; nostalgic and fresh; angry and accepting. They show pain, but they also tell of resilience and strength in the face of incredible loss.

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Refining DNA data: The maternal haplotype

In my list of relative matches on 23andMe, I have a few cousins who share my paternal haplotype marker (T). This means that we share a paternal ancestor somewhere back in the family lineage. I looked through my initial list in terms of what towns and family names these cousins listed, and this is how I came to find what I believe is my village (Qurnayel) as well as my family name. Questions posed to my other relatives confirmed this to be most likely.

My maternal haplotype (H26) was more elusive. It wasn’t shared by anyone in my list, and I was not able to find much reference to it online. What I did find painted a very broad picture, as it has evolved to be rather common throughout Europe most notably. I started looking through the 23andMe discussion boards to see if there wasn’t any further information on the group.

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Jamaa Al-Yad: New Projects

Jamaa Al-Yad is happy to announce two new projects. The first is in collaboration with the Inteference Archive in Brooklyn, which has put together a portfolio of posters honoring the Cuban poster design of the Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America (OSPAAAL). The second is an experiment in 3D square calligraphy, spelling out “Filistiin”. We hope you enjoy!

Armed by Design

Armed by Design

Kufiyyeh: The resilient original

The Kufiyyeh Project

The Kufiyyeh Project

3-D square kufi logo: Filistiin

If you are in the NYC region, please be sure to check out the opening and exhibition:
Intereference Archive

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The view from #Qurnayel.

I’m no longer sure why I stay in Beirut.

Other than sheer inertia….

View from Qurnayel

View from Qurnayel

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10,000+: Database of Lebanese Adoptees

For the past decade or so I, like many of us, have been comparing paperwork concerning my adoption with that of other adoptees. Looking for clues, similarities, anything that might divulge some information as to origins as well as that original transaction and the time previous to our disinheritance. Much of what we glean is heartbreaking: The false names assigned to us which come from a list of Arabic words, dooming many of us to be “related” to each other by useless pseudonyms. Or the fact that later children were prematched, their names reflecting the chosen name from the adopting family. And later still, the mother giving birth was registered in the hospital under the name of the adopter, thus erasing two generations at a time.

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An excerpt from Vijay Prashad’s The Karma of Brown Folk [link to book]:

The lives of migrants to the United States came under special scrutiny from those who fashioned themselves as guardians of its cultural inheritance. Benjamin Franklin, for instance, was struck by the entry of Germans into his “Anglo-Saxon” domain, so much so that he worried that they would “soon so outnumber us that [despite] the advantages we have, we will, in my opinion, not be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious.” Anything less than total assimilation to the core of “Anglo-Saxon” culture was tantamount to treason. Since “assimilate” means to “make similar,” there is an expectation among some U.S. residents that those who are different may be transformed into those who are similar, or, indeed, identical. There are some who cannot become even similar (let alone identical), so the attempt to assimilate is futile for them.
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Narratives of Hope: #MalcolmX

In sponsorship with CASAR, the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship, the Arab Studies Institute, the Arts and Humanities Initiative and the English Department at the American University of Beirut, a panel discussion “Narratives of Hope” discussing Malcolm X was presented by Ajamu Baraka and Daniel Drennan, and moderated by Dr. Rania Masri, on February 23, 2015.
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Adoption Is War I+II; Lebanon 2015/1975

I’ve just added a new page, Lebanon 1975: Adoption is War II. It is based on an article found in the news magazine Monday Morning from January, 1975, three months before the “start” of the Lebanese Civil War. It is a reactionary promotion of adoption practice, and it presents the disturbing picture of source countries such as Lebanon in which the “progeny of the enemy” of the ruling class is targeted for expulsion from the country.

Click the above page link, or else here:

The original Adoption is War post I’ve renamed Lebanon 2015: Adoption is War I. It also speaks of reactionary adoption propaganda in the present day and age. That nothing much has changed in all this time should give us great pause.

Link to this article:

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