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The Middle East and Brazil: Perspectives on the New Global South

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Connections between Brazil and the Middle East have a long history, but the importance of these interactions has been heightened in recent years by the rise of Brazil as a champion of the global south, mass mobilizations in the Arab world and South America, and the cultural renaissance of Afro-descendant Muslims and Arab ethnic identities in the Americas. This groundbreaking collection traces the links between these two regions, describes the emergence of new South-South solidarities, and offers new methodologies for the study of transnationalism, global culture, and international relations.

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1 The Middle East and Brazil: Transregional Politics in the Dilma Rousseff Era

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This chapter traces the changes in transregional and geopolitical relationships between Brazil and the Middle East during the first two years of the government of Brazil’s first woman president, Dilma Rousseff. Between the end of 2010 and the start of 2013, Rousseff’s administration faced escalating tensions with the United States over relations with Iran, military intervention in Libya and Syria, and manufactured “crises” over Hezballah militants in Brazil’s southern border regions. This period also witnessed the epochal transformations of the Arab Spring, and the emergence of new kinds of solidarity between state actors and social movements in the Arab region and Syrian-Lebanese diaspora groups within Brazil. In this study, Amar identifies some of the major causes of Brazil’s shifts during this period, from politics of personalism to commercial and geopolitical pragmatism, and from “handshake politics” between Third Worldist leaders to a more liberal advocacy of human rights, gender justice, and democratization. He also analyzes some of the surprisingly counterhegemonic stances President Dilma took vis-à-vis the Middle East which challenged the U.S.-dominated global order during this period.

 

2 The Summit of South America–Arab States: Historical Contexts of South-South Solidarity and Exchange

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This chapter traces the emergence of ASPA (the Summit of South America–Arab States) established by diplomatic concord in 2003 among the heads of state from the two world regions. ASPA constitutes a set of transregional diplomatic agreements and functioning institutions for educational, cultural, and commercial cooperation that have achieved broad success and visibility. Farah analyzes, in particular, the ASPA-related institutions that support cultural, educational, linguistic, and commercial exchanges and solidarity. Then this chapter does the important work of setting these new transregional connections into their historical context. He points out that the processes of integration with Muslim Africa and the Middle East are not new, but are part of the essential fabric of the Americas and date back more than two hundred years. A detailed social history is narrated here, of regional cultural, linguistic, and commercial integration. This history is animated by transnational circuits of forced and free migration, particularly to Bahia in the northeast (capital of anti-slavery unrest and Afro-Muslim cultural survival), and São Paulo in the southeast (capital of Levantine migration and commercial achievement).

 

3 Brazil’s Relations with the Middle East in the “Oil Shock” Era: Pragmatism, Universalism, and Developmentalism in the 1970s

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Faced with the energy crises of the 1970s, Brazil pursued a model of economic development that led to strengthening its ties with the Middle East, particularly Iraq and Saudi Arabia, filling a diplomatic vacuum in its foreign policy. High oil prices made securing its supplies a crucial issue for Brazil. Brazil’s foreign policy was thus geared to pragmatic ends, leading to the diversification of Brazil’s relations with Middle Eastern states.

The 1973 worldwide oil crisis, the result of geopolitical shifts beyond Brazil’s control, produced an acute foreign policy crisis in the country. Brazil, during this developmentalist period when its military government was pushing both industrialization and export-oriented commerce, was a nation dependent on imported oil. In fact, Brazil was the main importer of oil in the developing world at the time. In response to the oil shock, Brazil ended a phase of diplomatic inactivity vis-à-vis the Middle East, and launched a new outward-looking economic development project. The high price of oil made it necessary to find a more balanced commercial exchange with Middle Eastern countries in order to guarantee a constant stream of oil, particularly because of ongoing international instability. Through this pragmatic process of diplomatic expansion, Brazil managed to diversify its bilateral agenda, establishing diplomatic relations with ten states from the region in the hopes of attracting new markets for its national exports.

 

4 Palestine-Israel Controversies in the 1970s and the Birth of Brazilian Transregionalism

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Sochaczewski discusses changes in Brazilian foreign policy toward the Middle East throughout the 1970s. She explores how Brazil’s policy of “equidistance” was challenged by oil crises and Palestine-Israel controversies, and how it was gradually abandoned in favor of more economically productive relations with the region, thus charting the emergence of a doctrine of Brazilian transregionalism.

Before the 1970s, Brazil’s foreign policy toward the Middle East was referred to as “equidistant,” oscillating between support for Israel, embodied in the important role Oswaldo Aranha, Brazil’s UN ambassador, played in 1947–1948 when he served as president of the UN General Assembly and supported the partition of Palestine and recognition of Israel as an independent state, and support for Israel’s critics, embodied in Brazil’s support for UN Resolution 242, which in 1967 mandated the full withdrawal of Israel from all territories occupied during the Six-Day War. Implementing this “equidistant” tradition, in early 1973, Brazil’s foreign minister, Mário Gibson Barboza, traveled to Egypt and Israel in order to serve as mediator and messenger between the two sides. He was convinced then of the possibility of peace between the two countries (Barboza 1992, 316). However, the war in October 1973 would force him to change this position.

 

5 Terrorist Frontier Cell or Cosmopolitan Commercial Hub? The Arab and Muslim Presence at the Border of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina

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Rabossi calls for a reframing of the discourse surrounding South America’s Tri-Border Region. He moves away from stereotypical discussions of terrorism to explore alternative narratives that are informed by migration trajectories, commercial engagements, and political complexities of the region’s Arab and Muslim populations.

Reading the international media, one would infer that the Tríplice Fronteira (in Portuguese) and Triple Frontera (in Spanish)—the region where the borders of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay meet, known as the Tri-Border Region in English—is a threat to international security. It condenses all aspects of a contemporary security agenda: terrorism and transnational mafias, piracy, smuggling, laundering of money and stolen goods, drug and arms trafficking. The region became (in)famous during the 1990s after being denounced as the logistical base for the attacks in Buenos Aires against the Israeli embassy in 1992 and against the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AIMA) in 1994. The existence of an important Arab and Islamic business community actively involved in cross-border commercial activities was enough to lead to the conclusion that Islamic terrorism existed in the region. Once suggested, the connection that linked Muslim Arabs, terrorism, commerce, and all kind of illegalities across the borders became a vicious circle that reinforced the accusations and insecurities.

 

6 Tropical Orientalism: Brazil’s Race Debates and the Sephardi-Moorish Atlantic

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Shohat and Stam put forward the idea of a Tropical Orientalism in Brazil. They interpret the contemporary Brazilian imaginary of the Orient against the backdrop of a Moorish-Sephardi unconscious, thus highlighting not only the positive cross-Atlantic historical, discursive, and cultural links between “the Orient” and “the Occident,” but also the anxieties that such links provoked.

On Avenida Rio Branco in downtown Rio de Janeiro, at a busy juncture between the palm trees and the art deco buildings, stands an obelisk. Dating back to 1906 and the period of the world’s fairs, this homage (by the Italian Society of Brazil) evokes not only a supposed Greco-Roman past of a tropical “Latin” country, but also an Egyptian civilizational origin. The obelisks, which grace the thoroughfares of many cities in the Americas such as São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Washington, D.C., are partly a by-product of the Egyptomania that swept France, Britain, Germany, Italy, and the United States, a mania that was itself a by-product of a post-Enlightenment discourse that celebrated ancient Egypt. Ever since Napoleon set foot in Egypt, and especially during the heydays of imperial expansionism, modernity has been preoccupied with the display of “the ancient” in metropolitan centers. Museums and world’s fairs exhibited archaeological artifacts extracted for popular consumption from the ruins of Luxor, resuscitating Ozymandias, as it were, to testify to the newly invigorated mastery of ancient times and spaces.

 

7 Slave Barracks Aristocrats: Islam and the Orient in the Work of Gilberto Freyre

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Isfahani-Hammond explores how Gilberto Freyre invokes Islam and the Orient—via a certain Africa—to theorize a national history constituted by the Oriental luxury of the plantation economy and a cultural synthesis based on eroticized systems of domination. It argues that Freyre’s work represents an intermittent celebration of the power of black writing and of sensualism of Moorish North African Arab-Berber civilization. Though he produces a model of seigniorial subjectivity that speaks for both masters and slaves, the Malê, with his tiá and his “blue ink,” also speaks within his narrative, disrupting it and acting in opposition to it even as Freyre struggles to seize the power of the rebel Malê and the sensuality of the female Moor and to insert these subjects into a civilizational trajectory that begins in the East, via Africa, and ends in Brazil.

In Orientalism (1978), Edward Said charts European representations that produce the East not only as the differential marker of Europe but as inherently subject to the West. In Gilberto Freyre’s sociology of Brazilian plantation society, Casa-Grande e Senzala (The Plantation Manor and the Slave Barracks, 1933),1 he argues that Brazil has a unique racial democracy based on the “slack balance of antagonisms” between masters and slaves that is the legacy of Moorish domination of the Iberian Peninsula.2 The resonance of the West’s imaginative geography of the Orient and Freyre’s imaginative genealogy of Brazilian society is enlightened by juxtaposing two key dimensions of Casa-Grande e Senzala: the syncretic, “Afro-European” character of the Portuguese following five hundred years of Moorish rule and the impact of the East via the Malês, the enslaved and freed African Muslims who organized the most formidable urban slave uprising in the history of the Americas in 1835 in Salvador da Bahia.3

 

8 Islamic Transnationalism and Anti-Slavery Movements: The Malê Rebellion as Debated by Brazil’s Press, 1835–1838

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The slave rebellion staged by African Muslims in 1835 in Salvador, Bahia, had an enormous impact on Brazilian society. Cairus looks specifically at the coverage of the uprising in the Brazilian press. The national debate that followed the rebellion occurred against a background of internal political turmoil and increasing pressure from the British to end the transatlantic slave trade. The debate reveals the Brazilian elites’ concerns about the future of the new nation, which was at the time economically dependent on slave labor. It also unveiled the tragic vicissitudes of the slave trade through the lens of captive Africans’ struggle for freedom as well as their connections to Muslim political enlightenment and militancy in West Africa.

In 1835, in the city of Salvador, the capital of the province of Bahia, a few hundred Africans challenged paradigms established by centuries of slavery in Brazil. Their leaders were clerics affiliated with revivalist Islam in West Africa, as confirmed by Salvador’s chief of police after the rebellion, who stated, “There are [West African] scholars among them teaching and masterminding the rebellion” (“Relato” 1835). What the police chief was partially acknowledging was the fact that these Muslim leaders of the slave uprising were culturally sophisticated individuals and polyglots who had had experience as adults leading political change and social uprisings on their home continent before being captured and forced into slavery in Brazil. These realities contradicted Brazilian racist images of “beasts of burden” brought to perform hard work in European colonies. Moreover, they further challenged the system by refusing to be assimilated or become “ladino,” as Europeanized slaves were called in the jargon of the slave trade (Klein 2010, 13). Assimilation into the master’s milieu could sometimes mitigate the severity of the ordeal endured by Africans who were kept at the lowest rank of colonial society. But the Muslims in Bahia rejected what Orlando Patterson calls “slave social death” and enthusiastically preached the Islamic gospel among their brethren (Patterson 1982, passim). In the trial that followed the rebellion, the dialogue between the leader Licutan, also known by his Christian name Pacífico (the peaceful), and the Brazilian judge best illustrates the resilience of Muslim identity. After being ordered by the judge to state his name, Licutan replied: “My name is Bilal.” The judge became angry because he thought Licutan was lying. The Muslim leader then defiantly answered, “It is true that my name is Licutan, but I can take whatever name I want” (“Devassa” 1968, 84). In fact, Licutan subtly declared his identity by giving a quintessentially Muslim name in a country where Catholicism was the official religion and Africans were forcibly baptized through the adoption of Christian names.

 

9 A Transnational Intellectual Sphere: Brazil and Its Middle Eastern Populations

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María del Mar Logroño Narbona explores the transnational cultural and political sphere of the first generation of Middle Eastern migrants in Brazil in the 1910s and 1920s. In particular, she looks at how the Arabic press in Brazil during these decades, and more broadly in the mahjar (the term used to designate collectively the geographical locations of Arab migration), created a truly transnational sphere as it facilitated communication flows between distant segments of populations with shared political goals. She concludes that this generation of Middle Eastern migrants lived through a moment in history of political transition when political mobilization was not confined to a geographical location. As first-generation migrants they dreamt of transforming their homelands into the spaces they imagined would welcome them back after their “sojourn.”

In the historic neighborhood of Botafogo, in Rio de Janeiro, stands the house of Rui Barbosa, a well-known lawyer, politician, and public intellectual of early-twentieth-century Brazil. Today his residence has become the seat of the Rui Barbosa Foundation, a public research center and library specializing in Brazilian literature that houses an important library and archival collection donated by Brazilian personalities, featuring Barbosa’s personal library and an archive of documents he wrote. Barbosa was an avid collector of books during his lifetime; his personal library amounted to around thirty-seven thousand volumes, with particular interest on publications from around the world about jurisprudence.1 Barbosa’s literature collection included titles that connected the cultural universe of turn-of-the-century Brazilian elites to that of European elites, including a passion for Orientalist writings such as an 1888 edition of Gustav Flaubert’s Salammbo and a green leather-bound copy of FitzGerald’s Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam. Among the more unusual holdings, Barbosa’s library included a 1609 edition of the book by Dominican missionary João dos Santos, Ethiopia Oriental e varia historia de cousas, notaveis do Oriente (Oriental Ethiopia and Other Notable Things of the Orient).

 

10 The Politics of Anti-Zionism and Racial Democracy in Homeland Tourism

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Karam explores the phenomenon of “homeland tourism” among Brazilians of Syrian and Lebanese descent. He explores ways in which trips to the homeland are often used as opportunities to promote anti-Zionism. While some heritage tourists reproduce this discourse, others are critical of it. Using Brazilian nationalist precepts that are typically exclusionary, many tourists undermine the ideology often presented to them on these trips.

Since the late nineteenth century, Brazilians of Syrian and Lebanese descent have visited their homelands. Yet, during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the marketing strategies of airline enterprises and state powers both reproduced and transformed their practice of traveling to the eastern Mediterranean. In addition to becoming a “target market” (público alvo) for European-based transnational airlines, Syrian-Lebanese descendants in Brazil attracted Syrian and Lebanese state powers that imagined diaspora as a resource to strengthen domestic travel industries. During their tour of the homeland, though, descendants encountered memorialized sites of past Israeli attacks in Syria and Lebanon. In 2001, as part of an eighteen-month-long project among Syrian-Lebanese in São Paulo, I participated in one of these tours to Lebanon. I found that while some heritage seekers reproduced anti-Zionism, others criticized it as encouraging “prejudice” among Arabs who relate well with Jews in a purported “racially tolerant” Brazil.1 Using the exclusionary language of Brazilian nationalism, they undermined anti-Zionist ideology in homeland tourism. Their reactions reveal that nationalist precepts can counter the very logics of exclusion that derive from them.

 

11 Rio de Janeiro’s Global Bazaar: Syrian, Lebanese, and Chinese Merchants in the Saara

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The Saara, a popular commercial region in Rio de Janeiro, has been largely defined by the presence of the many immigrants who have made it a thriving commercial hub and a center for multi-ethnic residence. While the region was historically a Syrian and Lebanese enclave, the arrival of a new wave of Asian immigration in the 1990s generated important changes and ethnically marked tensions. A social-historical and anthropological analysis of conflict and resolution in the Saara sheds light on different notions of identity and commerce in Rio de Janeiro’s bazaar district, often referred to as a “mini United Nations.”

The Saara is at once Rio de Janeiro’s most enduring and most vibrant popular commercial area. It comprises eleven city blocks and 1,250 stores (Ribeiro 2000; Worcman 2000), and is frequented daily by many people from all over the city. According to the president of its principal organization, about 150,000 people a week come to the area. Located in the center of the city, near primary administrative and business centers, and not far from the major seaport, the Saara’s customers are attracted by both the wide variety and the low prices of its products. First established by immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century, the area quickly became a stronghold for migrants who have imbued it with several layers of distinct character. Besides Portuguese and Spanish immigrants, there has also been a marked presence of Syrians, Lebanese, and Armenians, as well as Jews of various origins. More recently, the area has become home to Chinese and Korean immigrants as well. All of these groups tended to make their livelihood through commerce.

 

12 Muslim Identities in Brazil: Engaging Local and Transnational Spheres

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Pinto presents case studies of Muslim communities in Rio de Janeiro and the Tri-Border Region in order to explore how the process of identity formation in these communities intersects with local as well as transnational imaginaries of Arabness and Muslimness. He demonstrates that despite their homogeneous representation in the media, Muslims in Brazil are a decidedly heterogeneous group whose identities play out differently in the many cultural arenas in which they participate.

Brazil has one of the largest Muslim communities of the Americas,1 which has been formed by diverse waves of migration from the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine) since the nineteenth century and by the conversion of non-Arab Brazilians. The Muslim community is mostly urban, with large concentrations in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Curitiba, and Foz do Iguaçu. The majority of Muslims in Brazil are Middle Eastern Arabic-speaking immigrants and their descendants. Nevertheless, there is a growing number of non-Arab Brazilians who convert to Islam.

 

13 Telenovelas and Muslim Identities in Brazil

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This chapter discusses the treatment of Islam in the Brazilian TV series O Clone. It examines how the series positioned its main character, Jade, to provoke national dialogues around the meanings of Muslim religiosity, Arab ethnicity, and associated gender, social, and political issues in the Brazilian public sphere. While the idea for the series was conceived before the attack on the World Trade Center, the controversy that emerged around the show’s treatment of the Muslim religion speaks to the heightened public interest in these questions after September 11, 2001. The chapter addresses the public’s reaction to the series, as well as the reactions of members of the various Muslim communities in Rio de Janeiro. It also addresses stereotypes presented by the series, and the reactions of both Arab and non-Arab Muslim communities to these stereotypes. A key issue that emerged was the distinction between “religion” and “culture” and between Arab-Brazilians as an assimilated “race” and Muslim Brazilians, particularly recent converts who reject the sensuality identified with assimilated Arab-Brazilians. This chapter ultimately suggests that the telenovela series created a universe where different elements were mixed together that were faithful neither to the “reality” of the Muslim religion nor to the customs of the Arab country that they supposedly presented.

 

14 Turco Peddlers, Brazilian Plantationists, and Transnational Arabs: The Genre Triangle of Levantine-Brazilian Literature

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Ferreira explores twentieth-century Levantine-Brazilian literature by proposing three important genre-shaping literary strategies through which Levantine migrants in Brazil reinvented their embodiment through fiction. From the figure of the peddler, to the plantationist, to the transnational Arab, Levantine migrants’ self-representation in the Portuguese language demonstrates diverse engagements with nationalist ideals, often in attempts at discursive distinction or assimilation. In this model, the novel A Fogueira serves as a turning point in representing the Levantine migrant as quintessentially Brazilian through an agricultural inheritance.

Since their initial arrival in Brazil at the end of the nineteenth century, Levantine migrants and their descendants have written prolifically in the Portuguese language. While historians have read some of their works as part of the historical archive, little attention has been paid to their production of uniquely evocative literary genres, subgenres, and figurational strategies. An analysis of these dimensions in migrants’ cultural production reveals distinct genre-shaping strategies through which migrants reinvented their embodiment through fiction as they sought modes of distinction and assimilation into nationalist ideals throughout the twentieth century. A first strategy prevalent in migrants’ earliest works, such as those produced by Tanus Jorge Bastani and Taufik Kurban during the first half of the twentieth century, seek to present the pioneering “turco” peddler migrating to Brazil from the Arabic-speaking Syrio-Lebanese regions of the declining Ottoman Empire as a “civilizing” element in Brazilian society. While such representations aim to engage nationalist ideals, they are ultimately limited by mainstream exoticization of the itinerant and urban peddler figure and its perceived economic proclivities. A second strategy that emerges in the middle of the twentieth century finds quintessential expression in the often-overlooked novel A Fogueira, which reterritorializes the migrant not at the place of origin in the Middle East, nor in the urban commercial milieu, but on the site of the Brazilian plantation. Through the idea of a Moorish agricultural inheritance, this novel engages national ideals that imagine Brazil as the meeting place of (North) African and European races and ultimately represents the Levantine migrant as quintessentially Brazilian. In a third figurational strategy emerging in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, the literature produced by Levantine-Brazilians like Salim Miguel and Alberto Mussa has rethought the significance of the national categories engaged by earlier works, and focused instead on new connections and circulations. Nevertheless, the importance of these two previous attempts at discursive assimilation remains, and the three strategies intersect. To a certain extent, all of these strategies still exist and are appropriated in different ways in contemporary fiction. They should thus be understood not as categories fixed in time and space, but as a productive set of figurational strategies and genres through which it is possible to interpret the dynamic relationship between the historical facts of Levantine migration and its various literary imaginings in the Portuguese language.

 

15 Multiple Homelands: Heritage and Migrancy in Brazilian Mahjari Literature

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This chapter discusses the rhetorical strategies through which mahjari literature sought to inscribe the Arab immigrant onto the Brazilian nation. It explores how this literature responds to Brazilian nationalist discourses by reinterpreting the very language and images often meant to exclude them.

John Tofik Karam demonstrates in Another Arabesque how an Arab identity has been recently embraced as a component of Brazilian culture and society in reaction to increased globalization (Karam 2007). In this chapter, I explore the roots of a multicultural Brazil with a recognized Arab component that lie in an earlier stage of globalization—the era of mass international migration of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Beginning with the first arrivals, Arab immigrants to Brazil usually aimed to preserve their home identity without seeming disloyal or disrespectful to their Brazilian hosts. However, this liminal identity was unsatisfactory for Brazilian nation builders, who criticized this posture as too ambiguous. Despite an initial negative reaction to their presence, early Arab immigrants refused to completely forsake their original culture and language, arguing that their interstitial stance did not represent a threat to the Brazilian nation but was actually complementary with nationalistic ideals of racial democracy.

 

16 Orientalism in Milton Hatoum’s Fiction

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Birman explores Milton Hatoum’s appropriations of the concept of Orientalism in the novels Relato de um certo oriente (1989) and Dois Irmãos (2000). She develops the hypothesis that, as a native of the Amazonian city of Manaus, Hatoum critically explores the distinction between East and West by playfully exposing its limits rather than essentializing it in an Orientalist fashion. Hatoum thus demonstrates that, far from being natural, the differences between East and West are continually transformed by encounters and close contact with the other. Birman also suggests that the author himself assumes a unique border position—both within and outside of the East, the West, and the Amazon—that is similar to the one occupied by Edward Said. She concludes by discussing Hatoum’s role in the diffusion of Said’s work in Brazil, as well as the importance of so-called Orientalist texts in the author’s academic background.

Milton Hatoum’s debut novel, Relato de um certo oriente (Tale of a Certain Orient) abounds with references to popular imaginings of the Middle East. The novel describes typical Middle Eastern delicacies, customary prayers in the direction of Mecca, learning the Arabic language, and stories from 1001 Nights. These references are intertwined with the descriptions and narrations of the people, customs, and fauna of the Amazon. Despite their differences, the cultures present in Tale of a Certain Orient are both susceptible to being read as or transformed into exotic objects—as either Amazonian or Oriental.

 

17 Arab-Brazilian Literature: Alberto Mussa’s Mu‘allaqa and South-South Dialogue

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Hassan discusses ways in which Alberto Mussa’s work has been instrumental in disseminating Arabic literature in Brazil. He also suggests that Mussa’s work offers a paradigm of world literature based on South-South dialogue that does not revolve around western European or U.S. literary canons. Instead, his work contributes directly to an emerging network of relations among the cultures of the Global South that is certain to leave its mark on the twenty-first century.

While the last two decades have been marked by the geopolitical dominance of the United States in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s demise—dominance that was manifested militarily in the two Iraq wars, the first of which (“Operation Desert Storm” to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein in 1991) spurred the rise of the postmodern phenomenon of the global terror network embodied in al-Qaeda, whose actions set the stage for the United States’ second major military adventure in the Arab world in little over a decade, the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. The ideological corollary of both U.S. interventionism and its militant antagonist has been Samuel Huntington’s thesis on the “clash of civilizations.” But there are, of course, alternatives to both models—peaceful efforts to challenge U.S. hegemony which reject Huntington’s exclusionary logic. Some of those efforts have revived the idea of South-South dialogue, which reemerged several times over the past century as a way for countries of the Global South to resist imperial dominance. For example, the idea of South-South dialogue was central to the pan-Africanism of the early twentieth century, the Non-Aligned Movement that emerged in the 1950s, and most recently the Summit of South America–Arab States (ASPA) inaugurated by former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2005 and reconvened several times since, which aimed at intensifying diplomatic, economic, and cultural cooperation between countries of the two regions.1

 

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