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Where To Find Me

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It’s time to update everyone on what projects I’m currently working on, where I’m writing, and what’s in store for next year. First, I’m still writing my Sharp Edges column over at Shadowproof, freelancing as a contributing writer for Paste Magazine Politics, and co-hosting the Delete Your Account podcast with Kumars Salehi. Adding on to this, I’m writing for Mondoweiss, working as a researcher for an independent media publication, contributing to Verso Book’s blog, and I’m working on compiling a collection of essays on Islamophobia and anti-Arab discrimination called Pillars Of The Temple [image of the (work-in-progress) cover is below]

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I’ll be working with an artist to create a fitting image for the cover that can acompany the very minimalist design I’ve created above. This will be an entirely independent project and will feature essays that I haven’t published elsewhere—once it’s done, which I’m hoping will be around February, I will be selling it primarily through my website.

In other news, I’ve pulled the plug on my personal Patreon page due to the many issues I was having with the service, and due to me wanting to drive more traffic to my own website. So, in its place, I’ve decided to run monthly fundraising campaigns here. The first one will cover the cost of putting this collection of essays together, living expenses, and anything else associated with my work. You can donate by using the button below:

  1. If you're able to, consider supporting this project and costs associated with my writing work!
    $0.00 donated of $1,000.00 goal

Finally, I am always looking for freelance work and if you have something available do not hesitate to drop me a line. You can send an email to roq.chams [@] gmail.com

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to send me an email. Thanks to everyone for the tremendous support this year!

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When Performance Is Your Politics

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After the frightening attack on Planned Parenthood some of the best commentary social media had to offer was in the form of increasingly smug and hollow sarcasm, a cyclic outbreak of facetious questions in regards to the shooter’s religious history, his racial background, and who will condemn his actions. This reaction is repulsive as much as it is procedural. It is deeply formulaic, and after a few minutes on Twitter, for example, anyone with a keyboard and even a minutely popular account is able to reach thousands upon thousands with their own banal witicisms:

When are Christians going to go on television and denounce the Planned Parenthood shooter?
Why didn’t law enforcement kill him? Why is he alive?
Why aren’t they calling him a terrorist?
When is the white community/Christian community going to be surveilled?

These aggravating responses are now plastered across social media, each author putting their own thick-witted spin?some mentioning refugees, others using Muslims and Paris. It’s the use of Muslims that seems to be most popular as of late, undoubtedly due to the attacks in Paris. Using Muslims as a way in which to highlight the establishment media’s perpetual whitewashing of various crimes and criminals by then legitimizing the abuses they face has to be one of the most incompetent and profoundly disadvantageous methods in which to do so.? And this is putting it mildly. Other than feeding into what amounts to pompous social justice methodology this type of sarcasm does absolutely nothing to address systematic concerns, which go well beyond media fabrications. The media is comprised of those who are nothing more than ornamented stenographers to power. Yet rarely are distinct policies examined by those said to be champions of social justice, not at local, national, and especially not at an international level as most of these social justice performance artists are thoroughly US-centric in their world view. Instead, we are all forced to endure performative crowing by the same actors who are after spikes in their follower counts by repeating the same vacuous gibberish, because they know it works. This type of passive, amateurish routine is what has built their brand.

If we’re not devoting our efforts to organizing, heavily, against policies which work to stigmatize, punish, and uproot then we’ll be seeing more insipid posturing

A number of people have answered calls for apologies in the wake of the Planned Parenthood shooting with their own serious, colorful amends and excessive self-flagellation. And so what then? For what reasons should this attitude be normalized, if not for the sake of point-scoring and sanctimony? While members of communities who are oftentimes forced off into the edges of society feel slighted when witnessing double standards, as they should, what does this pietistic show do to address what are clearly two sets of rules? If we’re not devoting our efforts to organizing, heavily, against policies which work to stigmatize, punish, and uproot then we’ll be seeing more insipid posturing from the same characters who routinely warn their followers about the hornet’s nest that they contend is found in this same kind of irony. What many are calling sarcasm is in fact nothing more than an impotent masquerade. It is meant to give the appearance of political depth and awareness where none has ever existed.

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Al Akhbar English and Patreon

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I’d like to start off by saying thank you to everyone who has been keeping up with my work, tweets and other social media updates. Secondly, as many of you know by now, Al Akhbar English, where I have been employed as a regular contributing writer (my column was In Homage to the Struggle), has closed down and a major project I was to be a part of has been upruptly called off with no explanation as to why. As of publication what was to be my last article for Al Akhbar English has not been posted, despite being approved, and it looks as though the shut down is complete. This has left me with a heavy heart and a lack of income. I have decided, thanks to a friend offering the idea, to open up a Patreon subscription page where I will be able to create as much content as I am able to and allow for my readers to subscribe in order to recieve exclusive work. One of the projects I have in store is a monthly literary magazine which will have art, poems, prose etc. and updates on my book (which is still a work in progress). I am still unsure as to whether or not I will create an entirely new webpage in order to publish this new content or if I will publish this work here. Whatever I decide, I will let you all know. I have also been offered positions elsewhere and I am going to be looking at my options and what is best for me, but nothing is confirmed and I have not made a decision as of yet. All in all, I would appreciate if you all would subscribe, if able, so I can continue to do what I love. I truly appreciate the unbelievable support you have all offered me over the years, and I only hope I live up to your expectations. Please forgive me for any mistakes I have made along the way and join me in this new, creative journey I am taking.

Learn more about my Patreon page here: PATREON

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Arab Women (Part I): The Literary Pioneers

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After creating #NotYourNarrative, a Twitter-based discussion?centered?around the mainstream media’s usurpation of native voices, with?Rania Khalek, a hashtag which amassed more than 6,000 tweets in less than a single day, I found it essential to provide a list of Arab women writers and their contributions. While compiling a list I found that Nahla Hanno, creator of Arab Women Writers, has already organized a brilliant collection aimed at ‘celebrating and recognizing Arab women writers, and promoting awareness of the breadth of their contributions to Arab and world culture.’

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