[ by Charles Cameron — stumbling across a new writer, and taking both note and notes ]
I recently came across the Egyptian writer Youssef Rakha. He asked me to “add him to my network” on LinkedIn, I checked his profile out and discovered he was a highly respected novelist, we exchanged a few words, his novel The Book of the Sultan’s Seal arrived from Amazon today, and sometime in the last 48 hours I ran across his LA Review of Books article, ISIS, Hollywood, Islam — which contained the phrase:
striking how similar al-Hayat Media Center’s logo is to Al Jazeera’s
Al-Hayat is the outfit that publishes the Islamic State megazine, Dabiq.
So I did a due-diligence DoubleQuote:
And as far as one who does not read Arabic can see, I see.
Two questions arising: correlation or causation? imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?
Also of particular interest in Youssef Rakha’s LARB piece, this fierce horror-film-critique of the IS film, A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross — the one with the beheading of Coptic Christians by the sea:
I noted that the video is so cinematic it comes across as make-believe. I noted that the Copts were historically against the Crusades. I noted that the ISIS fighters in the film are too herculean to be Middle Eastern, that their victims are the blue-collar breadwinners of indigent families in underdeveloped provinces of my country, guilty of nothing more than the religion of their birth. I noted that they ended up dying where they had gone to — economically — survive.
But I have given you a sip and a taste — read the whole thing — the man can think! the man can write!