“Zaynab Will not be a Slave Again” : Commemoration, War and Martyrdom Among the Shia of Lebanon
Tuesday, May 15 at 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
The commemoration of the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Husayn ibn Ali, at the battle of Karbala in 680 A.D. is definitive of the Twelver Shi’a community. Thanks to a host of rituals, Husayn’s memory is lived like a personal one; tears for him are believed to wash sins away. In the last few decades the Imam’s memory grew into essential political capital, a precious propaganda tool. There is always a force to be cast as the enemy of Husayn, everywhere were injustice is perceived can become a new Karbala’. The talk will explore the commemoration’s roots and nature, especially their fusion of textuality and performance. It will also address their political implication, meanings and usage in Lebanon, in the decades-old conflict with Israel, and in the recent civil war in Syria, in which the (Shi’i) Hezbollah has been a key player.
Samer El-Karanshawy, Carnegie Fellow at the American University, holds a Doctorate in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford and his research focuses on Shi’ism in Lebanon.
This event will be in Room 9207 of the Graduate Center
Co-sponsored by Lehman Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies