Students, faculty and the Triangle public began the semester by discussing the 2015 record of terror attacks in Lebanon, France, Mali with a panel of three speakers.
Zeina Halabi, assistant professor of Modern Arabic Literature & Culture at UNC-Chapel Hill, speaking about Beirut, reminded the audience how the Lebanese are "desensitized" after decades of violence instigated by the Assad regime in neighboring Syria. The Nov. 12 attack, however, was the first described by the world's press in terms of ISIS and global terrorism.
Speaking on Skype from Paris, Anne-Gaëlle Saliot, assistant professor of 20th Century French Literature & Film, said the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo were fresh in everyone's mind in France when the Nov. 13 ISIS attacks hit several sites in Paris. Saliot stressed the challenge of confronting the fact of young people killing young people and the specter of civil war. She encouraged students to study the cyber forms of propaganda.
Amadou Fofana, a Duke visiting professor and a specialist in African cinema, just returned from Senegal, addressed the tense situation in the capital of Mali where the animosity between factions is intensifying following the Nov. 20 attacks. "What is happening", he said, "is not always visible on the ground" speaking on the Tuareg fighters, and the recent declaration of an Islamic state by Gambia's president.
The panel was moderated by Helen Solterer, organized with Omid Safi, professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and sponsored by the Center for French and Francophone Studies and the Duke Islamic Studies Center with cooperation from the Forum for Scholars and Publics. The talk prompted an energetic discussion with the audience.