Why “The Red and the Blue”?

15 October, 2020

A poster in Daliah Ammar's

A poster in Dali­ah Ammar’s “Vote” series, curat­ed by our friends at Al-Bus­tan Seeds of Culture.

What is an arts pub­li­ca­tion doing writ­ing about “The Red and the Blue”—colors sym­bol­ic of the divi­sions of a trou­bled nation, rep­re­sent­ing Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tive and lib­er­al val­ues? Sim­ply put, every­thing is pol­i­tics, and to ignore the real­i­ty around you would be tan­ta­mount to self-negligence.

The truth is that the peo­ple of the Unit­ed States—a nation of Native Amer­i­cans and immi­grants, let’s remember—are about to vote in the sin­gle most impor­tant elec­tion of their life­times. No oth­er pres­i­dent has proven quite so chaot­ic and destruc­tive as Don­ald J. Trump, the faux bil­lion­aire from Queens who has been shown to owe hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to as yet unknown cred­i­tors. Even the New York Times edi­to­r­i­al board has come out with a state­ment that does not mince words: “Don­ald Trump’s re-elec­tion cam­paign pos­es the great­est threat to Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy since World War II.”

Not only are the 2020 elec­tions his­tor­i­cal­ly impact­ful (as of this writ­ing, near­ly 20 mil­lion peo­ple have vot­ed ear­ly and pre­dic­tions are that this will be the largest vot­er turnout in 100 years) for U.S. cit­i­zens, but peo­ple around the world are obses­sive­ly pay­ing atten­tion to the pres­i­den­tial con­test between the Trump-Pence and Biden-Har­ris tick­ets, as well as the many sen­ate races now underway.

If the polls are cor­rect, we may see a blue tidal wave take both the White House and the Sen­ate, leav­ing only the U.S. Supreme Court under a con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty. No one could have pre­dict­ed that 2020 would become the year of the pan­dem­ic, George Floyd and an impeached Don­ald Trump, but with the wind at our back, the year from hell may end on a pos­i­tive note, for with an already Demo­c­rat-major­i­ty in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Amer­i­cans can begin to seri­ous­ly fight Covid-19 while rebuild­ing a coun­try that has been test­ed by anger and divi­sion as nev­er before.

This issue fea­tures fab­u­lous art from Dali­ah Ammar, Sandow Birk and Jos Sances, as well as new writ­ing from Hasheemah Afaneh, Rana Asfour, Melis­sa Chemam, Monique El-Faizy, Laila Hal­a­by, Malu Halasa and Maryam Zar, among oth­ers. If you like what you read, please post your com­ments and share with your friends. Thanks for read­ing, and please sup­port The Markaz Review here. —Jor­dan Elgrably, Editor