Readers who have encountered Khamsin in the past, will have noticed some changes in the format 0f our latest issue. Fot them, as well as for those of our readers who encounter Khamsin for the first time, we would like to provide a brief history of our project and its aims, to explain the recent changes that this publication has undergone and our plans for the future. We are hoping to actively involve those of our readers who take a keen interest in a socialist future for the Middle East, in the ongoing debate on this issue.
Khamsin was established in 1975 as a French language journal in order to create a common forum for socialists in the Middle East from both the Arab world and Israel. Its initial concern was the struggle for basic democratic and national rights of the Palestinian people from a socialist perspective.
Based in London as an English language publication since 1977, it has taken up much wider perspective of the Middle East as a whole. Written mostly by people from the area, it attampts to provide a thorough analysis of the economic, pilitical and cultural problems facing the various classes.
As in the past , Khamsin is a publication by and for revolutionary socialists of the Middle East, as well as for socialists in other countries who are interested in that part of the world.
Khamsin is a committed publication. It aims not merely to reflect and express, but also to be part of the struggles for social liberation and against nationalist and religious mystifications.
All these struggles:
- That of the Arab popular masses against imperialism, Zionism and the Arab ruling classes;
- That of the Palestinian people, the most direct victims of Zionism, againjst their national and social oppression;
- That of the anti-Zionist left inside Israel;
- That of the labouring classes in all the countries of the Middle East against ‘their own’ exploiters, and against oppressive class regimes throughout the region;
- That of women throughout the region against their oppression and exploitation as women.
All these are inseparable aspects of one struggle, whose goals can only be achieved through the revolutionary overthrow of imperialist domination, the Zionist power-structure and all the existing regimes in the region, and the establishment of a united socialist Arab world, within which the non-Arab nationalities will also enjoy, by right and in fact, full social equality, individual liberty and national freedom.
The members of the Khamsin collective, from various countries of the region and belonging to different political tendencies, are united round this aim. However, Khamsin is not a political organ but a forum in which the aims themselves, as well as the strategy for achieving them, can be debated and discussed among the various shades of revolutionary left opinion.
While maintaining the same political perspective and aims, Khamsin has recently undergone several structural changes:
Khamsin is published from now on by Zed Books. Fot this, and related technical reasons, Khamsin has been transformed from a journal into book series. Apart from changing format, the above transformation also means that each issue of Khamsin will contain from now on a number of articles wholly dedicated to a single topic, rather than a main theme accompanied by articles related to other topics as before. For this reason, we will no longer be able to include readers’ letters and debates carried on from previous issues in the Khamsin book itself.
This is not to say that our commitment to providing a socialist debate forum on the Middle East has in any way weakened. Quite the opposite:
While Khamsin books will continue to provide thofough and analytical articles, we now intend to produce a parallel forum for discussion and debate, which will be circulated amongst all those who wish to take part in it.
Being published more frequently than the Khamsin books, this forum will be able to provide a more topical discussionon current Middle Eastern affairs, selections from Arab and Israeli press, reviews of publications on the Middle East, responses to material published in the Khamsin books and the Khamsin forum themselves or in any other publication on the Middle East.
The success of this new Khamsin project largely depends on you, our reader, whatever your country of residence may be. Please write to our address below, indicating your wish to receive the Khamsin bulletin regularly (you don’t have to be a subscriber to the Khamsin books series for that). You are also welcome to send us your comments, reviews and short articles.