Ali Bla Bia's double-edged sword: Argentine president Carlos Menem and the negotiation of identity

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Abstract

In November 2001, while former Argentine president Carlos Menem was under house arrest in relation to an illegal arms deal investigation, the Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona came to visit him wearing a black turban.1 How can we begin to understand Maradona's flamboyant gesture of support for the tarnished Menem? More broadly, what role do references to the Arab world-an Arab world of turbans, harems, and odalisques, but also strict, fatalistic, and overpowering Islam-play in Menem's public presence, in both his reception and the persona he has crafted? In order to answer this question one needs to begin by reaching back into nineteenth-century Argentine as well as Middle Eastern history On the one hand, in the 1840s Argentine intellectuals began using images of the Orient in their attempts to define or decry the current cultural and political situation of Argentina; on the other hand, only two decades later Arabic-speaking immigrants began to relocate from provinces of the Ottoman Empire to Argentina.2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBetween the Middle East and the Americas
Subtitle of host publicationThe Cultural Politics of Diaspora
PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
Pages108-129
Number of pages22
Volume9780472028771
ISBN (Electronic)9780472028771
ISBN (Print)9780472069446
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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    Civantos, C. (2013). Ali Bla Bia's double-edged sword: Argentine president Carlos Menem and the negotiation of identity. In Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora (Vol. 9780472028771, pp. 108-129). University of Michigan Press.