Missionizing Affects

Recoding the Digital Leak in Transnational Arab Media

In: Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication
Heather Jaber Northwestern University Qatar Qatar Doha

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This article examines the fictionalized retelling of a real 2017 controversy, after images proliferated of fans raising the rainbow flag during the Lebanese band Mashrou Leila’s concert in Egypt in solidarity with the band’s openly queer frontman. It examines the Egyptian musalsal or Arabic-language drama serial, ‘Awalem Khafeya, Hidden Worlds and suggests that the program engages in the ‘recoding’ of these events, where violent state crackdowns are restaged to cultivate different affects and feelings around troubled sovereignty. The production is situated within the Egyptian and Saudi Arabian contexts, where the program aired and ‘anti-corruption’ crackdowns betray state anxieties around economic liberalization. The production is analyzed to demonstrate how recoding operates, reflecting the potential for failed recoding platforms and raising new questions about content and territory. Ultimately, the article offers recoding as a diagnostic of power in the digital media age, where nations face a crisis of sovereignty as they articulate themselves in a global media marketplace.

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