My name is Joey Ayoub. I sometimes go by Joey Husseini-Ayoub to include my mother’s family name, or use Ibn Baldwin as a pen name, which means son of (James) Baldwin in Arabic.
I am a writer, researcher, scholar, editor and podcaster currently based in Geneva (2020-) after four years in Scotland (2017-2019) and England (2015-2017). I grew up on some mountain in Lebanon and lived in Beirut for a few years.
I’m of Lebanese, Palestinian, Italian and Argentinian heritage. More importantly, I’ve inherited the experience of multiple generations of people who were displaced for one reason or another, either persecution or economic hardships, or both.
These include: the Libano-Syrian migrations to South and North America, particularly Argentina and the USA, during Ottoman times; the Great Famine of Mount Lebanon; World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman empire; the French and British mandates over Lebanon and Palestine; the post-WWII order in Europe; Zionism, the establishment of Israel, and the Nakba; the establishment of the Assad regime in Syria and, for some time, Lebanon; Israeli atrocities in Lebanon; the aftermath of 9/11 and the US invasion of Iraq; the 2008 financial crash; the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’ and its aftermath; the 2015 uprising in Lebanon; the 2019 revolution in Lebanon; the 2020- global COVID-19 pandemic and the August explosion in Beirut of that year; and the ongoing hegemony of Hezbollah in Lebanon.
For these and other reasons I have a multiple ways of identifying myself. I can have specific feelings of kinship with my Maronite/Catholic/Melkite heritage mixed with a complicated relationship to an Arab Islam shaped by and against Ottoman, Western and pan-Arab legacies and thus a recognition of and fear for ‘minorities’ in the Muslim-majority Mashriq. These feelings mix in with my anti-authoritarianism, anti-nationalism, feminism and anarchism to create a deep-seated desire for a more just region where multiple identities live side by side and influence one another. Beyond the Mahsriq, I have specific links to my Italian heritage, especially via Italian anarchism, and I cherish the potential that could have come from Italian-Mashriq encounters in an alternative, transnational Mediterranean.
to be continued (still writing)