Women in the 2011 Revolutions: Tawakul Karman

This post was written by guest contributor Summar Shammakhi.For a long time, negative impressions have dominated world’s opinion of women in the Middle East and North Africa region. Media depictions of women as second-class citizens often deemphasises the root causes of the problem, which include the repressive, dictatorship-led countries of this region who sought to exploit many aspects of society, including religion. This past year has witnessed a dramatic turn of events due to the u … [Read more...]

Selective Shivers in the Islamist Winter

The election of the so-called ‘moderate Islamist’ party, Ennahda, to the head seat of the government, has put Tunisia at the center of the discussion on the rise of Islamist post-Arab Spring. Media coverage has focused primarily on the alleged ‘inevitable’ imposition of the headscarf on all women and the possibility of great setbacks to the gains made by Tunisian women.There has been little, if any, actual engagement with the evolving positions and campaigns of the party, as substantial o … [Read more...]

A Gay Girl in Damascus Tells It Like It Is

Amina Abdullah is being celebrated as the unlikely voice of Syria’s revolution. She is a 35-year-old Syrian-American woman living in Damascus. On her blog, she writes candidly about her life as a lesbian in Syria. She garnered international attention after a post describing how her father was in an altercation with the state police.Abdullah’s blog is not only significant as an account of someone in the midst of Syria’s revolution.  It is also important because it is creating more opportunities … [Read more...]

Arab Women: They’re in Niqabs, Gettin’ in Ur Democracy

The Atlantic featured this picture on its latest magazine, which includes an article about the Arab Spring and the future of democracy in the region.The article does talk briefly about women's rights in the region, but it seems hardly fitting that there should be a woman wearing niqab on the cover with the fearmongering caption, "Is this the face of Arab democracy? Why the new Middle East is more hopeful--and more hazardous." DUN DUN DUUUUUUN. … [Read more...]

The Sexy Business of Political Uprisings: Sijal Hachem’s “Khalas”

I lived through a revolution. I saw my 21-year-old brother holding a gun. I slept with a knife under my pillow. I have a close friend who was shot and is now blind in one eye.I was lucky. I didn't have thugs break into my house. I wasn’t tear-gassed. I wasn’t shot at. But I have friends who were. I have friends who have friends who died.And compared to the revolutions going on in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, and Libya, Egypt was lucky.Today I heard a new song by Sijal Hachem, a Lebanese singer I’ … [Read more...]


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