Voices from the Middle East: MERIP’s Coverage of COVID-19 Across the Region
As the global pandemic upends life in the Middle East, threatening already vulnerable communities with a health catastrophe, MERIP created a new series dedicated to first-person accounts from the region. From doctors on the front lines to refugee aid workers and beyond, this series emphasizes how long-standing injustices exacerbate the danger of the virus, threaten the region’s most vulnerable communities and portend large-scale death and illness across the region.
Trump’s war on immigration from the Middle East, enacted through multiple executive orders and proclamations since January 2017, is collectively known as the Muslim ban. Eventually approved by the Supreme Court, it hit the Yemeni community particularly hard with overwhelming costs and other hurdles to family reunification. Louise Cainkar explains the evolution of the Muslim ban, its unconscionable effects and what is being done to contest it. This article is from the forthcoming issue of Middle East Report, “Exit Empire – Imagining New Paths for US Policy.”
The Trump administration’s aggressive stance toward Iran defines much of US policy toward the Middle East. Any effort to imagine new paths for US policy in the region will need to reformulate US-Iran relations. Middle East Report reached out to seven scholars and policy analysts for their thoughts on some critical questions. This forum is a preview of MERIP’s forthcoming issue, “Exit Empire – Imagining New Paths for US Policy.”
The coronavirus pandemic is highlighting glaring inequalities and the lack of resources for vulnerable communities worldwide. Joe Stork, in a prescient analysis from 1989, explains how health care is always mediated through politics and power. With vivid examples from across the Middle East, this article from the MERIP archives is indispensable to understanding the current crises in public health.
While people around the world are under lockdown, Palestinian workers in Israel continue to labor in the now accelerated construction sector. While Israel’s project of control and expansion exploits their labor, Palestinians are put at greater risk without proper testing, accommodations or healthcare.
Refugees everywhere are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza are legally under the protection of the UN and Israel. Are these authorities meeting their obligations? Amahl Bishara talks to Badil director Nidal Al-Azza to find out and to learn how communities are coping.
Lebanon’s highly privatized system of health care is presenting challenges to implementing a public health approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the country already suffering from multiple political and economic crises, containment of the coronavirus has been more effective than expected. But serious obstacles to the public’s health and well being remain.
One of MERIP’s signature issues over the years has been the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict—partly because of its intrinsic interest but largely because so much myth and cant clouds the mainstream media coverage of this subject that independent analysis is particularly necessary. This primer by Joel Beinin and Lisa Hajjar is a good place to start in understanding what is at stake as events unfold.
(Photo of Israeli separation barrier by Alfonso Moral.)