Activism

The Gains and Risks of Kurdish Civic Activism in Iran

On July 13, 2020, two young Kurdish men, Diako Rasoulzadeh and Saber Sheikh-Abdollah, were executed by the Iranian government on fabricated charges of involvement in bombing a military parade in Mahabad in 2010. They were also members of Komala, a banned Kurdish...

The New Wave of Politics in the Struggle for Self-Determination in Rojhelat

In an attempt to decolonize Kurdistan, at least discursively, Kurds refer to the Kurdish region of Iran as Rojhelat, instead of Iranian Kurdistan. Rojhelat, meaning “the place where the sun rises,” refers to the eastern portion of Kurdistan—the Kurdish homeland that...

Where Will You Find That Many Women?

Aysel Tuğluk is a Kurdish politician, a founding member and the first co-chair of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) in Turkey. She was elected as a member of parliament in 2007 and banned from politics for five years when the Constitutional Court outlawed the DTP in...

Anti-Racism and Political Contagion From Save Darfur to Black Lives Matter

Hisham Aïdi 07.2.2020

Fifteen years after his classic essay for Middle East Report, “Slavery, Genocide and the Politics of Outrage: Understanding the New Racial Olympics” Hisham Aïdi reflects on what has changed, and what has not, in the intertwined dynamics of Islamophobia, solidarity movements and anti-racism in the United States and the Middle East.

Trauma as a Counterrevolutionary Strategy

Recent research in Egypt demonstrates how trauma can be (and has been) weaponized as a counterrevolutionary strategy by military and political elites who seek to maintain and strengthen their economic and political power.

Regional Authoritarians Target the Twittersphere

Saudi Arabia’s illicit infiltration of Twitter turns out to be only the tip of the iceberg of regional regime’s efforts to wrest control of political discourse on social media.

Resurgent Protests Confront New and Old Red Lines in Jordan

In response to multiple waves of protests, including a surge of protests in 2019, the Jordanian state has worked hard to establish and enforce five red lines for the protests not to cross in order to rein in the potential impact of unified protests across the kingdom.

Thinking Critically About Regional Uprisings

In order to broaden our frameworks for thinking critically about the new round of uprisings, MERIP editorial committee member Jillian Schwedler asked a number of critical scholars for their perspectives on how we should be thinking about regional protests and what is often overlooked or misunderstood.

Dhiban as Barometer of Jordan’s Rural Discontent

Dhiban shares with much of rural Jordan a long history of seismic societal shifts and gradual economic marginalization. This history forebodes continued unrest in underdeveloped areas as long as economic problems remain unaddressed.

From Protesta to Hirak to Algeria’s New Revolutionary Moment

But protesters have not gone home, and many have vowed to stay until the underlying structure of rule in Algeria changes and its ruling elite–known as Le Pouvoir (the power)–are expelled from power. The protesters are demanding that an entirely new system–which some call a new revolution–be put in place.

Lebanon’s Thawra

This uprising is demanding justice beyond sectarian, class, religious or cultural divides. In the clarity brought about by the uprising, the regime’s politics of division has been challenged by the uprising’s politics of solidarity.

“It is still early to write the history of Gezi”

Mücella Yapıcı is an architect and activist, known for her work against urban renewal projects and environmental destruction in Turkey. She is the secretary and spokesperson of the activist group Taksim Solidarity, which was one of the leading organizations during the June 2013 Gezi Park protests. MERIP editorial committee member Elif Babül spoke to Yapıcı on June 22, 2018 in Istanbul at the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects, shortly before the 2018 presidential elections took place. The interview has been edited and condensed for publication.

From Gaza to Jerusalem to Iran

Joel Beinin 07.12.2018

By forging a regional alliance aimed at confronting Iran and its allies, the new coalition of the US, Israel and allied Sunni Arab regimes intend to relegate the Palestinian issue to collateral damage in order to succeed.

Latin America-Middle East Ties in the New Global South

Over the past several years, posters of a gray Chinese terracotta warrior have caught the eyes of travelers in international airports. Hung on walls alongside moving walkways, the posters advertise the London-based bank HSBC and feature photographs ironically labeled...

Justice and/or Development

Emilio Spadola 12.24.2017
`Ash al sha`ab! `Ash! `Ash! [Long Live the People!] `Ash! `Ash! Maghariba mashi “awbash!” [We Moroccans are not “trash!”] Ra’s al-mal?! [Where’s our capital?!] -Hirak protest chants in Fez, June 2017 What began in late October 2016 with protests over the horrific...

The Thorns that Exist and Resist

On August 12, 2017, more than 1,200 people gathered in Chicago to bid farewell to Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian-American community organizer facing deportation due to US government efforts to repress struggles for social justice and support for Palestinian freedom. At the gathering, Angela Davis honored Rasmea’s lifelong commitment to revolutionary struggles against racism, Zionism and imperialism. A week later, Kristian Davis Bailey, a Detroit-based activist with the Black4Palestine network, stood outside Rasmea’s sentencing hearing with banners that declared: “From Assata to Rasmea, We Fight for Freedom/Hurriya.”

Refusing to Forgive

In 2015, Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi proposed a draft economic reconciliation law to forgive graft and other corrupt acts committed by civil servants and businessmen under the regime of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in exchange for closed-door confessions and return of ill-gotten gains. Such economic crimes were a major trigger of the 2010-2011 protests that led to the Tunisian revolution—and Essebsi’s bill provoked a powerful response, a campaign called Maneesh M’sameh (I Will Not Forgive). The campaign’s initial goal was to protect the integrity of investigations of economic crimes by the Truth and Dignity Commission (L’Instance Vérité et Dignité), created in the summer of 2014.

BDS in a Time of Precarity

The University of Toronto is not known as a particularly progressive institution. Like many universities, it has adopted neoliberal thinking and practice, becoming part of Academia, Inc. But two seemingly unrelated events during the 2014-2015 academic year showcased the increasing political activity of the school’s graduate student body.

The Ties That Bind

Yemeni-American activist Rabyaah al-Thaibani was born in Ta‘izz, Yemen’s largest city, in 1977. She moved to the United States as a child to join her father, who was working nights cleaning office buildings in Manhattan. She grew up in Brooklyn, attended Columbia University and since has worked in community development in New York City. In 2011, she helped establish the Yemeni-American Coalition for Change, and in February 2017 worked to bridge Yemeni and American concerns by co-organizing the Yemeni bodega strike, mounted in protest of President Donald Trump’s first attempt at a “Muslim ban.” A named plaintiff in New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s effort to challenge the second “Muslim ban” in court, al-Thaibani agreed to talk with MERIP about how her childhood in Yemen and her experience as part of a wide Yemeni diaspora have influenced her activism in the US. She also spoke about what she would like outsiders to appreciate about Yemen and its current conflict. In a wide-ranging conversation of more than two hours with Stacey Philbrick Yadav, associate professor of political science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, al-Thaibani described the connections she sees between her home and her homeland, the optimism she feels about Americans’ “accidental awakening” since Trump’s election, and the ways in which Yemenis are represented in American policy debates. The following is an edited excerpt of the conversation.

Voter Participation and Loud Claim Making in Algeria

Change looms on the horizon in Algeria—change that could well touch the edifice of the country’s framework of governance. In the short term, given the protracted period of low international oil and gas prices, the state is likely to introduce economic reforms that will modify its expenditures on popular distributional and social welfare programs. And in April 2019, an election will likely usher in a successor to the sitting fourth-term president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who first took office in 1999.

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