In mid-November, when protests against Lebanon’s venal, incompetent, and bankrupt government had already been taking place for three weeks, President Michel Aoun dismissed the demonstrators: if they weren’t satisfied with the country’s political leadership, they should “emigrate.” But young Lebanese have been doing just that, by the thousands, for decades. The country runs, to a large extent, on the money they send home. In 2018, the remittances of the huge Lebanese diaspora accounted for about 13 percent of the country’s GDP.
Until recently, there were three options for young people in Lebanon, a friend told me when I visited the country last month: you could join one of the country’s sectarian factions, trading loyalty for patronage; “go into internal exile, smoking pot with your ten friends”; or get out.… Seguir leyendo »
Last month, Asma Lamrabet, a well-known Moroccan feminist, resigned from her position at the Mohammedan League of Scholars, where she headed a center of women’s studies in Islam. She was pushed to resign, she explained in a statement, by the backlash over her support for a demand that remains controversial in the Arab and Muslim world: an equal share for women.
In Muslim countries, laws governing inheritance are derived from verses in the Quran; men generally receive larger, sometimes double, the shares that women get. Distant male relatives can supersede wives, sisters and daughters, leaving women not just bereaved but also destitute.… Seguir leyendo »
In the town of Al Hoceima, Morocco, the Eid holiday at the end of Ramadan was a time of clashes rather than celebration. The police and authorities blockaded roads leading to the town and prevented protesters from gathering in its main square. Crowds managed to assemble anyway, on side streets, before being violently dispersed by riot police. Young men threw stones; the police fired tear gas.
Al Hoceima, at the foothills of the Rif, a northern mountain region with a long history of rebellion, has been the center of a protest movement for eight months. The uprising has landed hundreds in jail, led tens of thousands to demonstrate across the country and unsettled this quiet North African kingdom.… Seguir leyendo »
On Tuesday, the first day of a two-day referendum on Egypt’s new constitution, voters outside the main polling station in this provincial city didn’t want to talk about the content of the new national charter. Instead, they focused on what this vote has come to signify: support for the army, and abhorrence of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“We’re here so the world will know that this is the people’s will, not a military coup,” said Iman Mahmoud, a middle-aged housewife who, like everyone else in line, intended to vote in favor of the new constitution.
“We don’t want the Muslim Brotherhood or Morsi,” said Dalia Abdel Aziz, standing next to her, referring to the Islamist organization and to Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted as president in July.… Seguir leyendo »