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Showing posts from November, 2014

SMILES THAT IGNITE PASSION

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Story #17 of the 25 stories of Peace published by UNOY Peacebuilders Dense rows of white tents and long lines of listless people that are queuing for a small portion of food and water, of which there is never enough quantity to reach everyone. This was the daily image of Ras Jdir refugee camp in Rmeda where I volunteered during the Libyan Civil War. When I first arrived to the Tunisian-Libyan border in June 2011 the total number of refuges reached almost one million. We organized caravans brining donations from Tunis (the capital city of Tunisia) to the camp – despite all the conditions of insecurity of the trip. Beside our typical cargo – toys, food, water and covers – we also brought joy and hope to the refugees. Though our main targets were the young refugees, we indirectly sparked the solidarity in the Tunisian society that resulted in the collection of huge donations for weeks to come. When I first arrived, the one mission I had for every single activity I carried out was to draw sm…

The Statement of the Rustler’s Valley Youth Retreat

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TUNISIA: Compromise-style politics

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Published on D+C Development and Cooperation 
Translated to German

My coverage of the Parliamentary Elections and Presidential Campaign 
Around 5 million Tunisians were registered to vote, and 65 % of them did. Nidaa Tounes won 85 of 217 seats. This party was formed in 2012 and unites supporters of the pre-revolutionary regime, trade unions, opposition activists and anti-Islamist groups.

The Islamist party Ennahda, which has historical ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brothers, came in second with 69 seats. In the Constituent Assembly, it was the strongest party, and led a coalition government called Troika for two years after the revolution. Ennahda later gave up administrative power and agreed to a technocratic government when it became obvious that Troika rule had become divisive. People were upset because the government had not been able – or perhaps unwilling – to prevent two assassinations. Partly inspired by the Muslim Brothers’ disaster in Egypt, Ennahda’s priorities became passing the…

Gender: Between Perception & Reality

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Co-writing the article with Katharina Walbert  Published on European Youth Press Magazine during Peace Journalism Meeting 
"Rethinking Journalism" in Berlin

Republished on the North South Centre
While lyrics of the German anthem call for a “united Fatherland,” in other parts of the Mediterranean, many Arab countries are referred to as “the Motherland.” For decades, gender has been perceived differently where women and men are treated based on the influence of cultures, media and the marketing industry.

Tunisia, has been a leading country on women’s rights in its region. Tunisia’s laws have provided women an immersive measure of equality largely absent among its neighboring countries. Women have one of the most progressive Personal Status Codes: polygamy there is banned, and women have equal rights in marriage and divorce. The code also guarantees strict women rights in the criminalisation of domestic abuse and marital rape. On the other hand, this very Code has settled discr…

MULTIPLE IDENTITIES, WHERE DO I BELONG?

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Published on Foresight For Development 
I grew up with multiple identities that I questioned throughout my teen years. The strongest identity I was brainwashed with, is being “Arab”. Since primary school, my education, which curriculum I didn’t choose, has been mainly about the Arab civilization and the invention of the zero! My library has been full of books of Gibran Khalil Gibran and Mahmoud Darwish.
I actually loved Arabic, which I believe is my native language. I used to write a lot of poetry and short stories and have always been top of my Arabic prosody class. I lived in a country that has always been portrayed as part of the larger Arab region, with which it shares a language and many cultural elements, including a political identification.

I then learned French since the 3rd grade, which cultivated my Mediterranean identity. But French, as my Algerian friend mocks, “is just a bad habit”. The sense of national identity is constantly maintained by reference to recent national his…