Revolution for Dummies: The Egyptian heart surgeon exiled for making jokes

Bassem Youssef, a heart surgeon living with his wife and baby daughter in Cairo, was one of millions of Egyptians whose lives were changed forever by the Arab Spring. His story, however, is unique. Nicknamed ‘the Jon Stewart of Egypt’, Bassem shot to fame for uploading political satire videos to YouTube from his laundry room, … Continue reading Revolution for Dummies: The Egyptian heart surgeon exiled for making jokes

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The Middle East in London: November events calendar

If you’re based in London, there are plenty of Middle East-focused events going on throughout November to keep you busy! Top picks: Levison Wood’s speaking tour on 11th – I caught his talk in Manchester and it was fascinating. Don’t miss his brand new book, Arabia! Jon Snow’s talk at UCL on 14th comes at a … Continue reading The Middle East in London: November events calendar

The painful truth about FGM in the Middle East

One of the greatest obstacles standing in the way of the pursuit of gender equality in the Middle East is the continued practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in many regional countries. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM across 30 countries, and that … Continue reading The painful truth about FGM in the Middle East

Iran’s city of lies – Extraordinary stories of love, sex and death in Tehran

The Islamic Republic of Iran stumbled into 2018 making headlines around the world. Thousands of citizens have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest the country’s staggering economy, corruption and rising prices. It is the first widespread opposition movement the Islamic Republic has seen since 2009, but this time, something’s different. In 2009, … Continue reading Iran’s city of lies – Extraordinary stories of love, sex and death in Tehran

Mohammed bin Salman: 5 things you need to know about the most powerful man in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (or MBS, as he has become known) has been making headlines around the world over the last few months, most recently for a crackdown on corruption that has seen hundreds of prominent Saudi princes, ministers and businessmen arrested and detained in Riyadh’s luxurious Ritz Carleton hotel. The five star … Continue reading Mohammed bin Salman: 5 things you need to know about the most powerful man in Saudi Arabia

“Driving while female”: Manal Al Sharif and the fight for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia

“Rain begins with a single drop.” If you’re looking for some inspiration this week, look no further than Saudi activist Manal Al Sharif’s recent book, Daring to Drive. It tells the story of a fearless Saudi woman who went from living in a poverty, to being radicalised by her extremist education, to risking her life … Continue reading “Driving while female”: Manal Al Sharif and the fight for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia