Uprising in Lebanon – what’s happening and why is it important?

Protests erupted in Lebanon last Thursday in response to a government announcement of austerity measures, including a tax on WhatsApp calls. While the WhatsApp tax has made headlines worldwide and is being widely reported as the cause of the uprising, public anger actually runs much deeper, and the current demonstrations are in fact the eruption of years of frustration with a corrupt and ineffective political elite. These protests – which have brought people together across class, regional and sectarian divides – could mark a new era in Lebanese, and perhaps regional politics.

Halah Hamrani: The Saudi boxing instructor teaching women to ‘Fight Like a Girl’

Halah Al Hamrani is a Saudi martial arts instructor and owner of the FLAG (Fight Like a Girl) Boxing gym in Jeddah. A pioneer in the emerging Saudi women’s fitness industry, Halah teaches women to challenge themselves and push their limits. Women in Saudi Arabia have typically been discouraged from sports, but as the country starts … Continue reading Halah Hamrani: The Saudi boxing instructor teaching women to ‘Fight Like a Girl’

The Iranian women’s movement is seeing a slow revolution

It’s hard to imagine a society that prohibits the participation and viewing of sports based on gender. Unfortunately, this is the case in Iran. There was a brief period in 2006 when then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that women would be allowed to attend football matches, until Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei intervened and reinstated the ban. … Continue reading The Iranian women’s movement is seeing a slow revolution

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

Freedom Is an Inside Job: Iraqi Activist Zainab Salbi on how to heal the world

Zainab Salbi is an Iraqi humanitarian, author and activist who founded Women for Women International – a not-for-profit organisation supporting women in conflict-afflicted areas. Growing up in Baghdad, her parents’ reluctant friendship with Saddam Hussein cast a dark and repressive shadow over her childhood. Today, Salbi is telling her remarkable story in a brave and … Continue reading Freedom Is an Inside Job: Iraqi Activist Zainab Salbi on how to heal the world

Stronger Than Bullets: Music on the Frontlines of Libya’s Revolution

“Music gives me power, it gives me hope. It moves hearts… Strings have more power than bullets, stronger than bullets” – Masoud Buisir, the Troubadour of the Libyan revolution. You wouldn’t necessarily expect this statement to come out of Libya, a country that has been torn apart by revolution, counter-revolution, extremism and warring factions since … Continue reading Stronger Than Bullets: Music on the Frontlines of Libya’s Revolution

Caliphate: The addictive ISIS podcast that’s causing controversy

As avid podcast listeners will know, the New York Times recently wrapped up its binge-worthy 10-part podcast series, Caliphate, which delves into the inner workings of the billion dollar operation that is/was the Islamic State. With thousands of 5-star reviews on iTunes, this dramatic podcast has hooked people by sharing unique, first-hand insights into what … Continue reading Caliphate: The addictive ISIS podcast that’s causing controversy

Socotra: Conflict and climate threaten Yemen’s “alien” island paradise

Famous for its bizarre natural life and dramatic scenery, the Yemeni island of Socotra is an almost other-worldly paradise in the Indian Ocean. But this isolated UNESCO World Heritage Site is under threat from extreme weather and a bloody conflict encroaching on its peaceful way of life. (image: Juan Herrero) Nicknamed ‘the Galapagos of the … Continue reading Socotra: Conflict and climate threaten Yemen’s “alien” island paradise