Yemen: The poorest country in the Middle East; The corner of the Arabian Peninsula widely ignored as the oil monarchies of the Gulf rose to riches and global prominence; And now, embroiled in a deadly civil war protracted by the interference of external powers, further destabilising an already war-torn region. Yemeni politics can be highly confusing for outsiders. These 10 books will help you understand this complex country and the ongoing conflict.
“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
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
A Netflix series focusing on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is taking the Middle East by storm. Fauda follows the activities of the mista’arvim, an elite Israeli special forces unit who are trained and immersed in Palestinian culture in order to carry out undercover operations. The show has been praised and criticised by both sides for its … Continue reading Fauda: The Israeli Netflix drama that’s got the Middle East talking
Today marks the 7th anniversary of the beginning of the Yemeni uprising that unseated the country’s President, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh craftily played tribes, Islamist groups and foreign governments off against one another throughout his 33-year rule and he continued to do so after he was ousted from power in 2011. But his most recent … Continue reading ‘Dancing on the heads of snakes’: Yemen after Ali Abdullah Saleh
Last summer, the Yezidis of northern Iraq marked the third anniversary of the attempted genocide of their people by the so-called Islamic State (ISIL). In August 2014, ISIL rampaged through their villages in Iraqi Kurdistan, killing the men en masse and taking the women and girls as slaves. These women and girls bore unimaginable suffering, … Continue reading Art as a means of recovery for the Yezidi women who escaped ISIL
On World Refugee Day, we think everyone should read An Unsafe Haven by Nada Awar Jarrar. The book is fictional and a relatively easy read, but it contains a clear and important message about the way we see the Syrian conflict and its victims. It shows the destabilising effects of the war on neighbouring Lebanon … Continue reading An Unsafe Haven: Essential Reading on World Refugee Day
When leaving their homes, families and friends to escape war-torn countries, refugees take only what is most important to them. For Rami Basisah, this was his violin. He wrapped it in clingfilm, strapped it to his back and began his journey, which saw him cover 4,000 miles both by foot and by boat, crossing eight … Continue reading The refugee who fled Syria with nothing but a violin: Pink Jinn talks to Rami about his new album
International eyes have, for once, been on Yemen in recent weeks, as the catastrophic humanitarian situation has brought the country to the brink of famine. The men, women and children who have survived the brutal conflict thus far are currently facing starvation, as military blockades prevent aid from reaching those in dire need. One such … Continue reading Yemeni town awaits an offensive that could turn the tide of the war – but at a cost
The snowy city of Astana has, this week, played host to the latest round of talks aimed at bringing an end to the constant human suffering that has characterised the Syrian conflict. Delegations from the Syrian regime and various armed opposition groups gathered in the Kazakhstani city for two days of negotiations, brokered by a … Continue reading Astana talks: A turning point for Syria and the region?