Near & Middle East

One of the many consequences of the 12-year Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip is the prevention of the reconstruction needed following past wars on the strip. This has prohibited thousands of families in Gaza’s eight refugee camps from having their homes repaired—forcing them to live in dilapidated, unsafe structures. (More…)

In Kurdish areas in the north of Syria, an implicit popular (i.e. trans-class) alliance was first formed after 2011 to self-manage a territory deserted by the Syrian authorities, and then in 2014 to defend it against the deadly threat from ISIS. The resistance combines former traditional ties and new movements, women’s particularly, in a working community of proletarians and middle-class elements, cemented by an emphasis on a common Kurdish nation. (More…)

A lifetime ago, I wrote a paper on the semantics of threatening for a course I took at the small liberal arts college where I was an undergrad. I don’t remember what my line of argument was. I do remember being complimented by the professor for my thoroughness. I am sure, however, that it was only later that I grasped a fundamental fact about my topic: the need to utter a threat is inversely related to its power. (More…)

Security wouldn’t let them through. “Please, please,” the mother entreated the officer in Hebrew. “I need to get my daughter to the bathroom.” Her pleas fell on deaf ears. (More…)

On a cold day in the Turkish city of Kayseri last November, we sat in the living room of two young men, Mustafa, aged 18, and Hafiz, 23, as they told us about their life since they arrived in Turkey. For single Afghan men such as these, seeking refuge in Turkey has always been a challenging affair. But in recent months, it has become all but impossible. (More…)

On 21 September, a boat carrying almost 40 Syrian refugees sank off the coast of Lebanon. They’d paid a smuggler to help them reach the European Union through Cyprus. Luckily, they were all saved – that is, almost everyone. A 5-year-old child, Khaled Nijmeh, drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. (More…)

“Israeli aircraft bomb Hamas headquarters. Hamas fires rockets toward Israel. The Israeli Iron Dome intercepts Hamas rockets. Israel will wage a destructive war. No, it’s a truce! Fatah and Hamas sign a reconciliation agreement. No, the reconciliation efforts were in vain. Abbas will lift his sanctions on Gaza. (More…)

Zeyad Aabed has devoted his career—26 years—to running an NGO dedicated to offering education and health services to the deaf. It was, to say the least, a labour of love. But now, much of the funding on which his NGO depends is drying up. And today, he feels exhausted and depressed, fearful he will have to close the El-Amal Rehabilitation Society altogether. (More…)

Faisal relies on medication for his mental health. It has been almost three years since his family, along with hundreds of other Sudanese asylum seekers, was deported back to Sudan as they protested in front of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) office in Jordan’s capital, Amman. “I have nothing left but memories. I keep remembering and remembering,” he says nervously. (More…)

6:26 AM
I’m not the kind of person who usually remembers my dreams, but last night was different. I dreamt I had immigrated to Belgium and was sitting with a friend in a large, crowded refugee camp. What I remember most is how anxious I felt. The friend (whom I have never met in real life) kept repeating that the camp was like a prison and we should never leave; otherwise, the Belgian soldiers would catch us. (More…)

In the blistering heat of Lebanon’s long summer, many of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees hosted by the country have been squeezing in all the seasonal work they can. In order to pay debts and health bills, some accept exploitative work conditions and the humiliation of unpaid salaries. (More…)

One of the many consequences of the Israeli blockade of Gaza is a lack of income. According to the World Bank, annual income per person in Gaza fell from $2,659 in 1994 to $1,826 in 2018. In large part, that devastating statistic is due to unemployment—which is the highest in the World Bank’s database. (More…)