[Published here January 2, 2019]
Dark skies were threatening rain over the Kurdish village in northern Iraq, but one woman refused to budge from outside the front door. Inside were two girls at risk of genital mutilation.
[Published here March 16, 2015]
These are but a few of the names that, according to a daring animated film based on real interviews, Syrian women give to their vaginas. This is the work of Estayqazat, a self-described online Syrian feminist movement focusing on the body, sex and sexuality of Syrian women. With a name that translates to “She has awoken” in Arabic, the group’s goal is ambitious: to inspire a feminist movement in war-ravaged Syria through online videos and testimonies.
In February, I had the opportunity to work on an essay to accompany photos by an amazing photographer and friend, Felipe Jacome. He took dramatic portraits of Syrian refugee parents in Lebanon and their children, who are often at risk of becoming stateless. One of the women, Dina, told me her story.
It’s published in Al Jazeera Magazine, an elegant publication that’s only available for download on phones and tablets. Check out the little preview below, and click the link to download the magazine.
‘I’ll tell you the story of how we left Syria,’ Dina begins. ‘We got to the last Syrian checkpoint before the border point. ‘Where are you going?’ they asked me. ‘To Lebanon? You can’t go. [The border guard] forced my kids out of the car and pointed his gun at them. He cocked the gun and pointed it at my kids.’ Her voice breaks and tears roll down her cheeks, but Dina continues. ‘The driver tried to calm him down. The border guard said, ‘No, I’ll gun you down and every single one of these kids.’ We got back in the car. I looked at whatever money I had and gave it to him, begging, kissing his hands.’
[Published here September 9, 2014]
BEIRUT, 9 September 2014 (IRIN) – A Yemeni draft law envisaging strict penalties for those involved in trafficking migrants, including kidnapping them and demanding ransom, may finally bring an end to decades of exploitation.
To give the process a push, the International Labour Organization (ILO) co-hosted a three-day workshop from 6-8 September with Yemen’s Ministry of Human Rights in Lebanon’s capital Beirut, bringing together government entities, international agencies, and non-governmental groups to develop Yemen’s anti-trafficking roadmap.
[Published here August 4, 2014]
Since the beginning of the conflict more than three years ago, Syria’s death toll sits horrifyingly somewhere over 120,000. But the real number of destroyed lives is much higher: Three million refugees, scattered throughout the region, escaped the war alive. Though they survived, their homes have been demolished, their memories faded, and their dreams rendered impossible. Painstakingly, some women who turned into widows or single parents have tried to reassemble their lives, readjusting hopes and goals to fit a harsh new reality. Here is one story of a women-led household—a rare occurrence in the Middle East—inside the Domiz refugee camp in Iraq.