Yemeni entrepreneur Obeid al-Bakri launched a ridesharing app to provide safe transport in the southern city of Aden, but his plans quickly ran into trouble – the internet was so slow, no one could get online to book a ride.Continue reading
Arab women entrepreneurs defy odds with leap into sportswear
[Published here on March 8, 2022]
BEIRUT, March 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Nathaly Daou zigzags through an underground fabric store in Beirut, pulling out bolts of neon Lycra and patterned polyester before settling on a roll of white cotton.Continue reading
Sentenced for a selfie: Middle East police target LGBTQ+ phones
[Produced with my colleague Avi Asher-Schapiro and published here on March 7, 2022]
BEIRUT/LOS ANGELES, March 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Before Omar leaves home in the morning, he carefully uninstalls the apps on his phone one by one – no WhatsApp, no Facebook, no Grindr.Continue reading
Ukraine war threatens to make bread a luxury in the Middle East
[Produced with my colleagues Tala Ramadan in Beirut and Menna Farouk in Cairo, and published here on February 28, 2022]
ADEN/CAIRO, Feb 28 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The war in Ukraine may be unfolding several thousand miles away, but 32-year-old Ilham fears her family will feel its consequences on their dinner table in Yemen.Continue reading
Iraq Yazidis want Big Tech held to account for Islamic State crimes
[Published here on February 17, 2022]
BEIRUT, Feb 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Wahhab Hassoo’s family had to pay $80,000 to buy the release of his niece from the Islamic State (IS) militants who abducted her in 2014, and then offered her “for sale” in a WhatsApp group.
Now, Hassoo’s family and dozens of others from Iraq’s minority Yazidi community want social media companies to be held to account, accusing them of having facilitated the trafficking of Yazidi women and girls by the jihadists.Continue reading
Pilots say Qatar Airways monitors and muzzles staff online
[Published here January 28, 2022]
Staff at Qatar Airways who vent work worries online say the state carrier is retaliating with legal threats and job cuts – part of a growing corporate trend to monitor and muzzle employees who dare speak out.
Advocates say the carrier’s attempts to silence employees and delete critical posts – be it in private or public forums – contravenes staff rights to privacy and free expression.Continue reading
Pilots raise alarm at Qatar Airways for doctored hours, hidden fatigue
[Published here January 27, 2022]
Pilots at Qatar Airways say the state-owned airline is under-counting their work hours and ignoring complaints of fatigue – a safety breach that hurts staff health and risks passenger lives.
The testimony demonstrates how worker abuse extends even to the Gulf nation’s high-skill industries, as Qatar Airways (QA) tries to minimise crew downtime.Continue reading
The year we came undone
[Published here on December 28, 2021]
The decline had been steep and painful already. By the time Lebanon entered 2021, thousands had already lost their jobs, around half the population had been plunged into poverty, and the explosion at the Beirut port the previous year had stolen lives, limbs, and homes.
But this year, Lebanon simply began to come apart at the seams.Continue reading
As Beirutis face housing violations, award-winning NGO steps in
[Published here on December 16, 2021]
What could bring Syrian refugees, Sudanese migrants and marginalised Lebanese around the same table in Beirut? The threat of eviction – and the housing rights project trying to prevent it.Continue reading
Lebanon hands its undocumented a win – but little work
[Published here December 16, 2021]
Lebanon has for the first time eased restrictions on thousands of undocumented workers – but advocates say the long-awaited move fails to protect a community that struggles to survive even on the outer margins of life.Continue reading