On November 23, 2020, I had the privilege of moderating a panel of esteemed experts, hosted (online) by Chatham House and focused on the challenges facing Iraq’s youth — which make up nearly two-thirds of its population.
As its first parliamentary vote in nearly a decade approaches, Lebanon has been swept into campaign fever: posters on every corner, televised debates, and neighbours bickering over new electoral procedures.
Beirut (AFP) – Armed with a 10-point platform and a shot of ambition, an unlikely alliance of Lebanese citizens will for the first time take on Beirut’s powerful political class in Sunday’s municipal elections.
SYRIAN EMBASSY, Yarzeh — Hundreds of thousands of Syrians today headed to the Syrian embassy in Yarzeh, southeast of Beirut, to cast their vote for Syria’s next president. The Hazmieh highway was clogged with cars as early as 8 a.m.; drivers waved the Syrian flag out of cars plastered with posters of Syrian president and incumbent candidate Bashar al-Assad. But chaos at the embassy and a disorganized voting process complicated many Syrians’ attempts to vote.
ISTANBUL, Turkey — Spread around a tiny living room in an Istanbul flat are laptops, cell phones, projectors, and almost three dozen social media activists. This group, which spent all day monitoring Turkey’s contested local elections on March 30, re-assembled in a matter of hours after the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) declared its victory in the early morning of March 31. Their mission: to carry out a citizen-run investigation into election fraud.
Named after the 140-character limit on micro-blogging site Twitter, 140journos gained prominence after Istanbul’s Gezi Park protests last year. It has since grown to a network of over 300 citizen journalists, all volunteers, based throughout Turkey. The group uses Twitter, as well as Facebook and micro-video sites like Vine, to gather and verify local news. According to Ogulcan Ekiz, one of the group’s founding members, 140journos’ verification process has earned it the trust of much of Turkey’s youth, who see biases in traditional Turkish media.