Commentary, Digital Life, Human Rights, Lebanon, Published Work

Why the world grieved for Paris and not Beirut

As Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris unfolded, people around the world tuned in to watch blanket coverage of the events. Facebook activated a feature allowing Parisians to check in as “safe.” By Saturday, millions of people had added a filter of the French flag to their profile pictures to show solidarity with Paris. Continue reading

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Commentary, Lebanon, Published Work

Western media’s troubling obsession with “badass” and “submissive” Arab women

A version of this article originally appeared on Now Lebanon.

A clip of Al-Jadeed anchor Rima Karaki shutting down London-based cleric Sheikh Hani al-Sibai during a televised interview has received international attention. As a journalist and a feminist, I initially cheered at Karaki’s satisfying take down of her patronizing guest. But as the video went viral, I found myself struggling to come to terms with the ways that the clip was repurposed and framed by many international media outlets. Continue reading

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Commentary, Lebanon

The tired foreign media narrative on Lebanon

A version of this article originally appeared on Now Lebanon.

The week of Lebanon’s Independence Day, Foreign Affairs published a commentary piece ominously titled “Beirut’s Center Cannot Hold: Lebanon Is On the Brink of Another Civil War.” The headline, a less-than-subtle nod to Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming,” begs the question that has been debated time and time again by international media since 2005: what is holding Lebanon together? Continue reading

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Commentary, Human Rights, Lebanon

Fattouch, Bassil actions reflect a deeper misogyny

While political gaffes may appear to exist in isolation, Fattouch and Bassil’s actions are reflective of a society with a deep and troubling political legacy of violence and misogyny. 

A version of this article originally appeared on Now Lebanon.

An incident involving independent MP Nicolas Fattouch punching a female clerk in the neck at the Justice Palace has gone viral.

While rumors circulated online that Manale Daou, the clerk in question, was forced to withdraw a lawsuit and apologize to the offending MP, Mahmoud Darwish of the Public Administration Employees Committee has denied that legal action against Fattouch has been dropped. Continue reading

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Commentary, Digital Life, Human Rights

The atrocities will be tweeted

Why social media may be the great equalizer in the Arab-Israeli propaganda war.

A version of this article was originally published on Now Lebanon on 25 July 2014.

Rihanna is no stranger to controversy. The singer is notorious for her outspoken social media presence, and has more than once been suspended from Instagram for posting racy content. There was one message, however, that proved too contentious even for the most uninhibited of celebrities: #FreePalestine. Continue reading

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Commentary, Digital Life

Hashing out the hashtag

How a hashtag crowdsourced the construction of a vocabulary for discussing feminism in the 21st century.

Following a horrific shooting in Santa Barbara that left seven students dead and over a dozen injured, news of the massacre spread on social media like wildfire. In the days that followed, it was uncovered that the shooter had a YouTube channel dedicated to promoting misogynistic ideas, and had left a deep Internet archive documenting hateful and disturbing tendencies. This discovery shifted on and offline conversations of the incident from gun control and mental health to a more overarching discussion of the everyday sexism and misogyny that runs rampant and often unchecked in societies worldwide.

Women around the world took to Twitter to share their stories, mobilizing through the #YesAllWomen hashtag – a catchphrase designed to counter the #NotAllMen trend often used to discount complaints about misogyny. Within four days the hashtag had drawn over 1.2 million tweets, with women expressing their grievances and experiences with harassment, fear, and even violence. Continue reading

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Commentary, Digital Life

Censorship versus Privacy: the implications of the “right to be forgotten”

A groundbreaking court case out of Europe may be redefining the boundaries shaping online identity. Google’s recent decision to respect the “right to be forgotten” has triggered a debate spotlighting the intersection of freedom of speech, censorship, and privacy rights.

The case was initially introduced by Mario Costeja Gonzalez, a Spanish businessman irked that a Google search for his name still turned up a 1998 newspaper article detailing his past financial woes, despite the fact that his debts had been paid off years before. A Spanish court referred his case to the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg, which ruled in favor of the complaint. The historic decision determined that search engines do indeed have a duty to ensure that data deemed “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” does not appear in their results. In a more sweeping ruling, the court also declared that ordinary citizens have a right to request that search engines remove links to sites that may provide excessive personal data about them. Continue reading

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