Stories about Middle East & North Africa from March, 2013
Lebanon's First Civil Marriage “Approved by Justice”
Lebanon's first civil marriage has been recognized by the Ministry of Justice. Earlier this year, Kholoud Succarieh and Nidal Darwich initiated Lebanon's first civil marriage on Lebanese soil, in a country where only religious marriages could be contracted until then, and where civil status is administered by religious authorities. The couple argues that their contract is legal according to Lebanese law, and submitted it to the Interior Ministry.
Iran: “We Want Our Children to be Free”
The mother of dead blogger, Sattar Beheshti,said in a message in YouTube that she gave her son for Iran and added “we want our children to be free”. Sattar Beheshti died in “Cyber Police” detention facility last year.
Iran: 500 Year Old Market was Burnt
Bloggers informed that Masuleh‘s 500 year old market was burnt in fire. The historical city of Masuleh has an age of eight hundred to a thousand years.
Egyptian Hashtag Takes on Homophobia!
A recent social media call to address homophobia stirred a lively and heated discussion despite sexuality being a major taboo in Egypt.
Prime Minister Resigns, as Lebanon Remains a “Sinking Ship”
Lebanese Prime Minister resigns as the country faces ongoing chaos.
Iranian Singer Ermia's Show Biz Veil
A young singer's decision to wear a veil on the Persian language hit television show Googoosh Music Academy attracted both cheers and jeers from Iranians who tuned in.
African Cinema Honored at Film Festival
Boukari Ouédraogo wrote [fr] about the 23rd Pan-African Film Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO, Festival Panafricain du Cinéma de Ouagadougou). The festival took place from February 23 to March 2, 2013: What I did notice is that African filmmakers are true messengers, real educators, historians, storytellers, etc. They speak directly to...
The Pros and Cons of Drafting Israel's Ultra-Orthodox
The Israeli public largely objects to the current policy of allowing ultra-orthodox Jewish youth to avoid army service, but the rule has long been upheld thanks to political power play. Now, the policy is up for consideration.
Arrest Warrant Issued for Egyptian Blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah for a Twitter Mention
Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah surrendered himself to the public prosecution today (March 26) after an arrest warrant was issued for him last night. The investigation, tweets Abd El Fattah, revolved around his relationship with Princess Joumana and her mention of him on Twitter.
Saudi Royal Advisor to Sue Twitter User
On Riyadh Bureau, Ahmed Al Omran writes: A member of the Saudi Shoura Council said today that he is going to sue a conservative writer for attacking him on Twitter. Shoura member Issa al-Ghaith said that “due to the escalation of offenses on Twitter and the necessity of legal action”...
Saudi Arabia Threatens to Block Skype and WhatsApp
Saudi Arabia, an Enemy of the Internet, is threatening to block a number of popular communication tools, such as Skype and mobile messaging service WhatsApp, unless the operating companies agree to infringe on the privacy of users and monitor them.
Digital Freedom: Principles and Concepts
The Egyptian Institute for Freedom of Thought and Expression issued its first statement on digital freedom, a simplified research paper to propose definitions for digital rights and related principles which the paper summarised as: universal access, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to privacy, and the right to creativity, development and innovation.
Tunisia: “No to IMF Loan”
As Tunisia works to secure a US$1.78 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to cover next year's budget, the government has ignited anger across the country raising taxes and cutting subsidies at a time when the economy is struggling to recover from the country's Arab Spring uprising.
Saudi Minister Threatens a Twitter User Online
Saudi Arabia's Information and Culture Minister Abdelaziz Khoja allegedly threatened to sue a Twitter user – for insulting him on the microblogging platform. The user called the minister a "remote control" in the hands of those with money and power and the minister responded that he could sue him, if he confessed his name.
Hackers Publish Turkish Mayor's Phone Number in Tit-for-Tat Cyber Attack
A group of Turkish hackers who call themselves Redhack have published the mayor of Ankara's cell phone number on Twitter in retaliation against him for publicizing the cell phone number of a college student.
Yemen: March 18th, A Dignified National Dialogue?
March 18th is engraved in Yemen's history as the Day of Dignity. On March 18th, 2011, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh's thugs and security dressed in civilian clothes shot dead 56 people and injured over 100 after Friday prayers, in what has become known as Friday of Dignity. On the second anniversary of the deadly day, Yemen's National Dialogue kicked off. Many Yemenis are torn between supporting and boycotting the National Dialogue. Noon Arabia charts netizen reactions, as blood continues to be spilled across the country.
Arab World: Pope Alert, White Smoke
Arab netizens joined the rest of the world today in awaiting news of a new pope, who will replace Benedict XVI. And their reactions followed as soon as the white smoke bellowed from the Sistine Chapel, signalling the election of the pope.
Cigarette Vendor Sets Himself on Fire, Self-immolations Continue in Tunisia
Twenty-five months after fruit street vendor, Mohamed Bouaziz had set himself on fire, the phenomenon continues in Tunisia. Out of socioeconomic despair, Adel Khadri, a cigarette street vendor set himself alight on March 12 in the capital Tunis. He died today [March 13].
“Palestine in the Heart” of a Uruguayan Activist
Uruguayan activist and journalist María Landi shares her reports on Palestine in her blog Palestina en el corazón [es] (Palestine in the heart). Radio Mundo Real [es] recently interviewed Landi on current events in Palestine.
World Day Against Cyber Censorship
March 12 is World Day Against Cyber Censorship. Reporters Without Borders and other advocates for Internet rights are calling on activists, movements and organizations around the world to participate by reminding their constituents of the importance of protecting free expression online.