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· May, 2017

Stories about Middle East & North Africa from May, 2017

In Syria's Al-Waer, the Uncertainty of Evacuating Weighs Heavy on Residents

“Forgive me, father, it was never my choice to leave.”

Lebanese Dancers See Growing Public Appreciation of Their Work

With the growing popularity of dance shows in Lebanon, dancers describe witnessing a sort of "bodily liberation" that is giving the art form a second chance.

Whether They Stay or Leave, Residents of Syria's Al-Waer Face an Uncertain Future

Rebels and their families are evacuating their last bastion in the city that has been dubbed “the capital of the revolution". Here are some of their stories.

Egypt Ups Systematic Efforts to Silence Independent Media

In an environment of persistent conflict, free and independent media that cover events in the public interest — not in the interests of politicians — is more important than ever.

After Reelection, Iran's President Rouhani Abandons Promise to Free Green Movement Leaders

President Hassan Rouhani refused to commit to ending the more than six-year extrajudicial house arrests of three opposition leaders—a pledge he made during his first presidential campaign.

Iraqi Parliament Slammed for Bill Restricting Free Speech, Right to Protest

Instead of working to ensure stronger protections for freedoms, the Iraqi parliament is rather seeking to pass a repressive law.

Following Uproar, Shia Leader Tries to Make Amends With Iraq's Christian Community

Past comments by Alaa al-Moussawi sparked a number of lawsuits by Christian Iraqi families for disturbing the plurality of Iraq. He has since apologized.

Lebanese Activists Disturb Talk by Politicians and Call for Better Political Representation

"We wanted to tell them: You Stink, your expiry date has passed...you stole people's rights by not allowing them to vote."

Beirut's Municipality Deals Another Blow to the City's Green Space

The municipality's recent policies are threatening the capital's last remaining major green space

Netizen Report: Chelsea Manning and the Power of Transparency

This week, Chelsea Manning was finally released from prison, Ukraine censored Russian web platforms and Thailand threatened legal action against Facebook.

Iran Elections 2017: Hassan Rouhani Ran on Openness. But What Did He Actually Achieve?

Hassan Rouhani has been both the candidate and President of "hope and moderation" for Iranians. Article 19's report assesses how this has had an affect on freedoms online.

To Take a Stand for Love, Beirut Pride Had to Overcome Hate

A hotel where the first event was scheduled canceled on organizers after facing pressure from religious groups. But that hasn't stopped Beirut Pride from going forward.

Beirut Activists Launch Heritage Watch Day to Defend Threatened Historical Sites

The laissez-faire privatization and development frenzy in Lebanon’s capital has destroyed much of the country’s heritage. Activists are determined to stop that trend.

Palestinian Prisoners Remain ‘Determined’ One Month Into Hunger Strike Against Israeli Prison Conditions

Thirty days have passed and over 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons continue their mass hunger strike.

Calls for Boycott After Pizza Hut Israel Mocks Palestinian Hunger Strikers on Facebook

"...because human dignity is much more precious that your pizza!! #Boycott_PizzaHut"

Netizen Report: Draft Laws in Egypt Could Lock Down Social Media

As Egypt's parliament pushes to further restrict expression, Turkey blocks Wikipedia, Russia blocks WeChat, and the UK can't seem to stop snooping.

Iran's Upcoming Local Elections Are an Opportunity for Women

Elections later this month present Iranians with the chance to reshape their government by putting more women in politics.

Iraq's Parliament Is ‘Convinced’ There's No Corruption Under Health Minister Hamoud. But Are Iraqis?

"Parliament’s satisfaction with Adilah Hamoud’s answers means the government believes that poor healthcare is what the people deserve from the corrupt minister."

Seven Years After Execution, Kurdish Teacher Farzad Kamangar's Legacy of Hope Remains

"I know that one day, this harsh and uneven road will be paved for teachers and the suffering you endured will be a badge of honour..."

Tunisian Media Activist Interrogated Over Sources of Leaked Documents

Sami Ben Gharbia is a significant figure in independent media and digital human rights activism in Tunisia and the Arab region.

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