· January, 2009

Stories about Middle East & North Africa from January, 2009

Saudi Arabia: Thoughts on the inauguration

  22 January 2009

Saudi blogger Hala, who currently lives in the United States, has posted her thoughts on Obama's inauguration: “For those of us who think it’s possible to see democracy in our part of the world, check the emphasis on holding government officials accountable, can we have such a system in our...

Israel: A Plea to Obama

  22 January 2009

An Israeli human rights activist makes an impassioned plea to the new American president in a video: “Obama, take away the pain in my stomach.”

Armenia-Turkey: Genocide Historian Responds

  22 January 2009

My The Caucasian Knot details and comments on attempts by one group in the U.S.-Armenian Diaspora to silence a prominent Genocide historian. Coinciding with the second memorial of Hrant Dink's murder in Istanbul, Ara Sarafian was quoted by the Turkish media as saying it was ironic that many Armenians seeking...

Palestine: “In Gaza, only the dead have seen the end of this war”

  21 January 2009

The people of Gaza are discovering the extent of the destruction inflicted during three weeks of Israeli attacks, and are slowly starting to rebuild their lives. Some bloggers are wondering about the less visible psychological and emotional damage. One asks, "What will be the reward for getting up and going on, one more time?"

Global: Morocco Closes Caracas Embassy

  21 January 2009

Morocco announced this week that it would close its embassy in Venezuela due to Venezuela's recognition of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), the territory also known as the "Western Sahara," over which Morocco asserts its sovereignty.

Bahrain: Scores of Websites Blocked

  21 January 2009

Scores of websites have been blocked in Bahrain, following a new crackdown by the Ministry of Information. The latest sweep makes sites ranging from Google Translate to those of social, religious, human rights and political groups inaccessible to people in Bahrain.

Turkey: Obama Trepidation

  21 January 2009

Istanbul Calling says that the Turkish media has greeted the inauguration of Barack Obama as U.S. President with some trepidation. In particular, the blog says there are concerns that Obama will do what his predecessors have failed to follow through with in the past — fulfill campaign promises to recognize...

Iran:Women activists honored with an Award

  21 January 2009

The One Million Signatures Campaign that demands the end of discriminatory laws against women in Iran, has been awarded the Simone de Beauvoir Award which was established in memory of this Feminist writer.

Iran: AIDS Doctors face prison

  21 January 2009

Physicians for human rights site reports that Kamiar and Arash Alaie are sentenced to terms of three and six years respectively. This site calls this imprisonment as first test of Obama Administration. Read more here.

MENA: Reactions to Obama's Inauguration

  20 January 2009

Today marked an historic moment in United States history as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President. While Arab support of Obama has been waning over the past few months following the selection of his cabinet and his silence over Israel's attacks on Gaza, across the Middle East and North Africa bloggers still have plenty to say, reports Jillian York.

The Balkans: “Whose Is This Song?”

  20 January 2009

Recently several Macedonian bloggers published the documentary “Whose Is This Song” by a Bulgarian director Adela Peeva on their blogs and started discussing the story. The documentary was filmed as an idea that the director got during a dinner in Istanbul with several friends (a Macedonian, a Serb, a Greek and a Turk), when all of them said that the song playing in the background was from their country.

Lessons From Gaza

  20 January 2009

A Bengali In TO summarizes some lessons from the recent Gaza conflict and says: “The Muslim world has a surplus of martyrs and a deficit of scholars.”

Iran: A popular sport program under fire

  20 January 2009

Several news sites and blogs reported that '90’ ,a very popular sport program is under fire by government because it criticised Iranian football authorities. Jomhour, an Iran based blogger, says[fa] that Iran Telecommunication sabotaged the system so no one could send any text message to the show. The blogger adds...

Turkey: Hrant Dink Memorial Video

  20 January 2009

mondoDesperado posts video of yesterday's memorial to commemorate the second anniversary of the murder of Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor and journalist, Hrant Dink, outside his office in Istanbul, Turkey.

Iran: A song for Gaza

  20 January 2009

Several Iranian bloggers wrote about Michael Heart's “we will not go down tonight“, a song for Gaza.

Turkey: Hrant Dink Murder Unresolved

  20 January 2009

Journalist in Turkey comments on yesterday's anniversary of the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist and editor, Hrant Dink. The blog says that two years later there is no political will in Turkey to bring the masterminds of the killing to justice.

Turkey: Armenian “Martin Luther King Jr.” Commemorated

  20 January 2009

The second anniversary of a murdered journalist once again had the power to move mountains in strained relations between between Armenia and Turkey, two states separated by the biblical mount Ararat and an unholy history. Yesterday's commemoration might not have been on such a large scale, but newspaper articles, editorials, and reaction from bloggers show that the murder of a prominent member of Turkey’s dwindling Christian Armenian minority by a Turkish ultra-nationalist continues to shock the world.

Palestine: Not faring better

  19 January 2009

Palestinians who choose to co-exist with Israelis “fare no better than any other Palestinian,” observes Ummkahlil, a Palestinian blogger, who lives in the US.

About our Middle East & North Africa coverage

Mariam Abuadas is the editor for the Middle East & North Africa. Email her story ideas or volunteer to write.


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