As Houthis took over capital city Sanaa, we took you to Yemen. As trash piled the streets of Beirut, we took you to Lebanon.
We introduced you to Omar Ghraieb, who created the first English-language blog in Gaza. We discussed the politics of language around “terrorism”. We showed you how Europe was welcoming refugees.
This has been a fascinating year on GV Face, our Hangout series where we try to understand the world through relaxed discussions with our on-ground experts — Global Voices community members — usually from the comfort of their homes.
Our topics can be heavy, but our conversations have taken humorous turns over the year, sometimes because a cat meowed or a child wanted their GV parent to get off their computer.
Here are seven episodes from this year.
“I am very uncomfortable with the word terrorism. And it is not that I don’t believe that it exists. It obviously does and the definition of terrorism is more or less straightforward. But it is used so often in such obviously dishonest ways, that it has lost all meaning for me. And it is not that the Paris attacks were not terrorism, they obviously were, they meet every definition of it. There are so many acts that are terrorism, but they will never be called terrorism, because of the political implications of doing so. It is a word that has lost it meaning, if it ever had one specifically.” — Joey Ayoub
“Since I arrived in Paris I’ve followed the endless discussions on origins, skin colours, backgrounds and religious faiths. Part of my research work is based on—of all subjects—intercultural sensitivity. These conversations are emotional, and therefore uncomfortable. But they’re necessary. And I say this because it seems that dividing the world between “us” and “them” isn’t useful. And it never has been. In fact, the artificial creation of difference is what fuels all of this. And this is how we learn to see “ourselves” and “others”, and this is the lens through which we have studied history and watch the news. “Us” and “them”. “Here” and “far away”. I don’t think we can afford to keep this view of the world anymore.” — Laura Vidal
Featuring: Omar Ghraieb
Live from: Gaza | San Francisco
“Bombs are falling. The house is shaking. And what do I do? I am in the corner holding my mobile, reporting of course, in the dark, reminding myself that I'm going to write about what I like in Gaza. Who are the people here that inspire me? Just to hold on to hope. And sometimes it got to the point where my mobile resembled hope and life.That if it was a very loud airstrike, the house shakes and you move. I would be flying through the corridor. Holding on to my mobile so hard, more than life, because for me at that moment my mobile resembled life and hope. Because I was writing my own hope. I was holding on to life by reminding myself that I am going to survive this. Gaza is going to survive this. We have been through this. Gaza is beautiful.” — Omar Ghraieb
“I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a Lebanon that isn’t tainted by such helplessness. I’ve experienced political happiness, a term broadly defined by the anthropologist David Graeber as the experience of being able to make sense of a situation through a realization of common purpose—a sense that you trust the people around you because you’re all dedicated to solving the same problem.More recently, I experienced it my interactions with طلعت ريحتكم (‘tol3et re7etkom’, meaning ‘You Stink’), a grassroots movement created as a response to the government’s inability to solve the trash crisis.” — Joey Ayoub
“This whole thing is being painted a lot in mainstream media as an invasion. Of course the conditions are deplorable. Especially in outdoor camps where there is no shade. All these things are true. But also there is this amazing and inspiring humanity flowing out of volunteers and activists. There are people involved for humanitarian reasons primarily and others for political reasons, but all together they are coming together to support hundreds of thousands of people arriving in Europe. Where, states, NGOs and international intergovernmental organizations have failed. The EU has attracted a lot of criticism, and justly I think. Because they are not there, locals are stepping up.” — Asteris Masouras
Nearly 3,000 missing people have been killed and dumped. Twenty-five people who I knew personally have been killed and dumped [in Balochistan]. One was dumped last August, he was a Marri man. And we stayed with his family [when we were on the Long March for Balochistan's Missing People] I walked with Mama Qadeer from Karachi. And when we were in [sic], we stayed with them. One of them was killed. There are dozens whom I know that are missing. I think this is a narrative people should know about. Without knowing this there can be no hope of anybody knowing what is happening there. While we were on the Long March — I was with Mama Qadeer from Jhelum to Islamabad — whoever would dare to put us up for the night, they were harassed by [state security] agencies, ISI, Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence. — Mir Talpur
“Security is getting worse and worse. Imagine people during the last three years were trying to act civil and trying to avoid carrying weapons. It seems especially in the last five months the Houthis have managed to revive that behaviour where people, most people are carrying guns.” — Osama Abdullah