On the centenary of the Armenian genocide

How the Armenians came to live throughout the Middle East. The Arab communities who helped Armenians refugees 100 years ago are hosting different traumatised refugees today. 

Al Jazeera English, 25th March 2015 [Read more...]


Sexism in Lebanon: different and unequal

Though it likes to think of itself as the most liberated country in the Middle East - and it is in many ways - Lebanon's personal status and citizenship laws remain deeply problematic. They are also, simply, sexist.

Al Jazeera English, 1st February 2015 [Read more...]


Turkish-Israeli trade continues despite war of words

The latest diplomatic spat has seen the Turkish prime minister accuse his Israeli counterpart of crimes against humanity, while Israel's foreign minister called the Turkish president an "anti-Semitic bully".

Al-Araby English, 15th January 2015 [Read more...]


Is Snowden relevant to the Middle East?

 Edward Snowden's revelations of systematic NSA spying have received less attention in the Middle East than elsewhere. But with the recent release of CitizenFour, Laura Poitras' documentary about the whistleblower, it is worth asking what relevance his revelations may have for the Middle East. 

Al-Araby English, 17th November 2015 [Read more...]


Lebanon and the Syrian refugee crisis

It wasn't as if Lebanon didn't have troubles enough, with a shaky government finally formed last month. But the Syrian refugee crisis is taking a huge toll on a country which desperately needs international support.

OpenDemocracy, 13th March 2013 [Read more...]


Lebanon: the country that can't keep out of Syria's war

Lebanon is not only feeling the strain of the influx of Syrian refugees - the fastest-growing refugee population in the world and soon to be the largest. It is also being dragged into regional and sectarian tensions that are increasingly being played out on its soil.

New Statesman, 27th November 2013 [Read more...]


Syria: A very modern conflict

'Sectarianism' is not an ancient problem that is reasserting itself in Syria's current civil war and that prevents the region from becoming modern and democractic. It is more useful and accurate to speak of what I would call 'sectarianization', a recent process which focuses on those who profit politically and economically from sectarian divisions.

New Statesman, 27th June 2013 [Read more...]


Sporting chance

JudoJudoist Maher Abu Rmelleh is the first ever Palestinian sportsman to qualify on points to participate in the Olympic Games. In the absence of sports funding or any official sports infrastructure, Abu Rmelleh works full-time selling scarves in his shop in Jerusalem's old city.  

BBC, 2nd July 2012 [Read more...]


Syrian refugees in Lebanon

They come with stories of destruction and violence, and find themselves housed locally - usually whole families to a room - during one of the coldest times of the year.

Fair Observer, 17th April 2012 [Read more...]


Is Lebanon immune to the Arab Spring?

The Lebanese have been watching developments in the Middle East with a sharp eye over the last year. While the toppling of dictators in Tunisia and Egypt has been welcomed by all, the uprisings in neighbouring Syria have inspired a quieter and more uneasy mood.

New Statesman, 6th January 2012 [Read more...]


Tunisia: A Revolution of Equals

Women's protest, TunisIn the heady aftermath of the Tunisian revolution, feminists - just like liberals, leftists, trade unionists, Islamists and other previously suppressed groups - were busy regrouping and organizing themselves to make sure they would play a role in the new democracy.

Granta online, 5th June 2011 [Read more...]


Syrians Under Siege

Three weeks after protests start in Syria, I visit Douma. It is sealed off to cars and journalists, and surrounded by security forces. Residents were burying those who had been killed during demonstrations two days earlier, and tension was extremely high.

New York Review of Books blog, 29th April 2011 [Read more...]


Syria gets a taste for protest

After events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain, Syrian citizens have found a voice against the 40-year, two-generation Assad government [...] Facebook is buzzing with images of people dismantling the statue of Hafez al-Assad, of crowds shouting for freedom and, in some cases, of protestors being sprayed with tear gas or bullets. 

New Statesman, 31st March 2011 [Read more...]


Letter from Tunisia: A civilised revolution

Tunisia protest outside theatreOn the tree-lined Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis, the mood is exuberant. People are proud of what they have achieved and delighted to be able to speak freely without threat of arrest and torture. Some are here to sit on café terraces or to shop, but almost everyone you meet is indulging in open debate.

New Statesman, 7th February 2011 [Read more...]


In the Wake of the Jasmine Revolution

These are exhilarating times for the Middle East. In the wake of Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution, which brought down the brutally repressive 23-year regime of Zine el Abedine Ben Ali, a wave of demonstrations is sweeping Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Morocco and Algeria. This is the Middle East's "Berlin moment".

Counterpunch, 1st February 2011 [Read more...]


Reap what you sew

Palestinian campaigners in Lebanon have discovered a new way to protest – by breaking world records. On 15 May, the world's longest keffiyeh, or scarf, was made in Lebanon to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the naqba - the Palestinian "catastrophe" that was the creation of the state of Israel.

New Statesman, 31 May 2010 [Read more...]


A Feudal Outpost in Mount Lebanon

Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader and head of the Progressive Socialist Party is one of the most politically canny and charismatic politicians in Lebanon today. He represents a fascinating form of feudalism that persists in a modern, democratic country.

Granta online, 24th February 2010 [Read more...]


Dispatches: Beirut

The abruptness of both the crisis and its resolution proved not only that ordinary people had little control over their destinies, but also that they were distanced from the political classes and the greater regional and international powers.

Granta online, 11th September 2008 [Read more...]


Wheeling and Dealing

Over the past decade, Syria has been accused of participating in a host of smuggling activities: oil from Iraq, fighters and arms to Iraq, agricultural goods to Lebanon, and weapons for Hamas via Jordan or for Hezbollah from Iran [...] But the most rampant and everyday illegal activity is the smuggling of basic commodities, foods, building materials, electrical appliances . . . and motorbikes.

New Statesman, 5th June 2006 [Read more...]


Meanwhile, what about Iran?

"The question people are going to ask," said Tony Blair, "is, 'What are you going to do about Iran?' Because - can you imagine a state with an attitude like that having nuclear weapons?" [...] The precedent of a "rogue state" alleged to be working on weapons of mass destruction is alarming, but do experts think an attack on Iran is possible?

New Statesman, 7th November 2005 [Read more...]


Getting a piece of the action

The establishment of the BMC heralds a new era in which Beirut is becoming a center for journalism and broadcasting in the Middle East.

Executive magazine, September 2005 [Read more...]


Maronite Patriarch criticizes emigration of youth

At a news conference, Sfeir spoke about the economic problems in Lebanon and criticized youth emigration. Lebanese Christians, he said, should stay in the country.

Daily Star, 31st October 2003 [Read more...]


Column on 'Outlook'

Society and gender in Lebanon in the post-civil war era.

BBC World Service, 15th January 2003


The Times News of the World column

Dana is giving Karim hell about his recent spate of one-night stands. [...] Handsome and successful, he is suffering from a curious phenomenon among eligible bachelors in Lebanon since the end of the civil war in 1991: an oversupply of women.

The Times, 28th September 2002 [Read more...]


The Times News of the World column

Diplomatic activity in Beirut is not what it used to be. Far from the frantic negotiations over hostages that characterised the eighties, recent British-Lebanese relations are tamer [...] In fact, the British ambassador in Beirut is more concerned about what to do with the remains of an old lady buried in his front garden.

The Times, 24th November 2001 [Read more...]