When women in the Middle East make the headlines, it is usually as victims. Disturbing stories of the so called 'Islamic State' (ISIS) kidnapping and raping tens of thousands of women are sadly often the ones which stick in the Western memory. But there is more to women's political lives in the region than their victimisation and oppression. We decided to look to the future, present and past in this issue, in order to present an alternative narrative which challenges these representations of women.
The hbs office in Ramallah opened in 1999. It currently operates as a regional office with responsibility for Palestine and Jordan. The activities of hbs are guided by the fundamental political values of universal human rights, ecology, democracy, solidarity, and non-violence. The hbs office Ramallah is working in close partnership with currently more than 20 local partner organizations in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Jordan.
In Paris in 2015 governments agreed to keep global warming to well below 2 degrees. The mainstream pathways pin theirhopes to risky and costly technologies. In this joint publication, together with Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) and Misereor, we present alternatives that are possible and necessary for a change of course.
When ISIS announced the establishment of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ it fuelled discussions as to whether this would herald the ‘end of Sykes-Picot’ – borders artificially drawn by the colonial powers at the beginning of the twenti- eth century. But borders are more than ‘lines in the sand’: they divide. While the privileged few may cross legitimately by simply presenting their passport, for most, these borders present difficult if not insurmountable hurdles. People fleeing from war, climate change or economic hardship, attempt to cross the Mediterranean but many drown trying.
The Middle Eastern and Northern African (MENA) region, faced with tumultuous changes in the last five years, shows a picture of shrinking spaces for civil society activism. In contrast, ecological activism is growing and connecting the fight for climate justice to other demands for community and indigenous rights, gender equality, democracy and transparency.