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...]
A Revolution of Equals
In 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
On 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 current Druze leader and head of the Progressive Socialist Party [...]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...]
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...]