Mourning for Amina, mourning for Yemen

By Marina de Regt. “Marina, if I die, will you then forgive me for all the trouble that I caused you?” my Yemeni friend Amina wrote me ten days ago. I have known Amina since my very first days in Yemen in 1991 and was in regular touch with her via Whatsapp. “I am very ill, I have Corona, please help me, Marina, I am going to die, the treatment of Corona is very expensive, please help me”. A few weeks earlier Amina had written me that Corona was spreading in Rada’, the small town in Northeast Yemen where I …

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A different perspective on “child marriages” among Syrian refugees in Jordan

By Marina de Regt For years, humanitarian organisations in Jordan and Lebanon have been concerned about the increasing number of “child marriages” among Syrian refugees. While early marriages of girls (between 14-18 year) have also been prevalent in certain regions in Syria, and still occur, these marriages are increasing in the context of refuge. In the period between 2011 and 2015 the percentage rose from 18,4 per cent to 34,6 percent, according to the Higher Population Council in Jordan. Studies of international organisations such as Save the Children (2014) and UNICEF (2019) give insight in the causes and consequences of …

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COVID-19 in a war zone

BY MARINA DE REGT “Marina, how are you? I am worried about you, how is the situation with Corona?” a Yemeni friend asked me last week via Whatsapp. It was not the first time that one of my friends showed their concern about the situation in the Netherlands, which touched me greatly. They are living Yemen, in the midst of a civil war that has led to the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world according to the United Nations, and worry about me, living in one of the most economically developed countries. Their concerns are inspired by the images they …

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Vrouw in Jemen

Door Marina de Regt           In het Volkskrant magazine van afgelopen zaterdag 26 januari j.l. doet journaliste Ana van Es verslag van haar bezoek aan Jemen. De Midden-Oosten correspondente valt hier van de ene verbazing in de andere: alle stereotypen over man-vrouwverhoudingen in de Arabische wereld worden volgens haar in Jemen bevestigd. Vrouwen moeten zich zwaar sluieren, ze moeten zich onzichtbaar maken, ze worden continu lastig gevallen door mannen, ze worden gedwongen jong te trouwen, ze kunnen niet buitenshuis werken, als ze werken wordt hun geld afgepakt door hun mannen en ze hebben geen enkele politieke invloed. Op ironische wijze doet …

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Banksy’s Donkey

By Peter Versteeg In 2007 street artist Banksy organized a project called Santa’s Ghetto in the city of Bethlehem, where international artists would work on the (‘security’ or ‘apartheid’) wall that separates Palestine from Israel. This was two years after Banksy had painted nine works on this wall. Part of the project was an exhibition in which the artists addressed many social issues on the West Bank. Santa’s Ghetto was also deliberately meant to draw tourists to this conflict zone. In the documentary The Man Who Stole Banksy we follow one particular stolen work on its journey on the international …

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Every Image Has A Story

By Aniek Santema           Around 2 million Syrian refugees who fled the war have been stranded in Lebanon and many of them live in harsh circumstances. The following pictures will give a small insight into the lives of Syrian youth and show the world from their perspective, through their eyes. The pictures in this photo essay were taken by Syrian refugee girls in the city of Saida who participated in a workshop where they learned how to use visual methods as a way of self-expression. During the workshop the girls answered questions about themselves and their lives …

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Living Text: Written messages outside and inside a West Bank peace project

This photo essay gathers statements from both outside (West Bank/Jericho area) and inside the peace project EcoME (“Ecological Middle East”) in the contested Palestinian Territories. The texts and their contexts portray the dynamic relation between outside hopes, fears and separation policies and the project’s inner striving for connection, warmth and openness. (The author wishes to stay anonymous). While studying sociology and cultural anthropology, the author has spent more than half a year participating in and researching the ecovillage-inspired peace project at hand. Currently, she is writing a master’s thesis about its relationality with the outside world of conflict and cultural …

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Ramadan Kareem, my beloved Yemen

By Marina de Regt    Last Saturday the holy Muslim month of Ramadan started. Ramadan, a month of fast-ing and feasting, a month of contemplation, a month that should be full of joy and happiness. In Ramadan Muslims experience what it means to be hungry which will make them cherish what they have and feel compassion for those who are poor and hungry. Who will fast Ramadan in Yemen this year? Are there still people left who are not starving to death? Are there still Yemenis who need Ramadan to know what it is like to be poor and hungry?

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Dreaming of Falafel Country: A Glimpse on Israeli, Palestinian and Foreign Visitors’ Perceptions of an Ecological Peace Project

By an anonymous researcher        I am reading through my field-notes, getting immersed in the life 4.200km from here. Back from researching a peace project in the West Bank, I feel touched by both precarious lives and people’s good intentions. EcoME (“Ecological Middle East”) assembles Israelis, Palestinians and foreign visitors and offers them a space to meet in the middle of intractable conflict. Sustained by volunteers, it promotes a simple lifestyle and activities respective sustainability, non-violent communication and arts. The project has a holistic approach, aims to cover spiritual, social, economic and environmental aspects. It draws on ideas …

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