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Mona Kareem

The Gulf-West Alliance and Dehumanizing Bahrainis: A Conversation With Ali Abdulemam

[Free Blogger Ali Abdulemam! 20 February 2011. Image from flickr/Mahmood Al-Yousif.]

Ali Abdulemam is a Bahraini blogger whose Bahrain Online Forum was blocked in his country. For his activism, Abdulemam was imprisoned in 2010 and tortured. In an attempt to calm the protesters of the February 14 movements, the Bahraini regime released Abdulemam. He immediately resumed his activism, calling for the end of the regime during the 2011 Pearl Roundabout protests. When the Saudi-led forces of the “Peninsula Shield” invaded Bahrain, he went into hiding to avoid ...

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Riyadh Alsalih Alhussain: O Stones, Listen to the Music

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[Riyadh Alsalih Alhussain (1954-1982) was born in the Syrian city of Dara’a on March 1954 to a poor family. Growing up as a deaf-mute, he struggled with his education and decided to quit school. He worked as a journalist from 1976 until his death in Damascus in 1982. He published three poetry collections and this poem is from his third collection “Simple as Water, Clear as a Bullet.” (Basitun kal-Ma’, Wadihun Katalqat al-Musaddas)] O stones, Listen to the Music Riyadh ...

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Mona Kareem on Blogging and Dissent in Kuwait

[Image of Mona Kareem.]

[This post is part of an ongoing Profile of a Contemporary Conduit series on Jadaliyya that seeks to highlight distinct voices primarily in and from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.] Jadaliyya (J): What motivated you to start blogging?  Mona Kareem (MK): I blogged anonymously starting from 2006 about Kuwaiti politics and minorities in Kuwait. The uprisings motivated me to put my literary and journalistic writings together in a blog, considering the lack ...

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An Invisible Nation: The Gulf’s Stateless Communities

[Kuwaiti Bedoon living in the desert near the border with Iraq. Image from I. Piccioni-A. Tiso/Molo7 Photo Agency.]

The issue of statelessness in the Gulf is as old as the post-colonial oil states from which they are actively being excluded. Until the 1980s, the status of the Bedoon was not seen as a political issue, with the fledgling governments more concerned with state building functions than with further limiting citizenship rights. The oil bust of the 1980s, however, strained the budgets of the Gulf regimes, who responded by constraining social services and restricting citizenship ...

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Undocumented and Afraid

[Image from unknown archive]

They took them in, shackled their brown hands, threaded out their thick hair, and told them “We will now turn you into soldiers, fighting against hope, warring against life. You have two choices: death or death.” They stared at the hours, then removed their eyes, hanging each upon its nail. Then they waited and waited for the funeral of memory to start. They set the light on fire and recited myths, fairytales, and stories about their fathers, their stupid fathers, who were ...

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Sectarianism, Opposition Parties, and Online Activism in Bahrain: An Interview with Blogger Chan'ad Bahraini

[Child carrying sign at protest calling for redress for Bahraini torture victims in front the Ministry of Interior fort in Manama, 2005]

For the blogosphere in the Gulf region, the name Chan'ad became a reference to all of those who were seeking accurate, well written, and up-to-date inside information from Bahrain in English. Chan'ad, author of the blog Chan'ad Bahraini 2.0, has been a prominent figure of digital activism in Bahrain and the region since 2004 as he works on unveiling regime tactics to fuel sectarian fear, suppress facts, and keep up state repression. After the 14 February uprising, Chan'ad, ...

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Shiaphobia Hits Kuwait

[Kuwaiti Shia women chanting in a sit-in on April 19th in support of Bahraini Protesters. Image from author's archive]

If you ever talk to Kuwaiti Shias over 40 years old about discrimination against the Shia in their country, they might mention how they have been mistreated, on different levels, during the Iran-Iraq War. Then they would quickly tell you how the Shia proved their detractors wrong when they became part and parcel of the Kuwaiti resistance during the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. That the Al Sabah government was deeply betrayed by Saddam Hussein, whom they had supported in ...

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The Bidun of Kuwait: A Look Behind the Laws

[A photo of Kuwaiti riot police beating a Bidun protester. Image from author's archive]

In Kuwait, some young Bidun men and women often wonder what more they could offer the country to get accepted as one of its own. Their fathers had lost their lives liberating Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion in the 1990 Gulf War. Their ancestors had settled in Kuwait for three consecutive generations but Bidun today have yet to be afforded any state recognition. Other Bidun question when they will become “pure enough” in the eyes of the Kuwaiti state and society to get ...

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Bio

Mona Kareem

 

Mona Kareem is a poet and writer who has published two collections of Arabic poetry. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Comparative Literature Program at Binghamton University. She also writes on her own blog, monakareem.blogspot.com