In this conversation with Mezna Qato and Ala’a Shehabi, Bassam Haddad inquires about MERIP’s recent “Paper Trail” Issue. Mezna and Ala’a address the background, content, and details of the issue and some of the surrounding topics.
Paper Trails: Middle East Report #291
This issue of Middle East Report explores how the Middle East is on the cutting edge of struggles to hide or reveal secret or important documents and paper trails that shape the lives of those across the region. The issue explores how the powerful utilize secrecy or deception to hide their paper trails from publics and how others weaponize archives and documents to serve their interests. At the same, time the issue explores how citizens and activists can fight for transparency to uncover the secret documents that hold clues over how they are governed and what is being hidden behind closed doors. The issue also explores how paper trails can be created through activism that turns the tables on the powerful or can be mined to explore and revive the past.
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Ala'a Shehabi is a co-founder of Bahrain Watch and works at University College London on a large interdisciplinary project on Lebanon.
Mezna Qato is a historian of the modern Middle East, and co-convenes the “Archives of the Disappeared” Research Network, at the University of Cambridge. She is on the editorial committee of MERIP.
Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East Studies Program and Associate Professor at the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs (SPGIA) at George Mason University.
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