April 27 2022, MENA Meetup

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MENA Meetups

The monthly meetups bring together folks from the MENA region to share, connect, seek help, and release stress by celebrating each other. In addition, it's a time for us to find ways to support each other, and help us understand what is happening in our part of the world. If you cannot attend the monthly meetups, we are taking notes of each gathering and linking to them below.

The MENA community is connected during the week in different ways. Either through various MENA-focused channels on the IFF Mattermost or via different events organized on various topics during the year.

Date: Wednesday, April 27th

Time: 4pm UTC+1 / 11am EDT

Who: Facilitated by Rima and Wafaa

Where: The Big Blue Button link will be shared in the Regional:MENA Channel on the IFF Mattermost one or two hours before the start of the meeting.


Introducing our new MENA Community Lead

Islam al Khatib: Palestinian feminist researcher, very happy to have joined Team CommUNITY to connect with people in MENA. I've been learning from different experiences re being part of regional networks and coalition-building spaces such as WHRDMENA Coalition and Wiki Gender. I will be here to support you in different capacities: networking spaces, strategizing and coalition building through the monthly meetups, CKS and other spaces. I will also be working on the monthly report on the MENA context which will also be a way for us to talk, learn and engage. I am looking forward to connecting with all of you. Re own context background: was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon but am currently based in London where I am pursuing a masters in gender, media and culture. Please feel free to reach out to me through email: islam@digitalrights.community or on Mattermost: @islam 

Featured Guest: Laila Sit Aboha, presenting the campaign to support a Palestinian-German scholar:

  • ELSC works in Netherlands, France, Germany... with activists, following on such cases: 6 Palestinian orgs targeted by Israel. 
  • They're currently working on a solidarity campaign with Anna Younes, who was invited to a talk by a left-leaning party (name of party) in Germany; an organization monitoring anti-semitism released a file on her using her tweets, asking the party to disinvite her from the panel. Dr. Younes is pro BDS (BDS is criminalized in Germany)
  • This file was spread around in the academic field. There are currently two lawsuits asking a public institute on privacy (name of insititution) to release the secret file on her. 
  • The question is 'how many Palestinians are being followed?'
  • The campaign was launched with the aim to receive signatures (among signatories: Angela Davis, Ilan Pappe...). Now, the goal is to also collect money to support the legal route. ELSC are trying to push the institution while also doing the legal work with no money. 
  • ELSC worked on a database of digital rights organizations, and tried to get as much as possible information around the intersection of digital rights and right to privacy to be used to campaign for this case.
  • The context in Germany is very difficult because Palestinian voices are censored (IHRA definition of anti-semitism). 

All links and info available on this Cryptpad    

Community Updates

Democracy Reporting International (DRI) has just launched the Arabic version of the Toolkit To Monitor Social Media.

Questions, comments, suggestions: 

  • Main support action for orgs: Underlining that this is a limitation of the right of expression because it is an act targetting academic freedom, along with how it is a violation of the right to privacy, signing the letter and sharing it
  • Main support action for individuals: sharing the letter, social media toolkit, spreading info about it 

Ramadan + spring activities

  • Celebrating sun <3
  • Favorite food: Mulukhiyah, Mdardara, Slata Mechouia

SAWANA, Arab, Palestinian Film Festivals in Europe

  • Alfilm Festival, Berlin here
  • Al Ard Doc Film Festiv​​​​al, Sardinia here and here
  • Nazra Short Film Festival, Italy here