June 17 2021, 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: Thursday, June 17th

Time: 5pm UTC+2 / 11am EST

Who: Facilitated by Rima and Wafaa

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


Topic of Discussion: Pride Month & Remembering Sarah Hegazi

  • It's been a hard time for the queer community in Egypt. Nothing really changed since. There is a blame on Egypt for creating this scar and trauma and on Canada for not taking care of queer refugees.

Sarah's story echoed among queer community in Tunisia and other countries in the region.

  • It is pride month, so it would be ideal to spotlight LGBTQ+ voices this month if anyone would like to open up or share. Who might want to share their stories? How to be an ally?
  • How do we feel about Pride Month? it depends where you live, in the US, my experience: it was really capitalistic. I don't really think about it, I just survived.
  • I live in Toronto where she lived, I actually met Sarah. Just before the anniversary of her death, a few friends went to her grave to put flowers. I went and I was shocked, she didn't have a grave stone, just a number..
  • It's important not to take away her agency. I don't know how much money a grave stone costs, I don't know whose choice it should be. We will ask her friends and family.

A CKS on Wikipedia

  • It's important in the Wikipedia CKS to talk about the erasure of queerness in Arabic speaking media as well as on Wikipedia.
  • Suggestion of a CKS on Wikipedia:
    • We would like to organize a crash course on Wikimedia ecosystem, Wikimedia Foundation, resources to answer questions like: how is Wikipedia a meritocracy? What are the different people's roles? What are the goverernance models?
    • Relationship between staff and the power dynamics between Wikimedia admins and straff. With more LGBTQI+ people joining Wikipedia and the Trust & Safety conversations, there is potential for change.
  • Sarah's page is in Egyptian dialect not on Wikipedia Ar


  • Why is there only a page for Sarah or arz (dialect) but not a Standard Arabic page?
  • Sarah's Wikipedia Ar page was deleted on Wikipedia and then it became a redirect to the page on LGBTQI+ page. Who took this decision?


  • Self-care as it's starting to get warmer/too hot depeding on the country:
    • Hydration, do not forget to drink water!
    • kickboxing as self-care, really empowering and fun!
    • Close window blinds when it's too sunny, it helps keep your place cooler
    • Dance breaks between remote work appointments
    • Too hot to go out? Watching a great series for hours in the weekend
    • Reading books
    • Long evening walks