June 29 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, June 29th

Time: 5pm CAT / 3pm UTC (what time is it in my city?)

Who: Facilitated by Islam

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.

Notes

Presenting the MENA regional briefhttps://www.digitalrights.community/blog/tag/regional+briefs


Suggestion:

Experience based on citizen reports (thematic/geographic approach to reports). An example: We had a mailing list, the workflow ran through Google groups run by two editors, where people sent links and had access to edit information, the contributions by members themselves then turned into a report. So, there was no burden on people who are sharing information or on one person writing the report.


Check in and response to suggestions about having other MENA meetings and spaces 


  • This monthly meeting: one of the rare spaces where I meet people where I don’t feel forced or obliged, this space feels spontaneous and it is enough for me. 
  • It would be great to have separate thematic meetings to learn more about certain topics as a community. My experience with the Monthly MENA meetup and convos U've had with community members, the format of this meeting is unique in its organicity and its purpose. I think it’s a very precious space that we should keep. The other thematic meetings could be when we need to have a convo as a community. The kind of unstructured conversation that we have is that we are together but we do not think together and it’s mainly because we don’t have any follow ups and we don’t build actions together. I’m curious to know if we as community are interested in doing this. Like in Sudan, there might be another internet shutdown soon, or here’s also the general women strike coming on July 6. I don’t want to define the themes but I’ve always seen in these couple of years with different members, there is this strong intention for being part of solidarity actions. But it’s not part of our jobs to do campaigning. I am thinking out loud about how to create spaces to make it easier for people to organize. 
  • I want this spontaneous space to be here. I also have a few things I want to say, two points  I want to highlight in the MENA context. One point has something that is bothering me and that is the G Suite that is only available to people in occupied Palestine and Turkey. The rest of the region does not have this access to the safe space. Microsoft is supporting non-profits in the region but Google isn’t. I am trying to create a lobby to see what we could possibly do for this. Can this community support this? In Bread&Net I want to have a brainstorming session to see what we can do to have google for non profit in MENA. Another point is how to communicate with Telegram, we have communication with Meta. Telegram is a blackhole in terms of blackmail and other horrifying stories. 20,000 member-based groups that are doxxing and blackmailing women. The question of what we can do is really important. 
  • It’s important to note that while Google doesn’t open up spaces for people in the MENA, they are building a data center in Saudi Arabia.