May 20 2021, MENA Meetup
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, May 20th
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.
- Don't have an account to the IFF Mattermost? you can request one following the directions here.
Topic of Discussion: Community Solidarity with Palestine
PS: We have new members from Tunisia, Jordan and Palestine
What is different this time?
- The tide is turning. Palestinian voices are united from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) to the diaspora worldwide against the occupation as well as the Palestinian political parties.
- Focus on language and the Palestinian narrative on the forefront of Palestinian activism and expression: from “conflict”, “clashes”, “terrorism” to: apartheid, ethnic cleansing, settler colonialism, genocide.
- On language: check this glossary by Makan https://www.makan.org.uk/glossary/
- Strong use of social media to report Israeli forces and settlers attacks on Palestinians amid egregious censorship of Palestinian voices on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok.
- More debates on Zionism and the danger of assimilating Zionism with anti-Semitism which led to so much censorship on social media particularly on Facebook (secret policy that was just leaked). https://theintercept.com/2021/05/14/facebook-israel-zionist-moderation/
- What’s Happening in Palestine? Possibilities for Feminist Solidarity hosted by AWID: https://www.facebook.com/AWIDWomensRights/videos/220112876287607
- Digital security support for women and youth in the MENA region:
- Updates on digital rights and FLOSS in Arabic/English on Jordan and Palestine: https://jordanopensource.org/
Palestinian stories through embroidery:
- Palestinian embroidery, or tatreez, is centuries-old folk art, traditionally passed from mother to daughter over a cup of tea. The traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, also known as the thobe, has traceable origins from the beginning of the sixteenth century and the tatreez, or embroidery, has an iconographical and symbolic significance that ultimately dates back to Chinese symbols found around 5,000 BC.
- Initiative and book to preserve embroidery patterns in the Palestinian diaspora by Wafa Ghnaim: https://www.tatreezandtea.com/
- French NGOs in support of Palestine: https://plateforme-palestine.org/
- For those based in Berlin/Germany: follow activities in solidarity with Palestine here: https://twitter.com/PalestinSpricht and here: https://twitter.com/LeilZahra
How/Where to help?
- Amplifying Palestinian voices is really important, support local journalists and activists.
- From our community you can follow
- Follow these tips from 7amleh on social media engagement/working around censorship: https://www.instagram.com/p/CO--HFFLZAh/
- Palestine Protest Archive is looking for volunteers:"The Palestinian Protest Archive, seeks to document and archive content related to Palestinian discourse amid protests. If you have skills, and you'd like to volunteer, email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please sign and share the petition: #SavePalestinianVoices: Tech Companies Must Stop Silencing Palestinian Content https://www.change.org/p/facebook-savepalestinianvoices-tech-companies-must-stop-silencing-palestinian-content
- Commit to suspend paying for ads on Facebook. JOSA did so: https://twitter.com/jo_osa/status/1395092197863739396?s=20
- Please donate if you can:
- Medicalaid for Palestinians: https://www.map.org.uk/donate/donation-details/352,
- Grassroots Jerusalem: https://www.grassrootsalquds.net/donate
On mental health struggles as human rights defenders:
- Feelings of sadness, despair and grief
- Feelings of guilt, not doing enough
- Fear of the desensitization of violence
- Feeling hopeless, all over the place
- Exhaustion and trauma, following the news non-stop
- Team CommUNITY will organize a psycho-social support session to address these struggles.
- Suggestion from one of the participants: In Egypt there is a company offering free online therapy sessions for anyone interested: https://www.shezlong.com/, a startup that is offering free video sessions with psychiatrists in an effort to help cope with the ongoing attacks on Palestinians https://twitter.com/ShezlongApp/status/1394651397837176835