June 23, 2024

Moroccan girls at risk of exploitation, Libyan journalists coordinating on the ground – here’s the Middle East this week.

The Qatar-brokered, Iran-US prisoner swap | Moroccan girls at risk of being exploited post-quake | Libyan journalists coordinating help on the ground. Here’s the Middle East this week:

Spies vs hostages

One man’s spies are another man’s hostages – is that how the saying goes? In the case of Tehran and Washington, that seems true.

The two countries completed a long-awaited prisoner swap and in Iran the reaction was predictably smug: “America Kneels Before Iran” read one newspaper headline.

Prisoner swap or not, it’s certainly not looking like sunshine and rainbows between the pair anytime soon.

Moroccan girls targeted

Women who wear tight clothes, spend too much, and don’t raise their children right – some Moroccan men say they’d rather marry an underage girl from quake-stricken villages than marry these so-called “city girls”.

As if Moroccan women and girls are not already reeling from this month’s powerful earthquake, now there’s a surge of online chatter urging men to marry and otherwise exploit female children orphaned by the quake.

It doesn’t end there. Concerns are also rife about sexual assault, trafficking, menstrual hygiene, and securing safe childbirth.

Libyan journalists on the front line

Stressed and worried about family and friends, Zainab Jibril suffered a miscarriage after the deadly floods in Libya, but that didn’t stop her from reporting on the disaster alongside her husband, fellow journalist, Mohammed Elgrj.

In the midst of tragedy, they’re a power couple of sorts among the few independent Libyan journalists reporting from the ground despite the challenges of physical access and censorship by Libya’s eastern administration.

Dissidents of a dress code

Woman, life, freedom”: The response to the Iranian people’s call to end the mandatory hijab law seems to have been a doubling down.

A year ago, the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police led to months of protests, in Iran and globally.

It seems the protesters’ demands only ushered in a more restrictive era.

Now, smart cameras scan for violators, the morality police have been redeployed, and a shiny new hijab law is expected to soon be unveiled.

And now, something different

UNESCO has named Jericho’s Tell es-Sultan in the occupied West Bank a World Heritage Site in the State of Palestine. Note the location.

It’s a decision that “strengthens Palestinian identity and international recognition”, according to Palestinian officials.

Predictably, Israeli officials decried it as a “cynical ploy”.

The Tell (mound) near ancient Jericho contains evidence of prehistoric humans.

Jericho
Jericho’s Tell as-Sultan added to UNESCO World Heritage list [Ayman Nobani/Al Jazeera]

Briefly

Quote of the Week

“I received the bodies of my best friends and personally took them to the morgue … I didn’t have time to cry or be weak, so I couldn’t even mourn them.” | Tahani al-Zani, a surgeon who heads an emergency department in flood-ravaged Susa, Libya.

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