Arab Spring Dreams: The Next Generation Speaks Out for Freedom and Justice from North Africa to Iran [NOOK Book]

Overview


From a gay man secretly mourning his lover's suicide in Morocco to a young woman denied schooling because of religious discrimination in Iran, Arab Spring Dreams spotlights some of the Middle East's most outspoken young dissidents. The essayists cover a wide range of experiences, including premarital sex, the lack of educational opportunities, teenage marriage, and the fight for political freedom. They also highlight how repressive laws and cultural mores snuff out liberty and stifle growth and consider how ...

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Arab Spring Dreams: The Next Generation Speaks Out for Freedom and Justice from North Africa to Iran

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Overview


From a gay man secretly mourning his lover's suicide in Morocco to a young woman denied schooling because of religious discrimination in Iran, Arab Spring Dreams spotlights some of the Middle East's most outspoken young dissidents. The essayists cover a wide range of experiences, including premarital sex, the lack of educational opportunities, teenage marriage, and the fight for political freedom. They also highlight how repressive laws and cultural mores snuff out liberty and stifle growth and consider how previous movements - particularly the American civil rights struggle - might be channeled to effect change in their own countries. Beautifully written and profoundly moving, these stories present a decisive call for change at a crucial point in the evolution of the Middle East.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Egypt, a man bribes a member of the morality police to avoid being arrested for committing “acts of public indecency.” The act in question is a walk in the park with his fiancée. In Iran, a Sunni schoolgirl is rebuked and scorned for praying without a Shi’a prayer stone, and her father faces prison for the same offence. A woman watches a cat cross the Tunisian-Libya border and wishes she had the cat’s freedom to travel throughout the Arab world without a male guardian. Less polished than Reading Lolita in Tehran, but more immediate and raw, the essays in this collection were written by activists age 25 and under and culled from 8,000 entries submitted over five years for the Dream Deferred Essay Contest on Civil Rights in the Middle East, conducted online and sponsored by private foundations, including the Earhart Foundation and The Liberty Fund. The essays provide glimpses of daily life in countries where civil rights do not exist. Recognizing that the status of women is “a key barometer to the openness of a society,” editors Amari, a law student at Northeastern University, and Weddady, the civil rights outreach director of the American Islamic Congress, devote one section to the additional obstacles women face. Though the essay contest seemed like a quixotic gesture at its inception in 2005, it turns out to have been prescient. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
Law student Ahmari and Weddady, civil rights outreach director of the American Islamic Congress, present the "most compelling voices" from an essay competition they organized shortly after Lebanon's Cedar Revolution in 2005. The online competition was designed to give a means of expression to individuals under the age of 25 looking to find their voices on issues of religious and political freedom and human rights. During a five-year period, the editors received more than 8,000 essays from 22 countries in four languages. Each year the writers were asked to share either an example of the "pain of repression," or concrete projects designed to strengthen civil rights or dreams of a better future. As a byproduct the process also opened pathways to recruit activists. The editors present the essays under three headings: "Trapped," "Unequal" and "Breaking Through." The views expressed by the essayists reflect an impressively diverse cross-section of the Middle Eastern world. From Iran came contributions from the Baha'i and the Sunni religious minorities. The Baha'i are not allowed to participate in Iran's educational institutions, and Sunni ways of praying are banned in Shia Iran. The appeal for religious freedom also came from Saudi Arabia, where a student explores her process of standing up for herself against a repressive teacher. Also included are horrifying accounts of fundamentalist violence from Algeria and pleas for Western-style freedoms for homosexuals, along with accounts of the persecution of women. A slim volume that successfully presents "treasures, surprises, and rewards."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230393707
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/8/2012
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,377,260
  • File size: 469 KB

Meet the Author


Nasser Weddady is the Civil Rights Outreach Director of the American Islamic Congress. He helped design and administer the “Dream Deferred” essay contest, and has helped lead several high-profile campaigns to free imprisoned dissidents in North Africa, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and beyond.

 

Sohrab Ahmari is an Iranian-American journalist. His columns, feature stories, and reviews have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, The New Republic, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among others.

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Table of Contents


Foreword by Gloria Steinem * Introduction * PART I – TRAPPED * “I Am Not Ayman!” * Monologue with the Prince * Living Inside 1984 * Leaving Ahlam Behind * Seeking Salvation * Citizen or Subject? * At the Polling Station * Memoirs of an Egyptian Citizen * My Medal of Blasphemy * The Shredded Exam Card * The Eid al-Adha Bribe * The Tragedy of My Lover * Art in a Cage * Black Like Me * PART II – UNEQUAL * A Persian Grandmother in Tokyo * Breaking News: MP Reveals Herself as Banned Poet * The Sacred Membrane * The Cat at the Border Crossing * Women in a Maze * Women Unwelcome * The Closing of My Anonymous Blog * Hijacking the School Play * Heaven Is Beneath Mothers’ Feet * My Sacred NO! * PART III -- BREAKING THROUGH * Contaminating Minds * Breaking News: Egyptian Apostate Refuses Asylum * Every Prayer Is a Gift * “The Land Is for All.” * Triumph of the Half-Naked * Breaking Through the Shari’a Loophole * Student Liberation Front * Dreams in a Drawer * “Iran, I Will Build You Again” * Undermining Decree Six * Driving Toward Equality * Just Another Day in 2013 * Anonymous No More * Conclusion


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