Thought this article and video is very interesting. I just finished a paper for Dr. Russell’s class on homosexuality in the Middle East, and I talked about how organizations that are formed to fight for gay rights in the Middle East don’t usually last more than a few days. I thought it was fascinating the way they came up with doing this website:
It’s not easy being gay in the Middle East. If you get caught, you could face the death penalty, flogging, or an extended jail sentence – not to mention the probable spurning from your family and friends. It’s a lonely, dangerous life for many homosexuals in that part of the world.
But where there is fear, there is also courage. Mideast Youth – an all-volunteer team with representatives from countries like Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Syria, and Tunisia – is committed to working “against repression, discrimination and persecution” in the Middle East, and homosexuality is one issue that has recently hit their radar.
The group have created Ahwaa – “A safe space to debate LGBTQ-related issues in the Middle East.” It’s essentially an anonymous forum that utilizes game mechanics to allow legitimate users to get deeper into the site, while keeping the trolls and the haters at the surface, because the more the Ahwaa community like what you have to say, the better access you get.
They are trying to make it as inclusive as possible, by inviting people of all sexual persuasions to participate, and by making it bilingual (Arabic and English), thereby allowing non-Arabs to offer their perspectives as well.
With all the changes that have been taking place in the Middle East recently, the time is ripe to address issues there that are as controversial as this. And now you can be a part of it all.
What are you waiting for?
Here’s the introductory video:Ahwaa.org: A space to debate LGBTQ-related issues in the Middle East