MENARY Monitor – Edition 111
May 14, 2023
Politics and Political Engagement
Young Iraqi activists in Wasit governorate are preparing to compete in local elections, not because of their conviction, but rather against political leaders and dominant parties, as per a report by Alamada. Young activists in Wasit believe that leaving the scene for incumbent political forces, for the governorate council elections scheduled for 6 November 2023, will complicate the local political landscape and increase people’s discontent with those councils, stressing the need to exclude old faces and remove them from the field. Many believe that elections will not take place as scheduled. This is because many activists reject the presence of provincial councils altogether, particularly with the new law that gives little opportunity to smaller, emerging, and independent parties, as governing forces are likely to succumb to the pressure and postpone the elections for another year.
A number of reports emanating from French media discussed Turkey’s youth and their role in the Turkish elections, indicating that they are a generation that has known no one but Erdogan in this position of power. French newspaper, Lacroix, states that there is a desire on the part of young people in Turkey to change and vote for a new face, as this generation looks forward to a new personality that meets their aspirations. “Turks born at the beginning of the 21st century only knew Recep Tayyip Erdogan in power and this generation may vote for a new face in the upcoming elections,” the report’s author said.
A YouGov survey of Palestinians shows that younger people are far less likely to support a two-state solution: the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel. The survey showed that Palestinians between the ages of 18 to 24 make up 42% of those who support the idea, while more than 63% of those above the age of 45 are willing to support the initiative. The survey shows that Palestinian youth found the official return of Jerusalem a non-negotiable with only 1% allowing Israelis to have it fully and with the creation of a Palestinian capital elsewhere. Other proposed solutions such as dividing the city, with East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state and West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, was favored at only 15%.
In Libya, the Zawya Youth Movement Coordinator confirmed that one young Libyan died during armed clashes in the city between armed groups, as there was also some physical damage to citizens’ homes and a medical clinic. The coordinator said that the security situation in the city was relatively stable following the intervention of the joint force recently formed by the Chief of Staff of the Interim Government. It is worth noting that the movement’s escalations are driven by the failure of the government of Al-Dbeiba to meet their demands.
The First Lady of Mauritania said the addition of a national parliamentary regulation on youth was an “unprecedented step.” She highlighted that young people’s entry into Parliament, through this new regulation, is an important step towards investing in empowering young people and addressing their issues.
Economics and Entrepreneurship
The most recent Arab Youth Survey suggests a growing gap among optimists and pessimists, especially when it comes to the economy. To address youth’s concerns, policymakers must shield households in the MENA region from rising prices and provide more support for entrepreneurship. Given this context, it is no surprise that rising living costs and unemployment were the most pressing concerns for young Arabs in the 2022 ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey. The results show that 41% of respondents reported struggling to pay their expenses in full, up from 37% in 2021. This is much higher in the Levant, where 63% of the young people surveyed were unable to meet their basic financial obligations. Further, and while only 15% of the youth population in GCC countries said it would be difficult to find a job, that share was 55% in North Africa and 73% in the Levant. The most encouraging finding was growing interest in entrepreneurship, as more young Arabs expressed the desire to start a business and work for themselves, while the traditional allure of government jobs appears to be waning.
The Egyptian National Telecommunications Institute announced the opening of registration for a four-month training and grant per the “Youth of Digital Egypt” initiative. The training targets young graduates, focusing on cloud computing architecture along with learning how to design, create, and manage integrated solutions to increase efficiency and speed of service performance. The program includes practical training using the latest training systems and covers skills desired in the labor market, including communication skills, project management, and vocational English.
The Moroccan Minister of Administrative Reform and Digital Transition noted the tremendous potential and qualifications of Moroccan youth in the field of digitization. She highlighted the Ministry’s partnership agreements with a number of global companies, which “will enable the creation of 15,800 direct employment opportunities.” The Minister is betting on bringing in investments in digitization, as Morocco hosts, in late May, the world’s largest technology exhibit, GITEX, which has more than 900 exhibitors and start-ups, as well as delegations from 95 countries.
Three young Palestinian were shot by Israeli occupation forces and dozens suffered from suffocation during the occupation army’s assault on an anti-settlement march in various West Bank governorates. The spokesman for the Qalqilya region explained that the occupying forces had broken into the town, taken to the roofs of buildings, and fired live bullets at the protesters, injuring a 21-year-old with a live caliber and two others with metal bullets, along with dozens of suffocation cases, including women and children.
A young Palestinian was wounded and two others were arrested, as the Israeli occupation forces stormed the Old City of Nablus, one day after they stormed the Balata camp east of the city and killed two young men. The Israeli occupation forces killed two Palestinians and wounded 7 others during their raid on the Balata camp east of Nablus. Palestinian sources reported that two youths were killed by live gunfire in the head during the raid. This brings the total number of Palestinian killed by the Israeli forces in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to 117 since the beginning of this year.
Palestinians in Lebanon organized three gatherings in solidarity with the besieged Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli attack for a few days. Palestinian factions, youth groups and other organizations called for the organization of the gatherings in Beirut, refugee camps, and the city of Tyre. Speakers at the refugee camps reiterated their support for the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip and condemned the Israeli policy of assassination against Palestinian resistance leaders.
A young Jordanian man is creating artworks using the garbage he collects from the streets. The young man explained that he collects discarded objects such as air conditioners and televisions and uses them to make artworks that he shows outdoors. His artwork varied between cars, bicycles, and robots. The young man had started his project as a road garbage collection initiative, but had soon been inspired by the idea of using such neglected objects to manufacture artworks. The young man’s creations include some artwork he set up on a land in his hometown of Zarqa city for people to enjoy for free.
The Directorate of Youth and Sports in Sohag, Egypt, conducted a handicrafts training workshop for young girls, as part of the Jarja Youth Center’s monthly activities. The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports said that the aim of the course was to equip young girls with necessary skills for the labor market.
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East said that he was “deeply disturbed” by Israel’s demolition of an EU-funded Palestinian primary school for the children in Jubbet adh Dhib village. The demolition was carried out following an Israeli court ruling citing safety concerns in response to a petition filed by a settlement organization. It has an immediate impact on the education of at least 40 Palestinian children. The UN Coordinator stated that 58 schools serving 6,500 children are currently under threat of demolition due to a shortage of building permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to get.
The Syrian Youth Footprint Foundation, in cooperation with the Iqra Center for Excellence, is implementing free courses for high school students in Rif-Damashq governorate. The courses, supervised by a specialized teaching staff, provide intensive learning in subjects such as Arabic, English, French, mathematics, physics, and chemistry for 150 to 200 students, who can enroll in up to 3 subjects.
The Youth Forum of the Abu Mnisi Youth Center in Kafr al-Sheikh, Egypt, presented several recommendations, as part of the Economic, Social, and Political Forum. Attended by 25 youth members of the center, the sessions explored youth’s vision for the future of smart green projects in Egypt, such as solar and wind plants and their importance reducing pollution. The sessions also discussed youth’s proposed solutions to aspects negatively impacting the development of education and health services, among others.
The Directorate of Youth and Sports in Kafr al-Sheikh, Egypt, organized a community service project to address climate change through planting trees. 18 youth members of the Shabas Martyrs Youth Center operate this initiative, as the governorate allocated a piece of irrigation land the youth center to establish a park for the center’s members.