MENARY Monitor – Edition 102
March 12, 2023
Politics and Political Engagement
Middle East Monitor published an article discussing the plight of young women in Egypt under the reign of Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi who has been promoting himself in the media as an advocate for women, speaking to women on their international day with respect and appreciation. However, the truth is that, under his rule, Egyptian women have been suffering more than ever before, as they are forced to bear the state’s failure to provide basic services. Egyptian women are forced to give up all of their rights in order to be able to reduce expenses, so that the family’s income can withstand price hikes. Young women are losing their youth as they are forced to work to cover their expenses. Recently, video clips have circulated of women, including those begging Al-Sisi to take pity on the people after he imposed high prices on them, while some are regretting their absolute support for him. However, it seems that he does not remember these women until it is time for a photo op.
Middle East Monitor published a report discussing how a potential agreement in Libya could finally lead to holding the long-awaited elections. Current UN envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, is proposing a “High-level Steering Panel for Libya” which would bring together all “relevant Libyan stakeholders,” including representatives of political institutions, major political figures, tribal leaders, civil society organizations, security actors, and women and youth representatives. That panel will, in the envoy’s words, facilitate the adoption of the “legal framework and time-bound roadmap” aimed at holding concurrent presidential and parliamentarian elections later this year. The biggest problem in the initiative is that it was built upon the assumption that the House of Representatives (HoR) and the Higher Council of State (HCS) would disagree, as is usually the case, when it comes to adopting the “legal framework” and a roadmap for elections. However, the HCS voted unexpectedly during an extraordinary session on 2 March, to approve the amendment of the Constitutional Declaration adopted by parliament, thus paving the way for elections to take place. If the HoR and HCS agree about elections, then there is no need for the “High-level Steering Panel”.
The Tehran Neighborhood Youth Group called for a new demonstration on Tuesday in front of the Iranian Parliament building, as well as in front of the education directorates’ buildings, to protest against the toxic attacks on girls’ schools in Iran.
Economics and Entrepreneurship
Data from the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Localization showed that the age group of 25-39 years accounted for the largest share of the total number of private sector employees in the country at 58%. The Ministry’s data showed that 3.22 million workers, out of a total of 5.57 million in 2022, were employed in the private sector, 20% of whom are aged between 30 and 34, followed by those aged between 25 and 29 years, with 19%, and then those between 35 and 39 years, with a 19%. The Ministry said earlier that the legislation governing the labor market set out the 6 working patterns to be contracted between the worker and the employer. This follows the introduction of a post-sharing pattern whereby functions and duties are divided between more than one staff member to perform pre-agreed functions.
Blinx is a new digital startup that is preparing for launch in Dubai focused on engaging Gen Z and Millennials across the Middle East and beyond and led by Arab journalist Nakhle Elhage who had led Al Arabiya for 16 years. Elhage said that Blinx aims to “inspire youth through honest, genuine, and spectacular storytelling. By providing news, entertainment and infotainment powered by the best tech and people available, we help build a better tomorrow. Engaging the region’s talented, bold, and brave storytellers, our new digital hub aims to be the go-to destination for stories that connect young people in MENA to the world and like-minded communities.” The startup pledges “more story, less noise” and will use the latest in broadcast technology – such as an extended reality studio – to enable engaging storytelling that it hopes will better resonate with a younger audience. Gamification, artificial intelligence and data will help guide the startup’s presentation and production.
The Israeli occupation soldiers arrested two young Palestinian women in the occupied Jerusalem. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs and Liberators Authority reported that the occupying forces had arrested the young woman, Yasmin Kherib, from the town of Al-Tur, when she was around the Damascus Gate area. The occupying forces also arrested Palestinian Samar al-Qaysi from the town of Beit Hanina, north of Jerusalem. Later, the occupying forces arrested a young man – who was not identified – from Wad Street in the Old City after they severely beat him.
The Israeli occupying forces arrested a Palestinian youth from the town of Al-Issawiyah, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. According to eyewitnesses, the young man was arrested by the occupying forces after being prosecuted and severely beaten while he was taken to a hospital for the necessary treatment. Additionally, in Bethlehem, a number of Palestinians were injured during confrontations with Israeli occupying forces in the village of Husan, where troops fired bullets and gas and sound bombs, causing a number of Palestinians to suffocate.
The Israeli occupation authorities announced the arrest of four students, all under 25 years old, from the occupied West Bank for allegedly planning operations for Hamas against occupation forces and settlers, according to a statement issued by the Shabak General Occupation Security Agency. The occupying authorities claimed that Hamas recruited the four young men through its activists in Turkey. The Shin Bet alleged that the investigations showed that one of the four young men was recruited by Hamas during his stay in Turkey. The Shin Bet also alleged that the others had expressed their agreement to join Hamas and conduct exercises in Gaza.
The second phase of the “it’s on” initiative was launched in Kafr el-Sheikh governorate in Egypt, led by the Youth Lead Youth Group. This initiative looked to raise youth’s awareness of entrepreneurship through workshops on financial models.
The World Youth Forum organized an extensive two-day workshop to discuss mental health in the presence of Egyptian youth along with doctors, specialists, and various Egyptian and international institutions. This workshop comes under the new framework where a series of initiatives will be implemented in lieu of this year’s World Youth Forum that was canceled due to the economic challenges in Egypt. To that end, the workshop included sessions to raise awareness on mental health and how to deal with people with mental health challenges before delving into a discussion on the World Youth Forum’s mental health initiative.
The National Program for Security and Youth was launched in the Zarqa Youth Directorate in Jordan, with the participation of 200 young people from youth centers and civil society institutions. The program, launched in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and the Public Security Directorate, aims at raising the security awareness of young people, preventing them from the threat of crime, violence, drugs, as well as consolidating the principles of moderation, security, and peace, and responding to high royal directives on the need to empower young people and promote their positive participation in building society. The program emphasized the importance of young people’s role in achieving security in its comprehensive sense and in enhancing their role in serving the community through ensuring their capacity in assuming their national responsibility.
The Egyptian Minister of Education responded to some queries about the criteria for the selection of school principals, referring to the President’s initiative to select 1,000 young teachers to receive a distinguished training program to become school principals. With regard to technical education schools, the Minister noted that applied technology schools are a bright spot in Egyptian education and an ideal model in graduating specialized technical cadres that meet the needs of the local and global labor market, stressing that the Ministry aims to expand these schools in cooperation with the private sector.