In recent years, Al-Qalaa has endeavored not only to present herself as an artist whose main job is to sing, but she has also taken initiatives and participated in activities that contribute to public social work. This includes visiting the Sudanese victims of floods and rains in 2015, providing them with aid, performing concerts, the revenues of which went to the victims, and singing a song about them. In 2016, Al-Qalaa organized a campaign to support female tea vendors in the country’s capital, Khartoum, and expressed her sympathy for the “dardaqat” workers [porters], who earn a living by helping buyers in the market to carry their purchases in hand-driven vehicles.
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However, the Royal Family Council decided to respect the sultan’s will, which named his cousin Haitham as his chosen successor. Article 4 of the White Book states: ‘The system of governance is Sultani, hereditary in the male descendants of Sayyid Turki bin Said bin Sultan, provided that whomever is to be chosen from among them as successor shall be a Muslim, mature, rational and the legitimate son of Omani Muslim parents.’
Salah shies away from politics and seems to want to avoid problems with the state. He donated 5 million Egyptian pounds ($285,000) to the public Tahya Masr (‘long live Egypt’) fund that is used for large ‘national’ government projects such as the Suez Canal extension and the new administrative capital. Even so, he has found himself an unwilling political pawn, either being used for political gain or smeared by pro-regime media.
At a time when the increasingly powerful Saudi crown prince is promoting his openness to economic and some social reforms, al-Nafjan and other activists are fighting for women’s rights that go beyond the lifting of the driving ban. Yet their arrest is a clear sign that further improvements in women’s rights are a long way off.
al-Qassemi has gone silent on Twitter, too. A source close to him said that the Gulf crisis might be the reason why he is not interacting on social media anymore. For now at least, it seems that his social media and activism days are behind him. If the Gulf crisis is resolved, he may go back to Tweeting freely again.
El-Salahi said that after he completed his studies in London, he was shocked to realize that the public had not appreciated his artistic works. He concluded that such a departure was because available art did not express the cultural legacy of the Sudanese people, prompting him to focus on the value of images in Sudanese culture.
The group notably ignored advice from Tehran not to capture Sanaa back in 2014. Al-Houthi’s independence thus suggests that he is primarily driven by a domestic agenda rather than a desire to help Hezbollah and Iran exert control over the region. That could change, of course, if the Saudis leave him no choice but to increase his reliance on Iran.