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Public Figures of the Middle East and North Africa

Saudi Women’s Rights Activist Eman al-Nafjan Arrested Ahead of Driving Ban Being Lifted 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... Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi: the Twitter Giant Who Fell Silent 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,... Sheikh Mansour: the Fresh Face of Emirati Leadership Sheikh Mansour represents a new breed of regional leaders who are aware of the challenges facing Middle Eastern and Gulf societies as they modernize and develop, and are willing to do whatever it takes... Ibrahim El-Salahi, an Icon of Modern Arab-African Art 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...

The Middle East and North Africa is an arena where public figures play a vital role in crystalizing the challenges by which the region has been encountered. Some public figures fade, while others brightly shine in the political, cultural, and social arenas. Some public personalities might have an exceptional impact, whether it’s bad or good. In this special file, Fanack provides readers with many interesting and sometimes controversial profiles about politicians, musicians, activists of the region.

Politicians are persons of great value in society, and they differ in terms of characteristics, their ideological backgrounds, their tendencies towards democracy or authoritarianism. There is also a difference in their social contexts (cultural context, social class, history, gender, family structure and religion). In turn, these nuances result in various consequences that have an impact on performance and decision-making.

With all its conflicts and variances, the Middle East and North Africa region has a big list of politicians that are relevant to the previous description. This list includes the Islamic totalitarian  Rached Ghannouchi, the Kurdish-Iraqi leader  Masoud Barzani, the Libyan savior for some and destroyer for others  Fayez al-Sarraj, the close ally of Iran  Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the Secretary-General of the Shiite Lebanese party “Hezbollah”  Hassan Nasrallah and others.

In the same context, human rights activists play a decisive role to protect and respect public and individual freedoms and strengthen the rule of law to ensure the security and stability of their countries.

Those with exceptional impact also might face serious violations and problems. This might come as a consequence of defective executing of legislations. Furthermore, those who criminalize these activists and violate them may also get away with it. Thus, they play a very high price for the sake of establishing rules and laying the foundations for the transition of their societies from their miserable situation to the ranks of civilized societies.

Among these freedom fighters in the Middle East and North Africa; “Omar Barghouti”, the peaceful resistance pioneer and Palestine’s Nelson Mandela, the Iranian “Nasrin Sotoudeh”, the Moroccan “Nabila Mounib”, the Turkish “Ahmet Sik”, the Bahraini Nabil Ragab and many others.

Ingenuity, with all its forms, is considered a bridge over the gap between the ideal and reality. Thus, the creative person is one with exceptional action (Dreamy, Rebellious, and Radical) and also exceptional impact. He expresses the hopes and wounds of his society through creative patterns, taking any form, such as music, singing, poetry, or even art … etc.

The Middle East and North Africa region has long been rich with these creative public figures with exceptional impact. Among these faces in our time; the singer and songwriter “Emel Mathlouthi”, the voice of the Egyptian revolution “Hamza Namira”, the new strong voice in French literature “Layla Solaimani”, and the Lebanese conservative and controversial singer “Julia Boutros”.

The exceptional impact of these faces also emerges from difference intellectual stripes and political orientations, such as the Israeli “Mordechai Vanunu” who has been called by some “a peace activist” and “a traitor” by others. The list includes also the Algerian blogger “Merzoug Touati” who is imprisoned for accusation of espionage, and “Samar Badawi” who is the model for Saudi women refusing legal guardianship.

To know more about all these public figures and more, kindly read through this special report made by Fanack. We seek through this file to define the impact of the individual on society and to monitor the problems facing the prominent personalities in the Middle East and North Africa or induced by them.

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 b...
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 ...
Sheikh Mansour represents a new breed of regional leaders who are aware of the challenges facing Middle Eastern and Gulf societies as they modernize and develop, and are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure their countries su...
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 cultu...
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 vi...
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 contro...
Still, Shabayek sees some – albeit small – changes brought about by the revolution. Women are more willing to speak out and share their stories; the audience is more open to accepting them. “The revolution has left us feelin...
Omar Barghouti was greatly inspired by Nelson Mandela’s approach to mobilizing the nations of the world against the apartheid regime in South Africa. This approach was introduced in Palestine after the failure of the Camp David ...
Aside from embezzlement and corruption, al-Otaiba was implicated in even more serious scandals. The Huffington Post, which was provided with another batch of the leaked emails, broke the story of al-Otaiba supporting a major effor...
Bin Zayed grew up witnessing the rapid transformation of the UAE from huts to Hilton hotels and skyscrapers. Along the way, his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, elder brother Khalifa and he learned two valuable lessons: the UAE ca...
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