An Expensive Toy

The Cultural Garden in Sayyida Zaynab

by Fayza Hassan
published in MER202

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Mission: Democracy

by Sheila Carapico
published in MER209

Incumbent national leaders invite foreign election monitors only when it is in their interest to do so. Rarely is significant financial assistance “conditional” on holding elections, although it does improve a regime’s image abroad to do so. For governments being observed, the trick is to orchestrate the process enough to win, but not enough to arouse observers’ suspicions.

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Economic Restructuring in the Middle East

Implications for Women

by Eleanor Abdella Doumato
published in MER210

The effect of economic restructuring on women was the focus of a two-day workshop at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies in 1998, entitled “Women and Economic Restructuring in the Middle East: Gender, Jobs and Activist Organizations.” Participants [1] agreed that restructuring both helps and hurts women, depending on specific economic, social and political conditions in individual countries, as well as prevalent ideologies regarding gender and class. Women of the Middle East-North Africa region constitute only a small part of the salaried labor force, attend school for fewer years than males and have a far higher rate of illiteracy.

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New North African Immigration to Spain

by Mary M. Crain
published in MER211

In June 1998 the Spanish government began constructing several 12-foot high fences to halt African immigrants from illegally entering Europe by way of Spain’s North African enclave territory in Melilla. Running along the ten-kilometer border separating Morocco from Melilla, these fences were scheduled for completion by January 1999. They are to be patrolled by members of the Spanish civil guard and monitored by the latest in surveillance technology: cameras, sensors and armed guards stationed in lookout towers. These rigorous new border controls are required by the European Union’s adoption of stricter measures to regulate the inflow of individuals from non-EU nations.

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Al-Haq

The First Twenty Years

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER214

On a crisp November day in 1984, I first stepped into the small apartment on Ramallah's main street that housed the offices of what was then known as Law in the Service of Man (a somewhat ungainly translation of the more universal al-qanoun min ajal al-insan -- Law in the Service of the Human Being). The receptionist, who doubled as administrative assistant, sat in an entrance space immediately off a small glassed-in veranda. The dining room served as meeting room-cum-library. Two small bedrooms offered working space for researchers.

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Egyptian Advocacy NGOs

Catalysts for Social and Political Change?

by Krista Masonis El-Gawhary
published in MER214

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The Importance of Self-Reliance

NGOs and Democracy Building in Eritrea

by Dan Connell
published in MER214

Shortly before Eritrea's declaration of independence from Ethiopia in May 1993, members of the Eritrean security forces arrived on the doorstep of the Regional Center for Human Rights and Development (RCHRD) in downtown Asmara, the capital. The center's director knew precisely why they had come -- to shut down Eritrea's first postwar NGO.

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The Transformation of Islamist NGOs in Palestine

by Sara Roy
published in MER214

"It's over for this generation of Islamic activists. We tried and failed, but time is on our side. We must plant the seeds for an Islamic future in the next generation through social change. We must alter the mindset and mentality of people through an Islamic value system. We do this through example and education. We do it quietly and with persistence." [1]