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Letter to Mr. the Civilized…

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They promote democracy but not if it brings Islamic fundamentalists to power… They call our states rogue /undemocratic states but they tolerate human rights violations … They are watching when their intervention is needed but intervening when they need to watch… They preach non-proliferation in Iran but not in Israel… They massively repulsed aggression against oil owning Kuwaitis in the 90s but not against non-owning oil Bosnians… They consider Afghanistan the way is ruled by Taliban a threat but not Saudi Arabia the way is ruled by monarchy…

My Intervention at Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend #MIFMaroc

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Growing with the Revolution | Aya Chebbi | TEDxMünster

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My intervention at UN Women Intergenerational Dialogue (ECOSOC Chamber)

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Speech at UN Women Intergenerational Dialogue ( ECOSOC Chamber) - New York



Dances With Spirits

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Published at Brownbook Magazine Though it’s not necessarily considered Tunisian, stambeli can only be found in Tunisia.

A ritual dance belonging to Tunisia’s Sub-Saharan community, stambeli can occasionally be seen performed on the streets of Tunis, when members of the community dress up in masks and costumes to wander the medina as they sing, dance and play the shqashiq.

Despite its gradual demise, there remains a few dedicated practitioners of the tradition, like at Dar Barnu – the last surviving house where those of Bornu origin continue to congregate in Tunis. Here, Belhassen Barnawi, the only son of Abdul Majid Barnawi – the late head of Dar Barnu – continues to perform stambeli as a musician and singer. According to Barnawi, the word ‘stambeli’ is rooted in the Sub-Saharan term ‘sambeli’, and refers to the spirit possession ceremonies that continue to be performed in parts of Nigeria and Mali. The ritual made its way to Tunis during the Ottoman Empire. Many Sub-Saharans arrived …

Salim Salamah's Keynote speech at 9th UNESCO Youth Forum

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Ladies and Gentlemen,
On the flight here to Paris, coming from my exile in Sweden where I have been a political refugee since 2013, I was thinking... which story I need to tell you? for my own story as a stateless Palestinian from Syria, refugee again in Sweden, I now feel lucky and privileged to stand before you today.  Crossing borders, mobility and checkpoints were a constant reality and fear in Syria, now as I have a Swedish travel document, I can be with you to deliver the untold stories about Syria.

So the question now what story? Do I tell you the story of nearly half of Syria's population who has been uprooted for the past 4 years? or the story of children out of school, girls abused and people struggling to survive?

Unfortunately, stories of terror, barrel bombs and massacres have acquired an awful familiarity. But young people of my age have turned these hardships into drive for social change.

like the story of a movement of over 80 Syrian civil society groups who formed Pl…

Hard times for Tunisia

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Published at the German Magazine D+C Development and Cooperation

If the nation looses too many of its marginalised youth to Islamist extremism, it cannot gain stability. Security measures alone will not do, because economic development and social equity matter just as much.  On 18 March, the international community was shocked by the terror attack at Bardo Museum in Tunis. 21 people, mostly European tourists, were killed. On 26 June, the international community stood shocked again with the tragedy of Sousse, where a fanatic murdered 38 tourists. This attack occurred in the holy month of Ramadan. Sadly, terrorism has been haunting Tunisia since early 2013.  Attacks occurred during Ramadan in 2014 and 2013 too. The Islamist hardliners want Tunisia’s young democracy to fail. After the revolution toppled the Ben Ali dictatorship in 2011, I think terrorism started with the assassination of the opposition leader Chokri Belaid in February 2013. A few months later, Mohamed Brahmi, another le…