How do we know what happens in a war zone? Most info comes from journalists—white, Western, male journalists. Zahra Hankir thinks it’s time we heard from a very different group: Arab women reporting from their communities.
Zahra is the curator and editor of a new book: Our Women On the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World —a collection of powerful stories about living and working in conflict zones, all written by women.
She first realized how important this work was in 2011, when she was a journalist working at Bloomberg in Dubai, holed up in a highrise trying to report from afar on the Arab Spring. Now she’s collected the work of 19 different journalists—from a Syrian American straddling multiple cultures during tremendous strife to a Yemeni woman explaining the perils of attempting to travel her country without a male relative as chaperone.
The stakes are so high with so much of the coverage that these women do because they’re writing about their homelands and they’re writing about their neighborhoods and their villages… There is a level of intimacy there and there is a level of personal connection to the story that informs the way they approach the story, and they go through the struggle of having to remain impartial at the same time, even though it feels impossible.
—Zahra Hankir, editor and curator of Our Women on the Ground
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