When I took over as the first dedicated Manara editor in March last year, I had big plans for this publication. The wealth of potential that it offered in terms of integrating student and academic writers; connecting with institutions around the world; and providing an accessible entry point into MENA region discourse was undeniable, and since the magazine’s modest beginnings it has now grown into our first full print and online edition.
This new, updated issue of Manara features our classic long-form articles on a range of topics, alongside the newly introduced interview, opinion essay and book review sections. Innovating the style of articles has provided a variety of new lenses through which to view relevant issues and made writing for the magazine more accessible for all. Our theme for this term was ‘The State of the MENA Region – Lessons and Projections’: in this issue my writers and I hope to bring you up to date with ongoing debates
and provide insight into topics such as international negotiations, State Mosque competition, and the semantic conflict of ‘crisis’ versus ‘emergency’.
In terms of articles, there is plenty of choose from – our main feature is by the UPEC-based Dr Jaafar Bouzomita, examining the role of social media within the case study of recent Tunisian political unrest. In it, the twin prongs of the Tunisian government’s attempts to suppress civilian protest – propaganda and censorship – are put under scrutiny, using data that suggests a growing number of Facebook users in the country is changing the space in which politics is performed. Elsewhere, you can find a visual journey through the history of Hizbolluh’s ‘Pan-Islam’ poster campaign up to
the present day – explained in comprehensive detail by Luke Wilkinson – or a study on the consequences of Lebanon’s October Uprising. And finally, this wouldn’t be a 2020 edition without at least one mention of Brexit; revisited in detail by Diana Galeeva and providing an intriguing look at the potential impact of ‘Global Britain’ policies on our relationship with the GCC and Iran. As for opinion essays, you will find differing perspectives on global responsibility for Syrian refugees; a reflection on the nascent impact of climate change across the Middle East and North African region; and much more.
Over in Interviews, you can find coverage of our speakers’ events from this term, providing a deeper insight into the basis of their talks and a catch-up for anyone who couldn’t make it. This style of coverage will continue once we return to Cambridge in the new academic year, and if you would be interested in joining our writers team feel free to get in touch!
I would like to extend enormous thanks to all the writers whom I had the pleasure of working with, to everyone on the Interviews team for their fantastic work this past year, and to my fellow Committee member Patrik Kurath for his invaluable design skills. I hope you enjoy reading this edition as much as I enjoyed curating it!
Molly Bolding, Editor in Chief