Majalla’s Year in Review

How We Delved into Major Political Developments, Untold Social Stories, Art Scenes and Regional Sports Achievements
Illustration by Janeette Khouri

The year 2021 has been full of political events ranging between Arab reconciliation, the war on Gaza, the delay of the long-awaited Libyan elections, the power outages and economic crisis in Lebanon, the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover, the passing of 10 years of the Syrian war and much more.

Majalla writers and contributors from across the region wrote analytical pieces about these events with on-the-ground reporting.

Gulf Reconciliation and Libyan Unrest

Majalla covered the Gulf reconciliation and its impact on the region. Our contributor Hatem Khedr said that the Arab Gulf reconciliation between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar would have a great impact on regional stability.

By the year end, Dalia Ziada noted the Arab Gulf countries’ unprecedented diplomatic activity on both regional and international horizons. The Arab Gulf region is living a positive momentum of political and economic expansion, which indicates that the Middle East region is finally starting to recover from the painful decade of the Arab Spring aftermath.

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (L-2), Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman (4th L), Deputy Prime Minister of Oman Fahd bin Mahmoud al Said (L-3), Salman, Crown Prince of Bahrain (R-3), Vice President of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (R-2) and Emir of Kuwait Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (L) pose for a photo during the 41st Summit of Gulf Cooperation Council in AlUla, Saudi Arabia on January 05, 2021. (Getty)

On Libya, meanwhile, Majalla wrote about the Libyan House of Representatives giving an overwhelming vote of confidence to the new unity government with 132 votes out of the 133 lawmakers who were present and voting.

In one article, we remarked that the new elected government led by Interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh vowed to restore stability and unify the ranks of Libyans as well as support the High National Election Commission and hold elections that was planned in December.

The move in Libya was seen by observers and officials as well as international organizations as a good step towards steadiness, security, fairness and peace.

After gaining the parliament’s confidence, Dbeibeh described the vote as a “historic moment” and vowed to end war in his country.

Dalia Ziada also wrote about the Libyan elections before its delay. She said, “It is impressive how the war-torn Libya is still insisting on standing again on its feet as a strong sovereign state, despite the severe internal divisions and hefty external interventions”.

Libyan Interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, waves as he stands atop an excavator on June 20, 2021, in the town of Buwairat al-Hassoun, during a ceremony to mark the reopening of 300-kilometre road between the cities of Misrata and Sirte. (Photo by MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images)

Also before the delay, Ziada said that Libyans have to be wary of the many hands warming up to destroy their dream and bring the country back to the point of civil war. Ziada added that the presidential elections would be the first ever democratic practice of such a kind, in the entire political history of Libya. In itself, that is an issue worth celebration. The main goal of the elections is to bring the long-aspired sense of security and stability to Libya, the North African country that has been suffering from civil war, armed militia, and terrorism for almost a decade.

10 Years of Syrian War

Majalla contributor Jassim Mohamed wrote about the Syrian civil war as 10 years have passed since its start. He said that now the Islamic State, or Da’esh, is making use of the COVID-19 pandemic to restore its activities and claw itself back into key areas.

“ISIS still uses the Syrian Desert as a safe haven and is arranging hideouts from which to carry out terrorist operations. It is still moving between the Iraqi-Syrian borders, despite the efforts made by Iraqi and coalition forces,” he wrote.

ISIS is still active in several regions in Iraq – east of Samarra, in the Hamrin Basin, south of Kirkuk, in Wadi Al-Shay, and in the Anbar desert at Wadi Houran.

The challenges facing the Iraqi government were mostly in the wake of US withdrawals from Iraq as well as the withdrawal of some coalition forces from Iraq, most notably the German and French soldiers.  These troop drawdowns encouraged ISIS to return thereby taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Taliban and the Future of Afghanistan

Taliban fighters pose for photograph in Wazir Akbar Khan in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. The Taliban declared an "amnesty" across Afghanistan and urged women to join their government Tuesday, seeking to convince a wary population that they have changed a day after deadly chaos gripped the main airport as desperate crowds tried to flee the country. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Ahmed Taher, meanwhile, covered a significant event which is the Taliban’s takeover of power in Afghanistan. He said that Taliban is an Islamist movement that has reappeared at the international and regional scene as it succeeded in regaining control over Afghanistan following a 20-year absence since the American war on the country in 2001.

This recurrence came in light of the global war on terrorism that was launched as a result of the events following the September 11 attack and ended the rule of the movement that had run the country since 1996. The recent US decision to resume withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan by the end of August has given the movement the chance to extend its control over the 34 provinces that fell in less than 10 days. The retreat of Afghan forces also paved the way for the movement to take over the capital, Kabul, which it seized after the Afghan President’s escape on August 15 to the Republic of Tajikistan under the pretext of preserving Afghans’ lives and preventing further bloodshed.

Sheikh Jarrah

Palestinian and Israeli activists gather in front of Israeli settler’s house during a demonstration against the expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes, in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem on April 16, 2021. (Getty)

Amal Shehada wrote about the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip and how the Palestinian claim to Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is backed by legal documents and human rights. In her article, Shehada wrote that some documents which were obtained by the residents from Jordan and Turkey proved that the documents submitted to the High Court by the Israeli organizations claiming to own the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood were forged upon translation into Hebrew.

Shahada also wrote another article about the use of unlicensed guns in Israeli Palestinian towns that lead to the killing of innocent people. By the end of January, there were more than 420,000 unlicensed guns in various Israeli Palestinian towns, which means that one in every five households owned a gun. The Israeli army is the primary source of these guns, where 80% of them are obtained by criminal gangs from the army.

Lebanon’s Crisis

Anti-government protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in the center of Lebanon's impoverished northern port city of Tripoli on January 31, 2021. (Getty Images)

Regarding Lebanon, Hanin Ghaddar wrote about the protests that turned into violent riots in Lebanon’s Tripoli when clashes erupted between security forces and protesters, leading to more than 400 wounded and one dead. Ghaddar said that these protests – although brief and localized – could be a sign or a sample of what to come as Lebanon descends further into collapse and failure of state institutions.

In another article, Ghaddar delved deep into Lebanon’s policymaking and Hezbollah’s killing machine. She said that with a new set of priorities established by the Biden administration in Washington, less attention is being given to the Middle East, and especially to Lebanon.

And while the French President Emmanuel Macron reconsiders the terms of his French Initiative for Lebanon, Hezbollah sees an opportunity to exert more control over Lebanon, its institutions, and its people – using both political alliances and physical violence.

Still with Lebanon and Majalla reporter Mahdi Karayem wrote about the potential successors of Hezbollah’s leader. He said that political dynasties have been a distinctive feature of Lebanon’s politics, as the eldest son succeeds his father in leading a movement or a party. In some Lebanese parties, succession of leadership extends across many generations in a given family. However, the succession of Hezbollah’s leadership is totally different. Taking even a quick look at the history of its leadership makes it clear that choosing the head of the party is not based on the Lebanese tradition.

Pope’s Visit to Iraq

The Interreligious meeting in the Iraq city of Ur. (supplied)

Moving to Iraq, Majalla contributor Ghaddar also wrote about the significance of Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq. She said that many have reported and commented on the significance of Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq, mainly when Iran and the region is going through many shifts and conflicts.

Although the whole visit was important to everyone in the region, his meeting with Najaf’s Ayatollah’s Ali Sistani seems to have gained more attention than the Pope’s other stops and meetings.

This visit came one month after Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb, the imam of the Al-Azhar celebrated the first anniversary of signing the “fraternity” document during an event that took place in Abu Dhabi. With the backing of the United Arab Emirates, the initiative has gone on to create a high-level commission to spread the message and plans are under way to build in Abu Dhabi a center with a synagogue, mosque and church in a tangible display of interfaith coexistence and sharing.

Now the Pope goes to Najaf and recognizes it the weight of the Arab Shia, and acknowledges Sistani as the representative of moderate Shiism. Although the Pope didn’t mention Tehran or Qum even once, his message was very clear: Najaf is the only Shia center the moderate world will deal with.

Russian-Ukrainian Tensions

Maia Otarashvili also covered Russian, Ukrainian and Georgian affairs as well as the refugee crisis at the Belarus borders.

In early May, Russia announced it would be drawing down its forces near Ukraine after carrying out a large-scale military exercise. Otarashvili said that the event had caused deep concern in Ukraine as it looked like a sign of coming massive Russian invasion. It drew in European and American leadership who called on Russia to withdraw the forces. At the end of April Russia’s Ministry of Defense explained that this was a military exercise, which it had completed successfully and was preparing to wrap up.

But Moscow’s saber-rattling in Europe’s eastern neighborhood is far from over. In September 2021 Russia will carry out its massive military exercises called “Zapad 2021”.

Otarashvili also covered the NATO June summit in Brussels and its implications for Russia. She said that on the surface, at least, it looks like the transatlantic community is back on the same page, to its pre-Trump posture of “unity, solidarity, and cohesion,” but at the same time “open a new chapter in transatlantic relations, at a time when the security environment we face is increasingly complex.”

Major emphasis was put on the member nations’ commitment to strengthened resilience. U.S. President, Joe Biden, has been working hard to convince America’s allies that the U.S. is back on the world stage and is ready to reassert its leadership, and the NATO framework has offered him a great opportunity to keep promoting this point.

Georgia’s municipal elections were also covered. Otarashvili said that continued political crises, tensions with western allies, and a raging pandemic served as the backdrop for the election that would not have been a very big deal without the extraordinary circumstances.

REFUGEE CRISIS AT BELARUS BORDER

Europe’s refugee crisis was also among the coverage of Otarashvili in 2021. She said that in this crisis, human beings are being used as pawns in a chess game. But Lukashenko is no stranger to this method – he has a long-standing track record of abusing the rights of his own people. But this time around it’s not just Lukashenko who is treating human lives as convenient tools of hybrid warfare, European values and commitment to human rights are also being tested as Belarus’s neighbors face the uncomfortable dilemma of a refugee deluge.

 

 

 

A Year of Social Challenges, Woes and Achievemnts

Post-Covid Life

By January 2021, a year had almost passed for the new normal in post-Covid world. Life as we used to know has greatly changed. In many stories, Majalla addressed the unprecedented social issues resulting from Covid-induced restrictions such as social distancing, school closures and remote working as well as economic consequences of lockdowns in various parts of the world, some of which also seem to linger as we start 2022, especially with Omicron variant taking hold of most Covid cases.

Majalla paid special attention to the little ones who suffered due to feeling of isolation, lack of social activities and boredom. Statistics revealed an increasing levels of stress, anxiety and depression due to the new lifestyle imposed by fears of the spread of coronavirus. Majalla highlighted measures required to mitigate the negative psychological impact of the lockdown through promoting the importance of mental wellbeing and resumption of social life once social activities return back to normal, and providing adequate support to those most affected by the past period.

On the importance of mental health, Majalla decided to spread the awareness, especially among societies which might find it stigmatizing to seek professional help. We stressed the importance of fighting back against the misinformation about mental illness and breaking typos associated with fighting depression and other mental health issues

Majalla was keen on presenting the other face of the pandemic times as the blessing of social solidarity was on full display. One such example was Egyptian volunteering teams who helped self-quarantined Covid-19 patients in with supplies, food and other means of living. Teams of volunteers took to social media and launched initiatives to supply people who caught the virus with mild to moderate symptoms with their necessities during their self-quarantine. The attempt aimed to alleviate pressures on governments racing with time to provide ventilators and intensive healthcare for more severe cases.

Vaccinations Rollout

This picture taken on December 17, 2020 shows Saudi Arabia's Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah waiting to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine. (By Getty Images)

A silver lining started to appear as vaccination rollout all over the world has carried a promise for the isolated societies. Majalla gave voice to hopes that various Covid-19 vaccines would provide sufficient immunity for people and let go of the restrictions that have hindered normal daily lives. While some feared the vaccines would have serious side effects, scientists kept reassuring that vaccines are important, and the consequences of not taking the jabs and being vulnerable to the coronavirus are more dire than the possible side effects.

By the end of 2021, we can see more than half of world populations getting at least one dose of the Covid vaccine with increasing numbers of people in the Arab world being inoculated. Early in the first half of the year, Majalla drew the attention to the accelerated steps taken by Arab countries to vaccinate their populations, where some of the vaccinated people talked to Majalla about their early experiences and hopes for the future.

Gradual returning back to normal, albeit slowly, gave some venting for people kept at home for almost a year. Hybrid education was one such example we provided of gradual transition from a year of studying in front of screens to in-class attendance that was missed by many students and teachers alike. Majalla interviewed people in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait and other Arab countries to know how they feel about distance education and the prospects of returning back to normal. Majalla had the opportunity to delve into the mixed feeling of people who were not able to cope with distance learning and found it difficult to resume a second year in such education in contrast to others who didn’t mind to stay at the comfort of their home while reaching out to their teachers and students virtually. Majalla also addressed the subject of remote working and the employees return to office environment.

Saudi students wearing face masks attend a class at a school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia August 29, 2021. Picture taken August 29, 2021. (REUTERS/Mohammed Benmansour)

On their side, world governments were still grabbling with changing measures to ensure the safety of citizens and expats according to daily statistics of Covid-19 cases and vaccination progress. By the middle of the 2021, efforts were culminated in the return to schools, universities and workplaces, and the lift of travel ban under precautionary measures. In May, Majalla posed the question about What is done to make travel safer during the pandemic? From immediate PCR examinations at airports, to thermal surveillance cameras, it was easy to detect any possible cases of Covid-19 among passengers, and keep the flights safe. Majalla also highlighted the introduction of vaccine passports in the Middle East to help improve global communication in the virus crisis management.

Social Fallout of Lebanese Crises

The fallout of Lebanese political crises that came under the world’s spotlight after Beirut’s 2020 explosion didn’t stop short of affecting the Lebanese economy and society. From economic collapse and governmental failure to provide people’s basic needs to the corruption and monopoly of fuel, medicine and healthcare supplies, and in the darkness caused by frequent power outage Lebanese people recounted to Majalla their economic, social and psychological woes.

More shocking revelations were made by Majalla on organ trafficking where some impoverished people in Lebanon had reached the extreme of offering their kidneys for sale.

In face of medicine shortages and monopoly of medicine supplies which had life-threatening consequences for the Lebanese, Majalla uncovered stories of Lebanese social solidarity where volunteers launched humanitarian campaigns to provide medicine and healthcare for patients of Covid-19 and other chronic or life-threatening diseases. Cancer patients could finally find their prescribed medications thanks to campaigns such as Kafak-Bi-Kaffi (Hand in hand) and Nihna Wahad (We are One) “We are one” which coordinated funding and shipment of exported medicines with Lebanese expats and citizens in some Gulf and European countries.

10 years of Syrian Woes

In the various camps for IDPs, the residents work on repairing their tents before the coming of winter, to prevent rainwater from flowing into them after parts of them have worn out. (Supplied)

Ten years since the Syrian war erupted has severe repercussions on all segments of society. About 6 million internally displaced people who live in camps, some of which are random camps. Majalla sheds light on the plight of these IDPs who have almost no access to potable water, healthcare, and appropriate housing that can protect them against the floods and cold weather especially in the challenging winter months.

The influence of the Syrian conflict prevailed to the younger generation of Syrian children who are brought up amid fighting and violence. We discussed the cost of the war on their mental health, as they grew more violent that even their playtime has become a mimic of war games.

Although homelessness, widowhood, and fear stalk the lives of Syrian women, victims of the decade-long war, they are also warriors and heads of families. Majalla was able to reach out to some Syrian women who confirmed that n in various areas of conflict  women were able to change past concepts show patience despite all difficulties “as they overcame customs and traditions, to confirm their existence alongside men and in all areas of life.”

Saudi Women Empowered

A female member of the Saudi Royal Guard (SRG) standing beside her colleague. (Twitter)

Majalla focused attention on Saudi steps taken towards more inclusion for women across all sectors comes in the right moment. As the biggest GCC country is currently going through a huge transformation, the potential of women is being unlocked gradually for the wellbeing of all citizens. This year Saudi women became eligible to apply for military positions in specializations that used to be monopolized by men in the Saudi Arabian Army, Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force, and Armed Forces Medical Services.

Over the past decade, the Saudi government has introduced several measures, reformed the laws, and provided subsidies to help women participate in the economy while feeling safe and protected. Majalla published a review of how Saudi workplaces became women-friendlier than ever.

More Family Issues

More coverage on social issues spanned across various parts of the region. From violence against women represented in female genital mutilation, domestic abuse; spike in divorce rates; trial marriage; sex workers; sexual harassment and efforts to combat it; the impact of shocking viral videos and abuse of social media; all can be found on our website.

 

Arts and Cultural Landscape by Majalla Lens

In 2021, Majalla produced many culture and art stories from around the world. Let's know about the most remarkable art coverages this year.

Stories of Heritage

Saudi Arabia sought to be a global tourist destination. The Kingdom, under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, carried out several projects in tourism to put the country on the global tourism map as an international hub. Besides, plans were set to encourage tourists to discover aspects of local Saudi culture. The Kingdom also witnessed a significant shakeup in the cultural scene, where talents are embraced and nurtured to grow, flourish and express themselves.

This picture taken on January 4, 2019 shows a view of a musical performance by French solo violinist Renaud Capucon during the first "Winter at Tantora" music carnival, at the purpose-built Maraya (Arabic for "Mirror") concert hall in the ruins of Al-Ula, a UNESCO World Heritage site in northwestern Saudi Arabia. (FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Archaeologists were shocked to discover that a series of camels carved into desert rock faces in the Al-Jawf Desert in Saudi Arabia are prehistoric, dating from 7,000 to 8,000 years ago - before constructing the Pyramids Giza (4,500 years old) or Stonehenge (5,000 years old).

At the beginning of the year, Egypt prepared a central royal procession of mummies to celebrate the opening of the iconic Tahrir square. The spectacle features 22 royal mummies belonging to Egypt's most famous pharaohs. Majalla covered the ceremony as the royal mummies were accompanied by 17 ancient coffins to be transferred from the nearby Egyptian Museum to their new home in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat.

Majalla, also, highlighted the story of the Kabul Museum, which withstood decades of conflicts, chaos, and violence inflicted upon Afghanistan since the Soviet occupation and through the civil war until the Taliban's governance in the 1990s and the US invasion in 2001.

Artists Featured

We also knew about the first Female Sufi Dancer—Hanna. She entered the world of tanoura (Sufi whirling) through folklore. She witnessed the artist Randa Ismail's first exhibition after the pandemic at Cairo opera house. She told Majalla that all of the paintings were done during the pandemic.

Majalla also went more profound in the Rap scene in Egypt after witnessing a significant change in music production and style. New songs like rap songs and mahraganat appeared with a big audience and fan base. In contrast, on the level of old classical music, Majalla met Salma Kilany, 29, an Egyptian oud player and a big fan of Egyptian classical music.

We met Rudy Tahlo, the Syrian Kurdish photographer who launched the first-of-its-kind project under the title "Faces of Rojava," the Kurdish name of the region in which Syrian Kurds live and currently controlled by Syrian Democratic Forces. But Ankara seized three primary cities in the area: Afrin, Tell Abiad, and Serê Kaniyê, in two separate attacks by the Turkish army in January 2018 and October 2019.

EXpo Visit

Our reporters in Dubai made an exceptional coverage of Expo 2020. They went on a remarkable tour through some Gulf pavilions. The Emirati pavilion takes visitors on a journey to the past with a look to the future and makes them eager to wander through other Gulf pavilions with a similar culture and spirit. It consists of four floors and represents the principle of sustainability that the UAE seeks to achieve in line with global goals for preserving resources and the environment.

In the Saudi pavilion, visitors are welcomed by the world's largest LED mirror display, featuring 8000 LED lights that move with visitors as they walk through it, and the world's tallest interactive water feature. The display pays tribute to Saudi Vision 2030, which includes programs to diversify the country's economy, increase women's participation in the workforce, reduce unemployment, and increase foreign investment.

The UAE pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

We also visited the Russian pavilion in Dubai. Russia participated in Expo 2020 Dubai under the slogan "Creative Mind: Driving the Future," allowing millions of visitors to learn about Russia's current achievements in industry, science, technology, and culture.

Reviews

In cinema and drama, Majalla produced a lot of stories and movie reviews, such as the movie “The Man Who Sold his Skin.” The film traces the journey of an immigrant from Syria who fled his country to Lebanon, escaping from the devastating war, and his intention to travel to Europe to reunite with his love. How, for that, he agrees to have a tattoo on his back by a famous artist, turning his body into a canvas for a painting. Also, "Gaza Mon Amour," the movie that sheds light on Contemporary Gaza through a different love story.

In addition, Majalla wrote about the tenth annual Arab Film Festival, which began in the shadow of the clashes between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. Surprisingly and coincidentally, Palestinian films dominated the festival.

Besides, Majalla reviewed many series, such as the Egyptian Newton's Cradle series that dives into the complex human psyche and talks about the complicated human nature and our decisions. And discussed the highlights of Egyptian TV drama series: violence, murder, bullying, and swear words. That prompted the state authorities to set a code of ethics for TV dramas to preserve "the identity and cohesiveness of the Egyptian society."

And the most prominent Jordan series launched on Netflix this year that talks about the pain of women in the Arab world, all the problems of female students at a sensitive age, and all the diseases of society, from a domineering patriarchal system to a scattered educational system, "Al Rawabi School for Girls."

At the end of the year, Majalla was present at the opera "Carmen," which was held under the patronage of Prof. Moustafa Elfeki, Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and attended by the German Cultural Attaché Felix Halla. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina hosted a grand operatic work by French composer Georges Bizet. It was presented in its theatrical form to the audience of Alexandria.

Majalla wrote about the event the Louvre Museum organized along with Réunion des Musées Nationaux– Grand Palais, 18 concurrent exhibitions of Islamic arts across France.

Celebrating A Holy Month

Majalla made a special coverage during the holy month of Ramadan by introducing topics such as Ramadan traditions, especially the Ramadan Cannon, which the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities happily announced reclaiming, and the origin of the lantern, which is associated with the holy month. The most famous one states that the Fatimid Caliph used to go out on the night before Ramadan along with children, each of them carrying a lantern to light the way as they sang in celebration for the holy month.

Also, it covered the celebrations of the Holy Month of Ramadan in the historic area of Jeddah after Covid-19 were sweeping across the Kingdom and the world at large last year. A quick visit to the old heart of Jeddah shows how the pandemic has affected the most multicultural spot in a city that plays in harmony with Red Sea vibes.

Exclusive Interviews

We also held an interview with one of the most prominent Egyptian caricaturists, George El Bahgory, in which he talked about the freedom he practiced during the era of Gamal Abdel Nasser, and he considers President Sisi to be an extension of Nasser.

Most recently, we held an exclusive interview with Dr. Enas Abdel-Dayem, the Egyptian Minister of Culture, and Dr. Salem bin Muhammad Al-Malik, the General Director of ISESCO, during the announcement of the celebration of Cairo, the Capital of Culture in the Islamic World 2022 after its celebration was postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

 

Read more:

Azza Fahmy: Craftsmanship of Heritage & Authenticity

Ahmed Nabil: The Pioneer of Pantomime Art in Egypt

“Tablet El Sitt”

Negative Stereotyping of Muslims in Western Media

Al-Aragouz: An Authentic Folk Art Loved by Children and Adults

Mahfouz Finally Meets Márquez at Anniversary Exhibition


 

Exclusive Sports Stories in a Unique Year

2021 was another amazing year of sports drama, marked by exceptional Arab participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, along with the most dramatic “Formula 1” season in living memory, which concluded with the Abu Dhabi race, and marked the crowning of Dutchman Max Verstappen, driver of the Red Bull team, with the title The World Championship (Grand Prix) for the first time in his career, along with Chelsea’s Champions League title, the excitement of Euro 2020 on and off the field, as well as the Algerian national team’s crowning of the Arab Cup, and many other moments that will remain stuck in the memory of sports fans.

Photo Credit: AFP

Arab’s Historic Participation in Tokyo 2020

As usual, Majalla covered the most important sporting events, most notably the Tokyo Olympics 2020, which witnessed a historic participation of Arabs that achieving 18 Olympic medals.

Arabs achieved 18 diverse medals in the Olympic Games "Tokyo 2020", which is the highest rate of medals for Arabs in the history of Olympic participation, and it came with 5 gold, 5 silver and 8 bronze.

The Arabs were at the forefront of the best moment in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, when Qatari Mutaz Issa decided to share the Olympic gold medal for the high jump with Italian Gianmarco Tamberi after they tied, instead of entering the challenge of making a last jump.

Our coverage included daily news reports of the events of this Olympic marathon, as well as exclusive interviews with the stars who shone in the Tokyo sky by achieving Olympic medals; including an exclusive interview with the Egyptian karate champion Feryal Ashraf, the first female Egyptian to have won a gold medal at the Olympic Games, who spoke to Majalla about her Journey to Olympics.

Read more

Mo Salah: A Real Hero on and off the pitch

Egypt’s National Pride and the Liverpool Football Star’s Life Story has been added to School Textbooks in Egypt. In October of this year, the Director of Curriculum Development in the Egyptian Ministry of Education revealed the inclusion of Mohamed Salah's career in the English language curricula for the preparatory and secondary levels.

For its part, Majalla highlighted his successful career in one of its daily reports; Read more

Benzema’s Distinguished Number of Competitions

The French star, Karim Benzema, the Real Madrid striker, scored a distinctive positive number in his history during the competitions this season in the Spanish League, La Liga, and with his country, France, which recently won the European Nations League.

Majalla highlighted his brilliance in a profile: Read more

Ons Jabeur: Tunisia's Minister of Happiness

The Tunisian player, Ons Jabeur, achieved her historical achievements after she ranked eighth in the world tennis rankings. The WTA confirmed that Tunisian Ons Jabeur had become the first Arab player to advance among the top ten ranked women in the world after reaching the semi-finals of the Indian Wells Championship by defeating Estonian Annette Kontaveit.

Majalla honored her achievements in this profile; Read more

Saudi Women in Sports

Over the past few years, Saudi women have managed to break into fields that were the preserve of men, especially after King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s implemented their vision of Saudi society to expand the area of ​​freedom that Saudi women currently enjoy.

Majalla highlighted success paths of a number of Saudi female athletes in various games this year, either through daily reports about them or through exclusive interviews.

Saudi player Nada Abul-Naga became the first Saudi woman to emerge as a squash champion when she won the championship cup and the gold medal in the Kingdom’s Women’s Open Squash Championship, which was held on the courts of Riyadh Club.

Saudi squash player Nada Abul-Naga. (Photo: Social Media)

Nada passed the competition with outstanding play that impressed many and topped the search sites on Google after her outstanding performance throughout the competition period. Read more

The Saudi entrepreneur and former senior government advisor with the Saudi Sports Authority and holder of an MA in Project Management, Saudi women’s sports advocate Saja Kamal also spoke exclusively to us about breaking her 'Guinness' records three times and her inspiring journey. Read more

Young girls may be accustomed to playing certain games, but certainly not football.  However, the young Farah Jefry, 18 years old, who started playing football a decade ago, was only interested in this "round witch."  For Farah, football “is not only a sport to me, it is also my way of life,” she told Majalla in an exclusive interview. Read more

Throughout its daily and weekly coverage, Majalla highlighted the most prominent sporting events throughout the year, which was one of the most important;

The Return of Arab Cup

After a 9-year hiatus, the Arab National Team Championship returned in its tenth edition under the supervision of the International Football Association "FIFA".

The tournament was held in Qatar between November 30 and December 18, with the participation of 16 Arab teams, and the Algerian team won the title for the first time in its history.

Majalla highlighted the tournament throughout daily reports before and after its start and took sport analysists’ remarks about it; Read more

Euro 2020

Italy won the European Football Cup for the second time in its history after 1968, when England were denied the crown for the first time by winning the final with a dramatic 3-2 penalty shootout, after they tied 1-1 in regular and extra time, at Wembley Stadium in London.

The Euro 2020 final witnessed very unfortunate events, which will be recorded as one of the shameful moments in 2021. The final witnessed an attempt by a large number of fans to storm Wembley Stadium to attend the match, without having an entry ticket, which resulted in the arrest of more than 20 people.

Christian Eriksen

Danish star Christian Eriksen suffered a heart attack during the first half of Denmark's opening match against Finland. Eriksen suddenly fell unconscious on the field, before doctors quickly intervened to revive him, in a frightening moment that was broadcast on television screens around the world.

The Danish team doctor, Morten Posen, later confirmed that the former Tottenham player "passed away" before being resuscitated.

Copa America

Lionel Messi lifted his jinx with the Argentine national team, and led them to the Copa America title at the expense of hosts Brazil 1-0, at Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro, to make the best player in the world six times win his first major title with his country.

Messi Leaves Barcelona

In August of the year 2021, the star of the Argentine national team and Barcelona club, Lionel Messi, announced his official departure from Barcelona, ​​the only club he had played for throughout his football career.

Messi's departure from Barcelona came due to the club's inability to accept a new contract with him due to the financial fair play rules in the Spanish League.

Messi left for the French club Paris Saint-Germain, accompanied by his former colleague in the Catalan-Brazilian team, Neymar da Silva.

Sergio Agüero’s Retirement

A heart problem forced Uruguayan star Sergio Agüero to announce his retirement at the age of 33.

The former Manchester City star brought down the curtain on a busy career in the stadiums that lasted for 18 years, during which he scored more than 400 goals.