The New Arab at 7: Life-affirming journalism from MENA

The New Arab at 7: Life-affirming journalism from MENA
4 min read
01 Jun, 2021
Sheeffah Shiraz, Features Editor, reminds us that behind the headlines there are real human stories and a region brimming with passion and creativity.
'We have pushed to showcase the immense talent that emerges from MENA' writes Sheeffah Shiraz [TNA]

This article is one in a series to celebrate The New Arab's website relaunch. To read the others in the series click here.

In the world of non-stop news, sometimes the names of people killed, or those affected by the death, destruction and disaster around them become lost in the never-ending numbers and death tolls, the faces are forgotten in the prioritisation of political issues, and the real stories of those suffering are overlooked. Trying to remember the human side and bring their narratives to light has been a vital part of our work on the features desk here at The New Arab

Whether it is the 90-year-old grandma who has been fighting endlessly to save her ancestral olive trees from being destroyed by the Israeli occupation, or the female bookstore owner making her mark in the male-dominated streets of Iraq, speaking directly to the doctors in India in the epicentre of the raging Covid-19 battle in the country, or highlighting the plight of the young Gazan trying to cross the Rafah border for the third time in hopes of better opportunities on the other side, but again to no avail.

It is these personal tales that remind us of the reality of the region first-hand and the ones that are important for us to really share with our readers. We are lucky to have a great pool of writers from all around the world who help bring these phenomenal stories to light. 

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Being a young professional woman of colour myself, I know firsthand the difficulties that come with pitching articles and actually getting the opportunity to be published in the world of online media, so when I took over the features desk in 2018, I made it my aim to add a vast number of female writers from various backgrounds and cultures to our desk. And I am proud to say that the articles we have published since really show the diverse styles of stories and topics that come with such celebrated talent. 

"We are lucky to have a great pool of writers from all around the world who help bring these phenomenal stories to light" 

And on the topic of women running the world, one cannot speak about The New Arab's features desk without mentioning its yearly special series coverage for International Women's Day. From a focus on the ongoing fight for female rights around the globe, be it about those battling gender inequality and abuse, to those powering through injustice, to those transforming their lives from nothing, we have ensured their incredible journeys are featured. 

We have profiled the brave women marching for change, to those making a change to those becoming the change – amazing stories about amazing women are always at our forefront. With the #MeToo movement gaining traction, women are telling the world that they will no longer be silent in the face of injustice and we here at The New Arab are making sure these voices and stories are amplified even more.  

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Celebrating the Arab world has been a huge priority for The New Arab and our Society section has been the focal point for these success stories that are not always acknowledged elsewhere due to the pessimistic stereotypes of Middle East news.

From the  food to the books, to music and films, as well as artwork, we have pushed to showcase the immense talent that emerges from MENA on an everyday basis. Being the voice for the new Arab world means it is also vital for us to bring taboo subjects to the forefront, from focusing on LGBTQ+ issues and rights in the Middle East to violence against women and girls, and thus seeking to break down barriers and stereotypes with the articles that we share. 

As The New Arab continues to grow and excel in great ways, the features desk will continue to bring you remarkable pieces about remarkable people from remarkable writers. 


Sheeffah Shiraz is the Features Editor at The New Arab.

Follow her on Twitter: @SheeWrites

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