Syria Direct launches audio series highlighting Syrian women’s voices
Syria Direct, a non-profit journalism organization dedicated to telling the stories of the Syrian conflict, has launched its first-ever audio journalism reporting series, Souriyeh / سوريّة. The 10-part series, featuring both Arabic and English-language reporting, takes its title from the feminine adjective of “Syrian.”
The goal: to chart the role that Syrian women are playing in communities inside Syria, as well as the diaspora, after more than seven years of war—and to explore the challenges that Syrian women overcome each day.
The podcast series is available free to the public through Syria Direct’s soundcloud account as well as on its news website and features reports in English as well as reports in Arabic with an accompanying English summary.
The series is focused on providing nuance to traditional reporting on women in the Syrian conflict—one in which reporting has often denied Syrian women and girls their agency and all too often portrays them as passive victims of displacement and conflictor “jihadi brides.”n reality the war has created new spaces for Syrian women to work, write and report their own stories. The war has also thrust women—young and old—into new roles: activists, journalists and artists.
Those stories also highlight those in the diaspora, where life away from Syria has challenged pre-existing values about the role of Syrian women, and the meaning of home. According to psychosocial worker Nahla, based in Jordan, women are desperately needed in those roles. In her case, the presence of women in psychosocial work means more people can receive assistance—including women themselves. “You’ve lived their experiences…you’ve seen similar cases previously, and you’ve seen people get over [these hurdles],” said Nahla.
The series was produced by Syria Direct with support from the Canadian Embassy in Amman and features a wide range of unique and personal stories.
In one report, Syria Direct reporter Madeline Edwards reports on a Syrian women’s center in the mountains of Lebanon where shared grief develops into a shared sense of hope among Syrian women. Ammar Hamou explores how Syrian women have developed psycho-social support models to fill the gap in international programs targeting refugee women in Jordan. In a two-part series, Alice al Maleh tells the story of two Syrian women in Denmark who are using their art to address questions of identity, statelessness and moving forward in their new lives.
Syria Direct’s team of reporters spent two months training in the fundamentals of audio journalism, before heading out into the field and conducting interviews with Syrian women in Jordan, Lebanon and Europe in early 2019. The series was a first step in audio reporting for Syria Direct, and Syria Direct plans to launch its first ever Arabic podcast series titled الشتات /The Diaspora in May of 2019.
About Syria Direct
Founded in 2013, Syria Direct is a non-profit journalism organization that produces timely, credible coverage of Syria while training a small group of highly talented, aspiring Syrian and international journalists in professional news-gathering and accurate, in-depth reporting. Reporters cover key military developments and track the country’s shifting politics, province by province, to explain news as it unfolds, placing a particular focus on the individuals driving events on the ground. Syria Direct is committed to ensuring the highest journalistic standards for Syrians to report on their own country, to influence the wider news agenda and inculcate principles of independent, critical thinking with integrity in its reporters.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia as the Special US Correspondent for the Arab News at www.ArabNews.com, the TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
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