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Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  345 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Nineteen Arab women journalists speak out about what it's like to report on their changing homelands in this first-of-its-kind essay collection, with a foreword by CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour

International media coverage of the Arab world is dominated by the work of Western correspondents—meaning we often view stories about those complex,
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Penguin Books
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Zahra Hankir
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Though my name is on the book, I’m rating the gorgeous essays I edited. After having read those essays dozens of times over the past two years, they still give me goosebumps, and I remain astounded by their depth.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everyone needs to read this book. The writing is gorgeous, the stories by turns heartbreaking, inspiring, and endlessly courageous, and they give western readers a clearer and more nuanced picture of life on the ground in the Arab world than I’ve ever read before.
Amal Bedhyefi
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such an important book that highlights the life of 19 female arab journalists who dared to break the stereotypes in order to be Sahafiyat .
Zahra Hankir wrote in the introduction that ' A Sahafiya is twice burdened' and that is exactly why their stories need to be heard , especially with the rise of representation and the dangers of single narratives.
Usman Butt
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“When ISIS soldiers arrest me and kill me, it will be okay, because while they will cut off my head, I’ll still have dignity, which is better than living in humiliation.” This was the last daring Facebook post of Ruqia Hasan, a citizen journalist based in the Syrian city of Raqqa who was subsequently kidnapped and executed by Daesh in 2015.

Hasan, like many across the Middle East, had no formal background or education in journalism, nor was she employed by any media outlet. However, like others
Alex Richey
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Audiofile Review.

What an eye opener. I wasn't really consuming news about the Arab world as a teenager in the 2000s, so this really helped fill in some blanks. I really appreciate how honest and frank these women reporters are. I have a much better understanding, although still pretty basic, of the Arab world and what it is like for those women.

More than anything, this book makes me hungry for more information.
D Dyer
I was completely wrapped in reading this collection of thoughtful, frequently deeply affecting, sometimes uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking essays detailing the experiences of 19 female journalists writing frequently from and primarily about the experiences of women in the Middle East. The writing is absolutely stunning. And I haven’t read a book that details this sort of experience before, particularly not one which is this powerfully affecting. I highly recommend this book to anyone who ...more
Elizabeth Chabe
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Important, terrifying, electrifying.

When Marie Colvin was murder, many people in the world mourned Yet, not to diminish her importance it should be noted that she was a Western journalist reporting on the Middle East. There had been and still are, Middle Eastern journalist who have been killed or imprisoned for the same reasons that Colvin was targeted. They do not get the same attention in the Western media for a variety of reasons: skin color, political viewpoint, and, perhaps least offensive, limited to no publication in
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
OWOTG is a collection of essays by Arab women journalists edited by Lebanese-British Zahra Hankir. She wrote that she created the anthology because she’d been desperate to see a book like that on bookshelves, “one that brings attention to underreported tales and the women who tell them. Arab women aren’t heard enough in this space. But they’re living and breathing the region, reporting on it from the front lines in Sana’a and Mosul and Riyadh and Cairo. These are our women on the ground.”

Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
can't think of a more indispensable book for 2019
thoughts coming shortly
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It took me a few more months than I would have thought to finish this. These journalists’ incredibly powerful essays deserve to be taken slowly and given thought and respect. The writing of each woman is vivid and real but each in their own styles and reflective of their own experiences. As a whole there are many themes that tie together-the issues of gender in the profession and in their countries, the dedication and focus to their work, their understanding of how crucial that work was and ...more
Kirsty Mcdougall
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I feel that my review could never do these 19 intriguing, important and gorgeous essays justice! There is so much depth and each essay alone is an enlightening and refreshing piece that is educational because of the honesty and rawness of the writing. Every one of these women are so inspiring.

Thank you to the Reading Women for introducing me to this collection. I will be gifting and recommending this book to everyone!
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A searingly honest and important collection of accounts and experiences from female Arab reporters. This is a book that requires the reader take time to process and absorb. Each reporter gives a powerful, direct account that does not attempt to paint a rosy-picture where there isn't one. This is not to say that there is no hope depicted in these chapters; many of the writers do leave room for hope and optimism for the future, but they also do not shy away from the harsh realities of current ...more
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
These essays are brtually honest, and not for the faint for heart. Kudos to the women who wrote from their heart, minds. and souls—showing how strength and vulnerability are really a mobius strip of humanity.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was so incredibly moving, powerful and inspiring!! Without a doubt one of the most needed books I've read in a while and I think everyone should read this.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fantastic! Everyone should read this book. I left feeling like these women let me into their lives, which gave me a very different perspective on the Arab world.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
EVERYONE should read this book.
Heather VanWaldick
This is an excellent read. These women all have unique perspectives on the Middle East, thanks to their nationalities, their religious backgrounds, their upbringing, and, perhaps most importantly, their gender. They're often restricted by their sex when travelling and reporting, but being female has also given them access to people and stories that male reporters could never get.

I've spent years dealing with the Middle East in a professional capacity, but I'm always amazed by how much I miss
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A moving, powerful and astonishing collection. Truly a must-read. I learned so much about the complexities of the Arab world and its sociopolitical histories as told through the experiences of women. This will be a collection to which I return again and again.
Laura Hill
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a hard book to read, but will open your eyes to whole worlds that exist just across the ocean. These 19 female journalists write about the stories they cover across the countries in the Middle East. From Syria to Iraq to Lebanon to Yemen (and more), they describe the world behind the political and military statistics — the civilian individuals (often women and children) trying to survive in a world gone crazy. From years without power, to the random and constant acts of violence, to the ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A collection of essays by Arab women journalists from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, this book gives such an unique perspective into each of these countries and the life of a journalist. It also made motivated to subscribe to the NYT to support the journalists who put their lives on the line so that we can learn the truth of our world. Wonderful, inspiring, harrowing read.
Eric Dowdle
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, feminism
Absolutely fantastic. Incredible essays written by incredible women that opened my eyes and shattered my assumptions. Essential reading!
Isaac Harmelin
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“A sahafiya is twice burdened.” Zahra Hankir’s introduction to this staggering book sets the tone for the 19 essays within. Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World, gives insight into the personal and professional lives of journalists who have documented revolutions, political upheaval, wars and occupations around the Middle East over their precarious careers. Their attention to nuance, access to women-only spaces and conversations, deft reportage and courage ...more
Mark Ballinger
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mark by: Rational Security podcast 2019-08-09
Shelves: essay
All of these essays are fascinating, and a few are astonishing.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Poignant, heart rending, thoughtfully-edited and eye-opening collection of essays. I consider myself fairly well-informed about the Middle East and its recent history but reading through these women’s perspectives was illuminating. Goes to show how
much is lost when news is solely filtered through the lens of western male reporters. Important testament to the courage of these women and the crucial role of journalism.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a collection of essays and stories told by Middle Eastern reporters (sahafiya). These women have risked their lives to report on the corruption, terror, and violence that the Middle East has gone through in the last 20 years. I am embarrassed to say the majority of my knowledge of the conflicts in the Middle East has primarily come from the Western media. This book has definitely opened my eyes. I have a lot of reading to do!
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had read Lynsey Addario’s Its What’s I Do and then followed up with this book. It was surprising to me in the many ways that the stories still surprised me. Oddly enough I would recommend this as the print edition rather than the audiobook to allow the essays to be savored.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
This is an excellent and impressive collection of essays by contemporary Arab female journalists who have covered events in the Middle East and North Africa over the past several years. Many of these women were raised in conservative Muslim families. They defied family traditions and local culture to risk their lives in covering the front lines of war. They experienced danger and personal violence, along with general opprobrium by their countrymen. These essays make clear the contributions and ...more
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lovely and necessary read.
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Zahra Hankir (زهرة حنقير) is a Lebanese-British journalist who writes about the intersection of politics, culture, and society in the Middle East. Her work has appeared in Vice, BBC News, Al Jazeera English, Bloomberg Businessweek, Roads & Kingdoms, and Literary Hub, among others. She was awarded a Jack R. Howard Fellowship in International Journalism to attend Columbia Journalism School and ...more
“Gender is a bodily discourse - repetitively performed, so as to become real and accepted - as opposed to a sheer identity that requires a fixed representation.” 0 likes
“It's because I'm tired of being branded a terrorist; tired that a human life lost in my country is no loss at all.” 0 likes
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