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

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  1,522 ratings  ·  225 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, inter
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.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This was the September read for my in-person (now Zoom) book club but it was one I intended to read this year because of my focus on the Middle East. Regardless, I'm so glad I read it! It is amazing to read what these women have to say about what it is like to be a *sahafiyat* - female journalist - coming from and reporting on the Middle East. These firsthand accounts of conflict, danger, control, and loss are often harrowing. Some discuss the benefits of their unique positions to gain access to ...more
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.
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Throughout the war, danger kept us company. Every minute of every day was terrifying. I was playing with death on one hand and defending my womanhood to society on the other, trying to prove that women can cover a war alongside men while keeping their so-called honor intact. I sometimes felt as though danger and death were very distant and my strength would protect me. I got so used to writing about death that I felt it could not possibly make me its victim."
Asmaa al-Ghoul
"Every thought I can
Geri Reads
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A sharp look at the various conflicts in Middle East through the eyes of Arab women journalists or the Sahafiyat who cover them.

Insightful and smart, these essays are a must read.

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 a
Megan O'Hara
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
i don't know this didn't really grip me despite its obvious importance. i think the format kind of stunted the essays and flattened most nuance out of the topic because they were all just fairly neat summaries of the journalists' careers up until the point of writing. and obviously there is still a lot of ongoing unrest and war and misogyny, etc etc etc, that it feels weird when those huge issues have to be tied up nicely after only 10 pages with the author. ...more

"There is a special kind of resilience and beauty in those tucked-away spots of life. I want you all to see the true beauty of my suffering country. With my camera, I strive to empower, not victimize, the people in my images." ~ Amira Al-Sharif

An emotional collection of essays, Our Women on the Ground offered me a small insight into the lives of several Arab women who are journalists and photo-journalists. The women in this collection ranged in backgrounds and experiences, which ser
Alex Richey
Narrator Soneela Nankani delivers a clear and authentic performance of this essay collection by Arab women journalists. Most of the media coverage of the Arab world is created by Western journalists, but the Arab women featured in this collection have significantly better access to what is happening in their own countries. Nankani's narration is sensitive and emotional yet straightforward as she recounts the very real horrors these women face on the job. She maintains a conversational tone that ...more
Elizabeth Chabe
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Important, terrifying, electrifying.
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 wa ...more
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.”

The bo

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 Weste
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 is-t ...more
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Asian Review of Books
Just recently, Twitter brought my attention to a review at The Asian Review of Books: a collection called Our Women on the Ground, Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World, edited by Zahra Hankir. I bought a Kindle edition of it there and then. Because just as I found Mercé Rodoreda's fiction set in the Spanish Civil War compelling, I wanted to read women's points of view about the conflicts in the Middle East. After all, in modern conflict, it is nearly always women who bear the brunt of it.

Lady H
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2021
This book was, at various turns, heartbreaking, infuriating, informative, and inspiring. As with any collection of varying voices, I enjoyed some essays more than others, but there wasn't a weak one in the bunch. Journalists who cover war zones and repressive regimes are really just on a whole other level. ...more
Elisa Marku
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
can't think of a more indispensable book for 2019 ...more
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
felt like this book is catered more towards "western" reads. whilst reading the first couple essays I've noticed a common trait between them. and that's that the majority if not all of the journalist mentioned have been influenced by western culture one way or another while growing up. sure they're Arab women but for me most of the essays felt like it has been written by foreign writers with Arabic sounding names.

A story that stuck with me is Ruqia Hasan's
and from that essay, one quote really r
thoughts coming shortly
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!
Jennifer (JC-S)
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
‘The tragedy of war, of course, is that no one emerges unscathed.’

So much of the coverage of events in the Arab world is provided through Western eyes. This view is restricted by their (and our) understanding of what are often complex situations. Could we understand the issues better if we were seeing them through several different eyes? Would we respond differently?

In this book, edited by Zahra Hankir, nineteen Arab women contribute essays about their experiences as journalists, reporters and p
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 even ...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. ...more
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Continuing my trend of books I'm not really sure how to review - war reporting! Heavy but important reading, basically. ...more
this book will stay with me for a very long time
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Favorite essays: Spin by Natacha Yazbeck, Three Girls from Morocco by Aida Alami and An Orange Bra in Riyadh by Donna Abu-Nasr
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.
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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 the Los Angeles Times, 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 Jour ...more

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