Faia Younan: Viral video singer becomes the first Middle Eastern artist to crowdfund her debut in the music industry

Published March 30th, 2015 - 06:00 GMT

This rising Middle Eastern star wants to make it her own way

A couple of months back, two Syrian-Swedish released their song "To Our Countries" - a rare effort in trying to unite Arabs from the MENA region and the diaspora through the power of music and poetry. That video has over 1.9 million YouTube views at this point. Faia Younan, half of the duo, has returned with a novel effort: to crowdfund her rise in the music industry.

As the first Middle Eastern artist ever to crowdfund her debut, Faia Younan is set on establishing herself as an independent voice, with no strings attached to the major labels. The campaign, launched on the Middle Eastern digital platform Zoomaal, is rapidly gaining traction; starting on 20 March, the crowdfunded campaign for Faia's first single has already reached 55% percent of its objective.

Source: Your Middle East


ISIS, they’re just like us!

The Islamic State (Daesh): They’re just like us. That’s the message ISIS tries to convey to frustrated Muslim youth around the world. While footage of the terror group’s brutal, live-action murders and rampages has gripped the West and Muslim worlds alike, it’s just the tip of a far more sophisticated recruitment strategy, one that rivals social-media campaigns by the most savvy of advertising agencies.

The key? ISIS has used social media to create a virtual community, flexible enough to let young people flesh out their identities. Indeed, on social media, ISIS is about engaging youth in their own cultural language. And so, much like any organization trying to build a brand and engage a following, the terror group grants its fighters time between battles to tweet, blog, answer questions on Ask.fm and upload photos to Instagram — about not just war exploits but also life away from the battlefield. Pictures on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr show ISIS followers eating pizza, browsing through farmers markets, enjoying movie nights, riding Ferris wheels and playing video games. These images describe the bond of brotherhood, the fulfillment of identity and the purpose of jihad. Their lives reflect a community accepting only the Shariah laws, woven as a story to those seeking purpose and helping illustrate to would-be followers that daily life as an ISIS member isn’t all that different from their own. All this, too, provides living proof of the existence of an Islamic State.

Countering ISIS’ growing social media presence is really about creating a counternarrative, responding to ISIS’ recruitment videos and literature and providing detailed counterpoints to its fallacies.

The key to defeating ISIS is realizing, first off, that this is not just a violent terrorist group but also a slick media operation, with modern technological savvy and an eager young audience. Holding ISIS’ propaganda to account, using the same social media techniques, has the potential to put a serious dent in ISIS’ narrative. But in the same way we are fighting bombs with bombs, with ISIS, we must fight tweet with tweet.

Source: Ozy

The Arab woman’s stone ceiling

The government proudly announced that it has finally decided to promote the employment of Arab women as a government objective. It also expects Arab women to aspire to advance in their professional lives and to enter the work force, to break through the glass ceiling. My humble question is: How are these women expected to dream of advancement when they are facing so many barriers?

First of all, they suffer from twofold discrimination, as women and as Arabs. The employment rate among Arab women is 32.3 percent, compared to 78.8 percent among Jewish women, according to a 2014 manpower survey by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The representation of Arab women in the civil service in 2012 was 3.24 percent, according to the latest report published by the Civil Service Commission. Another important statistic: 41 percent of employers would prefer not to employ Arab women with children, as indicated by a survey on equal employment opportunities in the Economy Ministry last March.

This data can be added to the many barriers preventing the integration of Arab women into the job market. The main problem is the lack of job opportunities within the Arab communities, which means that those who work require public transportation. There are very large disparities between Arab and Jewish communities in this sphere.

The absence of an infrastructure to support employment is what is preventing most Arab women from realizing their dream and joining the job market. Without a government policy tailored to the barriers facing Arab women, the glass ceiling will become a stone ceiling. That will act as a boomerang against the government, and the underemployment of Arab women will continue.

Source: Times of Israel blogs


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