Sheikh Mohammed takes over leadership of a developing country. This evolution has been gradual and smooth, and this has also been reflected by the government in recent political positions.
What, however, may shed more light on the country’s future direction and partnerships is the list of delegates who flew in to offer their condolences.
Here is a list of noteworthy contributors and why they are important:
Hezbollah coalition loses several seats in Lebanese parliament, preliminary results show
Monday’s preliminary election results showed that the Hezbollah-backed allies lost some of their seats in parliament, striking at the Iranian-backed group that had tightly controlled the country for decades.
- Background: Druze politician Talal Arslan, a Hezbollah ally, has lost the seat he has held for three decades to an opposition candidate, according to a Hezbollah spokesman. The Saudi allied Lebanese Forces party said it had won the seats. The votes are still being counted and the final composition of the 128-member Parliament has not yet been announced.
- Why is it important: Sunday’s elections are the first since Lebanon plunged into a catastrophic economic crisis following the deadly 2020 Beirut port bombing. Hezbollah has had a lot of influence in the country for decades. She currently has a majority in parliament, but newcomers threaten to shake her influence.
US calls for ‘immediate and credible investigation’ into murder of journalist
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Sunday an “immediate and credible investigation into the circumstances” of the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shirin Abu Akle is needed, refusing to specify who should be responsible for the investigation. Blinken spoke to the Abu Akle family on Saturday, according to a senior State Department official.
- Background: A veteran Al Jazeera journalist was shot and killed last week while covering an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin. Her death sparked an international outcry, especially after Israeli police beat mourners with batons as they carried her coffin. Israeli police say they are investigating the events that took place during the procession.
- Why is it important: The killing of Abu Akle has shaken up the international community and could exacerbate already high tensions in Jerusalem. The developments could also complicate Biden’s upcoming June visit to Israel, during which an Israeli official told CNN he is considering a visit to East Jerusalem, which has a large Palestinian population.
Sweden tries to overcome Turkey’s objections to its NATO membership bid
Sweden will start diplomatic talks with Turkey to try to overcome Ankara’s objections to its plan to join NATO, Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said. On Monday, the Swedish Prime Minister said the government had decided to seek NATO membership.
- Background: Sweden and Finland are abandoning decades of military non-alignment and plan to join NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Turkey, a member of NATO, said it would not react positively to the statements of the two countries because they are “guest houses for terrorist organizations.”
- Why is it important: Any decision to expand NATO requires the approval of all 30 alliance members and their parliaments, but diplomats said Erdogan would be forced to back down as Finland and Sweden significantly strengthen NATO in the Baltic Sea. Turkey has said it wants the Nordic countries to stop supporting Kurdish fighters present on their territory and lift bans on the sale of certain weapons to Turkey.
The century-old Egyptian film industry is resurrecting as the world reopens after two years of a pandemic-driven slowdown in show business around the world.
However, this time it was women who breathed life into Egyptian cinema.
Once known as the Hollywood of the Middle East, Egypt produced around 100 films a year, but that number has recently dwindled to around 30.
Women have always played a prominent role in Egyptian cinema, although their presence has sometimes been stigmatized. That hasn’t stopped legendary actress Yousra from making her mark on the film industry in a nearly 50-year career. Hailed as a pioneer in her field, Yousra has done more than bring talent to the big screen by using her presence to propel the industry forward. “I wanted to change the laws. I didn’t go there to be handsome, [I wanted to give] a good reason for people to fight for their rights. And I did it, we changed the laws,” she told CNN.
The film scene has certainly changed since Yousra started in the 1970s. Streaming services have taken Egyptian cinema forward and further, making it accessible to a global audience.
Opening this new era of Egyptian cinema is Maya Zayed, director of Lift Like a Girl, a story about girls weightlifting in Alexandria, which is the first Egyptian documentary to be released on Netflix. In a commercial film country, Maye is going against the grain, using cinema as a tool to create social change, even pairing her screenings with youth workshops to tackle gender inequality.
Like the Maya, Maryam Abu Uf also sought to bring change to Egypt, but through politics. She soon realized that art could be more effective than science. “It was very difficult to make any changes politically. That’s why I thought about the film, at least I can show or tell what is wrong with society.” According to Maryam, the success of the television show about adoption, Leh Laa 2, has changed public opinion and laws in Egypt, making adoption easier.
Women in Egyptian cinema say they are not just focused on shaping society. They seek to change the way the industry operates. Through collaboration, a feminine eye and a passion for storytelling, they work as a collective voice to increase the representation of women in Egypt’s film industry.
Tawanda Scott and Tasmiya Randeri