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MEMO’s Top 10 at 10

This month, MEMO turns 10 years old. Here we look at our biggest stories of the decade.
Israel soldier gives 74 year old Ghalya Abu-Rida water, and then shoots her in the head

We’ve had tens of thousands of stories on the Middle East in the ten years since MEMO launched, so for our 10th birthday, we’ve compiled a list of those you’ve read the most:

1. Israeli soldier gives 74-year-old Palestinian woman water then shoots her in the head

In the summer of 2014, during the bombardment of the Gaza Strip an Israeli soldier offered a drink to a 74-year-old Palestinian woman, Ghalya Abu-Rida. After posing for a photo with her, he then shot her in the head and watched her bleed to death.

Israel soldier gives 74 year old Ghalya Abu-Rida water, and then shoots her in the head

2. Letter from Gaza by a Norwegian doctor

In 2014, Norwegian Doctor Mads Gilbert wrote a letter recounting the horrors of the ground invasion of Gaza, and praising the brave medical staff who worked day in and day out to treat the wounded. Israel has since banned Gilbert from entering the Gaza Strip.

As I write these words to you, alone, on a bed, my tears flow, the warm but useless tears of pain and grief, of anger and fear.

3. Iranian man goes 60 years without a bath

In 2014, this 80-year-old Iranian man broke a world record by going 60 years with having a bath. To keep warm he lights a number of cigarettes at the same time and smokes animal dung through his pipe!

Iranian man goes 60 years without a bath [Image: IRNA]

Iranian man goes 60 years without a bath [Image: IRNA]

4. Saudi prince says he twice saved Trump from bankruptcy

Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal came out in 2016 during the US presidential election campaign and claimed he had bailed out serving President Donald Trump from bankruptcy – twice! What did Trump do when Bin Talal was held captive in the gilded prison that was the Ritz Calton a few years later?

US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on 13 May 2019 in Washington, DC [Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office in Washington, DC on 13 May 2019 [Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

5. US soldiers shoot and kill 8-year-old girl in Yemen

In 2017, US soldiers murdered an 8-year-old girl in Yemen during a raid ordered by President Donald Trump. Although the operation was hailed a ‘success’ by the US, reports from Yemen indicated that Yemeni civilians paid the highest price.

Don’t cry mama, I’m fine

6. Saudi Arabia’s $10bn IMF loan and its implications

Just months before it detained its wealthiest businessmen in the five-star hotel the Ritz-Calton in 2017 and forced them to give up to 60% of their wealth, Saudi applied for a $10 billion IMF loan. After years of overspending by the royal family and bad investments in military campaigns including in Yemen, the economy was in trouble and the oil-rich state needed cash.

King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud makes a speech during the 39th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 9 December, 2018 [Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud makes a speech during the 39th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 9 December, 2018 [Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

7. Footballer Ozil donates World Cup winnings to Gaza

In 2014, top Arsenal player Mesut Ozil donated all his World Cup earnings to the children of Gaza who were living through an Israeli assault which lasted 51 days and killed over 2,200 people, the majority civilians. The Turkish player also refused to shake the hand of a FIFA official because of his support for Israel.

Mesut Ozil, football player [File photo]

Mesut Ozil, football player [File photo]

8. Sweden refuses Israeli president’s plane entry into its airspace

In a move that shocked many, in 2014 Swedish authorities refused former Israeli President Shimon Peres’ plane access to its airspace, making him very late to his official reception in neighbouring Norway.

9. British-Palestinian schoolgirl expelled from public speaking competition

In 2016, under pressure from an anti-Palestinian blogger, 15-year-old Palestinian-British Leanne Mohamad, who wowed the internet with her compelling speech to win the Jack Petchey youth speaking award, was kicked out of the competition. Mohamed beautifully read out her speech ‘Birds not Bombs’, in which she described the historical and contemporary reality for Palestinians under Israeli settler colonialism.

10. Somalia turns down $80m to cut ties with Qatar

Amidst the controversy surrounding Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt’s siege on Qatar in 2017, Somalia turned down $80 million to cut ties with Doha in spite of Riyadh’s threats that it would withdraw its financial assistance from the African state.

Honourable Mentions

While the following stories were not in our top 10 most read, we thought we should still mention them:

Israel pharmaceutical firms test medicines on Palestinian prisoners

Israeli Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian revealed yesterday that the Israeli occupation authorities issues permits to large pharmaceutical firms to carry out tests on Palestinian and Arab prisoners.

Rashida Tlaib removes Israel from the map in her congressional office

Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian congresswoman, made a change to the map of her congressional office in Washington, DC, replacing Israel with Palestine.

Hollywood stars raise record $60m for Israel army

Hollywood celebrities raised a record breaking $60 million for the Israeli military at the Friends of the Israel Defence Forces (FIDF) annual gala.

Tamimi’s mother: Support for Ahed is based on racism

Ahed Tamimi’s mother said that the media attention and worldwide solidarity that her daughter received following her arrest by Israeli occupation forces was rooted in racism.
“Frankly it is probably Ahed’s looks that prompted this worldwide solidarity and that’s racist by the way, because many Palestinian children are in Ahed’s position but weren’t treated in this way,” said Nariman Tamimi

 

MEMO’s pick of Top 10 has been compiled using Google Analytics

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