Amelia Smith is a writer and journalist based in London who has reported from across the Middle East and North Africa. In 2016 Amelia was a finalist at the Write Stuff writing competition at the London Book Fair. Her first book, “The Arab Spring Five Years On”, was published in 2016 and brings together a collection of authors who analyse the protests and their aftermath half a decade after they flared in the region.
Items by Amelia Smith
- November 9, 2022 Amelia Smith
Fears grow for the health of imprisoned British-Egyptian activist as Cairo considers force feeding him...
- November 3, 2022 Amelia Smith
Imagine being at home with your family and five children. Cooking, watching TV, helping the kids with their homework. Then imagine Egyptian security forces breaking into your house, arresting your husband and then coming back a day later for your 14-year-old son. This is Arish, the capital of North Sinai,...
- October 14, 2022 Amelia Smith
A new policy briefing by the NGO, Equality Now, on how marriage laws in the MENA region and around the world discriminate against women and girls reveals how failure to reform means they are at increased risk of human rights violations, such as child marriage and domestic violence. In Egypt,...
- October 5, 2022 Amelia Smith
In November, heads of state, ministers, journalists and activists will gather in Egypt’s Red Sea Resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh for the UN climate change summit, COP27. There has been widespread concern about the role civil society will play. “When it’s hosted in a country like Egypt, where a serious...
- September 25, 2022 Amelia Smith
It’s Christmas Eve in London and Heba Hayek’s narrator is looking to bake something that reminds her of home. She settles for basbousa, a coconut yoghurt semolina cake, which translates as ‘little kiss.’ “No one should be this far,” she thinks to herself at the end of a video call...
- September 20, 2022 Amelia Smith
‘There is no environmental justice without a free civic space’: Yasmin Omar on the destruction of green space in Egypt and COP27
As the conference approaches, Egypt’s own environmental record has come under increased scrutiny...
- September 5, 2022 Amelia Smith
A young woman has been murdered in Egypt after turning down a marriage proposal from a 29-year-old man ...
- August 25, 2022 Amelia Smith
Ibrahim Al-Koni: ‘Homeland does not take on the meaning of ‘homeland’ until we have been exiled from it’
It is the seventh century CE and the Ummayad forces are advancing across North Africa. Their rapid expansion is fuelled by treasures and riches, their dynasty defined by opulence and debauchery. Amidst the fighting, the Berber warrior queen, Al-Kahina, is resisting. It is from her perspective that Libyan writer, Ibrahim...
- August 18, 2022 Amelia Smith
“For women, swimming in a burkini isn’t easy,” Hilal Uysal Namal tells us. “Women don’t feel comfortable because they look different. Also, it’s important to swim without one for health reasons – doctors tell veiled women they need to get vitamin D because their bodies never see the sun.” Speaking...
- July 21, 2022 Amelia Smith
Egypt: Uncertainty shrouds the future of environmental activist Ahmed Al-Kholy, trapped in pretrial detention for 3 years and counting
At midnight on 24 September 2019 plainclothes police officers broke into Ahmed Al-Kholy’s apartment in the Haram district of Cairo and took him to the National Security building in Abbasya, without showing a warrant for his arrest. Across the streets of Egypt, a widespread crackdown was underway as calls to...
- July 5, 2022 Amelia Smith
The Turkish clothing brand LC Waikiki is under fire after it withdrew children’s t-shirts from shops in Turkiye after protests that they were decorated with the Arabic language. The offending t-shirt with Mickey Mouse on it read “it’s time to play” and has now been withdrawn following pressure from some...
- June 29, 2022 Amelia Smith
In an open letter to the French government 459 civil society organisations have urged President Emmanuel Macron to stop the French oil giant Total Energies paying millions of dollars to Myanmar’s military-backed government. Total Energies has operated the Yadana gas project in Myanmar since the 1990s, which pays revenues to...
- June 22, 2022 Amelia Smith
Over the weekend Sudanese authorities handed over 21 government dissidents to the Egyptian authorities, accusing them of taking part in a terror act in the Jabra neighbourhood of Khartoum. Their deportation has received widespread concern from rights activists, particularly as one of the men, Muhammad Ibrahim, was deported along with...
- June 14, 2022 Amelia Smith
An appeal court judge has refused to stop a Home Office flight carrying asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda from leaving this evening. Yesterday, the Court of Appeal in London threw out last minute legal challenges to the British government’s decision to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. It follows a...
- June 1, 2022 Amelia Smith
A court in Egypt has asked Interpol to issue Red Notices to four Egyptian journalists working in Turkiye and hand them over to Egyptian authorities. Interpol’s Red Notice system allows member states to request that worldwide law enforcement locate and arrest a person, but whilst criminals have been caught using...
- May 18, 2022 Amelia Smith
In 2015, Hasna Ait Boulahcen was labelled Europe’s first female suicide bomber by the media, after she died in a blast in the Parisian suburbs three days after the attacks at the Bataclan concert hall. Only later, this was retracted, and reports said that she did not blow herself...
- May 11, 2022 Amelia Smith
Since it was first published in 1959, Naguib Mahfouz’s ‘Children of the Alley’ has drawn objections from scholars at Al-Azhar and instigated an attack on his life. Then in 1988 it won the Egyptian writer the Nobel Prize for Literature. What is it about this novel that sparked such debate across...
- April 27, 2022 Amelia Smith
Egyptian women’s rights defender Rasha Azab found not guilty, but the persecution of women continues
On Saturday, a Cairo court found journalist and writer Rasha Azab not guilty of charges of insult, defamation, and deliberately disturbing film director Islam Azazi. The case dates to December 2020 when the online blog Daftar Hekayat published anonymous testimonies from six survivors who said that Islam had sexually assaulted...
- April 21, 2022 Amelia Smith
‘’Do we have no future?’: A Sudanese refugee’s struggle to build a bright future for his athlete daughters in Jordan
In 2016, when she was just 12 years old, Abeer Kaffi attained third place for her age in the Amman Marathon, an annual event held in the Jordanian capital that winds 10 kilometres under the Raghdan Bridge, onto Hashemite Square and past the jigsaw of cream apartment blocks that...
- April 5, 2022 Amelia Smith
Between January and March 2013, 147 bodies were found in the River Queiq in Aleppo after they were executed in government-controlled parts of the city and dumped there as a warning for dissidents. According to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report at the time, the people appeared to have been...
- March 30, 2022 Amelia Smith
Last week Egypt turned to the IMF for the third time in six years to apply for a loan as the cash strapped nation reels from an 11-year autocratic regime, a climate crisis and now the Russian war. Impact on food insecurity across the MENA region has been one of...
- March 24, 2022 Amelia Smith
‘Every time they arrest Salah, he gets stronger’: Elsa Lefort on her husband, Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri
Elsa Lefort met her husband, Salah Hamouri, on 18 December 2011, the day he came out of prison under the Gilad Shalit detainee exchange. As part of his supporting committee back in France, Elsa was there four months later when Salah came to Paris to attend a conference. The...
- March 9, 2022 Amelia Smith
Last week Senegal abstained on a UN Security Council vote to end immediately Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. The decision came despite intense pressure from its former colonial power, France, who wanted the West African nation to back it up and vote in favour of a resolution demanding Russia halt its use of force and withdraw...
- March 1, 2022 Amelia Smith
In 2012, six months into the protests in Syria, activists asked for UN observers to be embedded with demonstrators to stop the Assad regime shooting indiscriminately into the crowd. They called for a no-fly zone, the same international protection from NATO that led to the overthrow of Libyan dictator,...