Stefan Simanowitz

Stefan Simanowitz is a London-based freelance journalist writing & broadcasting on politics & culture from around the world.

Guardian, Independent, FT, Washington Times, New Statesman, Metro, CSM, Economist, New Internationalist, Contemporary Review, Al Jazeera, Africa Report, Afrik.com, Vice, Solicitors Journal, In These Times, Open Democracy, Red Pepper, Counter Punch, Arts Desk, AnOther, Publico, Estadao, Guardian & Mail, Cape Times, IoS, Pagina 12, ZMag, Mix Mag, Arise, Ceasefire, Big Issue.

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Syrian war spills into Lebanon

Ali lives with his wife, brother-in-law and eight children in a graveyard. Their home is a single-roomed, 10’ x 10’ concrete hut beside a row of freshly dug graves in Jalil, an overcrowded Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Until they moved in, the hut was used to wash corpses before burial and two large stainless-steel washing tables still lean against the outside wall. Ali and his home in the graveyard, Baalbek (Taken 21 May 2013) Stefan Simanowitz But living among the dead ...

A Syrian Proxy War Is Being Fought in Tripoli

“If we all piss on them at the same time, they will drown.” The Sunni fighter in Bab al-Tabbaneh tells me this while gesturing up the hill towards the neighbouring Alawite district of Jabal Mohsen. Over the past eight days, fighting between these two neighbourhoods in Lebanon’s second city of Tripoli has claimed nearly 30 lives and resulted in over 200 injuries. But while Tripoli’s Sunnis may outnumber Alawites to a ratio of 4:1, there is little chance of either side gaining an advantage over th...

Malians listen for the sound of drones

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal argues that the fact Islamist extremists in northern Mali do not enjoy the support of the local population, combined with the area's flat desert landscape, "suggest that an aggressive Pakistan-style drone campaign can have results". With the French reported to be moving surveillance drones into the region, an intensive drone campaign supporting a relatively small number of ground troops may seem an attractive option for the intervention forces. But the...

Reflections from Tahrir Square

“We must be patient. This stage of the revolution will not be over in eighteen days,” a young woman in Tahrir Square tells a small group. Her nostrils are clogged with tissue to soak up the blood from a nosebleed caused by inhaling tear gas some days earlier. “However, once a nation decides to live, destiny has no choice other than to oblige,” she concludes. But as the situation in Egypt demonstrates, destiny’s path is not always a straight one. I am in Tahrir Square during the run-up to the fir...

Iran's Spring on hold -- New Internationalist

Mass silent protests were expected last Sunday 12 June in Tehran’s Vali-Asr Square, to mark the second anniversary of the ‘stolen election’, which enabled Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to stay in power for four more years. ‘There are deeply authoritarian characters in the Iranian regime who wouldn’t hesitate to use extreme violence against protesters,’ Dr Nader Hashemi, assistant professor of Islamic Politics at the University of Denver, had warned last week. ‘There are also loyal ideolog...

Royal Wedding: The world is watching

As international broadcasters clear their schedules for the royal wedding, will bad news slip past in a haze of confetti? Share Email guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 19 April 2011 10.07 EDT Royal wedding rehearsal: Dr Andrew Gant conducts the choir in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace on April 18, 2011. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Al Jazeera English (AJE) has come into its own this year through its coverage of the Egyptian revolution and the ongoing unrest across the Arab world. And yet, on...

Phone hacking scandal: British politics transformed

Publication: Contemporary Review Author: Simanowitz, Stefan Date published: December 1, 2011 WATCHING the octogenarian Rupert Murdoch arrive for his appearance before the Parliamentary select committee hearings in July, I was reminded of a wildlife documentary I once saw in which the alpha male of a chimpanzee community was challenged for dominance by a younger ape. The older chimp was soundly beaten by the young pretender and as he limped off into the jungle to lick his wounds, the rest of the ...

Suharto’s bloodiest secrets -- New Internationalist

Last Friday IndoLeaks, Indonesia’s very own version of WikiLeaks, went live. Over the weekend the site posted some sensitive documents, including a conversation between former President Suharto and former US President Gerald Ford, as well as four autopsy reports of the victims of the infamous 1965 coup attempt. At the time descriptions of the sadistic torture to which six top military generals had allegedly been subjected were widely reported and these reports played a large part in stirring up ...

Interview: El Baredei - Dismissing Iran nuclear agreement 'a dead end street

Mohamed El Baradei former head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency today, in Cameroon, described the announcement by Iran that it will send uranium abroad for enrichment as "a good agreement" and dismissed the sceptical response from Western nations as "a dead end street." Speaking from Yaounde where he had just delivered a speech to a conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of Cameroonian independence, Mr El Baradei said he regards the Iranian offer which followed talks with Turke...

Health care in the Algerian desert : The Lancet

More than 160 000 Saharawi refugees reside in camps in the Algerian desert, where poor living conditions and extreme climates pose challenges to their health. Stefan Simanowitz reports. Exactly 1 year ago, 19-year-old Ibrahim Hussein Leibeit was carried into a Red Cross mobile orthopaedic treatment centre, deep in the desert in southwest Algeria. His leg had been blown off below the knee by a landmine. Leibeit, a refugee from Western Sahara, had been taking part in a demonstration to the 1550 mi...

France's Burqua Ban Unveiled

As we've seen with France's burqa ban that went into effect this week, global religious tolerance – especially in Europe – is under threat. Growing Islamophobia threatens to undermine hard-fought freedom and tolerance in post-WW II Europe and around the world. [Editor's note: The headline on this article, like all headlines on opinion essays, was crafted by Monitor editors, not the writer. Please click on the "Comments" section below to read a note by Stefan Simanowitz outlining his objections t...

Southern Sudan: A new nation arrives

Last Saturday evening, the weeklong referendum on self-determination for southern Sudan ended. Polling stations closed, ballot boxes were sealed and over the coming weeks, the vote will be tallied. The result, which is expected in mid-February, seems certain to split Africa’s largest country and create the world’s newest nation. Despite violent clashes in the oil-rich Abyei region last week, which reportedly left more than 30 dead, the referendum in the rest of the country has been a resounding ...

Ghosts of the Sahara

Minatu Lanabas Suidat, 25. Born in the El Aaiun refugee camp, she now works as a journalist. 'The people are ready to sacrifice themselves for independence' Malainin Aomar, 66, Polisario Front soldier. 'If we don’t have independence there is no future, all is dark' Lahbieb Embarek Ahmed, 47, camel herder, the Algerian desert. 'I have lived with camels and they have lived with me and that’s all I know' Dada Mohammed Kehel, 54, Bedouin woman, at her home in Tifariti, in Polisario-controlled Wester...

Actress and film-maker who co-produced 'Gandhi' for Richard Attenborough

Born in the ancient city of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh to a high-caste Brahmin family, Dubé found herself embroiled in India's turbulent political history from an early age. Her father, Ram Saran Sharma, was a writer and poet and an influential figure in the independence movement, and when the family moved to Delhi when Rani was two their house became a focal point for figures from the National Movement including Sadar Patel and Nehru. Her father was imprisoned for a total of 11 years during the in...

FiSahara – the film festival in the desert

The world's most remote film festival takes place in a refugee camp deep in the Algerian desert Share Email The Guardian, Thursday 13 May 2010 18.30 EDT Premiere, desert-style ... film star Victoria Abril at FiSahara. Photograph: ROBERT GRIFFIN The hordes who descended on Cannes this week have a particular idea of what a film festival is: glittering with wealth, a home to stars, a marketplace for the arts meeting with finance. A very different vision of what a film festival is was on displa...

Press Freedom in Cameroon

Journalist Bibi Ngota died while imprisoned in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. (Image courtesy of Stefan Simanowitz) Death of jailed journalist raises questions in Cameroon, one of Africa’s most corrupt nations “They were beaten on the soles of their feet, not allowed to sleep or eat and kept in dark rooms in stress positions,” says Innocent Ngoungang, a journalist for Le Jour who knew Ngota and who has spoken with the prisoners. Yaounde, Cameroon–In the outdoor courtyard of Kondengui prison, ...

How a Saharan refugee camp launched an international film festival

Now in its sixth year, the Sahara International Film Festival was the brainchild of the Peruvian documentary film-maker Javier Corcuera, who came to the region in 2002 and was moved to action by the plight of the estimated 165,000 Saharawi refugees who have been in the camps for over three decades. Despite the political nature of the festival, the atmosphere is one of celebration. As well as workshops and films, activities included a football match between the visitors and the locals, a camel ra...

Boiling tensions in Western Sahara

Last month, while on a tour of the region ahead of a new round of informal talks between the two sides in one of the world’s longest-running conflicts, United Nations Special Envoy for the Western Sahara Christopher Ross stressed that there was a “need to lessen tensions and avoid any incident that could worsen the situation or hamper discussions.” Four short weeks later, Western Sahara is smoldering. In the early hours of Nov. 8, Moroccan security forces moved in to remove more than 12,000 Saha...
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