The current issue of Glänta is guest-edited by Lebanese journal Bidayat (‘Beginnings’). Launched in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring, Bidayat’s strapline – ‘For all seasons of change’ – expresses its undiminished ethos of commitment. As the editors write: ‘More than six years later, in the aftermath of uprisings, revolutions, counter-revolutions, civil wars and reactionary encounters, the endeavour to understand the magnitude and the significance of the historical opportunities that presented themselves continues.’
‘Progressive forces in the Arab World today are caught in a perplexing situation. The challenges are countless: the persistence of despotic regimes, foreign interventions, mass scale destruction and humanitarian disasters, and the forsaking of democracy and social justice in the name of anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism. But, as events are still unfolding, we believe that the future holds surprising openness. The readiness for the coming period of transformations and the possibility of progressive politics will depend vastly on people’s ability to learn from the past, and to understand the present.’ Read the editorial to the issue.
Child marriage: Hind Al-Aryani tells the story of Houria, a 13-year-old Yemeni girl taken from school and forced to marry a man she had never met. Al-Aryani describes the sexual, physical and psychological violence that girls are exposed to when they are forced to marry as children. ‘Blood. A lot of blood. Unbearable pain’ was Houria’s experience on her wedding night. Examining Houria afterwards, the doctor asked her husband angrily: ‘This is almost rape… why all this violence?’
Politics: Sahar Mandour, Bushra Al Maqtari, Rana Zeid and Asmaa El Ghoul on revolutions, uprisings and wars in Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Palestine; and Fawwaz Traboulsi on the history of aerial bombings.
Art and music: Images of Aleppo by Syrian photographer Muzaffar Salman; John Berger on Syrian artist Randa Maddah; Lebanese graffiti artist Ali Rafei; Nawal Traboulsi on Palestinian postal stamps; Ziad Dallal on Arab hip hop.
Re-reading: Iranian revolutionary and sociologist of religion Ali Shariati (1933–1977) on ‘red Shiism’.