Stories written by Rebecca Murray

Syrian Children Lose More Than Their Country

As refugees from Syria continue to pour into Lebanon, the majority of children are not going to school, spurring concern that they will become a ‘lost generation’.

Refugees Struggle in Ruined Camp

As the Syrian war intensifies sectarian clashes in Lebanon’s northern coastal city Tripoli, Palestinians in the area worriedly watch the violence from the sidelines.

Lebanon’s Splintered Law Wrecks Lives

Married women in Lebanon who suffer abuse at home remain at the mercy of the country’s multitude of religious courts, because the hard-fought civil law against domestic violence has been stalled for a vote in parliament since the summer.

Grief Veils Eid for Syrian Refugees

This week the Islamic world marks one of its holiest holidays, Eid al-Adha - honouring Ibrahim’s commitment to sacrifice his first-born son to Allah. The festival involves large family gatherings, bountiful lunches and generous gift giving.

To Find Peace, And Then Sell It

As the month of Ramadan nears, shop owners in Sanaa’s old city souk stock up on goods. For men like Ali Al-Fakri, who sells jambiyahs, Yemen’s traditional daggers held in place with richly embroidered belts, the gift-giving holiday marking Ramadan’s end is the busiest time of the year.

Young Yemen Multiplies Without Growth

Yemen’s population is increasing at a rapid rate, straining the country’s dwindling natural resources and setting up its youth for a grim future, with few jobs and scant means to get by.

Tribes Keep Uneasy Peace in Southern Libya

Kaltoum Saleh, 18, is elated to graduate from her overcrowded high school in the remote Saharan town of Ubari, near the Algerian border.

Yemen Struggles With Past Crimes

Yemen has launched its six-month National Dialogue but creating a just law is proving a formidable task.

Yemen’s Youth Denied the Revolutionary Change

This week in Sana’a thousands of Yemenis – mostly youth - crowded the highway near the landmark ‘Change Square’ to celebrate the second anniversary of the revolution. Adjacent to the university, this was the site of a tented encampment that drew tens of thousands of demonstrators throughout 2011.

Yemeni Women Struggle to Step Forward

Yemeni women have played an integral role in the protests against ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year regime last year. But despite the country’s upcoming political ‘National Dialogue’ - brokered by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and intended to bring together a cross-section of Yemeni constituencies - females still face a wall of discriminatory laws and practices, and a status quo willing to enforce them.

Bought, Sold and Abused in Yemen

Twenty-one-year-old Aisha clings to her two children as she recounts her tale of horror. Growing up in the Somali capital Mogadishu, she fell in love and bore a child out of wedlock four years ago. When her family threatened her life for destroying her ‘honour’, Aisha escaped.

Injured Struggle in the Sahara

Safia’s six-year-old body is riddled with scars from the rocket that hit her home in February. With her immediate family all killed in the violent attack, this sole survivor smiles shyly as she visits the medics that fought to save her life.

Tribal War Simmers in Libya’s Desert

A group of Tabu fighters with mud-splattered trucks rest on the outskirts of Zweila, a small historic slave-trade stop in Libya’s southwest Sahara.

Saving Libya From its Saviours

The dark rain clouds and circling military helicopter accentuated the mood of the small, sombre crowd gathered in Tripoli’s Martyr’s Square to commemorate Libya’s dead heroes.

Palestinians Live on the Edge in New Libya

Just before the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime one year ago, Huda and her Palestinian family were forcefully evicted from their Tripoli home.

One Year Later, Still Suffering for Loyalty to Gaddafi

One year has passed since the Tawerghans fled their coastal town during Muammar Gaddafi’s violent overthrow, and displaced residents are still waiting for a chance to return.

Voting for Peace in the Distant Desert

On election day long lines of people from Sabha’s impoverished community of Tayuri waited to vote under the harsh Saharan sun. Four hundred miles from the Mediterranean coast, Sabha is tucked into the volatile southwest bordering Algeria, Niger and Chad.

Libya Prepares an Advance of the Young

On the eve of Libya’s historic elections for a General National Congress on Saturday, Jul. 7, the seaside capital’s bustling streets are lined with hundreds of campaign posters advertising electoral candidates - including those of women and youth - jockeying for a stake in their country’s future.

Deserting Refugees in the Sahara

As dusk settles over the isolated Saharan town Kufra, young guards order a few hundred migrants lined up at a detention centre to chant "Libya free, Chadians out", before they kneel down for evening prayers.

Young militia members in Kufra. Credit: Rebecca Murray/IPS.

Peace Lost in the Libyan Desert

The recent outbreak of violence between the largely segregated Zwai and Tabu tribes in Libya’s remote, Saharan town of Kufra shattered the uneasy calm that held since last February’s clashes, resulting in more than 100 deaths. The clashes illustrate the challenges in building a new state.

Libyans Now Battle Over Housing

The future is uncertain for the gregarious Alhasairi family, living in a downtown apartment block battle-scarred from last year’s overthrow of the Gaddafi regime. Like countless of similar cases across Libya, the property itself is now contested, as the original owners want to return home.

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