5 Palestinian Women Who Shone in 2014


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From the corner of a dark room in besieged Gaza, from the merciless highways of the West Bank, or an independent film set in Jordan, these 5 Palestinian women stood up, stood out and made a difference in 2014.

1) Farah Baker, the Anne Frank of Gaza. It was late July when the Twitter-sphere discovered this 16-year-old girl live reporting on bombings, noises, and despair from Gaza. Just like Anne Frank’s diary –and with the irony of the comparison–, Farah managed to explain the world what nobody could understand: what it feels like to live in the besieged strip.

2) Annemarie Jacir. An independent filmmaker, Jacir took the Arab world by storm with her feature film When I Saw You, the first all-Arab financed film, and the first one to be made with solely Palestinian producers. Winner of Best Asian Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, Best Arab Film in Abu Dhabi and Palestine’s 2013 Oscar Entry, the film is a groundbreaking journey of contemplation.

3) Farah Chamma, the Youtube Poet. With her videos hitting over 350,000 views, this young writer not only stands out in a male dominated scene, but also strives to give a new, young life to the Arabic language. “In Arabic, There’s no spoken word scene; the young scene doesn’t exist. So we’re trying to create it,” she said in an interview with BarakaBits.

4) The Speed Sisters. Their pictures were all around the web by the beginning of the year: the Middle East’s first all-women street car racing team was making waves, from the West Bank to the world. By December, they had crowdfunded $46,000 and launched their own documentary film to challenge stereotypes.

5) Maysoon ZayidAn ever-entertaining woman and a fighter by definition, Maysoon jumped to world-wide fame after her TED talk “I got 99 problems… palsy is just one”, one of the 5 Best TED talks from the Middle East this year.  Her statements, bold, witty, and incredibly funny, keep their 12,000 fans smiling as they follow this inimitable standup philanthropist.