Which politician would you take to a bar or cafe? If you could issue a fatwa, what would it be? Which Arab personality would you send to space? These are some of the questions we asked activists and media professionals in the Arab region to answer.
#Q&A_22 is a series we launched on our third anniversary and now bringing it to you in English. 22 questions tackling personal and public issues that we hope will be answered by a person leaving their mark in the Arab public domain.
Enjoy this combination of sarcasm, audacity, and a lot of imagination.
Mina al Oraibi is an Iraqi journalist and political analyst specialized in the Middle East. She worked as assistant for the Editor in Chief of Asharq Al Awsat newspaper in London for 4 years. Before that she was director of the newspaper’s office in Washington.
- A word Arabs should stop using
Bye. Ma’ Assalama is far more beautiful.
- Nominate a female president in an Arab country
Dima Al Khatib (Palestinian poet and media personality) for president of Palestine.
- Which Arab personality would you bring back to life today? And why?
Ibn Khaldun, maybe he could help us understand our shifting societies.
- If you could issue a fatwa, what would it be?
Banning clerics from engaging in politics, and banning politicians from using religion.
- An Arab initiative you would like to be part of
An initiative to stop the fighting in the Arab world and working on policies that would get us out of war and admitting that we all lose in wars.
- If you could travel in time, to which period or year would you go back to?
The Arab revolt a century ago, hopefully the unification of the Arab world would happen.
- In which Arab country would you choose to live today? And why?
An Arab country that would guarantee my rights according to the law, and regardless of my nationality or my “connections”.
- What is the song that in your opinion summarises the state of the Arab world?
For the expats, Wadih El Safi’s “‘al allah t’oud”
And “Gannah Gannah” for those living in the Arab world.
- Three Arab personalities you would choose to send in a space capsule
Three kinds of people I would want to send to space forever: those who sell weapons, those who sell drugs, and those who compose bad songs.
- An Arab saying or tradition that you think other cultures should adopt
Honoring the guest.
- What would you do if you were in the proximity of someone who has extremist views or terrorist tendencies?
I would try to understand their extremism and discuss with them… but if they were planning on committing a terrorist act based on these tendencies, I would then report them to the police in order to protect the innocent people.
- If you could change one thing in the Arab world (apart from ISIS), what would it be?
The absence of justice.
- A happy Arab event this year
I spent a long time thinking about this question. Unfortunately on the Arab level, we have no such an event. However, the fact that many Arab countries won Olympic medals this year brought some happiness.
- Are you for legalizing marijuana?
- Why would Ellen DeGeneres host you on her show?
I don’t think I represent the things that her followers like, for her to invite me.
- Media channels that you follow daily
BBC, New York Times, The Guardian, Financial Times, Asharq Al Awsat, Al Hayat.
- How many hours do you spend daily on social media?
4 to 5 hours, but that’s because I follow the news through social media.
- 3 people you like to follow on Twitter
- A tweet you regret
I do not regret any tweet, but grammatical mistakes in any tweet, though I usually notice it immediately after I send it.
- The best book you read this year
Daniel Brook’s A History of Future Cities.
- You favorite cafe in the region
Blue Fig in Amman
- Which politician would you take with you to a bar or cafe?
Angela Merkel so that I can get to know her personality.
Note: Information between brackets was added by Raseef22