Time and location

Monday, 20 January 2020
19:00 - 21:00
Hauptbücherei Wien - Am Gürtel, Urban-Loritz-Platz 2a, 1070 Vienna


Janan Aljabiri
Feminist activist, Iraq

Lara Bitar
Journalist, Lebanon

Schluwa Sama
Iraqi Kurdish writer

Chair: Helmut Krieger, University of Vienna/VIDC
Welcome: Magda Seewald, VIDC


Languages: English and German with simultaneous interpretation

Registration: seewald@remove-this.vidc.org

‘All means all’ On the current social struggles in Iraq and Lebanon

© Ansar Jasim
© Ansar Jasim


Bearing the slogan 'All means all', new protest movements demanding fundamental rights have sprung up in Iraq and Lebanon. Protesters are challenging the political elites of regimes in which positions of power have been divided according to religious denominations.

While in Lebanon political power relations are anchored in a more than 30 year-old denominational system, in Iraq the current political system was only established after the US-led invasion in 2003. What both have in common is a neoliberal economic policy that has favoured rampant corruption, patronage-based political structures and has led to the impoverishment of broad sections of the population. At the same time, both countries lie in a region of geopolitical tension within which brutal wars in Syria and Yemen have become a perceived normality.

These protests are all the more astonishing given that only a few years after the so-called 'Arab Spring' in the war zones of this region, hundreds of thousands of people are again beginning to take their futures into their own hands. What are the aims of these new protest movements? From which parts of their respective societies are they composed? To what extent do they radiate across the entire Arab world? How were the experiences of the 2011 revolts processed? How do the respective political elites and the so-called Western community of states react to these protests? What can solidarity with the protests from Europe mean?


Janan Aljabiri

is an Iraqi feminist and, has been chair of a Kurdish and Middle Eastern women’s organisation in Britain since 2012. Currently she is representing the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees in Iraq. From 201-2016 she was the coordinator of Islington Refugee Forum. Janan Aljabiri holds a PhD in social and political science from the University of Bath. Her work focuses on social policy and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in Iraq and the Middle East, sectarian violence, Shi’ite political parties and militias, and the Iraqi labour movement. Recently she works on a book on social policy in the Middle East.

Schluwa Sama

is a Iraqi Kurdish writer and PhD student at the University of Exeter, UK. Her writings and research focus on the political economy of Iraq and Kurdistan and everyday rural life. She has written on neoliberalism and the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan: ‘The proud neoliberalisation of Iraqi-Kurdistan’ and at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, ‘After the Referendum in Iraqi-Kurdistan’, as well as about the political economy of Iraq and Kurdistan, ‘We will die when we only must only live from agriculture’. Recently, she co-wrote a piece on self-organisation within the Iraqi October revolution from Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, ‘A country in the making: Report from Baghdad’s occupied Tahrir Square’ and ‘Iraq: A country recreates itself’.

Lara Bitar

is founding editor of The Public Source, a Beirut-based independent media organization specializing in investigative journalism, a researcher, news producer, and writer who works in Beirut, Lebanon.
Over the past decade, she took on different editorial leadership roles in digital, broadcast, and print journalism. Her media practice is founded on a deep sense of place—a geographical imperative—which centers marginalized communities and connects their struggles to broader frameworks.
Bitar writes about media justice, feminist and queer futurities, histories of agitation and the surveillance state, and documents grassroots social movements. Her current research interests include archives of/as resistance and the role of protest memories.

Helmut Krieger

is a social scientist, researcher and senior lecturer at the Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna and a consultant to the VIDC. His main areas of research are: development policies in war zones, the antagonism between Israel and Palestine, movements of political Islam in the Arab world, critical state theories and postcolonial theory formation. Current publications include, ‘Global Inequality and the Debate on Imperial Domination’ (2019), and ‘Traces Not to be Covered. On the Dialectic of Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World’ (2017).
He is also head of the ADA-funded research project ‘Knowledge Production in Times of Flight and War - Developing Common Grounds for Research in/on Syria (KnowWar)’, a cooperation between the University of Vienna, the Syrian Center for Policy Research, Birzeit University in the West Bank, Alpen-Adria University in Klagenfurt and Mousawat, Beirut.

Magda Seewald

is a political scientist and has been a project consultant at VIDC since 2005 with a regional focus on the Arab Region and Palestine in particular. She also coordinates a VIDC series on upheaval within the Arab World. As the gender consultant at VIDC, she supervises the area of gender sensitisation of men and coordinates the EU AMIF project, WANNE – We All Need New Engagement. Magda Seewald is a co-founder of the network ‘REloading Feminismus’. Her latest publication as co-editor is ‘Crisis, Revolt and War in the Arab World’ (2017, together with Helmut Krieger and the VIDC).



Krieger, Helmut/ Seewald, Magda/VIDC (Hrsg): Krise, Revolte und Krieg in der arabischen Welt. Verlag Westfälisches Dampfboot, Münster 2017

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