Left Menu
Development News Edition

With water a weapon of Middle East war, women seen as worst hit


With water a weapon of Middle East war, women seen as worst hit
Image Credit: Pixabay

Water is a weapon of war that is deepening conflict in the Middle East, with women the worst hit, said British-Egyptian playwright Sabrina Mahfouz on the sidelines of her new show.

Raised in Cairo and London, Mahfouz wrote "A History of Water in the Middle East," which retells the region's colonial carve-up and subsequent water stresses, from Dubai to Baghdad. "The weaponization of it (water) over so many centuries has obviously led to the situation now - where it just seems so much more extreme," Mahfouz told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"Access to water is just diminishing to the almost non-existent levels," she said after acting in her own show on Tuesday evening. More than half the world's population is likely to live in water-scarce areas by 2050, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Mahfouz depicts a series of women who triumph over such adversity by exploiting water shortages to their own advantage. There is an Emirati who sets up a water-based dating app, helping couples conserve the world's most precious resource, and a singing Jordanian plumber liberated by the shortages to take up a new profession fixing leaks.

"Women are always disproportionately affected (by war)," said Mahfouz at London's prestigious Royal Court Theatre. They bear the brunt of family duties and fend off social pressures, too, she said.

Her stage characters discuss sexual violence against women in Yemen, who are unable even to wash, or who see their children die from water-borne diseases such as cholera. But Mahfouz, elected as a fellow to Britain's Royal Society of Literature last year, said her spirited characters were not to be pitied but lauded as women with inner power.

"They're showing resilience and inventiveness and an ability to adapt and succeed to try and find happiness - no matter what the external situations are," she said. The fast-paced play is a heavily condensed and edited race through history, said Mahfouz; choosing what to cover was hard.

"Almost every country has some sort of water-related argument with a neighboring country. ..I could only choose a few." A study in the journal Global Environmental Change found severe droughts had worsened conflicts in Arab Spring countries earlier this decade, forcing people to flee.

Water and climate experts point to a similar problem in Syria, where record droughts drove farming families into urban centers, exacerbating social and political tensions. Egypt is at odds with its neighbors over access to the Nile and plans for a giant hydroelectric dam in Ethiopia have sparked regional tensions over restrictions to shared water supplies. The most thirsty countries in the world are all in the Middle East and North Africa, with Qatar the most water-stressed country, followed by Israel and Lebanon, according to the U.S. think to tank the World Resources Institute.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

JNU Administration's 100-meter challenge before JNUSU

For the first time in its history, Jawaharlal Nehru University JNU Administration is seeking permanent deployment of local police to keep protesting students at 100 meters away from the Administrative Block. It would be interesting to see h...

Sentiment Analysis of Twitter users during COP25: Governments losing trust on Climate Action

Sentiment analysis of Twitter users during COP25 in Madrid, being held from December 2-13, shows widespread fear on climate change due to global warming but almost no trust on governments in meeting the emission targets. In the analysis the...

These innovators are making humanitarian response more efficient

These alarming trends prompt a call for the world to not only address the ongoing crisis but also to adopt innovative approaches to fulfill the growing humanitarian needs in such emergencies. ...

Hyderabad Encounter: A sentiment analysis of public mood on day of encounter

Sentiment analysis of twitter users revealed that they showered salutes on Hyderabad police for eliminating alleged gang rapists of the veterinary doctor but only a few believe in cops version of successive events leading to encounter....

Videos

Latest News

Fadnavis dubs winter session of Maha Assembly as 'farce'

Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday said the state Assemblys winter session, set to begin from Monday, is a farce as the Uddhav Thackeray-led government has not completed allocation of portfolios to minsters. Fadn...

Berlin conference calls for humanitarian intervention in Balochistan

The Baloch human rights groups gathered in Berlin recently to accentuate the overlooked plight of the people of Balochistan in an attempt to induce the international community to play a more active role in bringing an end to the miseries of...

UPDATE 4-Strong quake causes damage, injuries in southern Philippines

A powerful earthquake struck near the Philippine city of Davao on Sunday, damaging buildings and causing several injuries, officials said, the latest in a series of tremors to strike the southern part of the country in recent months,The mag...

Bengal's Shyamali bags silver after tumour scare

Long distance running is about breaking barriers and Midnapores Shyamali Singh, who finished second among elite Indian women athletes in the TSK 25K on Sunday, is doing just that with every stride. Hailing from a poor family of farmers, the...

Give Feedback